The screen is black as the gentle piano of "Run This Town (E.S. Posthumus Remix)" by Jay-Z, Rihanna, and E.S. Posthumus begins to play. The spotlight lights up slowly, the screen monochrome. We see an empty locker room, with an empty chair sitting in the middle of it. The scene is serene.
The scene switches to the Epicenter Ring, empty as well. Suddenly, the monochrome screen shakes, the colors flashing in and out.
The sun is shown in twice the normal speed, racing towards the horizon, hiding from the coming war.
Feel it comin’ in the air
We look down the entrance ramp of the Epicenter now, down to the ring.
Hear the screams from everywhere
Slow motion images of the fans cheering their heads off.
I’m addicted to the thrill
It’s a dangerous love affair
An image of someone, the camera distorts just who, screaming back to the fans as they enter the arena.
Can’t be scared when it goes down
Got a problem, tell me now
Dan Stein appears, slowly removing the hood that reveals himself to the world as he stands over a fallen foe.
Only thing that’s on my mind
Is who’s gonna run this town tonight…
The music ERUPTS as we see Donovan King snapping off the Dealbreaker on an unsuspecting victim.
Eryk Masters: OH MY GOD!
Yeah I said it
The camera shows Kenji Yamada, Obsidian, and Isaac Entragian standing in the shadows, glaring back at the camera before Elizabeth Gaunt and Flay Rios emerge from the darkness in front of the hulking trio, Flay’s eyes darting left and right while Gaunt grins wildly.
This is Roc Nation
Pledge your allegiance
Get ya black tees on
All black everything
Black cards, black cars
All black everything
The camera spins around Adrian Corazon, who stands bathed in the spotlight. His chest is bare and his arms outstretched, the camera settling on Corazon’s massively scarred back.
And our girls are blackbirds
Ridin’ with they Dillingers
Tanya Black strikes at Chance Ryan, connecting with a DDT before the scene shifts to Kincaid smirking as he is face to face with Thomas Manchester Black. Just as quickly as that image shows up, Ja-Gi Kyung Moon throws his arms in the air in victory, holding the Iron Fist Championship high.
Other Guy: This could do it!
I’d get more in depth
If you boys really real enough
The Bad Ass Brotherhood saunter down to the ring, both men dressed for success before we see Lunatikk Crippler connecting with the Lunatikk Sweet before Sammy Rochester is shown, slamming a victim down into the mat.
Eryk Masters: Come on!
This is La Familia
I’ll explain later
But for now let me get back to this paper
Johnny Napalm is destroying Edmund Augustus Shan ruthlessly before it shifts to ANARCHY standing in the center of the ring, the camera circling them to reveal Loco Martinez behind them, trying unsuccessfully to get them to move out of his way.
I’m a couple bands down and I’m tryin’ to get back
Solomon Richards is shown, looking up to the spotlight, his eyes filled with hope and his hands are open. Mason Pierce appears next, the monster Malice behind him as his support, Mason’s eyes filled with eagerness while Malice’s eyes are filled with silent fury.
I gave Doug a grip, I lost a flip for five stacks
Yeah I’m talkin’ five comma, six zeros, dot zero, Jigga
Valentine Lionheart connects with a low blow before the camera catches his knowing grin. It cuts to Rich Mahogany and Don Hollywood stand tall in the ring, looking around at the Epicenter with a glint in their eye that hints at their cunning. Finally, it cuts straight to Loris Arclale, callously attacking a poor victim, who is long been down on the ground.
Other Guy: WHAT?!!!!
Back to runnin’ circles ’round niggas
Now we squared up
Randall Kash stands in the spotlight, sneering at the camera. It quickly switches to Ripper, running his hands through his hair as his eyes are so wide they threaten to bulge out from his skull. Quickly, the camera switches to Jacob Mephisto, exhausted, holding the Sin City Championship in his clutches, staring down at it as if it was the end of a long road for him.
Eryk Masters: …this is YOUR moment!
We cut back to Datura slowly walking down to the ring before it shifts to Conor Caden doing the same. It cuts back to Sex & Violence with their World Tag Team Championship belts, holding them high for all to see, proud champions in the spotlight. We cut to a hapless victim being SPEARED THROUGH BARBED-WIRE by Isaac Entragian!
Other Guy: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
Jester Smiles is up next, hooking the Last Laugh on someone before we see the SHOOT World Heavyweight Championship held in the hand of Donovan King, standing tall after a hard fought victory. The camera focuses in on the face plate.
Other Guy: WHAT!?!??
Eryk Masters: NO!!!
Suddenly, the camera zooms right back out again, the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship dangling high above the Epicenter as the music dies down. The piano returns…and Rihanna’s voice does as well.
Feel it comin’ in the air
We come back to Adrian Corazon, his head down, sitting in the corner of the ring. He looks up to the camera, and a confident smirk slides across his face. Then, we see Project:SCAR en masse, the group standing among a mass of followers who keep their heads low, hidden by hoods. Kenji grabs Flay by her hair and pulls her in close while Entragian slides his hand across Gaunt’s midsection. Obsidian remains silent, glaring ahead.
Hear the screams from everywhere
I’m addicted to the thrill
The screen flashes with Maya Nakashima flying in the air, connecting with a splash on someone before it shifts to Cronos Diamante, throwing his arms to either side, beckoning Orion to come to him. Mirage remains by his side, a knowing smile on his face.
It’s a dangerous love affair
Donovan King is shown, the Carolina Crossface locked on tightly against Lunatikk Crippler, Crippler’s raven locks swaying effortlessly in slow motion.
Victory’s within the mile
Pyro rains down as the silhouette of someone standing at the entrance to the Epicenter is shown, clutching the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship in his hand.
Almost there, don’t give up now
SCAR descends upon Corazon, ready to brand him.
Only thing that’s on my mind
Trey Willett appears, his head bowed so that his face is bathed in the shadows.
Is who’s gonna run this town tonight
The music hits its crescendo, we see Corazon lording over a fallen Trey Willett, we see Henry Gordon trading punches with Johnny Napalm. Chance Ryan entering the ring, Logan Caine clapping his hands as he readies for his opponent to get to their feet, Vermont’s Finest hamming it up in the spotlight, Orion marching to the ring, Loco Martinez attempting a pin on Buck Dresden, cutting finally to the briefest image of Jonny Johnson himself, slowly rising from the darkness as a black phoenix in the spotlight.
Who’s gonna run this town tonight…
The pyro continues to rain down as the silhouette slowly lifts the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship belt up, the images of each and every Soldier is shown as quickly as possible before finally settling one last time…on the World Heavyweight Championship, the music dying down.
Dutch Harris: SHOOT Project! We are live! Joining me as we kick off Dominion is none other than the Nittany Lion himself, Mark Kendrick.
Mark Kendrick: Dutch, I’m really glad to be able to join you tonight. We got ourselves a promotion!
The crowd cheers, hearing the words of the announcers.
Dutch Harris: I don’t think I realized the crowd could hear us.
Mark Kendrick: Really? I just figured everyone could hear.
Dutch Harris: Well, needless to say, we’re really excited to be given this opportunity. I HOPE we’re not going to let you guys down, and I’m not going to do the big typical thing and call out the other announcers.
Mark Kendrick: Yeah. Dumb. And I know that you guys all want to get on with it, so we’re going to get into the first match of the night. It’s for the Sin City Championship, and it features, who??
Dutch Harris: Solomon Richards takes on Jacob Mephisto for the SIN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP as part of the Sin City Championship series! Guys, take it away!
While the fans begin clamoring for the beginning of Dominion “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull hits the PA system. The fans all begin to look towards the entrance ramp. As Solomon Richards emerges from the curtain the reaction is varied throughout the arena. Some are cheering rather loudly, some are cheering, and there are still some in the audience who are booing.
Samantha Coil: This match is scheduled for one fall and is a SIN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES MATCHUP! This match is also set for the Sin City CHAMPIONSHIIIIP!!!
The fans begin to cheer at the mention of the Sin City Championship Series and the upcoming title defense. As the opening verse ticks on, Solomon makes his way down the ramp, slapping hands with all of those who extend their arms. He comes to the side of the apron and stops, looking at the front row. He smiles at the long line of people dressed in all –formal attire.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, the challenger. He stands Six foot Nine at a weight of 320 pounds. He is SSSOOOOLOMOOOON RIIICHARDS!
A bit of a positive reaction to the announcement of Solomon. He has yet to make his way into the ring. He looks over to a security guard and nods. The guard walks over to the rail next to the formal gentlemen and unlatches the connection gate in front of them. Solomon outstretches his hand and pulls men from the first four rows out onto the floor with him.
All in all, there are about twenty uniformed men standing at ringside with Solomon. He steps up onto the apron and separates the bottom and middle rope, allowing each man to step into the ring, one by one. When everyone has filed into the ring, Solomon himself steps over the top rope and stands in the center of the ring.
Mark Kendrick: It looks like Solomon is having a few guests over for his first ever title match in SHOOT Project.
Dutch Harris: That doesn’t seem fair. I wonder if Mephisto knew this was going to be a handicapped match.
Solomon reaches over the Samantha Coil and asks her for her microphone, which she obliges. The men in the ring file in two single lines, all standing at parade rest. Solomon looks them over and smiles to the crowd.
Solomon: SHOOT Fans! Standing here before you are the men that you may not see every day. They are the men that you hope you never have to see. These men are heroes. These men, are the finest that Las Vegas has to offer. These are your Fire, police, and emergency medical officers of the great city of Las Vegas!
Solomon puts the microphone in the curve of his arm and begins giving the men a round of applause. The crowd responds with a thunderous applause in turn. The men do not waver, they all remain at parade rest. As the applause begins to die down, Solomon brings the microphone back to his mouth.
Solomon: Now, Jacob wants you all to believe that his accomplishment as Sin City Champion is far more important than any other achievement that I have ever made. Jacob wants to paint me as some sort of coward. He wants you to believe that I am some kind of fool that has never earned anything that he had.
The fans begin to boo a little, many are cheering for the Sin City Champion. Solomon raises one hand and lowers it, asking for a bit of silence.
Solomon: Everyone knows that tonight, I want nothing more than to walk out of here as the Sin City Champion. That is a badge that I am prepared to wear with honor. But regardless of the outcome tonight, I want you all to remember…These men standing behind me are the real heroes. They deserve your cheers more than either of us do.
The fans oblige Solomon and begin a second round of uproarious applause for the men in uniform standing in the ring.
Solomon: Just one more thing. Before we start this thing, Jacob. I want you to come down here. Say to the faces of these brave men what you had the nerve to say to me over pre-recorded video. I want you to come down here and tell these men that they didn’t earn their badges. Tell them how much harder you’ve worked than them to be called champion. You do that? We can get this show started and show everyone here just the kind foul snake you really are. So get your ass down here…champ.
“TIMMMMMMMEEEEE…..IS ON MY SIDE……..YES IT IS!”
“Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones starts to really hammer those haunting vocals throughout the arena. The curtains get pushed to the side and out steps Jacob Mephisto to a decidedly mixed reaction from the fans. The Sin City Championship rests on his shoulder as he gives a cool look down at Solomon and his guests in the ring. He carries a microphone in his right hand.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, hailing from Nazareth, Pennsylvania and currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jacob begins to pace back and forth on the entrance ramp, his gaze locked on Solomon Richards.
Samantha Coil: He stands 6’6 and weighs in at 270 pounds. He is the self-proclaimed Mr. Sin City and the current reigning Sin City CHAMPION, here is, JAACOOB MEEEPHIIISTOO!!!
