Being the Bigger Woman
We see Laura Seton as she makes her way into the Moody Center. Wearing a light blue shirt, white shorts with black sneakers, she has a black bag slung over her left arm as she presumably heads for the locker room. She politely greets a few workers before she comes across Mary Kelly.
Laura Seton: Been a bit since I last saw you…
Mary Kelly: Oh! Hi, Laura. Yeah, I don’t think we’ve crossed since you returned.
Laura gives a handshake and shares a small hug with the SHOOT interviewer.
Mary Kelly: Big night for you tonight.
Laura has a nod with a casual smile.
Laura Seton: Mm-hm. Be great to hold another title here… be sort of fun to get a third champion in the First Strike match.
Mary Kelly: Speaking of which–any disappointment losing that first match?
Laura Seton: Obviously I would have preferred winning and making things a bit easier but I can still get a bid in the final match. Judy just had a better night.
Mary Kelly: Think that’s all it was?
Laura Seton: I mean… if you want me to say she’s underrated? Yeah, she probably is. People just won’t know for a bit yet because she’s going from being a tag teamer to singles. Just takes a bit for people to warm up to them.
Both Mary and Laura cast a shocked look as none other than Judy Punchinello steps into frame.
Wearing a purple and green duster jacket with her hair slicked back and mascara smeared across her eyes, she confidently walks up to the pair with a sneer.
Judy Punchinello: No no no. We’re going to stop this right here, Laura. You think you’re being cute out here trying to play the ‘bigger woman’ and pretend that you didn’t get your ass handed to you in First Strike? I’m not going to let that happen.
Mary Kelly: Judy. What a surprise. Do you have any-
Judy Punchinello: Shut the fuck up. Don’t think I didn’t see you get all chummy with Laura here. I know where your loyalties lie. The first question out of your mouth should have been asking why Laura here is getting a damned title shot, straight up, after losing at First Strike while I’ve got to fight off Buck Dresden and Curtis Rose just to even earn a shot at Iron Will. That’s some fucking BULLSHIT and you know it, Mary.
Laura raises her brow toward Judy.
Laura Seton: … are you done? Being a five year old?
Judy Punchinello: So you’re saying you got your ass handed to you by a five-year old? Man, Laura, that’s a good self-burn.
Laura Seton: What are you so angry for?? You’re a step away from a guaranteed World Title shot! Use this temper tantrum energy out there instead of back here.
Judy steps forward, getting into Laura’s face.
Judy Punchinello: You’ve failed upward into a title shot for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than your name. Meanwhile we’ve got people here who haven’t been booked in months let alone get a shot at one of the top titles in this company. So, THAT, Laura is why I’m angry.
Laura Seton: So I’m just supposed to back out of this? In case you missed my career to date, this isn’t exactly my specialty of a match. I may be stretched out of my sockets for all you know.
Judy Punchinello: Oh. I see. Now I get it…
Judy reaches up and grabs Laura’s chin, looking the fighter over and causing Laura to recoil.
Judy Punchinello: Go on, then Laura. I hope you do win. That way at Iron Will 2 I’ll know at least one of the fighters in that ring isn’t a threat.
Laura Seton: And I’M the one with a “See You Next Tuesday” reputation? Listen you–
Mary Kelly: Ladies, can we just-
Judy Punchinello: Sure thing, Mary. I was just leaving.
Without another word, Punchin’ Judy steps forward through the shot, past Laura, and throws up two middle fingers in the Rule of Surrender challenger’s face on her way out.
Laura Seton Vs. NEMESIS (c)
Starting a RIOT
Eryk Masters: So, we’ve been told that someone has requested some in-ring time here, but that’s all we really know.
Other Guy: Well, we have a lot of great action tonight, so hopefully whatever this is doesn’t take up too much ti-
The opening riffs of “The Show Must Go On” by Three Dog Night begins to play. There is a mild buzz in the crowd as a few people recognize the well-known circus theme that begins the classic rock song.
Other Guy: Wait…
Eryk Masters: You don’t think-
Before Eryk can finish his sentence, the music cuts out and a somewhat familiar voice hits over the speakers.
“Y’all probably thought I was dead”
Three Dog Night is replaced with “Pressure” by Skindred. Some of the more old-school fans begin to pop as the bright, grooving guitars are matched with green and purple spotlights flickering all over the stage. Green and purple pyro explode as JESTER SMILES emerges from the back.
Other Guy: Oh shit…it’s Eric!
Eryk Masters: Former SHOOT Heavyweight Champion, Master of the Mat, and just…intriguing character is back? We’d heard buzz about him in regards to a newly signed tag team, but no one knew he was going to be here tonight.
