Eryk Masters: Ladies and gentlemen, we are LIVE at RECKONING DAY!
Other Guy: You know that’s right, my man. It’s been a long road to this point, a journey even, and we’re here! We’re finally here!
Eryk Masters: This night is CRAZY. I thought Josh was just gonna keep booking matches, but it seems he stopped at TWELVE. TWELVE action packed matches to whet your appetite this evening, featuring everything you could possibly imagine. We’ve got newcomers, we’ve got title defenses, we’ve got grudge matches… OG, my goodness.
Other Guy: Yeah man! The men and women of the SHOOT Project are ready to rock tonight and I, for one, am ready to be rocked. Like, so rocked. The most rocked.
Eryk Masters: We have a treat to start the show off, folks. A legends match in the making, of course. One of the newest members of the SHOOT Project Hall of Fame takes on one of his very best friends, when X-Calibur takes on Loco Martinez! That match is kicking us off!
X-Calibur Vs. Loco Martinez
The shadows almost make him unviewable, but the exterior lights illuminate enough of the golden highlights of the mask. He’s seated against the wall. One hand raises, slowly tap, tap, tapping on his mask. Rhythmic. There is a long sigh.
Avarice: Too fast. Breathe. Enjoy the moment.
He clutches his bookbag to his chest. Rocks softly. Says nothing.
Avarice: These are His words. His words that have filled my lungs my entire life.
For a long while, all we hear is the wind. The noise of the city. The buzz of the lights. A tire crunches on gravel, somewhere. He slides his mask up, rubbing his temples with his fingers. He begins to laugh, full joyous shoulder shaking laughter—then throws his head back and slides his mask back down.
Avarice: Hahaha. I’m so empty! It’s beautiful.
He looks to the side, eyeing the exit door.
Avarice: By hook or crook…hahahaha!
He closes his eyes, hugging himself. There is peace. For now.
Eryk Masters: Well, I can’t imagine anything good coming from that or whatever that was or whatever he has to do with anything that’s going on here tonight. Avarice is the epitome of a tragedy, OG.
Other Guy: I hate to say it, but I agree with you. That man’s world has been turned upside down and we’re watching that play out in real time. It’s… I’m really sad for him.
Eryk Masters: We’ll call back to it if he has something else up his sleeve tonight, but for now, we press on. One of the Real Deal’s late additions to this card features the return of a SHOOT Project soldier, in Ria Lockhart, taking on someone who is new to the SHOOT Project but not new to wrestling whatsoever, and that’s Lindsay Troy!
Other Guy: Lindsay Troy is an incredible signing for SHOOT and this being her official in-ring debut? Couldn’t think of a better spot. Ria Lockhart is game as well, and I’m glad to see her back. She’s got a tough task, of course, and we’ll see if she’s up for it when Lindsay Troy debuts against Ria Lockhart, NEXT.
Lindsay Troy Vs. Ria Lockhart
Other Guy: Killer debut for Lindsay Troy, and a great showing from the returning Ria Lockhart as well!
Eryk Masters: You can say that again!
Other Guy: O…okay. Killer debut for Lindsay Troy, and a great–
Eryk Masters: Seriously?
Other Guy: What! You said!
Eryk Masters: I hate you. I don’t really, but I also hate you. Listen, so the next bout is for an entry into the freshly announced Sin City Championship Series, and at the beginning of this cycle, we were told that there was going to be a mystery opponent included to make this a four person affair after news of Bonnie Blue’s injury came out, but check this out.
Other Guy: What’s that, E?
Eryk Masters: There’s no fourth person!
Other Guy: What? So Josh just… didn’t find anyone?
Eryk Masters: The official word was that the front office decided that the match didn’t need the extra person or the added element of surprise or anything like that. These three have all had pretty successful starts to their runs here in the SHOOT Project, so Josh just said F it! Let ’em go as is.
Other Guy: Damn, that’s big praise from the boss man.
Eryk Masters: No kidding, but here we are! Daryn Thompson takes on Kayden Paulton and Teresa Ames, and that match is NOW.
