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We open to a wide shot of the Mojave desert, the dry, cracked earth standing stoic, ever unchanging as the sun is setting on this part of the world. The red-gold rays of the sun cast a hellish glow across the landscape.

A voice rings out, really, an amalgamation of voices speaking as one. The joined voices are both familiar and foreign to the ears.

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.”

The solid drums and eerily mellow guitar of God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash begins to sound over the landscape as the scene begins to rush forward in a time-lapsed motion, clouds crossing the sky at impossible speeds and hues of the world turning from red-gold steadily to varying shades of pink and purple, finally settling on the deep blue of the evening sky, stars winking into existence overhead.

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time

A figure walks across the landscape, wreathed in black, wispy smoke. As he comes into focus, it is revealed to be the 2020 Redemption Rumble winner and official number on contender, C.K. Butcher, the crown of bone affixed to his head. His eyes are focused ahead as he shows no signs of weariness.

Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

C.K. Butcher disappears in a wisp of smoke and in his place, sitting cross-legged on the cracked desert floor under the moonlight is Nate Robideau. Nate breathes steadily as he wraps his hands, raising his head to look up at the impossibly bright moon overhead.

Go and tell that long tongue liar

Nate, too, disappears in a wisp of smoke along with the entire scene as it is replaced with the dilapidated interior of a church, Void standing at a pulpit looking down upon a congregation of faceless, featureless parishioners. He smiles, his sharp teeth gleaming in the ghost light that plays across the scene.

Go and tell that midnight rider

Void and his congregation vanish, leaving a large trail of wispy smoke, with NEMESIS standing in their wake, the Sin City Championship over her shoulder as she looks up through a hole in the roof at the bright moon overhead.

Tell the rambler
The gambler
The back biter

The entire scene explodes in a cloud of wispy smoke, replaced again with the desert landscape, still under the night sky with a bright moon. X-Calibur is seen walking alone towards twinkling lights in the distance. He disappears into smoke as quickly as he appeared and is replaced with Dan Stein and his Make Championships Great Again entourage, heading in the same direction as X was.

Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ‘em down
Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ‘em down

The MCGA contingent disappears into smoke, replaced by Jacob Mephisto forming from his own grey smoke, looking up at the moon, which has begun to turn a slight shade of red at the edges. A few feet away from him, black smoke forms into the frame of Azraith DeMitri, also looking up at the moon. The two slowly turn their gazes upon one another, hatred in their eyes.

Well my goodness gracious
Let me tell you the news

Mephisto and Azraith both vanish, this time replaced by Scion, crouched down with his mask on. He slowly lifts the mask from his face smiling as he does and glancing up at the slowly darkening moon overhead.

My head’s been wet
With the midnight dew

A cloud of smoke congeals into “The Real Deal” Josh Johnson as he approaches his son under the now-eerie glow of the moon as the stars begin to wink out one by one.

I’ve been down on bended knee
Talkin’ to the man from Galilee

Jonas Coleman winks into existence beside Real Deal, surrounded by an aura of white smoke. He pauses as he looks at Scion, before all three of them raise their head to watch the moon turn deep red.

He spoke to be with a voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of angel’s feet

The red in the moon begins to twist and writhe into shapes. The pale light of the moon creeps back in and dominates the shape once again, but the red bits have formed the shape of a bloody smiley face looking down upon the three men, the smiley portion reflecting large shadows on the ground beneath their feet.

He called my name and my heart stood still

Comprehension dawns on the faces of Jonas and Real Deal while Scion’s smile grows wider and he throws his head back with glee.

When he said, “John, go do My will!”

Black smoke roils in from nowhere and Adrian Corazon suddenly stands behind Scion, placing a hand on the young Mr. Johnson’s shoulder as he smirks.

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider

All four men vanish into a whirlwind of black and white smoke and are replaced with the duo of the Unholy Cyber Army, the World Tag Team Championships around their waists. They, too, look up at the moon and it’s new unholy visage. The champions turn their gazes towards the twinkling lights in the distance that seem to grow brighter.

Tell the rambler
The gambler
The back biter

From the direction of the lights, a pair of figures emerge with a small, muted flash of neon as The Vice Squad appears, moving towards The Unholy Cyber Army.

Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

One by one, Jane, Lou, CYBER Power Devil, and CYBER Superbeast vanish in puffs of wispy smoke, leaving the landscape barren and empty under the Corazon Moon.

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time

A beat up old truck pulls into the scene, leaving a trail of thick, black smoke in its wake. The headlights are a harsh light in the eerie, yet peaceful, darkness. Charlie Jay Hitchens exits the vehicle, a shovel grasped in her hand. She glances skyward and we watch as the smiley face fades from the moon, leaving only pale moonlight shining down.

Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

She drags a darkened shadow from the truck, tossing it into a hole that has appeared in the ground.

Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

The scene flashes dark for the briefest of nanoseconds and we’re left with taillights fading as the truck pulls away, vanishing into another puff of smoke. As the last work is sung, the scene rests on a pile of dirt packed down amidst the barren landscape of the desert.

The music fades to silence for a moment before the startling blare of drums and electric guitar explodes into the silence as we transition to the sound of about the 2:43 mark of How the Gods Kill by Danzig.

The guitars and drums pound and the disturbed earth begins to swell.


The ground all around the dirt begins to rumble and the first cracks of dawn start to shed a dull, pink light over the horizon.

If you feel alive

The dirt bursts forward and the shining plate of the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship explodes out, clutched in the grasp of a hand.

If you got no fear

Buck Dresden drags himself from the earth, staring resolutely into the growing dawn as the moon fades from the sky.

Do you know the name

We jump-cut to Buck Dresden approaching a desert camp that is all too familiar.

Of the one you seek

Charlie Jay Hitchens looks up from where she is sitting, surprise etched on her face.

If you want the answer

We jump cut to the inside of the Epicenter as Jonas Coleman kneels in the center of the ring.

If you want the truth

Cut to Adrian Corazon whispering into Coleman’s ear.

Look inside your empty soul

We cut to Mephisto standing face to face with Azraith all those Revolutions ago when they first met.

There you’ll find the noose

We transition to the gruesome sight of C.K. Butcher standing in front of a restrained Nate Robideau from a Revolution past.

Would you let it go

X-Calibur stands in the center of the ring in the middle of a scathing promo clearly directed at his upcoming opponent.

Oh, would you let it go

We cut back to Redemption where Dan Stein and his MCGA allies stand over a downed X-Calibur, clearly gloating.

Oh, would you let it go

Void clashes with Azraith DeMitri, defeating him in one on one action on a previous edition of Revolution, surprising the SHOOT Nation with his show of power.

Oh, would you let it go

Nemesis scores a pinfall victory over Jacob Mephisto, winning the Sin City Championship. She is handed the title after the hard fought victory on Revolution.

They cannot end this mourning

Cut to Jonas Coleman, moments after taking out Malice of The New Vanguard, fury etched on The Butcher’s face.

Of my life

Scion takes an asp to The Real Deal’s knee at Redemption.

Show me how the gods kill…

Adrian Corazon walks out into the Epicenter arena for the first time in what seems like forever.

The guitars take over again and we immediately cut to Buck Dresden absolutely leveling Charlie Jay Hitchens at Revolution followed Charlie practically caving in Buck’s skull with a ball peen hammer at Redemption.


The Unholy Cyber Army and The Vice Squad brawl in a bloody mess all over the Epicenter, a clash between two teams of pure warriors.

The guitar crescendos and we cut to clips of every SHOOT Project soldier one by one. The music settles back to a more soothing guitar and we are shown one final shot of Buck Dresden standing in the center of a SHOOT Project ring as he raises the World Heavyweight Championship before disappearing into one final cloud of wispy, white smoke…

The Epicenter gleams in the closing day.  The digital sign outside is proclaiming this to be the night of Revelation.  And entering into the frame, his golden mask immaculate, is Avarice, shouldering a backpack.  He sets it down and reaches into his pocket.  Taps a few buttons on his phone.  The device screams to life with the drums and synths that proclaim a song is being played: “Easy Lover”, by Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey.  He closes his eyes and sway with the music.  We imagine he’s smiling, but with the mask he maintains the placid expression of a saint.  

She’s an easy lover

She’ll get a hold on you, believe it

She’s like no other

Before you know it you’ll be on your knees

Avarice: She is.  In her wake lie men broken, mentally and physically, men who gave everything–their families, especially–for her.  What love is that?  What love can truly exist between one half who bleeds you dry and another who willfully breaks themselves down to dust for her attention and affection?

His eyes open.  He shakes his head, chuckling. 

She will play around and leave you 

Leave you and decieve you

Better forget it

Oh, you’ll regret it

Avarice: You’ll never change her.  So leave!  It has always been this way.  Your wellbeing means nothing to her.  Your health and happiness mean nothing to her.  Your very lives and soul mean nothing to her.  She’s an easy lover.  I’m just trying to make you see!  Hahaha.

