Table of Contents
“MAKE WAY FOR THE KING!!!”
Ohana Bam explodes over the PA as the crowd erupts into booing at the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion, who walks out by himself, in his ring gear, with a slip of paper and the SHOOT Project World Championship wrapped around his waist. He begins the walk down the ramp basking in the glow and the roar of the crowd, welcoming it in with a waving hand and a smile.
Eryk Masters: The champ is here! WOOOO!
Other Guy: What is he even motioning towards? Nobody’s cheering for him…
Eryk Masters: Who cares, this is great!
Breedlove slowly climbs into the ring and holds the World championship up, apparently imagining large pops and loud cheers and chants. He closes his eyes and moves his head towards the ceiling as though soaking in sunbeams. As he stands with his arms outstretched, a ring hand takes the championship from him and hands him a microphone.
Joshua Breedlove: Guys, gals, and non-binary pals… it is I… Joshua Breedlove… the Emperor… YOUR… SHOOT Project WORLD. HEAVYWEIGHT. CHAMPION. Please, allow me this moment to bask in the noise that you are all making… for me.
The crowd amps up the volume of boos in response to the champ. With that, he opens his eyes back up and opens up the slip of paper that he’d been carrying with him.
Joshua Breedlove: Now then… earlier in this show cycle I issued an open challenge, first come, first serve to the person or persons who responded in the timeliest of timely manners, and I’ll tell you… some of these responses happened SO fast. Dan Stein… Malice… Daihm Ferguson (sup baby)…
But the thing is… all of you guys, even though you were really fast, you weren’t… you weren’t first.
The crowd boos at this, expecting some kind of mischief or shenanigans.
Joshua Breedlove: In fact, I’m going to read you all a letter that I received from the person who I will be squaring off against momentarily. It was adorable and sweet.
“Dear Mr. Breedlove,
Thank you so much for this opportunity, you have no idea how much it means to me and how much I appreciate it.
I feel as though I have been floundering in REIGN and need something… anything… to help revitalize things to help me continue moving forward. So, I beseech you, sir. Please, in your magnanimous and wonderful nature… please grant me this opportunity.
It would mean so much to me. It would mean so much to my career. It would mean everything. I would pledge my fealty and allegiance to you and the Empire post-haste and you would have my loyalty forever.
Sincerely, and with all gratitude,
Joshua Breedlove: Oh my goodness, friends. I was so touched by this letter. Stan Jensen has been grinding it out down in REIGN and if he’s fallen on hard times, it’s definitely something that I believe the Empire and I can assist with. YOU.
Breedlove points to the top of the ramp.
Joshua Breedlove: YOU are the one who will take this opportunity, STAN JENSEN. Come on out here, and let’s get you a World Heavyweight Championship match! I’m so glad to be able to help. Just another feather in the Breedlove Empire’s Cap of Generosity.
Eryk Masters: You heard it here, everyone!
Other Guy: Ugh. Of course he’d just… do that.
Eryk Masters: We’re kicking Revolution off with a World Championship match! Stan Jensen Vs. Joshua Breedlove for the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship is happening NOW.
Stan Jensen Vs. Joshua Breedlove (c)
Taking Up the Mantle
Immediately following the sham of Breedlove’s open challenge, the camera cuts backstage to Abigail Chase and Lindsay Troy. Abby has a mic, Lindsay’s got her hands on her hips and is shaking her head in annoyance.
Abigail Chase: I’m here with the 2021 Master of the Mat and World Title number one contender, Lindsay Troy, and Lindsay…that was certainly…something…we just witnessed.
Lindsay Troy: Let’s just call it what it is, Abby. It’s a farce. And is anyone really surprised it’s coming from the Adult Gerber Baby?
Abigail Chase: No, not really.
Lindsay Troy: Of course not. And if you are surprised, you must be a brand new fan of SHOOT Project, in which case, welcome, our World Champ is a shitbird.
Troy huffs quietly.
Lindsay Troy: Tell you what I’m gonna do though, Abs. Since the actual “Fraudweight Champion,” Joshua Breedlove, reneged on the challenge he put out, I’ll take up the mantle instead. Daihm Ferguson, Malice…you two want a match, you’ve got it with me. Hell, if Dan Stein wants it too, fine with me. I know he’s got the APEX going on but I figure we can call it a Best Three out of Five affair since he was itching for a fight. Doesn’t make a difference to me. It may not be a match for the world title but all of you will still be in for the fight of your life.