The fans that know pop, which causes the fans that don’t know to pop out of expectation. Jester stands at the top of the ramp, dressed flamboyantly in a purple pinstripe suit and green undershirt. He has a dab of green makeup under his left eye, and a dab of purple on the right. His beard and long hair have streaks of grey in them, and he holds in his left hand a green cane with a purple orb handle. In his right hand is a microphone. He stares out at the cheering crowd, beaming with an intensely happy smile, his eyes shimmering with just the slightest amount of water. He mouthes “I fucking love you guys” before he begins walking to the ring. As he walks, there is a noticeable limp, hence the cane, but his demeanor shows no signs of pain and suffering. He shoves the microphone in his pocket so he can shake hands with a few of the fans eagerly reaching out, which does drag out the entrance, but not many seem to mind.
Other Guy: Eric Rohkar…Jester Smiles…a man with a storied, if not incredibly complicated history in SHOOT Project.
Eryk Masters: This is a man who has, at various points in his history, sacrificed his body to try and save this company and also done everything in his power to destroy it. A hero, a villain, a, well…you said it best partner, a complicated individual, but I won’t lie…the man looks happy, and I’m glad to see it, OG.
Other Guy: Me too, Eryk. Me too.
As Jester reaches the ring, he walks around, heading over the announce booth. Both Eryk Masters and Other Guy stand up, removing their headsets for the moment. Jester embraces Eryk Masters, followed by OG.
Other Guy (off-mic): Good to see you, man. You look good.
Jester Smiles (off-mic): It’s good to see you too, buddy.
Jester finishes his niceties with OG and Masters, walking up the ring steps slowly. He stands at the top of them, looking out at the crowd. The cheers from newer fans has died down, but many of the older fans are still raucous. They remember, and Jester sees that they remember. He wipes a tear from his eye before entering the ring, slowly again, being cautious to keep his balance. He moves to the middle of the ring and holds his cane up high, eliciting more cheers from those that know. He removes the microphone from his pocket.
Jester Smiles: Oh my god…it’s twenty-twenty-two and SHOOT Project is still fucking here!
The fans pop.
Jester Smiles: For those that don’t know me…hi…I’m Eric. I…uhhh…I used to wrestle here.
Another, smaller pop.
Eryk Masters: Bit of an understatement.
Jester tries to continue his speech, but the crowd begins a chant that starts small but progressively grows louder.
Crowd: Wel-come back! Wel-come back!
Jester lowers the microphone, allowing himself the moment. He smiles, clearly moved by everything. They don’t all know him, but a few remember, and that’s all that matters.
Jester Smiles: Man, I’ve missed that. I’ve missed you guys. This place…this ring…it’s been a huge part of my life for such a significant portion of my life. From the backwoods of Winston-Salem to the national circuit, I’ve been involved in this little wrestling scene for such a long-time, yet it’s been a while since I’ve actually stepped foot in a ring.
I look at today’s product and I see some names I recognize and some I don’t. I see some people who were just getting their start when they joined this company who are now World Champions and bonafide legends. I’ve seen this company survive so much, and here I am, standing in this ring, having been a part of so much of that.
I haven’t always been the best dude in this company, but for every good and bad thing I’ve done, and for every good and bad thing that has happened to me, well…
I’m glad I got to take the ride.
The fans give another pop.
Jester Smiles: I love you guys, but let me not get your hopes up. I’m not back. As much as I would love to test my fists against some of these newer guys…well…
Jester holds up the cane and shrugs. A few people boo, but some politely clap.
Jester Smiles: I get it, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…my knees are FUUUUUCKED my dudes. I tried to make my little comeback in 2020, knowing full well my body wasn’t ready, and…
Well, Revolution 134. Charlie Jay Hitchens and myself had a little fight and…I did this flipping kick, landed weird and, until the next day, thought I was fine.
But I woke up and couldn’t walk. I was in unbearable pain. My girlfriend at the time…now wife…
A few cheers. Jester nods appreciatively.
Jester Smiles: Yeah, she’s great, but anyway, I went to the hospital and, long story short, was basically told that, if I wanted to not live my life in a wheelchair, I’d need to stop. Actually, I remember my doctor’s exact words.
“Eric…you’re playing Russian Roulette every time you get in the ring. Except, instead of aiming the gun at your head, you’re aiming it at your knees.”
I had to stop guys, and I hated it, but…but there is a time when you must step away.
The crowd applauds again.
Other Guy: This is news to all of us. We always wondered what happened to Jester after that match, but…
Eryk Masters: I guess he kept it secret from everyone.
Jester Smiles: It’s okay though. I found peace outside of the ring. I’ve been working on a lot of stuff since leaving the ring, and one of those projects I’m happy to announce tonight!