Daryn Thompson Vs. Kayden Paulton Vs. Teresa Ames
Eryk Masters: Well, well, well… looks like HQ’s trust in those three paid off! What a contest!
Other Guy: And with that win, Kayden Paulton becomes the first known and official entrant in the third ever Sin City Championship Series!
Eryk Masters: Should we explain the Sin City Championship Series? I’m gonna call it SCCS from now on because, you know, abbreviations.
Other Guy: We should. The Sin City Championship Series, or SCCS for short, is a round robin affair featuring six of the SHOOT Project’s brightest, including the newly won entrant Kayden Paulton and the Sin City Champion, whomever that might be at the end of tonight. I’ve got it on good authority that Breedlove intends to “rebrand” the thing and call it the “Breedlove Invitational Tournament” if he retains his belt tonight, so we’ve… got that… to look forward to…
Eryk Masters: Not getting into that. The SCCS is one of my favorite things that SHOOT Project has done in the past. It’s not like Master of the Mat, which is single-elimination, the round robin format allows for a lot of really interesting and new matchups. There have been a LOT of people who’ve come through the SCCS and gone on to bigger things.
Other Guy: The proooooblem is that the champion gets to have input on some of the entrants, so if Breedlove somehow manages to retain tonight? He’ll be allowed to pick some of the participants in the tournament.
Eryk Masters: What? That’s new. Why… why would HQ do that?
Other Guy: It’s wrestling, man.
Eryk Masters: Ugh. I’m not going to think about it. Instead, what I’m going to think about is this next match, which was borne and bred entirely from SPITTER! Kitsune’s got an eye for RAIKO and RAIKO is not at all interested, or at least… doesn’t seem to be… my read is that she’s not. These two had a match at the last episode of Revolution and decided to run it back for Reckoning Day. Kitsune Vs. RAIKO is NEXT!
RAIKO Vs. Kitsune
Other Guy: Holy crap! He knocked her out!
Eryk Masters: Big time knee from Kitsune to RAIKO puts RAIKO down and gives the win to the fox magician! Damn! I thought she had that one!
Other Guy: I kinda did too, I’m not gonna lie. She’d been beating the bajeezus out of him all match, he was bloodied, and I thought the victory was coming, but not today! One well placed knee and she’s done.
Eryk Masters: Should be interesting to see how this all is approached on Spitter, man. I have a feeling that Kitsune is gonna have A LOT to say.
Other Guy: It’s gotta be somewhat of a vindication for him, at least. Good win, good match, and we’re on to the next one! This match is another late addition, featuring another big time in-ring debut, and that comes in the form of “Black Out” Pat Cassidy! Cassidy, like Lindsay Troy, is also well known in the wrestling biz, and having him here in the SHOOT Project is another big win for the Project!
Eryk Masters: And a hell of a debut, too, OG, going up against NEMESIS of all people. NEMESIS of course is a former Sin City Champion in her own right, so this should be quite a way to kick things off for Pat Cassidy’s SHOOT Project career! Who’ll come away with the win? Find out NEXT.
NEMESIS Vs. Pat Cassidy
Eryk Masters: Well done to NEMESIS and well played to Pat Cassidy! Great match! Great debut! You’ve gotta wonder if we’ll see one or both of them in the Sin City Championship Series, OG.
Other Guy: Oh, that would be very, very nice, but with the stipulation that the champion picks some of the challengers… if that champ is Breedlove… they’ll most likely need to rely on getting into the SCCS through the SHOOT Project.
Eryk Masters: You really think he’d just… load the thing up with schlubs?
Other Guy: Of course I do, are you aware who we’re talking about?!
Eryk Masters: Well, be that as it may, we’ve got Abigail Chase standing by in the back with one of the competitors in our next bout, also our first title match of the show, in Dr. Ned Reform. Take it away, Ms. Chase!
We’re backstage, where interviewer Abigail Chase stands in front of a SHOOT Project banner with the esteemed Ned Ref… excuse me, the esteemed Doctor Ned Reform. He’s ready to rock in full singlet and ring gear, wearing the Shut Up & Fight Championship around his waist. As Abigail fires off the first question, the good doctor is staring off into space, seemingly lost in his own thoughts.
