The screen goes black, before a small light flashes over the SHOOT Project Helmet. We see the Las Vegas skyline now as the official SHOOT Project theme song, "Miracle" by Nonpoint, begins to play. The camera races through the bustling Las Vegas streets until it rises up into the air…and flies down onto the SHOOT Project Epicenter.
WHOOOOOOOOOA You better blow the whistle, ring the bell
The sound of a bell is heard, revealing the live and raucous SHOOT Project Faithful, filling the Epicenter quickly, as the speed of the screen is elapsed twice as fast.
Train a little harder than you can or ever will
The opening shot is of Donovan King slowly lifting his head to the camera, glaring from behind his hood. A second shot of Mason Pierce is shown, walking down the entrance ramp. A third shot of Corazon spinning a rhododendron in his hand as he stares down at the delicate flower, where he is smirking.
You need to think fast
Lunatikk Crippler is shown trading blows with Jester Smiles, followed quickly by The Bad Ass Brotherhood catching an unfortunate victim in the ELE. This is quickly followed up with Isaac Entragian clutching Elizabeth Gaunt, his hands around her waist and a grin on his face as she leans against him.
This is our first but I guarantee it’ll be your last!
Dan Stein quickly causing Pestalance to lose his chance at gold, cut with a shot of Laura Seton taking both men on at once. This is quickly followed by Corey Lazarus grabbing the sides of the camera lens and shaking it violently, laughing.
Got news if you think you bad
Henry Gordon is shown doing push-ups as Piper Fury is shown face to face with Johnny Napalm. The next image is Mat Mullins staring over his shoulder as the camera, a smirk on his face while we see MONROE with his face covered for his entrance to the ring. The camera switches to Jaime Alejandro flying towards Obsidian, hitting him with a hard clothesline.
All your other battles make me laugh
Up next is Jonas Coleman, who is locking some poor soul up in the Cataclysm’s Edge, followed quickly by a shot of his mask masked in blood. It is quickly followed by Lunatikk Crippler whipping his long, silky black hair behind his head, grinning at the camera, which is also quickly cut to Maya Nakashima clutching a scarf to his chest, his eyes closed, deep in thought.
You need to start runnin’…
Tanya Black stands alone in the spotlight, until Chance Ryan appears behind her, followed by Cade Sydal, followed by Sam Gideon. This cuts to her on top of Buck Dresden, punching and elbowing him in the face.
You’re standin’ on the tracks and the train is comin’!
Thomas Manchester Black LEVELS Corey Lazarus with a Yakuza kick before we see Kenji Yamada driving Mason Pierce through a flaming table.
NOWHERE TO GO
Edmund Augustus Shan stands alone in the ring, his hands clasped in front of him, aware of the daunting task before him as a new Soldier, quickly followed by Adrian Corazon lording over the fallen Trey Willett.
You need a miracle!
Donovan King is shown, clutching the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship to his chest before we see Mason Pierce hold his hand high.
Nothing’s gonna save you
Azrael Goeren’s arrival is shown, followed quickly by Jester Smiles standing side by side with Donovan King over a fallen Azraith.
And I’ll scream it from the top of the world!
Project:SCAR stands in the center of an empty ring, lighting a SHOOT Project flag on fire. The flames flicker in Corazon’s eyes, which we zoom into to reveal…
Whatcha gonna do when it’s just me and you!
…El Asso Wipo hitting every single person on the planet with a backbreaker.
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do!
Thomas Manchester Black storming down to the ring.
Whatcha gonna do when it’s just me and you!
Cade Sydal nailing Magnus with the Ninjaguiri.
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do!
Trey Willett taking on everyone in the PRIMUS, only for Corazon to hit him with the Act of Inhumanity.
Whatcha gonna do when it’s just me and you!
Jester Smiles hitting the Virginia Sidekick on Lunatikk Crippler, causing his hair to whip back swiftly.
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do!
A single hand flies up in the air, clutching the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship as the SHOOT Project Helmet is shown one final time.
Whatcha gonna do when it’s just me and you!
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do!
The gold pyro ERUPTS in the arena, bringing all the fans in the Epicenter to their feet as “Young Men Dead” continues to play. The stage is a new design, with anti-aircraft 88mm guns aimed upward and facing one another, forming something of an archway for the Soldiers to enter, guarded by four x shaped Czech hedgehogs, two on each side. There are bullet filled bandoliers hanging off of the edges of three of the hedgehogs.
The camera pans the arena but for a moment before it settles on the ever beautiful announcer of The SHOOT Project: Samantha Coil. She is grinning at the camera as the new theme song dies down. Once it is completely silent, finally…she speaks.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen…the NEW…WORLD…HEAVYWEIGHT…CHAMPION.
The fans ERUPT as “Out Here Grindin’” by DJ Khaled kicks in. The lights go down in the arena and the familiar green spotlight shines down on the entrance, fading to gold, back and forth.
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
The SHOOT Tron crackles to life with the sound of the bell and green and golden tinted electrical currents flow across the screen.
I DON’T CARE WHAT NOBODY SAY
I’MMA BE ME BE ME
STAY HOOD STAY RAISED IN THE STREETS
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
The green and gold electrical current forms the shape of a crown as DONOVAN KING stands on the entrance wearing a LONG LIVE THE KING baseball t-shirt, blue jeans, black boots, platinum watch, and his head bowed, covered in the familiar KING hood. He bobs his head to the beat as the song slowly picks up. On his shoulder is the SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.
NIGGAS TALK ABOUT GREATNESS
WHENEVER THEY SPEAK ABOUT ME
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
The music picks up as King begins to shake his wrists loose and bounce from one foot to another. He slaps the faceplate of the World Championship.
I AIN’T SPLITTIN’ NOTHIN’ WITH NOBODY
HOMIE, I GOTTA GET ME ME
CUZ I’M OUT HERE GRINDIN’
He pounds his fists together in front of him, bouncing faster and faster.
I AIN’T SLEEP IN 8 DAYS, I CAN GO FUH 8 WEEKS
AIN’T NOTHIN’ TO ME CUZ I AM THE STREETS
Green and gold pyro EXPLODES as King pops his head up and looks at the sea of fans in the Epicenter. He can’t help but smile as he stands there as the house lights come back on. He walks down the entrance ramp, slapping a hand every so often. He walks up the rsteps and enters the ring. He takes the microphone from Samantha Coil and ascends a turnbuckle. “Out Here Grindin’” fades down as he stands there, World Heavyweight Championship belt on his shoulder.
Donovan King: SHOOT Project…
Donovan King: DAMN it feels good to be a CHAMPION.
The fans POP. He chuckles as he looks at the belt, lets it drop to his hand, and slowly elevates the title above his head.
Donovan King: You have NO idea how long I’ve waited to say that.
He pauses as he drops down from the turnbuckle, walking to the center of the ring.
Donovan King: We’ve all sat in the darkness, waitin’…prayin’…hopin’…that the dark wasn’t gonna be our fate. We sat there for TOO damn long while greed, hate, an’ egos ran rampant over dis company, these Soldiers, an’ most of all…you people out here tonight. Make no mistake, the war ain’t over. Not by a long shot. But tonight? Just for tonight…let’s have this for ourselves.
Donovan King: I’m proud to call myself Champion. Not for me. Not for Jason Johnson. Not for anybody in the back. For SHOOT. For each an’ every fan in the stands that got sick an’ tired of the bullshit. This is as much yours as it is mine.
Donovan King: There’s a reason why there’s no name plates on here. This belt…it belongs to no one person. It belongs…to ALL of us. One day, it might not be around my waist anymore…but that day?
Is NOT today.
The fans cheer yet again.
Donovan King: There’s still fights to fight, bad guys to overcome, struggles, trials, tribulations, schemes, plots, an’ all that bullshit. I’m not here to celebrate what I managed to do. Now comes the next stage in this. Now that I’ve helped put an end to that terrible, pathetic chapter in our company’s distinguished history…now I’ve got to get ready to help write the next chapter. An’ in that chapter? Oh, we gon’ see some changes, folks.
Donovan King: I want a challenge. I want to show the world that SHOOT ain’t just about blood feuds an’ shallow hate an’ hierarchies. We’re the hardest, we’re the fiercest, we’re the ruthless, biggest, baddest mother fuckers ever set FOOT in a ring. We don’t run. We don’t hide. From openin’ video to final credits, top to bottom, WE ARE SHOOT…an’ if you ever seen us?
You know we operate on a level most don’t ever see.
Cheers as he peers past his hood to the fans.
Donovan King: So it’s time we stepped up an STAYED stepped up on that level. No more gifted titles, no more personalized hype belts, we about the fight. The best fight for this title, the best ARE this title, an’ the absolute BEST…is who I want. I want somebody who loves this company. Who loves these people. Who wants what I want. To go one on one, Soldier to Soldier, both of us fightin’ to prove we the best in the industry.
Each an’ every Soldier…from the boys in the back to the boys in hospital beds to the boys sittin’ at home…it’s time to step up. To RISE.
Because I KNOW…I am.
King grins through his hood as he turns to the entrance. He raises the title above his head as he continues to stare at the entrance to the arena.
Donovan King: Long…live…the King.
“Out Here Grindin’” by DJ Khaled kicks back in as the fans pop BIG.
Eryk Masters: The gauntlet has been thrown down!
Other Guy: Donovan King has put SHOOT Project on NOTICE! New Champion, NEW RULES.
King walks up the entrance ramp, nodding his head to his theme music, the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship on his shoulder. He turns to the fans one final time and raises the title high, letting the fans cheer once again before he disappears into the back.
With things kicked off, we go to Eryk Masters and Other Guy for the first match on tonight’s Revolution. The feed kicks in, showing both men looking their best. Other guy, smirks, leaning in for the opening and wildly unleashing his speech.
Other Guy:I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have something great for you in the opening match. Masters, take it away!?
Eryk Masters:That’s right folks, The Sin City Champion will be in action tonight in a non-title matchup against Edmund Shan. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty excited for this one, so let’s not waste any time!
"The One" by Tantric cuts through the noise of the Epicenter, the fans instantly give the man a warm reaction to the superstar. Soon enough, Edmund Shan walks out on to the stage to a bit of fanfare as he takes a moment to pose and look across the stage.
Eryk Masters: Shan had a good night at Rise, taking a victory over fellow newcomer Luke Davis.
Other Guy: That’s all well and good, but the dude’s got a helluva’ mountain to climb tonight. Laura Seton is coming off of a pretty amazing defense at the PPV.
Samantha Coil: Making his way to the ring first, from here in Las Vegas, Navada; EddddddddddmundtAugustus Shaaaaaaan!
He takes a few moments with the fans, greeting them at ringside before taking to the ring and doing a bit of shadowboxing. The look on his fell tells that he knows he has a big opportunity tonight to get his name out there.
Eryk Masters: When it comes to bright futures here in SHOOT, I think this is someone we’re going to keep an eye on. But I don’t think that it will be at the expense of Seton, at least not tonight.
Other Guy: Hey now! This guy is young and fresh, and he’s ready to prove that. I think you might have to eat those words.
Eryk Masters: We shall see, here she is!
"Whatever Gets You Through The Day" by The Radio hits the P.A. system and the crowd absolutely erupts. Seton walks through the curtain with a determined look on her face, but this doesn’t deter her from interacting with the fans. Approaching the sides of the ramp, she begins to slap hands and smile a bit as she interacts with the fans.
Eryk Masters: We could definitely say she’s the first lady of PCW.
Other Guy: You can try to say that to her, but I think she’d rather be looked at as a competitor versus the hit she’s packing under those shorts.
Eryk Masters: I’m going to act like you didn’t just say that and move on.
Samantha Coil: Now introducing your Sin City Champion! Hailing from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Laaauurrraaa Seton!
Slipping beneath the bottom rope, she approaches the rope and joists the title belt into the air proudly as the crowd cheers her on. Stepping back, she looks across the ring to the shadowboxing Shan before handing the belt to the timekeeper outside of the ring. The bell rings, and Shan instantly extends his hand to the champ. She looks a bit hesitant to shake his hand, after what has happened to his other opponents but she does anyways. Going to pull away, she’s pulled into a short-arm lariat! Instantly mounting her, he begins raining down the blows.
Eryk Masters: What is with this hand shake before every match? I understand what he did to Corazon but attacking Seton? Why would he do that?