You see, even before I stepped away from the ring, I had been working on this little thing, this establishment, right here in Austin, Texas. It was a sort of sanctuary for wrestlers, fighters, and warriors, a place for them to train, and hone their skills, but also a place of solace and peace from the grind that, quite frankly, this industry can’t help but be.
I established the Rohkar Combat Camp in 2019 as a means to help those in this industry, and I am proud to announce that, just a little before I came out here, myself and Josh Johnson signed a contract for SHOOT Project to have exclusive rights to have the first pick of any students coming out of the Rohkar Combat Camp. The RCC will become a sort of feeder school of SHOOT Project and REIGN. So, if I can’t go to war in this ring, I will at least take part in training Soldiers for that war.
And it JUST so happens that, with the signing of this deal, SHOOT Project has also signed their first contracts from the Rohkar Combat Camp. So, ladies and gentlemen, may I present…
Go ahead and hit the music guys.
Hearing the cue, “Start A Riot” by Shabooezy and Duckwrth begins to play. The lights dim as a spotlight shines at the top of the ramp.
“WHO IN HERE TRYNA START A RIOT?”
Gold pyros go off as two men emerge from the back. The first to run into the spotlight is a smaller man, dressed in teals and greens. He wears a brightly colored luchador mask. He is clearly amped, almost hyper, jumping up and down as he stares out into the crowd. Behind him is a larger man, stocky and strong. Though his muscles are not well defined, his large size reveals a large amount of functional strength. He wears no shirt but is dressed in all red, blue, and yellow, superman colors. He seems more reserved, but he holds his arms up and shouts in excitement nonetheless.
Jester Smiles: Laaaaaaadies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of…well…hopefully over 13. This show is kind of adult.
In the green and teal, he is a master of the lucha libre arts and can fly across the ring at the speed of dropkick. He is The Astonishing One…KID…LUCHA!
The small luchadore leaps into the air, bouncing with sheer excitement.
Jester Smiles: Aaaaaaaand in the SUPA MAN colors…he has the strength of an Ox-I mean…don’t want to get sued by Lennox…the strength of a BULL and the punching power of a MANTIS SHRIMP…he is ISRAEL…BISHOP!
The larger man steps forward, holding his arms up high.
Jester Smiles: Together, they have come to shake up the tag team division in SHOOT Project and bring about a real REVOLUTION…they are…The RIOT Squad!
On that note, both men run down to the ring. Kid Lucha is much faster, reaching the ring and sliding in, but Israel isn’t too far behind. They both embrace Jester. Jester hands one microphone to Kid Lucha. He then shouts to someone of the ring for another, which he is immediately thrown one. He hands this to Israel before stepping away, leaning against a nearby turnbuckle. As the music dies down, Kid Lucha is the first to take the mic.
Kid Lucha: Baaaaaabyyyyyyy…SHOOT Project…the fuck is going on!
A few fans pop.
Kid Lucha: As my illustrious mentor just said, my name is Kid Lucha, and I have come here with my good buddy ol’ pal o’mine, Israel Bishop, to START A GAWD DAMN RIOT!
Israel Bishop: But wait, KL, what does that even mean? Aren’t riots…
Israel looks in both directions.
Israel Bishop: Buh-buh-buh…bad things!
Kid Lucha: Not at all, my large, chubby partner.
Israel Bishop: I’m not chubby. This is what functional strength looks like. We’ve been over this.
Kid Lucha: Shush, more important things to talk about. Like how myself, The bringer of ASTONISHING LUCHA GOODNESS, and you, the bringer of ASTONISHING…pick up and throw people around…ness?
Kid Lucha thinks on this statement for a second.
Kid Lucha: Yeah, sure, that. That sounds right. You and I, the bringers of the ASTONISHING, are going to revolutionize the tag team division with just a whole bunch of badassery, on god.
Israel Bishop: What my miniscule friend here is saying-
Kid Lucha: Hey, I may be a short king, but I’m not, like, freakishly small.
Israel Bishop: Shush, more important things to talk about. Anyway, what my short kind friend here is saying is that, we have every intention of shaking things up in the world of tag team wrestling. We feel that you, the good people of SHOOT, don’t really get your voice heard. You’re inundated with cocky miscreates politicking and playing around instead of just having competitive matches without all the extra nonsense. You want competition, not drama, and we are here to provide.
A riot is the voice of the unheard, and we, Israel Bishop-
Kid Lucha: And KIIIIIIIIIID LUUUUUUUUCHAAAAAAAAA!
Israel pauses, looking mockingly annoyed.
Israel Bishop: You done?
Kid Lucha: I think so.
Israel Bishop: Any how, we, THE RIOT PATROL, have heard you, and we are here to give you exactly what you want. No blood feuds, no useless wars, just pure competition. If you want a fight-
Kid Lucha: Or you want the smoke, as some in the Spitterverse have said.
