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
Donovan King 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 Trey Willett hitting the Dawn of a New Era on an unsuspecting victim.
Mark Kendrick: GREAT PATERNO’S GHOST!
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 Johnny Napalm holding the Iron Fist Championship high in the air. Just as quickly as that image shows up, Ja Gi Kyung-Moon flying through the air, juxtaposed with Maya Nakashima doing the same.
Dutch Harris: I’ve never seen anything like 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.
Mark Kendrick: Come on!
This is La Familia
I’ll explain later
But for now let me get back to this paper
Mason Pierce, Malice, and Valentine Lionheart are shown putting the boots to a poor victim 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. Jerry Matthews appears next, preaching to a congregation with great fervor before we see Datura slowly closing a book with a smile on her face.
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 Cronos Diamante running his hands over his head before it finally cuts to Corey Lazarus slapping his hands together as if to say “CUT”.
Mark Kendrick: Let’s get down to it!
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.
Dutch Harris: He didn’t even FLINCH!
We cut back to Datura slowly walking down to the ring before it shifts to Conor Caden doing the same. It cuts to Adrian Corazon connecting with the Act of Inhumanity. We cut to a hapless victim being SPEARED THROUGH BARBED-WIRE by Isaac Entragian!
Mark Kendrick: GOODNESS!
Jester Smiles is up next, hooking the Last Laugh on someone before we see the SHOOT World Heavyweight Championship held in the hand of Trey Willett, standing tall after a hard fought victory. The camera focuses in on the face plate.
Dutch Harris: He gave it everything he can!
Mark Kendrick: CAN THAT BE IT?!
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. 3M slowly raises his head to the camera, his eyes ablaze with fury.
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, Cade Sydal screaming for his opponent to come back and fight him, 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 Diamond Del Carver, the cherry of his cigar all that’s visible in the darkness.
Who’s gonna run this town tonight…
The pyro continues to rain down as a 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.
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.
Mark Kendrick: SHOOT Nation! Welcome to another edition of Dominion! Last night, Revolution was a STACKED card, and tonight is no different! As we continue the road to the Primus, SHOOT Project brings you professional wrestling of the highest quality.
Dutch Harris: Absolutely, Mark! Last night, we saw one of the most hate men in professional wrestling, Kenji Yamada, show TREMENDOUS fighting spirit as he practically had a handicap match against ANARCHY. In a surprise move, the Rule of Surrender Championship was defended and Thomas Manchester Black has become the NEW Rule of Surrender Champion.
Mark Kendrick: That’s not all though, Dutch. Last night’s main event was an amazing tag team encounter involving the four initial participants in this year’s Primus and Mason Pierce and Dan Stein emerged with the victory over Trey Williett and Loco Martinez.
Dutch Harris: And, we found out who one of the last three Primus spots belongs to as Lunatikk Crippler was victorious over Sammy Rochester! But, it came at a price. Sammy was disqualified and proceeded to levy a severe beating on Crippler until Donovan King came to his aid. But, folks, Sammy would get the better of King, and after that beating, we are still unsure of Donovan King’s status.
Mark Kendrick: Sad, but true, Dutch. In any event, TONIGHT is going to be another night FULL of the best competition in the world. In our main event, the Sin City Champion, Jacob Mephisto goes one on one with Donovan King for a spot in the Primus. Now, we’ve already said we don’t know King’s status for this match as of right now, but we’ll see how this plays out later tonight.
Dutch Harris: We sure will, Mark. also tonight, we’ll find out the OTHER qualifier in the Primus as Maya Nakashima takes on Laura Seton! Also on the card tonight, Tanya Black goes head to head with Henry Gordon! And, former friends collide when Cronos Diamante squares off with 3M!
Mark Kendrick: It’s going to be another night of amazing action. Let’s get it started!
CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON…
THERE’LL BE PEACE WHEN YOU ARE DONE…
LAY YOUR WEARY HEAD TO REST…
DON’T YOU CRY NO MORE…
Mark Kendrick: Looks like our opening match is going to have to wait, Dutch! World Heavyweight Champion Trey Willett has a few things on his mind tonight after that vicious attach from Orion at Revolution.
Dutch Harris: There is no way the champ is in a good mood tonight, Mark.
Trey Willett emerges from behind the curtain as the crowd explodes into cheers. Trey, not wearing his usual ring gear, is clad in a pair of black track pants and a plain short sleeve white compression shirt. He has the World Title slung over one shoulder, a mic in the opposite hand, and a serious look on his usual jovial face.
Trey makes his way down the ramp, still finding the time to slap hands with an entire line of fans nearly falling over the dividing rail to reach out to him. He reaches over to a particular young boy and signs a replica title belt the young child had slung over his shoulder. The boy smiles and raises the belt up to the heavens.
Trey finally finds his way to the apron and steps casually through the middle ropes and into the center of the ring. The applause begins to die down as Trey stares at the entrance ramp, not moving from his place in the middle of the ring. He looks angry, tired, almost like he hasn’t slept since the night before. Seemingly without blinking, Trey raises the microphone to his lips.
Trey Willett: Revolution should have been a match for everyone to remember for a long time. The Champ and the Master of the Mat facing one of the most dangerous men in SHOOT and the former champ. It should have been a fight for the ages.
The fans roar in approval at the idea of the match, but as the SHOOTtron begins to show the footage of Malice and Morgana interfering, the cheers quickly turn to violent boos.
Trey Willett: I want to start out by saying thank you. I want to thank every fan in attendance, and every fan sitting at home for believing in me. I want to thank you all for standing behind me through some of the darkest times in my life. And I wanted to say thank you to every single one of you for sharing this silly little dream of mine when it finally came true. Go ahead and give yourselves a hand. You guys deserve it a hell of a lot more than I do.
The camera pans to as many fans as it can fit in a three second shot as the fans begin shouting in gratitude and stomping their feet. The arena begins to shake at the chant of “Wayward Son!” as Trey stands in the center of the ring, trying to soak it all in.
Mark Kendrick: Trey Willett is a class all to himself, Dutch.
Dutch Harris: I love it! Showing respect to the people that made him. There’s no wonder they were all behind him for so long.
Trey Willett: Next, I owe a bit of an apology to my partner. Loco, I know you had no reason to trust me going into that match, but you put your life and career in my hands at Revolution. I should never have taken my attention from the ring. Title or no title, you needed me in there, and I let you down. I hope you will accept my sincere apology. Next time, and I promise you that Wayward Insanity will have a next time, I will be there every time you reach your hand out to me.
The “Wayward Son” chants in the arena turn to chants of “Wayward Insanity” and Trey readjusts the belt on his shoulder. He clears his throat and continues.
Trey Willett: But I think that it’s obvious the real reason that I am out here tonight. Orion. I knew that being the champion was going to be a challenge like I had never had before. I knew that people would be coming for me. I guess it was naïve of me to think that I wouldn’t have to worry about an act as cowardly as Malice perpetrated at Revolution.
I just assumed that since your “fearless” leader Mason Pierce was getting his shot at Elite, that the rest of you would just sit back and enjoy taking turns pulling out your happy meal toy of a belt for the world to see.
The fans begin to laugh a little bit, but Trey remains all business. He makes his way to the rope and leans in on the top rope, towards the ramp. The title belt begins to slip down his shoulder, but he grips it tight between the rope and his chest.
Trey Willett: I should have known better. I should have known that there would only be one way to be done with the Orion problem once and for all. The simple solution is that I will have to face every member of Orion one by one until there is nothing left.
The fans erupt in cheers as Trey stands straight back up, scratching his head.
Trey Willett: That’s right. Two weeks from today, I will be putting my World Heavyweight Championship on the line. I will be stepping into Dominion to have my very first title defense…AGAINST MALICE!
The building comes unglued at the notion of the match, but Trey isn’t finished. He raises his hand like a quarterback on fourth down, calling for silence. The crowd obliges.
Trey Willett: You know, in the short time I’ve had to deal with Orion I’ve had a lot of shit done to me. I’ve been slammed through tables, I’ve been driven to the concrete, I’ve bled, and I’ve screamed. The one thing I haven’t done is won. So I thought to myself, what is it that I am good at? What title in SHOOT History did I have the most success defending? Then it came to me. I needed to do something special for Orion’s beast of a man. I needed to get him…vertical…
At Dominion you will see Trey Willett defend his World Heavyweight Championship. You will see it against Malice of Orion, but I have something different planned. I am going to defend the world champion the same way I used to defend my beloved Laws of Survival Championship. If Orion wants to beat me?
They’re going to have to conquer the LAW OF GRAVITY!
Dutch Harris: OH MY GOD, MARK! Trey’s first World Title defense and he wants a LADDER MATCH!?
Mark Kendrick: Never let it be said that Trey Willett doesn’t have guts. What a match that’s going to be, Dutch.
Trey raises the title high into the air as “Carry on Wayward Son” blares over the speakers throughout the arena. Trey steps through the ropes and exits up the ramp to the same fanfare to which he entered.
Mark Kendrick: What an announcement to start Dominion!
Dutch Harris: And this is only the beginning, Mark! Coming up next we have the first qualifying match to determine the entrants into the Main Event at Elite! Laura Seton takes on Maya Nakashima!
Ohhh, oh-oh-oh-ohhhhh, o-o-o-o-o-ohhh
I’ll get him hot; show him what I’ve got…
Lady Gaga’s "Poker Face" blares throughout the arena, and the boos come down like a hatred filled rain. Laura Seton steps out from behind the curtain, a huge smile on her face.
Samantha Coil: Our opening contest is scheduled for one fall and is a PRIMUS qualifying match! Introducing first, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, weighing in at one hundred seventy-five pounds… LAUUUURAAAAA SEEEEEEEEEEEEEETONNN!
Laura spreads her arms at the top of the ramp before making her way down the ring, ignoring the vile insults coming from the crowd. As Laura gets to the ring, the lights die down and then the fans begin to cheer wildly as the start of “HORIZON” by D’espairs Ray fills the arena. Spotlights search through the seats as the fans rise up from their seats in boisterous anticipation.
The words “CAN YOU FEEL THE NEW WORLD?” scribble across the SHOOT-Tron in elaborate silver script for a moment. The searchlights converge on the ramp, on Maya with his head bowed downward. The script on the SHOOT-Tron fades slowly into light particles, the moment Maya lifts his head the word “HOPE” etches its way across the video screen, and the spotlights SHOOT out in all direction as the lights in the Epicenter surge on to their most brilliant and brightest.
Samantha Coil: Making his way to the ring, by way of Nagasaki, Japan weighing one hundred thirty-five pounds… MAAAYAAAAA NAKASHIIIIIIIIMAAAAAAAS!
Maya walks down to the ring without his usual fan fare and crowd acknowledgement. His gaze never leaves Laura Seton. Maya is quick to the ring, quick to enter, and at no point is he not looking at Seton. The referee takes the hint and calls for the bell. Laura Seton puts her arms up and moves in for a lockup. Maya responds by surging in and hitting a series of quick forearms to Seton’s face.
Mark Kendrick: Right out of the gate Maya’s firing on all cylinders!
Dutch Harris: He wants in on the PRIMUS. And Seton wouldn’t expect it.
Laura staggers backward as Maya pushes her into the ropes, leading to an Irish Whip that’s reversed with Maya ducking the clothesline and wrapping his arms around the waist. Seton heads to the ropes, but Maya releases her before she bounces off of the ropes and kicks her in the back of the head with a standing heel kick, leading Laura Seton to cradle her own head and fall into the cables and stumble backward into the follow-up roundhouse to the face!
Mark Kendrick:: Seton falls to the mat and Maya heads to the ropes…
Nakashima rebounds into a lightning-fast neckbreaker whip and rolls right into the lateral press!
