The arena is black, the crowd murmuring. The sound of a steel train bell is heard, it starts out faint, but gradually gets louder and louder. Then, a loud horn sounds and Halestorm’s “Freak Like Me” begins!
I’m on the train that’s pullin the sick and twisted,
Makin the most of the ride before we get arrested,
We’re all wasted,
And we’re not going home tonight.
The faces of Maya Nakashima, Corey Lazarus, Lunatikk Crippler, Dan Stein, and ANARCHY all occupy an even section of the SHOOT Project’s Epitron, blended with the championship belt that each holds.
Covered in black we lack the social graces,
Just like an animal we crawl out of our cages,
They can’t tame us,
So if you’re one of us, get on the bus
The faces disappear as a flag with the SHOOT Project Helmet takes over the screen. The Epitron splits into three views, one with Maya Nakashima when he first captured the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship… the other with Dan Stein squaring off against Trey Willett… the third, Lunatikk Crippler hitting the Lunatikk Sweet!
If you’re a freak like me,
Wave your flag!
If you’re a freak like me,
Get off your ass!
It’s our time now,
To let it all hang out
The flag catches fire, as new faces come into the fray. We see Cameron Ash, Ryan Shane, Kale Tanev, and Eli Storm standing across from each other on an abandoned train platform. Corey Lazarus stands off to the side, watching the other four while Kincaid watches a monitor with vested interest as Jerry Matthews dusts off an old foe, defending the Iron Fist Championship.
We’re underground but we will not surrender,
We’re gonna give them something to remember, yeah,
ANARCHY’s T. Rex and Arch Angel grin, holding the SHOOT Project World Tag Team Championships up as Vermont’s Finest look on. That image is replaced by the gruesome burn that Corazon suffered, the fire burning into his back, but this time the fire takes the shape of the SHOOT Project helmet.
So write your name in gasoline,
And set that shit on fire
The train platform disappears as the burning helmet takes over the rest of the screen, and the last thing you see are the flames illuminating the silhouettes of all the SHOOT Project Soldiers standing, riding on top of a moving train through the black of night.
So shout if you’re a freak like me,
They can’t hold you down,
You were born to rise!
It’s our time now to come out!
If you’re a freak like me!
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen… WELCOME TO REVOLUTION!!!
As always, the Epicenter is sold out for the weekly production of SHOOT Project’s flagship show, and so the response to Coil’s official kick-off announcement is DEAFENING to say the least. A variety of chants, cheers, whoops, hollers and applause paint the picture of a passionate, diverse crowd. Americans, Japanese, English, Australian, German… fans come from all over the globe to watch the gripping tales of the SHOOT Project world come to life.
The "traditional" introduction is an interesting juxtaposition to what is more often than not an absolutely non-traditional show, and so it brings an extra bite. An edge.
Coil stands proudly in the ring.
"Hot Blooded" by Foreigner blasts in with its opening guitar solo over the PA system. The crowd (some of them) responds, in toe, with an "acknowledgement cheer" for the song, but then get relatively silent after realizing they have NO IDEA whose arrival this signifies. The curtains rustle before a couple of unfamiliar faces burst through, brimming with excitement and energy.
Samantha Coil: The following TAG TEAM contest is scheduled for ONE FALL with no formal time limit, and is proudly being sponsored by PROJECT: HERO’s SHOOT Project Chapter! INTRODUCING FIRST… at a combined weight of four hundred, seventy-eight pounds… FROM BRONSON MISSOURI… Tom Banks, Gio Aurelia… CRUSHER and THE SPOT MONKEY!!!
Aurelia, dark complexion, handsome features, long dark hair tied into a small "top-knot" ponytail, is the smaller of the two SHOOT Project new-comers, but definitely the most energetic. He’s waving his hands at the crowd and slapping hands with everyone reaching over the guard railing. With bright green and orange tassels dangling from his knee and elbow-pads, his gear is no doubt a throwback to high flyers of the past.
His partner, the "big dude" is Tom Banks. He has on green wrestling trunks, matching boots, but no pads otherwise. He’s lighter skinned, but tan. If there was a "wrestling look" he has it in spades. Defined muscles, six foot four, around two hundred, seventy pounds or so short, a military style crew cut… He nods along to the music and fist bumps a few select fans, but nothing nearly as spastic as his charismatic partner.
Other Guy: Welcome to Revolution One-Twenty Nine, guys.
Eryk Masters: Indeed, fans. Welcome to the show, and to a night that features FOUR, Master of the Mat, SECOND ROUND bouts. I’m Eryk Masters, alongside my friend and broadcast partner, The Other Guy. And OG, it’s a pretty critical night for our SHOOT Project Soldiers.
While OG and Masters intro the show, Aurelia and Banks make their way into the ring. Aurelia climbs the nearby, camera-side turnbuckle, to the second rung and continues waving for the crowd to "GET UP!" and "DO THIS THING!". Banks joins suit at the other side and holds both hands up in the air. Aurelia points his direction and gives a campy, salute before hopping down.
Other Guy: Yeah, man. Round Two of Master of the Mat… Some BIG freaking matches out there. Zex and Corazon to close us out? Entragian and O2. Tanev, Dresden. Trey Willett and Aiden Miles.. A TON is on the line for those boys, but Eryk, we’re startin’ off with some tag team action, and how are you feeling about these two kids in the ring right now?
Banks gives a double high five to his partner and the two men bounce and pace around with an abundance of energy. It’s clear they’re pumped, and the energy is rubbing off on members of the audience who seem to be a little more "in" to the duo.
Eryk Masters: All I can really say is that they’re legit. They’ve got a great following on Twitter and a really cool You Tube channel. Multiple time tag team champions in a few different organizations on the regional independent circuits in the Midwest… Partners of five years running. Ya know, I’m not sure how they stack up against a team like Anarchy, and who knows if they’ll be able to hang at this level under THESE lights… but, OG, they’re no slouches and this is definitely not a joke team.
Other Guy: Even with the rumors of Jonny trying to dodge another match? I mean, on paper the nonprofit sounds like this pretty great ordeal, and I know Project Hero is donating THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS to the winner’s charity of choice, but… I don’t know. Doesn’t this all keep seeming more and more weird?
Eryk Masters: Sure, OG, but I think we have to leave speculation out of the conversation. Whatever your personal opinions on how this match is happening or on Jonny or Paul Jarvis, or the whole "Project: Hero" thing… It doesn’t affect THIS match. Anarchy needs to dominate, but a team like Banks and Aurelia… Crusher and the Spot Monkey… they find a way to win, and wow… talk about a career potentially being made over night. We just call the matches, OG.
The hot intro music fades, and there’s a brief period of silence before we get Katy Perry’s "ROAR"! which WRECKS THE CROWD! They immediately BURST to audience life with a substantially powerful and encouraging OVATION!!! In the ring, Banks and Aurelia nod in respect to the reaction.
Samantha Coil: AND THEY’RE OPPONENTS… From SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY… weighing in at a combined weight of SIX HUNDRED, SIXTY-ONE POUNDS… T-REX, ARCH ANGEL…
The dubious pair calmly and casually step through the curtains and under the SHOOT Project bright lights. Former tag champs and looking to be in the best shape they’ve been in quite some time. Nothing flashy about the two meathead brutes from Jersey and the fans LOVE IT. They give a nod to the crowd, to their support and begin a very cool strut to the ring. They don’t slap hands or interact a whole lot otherwise, but that’s just not their game and people know it. They respect it.
Other Guy: They look good, man. I’m glad. It’s good for the division. T-Rex and Angel. Anarchy, man. They tore things up during their time at the top and hopefully, if nothing else, tonight gets them pumped for the rematch they’re rumored to be getting at Master of the Mat in about a month or so.
Eryk Masters: You thinking cake walk?
Other Guy: I mean, maybe not "cake walk", but definitely lopsided.
A wrestling fan in one of those generic luchador masks and long hair coming out from the side shouts loudly at the passing tandem, holding up a sign that says "NEXT NEEEEEW TAG TEAM CHAMPS!". Angel sees it and stops Rex. He nods over to the sign and Rex grins and gives a nod. They high five the fan and take the sign from him.
T-Rex: (Shouting, un-mic’d) HOW BOUT IT???
Angel holds the sign over his head and the fans POP EXCEPTIONALLY LOUDLY!!!
The loudspeakers suddenly crackle LOUDLY and the song cuts out. Before either member of Anarchy can do anything, ANGEL GETS DRILLED FROM BEHIND WITH A BASEBALL BAT SHOT DELIVERED BY TOM QUINN!!!
Eryk Masters: HOLY SHIT! What???
Other Guy: NO!! Wh…
The announce crews mics seem to have been cut off.
"Empathy" by Crystal Castles begins to play throughout the SHOOT Project Epicenter
From what the cameras pick up, Angel drops the sign and falls to a knee and T-Rex turns around! Quinn drills HIM with a WICKED HOME RUN SWING INTO THE STOMACH AND RIBS!!! At the same time JORDAN WAILER storms forward with a running KICK DIRECTLY INTO THE HEAD of ANGEL!!! Rex clutches his sides and falls to HIS knees now while Angel topples over onto his side!!!
A shrill, synthetic, siren-esque loop flirts endlessly into insanity, paired with a deep, thudding, syncopated bass beneath it. The arena goes to BLACK with only flickering white lights, turning the world into a drug fueled, rave BEAT DOWN.
JASON RILEY joins this OUT OF NOWHERE, WHAT THE FUCK ONSLAUGHT as he charges BRUTAL KNEE strike directly to the side of T-Rex’s face! QUINN SLAMS THE BASEBALL BAT INTO Rex’s back while he’s falling! A bevy of officials begin RUSHING OUT FROM THE BACK!!!
ALONG WITH ALL THREE MEMBERS OF VERMONT’S FINEST!!! It’s DARK and CRAZY AS HELL BUT THE FANS POP ANYWAY!!!
Eryk Masters: It’s WIPO, MITCHELL AND TIMMONS!!!!
Mitchell gets a good shot in on Wailer! Quinn turns around and gets DRILLED by Wipo with a charging, albeit somewhat clumsy, kick type something attack. Quinn falls into the barricade. Timmons flies at Riley! Both members of Anarchy are down. Medical officials are tending to them, while security and some agents and ring crew try to stop the brawl outside. You can hear people SHOUTING for someone to bring the house lights up! Wailer throws a punch at one official and knocks him out en route to revenge on Silas Mitchell. Quinn and Wipo brawl near the rail… Riley shoves Timmons back away and DRILLS HIM with a right hand and a follow up kick!
Wipo glowers through his mask and seems ready to KILL Quinn…
He gets hammered in the side of the head by THE FAN IN THE LUCHADOR MASK… A Black mask, with red trim around the eyes.. He HITS WIPO AGAIN AND HOPS THE BARRICADE! SECURITY RUSHES, but Wailer, having just tossed Mitchell VIOLENTLY into the barricade charges to protect the fan with a SHOULDER TACKLE and takes down TWO members of the security team!
It is STILL DARK and the haunting music is STILL PLAYING.
The fans are in shock and HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING.
Riley rushes to the "fan’s" side now too. This masked dude is about six one or two… Wiry build, wildly long, grey (?) hair coming down to his shoulders. This fan IMMEDIATELY attacks Wipo with a FLURRY OF RIGHT HANDS TO THE SIDE OF THE HEAD! Wipo is PUMMELED down to the floor! Reeve Timmons tries to help, but Jason Riley QUICKLY picks up the bat dropped earlier by Quinn and WICKEDLY SWINGS AND SLAMS it Timmons shoulder! He THROWS the bat down and FLIPS Timmons off! MORE SECURITY RUSHES OUT!
Quinn waves his hands in the air, mockingly attempting to get the fans behind him! Wailer stays near the front, while Riley and this new "Fan" back away toward the empty ring behind them. Officials are SCREAMING at Quinn and Wailer, but, with the damage done to all three members of Vermont’s Finest as well as Anarchy, their attention is on them and getting them to the back safely! Quinn laughs and slaps Wailer on the shoulder… The two men now also start to back away. Riley, in the chaos, RIPS a microphone away from Samantha Coil…
The arena is still shrouded in darkness. Lights flashing on and off.
Jason Riley: When the lights go out, and you hear this fucking song… When the PARTY FUCKING STARTS and you think you might be FUUUUCKED ON SOME BAD PCP… YOU BETTER GET FUCKING SCARED, FAGGOTS.
Riley SCREAMS passionately into the microphone.
Jason Riley: They’ll fire some guys upstairs, man. Some sound guys… light guys. Tech junkies you’ve NEVER HEARD OF… they’ll be gone into further obscurity and they may NEVER work again… But we fucking appreciate them. More than YOU IDIOTS could. WE FUCKING LOVE YOU KYLE and SHELLY and PAT!
He points up to the tech studios in the distant shadows.
Jason Riley: And we love fucking Jack over here. (Side hugging the masked "Fan", pulling him close) We’re just gay fucking lovers for all these folks. They all have fucking stories, man. Jack’s got a SICK STORY. HEART WRENCHING! EVERYONE HAS A FUCKING STORY AND IT’S TIME YOU BRAIN DEAD DICK LICKERS LISTENED FOR A CHANGE. FUUUUUUUCKING… LISTEN!!!