Lucha winks at the camera.
Israel Bishop: We’ll be happy to give you what you want, in this ring, fair and square. We’re coming for titles, for accolades, for all we can get. Whether you feel you are some kind of “Eternal Light”-
Kid Lucha: Or big ole cats roaming the pride lands-
Israel Bishop: But never the elephant graveyard.
Kid Lucha: God forbid, of course not.
Israel Bishop: Whether you are some ‘spooky scary skeletons’, just in time for Halloween-
Kid Lucha: Or whether you feel your ‘heat’ has been ‘delayed’…
KL and Israel stand back to back.
Kid Lucha: We’re more than happy to meet you in the middle of this ring-
Israel Bishop: Drop you on your skull a couple of times-
Kid Lucha: And get you with the one-
Israel Bishop: Two-
A few fans cheer, liking the energy of this new team. Jester Smiles nods approvingly at his duo.
Israel Bishop: The RIOT Patrol is here to start a revolution. Get in-
Kid Lucha: Step aside-
Israel Bishop: Or get trampled.
Kid Lucha: BITCH!
Israel turns, looking disapproving at KL.
Israel Bishop: You said you wouldn’t end it that way.
Kid Lucha: But it hits so hard, though!
Israel shrugs, and they both drop their mics at the same time. “Start A Riot” begins to play again as Jester moves to the middle of the ring with his new team, holding their arms up high in the air.
Eryk Masters: Well, quite the confidence and energy from this young team managed by former SHOOT World Champion, Jester Smiles!
Other Guy: I mean, I think I’m intrigued. They seem…quirky?
Eryk Masters: Yeah…quirky seems right.
"Bulldog" Jack Horn Vs. Roddy "The Body" Oddie
Power of the Dollar
The cameras head backstage to the parking lot outside the arena in Austin, Texas and join Abigail Chase. Behind Chase and slightly in the distance, there seems to be a big crowd of fans grouped around a blacked out European sedan of some description, as Chase welcomes the viewers to the scene.
Abigail Chase: “Thank you for joining me here tonight! We have come out into the Texan heat and to the parking lot where we have heard reports of a bit of a commotion! We are heading in to that group over there right now to see what all the fuss is about!”
Chase nervously moves forward towards the crowd of fans where there are some loud shouts, the cameraman wisely staying a few steps back. Chase reaches the group of fans and slowly pushes her way through towards the car which seems to have its trunk open, as the camera crew follows behind her. As Chase reaches the car, the voices that are shouting become clear.
Anthony Moretti: “Ooooh! Get your Blood Money merch here! We got t-shirts, we got baseball bats, we got gun holsters, we got tire irons…. Get your Blood Money merch!”
Chase looks around at the scene, looking a little confused what Blood Money are doing with the show currently ongoing from inside the arena. Joe Barone stands tall and expressionless, holding a Blood Money branded t-shirt out in front of him whilst Moretti clutches a fist full of dollars and works the crowd.
Anthony Moretti: “Oh Miss Chase! I got the perfect thing for you doll face!”
Moretti spots Abigail Chase and motions for the fans to move out of the way so she can get to the front.
Abigail Chase: “Anthony, what’s going on? Don’t you have a match tonight?”
Anthony Moretti: “Listen, forget about that doll face, what do you say? Special offer just for you….”
Moretti winks at Chase before pulling a box out of the trunk of the car and popping it open to reveal a ladies Rolex watch.
Abigail Chase: “Wait… why is there broken glass in the box?”
Moretti takes a close look at the box, before flicking the broken glass away with his finger.
Anthony Moretti: “HeHe. Just a bit of broken shop window, nothing for you to worry about, no serial numbers or anything!”
Chase begins to take a closer look at the watch, before suddenly remembering she is there to do a job.
Abigail Chase: “But wait Anthony, what about your match?”
Barone still remains motionless behind Moretti, holding the Blood Money t-shirt up as Moretti shakes his head in disapproval at Chase’s questions.
Anthony Moretti: “So we got a match tonight… Big Deal! I don’t even know which two gavone’s they got us fighting tonight! Smash brothers or something? We know they only stuck us against the first two schifosa’s they could find because the PWA bosses threatened to wack em’ if the ratings suffered because of no Blood Money again! It ain’t no sweat, so we thought why not make a few extra dollars out here tonight…. Tax free of course!”
Moretti waves away Chase and get’s back to hawking his ‘merch’.
Abigail Chase: “But no Anthony…. Your match is next!”
Moretti looks shocked before turning to Barone.
Anthony Moretti: “Madone! We better get in there! Pack this shit away!”