Dutch Harris: Seton got the shoulder up… crowd can say what they want about her but she’s too tough to put down so fast.
As Seton rolls away, Maya stays on her and kicks her legs as she tries to pull herself up with the ropes. Nakashima grabs the wrist and attempts the whip, with Laura once again reversing it. This time, Maya slaps the hand away and stops his forward momentum… throwing the roundhouse that Laura uses a Matrix Dodge to avoid and hits the Enzuigiri to the side of the head!
Mark Kendrick:: You’re right about the toughness. Laura Seton can quickly change a match from a losing series to a dominating battle.
Pulling Maya back to his feet, Seton yanks him forward into a Shortarm Knee Lift and then scoops him up into her arms to drop him with the abrupt Gutbuster!
A pinfall is it from there.
Standing up, 20 Minutes of Terror stands up and bounces off of the ropes, returning with the jumping double knees into the midsection. Seton steadies her landing with the hands on the mat, pushing back up to stand over Maya and leap into the air with the standing elbow drop across the sternum. Nakashima covers his chest and turns onto his side, letting out a silent shout while Laura Seton goes past him and bounces from the ropes to slide into a dropkick to shut his mouth!
Seton brings Maya up by the hair, whipping him into the corner with Laura following close behind with the double-footed mule kick to the jaw from Maya! As Seton holds her mouth and backs away, Nakashima hops up to the second turnbuckle and leaps forward into the Powerbomb! Nakashima’s pinned to the mat, folded up legs over head, with 20 Minutes of Terror pushing down on the back of his thighs.
Mark Kendrick:: But you have to give credit to Maya Nakashima. He’s not the biggest dog in the yard but he has the biggest heart.
Dutch Harris: When a World Title shot is on the line it can really bring things into focus.
Nakahsima is brought to his feetand backed into the corner with some overhead elbow strikes to the head. The Bionic Elbows lead into the European Uppercut in the corner. Nakashima stumbles out of the corner, barely staying on his feet, with Seton pulling him away from the corner and using the Irish Whip. This time, it’s Maya that reverses the whip and Seton goes into the ropes only to run flush into the back heel kick to the face!
Mark Kendrick:: Discus Lariat!
Both wrestlers are down after trading strong hits. Dennis Heflin sees that Laura falls with her arm draped over Maya and counts the pin.
Mark Kendrick:: Maya’s pulling out all the stops, slipping out from under Laura’s arm and turning to wrench it back in one smooth motion!
The referee shuffles into position to ask if Laura wants to submit. She emphatically shouts that the referee is a bumbling moron and should leave her alone, though it came out like, “NO!”
Dutch Harris: Maya’s got that shoulder trapped underneath with a great arm bend. Prime example of a move that doesn’t look like much but it’s hell when it’s locked on you.
Seton uses her greater strength to pull herself toward the ropes. Maya knows he can’t stop her, so the former Rule of Surrender champion floats over onto the back and transitions into a Rings of Saturn!
Mark Kendrick:: Just when Laura thinks she’s going to escape Maya stops her from reaching the ropes!
Dutch Harris: Absolutely – with his own body in the way she can’t break that plane for the edge of the ring.
Once again, Dennis Heflin asks if Laura is willing to give up. Seton doesn’t answer, grinding her teeth as Maya pulls her arms near out of their sockets. The cheering of the crowd almost covers the sound of Laura Seton crying out as she takes the submission.
Mark Kendrick:: Seton’s arms are trapped… she’ll have to verbally quit if she can’t take anymore of this hold. Has she ever given up like that?
Dutch Harris: She could pass out in the hold, too, don’t forget that.
Mark Kendrick:: That’s true, that might save her some face.
But Laura Seton has other ideas. The woman called 20 Minutes of Terror pulls her legs underneath her own body, forcing herself into a fetal position with Maya still locking the arms. With her mass centered in a ball, Laura Seton pushes her torso upward with every fiber of her back and core strength, managing to move Maya Nakashima, lifting him off of the mat just enough that she can shunt him backward and throw her legs forward to touch the bottom rope with her right foot!
Dutch Harris: In- credible.
Mark Kendrick:: I’ve never seen that before! Laura Seton powering through that submission to get the rope break!
Maya breaks the hold without incident, but keeps up the pressure by grabbing Laura Seton by the left arm and pulling her away from the side of the ring.
Mark Kendrick:: Small package by Laura Seton!
Dutch Harris: Maya’s gotta be careful he doesn’t walk into a loss. Laura Seton’s just good enough at everything that you can’t say you know what she’s gonna do.
Nakashima beats Laura to a vertical base and charges in for more of the same match-starting forearm shots, with the right arm while holding the back of 20 Minutes of Terror’s neck with the left. This leads into a quick alternating series, Maya throwing forearms with the right and left again and again.
Mark Kendrick:: Maya Nakashima is fighting like a man possessed for this chance to enter the PRIMUS!
Nakashima hits three knife edge chops before 20MT stops him with a knee lift. Transposition leads to the whip off. Seton telegraphs the back body drop, allowing Maya to somersault over the head while grabbing the waist BUT LAURA CRADLES MAYA’S LEGS AND CRUMPLES HIM WITH THE BACK TO BELLY PILEDRIVER!
Dutch Harris: That hurt my neck a little!
Mark Kendrick:: How did Maya Nakashima kick out of that?
The Epicenter vibrates in sync with the fans, cheering and clapping and stomping for Maya as he lies on the mat.
Mark Kendrick:: I guess I shouldn’t ask.
Laura Seton catches her breath for a moment, crawling over to Maya and SMALL PACKAGE BY NAKASHIMA!
Kickout by Laura Seton!
Dutch Harris: Turnabout’s fair play with the flash pin, but Maya can’t hold it for a three either.
Laura gets to her knees and scrambles over to Maya, grabbing a handful of hair and rapidly punching him in the face. Dennis Heflin admonishes her, but Seton ignores him. She stops punching, though, just to shake out the stinging in her own hand. That only lasts for a moment, though, before she’s back to more punches to the head of Maya Nakashima.
Mark Kendrick:: Laura Seton’s beating Maya Nakashima like Penn State beat Indiana in last December’s wrestling Big 10 opener!
After another flurry of punches, Laura ceases the attack and gives her hand a chance to heal. It’s not but a few seconds before 20 Minutes of Terror gets up to a knee.
Dutch Harris: MAYA NAKASHIMA WITH A KIP UP SHINING ENZUIGIRI!
Mark Kendrick:: Laura Seton is down and out! There’s the cover!
Seton throws the shoulder up at the last moment. The crowd is so amped that they don’t even deflate at the pin escape. Both wrestlers remain down, but Dennis Heflin doesn’t bother with a count.
Dutch Harris: I like that the ref’s not going for a double count. This match is too important not to see a winner.
Nakashima somehow manages to get up, albeit slowly, and connects with a few soccer kicks to the ribs. While sharp, they don’t stop Seton from rising. Maya changes the target zone and hits those kicks to the sides of the knees. These are much more effective, with Laura Seton only able to throw an unbalanced punch that Maya easily ducks. A dropkick to the left knee puts Seton halfway down, and the run to the ropes sees Maya returning with the Shining BLIZZARD SUPLEX FROM SETON!
Referee Dennis Heflin holds up his own arm, with his index finger and thumb showing JUST how close Laura Seton came to the victory!
Mark Kendrick:: Wow! Seton thought she had it with the T-Bone Suplex—
Dutch Harris: Perfect counter to the Shining Wizard.
Mark Kendrick:: —And I think even the referee thought that it was over for a split second!
Shaking her head, frustration evident, 20MT pulls herself up before doing the same with Maya Nakashima. Maya gets whipped to the ropes, with Laura following a few steps and dropping into a split THAT SEES A MAYA NAKASHIMA DROPKICK FIND ITS MARK!
Mark Kendrick:: Nakashima is up!
Maya grabs hold of Laura Seton’s head and pulls her to her knees, then up to a doubled over vertical base. Letting slip a fierce battle cry, Maya hits the knee to the head! And another! And a third and fourth and the crowd is on its feet as Nakashima rearranges the grey matter within Laura’s skull only to follow it up with the standing headscissors FOR JAPAN!
Dutch Harris: Good god, that was brutal!
Nakashima crawls over and hooks the leg.
With the atmosphere palpable, the cheers too much to think straight, Maya Nakashima breathes heavily as he pushes himself to his feet and stares into Laura Seton’s soul and wills her to rise. Laura lies out on the mat, but being the fighter that she is she finds the strength and resolve within her to move.
Dutch Harris: Maya’s feeling it.
Mark Kendrick:: Maya’s definitely feeling it!
Laura Seton can barely tell where she is, but woozily pushes her body to a vertical stance. Instinct takes over after the initial roll to her stomach, pushing her to continue when she should otherwise stop and live to fight another day. Maya’s stern expression matches the deliberate body language, patiently waiting to introduce her to the end. So it goes that as soon as she is on her feet, Maya EXPLODES at full speed forward to leap up with the push-up on Laura Seton’s shoulders.
Mark Kendrick:: Wait, Seton’s stumbling backward!
Maya Nakashima goes with Laura Seton as she grabs his legs and falls backward AND DUMPS MAYA OUT TO THE FLOOR ON HIS NECK WITH THE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER OVER THE ROPES!
Dutch Harris: AW, CRAP!
Mark Kendrick:: OH, NO!
The crowd can only manage a collective gasp as Maya hits the floor with a sickening thud! Referee Dennis Heflin, given the match, can’t throw it out… looking for a moment at the timekeeper, he asks what he should do. The suggestion, while heartbreaking, is clear – count.
The crowd voices its opinion in the form of loud, resounding boos.
Though spent, though resting on her hands and knees in the ring, an evil grin still forms across Laura Seton’s face.
Mark Kendrick:: No… after all that… it can’t end this way.
Ten. The referee gave it another moment, but Maya Nakashima doesn’t stir from his spot on the floor, the ten count passing without incident. The referee quickly calls for the bell. The timekeeper obliges. No one is making any noise, no one is bothering with Laura Seton. Everyone’s concern is for Maya Nakashima. Even the ring announcement is devoid of any care for the victor.
Samantha Coil: The winner of this match by countout, Laura Seton.
The trainers rush down from the back to check on Maya Nakashima. Even Dutch Harris leaves his post. Dennis Heflin sprints to exit the ring… but he’s stopped by Laura Seton!
Laura Seton: Raise my hand!
Dennis Heflin: Are you serious? This isn’t the ti—
Seton grabs the referee by his throat.
Laura Seton:Raise. My. Hand.
Not wanting to waste time, Dennis Heflin does as commanded and raises Laura Seton’s arm, though looks very displeased about it. The crowd boos even louder.
Mark Kendrick: Laura Seton seems to hate Maya Nakashima so much… that even in this moment she would be so adamant about taking his spotlight. As if that mattered at all right now. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to go to a break right now. Hopefully Maya Nakashima isn’t critically injured; hopefully this is just a scary spill and he’ll be fine. But out of respect for Maya Nakashima as a man and a SHOOT soldier we’re going to go to a short intermission. We’ll keep you informed, and the show must go on, so please come back to see the Dominion continue with Cronos Diamante taking on 3M.
With SHOOT officials tending to Maya, attempting to determine his physical state, Laura Seton allows herself to smile.
She’s accomplished one of her goals.
She made the moment hers.
The Epicentre buzzes with excitement after the heated contest between Maya Nakashima and Laura Seton; none more so than Maximus Clementine Fanjita III who stands gazing at a backstage monitor; lollipop firmly stuffed into his mouth.
Maximus: He can dip his eggroll in my soy-sauce any day of the week.
Fanjita plays with the hem of his frilly pink “crop-top” when a vice like hand grips him around the back of the head and slams him with one swift move, face first into the screen; a loud crack echoes across the backstage area and then Maximus slumps to the ground in a heap.