His screaming gets more primal. His words weave in and out of reality and madness. Officials are still tending to the fallen teams of Anarchy and Vermont’s Finest. That’s their priority and so the weird "preaching" continues.
Jason Riley: The summer was a soft opening. But we’re fucking HARD now, man. HA! WE’RE SO FUCKING HARD AND WE’RE GONNA RAPE THIS PLACE. We’ll rape your fucking kids and then make them have kids and then rape those kids… WE’LL FUCK YOUR GIRLS, BOYS AND EVERYONE UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD POOLS OF BLOOD AND CUM!!! NO FUCKING CENSORS RIGHT NOW! FAGGOTS, FAGGOTS, FAAAAAAAAAGGGGGOOOTTTS!!!
He taunts the crowd. He keeps shouting.
Jason Riley: GAME OVER, FANS! GAAAAAAAME OVER FUCKING SOLLLLDIERS.
GAME. OVER, SHOOT PROJECT!!!
Technical difficulties finally kick in.
We’re just outside the Epicentre, an hour before Revolution is set to go on the air, when a black Mercedes E-class convertible pulls up to the staff entrance. SHOOT Project Rule of Surrender champion Kale Tanev is in the passenger seat, and he pops open the door as the luxury car skids to a stop. His “colleague” Amie sits behind the wheel, decked out in micro-low waisted jean shorts and a skimpy spaghetti strap tank top that barely contains her.
Kale Tanev: I feel like I’m being dropped off at school by my mother…
Amie: Is that how you think of me? As your mom!?
Tanev looks embarrassed and confused at the same time. We starts to stutter out a response but is cut off.
Amie: Relax. I’m just fucking with you.
Tanev is again stunned into silence before she fills the increasingly awkward void.
Amie: Good luck tonight Kale. The girls and I will be pulling for you. There’ll be a few of us in the stands.
Tanev: Thanks. Ummmm, yeah, I’ll try. Buck’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought. I don’t know –
Amie: Don’t even say it. You got this. I believe in you. All the girls do. I’ll pick you up after the show tonight, okay? Right here.
Tanev: Thanks. But, ummm…if I don’t win, you don’t. You won’t want to be around me, I don’t think. I don’t know where I’m going if I lose, but I know what it means. It won’t be a good place
Amie: Kale, shut up. I’m going to be here 20 minutes after the lights go down. I’ll see you here. That’s what friends are for.
She flashes him her “Boys to the yard” smile and the car screeches away.
We go back to the SHOOT Project’s announce team at ringside.
The Other Guy: I’d love to have Kale Tanev’s friends! Whoa whoa!
Eryk Masters: It sounds like Tanev isn’t very confident going into his Master of the Mat quarterfinal match this evening against Buck Dresden!
Backstage in a locker room. The members of Vermont’s Finest and Anarchy are being checked out by a couple of SHOOT’s athletic trainers after the vicious attack by Quinn, Riley, and Wailer. One of the trainers lifts T.Rex’s arm up, and asks him to push it down against his hand. T.Rex winces as he attempts it.
T.Rex: I told you we were fuggin’ FINE. All y’er doin’ is letting those little shitbags scurry into whatever rat tunnel they live in.
Wipo chuckles at this. T.Rex SHOOTs him a glare.
Wipo: They ARE rats, Senor Teddy. An infestation of dirty foul vermin.
Arch Angel winces as his ribs are examined.
Arch Angel: Yeah well those rats just did some damage.
Silas unzips his mask.
Silas: They tend to do that. Rats were responsible for the spread of so many diseases, including the bubonic plague.
He zips the mask closed matter of factly. T.Rex and Arch Angel stare at the big man, dumbfounded.
T.Rex: Yyyyyeah… these guys really need exterminated. You think you’s two can do it?
Wipo: Of course we can! Did you not see what happened when they tried to take our cheese?
Arch Angel: What?
T.Rex: Speak English!
Wipo: I slapped Riley in the face and said "THATS ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLSHIT!"
Arch Angel: Something tells me that he didn’t get the message.
Wipo: Maybe he’s hard of hearing. Maybe I should tell him again. Like so! TCHA! With my knee!
T.Rex snickers. Angel grins.
T.Rex: Yeah, you fuggin’ do that. Lemme know how it goes.
Arch Angel: Teddy, lay off ’em. We need to heal up and focus.
T.Rex: Right. We have a date with Hollywood Hardcore comin’ soon. Time to take back what’s ours!
Wipo tries to stand up, indignantly, but Silas reaches over and grabs his shoulder, forcing him back down.
Arch Angel: There a problem?
Wipo: Oh, no. You guys can go ahead and LOSE to Senor Crippler and Senor Lazarus once again! Maybe then they’ll see that their main competition doesn’t come from New Jersey.
T.Rex: Yeah, sure. We only held them straps for a year. And you can’t even BREATHE on ’em.
Wipo: I will have you know that we are on a serious roll right now!
T.Rex: Oh yeah. A one match winning streak! Fuggin’ legendary.
Wipo: He’s insulting my JUEVOS, isn’t he?
Silas shakes his head half heartedly. Wipo doesn’t buy it.
Wipo: Yes, and that one win is one less than you’ve had against the CURRENT Slap Hands Champions, THEODORE.
T.Rex: The fugg you call me, RUPERT?
The two men are now standing nose to nose. We hear a roar of the T.Rex from Jurassic Park. This lightens the mood as Arch Angel chuckles. Silas and Wipo look bemused towards T.Rex’s pile of stuff that was sitting next to him.
Arch Angel: You got a text, Teddy.
T.Rex backs up to his phone continuing to glower at Wipo. He grabs it and quickly accesses the text. His brow furrows. He shakes his head in disbelief and hands the phone to Arch Angel.
Arch Angel: What the… REALLY?! Tonight…
T.Rex turns his attention back to Wipo.
T.Rex: We’re gonna have to put a book mark in this “rekindling” fellas. Seems like the two of us ain’t done fighting tonight.
T.Rex clearly frustrated with events quickly turns and snatches up the pile of stuff that was sitting next to him and storms out. Arch Angel gets up gingerly. Nods to Vermont’s Finest.
Arch Angel: Til next time.
He follows after T.Rex. The door swings closed leaving a confused Wipo and Silas. We cut away with more questions than when we started.
With it only being the second match of the night, it sets the tone of a Revolution with a lot on the line. The night will progress with a series of round 2 contests as SHOOT Project soldiers vie for the title of Master of the Mat, but here… in this moment, two men vie for different titles. The Golden Boy, Dan Stein leaves the Sin City Championship behind not out of disrespect for the title he had a firm grasp on for some time, but for something new, something to cement his legacy.
The Rules of Surrender Championship.
Stein can’t think of Kale Tanev just yet though as he will be standing across the ring from a man not only set to become a Grand Slam Champion (should he have his way) but a man who wants nothing more than to PUT. STEIN. DOWN. Eli Storm, the once heralded "Incredible One" has not had many incredible showings as of late, last seeing being put on the shelf by Stein. Eli wasn’t about to let his career fade on that note, and his return sees him now looking to take hold of that which Dan Stein just lost.
The Sin City Championship.
Salt in the wounds that Eli Storm intends on inflicting upon Dan Stein? Or perhaps a false carrot dangling in front of Storm, goading him into a perfect trap set by unarguably one of the most ARROGANT men in professional wrestling today?
The bell sounds. No more time for questions. Two titles are held off in the horizon, but only ONE man walks away as a number one contender. Tanev and Chaos will be watching closely, one can only imagine, to see who steps up to give which fresh faced champion their next major challenge.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen this next match is scheduled for one fall and will be for the number one contender’s spot for the Sin City or Rules of Surrender Championship!
"YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH! YOU’VE GOT THE POWER!"
The fans in the arena EXPLODE in boos the instant that Stan Bush’s "The Touch" blares over the PA system. The Blue and Hot Pink spotlights dance over the stage, and Tina and Toni from Flex Magazine walk out from the back wearing Golden Boy workout shirts and yoga pants. These muscular women are always a sight to behold and as they stand out just before the ramp they cross their arms over their chests and wait.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, HE is the former SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion. A two time former Iron Fist Champion….
The boos get louder (if you can believe it) the second Molly, Stein’s assistant, steps out from the backstage area leading the Golden boy himself, DAN STEIN out from the back with her. Stein wears a baby blue vest and hood. The Golden Boy stops to shadow box at the top of the ramp as Samantha continues to rattle off his accolades.
Samantha Coil: A TWO time former Sin City Champion, a ONE time former World Tag Team Champion and the Two Thousand and Twelve Redemption Rumble winner. He weighs in tonight at two hundred and fifteen pounds, from right here in Las Vegas Nevada… HE IS THE GOLDEN BOY. DAAAAAANNNNNNNN STEIIIIIIIIIN!
Stein raises his hands high over his head as the fans continue to rain down boos on him.
BAM! Stein, never seeing it coming, is LEVELED from behind by a running lariat from Eli Storm who is out from the back like a man possessed!
Other Guy: Whoa! here we go Eryk!
It’s not pretty but its frustrations released. Stein tries to scramble away, but Eli throws wild kicks and then drops a sloppy stiff elbow to Stein’s back. Stein half rolls, half army crawls down the ramp way towards the ring and both Toni and Tina approach quickly only for Storm to turn around and face the two of them. The crowd pops as Storm looks ready to fight anyone and anything that gets involved. The two don’t encroach any further but their presence buys Stein time to get into the ring and put himself sitting in the corner with Referee Willie Dean between him and Storm.
Storm slides into the ring now too and B-lines for Stein but Dean does his job as he’s supposed to, or at least attempts to but Storm blows right by him and before Stein can get out of the way… DIVING KNEE TO THE FACE! Spit flies from Stein’s mouth and Storm just keeps the assault going much to the chagrin of Stein’s entourage but to the pure JOY of the audience watching live tonight.
Eryk Masters: Haven’t even started this one officially and it could already be over.
Other Guy: Couple more well placed shots like that knee, and Storm can call himself number one contender to the Sin City Championship.
Willie Dean, fearful he might be knocked on his ass, hesitantly gets in between Stein and Storm again, exercising referee authority to get Storm to back away. Toni, Tina, and Molly are all in Stein’s corner now and Storm, just a ball of uncontrollable energy paces back and forth, sometimes jumps, I mean, he’s READY for this fight. Stein rubs his face, his jaw specifically, and his eyes tell a tale that he might not be entirely sure where he is.
The bell sounds a second time, the match is now officially under way. Stein stumbles about, his bearings lost when Storm charges back in at him, but this time Stein ducks half way out of the ring, clutching the ropes for dear life forcing Willie Dean, again, to keep Storm at bay. The once energetic crowd becomes annoyed as this tactic is exercised 3 more times by Stein, but the fourth attempt does not bode well for Stein as before he can get in between the ropes, Storm grabs him by the arm and whips him into the corner.
Storm follows through, but his rage has blinded him as Stein gets quick out of the corner and just SLAPS Storm upside the head. Storm is not hurt by this, just pissed off and Stein high tails it out of the ring only to be followed in hot pursuit of Storm. The chase does not last long as Toni and Tina step in again, this time creating a wall between Storm and Stein and Stein takes that moment to not only taunt Storm but irritate the crowd.
Other Guy: What’s that phrase Eryk, don’t poke the bear?
Eryk Masters:True, but doesn’t look like Storm is about to get tangled up with the Amazonians that are Toni and Tina which gives Stein free rein to taunt away.
Storm shakes his head shouting with clenched fists only for Toni and Tina to mock Storm, begging him to hit one of them. Stein, on the other side, puts on his best Andy Kaufman, pacing around and pointing to his head because "I’M SO SMART" he shouts.
Stein calls for Molly now demanding a chair, but when she doesn’t bring it and simply stands with crossed arms, it is Stein now who is distracted and Storm gets up onto the ring edge… AND LEAPS AT STEIN TAKING HIM DOWN! The crowd’s energy picks right back up and Storm rolls Stein into the ring. Stein in turn tries to get out but as he crawls away Storm STOMPS down on Stein’s ankle.
A second time! A Third Time! Each stomp causes Stein to shout in pain, face contorted. Storm keeps on the offense, getting him off the mat and into the corner… and here comes the PUNCHES TO THE FACE!
Over and over again, Storm lets Stein have it; knocking him for a loop before Stein falls to the mat and Storm makes a very aggressive cover.
Not aggressive enough though as Stein shoulders out at two… But Storm slams Stein’s shoulder back to the mat and with his other arm, pushes his hand into Stein’s face for another pin.
ONE! TWO! THR… Stein actually just BARELY gets out of that one, taking his one free arm and throwing a hail mary punch into Storm’s shoulder. His BAD shoulder.
Storm immediately tenses up and pulls back from Stein, a show of weakness in this otherwise adrenaline fueled man. Stein gets up to his feet, Storm kicks him in the gut, looks for a DDT but Stein counters out of it, twists the arm, ANOTHER punch to the shoulder. Then a third, fourth, and fifth just for good measure. Stein now controls the pacing of the match and keeps working the shoulder, changing between punches to it and chops across the chest.
With Storm up against the ropes Stein pushes him back and with the referee in a bad position, Stein GAUGES the eyes for an advantage. Very temporarily blinded, Storm swings his good arm violently, but misses Stein who barely had to side step to get out of the way. Storm’s own momentum works against him now as he ends up facing more towards the ropes and Stein goes onto the edge of the ring, grabs Storm’s arm and drops down off the mat, RACKING the arm on the top rope… only Stein doesn’t let go!
