Spinebuster Island Vs. The Twins
Abigail Chase: Hello SHOOT Project faithful and welcome to this, a very special sit-sdwon interview event. There has been a lot of chaos and animosity regarding the Iron Fist Championship and a number of soldiers. Among them Ignatius Albert Martin, ‘The Colonel’ Haskell Payne, and our Iron Fist Champ herself, Lexi Gold. Those three are joining me now.
The camera cuts to a wide shot showing all three in chairs next to one another. Next to Payne is a fourth, empty chair.
Abigail Chase: We requested Jacob Mephisto also join us, but he declined. So that brings me to my first question: Lexi, you’re the champion. You’ve notably been a fighting champion. What does it say to you that Jacob Mephisto won’t even show his face for a conversation?
Lexi: Well, I–
The Colonel: I’ll tell you what it says, Abbie: Jake Mephisto is straight-up one hunner percent bitchmade! Couldn’t hold onto his belt and ain’t wanna share a panel with one of th’ greatest exports the great state of Kentucky has ever done…well, exported, and–
Lexi: Excuse me.
The champ shoulders her belt. Haskell stares daggers at her–she stares them right back.
The snake that is wrapped around Lexi’s neck stuck its tongue out at Haskell, not liking the vibe he is bringing to the room. Lexi restrains it from striking him.
Lexi Gold: Greatest export, my ass. You are good, but certainly not great. If you were so great like you claimed to be, then you would have beaten the last time we shared the ring. Anyway, Abigail sweetheart, please go ahead and resume your questions.
Abigail: Well, we still have a notably absent seat. Do you think that Jacob Mephisto is telling you something or sending a message by not showing up here tonight?
Lexi Gold: I’m not sure to be honest. By him not being here is pretty disrespectful. I understand we all may not see eye to eye with one another. We all showed up still, so why couldn’t he? It pisses me off.
She shakes her head and throws her championship on her shoulder as she looks at the others.
The Colonel: I mean, the point is–
Up to this point, Ignatius Martin had been leaned back in his chair, seemingly uninterested, if not slightly irritated by the other two on the panel. As Haskell began to raise his voice, IAM leaned forward, and deliberately and calmly interrupts.
IAM: No. The point is, Jacob Mephisto is a monster. He’s an animal. Our Champ over there can be sad and pouty about him not showing up to whatever the hell this is, and Haskell can use this platform to take jabs at him all he wants. Go ahead, guys. Jacob Mephisto is a wounded monster. I poked one of those once, I think we know how that ended.
Ignatius rubs both of his hands on either temple, his voice cracking in exasperation.
IAM: Lexi, I’ve listened to everything you have to say. I’ve respected your ability and your drive, but I think that you underestimate just what kind of neighborhood you’ve stepped into here. Jacob Mephisto is not going to sit down with us and break bread. He’s not going to shake your hand after a hard fought match. He’s going to reach inside you, and rip your guts from your belly. Or worse, talk you into doing it yourself. So do us all a favor, OK? Worry less about the former Champ not recognizing you, or us, and start worrying more about what he’s planning in the shadows while we sit here and chit chat.
There’s a burst of static that interrupts the broadcast just as IAM finishes his last sentence, followed by a cold, cruel laughter. The images of Lexi, Haskell, and IAM twist and distort on screen before the familiar logo takes over.
The image bursts into static again and we see Jacob Mephisto take over the screen.
Mephisto: Well, at least one of you had some sense. What’s wrong, Ignatius? Are you afraid of the dark? I mean, you’re coming off a big victory over me, aren’t you?
The former Iron Fist Champion laughs again.
Mephisto: I’ll tell you why I’m really not there. It’s not because I’m plotting in the shadows like some cartoon villain. It’s not because I’m afraid of any of you. And, it’s not a lack of respect.
There’s a pause, a smirk forming on the Patriarch’s lips that never reaches his pale, gray eyes.
Mephisto: I mean, I respect at least the two of you who actually beat me. Haskell, you pinned me clean at Iron Will. By all rights, you should be the Iron Fist Champion. Ignatius? Well, you got me too. Clean. One, two, three. Even you have a stronger claim to the title than the pretender sitting with you both.
The smile fades from Mephisto’s face.
Mephisto: And that leaves you, dear Lexi. You are nothing more than a pretender to the Iron Throne. You won the Iron Fist Championship, but you didn’t beat anyone for it. Count your defense if you want. I won’t deny you that. But the way you won the title? You didn’t win anything. You escaped. You survived. Hardly worthy of that title’s legacy.