He throws his arms out.  He’s almost dancing now, the music taking him through a turn and some footwork.  It looks less Dance Party USA and more a member of the congregation catching the spirit at a tent revival.

She’ll say she has no other

Til she finds another

Better forget it

Oh, you’ll regret it

Avarice: The light of her favor is so seductive, I know.  I know!  She’s told you you are her most precious and wonderful partner, she has draped you in gold and admiration.  Filled you with such love!  But for you it’s a lifelong struggle.  For her…it’s easy!  And just as soon as you fall out of favor–and you will–she finds someone new.  Shinier.  Younger.  Less broken down.  Fresh blood.  

Don’t try to change her, just leave it, leave it

You’re not the only one, and seeing is believing 

It’s the only way

You’ll ever know

He stops dancing.  His eyes lock onto the camera.  His honeyed voice turns hard.  

Avarice: I am but lungs and vocal cords.  The rest of my corpse is meaningless.  But get out quick.  Because she’ll have you down on your knees.  She’ll take your heart.  But you won’t feel it.  

He leaves the phone playing the song, and retrieves from his bag a shirt emblazoned with the new SHOOT Project logo.  He drapes it on the ground.  Shoulders his bag.  Leaves us with that and the tones of Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey fading into the noise of Vegas.

Eryk Masters: I won’t say that wasn’t bizarre or weird, but it’s Avarice and it’s the New Vanguard, and THIS is Revelation!

Other Guy: Yep! We’ve got an action packed night for you guys tonight, complete with a barbed wire deathmatch, a cage match, a last man standing match, and so much more, but FIRST the Real Deal and Jonas Coleman take on Scion and the returning Adrian Corazon, otherwise known as the New Vanguard. Who knows what these four have in store for one another.

Eryk Masters: You’re right about that. We’ve seen this conflict escalate over the last several weeks, all culminating in the return of the man who is the clear ringleader of this whole thing, the SHOOT Project’s Black Death, Adrian Corazon. BUT enough talking from me, let’s get to the match!

The New Vanguard Vs. Jonas Coleman & The Real Deal

Eryk Masters: Man, I can’t BELIEVE that Jonas just got knocked the fuck out like that! 

Other Guy: I don’t think Real Deal can believe it either! He’s in shock! That’s a MAJOR win for Scion right there. That’s CRAZY.

Adrian Corazon drags the Real Deal into the ring from the outside and throws him into the ropes, catching him with a VICIOUS Act of Defiance on the rebound, putting the Real Deal OUT. The crowd is booing at this, seeing two heroes fallen, but there’s a sick smile on Corazon’s face and Scion just watches on. 

Eryk Masters: I don’t think these two are done, unfortunately. 

Other Guy: Oh, no way. Corazon’s a monster, maybe even more monstrous than we’ve ever seen him before. He’s definitely not finished. 

Corazon moves quickly to Jonas, scraping him off of the mat and getting him to his knees with Scion’s help. Corazon motions to Scion to just hold Jonas Coleman, as he pulls something from his pants pocket. A BOX CUTTER.

Other Guy: Oh no. We’ve definitely seen this before. This is the item that Corazon used when he basically ended Mike Dexter’s career in the middle of the ring. This is really bad. 

Eryk Masters: Yeah, he like… I actually don’t even want to describe what he did. It was so bad that SHOOT cameras cut away, honestly. We never saw Mike Dexter again. 

Jonas, still very groggy from being put out with Scion’s BLIGHT, has no idea what’s going on as Corazon makes his move to start cutting. He gets right up in Jonas’ face and pointlessly  shows him the box cutter. Pointless, because Jonas is oblivious. Corazon leans in and clicks the box cutter out twice, takes aim at Jonas’ face, but then stops when Scion places his hand on Corazon’s wrist. 

Eryk Masters: Putting a stop to this? 

Other Guy: I’m not sure, what…

Corazon looks to Scion who simply holds his hand out, as though he’s requesting the box cutter. 

Other Guy: Oh of course. He wants to do it himself. 

Eryk Masters: I should have known, god damn it. I was hoping for just… just a shred of ethics and morality from this monster, but I guess not. I fucking guess not. This guy… these guys are just trash. 

Corazon smiles, looking up at Scion, but does not hand over the box cutter. He simply mouths “not yet” and looks back at Jonas Coleman. He takes the box cutter and places it on Jonas’ forehead, and pulls. Jonas SCREAMS, IMMEDIATELY becoming aware of what’s going on. Blood starts to pour down his forehead as Corazon slowly drags the box cutter across Jonas’ hairline and the crowd immediately recognizes what’s happening! 