Eryk Masters: Stein hell bent on tearing that shoulder clear from its socket!
Storm tries to fight out of it, finally kicking through the ropes wildly and grazing Stein’s side. Stein lets go only to hop up on the apron, grab Storm’s arm and now run him into the corner, shoving him shoulder first into the turnbuckles!
Stein successfully has taken the wind out of Storm’s sails at this point and after landing a jumping double axe handle smash to Storm’s shoulder and taking the Incredible One of his feet, Stein makes his first pin attempt…
But it’s not the last. Storm is up after a two count.
Its slow going for a bit with Stein almost toying with Storm, almost to the point that the crowd has lost all interest. Storm’s shoulder continues to be the focus while Stein taunts and teases. Stomp to the shoulder, fist drop to the shoulder… Stein is basically making Storm a one-armed man.
"I can end this whenever I want, Eli!" Stein yells in the face of his opponent. "But not. just. yet."
Stein kicks Storm in the side, flipping him over onto his stomach and then he locks in a half camel clutch with just Storm’s bad arm in his grip and he shouts for Molly to give him a hand for leverage. Molly refuses which gets a pop out of the since oddly silent crowd who has had to watch as Stein slowly, methodically, dismantles Eli Storm.
"GIVE ME YOUR HAND!" Stein shouts at Molly again. She does not obey. Tina makes her way around to the other side of the ring and as she grabs Stein’s hand for added leverage, Toni comes around from the other side and silently intimidates Molly who shrinks back.
Willie Dean, about to ask Storm if he gives up actually turns his attention to Tina instead and doesn’t even issue a 5 count…
Tina can’t believe it, and Toni who’s focus was on Molly turns to Tina, also in disbelief!
Other Guy: One half of the She-Hulks is being ejected from ringside! Willie Dean got himself a set of balls tonight.
Eryk Masters: Not often are rules a priority in SHOOT Project, but sometimes our refs just say enough is enough.
The ejection of Tina from ringside has gotten the crowd back, and Stein throwing a near tantrum only makes them enjoy the moment that much more. Stein, visibly frustrated almost gets physically frustrated with Dean, but Toni points for Stein to turn around.
Somehow, someway Storm is up to his feet and a spinning heel kick finds its mark… the side of Stein’s head! Stein stumbles into the ropes, bounces off them not by his own volition, and with his one good arm Storm lands a hip toss. Stein up, another hip toss! Stein sits up, holding his back and Storm takes to the ropes, RUNNING BOOT TO THE FACE! Stein is laid out flat and Storm has to make a cover, a task much more difficult with one bad arm.
Eryk Masters: Stein kicks out and Storm is all legs and feet from here on out I think, OG.
Other Guy: Which for Storm that ain’t bad. I mean it takes Storm’s suplexes out of the game but the man’s fighting for everything tonight.
Eryk Masters: Like he said earlier in the week, if he’s going down he’s going down in a blaze of glory and I think that’s just what the man has in store!
Storm, possibly catching a second wind or simply, no longer having any feeling in his arm good or bad, takes control now kicking Stein all over the ring with no real desire for finesse. Stein manages to get into corner to get up off the mat and Stein hits a splash to Stein’s back, causing Stein’s chin to hit the corner turnbuckle ring. A small amount of blood pools up at the corner of Stein’s mouth and before Stein can turn around, Storm grabs him from the back of the head and WRENCHES him downward with a STIFF REVERSE DDT!
Stein clutches both sides of his head in pain, kicking his heels into the mat as Storm with another cover.
ONE! TW… Stein very forcefully rolls to his side, forcing the break. Storm is slower to get up now, but he gets up and he takes it all in. He breathes… heavily, his eyes wide, he looks around… but we’re not sure for what until Storm suddenly rolls out of the ring.
The last remaining bodyguard, Toni, goes to stop Storm as sure enough he lifts up the ring apron and emerges with a steel chair! Toni grabs the chair, but Storm holds onto it for dear life. a tug of war ensues… but Storm with only one good arm, can’t win it. so he intentionally lets go and the chair FLIES back into Toni’s FACE!
Stein right there though with a baseball slide to Storm… NO! Storm dodges and Stein’s legs dangle just outside of the ring, exposed as Storm grabs them both and just YANKS Stein out of the ring! Stein lands with a sickening thud of an impact onto the ground, but he’s not down there for long as Storm immediately gets him up and back into the ring… and like a mad man instead of going for the cover… GOES TO THE CORNER!
Other Guy: Nah see, this… this is where mistakes happen! Storm just needs to finish off Stein right here and right now!
Storm doesn’t hear what Other Guy says, he wouldn’t care even if he did. This is all for him, for the fans, for everything. IT. MEANS. EVERYTHING!
Caution to the wind, body to the air… ELI STORM… THE INCREDIBLE ONE… THE FLASH PHOTO MOMENT AS HE TWISTS THROUGH THE AIR WITH A CORKSCREW SENTON!
IF HE HITS… ITS OVER.
IF HE CRASHES….
But he doesn’t crash.
Eryk Masters: Welcome back Incredible One!
Hook of the leg.
THREE… TIMES A LADY, because that’s exactly what Toni is as she muscles Storm out of the ring!
The antics are enough Storm is ready, he’s shaking his one good arm, fist clenched. Molly watches on, not smiling, but not exactly doing anything to help Stein’s bodyguard.
The crowd is rabid now, shouts of "HIT HER" and "SMACK THAT BITCH!" echo from different parts of the Epicenter. Storm is feeling it, he’s feeling alive, feeding off the energy of a crowd that wants him to lose it in order to win. Willie Dean shouts at Toni, focused on Toni Storm winding up his eyes on the wrong prize…
Storm should know better than to turn his back on Stein.
The chair shot to the shoulder could be the beginning of the end.
Storm drops to one knee, clutching his shoulder in pain. Stein discards the chair immediately and then drives his elbow repeatedly into Storm’s shoulder. Unmercifully as the boos rain down upon him once more. Storm tries to fight up but each time Stein kicks him in the back of the leg followed by more elbows to the shoulder.
The referee calls for both men to get back into the ring and Stein aggressively brings Storm back in. Storm is spent. You can see it, and Stein, stands in wait, stalking over Storm.
"NOW. Yeah. NOW I END YOUR STUPID COMEBACK!"
When you’re poised for victory you don’t always expect a man in a full gold and glittery body suit to suddenly appear. Stein may have not even noticed the NEW SIN CITY CHAMPION, CHAOS, if it wasn’t for the fact that he is wearing a headset microphone and eating… NAY… SLURPING down a bowl of home-style chicken noodle soup which is being picked up by the microphone and being broadcast throughout the Epicenter.
Eryk Masters: Are there even words?
Other Guy: Its Chaos… what do you expect.
Eryk Masters:The New Sin City Champ, I can only imagine, is continuing to be like Dan Stein, right?
Other Guy: How do you… oh… Golden Boy… I see.
A very serious moment turns comical as Stein is in disbelief at what he’s seeing and the noise he’s hearing. "GET OUT OF HERE!" Stein waves off Chaos who just stands outside of the ring, enjoying his soup in a gold body suit. Chaos waves at Stein, but doesn’t move….
Stein steps forward and continues to shout at Chaos. "I’m DONE with you!"
Here’s the thing though, just as Storm should have not turned his back on Stein…
Stein realizes the same, but as he goes to rectify the situation, he gets almost an entire face full of SUPER KICK!
The impact startles Chaos who spills the remainder of his soup, but no crying over spilled… soup. Chaos cheers, as do the fans as Eli collapses on top of Stein.
Eryk Masters: Stein got out of the way of some of that but not all of it.
Stein just… JUST musters out. Storm gets up..first to a knee, then to vertical position. He shakes his head, he may be crying slightly out of frustration. And then… he calls for it.
THE RATINGS BOOST.
Other Guy: It’s all or nothing time!
Storm, hurting, lifts Stein slowly up and he locks his arms around Stein’s waist. The crowd starts up to their feet. Stein though fights with blind elbows. Storm doesn’t let go. Stein fights more but Storm, despite it all, rolls backwards, looking to finish off with the CHAOS THEORY SUPLEX, but before Storm can roll all the way through, Stein’s agility sees him roll through the roll and he quickly gets up, and with Storm’s legs in the air he pulls them down so all of Storm’s own weight and Stein’s weight rests on Storm’s shoulders which are firmly pinned to the mat!
A sneaky pull of the tights for good measure.
The bell sounds for a third time, the final time in this match, and while Storm writhes on the mat in pain Stein is the one to stand up over him… victorious.
Samantha Coil: The Winner of this match, and the NEW Number One Contender to the Rules of Surrender Championship…. DANNNNN STEIIIIIIN!!!
Stein sizes up Storm now and an eerie deja vu sets in throughout the Epicenter.
Eryk Masters: Come on, really? You won the damn match, Dan. What more do you need?
Other Guy: Don’t think this is about Storm so much as it is sending a message to Kale Tanev now, Eryk.
Stein slowly starts to smile, he entertains the idea of putting the American Key Lock on Storm… but then he notices Chaos slowly inching forward. This makes Stein smile bigger but also abandon his potential idea. "The Touch" starts to play again as Stein instead backs out of the ring on the opposite side of where Chaos stands and leaves through the crowd flanked by Toni and Molly.
Eli Storm remains in the ring… the question now being, is this the last time we’ll see him there?
The lights die down as the start of HORIZON by D’espairs Ray fills the arena. Spotlights search through the arena, unable to find a single fan sitting down. Seemingly every person in the building had risen to their feet and started hollering and screaming at the top of their lungs.
The words “CAN YOU FEEL THE NEW WORLD?” scribble across the SHOOT-Tron in elaborate silver script for a moment. The searchlights converge on the ramp, Maya stands in the center of the beams and holds the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title high above his head. He walks down the aisle, still a noticeable limp in his leg and a wince with each step. Still, Maya reaches out with his free hand and makes sure to tag hands with all that reach for him.
Maya finally slides into the ring, and when the lights all shine on back to normal the effects of the ten on one massacre still linger on his body. His right eye still outlined in purple, but opening ever so slightly now. The other eye drags down with a deep sleepless black bag. His hand holds the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title steady on his shoulder, but the fingertips holding the microphone in the other hand seem to still tremble and quake. Even still, the crowd roars and cheers their approval, so loud that it echoes through to the rows furthest back and upward to the highest rafters.
Maya can’t help but smile.
Maya: I came out here because I wanted to apologize, to all of you.
Maya takes a deep breath, he tries to hide a low cough but the microphone still catches it.
Maya: It’s been too long since I’ve been out here, too long since I’ve wrestled, and too long since I’ve told you how much you all mean to me. I’m your champion, I am your defender, and your voice… and yet it feels like I’ve been gone for so long.
He grips the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title on his shoulder.
Maya: In honesty, I’ve been licking my wounds ever since… ever since I was put in this ring against ten other men that wanted to end my career.
The sound of contempt rumbles through the voices of almost every one in attendance.
Maya: I know, it was… it was a scary time for me, and it still is. I’m still feeling the effects of that night even now, weeks after it happened I can still feel everything that I endured that night, I can feel it gripping at my soul, and gripping at my mind. I would stay up at night and ask myself why I deserved that, who I pissed off enough that they’d want to not only end my career but potentially cripple me in the process. I mean, when you’re champion you expect to have a target on you at all times but this… this was so much more than that. There was only one thing that could make someone sink so low, and I’ve seen it countless times before.
Maya’s eyes drift to the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title.
Maya: That being said, I want to make sure that whoever put me in that position knows… I’m still here.
The crowd explodes with jubilation, they start the chant Maya’s name faster than ever.
Maya: I’m beat up, I hurt all over, and it aches just to sit down, but I’m still standing. I can still fight, and I will continue to fight, no matter how shit this all feels right now. I’ll fight through it and fight through whatever nightmare you can come up with next.
Maya simply smiles.
Maya: Whoever you are, if you want this, if you want what I have? I’m here, I’m ready, and I will fight.
"Tonight We’re GOING HAR-HAR-HAR-HARHARHARD"
Other Guy: Is this… Did HE?
Eryk Masters: We may be about to find out OG.
Loco Martinez steps out to a noticeable, 70/30 mixed reaction. He’s in jeans and an old school yellow ‘You can’t spell Main Event without ME!’ t-shirt.
Other Guy: Sounds like some of the Epicenter is suspicious of the Freakshow.
He cocks an eyebrow at this, but quickly stomps towards the ring. Paying no mind to the crowd around him. He quickly rolls under the bottom rope and pops up. He walks right to Maya. His eyes go right to the SHOOT Project World Championship belt that rests on Maya’s shoulder, before he looks the champ right in the eye. A PA tosses him a mic. He quickly pulls it to his lips.
Loco: Is there something you want to ask me?
Maya’s eyes narrow at the aggression from his friend. He goes to pull the mic to his lips, but Loco interrupts.
Loco: Because it FEELS like there is something you wanna ask… or… ya know… ACCUSE me of doing, planning, plotting, being a part of. It sounds like a LOT of THEM *He gestures to the crowd* – have a similar query… SO?