Other Guy: Whatever it takes to win, Eryk. That’s his motto. He must want this win bad.
It isn’t long, however, before Laura kicks him off. Stumbling to her feet, she meets and incoming Shan with a snap arm drag. He pops up, and his leveled with another one. Getting to his feet again, Laura attempts another but he comes out with the power counter. Hooking his arm around hers, he pulls her in for a HARD short-arm lariat and goes for the pin attempt.
Before Willie Dean can even get a one count, Seton kicks out. Shan drags her to her feet and instantly comes at her with the clinch once more, but this time it’s successful. With firm control, both hands cupping Seton’s neck, he begins raining knees into her chest. After a sequence of three, the fourth is cut and Laura uses it to push him off. Shan rushes in and gets a stiff european uppercut to his jaw that sends him stumbling. Laura wastes little time and keeping up the pace, rushing into him and hitting another european uppercut before leaping into the air perching on Shan’s shoulders.
Eryk Masters:Here we go, a Hurricanrana!
Other Guy:Shan’s got another idea!
Wrenching back, she tries to toss Shan but he holds on. Placing his hands on her back, he lifts her back up and tosses her forward…she rotates over and lands on her feet. Rushing forward she goes for a superkick … misses! Shan sidesteps it and goes for a heavy lariat, but Laura performs a bridge! Rushing forward, she hits the ropes and throws a full body cross chop across Shan. Sending him to the mat, she hits the ropes again to catch him with another on the rebound but he’s ready! Despites her speed, Shan is able to catch her midair! Stumbling back, he throws a knee up into her midsection before dropping her on to her feet. Stepping forward, he slips her right leg out from beneath her with his own before dropping her across his knee for a rather sick looking backbreaker, with a cover.
Despite the damage done, there seems to be a look of calm focus on Laura’s face. Shan stands up, and drops a knee across her chest, before going for another pin.
Laura powers out once again, that same look of calm calculation taking hold of her face. Shan goes to drag the champ to her feet, but she’s ready. Stepping into Shan, he hits him with a hard kick to the gut before stepping up and over his back and hitting a step-up enzuigir that drops Shan! Cover!
Other Guy:The high hurdle, and Shan is able to power out at two. I’m telling you, this is a guy to watch…
Eryk Masters:I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself, but either way a good kick out from Shan. Laura’s getting her rhythm, and I think her speed is helping out.
Not waiting for Shan to stand fully, she hits the nearby ropes and throws down a low flying dropkick off the tip of Shan’s jaw. The blow sends him to the mat, and she wastes very little time and jumping upon the opportunity. Mounting his back, she places his arms over her knees and locks in a Camel Clutch. Wrenching backwards, Willie Dean gets in place and watches. Struggling to the ropes, Shan knows he’s got a long way to go, so he rolls to the side and uses the momentum to stumble to his feet, Seton releases the hold, quickly hitting the ropes and catching Shan with a dropkick to the back of his right knee, she goes for the cover!
Eryk Masters: Excellent strategy by Seton. She’s got to dictate the pace. She knows that move isn’t going to give her the win, but it will giver he the momentum advantage.
Other Guy:While that is true, I think that’s a bit of a little risk, little reward move right there. It doesn’t give her much, c’mon now.
As Shan stumbles to her feet, Laura begins to unload with a barrage of rights and lefts. Each blow seeming to stumble more, but that’s when Shan steps in. Driving a hard knee into her gut, he lands a hard clubbing right blow across her back before stepping over and rolling her up with a schoolboy pin with the aid of her shorts!
Other Guy:Now THAT is strategy!
Eryk Masters: That’s cheating!
Other Guy: Not in the slightest! She chooses to wear those shorts, they’re not hard to use against her. That loose fabric is an opponent’s dream partner.
Popping up to her feet, she’s leveled with a lariat. Popping up again, she’s leveled with another lariat. Stumbling to her feet this time around, she’s met with a punch to her throat that sends her stumbling into the corner. The fans are heavily into the bout, but they don’t seem to appreciate the blow. Mounting her in the corner, he begins to rain down punch after punch. The crowd seems cut in half over counting for him…
Laura slips down, dropping to the bottom. Grabbing the bottom rope, she lifts her legs up quickly and kicks out Shan’s shins. Falling down, he lands on his knees and by the time he’s ready to react Laura’s on the top rope. Jumping forward, she catches Shan with a top rope body splash and instantly goes for the cover.
Another close call by Willie Dean, but Seton seems unfazed by his call, but Shan has other things in mind. Scrambling to his feet, he avoids a right hook from Seton only to grab the back of her top and yank it downwards; slamming her back first across the mat. Arching her back, she has little time to recover, as Shan picks her up and goes for a reverse Russian leg sweep – but she’s ready! Snapping forward, she steps out of the hold and watches as he goes face first into the canvas! Stepping back, it looks like she’s measuring!
Eryk Masters: Here it comes!
Other Guy: The Cookie Cutter!
Stepping in, she locks in the full nelson hold but before she can do much else BAM! Shan throws all of his weight into a downward elbow that breaks through the hold and catches Seton across the jaw. Hooking her instantly with that same arm, he lifts her into the air with ease, stumbling to balance her before dropping her down in the suplex slam, more commonly known as a Jackhammer!
Eryk Masters: Out of nowhere! How many times can you say we’ve seen something like that happen with Laura in control like that?
Other Guy: I told you, this Shan is a guy to watch!
Willie Dean quickly gets into position, as he Shan lays across the champ while hooking her leg.
A mixed reaction gives way to Willie Dean approaching a stumbling Edmund Augustus Shan and lifting his arm high into the air.
Jaime Alejandro walks through the backstage corridors of The Epicenter, his ribs still heavily taped up after competing for the Iron Fist Championship at RISE. The Soldier turns a corner and opens the door to his locker room, one hand reaching up to snap on the light switch.
As soon as light floods into the room, Jaime stops in his tracks right there in the doorway. His gaze falls to the center of the room, and his jaw immediately tightens up with anger.
Isaac Entragian is seated at a circular wooden table in the dead center of the room. The albino is decked out from head to toe in a crisp black suit, complete with a black velvet vest and a slim white tie. His white hair is combed back into a perfect, slicked back mane, and those emerald green eyes practically shine with mirth as he examines his haggard enemy.
A warm, easy smile appears on Isaac’s face, his filed fangs glistening in the light. The difference in Isaac’s demeanor is crystal clear as well…not even an iota of doubt or frustration can be seen etched into his expression. Only cold-blooded confidence shows on his face, and that underlying dark humor that Isaac was once known for seems to have returned, dancing just behind his eyes.
Two items sit on the tabletop: The Iron Fist Championship, perfectly folded and polished. And the other object is an old phonograph with a record placed on top and ready to be played.
Entragian: Can I be candid with you for a moment, Jaime? I feel like we’ve been through so much together….and it’s only fitting that we should feel comfortable confiding in one another…
Isaac studies Jaime for a moment while grinning.
Entragian: You’re looking a little worn out. You were limping a bit as you opened the door….and those dark circles under your eyes do not look healthy. Plus those ribs…all wrapped up tight and snug…I would imagine it feels like there’s broken glass inside of your chest each time you take a step, yeah?
Jaime’s fists clench up at his sides.
Alejandro: You’ve got about ten seconds to tell me why you’re in my locker room, and when that ten seconds is up I’m gonna drive these fists into your face and knock every one of those filed teeth right down your throat…
Isaac quickly throws up a pale hand, shaking his head lightly at Jaime.
Entragian: No need for that. As a matter of fact….I come bearing olive branches. I just figured it was about time we sat down and talked this out like men, just the two of us. We need….finality, Jaime. We need closure. If I can manage to grit my teeth and be civil for a few minutes, then I’m sure you find it within yourself to do the same, right?
Isaac motions to the chair opposite him.
Entragian: Please. Take a seat. Let’s talk…
Jaime doesn’t immediately react, his fists still clenched at his side. A long, tense moment passes, and then Jaime exhales a frustrated breath. He closes the door and walks a few feet into the room towards the chair….
And at that moment, the gargantuan form of Obsidian steps silently out from the shadows where he was lurking behind the door. Jaime’s attention is focused on Isaac, so he doesn’t even notice.
Entragian: Ya know….on second thought, just you and me sitting here talking would bore the shit outta me. How about….we make it a party?
Isaac grins that grin, and his pale hand reaches down to place the needle into play on top of the old phonograph. The record starts to spin, and “Only You” by The Platters starts to fill the room with loud, golden oldie music.
Isaac leans back in his seat, and he snaps his fingers together twice.
A locker door creaks opens, and Kenji Yamada slithers out from inside.
There’s the sound of something scraping against bathroom tiles, and moments later Corazon emerges from the shower room while dragging a screwdriver against the tiles.
A large ceiling vent starts to rattle and shake overhead, and suddenly Liz Gaunt pushes the grate aside and flips herself down to the floor from the ceiling, landing with the cat-like grace.
Entragian: Now THIS….will make for a much more entertaining evening, don’t cha think, Jaime?
Seeing that he’s hopelessly outnumbered, Jaime takes a step backwards towards the door…and runs right into the mammoth form of Obsidian. Obsidian grabs Jaime by the shoulder and spins him around, and then he drives a ham-sized fist into Jaime’s stomach. Jaime staggers backwards while doubling over.
The lyrics of the song continue to pour through the room, and Isaac rises up to his feet while swaying from side to side with the music, his eyes fluttering closed in zen-like bliss.
Only you can make this world seem right.
Jaime stumbles backwards, and Corazon catches him. Corazon backs Jaime up against the wall, proceeding to STAB out with his screwdriver, effectively pinning Jaime’s sleeve up against the wall. With Jaime’s arm pinned, Corazon just starts to drive knee strike after knee strike into Jaime’s ribs.
Jaime starts to cough raggedly, and Isaac begins to throw his arms around wildly like he’s conducting the symphonies of an orchestra.
Only you can make the darkness bright.
Corazon backs off for a moment, and Jaime manages to rip his sleeve free. He tries for a wild haymaker, but Corazon ducks underneath…and Jaime staggers right into Kenji. Kenji grabs up a handful of Jaime’s black hair…and he SMASHES his face directly into the side of a locker door.
Only you and you alone.
Jaime drops down to one knee with blood gushing from his nostrils, and then he drunkenly manages to find his feet. He spins around with both fists raised up…only to be RAKED across the chest by the fingernails of Liz Gaunt. Jaime hisses in pain, and Liz rears back and DRILLS Jaime in the crotch with the toe of her black high heel shoe.
Can thrill me like you do!
Jaime collapses down to all fours while practically retching, and meanwhile Isaac is slow dancing with The Iron Fist Championship as his “partner.”
Only you can make this change in me.
Something catches Liz’s eye, and she saunters over and throws one of the locker doors all the way open. Her eyes widen as she stares in at Jaime’s military uniform, complete various medals from his time in the service. The uniform is perfectly maintained and spotless, obviously one of Jaime’s prized possessions.
For it’s true, you are my destiny….destiny….destiny….
The record starts to skip, so Entragian swats the needle away.
Liz Gaunt: Babe….check out these fancy duds. I can see my own reflection in the shoes…
Liz starts to fix her hair and pucker her lips while gazing down at Jaime’s shined military boots. Isaac stalks over and wraps a hand around Liz’s waist, proceeding to examine the uniform for a moment while grinning from ear to ear.
Entragian: Look at all those shiny medals. We’ve got ourselves a real American hero here, boys. I can’t have a real American hero lying there on the floor bleeding all over the place….just wouldn’t be proper. Help him up and sit him down in that chair so that we can have our little…talk.
All of the SCAR members move at once, Obsidian and Corazon scraping Jaime up from the floor to forcibly sit him down in the chair. Once seated, Obsidian and Corazon lock onto his left arm, and Liz and Kenji lock onto his right arm, preventing him from moving even an inch.
Isaac proceeds to kneel down in front of Jaime, making directly eye contact with him.
Entragian: I never got the chance to thank you, Jaime. You worked so hard to hurt me….to make me face my own fears. I guess you didn’t bank on me conquering my own fears, but no plan can be perfect, I suppose. Regardless of that, you did well. Better than any other man on this roster who has ever come before you…
Isaac smiles while nodding.