Abigail Chase: There you have it! Lindsay Troy, stepping up to the plate to take on Daihm Ferguson, Malice, and Dan Stein in the wake of Joshua Breedlove’s snub. We’ll bring you their answers as soon as we have them.
Unholy Cyber Parody
“Body Hammer” by Fear Factory blares over the PA system.
Eryk Masters: It looks like we’re about to be joined by the tag champs, the Unholy Cyber Army!
Other Guy: When these guys speak, everybody listens.
A figure steps out, but it’s neither Superbeast, nor Power Devil. It’s Ria Lockhart.
Eryk Masters: Is that Ria?
Other Guy: I think so? What the hell is she wearing?
Ria has an old, beat up leather jacket on. It looks to be about two sizes too big for her and is haphazardly covered in pink and blue glitter. There are not at all convincing foam spikes randomly glued on the shoddy jacket. On her face, she’s painted a butterfly in the same colors as the glitter.
Eryk Masters: Is she… Is she trying to make fun of UCA?
Other Guy: If she values her career, I’d say that’s a bad idea. Wait, where’s Danni?
Right on cue, Danni Johnson makes her entrance. Her jacket is short, able to show off her midriff. It’s rose gold in color and is obviously cut in a feminine way. On her face, she’s wearing a jockstrap. Underneath, painted on her face…
Eryk Masters: What’s that painted on her face?… Is that an upside down rocket ship?
Other Guy: Sure, that’s what that is.
Ria and Danni half-assedly shove each other a few times, acting like they’re ‘fired up’. The two exaggeratedly stomp down to the ring. After climbing in, each grabs a mic.
Ria: PRIDE DEMON!
Ria: WE DECLARE A THUMB WAR!
Danni: REGRET INDIGESTION!
Ria: LOVE AND CUDDLES!
Danni: 50% OFF WHILE THESE SAVINGS LAST!
Danni: SILLY GEESE!
Ria and Danni: BOW AND ACCEPT APPLAUSE!
There’s quite a bit of laughter coming from the crowd at this point.
Ria: We are here to dominate! And by dominate, I mean beat people down two on one! Such actions prove our power!
Danni: We will show our thirst for competition! First, by getting our drinks in the biggest cups 7-11 has to offer! Also, by attacking our opponents before their matches! We’re so horny for competition that WE CANNOT WAIT!
The two pantomime having Big Gulps and drinking them. The crowd breaks out in a ‘SLURP!’ chant. “Body Hammer” by Fear Factory plays again.
Eryk Masters: Uh oh… I think the fun and games are over.
Other Guy: You make your bed, you sleep in it. Even if you did set it on fire and cover it in thumbtacks.
From the back to a loud chorus of scream, jeers, and boos emerge the Demons of Cyber Roppongi, both clad in their custom armored jackets, the buckles clattering against the Tag Team Championships that sit around their solid midsections. They do not advance to the ring, stalking at the top of the ramp, pacing past one another, clearly growling and yelling things to one another. Power Devil points to the ring, and Superbeast nods with enthusiasm. Ria and Danni look to one another, their smiles slowly fading as they flit between themselves and the mountainous champions.
Eryk Masters: Look if there’s a time to cheese it, this is it!
Superbeast holds a microphone up to his face as “Body Hammer” gets cut with the hard fade. For a long while, all we hear is his labored, Ultimate Warrior breathing.
He shakes his head, finally, and hands the mic to Power Devil. They stand side by side. Power Devil begins to raise the mic–then he shakes his head. He throws down the microphone with an audible howl of feedback, and both members of the Unholy Cyber Army…smirk.
Other Guy: I uh…’Ryk, this feels bad.
Eryk Masters: No screaming, no rushing the ring, no promises of murder?
Superbeast and Power Devil nod, their eyes burning holes through the skulls of the Sisters of Steel. They nod their heads, synchronized, and make two gestures. Power Devil gives the classic “I’ll be watching you.” Superbeast puts his thumb to his jugular, swipes it across, and then points to the ring. “Body Hammer” fires back up as the champs walks backwards into the back, nodding and smirking, unblinking.
