Joshua Breedlove Vs. Chadwick Kyle
Ayumi Seppuku swings a gym bag over her shoulder as she goes to enter the SHOOT Project Epicenter, pulling the door open to enter through the staff entrance.
Immediately as she steps into the facility, with the door closing behind her, Johnny Vignochi steps forward out of the shadows.
Looking far more clean cut than usual, Johnny smirks as Ayumi gives him a glare, trying to push past him towards the locker room area.
Johnny Vignochi: Oh don’t be like that Ayumi… you act like the ending of this story hasn’t already been decided.
Ayumi stops in her tracks but doesn’t turn around. Johnny’s voice drops an octave as he tenses up.
Johnny Vignochi: Don’t get any funny ideas Seppuku. You know what’s at stake if you break our agreement.
Ayumi slowly turns around, looking tired, angry, and just… done. The two of them, alone, in the bowels of the building – her voice soft, and firm, echoing with authority.
Ayumi: I don’t remember promising you a goddamned thing.
The two stare at each other in silence for several seconds before Ayumi turns back around to keep walking towards her locker room.
Johnny Vignochi: That’s a shame… you really want to throw your career away over this? You want to tarnish your name with this?
Ayumi doesn’t look back this time; she just keeps walking.
Johnny Vignochi: Huh!? Ayumi?
Ayumi disappears into the darkness without responding.
Johnny Vignochi: AYUMI!
As the bell rings, Superbeast and Power Devil begin laying heavy, heavy boots into Kayden Paulton! The crowd renews their boos as the Cyber Army sandwich him, swinging hard alternating soccer kicks into his spine and head!! Ames recovers and rolls into the ring, laying a forearm into Superbeast’s back–and drawing their attention!
Other Guy: I’d call that a strategic mistake, ‘Ryk!
Eryk Masters: What is she supposed to do, run?
Other Guy: I would!
Teresa Ames, to her credit, sets her jaw and adopts a fighting stance. As Superbeast and Power Devil rush her, she gets in a few shots, but the Demons of Cyber Roppongi blanket her with wild punches and elbows! Soon she’s reeling, and Superbeast grasps her as if he’s going for a crucifix powerbomb…but he barks something at Power Devil, and with a grin, he takes one of her arms!
Eryk Masters: What are they…
His question gets answered as they settle their position. With Teresa Ames draped across both men’s shoulders in a crucifix, they get a running start–AND LAUNCH HER OVER BOTH KAYDEN PAULTON AND THE TOP ROPE!! Ames goes FLYING through the hair and crashes into a HEAP on the floor!! The crowd erupts at the brutal spectacle!!
Other Guy: Ho! Lee! Shit!!
Eryk Masters: The Unholy Cyber Army have thrown Teresa Ames to the floor with complete disregard for her safety–and it looks like they’re about to do the same to Kayden Paulton!!
Superbeast and Power Devil are hauling the still reeling Paulton to his feet laughing as they bring him to the announce side–when suddenly the jeers of the crowd turn to excited screams! Sprinting down the ramp is a cadre of talent. First down the ramp is NEMESIS, Judy-E DeMitri, steel chair in hand!!
Eryk Masters: The World Champion is here…VALOR is here!!
Quick on her heels are Lindsay Troy and Courtney Hatchett, running down to put themselves between the still reeling body of Ames and the ring. NEMESIS rounds the corner, yelling something at the Cyber Army, who drop Paulton and turn their attention to her. The cheers from the crowd increase as Ayumi Seppuku makes it down the ramp, leaping to the apron and calling out the Tag Team champions!! There’s a slow moment when Power Devil and Superbeast glance about, doing the math of their circumstances. They seem ready to leap into the fray–but coming down the ramp is another presence! An unknown face!
Other Guy: Is that…is that fucking Cyrus Bates?!
Eryk Masters: None other than! He and Teresa Ames are thick as thieves in DEFIANCE Wrestling, and he’s not a man to mess with. The Tag Team Champions are no longer bullying one or two people. They have the whole of VALOR to contend with!!