Maya looks towards the ground, then slowly back up at the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title. He can see Loco in it.
Maya: You and I have seen good times together, Loc. In recent years we’ve become the best of friends, you had my back and I had yours. I’ve been to every party you’ve thrown and I’ve shared the best of times with you. But… it wasn’t always like that was it, Loco? We weren’t always the best of friends and we didn’t always see eye to eye. There was a time when you used to look at me with disgust because of the choices I made in life, you remember that tag match? Shinya and I stood proudly against you and your partner, and you came down to the ring in surgical scrubs and covered in plastic wrap because you thought we were diseased. You flung every distasteful slur my way and I never forgot that, Loco, I never for a second forgot it. But I still forgave you, I still hugged you, and I still ate cake at all your parties like a good guest should.
Before the crowd can make a reaction, Maya holds his free hand up to silence them.
Maya: Now I know that isn’t you today, I’ve seen the way you live your life and you’ve held that demon back for a long time. But this…?
Maya holds up the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Title as high as his trembling arm will allow, the crowd surges behind him. Loco eyes the Championship lustily. Maya’s words snap Loco’s gaze away from the belt.
Maya: I’ve seen this turn angels to demons and kind men to savages. I’ve seen promises broken and I’ve seen needless blood spilled in its name. Good men, Loco, I’ve seen good men revert to darkness because of this. And I can’t think of anyone else, Loc, I can’t think of anyone else who would stand to gain from my being put on the shelf more than you. With you the rightful heir, winner of Master of Mat, it would be given to you on a silver platter, no one else would gain more than you, no one, so what am I supposed to think, Loc, huh? What am I supposed to think?
Loco: You’re SUPPOSED to think one of your closest friends wouldn’t stoop to THAT. But I know… I know what our past is. I know what I’ve done. And I know what THAT *He points at the Championship* can do to men. That siren has been singing many a good and decent man to shipwreck. Because when I look at that Championship? There IS a bit of me that will do ANYTHING… AN. Y. THING. To feel that leather around my waist. To feel the weight of that gold. So yes… I will do anything…
Crowd is booing. Loco smirks.
Loco: Like Meatloaf sang… but I won’t do THAT. I want what you have, Maya. I want that Championship, and at Master of the Mat I will absolutely do everything I can to take it from you. In this ring. But I am not behind that attack. It wasn’t me trying to soften you up.
Some of the crowd boos, not believing Loco. He ignores them and looks Maya straight in the eye.
Loco: I can’t give you any answers. I don’t have the slightest idea who would be, but I can say I have every intention of Maya versus Loco being the epic encounter it can… and SHOULD be. Two men fighting for every GOOD thing that Championship stands for. So you ask me what you’re supposed to think? You can think whatever you WANT, but KNOW… It wasn’t me… and I want YOU to know…
Loco points at the title. His eyes again resting on the Prize of Prizes lustily. He sings softly.
Loco: One… Two… Loco’s coming for YOU!
Loco drops the mic and quickly rolls out of the ring. He backs up the ramp slowly. Continuing to stare down the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship. He even goes so far to blow the Championship a kiss. Maya remains in the ring, trembling arm still has the SHOOT Project World Title hoisted into the air.
Maya: Loc, next time we fight… make sure it’s just you and me, yeah?
An audible "Ooooooh" groans through the arena, even making Loco stop at the top of the ramp and glare back at Maya.
We’re running through a backstage corridor, the scene swaying from side to side to keep up with Billy Winter. Someone is filming him from a high definition cell phone camera, Winter’s feathered locks blowing out behind his shoulders as he picks up speed. He’s carrying a metal bucket in his hand, and it’s sloshing from side to side, splashes of water hitting the floor as he goes.
Suddenly we turn a corner and see DONOVAN KING walking down the hallway, his back turned to the approaching Winter.
Winter picks up speed, sprinting like some corrupt version of The Flash…and JUST as King starts to turn around, Winter DUMPS THE CONTENTS OF THE BUCKET ON KING’S HEAD!!! Freezing cold water with huge chunks of ice in it STUNS King, his breath catching in his throat as he stumbles forward a step.
Billy wastes no time, proceeding to BASH the metal bucket into the back of King’s head before he can recover! King goes down HARD…a little gash opened up on the back of his skull along the bottom of the hairline.
Billy drops down and just starts to MUG King, his right hand working like a piston and he just SLAMS his fist into the side of King’s head over and over AGAIN!!!
Winter is like a man possessed by a legion of demons, the prettyboy’s eyes shining with unnatural serenity.
He ends the assault by grabbing King’s head and just SMASHING it downward into the concrete…some of King’s blood oozing out to merge with the ice water puddle on the floor.
Winter turns to look up at the camera. He puffs a lock of hair out of his eyes, proceeding to lean up against the wall while sitting next to his prone victim.
Winter: So…just to clarify. I totally didn’t do this for ALS. I did this…because dumping a bucket of ice water on a dude’s head is pretty much GUARANTEED to surprise the shit outta him just long enough for me to get some really good shots in.
Billy shakes his head, smirking that little smirk of his.
Winter: Naïve ass people. Go ahead and keep donating to your little “spine and brain” disease…I’ll save my money for a WORTHY cause…something like Project: HERO, for fuck’s sake!!
Billy sneers, turning his attention back to King. His voice rips out of his mouth in a ragged, unstable scream.
Winter: DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, YOU POOR MAN’S KANYE??? I AM THE IRON FIST CHAMPION…YOU DO NOT TAKE MY SPOT. YOU DO NOT STEAL MY SHINE. YOU NEVER, NEVER…FUCKING EVER…GET ONE OVER ON ME!
Billy leans forward, digging his fingers into King’s shoulder as he speaks to the unconscious Soldier.
Winter: You got LUCKY with Elgin last week. That was just…a fluke moment. Flukes are not ALLOWED in our story, Donovan. This about tarnishing your legacy and pulling the proud lion down from his throne by the TAIL. AM I RIGHT???
Suddenly whoever is holding the camera lashes out and KICKS King violently in the ribs with a mud-encrusted work boot.
The camera rotates, and we’re greeted by a close-up shot of Elgin Blair’s face. Blair’s ruddy features contort until we’re greeted with a foul smile…a little bit of tobacco chaw oozing out of the corner of his mouth.
Blair: Right as rain.
Elgin turns the camera back around to film Winter, the Iron Fist Champ still glaring down at King.
Winter: So uhh…how bout you just chill out here for awhile, yeah? Think about what I said. Doesn’t matter how mighty you are, Donovan. Even the mightiest, most unsinkable ship can and will sink…if a big enough iceberg comes around. Titanic taught me that.
Billy turns to Elgin for a moment.
Winter: It also taught me that Kate Winslet has some cute little titties.
The camera rises up and down slightly as Elgin nods in agreement.
Winter leans forward and lightly taps one of the bigger chunks of ice with the toe of his boot, sending it sliding across the floor until it collides with King’s head.
The last shot we see is the crimson-smeared chunk of ice next to King’s face before the feed cuts to black.
We open to Tanev making his way down the ramp for a change, seeming to switch it up a bit compared to his usual entrance from the crowd. “All My Life” by the Foo Fighters blares overhead, and we notice Tanev is actually wearing WRESTLING briefs this time around, the color a stark red with the KT logo etched onto them in black stitching.
Compared to recent appearances where Tanev has come to the ring wearing those old worn basketball shorts, it seems the nomad that represents the Rules of Surrender Division is making major strides in attempting to actually LOOK the wrestling part.
Dresden is already in the ring, pacing back and forth and clapping his hands to rally the crowd. The Bluegrass Badass locks eyes with Tanev as he enters the ring, and then he points outside of the ring…seeming to signify that sooner or later, Buck plans to throw Tanev into “THAT THERE MUD HOLE!”
Eryk Masters: Gotta admit, the Rules of Surrender Champion is looking more and more like a professional wrestler with each week that passes.
Other Guy: He’s piecing things together bit by bit. Give the man time…baby steps, E!
Tanev and Buck waste no time getting into the thick of things, the bell still ringing in both men’s ears when Buck starts laying the lumber onto Tanev with haymaker punches. Tanev gets driven back into the buckles, trying to cover up…and for much of the match Buck dominates.
Rather it be via punches, clotheslines, or tosses…the larger man seems to have the FORMULA for keeping Tanev on the ropes! Tanev keeps the fight going, occasionally blasting back at Buck and gaining separation.
There’s a certain DESPERATION in Tanev’s eyes…it’s like seeing a dog that’s used to being beaten and mistreated backed up into a corner. He knows this is life or death, he KNOWS this is do or die…and he’s trying with everything he has to hang with the larger competitor.
Other Guy: Would you listen to all of Buck’s MOTHER BUCKERS out there in the crowd? They go WILD for Southern Sexy…and he seems totally in control of the pacing of this match!
Eryk Masters: Seemed like Tanev lost whatever strategy he may have had in mind for this match the moment Buck threw that first slobberknocker right hand into his mouth!
Other Guy: Kale has dealt with a ton of struggle and strife in his life. I think his mind might be a little clouded over with the idea of finances and bonuses and things like that…the money he needs to make JUST to keep his head above water. That’s all well and good…but what Kale needs to focus on right NOW is the Bluegrass Badass…
A big boot from Buck rocks Tanev into a turnbuckle…but he responds by bursting out of the turnbuckle corner with some STINGING muay thai kicks directed into Buck’s ribs!! Buck is SURPRISED…and he’s flailing backwards.
Buck is staggering…AND TANEV CLEANS HIS CLOCK WITH A SPINNING BACKFIST, THE MOTHER BUCKERS IN THE CROWD LETTING OUT A COLLECTIVE GASP WHEN THE BIG MAN DROPS LIKE A SACK OF BRICKS!!!
Buck is struggling for breath, using the ropes to try and pull himself back up…but the Rules of Surrender nomad has taken this opportunity to scale the closest turnbuckle.
Buck stumbles to his feet and swings around to find his opponent; fists raised up…BUT THE ONLY THING HE FINDS IS A FLYING KALE TANEV!!! The missile dropkick hits Buck like a TORPEDO…Southern Sexy rolling backwards and CLEAN OUTTA THE RING!!!!
Other Guy: WELL SUCKLE MY GOSH DARN BUCKLE, TANEV BELIEVES HE CAN FLY…AND I’D SAY BUCK BELIEVES IT TOO!!!
Eryk Masters: Did you SEE that impact??? Dresden runs the risk of being counted out after a hit like that!
Buck struggles up to his feet, using the apron to pull himself up. He’s obviously dazed and having a hard time of it. Tanev seems to consider things for a moment…THEN HE HITS THE ROPES AND LEAPS OVER THE TOP ROPE, TAKING OUT DRESDEN YET AGAIN WITH A HUGE CROSS BODY!!!
Dresden FLIES back into the security barrier, the back of his skull smacking it hard…and he crumples to his side while holding the back of his head!
Eryk Masters: WHAT?!?! Tanev going for broke there…and it DEFINITELY paid off!!!
Other Guy: Kale has NO PROBLEM going high risk…and it looks like Buck is wallowing in his very own mud pit right about now!
Kale forces himself back up to his own feet, holding his own ribs from the impact of the cross body…and he just CHUCKS Buck back into the ring under the bottom rope.
Kale follows him in, Buck rising up to his knees…and TANEV WALKS RIGHT INTO A FALLAWAY SLAM!!!
It seems almost like a LAST GASP from Buck Dresden, and he uses what strength he has left to drape an arm over Tanev’s chest for the pinfall.
BUT IT ONLY EARNS HIM A TWO COUNT!!!!
Sweat POURS down Buck’s face, the frustration in his eyes damn near HEARTRENDING…but the big man pulls himself up, grabbing for Tanev’s head to pull him back up to his feet…
But Tanev’s arms shoot up and LOCK onto Buck’s neck, pulling him downward towards the canvas before TIGHTENING with every big of pressure he can put forth!!!
Other Guy: THE DESCENDER!!! He’s got it locked in TIGHT!
Eryk Masters: This is DANGEROUS for Dresden…a modified form of a guillotine choke can sap all the energy and fight right out of you in record time.
Buck is struggling HARD, his arms flailing and reaching towards the ropes. He manages to use his legs to push himself a little closer to the bottom rope…but Kale PULLS back on the choke even more, Buck’s face taking on a shade of purple.
Other Guy: Is he going to tap? He runs the risk of being choked out here!
Eryk Masters: I don’t think the Bluegrass Badass is the type of competitor to tap out…but he’s obviously hurting right now, the “live to fight another day” theory comes into play…
Dresden makes one final REACH towards the ropes, his eyes bulging from his head…but finally he’s forced to tap a hand against Kale’s shoulder.
The bell rings loudly as Tanev finally breaks the hold.
Samantha Coil: HERE IS YOUR WINNER BY SUBMISSION….ADVANCING IN THE MASTER OF THE MAT TOURNAMENT…THE RULES OF SURRENDER CHAMPION…KALE TANEV!!!
Kale rolls to the side, breathing hard from exertion…but the look of relief in his eyes clear.
Other Guy: Talk about a very competitive match. Kale keeps this Master of the Mat winning streak going…this man is just TEARING through the tournament like a force of nature.