Entragian: You reminded me of what I am. You treated me like a bad old dog that just took a messy shit on the floor….and you shoved my nose right into it. You made me remember….that I am a monster. You went straight to the source, brought your little shovel and pail and dug up all the dirty secrets that you could…showed me the past. I know you meant for that to lead to my destruction…but the plan backfired, Jaime. It has lead to my evolution.
Isaac reaches out with pallid fingers, gently brushing a lock of Jaime’s black hair out of his eyes.
Entragian: Because of you…I have no weaknesses left. They’re dust in the wind now. I’m stronger than ever before….hungrier than ever before…I feel more FUCKING ALIVE than ever before!
Isaac roars this last line into Jaime’s face, his eyes shimmering with glossy madness.
Entragian: So after RISE came to a close, I started thinking…..it just wouldn’t be right for this to end now. What you and I have? It’s special, Jaime. You bring out the best in me. Truly you do….that’s why I picked that song you just heard. It’s our song, Jaime. “Only You”….because never have I come across a more fitting rival. And on top of that…you went out of your way to torture me…and I’ve BARELY gotten the chance to return the favor! Rude, right?
Isaac rises up to his feet, and he walks over to Jaime’s military uniform. He strokes the material of the uniform for a moment, and then his hand reaches up to examine the various medals.
Entragian: I’m just now starting to enjoy myself, Jaime. You had so much fun with me….I think it’s only fair that I have a little fun with you! We’ll start with this pretty uniform. I can see how well taken care of it is….I’m guessing it’s pretty important to you, huh? A symbol of your honor. A reminder of past glories and selfless service….hell, I can see the pride shining in your eyes when you look at it…
Jaime starts to struggle to break free, his teeth gritted together, but the other SCAR members hold him down tight. Isaac reaches into a bag he brought with him, and he pulls out a canister of lighter fluid. He begins to douse Jaime’s uniform with the lighter fluid, taking his time while he does it.
Jaime struggles more violently now, shaking his head from side to side.
Alejandro: NO! YOU SON OF A BITCH! DON’T DO IT!
Kenji reaches up and DIGS his fingers into the old bite wound on Jaime’s shoulder, and he immediately slumps back down with a cry of pain while staring forward at Entragian.
Isaac reaches into his pocket, and he removes a zippo lighter. He flicks the flame into life with his wrist, and he just stares at Jaime for a moment, taunting him with the flame.
Isaac then leans over and touches the flame to the uniform, and with one big whoosh the entire uniform is burning bright, flames dancing all over the material. The medals gleam as they become hotter and hotter amidst the flames. Jaime watches, the firelight reflected in his eyes….along with shock and horror.
Alejandro: Please….please put it out….
Isaac brings pale finger up to his lips.
Entragian: Shhhh. Be still. Don’t ruin this. This is a moment to remember…
Isaac goes over to Jaime, and he throws a companionable arm over his shoulders. They both watch as the fire spreads over the uniform, and Isaac cranes his head over to whisper into Jaime’s ear.
Entragian: Fire is indifferent, Jaime. It turns honor to ash. Watch it burn. Watch the flames dance over your pride….see how all that glory and prestige just starts to blacken and char like that? It’s a beautiful thing. Humbling. Nothing is safe, and everything is ripe for the inferno…
Isaac grins against Jaime’s ear, drawing him even closer.
Entragian: I’m gonna blaze through your life like this fire. I’m gonna find everything you love, everything that gives you joy, everything that means something to you….and I’m gonna burn it right the fuck up. And when your career….and your life…is a smoking ruin…I’m gonna pull out my cock….and I’m gonna piss on your ashes. That’s my promise to you.
Jaime stares at his flaming uniform, his mouth agape….blood pooling down from his nose. Isaac leans over, and he kisses Jaime directly on the temple. Isaac starts to laugh…a long, hearty laugh that fills the locker room with noise.
The feed cuts out on one last shot of Jaime’s burning uniform.
"Mexican Americans" by Cheech and Chong starts to play, and the fans cheer.
Samantha Coil: The next match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, born and raised in Montpelier, Vermont!
Eryk Masters: He told her to say that, I am willing to bet.
Samantha Coil: Accompanied to the ring by Silas Mitchell, weighing in at 283 pounds, El Asso Wipo!
Wipo comes through the curtain, his cape caught over his face. Silas is right behind him. He tugs on Wipo’s cape, freeing it from his vision, and El Asso Wipo poses as if he planned the entire thing.
Eryk Masters: Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves. It’s time for El Asso Wipo.
Other Guy: Vermont’s favorite son!
Wipo powerwalks down to the ring, while Silas takes his time. Wipo climbs up to the top turnbuckle, and poses, fists clenched at his hips, looking out at nothing in particular. Then, he takes his hands, and makes a breaking motion with them, leaping as high as he can, and landing on his feet in the ring.
Other Guy: Say what you want about his girth, the man can be quite nimble when he wants to be.
Wipo takes a step forward, right onto his cape, and nearly falls.
Eryk Masters: You were saying?
Wipo keeps his balance, and the fans are laughing. Of course, he plays it off as if he meant to do it, but Silas shakes his head silently.
Eryk Masters: He doesn’t say much, does he?
Other Guy: He’s a big man. He doesn’t have to.
The music shuts off, which seems to annoy Wipo, but it’s replace with "In My Mind" by Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl, signlaing the debut of Mat Mullins to the SHOOT Project.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, from Tampa, Florida, weighing in at 205 pounds. He is accompanied to the ring by Shay Morgan and is making his SHOOT Project debut….Mat Mullins!
Mullins and Morgan come out, Mullins wearing a look of deep focus and a little bit of nerves.
Eryk Masters: This is Mullins first match, and he drew El Asso Wipo. I hope he doesn’t judge the entire roster based on this guy.
Other Guy: It’d be a fool thing to do, and I don’t think this guy is a fool.
Mullins rolls into the ring, and stares across the ring at El Asso Wipo, who seems to be ready for action. The music shuts off and the bell rings, and this one is underway. The two lock up, and Wipo easily muscles the smaller Mullins backwards. He pushes him back, still in the collar-elbow tie up, until Mullins is pressed against the turnbuckle. Referee Austin Linam gets in there to break it up.
Eryk Masters: Austin Linam breaks it up, and backs El Asso Wipo up, giving Mullins the time to get out of the ropes.
Other Guy: Mat has to be careful, he gives up nearly 80 pounds to Wipo, and he’ll use the extra strength to his advantage.
Linam gives the signal for the two to go at it again, and they lock up in the center of the ring. Wipo quickly takes control, and shoves Mullins to the ground, sending him tumbling backwards.
Other Guy: Right there, that’s the power I was talking about.
Mullins gets to his knees, and he looks at El Asso Wipo. Wipo pulls off a quick cartwheel, and makes a breaking motion towards Mullins. Mat gets back to his feet, and the two meet in the center of the ring again, and again lock up. This time, Mullins uses his speed and sweeps the feet quickly out from under El Asso Wipo. Wipo gets back to his feet quickly, and Mullins pulls off a cartwheel of his own. Wipo is not pleaseed. He motions for Austin Linam to come to him, and when he does, Wipo puts his hand on the back of his mask, and yanks his head back.
Eryk Masters: I think he’s trying to convince Austin Linam that Mullins pulled his hair.
Other Guy: Oh, come on, it was probably an accident.
Eryk Masters: He’s wearing a mask!
Linam dismisses Wipo’s claim, and Wipo doesn’t take it well. He gets to his feet, and charges Mullins, who thinks fast, and brings Wipo down with a drop toe hold. Wipo’s face bounces off the canvas, and Mullins quickly takes advantage, getting up fast, and dropping an elbow to the back of El Asso Wipo. Wipo tries to get up, but Mullins quickly gets to his feet, and drops a leg across the back of EAW’s neck. Wipo hits the mat face first, and Mullins pushes him over to cover.
Tw-Wipo shoves Mullins off him before a two count could be made.
Eryk Masters: Can’t blame the new kid for wanting to get the decisive victory, but he’s going to have to wear down El Asso Wipo a bit more.
Mullins slides over as Wipo flips to his stomach to push himself up, and slaps on a side headlock. Wipo pushes up, and forces Mullins into a standing position, and then is able to stand himself, albeit hunched over. Not for long, however, as Wipo grabs Mullins around the midsection and snaps him back with a quick back suplex.
Other Guy: A fine display of power by SHOOT Project’s Legendary Luchadore!
Eryk Masters: I’ll have to agree with you about the display of strength. Let’s see where Wipo takes it.
Wipo gets to his feet, looking down at Mullins, who is crawling to the ropes. He points at the crowd. Then at Mat Mullins. Then at his knee. He makes a breaking motion over his knee, and the fans pop. Wipo stalks his prey, waiting for Mullins to get to his feet. Mat finally gets to a standing position, and groggily turns, right into the grasp of El Asso Wipo! Wipo looks ready to powerslam Mullins, but Mullins is able to kick his feet, and causes Wipo to lose his grip! Mullins lands on his feet as Wipo drops him, and powers through the mask and face of El Asso Wipo with a huge forearm! Wipo falls against the ropes, and then rebounds forward, only to eat a second forearm! Wipo bounces off the ropes again, in a daze, and Mullins rushes forward, leaps, and is able to connect with a beautiful hurriconrana that sends Wipo tumbling into the opposite corner! Wipo tries to stop the momentum, but he is unsuccessful, and his face collides with the bottom turnbuckle!
Eryk Masters: Beautiful move by Mullins! Keep at him, kid!
Mullins takes a second to catch his breath, and then advances on Wipo. Wipo is seated, trying to get to his feet, but Mullins plants a kick to the side of the masked man’s head, sending him crashing limp to the canvas! Mullins hurries Wipo to his back, and covers him!
T-Wipo gets a foot on the ropes, and Austin Linam sees it immediately. He informs Mullins, who isn’t happy. He gets to his feet, and grabs Wipo about the head to pull him up as well. Wipo is on his knees when Mullins suddenly reinforces his grip, and snaps Wipo down to the mat again with a well-executed DDT!
Other GUy: I’ll say this, Mat Mullins is doing a tremendous job at keeping the much larger Asso Wipo on the ground.
Mullins covers again, this time hooking both legs!
El Asso Wipo kicks out! Mullins is already showing a little frustration, but he gets to his feet. He strolls over to the turnbuckles, and scales them, perching himself on the top. El Asso Wipo is slowly getting to his feet, trying to shake the cobwebs loose after that concussion inducing DDT. He gets to his feet, staggers, and turns, just in time to see Mat Mullins leap high in the air, connecting chest to chest with his masked opponent!
But El Asso Wipo rolls through the crossbody! Wipo has Mullins clutched in a powerslam position once again, and he wastes no time breaking Mat Mullins in half, driving his knee into the spine of the newcomer.
Other Guy: Backbreaker! El Asso Wipo hit the backbreaker!
El Asso Wipo has a lot taken out of him, so he releases Mullins after that backbreaking…um, backbreaker. Mullins clutches his spine, writhing in pain on the ground, and El Asso Wipo takes cover in the corner, trying to regain his composure. Wipo shakes his head, and smacks himself in the face to psyche up. He then begins to shake his head like crazy, while pumping his fists in rhythm.
Eryk Masters: Dear lord, no, don’t tell me…
Other Guy: I think he’s…YES! He is Wipo-ing up!
Wipo begins to pace about the ring, still shaking his head, still pumping the fists. Mullins gets to his feet, and steps in Wipo’s path, and Wipo stops in his tracks, and extends his arm, pointing right at Mat Mullins.
Eryk Masters: Oh my god, they’re buying into it.
Other Guy: And in Spanish! The native tongue of Vermont!
Mullins tries to land a forearm, but Wipo blocks it, scoops Mullins up, and hits a backbreaker!! The crowd yells "TCHA!" Mullins is up quickly, yet doesn’t have the same pep in his step, and attempts another right hand, but Wipo blocks it, and drops Mullins with a second backbreaker! The crowd, once again, yells "TCHA!" Mullins tries to get back to his feet, but stumbles into the corner. Wipo follows, still a house en fuego, and traps Mullins in the corner. He stands on the middle ropes and raises his fist, and the crowd cheers. Wipo begins to slam his fist down on Mullins’ skull, and the crowd counts along!
Wipo steps down to the mat, and Mullins falls against him, head landing on the chest of Wipo, which keeps him from falling to the canvas. Wipo tucks his head under the arm of Mullins, and pins his other arm behind him, before taking him over Wipo’s own head, and driving him into the canvas!