Abigail Chase: Dr. Reform, we’re just moments away from you defending the Shut Up and Fight Championship against Courntey Hatchett, the very competitor that you won the championship from weeks ago. On the last edition of Ruination, this match was formally signed… in a rather… unique way. We have the footage…
At that, Reform’s head SNAPS down to attention. He snatches the mic away from Chase, and puffs up a bit, moving into her personal space.
Ned Reform: Don’t. You. Dare. If you ever show that footage again… you’re going to regret it.
Abigail seems taken aback by this, and actually a little fearful. Reform sneers.
Ned Reform: Might be best if you go.
Without another word, Abigail is gone. Reform turns to the camera, the rage barely contained.
Ned Reform: What happened two weeks ago is not something to be celebrated. Oh, I’m sure there are people out there who enjoyed it. I bet the snarky self-absorbed snowflakes of Twitter had a field day. I bet I’m a GIF already, huh? One big joke.
Reform clenches his teeth.
Ned Reform: I AM NOT A JOKE.
Reform takes a moment, and he seems to be mentally calming himself down.
Ned Reform: At times like this, you have to turn to the facts.
FACT NUMBER ONE: Not everyone is born equal.
FACT NUMBER TWO: I am, in so many ways, superior to so many of my contemporaries. I was born that way.
FACT NUMBER THREE: Facts number one and two are not politically correct, and therefore make people “uncomfortable.”
FACT NUMBER FOUR: When the deficient come face-to-face with their superiors, they resort to tactics to try and bring us down to their level. They go… low.
And nobody has even gone lower than Courtney Hatchett.
There’s a wave of laughter from the live crowd, and it takes Reform a second to put together what he said. When he does, he explodes.
Ned Reform: THIS IS NOT A LAUGHING MATTER!! If you IDIOTS would SHUT UP for a second, maybe for once in your miserable lives you’d actually LEARN SOMETHING…
A round of boos. Reform again seems to visibly compose himself.
Ned Reform: At the end of the day, I suppose I can’t blame Ms. Hatchett. it’s basic psychology. She did what she did to put herself on equal footing with me. So she could feel better about herself and not face the harsh reality that she doesn’t measure up to me in any way, shape, or form. And sure, in the moment… it worked. But now it’s Reckoning Day… literally AND figuratively.
Reform rubs his temples.
Ned Reform: What you are about to see is not going to be a wrestling match. When the child steals from the cookie jar once, you try to teach. To reform. But when the child steps out of line again, you bring the hammer down. Tonight, you will witness the complete and utter destruction of Courtney Hatchett. She will never again compete in the ring. She likely won’t ever be able to look in the general direction of a ring again. It gives me no great joy to do this, but this nasty woman has left me no choice. She will learn her place.
Reform is interrupted by a chant from the live crowd.
“YOU’RE – AN – ASS – HOLE!”
“YOU’RE – AN – ASS – HOLE!”
“YOU’RE – AN – ASS – HOLE!”
“YOU’RE – AN – ASS – HOLE!”
Reform, per usual, does not sell the vitriol from the crowd.
Ned Reform: Dreams don’t always come true. Sometimes reality slaps you in the face and ends your career. Tonight, this will be my greatest lesson… feel free to take notes, kids.
With a final sneer, Reform drops the mic and moves out of frame.
Courtney Hatchett Vs. Dr. Ned Reform (c)
Other Guy: Reform taps and we’ve got a NEW Shut Up and Fight Champion!
Eryk Masters: Oh man, I’m really proud of Courtney here! She’s now a two-time champ, and she LOVES this belt. I’ll be interested in seeing if this is the end for the two of them. They’re now technically 1 and 1 against each other, and I… I have to believe that they’ll want to run it back for the third time and complete the trilogy. Truly see who the best is, you know what I mean?
