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REIGN: Total Annihilation

A tolling bell and crack of thunder emanates through the speakers of the Los Angeles Epicenter as the lights fall and a thick fog begins to roll out from the back, tumbling in a slow crawl down the rampway before a piercing howl reverberates through the crowd.

I was raised in a deep and dark hole

A prisoner with no parole

They locked me up and took my soul

Shamed of what they’d made…

“Go Tell Aunt Rhody” by Jordan Reyne and Michael A. Levine begins to play, backed by ethereal piano music, as the REIGN crowd rise to their feet and look toward the stage. As they do, a glowing red light cuts through the fog and Dr. Străjer appears like a ghostly visage. 


Go, tell aunt Rhody

Go, tell aunt Rhody

Go, tell aunt Rhody

That every-body’s dead.

Following behind Străjer, lumbering and standing a good foot over than the already impressively tall doctor, is WOLF MAN. He sniffs around his surroundings and then throws his head back in a curdling howl.



The fans throughout the arena respond with their own howl, like a wolfpack, as Străjer leads WOLF MAN down the rampway towards the ring.

Mark Kendrick: This is certainly a surprise, Maria! I didn’t expect WOLF MAN to make an appearance so soon. I wonder what this is all about.

Maria Madden: Psychological warfare, Mark! WOLF MAN, or should I say Doctor Străjer, is taking the REIGNS here tonight; pun intended. He wants to put the rest of the roster on notice on the company’s biggest stage.

Străjer points his staff towards the ring and then whispers something to WOLF MAN. As he does, the beast vaults up onto the edge of the mat, but rather than continue into the ring, he stalks the length of the ropes, snarling at the crowd, as Străjer takes a microphone and steps toward the center of the ring.

The mysterious figure casts a sweeping motion with his staff as the music dies down and an electrified crowd leans in.

Doctor Străjer: Ladies, gentlemen, and all those existing outside the limitations of this world… you have spent the past year yearning for something EXTRAORDINARY. Have you not? Something… BEYOND THE BOUNDS of nature.

The crowd yells back in response as WOLF MAN scouts the audience, gnashing his teeth.

Doctor Străjer: Well, tonight, I am pleased to FORMALLY introduce you to a creature you have come to simply call WOLF MAN.

A cheer rises from the arena as a chant quickly begins to materialize.




Even Doctor Străjer is taken aback by the chant, but he quickly regains his composure and taps his staff three times, causing WOLF MAN to quickly spin around and lock eyes with him. WOLF MAN seems to completely block out the roar of the crowd as he calmly steps over the top rope and joins Străjer in the center of the ring.

Doctor Străjer: And while you have undoubtedly SEEN what this beast is capable of, it is something altogether different to EXPERIENCE it.

The crowd roars in approval as WOLF MAN snarls and Străjer smiles.

Doctor Străjer: So, WHO AMONG YOU has the fortitude? The confidence? The skill to match the WOLF MAN in combat? Who is willing to put their life on the line for a chance at IMMORTALITY!?

A surprising number of hands go up, especially in the front row, as fans clamor to get Străjer’s attention. His eyes seem to glow as bright as the stone embedded in his staff as he scans the crowd.

Maria Madden: I’m not sure this is sanctioned! Mark? 

Mark Kendrick: Actually, Maria, everyone in the first few rows tonight were asked to sign waivers, so while I certainly wasn’t expecting something like this… we’re in the clear from a legal standpoint!

Maria Madden: What about an ethical standpoint!?

Străjer continues to scan the crowd, but before he can call out, a figure in a hooded sweatshirt rushes toward the barricade and vaults over the rest of the crowd. Străjer recoils as the figure confidently steps toward the ring and pulls their hood back.



The crowd absolutely flips out as Străjer’s eyes grow wide. Meanwhile, WOLF MAN locks eyes with the Hall of Famer who wastes no time stalking up the ring steps and stepping through the ropes. Everything happens so fast that no one seems to have a chance to properly react or take in the scene.

Maria Madden: Uhhh… does your waiver cover inactive Soldiers, Mark?