Blood begins to trickle from his forehead and nose as the moustachioed and flamboyant party-planner turns to his side quivering in a semi-conscious state.
He shivers in fight gazing up at the instigator of the attack…None other than Orion member Valentine Lionheart. With a sneer “The Omega Messiah” straightens his suit, pulls his long dark hair over his shoulders and then crouches down beside the fallen glitzy friend of Dan Stein.
Valentine: Shhh…*He says while raising his index finger to his lips.* No more pain will befall you this evening.
Fanjita tries to back away, but Valentine grips hold of his frilly pink “shirt” thus halting his movement.
Valentine: I want you to tell Dan Stein that I did this to you, I want you to tell him that Orion has it’s eyes firmly fixed on the Primus and that for him to survive the next few weeks, he best keep his ego in check and step in line…Do you understand me?
Valentine: Good. *He says while adding two light slaps to the bloodied face of Fanjita* Oh…You dropped something.
Lionheart picks up Fanjita’s lollipop and grips it between his thumb and index finger gazing upon it for a few seconds before slowly dipping it in the pool of Maximus’ blood. With a smirk Valentine then shoves the lollipop into Fanjita’s mouth and rises above him…Walking away and leaving the fallen and frightened Maximus trembling alone as Dominion cuts to a commercial break.
Backstage seems a little more lively than usual with the buzz of the Primus and the Napalm wedding starting to take shape. We see Johnny Napalm walking backstage talking on his cell phone, enjoying the run he has been on since Master of the Mat. He is wearing a clean pair of jeans with a T-shirt that appears to be freshly purchased from the merchandise store. The Iron Fist title is proudly draped over his right shoulder. His attention is fully taken up by the person he’s talking to on his cell phone.
Johnny Napalm: I know Selena. You know I need to keep up appearances here and I also have some people to talk to. After the wedding announcement the buzz about the next Pay per view has gone through the roof. If there is one thing I do know is make damn sure you keep showing up to the shows. If you are booked or not, there is always something going on you can do to keep things going.
Napalm keeps walking as he starts making sure he does not run into anyone. He is still talking with Selena as he starts walking over to the Catering room.
Johnny Napalm: Okay. I’m gonna grab some food. Maybe I can run into some of the people I need to talk to. Been walking around for a little while and I could use the recharge. Love you. See you later. Bye.
Napalm hangs up the phone as he walks up to the catering table with some awesome food. The smell itself just makes him feel better until he spots Cronos in the far corner. Cronos chose the Lasagna and is so concentrated on eating, he doesn’t notice Napalm walk into the room. After the past few weeks there has been something fuming after Cronos’ beatdown on Napalm. It did not settle well with him and then two weeks ago the altercation with El Asso Wipo. This time he wanted answers and he wasn’t leaving the room until he got them. As he walks over to Cronos all he could do is sigh.
Johnny Napalm: I do remember a little bit about you being the Rules of Surrender champion, but it’s not all positive things. I know what you can do with what you did to me and to El Asso Wipo. Kinda feels like what you did to a soldier around the time I came into SHOOT. How you ran him out of town or something? And you call yourself honorable?
Cronos drops the plastic fork he’s using to eat his lasagna and sits back in his chair with his arms crossed. He studies the man across from him, wondering both why he’s even bothering to talk to him and why he is bringing up Alex Brooks in his round about way. Cronos sighs.
Cronos Diamante: First of all, Johnny… I haven’t called myself honorable for a long time. That’s ancient history. Second of all… Fuck Alex Brooks and his weakness, as well as his coming and going more times then myself and 3M combined. And lastly… Wipo knew the risk getting in the ring with me. To be fair, I warned him. I told him I’d project my pain onto him and he would feel what I was feeling. Just so happened that his arm got broken in the process. Oops!
Cronos smirks and picks up his fork, taking a bite out of the Lasagna sitting in front of him. He glares at Napalm and finishes chewing before continuing on, noticing the anger rising up in the man across from him.
Cronos Diamante: Tell me something, Johnny… why did you even bother talking to me? Especially if you’re bringing up ancient history. None of that has any baring on the now. Tell you the truth I almost forgot about the little engine that could not.
Johnny Napalm: Cause I just don’t like the way you do things, Cronos. Yeah, you have a history with a lot of people here in SHOOT. That is in the past though and you are destroying “other” peoples careers here in SHOOT. Why is that? Cause you enjoy it? This coming from a family man who honestly really needs to get his shit together!
Napalm sees that the “family man” comment stung a bit and a hint of anger flushes across Cronos’ face but he doesn’t care. This has gone far beyond a small issue after one of the fan favorites El Asso Wipo had his arm broken by the man sitting in front of him. Napalm tries to compose himself but fails miserably.
Johnny Napalm: Then we come to two weeks ago when you broke Wipo’s arm. If that wasn’t bad enough you tried to break his other one just to amuse yourself! If this was me a few months ago I would be laughing at the whole thing. I had my feud with Wipo and you know something… for being the total dick I was back then, he earned my respect for getting in my face and not backing down. That is why I came down there and tried to plant the Iron Fist title in your face! No one deserves that kind of a beating Cronos. Ever!
Cronos merely smirks and looks at Napalm and his shiny Iron Fist Championship. To think he would have resorted to smashing the title in his face is a bit unlikely but Cronos decides to take him at his word. He glances past Napalm at the on alert security guards and his smirk transforms into a grin.
Cronos Diamante: Nobody deserves a beat down like that? I could think of a few that deserve a beat down like that. But I digress. Now let me tell you a little something, Johnny. That family man comment? You don’t know the half of it. And unless you want that little SHOOT Project wedding of yours to go sour, I’d refrain from ever saying that again. I’d hate to bloody up your wife’s pretty little face. I’d hate to make you choose between Iron Fist Championship and Wife. According to you, I’ve already made a man choose between title and family once… do you honestly think I won’t turn you into the new Alex Brooks, Napalm? If I’m as far gone as 3M and you think I am, I would urge caution on your part because what I did to Brooks will pale in comparison to the next mother fucker who gets in my way. You get me, Napalm?
Johnny Napalm: Who said you were invited to the wedding? As far as I am concerned you can join Stein on the banned list of people who will not be allowed to watch. You see Cronos, what you don’t understand is that this has gone far beyond some petty hatred. This is something more. Let me tell you one thing… I’m a good guy, just not a nice guy.
Napalm leans in closer
Johnny Napalm: And let me tell you this and I will only say this once. If you EVER mess around and cause harm to my wife and the child she is bearing, you will unleash something that you will not have any way to get rid of. I don’t take threats as a joke. I take them very seriously and trust me what I will do will make even the most die-hard Iron Fist fan lose their lunch!
Cronos smirks having gotten exactly what he wanted out of Johnny. Knowing exactly how far he will go to protect what’s his and how he’d be willing to fight.
Cronos Diamante: Lose their lunch, you say?
Cronos nods and quickly picks up his plate of lasagna and shoves it in Napalm’s face, making sure some of it makes it onto his title belt.
Cronos Diamante: Like that?
Napalm stands there for a moment then leaps across the table, grabbing hold of Cronos’ collar. He rears back his right hand to clobber Cronos when security swarms on the Iron Fist Champion and holds him back. Cronos stands there laughing.
Cronos Diamante: One last thing, Johnny. You can ban me from watching all you want but I will find a way. Believe that. Nobody and nothing has ever been able to stop me from getting what I want and going where I want. And I can’t wait to deliver my wedding present!
The lights dim in the Epicenter, setting the crowd on high alert. Images of white flashing tribal designs start to appear on the SHOOT Project video wall, and this is followed by a foreboding glimpse of a Spawn-like mask fading back into the shadows cast by a streetlamp. We see the spin of a tribal-decorated duster on the video wall…followed by a blackened hand gloved in mesh trailing across a SHOOT Project ring.
Fear Factory’s “Resurrection” begins to grind through the arena speakers, and the fans go wild as “3M” is etched onto the video wall in deep scarlet lettering.
The reaction becomes even more powerful when the man himself steps out from behind the curtains, 3M standing tall at the top of the ramp and letting his gaze sweep from side to side.
The black mesh of his suit looks especially dark and almost organic against his flesh, and the mask fits so specifically to the angles of his face that it seems almost like a second skin. The eyes of the mask seem almost to shine beneath the lights, a craving for justice reflected in that pale glow.
3M stalks his way down the ramp, his duster swirling out behind him as he goes, and the crowd continues to cheer at maximum volume for the commanding presence that is 3M.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, hailing from Chicago, Illinois…he weighs in at 231lbs…3M!!!
Dutch Harris: This guy is a sight to see, Mark. He’s got this aura about him, this sense of power and confidence that seems to manifest itself whenever that suit and mask come into play.
Mark Kendrick: Absolutely, Dutch. Make no mistake about it…this is NOT Marcus Mirage. This is 3M, and 3M is on a different level entirely. He’s almost got a superhero look to him now…but if there’s any superhero I would compare him to? It would be Spawn. 3M is in that same vein because he’s gritty, he’s dark…and he’s just the type of badass willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he lays the opposition low.
3M nears the ring apron and he picks up some speed and slides into the ring beneath the bottom rope, proceeding to pop back up to his feet. He removes his duster and tosses it outside of the ring, and then makes his way over to a turnbuckle to hop up and crouch there Spiderman-style, awaiting his opponent.
“In Time” by Mark Collie begins to play across the audio system, and the SHOOT Project video wall suddenly comes alive with a murder of crows flying forward, cawing and flapping dark wings. The name “Cronos Diamante” appears amidst the crows, the letters dripping with blood as the crows peck and claw and fly their way past.
Diamante steps out from behind the curtains, his expression grave…and he’s met with thundering boos from all sides of the stands.
Samantha Coil: Introducing second, hailing from The Bronx, New York City…he weighs in at 260lbs…CRONOS DIAMANTE!!!
Dutch Harris: Ever since Cronos Diamante returned to SHOOT Project…the man seems to have gone through some kind of grim evolution. He’s filled with anger, just seemingly driven and motivated by this newborn wrath that has grown within his heart during his time away from the business.
Mark Kendrick: Let’s just put it bluntly, Dutch. This is a BAD man…with BAD intentions. 3M and Diamante know each other SO well…and although they’ve been friends in the past…it’s clear that Cronos feels only one emotion for 3M right now. Red, raw HATRED…
Diamante stalks his way down the ramp, casting his baleful glance at a few fans before hopping up onto the apron and entering through middle ropes.
3M hops down from his place atop the turnbuckle and Diamante starts to pace back and forth of his side of the ring, both men sizing each other up.
Dutch Harris: This is going to be one hell of a battle here tonight. 3M and Diamante have a storied history that spans back to dead companies and bled right over into SHOOT Project. These guys have been tag team partners, they’ve been friends…and they’ve been mortal enemies too.
Mark Kendrick: No doubt. For anyone that followed the now defunct LEGACY, these men once ran together in a group called the Agents of Destiny…and when that group fell apart they had one of the most personal rivalries in all of that company’s history. And here they are now; things seemingly come full circle once again…two opposing forces that know each other SO very well.
The bell rings with a resounding clang, and Diamante immediately charges forward to BOOT 3M’s head off…but 3M dives out of the way just as quick as a cat! 3M pops right back up to his feet behind Cronos’s back before LEAPING up into the air to score with a picture perfect dropkick to Diamante’s shoulder socket.
Cronos stumbles forward and drops down to both knees on the canvas, one hand nursing his shoulder…and 3M promptly grabs his head and SNAPS him down with a quick and lethal DDT.
3M scrapes up a leg for the cover.