Eryk Masters: I think what it comes down to is this; OG…Kale Tanev has been to rock bottom before. He’s been as low as a human being can go in life. He’s a survivor…and when he’s presented with ANY kind of opportunity? He makes the absolute most of it EVERY SINGLE TIME. He’s acutely aware of how valuable these opportunities are…and he never takes a match for granted.
Other Guy: Definitely a great point…gotta agree with that.
The shot zooms in for a moment on Kale rising slowly to his feet with the Rules of Surrender Championship held close to his chest.
Eryk Masters: This is by far one of the most competitive years we’ve ever had in the Master of the Mat tournament…can’t wait to see who else advances!
We fade on a victorious Kale Tanev receiving a strong ovation from the crowd.
Chaos is standing behind a table in what appears to be an area of Las Vegas that would seriously disappoint the tourists. This is an area of low socio-economic levels. He is standing behind a table, on the front of the table is a crudely written sign that reads “Free Soup”. There are a whole bunch of plastic bowls on the table. Behind him is a small two burner gas stove top with a large pot.
Chaos is dressed in jeans, and a T-shirt that reads “Champion of Sin City”, his face paint is red, with a black ‘smile lines stretching from the edges of his mouth to his ears and he has highlighted his eyes with black outlines. The Sin City Championship belt is tightly wrapped around his waist.
There is a line of down on their luck residents of Las Vegas, all standing waiting for their free soup from the SHOOT Project Sin City Champion. Chaos carefully doles a ladle full soup into each bowl and hands it to the luckless man at the front of the line, before he moves to the next bowl and the next poor soul. He smiles and fills another bowl.
The distinctive distorted chords of the intro to Joe Walsh’s ‘Turn to Stone’ fill the Epicenter causing the fans to burst into a cacophony of disapproval. The object of their contempt appears on the ramp kitted out in a gray Saville Row suit and is armed with a sand brown satchel. He straightens the knot on his Boston University red tie and smiles as he scans the arena taking in the boos and jeers that greet his arrival.
Eryk Masters: Cross Recoba has wasted no time making himself known here at the SHOOT Project!
Other Guy: What was he meant to do? Send round glossy eight by tens? Maybe hold a bake-sale at the tailgate party?
Recoba makes his way down the aisle slowly, absorbing the atmosphere. He spots a cameraman in the aisle and leans in pointing at his blue gingham shirt.
Recoba: Dean Anderson, Crispins Tailors!
Eryk Masters: Did he just plug his tailor?
Other Guy: Word-of-mouth advertising has it’s place…
Cross reaches ringside and approaches Samantha Coil. He flashes a pearly white smile as he takes the microphone and steps on the apron.
Eryk Masters: Recoba isn’t booked tonight….
Other Guy: And if the rumors are correct he’s going to be on his best behavior!
Recoba steps between the ropes and walks to the center of the ring.
Recoba: Cut the music!
The music stops, magnifying the crowd’s hostility. A smile breaks out across Recoba’s face
Recoba: The last time you all saw me you bore witness to the most effective and deadly submission, not just in the company, but in the industry!
Eryk Masters: Not short on confidence, is he?
Recoba: Now, I know you’ve all probably heard – Dutch was disappointed in my actions last time I was out here in the Epicenter. How I couldn’t just go around assaulting members of the public…
Eryk Masters: It was nothing but the actions of a common thug
Recoba: So, as I’m largely amused by the actions of those who have ‘morals’ and what they do for money, let’s have some fun. Vegas, you want some fun?
Cross pulls out a football from the satchel and the crowd start to hesitantly cheer
Recoba: Who wants to throw a pigskin around for cash? Say….ten-thousand dollars?
The crowd pop at this, the camera scans to show hands shoot up in the air to be noticed. Recoba rolls out of the ring and sees a child at ringside. He must be about seven. He goes to reach a college kid but decides against it. He stops in front of the child.
Recoba: Say, kid, what’s your name?
Recoba: Want to win some money for your family?
The kid smiles and nods, his father’s hand grips his shoulder.
Recoba: Vegas, do you want to see it?
The crowd erupt in support for the child. The security guards let the father and son over the rails and Recoba parts the bottom rope for Trent to step through whilst his father steps through the middle rope.
Recoba: Now, sir, if I can just get you to sign this document, it’s standard procedure for appearing on television.
Recoba whips out a document from the satchel with a pen and hands it to the father who signs it immediately. Cross sets down the satchel and drops down to Trent’s level.
Recoba: Trent, all you have to do is catch the football when I throw it to you. Don’t worry, I was a wide-receiver in High School, not a quarterback so I haven’t got an arm like a traction engine. Think you can do that?
Recoba: Go into the far corner and we’ll have a practice run or two.
Trent goes to the furthest corner and stands awaiting the throw. Cross launches the softest pass seen since Clara Bow visited the USC Football team that lands easily in the kid’s hands.
Cross: One more and we do it for real, okay.
Trent again nods, his father can be heard encouraging him, his own face filling with glee at the thought of the extra cash. Cross launches another pass that even a paraplegic could catch. The ball is returned.
Cross: Right, Trent, here it is, the big one, ready?
The kid seems prepared. Cross places the microphone down and winds up, he beans the kid as hard as he can in the face. Trent bursts into tears as the crowd break into hatred and jeers.
Cross: Aww, bad luck kid, so close too. Sorry folks, no-one is going home with the cash…no getting rich tonight.
Trent’s father starts to head towards Cross. Recoba quickly leans into the camera.
Cross: Dutch, sorry but this one’s legal…
Cross drops the mic and lets the parent land a punch on him before kicking him in the ribs and putting him in Garibaldi’s Guillotine. The parent is in agony and Trent is made to suffer further by watching his father in pain. A referee rushes down to ringside along with Dutch.
The referee instantly signals to Cross that he break the hold because the parent is done. Cross drops the man to the floor and picks up the paperwork and drops it on the father’s back. Recoba falls onto his back, grabbing the satchel and rolls out the ring.
Eryk Masters: Recoba’s smiling but he’s not going to be when Dutch gets a hold of him.
Dutch is in the ring now and the cameraman locks onto the Road Agent. He picks up the paper as we peer over his shoulder and see in bright red lettering at the top of the page ‘WAIVER AGAINST INJURY’
Other Guy: Ha! Dutch can’t say a word!
The boos fill the arena as the camera switches to Cross laughing and shaking his head as he heads up the ramp.
Tonight’s story finds itself away from the ring, somewhere tucked away inside the "Soldier’s Quarters", an off limits areas to anyone without proper identification. Interviews are conducted with the press. Soldier’s prepare for their battles. The locker rooms are back here. It’s self policed, vulnerable to the governing policies or lack thereof determined by its inhabitants.
But now… here, it’s a simple interview.
Dutch Harris, a former SHOOT Project tag team champion, current road agent, and columnist for SP Backstage Pass, stands in front of a simple SHOOT Project backdrop. Black with the familiar SHOOT Helmet in white. He has on a SHOOT Project maroon polo, tucked into black slacks.
He’s standing, with a television microphone in hand, alongside JONNY JOHNSON and PAUL JARVIS. Jonny is in a grey suit, with a light pink button-up and matching grey tie. Expensive shoes, a silver watch around his wrist. Jarvis, meanwhile, holding gingerly at the back his head, is in a light blue shirt; the words "To Forgive Is Divine" written across the front in white cursive lettering, hanging over wrestling trunks. He has his "gear" on. Boots, pads. He looks ready for action. Or at least… WAS ready for action at some juncture.
Dutch Harris: Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, I’m here with Project: Hero founder, and former SHOOT Project World Champion, and (almost smugly, with a very subtle eye roll) Director of Project: Hero’s SHOOT Project Chapter"… Jonny Johnson and Paul Jarvis, respectively…
Jonny and Paul nod solemnly, while Dutch proceeds.
Dutch Harris: Jonny, I understand you just arrived at the Epicenter about ten minutes ago, and I appreciate you taking the time to chat about what was… well… (Shrugging) A horrific start to Revolution One Twenty Nine.
Jonny agrees with Dutch.
The DEFILER: From what I’ve heard happened, it absolutely was, but kudos to the organization for moving on in the professional manner they did. It’s important that… in… (searching for the words) Times of duress, we don’t uhhh… I guess… jump the gun and make martyrs out of people. The company reacted timely and buried it. (Nodding) They did the best they could with an unfortunate circumstance.
Dutch seems wary of Jonny’s responses and cuts in almost immediately with his next point.
Dutch Harris: And to the people who see this as… (Carefully chosing his words) another situation where…
With a pat on the shoulder from Jarvis, Jonny aptly waves Dutch off before he can finish.
The DEFILER: I’m not validating any conspiracy theories, Dutch. You and the rest of the world are entirely free to believe anything you chose.
Jarvis takes his turn to speak up after Dutch’s "silencing".
Paul Jarvis: Dutch, sometimes the G-Man acts in mysterious ways. Sometimes, even ways that are downright frustrating. (Rubbing at the back of his head) I had to go to the bathroom about ten minutes before the show started. As I was AT THE BATHROOM STALL, Dutch, I was viciously attacked from behind. I was vulnerable and exposed. I did everything to fight back, but the attacks wouldn’t stop coming. I tried to turn around and I got PUNCHED. IN. MY EYE. (Pointing to his eye, which DOES look bruised). I’m now blinded, trunks down at my ankles. There were at least TWO of them, Dutch. They threw me into the wall and I passed out.
Jonny shakes his head at the tragedy, and Jarvis continues.
Paul Jarvis: When I came to… (reaching into the back of his trunks) I found these…
He holds out and presents a handful of colored streamers. Bright orange and green.
Paul Jarvis: I don’t want to speculate in public, but God’s message was never more clear…
Dutch doesn’t quite seem to understand, and Jonny picks up on his confusion.
The DEFILER: Those "streamers" are the same ones Gio Aurelia wore to the ring, Dutch. He and Tom Banks were obviously corrupted in our absence… coerced into this juvenile plot… something that WE PROMISE will never happen again. We acted on the illusion of trust, but that simply isn’t the world we live in.
He pauses very briefly.
The DEFILER: I think tonight showed why Project: Hero is NECESSARY for SHOOT’s survival. Where was everyone? There’s an ENTIRE ROSTER, man. And they sent out low grade security and "officials"? Where is the MOXIE? Where is the LEADERSHIP? Two kids, great competitors… pitted against a pair of veterans seeking career redemption. Fuck! (Frustrated) That should have been a HELL of a fight, Dutch. A Clean. Competitive. Fight. We should be here PRESENTING A CHECK FOR THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS to one of those two teams, to go toward a charity of THEIR CHOICE! but… instead…
He sighs, deflated. Jarvis pats him on the back, encouraging him to persevere.
The DEFILER: (Deep breath, shaking his head) Gio. Tom. We forgive you, and we want to work with you. We want to find out WHY you helped orchestrate that horrible assault. T-Rex and Angel… we’re sorry for what happened and sincerely wish you both a speedy recovery. And to the members of Vermont’s Finest… We’d like to make that THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR DONATION in YOUR NAME for all the wonderful acts of bravery you’ve committed in the last several months.
"You are, all three, truly an inspiration to fans like me, and exactly what Project: Hero is hoping to promote."
Jarvis sighs now.
Paul Jarvis: I’m sorry I let us down… I…
Jonny grabs Paul’s shoulder.
The DEFILER: Stop. Okay? This is on BOTH OF US. We live and we learn, my man… We’ll fix it.
Paul seems reasonably reassured and Jonny turns back to Dutch.
The DEFILER:Which means it’s time took myself off the shelf and got back out there! I need to be more active and we NEED another Golden Age. The third, man… A THIRD GOLDEN AGE, Dutch. I wasn’t ready as a Tag Champion. My brain was in a bad spot during the Wars of my reign with the World Title, but now…
He looks at Jarvis and both men give a reaffirming, half-grin.
The DEFILER: The pieces are in place. The VISION is finally fucking clear, and it’s HIGH TIME I GOT MY BUTT BACK IN THE RING. WHERE. IT. BELONGS!
A pause. A beat.
The DEFILER: And, Dutch… I will make that return…
"AT MASTER OF THE MAT!"
Jarvis pumps his fist and joins in the excitement.
Paul Jarvis: And so will PAUL JARVIS. I will return…
"AT MASTER OF THE MAT!"
The DEFILER: We’re going to scout ALL OVER THE GLOBE to bring in opponents that will challenge us to our very core. Our peers. Maybe EVEN OUR BETTERS. Opponents who could very well SPOIL EVERYTHING! Opponents who could… end our careers.
"Because we GO HARD. OR WE GO HOME, Dutch!"
Jonny looks forward, into the cameras.
The DEFILER: That’s an open challenge to the world.
Paul Jarvis: Project: Hero WANTS. YOU!
Jarvis points forward, and Jonny pats Dutch on the shoulder.
The DEFILER: Thanks for the time, Dutch. You’re good at this, man. We appreciate it.
Jonny starts to walk away and Jarvis follows, giving Dutch a parting "Farewell slap" on the shoulder as well.
Paul Jarvis: Great interview.
Both men go into this match knowing that a place in the final four of the ‘Master of the Mat’ tournament is at stake. Equally the fans are just as psyched to see which one of the two fan favorites was going to progress. ‘Carry on my Wayward My Wayward Son’ kicks into force over the sound system and pushes the fans over the edge, cheering in excitement as Trey Willett strides out from the back. His hands stretch to slap the fans outstretched hands but his eyes show the focus he is bringing into the match.