Mark Kendrick: Motherfu…

Străjer steps backward out of the ring as Ayumi throws off her hoodie and sweatpants to reveal her ring gear. WOLF MAN takes a stance – ready to pounce – as the bell rings.

The referee rings for the bell as a triumphant WOLF MAN looms large over the SHOOT Project Hall of Famer and former Tag Team Champion.

Blood lines Ayumi Seppuku’s face and arms, streaking on the mat as she tries to crawl her way towards the ropes and pull herself up.

Mark Kendrick: Someone go get her help, NOW!

As Mark makes the call over the PA, Străjer looks around at the crowd as they lean in closer to try and see the carnage. With a glint in his eye, Străjer strikes his staff on the ground twice in quick succession and barks a word at WOLF MAN.


WOLF MAN’s eyes light up, a switch flipped as the beast raises his head and lets out a blood curdling howl. He quickly closes the distance on Ayumi and lifts her up with one hand, by her hair, as she kicks and thrashes, trying to break free. The fans begin to buzz – not with fear, but with excitement as WOLF MAN violently chucks Ayumi away from the ropes and into the nearby turnbuckle before launching himself cleanly onto the second rope and begins slashing away at her face with his talon-like claws.

Mark Kendrick: Dear God! STOP THIS!

A seemingly possessed Străjer calls out to WOLF MAN over and over.



Now the fans begin to join in, too, a swelling cult-like chant filling the arena as security quickly tries to make their way to the ring. As they do, blood is no longer just smearing the mat, it is covering it. Ayumi’s arms flail wildly as WOLF MAN brings his face down onto hers and TAKES A BITE! He turns his head and spits what looks to be a piece of flesh into the crowd, hitting a woman who immediately lurches over and begins to heave and hold her mouth so as not to vomit. Meanwhile the chanting turns to boos as security swarms the ring and tries to encroach on the scene.

Neither announcer can find the words to describe what they are seeing as the crowd goes apoplectic on the staff trying to recover a seriously wounded Ayumi Seppuku.

Străjer assesses quickly and hits his staff on the floor three times, barking another order to WOLF MAN who immediately pulls himself off Ayumi Seppuku, blood dripping down his chin, as she collapses to the mat. WOLF MAN grows, snarling at the security trying to approach his prey but as he locks eyes with Străjer, WOLF MAN backs away and exits toward the mad scientist through the middle ropes.

Security leaps into action, calling for EMTs as they try to stop Ayumi’s bleeding. Two guards flank Străjer and WOLF MAN who ignore them and calmly begin to exit – unperturbed by the chaotic scene. As they do, the crowd gets on their feet, clapping, hooting, and hollering for Străjer’s beast as Ayumi begins to be loaded onto a stretcher.

WOLF MAN turns to look at the crowd on the rampway, letting out a final howl as the fans raise their own heads to the sky and respond to his call with a cacophony of excitement and bloodlust that echoes through the arena.

No Rest for the Champion

Backstage, the damage is apparent as Avalanche Anderson is being tended to by SHOOT Project medical. After outlasting the seven other competitors in the World Championship Contenders battle royal, Anderson sits, eyes glassed over, just staring straight ahead. 


Everything is just buzzing around him, no discernible noise or anything, until one phrase cuts through all of it and breaks his concentration.


“Number. One. Contender.” 


The words belong to the victorious Viento Helado, REIGN’s World Heavyweight Champion, who is not without damage of his own. He’s patched up and has a slight grimace as he takes a few steps into the room, alerting the medical staff and putting them on edge.


Viento Helado: Relax, team. I’m not here to fight. Just here to talk.


Avalanche gives Helado the once over and simply nods his head.


Viento Helado: I’m just going to make it very, very clear to you that a contender is all you will be as long as I am the champion. You might think you can look ahead to whenever we face off, think that you might be a winner in waiting, but let me be crystal with you, Anderson.


He taps the World title.