Sisters of Steel Vs. Surf Express Bro
Ignatius Albert Martin nearly throws himself onto the bench seat in the locker room. He leans over and begins to untie his boots. He gets both boots untied and reaches behind him looking for a towel. He rummages in his bag and in his locker searching, without looking over. Frustrated, he begins to turn around when someone leans in and puts a towel in his hand. Iggy turns his head and grabs at the towel. Buck Dresden is standing beside him. Ignatius grabs the towel and drapes it over his head before he goes back to pulling his boots off of his feet.
IAM: Thanks, Champ. What’re you doing back here? You’re not on tonight are you?
Buck looks around the room for a second before replying.
Buck: I’m on every night, baby.
Buck: Just fuckin’ with you, Iggy, c’mon. Loosen up. Get good. ApeX, right? Y’all gonna do it real big, right? Had a nice first win against Gensai…
Iggy stands to greet Buck and reaches out a hand to shake it. The two men give a quick handshake.
IAM: I’m trying man. I really am. It was huge for me to be added in here with a bunch a bonafide superstars. I didn’t get a chance to thank you for changing our match to a title shot. I didn’t come out on top, but it was huge for me to get that chance in front of everyone. Really did a lot for me.
Iggy sits back down and starts loading his bag with his gear.
IAM: I hate to do this man, but I gotta ask you for one more favor. These guys in my bracket are huge names, man. The light’s burning brighter than it has before, and it’s starting to burn a hole in me. I gotta get in training with some real killers myself if I’m gonna stand out in the field, man. I looked at those guys you mentioned before. If I can learn anything from them, I’d be a serious contender. You still think you can get me in touch with them?
Buck: Could just punch ‘em in the dick when the referee ain’t lookin’, Iggy.
IAM looks at Buck with a blank expression.
Buck: I’m just fuckin’ around, man. Sorry. But those guys I mentioned to you? Don’t let their one loss here take away from who they are. They’re the hardest hittin’ guys I’ve ever faced. Trained me, worked with me, they’re lookin’ to get their foundation set up here an’ I know one thing that’ll make ‘em feel at home is coachin’ a young talent like you. It’s their comfort zone. Plus you don’t suck, which already means they’ll like you at least a little bit. You sure you wanna meet ‘em?
Iggy stands again and puts his bag into his locker. He smiles an looks aback at Buck, he tries to hide the excitement on his face, but his emotions get the better of him.
IAM: Listen man, I can be a Franchise player. I know it. I’m not there quite yet, but I’m willin ta do whatever it takes to get there. Hell yeah, I wanna meet em. I know they’re pretty rough dudes, but that’s what I need. I’m starting to get a little tired a eating canvas. These guys can help me? I’ll do whatever it takes to get where I need ta go.
“Eating canvas is the start of a good diet.”
Buck: I was gonna do this whole dramatic thing and y’all step in…but noooo…
Daiichi steps to IAM, who is a few inches taller than the Japanese fighter. Behind Daiichi is Keiji Tokugawa who bows to both Buck and to IAM.
Daiichi: Tokugawa Keiji is an icon of professional wrestling and he has made me “eat canvas” more times than I will ever admit.
He looks IAM up and down.
Daiichi: Do you fear the canvas? Does it not taste good?
Iggy looks a little confused, unsure of how he is supposed to answer the question. He pauses for a moment with a look of concentration on his face. He starts to bow, a little concerned that he had forgotten to return the gesture of Daiichi and Keiji. When he raises again, a light seems to go off in his brain.
IAM: I don’t fear losing. I hate it. I try to learn from every loss, but I don’t know what I’m looking for. I was hoping you gentlemen could help me out with that.
Daiichi: I like hate. You can use hate. That canvas you tasted must taste good. It must taste so good you can’t wait to share it with your fellow warriors. You want to work with us?
Daiichi motions to Keiji.
Daiichi: That’s good. We want to work with you.
Keiji leans over and whispers to Buck. Buck sticks his head in.
Buck: Keiji is sorry he doesn’t know English well enough an’ don’t wanna disrespect our language anymore than I think you’n I already do, ha. But he’s willin’ to learn an’ that’s all he wants from you, too.
Daiichi: Quiet, Dresden. You are not in Saigo no Eiyu. That is the domain of Daiichi, Tokugawa Keiji, and Ignatius Albert Martin now.
Buck: I mean, I just introduced y’all…
Daiichi cuts him a glare.
Daiichi: When he’s ready to fight you again, you can say goodbye to your pretty championship.