The crowd’s excitement for the match doesn’t dim as ‘One Track Mind’ starts to play. Aiden Miles emerges at the top of the ramp with an equally steely look on his face, clearly determined to make sure that he keeps up his impressive showing on his guest invitation to the tournament. He rolls into the ring and leans into the corner, both men staring at each other with unbroken gazes as Austin Linam calls for the bell.
The two men meet in the ring with a quick handshake before both men step back and begin to circle one another. Willett grabs a headlock on Miles but the Floridian native twists out to a waistlock on the SHOOT Project mainstay before taking a headlock of his own. Miles tries to take over Willett but Trey uses the slight few pounds he has on the underdog to firmly plant his feet down and block the move. Miles tries again but Willet again stands his ground. Aiden raises a knee into the gut of Trey and keeps hold of the headlock. He once again tries to take over his opponent but the guy from Kansas counters by lifting him up for an atomic drop…Miles rolls through with the takedown! Willett wastes no time shifting his body weight and using it to get to his feet. Miles keeps hold of the headlock but Willett uses the momentum to push Miles against the ropes and send him running across the ring.
Willet leapfrogs Miles on his return then tries for an armdrag but Miles rolls through and keeps running baseball sliding through Trey’s legs and rests against the ropes. Willett rushes him but Miles back-body drops him to the floor!
Eryk Masters: What a frantic start from these two men! Clearly a place in the semi-finals is on both of their minds!
The Other Guy: Willett’s mind will probably be thinking of more immediate matters….
The crowd erupts at the frenetic start between the two cruiserweight wrestlers. Miles smiles and steps through the ropes and looks for a moonsault from the apron to the floor but Willett catches him. He runs and slams the back of Miles against the apron before rolling him into the ring. Willett gets to the apron and sees Miles holding his back. He picks up Miles and lifts him straight into a russian leg-sweep, not missing a moment to hone in on the damage his earlier move might have cause.
Eryk Masters: Willett was vocal this week about all that mattered to him was getting through this match to the next stage.
Trey rolls through with the move bringing both men to their feet and delivers payback from the knee-strike by delivering one of his own to the ribcage of Miles before lifting him over into a belly-to-back suplex. He looks for the pin.
Miles lifts a shoulder, determined to not go out as easily as that. He’s lifted to his feet by Willett who gives him a kidney shot to further work the back of Miles before looking for an irish whip which Aiden reverses.
Willett comes off the ropes but Miles drops down, The Wayward Son comes back and Miles meets him with a jawbreaker to send his opponent reeling. He follows it up with a dropkick to send Willett down momentarily. He pops back up to be met with a spinning heel kick as the crowd cheer this flurry of offense from the outsider. He jumps to the top rope and the crowd’s anticipation grows. He leaps off as Willett gets to his feet and looks for a top-rope hurricanrana but Trey viciously slams him down in a powerbomb!
Eryk Masters: That will have done his back no favors there!
The Other Guy: Willett was acting on instinct there, maybe Miles’ time outside the ring shone through there as Trey wasn’t as damaged from that spate of offense as he thought!
Eryk Masters: Willett won’t complain. He has been heard saying that it doesn’t matter how you get there – The Master of the Mat is all that matters!
Willett again sees Miles reaching for his back as he rolls on his side. Trey follows the power move up with a quick dropkick right to the back of ‘The Standard’. He grabs a front-facelock on Miles and lifts him up and over in a swift snap suplex into a pin.
Trey can’t believe Miles kicked out over lifting a shoulder but he picked him up by the hair. Miles, in his own move out of instinct, tries for an inside-cradle.
Tw…Willett rolls it over!
Tw….Miles again kicks out.
Both men scramble to their feet and Miles ducks a clothes before coming back with a flying forearm. Miles again charges at Willett and lands a back elbow. He can feel the crowd getting behind him and lifts up The Willenium and tries to send him into the turnbuckle but Trey reverses the move.
Willett charges at Miles and drives a shoulder into the gut of his opponent. Miles bows under the pressure allowing Trey to pull him out from the corner only to send him back shoulder first into the ring-post. The crowd opinion over the course of the match has switched from split to slowly turning against the Trey Willett who has made the tournament his Alpha and Omega.
Willett lifts up his opponent onto the top-turnbuckle and gives him a shot to the forehead to keep him stunned. He climbs to second turnbuckle before planting one foot up top, looking for a superplex.
Eryk Masters: This could be it if he hits this move!
Miles throws a blind forearm that connects with Willett, the crowd cheer as he lands another. The place cheer even louder as his third sends Willett back to the mat. He steadies himself on top of the ropes and sees Trey rise to his feet. He leaps off and wraps his legs round the neck of the Kansas native but WILLETT TURNS IT INTO A TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER!
The Other Guy: You can’t take anything away from Willett in this match, he has had an answer to everything Miles has attempted tonight!
Eryk Masters: Miles has come through this tournament defying the odds in each match, no-one would have predicted he’d have come this far before the bell rang in his first match here at the Epicenter!
Willett wipes his hand across his forehead and looks down at Miles in the centre of the ring. He takes to the top rope…..TREY50 SPLASH!!!
Austin Linam drops down for the count…
The bell rings as Willett stands up with a self-assured smile on his face. Linam raises his hand.
Samantha Coil: The winner of this match, and progressing to the semi-finals of ‘The Master of the Mat’ tournament, THE WAYWARD SON….TREY…WILLETT!!
Eryk Masters: WIllett goes through into what is a stacked semi-final knowing he is just two wins away from getting the crown he is so focused on!
The Other Guy: Miles will learn from this, and surely he’ll be looking to try and rectify this score further on down the line.
Eryk Masters: That may be so but for now he’s going to have to wait as Willett has to ready himself for the next round of the tournament!
We open midway through a conversation between Maya Nakashima and Isaac Entragian. Isaac is sitting on a crate while adjusting his black strike gloves in anticipation of his Master of the Mat bout later in the night, the words “PALE” written on the right fist and “RIDER” written on the left.
Maya Nakashima stands in front of Entragian, the World Championship in his hands. Maya seems to be looking at the faceplate of the title while listening to Isaac’s words.
Entragian: I just…can’t see him going that low, Maya. There are a shitload of rotten scumsuckers on this roster that WOULD go that low…especially if the World Title is up for grabs, but HIM?
Isaac shakes his head.
Entragian: That just isn’t Loco. Once, maybe…many years ago…but not anymore. He was seduced by gold in the past…but he overcame those demons. It’s ALWAYS a struggle to overcome demons, Maya…I know from personal experience.
Maya looks up from the title, making momentary eye contact with The Pale Rider. Maya shakes his head and looks back at his distorted reflection in the SHOOT Project World Title.
Maya: You think I want to believe that Loco would do that to me? He and I, we were close… like there aren’t many people I trusted more than him, and it eats me up inside to think that he would…
Maya stops, still not wanting to say it out loud.
Maya: I hope I’m wrong, Isaac, more than anything… more than anything.
Entragian: I know it’s hard…but you gotta try and let this go. Holding tight to suspicions against your friend could taint the title match you’ve got coming up at Master of the Mat. Let this thing be about sportsmanship and two battle-brothers going head to head…don’t let it become…something else entirely. Something twisted…something worse…
Maya is about to respond when a road agent emerges on the scene. The agent looks a little nervous about the presence of the monster Entragian…but Maya motions him forward and sets him at ease.
Road Agent: Umm… I’m not sure how to tell you this but…
Maya heaves himself up, a wince just barely seen in the corner of his lips.
Maya: Let me guess… a surprise match.
The road agent nods, holding his clipboard close to his chest as his hands rapidly shake. Maya tries to limp past him but the road agent quickly grabs hold of his wrist.
Road Agent: They… uhh… they told me who you’re facing and I… I don’t know how to…
Maya pats the road agent on the back, as if reassuring him that it’s not the messenger’s fault.
Maya: I fought ten men last time, what did they book me against the entire roster this time or something?
The road agent shakes his head.
Road Agent: No… just two guys this time…
Maya: Sure beats ten.
The road agent shakes his head again.
Road Agent: Maya, it’s… it’s ANARCHY…
Silence. Maya turns to face Isaac, his mouth a gape.
Entragian rises up from the crate, motioning towards the agent.
Entragian: Give me that clipboard.
The road agent reluctantly hands the clipboard to Isaac, and the albino stares down at it with disbelief in his eyes.
Entragian: This has to be some kinda mistake. This…can’t be right. Who is responsible for this BULLSHIT? Speak up, son…who authorized this crap??
Isaac implores the road agent to offer some kind of explanation, but all he can do his shrug his shoulders.
Road Agent: I…don’t know. I was just told to deliver the message…
Maya holds up his hand to stop the interrogation of the road agent, he adjusts the SHOOT Project World Title onto his shoulder.
Maya: We knew this was a possibility, Isaac… we knew…
Maya smashes his hand into a nearby locker as hard as he possibly can, his hand trembles into a fist as he limps for the door.
Maya: God damn you, Loco…
Isaac scrubs a hand against his mouth as he watches Maya go, the monster noticeably surprised by the rare outburst of rage from Nakashima.
We fade on this.
The SHOOT Project Helmet hangs in background. Abigail Chase is standing in front of the banner, looking resplendent as always. Suddenly, Chaos appears next to her. He is wearing his ?Champion of Sin City? T-shirt and has the championship belt strapped firmly around his waist. He has a set of glittery gold arms tied around his waist, just underneath the belt. His legs are covered in the same glittery golden pants. He is noisily slurping a bowl of soup.
Chaos extends to the bowl to Abigail’s face. She turns her nose up at the sight of it.
Chase: No thank you.
Chaos: It’s Pea and Ham. Delicious.
Chase: I’m good thankyou.
Chaos: Your loss.
He continues to slurp from the bowl.
Chase:Chaos, tell the audience. How does it feel to win the Sin City Championship?
Chase: Would you care to elaborate. I’m sure your fans would like more than a one word answer.
Chaos slurps a rather large spoonful of soup.
Chaos: You’re right, Abigail. My fans, the people of Sin City, the people that I represent deserve much more than a single word answer that fails to adequately describe how I fell about being the Champion of Sin City. The Champion of the People of this fine city. The champion of those travellers that come chasing fortune and leave with a new wife and an empty wallet. Those people deserve a better answer than great, but this soup is so good it’s very hard to form an appropriate answer in my mind.
Chase looks at him strangely.
Chase: Take your time.
Chaos takes another mouthful of soup, and then suddenly raises his spoon in the air.
Chaos:I was tracing out lines in the air to make it perfectly clear, I was swimming with some beautiful sharks. Entertaining the man behind the bar and I was there and somebody was talking about luck. And I thought, I thought what if my luck ran out? Oh… Hottest night in twenty years and I was playing out a ceremony, watching him turn on the spot. To see his memory from a different angle, I eased the element of surprise. To curve and sweep lines and he was singing an old song. He was swimming with some beautiful sharks and I was there and somebody was talking about romance and i thought, i thought what if my luck ran out? But I was just swimming with some beautiful sharks.
Chaos: Did that satisfy your curiosity, Abigail? I hope so, because as much I enjoy your company I really don’t have time to stay and have a chat. I have to go make some more soup. Love ya. Bye.
Chaos starts to run off, but carefully as he doesn’t want to spill any soup.
He stops abruptly, he spins around with a smirk on his face.
Chase: Why do you appear on the stage during the Eli Storm and Dan Stein match, dressed in that golden body suit?
Chaos: Top of the fold. Toast of the town. Everyone stops when you come around.
They hold their breath for you. Heroes are born, but idols are made and we’re all fools for this factory fame and you’ve got the brand new face – Golden boy.
Chaos slurps from his soup and uses his spoon to catch some as it runs off his chin.
Chaos: Beauty untamed just stupid and wild. A poster boy, for society’s child. You can cut your teeth, cut your mouth and you can cut it out. Meteoric rise from obscurity and all it took was a killing spree and the whole world was lying at your feet – Golden boy.
Chaos winks and smirks.
Chaos:I know my place, stick to the lines and stay in your shadow. So I don’t block your light. So you can shine divine – Golden boy.
Chaos slowly backs away from Abigail before turning and running with his soup bowl spilling over the lip.
It starts with a stare down.
The hulking albinistic beast known as Entragian staring across the ring at one of the most athletic individuals to ever debut in SHOOT Project in the form of Omar Owens. The bell has already rung, this moment sort of the “feeling out” phase where both competitors try to get an idea of the mettle of their opponent before the first strike or grapple even occurs.
Neither man blinks, neither man shows fear or doubt…it is a calm before what’s certain to be an incredibly physical storm. Even the Epicenter crowd is hushed, seeming to appreciate this moment.
Omar offers Isaac and respectful nod…and The Pale Rider returns that nod.
What happens next…happens VERY fast.
The two men collide like gladiators in the arena, both men bulling each other across the ring with grappling lock-ups…and Omar takes the early advantage with a TIGHT side headlock on the seven footer.
Other Guy: For a few minutes there it seemed like the canvas was a chessboard and these two guys were deciding just WHAT kinda move would yield the most results.
Eryk Masters: Seems Owens chose his move wisely. O2 looks more determined than we’ve ever seen him. He is out to PROVE that he belongs in there with SHOOT Project’s heavy hitters. He wants to show the entire world that he’s a main event player that can compete on the HIGHEST kind of level with some of the highest caliber athletes in the game.