Moretti and Barone hurriedly pack the ‘goods’ away into the trunk of their car, before ripping off their ‘expensive’ suits, stripped style, to reveal their ring gear underneath. Moretti and Barone rush hurriedly towards the arena as the fans disperse, and Abigail Chase looks disappointedly into the back of the trunk of the car at the expensive Rolex that was nearly her’s for a cut price deal.
Blood Money Vs. SMASHTOWN!
Hot & COld
We cut back to the locker room where we see the pacing and already dressed for war Buck Dresden. He doesn’t acknowledge the camera, not yet. It’s clear, however, that something is on his mind. He finally turns his head and looks dead in the camera. It’s as if it was always there. He doesn’t introduce himself. Instead, he goes right in.
Buck Dresden: There’s this chill, y’know, in my bones. I can feel it when I sit by myself at night. It never goes away, it never…disappears. Sometimes I think it’s Void but he’s been quiet, guess he don’t wanna win no awards at the end of the year or somethin’, I don’t know. Sometimes I think it’s age. Time don’t wait for no man or woman, it just keeps comin’. Sometimes I wonder if it’s deeper than that, that Death itself is there for me. Maybe not to end my life but to end somethin’ else in my mind, in my body, in my soul.
He starts to chuckle but he stops himself. Not now.
Buck Dresden: That chill just keeps runnin’ up my spine and I realize it’s more’n the icy grip of the Grim Reaper. Nah, and it’s not another edgelord tryna burn my house down. Nah nah nah, it’s my opportunity…to get back to where I belong. Back to where I deserve to be. Back to the mountaintop and, ya see, I can’t keep watchin’ and waitin’. I gotta take the steps to warm my bones by the fire of victory. You know how I do that?
He stops pacing and stares directly into the camera.
Buck Dresden: I do that shit by violence. By fists. By goin’ in that ring and not giving a single damn, shit, or fuck about who is across from the me. Punch ‘n’ Judy? Judy Punch? Don’t care. Curtis who? Not on my mind. See, all I see…all I know…is that World Championship. Judy, Curtis, I’m gonna be honest with you. Both of you are talented. I know this. The problem the two of you have? Neither of you, no matter how much you might wanna be…neither of you are Buck Dresden.
There is a pop heard echoing through the arena.
Buck Dresden: One way or another, tonight I’m going to ease the cold in my bones. I’m gonna wrap up in the blanket, light the fire, and watch your chances of going any further go out in flames. You might not be able to call me Iron Fist anymore…
He looks down for a second before looking back to the camera with a sneer.
Buck Dresden: …but you better fuckin’ believe I have an Iron Will.
He goes back to pacing and that’s the camera’s cue to cut.
Nate Robideau Vs. The Kayes
Tend to Your Wounded
After the bell, Nate turns to Cece, his eyes wild–and LAYS into the side of her head with a wild knee while she’s trying to recover! Benedict rushes over, grabbing Robideau and tossing him backwards as the bell rings again. Nate rolls with it, pops to his feet, and cuts the air with a high roundhouse, but Benedict scouts it, and blocks it with his forearm before cutting off Nate’s momentum with a well-placed elbow to the midsection! Both men stumble back, but Nate smirks and straightens his spine, walking forward with zero stance or defense.
Eryk Masters: We’ve seen shades of this before from Nate Robideau!
Benedict rears back and gives him a right to the jaw–Nate reels for a moment, then keeps stepping forward! Shaking his head, the younger Kaye brother rears back again, this time with a left that causes Nate Robideau’s knees to buckle!! Nate gets back to vertical and in a blink has rushed Benedict with a Zidane-tier headbutt that OBLITERATES his nose–there’s an explosion of blood upon impact, and he crumples to the mat in an awkward position!! Nate turns as the crowd’s noise ramps in intensity, diving on the fallen Cece and kipping his heel to the rafters before kneeing her in the skull! Once, twice, no breaks, impacts so hard that it’s scooting her entire body across the mat! Three times, four–somehow, Benedict Kaye crawls over and gets a hold of Nate’s leg!!
Other Guy: He’s lost it, ‘Ryk!
Eryk Masters: Robideau seems to finally have snapped after weeks upon weeks of being pushed around! I can understand standing up for yourself, but this is extreme!!
Robideau calmly shakes his foot free, getting to standing as Cece smartly rolls to the floor, where the referee tends to her, clearly calling for medical assistance. Nate slowly walks a circle around Benedict, undoing his padded MMA gloves as his opponent tries to get to a vertical base. His mouth and neck are coated in blood, the break clearly bad, but he digs deep and gets to his feet–right as Nate tosses away his gloves and rears back, coming under his body with an uppercut directly into the solar plexus!! Benedict doubles over, gasping, his legs rubbery, and nate smiles again! He lets Kaye drop to the mat, taking a moment to run both his hands across his face…then smears Benedict’s blood all over his own face, to the point that his eyes are fiery white against the crimson! He picks Benedict up and immediately locks him into a Kimura on his right arm!!