There’s another pause. We can’t tell if anyone is trying to respond. The pirated signal wont show the other three panel members at the moment.
Mephisto: So, why am I not sitting there with the three of you? It’s simple. A pretender and two flukes aren’t worthy of my presence. You see, I’ve been distracted lately. But, Anna Daniels has been… collared. Now? Oh, just wait, friends. You have my full attention. I’ll make you worthy. You’ll all pay the Iron price in the end. I’m going to take back what’s mine.
The screen bursts with static again, cutting back to our original three panelists. They look to one another, entirely nonplussed, their spines stiffened by the threat they called upon. Finally, Haskell pulls a Marlboro from his shirt pocket and fires it up, before exhaling a cloud of smoke and saying what everyone is thinking.
The Colonel: Shit.
After another pause, a shaken Abigail turns to the camera.
Abigail Chase: Back to you.
Shake from State Farm
The camera opens up on Molly and Dan Stein in their locker room. Dan wears a red Atlanta Falcons cut off practice jersey, large reflective sunglasses with a neon yellow cord protecting them from falling off his head, and his wrestling tights. Molly wears a neon yellow leotard and a pair of black workout tights, neon pink legwarmers, and her hair in a side pony. Dan is taking a swig from his protein shake as Molly finishes a text message, smacking her gum as she does.
Suddenly, Samantha Coil comes around the corner and walks into the doorway of the room with a clipboard in her hands.
Samantha Coil: Dan! Molly! Just the people I was looking for.
Dan does a spit-take, spraying protein shake across the room. He looks up at her, wiping his mouth quickly.
Dan Stein: Your car was like that when we got here, I swear, Sam.
Molly smacks Dan’s chest with the back of her hand, softly.
Molly Stein: We didn’t hit a car on the way to the arena, Dan. Don’t be a jerk.
Dan winks at Molly, nodding his head.
Dan Stein: Riiight.
Dan shoots a finger pistol at Molly. Samantha Coil shakes her head, applying pressure to the bridge of her nose.
Samantha Coil: Dan, it’s 2022. I Ubered here. But that’s not even the reason why I’m in your locker room.
Dan takes another swig of his protein shake, this time completing his drink.
Dan Stein: Go on…
Dan places his protein shake on the chair beside him, then crosses his arms over his chest. Samantha Coil looks at Molly, then Dan.
Samantha Coil: Our Make-A-Wish visitor has requested a photoshoot with his favorite SHOOT Project soldier.
Dan Stein: Oh, neat.
Dan bobs his head, looking at Sam inquisitively. Molly, who grew giddy at Samantha’s comment, looks at her husband, realizing that he’s still processing. Molly smacks Dan on the chest again.
Molly Stein: She means you, you idiot.
Dan recoils, then gestures to himself with his thumbs, getting excited.
Dan Stein: Oh, gnarly, the kid wants pictures with me?
Samantha nearly throws her clipboard in the air.
Samantha Coil: Yes, Dan. You. So, let’s go. There’s not a lot of time before your arm-wrestling match.
Dan shrugs, throwing his arms up in the air.
Dan Stein: Well, I didn’t know. Usually people are throwing tomatoes at me, Sam. This whole “people liking me” thing is new to me.
Samantha Coil: That’s great, fantastic, Dan. Let’s talk about it on the way.
Samantha gestures to the hallway. Dan eagerly puts his hand on Molly’s back and escorts her out of the room. The camera focuses on the protein shake Dan left on the chair…until a muscular brick house of a figure blocks the camera. The camera pans back to reveal Chick Grillbreast standing in front of it, holding up a large black bottle of powder labeled “Colon Blow”. Chick smiles at the camera and looks around the area before sneaking into the Steins’ room, shutting the door behind him.
The camera fades.
Tommy Knuckles Vs. MOntgomery Creed
The Reaper Prostrates
Isaiah Galliard, the Carolina Reaper, stands in front of a closed door. He glances down at the business card given to him by Nate Robideau recently and his mind races. He closes his eyes, steadies his nerve, looks up at the ceiling for whatever deity might dwell up there, slides the card in his pocket and opens the door.
It is clear the door opening startles the denizens in the room. Isaiah is quick to throw his hands up and shut the door behind him. He can finally see what he sees and there is no Black Hawk and no Emperor.
Isaiah Galliard stands before Lux Aeterna.