Superbeast and Power Devil exit the ring at the far corner, gathering their belts in the process. There’s a tension in these moments that the crowd can feel, as Judy-E covers their 6, and they continue to step towards the gathered force of Hatchett, Troy, Seppuku and Bates. Cyrus helps Teresa up, and the Cute ‘n QWERTY girl gives him a grin through her pain. All members of both sides are set to screaming at one another, some slapping chairs on the floor, others beating their chests, and the crowd’s electricity at the prospect of an all-out war is palpable in their sustained din. Just as Power Devil is pointing out Lindsay Troy, from the production area comes the mountainous KIMO in street clothes!!
Eryk Masters: Kimo Apana is here, but even at their size, they’re still entirely outnumbered!!
The members of VALOR fidget, on edge, as KIMO sprints to the fracas. However, rather than square up for a fight, he intercedes and pleads to his stablemates, advising them against a fight. Power Devil and Superbeast point and scream at VALOR, both even aiming to advance, which Kimo holds back with his massive trunk arms. It takes a lot of very loud, very sincere yelling–the parabolics only pick up “They’ll get theirs!” over the crowd noise–but finally, the members of the Cyber Army relent their war stances and seem poised to leave!!
Other Guy: Those VALOR dumbasses better be thankful that Kimo was here to show them mercy, all I’m saying!!
Lindsay Troy shakes her head and tosses her chair to the floor, stepping out in front of her team and slapping herself in the chest, egging them on. Kimo and Superbeast continue to walk, but Power Devil breaks off, stopping their stride. He stalks right up to Lindsay Troy, his size imposing even on her, and they practically touch noses they’re so close. Not a word is spoken. Both their muscles tense and release, itching to wreck the other. They stay face to face for a long moment, before Power Devil begins to walk backwards, grinning. He hoists his title belt above his head and screams loud enough for the world to hear.
“COWER AND SUFFER!”
As the Empire and VALOR separate slowly, the stable attending to their fallen comrades, we cut to another section of the Epicenter…
The Pop Punks Vs. Martial Law
“Can you hear me? Good.”
The camera fades in on Void pacing outside the Epicenter. He is away from the fans, away from the press, away from the fellow Soldiers. He is isolated and alone with just himself and a camera watching his movements. He paces in a circle with his head down and his hair whipping in the wind.
Void: In my career, I have been defeated three times. Once by Joshua Breedlove. Once by Jamie Johnson. Once by Dan Stein. In every match I’ve ever had, I’ve worked to taste my opponent’s fear be it through brutality or by literally biting into their flesh. I have done this with no regards for titles, accolades, or attention though all of these have come to me in one form or another.
He stops pacing and turns to the camera.
Void: Dan Stein. I have nothing. I have nothing to show for this war I’ve waged against you. No little victories here and there. No fun moments to reflect upon. I have achieved nothing. Molly is with you. Siobhan remains with you. You have beaten me.
Void: But I cannot let it end like this. I cannot walk away with nothing. So, give me this, Daniel. I want you in one final match. Win or lose, I am done with you and you with me. When this reached a fever pitch I told you it wasn’t about wins or losses. Now…at the end…that’s all it ever will be.
Void: I challenge you to face me in a submissions match. In this company, I am the unparalleled submissions expert. I have never submitted and, Daniel, I never will. I will never bow and I will never break. You will finally be forced to recognize who I am and what I can do in this ring once and for all. I will not achieve my victory. I will lose this war. But this final battle?
He slowly smiles.
Void: Ohhh this final battle can be mine. I can walk away from this with something. Something. You have done it all, Dan. You have won again and again. If I walk away from this war having nothing to show for it and not being able to best you in any fashion, then I will have failed completely and utterly myself, my family, your family, and you.
He falls to his knees and clasps his hands.
His left hand reaches to the sky.
Void: …please give me a last chance here. To walk away with something.
He slowly lets a grin creep along his cheeks.
Void: I have nothing. You have everything. When this ends…know that I couldn’t live in a world where that is the end result of everything I have done.
He stares at the camera for a long moment. The silence is all the evidence needed to finish this segment.