Eyk Masters: Someone stop him! Send security!! Separate them!!
Benedict is tapping–Nate isn’t stopping. With his teeth clenched, he transitions, wrapping a leg around Kaye’s head and WRENCHING back…with a mighty scream from both men, BENEDICT KAYE’S ARM GIVES OUT!! Nate let’s go, his eyes closed, laying back on the mat as Benedict screams for mercy, his arm limply dangling behind his back at angles that leave ZERO doubt to it’s condition!! The crowd is screaming for blood, booing, recoiling–and Nate climbs to standing, barking for a mic!! One is finally handed to him and he begins to speak through ragged breaths.
Robideau: It takes a lot more…to break a man…than people think.
He turns to the entrance, speaking to someone who isn’t there–but someone who will hear.
Robideau: This isn’t what you wanted, Sean. This isn’t what you thought would happen. But later on, when you’re visiting this piece of shit in the hospital, when the doctor’s tell you it’s a compound spiral, timetable eighteen months–remember that this is what you got. And this is what’s waiting for you.
He pauses, chuckling dryly to himself.
Robideau: I let you set the pace for our little…disagreement. Now? Now I’m calling the shots. It can happen in your office or in the parking lot or in the ring, but–c’mere.
Nate leans over and grasps the screaming Benedict by the collar and hauls him to sitting, gripping his tear-streaked face in one of his massive, scarred, bloody mitts.
Robideau: Say hello to your father, Benny. Say “This is what’s waiting for you.”
Benedict: This is…oh, God, this is what’s waiting for you…
He roughly drops the injured Kaye, but stays crouched, closing his eyes and shaking his head. Finally, he stands, shrugging his shoulders.
Robideau: Sweet kid. Too bad you decided his health and happiness were worth less than proving a point to someone you barely know. But I guess that kind of shortsightedness runs in the family.
Nate calmly digs his heel into Benedicts broken arm, eliciting a scream of pain so loud that the mic picks it up over the screaming crowd.
Robideau: Doesn’t it?
Nate steps away, his face coated in blood that his sweat keeps thinning out, cascading down his body in rivulets. Still breathing heavily, he slowly grins, a sight so unfamiliar on his face it seems entirely foreign.
Robideau: Don’t bother with coming after me. You’ve already got enough wounded to tend to.
With that, he drops the mic and rolls from the ring, slowly stumbling up the ramp with his arms held out and a contented smile on his face. As medical staff swarm the ring, we cut away…
Elsewhere backstage, we find two women walking with a purpose.
Lindsay Troy and Ayumi Seppuku – YOUR SHOOT Project World Tag Team Champions – are making their way to the hot zone, titles strapped around their waists and ready to do battle against the former tag team champions, the Sin City Scoundrels. Lux Aeterna looks focused as always as they march through the hallways, Lindsay flexing her fingers into and out of fists while Ayumi checks her arm guards.
As they round a corner, they’re approached from the opposite end of the hall by the HOW wrestler seen earlier tonight: Bobbinette Carey. She is still wearing a pink pants suit with a black blouse under it. She has on a pair of simple ballet flats and her face seems to be twisted into a scowl as she sizes up Lindsay Troy. Ayumi tilts her head curiously, sizing up a fighter she’s never seen in the hallways before; meanwhile, Lindsay’s brow furrows and her eyes narrow in displeasure.
Bobbinette: Lindsay Troy…
The Queen of Epicness circles around the Queen of the Ring, looking her up and down, sizing up the tag champions.
Lindsay Troy: Carey. You lost? Tombstone’s a long way from here.
Ayumi looks between the two, first at Lindsay and then at Bobbinette.
Ayumi Seppuku: You got some beef with my partner here? If you do, then you’ve got a beef with me.
Lindsay smirks before speaking again.
Lindsay Troy: How rude of me. Ayumi, this is Bobbinette Carey. She works for Leecifer in High Octane Wrestling.
Ayumi thinks for a moment before the lightbulb goes off.
Ayumi Seppuku: Oh right. The old blind guy with the God complex.
Bobbinette covers her mouth to stifle laughter. She clears her throat and straightens her face.
Bobbinette: I was invited here. And you’re not wrong… HOW is my home. You were in my house while I was away and they won’t shut up about it.
Bobbinette says this rolling her eyes.
Bobbinette: I just had to… thank you, Lindsay, for taking care of the trash while I was gone. Unfortunately there’s still some vermin I have to deal with…
Her eyes give her a look that reading between the lines could be picked up on.