Daiichi grins and turns to IAM.
He extends his hand.
Buck: Yeah yeah, I know where the door is. Congrats, lovebirds.
Buck makes his exit. Iggy reaches out and grabs Daiichi by the wrist, giving a hearty handshake.
IAM: Damn happy to be a part of it. Nothing but gold coming our way, gentlemen.
The camera fades on the three men standing in the locker room. Ignatius is making gestures towards Keiji as Daiichi attempts to translate the conversation happening between the three men.
The Outcast Speaks
Eryk Masters: We’re headed to the back where Abigail Chase is standing by with the Unholy Breedlove Empire and their new prospect, El Paria!
Other Guy: Take it way, Abby!
There’s a quick camera cut as we go from the announcer’s desk to the backstage area of the Epicenter.
Abigail Chase: I’m here with El Paria, Muratagi Hanzo, and Armstrong of the Unholy Breedlove Empire prior to El Paria’s Revolution debut against Trashcan Tim!
The camera pans and confirms what Ms. Chase is saying, as Paria, Hanzo, and Armstrong stand side by side.
Abigail Chase: Gentlemen, we’re just moments away from El Paria stepping into the ring against Trashcan Tim. He’s been tearing it up in REIGN, doing well on the house show circuits, and is quietly making a little bit of a name for himself in the early stages of his career here in the SHOOT Project.
Armstrong goes to speak, but Paria pulls the mic away from him before he can say anything.
El Paria: Ms. Chase, it’s simple. I’ve found a home here in the Unholy Breedlove Empire. I’ve found my family here. Previously, I was an outcast. El Paria means “the outcast” and until now, that’s what I’ve been. They found me, and I will not disappoint them.
He looks up at Armstrong and Hanzo both before continuing.
El Paria: Trashcan Tim… you are formidable, both in stature and in skill. I will do my best against you, but win, lose, or draw? I’m going to put on a show. I’m going to show those who would cast me aside what they’ve done… how they’ve missed… how they’ve erred.
Handing the microphone over to Abigail Chase, he nods his head and begins to walk away.
“Thank you for your time, Ms. Chase. See you on the other side.”
Abigail Chase: You heard it here, everyone! El Paria is ready to rock and roll, and he does so against Trashcan Tim. That match is NEXT!
El Paria Vs. Trashcan Tim
The cameras cut to the backstage area where ‘the Prince of Brooklyn’ Anthony Moretti is arriving in the arena. Moretti as always is not alone, as a few short steps behind him is ‘the Problem Solver’ Joe Barone, carrying the expensive branded bags that contain the pair’s ring gear.
Anthony Moretti: “Marone! Where is our locker room? I told them last time that they better have laid on a private locker room because there is no way that I am leaving my stuff around these stunades whilst we are out there wrestling tonight.”
Moretti, who is wearing an expensive looking dark suit, stops for a millisecond to flash the gold watch on his wrist to Barone, who simply responds with a nod of the head.
Anthony Moretti: “Oh! You, oh! Get over here!”
Moretti spots a backstage worker and clicks his fingers and waves him over urgently, getting annoyed that he doesn’t immediately run over.
Anthony Moretti: “Oh! When I call you, you get over here quicker kid! Now, where is our locker room? You think I am gonna wrestle in an Armani suit? This thing cost more than you earn in a year!”
The backstage worker looks a little confused as he looks from a sheet of paper on his clipboard, to Moretti, up to Barone, before back to Moretti. There is a visible gulp from him as he tries to reply.
Backstage Worker: “But Anthony, uh Mr Moretti, uh sir…. You are not booked to wrestle tonight?”
Anthony Moretti: “Oh!!”
Joe Barone: “Oh!!”
Anthony Moretti: “Oh!! What the hell do you mean we are not wrestling tonight? We are the main event every show we are on you stupid schifosa! Give me that!”
Moretti snatches the clip board off the backstage worker before looking down it himself. Moretti double takes on the clip board as the backstage worker slowly tries to back away, only for Moretti to throw the clip board at him.
Anthony Moretti: “Va fungool! This is more anti-Italian discrimination! First there is a quick count in our match against the Steel Scissor Sisters or whatever they are called, and now this!”
Barone starts to reach into his trouser pockets and pulls out his dyed red dollar bills, but the backstage worker is out of there already after seeing what happened to the security guard a few weeks ago.