Jacob begins to walk forward, but stops. He motions for his music to be cut and the production crew complies. The crowd’s reaction is mixed, but they are beginning to get restless.
Dutch Harris: It looks like Jacob Mephisto has something to say.
Mark Kendrick: Perhaps he is going to voice his opinion on Solomon’s need for uniformed guards.
Jacob: After everything that’s been said over the past two weeks or so, you decided to go out and invite Las Vegas’ finest to a SHOOT event. And why? Because I said something that offended you?
Jacob smirks as he slowly begins to walk down the entrance ramp.
Jacob: Now, I’m sure these men enjoyed their little moment in the sun. Speaking of which… they are all men, aren’t they? Not a single female in the bunch. That’s a bit sexist of you, isn’t it, Solomon?
The crowd isn’t totally sure how they should respond, but a little more than a few people can be heard laughing in the crowd.
Jacob: But, alright, alright. I’m going to make something very clear here. While I generally respect law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs, you guys are in the wrong place right now.
A low buzzing from the crowd indicates that more than a few fans don’t like where this is headed.
Jacob: I’m sure each and every one of you did something you think equates to earning your badges, but you are standing in MY jurisdiction right now. This isn’t some beat for you to walk. This isn’t a fire scene. That happened at Reckoning Day. Bang up job you guys did on that one, by the way.
More people in the crowd begin to boo at Jacob’s mention of the heinous incident after Reckoning Day’s Day 1 Main Event. Jacob is a little more than half way down the ramp at this point.
Jacob: This is SHOOT Project. This is a sport. All of you standing in that ring could be out and about actually doing your jobs. But, instead you are here. You’re in the ring and in my way. But, since you’re here, I might as well clarify something. You guys have badges. Maybe you’re heroes. I mean, that’s assuming any of you actually did something heroic.
The boos get louder. Jacob has reached the ring and stops just in front of it. He coolly looks up, directly at Solomon.
Jacob: But, something none of you are, to include you, Solly-boy, is a champion.
The crowd boos even louder, but, strangely enough, there is a smattering of cheers as well. Jacob smirks widely as he slowly raises the Sin City Championship over his head.
Jacob: So, yes, I did work harder to earn what I have. I fought for it. I KICKED A MAN IN THE FACE UNTIL HE COULDN’T GET UP TO WIN THIS!
Jacob takes a moment to compose himself as the crowd continues to boo even louder. He looks out over the crowd and sneers.
Jacob: So, Solomon, if you want to be “heroic” like these men, feel free to leave with them. If not, tell your new friends to go back behind the barricade where they belong and let the professionals work. After all, I’ve got a championship to defend. And you… well, you’ve got a face that needs kicking in.
Solomon very politely and respectfully holds the ropes and allows the very irate looking uniformed men out of the ring. Security escorts them back to their seats. The crowd begins to cheer for Solomon as he gestures to Jacob to get in the ring.
Jacob: Do me a favor, referee, get him back and check him. He might’ve gotten something from one of those so called fans that were in the ring. After all, police brutality still happens in Vegas. He might’ve been slipped a weapon.
Solomon doesn’t protest much as the referee orders him back into a neutral corner and checks him. A sly smile forms on Jacob’s face as he climbs the ring steps and enters the ring. The referee finishes with Solomon and asks for the title from Jacob. Mephisto smirks at Solomon as he slowly raises the belt in the air before handing it off to the referee.
Mark Kendrick: That got heated and personal, Dutch. Mephisto really got under the skin of Las Vegas’ finest, but if he had the same effect on Solomon? Richards isn’t showing it.
Dutch Harris: Both of these men want to leave the Epicenter as the Sin City Champion. Lets see who its going to be as Austin Linam has issued his instructions. He’s handed the title belt to the time keeper’s table.
Linam calls for the bell.
Mark Kendrick: Ding Ding! Come and get it!
The two men circle. They lock up. Solomon powers Jacob back into the corner. He continues to lean on Mephisto as Austin Linam starts his count. He makes the clean break and takes a step back.
Dutch Harris: Not many situations where Mephisto is out sized and powered like that.
Mark Kendrick: No, but he was against the former champ, Sammy Rochester.
The two lock up again. Richards backs him into the ropes. He shifts and whips Jacob across the ring. When Mephisto comes back he drops him with a standing shoulder block. He brings Mephisto back up to his feet. Grabs his wrist and pulls him in and levels him with another shoulder block. He follows that up with an elbow across the chest. He turns to make a lateral press.
Two-NO! Mephisto shoulders out.
Dutch Harris: You may think that was a little early, but having to exert yourself with that kind of mass on your chest takes a heavy toll!
Solomon is up and quickly drops a knee into Mephisto’s ribcage. He rolls him over and slaps on a camel clutch!
Mark Kendrick: Mephisto’s chiropractor might be getting some overtime in the near future!
Dutch Harris: All that weight on the back and Solomon is really pulling back on that clutch.
Solomon pulls back. The crowd starts chanting "TAP TAP TAP". Linam checks on Mephisto who grunts out a "no". Mephisto powers to his hands and knees. He starts to push up even more, and Solomon senses his grip loosening. So he stands up. Jumps. Drives his tailbone into the small of Jacob’s back. He then turns and grabs Jacob’s right leg and leans back with a single leg boston crab! Mephisto grimaces in pain. Reaches for the ropes, but is a good two feet short. Linam checks on Mephisto, who shakes his head no.
Dutch Harris: Some wondering why Solomon would seemingly "switch attics"? He isn’t. That clutch and this crab despite coming at it from opposite ends, DOES work a key part of Mephisto’s anatomy. His lower back.
Mephisto summons all his strength and with a warriors cry and to the surprise of Solomon takes three quick "steps" on his hands as he gets to the ropes. Solomon leans back to try to stop, but its too late. Liman is over beginning his five count, and Solomon quickly lets go of the leg.
Mark Kendrick: WE ARE… IM… PRESSED!
Dutch Harris: In your quest for a catch phrase, Mr. Kendrick? I think its time to head back to the drawing board.
Solomon brings Mephisto up. Whips him off the ropes. Swings with a clothesline, but Mephisto ducks under and grabs Solomon in school boy roll up. He grabs a fist full of tights. The Epicenter boos… Referee counts.
Mark Kendrick: Mephisto showing a little bit of "by any means necessary", there.
Solomon gets up quickly and shoots a dirty look Mephisto’s way who stares back coldly. Solomon’s jaw clenches as he charges in a fit of rage. Mephisto feels it coming and drives a drop-kick tot he knee, that flattens the bigger man. Mephisto begins stomping away viciously at the same left knee he dropkicked. He grabs Solomon’s ankle. He brings it high over his head and then drives his knee down with sickening force. He holds on. Brings the ankle back up high over head, and drives it down one more time. He rolls Solomon over. drags him to the ropes and puts that left leg on the bottom rope. He steps up on the middle rope. Drives all his weight into that knee! Solomon writhes in pain. Austin Liman checks on Solomon who nods that he’s fine to continue. Mephisto again drapes that ankle. Steps onto the middle rope and drops all his weight down across that knee.
Mark Kendrick: Really working that knee.
Dutch Harris: A man Richards’ size? The knees are a great target, Mark.
Mephisto violently drags Solomon up.
Mark Kendrick: Solomon struggling to put his weight on that left left!
Jacob gets behind him. Kicks the hamstring of that gimpy leg. He steps over that left leg isolating it and then finishes locking in an abdominal stretch.
Mark Kendrick: Solomon, really bent to the side, being stretched out.
Dutch Harris: And take note, Mark. He isolated the left leg. Solomon is being bent to the left so there is more weight on the bad leg than the good leg!
Jacob looks around and notices his back is close enough to the ropes. He smiles evilly and waits for Austin Linam to check on Solomon. Once he does, Mephisto reaches behind him and grabs that top rope. The Epicenter boos mercilessly as Solomon lets out a pained grunt. Solomon shakes his head no when Liman asks if he wants to quit. Liman goes to move to a new position to keep an eye on the action and Mr Sin City lets go of the top rope. Locks that arm back into the abdominal stretch and pulls back with all his might. Austin Liman looks suspiciously at Mephisto who responds with an innocent "What?" He follows that up with a demand of "ASK HIM!"
Mark Kendrick: Haven’t seen Mephisto take many short cuts, and tonight we’ve seen him use tights and now ring ropes for added leverage.
Austin Linam goes around to check on Solomon again. As soon as Linam is in front of Solomon and blind to what Mephisto can do, he reaches back and again grabs that top rope. The crowd roars their disproval. This time Linam gets up quickly and sees the hand on the top rope. He immediately launches into his five count.
TWO…THREE…FOUR… Mephisto lets go of the hold. He smirks as Linam attempt to admonish him. Solomon drops to a knee. He shakes out his left left. Mephisto smells blood and quickly circles, grabbing him in a front face lock and snapping Solomon into the mat with a DDT.
Mark Kendrick: Spiked like the perennial powerhouse Lady Nittany Lion Volleyball squad likes to do!!
Mephisto shoots a half and hooks the right leg.
THRE-NO! Solomon powers out. Mephisto is up, and stalking Richards. Solomon rolls towards the corner. He uses the corner turnbuckle to help get to his feet. As soon as he’s close Mephisto attacks with a kick to the hamstring, which drops Solomon to a knee and then Mephisto locks in a sleeper! Solomon is just out of reach of the ropes. Liman checks on him, but Richards shakes him off. He grits his teeth and stands up. Mephisto’s eyes go wide with worry. Mephisto jumps up and tries to make Solomon carry all his body weight, but Solomon just falls forward and is leaning his chest against the top rope. Liman starts the count, but Solomon reaches back and grabs Mephisto’s right leg in a "half piggy back" style. He then steps up on the bottom rope. He takes a breath. Grits his teeth, and steps up on the MIDDLE rope. THe crowd buzzes with excitement. Mephisto shakes his head "NO!" sensing what is coming. Solomon falls back.
Mark Kendrick: TIIIIIIIIIIIMBEEEEEEERRRRRRRR!!!
The two crash to the mat in a heap. Solomon, now freed from the sleeper rolls over and hooks a leg.
The crowd starts up a "LETS GO RICH-ARDS" Chant. He stirs and starts to get to his feet. He shakes out that left leg and as Mephisto gets up Solomon goes over and in impressive display of power hits him with a nice greco roman throw from the side.
Mark Kendrick: Nice suplex there.
Solomon shifts to make a lateral press.
TH-NO! Mephisto kicks out.
Solomon brings Mephisto to a seated position and locks in a cobra clutch! The crowd roars as Solomon wraps his legs around Mephisto’s waist.
Dutch Harris: He has it locked in, and has Jacob totally wrapped up in that ring. This could be it!
Mephisto looks around desperately. He drives an elbow into the left knee which sends a shock of pain through Richards that loosens his legs. He does it again and this time he feels the cobra clutch loosen. He leans forward and is able to get to a knee. Solomon tightens the clutch, but Mephisto surging off adrenaline works his way to a standing position. He drives his free hand down into left thigh which gets Solomon to lift his leg. With the decreased power. Mephisto runs backwards into the corner. Driving Solomon’s back into the turnbuckles.
Dutch Harris: That back’s been worked all match!
Richards’ grip loosens from the force. Mephisto again drives his body weight back, driving Solomon into the turnbuckles. He turns and whips Solomon into the ropes. He bends over and hits a back body drop. Solomon lands hard, and ends up sitting up. Mephisto backs up off the ropes and then runs at him and nails a nasty Yakuza Kick that levels Solomon.