Other Guy: Well this SHOOT Project…so Omar is definitely gonna get that level of competition on pretty much ANY GIVEN NIGHT.
Isaac breaks out of that headlock fairly quickly, but Omar isn’t thrown off his game…he keeps the beast at bay with some QUICK strikes, rather it be a forearm barrage or a COMBINATION of massive knees to the abdomen…Omar gets his shots in and then keeps his distance, proving already that the strategy he’s put together in this match is working.
Eryk Masters: Owens is wrestling smart right now. He knows that he’s outclassed in terms of physical strength…so he’s focusing on hard hits and big impacts while also trying to stay out of Isaac’s close proximity.
Other Guy: O2 is a pretty big guy himself…I’m IMPRESSED with how deceptively quick he is in the ring!
This strategy works for O2 for quite a big longer, but it’s a JARRING uppercut from Entragian that changes the tide of the match. Entragian stays on offense, lighting Omar up with body shots and a BIG bicycle kick!!!
The bicycle kick nearly BEHEADS O2…and even when he gets up and he’s staggering and stumbling all over the place.
O2 staggers right into Isaac…and The Pale Rider manages to get Omar up on one shoulder ONLY TO RACE FORWARD AND CRUSH HIM INTO THE CANVAS WITH A RUNNING POWERSLAM!!!
This garners a pretty strong ovation from the crowd!!!
Other Guy: HUGE impact. That is the power of Isaac Entragian…and it is SCARY.
Eryk Masters: The fans even starting to warm up to Entragian a bit more this week. Isaac’s evolution continues to interest me…seeing this man starting to find his humanity and his PLACE in a very different SHOOT Project is something worth paying attention to.
Other Guy: He doesn’t look like a hero. He doesn’t necessarily even talk like one. But lately…Isaac’s actions have been speaking for him. This is a man who is TRYING with every fiber of his being to rise above the evil of his past…and though it may be too early to tell, seems like he’s starting to succeed with that…
Omar is hurting…but when Isaac tries to bring him back up to his feet, Owens fires up and BLASTS ISAAC DOWN WITH A FULL NELSON SLAM!!!!
The ring SHAKES from the impact…Owens attempting a pinfall!
HE GETS A TWO AND A HALF COUNT!!!
Other Guy: CLOSE!!!
Eryk Masters: That move came outta nowhere…surprised The Pale Rider!
Owens takes control at this point, establishing his dominance with a leg drop across the throat. He follows this up by locking onto one of Isaac’s arms and pulling him upwards…only to ascend to the ropes and walk them…BEFORE SPRINGBOARDING DOWNWARDS AND RAMMING A SHOULDER BLOCK INTO THE MONSTER!!!
Isaac is knocked down HARD!!!
Eryk Masters: Owens walking those ropes with EASE.
Other Guy: Master of the Mat, bay-bay!!! Owens is putting on one hell of a performance tonight…he can almost TASTE that tournament glory!
Isaac barely pulls himself back up using the ropes…and Owens goes right back on the attack…BUT ISAAC CUTS HIS LEG OUT FROM UNDER HIM WITH A DIVING CHOPBLOCK!!!
Omar FLIES to the canvas…and ISAAC GRABS UP THE ANKLE AND TWISTS WITH EVERY BIT OF STRENGTH HE HAS!!!
The moment the ankle lock is cinched in Owens ROARS in pain, a few droplets of spittle flying from his mouth to splatter against the closest camera!!!
Other Guy: Serpent’s Kiss!!! Isaac’s got the ankle lock!!!
Eryk Masters: Owens is crawling, struggling…FIGHTING…but is it already too late??
O2 holds his head in his hands, the anguish eating him alive…but he starts to just PULL himself forward inch by inch…those ropes SO CLOSE…BUT ALSO SO FAR AWAY!
Owens is crying out in pain…but suddenly he ducks his head and ROLLS THROUGH, Isaac flying face first into the turnbuckle pad!!
Owens limps up to his feet…AND THEN LOCKS HIS ARMS AROUND ISAAC’S ARM AND THROAT WITH THE LASP GASP!!! Owens struggles to lock the submission ALL the way on…but Isaac’s arm is halfway free…and the panicking monster suddenly just STEAMROLLS backwards and CRUSHES Omar up against the turnbuckles!!!
Owens is forced to release the hold before he can even really get it firm…but he uses his remaining strength to WHIRL Isaac around and just OBLITERATE HIM AGAINST THE CANVAS WITH A RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX!!!
The monster SAILS forward, his body weight crashing down with a ring-rocking impact…and Owens dives into a pinfall!
IT GETS HIM TWO…BECAUSE ISAAC GETS HIS FOOT ON THE BOTTOM ROPE TO CAUSE THE BREAK!!!
An “O2!” chant has broken out in the Epicenter for the sheer VELOCITY of the suplex Omar was able to deliver to his 300 plus pound opponent!!!
Eryk Masters: This match is BREAKING DOWN…have you EVER seen anybody throw Isaac with such ease??
Other Guy: O2 is making a believer out of EVERYBODY tonight!!!
Owens is panting hard, limping on his bad ankle…and he goes to pull Isaac back up to lock in his submission finisher once again…BUT THE MOMENT OMAR SNAKES AN ARM AROUND ISAAC’S NECK THE MONSTER GRABS THAT ARM AND FORCES OMAR UP ONTO HIS SHOULDERS IN A FIREMAN’S CARRY!!!
Owens fights wildly once he realizes the predicament he’s in…
BUT ISAAC SENDS HIM CRASHING DOWN STOMACH FIRST ACROSS HIS KNEE WITH THE BIGGEST GUTBUSTER IN THE BUSINESS!!!!
Eryk Masters: THE DISEMBOWELER!!!
Other Guy: THE PALE RIDER GOT EVERY LAST BIT OF IT!!!!
Isaac falls into the cover with his hair PLASTERED across his forehead with his own sweat.
Samantha Coil: HERE IS YOUR WINNER…ADVANCING IN THE MASTER OF THE MAT TOURNAMENT…HE IS THE PALE RIDER…ISAAC ENTRAGIAN!!!
Eryk Masters: Isaac stands victorious!! He came into this match not to destroy someone, not to scheme and plot and drag SHOOT Project down…he came to WIN tonight…and that’s exactly what this man did!!
Other Guy: And can you BELIEVE that performance from Omar Owens? I think he has MORE than proven himself here in SHOOT Project. Not only can he hang with the major players here…be can match them MOVE FOR MOVE.
Eryk Masters: These brackets just keeping getting crazier and crazier…The Pale Rider gallops forward to the next round! And we’ve still got the main event to look forward to…ZEX VS CORAZON FOR MOTM GLORY!!!
Isaac rolls off of Omar and stands over him, watching his defeated foe roll around on the mat in obvious pain and disappointment from the grueling match the two of them just had and the outcome that was reached. Omar does his best to shake off the pain and motions to Freak on the outside to hand him a microphone, which he does. Omar raises it to his lips, still wincing from the pain and breathing heavy. Isaac was about to exit the ring, but once he hears the loud panting over the PA system he stops and turns to see Omar sitting on the mat addressing him.
Omar: Ike…It’s good to see that your new commitment to walking the straight and narrow hasn’t caused you to lose your ruthlessness in the ring. That was a hell of a match and I’m disappointed I came up short, but I’m looking forward to seeing how far you can go. There’s just one thing I need to say. Your outlook on what it means to be good is misguided. Maybe the worst of us do need to be destroyed, but it’s not for you, not for me, not for any one of us here to decide, let alone carry out. Remember, if we destroyed those that hurt us the most, you’d be first in line for executions and look at you now, on the road to redemption. If you can be saved, then anyone can. I want you to remember that when you’re ready to take someone out because they don’t live up to the standards you’ve recently set for yourself.
Omar drops the mic and rolls out of the ring, leaving Isaac to contemplate the words the words of wisdom he was just given.
The shot fades out on Isaac staggering up to his feet, both pallid fists balled up and raised in triumph, but his face shows a quiet contemplation on what Omar Owens just said.
We cut backstage and see Mary Kelly leaning over the shot, talking to the camera crew. They’re standing in the hallway outside a door, the cut has clearly caught them when they aren’t quite ready.
Mary Kelly: …alright, guys? We need to get this d-
Mary cuts herself off as the door opens outwards, the sound alerting her to move in time from being slammed in the face. Cross Recoba walks with purpose into the corridor. His cell is glued to his ear as he steps away from the crew. Mary makes a ‘come on’ gesture with her hand to the cameraman and starts to walk backwards trying to catch up with Recoba.
Mary Kelly: Cross! Cross, do you have a minute?
Recoba ignores her and keeps his conversation going on his cell.
Recoba: ….look, just get it sorted…no, not if, do it! I’m leaving the arena now, I’m expecting this to be solved before I set foot on the casino fl-
It’s Cross’ turn to cut himself off, he shoots Mary a withering look and quickly turns back to his phone, stopping in his tracks.
Recoba: …You’ve got twenty-five minutes.
Cross puts the phone back into his blazer pocket and turns to Mary.
Mary Kelly: Cross, we’ve yet to see you in the ring but tonight you assaulted your SECOND fan, the SHOOT Project fans will want to know – why?
Recoba smiles and pulls out a pack of Lucky Strikes, he taps the bottom of the pack to shoot one onto his lip and looks up, smiling up at the interviewer. He lights up.
Recoba: Why? You’re asking me why, when I’ve been under contract at this company for over a month now and I’ve yet to step into the ring why I show off my skills to the SHOOT audience?
Mary Kelly leans the microphone in further, clearly awaiting an answer.
Recoba: Because the only way to stay on the agenda is to make your own. Dave Marz ran into the ether before he even stepped into the ring with me, have you heard from him? Because I generated more column inches for a debut in this company than anyone else has in their first appearance since this place reopened.
Recoba takes another drag on his cigarette
Recoba: There’s a place for diplomacy but this isn’t it. Look around you and what do you see? The Master of the Mat tournament? Who’re people talking about? Willett? Tanev? Miles? No – it’s Zex’s, Corazon’s or Entragian’s to lose. It’s not about creating new stars, it’s just guaranteed airtime for the safe bets. Why do you think I came here tonight when I wasn’t booked? Because God forbid we don’t want change! I came here because the only way I was going to get people talking about me was to make people talk about me!
Recoba’s smile grows wider
Recoba: But…but you know the real reason I did what I did tonight?….Because I can!
Mary Kelly goes to ask a follow-up question but is silenced by Cross
Recoba: On my first appearance I ran out one of the old guard, on my second I had you gasping to get an insight into why I did what I did and all this says to me is that as far as I’m concerned I am the blue-chip prospect of this place…that’s why I’m issuing an open-challenge for the next show – I don’t care who it is because your only role is to turn up, eat the Sicillian Typewriter and meekly knock on Johnson’s door to pick up your paycheck! It’s not going to be anything other than a showcase of why the SHOOT Project picked me up and why by the end of Revolution One-Thirty they won’t be talking about Project Hero, they won’t be talking about Maya or Master of the Mat, they’ll be talking about ‘THE HAMMER’ – Cross Recoba
Mary again goes to follow up but Recoba walks out of shot towards the arena exit.
In a match that was booked at the last minute, no one could have seen Maya being put into a handicap match against ANARCHY! With tensions already running high because of accusations of Loco Martinez being the architect behind the 10-on-1 handicap match that left Maya severely hurt, a match pitting Maya against two of Loco’s best friends has everyone thinking the same thing.
At the outset, the boys of ANARCHY seem uncertain of what they should do, clearly a show of some respect towards Maya. Both T.Rex and Arch Angel reach their hands out towards Maya, an early sign of respect and sportsmanship. While the crowd offers mixed emotions, Maya slaps T.Rex’s hand away and retreats to his corner to await the opening bell.
Maya takes to the offensive as soon as the bell rings and SHOOTs out of his corner like a bullet. In his usual Lunatic High fashion, Maya, while T.Rex and Arch Angel are still somewhat hesitant about the handicap nature of the match, springboards himself off the top rope with a moonsault that takes down both of his opponents.
Maya refuses to slow the pace as he whirls around Arch Angel with a tilt the world heads scissors that flings him through the second rope and to the outside. Having evened the numbers game in the ring the crowd reaches a fever pitch, nervous to see if Maya could again make the impossible a reality. Maya launches a flurry of knife edge chops into the chest of T.Rex, trying to wear the bigger man down. When T.Rex tries to connect with a double axe handle, Maya easily dashes underneath it and rebounds from the opposite ropes to take down T.Rex with a head scissors that transitions into a face buster! Maya tries for a pinfall, but T.Rex kicks out a two with such force that Maya is lifted two feet off the ground.
While Maya is still quick on his feet, he is noticeably slower when rebounding off the ropes, still favoring his right leg and wincing from basic movement. In hopes of ending it, Maya attempts the O.T.S on T.Rex, however, when he gets into the hand stand position on his shoulders Arch Angel comes in and pushes Maya off of his partner’s shoulders. Maya tries to land on his feet but lets out a groan of agony when his right leg plants awkwardly on the canvas and sends Maya to the mat gripping his leg as hard as he can.