Bobbinette: I was wanting to talk to you, both, to see if you would be interested in assisting me with that? But not in the way you think…
Ayumi casts a glance over to Lindsay, who has an eyebrow raised. Bobbinette puts up her hand in a reassuring manner.
Bobbinette: Maybe we can talk about it after you retain your titles. So, let me just say good luck out there, you’re doing amazing work.
Ayumi Seppuku: Thanks. We’ll…
Another glance to Lindsay.
Ayumi Seppuku: We’ll be in touch.
Bobbinette gives them both a wave and walks out of sight. Ayumi watches her go, while Lindsay stares straight ahead.
Ayumi Seppuku: What do you think that was about?
Lindsay Troy: No idea…
She finally fixes her gaze on the Ronin Wraith.
Lindsay Troy: …but we can decide later if we want to find out.
Cut to ringside.
Sin City Scoundrels Vs. Lux Aeterna (c)
A Tale of Two Tag Teams
Lux Aeterna remain in the ring after their hard fought match against the Sin City Scoundrels when all of a sudden…
“King’s Dead” by Kendrick Lamar kicks in and the fans begin to mercilessly boo as the number one contenders to the World Tag Team Championship titles, the Carolina Lions. Isaiah Galliard and Luis de Leon walk out from the back, microphones in hand. They stand at the entrance stage as Lindsay Troy leans against the ropes watching them and Ayumi Seppuku stands dead center, both women holding their tag team titles. “King’s Dead” dies down to allow the men to speak.
Reaper: Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the World Tag Team Champions, Little Miss Number One in Your Heart and Little Miss Hall of Fame, Lux Aeterna!
Smoke: Don’t do that.
Reaper seems confused by Smoke’s quick interjection.
Reaper: Do what?
Smoke shakes his head.
Smoke: I don’t care if you sarcastic or not, don’t give these ladies flowers like they’re doin’ something out here. Who are the Sin City Scoundrels, really? And Delayed Heat? C’mon, miss me with that bullshit right there.
The fans boo the two brash upstarts as Isaiah puts his hand on Luis’ chest, trying to calm him down.
Reaper: Look, Lindsay Troy…Ayumi Seppuku, I get it. I do. Y’all are these world class performers in every sense of the words. Y’all take titles and accolades and adulation literally everywhere you’ve been in your careers. Hell, it’d be dope as fuck to wake up one day with even half what the fuck y’all done did.
Luis pushes Isaiah out of the way.
Smoke: My partner may be soft on the two of you, but I’m not. You two sad little parajitas out here rollin’ over these nobodies, paddin’ your record, and as much as you wanna be these fighting champs, you’ve done nothing…NOTHING…but ignore us. Lindsay Troy all on Spitter when she fuckin’ Breedlove, but when the Lions talk shit? Silence.
He shakes his head vigorously rubbing his hair as he paces the entrance stage.
Reaper: But, see, the two of you been out here gettin’ these reps in, learning how to be a team and how to light it up. I can respect that, but
Smoke: Nah, man, nah. I can’t let this shit continue on. See, you two don’t get to ignore us. You two don’t get to pad your fuckin’ records. People out here talkin’ ‘bout how the Carolina Lions talk too much, how we rookies, how we ain’t earned shit. Oldheads laughin’, you two stonewallin’, an’ all that for what? To beat these rando ass teams?
He takes a few steps down the ramp before Reaper holds him back.
Smoke: We are UNDEFEATED. We EARNED the right to face you. We EARNED the right to be in this spot. We have beaten every single fuckin’ obsolete obstacle this company has thrown at us an’ we’ve SMILED while we did that shit. Well, fact is I’m done smilin’. I don’t give a fuck how we do it, one or both of y’all ‘bout to see us in that fuckin’ ring.
Reaper steps between Smoke and going any further.
Reaper: Alright, alright, simmer down big guy. Turn around, back up the ramp. They’ve had a big match against former tag champs, wouldn’t be right catchin’ them like this.
Reaper turns to Lux, still standing in the ring.
Reaper: How about this, ladies. Next Ruination, next Revolution, what the hell ever, we all set foot in the ring and we settle up a little bit. Not for the titles, nah, we save that for Iron Will. But two…singles matches. We’ll let Joshie decide who fights who. Thoughts, Smokey?
Luis has long since thrown his microphone down in disgust and is storming up the ramp.
Reaper: That’s a tentative yes…and ladies? What do you say, time to stop paddin’ that win/loss record and let us all know who we’re fighting.
Lindsay and Ayumi don’t even glance at one another. They know what they want. They’re both nodding their heads in unison. The fans erupt for this as “King’s Dead” kicks back in, Reaper with a nod and a smirk while Smoke is long gone.
Eryk Masters: Is there controversy in the Carolina Lions camp already? They don’t seem on the same page.