Dutch Harris: Cronos trying to start things off like a raging bull, but 3M is so deliberate and deadly in that squared circle…he was able to evade and conquer with his quickness.
Mark Kendrick: That’s the thing about 3M. He’s big on strategy and every bit of his offense is plotted out accordingly. He’ll throw just about anyone off their game early…and he’ll do it with confidence.
Cronos is already making it up to his feet, and 3M takes that moment to run the ropes and get the momentum on his side…be he is STOPPED in his tracks by chest-rattling HEART PUNCH! 3M staggers backwards into the ropes, both hands held across his chest…and Diamante stalks forward and buries a few heavy knees into his abdomen before irish whipping him into the opposite ropes…and on the rebound Cronos THROWS 3M ACROSS THE RING WITH A CAPTURE SUPLEX!!!
3M lands badly, back arching in pain…and Cronos drops down with both hands planted on his chest.
Mark Kendrick: And that’s what Diamante brings to the game, Dutch. He’s strong…he’s dangerous…and he’s got that wily veteran mentality too.
Dutch Harris: This is a very different Diamante too, Mark. Ever since he’s returned to SHOOT Project, Cronos has been more aggressive than ever before. He seems almost…embittered in a way. Mad at the world or maybe just mad in general…either way, this new mindset has made him into a competitor that will take you to the absolute LIMIT.
Cronos growls a bit in frustration, and he pulls 3M up to his feet by the mesh of his mask…proceeding to CRUSH a throat punch into the side of 3M’s neck, sending him staggering across the ring. Diamante follows; trying to box 3M into the turnbuckles…but 3M grabs the top rope and THROWS both of his boots up into Cronos’s face, knocking him a few feet backward.
Diamante shakes his head from side to side to drive the cobwebs away, and then he makes a mad dash at 3M, looking for a grapple…but 3M turns the momentum and DRILLS Cronos into the canvas with a spinning spinebuster!
3M pops right back up to his feet, standing tall and strong…and the crowd goes WILD for the masked Soldier.
Dutch Harris: Talk about an IMPACTFUL spinebuster! 3M is in the zone right now, and it seems this Las Vegas crowd is right there with him too.
Mark Kendrick: I get the feeling Diamante might be waking up tomorrow with a particularly sore back after that one…
3M is already pulling Diamante back up to his feet, but Cronos breaks his grip and tries for a big clothesline…but 3M sidesteps and wraps both hands around Cronos’s waist before POPPING backwards with a hellacious release german suplex!!!
The velocity of the suplex is so severe that Diamante literally flies through the ropes, getting tangled up for a moment before crashing down to the outside!!
Dutch Harris: WHOA! Diamante took a NASTY spill on that one, landed right on that unforgiving floor outside of the ring!
Mark Kendrick: 3M continues to be ON FIRE here tonight; I get the idea that this ongoing issue with Valentine Lionheart is driving 3M to send a message in the worst kind of way here.
Cronos is struggling to get to his feet, pulling at the material of the apron…and 3M takes that moment to hit the ropes and DRILL Cronos right in the face with a baseball slide! Cronos gets knocked backwards into the security railing, and 3M follows him outside of the ring…but Cronos immediately darts forward and SPEARS 3M up against the ring apron, 3M’s spine contracting backwards…his mouth opening wide in pain beneath the mesh of his mask.
Cronos backs up a step, and then he BOUNCES 3M’s head down against the ring apron, the masked Soldier staggering backwards…and Diamante backs him up against the security railing before UNLEASHING with a nasty kicking combination, kicks being fired off into 3M’s legs, torso…and finally a scathing high kick to the temple that sends 3M FLYING down to the floor.
Dutch Harris: And just like that, the momentum has changed. Diamante’s mean streak coming into play here, and he’s treating the area outside of that ring like his personal killing field.
Mark Kendrick: Countdown to Extinction seems to have worn 3M out, and he is barely even moving right now after that kick to the temple.
Diamante leans down and he bulls the dead weight of 3M up onto one shoulder, proceeding to walk him over to the ring apron and toss him haphazardly back into the squared circle. Cronos follows him in, and just as 3M struggles up to his hands and knees…Diamante runs forward and DRILLS a knee strike into 3M’s temple!!
3M gets flipped back to the canvas, and he grabs his head in both hands while kicking his feet against the mat in excruciation.
Mark Kendrick: GOD…that’s the exact same spot where Cronos sent that temple kick a few moments ago. He’s gonna scramble the man’s brains if he keeps this up…
Dutch Harris: Definitely a fast track to head trauma with that kind of offense.
Diamante leans down…and he just carelessly SLAPS the side of 3M’s mask, almost like he’s mocking the suit and everything it stands for. Diamante then grabs up both of 3M’s legs and he begins to interlock them with his own before reaching down to pull 3M’s arm behind his back, finishing things off by rolling onto his side.
Diamante GRINDS back on the submission hold with all of his might, the look on his face damn near rabid…and a muffled moan of anguish comes from behind the mask of 3M.
Mark Kendrick: Cronos calls that hold The Chains That Bind…and 3M literally looks like he’s constricted in brutal, grinding chains right now. The masked Soldier is in a VERY precarious position here…
Dutch Harris: And would you look at the turmoil in Diamante’s eyes? It’s like the man’s blood is boiling in his very veins. Cronos seems to practically want to KILL 3M in this match…that’s how grievous his onslaught has been thus far.
3M is struggling, the pain racking through his body as Cronos just keeps applying that horrible pressure…and one gloved hand reaches out desperately towards the ropes, inching forward with EVERYTHING that 3M has.
The hand claws at the air, STRUGGLING in vain…until 3M’s fingers FINALLY reach the bottom rope, followed by a huge pop from the crowd!
Mark Kendrick: 3M BARELY made it to those ropes…saved himself from what would have no doubt been an agonizing defeat.
Diamante grits his teeth in annoyance, proceeding to flip his legs free from 3M only to mount him in the very center of the ring…both of Cronos’s hands digging down into the tribal-covered mesh of 3M’s suit and pulling him upwards until their faces are close.
Cronos Diamante: I LOST EVERYTHING…
The rage seems to bake right out of the pores of Diamante as he glares down at 3M.
Cronos Diamante: IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU.
Cronos then begins to just HAMMER down on 3M’s face with rights and lefts, each fist fueled by venom and wrath, 3M’s masked head being rocked from side to side with every single blow.
Dutch Harris: It gets no more personal than this, Mark. You can just SEE the bitterness in Diamante’s eyes…you can feel the rage that has taken up residence in this man’s soul. He blames 3M for the recent struggles he’s had to endure in his personal life…and he’s making damn sure that 3M knows it right now.
Mark Kendrick: Call it what it is, Dutch. This is a WAR of a match being fought between these two Soldiers. The emotion is bleeding through more and more as the fight drags on…
Cronos goes to drive a final forearm into 3M’s face….but his fist is CAUGHT mid-swing by one of 3M’s gloved hands. 3M seems to gather up his strength, and then he NAILS Cronos right in the bridge of the nose with a headbutt, knocking him violently off of him. Diamante’s nose actually begins to gush with blood, and a few splatters land right on the dark mask of 3M…marking the tribal designs with fresh plasma from his opponent.
3M rises up from the canvas, standing with fists clenched…and he promptly hits the ropes and SLAMS into Cronos with a leaping lariat, taking him down the canvas hard. Diamante struggles back up to his feet…but 3M takes him right back down with a snapmare…and then he drops down and begins to just CRUSH elbow strikes into the sides of Cronos’s neck, one hard shot after another.
Mark Kendrick: Now we’re seeing that fighting spirit of 3M coming into play…seems like he’s found his second wind and is making the absolute most of it.
Dutch Harris: Just listen to those elbow shots…better believe they’re doing some major damage.
3M backs up a step, and he jumps forward for a diving elbow to Cronos’s shoulder…but Diamante spins backward and LOCKS onto 3M’s neck with a standing rear naked choke! Cronos’s heavy grip already starts wearing the smaller man down, 3M struggling and clawing at Diamante’s arm and trying to loosen it from around his neck.
Mark Kendrick: UHOH…bad news for 3M right now! Diamante is a submission specialist at his core, and he is applying a tremendous amount of torque to that rear naked choke.
3M’s knees are trembling as he struggles to maintain his footing, but Diamante’s weight starts to drag him down bit by bit until he’s forced to collapse down to both knees. Diamante pulls back even harder, 3M starting to gasp for breath beneath the material of his mask.
Dutch Harris: I think 3M is losing steam here, Mark…I think it’s about to lights out for him if this keeps up…
The crowd starts to fire up, trying their best to will 3M back into this fight.
LET’S GO 3M!!!
LET’S GO 3M!!!
LET’S GO 3M!!!
3M’s gloved hands are started to drop to his sides…but suddenly his limbs start to shake and tremble, those gloved hands balling up into fists.
Diamante shakes his head from side to side in frustration, sensing that the tide is about to turn…and he breaks the choke himself and instead begins snatching up 3M’s arms for a full nelson!
3M is fighting wildly, and Cronos is using all of his strength to try and force 3M to the ground in that full nelson.
Mark Kendrick: Cronos is trying to get 3M down for that dreaded Ne-Han…and if he succeeds? This match is OVER!
Diamante is gaining more ground as the struggle continues, but suddenly 3M PUMPS an elbow into Cronos’s face, stunning him and knocking him backwards. 3M takes advantage by transitioning into a full nelson of his own…and he holds Cronos there for a moment before CRUSHING HIM INTO THE CANVAS WITH A FRONT LEGSWEEP SLAM!!!
Dutch Harris: THE MOURNING!! 3M fought his way out of being locked in the Ne-Han and he has DROPPED Diamante here!
Mark Kendrick: Will it be enough??
Diamante lands face-first, his body becoming instantly still…and 3M collapse on top of him and pulls back on BOTH legs!
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner, at a time of thirteen minutes and twenty two seconds…3M!!!
Dutch Harris: Talk about a MAJOR victory for 3M here tonight over a longtime friend and foe in the form of Cronos Diamante.
Mark Kendrick: Both of these guys looked phenomenal in this match, Dutch…but 3M managed to hit that big move in the end to seal the deal here on Dominion.
3M stands over Diamante for a moment, and suddenly the masked Soldier hangs his head with his hands resting on his hips.
He rolls out the ring and starting walking up the ramp, his head still hung low.
Dutch Harris: 3M doesn’t look particularly happy about this victory though, Mark. It looks almost like he’s distraught with the way things played out here.
Mark Kendrick: I get the feeling 3M didn’t really want it to come to this. It’s hard to make out his facial expression behind that mask…but the body language alone tells the story.
The final shot shows a forlorn 3M stalking his way up the ramp, pausing for just a moment at the curtains to look back at the ring where his former friend and partner still lies.
Eryk Masters: We’re going backstage to Mary Kelly who is there with a special interview, Mary?
Mary Kelly: Thanks, Eryk. I’m here with one of the men who will battle for the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship at Elite. SHOOT’s 2013 Master of the Mat…
Loco Martinez bounds into the screen. The Epicenter roars their approval. Loco smiles.
Mary Kelly: Loco Martinez.
Loco Martinez: Hey, Mary. How we doing tonight?
Mary Kelly: I’m fine, thanks for asking. How about you? Last night you and Trey Willett were battling Dan Stein and Mason Pierce. Trey ended up laid out. You ended up being pinned. Thoughts?
Loco Martinez: Well, Mary. Can’t say I’m happy about it. I was on quite the roll. Last time my shoulders got put down for a three count? A Real Deal hall of famer planted my ass. Since then? The Freakshow was white hot. But? That streak has ended. You know why we fall down, Mary?
Mary looks a little nervous as Loco questions her again, and he isn’t going to answer himself. He waits. She shifts and finally pipes in with the line he’s looking for.