Mark Kendrick: GODLESS! He leveled Solomon with that kick!
Mephisto drops across him and hooks a leg.
THREE!! Mephisto rolls off of Solomon. He exhaustedly gets to his feet, leaning against the top rope as Austin Liman hands him his belt and raises his arm.
Samantha Coil: THE winner of this match at thirteen minutes, and forty seven seconds… and… SSSSSSTILL SIN CITY CHAMPION… JAAAAAAAAACOB. MMMMMMMMMMMEEEE. PHIIIIIIIIIIIII. SSSSSSTOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Mark Kendrick: An hard fought match to kick off Dominion!
Dutch Harris: Those two left it all in that ring. They battled tooth and nail for the right to call themselves champion, tonight. Solomon fell a little short, but I’m guessing it isn’t the last time we hear from him!
Mark Kendrick: Indeed, Dutch. And if THIS is the kind of action we can expect to call week in and week out on Dominion? I’m gonna be one happy Nittany Lion!
Mephisto stands in the ring holding his title high above his head as if to dare the next person in line to try to come and get his championship before we cut away…
We find ourselves backstage in the locker room where we see Conor Caden McLellan with his back turned to us. He dons a black fitted T-shirt with black jeans. As he opens his gym bag in front of him, he starts pulling out his wrestling attire. Boots. Long, black tights with blue highlights… "GHOST" written down the right pants leg. A black shamrock outlined in a vivid shade of blue on the left. Then he stops… picking up a note.
"If your friends call you the Ghost of Ann Arbor, don’t harp on it. Don’t let it get under your skin. Instead, embrace it. Own it. Become it.
And he sees something at the bottom of the bag. A white, generic mask. As he slips it over his face, he feels refreshed. He feels new. This is his edge… it wasn’t just a gimmick… this would be how he defined himself. He finally turns around, the mask positioned over his face… brushing his long dark hair out of his face.
Conor Caden: I AM the Ghost of Ann Arbor.
Conor Caden: And tonight… I rise up.
The crowd is hushed. The ring bell rings three times, signaling it’s time to start the match up.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL!
The lights dim down as "These Colours Don’t Run" by Architects hits. As the drums kick in, we find Conor Caden at the top of the entranceway clad in black long tights with "GHOST" written down the right pants leg, a white mask, and a black shamrock on the left thigh with a a light blue glow around it. He tosses up two C’s, crossing his arms in front of him with his two hands making C’s pointing outwards. As the song picks up, he begins to make his stride to the ring.
These streets aren’t paved with gold
Don’t believe everything that you’re told
Deception hides in all you see
Corruption hangs in the air that you breathe
Mark Kendrick: Here he is folks, the redebut of Conor Caden.
Dutch Harris: I’m tentatively excited about this, Mark. I want to believe that Conor Caden is revitalized and ready to take SHOOT by storm, but I’m going to reserve a little judgement.
He gives high fives as he makes his way down to the ringside area, making a slow lap around the ring, slapping the hands of all of the fans who are willing enough to put their hand out for him.
Life time slave
Living in a suburban grave
If there was a god
Was a god
You would be the death of him
Mark Kendrick: Admittedly, he seems very excited to be here.
He stops, facing the crowd with his back to the ring as he throws his hands out, garnering a few cheers here and there. He hops up on the side of the apron and performs a front flip moonsault over the top rope before going over to his corner, crouching down with his back rested on the middle turnbuckle as he gazes up at his opponent.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, he is the GHOST OF ANN ARBOR and weighs in tonight at at ONE HUNDRED and EIGHTY FIVE pounds…CONOR…CADEN!
The arena turns black. On the screen, scenes of post-apocalyptic landscapes haunt the darkness. Over the speakers an eerie synth-pad sets the mood as a deep, raspy voice begins speaking.
The car’s on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides and a dark wind blows. The government is corrupt and we’re on so many drugs with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine and the machine is bleeding to death. The sun has fallen down and the billboards are all leering and the flags are all dead at the top of their poles. It went like this:
A chorus of string instruments begins to play a melancholic tune as a pale spotlight rushes to the top of the stage. There, it falls on Elizabeth Mauduit dressed in a pair of tight, dark jeans and a black hoodie. She stops at the top of the ramp and looks out into the darkness of the crowd.
Samantha Coil: And now, making her way to the ring, residing now in Las Vegas, Nevada by way of Tampa, Florida and weighing in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and THIRTY pounds…DATURAAAA!
The buildings tumbled in on themselves, mothers clutching babies, picked through the rubble and pulled out their hair. The skyline was beautiful on fire, all twisted metal stretching upwards everything washed in a thin orange haze.
Elizabeth makes her way down the ramp. The silhouette of hands reaching out to grab her can be seen on the outskirts of the spotlight. Datura ignores them as she makes her way to the steps.
Dutch Harris: Datura still looks somewhat uninterested in everything going on around her. I mean, I’d say that would be a problem, but it worked out pretty well last week against J.P. Corino.
Mark Kendrick: Yeah, but for everything you can say about Conor Caden and his past, the kid is a gamer when he wants to be. Datura better stay focused.
I said: "kiss me, you’re beautiful – these are truly the last days. You grabbed my hand and we fell into it like a daydream or a fever.
Elizabeth walks up the steps, scratching her head and giving a yawn. She enters the ring by crawling between the top and middle rope. She walks over to an opposite corner and just lazily leans against the top turnbuckle, messing with her nails. Conor Caden bounces on his feet, shaking his hands, looking antsy and ready for the match to start. Dennis Heflin looks over at Conor and asks if he is ready. He responds with a firm “hell yeah!”
Mark Kendrick: Caden looks ready to jump out of his skin he is so excited.
Heflin looks over at Datura and asks if she is ready. She waves her hand at him dismissively, nodding at the same time. Heflin looks irritated, but he signals for the bell! Caden takes center ring quickly, but stops as he sees Datura has not moved from her corner. She now stands straight up, standing in a traditional wrestling stance, eyeing every inch of Conor, her eyes darting back and forth, surveying every angle. Caden dashes forward and Datura throws her hand out for a punch, but Conor ducks under and hits the turnbuckle, moonsaulting off the middle turnbuckle. Datura is quick to get out of the way, but Conor lands on his feet. Datura is positioned behind Conor, and she locks in a waist lock. She then drops down, looking for a school boy, but Conor rolls through. As he stands, he shoots for a front dropkick, but Datura swipes his feet and moves out of the way. Conor scrambles to his feet, but as he is rising, Datura catches him in front headlock. Conor pushes forward, causing Datura to bounce to the ropes and bounce, which loosens the hold and gives him the momentum to launch her over with a Northern Lights Suplex! Caden bridges for the pin!
ON-Datura gets the shoulder up! Conor flips back over and lifts Datura with him, but as Datura reaches her feet, she catches Conor with a knee and drops him with a DDT! Datura rolls him over with a pin!
ONE! Conor kicks out! The momentum from kicking out allows Datura to roll Conor onto his stomach, where she takes his back! Conor tries to roll over, but Datura locks her legs around him and stays in position, locking in a vicious neck crank! Before Conor is in any real danger, he realizes that he is near the ropes and gets his foot on the bottom rope. Heflin comes over and tells Datura to release the hold, which she at first ignores. Heflin begins the count!
THRE- Datura releases the hold, and both opponents scramble to their feet. Conor checks his neck, moving his head to make sure he’s okay. The crowd applauds the exchange of both competitors, and Conor smiles. Datura, however, seems completely uninterested.
Mark Kendrick: Aggressive exchange there.
Dutch Harris: Conor trying to keep this match fast paced, while Datura is looking for chance to slow it down and get her hooks locked in.
Mark Kendrick: Yeah. This one is going to be a real BEAT’EM THROWDOWN!
Dutch Harris: That…that the catch phrase you are working on?
Mark Kendrick: Now that I’ve said it outloud…no.
Both competitors circle again. Conor again presses, looking to lock up. Datura drops down and shoots for the legs, but Conor stuffs the takedown. He hits the ropes and slams the rising Datura in the chest with a springboard dropkick. Datura goes back and hits the ground hard. As she rises, Conor is there with a full head of steam, performing a handstand and catching Datura with his legs before bringing her down with a headscissors! Datura clutches her back, slowly getting to her feet. Conor scales the turnbuckle and looks down at Datura. Datura stands, clutching her back, seemingly unaware of her surroundings.
Mark Kendrick: She should really start paying attention. This is SHOOT Project, NOT YOUR MOMMA’S DAYCARE!
Dutch Harris: Mark, just…no.
Conor whistles at Datura, who turns around. Conor LEAPS over the turnbuckle and catches Datura’s head, spinning around and dropping her with a tornado DDT! The crowd pops and Conor kips up, shaking his fists with excitement!
Dutch Harris: Conor Caden on a roll right now and he’s going for a pin!
TH-Datura kicks out! Conor looks disappointed, but he stays aggressive, grabbing Datura by the head and lifting her up. He plants a kick to the leg and a slap to the face before hitting the ropes and looking for another front dropkick. He goes high, and Datura sees it coming, moving out of the way, causing Conor to drop on his back awkward!
Mark Kendrick: Ouch! That one missed.
Dutch Harris: You cannot control how your body lands when you are a high flyer. At least, not all of the time. Conor Caden was just reminded of that.
Conor rolls on his stomach, clutching his back, and Datura is quick to do a double foot stomp right on his back! She catches her balance and stays on top of his back, jumping up and down for a second to cause Conor more discomfort. She then drops down to her knees, grabbing hold of Conor’s chin and arching it back!
Dutch Harris: Modified camel clutch! Datura really working on the back and neck area.
Conor’s eyes go wide from the pain, but Datura’s balance is off due to her position, and he is able to roll over and get her off. Datura, however, is up quickly, and she plants a soccer style kick to Conor’s back! The pain causes Conor to actually shoot up to his feet, but his back is still to Datura, so Datura grabs Conor’s chin and leaps up, pulling Conor back onto both of her knees! Conor again rolls onto his stomach, his lower back in great pain!
Dutch Harris: The pace has slowed to more of a crawl, and Datura is WORKING the lower back of Conor Caden hard!
Mark Kendrick: Right up there, Sally!
Dutch Harris: Wh…wh…what?
Datura places both feet on each side of Conor. She playfully kicks his sides before bending down and grabbing his arms. She then flips over and she has him in the cattle mutilation!
Dutch Harris: This is the move that beat J.P. Corino, the Moonflower!
Conor’s eyes go wide with pain. Heflin asks if he’d like to submit, but Conor yells out no. Conor can see that he has no way of grabbing the ropes, so he reaches back with his legs, looking for ropes behind him. The ropes are close, but his foot seems just out of reach. Heflin again asks if Conor would like to quit, which again he yells out no!
Mark Kendrick: If Conor could move back an inch his foot would be on the ropes.
Dutch Harris: But from that angle, and with that brutal hold locked in, I don’t think he’s going to make it.
Conor tries to shimmy backward, but Datura bares down and keeps the hold. Heflin again checks to see if Conor wants to submit.
Conor Caden: FUCK OFF HEFLIN!
A very small, but noticeable, “CONOR! CONOR! CONOR!” chant starts up. Conor continues to shimmy backwards and then he places his foot up and reaches…and he gets the ropes by a toe! Caden yells at Heflin to check. Heflin sees the foot and tells Datura to release the hold. Datura, however, keeps it locked in! Heflin again counts!