Anthony Moretti: “Fuhgeddaboudit! I really can’t be seen in a place like this if there isn’t a pay day to be had tonight.”
Moretti clicks his fingers and does an about turn towards the exit, the massive Joe Barone in close pursuit whilst carrying the luggage.
Josh Conway Vs. X-Calibur
Built to Conquer
The camera cuts back to the locker room area wherein you see the two members of Saigo no Eiyu, also known as SAIGO. “Cyber Samurai” by Wolf + Raven plays in the background. Daiichi stands in the foreground while Keiji Tokugawa is behind him, his left hand clutching his right fist and his elbows on his knees.
Daiichi: Unholy Cyber Army! We congratulate you on finding a method to defeat us. We are not so easily toppled by beasts such as yourselves. However, you revealed to us your one weakness.
Keiji looks at the camera and speaks in Japanese.
Keiji Tokugawa: You let us live.
Daiichi: Do not worry, Unholy Cyber Army. We will give you the time to breathe and enjoy your time atop the mountain. However, we will return to the ring opposite you soon.
Keiji Tokugawa: We will not rest until we have earned our return against you.
Daiichi: We are SAIGO, and we are built to conquer.
Daiichi slowly lowers his head to the camera and Keiji rises from his seat. He points to the camera and then slides his thumb across his throat.
Keiji Tokugawa: We are here to teach this tag team division a lesson in survival. We are not here to simply shake hands and bow our heads in humility. We have been champions wherever we have gone and SHOOT Project will not be any different. Unholy Cyber Army, Sisters of Steel, Twins, and any other teams that want to set foot in our path, know that we are SAIGO and know that we are built…to conquer.
We fade as Keiji and Daiichi clasp hands in solidarity.
Live Via Satellite
Live Via Sattelite:
The camera focuses in on a hideous floral couch with wooden arm-rests. You know. That Couch. There is a hand woven brown and orange throw blanket draped over the back fo the couch and the camera can catch the glint from the ceramic bears on a display shelf in the corner of the room. Chad Kyle sits on the center of the couch. He has a ratty teddy bear blanket with velvet ribbon adorning the edges tucked intentionally behind him, as if he’s trying to hide it, but he’s failing.
Chad Kyle: I know that a lot of you would call the FACKIMI a failure. You’d say that I took a beating, and that I never should have done it. Some of you would even say that I was “Steamrolled” by the UCA. Success isn’t always about victory though. Sometimes all a bro needs to do to win is just to do it. Now I’ve done it. I’ve cemented my place in SHOOT Project history as the only man to ever have an entire show dedicated to him. I didnt check that, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. So what’s next for ole Chadster? That’s a good question, my ChadManiacs.
Chad tries to put on a serious face as Mamma Kyle walks directly in front of the camera. She doesn’t face it, but she doesn’t seem to know it’s there, seemingly believing that Chad is just talking to himself, and not at all concerned about that. She sets down a plate in front of Chad. It’s a sandwich of some sorts, with the crusts cut off and cut into four small triangles. She also sets down a large “Strawberry Shortcake” cup with a red swizzle straw in it filled with what appears to be chocolate milk. She notices Chad’s blankie stuffed behind him and grabs it. She fluffs it out and spreads it over Chad’s legs before noting how chilly it is and catching his death of cold or somethig to that effect. Chad starts to fidget for a moment, but eventually just accepts his Mother’s well,. Mothering.
Chad Kyle: I’ll be back in Vegas before you know it. Probably in time for the next set of Revolution and Ruination. The brings me to what’s next for that Chadster. There been a lotta shit talk on Spitter from the BroBeanz about what they’re gonna do to tha Family Kyle. Some of them have even talked mad shit about Mamma Kyle WHO IS A SAINT! Well next show I am issuing another challenge. I dont care it it’s Kit, Mike, or that other one no one can remember. One of you, two of you and one of my brothers. Hell all three of you. I don’t care. You’re steppin in tha ring with tha Kyles. No more duckin. Chad’ll be ready.
Mamma Kyle bristles a little at the thought of Chad getting back in the ring so soon, but she resigns herself to going back to her housework. She grans a pillow from behind Chad before fluffing it and putting it back behind his back. She scolds him for not eating which brings an audible, exacerbated “MA!” from Chad. The camera pulls out on Chad trying to shoo his mother off of him and comes to rest on one of the Teddy Bears on his blankie before fading to black.