Reaper: Hey, look, I’m not here to, y’know, fight. You guys got us, you won, you did it fairly, that’s all done with.
Ayumi begins to speak but he stops her.
Reaper: Wait, please, let me get this out.
His respectful request is met with a respectful silence from the Hall of Famer.
Reaper: Listen, y’all heard Breedlove callin’ for new recruits. Y’all heard him call Luis. Y’all heard him not call me. Which kind of works for me, if I’m honest, because I can’t be a mindless face in the Empire’s crowd. I think about how he runs his show and it’s just not for me. I want to be different. I wanna be better.
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out Nate Robideau’s business card.
Reaper: Robideau offered to take both Luis ‘n’ me on, teach us to be better or whatever. Luis I don’t think he’s interested in that. He wanted us to be a success immediately and any setbacks he ain’t to blame for was enough for him to give me the finger and try to throw his lot in with that Paria dude. And if I’m honest? I saw what Nate did to that OutKast guy and his children. I’m all for going to extremes, but that isn’t how I wanted to see my career.
He stops himself.
Reaper: Look, y’all showed me who I should be. What I could be. I hoped Luis would see it my way but I don’t think that’s a road he wants to go down. Thing is, I do. I realized I was up against two literal icons in this business and beating you isn’t as important as what I could learn from you.
He nods his head. He’s ready.
Reaper: Please. Teach me.
Ayumi looks over to Lindsay, who is scrutinizing Isaiah with narrowed eyes. If this was airport security, the Reaper would be getting a full body cavity search without the Queen of the Ring ever putting a finger on him. Isaiah shuffles his feet, a little uncomfortable, before Lindsay finally speaks.
Lindsay Troy: Are you serious about this?
Galliard nods his head.
Reaper: Yeah I am.
Silence returns once again. You can see the gears turning in Troy’s head, processing, thinking, deciding if this is a joke or if she should take him at his word.
After a few more uncomfortable seconds pass, Lindsay walks over to her gear bag, rummages around in it, and produces a business card and a pen. She scribbles something on the back and walks purposefully over to the Reaper.
Lindsay Troy: I’m not getting back to Vegas until Friday, but that’s the name and number of my head trainer, Alex. He’s a multi-time wrestling and MMA champ; I’ll let him know you’re coming and he’ll get you going. You and I start Saturday morning, 6AM.
She holds out the card for Isaiah to take, but she doesn’t let go of it right away.
Lindsay Troy: I can get you to where you want to go, Isaiah.
Her fingers release the card. Her eyes don’t leave him.
Lindsay Troy: But only you can decide who you want to be.
The Reaper looks down at the information in his hand and nods, slapping it against his other palm. A genuine smile brightens his face.
Reaper: I’m looking forward to it.
Lennox Ferguson sits hunched over a desk, reading glasses on as he sorts through a stack of papers. His attention is so focused on the documents strewn across his desk that he barely hears the door to his office open and close.
As he looks up he sees his boss, Josh Johnson, standing in front of him holding a cup of Starbucks coffee he extends to the SHOOT Project Chief of Staff.
Ox: This isn’t that pumpkin spice shit is it?
Real Deal takes a seat and shakes his head.
Real Deal: It’s ridiculous. You have to convince them in triplicate that you’re extra sure you don’t want nutmeg extract and allspice fucking up a perfectly good coffee. We wonder why folks are going so bonkers while half the country’s veins are clogged with whipped cream.
Lennox smirks and leans back in his chair.
Ox: Just like all fads that come and go… for every keto diet you have a Unicorn Smoothie to balance things out.
Real Deal gestures to the papers on Ox’s table.
Real Deal: Speaking of balance… how are we doing with all these new signees? Everyone settling in OK? Any folks I gotta give bad news to?
Ox places his hands on the desk.
Ox: If I’m being honest, we’ve really got to hope some new advertisers come through following this tour. If we don’t there may need to be some tough conversations… or, you know, we just book a couple more “Loser Leaves Town” matches and let fate sort it out for us.
Real Deal’s eyes light up at the mention, but he otherwise stays calm and collected.
Ox: You know, we ended up saving quite a bit not having to buy out the rest of Ultimo Muerte’s contract as a condition of the match. And since we only pay Pandora by appearance with Muerte things worked out quite well – financially speaking.
Real Deal look on, not responding, as Ox takes a sip of his coffee. After several seconds of awkward silence, he looks cautiously at Real Deal.
Real Deal just shakes his head.