FI-Datura releases the hold. She looks incredibly pissed and begins to argue with Heflin. Heflin explains that Conor had the ropes, but Datura says it’s impossible. In the meantime, Conor is working his way to his feet, clutching his back, but still getting up.
Dutch Harris: Conor Caden survives by his BIG TOE. Datura needs to accept this and pay attention.
Mark Kendrick: Turn around or FEEL THE LION!
Dutch Harris: THIS ISN’T PENN STATE MARK!
Datura continues arguing, but as the crowd begins to cheer, she turns around. Conor is right there! Datura goes for a leg kick, but Conor leaps over it and throws out a forearm, catching Datura on the bridge of the nose! Datura is rocked and Conor kicks her in the stomach, causing her to bend forward. Conor flips backwards, kicking Datura hard in the face. Datura stands straight up before following straight back, eyes shut. Conor lands on both feet!
Dutch Harris: What athleticism! He calls that one The Haunting and that should be it.
The crowd pops as he grabs both of Datura’s legs and flips over, bridging for the pin!
Mark Kendrick: Game over girlie!
Conor pops up, still clutching his back slightly, but thrilled to be having his hand raised in the victory.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner at a time of ELEVEN minutes and TWENTY SEVEN seconds…THE GHOST OF ANN ARBOR…CONOOOOR…CAAAAADEN!
Conor motions for the microphone as Coil hands it to him… Conor, seemingly out of breath, breathes heavily as he puts his arm in the air.
Conor Caden: How’s THAT for a debut?!
He garners a few cheers as he nods.
Conor Caden: I fight for ALL OF YOU! The broken, the beaten, and the forgotten. And EVERYONE in between! THIS IS FOR YOU!!
He drops the microphone as "These Colours Don’t Run" by Architects hits. He begins to make his way back up the ramp as he stops at the top, throwing his hands in the air. He takes off his white mask, revealing white makeup underneath with black around the eyes…and tosses it into the crowd. He gets a few more cheers here and there as he puts his hand up one last time before disappearing from sight.
Dutch Harris: Damn, Conor Caden looked good tonight. His future in SHOOT Project may still be a little uncertain, but if he keeps that up, he’s got a bright one to look forward to.
Mark Kendrick: Definitely a solid match up. Don’t forget folks, we still have Isaac Entragian taking on Ripper and The Badbutt Brotherhood taking on ANARCHY in our MAIN EVENT! Stay tuned folks, SHOOT is going to PUNCH YOU THROUGH YOUR TV!
Dutch Harris: Mark…you gotta stop.
We’re backstage walking with Henry Gordon and John Thomas, who couldn’t be more opposite at this point. Henry Gordon is sporting his blue flannel shirt with a generic SHOOT Project shirt underneath it, whereas John has on a white suit and a white shirt, the top two buttons undone. The two are talking about something inaudible as they walk, and then we hear the familiar gruff voice of T.Rex.
T.Rex: Yo! JT! Dude!
The boys of Anarchy walk up to the cousins, both men in their wrestling gear. T.Rex has a t-shirt with a picture of his purple Build-A-Bear dinosaur on it and above it is scribbled "FRIENDASAURUS". The boys of Anarchy walk up to John Thomas and shake his hand.
John Thomas: Teddy, Chris! How’s it going fellas? Don’t know if you all have been formally introduced, but Hank, T.Rex and Arch Angel. Fellas. This is Henry Gordon.
The boys of Anarchy and Henry Gordon exchange a handshake.
Henry Gordon: You prob’ly don’t remember me, but I saw y’all a few times backstage in LEGACY b’fore, back when I used to hang out.
T.Rex: Well we weren’t exactly the friendasauruses we are today.
John and Henry give a polite chuckle. Arch Angel rolls his eyes at his partner.
Arch Angel: Don’t feel the need to pay attention to him. Henry, did you get introduced? ‘Cause I don’t remember it…
Henry Gordon: Nope, back then, any shows I went to, I was mostly tryin’ to stay outta the way, help where I could, and not get caught too many times at the caterin’ table.
T.Rex: Did they have a "three-strikes" rule for you, too? Those nights were the worst…
Henry Gordon: You know it, brotha.
They share a chuckle. John looks around looking for someone else.
John Thomas: Fellas, is Loco around?
Arch Angel: He’s around here somewhere, but he’s been full on in "match mode" the last week. Plus he was working with production on that little hype piece? We’ve seen him at training. We talked to him earlier today about match stuff, but that’s it.
JT laughs knowingly.
John Thomas: Say no more, I know that production video hype pieces were always something he got WAY involved in, and so I’m sure he’s still real hands on for those things.
T.Rex: Yeah, think the guy dreams of being Martin Fuggin’ Scorcese or some shit.
John Thomas: Heh, well you let him know we gotta meet up. It feels like forever.
T.Rex: Will do. Hey John. What about you? I mean here you are backstage at a wrestling show, and I mean… You got your boy to mentor and stuff, but don’t it make ya itch just a little bit?
John Thomas: Itch? Nah, I was always real careful on the road to use protection… or at least some thorough background checks ahead of time, what with Anastasia and Josephina…
Henry Gordon: I don’t think that’s the kind of itch they’re talking about, JT…
They share a chuckle and John Thomas doesn’t offer any additional information. So Arch Angel nods.
Arch Angel: So… Yeah man. Its great seeing you, and I mean… I think maybe my dino-pal there was trying to intimate? If you and Gordo there link up maybe you can team it up and step in the ring with the future SHOOT Project World Tag Team Champions!
Henry Gordon: The Bad Ass Brotherhood?
Henry stares blankly wondering why Anarchy’s mood has soured. JT attempts damage control.
John Thomas: He’s kiddin’ fellas! … I think.
T.Rex and Arch Angel smirk.
John Thomas: Well I’ll let you guys get to it. Good luck tonight. Do it for the Cirque.
Arch Angel: Thanks, man. Don’t be a stranger!
John flashes a wink and slaps the two members of Anarchy on the shoulder before the four part ways.
Jacob Mephisto is seen walking backstage. He is still in his ring gear with a black "Mephisto" t-shirt. The Sin City Championship is draped across his shoulder and he walks with his head held high.
As he rounds the corner he ends up face to face with none other than Jester Smiles. Mephisto stares at Jester calmly.
Jacob Mephisto: Something you want?
Jester looks at the door to his right and points at the sign that reads “Sammy Rochester/Jester Smiles”.
Jester Smiles: I mean, it’s my locker room.
Jacob glances at the locker room door.
Jacob: So it is. You want to get out of my way then? I successfully defended the title I took from your… friend tonight. Kind of want to go an relax for a while.
Jester doesn’t move an inch. He sorta grins, looking down at his hands as he messes with his nails.
Jester Smiles: You beat Sammy, I’ve kicked you in the face a bunch of times. You thought partnering with Henry Gordon was a good idea. So, you know, good and bad things have come from you in the past few months. Sucks not being able to move on in Master of the Mat, huh broski?
Jester looks back up, still grinning.
Jester Smiles: My friend, by the way, is still very much in the Sin City Championship series. Next time there won’t be a Corey Lazarus. Just MR. SIN CITY Jacob Mephisto and an infinitely more driven, and probably infinitely angrier Sammy Rochester. Personally, I tingle with excitement.
Jacob scowls as he looks at Jester. But after a second, it turns into a small smirk.
Jacob: You’re right. There won’t be a Corey Lazarus next time around. That’s assuming Sammy makes it far enough to face me. Yea. It sucked getting eliminated from Master of the Mat.
Jacob’s smirk grows wider.
Jacob: And yea, I guess you have to take the good with the bad. But, all in all, it’s been a pretty good year. Oh, and by the way, assuming Sammy and I end up clashing again, you might end up more desperate then you were at Reckoning Day when you kicked Laz in the face. The difference? Well, I already know how desperate you are for Sammy to win. I think I can handle it.
Jester snickers a bit. He then moves aside, motioning for Jacob Mephisto to pass. Jacob begins to walk past, but Jester reaches up and grabs his shoulder.
Jester Smiles: One more thing.
Jacob stops and looks at Jester’s hand on his shoulder.
Jester removes the hand, putting his hands up and smiling, appearing as non-threatening a possible.
Jester Smiles: You are good, Mephisto. I won’t deny it. Hell, you did what no one else, not even a pair of tag team legends, could do. You put Sammy Rochester down for the three count. Hell, you put him down for a ten, twenty, maybe even thirty count.
But I heard the rumors. I know you doubt yourself. I know that you are trying so hard to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. That you DESERVE to be where you are.
Jacob raises an eyebrow at Jester’s last comment.
Jacob: Give it time. If I’ve got to kick the head off of every man or woman’s shoulders from now until well after Master of the Mat to prove it, then so be it. Oh, and that includes Sammy Rochester. That’s the important part, Jester. It’s not that I don’t think I can beat Sammy. I’ve proven that. But next time… if there is one, I won’t have to worry about a third person in the ring. And if you decide to put yourself in my path? Well, I kick your head in too.
Jacob smiles and a glimmer of malice flashes in those pale grey eyes.
Jacob: You can play your mind games with Sammy. Doesn’t work on me so easily.
Jacob continues his walk down the hallway. Jester calls down the hall.
Jester Smiles: Woah woah woah, Champ. I wasn’t done.
Jacob stops and turns around. He rolls his eyes, but walks back so that he is face to face with Jester again. He makes an exaggerated motion for Jester to continue. Jester grins slyly.
Jester Smiles: You gotta understand something, big man. I wasn’t trying to insult you just then, I just know you have some doubts.
I’m telling you don’t. You beat Sammy. You beat him real clean. You proved that you are capable of beating him.
But those fans out there? The ones that boo you and the ones that cheer you, they are going to make you think you aren’t worth it. All those people you’ve been shaking hands with, trying to show some respect to, they aren’t going to make you think you are worth it, Jacob. They’d rather eat you alive.
Jester cracks his neck, lowering his voice slightly, as if he is telling a secret.
Jester Smiles: You are, for the time being, MR. SIN CITY. You proved it at Reckoning Day, you proved it again tonight.
But if you want to stay MR. SIN CITY, you need to cut the nice guy act. It’s not you. It’s very CLEARLY not you. You could be so much more.
But not shaking hands and being all nicey nice, friendly friendly. This isn’t a friendly place. Look around you, look at where you are. SHOOT Project, Las Vegas. Nothing but vice and cutthroat attitudes for miles. Great, at Master of the Mat, you showed everyone want a GREAT SPORTSMAN you are and people cheered for you.
And Trey Willett is one step closer to being World Champion while YOU…
Jester places his finger on Jacob’s chest to emphasize you.
Jester Smiles: Are light years away. A little friendly advice from a man who’s been absolutely adored and absolutely hated…
Fuck these people. You’ve got potential, and whether I think Sammy will destroy you or not, you’ve got a bright career in SHOOT.
Don’t let a useless thing like sportsmanship drag you down.
Besides, they care more about the ones they boo then the ones they cheer.
Jacob rubs his chin as if in thought for a moment.
Jacob: You know something? For once, I think we agree on something. I mean it showed earlier didn’t it? I told the truth about the people Solomon had standing in the ring with him. And… they booed me for it. Yeah, the fans… they’re fickle. And as far as being a sportsman goes? Well, let’s just say I won’t make that mistake again.
Jester Smiles: I just saved you years of trying to prove yourself to people. Don’t worry, free of charge. Now, feel free to go relax, champ. You’ve earned it.
And, all niceties aside, Sammy Rochester is going to murder you.