Viento Helado: This stays on my shoulder. It will neve–


Helado is interrupted by the absolute FREIGHT TRAIN that is RAPTURE coming in hot and shoulder-checking him into wall, crumpling REIGN’s World Champion! The medical staff scurries, and Avalanche Anderson scoots away, but he is not going to go unnoticed as Rapture turns his attention to the #1 Contender and just brutally kicks him in the face, sending him to the ground in pain! It’s not long after that the voice of Johnny Brave is heard…


Johnny Brave: Oh my blustery Viento. You didn’t think… oh, gosh, you must have thought that because you scored a pinfall, we were done. We are not done. The only way we’ll be done with you is when we have that championship, when we have your pride, and when we take your glory. 


All of that ego, all of those words about how it stays on your shoulder? 




And for you, Avalanche Anderson, congratulations on being Rapture’s next lamb to slaughter. You rest up now.


He bends down to look Anderson in the eye.


Johnny Brave: Just take a good long look at this scene, my friend. Take in all the angles, because you’re going to be head down, eyes up. 


Why, you might be wondering? 


No reason, you just won a battle royal. 


This place belongs to Rapture now.





A buzz fills the arena. There are no other matches for the night. The steel cage looms ominously over the ring inside the SHOOT Epicenter.


Mark Kendrick: Here we go! There are no more contenderships to be decided. Only one more title on the line. Two men who couldn’t be contained now placed inside one of the oldest, most diabolical torture methods in the wrestling world.


Maria Madden: These two men have tortured me and my poor heart for months now and, while I am excited for this to be over and decided, I don’t think what I’ve been through will come close to matching what these two are going to do to each other.


Mark Kendrick: Who are you thinking comes out ahead?


Maria Madden: I don’t know. I don’t know if this match will even end. Both men seem to have Satan himself powering them and I don’t know if they are capable of feeling pain. If I had to choose, Ultimo Muerte has the power and time advantage and he beat the Northmen in the most dominant fashion. I’m going Muerte.


Mark Kendrick: CICADA may have taken more damage from MWR, but he also beat them quicker and has been nearly untouchable in every match. However…I don’t know, I think I might agree with you Maria. I don’t think Muerte is ready to let go of the Horizon Title just yet.


The lights go out. The arena erupts in cheers and boos, everything but silence. Phone lights begin to light up the arena.


Maria Madden: Oh Jesus, here we go.


The screen comes to life. We see the speaker, bathed in blue, inhuman yet hyperrealistic eyes scan the crowd. Spotlights match his eye movement as both screens search the entire arena before all lights land on the cage. 




All the spotlights proceed to light up the entrance ramp, which remains empty.


The Speaker: Annihilation.


The screens suddenly erupt with a near-deafening roar of blue pyro, killing the feed and leaving the arena, once again, in total darkness.




 Nothing moves. If it weren’t for crowd noise, there would be almost complete silence.


The boos, the cheers, the raucous, intensely excited nature of the crowd returns as “Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni” by Eiko Shimamiya hits over the PA.


Mark Kendrick: Here we go!


The ramp fills with blue lights and fog. The song builds until the 19-second mark when two blue spotlights come to life and shine down on CICADA at the top of the ramp. He looks down at the ground, breathing heavily, but slowly, his shoulders visually rising and falling. He remains in place for a fair amount of time, ignoring everything around him.


Maria Madden: Behind that mask hides some kind of emotion, but what? Excitement, tension, nerves, fear?


Mark Kendrick: I don’t think we’ll ever really know, Maria.


CICADA does his kamigoye knee pose suddenly before throwing his arms out and allowing himself to bathe in the blue light and the noise of the crowd. He finally snaps his head down to the ring and begins to slowly walk, his stride slow, methodical, and confident. Fans hold their hands out to get high fives, but he ignores them. The world is darkness to him, the blue providing a focus on the only thing that matters to him…himself.


Mark Kendrick: CICADA has, quite simply, come into REIGN with a passion and purpose, unlike anything we’ve really seen before. He has had a match on almost every single REIGN card since joining and has consistently sought out the most game competitors.


Maria Madden: Though the crowd has very mixed feelings about this man…creature…ghost…we know that many of the SHOOT faithful tune in to REIGN weekly to see who CICADA will destroy next.


Mark Kendrick: The Ghost of REIGN. I think I like that.