Real Deal: You really are a cold-hearted bastard, you know that?
Ox: I figured that’s why you hired me… I don’t let emotions cloud my judgment.
Real Deal laughs.
Real Deal: That’s a boldfaced lie and you know it, Lennox. For not giving a shit you sure do wind up being involved in his life here quite a bit. What was all that bullshit at Iron Will saying you did this to motivate Daihm? You KNOW what’s motivating him and it’s YOU.
Ox: The talent doesn’t get to make demands of administration. Besides… I did what I needed to do to enhance our talent pool.
Real Deal: At the expense of another talented wrestler.
Real Deal’s tone turns serious.
Real Deal: Which, as CEO and someone with an eye for talent, I deeply resent.
Ox shows no change in his emotion; he simply sighs and crosses his arms.
Ox: What do you want me to say, Josh? I have an entire federation to keep tabs on here because YOU asked me to. You wanted someone to come in and make the tough calls to take the heat off of you and I’ve done that. Don’t get upset at me for doing my job – and deciding the best way to do that.
Real Deal’s face turns sour.
Real Deal: That’s where you and I disagree, Ox. You’ve been walking a fine line here since you returned and I thought you could keep things professional with Daihm and Sarah King like you have with everyone else so far. You’re right, I did give you free reign to make disciplinary decisions … but what I certainly didn’t do was give you the okay to use SHOOT Project to hash out some Jerry Springer family drama.
Ox rolls his eyes.
Ox: Come the fuck on. I can’t help that the kid’s got daddy issues.
Real Deal: You’re the entire REASON that kid has daddy issues.
Ox: Oh, like Jamie’s so well adjusted. At least Daihm has a career ahead of him.
As soon as he says it, Ox closes his eyes knowing he crossed the line – and bad. Real Deal clicks his tongue and shakes his head before standing up.
Real Deal: You know, Lennox… maybe you were right. Maybe we do need to have some tough conversations around here. Make some of those important decisions. You know… for the good of the company.
Ox shuts up and looks at Real Deal nervously.
Real Deal smirks as he reaches over and takes a sip out of Ox’s coffee, taking in the smell of crisp French roast.
Letting out a satisfied sigh, Real Deal scans the table – covered in new talent contracts and paperwork. The SHOOT Project CEO nods in amusement as he runs his fingers over the desk and turns away from his Chief of Staff, walking towards the office door.
As he prepares to exit, he calls back to Lennox Ferguson.
Real Deal: Oh. I almost forgot… I agreed to do a spot on Daihm’s little show, the Dragon’s Lair, I believe? I’m afraid something’s come up and I need you to fill in for me.
Ox turns white as a sheet.
Real Deal: I hope that’s OK? I mean… I know how well you do at not letting your emotions cloud your judgment. Right?
Ox’ mouth dries up and he doesn’t dare reply verbally. He can only nod as he looks into the eyes of the man who, in that moment, resembled the fearsome warrior who ran roughshod over SHOOT for a decade in the ring.
Real Deal: Good. I’m looking forward to it.
With that, the CEO pulls the door shut with a *click* leaving a confused and nervous Lennox alone with a stack of papers and a slowly-cooling cup of coffee.
Ria Lockhart Vs. Bobson Dugnutt
Shake from State Farm pt. 2
The camera fades back to the ring, opening up on the arm wrestling posts on a table in the ring. The fans in the arena are going absolutely bananas as they prepare for what’s about to come! Standing facing the hard cam is Senior Official Tony Lorenzo, hands clasped in front of him, and Abigail Chase with a microphone in her hand.
Eryk Masters: Welcome back to ringside at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, everybody!
Other Guy: It’s been an absolutely ELECTRIC night tonight, and, as you can see in the ring, it’s only going to get…weirder.
Eryk Masters: That’s right, OG. You’ll remember, back at Revolution 182 that a SHOOT Project newcomer who has certainly made a name for himself, Chick Grillbreast, sought out Dan Stein and shattered a water cooler in front of Dan and Molly, ruining Molly’s shoes!
Other Guy: I think we’re seeing some of the real growth from Dan Stein here. He cares more about Molly than himself, that’s easy to see.