Other Guy: They’re going to scalp Jonas Coleman! They’re going to scalp the defender of faith! 

Eryk Masters: Holy shit, you’re right. We’re… we’re about to see this man get scalped in real time, OG. I… I gotta… someone’s gotta do something. Please.

Other Guy: I don’t think any help is going to be in time, E. 

Suddenly, an old but oddly familiar guitar riff comes over the PA system and the crowd gets on its feet. Adrian Corazon and Scion stop in their tracks and turn their attention to the entryway. Jonas Coleman, bleeding from the forehead, smiles as blood runs down his face. Scion releases his grip and Coleman slumps down to the ground, still smiling.

Eryk Masters: Wait, I recognize that. Who is that? 

Other Guy: Oh my god if it’s… 

“HORIZON” by D’espairsRay makes itself known over the system as the Revelation crowd goes BERSERK at the return of… 


Without wasting a second, Maya bolts down to the ring! Corazon exits the ring, but Scion stays to intercept the former World Heavyweight Champion, and as Maya slides into the ring, Scion advances on him but Maya ducks! Scion rebounds off of the rope, Maya ducks him again and then catches his arms, crosses them, and drops him with a lungblower! Scion’s down! Maya ascends the top rope! He motions out to the crowd and then NAILS Scion with a double rotation moonsault! ETERNAL SPRING! 

Eryk Masters: This is fucking awesome! Maya came to help! Maya came to help! 

Other Guy: Did ANYONE know that he was in the building or that this was being discussed AT ALL? ANYONE? And look at Corazon, this FUCKING COWARD, who didn’t stick around to get his business.

Maya kicks Scion out of the ring, as Corazon has made his way back up the ramp. Scion is dazed, but goes to join him, as they make their exit. Maya turns his attention back away from the New Vanguard and goes to check on Jonas Coleman and the Real Deal, who have both gotten back into a seated position. Jonas motions that he’s fine, even though he’s bleeding profusely, and gestures towards the Real Deal while saying “thank you” over and over again to the returning superstar. “HORIZON” by D’espairsRay picks up again, to the delight of the crowd, as Maya continues to check on Jonas Coleman and the Real Deal.

Eryk Masters: This could have gone SO much worse, OG, if Maya had not shown up. 

Other Guy: Hell yeah it could have been. I can’t wait to hear where he’s been! What he’s been up to! He’s a target now too, but it seems like a guy like Maya? That’s okay with him. 

Eryk Masters: Man am I glad to see him back. 

Other Guy: Me too. Alright, so we’re going to let the crew get things cleaned up out here, and then we’re going to keep on rolling, as our next matchup pits another member of the New Vanguard, Void, against NEMESIS in a Sin City Championship rematch from Revolution 148! 

Eryk Masters: That’s next!

Void Vs. NEMESIS (c)

Eryk Masters: I can’t believe it. NEMESIS took an ONSLAUGHT from Void there and was just unable to continue. That’s such a bummer.

Other Guy: You’ve got to remember though, E, that this is NEMESIS’ FIRST YEAR in professional wrestling. She’s WAY overachieving, so some come-down was to be expected.

Eryk Masters: I don’t buy that, OG. Void’s a rookie too. It being their first year means nothing. EITHER of these competitors could vie for the World Heavyweight Championship in the next six months and it would be totally credible.

Other Guy: I guess that’s a good point, and I totally agree. NEMESIS Vs. Buck Dresden would be interesting, as would NEMESIS Vs. Charlie Hitchens, or Void Vs. Buck Dresden or Void Vs. Hitchens. Wild. Or C.K. Butcher! Hell. We’ve got some crazy talent here in the SHOOT Project.

The crowd cheers as the match graphic for X-Calibur and Dan Stein takes over the video wall.

Eryk Masters: Looks like that’s our cue! We’re on to the next one, with Dan Stein taking on X-Calibur in a LUMBERJACK MATCH. Do you know anything about X’s other lumberjack?

Other Guy: I do, actually, and it’s gonna be a nice surprise to the folks here in the SHOOT Project, I think. We know that Dan’s got MCGA backing him, and we know that X has BRAND NEW TO THE SHOOT PROJECT Bonnie Blue backing him, but who could the other one be?!

Eryk Masters: Super curious to see that, and super curious to see how Bonnie Blue does here in SHOOT. Seems like a major, MAJOR talent. Really looking forward to that, but RIGHT NOW, we’re going into the Lumberjack Match. Dan Stein Vs. X-Calibur is NEXT!

Dan Stein Vs. X-Calibur

Other Guy: Man, what a big win for Dan Stein!