Jacob: We’ll see about that last part.
Jacob walks off down the hall.
Mark Kendrick: Well, folks, it’s time to get into our third match of the evening here. J.P. Corino is coming off a loss in his first SHOOT Project match. We’ll see if he can bounce back.
Dutch Harris: A loss in your debut can really mess with your head sometimes, but we’ll see what Corino does tonight. Randall Kash is set to make his debut tonight. This should be a good one.
This Means War by Nickelback begins to play over the speakers. The crowd buzzes with mild interest and curiosity as the music plays and the bell sounds.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He stands 6’5 and weighs in at 272 pounds. Making his SHOOT Project debut, here is RANDAAALL KAAASSHH!!!
The music continues to play and Randall Kash steps out onto the entrance stage. He doesn’t pay attention to the fans, who give him a polite reaction, as he walks down the ramp. He rolls underneath the bottom rope and tests out the ropes a few times before stalking around the ring awaiting his opponent.
Mark Kendrick: Kash isn’t showing much love to the fans. You’ve got to wonder what’s going on inside that man’s head as he steps into a SHOOT Project ring for the first time.
Dutch Harris: Well, from what I know of him, Kash isn’t a rookie in this sport. All the same, he could be experiencing a bit of nervousness. He certainly isn’t showing it right now though.
The music fades and Diamonds Aren’t Forever by Bring Me the Horizon begins to play, eliciting boos from the fans. They aren’t thunderous, but it’s clear that the fans are not behind the man who is set to make his entrance.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent; hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He stands 5’9 and weighs in at 220 pounds. Here is J! P! COOORIIINOOO!!!
Corino walks out onto the entrance stage clutching the spike he calls Marla around his neck. He stares down to the ring at his opponent. Corino stalks down to the ring never turning his gaze from Randall Kash.
Mark Kendrick: J.P. Corino looks like he’s ready for a war, Dutch. Randall Kash called him pathetic on multiple occasions over the past couple of weeks.
Dutch Harris: In this sport, you can’t allow your opponent to get inside your head. But, in this case, Kash may have made a mistake with those insults. We’re going to find out in just a few moments for sure though.
Corino reaches the ring and walks up the ring steps. He steps between the ropes and goes to a neutral corner across from Kash. He stares daggers at his opponent as he toys with Marla around his neck. The music fades out and Willie Dean walks over to J.P. to tell him he has to remove the spike. Corino breaks his gaze from Kash and sneers at the referee. After a few seconds, Corino relents and removes Marla from around his neck.
Willie Dean calls for the bell and the match is underway! Corino immediately rushes forward slamming fists and forearms into the face of Kash! Corino boots Kash in the stomach, grabs him by the head and THROWS him back into the corner! Corino backs up quickly and delivers a dropkick right to the face of Kash! Corino quickly pulls Kash forward and hooks his head and leg. He lifts and brings Kash over with a Fisherman’s suplex keeping it hooked with a bridge!
Mark Kendrick: Right off the bell and Corino goes on the attack and he got a near fall right there. What do you think of his strategy, Dutch?
Dutch Harris: It’s a solid strategy, Mark. Corino staying on the attack means that Kash is on the defense. He’s got to stay on top of him if he wants to walk away a winner.
Corino brings Kash back to his feet and Irish whips him into the ropes. Kash bounces off the ropes and ducks under a clothesline. He hits the opposite ropes and comes off with a VICIOUS clothesline, sending Corino down to the canvas hard! Kash quickly brings Corino to his feet and chops him right in the throat! Corino staggers back clutching at his throat as Willie Dean admonishes Kash. Kash simply looks at the referee before moving forward on Corino.
Kash fires a short succession of forearms to the jaw of Corino, rocking him backward. He pulls Corino forward and WHIPS him over with a snap suplex. Kash floats over for the cover!
Corino gets the shoulder up! Kash pulls Corino to a sitting position and clamps down with a reverse chinlock. Kash puts his weight forward on Corino, trying to cut off the airway. Willie Dean asks Corino if he wants to give it up, but Corino shakes his head.
Kash releases the hold and begins to club away at the back of Corino’s neck. He grabs Corino by the head and SLAMS him backwards into the canvas! Kash gets to his feet and drops a heavy knee to Corino’s chest! Kash makes the quick cover!
Corino gets his shoulder up again!
Mark Kendrick: Kash has asserted control of the match now. He’s working to wear down Corino here.
Dutch Harris: It’s good strategy, Mark. He’s softening up that neck and keeping Corino grounded.
Kash grabs Corino’s head off the mat and just starts to POUND away with fists. He drops his head back to the mat and begins to blatantly choke Corino! Willie Dean is right there admonishing Kash. The referee begins his count.
FI- Kash breaks the choke at the last possible second.
Corino clutches at his throat as he gasps for air. Willie Dean is shouting at Kash to stay away from the throat, but Kash simply rolls his eyes and advances on Corino. Kash brings Corino to his feet and Irish whips him into the ropes. Corino comes off the ropes and is caught with another BIG clothesline, sending him crashing back to the canvas! Kash quickly brings Corino back to his feet, BUT CORINO IMMEDIATELY LEAPS UP and NAILS a dropkick right to Kash’s face, sending him down to the canvas!
Kash gets to his feet rather quickly, but Corino makes it up as well. Kash swings for another clothesline, but Corino ducks under and just RAKES the back of Kash, causing him to arch back in pain! Corino spins Kash around and BLATANTLY gouges the eyes of Kash! Kash stumbles backwards into the corner as Willie Dean begins to admonish Corino.
Mark Kendrick: J.P. Corino appears to be getting desperate here, Dutch. It pains my Nittany Lion heart to see a man resort to tactics like that.
Dutch Harris: Sometimes when you’re in a tight spot like that, you’ll do anything to get out of it. Corino is showing that he’ll do anything to get the win tonight.
Corino rushes into the corner and NAILS Kash with a running clothesline. He backs up as Kash stumbles out of the corner. Corino boots Kash in the stomach and hooks his arms. Corino SNAPS backwards, planting Kash with a snapping underhook DDT! Corino floats over for the cover!
Kash gets the shoulder up!
Corino slowly brings Kash to his feet and begins to FIRE forearm smashes to his face. Corino swings a shot just a bit wildly and Kash ducks under it. Corino turns around and gets caught with a boot to the stomach. Kash hits the ropes and when he come off he hooks Corino’s head in a bulldog. Kash LEAPS over the top rope and nearly DECAPITATES Corino with a bulldog clothesline over the top rope! Corino snaps down to the canvas clutching his throat!
Kash slowly leans down to bring Corino to his feet, BUT CORINO GRABS HIM and tries to slap on a submission of some sort. Kash quickly pulls back and plants a NASTY boot to Corino’s skull. Kash moves in again and brings Corino to his feet. He PISTONS a right hand to Corino’s jaw before scooping him up and SLAMMING him down with a scoop slam!
Kash steps outside the ropes and scales the top turnbuckle.
Mark Kendrick: Kash is looking for a big move here!
Dutch Harris: The high risk could pay off or Kash could be the one paying for it!
Kash LEAPS from the top turnbuckle and DRIVES an elbow right to Corino’s heart! Instead of covering him, though, Kash brings a very wobbly Corino to his feet. Kash kicks him in the stomach and hoists him up!
Mark Kendrick: Kash just PLANTED Corino with that move!
Dutch Harris: This could be all!
Kash drops down and covers Corino, hooking the leg!
Willie Dean calls for the bell and This Means War begins to play throughout the arena.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, RANDAALL KAAAASHHH!!!!
Kash has his arm raised by the referee as he looks down at Corino. Without much praise or fanfare, Kash exits the ring and stalks back up the ramp. Corino slowly begins to come to and rolls out of the ring, making sure to grab Marla as he does so.
Mark Kendrick: Randall Kash dug down deep and pulled out a nice victory here tonight.
Dutch Harris: It was a solid match by two newer competitors here in SHOOT, but Randall Kash comes up with a hard earned victory.
The shot goes to a locker room, with the words "Previously Recorded" in the lower right hand corner of the screen next to the SHOOT Project Helmet logo, where Chance Ryan and Jaysin Skylar are talking to each other in their street clothes.
Jaysin Skylar: Has he called you back yet?
Chance shake his head.
Chance Ryan: No, but I’m sure h–
Just then, the familiar generic ringing of a cell phone is heard, and Chance cuts himself off to fish in his loose blue jean pocket to retrieve his phone. He smiles and holds a finger up before flipping the phone open and pressing it to his ear.
Chance Ryan: Hello? … Yes, this is he….Yes sir, Mister Kygon.
The fans cheer in the Epicenter upon hearing the name as they watch on the jumbo tron themselves. Jaysin Skylar smiles widely himself.
Chance Ryan: Yes sir, I apologize. I just…Yes sir….Yes, Jaysin Skylar.
Jay quirks his head to the side questioningly, and Chance holds his hand up to stop him from asking anything.
Chance Ryan: Yes, I believe he used to be Nexus….Yeah, I know….Yes sir, I do….Yes sir, thank you, sir.
Chance hangs up the phone and smiles at Jay.
Jay Sky: Well, what did he say?
Chance Ryan: He said to make sure we’re ready next week. We’ll get our match.
Chance grins widely at Jay, while Jay looks less enthusiastic about it but still manages a smile.
“Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” by Shinedown plays in the Epicenter, and Ripper steps out from behind the curtains with his midget manager, Lil Beastie, standing at his side. The crowd shows Ripper some love, most of the Las Vegas fans cheering for the SHOOT Project newcomer.
Samantha Coil: The following is a MASTER OF THE MAT tournament match, and it is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…he weighs in at 237lbs…accompanied by Lil’ Beastie…RIPPER!!!
Ripper begins to make his way down the ramp, slapping hands with the fans while Lil Beastie hops around, getting the crowd pumped up.
Dutch Harris: Ripper making his way to the ring tonight for what is essentially the biggest match of his SHOOT Project career thus far.
Mark Kendrick: Ripper has been impressive ever since his debut, Dutch. He knocked off HellQUITTER in record time in his Master of the Mat qualifying match, and that brings him to his present challenge tonight.
Dutch Harris: He’s facing something entirely different this evening, Mark. And I’m not afraid to admit it….the man he’s facing tonight sends cold chills straight down to my bone marrow.
Ripper climbs up onto the apron and enters the ring, taking a moment to raise his fists up high to acknowledge the crowd.
The Epicenter plunges into the depths of darkness, and blasts of manufactured hellfire start to trigger on either side of the top of the ramp, the flames painting the entire ramp in firelight. The image of a human back appears on the Video Wall, the SHOOT Project Helmet proudly displayed in tattoo ink. Flames dance around the flesh, the skin starts to char and blacken, and ash begins to flake off in the form of dead tissue.
“I Am Hell” by Machine Head starts to scorch through the arena speakers, the soft Latin chants transitioning into a pounding guitar riff and throaty vocals.
Entragian steps out from behind the curtains, white hair hanging about his face like a veil. A shark-like smile is plastered across his pallid lips, and with the crowd EXPLODING with boos…he stretches his arms outward, his malefic gaze falling directly on Ripper in the center of the ring.
“I AM DEATH…ARMS HELD OUTSTRETCHED.”
“I AM HELL…BORN THIS MORTAL SHELL.”
“I AM WRATH…TAKE THIS BLOODBATH.”
Samantha Coil: Introducing second, he hails from Mideon, Nebraska…weighing in at 320lbs…representing PROJECT: SCAR….THE PALE RIDER…ISAAC ENTRAGIAN!!!
