The camera pans around the Epicenter, showing the REIGN faithful. There are signs like “I’m a WOLF MAN Stan”, “I Need A Buddy Amigo”, “Shoulda Been Chad Kyle”, “Needs More Slam-a-doo”, and “I’M HERE FOR THAT SPOOKY S**T”. There is something wild in the crowd, a fever-pitched energy that is not necessarily more dedicated than the Las Vegas SHOOT faithful, but something that is a bit more insane and unpredictable. The camera cuts to the ring, where Mark Kendrick stands in the middle of the ring.
Mark Kendrick: Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a new fervor for REIGN. Between The Patriot Act giving SHOOT Tag Team Champions incredible matches, stars like Dan Stein gracing our ring, and incredible matches in both title and non-title matches, I believe that the REIGN faithful have been given enough blood, violence, and competition to satiate their thirsts!
The fans cheer in a wild, manic fashion.
Mark Kendrick: But while I appreciate the fervor for competition that our athletes have shown, we have a slight problem. See, while I have no issues with the bloodshed as long as it is bringing in new fans and new money to REIGN, and while this is a combat industry, we are a combat SPORT.
A hush falls over the crowd. The REIGN faithful wait intently to see where Mark Kendrick is going with this.
Mark Kendrick: I have two athletes on this roster who seem unhappy with the outcomes of their matches at Total Annihilation, namely Ultimo Muerte and Rapture. Both men seem to think that, because they could not get the work done in the ring they will disrupt matches and blatantly attack champions and challengers. So, with that in mind, let’s address some matches that are happening tonight. First off, if Rapture believes he deserves another shot at Viento Helado over Avalanche Anderson-
The crowd erupts for both Viento and Avalanche.
Mark Kendrick: -then he can have the chance to prove, TONIGHT, that he deserves another shot by beating Avalanche Anderson in the middle of this ring!
The crowd pops again for this match.
Mark Kendrick: And as for Ultimo Muerte…
A mixture of boos and cheers erupt through the crowd. From this a different chant starts.
THAT SPOOKY SHIT!
THAT SPOOKY SHIT!
THAT SPOOKY SHIT!
Kendrick laughs for a moment while he waits for the crowd to die down.
Mark Kendrick: I’ve decided that since the Horizon Champion, CICADA, and Golden Burkhalter have issues with Ultimo Muerte, I’ll allow them a chance to get their pound of flesh by booking them together against Ultimo Muerte!
Another pop from the crowd.
Mark Kendrick: Now, listen, before Muerte tries to launch a union for unfair treatment or some such… I’m not trying to book this as a handicap match. Mr. Muerte is allowed to find whatever partner he wants, or rather, whatever partner will be willing to put up with his bullshit. Unfortunately, I don’t think he can fly in a witch from Tijuana that quickly. And, besides, let me just say for the record, and I want the hard cam directly on me for this…
Mark turns to the hard cam.
Mark Kendrick: While we’ve been willing to look the other way thus far because violence brings us viewers and money, I need everyone in this locker room to remember that the person who sets the rules for what is and isn’t acceptable on REIGN…is… ME!
Mark nods as if confirming his own statement to whomever is watching before turning back to the crowd with a smile on his face.
Mark Kendrick: Now, let’s get on with the show!
The GM/announcer for REIGN quickly leaves the ring to make room for the opening match.
RAPTURE VS. Avalanche Anderson
Avalanche Anderson gets to his feet as Rapture and Johnny Brave are celebrating in the ring. Brave though, ignores him completely, and instead calls for a microphone to the tune of boos from REIGN’s crowd.
Johnny Brave: I don’t have to tell you all what you just witnessed here tonight, but I’m going to anyway. You saw RAPTURE absolutely dismantle the FRAUDULENT CONTENDER, Avalanche Anderson.
The crowd continues booing, but Brave is smiling, and the hint of a smile can be seen underneath the mask that Rapture wears.
Johnny Brave: What an embarrassment. I think this goes to show that there’s nobody who can stand between Rapture and his destiny, so Viento Helado! I know you’re watching at home, because you got DESTROYED last week… but we want our title shot. We DEMAND our title shot. Clearly, Rapture is the true number one contender. Clearly, he should be next up for–
The fans go into a fervor as a bloodied and beaten Avalanche Anderson climbs over the top rope with nothing but MURDER in his eyes. Johnny Brave turns around and just barely misses getting decapitated by a huuuuuge Avalanche Anderson boot.
Mark Kendrick: Looks like Avalanche has had enough!
Maria Madden: While he did lose tonight, that doesn’t “invalidate” his claim to contendership. Thinking so is just… a mistake. A mistake that Johnny Brave nearly paid very dearly for.
Brave rolls out of the ring, leaving the two titans, Avalanche Anderson and Rapture standing face to face. With nothing more than a nod, the two launch into a series of punches towards one another, each one landing with sickening thuds! The crowd is EATING THIS UP.
Mark Kendrick: Gonna need to get security out here to separate these two!