Other Guy: Absolutely, dude. Reform is a megalomaniac and there’s no way I see him just letting this go, even with the loss here. He’ll DEFINITELY be back for more.
Eryk Masters: I’d wager that we’ll find out more about that during our next Ruination/Revolution block. I think the two of them will have A LOT to say.
Other Guy: No doubt about that! So here’s what’s next, E. I FINALLY get to watch Joshua Breedlove and Ben Bronson fight. These two have been crowing at each other for literal months. MONTHS. Spitter is a wonderful thing, but it’s allowed for this to go on without some kind of resolution for FAR too long, and thankfully, Real Deal saw it fit to bring in Ben Bronson to take a piece out of Joshua Breedlove.
Eryk Masters: And all it cost him was a crooked ref! What a great deal!
Other Guy: So now we’re going to find out if Breedlove can put his money where his mouth is, or if the man known as REVOLUTION BEN BRONSON can pull the Sin City Championship out of Breedlove’s hands. That match is NEXT!
Ben Bronson Vs. Joshua Breedlove (c)
Other Guy: UGH.
Eryk Masters: You can say that… yeah we already did that bit once. So, with this win, Joshua Breedlove defends against Bronson. That sucks. What EXTRA sucks is that this means that Breedlove will have his say in who enters the Sin City Championship Series. I… I am going to reserve judgement on that.
Other Guy: What do you mean?
Eryk Masters: I think that Breedlove won all those awards last year and now he’s got something to prove, that he’s not a joke or a guy that takes shortcuts. I think he’s going to pick legit challengers for the SCCS.
Other Guy: No way, dude. We’re about to see like, Bobson Dugnutt and “Jumping” Julius Job in this thing after they’ve been out of action for months. Mark it.
Eryk Masters: Whoa, OG. Number one… Bobson Dugnutt is a legit challenger, daddy. And it’s JUMPIN’ Julius Job.
Other Guy: Again I say, UGH, but I can’t get bogged down too much because we’re about ready to rock for our next contest, where Breedlove’s boys, the Sin City Scoundrels challenge the Unholy Cyber Army for the SHOOT Project World Tag Team Championships! Thoughts on this?
Eryk Masters: I think people underestimate the Scoundrels because of their association with Breedlove, but… I don’t think this is going to be their night. The Unholy Cyber Army is one of the most dominant tag teams in SHOOT Project history, so I just… I’ll be surprised. You know what else, OG?
Other Guy: What’s that?
Eryk Masters: Fortunately, there’s no Tag Team Championship Series and if those guys win, we don’t have to worry about them dragging lame challengers into that whole affair. Don’t get any ideas, Josh.
Other Guy: HA. The Sin City Scoundrels challenge for the tag titles against the Unholy Cyber Army, and that match is NEXT.
Sin City Scoundrels Vs. Unholy Cyber Army (c)
Other Guy: Well, this is my nightmare come true.
Eryk Masters: Oh yeah, those three? Breedlove, and the SCS? They’re going to be insufferable with all this gold. I’d say I can’t wait, but… I can. I can really wait.
Other Guy: I just… I’m shocked. I’m in awe, honestly. This legendary reign comes to an end, E. That’s a big story in and of itself.
Eryk Masters: It is, but you’ve gotta remember, it’s not like these guys are going away and now the Unholy Cyber Army goes from being the hunted to the HUNTERS, and they are going to be looking to BRUTALIZE people on their way back to tag team glory. WITNESS!
Other Guy: WITNESS.
Eryk Masters: I’m kind of surprised you went along with that.
Other Guy: I am too.
Eryk Masters: Oh, I’m getting word that we’re headed to the back once more. The CHAMP! The WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, Buck Dresden… has some last minute thoughts before he locks it up with C.K. Butcher later this evening! After that, we’ll roll right into the next match, as Void takes on Obsidian in a father vs. son grudge match that’s sure to be another bloody mess.
We cut back to the backstage area where we see the ever present SHOOT Project Helmet insignia blared across a 4k television screen. Standing in front of it, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off with the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship on his shoulder is none other than Buck Dresden. He nods his head as he prepares himself to speak, water dripping from his hair and down to his chest, causing a slight glisten as the light catches each droplet.