The cameras focus on Ripper for a moment, his face slightly worried as Entragian stalks his way down the ramp.
Dutch Harris: Never has the phrase “born villain” been more apt. This man has pure evil running through his bloodstream, and the trail of destruction he’s cut through SHOOT Project has left a scar on this company that may NEVER heal.
Mark Kendrick: And you gotta wonder, Dutch…after Corazon returned on this past Revolution and made his proclamation against SCAR, is Isaac gonna be looking to use this match as a means of sending a message to the Baddest Man Alive?
Dutch Harris: All I know is this….Entragian has vowed to claw and tear his way through Master of the Mat until he makes it all the way to the end, and truth be told? When this butcher sets his sights on something…it’s damn near impossible to stop him.
Isaac steps up onto the apron, and he slowly steps over the top rope to enter the ring. He pushes his white hair out of his face…and his glimmering green eyes mark Ripper, that gaze full of bad intentions.
The referee checks to ensure both men are ready, and then he nods to the timekeeper. The bell rings, and this match is OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY!!!
Ripper looks on, his gaze cautious yet defiant, and he decides to make a move on Isaac full steam ahead. Ripper starts to slam heavy haymakers into Isaac’s face, putting all his weight into the punches. Isaac’s head snaps to the side after each punch…but it’s like watching flesh connect with stone, and the punches seem to have almost NO effect on Entragian.
Mark Kendrick: Ripper’s giving it everything in the early goings here…you can HEAR how hard those shots are.
Dutch Harris: And yet Entragian isn’t even staggered, Mark…
Ripper stops the strikes for a moment…and Isaac grins at him. Ripper immediately decides to hit the ropes, SLAMMING a huge clothesline into Isaac’s chest…and the monster is knocked back…BARELY…a step.
To his credit, Ripper runs right back into the ropes to get some momentum to try again with a clotheline…but ISAAC NEARLY BOOTS THE MAN’S HEAD OFF WITH A BICYCLE KICK!!!
Dutch Harris: Mark of the Beast scores…Ripper’s brains have got to be scrambled after that.
Mark Kendrick: Lil Beastie looks terrified on the outside of the ring. I imagine it’s taking every bit of his willpower not to run for the hills right now…
Isaac heads over to one of the turnbuckles….and he silently drops down to a three-point stance. The albino’s head starts to weave from side to side, much like a snake sizing up a piece of prey…that forked tongue slipping out to lick his pale lips.
Ripper stumbles up to his feet, holding the side of his face in pain…and Entragian takes that moment to uncoil. Isaac BARRELS across the ring at breakneck speed only to SPEAR THE HOLY HELL OUT OF RIPPER, ONE OF HIS WRESTLING BOOTS FLYING CLEAN OFF OF HIS FOOT!!!
Mark Kendrick: My god…he speared the man right out of his boots!
Dutch Harris: Isaac nailed CORRUPTION pretty much perfectly there…this thing is over before it even really began.
Isaac drops down onto Ripper’s chest to casually pull back on a leg.
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner, at a time of TWO MINUTES and nineteen seconds…advancing in the MASTER OF THE MAT tournament…ISAAC ENTRAGIAN!!!
Dutch Harris: Wow. Entragian wasn’t kidding when he said he was playing to win in this tournament.
Mark Kendrick: Candlejack ain’t go nothing on hi—
Isaac stands up, proceeding to lightly brush off his upper torso. He stares out at the Las Vegas crowd for a moment, simply taunting them with a cadaverous grin. He roars out to them, his voice carrying far and wide through the stands.
Entragian: YOU PEOPLE LIKE CLOWNS, YEAH? YOU WANNA LAUGH???
Entragian looks down at Ripper’s unmoving carcass for a moment…and his eyes start to shine like the eyes of war general contemplating genocide.
Entragian: I LOVE me some shits n’ giggles! Lemme show you folks something funny.
Isaac flips Ripper onto his stomach with his foot, and then he GRINDS his boot down against Ripper’s left shoulder blade. Isaac takes up that same arm in his hand, and he starts to just PULL back on the wrist while pushing down with his boot, a nasty, unnatural STRETCHING sound coming from Ripper’s shoulder joint.
Ripper comes to for a moment, anguished moans escaping his lips along with messy spittle.
Dutch Harris: Come on, Isaac…that’s enough. You’ve made your point…
Mark Kendrick: I don’t think he’s even close to done, Dutch…
Entragian PULLS backwards as hard as he possibly can with the crowd booing like crazy…and suddenly a hideous POP sound comes from Ripper’s shoulder, and he barely bites back a scream. Isaac lets the arm drop, and Ripper cradles it limply to his stomach while writhing in pain.
Dutch Harris: JESUS. He just dislocated that man’s shoulder! That pop sound was like a rifle crack…ligaments might be torn clear off the bone after that…
Mark Kendrick: We’re gonna need EMTs out here for Ripper. That man is BADLY hurt!
Isaac chuckles to himself while shrugging at the fired up crowd, mouthing “well it made me laugh, anyways!” before heading towards the ropes to exit the ring. Lil Beastie slides into the ring, hovering over the wounded Ripper with an incredible amount of concern in his eyes.
Entragian immediately stops in his tracks with his hand on the middle rope…his head turning around slowly until his eyes have locked onto Lil Beastie.
Dutch Harris: NO. No. Get out of there, little guy. RUN!
Isaac slowly stalks his way back over to Ripper’s carcass, looming over the crouching Lil Beastie. Ripper’s midget manager stares up at the monster, and the little guy practically QUAKES with fear, his bottom lip trembling.
Lil Beastie makes a move to get up, but Isaac shakes his head slowly.
Entragian: Don’t even try to run, you stumpy-legged lil’ fucker…
Entragian points down to the canvas.
Entragian: OPEN…your mouth…and put your TEETH…on the canvas.
Dutch Harris: COME ON! This is NEEDLESSLY cruel! Isaac won the damn match, he has SEVERELY injured Ripper…when does it end with this man?
Lil Beastie looks like he’s thinking of running again…but out of sheer terror he has no choice but to comply. The little fella opens up his trembling mouth…and he presses his teeth down against the canvas. Lil Beastie squeezes his eyes shut as Entragian takes a step closer.
Isaac raises up his boot…slowly…INCH BY INCH…until it’s in the perfect CURB STOMP position above the back of Lil Beastie’s skull. A MASSSIVE “YOU SUCK” chant has broken out in the Epicenter with Isaac’s boot hovering there above Lil Beastie’s head.
YOU SUCK, ISAAC!
YOU SUCK, ISAAC!
YOU SUCK, ISAAC!
Dutch Harris: If he does this, Mark…he could very well fracture that little guy’s skull. I’m sure that’s just what this hateful bastard wants to happen, too…
Mark Kendrick: Is there ANYONE left on this roster with the gumption to STOP this monster??
Suddenly, the arena darkens and the video wall illuminates. It’s a blue hue that emits over the audience, who turn to look at that, away from the carnage in the ring.
A familiar voice issues a command, and very slowly, a woman stands and you see her face on the screen. She’s gagged. Her mascara is running because she’s been crying. Her eyes are wide, because she’s afraid. Very, very afraid.
She is Elizabeth Gaunt.
The camera pans out, revealing the man in possession of the voice that issued the command:
Corazon: Hi Isaac.
Corazon smiles and waves.
Corazon: Wave to Isaac, Liz.
Liz does nothing and simply keeps staring into the camera.
Corazon: WAVE TO ISAAC.
Corazon: Good girl. That’s a good girl.
Liz shuts her eyes, murky black tears falling from them.
Corazon: Remember what I said, Isaac? How I was on my path of vengeance? Well… that starts tonight.
Corazon looks at Liz and then off camera. In view, he brandishes a box cutter.
Corazon: Point the camera directly at her face. Get as close to JUST her eyes as you can. I want him to watch her eyes when I cut her open. I want him to get as close to feeling what she feels as he possibly can.
You can hear an audible sigh as the camera man zooms in. You can see the red and whites of Gaunt’s eyes as the view moves in closer, and closer. You hear a ratcheted click as Corazon opens the box cutter. He begins to speak off camera.
Corazon: This is just the beginning, Entragian. This is the seed that you sowed when you burned my brand from my flesh. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Immediately following that statement you hear a faint whimper from Elizabeth Gaunt, and her eyes go wider than they ever have before. As he continues, her eyes tremble and her pupils dilate. Finally, she closes them, more tears dripping down. He speaks one more time.
Corazon: Now you’ll never be able to look at her the same way again.
The video wall cuts and the arena lights come back up as Isaac Entragian is standing in the ring, completely enraged. Without warning, he BOLTS from the ring and takes off to the backstage area, off to search for his fallen lady.
Dutch Harris: That was… very disturbing.
Mark Kendrick: You’re telling me, Dutch, but Corazon said it himself… this is what Project: SCAR asked for, and he’s going to deliver it to to them in spades.
Dutch Harris: But still… very disturbing. Can we… go to something else?
The screen goes to static for a moment until we see a handheld camera. We hear the sounds of it being grabbed and handled, the screen bouncing around a few times before finally resting on something stable. Everything is black and white, monochromatic. We see spray painted on a single black sheet, taped to the wall, is…
There are some cracks and pops, hisses akin to a record being played as BUCK DRESDEN saunters onto the screen from one side, wearing a black and silver boa and shades with a doorag with the word “BUCK” airbrushed on the front. He is making the duck face and rubbing his chin as he nods his head to some imaginary song in his head.
Buck Dresden: …HEY YO.
He giggles for a second before he stifles it in favor of keeping himself in character. He waves at something or someone on camera, motioning for them to come on screen.
Buck Dresden: Chuck…I…just…okay?
CHARLES BRANDON MAGNUS walks on screen, his hands on his hips. He is wearing a black and white cowboy hat with the words “MACHO MAGNUS” airbrushed on the front with matching decorative shades. And tassels? Fucking tassels everywhere.
Buck Dresden: You good? Ready?
Magnus nods, defeated.
Buck Dresden: HEY YO.
Charles Brandon Magnus: …oooooh yeeeeeeeah.
Buck Dresden: NO DUDE. Like this. OOOOOOOOOOOOH…YEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAH.
Magnus glares at Buck.
Buck Dresden: Nevermind.
Charles Brandon Magnus: In just a few short moments, the Bad Ass Brotherhood begins that long walk up…to the top once more. T.Rex…Arch Angel…you two have ridden a wave that has gone on…long enough. It’s time you were brought back down…to Earth.
Buck Dresden: BROTHERS.
Charles Brandon Magnus: …brothers.
Buck Dresden: SO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND WATCH YER BACKS, BROTHERS, BECAUSE HERE’S WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN. THE MACHO MAGNUS AND BOLLYWOOD BUCK DRESDEN ARE COMIN’ FOR YOU, YEEEAH! SO WHEN THE TIME COMES AND YOU’RE LOOKIN’ UP AT THE LIGHTS, THERE’S ONLY ONE QUESTION YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELVES.
WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THE BAD ASS BROTHERHOOD…THE BAB…RUN WILD…ON YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUU.
Magnus bites his lip, embarrassed, as he looks at the camera and nods slowly.
Buck Dresden: After tonight, SHOOT Project…and ANARCHY won’t ever be the same.
Magnus slowly turns and looks at Buck.
Buck Dresden: It’d be just…TOO…SWEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!
Buck throws up the Wolfpac symbol and saunters off screen. Magnus slowly turns and looks into the camera.
Charles Brandon Magnus: I am just…so sorry.