Other Guy: The Quilted Northern Lights Suplex! Nobody has escaped from it!
Eryk Masters: Because nobody has been hit with it!
Austin Linam slides into position, both of Mullins’ shoulders flat on the canvas.
The bell rings, and Wipo releases Mullins and gets to his feet!
Samantha Coil: At the time of ten minutes and fifty-two seconds, your winner by pinfall….EL ASSO WIIIIIIIPOOOOOO!
Austin Linam is helping Mat Mullins up as El Asso Wipo holds his arms in the air, celebrating his victory, a slight look of bewilderment on his face, but otherwise ecstatic. Silas the Silence joins him in the ring, and they both celebrate together. The crowd actually cheers, and Mat Mullins actually comes over to offer a handshake to El Asso Wipo.
Eryk Masters: This is actually kind of a nice moment, O-
Eryk is interrupted as "And Your World Will Burn" takes over on the PA. Jester Smiles emerges from the back, beaming with happiness, a big, shit eating grin on his face. The crowds’ cheers turn to deafening boos.
Eryk Masters: Nevermind.
Jester Smiles stays out of the ring, just sorta looking at Mat Mullins, El Asso, and Silas. After the booing dies down, he raises the microphone to his lips.
Jester Smiles: No one needs to worry about anything. I’m not here to cause any serious problems. I’m not here to be troublesome one bit. You all thought I was here to cause trouble, didn’t ya? NOPE! Chuck Testa! Anyway, I am here to simply offer congratulations to my…esteemed former opponent, El Asso Wipo, and to welcome the up and coming newcomer of SHOOT Project, Mat Mullins! Hey, seriously buddy, nice try. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll dig up Rufio the 7 Foot Clown or something for your next opponent, and you’ll probably stand just as much of a chance. It’s all good man, we can’t all be instant champions on our SHOOT Project debut. I mean, I was, but we can’t all be.
More boos. Mat Mullins looks pissed. El Asso Wipo looks…well, it’s El Asso Wipo.
Jester Smiles: I’m going to give you a proper welcome, though, Mat. You see, I have done some soul searching, and I have decided that I will be joining the tag team division here in SHOOT Project. You know, because it’s so FULL of life, it’s practically begging me to jump in. I mean, we have the Synister Syndicate and The Badass Brotherhood and…and…ummm…I’m sure we have someone else equally great. But, the point is, I am going to join the tag team divison, and I want my tag team partner to welcome you to SHOOT Project as well. So, without further ado, let me RE-introduce you folks to the half of the future tag team champions of the WORLD…
The lights suddenly go out.
Other Guy: The hell?
When the lights come back on, Jester is still in the same spot. El Asso Wipo, Silas, and Mat Mullins are in the same spot. But the crowd boos louder, and Jester just grins, because behind El Asso Wipo, Silas, and Mullins is a bald headed, yellow teethed, over seven foot tall monster.
Eryk Masters: Not…him…
Other Guy: Oh shit.
Jester Smiles: Get’em Sammy.
The three men turn around to meet, face to face, the monster that is Sammy Rochester. Sammy lashes out, taking out both El Asso Wipo and Silas with a double clothesline. Mat Mullins lashes forward, planting some very well placed strikes into the face of Sammy, but Sammy swats Mat away and tosses him across the ring. Sammy lumbers over to Mat Mullins, who is back up. Sammy SLAMS him down with a sloppy, but effective polish hammer. El Asso Wipo runs forward with a knee to Sammy’s back, which only seems to piss Sammy off. Sammy turns and eats a few punches, but with one punch he slams El Asso Wipo to the ground. Silas moves forward and is brought down with an equally powerful punch. Sammy lifts El Asso Wipo off the ground, turns him around, and SLAMS him down with a reverse chokeslam! Jester Smiles, at this time, joins Sammy in the ring. He motions for Sammy to pick up Mat Mullins and hold him, which Sammy obliges. Jester slaps Mat in the face and lifts the microphone back up.
Jester Smiles: Welcome to the SHOOT Project Mat!
Jester drops the microphone and OBLITERATES Mat with the Punchline! The crowd boos loudly, and a few throw trash, but Jester just smiles. Sammy is seething with anger, but Jester begins to stroke the big mans back, calming him down. He motions for Sammy to leave the ring, and Sammy obliges, looking as crazy as ever. Without any more words, both men just leave the ring and head to the back.
Other Guy: How…how did…how did Jester Smiles get control over Sammy Rochester?
Eryk Masters: And didn’t Sammy Rochester used to carry around a doll called Mikey?
Other Guy: I don’t even know, Eryk, but I do NOT like seeing that man back in the SHOOT Project. Especially not with Jester Smiles having some kind of control over him.
It was like his eyelashes had been glued shut. Jaimie Alejandro slumps in the corner of the boiler room, his eyes dashing beneath his eyelids and tears flowing from within. Faint whispers escape his mouth as he clutches the charred remains of his military uniform to his chest, desperately hoping it isn’t completely destroyed. He begins to rock back and forth, whispers growing louder but unintelligible. And then…
Jaime Alejandro: Issac.
His eyelashes peel away from one another and flutter like a bird’s wings. His eyes are blood shot red, revealing a broken heart. That is all he is right now. Broken. He pulls himself to a standing position with leverage from his elbow on the wall, never taking his arms fully from his chest. His uniform might falter if not for his desperate grip.
Jaime Alejandro: Ho.. How did this happen to me?
The thought that he somehow permitted Issac to do this to him triggered a twitch in his arm that allows a small chunk of cloth to fall toward the cement floor. He watches helplessly as a part of his history now charred and desecrated escapes from his grasp. At first he’s mesmerized by the rhythmic motion it makes as it descends further from his legacy. When the fabric finally hits the cement, however, it’s like a sledge hammer is being smashed into his skull and he reacts by bending over quickly to retrieve the lost piece. He doesn’t realize that having done that, he’s lost the entirety of his uniform now. He lifts the piece of cloth up and tries to clutch where his uniform once was, only to find bare skin. His eyes dart from one spot on the floor to another, at every single destroyed piece of fabric.
He frantically reaches out for every piece of fabric on the floor but every time he touches a piece, more of it grinds to ash. How his uniform was ever held together by Alejandro is a miracle. Perhaps out of sheer willpower alone. Finally he gives up, realizing the cause is lost and with the cause his proud history. He stands looming over his once proud uniform and looks at his palms where his nails have been dug in for so long that blood began to flow ever so slightly. His chest was red where his arms had been clutched so tight. All he knew at this moment was despair.
After having given in to despair like a worn down statue, Alejandro lets out a feral roar and begins pounding the wall over and over again. He doesn’t stop even though he’s somehow managed to cause his right hand to begin bleeding from his assault. He finally stops when he feels a small pop in his right arm. He hits his head into the wall and leans against it, sobbing. Even though there was nothing he could have done, he still feels responsible. He should have tried harder. As the thought passes through his head he turns back to the pieces of his charred uniform and bends down.
Jaime Alejandro: That’s it. I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t try. I can fix you. I can fix this. I just have to try. Harder.
Jaimie goes back to trying to pull the wreckage together, this time smearing blood on the little bit of fabric he has left.
Voice: Glass breaks, Saint. You can’t put it back together again.
Jaime raises to a half standing position, slumping forward slightly. He didn’t want his friend to see him like this. He didn’t want anybody to see him like this. And suddenly the despair and helplessness went away, replaced by something far more proactive and dangerous: Rage.
Jaime Alejandro: I’m going to kill them, Cronos! All of them! You hear me? I’m going to kill you all!!!
Cronos Diamante: You tried that. You tried it his way. You tried it “your way.” But that isn’t THE way.
Cronos tilts his head downward and squints his eyes slightly as if to gauge whether or not Jaimie understands. Jaimie answers with a scoff.
Jaime Alejandro: I haven’t seen you in how long, Cronos? You chose now to come back, at my weakest point and… and you decide you want to play Riddler?
Cronos says nothing and pushes away from the door frame.
Jaime Alejandro: Fuck you, Cronos!
Cronos says nothing and folds his arms across his chest. As Jaimie plops back down on the ground, he speaks…
Jaimie Alejandro: Go away, Cronos. Just go away.
Cronos Diamante: How about you unfuck your head from your ass, soldier!?!?!
Jaime snaps to and Cronos has his full attention now.
Cronos Diamante: So predictable.
Jaime hops up and gets in Cronos’ face.
Jaime Alejandro: Wait a damn mi-
Cronos Diamante: No. No waiting. No nothing. You’re not a soldier anymore, Jaimie. You haven’t been for a great number of years. You and I both. They just desecrated your uniform, I understand that. I’d be livid too. But was it really yours? Is anything you ever got from the military ever truly yours? Aside from the mental torment and the living hell all us soldiers go through daily?
Jaime remains silent and his head drops.
Cronos Diamante: Listen, man. I’ve been where you have. I’ve had men and women die in front of me and I’ve held them hoping that whatever God they believed in would save them. I know how proud you are when you wear that uniform. But that’s not us anymore. That’s in a life that’s long since passed us by. The trick to conquering those demons is learning how to push them aside. They will never and I mean never go away, brother. It’s about finding a way to keep them out of sight, out of mind. Dawning whatever mask you may have to. You have to find something to hold onto to push it aside and focus.
Jaime Alejandro: What the devil really was.
Cronos smiles and glances up toward the ventilation system.
Cronos Diamante: That’s right. I’m about as much of a devil as Issac Entragian is an unstoppable monster. We all play a role and dawn the mask we need at the time to keep trudging forward toward the grand prize, whatever that may be. You get what I’m saying, Saint?
Jaime grins and nods.
Jaime Alejandro: “I’m glad you’re back, brother.”
Cronos glances at the ventilation system one more time then wraps his arm around Jaimie, walking him out of the room.
Cronos Diamante: This place isn’t exactly secure. Let’s go have a talk where walls don’t have ears.
Once Jaime and Cronos are clearly out of sight, the slender figure of Liz Gaunt slips out from the ventilation system similar to how she did earlier in the night. She stares out the door.
Liz Gaunt: God damn it!
Eryk Masters: Ladies and gentlemen up next is a contest that is sure to help determine the future of the Sin City Title division.
Other Guy: Indeed. Sam Gideon has done a good job of bodyguarding Cady Sydal but now he has to wrestle in the ring against hot rookie Henry Gordon.
Eryk Masters: Henry Gordon got a big win at RISE over Crazy Boy but know he has to keep moving forward if he wants to get a shot against Laura Seton.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen the following contest is scheduled for one fall! First in the ring he is from Boston, MA he is a member of the Sinister Syndicate SAM GIDEON!
Gideon stretches in the ring and shadowboxes a bit as he awaits his opponent, the fans booing which doesn’t seem to bother the large man at all.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent from Harrisonburg, VA HENRY GORDON!
Give Me Back My Bullets by Lynyrd Skynyrd plays as Henry Gordon emerges to a mild pop, walking down the ramp looking pleased with himself as Henry shakes hands with some fans who have their arms outstretched. Rolling into the ring he stretches his arms and neck as the referee makes sure the two wrestlers stay apart for now. Signaling for the bell the referee moves out of the way.
Gideon rushes towards Gordon catching him off guard with a clothesline knocking the young man to the ground. Gordon however rolls out of the way and catches Gideon with a series of gut punches before whipping Gideon in the ropes, knocking him down with an elbow shot.
Eryk Masters: Henry Gordon has learned to roll with the punches. He’s staying in this contest.
Other Guy: Fighting a guy like Crazy Boy will either toughen you up or kill you. Let’s see if he holds the advantage.
Lifting Gideon up Gordon slams him to the mat with a scoop slam before kicking him in the exposed ribs. Not wasting anytime he grabs Gideon by the hair and pulls him up before tossing Gideon into the corner. Taking a moment to wave to the fans that are cheering him, Gordon runs and goes for the corner body splash but Gideon ducks out at the last moment and Gordon hits nothing but corner causing him to stagger back dazed and confused into a back suplex from Gideon. Both men fall to the mat and take a moment to gather their wits before rising.
Other Guy: Hammerin’ Hank there just struck out on that body splash.
Eryk Masters: Maybe but he’s still no worse off than Sam Gideon who hasn’t scored much offense yet.