Buck Dresden: I face a man tonight for this title what ain’t never competed for it before. Tonight, in front of each an’ every person out there, I defend this title against CK Butcher. A man…more concerned about creatin’ lists and makin’ things look prettier to hide behind his carnage. A guy…who tells the world he is the next champion. That he…yearns for someone to come along an’ end him lest he keeps up his onslaught an’ destroys everything he touches.
He pauses and begins to pace.
Buck Dresden: I don’t hide behind a funny gimmick or a silly game. I am who I am because it is who I have always been. I wear my old tag team badge, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and most importantly I wear a title that tells the world that I have what it takes to lead this company.
Buck Dresden: I’m not stupid. I can be defeated. But I will not stand here an’ act like today is that day, tomorrow is that day, or any other day…is that day. An’ when I face CK Butcher later tonight he will know that he will face the best of me.
He points to the camera. To you.
Buck Dresden: I know you’re watching. I know you’re smarter than anyone else in that locker room. I know more than anything that you have an offense an’ a mind game that is nearly impervious to penetrate. But what I also know is as I sit back an’ get ready for tonight, I know what you think of me an’ what I’ve done. You made that abundantly clear. But understand this, Butcher.
Buck pauses again.
Buck Dresden: If you beat me an’ all I am is a joke, then what does that say about this company that I was able to defend against top tier talent an’ help lead it into this new golden age it’s in? While you sit there an’ pat yourself on the back over an’ over understand that as little as you think of others, that has always been your downfall. You thought little of Nate Robideau and look where that got you. Now you make lists an’ you call me things like boring or say that everything I have done is a joke.
Buck sighs, shaking his head.
Buck Dresden: So come at me tonight like the boring joke you say I am. I’m lookin’ forward to an easy night. Or come at me like you’re supposed to, on the night of nights, for the title of titles, in the main event that you and I earned. Treat this moment with the respect it deserves, Butcher, or you’ll never win. An’ believe me. You’ve tasted defeat but never here, never this. Pray, meditate, confer with your evil spirits, read a quote book, or flagellate yerself however you feel you need to. I would tell you to grow up an’ be a man tonight but instead…I’ll just show you how to do it. Either way, you’ll be dragged kickin’ an’ screamin’ to the mountaintop with me. You will know what means to be at this level.
Buck Dresden: It’s up to you if you fall or not.
Void Vs. Obsidian
Other Guy: And down goes the big man!
Eryk Masters: Which one?
Other Guy: Well, if you care about familial unity at all, technically both, but I think they have a long way to go before we’re talking about familial unity again.
Eryk Masters: I don’t actually know what the fuck you just said.
Other Guy: Ahh well, the bottom line is that Void picks up a mega win both in the win column and probably emotionally. Big time burden off of his shoulders, and all that, right?
Eryk Masters: It’s hard to say. With that guy, nothing is obvious or apparent or anything like that. I have no idea what happens with them from here, or if anything even does. All I know is that I saw a bloody scrum and now we’re replacing the ring mat in anticipation of the next match, which is where Arthur Pleasant defends his title against Azraith DeMitri after tormenting Azraith for weeks.
Other Guy: I KNOW that Azraith, another newly minted Hall of Famer by the way, has been chomping at the bit to get a shot at Pleasant AND a shot at the Iron Fist Championship, which has eluded him thus far in his SHOOT Project career! We find out if he’s going to take that title NEXT!
Azraith DeMitri Vs. Arthur Pleasant (c)
The scene zips over to longtime SHOOT Project interviewer Abigail Chase, dressed impeccably in a glittering black and silver sequined dress for SHOOT Project’s biggest pay-per-view of the year. She’s at the ready in the interviewing area with microphone in hand.
Abigail Chase: Ladies and gentlemen, what a night of action we’ve had thus far! My guest at this time is one of SHOOT Project’s latest signees and who made their debut just a short while ago. Please give it up for Lindsay Troy!