With Maya grounded and his speed negated ANARCHY! Pounces. They use their size and power to wear down the World Champion. Quick tags and double team clotheslines, shoulder blocks, and a vicious double team spinebuster left the champ on the DOWN, but not OUT! Maya keeps fighting back, kicking out of near falls, and launching counterstrikes of his own. He turns a missed running splash from T.Rex into a near fall. He levels Arch Angel with a running enzuigiri. He climbs to the top rope and looks to hit Arch Angel with a high cross body, but Arch Angel is able to catch Maya and launch him over his head with a fall away slam. The force of the throw carries Maya out of the ring and he lands with a violent thud on the outside.
Maya strains to get back up to his feet, each movement now a labored pain etched on his face. But Maya refuses to be counted out and rolls back into the ring, Arch Angel is hesitant to immediately jump on Maya because of the obvious state of pain Maya is in. However, Maya is in this match to fight and starts to throw wild elbows at Arch Angel despite their size difference. Arch Angel easily deflects the weakened strikes with a look of guilt on his face when out of nowhere, using surprise to his advantage, Maya summons all of his strength to take Arch Angel down, cross up their legs like a sharpshooter, grab hold of Angel’s arm, and lean back for Maya’s unique O.T.H submission!
Maya puts everything he has into the submission maneuver that he used many times to defeat Jacob Mephisto. It seems Maya is in even more pain than Arch Angel, who struggles and tries his best to hold on. Maya screams and hollers at Arch Angel to tap out through gritted teeth and aching bones. Suddenly, T.Rex dives in and clobbers Maya in the back of the head to break the hold. T.Rex looks to Arch Angel and shakes his head, "We have to" he says to Arch Angel.
Arch Angel pulls Maya up and his knee buckles. Arch Angel shakes his head at T.Rex and makes a quick cover hoping to end the match, but Maya kicks out at two and three quarters. T.Rex looks again at Arch Angel and sternly reiterates, "We have to". Angel scoops Maya up and locks in a double underhook, Maya beings to fight wildly. He squirms free, and drives series of elbows and kicks into Arch Angel’s leg and torso, which staggers the bigger man for a moment, but Arch Angel snaps to and charges turning Maya inside out with a vicious clothesline. He quickly pulls Maya up and locks him up for a double underhook facebuster, T.Rex climbs to the middle rope and as Arch Angel delivers the pedigree, T.Rex leaps off with a reverse middle rope splash. T.Rex rolls off and Arch Angel makes the cover and the referee counts to three.
After the match: Arch Angel and T.Rex stand over a man they consider a friend and extend a hand to help the champ to his feet. The crowd buzzes with trepidation, and Maya shakes his head no. He goes to get up on his own and his knee buckles. T.Rex instinctively goes to lend a helping hand, but Maya quickly slaps T.Rex’s hand away. T.Rex’s eyes go wide with rage, but Arch Angel steps in quickly and ushers his partner out of the ring. Maya glares at the two men as they head up the ramp and Maya once again buckles and crumbles to his knees.
Other Guy: I have to be honest… I’m really not sure what we just saw in that segment.
Eryk Masters: Well, either Loco is doing a damn good job at wearing Maya down for their Master of the Mat championship match, or someone is doing a damn good job of making it LOOK like Loco is doing that.
Other Guy: I mean, it’s pretty obvious that it’s Loco. ANARCHY was kind of the giveaway.
Eryk Masters: Be that as it may, and I’m not saying I agree with you, because I definitely think there’s some other kind of villainy afoot… we do have one more match for you this evening. Next up, in tonight’s main event of the evening, we’re going to see what’s been hyped as an incredibly interesting match for both men.
Other Guy: That’s right, E. Many are saying that this is Zex’s chance to break out and escape the shadow cast by Valentine Lionheart and others? They’re saying that this is Corazon’s chance to really cement himself in the picture at the top of the proverbial mountain.
Eryk Masters: This is a round two, Master of the Mat match, so let’s get it going!
“Wait” by DIIV hits the PA, signaling the arrival of the artist. Zex appears at the top of the ramp, drawing a favorable cheer from the crowd, whom he makes sure to engage as he walks down the ramp. Zex thrives off of this type of interaction, really drawing from the audience. He smiles to himself as he reaches the bottom of the ramp, almost quietly satisfied.
Samantha Coil climbs into the ring now, she’s got a microphone in hand and is set to make the first introduction for this main event.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen… your main event of the evening is a ROUND TWO match in the SHOOT Project’s 2014 MASTER OF THE MAT! Introducing first… he stands at six feet, one inches tall and weighs in at two hundred and twenty pounds… he is “THE ARTIST”… ZEX!!
Zex takes to the turnbuckle and motions towards the crowd, who give it back to him in a really loud way! He hops down and leans into the turnbuckle, waiting for his opponent.
Eryk Masters: Lotta love here for Zex tonight.
Other Guy: This kid is excellent, E. The fans see it and you know they embrace it. That plus the fact that he genuinely doesn’t want to kill everything or destroy the SHOOT Project… you know… they like that too.
The lights dim and a purple glow circles the exit from the gorilla position. “Baddest Man Alive” by the Wu-Tang Clan hits and the fans come alive once more. The man with so many nicknames appears at the top of the ramp. His look is slightly different as he has his hair pulled back into a ponytail. He also chose to give up the black coat he normally wears on his entrance, opting instead of a simple tanktop and his regular tights.
He doesn’t engage with the crowd on the way down, instead keeping his gaze fully adjusted to his opponent in the ring. Now, he slides into the ring underneath the bottom rope, never changing his focus.
Eryk Masters: Corazon looking real serious tonight. No frills or anything this time around.
Other Guy: That goes to tell you what kind of respect he’s got for Zex, for sure.
Samantha Coil steps up once again.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent… he stands in at six feet, three inches and weighs two hundred and twenty five pounds… he is a former SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion… THE BADDEST MAN ALIVE… ADRIAN CORAZON.
Corazon and Zex now meet in the middle of the ring with Tony Lorenzo giving final orders. The two head back to their respective corners. Lorenzo looks to Eryk Masters and OG and then to the timekeeper. He calls for the bell and we’re under way!
Zex IMMEDIATELY sprints across the ring and jumps into the air, nailing Corazon with a hard clothesline that rocks the Baddest Man Alive against the turnbuckle. Continuing with his aggression, Zex makes Corazon’s life difficult, not giving him a moment to really catch his breath. Corazon tries to get away, but Zex is relentless, bludgeoning him with strikes.
Eryk Masters: Corazon was definitely caught off guard here!
Other Guy: The crowd is eating it up, though. Zex is moving at what I’d call a FEVERISH pace.
Corazon is staggering and Zex uses the top turnbuckle, rebounding off of it. He hits a tornado DDT which drops Corazon hard! Zex covers!
Corazon kicks out!
Corazon is definitely feeling it right now as Zex continues the punishment. Zex feels the momentum in his favor, making sure not to let up for one second. It wasn’t until Zex made the decision to head to the top rope that his fortunes would shift ever so slightly.
Eryk Masters: He’s going high risk here!
Other Guy: Not sure if this is a wise move, Corazon’s hurt, but he’s not THAT hurt.
Zex comes flying off of the turnbuckle in a flash, attempting to hit Corazon with the Zex Appeal, but the former World Champion isn’t quite ready to get hit by that yet. He rolls out of the way and then when Zex lands on his feet? That’s when the momentum changed, because as Zex was righting himself, Corazon was already to his feet.
Eryk Masters: ACT OF REALITY!!
Other Guy: Zex is DOWNED.
The look in Corazon’s eyes told you that this was just the beginning, and while he covered for only a two count, the time was now for him to take over. After pulling Zex to his feet, Corazon lights him up in the corner with strike after strike. He NEARLY gets himself disqualified in the process, but manages to back off right in the nick of time.
It was as Zex stumbled out of the corner that Corazon decided to up the ante. He dropped Zex with a DDT, flattening the Artist, and he went to the top turnbuckle himself, something he does very rarely. Zex sees him coming with a moonsault though, and rolls out of the way. In what was almost a replay of the moment that got Corazon back in this match, Zex is already to his feet by the time Corazon has rebalanced himself. Zex then took to the air once more, using his wild speed to fly at Corazon into a crossbody! He covers!
THRE—Corazon kicks out!
Eryk Masters: Gotta say, I don’t think Corazon expected to be flat on his back again so soon.
Other Guy: Zex is really handing it to him, that’s for sure. Corazon’s going to need to wake up if he wants to have any hope of winning this match.
Zex knows that the time is right to keep the pressure on. He runs over Corazon’s fallen body and rebounds off the ropes. He flips over and drives his head into Corazon’s abdomen with a Senton Splash. He covers again but only gets a two count. Zex is all about not wasting any time in this match. He continues to hit Corazon from all over the place, and while the two aren’t that different in size, they have distinctly different styles, and Corazon is practically confused at this point.
While Zex is starting to feel the confidence, Corazon is starting to get frustrated. When Zex stands in front of him and starts to attempt to trade rights and lefts, that’s when Corazon makes a change. He takes two of the right hands, but blocks the left. Takes one more right, blocks the left. Zex throws another right hand, but Corazon has had just about enough and just goes off.
Eryk Masters: With a flurry from seemingly out of nowhere, Corazon has stopped Zex’s momentum in its tracks.
Other Guy: Shew, and what a flurry it is. Zex looks like he might be out on his feet.
Corazon asserts his will, dragging Zex all over the ring it seems like. He finds a corner and shoves Zex into it. When Lorenzo comes in to break it up, he begs off immediately and Zex walks forward. Corazon pulls him up and over in a vertical suplex and decides he’s going to hang on and do it two more times. He covers Zex!
Zex’s foot finds its way under the bottom rope, causing the break.
Eryk Masters: That’s one of those message pin attempts, OG.
Other Guy: Oh I know. He’s letting Zex know that he knows where he’s at resilience wise.
Zex and Corazon get to their feet at roughly the same time. Zex, feeling a little desperate at this point and his face is hurting badly. There’s a trickle of blood from his lip and he’s starting to feel like he’s in sudden death overtime.
Eryk Masters: I’ll tell you this though. Zex’s aggression tripped Corazon up pretty hard.
Other Guy: I think Zex’s aggression surprised even Zex. Didn’t know he had that in him.
The crowd is rabid watching these two, and they know that we’re getting towards crunch time. Zex comes flying across at Corazon who ducks him. The rebound comes, and Corazon is ready. He snaps Zex over with a powerslam, taking the wind right out of the Artist’s sails. Corazon pulls Zex up, and whips him into the top turnbuckle again. He likes to use this to find a center for his aggression, clearly. He charges in, but Zex, out of desperation, managed to escape him by turning out of the way.
Other Guy: I don’t know where Zex keeps finding it from. He just keeps going.
Eryk Masters: This has been an interesting match for that, OG. Both Corazon and Zex have had moments where I felt like they could have just packed it in, and with Corazon it’s a little less surprising since this kind of thing is what he’s known for, but Zex is really cementing himself here in my mind.
It’s no sooner than Eryk Masters says that than Zex flies across the ring and wraps Corazon around, hitting ANOTHER suicide dive styled tornado DDT, the Wing Zero DDT, as he refers to it. Both men are heaving while lying flat on their backs. Lorenzo starts the obligatory count and he gets to seven before Corazon gets to his feet.
Other Guy: Have to wonder if they both stayed down a couple of seconds longer just because they wanted to catch their breath.
Eryk Masters: Well I mean… that would have been a smart thing to do.
Zex gets up a microsecond behind Corazon and runs at him, but Corazon stands to the side almost like a bull fighter, and Zex finds himself rebounding against the ropes. Corazon lifts Zex up in a back body drop, but Zex over rotates and lands on his feet. When Corazon hears the thud behind him, he turns and gets met by a hard right hand that staggers him very briefly.
That’s when he decided it was time.
ACT OF INHUMANITY.
Eryk Masters: MY HEART JUST PEED. That was out of NOWHERE. Zex is OUT.
The crowd goes NUTS as Corazon goes for the cover.
Other Guy: UNREAL. A pure desperation move by Corazon caps off an INCREDIBLY close back and forth matchup. Before today, I wouldn’t have necessarily said that Zex could compete with someone like Corazon, given what he’s known to do, but man oh man… I stand corrected.
Samantha Coil: Your winner, moving on in the 2014 MASTER OF THE MAT TOURNAMENT… THE BADDEST MAN ALIVE… ADRIAN CORAZON!!
Corazon’s hand gets raised, and he looks down towards Zex, who’s still shaking the cobwebs out. He goes to help him up and then extends his hand.
Other Guy: Incredible.
Eryk Masters: Corazon showing… sportsmanship??
Zex, slightly confused, takes Corazon’s hand and shakes it as “Baddest Man Alive” hits the EpiTron once more. Samantha Coil takes Corazon’s hand once more and raises it.
Eryk Masters: Ladies and gentlemen… that’ll do it for us for this edition of Revolution!
Other Guy: That’s for sure, and it’s been a wild night. Congratulations to all of the Master of the Mat winners this evening, and how about this for a way to end your show. Corazon takes the win and we fade to black.
Eryk Masters: Til next time, folks. I’m Eryk Masters, he’s the Other Guy, for Mark Kendrick, Jason Johnson, and Samantha Coil… have a great night!
Fade to black.