Mary Kelly: So we can get back up?
Loco’s Cheshire Cat smile stretches his lips.
Loco Martinez: Exactly. Last night Orion did what Orion does. They came out and cheap shotted Trey. I worried about my tag team partner, and it cost us. Which means I need to extend a thank you to Pierce’s Posse. You know why?
Mary isn’t sure if she should answer. Loco continues.
Loco Martinez: Last night was a taste of the chaos I can expect at Elite. Trey unconscious on the outside and one "hashtag Twitterbation" drove home a point for me moving towards Elite. I need to keep my focus. Especially when I’m looking at: (Loco holds up a fist, and with each count extends a finger) not one … not two… no three… not four… not five … but SIX opponents at Elite. Six talented and desperate Soldiers who want nothing more than to etch their names into the annals of history. And that is before we start throwing in their: managers, assistants, entourages, aunties, uncles, and any pets they may decide to throw into the mix… I hear Cripp’s llama Jerome might corner him… read it on the internet.
He pauses. Smirks.
Loco Martinez: See, that’s what this championship means. That’s what this MATCH means. If last night is any inclination to what Orion is willing to do to win that championship? Well… there is no telling what we’ll see at Elite, and guys like Trey Willett and Loco Martinez are gonna have to be ready for ANYTHING. Because we have a chance to cement ourselves with the legends of this industry who have earned that championship over the years. So last night? I fell down. At Elite? I… RISE… UP!!!
Loco flashes one more smile and strolls off.
Mary Kelly: Loco Martinez, ladies and gentlemen.
We fade away from the interview area.
The houselights at the Epicenter dim. "The Ectasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone starts up again. After playing for about a minute, the video wall lights up with the end of the Countdown from Revolution.
The song ends as the countdown finishes, the crowd roars for a second and then stills, waiting expectantly.
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica begins to play as red lights fill the arena and then highlight the entrance ramp as a figure, silhouetted by the lights steps out. The crowd stares at him for a moment, before the house lights snap back to normal revealing the returning Soldier as… "DIE HARD" DAVE MARZ!!!!
Mark Kendrick: "Oh my god! Dave Marz! We haven’t seen him in years! This crowd is erupting as one of SHOOT’s beloved sons has returned home!"
Marz is clad in a SHOOT Project T-Shirt from 2003, and his customary black jeans. He slaps the hands of as many fans as he is able to on his way to the ring. He stares at the ring for a moment before moving to the steps to ascend into the squared circle.
The music dies down as he smiles at Samantha Coil and takes the offered microphone, holding the ropes for her to make her exit. He turns back to face the crowd, pausing a moment to take it all in.
Dave Marz: Goddamn it’s good to be back home!
The crowd cheers again as Marz closes his eyes for a moment before reopening them.
Dave Marz: Seems like I should have caught an earlier flight, though. Real Deal’s extolling the virtues of Corazon? Jester Smiles is the driving voice behind some brutal monster? Dan Stein is not only an asshole, but a former champion?
Marz shakes his head as he addresses the SHOOT faithful.
Dave Marz: But it seems that all of them have something going on, and I am reluctant to step in somebody else’s business. On the other hand, when somebody calls me out before I even arrive, then that’s a whole different matter.
The crowd stirs a little, trying to figure out who Marz is referring to.
Dave Marz: Thomas Manchester Black. Let me tell you something very important. You do not get to run down the people who helped build the trenches while you’re standing in them. Especially people like Del Carver, without whom there would be no trench!
Crowd pops slightly when Marz mentions Carver, their history well known to the fans.
Dave Marz: I know damn well I fall into the category of ‘off and on again’ Soldiers that you were referring to. This isn’t really about me. But somebody’s gotta punch you in the fucking mouth for running down the men who built this company. So it might as well be me. Tommy Boy, you just earned one hell of a lesson in SHOOT history.
The scene fades to the backstage area of the SHOOT Project Epicenter, where we find a pulpit strategically placed in front of a Dominion banner. Standing behind the pulpit stands the promotion’s resident preacher man, “The Evangelist” Jerry Matthews. His arm is in a sling, clearly as a result from the vile attack two weeks ago by Sammy Rochester. Regardless, the holy man looks to be in good spirits, as the camera pans in for his address.
Jerry Matthews: Brothers and sisters of the faithful, when you last saw me, I was due to finally get a second chance to combat one of this sport’s greatest evils in Jacob Mephisto. An opportunity I have relished ever since my unfortunate defeat at his hand in the Trans-Atlantic Cup tournament. But, little did I know that when I walked down that aisle, that I was walking into a trap.
The good Reverend shakes his head in disgust.
Jerry Matthews: A trap meant to take me out. Because of the threat I pose, and the harsh truths of the words I speak. Because I have struck a chord with all of the wrong people. But, let me assure you, I harbored no doubts about the resistance I would receive, all of the obstacles that would impede the progress of my holy crusade. The latest obstacle just happened to be Sammy Rochester.
Matthews pounds his fist on the pulpit.
Jerry Matthews: Rochester, little do you know that you’ve played into that demon Mephisto’s hands. He willed you into so grievously attacking myself and Conor Caden two weeks ago on Dominion. Because he knows that your wounds over your inability to avenge your past defeats haven’t healed in the slightest. You have allowed yourself to be blinded by a veil created by your thirst for revenge. And in doing so, you’ve made yourself an enemy of me, my ministry, and of the Good Lord himself.
Matthews crosses himself with his good arm.
Jerry Matthews: The time for your comeuppance will come, my son. It just so happens that this time has yet to be revealed to be by the Father. Don’t think that I will forget that you nearly succeeded in ending my career, and saving this sinful haven you call SHOOT.
Matthews wags a finger and a smile comes across his face.
Jerry Matthews: But, brothers and sisters, I’ve only been winged. My ministry will continue, and it will be sooner than you think. Through the good grace of the Lord, I’ve received good news, that I’ve been medically cleared to compete in two weeks. The SHOOT Project’s redemption has merely been delayed. I will fight again, and I will return to the ring with a vengeance, and a hunger to breathe fire in His name. Amen.
Matthews crosses himself once more.
Jerry Matthews: Tonight, I wish to issue an open challenge to any and all of the sinners that make up this locker room. Whether it’s that lumbering brute Sammy Rochester, the clever puppeteer Jacob Mephisto, a drug-addled leper like Conor Caden or Datura, or even that bastard father Johnny Napalm. It doesn’t matter, my flock, because my crusade will continue. And one by one, every knee shall bow, and every lip will praise His name. The Word of the Lord, Thanks Be to God.
The preacher bows his head for a moment of prayer. While doing so, he becomes illuminated by a single white spotlight as the scene fades to black.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and Gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall with a fifteen minute time limit!
Mark Kendrick: Here we go folks! This is a match about pride and more important momentum leading into ELITE.
Dutch Harris: That’s an understatement. Tanya Black needs a win so bad she’s becoming unhinged and Henry Gordon is one more victory away from proving he is ready to stop being overlooked and start getting title opportunities.
Samantha Coil: First to the ring, from Harrisonburg, VA he is HENRY GORDON!
“She’s A Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton plays as Henry Gordon walks out to cheers from the loyal SHOOT Project fans as he walks to the ring. Climbing into the ring he patiently waits for his opponent to appear.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, from Boston, MA she is The Alpha Female of Wrestling, TANYA BLACK!
Your fear it moves me.
Your weakness I taste.
I breathe you, I hate you.
You course through my veins.
The lights dim down for a moment and an explosion of pyro signals the entrance of Tanya Black who stands on the stage looking mesmerized for a moment as she soaks in the boos of the fans.
You want me. You love me.
And I hate myself.
I need you, but I hate you.
‘Cause I want nothing else.
And I bleed you since I’ve healed you.
Your pain escapes through me.
‘Cause I breathe you, but I hate you.
‘Cause they say we could never be.
They can’t see.
As Die For You continues to play the arena watches as Tanya Black begins walking to the ring, every step seeming to awaken her more and more, her look going from vacant to determination. Sliding into the ring Tanya Black moves to the middle and holds her arms out to the sides as she leans her head back
It seems the pain’s been traded,
Since I pulled you through.
And now my mind’s been so jaded.
And I would kill myself for you.
I’d die for you.
Mark Kendrick: The Martyr in all her glory. Tanya has no fear, no shame, and no civility. She’s probably a Boston College fan. No Class.
Dutch Harris: Well she’s gone on record as being a Patriots fan but tonight she could care less about football. Tanya loves to steal the show and that means she’ll give Henry Gordon the fight of his life tonight.
Mark Kendrick: Henry Gordon is ready to shut her up though. He is not half the slouch people think he is. At least in the ring.
With that the bell rings as the referee finishes giving instructions and steps back. The two opponents square off and Henry offers Tanya a handshake. Tanya looks at it and shakes the hand back but as soon as Henry lets go Tanya unleashes a series of hard chops staggering Henry but he answers back with one big chop and Tanya’s offense is stopped cold. Tanya staggers and walks straight into a short-arm clothesline from Henry that lays her out on the mat. Lifting Tanya up Henry Gordon hits the belly-to-belly suplex as the fans cheer.
Mark Kendrick: Tanya Black is down and out. The power and size advantage is completely in Henry’s corner.
Dutch Harris: Yeah but Tanya has experience and stamina. We’ve seen her take some hellacious beatings and still stand strong at the end of the night.
Setting Tanya up in the corner Henry hits a flurry of forearms in the corner each one getting a loud pop from the fans. Finally stopping he sees Tanya take one, two steps out of the corner and flop to the mat. Smiling he turns Tanya over and gestures to the corner. Climbing the second turnbuckle as the fans begin to chant “HENRY” he takes off as Tanya rolls out of the way just enough to avoid being squashed.
Mark Kendrick: Burger Time missed! Henry Gordon just blasted his oversized belly!
Dutch Harris: I told you, Tanya is never down and out until the three count is done. And Tanya is up!
Before Henry Gordon can recover Tanya kicks Henry in the back of the head several times before dragging him into a sitting position in the corner. Skipping towards the center of the ring admist mixed reactions Tanya blows Henry a kiss before running and hitting the double knees to the face. Standing there she turns for the mule kick but seems to hesitate as the fans boo. Changing her mind Tanya Black waits for Henry to rise back to his feet.
Dutch Harris: A rarely seen act of mercy from Tanya Black. We know she’s been evaluating her career a lot of late, maybe she’s trying to be less cruel?
Mark Kendrick: Well two knees to the face is still more than nasty in my books. Now to see if Henry Gordon can shake it off.
Once Henry is back up Tanya gets a serious look on her face and charges but Henry catches her in a big bear hug. Squeezing away at Tanya Henry waits for her to stop fighting back and go limp. Looking around for a moment Henry shifts position and does an overhead belly-to-belly suplex launching Tanya out of the ring as the fans go nuts, Tanya landing on the mat in a slump.
Mark Kendrick: Insane! I think even Henry Gordon is surprised that worked!
Dutch Harris: Well the kid needs to stop gaping at the unconscious Tanya and get out there to finish her.
Sure enough Henry Gordon rolls out of the ring and walks over to Tanya who is still laying on the ground. Lifting her up Henry Gordon looks over at the fans and hears their approval as he calls for the fallaway slam. Lifting Tanya into position Henry is surprised when Tanya squirms free and slides under his legs hitting a desperation backcracker causing both to end up laying on the mat.
Mark Kendrick: The referee is counting!
Tanya rolls into the ring at eight and rolls back out to break up the count. Kicking Henry in the ribs as he tries to stand Tanya lifts him up partway and nails the stunner. Dragging Henry over to the steel steps she gets an idea. Positioning Henry Gordon Tanya bends his arms back as she listens to the fans boo.