Buck runs back onscreen.
Buck Dresden: SCORE ONE…FOR THE GOOD GUYS.
He leaves yet again. Magnus stands there, saying nothing. He merely watches Buck offscreen.
“C’mon, Chuck! We gotta stash the spraypaint!”
Magnus drops his head and walks off camera, leaving us to stare in awe of the “bAb” banner, rudely constructed but proudly draped against the wall
A drum beats as the SHOOT-Tron jumps to life as ANARCHY is spelled letter by letter and as a final "!" is put on the end we hear Sebastian Bach’s shriek rips through the Epicenter as the crowd jumps to their feet.
T.Rex and Arch Angel step out onto the entrance ramp in their matching black leather wrestling pants and white tank tops with the red circle with an "A" through it as “Monkey Business” by Skid Row plays. They walk with a purpose slapping hands with some fans.
Samantha Coil: Making their way to the ring at a combined six hundred forty three pounds, and hailing from Seaside Height, New Jersey. T.Rex. Arch Angel… AAAAANAAAAAARRRRCHY!!!!!
Both men slide into the ring throwing their hands up as Coil wraps up. The crowd responds with "ANARCHY!" The two men head to their corner speaking a little strategy and deciding who will start out. Their music dies out as a black and silver American flag appears flapping in the wind on the SHOOT-Tron and silver pyro pops on either side of the entrance, bringing the fans to watch the stage. Suddenly, “Voodoo Child” by Kenny Wayne Shepherd begins to play throughout the arena.
Mark Kendrick: I…don’t understand.
The camera goes black and white.
Mark Kendrick: Now I REALLY don’t understand.
Bad-Bad-Bad-Bad-Bad Ass Brotherhood
Dutch Harris: Oh you HAVE to be kidding.
Out from the back comes Buck Dresden and Charles Brandon Magnus, and both members of the Bad Ass Brotherhood are dressed in matching black tights with a “bAb” t-shirt on, the sides cut out. Buck is clearly dressed very Hollywood while Magnus looks particularly Macho tonight. Buck’s tights feature silver airbrushed lightning bolts and cinema reels while Magnus features black and silver tassels. Buck takes the time to adjust his doorag while Magnus pulls down his “Macho” sunglasses (black with MAGNUS written across the front of them). The fans don’t know what to make of the two of them as they march down to the ring. Before Coil can even say anything, Magnus takes the microphone from her. Buck stands there and RIPS the shirt in half, revealing his bare chest underneath. Magnus, meanwhile, throws his shirt into the stands. “Voodoo Child” dies down.
Charles Brandon Magnus: These two old timers here think they have what it takes to ascend.
Buck leans back, speaking into the microphone.
Buck Dresden: But yer dealin’ with the MegaPowers o’ SHOOT Project, brothers!
Charles Brandon Magnus: So…really…here we stand. What we weight doesn’t matter. Where we’re from doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we are here…we are ready…we are champions…we are the BAD ASS BROTHERHOOD…
Buck Dresden: And we’re just…TOO…SWEEEEEEET!!!
Magnus shakes his head as he watches Buck play air guitar, really getting into this thing.
Dutch Harris: The two of them aren’t paying this match a lick of respect. If I were T. Rex or Arch Angel I wouldn’t stand for this grandstanding.
The referee calls for the bell and the match is on!
Mark Kendrick: The Bad Ass Brotherhood are THE tag team in SHOOT Project. There’s nothing they haven’t done that a tag team can do. Here tonight, ANARCHY’s going to have to really dig in deep if they’re going to put something out there the Brotherhood can’t beat.
Buck saunters to the middle of the ring and is met by the bigger Rex. Buck begins to casually converse with Rex, who is already rolling his eyes at the Bluegrass Bad Ass. Buck continues to jaw at Rex, who shrugs his shoulders and turns away for a moment, and Buck QUICKLY punches him in the face to the boos of the fans! Rex staggers back a step, but he turns back and glares at Buck, who starts complaining about a weird tweak in his shoulder and says he’s sorry. Rex grits his teeth and Buck offers a handshake. Rex takes Buck’s hand and Buck shakes it violently. Buck goes to turn away and Rex keeps the hand locked! Buck turns and points to the hand and demands to be let go, but Rex complains of a tweak in his wrist and apologizes! The fans at ringside laugh until Buck goes to yank the hand away and Rex NAILS Buck in the face, planting the BAB member on his ass!
Mark Kendrick: The fans aren’t on the BAB’s side for this one and I can’t say I blame them, Dutch. Something ever since they reunited at Redemption has turned these fan favorites into egomaniacs.
Dutch Harris: It’s their inability to accept that they lost the tag titles and their right to a rematch, Mark. How do you go from two years of being THE tag team in professional wrestling to not even getting a second look? It’d drive anybody mad.
Buck gets right back to his feet and scrambles over to his corner. Magnus and Buck huddle up and talk strategy while Rex paces in the middle of the ring, motioning for Buck to get back into the match and fight. Buck shakes his head at what Magnus is saying and the two of them place their hands on top of one another and shout “BREAK!” as if it were a legitimate huddle. Buck turns his head and Rex SPLASHES into him! Buck is FLATTENED against the corner as Magnus holds his hands up, not wanting to get caught in any blind tags and have to deal with T. Rex. Rex, meanwhile, drags Buck to the center of the ring and scoops him up, only to slam him back down. Rex bounces off of the ropes and makes the tag to Arch Angel, who bounces off another set of ropes. Rex connects with a falling headbutt onto Buck’s shoulder and rolls away in time for Angel to catch him with a leg drop! Angel with the cover!
Magnus shakes his head as Angel picks Buck up and whips him to the ropes and catches Buck, sending him up into the air…and lands him flat belly first to the mat like a pancake! Buck cradles his chest and stomach while Magnus argues with the referee that such a thing shouldn’t be legal. Angel listens to the fans as he picks Buck up off of the mat and hooks him in a standing leg scissors!
Mark Kendrick: Uh oh, is he going for the Weight of the Halo?! Is Buck THAT out of it?
Angel lifts Buck up and Magnus is in the ring, clubbing Angel from behind! Angel staggers forward and Rex gets into the ring to handle Magnus. Angel falls to his knees as Buck pulls himself to a standing position. He bends down to pick Angel up, and Angel wraps him up in a small package!
Dutch Harris: Oh COME ON. Seriously?
Mark Kendrick: The referee is still dealing with T. Rex and Magnus, he doesn’t see Angel winning this thing!
Angel releases the small package and storms over to Tony Lorenzo and pointing out that he had Buck beaten. Magnus walks to his corner and Rex leaves the ring, standing on the outside. Meanwhile, Buck is back up and he’s got his imaginary shotgun aimed!
Mark Kendrick: Oh no! ANARCHY’s distracted and Buck Dresden is going to capitalize with the Buck Shot!
Arch Angel turns around…and Buck cries BOOM! He hooks Angel up and NAILS the Buck Shot! Angel is planted on the mat! Buck hooks the leg as Rex turns around right into a flying dropkick off of the ring apron by Magnus! Rex is down outside and Angel is down inside! Buck looks to Tony Lorenzo, who slides into position!
The fans pop as CHANCE RYAN appears on the SHOOT Tron! Buck looks up at the screen.
Chance Ryan: Look behind you!
Buck QUICKLY scrambles off of Arch Angel and gets to his feet in time to see…nothing behind him. Buck stands there, his head snapping left to right.
Chance Ryan: Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I saw something back there. Carry on.
Ryan chuckles and he disappears from the SHOOT Tron, the fans laughing at Buck, who is furious! Magnus is at the ring apron now and Buck tags him into the ring. Magnus saunters over to Angel, who is coming to. He picks Angel up and hooks him in a gutwrench. He looks around and sees Rex coming to…and he quickly lifts Angel up…and nails him with the Scorched Earth! Angel is flat on the mat and Magnus merely hooks the leg, watching Rex.
Magnus snaps his head over to Angel and slaps him in the face, annoyed that he dared to kick out of one of his moves. He picks Arch Angel back up and whips him to the ropes, tagging Buck in, who leaps over the top rope and NAILS Angel with a Lariat! Angel nearly flips onto his head and Buck hooks the near leg, counting with Tony Lorenzo!
Buck demands to know what school Tony Lorenzo went to because he clearly missed the three. Rex is back on his side of the ring apron as Buck picks Angel up off of the mat, rolling his eyes at Lorenzo. He whips Angel to the ropes, but he’s too close to Rex, who hits the blind tag! Buck goes for another Lariat, but Angel ducks underneath the Lariat and bounces off of the opposite ropes just as Rex is there and SLAMS into Buck with a shoulder block! Angel rests against one of the corners as Rex picks Buck up and whips him into the opposite corner and SPLASHES into Buck, flattening him! Buck staggers out and Rex is there to help him the rest of the way with an Irish whip right into an Arch Angel big boot!
Mark Kendrick: WOW! Great teamwork by ANARCHY!
Dutch Harris: I think Chance Ryan is definitely in the Brotherhood’s heads right now. That was a stroke of genius by the former Sinister Syndicate member, especially since we don’t know if that was live or Memorex!
T. Rex picks Buck up, but Buck surprises Rex with a shot to the jaw! This one’s no mistake, however, and Buck goes for another! Another! Buck’s punches aren’t as strong as he’d like them to be, however, because Rex punches right back! Buck staggers backwards, only able to withstand the tag team assault from before for so long before Rex quickly overpowers him with bomb after bomb after bomb to the face. Buck falls against the ropes and T. Rex sends him SAILING over the ropes with a Lariat of his own! The fans are eating this up as Rex nods his head to the sounds of…
Charles Brandon Magnus: NO! B-A-B! B-A-B! B-A-B!
But no one’s listening to Magnus as he drops from the ring apron and checks on his tag team partner. Buck is definitely out of it, however, but Magnus is pleading with him to get some sense back n him so he can get in the ring.
Mark Kendrick: It doesn’t look like Buck’s even in this world right now, even if Magnus is trying his best to wake his partner up!
Dutch Harris: ANARCHY’s hitting all the right moves against Buck Dresden, and it’s only a matter of time before they catch him and finish the job and advance to face Project:SCAR!
Buck slowly drags himself to the ring apron, and Magnus actually picks his legs up and rolls him into the ring! The fans are laughing at Buck, who is without question not there in his mind. Magnus gets to the ring apron and starts cheering his partner on. T. Rex picks Buck up but as he bends down, Magnus punches him on the top of his head! Rex tries to shake it off and Magnus begins to talk trash to him. Arch Angel drops from the ANARCHY corner and marches over to Magnus and grabs him by his foot to drag him off the ring apron for a fight! Magnus, however, latches onto the top rope and tries to kick at Angel, shouting NO at the top of his lungs as though the ringside area was lava! T. Rex chuckles and RAMS his fist into the top of Magnus’s head and sends him flying to the mat below! Rex goes to pick Buck back up, but Buck hits him with a low blow!
Dutch Harris: AH!
Mark Kendrick: Oh good gracious! I felt that right in my Nittany!
Rex doubles over in agony as Buck picks himself up off of the mat. This time, he measures Rex and DESTROYS him with a Lariat that flips him onto his stomach! Buck is on his knees, giggling like an evil schoolgirl. Angel, meanwhile, is preoccupied with Magnus on the outside of the ring, bracing him against the guardrail and pounding him with devastating rights! Buck turns to Rex and rolls him over onto his back, hooking the far leg! Tony Lorenzo is there!
”Oh, Buck, one more thing.”