CICADA slowly walks up the ring steps. He walks to the center of the ring and holds the ropes, looking up at the cage. He takes a deep breath before stepping over the ropes, understanding that he won’t be able to leave this ring until the match is over. He looks around, taking in the size of the crowd, much larger than his usual REIGN appearances.


Maria Madden: Even a supernatural monster like CICADA seems caught up in the moment.


Mark Kendrick: This is the largest event REIGN has ever seen and this man, not even challenging for the REIGN World Title, has found himself in the main event. However, we’ll see if a ghost can withstand a true demon.


The lights go out once again. Flames appear on the SHOOTron. “Alchemy” by Al Marconi begins to play. The slow, somber, and tense Spanish guitar floats through the arena. As the song plays, a brujah emerges from the back. She holds a sword with the hilt pointed upwards. In the hilt sits a lit candle. Soon follows another brujah with the same sword. And another. And another.


Mark Kendrick: 10 witches.


Maria Madden: 10 swords.


Mark Kendrick: The worst destruction for CICADA.


Maria Madden: I hate all of this.


The witches line up on the ramp, 5 on each side, holding up their flaming swords. Pandora emerges from the back, the Horizon Championship slung over her shoulder. She points to the SHOOTron with an evil smile. The High Brujah appears in front of the flames, a wicked smile on her face.


High Brujah: Ultimo Muerte…show the world the power of our coven and annihilate this insect.


Flames erupt from the ring posts and the entrance ramp as “Inhumano” by Anna Fiori hits over the speakers! Ultimo Muerte emerges from the back quickly and with purpose. Stopping only to look up at the screens and acknowledge the High Brujah. With a nod to Pandora, he quickly stomps down the ring. Where CICADA was slow and methodical, Ultimo Muerte is fast and powerful, each step thundering on the metal. 


Maria Madden: You said it best, Mark. A demon. Ultimo Muerte is a demonic, evil, and ancient force that is supported by ACTUAL MAGICAL WITCHES.


Mark Kendrick: I have the best roster.


Ultimo Muerte slides under the bottom rope and is immediately on his feet. He moves directly to center ring and gets directly in the face of CICADA. Neither man speaks, but the fact that their foreheads are touching and they are nose to nose says enough about what we need to know. The referee steps in between them, trying to keep some semblance of order for this. Pandora is in the ring now. She hands the Horizon Title to the referee, never taking her eyes off CICADA. Maria Madden joins them in the ring. She puts her hand on Ultimo Muerte’s shoulder and tugs on him. He backs off, reluctantly, as does CICADA.


Maria Madden: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for TOTAL…ANNIHILATION!


The crowd erupts.


Maria Madden: The following contest is set for ONE FALL-




Maria Madden: And is for the HORIZON CHAMPIONSHIP!


The referee holds the title high to even more cheers from the crowd.


Maria Madden: Both men will be locked inside this steel cage. Escape is not an option. The match can only end in pinfall, submission, or referee stoppage. Introducing FIRST, the challenger, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and FIXTY SIX pounds and hailing from…Hell or The Further or wherever Stephen King’s nightmares exist…he is The Ghost of Reign-


Mark Kendrick: Trademarked!




Some fans boo, some fans cheer, but almost all of them make noise and litter the ring with blue streamers.




Mark Kendrick: I see what you did there. Atta girl.


Maria Madden: Hailing from Tijuana, Mexico and weighing in at THREE HUNDRED and TWENTY POUNDS…The Ultimate Death…The Demon of REIGN…The Master of the Blackest Magic…ULTIMOOOOOOOOOO…


Maria lowers the mic and takes a deep breath, which gets a response from the crowd.





The fans erupt again as red and black streamers come flying into the ring. A few ring crew suddenly appear to help the ref sweep all the streamers from the ring. Pandora touches Muerte’s shoulder and locks eyes with him. They nod to one another, no words passed, just understanding. CICADA leans against the ropes and stares at Muerte, silently and ready. As the streamers are removed from the ring the cage begins to lower.


Mark Kendrick: Great introduction, Maria.


Maria Madden: I never want to be in the ring with those two ever again.


The cage finally falls. All doors are locked. The Ghost and The Demon stare at each other. The bell rings.


Total Annihilation.