Abigail Chase: Ladies and Gentlemen, the following match is a SHOOT Project anomaly, a classic Arm Wrestling Match scheduled for ONE FALL. Introducing first…
“Jungle Work” by Warren Zevon hits the PA as the SHOOT Shut Up and Fight Champion, Chick Grillbreast, stalks to the ring looking like someone just kicked his puppy. Wait, would he even be a dog guy anyway? Who knows! Okay, maybe he has a pit bull that looks jacked. You know what I’m talking about, those dogs that look like they are saying “DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRO?” Now I’m just projecting. Anyway, he gets to the ring and climbs in, awaiting the stiff, non-wrestling challenge laying before him.
Other Guy: Well, it looks like someone peed in his pre-workout.
Eryk Masters: He wouldn’t like that, man. Urea isn’t a protein. I think it’d make him…
Both Commentators: SO MAD.
As Chick looks up at the entrance ramp, “Jungle Work” fades, causing the fans to buzz in anticipation for the SHOOT Project Hall of Famer and former World Heavyweight Champion. Abigail puts the microphone back up to her mouth.
Abigail Chase: And his opponent, hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada…
♫♫YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH!♫♫
♫♫YOU’VE GOT THE POWAAHHHHHHHH♫♫
The fans in the State Farm Arena go BONKERS for The Lights. Walking out first is Molly Stein, obviously looking worried as she does. Molly looks behind her as she makes her way to the stage, watching as Dan Stein gingerly makes his way out with one hand on his stomach and another behind him, guarding his butt. Dan wears a midriff cut-off 1980s red Atlanta Falcons mesh practice jersey with the Atlanta Falcons logo in white on it, along with his standard wrestling tights.
Eryk Masters: Oh, boy, OG. I think whatever Chick Grillbreast did to Dan Stein’s protein shake made Stein sick!
Other Guy: You don’t know that for sure, Masters! I wouldn’t go making accusations without all the facts!
As Dan and Molly make their way to the ring, Dan bites his lower lip and writhes in pain. Dan’s knees buckle as he makes it to the ring steps, but he stiffly makes his way up the steel steps and into the ring. Molly’s concern is palpable. Tony makes his way to Dan, checking on whether or not he’s willing and capable to start the arm wrestling match.
Tony Lorenzo: Are you absolutely sure as shit–
Dan Stein’s knees again buckle, but Molly holds him up.
Chick Grillbreast: HE’S DUCKING ME! START THE MATCH! START THE MATCH!
Dan wobbles over to the table, where Chick has already taken his seat with his elbow planted, ready to go OVER THE TOP.
Other Guy: Well, remember, our cameras caught Chick putting that Colon Blow powder in Dan’s shake there.
Eryk Masters: Finally catching up to Stein here. I’d hate to be in his shoes right now.
Other Guy: Or in the stall next to him in the men’s room in, oh, about 45 seconds I think.
Dan hesitates to sit down as even people in the nosebleeds can see the iron clench his buttocks are doing right now. Chick continues psychotically to bark orders at him to sit down and follow through like a man and not, his words, a “puny nerd.”As Dan puts a hand out to pull out his chair, Dan collapses in pain, yelling out about his guts rolling over inside of him. Dan cries out to Molly to help him up. Molly pulls Dan up by his upper arm and Dan stares into Chick Grillbreast’s eyes, though Chick keeps suggesting Stein sit down. As his knees buckle once again, Dan drops flat to the mat, looks up at Molly and motions to the back, and rolls out of the ring, leaving Grillbreast absolutely FUMING at the table.
Eryk Masters: It looks like Dan Stein isn’t going to be capable of competing tonight, OG!
Other Guy: And to think, Dan Stein was the man who suggested this sporting competition! What a sham!
The fans in the arena begin to jeer loudly, as they were eagerly anticipating this match. Molly makes her way down the ring steps and helps Dan make his feet. They, again, make their way to the back very slowly, with Dan protecting his butt. Chick Grillbreast stands as Tony Lorenzo looks up the ramp at Dan and Molly, who disappear behind the stage and shrugs. He walks back to Abigail Chase, whispering something in her ear.
Chick Grillbreast: I AM THE WINNER! NAME ME THE WINNER, OFFICIAL!
Chick Grillbreast postures at Abigail Chase as she steps to the center of the ring.
Abigail Chase: As Dan Stein is incapable of competing tonight, Senior Official Tony Lorenzo has no choice but to declare…
Abigail Chase looks at Chick Grillbreast, who looks on with bated breath.
Abigail Chase: THE MATCH “NO CONTEST”!
Eryk Masters: Whoa! There’s no match, so there is no winner, OG!
Other Guy: Oh, I don’t think Chick’s going to take this news too well.