Eryk Masters: No joke on that, huge, huge win. He got bloodied up and still managed to pull it out. Why do you suppose the lumberjacks didn’t wind up getting too much involved?

Other Guy: COVID, is my guess. Don’t wanna risk COVID.

Eryk Masters: But I’m sure they were tested…

Other Guy: Gotta be COVID, for sure.

Eryk Masters: Well, be that as it may, I’m still interested to see Bonnie Blue’s in-ring debut and I’m really curious to find out if Loco Martinez is going to stick around! I LOVE that guy.

Other Guy: Me too, but who knows. I guess the choice is his. I’m SURE that Real Deal, Kast, Eddie, and everyone else has been in his ear about inking a nice deal to return. Time will tell on that.

We have seen her in this stance before.  Back to the camera.  A slow sound of sharpening. 

Scrape, scrape, scrape. 

But she is not in her shack, not in the hills around Oakvale, and not nearly as filthy.  Strangely enough, she is clean for maybe the first time we have seen.  Even her clothes are remarkably free of dust and grime, though they are stained—her shirt dingy, her jeans coated discolored and fraying.  She sits somewhere in the bowels of the Epicenter under a bare bulb, using a folding table as a workspace.  Her arms move in a steady motion. 

Scrape, scrape, scrape. 

With an exhale, less sigh than meditative, she stops.  Turns.  Examines her skinning knife, which gleams like the smile of a wolf in the treeline.  The edge glimmers, catches the light, proclaims it’s danger to all who see it.  The tip of the blade plunges backward to the handle, a mean gut hook at a hard angle engineered to split the body wide open.  The cross on her forehead has healed somewhat, now just a ghostly red line.  She sheathes the blade onto her belt.  Then, thinking, removes the sheathe and the knife as one.  Sets them on the table.  Reaches into her right boot, retrieves a half-rusted straight razor held together with electrical tape.  Sets it upon the table as well.  Reaches under the neckline of her shirt and pulls out a crucifix made from a series of nails welded together and wrapped at their intersection with copper.  Sets it on the table as well.    

A drop to the knees onto the concrete.  She bows her head.  Clasps hands that know death and show the miles.  The eyes close, and the voice is that of a ragged whisper. 

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought with his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath.”

She looks up.  Stands.  Cracks her back, neck, knuckles one by one. 


With a reach, she shuts off the light.  And walks from the room in the darkness.  

C.K. Butcher Vs. Nate Robideau

Eryk Masters: HUGE win!

Other Guy: That’s got to feel good for Nate Robideau. C.K. Butcher is like a specter at his back, and it must, MUST feel good to put that demon away.

Eryk Masters: And not for nothing, but it’s not like C.K. really LOSES anything with this loss, besides maybe some pride. He takes on the winner of tonight’s main event! At Reckoning Day!

The camera is firmly squared on Other Guy and Eryk Masters, as they discuss and deliberate.

Other Guy: Amen to that. It’s a loss for him, and a win for Robideau, and maybe just maybe these two revisit this at some point, should C.K. Butcher knock of whomever is the World Heavyweight Champion after tonight’s festivities.

Eryk Masters: Who you got in that one?

Other Guy: I gotta go with my boy Buck Dresden. I think it’s way too soon for him to tap out on being champ after he fought so hard to get there, and I think he’s got a lot riding on this match for sure. He takes it.

Eryk Masters: Damn, that’s who I was going to say, but I could also see Charlie Jay Hitchens taking this one. She’s so much of an enigma that it’s hard to predict and impossible to read her. This seems like HER kind of match, but Buck’s no stranger to crazy matches and violence either, no no no. It’s such a tough call.

Other Guy: Fortunately for us, that question will be answered later tonight! But first, the culmination of a blood feud that’s been months in the making, as Azraith DeMitri and Jacob Mephisto square off. You have to think that Azraith’s got a little extra motivation after watching NEMESIS take a loss to Void, and we shall see what that looks like. NEXT.

Azraith DeMitri Vs. Jacob Mephisto

Eryk Masters: That match was insane! I can’t believe Azraith pulled it off!

Other Guy: I can’t believe there was no blood with all those weapons!

Eryk Masters: That’s a big shock to me too! Oh well, that’s one less ring mat that needs to be replaced. That’ll make the nickel and dimers happy!

Other Guy: Big win for Azraith and it’s going to really be interesting to see what he does from here. You have to believe that he’s going to be eyeing trying to get a shot at that top prize, or maybe… maybe he takes some time off and rests his bones.

