The atmosphere, it’s electric.
The stage, it’s set.
The arena, it’s packed.
Red and white pyro EXPLODE out of the stage, the lights go nuts, and the patrons of the Star of the Desert Arena get real loud, real fast.
Once all that dies down, the lights in the arena go all the way down to black.
The arena is hushed.
We open to darkness. There’s not a shred of light to be found. There is; however, the single sound of someone breathing. It’s not a labored breath. It is soft, steady, and strong. Then a voice cuts through the dark.
“You never learn. None of you. You simply come back to this place… this… mecca of professional wrestling each and every time it does its phoenix impression. But, you never truly learn. You come back looking for lost glory. You gnaw and claw and reach for the same prizes, ever consuming like so many parasites until there is nothing left.”
The voice is familiar, cold, almost cruel, but wisened with a little bit more age. It’s not a pleasant familiarity either. It’s more like the familiar feeling of walking down a back alley or in a dark wood and feeling the eyes of predators just watching you. The voice drips with oily, venomous contempt.
“The cycle must be stopped. So I have made my way back to the shining jewel of the bleak desert. I come to take, consume, and hoard what all of you hold dear. Not simply for the sake of consumption like the rest of you, but for the sake of forging a lasting legacy.”
A pause in the darkness is broken by almost musical laughter.
“But, who am I to make these claims?”
There’s a metallic flick, followed by the orange glow of a lighter flame. The flame touches the tip of something in the darkness until embers from, outlining a familiar face, almost indistinguishable in the dim light. Another click snuffs the flame.
“Hear my voice. Remember me.”
Another brief bout of silence before the man begins whistling an all too familiar tune. Without warning, the screen is filled with light, almost flourescent, dim and bright at the same time.
It isn’t long before we return to darkness, perhaps two or three seconds. But, in those seconds, we see shoulder-length black hair, a closely trimmed beard, and cold, pale, grey eyes.
“Yes it is…”
Another moment in darkness gives way to laughter, cold and cruel as two words burn onto the screen along with a logo:
Other Guy: That was a HELL of a way to start off Revolution. MEPHISTO’S BACK, BABY.
Eryk Masters: For those watching, Jacob Mephisto is considered to be one of the greatest Sin City Champions of all time. He and that belt were basically one. He held it for 161 days!
Other Guy: That was good for the second longest reign in history, god damn.
Eryk Masters: Yep, and the longest reign is held by Dan Stein, who, along with Johnny Patriot, is defending the tag team titles against GOOD JOB! in our first match of the evening! That’s next!
Camera fade in on Abigail Chase standing, microphone in hand, smiling at the camera.
ABIGAIL CHASE: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is without question an exciting time to be a fan of the SHOOT Project. As it writes a bold new chapter in its already storied history, previously unseen faces emerge to contribute their own paragraphs. One such man who hopes to have his name added to the list of greats joining me right now is Tank.
Tank casually saunters into camera view, his near 400 pound frame dwarfing that of Chase and doing that “rubbing hands while looking off into the distance” thing that so many pro wrestlers do before speaking in an interview.
ABIGAIL CHASE: Tank as I imagine you’re aware SHOOT Project doesn’t really have many super heavyweights among its ranks, and a man like yourself is going to stick out like a sore thumb around here.
Tank chuckles at this remark, and begins to speak, his thick New Orleans accent prevalent as he does so.
TANK: Now miss Chase, show me one time in big Tank’s life where he hasn’t stuck out like a sore thumb. Dat’s just par for the course. But I tell you what’s not par for the course with me. Underperforming. Not giving my all. Not making damn sure anyone dat steps in dat dere ring wit’ big Tank knows it the next morning, win or lose. Dose are all concepts that are foreign to me.
ABIGAIL CHASE: Not many wrestlers walk into SHOOT Project acknowledging the reality that they might not win a match.
TANK: Well Miss Chase, I am something of a pragmatist I suppose. Wouldn’t make any sense for me to run around saying dat I was gonna steamroll over every single man in dis here promotion and take the championship no sweat. I mean, maybe it will happen just like dat. Who knows. Maybe I win. Maybe I don’t. But your body sure gon’ remind you in the morning who was standing across the ring from you night previous, trust that.