Lindsay Troy Vs. KIMO (c)
“Put ‘Em in the Grave” cues up once again as an exhausted but exuberant Lindsay Troy gets to her feet. She unleashes a roar of triumph as Clark Feldman hands her the Shut Up and Fight championship, and the Queen immediately lifts her newly-won prize into the air.
Eryk Masters: It wasn’t easy, but nobody said it was gonna be! Lindsay Troy is your NEW Shut Up and Fight Champion, and that’s one less belt amongst the ranks of the Unholy Breedlove Empire.
Other Guy: KIMO was robbed! ROBBED I say!
The now-former champion is on the outside, glowering at Troy, when a sudden swell of BOOOOOO!s rises through the Epicenter. The Queen barely has any time to react before…
Eryk Masters: Come on, not again!
Superbeast spears her to the mat and immediately starts hammering away with clubbing blow after clubbing blow. The bell rings repeatedly as Feldman tries to pry the massive man off Troy, but Superbeast coldcocks him, sending him to the mat. Power Devil slides into the ring, chair in hand, while Superbeast hauls Lindsay to her feet. KIMO smirks and takes his leave, confident that the Unholy Cyber Army can handle this business on their own.
Other Guy: It’s cowering and suffering time, ‘Ryk!
Troy catches a second wind and buries fist after fist into the midsection of Superbeast to try and break his hold on her. The Demon of Cyber Roppongi simply laughs at her effort as Power Devil smashes the chair against her back, sending her down to a knee.
Eryk Masters: The Queen of the Ring just went to war with Kimo Apana for the Shut Up and Fight championship and now, like vultures, the Tag Team Champions are picking her apart.
Other Guy: On the contrary, they’re picking their spot to send a message. It’s genius!
Power Devil tees off another brutal chairshot before unfolding the weapon and slamming it against the mat WITH AUTHORI-TAY. Superbeast casually tosses Troy to his partner with a sinister grin.
Eryk Masters: This doesn’t look good.
Other Guy: Well it depends on your perception, really…
Eryk Masters: Where is VALOR? Somebody needs to get out here right now!
Quick as a flash, Power Devil hoists Lindsay Troy up onto his shoulders into a powerbomb position. She frantically starts fighting back, hammering away with hard right hands, but the Unholy Cyber Army just laugh as Power Devil shrugs the blows off as if they’re nothing more than mosquito bites.
UCA: COWER AND-
Two chairshots to the UCA ring out like gunshots. Both Superbeast and Power Devil stumble forward, the latter losing his grip on the Queen of the Ring. The open chair is kicked out of the way before Troy can crash-land into it, and she tumbles to the canvas. She gets her bearings, looks around, and finds…
Eryk Masters: Pat Cassidy! Pat Cassidy with two MONSTROUS blows to the back of the UCA’s heads!
Other Guy: Ohhhh they aren’t gonna be happy, ‘Ryk.
The SHOOT Project Faithful explode into cheers as the Scrapper from Southie pounces on Power Devil and introduces the big man to his fists. Right after right after right before he hauls him up to his feet and whips him into the ropes. Power Devil bounces off and Pat smashes a forearm against his head and he goes down like a shot!
Eryk Masters: What a blow from Pat Cassidy and the fans are loving it!
Other Guy: Time for some retribution!
Superbeast is up to his feet and he charges at Cassidy, but “Blackout” manages to catch him and DRIVES him to the mat with a thunderous GREEN MONSTAH BOMB~! He rolls out of the ring and meets a bleeding Power Devil on the outside. The UCA consider regrouping and making another run back into the ring, but Lindsay Troy appears at Pat’s side with a chair in hand. She holds out her fist to her friend and teammate and Cass immediately bumps it, never taking his eyes off the monsters before him.
Eryk Masters: For the second time tonight, VALOR and the Unholy Cyber Army have come face to face, but this time it’s VALOR standing tall thanks to a returning Pat Cassidy!
Other Guy: I just don’t see how this is at all fair, ‘Ryk ‘Mast.
Eryk Masters: Why am I not surprised?
The camera lingers on the staredown for a few more moments before heading elsewhere.
Is this thing on?