Eryk Masters: Believe it or not, Azraith has been the most active competitor since SHOOT returned. That’s crazy when you think about it, and he had that INSANE Sin City Championship run, holding the belt for 153 days. Dude’s earned some rest if he wants it.

Other Guy: My guess is he won’t. He’s a grinder, not to be mistaken with the dating app, and I think he wants another run at the top. Or hell, if Josh decides to do something about Arthur Pleasant and the Iron Fist Championship… maybe that’s something Az looks at. I don’t think he’s ever held it. One more notch in the ol’ belt, if I do say so myself.

Eryk Masters: Can’t argue with that as a strategy.

That familiar distorted sounds of guitars, cymbals, and indecipherable noise echoes throughout the Epicenter.

What follows is the usual, creepy warning from the lips of a little girl over the PA system:

Y O U ‘ R E

A l l






The multi-colored spotlights shine down on the four members of The Collective as “Seizure of Power” by Marilyn Manson plays on.

Eryk Masters: Oh God.  I should’ve known we couldn’t go this PPV without seeing the Collective interrupt it.

OtherGuy: After what they had uploaded earlier this week, you kind of had to expect this.  I know I did.

Milton, Adelaide Ainsworth, Andromeda Flynn, and finally Arthur Pleasant all make their way down to the ring.  Sauntering slowly, knowing full well how much uneasiness there was in the air.  Fathers held their sons a little closer.  SOLDIERS in catering chewed their food a little slower.  Everything felt the cool breeze from the winds of change as The Provocateur leads his flock of “friends” down to the ring.  

Withdrawing a microphone from inside of his raggedy sports coat, Arthur waits for the music to die down before climbing up the steels steps and into the ring.  Being the benevolent human being that he is, Arthur holds the ropes for every one of his Collective friends.

Eryk Masters: Annnd he’s gonna speak.  Terrific.

Other Guy: Shh.  I don’t know why, but I’m actually curious what he has to say this time.

Arthur Pleasant: Ahhh… and here we are, folks!  That moment you’ve all been waiting for!  Where after months of planning and scheming and paying off soooooo many people, we finally see some dividends to our investment!

Addy, Flynn, and Milton all nod their heads.  Each of them as eager as the other to hear Arthur’s words.

Arthur Pleasant: But first?  Just a few words.  Now, if you’ll please indulge me…

He raises his arms outwards and looks up to the rafters.  The lights dim until there is but a spotlight in the center of the ring.

Arthur Pleasant: You paint me as insane.  Yet I stand here and you’re the one listening.

You disregard me as some dimestore clown.  A mere jester, if you will.  Yet I am the one that’s undefeated and you’re the one scrubbing desperately at that stain of defeat.

You mock my appearance and mannerisms, yet I am the one leading the inevitable tempest.  

You look down at me.  Yet I am the Greatest Iron Fist Champion That Has Ever Lived… and you are nothing but a wretched speck in the eternal machine.  A mere particle in the Project of SHOOT.

He raises the decades old SHOOT Project Iron Fist Championship up for the world to see.  The spotlight illuminates a slightly darkened looking gold faceplate as well as a torn and tattered leather strap.  The side plates are cracked and worn, devalued over time and forgotten over absence.  Arthur sneers.

Arthur Pleasant: It may be cliche, but people truly do fear what they don’t understand.

I am simply a man who offers friendship and chance.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

He pauses.  Looking around, he begins to chuckle.  The Greatest Iron Fist Champion That Has Ever Lived sticks his tongue out wide for a moment, as if to catch a phantom snowflake 

Arthur Pleasant: I am someone who appreciates your honesty and visions of ash in a world that pontificates happiness.

A second spotlight shines down.  The fiery incandescence of Milton’s red suit and mask exude a feeling of Hell under the coordinated emphasis from the lights above.

Arthur Pleasant: I am someone who harnesses your jealousy and weaponizes it for the whole world to see.

A third spotlight shines down on Adelaide Ainsworth.  Her grin carries an animalistic quality to it as she seethes and froths with hate and envy.   

Arthur Pleasant: I am not only someone who shows you the door that you so desperately want to walk through, but someone who kicks it the fuck down in a world that rebukes the succor offered by humanity.

Yet another spotlight shines down; this time it catches the readied nature of Andromeda Flynn.  She cracks her knuckles and rolls her neck and shoulders, fully prepared to beat the shit out of someone standing in her path.

Arthur Pleasant: As you can see, we all have one thing in common: this… this world we all live in.  Whether we wish to destroy it, prepare it for endtimes, or succeed in it despite being kept in the shadows of its burning forests… we all embrace its beauty.  Its dread.  Its malignance.  Its… evil.