The Queen of the Ring enters stage left, having showered and changed into street clothes after her battle with Ria Lockhart. The SHOOT Project Faithful give her a nice ovation, more out of respect for her performance than for anything else.
She just got here, after all.
Abigail Chase: Lindsay, welcome. First, let me say congratulations on your debut and your win over Ria. The two of you put on a great performance for what was a last-minute addition to the Reckoning Day card.
Lindsay chuckles, smiles a little, and nods her head.
Lindsay Troy: Thanks Abby. I gotta give it up to Ria, she’s a hell of a competitor, and she’s got my respect for accepting a challenge on short notice based on some back-and-forth banter on Spitter. Just from what I’ve seen since I signed on here, I think the SHOOT Project fans would agree, that there are no “easy wins” in this place. Every match is a battle. That’s the kind of competition I like.
Abigail Chase: I one hundred percent agree. Your protege, Daryn Thompson, and some of your fellow DEFIANCE coworkers also had big matches tonight, and it’s great to see this influx of new talent coming into our doors. So now that you’ve gotten your feet wet here, are you looking ahead to anyone in particular?
Lindsay Troy: I’ve got my eye on a few people. (She smirks) But knowing me? I’m sure trouble will come a knockin’ sooner or-
Without warning, LT and Abby’s gazes become fixed on someone else dawdling into the shot. There was something… distinct… behind his eyes. Dejection? Possibly. Anger? More than likely. Whatever it was, though, it distracts Arthur Pleasant long enough to where he isn’t even aware that he is mope-walking into Lindsay Troy’s shot.
Arthur Pleasant:… the hypocrite… wins. The hypocrite… wins. The hypocrite… wins.
Like he’s in a trance, Arthur turns his head towards Abigail Chase and Lindsay Troy.
Arthur Pleasant: Hi.
Arthur waves at Abigail and LT.
Arthur Pleasant: Enjoying your fucking selves right now? Hm? Enjoying watch a hypocrite get one over on the GREATEST FUCKING IRON FIST CHAMPION TO HAVE EVER LIVED?!?!
Arthur collapses to his knees, pulling at his own hair.
Arthur Pleasant: Wasn’t supposed to happen like this. It wasn’t… supposed… to happen… LIKE THIS!!
The two women look at one another, and then back at Arthur.
Lindsay Troy: I mean, we were enjoying ourselves before your sad sack crawled up in here.
Arthur laughs at Lindsay’s insult. Looking back at Abby, Arthur shrugs.
Arthur Pleasant: I guess she’s right. While playing the woe is me card, I got in the way of Lindsay’s shot. Should’ve known better than to do that.
He belly laughs to himself for a second before something hits him, figuratively, in the head.
Arthur Pleasant: Hey…I recognize you! You’re… you’re that girl I’ve seen out in DEFIANCE! It’s so nice to meet you over here in SHOOT Project. Did you get lost or something? Did you pull a Kevin McCallister and accidentally get on the wrong flight? You do realize this is Las Vegas, don’t you?
Arthur looks genuinely confused as his eyes dart between the two. Wiping away sweat from his hair, he flings it at the ground in front of their feet before clearing his throat and hocking a wad of phlegm as well.
Lindsay looks down at the ground, at her boot that has some spittle and perspiration on it, and smirks.
Lindsay Troy: Heh.
She steps forward, making it a point to walk right through the gross mixture of fluids on the floor, and gets right up in Arthur’s dance space. And since they’re the exact same height, this is not a goofy looking visual.
Lindsay Troy: I know exactly where I am, Arthur. And I know exactly who you are. Don’t ever think for a second that I’m out of place, or unaware, or uninformed.
Arthur Pleasant: I’m sorry, but are you supposed to make me feel threatened? Because I’m more… aroused… than anything.
Arthur winks, knowing full well that this was not something any woman would want to hear come out of his crooked, jagged mouth.
Arthur Pleasant: Relax, sweetie pie. I know you know I know you know who I am. The problem is… you don’t know enough. Not nearly enough. As well-informed as you may be, there are certain things I feel you should be made aware of before we… play. Because… you do wanna play… right? With me? Play? Like… friends?!