ABIGAIL CHASE: Is there anyone in particular in SHOOT Project that has caught your eye that you’d like to step in the ring with?
TANK: Oh Ms. Chase, big Tank wanna get in dat squared circle wit’ all o’ dem! You bring me dat Azraith DeMitri, you bring me dat Nate Robideau. You bring me dat Jonas Coleman and his pretty lil’ belt. You bring all o’ dem and we introduce each other only way wrestlers know how. Now if you’ll excuse me Ms. Chase, I got errands dat require my attention. But I thank you for takin’ the time to interview big Tank.
And with that, Tank gives Abigail a light pat on the back and a smile as he walks out of camera view.
~~K-Starr has a big announcement! UwU <3~~
Posted by: K-Starrluv
15 minutes ago
The webcam video opens up to a young girl in an oversized purple hoodie with multi-colored sparkles spelling “K-Luv” on the front. She sits at a dest situated in the foreground of a room heavily decorated with posters of D.Va from Overwatch and other carious pink accoutrement. On the desk next to her is a large pink Hydroflask with a neon green silicone straw.
Hey guys! It’s ya gurl K-starr coming at ya with another fire video!
Her head bounces as she speaks. She seems very excited in an overexaggerated way.
I know that all of my Starrlings have been wondering what’s next for me now that I finally finished my series on the top lip eye shadow pallets are and why the best is Starrdust by K-Luv. Well wait no more my lovelies. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out just what I can do that would be up to the standards of all of my Starrlings out there and still give me something new to really sink my teeth into. I’ve decided to get back to my roots.
Now all of my loyal Starrlings…Shout out to KLuVVer42, Starrrling512, AngelHare22, and so many others on Patreon, full list of supporters in the video description…You will all remember where I came from. Me and my main gurl D.Va were kicking butt in Overwatch live streams on Twitch. I know that my loyal Starrlings have outgrown livestreams and don’t worry, I have too. But I got to thinking, how could I reach every one of my favs and still be able to kick butt like I used to? Then it hit me. Ou can see your gurl, live every other week, on SHOOT Project. I’ll still be kicking butt and taking names, but for real this time. Be sure to tune in every other Monday to see K-Starr live, kicking butt and taking names.
That’s all for this week kiddos. Don’t forget to smash that like and subscribe button and drop me a comment to let me know if you’ll be seeing me live, or watching on stream! Remember Starrlings, always look like a Starr and Luv will come your way! uWu!!
The video pauses with the red pause mark on the middle of the screen. Recommended videos from Kennadee Starr show in all four corners of the screen. The video feed abruptly shuts down.
Other Guy: I don’t even really know what to say to that.
Eryk Masters: This is GREAT, OG. The SHOOT Project needs a lil bit of TikTok in its life. I’m here for K-Starr!
It appears to be somewhere, but not the desert we’re used to. Not the hollow in the rocks littered with cans and animal bones bleaching in the blistering sun. There’s a fog, there’s the sound of frogs and crickets. It’s dusk. And in the distance, there is a set of headlights backlighting someone digging into the ground—Charlie Jay Hitchens.
She pauses, retrieving a threadbare bandana from her back pocket and wiping her face down. She’s covered in dirt, and appears to be knee-deep, but the surroundings are thrown into too dark a contrast against the faded yellow headlights of her truck.
CJH: They mocked me. Mocked us. Mocked my mission, my charge. He did. That man ain’t quite grasped what this all means.
She sighs, but her voice retains it’s graveled, emotionless tone.
CJH: He thinks this is just…a joke. A humbug. That I’ve lost all sense.
She sits down, hunched over.
CJH: I ain’t lost sight. I ain’t lost my mind. I’m more focused than ever. Men like him, people like him…they always ready to disregard. They disregarded Noah. Disregarded Lot.
Taking off her cap, she runs her hand through her chopped hair. She then reaches down, grabbing a fistful of wet dirt, and rolls it through her fingers. Eyeing the falling soil with her dead eyes.