Oh, I thought they silenced us, ‘Ye
Power to the people
“Power (Remix)” by Kanye and Jay-Z (RIP back to the time Kanye wasn’t fully insane) begins to play, bringing the fans’ attention to the entrance stage. The ring crew is working diligently to get the ring ready for the main event between Ayumi Seppuku and BOSS Koga. Out from the back, in a rather rare appearance, comes none other than Director of Talent Development and Relations, DONOVAN KING.
King stands there, listening to the cheers of the fans who haven’t seen him in public in a while, and points to the audience with the microphone in hand. He is dressed in a black on black suit with the one shock of color being his Kelly green tie. He nods his head to his old theme music until it dies back down.
He grins. The fans cheer even more.
King: I said GOD…DAMN.
The fans pop.
King: Yo it feels crazy to be out here in front of y’all again like this. Seein’ y’all faces, hearin’ y’all voices, it’s enough to get the itch.
He laughs as if on cue, a ONE MORE MATCH chant begins. He waits for it to die down.
King: But enough about my hopes an’ dreams. Tonight is about somethin’ else. Something that’s near and dear to my heart and Josh’ll tell you I have sat up late at night texting him back and forth about this. After God knows how much bitchin’, cryin’, beggin’, and pleadin’…I finally agreed to stop bothering him about this if he lets me make this announcement to each and every one of you.
He continues to smile.
King: SHOOT Project is known for a few things. We’re known for stellar match concepts like Iron Will, AlieNation, Shit Pigeons.
He lets that sink in. There is a smattering of laughter as a result.
King: We’re known for the top talent in the business. We’ve known for the Redemption Rumble. We’re also known…for a tournament that showcases the best we have in the business. Well, in the spirit of having a will of iron and a strength of character, we’re trying something new for y’all.
Next week, Revolution and Ruination are gonna be dedicated to one…single…thing.
King: Master of the Mat.
The pop is loud, it is hype, and King relishes it.
King: Guys, this ain’t just any Master of the Mat. Sixteen people will compete over the course of TWO days, Revolution and Ruination, with the finals being decided at our next Pay-Per-View event…Master of the Mat.
He nods his head.
King: Only Ruination will be announced since it’s the first round matches. This is dedicated purely to the art of wrestling, the art of competition, and the art of what it means to be a Soldier in the SHOOT Project. Three brackets were put together with champions anchoring them and one bracket is anchored by a former World champion.
So let’s talk brackets.
Behind King appears the Master of the Mat official bracket. The screen is then populated by various images of SHOOT Project Soldiers in the style of a character select screen for a fighting game.
King: First up, we have the World Champion’s Bracket. Nate Robideau will go one on one with his student, the heir apparent, The Realness, Jamie Johnson.
The versus screen selects Nate Robideau and Jamie Johnson.
King: Next in Nate’s bracket, we will see Teresa Ames facing the toughest test in Teresa’s SHOOT career in the returning Jacob Mephisto.
The fans pop as Ames and Mephisto are selected.
King: Shifting gears here we move to…the Sin City Bracket. The Hall of Famer, the blue haired demon himself, Azraith DeMitri will go one on one against Kayden Paulton!
Kayden and Azraith’s images are chosen.
King: And the winner of that match is going to have to deal with the winner between Ignatius Albert Martin gets put to the test with the monster of the mat…Void.
The fans grow somewhat worried as they see Void and IAM’s images get selected.
King: Oh, but never one to be outdone, we just saw the Iron Fist Championship change hands and that just wrecked my bracket all to hell. Never fear, though, because Buck Dresden has his hands full when he goes one on one with none other…than NC-17.
Buck’s face is chosen, as is NC-17.
King: And whoever survives that ordeal will have their hands full in the next round when they face the winner of Ayumi Seppuku and Dan Stein!
The pop is loud for both Ayumi and Dan as their images are selected.
King: Last on my list is the Shut Up and Fight bracket, which also saw upheaval. New Champion Lindsay Troy gets put to the test immediately in the Master of the Mat when she faces that crazy son of a bitch Arthur Pleasant!
The boos are MASSIVE as Arthur Pleasant is chosen, but the cheers equally so for Lindsay Troy.