There is a glimmer of hope in his eyes as he says this. Their eyes remain locked on one another as Abigail Chase isn’t sure what to do at this point.
Abigail Chase: Guys, guys, guys. We don’t need to have an incident h-
Arthur Pleasant: Who’s having an incident? Certainly not moi. If anybody’s about to have an incident, it would be our Leading Lady here, Miss Queenie. Am I right, Misssssssss Troy?!
A smile slithers out of his mouth like a Basilisk out of the Chamber of Secrets, but in an instant his demented expression warps into a grimace as Lindsay’s hands snatch his head in a Muay Thai clinch and her knees find their way against his face in rapid-fire succession. Arthur cries out as one patella connects with his nose, and then another with his chin, his teeth meeting his tongue while the taste of iron fills his mouth. One side-kick to the ribs for good measure, and the Queen discards him to the ground in a heap.
She looks down at Arthur with a scowl, then glances over at Abigail.
Lindsay Troy: He was right.
With that, she walks off set.
Cradled into a fetal position, Arthur protects himself from any further blows, not realizing that Lindsay Troy had already exited the scene. Looking up, Arthur wipes his mouth off. Now sitting up while grunting from the pain inflicted upon him, he can’t help but heave a sickening laugh at the events that just transpired.
Arthur Pleasant: So… [groans]… so she knows Muay-Thai, eh?
He tries to laugh at the situation once more but something in his chin clicks and a scowl forms immediately.
Arthur Pleasant: Well, tonight kinda sucked, didn’t it?
Arthur just lays back on the ground with his extremities extended, giving up on the night completely.
Eryk Masters: Oof. Not a good night for the former Iron Fist Champion.
Other Guy: No, definitely not, but a great night for Lindsay Troy and a great night for SHOOT Project fans left and right! We’re rounding out the evening, and that means that it’s almost time, E.
Eryk Masters: You’re ready for this one too, I take it?
Other Guy: Oh yeah. I’ve been wanting to see Adrian Corazon get absolutely messed up since he started sticking his nose in here again, and I’m SO glad we’re finally getting to see it. There’s been so much that’s lead up to this moment, from the abduction and murder of Diego Reyes, which we’re apparently all now talking openly about, to the New Vanguard attempting to destroy the SHOOT Project, and now this.
Eryk Masters: You think that Jonas has this?
Other Guy: I… I hope he does, because if he doesn’t? The SHOOT Project is in for a very, very long winter and Corazon will stop at nothing to burn this place to the ground.
Eryk Masters: Well, I guess we’ll find out, won’t we? Jonas Coleman challenges Adrian Corazon… next.
Jonas Coleman Vs. Adrian Corazon
Other Guy: God DAMN it felt good to watch Jonas just brutalize Corazon with those boots. I wanted him to just keep going, but I’m glad that Lorenzo just waved it off. That’s a lot of weight on Coleman’s shoulders, and it has to feel so good to put a beatdown on him like that.
Eryk Masters: I’m honestly impressed by Jonas Coleman’s restraint here. It would have been really easy for him to just go overboard and… I don’t think anyone would have blamed him at all, but he held back. Everything this dude did to him, and Jonas Coleman managed to hold back. That’s… I couldn’t do that.
Other Guy: What happens next with Corazon, E?
Eryk Masters: I’m not sure, honestly. He’s been beaten. His skull obviously got cracked, we all heard the sound, and then Tony Lorenzo stepped right in, so he knows… Corazon knows that he can’t touch Jonas Coleman right now. I CAN tell you that we’ve followed Corazon to the back… and…
The exterior door to the loading dock of the Epicenter, where there’s naught for sound but the faint buzz of the municipal-grade exterior lights. With a mighty swing, the silence is broken, and stumbling from the back to the outside is the man Himself.
Fresh from his match, he less strides than stumbles, the somewhat unsure footing of a man who has spent too long in combat. His breath comes ragged. But he stops short when he hears what we all hear. A sound that is definitive.