Dan Stein Vs. Cal Crawford
Desert Crucible II
The rope is practically caked in the dust of the earth, so much so that the fresh sweat meeting it from his arm has turned the contact point into mud.
There’s a silence in the tableau, nothing but rustle and wind, the cold howl of a desert that really is less a geological feature than it is a killing engine. The curvature of the earth and the lack of anything, anyone, except insects and lizards for what seems like as far as the eye can see. Vegas is a neon oasis in the desert, only serving to throw into greater relief the desolation of the baked ground that reaches out from it.
Vegas is a meteor of pure sin that crashed into the earth and scrubbed the vegetation from everything leading from it’s landfall.
And there he is. Life that should not exist here, and yet it does–if you can call this an existence. He’s lashed to the jagged stump of what used to be a tree, so brefet of water and overloaded with sunshine that it’s been bleached to a creamy gray, like the ground itself has a compound fracture and he’s hugging the bone spike. The sun is punishing him, and we have no clue how long he has been here. His skin is a lobstery shade, and he’s not so much asleep as he is of diminished life. Nude, though unexposed, naked as the day he was born. Unable to free himself. Still in his place, the noonday sun gives us the impression that he’s been here since sunup at least.
But his stillness changes. When he hears the crunch of the boots, he begins to grunt softly. Begins to kick his feet, scrambling up a cloud of dust, trying to get his heels under his back so he can pull at his bonds again. Her voice is no comfort. Her voice is a weeze of an ancient sawmill kicking to life, the grind of a mausoleum being opened. In her mouth, the Word turns into something cold, a cudgel that will beat the sin from your bones as it shatters them.
“In all this you shall greatly rejoice, though now for a while you shall suffer grief in your trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–greater worth than the gold of men, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise and glory when Christ is revealed and you are accounted for.”
Pulling against the rope. We can hear his grunts, though they are weak. His every vein and muscle strain so hard we can actually hear the creak of the rope, a ship’s sail under a squall. His face is anguished, defeated, baked. Pull. Digs heels into the earth. Pull. Blood on the hands now, either fresh or old wounds torn open anew. Blood on the ropes.
And she doesn’t move.
Her eyes register no sadness, and they register no pain. They register nothing. Even in the blistering golden glow of the sun, Charlie Jay Hitchens looks washed out, sepia…dead. She takes no pleasure from this, nor distress. She merely is. And the suffering of Victor Thane isn’t something that she seeks to stop or foster. It simply is. She slowly walks around so that he can see her, his hair limp and askew at odd angles, his eyes frantic. He pauses his movement, his eyes searching for an answer, his brows raised in supplication and pain. His jaw moves but he can’t form the words. His gaze does all the asking for him. He says “mercy” with every nerve and muscle. She says “no” with a cold, statued inactivity. He says “please” with a violent tug against his bonds.
She says nothing. He breaks.
He rips against his bonds, thrashing,a fish on the dock, one last paroxysm of activity before he drops to his knees, burying his face into the hot wood, his shoulders sagging and shuddering with sobs. He finds his voice. All he can give us is a wail of frustration and pain. It echoes across the alien stillness, his own anguish hollering back at him as if mocking him. Hands coated in blood, in a pigpen cloud of dust, his skin red where it isn’t coated in mottled, sweaty dirt. His frame is slack against his bonds, so lifeless now that the bugs have begun to gather, excited at the prospect of an easy meal. And with his blood dotting the broken ground, perhaps a meal for other beasts of the wild. He has no idea if she would save him from such a fate. He has no idea if he will see another summertime. He is alone with the punishing glow of the sun and her indifference.
A nod, slight enough to be almost unnoticeable. The boots crunch. She walks past the stump again.
“We’ll see what kind of a penitent you make.”
NEMESIS Vs. Jacob Mephisto
Wake Up, Sandman
The bell sounds and Mephisto stands exhausted, arms stretched out wide and head to the sky as his music plays from the arena speakers.
Eryk Masters: We say this a lot, but as much as you can’t help but dislike him, Jacob Mephisto is one hell of a competitor, and he earned this victory tonight!
Other Guy: You got that right, E! And you just know he’s gonna rub that in Azraith’s face when he can.
Mephisto lowers his arms slowly, turning his head back towards NEMESIS, who is getting back to her feet defiantly. Mephisto stands there a moment, turning his entire body to face her, a sick grin spreading across his face.