Both men stand up and begin exchanging rights causing the fans to begin back and forth YAY and BOO chants each man taking a hard hit to the head and giving one back. For a long moment it looks more like a boxing match and neither man wishes to concede to the other’s striking skills but finally Gordon manages to get a block up and hits a rapid series of punches staggering Gideon who is then slammed with a headbutt causing him to stagger back against the ropes. Sensing opportunity Gordon charges and clotheslines both of them up and out of the ring, the crash of the two large men audible even over the fans shouts of approval for the high impact shot.
Eryk Masters: That’s what brings victory folks! Obviously Henry’s training is paying off. He saw a golden moment and took his shot.
Other Guy: Maybe but now both are out on the floor which means Dennis Heflin gets to show off his math skills.
Sure enough as Henry Gordon gets up and slaps hands with some fans in the front row you hear Heflin’s count reach 3. Gordon sizes up his opponent and grabbing Gideon by the side of the head slams the man’s skull into the barrier once, twice, three, FOUR times before turning and tossing Gideon back into the ring as Heflin now counts six. Getting up on the apron Gordon turns his back to wave to the fans and flash a smile before climbing in. This gives Gideon the opportunity to strike and hits a desperation boot to the head causing both men to fall back to the mat like big oak trees.
Other Guy: Stupid Rookie!
Eryk Masters: It was a rookie mistake but it’s up to Sam Gideon to be able to capitalize which he hasn’t been able to do at all in this match so far.
Looking at them both Helfin begins to count but as he reaches 2 Gordon stands up looking upset at himself for the mistake. Yelling at Gideon to stand up, Gordon circles and lifts the big man up before dropping him with a power slam causing a renewed pop from the crowd. Dragging Gideon across the ring, Gordon eventually picks him up and sets Gideon in a Tree of Woe. Making sure it is on right Gordon proceeds to kick Gideon repeatedly not letting the other man breathe for even a second.
Other Guy: It just might be over for Sam Gideon.
Eryk Masters: If he was ever going to save himself now would be the time. Those body shots are piling up to cause massive damage.
Watching Sam Gideon slump to the mat and clutch at his ribs, Henry Gordon looks around for a moment as more of the crowd gets behind him. Seeing Gideon in no position to defend himself, Gordon nails a couple hard boots to the head making sure Gideon is completely out of it. Calling for the end Gordon drags Gideon up to his feet before hitting a couple big headbutts. With a bit of effort due to the man’s size, Gordon sets Gideon up on the top rope. Hooking the large man up carefully, Henry Gordon lifts him into position and takes a few running steps to build up momentum before landing a hard Muscle Buster in the middle of the ring!
Gordon goes for the pin as the referee falls into position
Samantha Coil: Your Winner by pinfall HENRY GORDON!
Henry Gordon jumps up and smiles as he celebrates in the ring before leaving Give Me Back My Bullets playing over the speakers.
Other Guy: Henry Gordon was motivated tonight. I guess that big win at RISE gave him some serious confidence.
Eryk Masters: Second-guessing causes problems. Tonight Henry stayed focused and overcame his opponent. That had to impress the right people!
Out of nowhere, “Back in the Saddle Again” by Aerosmith kicks in, bringing the fans to their feet. Out from the back emerges none other than the SHOOT WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS…THE BAD ASS BROTHERHOOD. BUCK DRESDEN and CHARLES BRANDON MAGNUS step out to a strong ovation from the crowd. Magnus is in his usual black two piece suit and shoes with a dark pink dress shirt with matching kerchief. His hair is combed tightly back with a pair of Aviator sunglasses on his face. His beard is trimmed neatly and his SHOOT Project World Tag Team Championship belt is on his shoulder. Buck Dresden, meanwhile, is wearing a BAB tank top with a black leather BAB jacket on, a patch that says BUCK on the chest and the BAB Skull on the back. He also has on grey jeans, scuffed up cowboy boots, and a BAB Tag Champion belt buckle on his waist, his World Tag Team Championship on his shoulder as well.
Eryk Masters: The tag champions look pretty happy, OG.
Other Guy: Why wouldn’t they be? They’ve overcome so much. They are the best tag team in professional wrestling today, maybe even of all time.
Magnus enters the ring, taking the microphone from Samantha Coil as Buck takes a microphone from Mark Kendrick at ringside, rolling into the ring as “Back in the Saddle” fades out. Slowly, Magnus and Buck raise their World Tag Team Championship belts high above their heads.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Take a good look, ladies and gentlemen.
Buck Dresden: Once again…we overcome big time odds to show each an’ every one of you guys out there tonight in the Epicenter what we here in the Bad Ass Brotherhood is all about!
A small pop.
Buck Dresden: Now…we all saw what happened to Cade Sydal at RISE. I hate that happened to him, truly. When he’s healthy, if he wants another title shot, maybe with a different partner, maybe who can provide us with a different and better challenge…I’m sure we can work somethin’ out fer him.
Magnus stops Buck.
Charles Brandon Magnus: You mean you’re not interested in facing Tanya Black anymore?
Buck Dresden: Lissen, Charlie. We beat the Sinister Syndicate. We beat Cade Sydal before. We beat Chance Ryan before. We beat Tanya Black before. The only guy we ain’t faced is Sam Gideon an’ you know an’ I know he couldn’t spell ATTIC lookin’ down his shirt an’ not break out in giggle fits.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Well, YOU try that, Buckles.
Buck looks down at his chest and pulls open his shirt. Instantly he smirks, his stomach barely able to contain the laughter.
Buck Dresden: …well played, Mister Magnus!
Charles Brandon Magnus: The question is…where do we go from here? I hear rumbles of a lot of great new tag teams coming to SHOOT Project, so maybe we’ll find a new set of challengers ready and rarin’ to go two on two with the SHOOT Project WORLD…TAG…TEAM…CHAMPIONS!
I can almost taste it…
The lights drop and the fans begin to boo loudly.
Other Guy: Wait, he’s actually here tonight?
It makes no sense to me…
What does it all mean?!
A spotlight slowly comes to a stop on the top of the ramp.
Eryk Masters: Of course he is, his ego won’t let him stay away!
I can almost taste it…
I can almost see it!
It makes no sense to me…
What does it all mean?!
I can almost taste it…
Other Guy: C’mon, show the guy a little compassion at least.
I just wanna be famous!
You dream of trading places
I have been changing faces
You cannot fill these shoes
There is too much to lose
I wake up behind these trenches
You run around defenseless
There is too much to lose
You cannot fill these shoes
Eryk Masters: Why should I? Why should anyone, for that matter?
I just wanna be famous but…
Be careful what you wish for…
As “Almost Famous” by Eminem (featuring Lisa Rodriguez) continues to play the fans grow a little anxious as no one has stepped forth yet. Slowly, though, Tanya Black steps out, leading the way and looking back, encouraging her partner. Behind her Cade Sydal limps, relying heavily on a thick black cane, complete with a silver dragon head at the top of it, with his left leg wrapped in a huge black brace keeping his leg almost completely straight. Cassi walks with her arm around his waist and his arm over her shoulder, almost as if she’s helping support his weight, too.
Tanya: LOOK! Look at what you did! You so-called heroes! I hope you are happy! We came to RISE looking for a fair match and you CRIPPLED a man! Tried to end his career! Why? Because he actually had a good chance to beat you? How petty and pathetic can you be? I’ve done some shitty things in that ring to people but I never saw an injured opponent and continued attacking him or her before the referee could check on them. You two are not role models. You are not champions. You are just bullies!
Stopping for a moment Tanya Black makes sure Cade Sydal is still steady on his cane while the fans boo and chant CRIPPLE CRIPPLE which seems to aggravate Cade.
Tanya: This isn’t over until I say it is. I am the one who made a vow to liberate the Tag Team Titles from you two. I never break a vow. Even your best double-team moves haven’t scared me off. I will lead the Sinister Syndicate to victory because this is not a child’s argument. This is WAR. The New Revolution will not be intimidated by bullies. SHOOT’s future will not be decided in one night. A true golden era has to built carefully with dedication and talent. Of course you two don’t know a damn thing about building something positive for others or being dedicated to a goal. You just one-night stand your opponents and claim a cheap pin is a "True Victory". That is why the Sinister Syndicate will take over the business of SHOOT Project’s in-ring potential. We Are Made Better.
Buck Dresden: No…NO. YOU LOOK.
Buck points at Black as he speaks.
Buck Dresden: You wanna keep this goin’? Why, Tanya? Because you LOST. No other reason than that. Like the damn spoiled ass brat you are, you can’t take yer beatin’ like a mature ass adult! That man next to you? If he’s the champ you purport him to be, HE knows the risks we face in the ring each an’ every night. He’s hurt, that’s terrible, we hate it fer him, but Cade Sydal an’ Tanya Black ain’t gettin’ no title shots so long as he’s down ‘n’ out.
Magnus shakes his head.
Charles Brandon Magnus: I’m afraid my partner’s right, girl. Every combo you’ve tossed at us has fallen by the wayside. Every single Sinister Syndicate member that’s been in the ring with us couldn’t get it done. No harm in that, dear girl, but at some point you need to take some time to reassess your strategies. You want another shot at us? Why not do what proper champions SHOULD do…and earn it instead of moaning on about it?
As soon as the words escape his mouth, Buck shouts for Charles to look out as from his side of the ring slides a large man with dark hair down to his chin at least, pushing right to his feet and delivering a clothesline to Magnus, dropping him to the canvas, static resonating off the airwaves as he drops his mic from the impact! Chance Ryan pushes his hair out of his face just before Buck meets him with a punch to the cheek!
Eryk Masters: Chance Ryan just came out of nowhere and the fight is on!
Chance smiles as he returns fire with a punch of his own, followed by a second and third, immediately taking control on Buck before Buck blocks the fourth and hits Chance with an unexpected head butt! Meanwhile, at the top of the ramp, Tanya takes off down to the ring to help even the odds! Magnus starts to get back to his feet as Buck grabs Chance and whips him to the ropes, but Chance reverses and changes direction as he sends Buck into Magnus, knocking Magnus through the ropes to the outside as the two butt heads themselves. Buck stumbles and turns into a roaring Polish Hammer!
Other Guy: The Hammer of Justice just got DROPPED on Buck Dresden!
Magnus starts to push to his feet as Tanya gets to the bottom of the ramp, and she immediately kicks up into his forehead, using all of her momentum to send Magnus sprawling back on the floor before she sneers down at him. Chance says something over the ropes to her before turning and pulling Buck to his feet, only to tuck him into a standing head scissors. Tanya steps into the ring and climbs up to the top rope, facing the outside as Chance hoists Buck up for a powerbomb, backing up close to the corner.
Eryk Masters: What the hell are they going to do here?!
Tanya looks over her shoulder and takes a deep breath. She back flips over and catches Buck by the head, riding him down with a reverse DDT as Chance powerbombs him down!
Other Guy: GOOD LORD!
Tanya pushes to her feet and looks over at Chance Ryan, who meets her look with a small smile before turning to look out at the hard camera, he draws his right thumb across his throat and raises his hand in the air with a nasty sneer as Tanya Black grins raises her own arms in the air. Up on the ramp, Cade grins while Cassi claps her hands. The fans boo relentlessly.
Eryk Masters: The Sinister Syndicate, injured and all, are standing tall right now! But how long can that possibly last?
Other Guy: Tanya and Chance look to be on the exact same page right now, Eryk! We might be seeing new tag team champions in the ring right there!
Eryk Masters: They just sent a message loud and clear to the Bad Ass Brotherhood, OG, and that’s that the war is FAR from over! Cade Sydal might be down…but damned if the Sinister Syndicate STILL don’t have an ace up their sleeve!
Other Guy: Chance Ryan is LIVID right now! It’s like he living off of…just…pure hatred!
The camera shows Ryan once again as “Almost Famous” kicks back in. The fans boo as the Bad Ass Brotherhood are lying prone on the mat. Tanya Black motions across her waist for the title belt, while Chance Ryan merely turns to walk away. The message is loud and it is clear.
Samantha Coil: The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first… from San Antonio, Texas… Jaime… A…LE…JAAAANDRO!!!
The crowd gets to its feet as “Bullet The Blue Sky” booms from the speakers. Alejandro emerges from the back, the look on his face one of absolute determination and rage. He doesn’t bother stopping to acknowledge the fans, choosing instead to just focus his energy on getting to the ring.