CJH: He’s such an adolescent in his soul. Always eyeballing the next instant gratification. Sees me and what is his reaction? Wants to fight. “Get to the point, Charlie.” The point, the point, the point. City life and chasing money has ruined him. Always rushing. New matches, new belts, new money, new tramps. People who still have their roots deep in the clay of Appalachia know that sometimes…you have to wait. Sometimes, things take time.
She stands back up, putting her hat back on and wiping her hands on her beaten jeans.
CJH: Crops grow. Take their time. Buildings get constructed. Take their time.
Hopping back into the hole, she grabs the shovel, looking up to the dark sky.
CJH: Time, time, time. Only thing I have plenty of. He’ll know.
Back to digging. Slow. Methodical.
CJH: We watch pigs grow fat before we slaughter them. Takes time.
She resumes in full, apparently done talking. As the camera backs away, the sound of the shovel intermingles with the sound of the outdoors, and then a rumble of thunder in the distance. A far off pulse of lightning illuminates the surroundings for a brief moment: a graveyard. We cut to black.
Backstage, Robby Bingo dozes. Haskell Payne, the Colonel himself, is currently spooning protein powder into a glass. He tops it off with 4 freshly cracked eggs. With a mighty boot, he rouses Robby, who shoots up to sitting.
Robby: All! All gave…some, brother. Some gave all.
The Colonel: C’mon man! Focus up!
Haskell shoves the concoction in Robby’s face, who doesn’t even pause to so much as smell it before downing the contents. He makes a Keystone Light certified bitter beer face, before hacking a few times and wiping his mouth.
Robby: Jesus! Th’ hell this supposed to make me stronger?!
The Colonel: Well, I mean, how you feel right now though? Ain’t like a big plate of flapjacks gonna make you wanna beat someone up.
Robby: …okay, that’s fair enough.
Haskell walks to another section of the locker room where there is a chain hung from the ceiling, holding a small hook. Robby follows. Haskell grabs from his cooler a packaged rack of ribs that appear to be from a local grocers. He hooks it onto the chain and walks backwards, holding it at an angle.
The Colonel: Now, you tapped. That’s cause Nate locked you into a submission. So I need ya to stick and move one this here slab of meat. Ready?
Bingo puts up his dukes.
Robby: I’m a highwayman, brother. Let it roll!
Haskell lets go, and the rack swings right at Bingo. Rather than sticking or moving, he drills into it with such force that it tears free and flies right at his pal—who has to duck to avoid the impact.
The Colonel: That was…okay, that was kinda half some dogshit, not gonna lie. But good punch…?
Robby: Hell yeah! Gimme a set of steps to run up or somethin’!
He flexes his muscles and shadowboxes. Into the room walks his tag team partner, Elgin Blair, who takes in the scene: one wall wet with impacted pork ribs, Robby doing the worlds shittiest Ali shuffle, Haskell looking exasperated. The latter nods in his direction.
The Colonel: Hey, Elgin.
Elgin: …the fuck is all this?
The Colonel: Training! We gotta make sure Robby is in fighting form to take on Nate and that Power Devil feller.
Blair sighs and puts his hands on his hips, cocking his head.
Elgin: Right nah I grasp that’n but…that match is tonight, like… in just a couple of minutes… Shouldn’t y’all be training way earlier in the week?
Robby: Haskell, lemme field that. See, we was gonna, but then we might have accidentally tied on on a little too hard, and when we woke up in New Mexico–
Elgin: You tore it up so hard you woke up in New Mexico?
To this, Robby Bingo shrugs.
Elgin: Jesus, man. Bingo, you even feel ready for this?
Bingo flexes his bicep and shoots a few quick jabs
Robby: I feel more’n ready! I’m lean, I’m mean, and I’ve been training for like…45 minutes!
Elgin: Just…try and remember, Power Devil hits like a ton of bricks and Nate can wrap anyone up and make ‘em beg for their mommas. You wanna win, you and me gotta take this serious.