Chick Grillbreast: No contest? NO CONTEST?!?!?!? UGH! INDECISION MAKES ME… SO MAD!!!!
Chick flips over the competition table, which arcs into the air with surprising parabola and hangtime before landing on the top rope, bouncing dangerously yet harmlessly on the mats on the outside. He kicks the bottom rope before exiting the ring and stamping back to the back.
Eryk Masters: Well, no arm wrestling contest tonight, folks, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see Dan Stein and Chick Grillbreast in the same SHOOT Project ring!
Other Guy: Yeah, maybe next time Dan can answer the bell!
The camera fades on the carnage in the ring.
A Real Success.
Robideau: Hey. Buck?
The sharp knock and the mohawked cranium, even the bassy timbre of the voice–Buck doesnt even look up from his boots, nodding in a terse fashion.
Buck: Nate. Good to see you.
The pleasantry isn’t quickly returned but Buck didn’t expect it to. Instead, he inhales and looks at the man he once knew.
Buck: Here to congratulate me?
The tone is a light tease, a small jab to see if the stranger before him is a friend or foe. The gym proprietor steps into the locker room and takes a seat on a folding chair, exhaling. He smiles warmly, raising his eyebrows.
Robideau: Honestly? Yeah, I am.
Buck exhales, putting himself at ease.
Buck: …thank you?
Robideau: Holding that belt is a rare distinction–holding it repeated times is even rarer. Even with me being…indisposed, you still went out and took the big belt. Slayed that bad memory, I’d guess. All good things, don’t you agree?
The air feels different after Nate asks his question. It is enough for Buck to pause before he answers. Perhaps he is a stranger after all.
Buck: Sure. You puttin’ ol’ OutKast down ruffled more’n a few feathers but it was crazy to see it.
Nate leans back, eyes scanning the ceiling.
Robideau: The wildest part is after I did it, pretty much people were in two camps: they couldn’t believe I betrayed my values, or they thought I was pushed to do something I wouldn’t normally. Problem is, both of those attitudes give him all this power–and they can’t grasp that yeah, I did what I did because it was necessary. I also did what I did because I’m good at it. And I also did what I did because people had gotten too fucking comfortable with pushing me around.
His eyes finally meet Bucks again.
Robideau: It’s healthy to remind people what kind of danger you bring to the table, periodically.
Buck nods, thinking about what his next words can be. He rises to his feet and stands face to face with one of his greatest rivals.
Buck: You know, it took me making some serious mistakes in my time to understand somethin’ the great Dr. Ian Malcolm once said. You got so wrapped up in wantin’ to show you could that you didn’t bother askin’ yourself if you should.
He sighs, sending one last hail mary.
Buck: Man, you gave me a ton of knowledge to get me goin’ to get back to Iron Will. If there’s anything I can give back to you, it’s just the knowledge that the truest form o’ strength an’ power is knowin’ you don’t have to show it. I showed it a time or two. I ended careers. It ain’t fun, it’s business, but it’s somethin’ that never leaves. I don’t know if it’s worse’n the things you’ve done in your life, man, but it feels like it hit a lil’ different when I let the people I beat limp away to cry in their last bastions of bullshit. You’re my friend, Nate. I just worry about you is all.
Robideau: Nothing to worry about, Buck. But your concern is touching, and I do mean that. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own wars that we forget who we can count on as friends. Tell you what.
Robideau: I’m expanding. I’m sure you’ve heard. Can’t talk too much specifics because we’re on camera, but…
He reaches out and grips the champion on his shoulder. It’s not an action with a lot of warmth in it.
Robideau: …why don’t you give me a call when you’re ready to stop worrying and start figuring out the second half of your title reign equation? Cause I know better than most, winning that belt is the easy part. Keeping it is a damn sight trickier. And I’d love to teach you what you need to be a real success.
With that, he smiles and turns, throwing Buck Dresden a wave before he strides through the door. The automatic hydraulics catch it from slamming, leaving him plenty of time to stare at the space that Nate Robideau once inhabited. Buck looks up to the ceiling and sighs one sad and disappointed sigh.
Buck: We’re gonna have to fight. Goddamn it…
Buck sits back down where he was before and unceremoniously drops the World title beside him. He whispers “Fuck” repeatedly to himself. He doesn’t know when. He doesn’t know where. He doesn’t even know if it’ll be for the title. But he knows Buck Dresden and Nate Robideau are going to have to beat the shit out of each other eventually.