Dutch Harris: Stop her! Tanya’s going to curb stomp Henry into the ring steps!
Tanya once again hesitates as she seems to war with her temper and sportsmanship. Rolling into the ring and back out again Tanya slowly rolls Henry into the ring as the fans give off more of a mixed reaction causing Tanya Black to smile. Rolling into the ring she goes to square off the with the recovering Henry who surprises her with a hard Irish Whip into the corner. Taking a moment to catch his breath Henry charges and hits the big splash knocking Tanya loopy. Calling for the end, Henry lifts Tanya up onto the turnbuckle.
Dutch Harris: Master Blaster Busteroo is seconds away!
Tanya Black instead recovers enough to kick at Henry causing him to stop and stagger covering up his face instinctively giving Tanya a chance to jump off and lock her legs around Henry Gordon before dropping her body down as the fans pop for the submission move.
Mark Kendrick: Kama Suture! Tanya’s choking and elbowing Henry Gordon into submission! The fans love this move and the fact Tanya keeps fighting until the end.
Dutch Harris: She has to be careful though, that move can easily be a choke which gives the referee the discretion to give a five count. Watch the referee check the legs as Henry tries to think through pain and oxygen loss to the brain.
Unable to counter, Henry Gordon flays his arms around trying to reach the ropes before flopping face first onto the mat, refusing to tap before he passes out. Tanya lets go and stands up looking down at him with an angry look. Tapping her foot on the floor, Tanya signals for the concussion kick but stops as the fans chant NO NO NO. Looking a bit disappointed Tanya signals for a tap-out and the fans cheer for that. Smiling she dashes down to Henry and locks on Tap Out Bitch! cranking back hard as Henry wakes up and tries again to fight out of it.
Mark Kendrick: Unusual for Tanya Black to poll the fans but I guess they preferred something that gives Henry Gordon a chance to fight out of it. They want this fight to continue all night but we still have an awesome main event of Jacob Mephisto versus Donovan King. Primus Qualifier!
Dutch Harris: Henry Gordon does in fact have the power to get to the ropes but he has to find some clarity of mind. That Kama Suture but him to sleep but the concussion kick would have made that sleep last a couple of days. FIGHT HENRY!
Sure enough Henry Gordon fights and struggles but as he inches closer to the ropes, Tanya cranks harder and screams. Finally the hand hits the mat over and over as the referee calls for the bell.
Samantha Coil: Your Winner By Submission, TANYA BLACK!
Mark Kendrick: The Losing Streak is over! Henry Gordon taps after a back and forth encounter! Tanya is ecstatic!
Dutch Harris: Both wrestlers hesitated at times but Tanya Black used her experience to make sure she made the most of the moments she was in control! Counters and submissions won this match and that’s the best way for Tanya to do it.
As “Die For You” plays Tanya Black bails from the ring jumping up and down in joy. As she goes to walk up the ramp Tanya sees a fan at ringside wearing her new t-shirt. Laughing she walks over and gives the young man and hug and a kiss on the cheek before heading up the ramp as the referee helps Henry Gordon up to his feet.
The newly crowned Rules of Surrender Champion is seen doing some promo work with fans during Dominion. While TMB is taking pictures for the website, he is interrupted by a stage hand who is asking has he been watching the monitor.
TMB: Not really, been too busy working why?
Stagehand: Dave Marz has returned and he is calling you out over the things you said abut Carver and everyone else.
TMB: Is that right…fellas gimmie a quick second.
TMB adjust the ROS title resting on his shoulders.
TMB: So word around town is that the GREAT “Die Hard” Dave Marz is back in SHOOT. And while that makes me happy…I’m a little sadden. I’m sadden because it seems that Dave wants to make his stay here short. And how do I know that. I know that because the first thing he does is call out me. He goes and calls out the guy that isn’t known to respond nicely to taunt. But then I thought about it and it makes sense. You see Dave is looking for that great moment. That moment that will be engraved into the fans minds forever. The moment that will etch Marz into the history books.
TMB pauses and looks at the title.
TMB: He wants that Carver moment…where the fans watch him brutalized in the name of this company. Where fans watch and see just how much of a beating he can take. And if that is the case, Marz, let that be my going away present for you. Because I’m not one of the other guys on the roster. I don’t give a fuck if you are a legend, Hall of Famer, Monster, Teen Idol, Golden Boy, Hotshot or whatever neat nickname people can come up with. You will get FUCKED UP!!!
TMB: You see this title that I just won is nice. But everyone knows what my goal is. And this belt…this belt is my way to that. But this belt is more than that, Dave. This belt means your demise. It means your death. So you wanna call me out to prove a point, fine. But see, I’m not fooled like these fans. Because if you really wanted something from me…I’ve never been the hardest man to find. But you are smart. You don’t really want anything. See you expect the Front Office to set up some nice match where a 3 count is your worry.
TMB takes the belt off his shoulder and looks at it.
TMB: This belt will keep that from happening. You see Dave…there is no redemption waiting for you down this path. There is no victory at the end of this road. All that is waiting for you is your death…before your eventual dishonor.
TMB: Trust me.
TMB grins and goes back to his promo work as the scene fades.
Mark Kendrick: Up next, a slot in the PRIMUS is on the line, as Jacob Mephisto looks to tackle former World Heavyweight champion Donovan King in what should be an exciting and hard-hitting con…!
An old fashioned, black and white film countdown rolls on the Video Wall, eliciting a mixed reaction from the crowd, albeit a primarily positive one.
Mark Kendrick: …test…
I SAID HALLELEUJAH
Lo Fidelity Allstar’s "Battleflag" cues up, a single blast of pyro shooting from the stage as the music kicks in, and Corey Lazarus limps out from behind the curtain, his knee brace sticking out like a sore thumb from under his black acid wash cargo shorts and his hands in the front pockets of his black Defeated Sanity Chapters of Repugnance hoodie.
Mark Kendrick: Apparently, the Hollywood Kid has something to say instead.
Dutch Harris: I’m surprised he’s even willing to show his face after what happened at Revolution 115, in all honesty.
What happened is obviously still fresh on Corey’s mind as he slaps the few hands that reach over the barrier, the stiffness of his movement telling it all. He carefully pulls himself onto the apron, dusts off the bottom of his Chucks, and then steps into the ring, motioning for Samantha Coil’s microphone. She obliges the request and Corey gives her a nod, moving his free hand over his throat.
Corey Lazarus: Cut it.
"Battleflag" dies and Corey stands in the center of the ring, one hand in his pocket, with his head hung low. He unzips his hoodie, revealing the white American Psycho tank top underneath it.
Corey Lazarus: Before we get to the next match, I’d like to just take up some of your time, if I may, because there’s a few things that…well, that I’d like to get off of my chest.
See, there’s been a few recent occurrences in my life, both professionally and personally, that many, if not all, of you have been privy to, but if you’re one of the few that’s in the dark, allow me to explain. Back in May, while the Sin City Championship Series was in full swing, I suffered a Grade II PCL tear in my left knee, all thanks to an errant kick by Elizabeth Gaunt, and that put me on the shelf for right around two months. During that time away from the ring, my agent and one of the few good friends I’ve ever had in my life, Gregory Price, dropped me as a client, and it was a decision that caused him quite a bit of inner turmoil. We’ve talked briefly about it, and, during that discussion, he brought up a very good point.
Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom, doesn’t…
Corey searches for the words, forcing a smirk as he looks up to the crowd.
Corey Lazarus: …well, it just doesn’t want me anymore, and one of the biggest reasons why is because I’ve refused to give up on this sport.
Sure, sure, there’s other reasons, too, but the major reason was because studio executives didn’t want me in this ring. They want a puppet whose strings they can pull whenever they want and not somebody who’s used to fighting night-in and night-out. They want some underwear model to be the lead in the next big superhero flick, not somebody who will argue against insane changes to the character, and they certainly don’t want a guy like the L-A-Z who takes no issue with openly discussing every dirty little fact, and Price made this crystal clear to me.
One of the things he also clarified, of course, was that my attitude and behavior, especially as it pertains to SHOOT Project and this sport in general, was no longer being warranted by my abilities. Essentially, I’ve been acting like I was above this ring when I wasn’t even putting forth the kind of effort to justify being on this roster in the first place, and for that?
He runs a hand through his hair, brushing it out of his face.
Corey Lazarus: …I’m sorry.
I’m sorry to everybody else in the locker room, I’m sorry to the crew around ringside, I’m sorry to J-Dubs and the rest of the Board of Directors…but, most of all, I’m sorry to you
Corey points to the crowd and turns to face each section, emphasizing his words before turning to camera, focusing on the people watching at home.
Corey Lazarus: You people who have supported this company since day one, you people who made me the star I am today, and you people who love this sport just as much as every man and woman that laces up a pair of boots. I’m sorry to each and every single one of you for not being the kind of talent worthy of your respect but demanding it anyway, and I’m even sorry if you feel like me out here, right now, is a waste of your time and hard-earned dollars.
An audible applause breaks out, though not shared by the entirety of the audience, and Corey nods, clearing his throat.
Corey Lazarus: Now, another thing I came out here to address, though, is what happened the last couple of times you’ve all seen me in this ring. To whoever’s working the production truck right now, could you please remind everybody of what happened at Revolution 114?
The Video Wall (and the entire screen, for those at home) comes to life with footage from Revolution 114 of Liz attacking Corey post-match. First, Gaunt slides into the ring behind him post-match, tackling his bad knee, and then it cuts to her smashing a steel chair over it, focusing on Corey’s screams of agony. One last clip is shown of her wrapping it around the middle rope and stretching it for all its worth before the camera cuts back to the ring, where Corey’s now leaning against the turnbuckles.
Corey Lazarus: As you can see, Liz Gaunt decided to try to finish what she started back in May, doing so the night I came back, and all because I decided to run my mouth off when she was in a bad mood. I could come out here and complain about it, or even make promises about how you’re all going to witness her destruction and my revenge and blah blah blah, but I thought long and hard about it for a few days after, and I remembered the careers I’ve ended, the ones I’ve shortened, and the personal lives I’ve ruined just because somebody spoke to me in the same tone that I spoke to her in, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that…
I deserved it. Karmic retribution, right?
But then…another line…was crossed…
The Video Wall cuts back to the end of Revolution 115, starting with Valentine Lionheart lobbing 3M out of the ring and then Mason Pierce driving the steel briefcase into Corey’s knee, allowing Gaunt and Lionheart to continue their own assault. Cut to Gaunt slamming the briefcase into Corey’s head…
Corey Lazarus: Oh, wait, it gets better.
…and then cuts to Mason holding 3M up as Valentine exposes the skin of his neck. Gaunt rejoices as she sticks a long syringe into his jugular, slowly extracting thick, hearty blood into the syringe. Cut back to Corey in the ring.
Corey Lazarus: See, folks, I get it. I really do. I understand why you couldn’t have just left it at beating us a week removed from the exacerabtion of existing injuries. I can dig that, you know?!
You had to send a message. All of you did. Not just to me, not just to 3M, but to every other Soldier, to every fan all over the world, and to anybody who you may ever encounter. You had to make sure they knew what they’d be getting themselves into – what we, ourselves, got into – if they showed you the kind of disrespect that I have. You needed to make examples out of us.
If there’s one thing to take out of that mess, though…
He shows a hint of his TRADEMARK DEVILISH GRIN as he stares directly into the nearest camera.
Corey Lazarus: …it’s that it took THREE of you to keep us down! You had a pair of wounded animals in your sights, the opportunity and ability to end it right in the palms of your hands, and the desire to do so, but HERE I AM, LIZ! HERE I AM, ORION!
I’M! STILL! STANDING!
A growing applause comes from the crowd, but Corey ignores it, continuing on.