King: But that’s okay, because one thing we all love to see are brawls that can change careers in an instant and we’re gonna get that in the final match of the bracket and the final match of the first round when former champion KIMO faces off against the Hall of Famer, the Iron GOD…X-CALIBUR.
The boos are loud and the fans in a tizzy over the announcement of a bonafide barn burner.
King: Yo, Ruination promises to be nuts with all of these first round matches goin’ down. Revolution, though, ain’t gonna be much better. Each bracket will be decided when the elite eight go toe to toe to open Revolution, followed by our final four, and by the end of the night we’ll know which two individuals are gonna compete for the right to be called the Master…of the Mat.
He takes a step back but stops himself, holding up a finger.
King: Oh…oh wait. My bad. This one’s on me. If you think this somehow means it’ll cut into people’s pay-per-view plans…y’all don’t know SHOOT Project. If either of the finalists are booked for another match be it grudge or title on the line, they will STILL have to compete for the chance to become the MASTER OF THE MAT. Now, hey, BOSS Koga an’ Ayumi Seppuku, y’all have fun out here and don’t kill each other too badly. Or do, whatever works.
He grins once again as “Power (Remix)” kicks in. He nods to the fans and throws his arms up in the air, getting them hype once again for the main event as the announcement of the matches for next week begins to marinate in their minds.
Master of the Mat 2021.
If she wants to dance and drink all night
Well there’s no one that can stop her
She’s goin’ ’til the house lights come up
Or her stomach spills onto the floor
The lyrics to Against Me!’s “Thrash Unreal” hit the speakers in the Las Vegas SHOOT Epicenter as a fully decked-out Ayumi Seppuku emerges from backstage and pauses at the top of the ramp.
A microphone gripped tightly in her hand, she lifts her face to the crowd who roar wildly at her arrival. Or perhaps roaring at the carnage her arrival signals as the ring has been fully converted into a literal war zone of tables, explosives, weapons, wire, and anything else one could think of for a true Japanese Death Match.
Ayumi looks uncharacteristically nervous as she makes her way slowly down the ramp, looking around – taking in the scene as if it were her first time in the ring.
Rather than head directly into the ring, she makes another uncharacteristic detour, doing a full circuit around the ring, high-fiving members of the crowd, leaning in to give hugs to kids in the front row, and even posing for selfies.
Eryk Masters: Does anything feel… off to you, about this OG?
Other Guy: Well, we all react differently when we come face to face with our own mortality, Eryk, and it seems Ayumi has decided to finally have fun here tonight – the first time I’ve seen her like this since she joined SHOOT five months ago.
Ayumi completes her circuit and her smile drops ever so slightly as she makes her way up the ring steps, but rather than enter into the ring – she pauses and then turns to face the crowd, raising the microphone to her lips.
Ayumi Seppuku: SHOOT Project… you have no idea how much you have meant to me; not just these past few months, but for so much longer than you probably realize.
Eryk Masters: This feels like a retirement speech, doesn’t it, Guy?
Other Guy: Well, we’ve seen the immense pressure Johnny Vignochi is placing her under… he’s said that if she doesn’t lay down in this match against Koga he will ruin her career with whatever information Ayumi’s former friend and manager, Sarah King, has over her. So, who knows.
Eryk Masters: Damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.
Ayumi grips the microphone even tighter; her voice shaking.
Ayumi Seppuku: I… I want you all to know. I want everyone in the back to know. I want my friends in VALOR… Lindsay, Teresa, Pat, Judy-E, Courtney, Kayden… I want you each to know that I never meant to lie to you; I never meant to hurt you. I completely understand if – after tonight – you want nothing to do with me.
A hush falls over the crowd.
Ayumi Seppuku: But… I am THROUGH running away from my past. I am THROUGH being scared. I am THROUGH letting others get hurt because of me.
Ayumi runs her hand through her red-and-black hair, taking a big sigh.
Ayumi Seppuku: Prior to our match at CONQUEST, Joshua Breedlove said that I was nothing but a pretender hawking a legendary surname.
Ayumi paues – letting the words hang in the air – before letting out a dry laugh.
Ayumi Seppuku: Well; Breedlove was half right.