Eryk Masters: One can only imagine what’s got to be going through the mind of Jaime Alejandro right now after that despicable act on the part of Isaac Entragian. I mean, come on. Whether you love Jaime or hate him, there are just some lines you don’t cross. That was just plain un-American. You might as well have taken a torch to Old Glory.
Other Guy: I don’t know if I’d go that far, E, but I definitely have to agree with you on that part. Some things you just don’t do. Entragian wants to get under his skin, he’s definitely succeeding. I don’t know if I’d really want to be Dan Stein tonight.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent… accompanied to the ring by Molly… from Cedar Rapids, Iowa… he is Dan… The Lights… STEIN!!!
“E.T.” emanates from the speakers as Molly emerges first, heralding the arrival of Stein, who comes through the curtain, posturing for the crowd, a look of slight bewilderment on his face at the subdued, slightly less hostile reaction he seems to be garnering from the crowd in attendance. While the fans certainly aren’t chanting his name in reverence, he’s not being as loudly booed as usual as he makes his way to the ring. Molly enters first, holding the ropes for Stein, who enters and whispers a few words to his assistant… but while his back is turned, Alejandro doesn’t bother to wait for the bell, charging Stein and laying him out with a lariat, just barely missing Molly, who ducks for cover outside the ring!
Eryk Masters: Whoa.. now this is something we’re not used to seeing. Usually Jaime’s one to fight the good fight and at least wait for the bell to get underway. But not tonight, it seems.
Other Guy: I have the feeling we’re about to see a whole new side of Alejandro tonight. Entragian’s done exactly what he wanted to do. He’s pushed the Texan’s hot button, and now Dan Stein gets to deal with the fallout.
Eryk Masters: If Stein walks away from this, he’s probably going to want a few words with the Pale Rider- and something tells me they won’t be words of thanks.
Alejandro doesn’t waste any time in laying into Stein with a series of vicious boots to the midsection, backing the former Sin City champ into the corner. Stein begs Alejandro off, but the Texan only relents long enough to get some momentum and charges Stein again, but this time the wily Stein is ready to pounce with a chop block that sends Alejandro down to the mat! Stein quickly gets to his feet and puts some distance between himself and his opponent, waiting for Alejandro to get up before unloading with a dropkick that sends his opponent right back into the corner… Stein quickly gets back to his feet and charges the corner, looking for a cross-body, but Alejandro catches him in midair and rushes out of the corner, bringing Stein down with a sidewalk slam! He goes for the cover… 1.. Stein kicks out quickly.
Eryk Masters: Well, it’s safe to say we’re in for one hell of a battle here tonight. Both men are wasting no time at all in bringing out the heavy artillery. Both men are definitely hungry to get the W in this one. No matter whose hand is raised, something tells me the fans are going to come out the real winners after this is all said and done.
Other Guy: Geez, E, can you at least wait until we’re a few minutes in before you start kissing the butts of these guys? No wonder your hair’s brown. Seriously, dude.
Alejandro quickly changes his tactics, mounting Stein and unloading with a flurry of punches and strikes to the head that have the referee quickly jumping in to warn the Texan that he will not hesitate to disqualify him. Alejandro pauses and gets off of Stein, getting into the referee’s face and warning him to stay out of his way… and this gives Stein a chance to get his bearings, rolling Alejandro up.. 1.. kickout! Alejandro gets to his feet and the two men stare each other down, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance.. both men start throwing shots as the noise in the arena gets louder- until Alejandro catches Stein flush across the jaw with a left hook that rocks “The Lights”, giving Alejandro an opening that he uses to take Stein over with a snap suplex! He gets back to his feet quickly and lifts Stein for another one, but he’s unable to get Stein over and he drops his opponent, clutching his shoulder!
Eryk Masters: Oh no.. this is not good. The beating Alejandro took at the hands of Isaac Entragian still haven’t worked their way through his body. He looks to be in some serious pain right now, and the way he’s grabbing that shoulder, this could be serious. I know delivering a snap suplex looks easy enough from the standpoint of the viewer, but let me tell you from experience- there is so much exertion that goes into one of those- even more so when you’re trying more than one of them back-to-back.
Other Guy: He’s playing possum. He’s faking it. Come on, seriously. Am I the only one seeing this??
Stein’s eyes widen as he spots an opportunity, pouncing on his wounded opponent and taking him over, locking in an armbar and cranking back on the shoulder, eliciting a scream from Alejandro, who is reaching with all his might to get to the ropes to break the hold.. he gets to a knee and lunges, but before he can get his hand around the rope, Stein yanks harder on the arm… Alejandro is shaking his head, his teeth clenched… he tries again… and manages to get his hand on the rope!! The referee orders Stein to break the hold, but Stein is refusing. The count begins… 1… 2… Stein’s trying to get a little more leverage on the armbar… 3… 4… just as the five count is about to be delivered, Stein lets go of the arm and steps back, posturing for the fans, who are booing loudly. Stein heads for the turnbuckles, mounting them and waving to the fans before measuring Alejandro and launching himself off, connecting with a thunderous missile dropkick! He goes for the pin.. 1… 2… Stein has his feet on the ropes for extra leverage, but the referee catches it and stops the count!
Eryk Masters: This is exactly what Dan Stein was waiting for. Ever the opportunist, he spotted a brief glimpse of momentum, and he’s using it to put a world of hurt on Jaime Alejandro- especially that shoulder that’s still not fully recovered from RISE.
Other Guy: Okay, so maybe he wasn’t playing possum. My bad.
Stein scowls at the referee, but he grabs Alejandro and pulls him to his feet, looking for an Irish whip toward the ropes… but Alejandro manages to reverse it, sending Stein toward the ropes instead… until Stein reverses that attempt and sends Alejandro through the ropes and to the floor! The count begins… 1… Alejandro’s not moving! 2… Stein is standing at the ropes, taunting his opponent… 3… Alejandro gets to his feet just long enough for Stein to grip the rope and springboard himself high over the top rope, landing right on the Texan and sending him hard into the announce table! The count restarts… 1… both men are slow to get up… 2… Stein is the first to his feet and he grabs Alejandro by the hair, leading him toward the barricade… 3… Stein lifts Alejandro onto his shoulder, but Alejandro is able to slide off and delivers a vicious elbow to the back of Stein’s head, dazing him just long enough for Alejandro to scoop him up onto his good shoulder… before dropping him chest-first onto the security railing! Stein falls back and Alejandro grabs him by the shoulders, bringing his knees up and falling back! 5… Alejandro is slowly getting back to his feet…6… he grabs Stein and rolls him into the ring, following right behind to end the count!
Eryk Masters: The stops have definitely been pulled out for this one. Both of these two are out to seriously hurt each other. This isn’t just a matter of winning, it’s a matter of survival.
Other Guy: With the way these guys are going at it, you’d think there was a title at stake.
Alejandro pulls Stein up, wrenching the left arm and bringing his elbow down on it repeatedly, pulling the arm behind in a hammerlock and lifting him over with a suplex! The crowd roars its approval as Alejandro tries to lock in a Kimura, but Stein manages to reverse the maneuver, getting Alejandro’s back and wrapping his arm around Alejandro’s neck, leaping up and bringing a knee into the back.. Stein falls to the mat! Stein seems winded as he gets to his feet, pointing to the corner and making his way over to the turnbuckles.. he mounts them and measures the fallen Alejandro… he leaps and contorts his body, connecting with a shooting star leg drop that draws a collective gasp from the crowd! Stein rolls off and stares at his downed opponent. He smirks and instead of going for the count, he orders the referee to start a ten count!!!
Eryk Masters: What the hell is he DOING??? This is not an Iron Fist match. Why the hell isn’t he going for the pin??
Other Guy: It’s called adding insult to injury. He doesn’t just want to win, he wants to humiliate Jaime Alejandro. Stick the knife in and give it a little twist, ya know?
The count has started… one… two… the crowd is booing as the count reaches three….
Eryk Masters: Oh, man. This is like deja vu for Jaime Alejandro. Shades of RISE. He can’t go down like this. Come on, get up!
Other Guy: Hey.. guy’s just taking a break, getting his wind. Relax. He’ll be up in a second or two, maybe three.
The crowd’s attention suddenly turns to the entrance ramp and the volume level in the arena escalates to near ear-splitting volumes as they see the man who has just come through the curtain and is starting to make his way to the ringside area!
Eryk Masters: You have got to be kidding me…
Other Guy: Holy crap…it’s..
Eryk Masters: CRONOS DIAMANTE!! CRONOS IS BACK!!! And I can’t even hear myself think right now, this crowd is so damn loud! These fans are probably breaking every noise ordinance in the books at this very moment, and something tells me they don’t care one bit.
Cronos Diamante stops halfway down the ramp and he turns to the fans. He starts raising his hands rapidly, yelling something that seems to get the capacity crowd roaring in unison..
“LET’S GO SAINT!! LET’S GO SAINT!! LET’S GO SAINT!!”
Cronos is heading down toward the announce table, catching the attention of Stein who is leaning over the ropes, a look of concern on his face. The count continues… 5… Cronos waves to Stein and then points to the announce table, mouthing “Just here to watch.” The count gets to 6 and Stein’s attention is focused entirely on Cronos, who fist-bumps both announcers and takes a seat, putting on the headset. He doesn’t notice Alejandro using the ropes to pull himself to his feet.
Eryk Masters: Cronos Diamante. Good to have you back. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you in the Epicenter. What have you been up to?
Cronos Diamante: Jaime needs someone in his corner, and I’m here to help my brother out. I know you guys have lots of questions, and they’ll be answered, but not now. We’ve got a match to call, right? Speaking of which, heya Danny… might want to look behind you!
Stein turns around quickly, just in time to eat a Jaime Alejandro dropkick! The crowd is roaring as Alejandro picks the dazed Stein up and crosses his arms, lifting him up and over.. he wastes no time in pulling Stein back up, wrenching both arms behind him into chickenwings and delivering a Tiger suplex!! The fans are eating this up as Alejandro shakes his head, pulling Stein right back up and wrenching his left arm into another chickenwing, snaking his arm underneath Stein’s right in a half nelson, bringing him over AGAIN!! And again he’s pulling Stein up, hooking a full nelson!!
Eryk Masters: He’s looking for a submission!!
Cronos Diamante: You think so?
Alejandro pops his hips and elevates Stein up and over with a Dragon Suplex, pulling him to his feet one more time and finishing the assault with a textbook German suplex that folds Stein nearly in half!!
Cronos Diamante: Looks more like a suplex to me. Damn, even with that bum shoulder, he’s still able to pull off those lovely suplexes.
Other Guy: I KNEW IT. He WAS playing possum. I called it, dammit!
Alejandro goes for a cover… 1… 2.. Stein manages to get a foot on the rope, breaking the count! Alejandro looks outside the ring at Cronos, who gives him a thumbs up and points to Stein in the ring, gesturing for him to finish the job. Alejandro nods and sends Stein into the corner, following right behind with a nasty Muay Thai knee strike to the chest that sends Stein slumping into the corner! Alejandro takes a few steps back and charges in, slamming Stein right across the forehead with another knee before lifting him to his feet and setting him on the top turnbuckle… Alejandro climbs to the second turnbuckle and grabs Stein, throwing him with a German suplex that sends the crowd into a frenzy!! He flows through into a cover… 1… 2… KICKOUT!! Stein just manages to get enough energy to keep the match going!!
Eryk Masters: The Texas suplex machine seems to be in full force right now, and Dan Stein is finding out the hard way what happens when Jaime Alejandro gets a head of steam!
Cronos Diamante: Not surprised. Not one bit. He’s got a lot going on inside that head of his right now. A lot of pent-up anger. What we’re seeing right now? Tip of the iceberg.
Other Guy: Sounds like you’ve got information that nobody else does. Care to share?
Cronos Diamante: Nope.