Another spotlight shines down at the entrance ramp.  However, the snowy grains of distortion are projected on the ramp.

Arthur Pleasant: We are the collective consciousness of a dying world.  

We… will be heard.    

We… will be felt.

We… will be witnessed.

We… will be feared.

The projected snowiness at the entrance ramp jumbles through multiple faces from SHOOT Project’s history like a slot machine.  We see OutKast, Vincent Mallows, Chris Lee, Diamond Del Carver, Alexander Harmston, Zex, Jonny Johnson, Eric Wolfson, Cronos Diamante, Erik Boyer, Ichiro Seppuku, and a host of other names at rapid speed.  Soon, though, it begins slowing down.

Arthur Pleasant: Because we… are… everything.  We are-

???: ENOUGH.

Suddenly, the Shut Up and Fight Champion herself, Courtney Hatchett, emerges from the back right when the projection changes to Ray Willmott.  Arthur sighs and shakes his head.

Arthur Pleasant: Oh.  Oh, girl.  You… your timing is beyond awful.

She holds up her hand as Ray Willmott’s ghostly face changes into Cade Sydal’s.

Courtney Hatchett: I said ENOUGH.  You have gone unchecked in this place for far too long, Arthur.  You haven’t even won a damn match yet and you’re acting like you’re a God or Supreme Entity of SHOOT Project or some silly thing.  What is the matter with you, huh!?  Have you forgotten about that knee you gave to my face?  Because I certainly haven’t. 

She shakes her head in disgust, looking up at the lights and shielding her eyes from the projection that is shining down on her.  Right now, the face of Valentine Lionheart washes over her entire body’s fiery visage. 

You think anyone fears, or loves, or hates, or feels anything about you?  Well, you are sadly mistaken.  You idiots are nothing but a failed circus act that no one believes –

And that’s when Courtney goes down HARD on the ramp-way.  Her face smashes against the SHOOT Project helmet as her championship belt goes sliding down towards the ring.

Behind her?

An absolute hulking form stands over Courtney’s prone body. The 7-foot plus frame looks down on the fallen Shut Up and Fight champion. The arena effects stop abruptly with a loud BANG, plunging everything into darkness.

A moment that feels like a lifetime passes and then the lights come back up.

The absolute massive monster standing over Courtney’s body shakes with unfathomable rage and anger. He is over 7 feet tall and built like a Mack truck. He is dressed in filthy, loose-fitting white pants and a loose-fitting dirty white shirt. This monster is a familiar, terrifying sight.

Eryk Masters: NO…  it CAN’T be…

Other Guy: Jesus Christ, Eryk, I think it is.

Eryk Masters: Oh no… this cannot be happening!!

Other Guy: That’s SAMMY ROCHESTER!

Sammy Rochester does, indeed, stand over his prey. He shoots an arm down and SNATCHES Courtney by the back of the neck, almost effortlessly hoisting her high into the air in his grip. He takes his time holding her there, angrily looking out at the shocked fans.

Eryk Masters: Oh, my God, NO!

Sammy DRIVES Courtney down, face first, onto the entrance ramp.

Eryk Masters: REVERSE CHOKESLAM! Oh, man, Sammy Rochester is part of The Collective! This is terrifying!

Sammy doesn’t continue the attack. He just glares down at Courtney. He raises his head, looking to his new family.

Other Guy: The rage-fueld, planet-sized monster has returned to the SHOOT Project! And, it looks like he’s a weapon of mass destruction being pointed at SHOOT by Arthur Pleasant.

Arthur claps with a grin stretching from ear to ear.  Milton, Addy, and Flynn all stand by, waiting for the Provocateur to say something. 

Arthur Pleasant: Welcome, Sammy.  It’s a pleasure.

Eryk Masters: This is bad news, OG. Really, really bad news. How long has it been since we’ve seen Sammy? 10 years? 7 years?

Other Guy: Not sure man, but he looks just as crazy and sinister as he was before. I’m not looking forward to seeing what kind of havoc he can wreak with the Collective.

Eryk Masters: Me either, man. Me either.

Other Guy: With that foreboding image in our minds, we’ve got the World Tag Team Championships up for grabs in the next bout, when the Vice Squad takes on the Unholy Cyber Army! That’s NEXT!

Vice Squad Vs. Unholy Cyber Army (c)

Eryk Masters: Can you believe that there was no blood in that match?

Other Guy: I can’t but I also can! Second one in a row like that that I thought would have been a bloodbath! Their first match was a bloodbath too! Nice to see that the UCA is capable of getting it done in a number of different ways and don’t rely on crazy bloody violence every single time.