Corey Lazarus: I’m not going to act like I didn’t get my ass kicked a couple of weeks ago, because the tape doesn’t lie, but what I’m not going to do is back down from a fight. So here I am, folks, in the center of this hallowed canvas and with damage that would keep lesser men from getting out of bed to even use the bathroom, and I am DARING you to come out and finish the fucking job!
Corey drops the microphone and marches around the ring (as best as he can on his bad leg, anyway), fuming and cracking his knuckles as he does so. "Blood" by In This Moment hits the PA.
Dutch Harris: Things could be turning very ugly in that ring very, very soon…
Elizabeth Gaunt stalks out from behind the entrance curtain, the grin of a rabid jackal on her face and a nice steel chair in her hand, and starts walking down the ramp. She stops halfway, though…
Mark Kendrick: SHE DIDN’T COME ALONE!!
…Valentine Lionheart casually strolls out from behind the curtain himself and the pair walk to the ring in tandem. In the ring, Corey slides his hoodie off and readies himself, with Gaunt and Lionheart taking different aprons.
Dutch Harris: They’ve got him surrounded…
Corey’s focus switches back and forth between the two a few times before he lunges at Valentine as he goes to step into the ring with a BIG elbow that rocks him back out, nearly falling off. Gaunt tries to enter next, and Corey throws his hoodie at her face to blind and surprise her, nailing her with a knife-edge to the face that sends her scurrying to the floor, dropping the chair into the ring as she falls to the floor. Valentine, however, rushes in and surprises Lazarus from behind with a flurry of fists that force him into the corner, allowing Gaunt to enter, but the L-A-Z fights back with huge elbows and fists of his own, knocking Lionheart down before turning to Liz, landing a pair of right hands into the Hellcat’s jawline.
Dutch Harris: The Hollywood Kid is actually holding his own right now! I can’t believe it!
Dutch speaks too soon, though, as Corey turns to hit the ropes, but Gaunt surprises Corey with a chop block to his left knee, stopping the fight right away.
Mark Kendrick: And the Amputation takes it all away.
Lionheart shakes off whatever damage Corey has done, and then joins Elizabeth in stomping away at him. She stops and backs away, motioning to Lionheart.
Elizabeth Gaunt: GET HIM TO HIS FEET!! HOLD HIM STEADY!!
He nods and obliges, grabbing Corey’s arm and bringing him to his feet. Gaunt hits the ropes and drills a picture-perfect basement dropkick into Corey’s bad knee, sending him dropping down in a heap. Gaunt picks the chair up and laughs, motioning once more to the Omega Messiah.
Elizabeth Gaunt: PICK HIM UP AGAIN!
Again, he obliges, forcing Corey up to his feet by holding his arms steady. She winds up and SMASHES the chair over Corey’s head, causing him to crumble down in a heap as crimson starts to flow.
Mark Kendrick: That was an absolutely SICKENING shot…
Dutch Harris: And Corey’s busted wide open!!
Gaunt smashes the chair over Corey’s knee a few times, bringing him back to life through sheer pain, and then slides Corey’s knee into the chair and backs up.
Mark Kendrick: Oh, don’t do tha…WAIT, WHAT’S GOING ON?!
A commotion at ringside starts getting the fans antsy as 3M hops the barrier, jumping onto the apron before hitting a springboard dropkick into the back of Elizabeth’s head, sending her into the corner.
Dutch Harris: IT’S 3M! HE’S OUT TO SAVE COREY!!
3M unleashes a barrage of shots to Valentine in the corner as Lazarus crawls out of the ring, and then turns just in time to catch Gaunt’s boot as she goes for Heartless, holding her steady and shaking his head. The fans go wild as 3M turns her around and locks her into the Mourning After, but their cheers turn quickly to jeers when they notice Mason Pierce (with steel briefcase in hand), Morgana, and Malice charging down the ramp themselves.
Mark Kendrick: THE REST OF ORION IS HERE!!
3M releases Gaunt and dives at Mason as he slides into the ring, dropping clubbing blows into his back and head, but gets cut off with a running big boot by Valentine that sends him tumbling over himself.
Dutch Harris: The numbers game is just way too stacked on the side of SCAR and Orion tonight.
Malice brings 3M up to his feet and nails a HUUUUUUGE powerbomb into the center of the ring, allowing Mason and Gaunt to regroup in the ring. They all take turns stomping away at 3M, with Lionheart halting the beating for a moment to spit directly into the face of his mask. Pierce slides out of the ring and helps Morgana rummage under it, looking for more goodies as Lionheart places the steel briefcase on the mat. Malice lifts 3M up by the throat and tosses him into the clutches of Lionheart, who scoops him up shoves him into the ropes, holding him there as Morgana leaves Mason to rummage, running over and tossing a pair of handcuffs to Malice.
Mark Kendrick: We need to get security out here…right now…right now…
Malice holds 3M steady as Lionheart cuffs each of 3M’s hands to the top rope, smacking him hard off the side of his head as he smiles with wicked glee. Outside, Corey crawls up the ramp a bit, forcing himself up to his feet and falling against the barrier, holding into it for support.
Dutch Harris: I guess old habits die harder than some people are willing to admit.
Mark Kendrick: Why? Because 3M rushed out to save a man he’s only known for a couple of weeks?
Dutch Harris: No, because Lazarus is adhering to the old "live to fight another day" philosophy.
Corey drops onto all-four’s on the ramp, turning himself around so he can sit up straight, and wipes blood from his eyes, watching on as the combined force of Orion and Gaunt continue to punish 3M, punching and kicking away at his ribs and neck.
Mark Kendrick: Oh God…where’s security…?!
Corey waves away at the ring as he forces himself up to his feet, limping up the ramp and back to the locker room. Gaunt leans against the ropes, laughing maniacally at Corey, and he stops, turns, and stares at her.
He stares at her middle finger and demonic grin. He stares at 3M trying desperately to cover up and protect himself from some of the damage. He stares at Malice choking 3M with glee, at Pierce pulling a burlap sack out from under the ring and tossing it in.
Mark Kendrick: What…what’s in the bag?!
Malice and Valentine back up as Pierce enters the ring, emptying the contents of the sack on top of it: THUMBTACKS. BROKEN GLASS. AND LOTS OF IT.
Dutch Harris: Why would we allow something like that to be kept under the ring?
Mark Kendrick: What’s…what’s he…HE’S COMING BACK?!
Corey limps back down the ramp, wiping more blood from his face as his eyes fixate on Gaunt. With each step, the crowd’s approval grows. He suddenly picks up speed, running as best he can toward the ring. Gaunt backs away from the ropes, beckoning him, and Lazarus is more than happy to oblige, sliding under the bottom rope and swinging wildly, catching Lionheart off-guard with a right hook, but it’s all for naught as Malice clotheslines him practically out of his sneakers.
Dutch Harris: Who would choose to be a part of this right now?
Pierce goes to smash the briefcase over 3M’s head, but Gaunt gets her arm up in front of it, holding him back before pointing at Corey with a demented grin on her face. Pierce shrugs and Malice brings Lazarus back to his feet and hoists him up in a wheelbarrow as Valentine and Mason hold Corey’s arms steady, positioning his face above the pile of tacks and glass.
Mark Kendrick: And 3M is just powerless to help right now!
The man formerly known as Mirage tugs on the handcuffs, desperately trying to break the chains, but both of his hands being bound don’t help much. Gaunt climbs up to the top turnbuckle, points to Corey…
Elizabeth Gaunt: ALL YOU CAN DO IS WATCH, 3M!! WATCH THIS!!!
…and then soars off with the Lobotomy as Orion slams him down, smashing his face into the tacks and glass.
Mark Kendrick: …that…oh my God…that was just…
A hush falls over the crowd as Gaunt turns Corey over, tacks and bits of glass plastered across his bloodied face, his breathing labored. She merely smirks and looks out over the crowd, nodding slowly and calmly, facing each corner of the audience. A rumble of boos emerges – first light and centralized, then widespread – as she stands, pointing down at Corey and then over to the handcuffed 3M.
Elizabeth Gaunt: These are your heroes…at the mercy…of…US!!
She quickly points her thumb at her own chest as security finally rushes down to the ring, one of them brandishing a pair of bolt cutters. The combined forces of Elizabeth Gaunt and Orion disregard them, though, and casually exit the ring, admiring their handiwork. Gaunt wipes Laz’s blood across her stomach as Malice hoists her onto his shoulders in celebration. The chains of the handcuffs on 3M are cut and he immediately dives down to Corey, holding his neck steady as security calls for medical personnel.
Mark Kendrick: That was just…sickening…just sickening…
EMTs rush down, a sight remembered well from just a few short weeks prior, and set Lazarus up with a neckbrace and a backboard. Orion and Liz walk back through the curtain, rejoicing in the carnage they’ve created, and a pair of chants grow through the crowd as ring attendants do their best to clean up the mess around security and the EMTs.
Fans: LET’S GO, 3M!! **clap, clap, clapclapclap** LET’S GO, 3M!! **clap, clap, clapclapclap**
Fans: L-A-Z!! L-A-Z!!
Neither chant fills the arena, but they grow in strength and numbers as Corey is placed onto a gurney and rolled to the back.
We cut backstage, where we see the World Tag Team Champions, ANARCHY, currently going through the catering table, snatching up some delectable goodies as they do. Arch Angel has his Tag Team Title strapped around his waist, while T. Rex holds his in one hand, a piled high plate in his other. The duo is fresh off of their successful Tag Team Title defense, even if it was a handicap match, and seem to be in a jovial mood.
T. Rex: I’m in a fuggin’ jovial mood.
Arch Angel: Jovial? Teddy, I didn’t know you knew what that meant.
T. Rex: Shaddup.
Rex is silently trying to decide which donut he’d like for dessert, when a familar face shows up. Of course, it’s Loco Martinez.
Arch Angel: Loco! You’re looking for some food here?
T. Rex: Hands off the pastries until I get my pick.
Loco Martinez: No worries. Not here for food. I’m here for you guys. Teddy, remember what we talked about last week?
T. Rex: You talkin’ about my training?
Loco Martinez: I’m talking about your training, yes. I put in a call to a friend of mine, and I was able to talk him into giving you a few lessons to try and improve your repertoire.
T. Rex: You mean Imma learn to do some fancy flips and fuggin’ things like that?
Arch Angel: Ever so eloquent.
T. Rex: I got your fuggin’ eloquent right here, Chris.
Loco Martinez: Yeah, well, I thought you two should meet, face to face, so you know what you’re going to be getting into.
T. Rex: Man, I know what I’m gettin’ into. I’m gonna be the most agile big man that SHOOT has ever seen!
Loco Martinez: Okay, but…
T. Rex: I’m gonna be doin’ some flips and shit, and these tag teams won’t know what hit ’em!
Loco Martinez: Yeah, but…
Another figure appears behind T. Rex, unbeknownst to him. Oh hell….
T. Rex: No way, man! The Bad Ass Brotherhood, Cade and Chance, even those goofs in the masks, Silent Ass Wipes! They are gonna feel the fury of the new and improved T. Rex!
Arch Angel: Yeah, Teddy?
T. Rex: I’m gonna chew them up and spit them out, just like this here bear claw!
T. Rex reaches down to grab a bear claw off the table…BUT IT’S GONE!
T. Rex: What the-
????: SENOR THEODORE!
Rex gets a look of comprehension on his face. The lucha training. Loco’s friend. The missing bear claw.
T. Rex turns around, and is face to face with El Asso Wipo, his left arm in a brand new cast thanks to Cronos Diamante. His other hand holds a bear claw, with a clean bite taken out of it.
T. Rex: You….you didn’t…My bear claw.
El Asso Wipo: Well, my friend! As they say in the GREAT STATE OF VERMONT, you snooze you lose! Well, okay, I made that up.