Alejandro scoops Stein up, looking for a bodyslam, but Stein manages to slide back and spins Alejandro around, delivering a knee to the gut and following it up with a quick DDT! He covers… 1… 2.. KICKOUT!! Stein shakes his head and gets back to his feet, setting himself and waiting for his opponent to get vertical before leaping and delivering a wicked dropkick that sends Alejandro into the ropes.. Stein runs the ropes for momentum and connects with a wicked cross-body that sends both men over the rope and to the floor once again!! Stein is the first to get up as the count starts, and he grabs Alejandro by the hair, lifting him vertical and suddenly setting up for a hurricanrana that sends Alejandro into the ring stairs! 2… Alejandro is staggered, and there’s a cut on his forehead! Stein hops up on the ring apron and runs for the corner, but Alejandro sweeps out the legs with his forearm and sends Stein back-first onto the edge of the ring! 3… Stein rolls out of the ring and to the floor, but he doesn’t get a chance to rest as Alejandro picks him up and rolls him back in, following right behind to end the count and keep the match running.
Eryk Masters: What punishment these two are dishing out to each other! I don’t care who you are, you take the kind of beatings these two have been dishing out, you are going to be feeling it for days on end.
Cronos Diamante: True. Both men seem to be anxious to up the violence factor, and something tells me the people who paid to see these guys fight won’t be complaining.
Stein is first to his feet, and he catches Alejandro with a stomp to the forehead that opens the cut a little more, causing a decent-sized flow of blood. He starts clawing at the gash, trying to open it up a little wider, much to the boos of the crowd. Alejandro blocks an attempt and counters with an open palm to the bridge of the nose that sends Stein reeling and gives Alejandro just enough time to get to his feet and unload with a wicked clothesline that, even though it doesn’t have quite as much power behind it, still has enough momentum to send Stein crashing down! Alejandro goes for a cover, but he’s not able to get more than one before Stein kicks out… but Alejandro grabs the leg and stands, dropping an elbow across the back of the knee! He starts wrenching the leg and suddenly twists.. he’s trying to get a figure four locked in… but he’s pushed away just before he can cinch the hold in!! Stein gets to his feet, but his knee buckles slightly and it gives Alejandro the chance to get back to his feet- and right into an enziguri! Stein goes for the cover… 1…. 2… KICKOUT!!!
Eryk Masters: Talk about a gutsy move on the part of Dan Stein- takes a pounding on that knee and still manages to unload with a textbook enziguri that nearly gets him the win!
Other Guy: He’s getting his second wind right now. Just watch- five more minutes and Stein’s hand is going to be the one raised. Alejandro can’t have much more left in the tank. He’s leaking juice right now, and that’s got to have an effect.
Cronos Diamante: Don’t even think about counting Jaime out of this yet, OG. It’s not over until the bell rings.
Both men are slow to get up now, the physical nature of this match taking its toll on both of them. They’re exchanging blows right now, and Stein gets the better of the two, catching Alejandro with a kick to the midsection.. he follows up with a knee lift and rushes the ropes, going airborne with a shoulder block.. he covers, but Alejandro reverses… 1….2… Stein gets the shoulder up right at the last possible second!! Both men are back on their feet.. Alejandro hooks Stein and lifts him up for a vertical suplex…
.. but Alejandro’s shoulder can’t handle the strain and he drops to the mat, Stein twisting his body to land on top of him! Instead of covering, Stein points to the corner and mounts the turnbuckles, pausing for a moment to rub his abs… he goes airborne… and lands a thunderous 450 SPLASH!!! He covers, hooking Alejandro’s leg… 1…. 2….3!!!!
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner… Dan… The Lights… STEIN!!!!
Molly rushes into the ring and raises Stein’s hand in victory as Alejandro rolls out of the ring, his head lowered slightly. Cronos removes the headset and goes over to his fallen comrade, helping him to his feet and whispering something to him as the duo head up the ramp.
Eryk Masters: Gotta hand it to Dan Stein- just when we thought he was done for, he comes out and executes a move that just has this crowd absolutely in awe. Love him or hate him,you cannot deny that Dan Stein is one hell of a competitor.
Other Guy: And he proved it. Just like I told you he was going to.
We cut to the locker room door as it is burst open by none other than Thomas Manchester Black. The fans cheer as they see him storm from the room, getting himself psyched for his coming match in the main event against Adrian Corazon. The camera follows him as he marches down the hall way. Suddenly, he turns the corner and immediately locks eyes with none other than…
…SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion Donovan King. The fans cheer even louder as the two former friends turned enemies stare at one another. King peers through his hood as he leans against the wall, belt on his shoulder.
Donovan King: Tommy Black. I was on the lookout for you.
TMB: Is that right, Donnie. Should I postpone the main event for round two with you?
King pushes off from the wall, removing the hood from his head.
Donovan King: Ain’t like that. I’ve seen how things been goin’ with Corey Lazarus an’ tonight you’re one on one against Corazon. You know he sent me a flower?
You can see TMB fighting back his anger at that gesture.
TMB: Good, maybe you can lay it on the fucker’s grave.
King can’t help but smirk.
Donovan King: I never did right by you, Tommy. I’m sorry for that. You an’ me? We probably ain’t ever gonna be friends. I don’t expect that. But I respect those that respect the fight an’ respect the business…especially those that respect the belt. When all’s said an’ done, I meant what I said at the start of the show tonight.
Donovan King: You deserve to be where you at right now. You also deserve better’n what you’ve received. When the time comes an’ you ready…get at me. Be it for a hand against people like Lazarus or Corazon…
He looks down at the title belt before he looks back to Black.
Donovan King: …or you just wanna throw hands for the biggest belt in the land. I got no problem with either.
Thomas looks at the belt for a moment and then at King.
TMB: And the same goes for you. You want a hand in a throwdown, then give me a call. And as for that belt. I told you before…I’ll be waiting right here. So you handle your business and I’ll handle mine. And when it is all said and done. We’ll go out to the ring and clear the air. But until then…
TMB steps in closer to King.
TMB: Don’t. Lose. That. Belt.
With that, Black looks King up and down for a moment, measuring him, before he walks past him. King turns, watching TMB walk away from him…and he can’t help but grin. He pulls his hood over his head and turns to walk away, turning the corner to leave.
The crowd near the entrance ramp begin to crane their necks towards the stage. A ripple effect through the area happens as Trey Willett makes his way from behind the curtain. There is no music. He is dressed in just normal street clothes, a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans. He has a white cervical collar around his neck. He is joined on stage by his wife, Janet, and his son. The three of them stand on the ramp as some fans begin to roar in approval of the man standing before them. Some fans begin to look noticeably confused as the stern expression on Trey’s face never wavers.
Without saying a word, or acknowledging any fans, the three of them begin to make their way down the ramp with Trey leading. The other two Willett Family members stand a few paces behind him. Trey walks noticeably slower and more deliberate than his usual, carefree stride. When the three of them make it to the ring, Janet leaps up onto the turnbuckle and props the middle and top ropes open with her left arm and led respectively. Trey slowly, and clearly painfully, bends into the ring. When his son follows behind him, he grabs hold of the back of his father’s shirt, almost hiding behind him. Janet brings herself into the ring and hands her husband a microphone.
Eryk Masters: Trey looks like he is all business tonight. It makes me wonder why he would bring his whole family out here.
Other Guy: After the beating he took, and all of the enemies he made, his is the last place I would want my wife and kid.
The arena falls to an almost dead silence as Trey raises his arms for quiet. He looks down at the mat for a moment and breathes a heavy sigh. Janet places her hand upon his shoulder, seemingly for strength, and Trey raises his head once again.
Trey Willett: At Rise, you all saw Trey Willett wrestle his final match.
There is a collective gasp from the audience, and an audible gasp on air from the announce team. After the initial shock, the silence continues, as if to just make certain that they had heard him correctly. With the audience reaction, Trey’s off-hand begins to shake a little, seeming to lose a little nerve. Without hesitation, Janet grabs hold of his hand. He continues on.
Trey Willett: I haven’t always been a man of my word. I’ve made that abundantly clear throughout my life. But now, I think it’s time that I start keeping promises. Promises I made to my family. Promises that I made to you people. I wanted to win that title. I wanted to be the one that came out on top. In fact, nothing else really mattered to me. I made the remainder of my life all about winning that world heavyweight championship. I made it my only goal.
He clears his throat as his voice begins to quaver, the emotion pouring to the surface. He chokes down a tear, and carries on.
Trey Willett: Well. I had two chances. Twice I failed. It’s kind of funny. I beat that monster Adrian Corazon. I had him dead to rights. He was out of mine and my family’s lives forever. Now? Now I have to have my cervical bones fused together. Now the doctor has to go in and repair the nerves that Corazon snapped. Now I have to go under the knife for only the second time in my career. Only this time I’m not twenty one years old. This time I’m an old man.
The fans in the audience begin to rise to their feet, one by one, as they all anticipate Trey’s next statement. Trey’s son, Brandon, begins to take himself out from behind his father’s pants leg, proud of his father.
Trey Willett: Now I am in the ring for the last time. I’ve finally figured out that it’s ok to walk away. It’s ok to leave not exactly the way that you want to. I find myself with the problem of trying to decide if it’s really worth attempting rehab. At my age, I think it’s finally ok for me to go home, play some ball with my boy. I’d like to sincerely thank you all for everything you have done for me over this long time that we have spent together. I wanted to come out here and tell you all face to face. You all deserved that. You deserved more than a canned statement on a news site. From the depths of my heart and from the hearts of my family we would like to say…Thank you. Thank you all for giving me the career of a lifetime.
Trey slides the microphone into his pocket and puts his arm around his wife. Together, the three of them wave to the fans in appreciate. To reciprocate, every fan in the arena rises to their feet and begins a round of thunderous applause to see the veteran out of the ring. The three of them make their way back down the entrance ramp and disappear behind the curtain.
Eryk Masters: The fans here continue to cheer on the man that has been irrelevant. The man that has been on top of the world, almost to the top of this sport. The man that has been their hero and the man that they hated.
Other Guy: Love him or hate him, the sport has lost a one of a kind talent here tonight.
“Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” by Cage The Elephant starts to pour through The Epicenter, and the crowd responds with a preemptive favorable reaction. Thomas Manchester Black steps out from behind the curtains, wearing his tar heel hoodie with his head hung down low. He stares out at the fans for a moment, nodding his head in recognition.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, hailing from Tokyo, Japan by way of Charlotte, North Carolina…he weighs in at 245lbs….THE QUEEN CITY HITMAN, THOMAS MANCHESTER BLACK!!
TMB starts to stalk his way down the ramp, his heavily muscles arms swinging at his sides.
Other Guy: TMB is coming off of a truly impressive win at RISE against Corey Lazarus, but tonight he’s facing a different kind of challenge.
Eryk Masters: That’s for sure. But I gotta give Black credit though, Laz is a world-class athlete, and this man managed to mow him down.
Other Guy: He’s definitely dangerous. He was molded by the streets and he’s done his time behind bars, so that alone is a recipe for a lethal sort of individual. Not to mention the fact that he’s built like a brick shithouse…
TMB climbs into the ring between the ropes, going towards one side of the ring to raise up both of his heavily taped fists. The crowd roars in response, giving the big man the respect he deserves.
The lights in the Epicenter suddenly die save for the glow of the Video Wall, which is overtaken by a familiar old fashioned, black and white film countdown.
Eryk Masters: Oh damn…
The lights return to normal, TMB standing in the ring alone. He turns to face every corner of the ring, ready for a fight, but finds nobody. The Video Wall comes alive with the image of Corey Lazarus resting comfortably in his office at Club Xanax.
Corey Lazarus: Tommy, Tommy, Tommy…after everything you think you’ve achieved by getting the W over yours truly, babe, you’re still short on good old fashioned brain power. Did you honestly think that, with everything I’ve had to do in the past few weeks since we last met, that I’d actually endanger my own well-being by meeting you face-to-face? I really don’t know why I ask so many rhetorical questions sometimes, though, since you undoubtedly expected to see me tonight. However, there should be a few words down at the bottom of the screen, either here or here…
Corey points to both bottom corners, taking no chances as to which one says "VIA SATELLITE."
Corey Lazarus: …that should reveal my location. Or, at the very least, just reveal that I’m not in Vegas at the moment. But hey, I digress.
Tommy Boy, you did an amazing thing that only one other person on this roster, that pretty boy Charles Brandon Magnus, can say that they’ve accomplished, and that is pinning the glorious shoulders of the Hollywood Kid down to the mat for the 1-2-3. I’m patching this feed to you, and to the rest of the Epicenter, to congratulate you. People can say it was a cheap win, and I’m sure plenty of messageboards have crashed due to exceeding their allotted bandwidth over discussions as to why Willie Dean didn’t notice the handful of my shorts you had, but hey! You still got the job done, right? This makes us somewhat even.