Eryk Masters: Oh, come on, man! Can we not just have a match?
Other Guy: Not when it’s someone Azraith holds dear, E. You know that. I’m not advocating it, I’m just telling it like it is.
Mephisto stalks forward, sizing up NEMESIS. As she turns around, Mephisto is right there and SNATCHES the former World Champion by her throat, catching her by surprise. Mephisto whips around, facing the entrance area, smiles, and ROCKETS her into the air, bringing her down across his knee!
NEMESIS rolls around on the canvas in agony, clutching at her lower back.
Eryk Masters: This is despicable! Mephisto with Die Hand des Gottes, a well-known signature of Azraith DeMitri’s. On his daughter.
Other Guy: Mephisto is sending a message, E. You know how he works. Anyone could’ve and should’ve seen this coming.
Mephisto tosses his head back and laughs. He screams up towards the entrance.
Mephisto: COME ON OUT, AZRAITH! COME SAVE YOUR CHILD!
Mephisto reaches down and snatches NEMESIS by the nape of her neck and drags her back up, setting her up in a piledriver position and hooking her arms.
Eryk Masters: No! He’s gonna spike her with Azraith’s own Extinction!
The crowd ERUPTS as Azraith comes SPRINTING towards the ring from one of the close side-arena entrances, no music or special effects accompanying him. Mephisto tosses NEMESIS aside as Azraith hits the ring. Mephisto bails immediately, but not on the side of the entrance ramp, effectively trapping himself.
But, he just starts to laugh. He tosses his head back and lets out a full cackle, audible enough that the cameras pick it up without a microphone.
Other Guy: Man, Mephisto really likes to poke the bear, doesn’t he?
Eryk Masters: I don’t know what he thinks he’s accomplishing, OG. I really don’t.
Azraith is gingerly bringing NEMESIS to her feet, but with a scowl of frustration, she rejects his arm and pushes herself upwards on her own, staring at Az a sec before nodding. There’s no mic in the ring, but everyone can see her say the words “Fuck ‘em up!” before Az nods with a frown of his own. He moves to step through the ropes after Mephisto, but as he does, the lights in the arena immediately cut to black.
Eryk Masters: What the…?
As the crowd buzzes with curiosity you can hear Mephisto, even without a microphone, laughing so hard that tears have formed in his eyes. He stomps his feet with glee.
In that moment an ominous whistle cuts through the arena speakers:
Oooooooo Oooooooo Oooooooo Ooooo Oooo Ooo Oooooo
An orange glow begins to fill the Epicenter as music begins to pound from the arena speakers, a familiar opening to a song any SHOOT Project faithful would recognize.
Ain’t found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere…
Eryk Masters: That music, OG…
Other Guy: Yeah, I know. But… it’s impossible…
The lights are bright enough now to see Azraith who has completely halted his mad rush into the ring. Instead, the Avatar of SHOOT Project stands gripping the ring ropes tightly as a figure manifests on the entrance ramp. A spotlight shines down on the monstrous-sized figure standing in a pair of faded blue jeans, a brown vest, and a brown Stetson hat. We can’t see their face… only a white plague doctor’s mask.
Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster
You know he ain’t gonna die….
No, no, no, you know he ain’t gonna die.
Suddenly, the music cuts and you can hear a pin drop in the arena as the figure, staring behind empty eyes, raises his finger and silently points at a very confused-looking Azraith DeMitri.
Suddenly, Mephisto climbs up onto the apron and shouts out.
Mephisto: WAKE UP, SANDMAN!
Azraith snarls in absolute anger and spins back towards Mephisto, but the lights go black again.
Eryk Masters: More mind games from Mephisto! This man is twisted, folks.
After perhaps 10 to 15 seconds, the lights snap back on and Mephisto is now gone, leaving Azraith DeMitri alone in the ring with a pacing, confused NEMESIS. At Az’s feet is a brown Stetson hat and white plague doctor’s mask. He looks down at the items, picking up the mask and casting his gaze back up at where the figure had just been standing, catching the back of their head – a flash of dyed orange hair disappearing backstage. As this happens, the camera catches a thousand emotions at once. Rage, uncertainty, and, just maybe, guilt?
In the last seconds, we see Azraith gripping the mask so tight it begins to crack as our broadcast comes to a close.