The Colonel: As a heart attack!
Elgin: Course it aint like they’re unbeatable.
Robby Bingo paused for a moment, crossing his arms and looking at his fellow Kentuckians.
Robby: Hell naw! I’m gonna have to give ‘em the ole two piece and a biscuit, man. I owe Nate Robideau one hell of a whoopin’ after that cheap win he pulled! An’ as fer Power Devil, Hell boys, he aint gonna be in his element and it’s high time fer Robby Bingo to shine! Elgin, brother, you aint gotta worry. I got this!!
Robby slaps Elgin on the shoulder and tears out of the locker room, all screams and yips of excitement and confidence. Elgin looks to Haskell with his eyebrows cocked, and The Colonel grins and holds his arms out.
The Colonel: Hey, he’s amped for this man. Git out there and give ‘em the business!
Blair smiles and exits the room himself, cracking his knuckles.
There’s a fade in to what appears to be the inside of some kind of abandoned building. Dust hangs in the air and the only light comes from sunlight making its way through various cracks and broken windows. All manner of debris is scattered across the ground as the view pans to the right. Eventually the view settles on a man sitting on what appears to be the remains of a concrete column, one that has coincidentally (and conveniently for this man) taken the rough shape of a throne. This man is one of SHOOT Project’s newest signees, Shroud. He speaks in a somewhat quiet voice, his head hung down and hands clasped together.
SHROUD: The darkness is what heals me. It’s where I’m comfortable. There’s a certain clarity to be found in places like this. Places society shuns. It’s a haven…for the people society has shunned. The outcasts, the freaks, the weirdos…
Shroud pauses. Then sighs. He then hops up from his sitting position and dusts himself off. His body language has shifted from the droopy looseness it had just a moment ago to a more spry and energetic output. His next words are said with clarity and in a much lighter tone
SHROUD: Bet that’s what you all had me pegged as, right? Mr. Grimdark Edgelord. Not gonna lie, I briefly considered that for my ring name, but then the alcohol in my system dissipated and I settled on Shroud. And I’m glad I did. See, this name I have? This…this “gimmick” I have? It’s not just something I came up with out of the blue and thought “oh this is kinda cool, this’ll work.” No. The name Shroud has history in my family.
Shroud shuffles through some of the debris, looking down as he does so. Before standing proudly, cocking his head to one side and holding his wrist, in a wide stance.
SHROUD: My father was the original creator of this…persona. The name, the hair and bandana obscuring the face, that was all his idea. He took it in a direction you’d expect though, tried to be all mysterious with it. It worked for him. But it doesn’t work for me. I am my own man and that’s all I can be. My father and I are two different people. And my Shroud is different from his Shroud. But be that as it may, Regardless of what I call myself or the history behind my name, I’m here. Ladies, gentlemen and that technicolor rainbow in between, get ready. Because Shroud has arrived.
Shroud saunters away from the camera, presumably to the exit, as the view fades.
Other Guy: I’m starting to think that Real Deal and Kast picked up some of that stimulus money from this virus, this is the FOURTH debut, or re-debut tonight!
Eryk Masters: You know how it is, OG. Stimulus or not, they’re always looking to push the envelope and inviting the best from around the world is part of that formula. This is great for the SHOOT Project.
After the match, a winded and beaten Jonas Coleman calls for a mic from Mark Kendrick, who hands him his championship and requested microphone.
Jonas Coleman: Congrats on handing me my first loss…you and me…(breathes) we’re effectively tied now…(breathes hard)… aren’t we?
Buck turns around from his way up the ramp and smiles, nodding to Jonas.
Jonas Coleman: I was thinking… why don’t we do something that’s… never before been seen… in the SHOOT Project.
“What do you have in mind?” Buck shouts, from the ramp.
Jonas Coleman: BEST OF FIVE. First match is at Revolution 141. WINNER TAKE ALL. Any time I might be eliminated? (he breathes in again) Title’s on the line.
The crowd explodes.
“IT’S ON,” Buck nods, smiling.
Jonas smiles too, and lays his head down on the mat as the show fades out.