Other Guy: It’s been documented, these guys weren’t friends growing up they were rivals. They may call themselves brothers or play up a friendship, but at the end of the day they say it again and again: it’s about the money and the glory.
Eryk Masters: They’re not going to get either one of those if they keep barking up this heavily talented championship tree, let me tell you. They want to face Lux Aeterna in singles competition? Where these two women cut their teeth? Are they crazy?
Other Guy: Crazy like fo…like lions, Eryk!
Eryk Masters: I can’t with you, I really can’t.
An Invested Observer
“MAKE WAY FOR THE KING!”
The crowd comes alive, mixing boos with cheers, as the sound of Ohana Bam’s “Make Way for the King” heralds the arrival of none other than the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion himself, Joshua Breedlove! With Cromwell Yarbury and Muratagi Hanzo in tow, Breedlove makes his way down to the announcer’s table, where conveniently… a third chair has been placed.
Eryk Masters: Please! Take a seat, enjoy this main event with us!
Other Guy: We don’t have enough chairs for the muscle, though.
Dressed in a pair of jeans and black “EMPIRE” shirt, the champion positions the title in front of him on the announcer’s desk and puts a headset on. Hanzo and Yarbury take their place behind the man known as the Emperor.
SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion, Joshua Breedlove: Oh man… I thought this went really well last time, so I figured I’d do it again, you know? Come out here, get a look at the competition, maybe evaluate Curtis Rose?
Eryk Masters: Rose has been a huge d-bag and not in the fun way on Spitter lately.
Joshua Breedlove: Yeah, not super into kicking people who are rehabbing while they’re down, but you gotta get your name out there.
Other Guy: Any publicity is good publicity?
Joshua Breedlove: Basically. Anyway, let’s see how this goes! You guys mind if I do the honors?
Eryk Masters: By all means…
Breedlove stands up, taking a microphone from the desk.
Joshua Breedlove: Ladies and gentlemen… it’s TIME for your MAIN EVENT!
The crowd pops.
Joshua Breedlove: Well, that was nice. Anyway, this is the CONCLUSION of the Iron Will First Strike! Who will guarantee their spot in the SECOND Iron Will Classic!? We’ll find out, when Judy Punchinello (hey girl), Curtis Rose, and Buck Dresden face off in our final match of the evening, and THAT MATCH IS NEXT!
Buck Dresden Vs. Curtis Rose Vs. Judy Punchinello
Joshua Breedlove: Well well! Good on Buck. Naturally, he will fail just like he did last year, and he will get exposed as the washed loser that he is, but… you know, that’s how it goes sometimes.
As “American Venom” plays, Breedlove stands up, tapping the microphone loudly over the PA system, interrupting the theme. He clearly has something to say. As Judy Punchinello makes her way back up the ramp, she turns and looks down towards Breedlove and make the motion indicating that he should call her. Breedlove smiles, pleasantly surprised.
Joshua Breedlove: Oh, I will, Judy P. Don’t you worry about that. BUCK DRESDEN! Welcome to my show, and thank you for being a part of this event! Everyone, give Buck Dresden a hand!
The crowd pops for Dresden, who’s staring at Breedlove from the middle of the ring.
Joshua Breedlove: Don’t worry, I’ll keep this brief. I just want to make sure that YOU and ALL of these people know EXACTLY what’s going to happen come Iron Will 2. And that, my dear friends is–
“I CAME TO TELL THE TRUTH”
Bun B’s “Chuuch!” interrupts the World Champion, and the crowd comes ABSOLUTELY unglued as this theme represents the entrance of none other than SHOOT Project Owner and CEO, Josh Johnson… the REAL DEAL. Real Deal has walked out on to the top of the ramp and raised a single arm, with an accompanying pop of pyro.
Real Deal: Nobody wants to hear that, and I know this is VERY last minute… but here in the SHOOT Project… we’re all about second chances, and you know… I was thinking about how we might really embody that mantra, so I’m here to announce that there will be a LAST CHANCE MATCH for the Iron Will Classic.
The crowd pops again at the notion that some of their favorites might be getting another shot!
Real Deal: It’s as simple as it sounds. There are six people who did not succeed at the First Strike, and I’m gonna throw them into triple threat matches to fill my last two spots for the Iron Will Classic. Here’s how that shakes out.
Laura Seton, Josh Conway, and Curtis Rose will face off in their LAST CHANCE at the Iron Will Classic.
Additionally, Lexi Gold, Jamie Johnson, and Judy Punchinello will face off in their last chance at the Iron Will Classic. Those matches will take place when we make our way to NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA for Ruination 81 and Revolution 131.
As for you, Breedlove? You may continue.
Breedlove takes a breath, intending to continue talking.
Real Deal: Just kidding, show’s over. BYE.