The fans pop yet again as Chance Ryan appears on the SHOOT Tron once more! Buck sits up and glares at the screen, his face red with unceasing fury!
Chance Ryan: Look behind you!
Buck Dresden: OHHHH NO! NOT THIS TIME!
Chance Ryan: Seriously, Buck. Behind you.
The fans POP as CHANCE RYAN is on the opposite ring apron! Buck scrambles to his feet quickly and charges at Chance, who drops from the ring apron, never touching Buck! Buck shouts at Chance to leave ringside, to which Chance nods his head in agreement! Chance goes to leave, just in time for Buck to get spun around, kicked in the midsection, lifted up, and PLANTED with the Weight of the Halo by Arch Angel! The fans are LOVING it as Arch Angel calls for T. Rex, who instinctively throws himself at the turnbuckle.
Dutch Harris: YES! COME ON!
The camera sees Magnus out on the outside as Arch Angel hooks Buck up and hits his Pedigree while T.Rex jumps off the turnbuckle with a Vader Bomb!
Mark Kendrick: JERSEY TURNSPIKE!
Angel slides out of the ring as T.Rex rolls Buck over and drapes himself across his body! Tony Lorenzo’s there!
The fans pop HUGE as “Monkey Business” kicks back in!
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen…your winners and advancing to the FINALS of the Tag Team Number One Contenders Tournament…ANAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRCHYYYYYYY!!!!!
Arch Angel slides back into the ring and embraces T.Rex, bringing the fans to their feet! Magnus is slowly coming to and Buck is STILL unconscious in the ring!
Mark Kendrick: The Bad Ass Brotherhood were undone by their egos and their inability to focus on the task at hand tonight as they underestimated T.Rex and Arch Angel straight to what I don’t even want to call an upset!
Dutch Harris: What else can you call it, Mark? ANARCHY’s been on the rise, but this has to be the biggest win they’ve gotten since they came to SHOOT Project. And now they’re facing Kenji Yamada and Flay Rios? Come on! Neither Buck OR Magnus were prepared for their demons to haunt them in the form of Chance Ryan!
Mark Kendrick: Let’s be honest about that, too, because Chance never touched anybody. They just fell victim to their own hubris. Congratulations to ANARCHY!
T.Rex and Arch Angel lift one another’s arms in victory as the fans eat up the ending to this tag team contest. They exit the ring, slapping hands here and there as they leave the arena. “Monkey Business” fades out as the arena remains abuzz with excitement over ANARCHY’s defeat of the Bad Ass Brotherhood.
Mark Kendrick: ACTION lining the show from top to bottom tonight; congratulations to ANARCHY for sealing up the spot opposite Project: SCAR’s Kenji Yamada and Flay Rios for a shot at the World Tag Team Championships!
Dutch Harris: While Kenji and Flay might not have the experience, they certainly have the edge when it comes to unadulterated violence in the Tag Team division. Should be a great match to crown the number one contenders!
ALL OF THE LIGHTS!
BOOM! The fans absolutely EXPLODE as “All of the Lights” by Kanye, Kid Cudi and Rihanna, cut especially for the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion, blares through the arena. Stepping out onto the stage with an officially licensed Donovan King hoodie and his title raised high, the Champion soaks in all of the cheers.
Mark Kendrick: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE CHAMPION HAS ARR-
Dutch Harris: Wait, wait a minute, Mark. Something is off here.
The man standing at the top of the ramp looks to be thinner, if not smaller, than the champion.
Dutch Harris: Yeah, that’s not the World Heavyweight Championship, Mark.
Just as the fans start to realize what’s going on, the music skips and scratches to a halt.
”YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH!”
Mark Kendrick: You’ve got to be KIDDING me, Dutch.
Dutch Harris: Dan Stein, once again using the old switcheroo to get a reaction from the fans! Kid has talent, Mark. Everything he does, he does well, even if it is bush league.
Stein YANKS back on the hood of the sweatshirt, dropping the title over his shoulder. Glancing back, Stein’s entire entourage pours out from the back: Johnny Napalm, Molly, his Assistant, Maximus Clementine Fanjita (and pooch Molly in tow) and the entire Gaggle of Bitches which make up his unpaid workforce.
Mark Kendrick: I’ll tell you one thing, Dutch – it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a wrestler come through SHOOT Project that is as high on himself as Dan Stein is.
Dutch Harris: Well, show me a reason why he shouldn’t be? Losing to Donovan King isn’t uncommon, Mark.
Stein struts down to the ring in front of his people, smirking and pointing at screaming, angry fans. As Dan makes it to the ring, a group of the women in red move up the steps and sit on the second rope and raise the top rope just enough for Stein to duck between comfortably, followed then by Napalm, Molly, Maximus and finally the girls.
Dan stands in the middle of the ring, arms outstretched to the chorus of boos. Napalm walks in front of The Golden Boy and grabs the sweatshirt by the collar, yanking down and SHREDDING it with ease. Molly then walks behind Stein, pulling the sweatshirt off of his body before tossing it out of the ring where a fan reaches over the guardrail to pick it up.
Now shirtless, Stein pats the title on his shoulder with the microphone from his back pocket up to his mouth.
Dan Stein: Hey, Tag Gold. How you doin’?
The fans boo him as he turns to Napalm and chuckles. Napalm smirks at his tag partner. Dan turns back to the camera, smirking.
Dan Stein: Probably killing you to know that Sex and Violence are still the World Tag Team Champions while there’s a tournament going on to decide who’s second best. Napalm’s running through the Master of the Mat tournament like a bull, setting himself up for a nice Sin City Championship reign and Dan Stein, well…
Nobody wants to play with Dan Stein anymore. Not even the World Heavyweight Champion himself wants to step into the same BUILDING as Dan Stein. Why should he, though, right? After the beating I gave him last week, that is.(Chuckling)You all remember the way his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he started snoring, right?(Stein shadow boxes and swings a right jab)Learned that move from the s’more, Adrian Corazon.
WE WANT KING!
WE WANT KING!
WE WANT KING!
Dan Stein:(Smirking)How many TIMES do I have to tell you that he’s NOT IN THE BUILDING?!
ALL OF THE LIGHTS!
Mark Kendrick: STEIN’S ABOUT TO EAT HIS WORDS!
Dutch Harris: King is just the man to FINALLY shut Stein up!
Dan turns to the entrance ramp as Napalm steps in front of his partner. Dan throws his hands in the air giving a “What now?” look to the entrance ramp. The fans can’t help but jump as the music keeps playing.
Dan Stein:(Stifling a laugh)Oh, no. Not Donovan King. Whatever will I do?
Stein turns to the fans and smirks. The fans excitement turns to boos as the music fades out. Stein shakes his head at the fans, looking at them with a duckface. Dan looks at the members of his entourage, waving them away with the flick of his wrist.
Dan Stein:(Chuckling)You guys…go to the back. I think it’s safe to say King’s not going to be here tonight.(Looking at Napalm, who is hesitant)No, seriously. I got this. You worry about that walking Pastrami sandwich next shows.
Reluctantly, Napalm, Molly, Maximus Clementine Fanjita III and the rest of Stein’s Gaggle of Bitches step out of the ring and head up the ramp.
Dan Stein: Ah, it’s nice to FINALLY get some alone time with all of you.
Stein smirks as the chants for King begin again. Stein continues to talk before the chant picks up.
Dan Stein: Don’t have a long winded champion coming out and talking about his victories when there are more important things going on like…(gesturing over himself)…like the future of DAN STEIN – SHOOT Project’s hottest commodity. Don’t have Lunatikk Crippler coming out and losing ANOTHER match.(pause for boos)Don’t have anyone, really. Just you… and me.
Stein grins, fluffing up his eyebrows with his thumb and index finger. The fans’ frustration grows as he
Dan Stein: There was a time when you didn’t have to hide behind your signs and chants and could openly embrace Dan Stein as one of your own. A time when you’d all RELISH in the fact that I tugged at more pussy than Laura Seton, a time where MY victories would be your victories. You were HAPPY with Dan Stein. Sky High Cup, Iron Fist Championships, hell, WAR. Remember those times?
The fans immediately EXPLODE in boos. Stein brings the microphone back up to his mouth, quickly.
Dan Stein: You’re right, you DON’T remember those victories because they WEREN’T yours.(Pointing out at a fan in the front row)They weren’t yours.(Now to a female fan in the East section)They definitely were not your victories, Hambeast.(Now to a fan in a completely different section)And, dear God, the only victories you’ve had in your life was a few Free Big Macs in the Monopoly game.(shudders)Good Lord, man. Eat a fucking carrot or something.
Stein turns around, completely ignoring the jeers of the fans.
Dan Stein: They were MY victories, and MINE alone.(Point at himself)Just like the Redemption Rumble was MY victory. Just like my title shot was MINE, not yours. Dan Stein’s. And that’s why, when Lunatikk Crippler stuffed his mangy nose hair all up in it, I was pissed off. But you weren’t. You WANTED Crippler in that match, not because you wanted Crippler to win it…but because you didn’t want…(Stein points to his chest with his thumb)…ME to win it.
The fans CHEER! Stein shakes his head disgustedly.
Dan Stein: Ugh. Jealous much? You know what irks me the most? I was here last night at Revolution just waiting for King to call me down so he could give me his answer…but he couldn’t be bothered to show up. That’s when I realized that Donovan King, ourCHAMPION, doesn’t WANT to give me an answer. And tonight, here I stand, staking claim to a shot at YOUR World Heavyweight Champion, and he STILL can’t be bothered to come out and tell me how he feels. No, no. He’s probably laid up in University Medical, probably took good pal Corazon’s spot in the ICU because(holding his head, talking like a toddler)ohh, his he-ed hewts.
Stein flashes a pouty face at the camera.
Stein: After it’s all said and done, and the party’s cleared, you’re not going to see Dan Stein hanging over a toilet seat, puking his guts out because his head is spinning like Donovan King is right now, no siree.
Dan Stein is going to be fucking the Belle of the Ball.
Stein leans against the ropes, whispering audibly, not noticing see the commotion coming from the crowd behind him.
Dan Stein: That’s a metaphor, plebs.
Mark Kendrick: Keep talking, Stein!
ALL OF THE LIGHTS!
Stein is immediately rolling his eyes as the fans POP once again. He stares at the entrance and talks over “All of the Lights”.
Dan Stein: WHAT DID I SAY?! HE’S NOT HERE!
The fans, however, RIP into cheers! Dan Stein stands there, staring at the entrance as “All of the Lights” abruptly ends.
Dan Stein: There. God. Now…
He looks at the cheering masses.
Dan Stein: What are you idiots all cheering f…
Stein’s eyes go wide and he swallows back his fear.
Dan Stein: Oh FUUUU
Stein is spun around and DRILLED INTO THE MAT WITH A DEALBREAKER FROM DONOVAN KING!!!! The arena goes FUCKING NUTS!!!! King is on one knee, lording over Stein’s fallen body. He has on his KING hoodie, unzipped and his wrists and hands taped for action. He reaches over and grabs the microphone dropped by Stein. He brings the microphone to his lips as he stares down at Stein, who is unmoving.
Donovan King: In case…you couldn’t tell…
King leans down, glaring into Stein’s unconscious face.
Donovan King: I’m here.
ALL OF THE LIGHTS
The fans pop BIG once again as “All of the Lights” begins to play once more. He lays the microphone down gently next to Stein and stands up, his eyes staring dead ahead into the camera. He doesn’t flinch, standing over his fallen prey, a hunter ready to strike.