Arch Angel: No you didn’t.
El Asso Wipo: SENOR ANGEL! GOOD. TO. SEE. YOU! I must admit, I was surprised when Senor Loco called me out of the blue last Tuesday and said you badly needed El Asso Wipo’s help! Not surprised that you needed my help, of course, since I am the Project of SHOOT’s LEGENDARY LUCHADORE, but surprised you would ask me!
Arch Angel: Well, we didn’t exactly…
Loco Martinez: Like I was saying, I’ve got a lot on my plate, and Wipo here has agreed to show you a few moves. Work with you, Teddy, and help boost your arsenal.
T. Rex: No….Fuggin’…..WAY!
El Asso Wipo: Yes…..Fuggin’….I mean, fucking……WAY! Still with the "fug". That is SO not a word!
T. Rex: IT IS SO A WORD YOU FUGGIN’ FUGGER!
Arch Angel: Teddy, Wipo, calm down! Loc’s gotta point here, Teddy. Believe it or not, Wipo is the best luchadore that SHOOT has to offer.
T. Rex: He’s the only luchadore that SHOOT has to fuggin’ offer!
El Asso Wipo: Not true! Senor Cardboard James Slynn is quite renown for his skills in the luchadorian arts! But he was not available!
Arch Angel: I have a feeling Teddy would prefer Slynn at this point.
Loco Martinez: So, Wipo…You’ll do this? Help out my friends here?
El Asso Wipo: But of course! We can start immediately! But they have to do one thing for me, first.
Arch Angel: What’s that.
Wipo sets down his bear claw, and pulls a Sharpie out of his pocket.
El Asso Wipo: Sign my cast? Please? So far I only have a signature from Corey Lazarus, but I think it was a joke. I don’t know if his name is really "Seymour Butts" or not.
Angel and Rex look at each other.
Arch Angel: What do you have to lose, Teddy?
T. Rex: Besides my sanity?
Loco Martinez: Give him a chance. If he doesn’t work out, he doesn’t work out.
El Asso Wipo: I work out! Check out this gun!
Wipo flexes with his good arm. If muscles could droop like in the cartoons, his would.
T. Rex: I’m not convinced.
El Asso Wipo: Here! Maybe this will show you! Calisthenics!
Wipo bends down with his right hand and tries to touch his toes. Then he stands up, and bends down with his cast. He jumps back upright, and begins to do jumping jacks, but he accidentally catches Rex in the head with his cast! Both men start groaning and moaning in pain!
T. Rex: OWW YOU NEED TO WATCH THAT FUGGIN’ THING!
El Asso Wipo: OWW YOU NEED TO NOT HAVE YOUR HEAD BE SO HARD! MY ACHING ARM! OWW!
Loco Martinez: Yeahhhh…..Um, maybe we can sign your cast later.
Arch Angel: Good idea.
We fade out, leaving Wipo and Rex still overselling their injuries.
The Epicenter lights flicker, dim, then die. The SHOOTtron lights up with the image of two pale grey eyes, causing the fans to begin booing. The eyes merge together, transitioning into a bright red apple. A bright green serpent coils its way around the apple and then…
"TIIIIIIIME… IS ON MY SIIIDE… YES IT IS!"
"Time is on My Side" by the Rolling Stones begins to hammer out those haunting vocals as Jacob Mephisto steps out onto the entrance stage amidst a chorus of boos.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is the MAIN EVENT of the EVENING! And it is a qualifying match for the PRIMUS! Introducing first, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania and weighing in at two hundred and seventy pounds, he is the current reigning SIN CITY CHAMPION and MR. SIN CITY, JACOOB MEEPHIIISTOOO!!!
Jacob walks down the ramp, jaw jacking at the fans and displaying his Sin City Championship as he goes. He walks up the ring steps and climbs into the ring as the crowd continues to boo.
Mark Kendrick: The crowd is letting the Sin City Champion have it tonight. After his comments about King, I don’t blame them. And Mephisto has a microphone.
Dutch Harris: Say what you want about Jacob Mephisto, but the man is deadly in the ring. His attitude leaves a lot to be desired though. Let’s hear what he has to say now.
The music fades and Jacob stands in the middle of the ring, Sin City Championship gleaming on his shoulder.
Jacob: You know, coming into this match, I was looking forward to a great contest of athleticism and skill. But, unfortunately, not only have I been deprived of that, but all of you have as well.
The crowd begins to chant at Mephisto.
”SHUT THE FUCK UP” *CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*
Jacob scowls at the crowd for a moment, but a smirk returns to his face.
Jacob: You’d like that, wouldn’t you? But, you see, I’ve got something to say and a bombshell to drop. So… listen up.
Jacob: Tonight’s main event… is not going to happen. You see, it’s crystal clear that Donovan King is in no condition to wrestle tonight. Especially against a Soldier of my caliber.
The crowd begins to boo, but a chant breaks out amidst the SHOOT Faithful.
“WE WANT KING
WE WANT KING”
Jacob smiles and nods.
Jacob: I know. I know. And I REALLY wanted to face him. But, after the beating he took from Sammy Rochester last night, he’s just not in any condition to wrestle. So, Tony Lorenzo…
Jacob turns to the referee in the ring.
Jacob: Because Donovan King is too injured to compete tonight, I want you to go ahead and raise my hand and declare me the winner by forfeit and the final entrant into the Primus.
The crowd UNLEASHES a flurry of boos, the loudest of the night. Tony Lorenzo looks a bit confused as Jacob holds his arm out expectantly.
Jacob: Come on, Tony. Do the right thing and declare me the winner right here, right now. King’s too hurt to compete. It’s no secret. It’s ok.
Tony moves forward, reaching for Mephisto’s wrist as the crowd begins to get restless and the boos begin to turn to a stunned silence.
DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE RAISE THAT HAND, TONY.
The fans ERUPT as DONOVAN KING steps out from the back. He is clutching his midsection, the bandages ripped and blood stains on his clothing. He stands there, hunched over, gritting his teeth, his knuckles white as they grip the microphone.
Donovan King: You…wanna get at that Primus, son?
The camera shifts to Mephisto, who is looking on in shock as King begins to limp down the ramp.
Donovan King: Gonna take more’n uh ass whippin’ to drop me!
Mark Kendrick: This is crazy! Donovan King needs to be resting! He’s in no condition to fight tonight!
Dutch Harris: Donovan King has been bloodied, beaten, and just overall been in the crosshairs of one Sammy Rochester from the get go!
King rolls into the ring and slaps his chest, screaming at Lorenzo to ring the bell. Mephisto even takes the time to walk over to King and try to calm King down, but King pushes him back! Mephisto shakes his head and walks back over to his corner and shrugs. Tony Lorenzo looks over to Mephisto and then to King one last time and calls for the bell!
Mark Kendrick: And we’re off AND KING IS GOING STRAIGHT AT MEPHISTO!
King IMMEDIATELY flies across the ring, pummeling Mephisto with elbows! Mephisto tries to block the attacks, but King won’t let up! He whips Mephisto to the ropes and NAILS him with a HARD spinebuster! King springs back to his feet and the fans are loving it!
Dutch Harris: NO WAY!
King readies himself for the attack, watching Mephisto slowly getting to his feet. King measures him and LEVELS him with a kick to the face!
Mark Kendrick: Donovan King is running PURELY on adrenaline, Dutch!
Dutch Harris: That’s because he knows the moment he lets up and Mephisto’s still kicking? He’s done for.
King falls to one knee as he looks out at the fans who are cheering him on. He grits his teeth and throws himself onto Mephisto for Lorenzo to count!
King slaps the mat in frustration as he goes to pick Mephisto up. He measures Mephisto and goes the DEALBREAKER NO!!! NO!! Mephisto catches him and sends him FLYING with a belly to back suplex! Mephisto pops up as the fans begin to boo. He holds his head, feeling the effects of the quick burst of offense hurled his way from King. He turns around and sees King rolling on the mat in pain, clutching his bandaged ribs. Mephisto looks at the booing fans and shakes his head.
Jacob: DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIGHT HURT, DONOVAN?!
Mephisto DRIVES his boot into King’s midsection, prompting MORE boos! King cries out in pain before Mephisto picks him up off of the mat. He hoists King up in a fireman’s carry…AND DROPS HIM WITH A DOUBLE KNEE GUTBUSTER!!! The fans are shocked into silence when King crumbles into a heap on the mat. Mephisto looks at Lorenzo and then to the fans themselves, who are stunned at Mephisto’s ferocity.
Mark Kendrick: Come on! He KNOWS Donovan King’s hurt! He KNOWS Donovan King is injured! Take it easy!
Mephisto picks King up and drags him to a seated position.
Jacob: I WARNED YOU.
He LEVELS King with a GODLESS KICK to the FACE. The fans boo HARD as King is down on the mat, his arms spread wide. Mephisto saunters over to him and picks him up to a seated position AGAIN.
Mark Kendrick: …no!
Jacob: YOU SHOULD HAVE FORFEITED, DONOVAN.
He SLAMS his boot into King’s face AGAIN with the GODLESS KICK.
Jacob: NOW LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!!!
Jacob casually places his boot on King’s throat and points to Lorenzo to count! Tony Lorenzo slowly walks over to the scene and gets down to the mat for the count!
Dutch Harris: Oh King…
Mephisto is FURIOUS. He IMMEDIATELY picks King back up, sitting King up on his knees. He measures King one final time and waits for King to slowly open his eyes…GODLESS KICK.
Mark Kendrick: He sees it coming! Sweet Joe he sees it coming…
The fans are still in completely and utter disbelief as Mephisto drops to his knees beside King and sprawls over him, hooking a leg for good measure. Tony Lorenzo shakes his head as he counts the pin.
The bell rings!
Samantha Coil: The winner of this match…and the final qualifier for the PRIMUS…Jacob… MEPHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTOOOOOOOO O!
Mephisto gets back on his knees and SLAPS King in the face! The fans begin to boo as Mephisto starts to put the boots to King!
Dutch Harris: Damn it, Jacob, that’s enough!
He STOMPS into King’s ribs as HARD as he can before he finally walks over to King’s legs and quickly wraps them up into a Texas Cloverleaf!
Mark Kendrick: He’s locking in Mephisto’s Method! King is in COMPLETE agony!
King pounds his fist into the mat, clutching his head with his other hand as Mephisto sinks the hold in tighter and tighter and tighter until the fans…ERUPT!
Dutch Harris: What’s…what’s going on?!
3M SLIDES INTO THE RING AND ATTACKS MEPHISTO!! He tackles Mephisto OFF of King and starts WAILING on him! Mephisto has the smart sense to roll away out of the ring before 3M gets any serious damage in, brushing his hair away from his face, smirking at the damage done. He is handed his Sin City Championship as 3M kneels down, pacing his hand on King’s back to check on him.
Mark Kendrick: There’s no love lost between Donovan King and 3M, but goodness gracious if he didn’t want to see King laid low once again!
Dutch Harris: Maybe there isn’t any love there, but there is a respect so palpable…3M is in the building and he’s not happy!
3M stands up, glaring at Mephisto, who is full on grinning as he backs up the ramp, holding his Sin City Championship in the air. 3M says nothing, he merely points at the Sin City Championship!
Dutch Harris: Uh oh! Maybe there’s more to this save than respect! 3M has some gold in his eyes!
The EMTs rush into the ring to check on Donovan King, who is not moving whatsoever. 3M slowly turns to King and kneels down next to him as the EMTs swarm around him. Meanwhile, the camera shifts to the stage where Jacob Mephisto is standing, belt clutched against his chest, his head cocked to the side, his eyes wide with anger mixed with elation.
For the PRIMUS is set.
And Jacob Mephisto is in the main event of ELITE.