Other Guy: Wait…
Ayumi Seppuku: I may have been a pretender in that match, but that name is MINE and has been since I first stepped foot in SHOOT Project a decade and a half ago.
The SHOOT Project crowd goes from dead silent to absolutely ballistic at the bomb the Ronin Wraith has just dropped in the middle of the ring tonight.
Ayumi Seppuku: I looked a lot different the last time you saw me. Hell, Some of you likely weren’t even born yet. But, rest assured… it’s me. I’ve just… upgraded.
Ayumi pauses, taking in the moment.
Other Guy: There’s no way. Absolutely no way. No way that’s Ic- OW!
Eryk Masters: Show some class, OG, let the woman talk.
Ayumi Seppuku: When I left SHOOT Project a decade ago. I was a shadow of my former self – even then. Once a WORLD CHAMPION, that pressure weighed heavy because while I was the face of SHOOT Project, I hated my skin. While I put on a smile for the cameras, my brain was screaming for help.
It became too much – I needed to leave to truly understand and accept who I am. I needed to leave to return home; to BECOME who I always knew I was. And I also needed for the WORLD to change and accept who I am. But in coming back … all the fear, all the uncertainty, all the dread of my being outed — it came rushing back like a black cloud.
It was a struggle every day just to remind myself to keep eating. To keep training.
Even meeting the amazing people in VALOR.
Even confiding my secret to my old friend Azraith.
Even winning these matches.
I walked the halls of the Epicenter in fear. But that ends NOW. I will not be bullied, I will not let my friends be bullied, and I will do what I should have fucking done from the very first day I stepped foot back into a SHOOT Project ring.
Ayumi Seppuku lets a smile creep over her face.
Ayumi Seppuku: HELLO SHOOT PROJECT! My name is AYUMI SEPPUKU and IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK.
The crowd lets out the biggest pop of the night as Ayumi drops the microphone to her side and takes in the crowd reaction; tears welling up in her eyes.
Other Guy: Holy shit, Eryk. This… how in the world was this under our noses the whole time?
Eryk Masters: You know what, Guy? Who the hell cares? This is a HUGE night for SHOOT and a huge night for Ayumi Seppuku and just listen to this crowd! THIS is what makes SHOOT Project the best goddamned wrestling company in the world.
With an immense weight off her shoulders, the former Laws of Survival Champion and former SHOOT Project Heavyweight Champion points a finger towards the rampway.
Ayumi Seppuku: So there you go, Johnny. There you go, Sarah. All the cards are on the table and I’ve got a full house on my side… so let’s bring out the Joker shall we?
Her tone shifts dramatically as she leans into the microphone and growls at the back.
Send that ASSHOLE Yakuza sonofabitch down here so I can FINALLY rip his goddamned head off.
Ayumi Seppuku Vs. BOSS Koga
A victorious Ayumi Seppuku, bloody and barely standing from her fight with BOSS Koga, raises her arm weakly, clearly in pain, but forcefully towards the crowd who roar back in approval.
She barely casts a look at the defeated Yakuza as she steels herself and cautiously climbs the bottom two ropes, as close to the broken table and glass as she can get without further injuring herself, pumping a fist in the air again and again – a gesture that is as much for her as it is for the crowd.
Eryk Masters: It was a HELL of a performance out there tonight, guy, and it’s hard to not feel this is a start of a new chapter in what we now realize is a much longer SHOOT Project story than anyone could have imagined.
With those words, the video feed cuts to a shot of none other than X-Calibur standing just behind the curtain at the top of the Epicenter ramp. His arms crossed and his face twisted in some sort of combination of excitement and anger.
What looks to be a smile crosses his lips as he watches the scene unfold as the crowd audio and commentary audio continue unabated.
Eryk Masters: There’s no shortage of people who will want to go toe-to-toe with Ayumi knowing what we know now.
Other Guy: That’s for sure, Eryk. I don’t know what’s next for Ayumi Seppuku, but whatever it is…
X-Calibur turns his back to the scene in the ring and walks away slowly, hands in his pockets, and there can be no mistake – even without sound – that the Iron God is hysterically laughing.
Other Guy:… It feels big.