Laz smirks as TMB fumes in the center of the ring, wiping sweat from his brow.
Corey Lazarus: There’s something that happens, though, in most sports when the score is tied dead even, and it’s this concept known as overtime. Another 5 minutes and the first goal wins, another inning and whoever has the higher score wins, and so on and so forth. BUUUUUUUUT…it’s a little different here. Professional wrestling is a combat sport, folks, and we usually don’t get an overtime. What I’m referring to, though, is the time-honored tradition known as the rubber match. I’ve got a win over you, and how gloriously decisive it was…you’ve got one over me, regardless of how utterly inconsequential it will ever be…so let’s see who can walk away saying that they truly are the better man, dig?
In a few weeks’ time, Tommy Boy, SHOOT Project does the unthinkable by airing the one hundredth edition of Revolution. As far as I can tell, though, not a single match has been scheduled. Oh, sure, there’s likely a few things that Jason Johnson would really love to see, and I’d love to get right back onto my planned journey of getting every piece of gold that this company has to offer, but you and I have that rubber match thing to take care of. What do you say, Tommy Boy? T-M-B and the L-A-Z, one-on-one, to see just who is the better man. I know the answer, and so do all of these people here in the crowd and all of the boys in the back, but I have this hunch, this sneaking suspicion, that you, my friend, have a dissenting opinion. So let’s meet again, slick. I’ll be waiting for your reply.
The feed fades as Tommy nods, tensing up just thinking about getting his hands on Lazarus again.
Other Guy: I think that’s a resounding yes!
Eryk Masters: With that out of the way, maybe we can get Corazon out here and get this main event going, yeah? I want to see TMB wipe the stupid smirk from that smug assholes face.
And like clockwork, "Nocturne No. 1 Op. 9 in b minor" by Frederic Chopin sends soft piano melodies through The Epicenter, and an eerie purple glow begins to the blanket the top of the ramp. Adrian Corazon emerges from behind the curtains to bask in this glow, an easy smirk resting across his sharp features.
Samantha Coil: Introducing second, hailing from Mexico City, Mexico….he weighs in at 225lbs…representing Project: SCAR….SHOOT PROJECT’S BLACK DEATH….ADRIAN CORAZON!!
Eryk Masters: A bastard among bastards. He came SO close to becoming the World Heavyweight Champion at RISE…it was so touch and go for awhile there that I figured a new era was sure to dawn for Project: SCAR.
Other Guy: I wonder what Corazon thinks of Donovan King claiming the World Title?
Eryk Masters: I try to avoid imagining what Corazon thinks at all times. No one should have to envision what goes on inside of the pitch black corridors of his mind.
Corazon struts down the ramp as though he doesn’t have a care in the world, the purple spotlight following his progress. He slides into the ring beneath the bottom rope, proceeding to stare holes into Thomas Manchester Black.
The bell rings, and we are OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY!
Corazon is the first to move, darting forward to lash out with a knife-edge chop, but TMB catches his arm before the chop can connect. TMB twists Corazon’s arm up, and then begins to send nasty looking Maui Thai kicks into Corazon’s thighs and knees.
Corazon hisses in pain, and TMB holds tight onto that twisted arm, continuing to unleash with kick after kick. Corazon falls to one knee, but TMB pulls him right back up, and he starts blast elbows into Corazon’s jaw and his temple.
Corazon is reeling, and TMB finally lets go of his arm….only to SNAP a left roundhouse kick into the side of Corazon’s temple. Corazon’s body whips to the side violently, smashing down against the canvas with a loud crash.
Eryk Masters: BRUTAL strikes from Thomas Manchester Black. He’s got that MMA background, so you never know what he’s going to hit you with.
Other Guy: That kick to the melon was so precise it was scary. When you think of that old line…”hands and feet registered as lethal weapons” you can’t help but think of TMB.
TMB moves in to snatch Corazon up to his feet, but Corazon lashes out with a leg sweep and takes TMB right off of his feet. TMB starts to get up to a sitting position on the canvas, but Corazon is lightning quick, proceeding to bounce off the ropes and BLAST TMB right in the face with a shining wizard!
Other Guy: ACT OF DEFIANCE!!
Eryk Masters: Corazon going for the pinfall!
TMB throws a shoulder up, his face just beginning to register how close he came to endgame there. Corazon slithers backwards on his stomach while smirking, holding his fingers an inch apart to say “that close.”
Other Guy: TMB better watch out. That was too close for comfort…
Eryk Masters: Adrian Corazon has all the characteristics of a snake. He strikes quick, he strikes hard, and he leaves his prey reeling from the poison he injects. TMB needs to recognize Corazon for what he is, and plan his strategy accordingly.
TMB barrels up to his feet, and he gets a running start at Corazon, but Corazon negotiates the larger man down to the mat with an arm drag. TMB pops right back up, and Corazon tries a spinning back elbow, but TMB ducks underneath. TMB then grabs Corazon’s arm and irish whips him directly into a short arm clothesline, arm meeting throat with a sickening crunch.
TMB leans down and scrapes Corazon back up to his feet, but Corazon breaks free of his hold and promptly locks onto TMB’s right arm with a standing armbar. TMB groans with pain, and Corazon digs his elbow right into the sensitive area between TMB’s shoulder blades while ripping back on the tendons of his arm.
TMB throws a wild elbow towards Corazon’s head, managing to catch him just above the eyebrow. Corazon releases the armbar, momentarily dazed, and TMB takes advantage by grabbing Corazon by the neck and DRILLING him into the canvas with an inverted headlock backbreaker!
TMB follows his opponent down and pulls back on a leg for the pin.
Corazon kicks out, much to the chagrin of the Las Vegas crowd.
Other Guy: It’s looking pretty back and forth so far, these guys are evenly matched…
Eryk Masters: This is a bad meets evil scenario…both of these guys are known for having vicious in ring styles, and it’s interesting to see how those styles are clashing here tonight.
TMB starts to pull Corazon up to a vertical base, but while still on his knees Corazon SLAMS a European uppercut into the shelf of TMB’s jaw. TMB flails backwards and Corazon makes it up to his feet, and from there he just starts to LIGHT TMB’s chest up with knife-edge chop after knife-edge chop.
Thomas Manchester Black is getting driven slowly backwards, and once his back hits the ropes Corazon leaps up and grabs his head, only to whip him down to the canvas with a swinging neckbreaker. TMB rolls to his side with both hands locked around his neck, and Corazon goes for a quick pin attempt.
TMB shoulders out while still nursing the back of his neck with one hand.
Eryk Masters: Black favoring that neck now….no way of knowing how much damage was done by the neckbreaker.
Other Guy: Corazon continues to go for quick pinfalls in this match, it’s clear that he’s not playing around tonight. He’s all about “trimming” the fat from SHOOT’s roster, and his mission statement is showing in this match.
With TMB still down, Corazon scales the nearest turnbuckle with cat-like grace. He stands tall for a moment, waiting patiently for TMB to rise, and when he does Corazon launches himself from the buckles and PISTONS a missile dropkick directly into TMB’s face.
TMB is thrown back to the canvas violently, the back of his neck landing awkwardly against the mat. He kicks his legs in pain, rolling back and forth while holding the back of his neck in both hands.
Corazon smells blood, and he wastes no time ripping TMB back up to his feet, proceeding to irish whip him across the ring…but on the rebound TMB ANNIHILATES Corazon with a painfully stiff jawbreaker lariat! Corazon’s body flips over and folds up like an accordion, the breath coming out of his mouth in anguished gasps.
Other Guy: CHIN CHECK!! We just witnessed a beheading!
Eryk Masters: How in the hell is Corazon getting up right now?
By some miracle, Corazon is up to his knees, shaking his head from side to side to drive away the cobwebs. TMB sees this, and the big man hits the ropes…ONLY TO STEP UP ONTO CORAZON’S KNEE AND BRING ONE BIG LEG DOWN ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD WITH A SHINING AXE KICK!!!
Corazon’s face gets PLANTED into the canvas, and a wave of adulation travels through the crowd.
Eryk Masters: HOLY HELL what a move! I thought that lariat was bad….but that axe kick looked like it chewed right through whatever gristle Corazon had left that was connecting his head to his body…
Other Guy: TMB calls that Get Down or Lay Down, and from where I’m sitting, Corazon is doing both right now.
TMB piles all of his weight on top of Corazon for the pin.
At the very last second, Corazon manages to kick out.
Eryk Masters: That was nothing but instinct on the part of Corazon. He barely kept himself alive there…
Other Guy: He takes two of Thomas Manchester Black’s signature moves in a row, and Corazon STILL has the willpower to keep fighting.
TMB seems to be getting a little frustrated now, leaning down to pull Corazon up to his feet…but Corazon pushes away from TMB….and he promptly SNAPS a superkick into his jaw! Spit flies from TMB’s lips, and he looks inches away from falling…
Other Guy: ACT OF REALITY!! That superkick came out of nowhere!
Just as TMB is about to crash down to the canvas, Corazon grabs him before he can fall and locks onto his arms with a double underhook, and then he LEAPS and pedigrees TMB face first into the canvas!
Eryk Masters: ORIGINAL SIN NOW!! These guys are pulling every trick they have up their sleeves tonight!
Corazon throws himself on top of TMB and pulls back as hard as he can on a big leg.
This time, TMB is the one to get his shoulder up at the last possible moment.
Corazon throws himself backwards while digging a hand through his hair, incensed with the fact that TMB was able to survive that onslaught.
Other Guy: This isn’t good. Corazon looks like he’s furious right now, and when this guy gets mad….bad things happen.
Corazon leaps on top of TMB and just starts to SMASH brutal looking punches down into his face, rights and lefts…..but TMB manages to roll Corazon over, and now it’s his turn to blast forearms and elbows into the sinister face of SHOOT’s Black Death!
Tony Lorenzo is running in circles around both men, yelling at them to break it up at the top of his lungs.
Eryk Masters: The official looks like he’s losing control of things here…these guys are out for each other’s blood right about now!
Other Guy: I don’t envy Tony Lorenzo tonight. Trying to get these guys to behave is like trying to talk sense into bucking bulls…
TMB & Corazon are still tangled together, punches flying, and the two of them roll clear out of the ring beneath the bottom rope. Corazon is the first to his feet, and he sends a nasty looking spinning elbow into the side of TMB’s temple. TMB reels backwards, but he gets right back into it HURLS Corazon face first into the steel ring post.
Corazon rises up to a shaky vertical base, and when he turns around we see that he’s bleeding from the forehead. A purely inhuman expression passes over Corazon’s face…and he runs forward and BURIES his shoulder into TMB’s gut, spearing him against the security railing!
Eryk Masters: This is breaking down. Something’s gotta give here…
Corazon backs right back up, and this time he grabs TMB by the head and THROWS him clear over the security railing and out into the crowd. Corazon is about to follow him over the railing, but TMB struggles up to his feet and he CRUSHES Corazon’s face down against the top of the security railing, causing his body to slump over the railing and fall into the crowd as well.
Meanwhile Tony Lorenzo is screaming himself hoarse in the center of the ring, telling both men to get it back into the squared circle. They don’t even seem to notice Lorenzo, so caught up in the heat of battle, blood boiling in both men’s veins.
Corazon staggers up to his feet and he starts to fire punches at TMB’s face, driving him deeper out into the crowd, and TMB is right back into too with elbow and knee strikes, every shot Corazon lands answered with a shot from TMB.
Finally after having had enough, Tony Lorenzo yells down to the timekeeper and Samantha Coil. The bell rings with a loud clang, and once again, Corazon & TMB don’t even notice it. They’re in their own little violent world, and they continue to brawl their way up through the stands.
Samantha Coil: The official has dubbed this match a NO CONTEST!!
Eryk Masters: Well as much as I would have liked to see a clear cut winner in this match, these men just don’t have any regard for the rules tonight. They just want to fight and spill each other’s blood…and it’s clear that they don’t give a damn where in the Epicenter their battle takes them.
Other Guy: This is just how hot the competition is in SHOOT Project right now…neither man is willing to quit…they both want to prove that they belong, and knowing these two they’ll be fighting along the Las Vegas strip before it’s all over with!
The final shot of the evening shows Corazon & Thomas Manchester Black drilling each other in the face with strike after strike, blood pouring down from various knuckle-inflicted wounds on their faces.