Maria Madden: This is DEFINITELY chaos!
The fans start to boo as security starts to stream out from the back. As a mass of humanity gets between the two, you can still somehow hear Johnny Brave’s annoying screaming over the insane noise of the crowd!
Maria Madden: This definitely isn’t over! Mark, what’re we going to do!?
Mark Kendrick: Oh, that’s easy. We’re doing a best of five series between Avalanche Anderson and Rapture! If Rapture wins the series, he will join the matchup between Avalanche Anderson and Viento Helado for the World Heavyweight Championship!
Maria Madden: And I’m assuming that if he loses, he goes to the back of the line.
Mark Kendrick: Yep! We’ll hear no more of this nonsense screaming that’s going on, and Maria I gotta tell you – that we’re going to the back, because there’s something going on back there as well!
Preable to Destruction
We immediately switch backstage as medical is on the scene, tending to none other than KAGAMI who is out cold and unconscious! New backstage interviewer, Julie Ford, is also backstage and has caught up with Tiberius Blade, who was the first person on the scene.
Julie Ford: Mr. Blade, can you give me an idea what happened here?
Blade is shook and barely hears the question. He looks over at Julie and it takes a few seconds to register what his answer is.
Tiberius Blade: I’ve never seen anything like that. It was just… lights out. KAGAMI never had a chance…
Medical’s got KAGAMI up on a stretcher now. He’s awake, but he’s now completely restrained and has been fitted with a neckbrace. As the gurney begins to roll away, Julie Ford rushes over towards KAGAMI and tries to get a word in.
Julie Ford: Can you tell us what happened here?
KAGAMI says nothing and makes no effort to move his head even to decline to comment, he’s just laid out on this gurney, eyes wide open and staring at the ceiling, almost glazed over.
Julie Ford: Well, clearly something horrific happened to him, but I can’t get any answers and I frankly do not want to stick around any longer. We’re headed back to the ring for TWO new debuts! The Avenging Shadow, Rafael Ortega takes on REIGN newcomer Gideon May in one of three matches this week that feature new REIGN talent!
THE AVENGING SHADOW Vs. Gideon May
Preable to Destruction
Golden Burkhalter is backstage. He seems to be looking for someone. His eyes light up suddenly as he sees the person he is looking for.
Golden Burkhalter: Hey uh…dude? Yo. Yo!!
The camera pans over to follow Burkhalter. He is suddenly face to face with the Horizon Champion, CICADA. CICADA has the title slung over his shoulder. He looks down on the smaller Burkhalter, but how he looks at him is unknown due to the mask completely covering all expressions.
Golden Burkhalter: Look, Kru Robideau warned me of stuff like this. He told me management likes to do these stupid ‘odd couple’ teams because they’re….I dunno, easily amused. They’re like the sensitive chuckle gif. But I wanted to keep it a buck with you, bro–I just need you to stay outta my way. And stay healthy so I can take that belt off you. Heard?
CICADA does not react to Burkhalter’s words. He simply takes the Horizon Championship off his shoulder, takes one step forward to be fully in Burkhalter’s face, and holds the title high. Burkhalter locks eyes with the larger man for a few more moments.
Golden Burkhalter: Whatever, fucking weirdo.
Burkhalter pushes by CICADA and exits the scene. CICADA turns and stares down the hall momentarily – pausing for just the slightest of moments – before leaving the scene.
As he does, the camera pans over to where CICADA was looking. Just barely visible is a flash of motion, a figure moving from cover to cover, but in that flash we see, clear as day, an ethereal glow emanating – pulsing – at the figure’s side like a lantern drawing moths to flame.
The PAIN HUNTER Vs. Norris Feraatu
MOJO MACHINE VS. Midnight Cowboys MC
INTO THE WILD
The camera cuts back to the ring, CICADA and Golden Burkhalter in the ring already, separated across the ring. Both competitors look up to the top of the ramp.
Mark Kendrick: Our Horizon Champion AND Number One Contender are already in the ring now, ready for action!
Maria Madden: Yes, please, get this over with as soon as possible!
“Inhumano” by Anna Fiori pulses on the PA system of the LA Epicenter. The fans in the arena erupt as Pandora steps out first, followed by Ultimo Muerte. They start their favorite chant for Ultimo Muerte with demented glee:
Mark Kendrick: It looks like Ultimo Muerte is out here by himself!
Maria Madden: You don’t think he’s actually going to try to take on CICADA and Golden Burkhalter by himself, do you?
Mark Kendrick: I definitely wouldn’t put it past him.
Golden Burkhalter looks up at Ultimo Muerte, pointing and laughing at the man standing alone at the top of the ramp. Muerte looks over at Pandora for instruction. Pandora looks around the arena, then down to the ring. She looks directly at CICADA as a smile curls over her lips. Pandora turns to Ultimo Muerte, and nods.
Mark Kendrick: Here he comes!