Eryk Masters: ANNNND that’s one more ring mat that doesn’t get replaced. Hell yeah!

Other Guy: I’m getting word that the retaining champions are backstage with Abigail Chase, so we’re going to kick it back out that way!

Abigail Chase: We are backstage here live at Revelation, and we’re hoping to get a word from the reigning Tag Team Champions–fresh from their victory over Vice Squad!  Power Devil!  Superbeast!

They stomp into the frame, red face paint peeling, bodies coated in sweat.  They scream to the ceiling, veins and muscles positively pumped, and Abigail for her part keeps her bewilderment at bay, because she’s a professional, and dives in.

Abigail Chase: Unholy Cyber Army, congratulations on your win! Do you have any words for–

Superbeast leans down to where she has the mic and bellows.

Superbeast: LOU!!  JANE!!

Power Devil: VICE SQUAD!!

Superbeast: Do not fret and sleep the restless sleep of the coward!!  Commend yourselves, drink from the mead horn of the world, chew the bloody flesh of the beasts of the Earth and REJOICE!!  You are worthy of enshrinement in the annals of TRUE WARRIORS!!

Abigail Chase: You’ve defeated Make Championships Great Again, you’ve defended against Vice Squad–what everyone wants to know is who’s next for the Demons of Cyber Roppongi?

They both laugh heartily, the booming laugh of a warrior facing death.  

Power Devil: Bring us!  Anyone!!  And you will witness–

Superbeast: WITNESS!!

Power Devil: The conqueror kings, the Counts of Hell, the Bloody Beasts from the Underworld consume, defeat, vanquish!!  We have won again and we are STILL HUNGRY!!  If you are a tag team of any worth and you are ready to have your names engraved into our crowns for all of ETERNITY then face your defeat!!  Face your doom!!  Make peace with your gods and FACE DEATH, at the hands of the UNHOLY CYBER ARMY, Champions now, Champions for all time!!

They butt heads and stride out of frame, screaming and slapping the concrete walls.  Abigail is left to look at the camera.  

Abigail Chase: Well there’s not much I could add to that!  OG, Eryk, back to you!

Other Guy: There sure isn’t much that any of us could add to that, Abby!

Eryk Masters: That’s the truth. The only thing left now is the main event. The ring ropes are being replaced with barbed wire, and there are devices being set up around the ring. This one could get nasty.

Other Guy: I mean, with all the money we’ve saved on ring mats tonight, I’m thinking Real Deal is gonna be good with that.

Eryk Masters: No doubt about that, but let’s talk about the condition of these two coming into this match. Buck JUST got cleared, but you have to imagine that he’s not quite 100% yet, right? I mean, he can’t be…

Other Guy: Oh he’s definitely gonna be managing some injuries for sure, I’d imagine, but I think Charlie might be too. Buck got her a few times on the road to this encounter, and while she’s been cleared, there’s some psychological stuff there that I’m SURE may be a factor. I stand by my earlier prediction that Charlie Jay Hitchens gets beaten by Buck Dresden.

Eryk Masters: I really am not sure, OG. I think it could go either way, but man am I excited to see how it plays out. Good news for everyone here though is that the setup is done. The barbed wire and explosives are set. It’s GO TIME.

Other Guy: The SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship is on the line as Charlie Jay Hitchens challenges OUR CHAMPION, Buck Dresden! That match is NOW.

Charlie Jay Hitchens Vs. Buck Dresden (c)

“Man of Constant Sorrow”, the anthem of the retaining World Champion, sings out through the Epicenter and to the delight of the crowd! A couple of ring hands come down and cut the barbed wire off of the ropes so that Dresden and Hitchens can leave.

The bloodied warrior, Charlie Jay Hitchens, is still down after taking a burning hammer from the champion.

The bloodied and battered champion, Buck Dresden, slowly gets to his knees and then rolls out of the ring, the tale of the tape being one of exhaustion. Dennis Heflin, large smile on his face, walks over to Dresden with the World Heavyweight Championship in his hand and presents it to him. Buck nods to Heflin and takes the belt, looking back at his fallen foe. The crowd is chanting for him, letting their words lift him up and give him the energy to walk to the back.

With one motion, Dresden swings the title over his shoulder and allows it to drape itself across his back, over the Bad Ass Brotherhood symbol on his vest. He continues to look back at Charlie Jay Hitchens, who has not yet gotten to her feet. He smiles and then turns to face the entrance ramp.

The SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion walks, step-by-step up the ramp, never looking back again.