The racking of the slide of an automatic pistol.
Slowly emerging from the shadows is a black pistol. Then an arm attached to the hand holding it. Then the face, gleaming through the dried copper of bloodstains. The black hair. The gold. The eyes, bloodshot and wet.
Corazon makes no effort to hold up his hands. No effort to talk his way out. He steadies his posture, catching his breath, eyes glancing from gun to eyes, eyes to gun. There’s a hint of a smirk at the corner of his mouth. He’s asking Avarice if he is serious. His herald advances, closing the space—the cocks his arm back and DRIVES the barrel of the gun into Corazon’s face like a set of brass knuckles!! The man reels, stumbles, clutching his face…then steadily stands. A large gash has been ripped from cheek to lip, pouring blood. But he looks. Bloody gun to eyes. Eyes to bloody gun. He nods. Even leans his head forward. Sensing the hesitation, Corazon strides forward and clutches Avarice’s shaking arm. Brings the gun up to his forehead. Gazes fire into the eyes of his protégé, absently spatting out a fragment of tooth. There is a long moment. But the resolve is not there. Avarice’s arm drops. He then drops to his knees, looking to the ground. The gun settles to the concrete with a metallic clatter.
Corazon places a hand on Avarice’s head as the man crumples further, his shoulders shaking with every ragged breath. It’s almost sweet and caring. There is a long moment of this, before he turns and begins to walk away.
He doesn’t get more than 10 feet from Avarice before the man in the golden mask springs to his feet and rushes Corazon from behind, knocking him to the ground. Reeling, Corazon rolls to his back just before Avarice mounts him—he goes to say something, but his Herald drives a lighting fast punch DIRECTLY to his esophagus, leaving him choking and gasping for air!! Avarice slowly removes his mask, his eyes hard, his cheeks wet with tears. He grips it by the chin and lets out a rumbling SCREAM, bashing it into Corazon’s face!! Once, twice, three, four—a new yowl of pain and sadness and rage with each wet impact on the man’s now bloodied and swollen face. Again. Again. Again. We can hardly see any gold anymore.
It finally snaps in half on a big strike, and Avarice wraps his hands around Corazon’s throat. His hands are buried in the man’s skin—and Corazon, through all his lumpy bruising and blood, actually smiles. Smiles and nods his head.
Avarice goes slack. Removes his hands, doubled over, his head buried. His breath comes ragged.
He straightens up. Smiles. Leans down and places a kiss on his mentor’s head. Stands.
Avarice: I’m not you.
He walks off, not bothering to retrieve his mask. He pauses, picks up the gun. Disassembles it with a practiced motion, then tosses it into a dumpster.
Then returns to the shadows.
Eryk Masters: I believe that we are going to let that moment speak for itself and just take a quick pause.
Other Guy: Indeed.
A few moments go by, split screened, between a bloodied and beaten Adrian Corazon and the announcer’s desk.
Eryk Masters: Okay… I think… I think the SHOOT Project needed that, as weird as it is to say. I think we needed to see Avarice, or Adrian Reyes, do that to Adrian Corazon. His captor, his tormentor, his… brainwasher. If the SHOOT Project didn’t need to see it, I certainly did.
Other Guy: I have nothing left to add here. Corazon has been summarily defeated, his acolytes have abandoned him, and he’s been left bloodied by someone who treated him like a father figure. He is done, and we are going to move on to the MAIN EVENT of the evening! WOOOOOOO!
Eryk Masters: WOOOOO indeed, for all the right and wrong reasons. C.K. Butcher and Buck Dresden have been going back and forth, as they have been on a collision course following Butcher’s Redemption Rumble win and Buck Dresden’s multiple title defenses. These two are laser focused, and as we heard from Buck earlier tonight, that man is ready to go.
Other Guy: Tell you one thing, I am here for this match. I’ve been ready for this shit since the Redemption Rumble and man am I glad we’re finally here. It’s the MAIN EVENT AT RECKONING DAY.
THE SHOOT PROJECT WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.