Ultimo Muerte strides down the ramp twice, surprisingly confidently, before pausing.
Maria Madden: What’s…
The lights go out and the fans start buzzing before a single sound cuts through the buzz.
Almost immediately, the fans return the call of the wild as Dr. Strajer and WOLF MAN enter at the top of the ramp, Strajer’s glowing staff casting a ghostly glow on his face and the face of his pet project, WOLF MAN.
Mark Kendrick: Oh man! Oh man! I’m not sure Muerte could have picked a better partner tonight. Not only is WOLF MAN just… one of the most vicious roster members we have but following what he did to Ayumi Seppuku at Total Annihilation? After Burkhaulter eliminated him in that Battle Royale? WOLF MAN’s gotta be looking for revenge.
Maria Madden: That look in his eyes? He’s looking for DINNER.
The fans hoot and holler as “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” plays over the speakers and Strajer takes the lead position ahead of Muerte and WOLF MAN, leading the pair confidently down the rampway. Burkhalter’s smile quickly morphs into a shocked frown.
As the lights slowly come back up, the pure tension between these four men radiates outward, seemingly setting off the natural flight or fight response of every audience member at the Los Angeles Epicenter that seems to be just barely held at bay by pure morbid curiosity.
Mark Kendrick: What is this… what is going on?
Maria Madden: Spooky shit, Mark. Spooky. Shit.
The referee looks to the time keeper to ring the bell, but instead what we hear is three firm crashing sounds on the cement floor that reverberate throughout the arena as Strajer points his staff toward the ring and commands WOLF MAN to attack.
WOLF MAN/Ultimo Muerte Vs. CICADA/Golden Birkhalter
The bell rings, but nothing stops. Muerte, Burkhalter, WOLF MAN, and CICADA are all back standing and in the ring. CICADA and Muerte collide, trading punches like they didn’t just wrestle a full match. Burkhalter and WOLF MAN look at each other, but from outside the ring, Străjer calls out to him. WOLF MAN looks at Străjer, who motions with his eyes and taps the cane three times.
Maria Madden: Three taps? He’s not wanting him to heel after all of that; he’s wanting him to keep going!? But who is he attacking?
CICADA is able to get the upper hand on Muerte with a hard, precise right hand that staggers Muerte, but before he can do anything more, WOLF MAN annihilates CICADA with a spear! Before CICADA can recover, WOLF MAN has chomped down on his shoulder and is biting hard, blood beginning to pour onto CICADA’s white ring attire.
Mark Kendrick: Jesus, it’s not easy being the Horizon Champion is it?
CICADA is able to keep his composure and starts landing hard punches on WOLF MAN. He is actually able to turn the beast over and takes a mount position, preparing to rain down blows on the briefly staggered but very feral wrestler when Golden Burkhalter slams CICADA with a HUGE YEOKTEON CHAGI!
Mark Kendrick: Well…we had to know that alliance wasn’t lasting long.
Maria Madden: Still, CICADA can’t catch a break.
Burkhalter stays on the attack. He locks CICADA in the chinlock and cinches in a rear naked choke. He looks to try to grapevine the legs and really lock the hold in, but CICADA stands up and is able to toss Burkhalter over his shoulder. Before he can do anything else, though, Muerte clubs him in the back of the head and locks in the pumphandle.
Maria Madden: They’re all gonna kill this… uh… man?
Mark Kendrick: I guess we’ll see if CICADA is really a ghost or not.
Muerte lifts him into the tombstone position and drops CICADA on his head. He looks to attack more, but Burkhalter lands a hard kick to Muerte’s skull. WOLF MAN is now up, blood dripping from his lips, mixed with spittle, as Muerte staggers back into him. Not content with his pound of flesh, WOLF MAN opts to bite into Muerte’s shoulder looking for a pint of blood! But! Before any real damage can be done, Burkhalter plants a hard kick to the chest of Muerte that sends both Muerte and WOLF MAN flying back. As they both roll out of the ring, Burkhalter returns his attention to CICADA, ready to put an end to his “partner” when, suddenly, the lights go OUT!
Maria Madden: No no no no! Not this spooky shi-
As the lights come back on, Burkhalter is alone in the ring but CICADA is at the top of the ramp, Horizon Championship over his shoulder! He does not stand with his usual poise and confidence, but rather looks exhausted and bleeds profusely from his shoulder.
WOLF MAN and Muerte are in a world of their own, continuing to lay into each other until a stern-looking Străjer taps his cane twice, calling back WOLF MAN. Pandora also steps in, placing her hand on Muerte’s shoulder. The two fighters look up toward the stage, joining the gaze of Burkhalter who screams insults and taunts at CICADA, doing the title belt motion around his waist. CICADA looks down at all three men, taking in the multiple wars that lay before him. The fans are at a fever pitch over the chaos and carnage that they just witnessed.
Mark Kendrick: Being the Horizon Champion is hardly an easy task and I think this chaos has made it clear that nothing has been resolved with these four men. That’s all our time folks!