From Fighter Pilot to Fatherhood, Jonny Johnson to Joshua Breedlove, WAR to ICONIC – The Lights have shone on SHOOT Project for sixteen dedicated years. Tonight, Revolution is dedicated to one of the most decorated competitors in SHOOT Project history. A man synonymous with championship gold; it’s only fitting that he wears the Shut Up and Fight! Championship around his waist on this very day. Tonight is a celebration of the man, the competitor, and most importantly, the father he is today. So, without further ado…
The camera opens on the SHOOT Project Epicenter parking lot. Dan Stein’s baby blue Volkswagen Atlas backs into one of the spots against a retaining wall, exposing the Steins to the camera which sends the SHOOT Project faithful into an uproar of cheers. Dan puts the car in park and grabs his gear from the back seat, while Molly opens her door and slides out. As Dan’s door opens, a pair of fresh faces approach him from off camera, welcoming him to the Epicenter.
“Dude! Denny, check it out!”
The smaller of the two is pointing, and trying to direct the attention of the larger. This would be Benjamin and Dennis Colton, the cousins who recently put SHOOT Project on notice after their grueling win over the Unholy Cyber Army.
Benjamin Colton: Mister Stein! I’m Benny Colton; this is my cousin Dennis. We’ve been watching you tear it up around here for a while.
Dan winces at the sound of “Mister Stein!” but chuckles it off. Molly pokes her head around the windshield and chortles at him. Dan throws his hand up, not wanting to hear any of her crap. Still, Dan remains positive with the Coltons.
Dennis Colton: We’ve been studying a lot of SHOOT Project’s greatest tag teams, and we just wanted to say that we loved your championship reigns with MCGA and Sex and Violence.
Benjamin Colton: Great name, by the way.
Dan winks at Benjamin.
Dan Stein: Ah, thank you. The name was the most enjoyable part of that tag team.
Molly Stein: DANIEL!
Stein’s head whips around and he looks at his wife.
Dan Stein: WHAT?! I’m just being honest with the guys.
Dan smirks at her, then turns back to the Coltons.
Dan Stein: I know how hard it is to beat the Unholy Cyber Army, because they kicked my ass for around a year. It was fun watching them eat shit at Ruination. Sure seems like you guys have your heads on straight. If you find a way to keep this company from corrupting you, I see big things from The Coltons.
Benjamin Colton: Thanks! Dad tells me the same thing all the time.
Dennis Colton: Yeah, ‘cause you never listen.
Benny tosses a quick glare at his cousin. Not a strong one though, because Dennis isn’t wrong.
Benjamin Colton: Anyway. This celebration thing should be pretty dope, so congrats on that.
He leans in and mutters, in a conspiratorial fashion.
Benjamin Colton: And if you two ever feel like bringing in a third–ow!
Dennis Colton: Sorry, cuz. Foot slipped.
It’s not a well-known fact, but Dennis has a chronic issue with his foot, where he steps on his cousin’s whenever Benjamin is about to say something inappropriate or stupid. It…happens a lot.
Dennis Colton: Well, I’ve got a match to get ready for, and you’re probably pretty busy tonight getting ready for the party…
Dan Stein: I…don’t know anything about it, actually. I better find out what’s going on with all that.
Benjamin Colton: It’s your party and you’ll find out if you want t-OW!
THWAP! Benjamin limps around the area. Dan smirks, extending his hand for Dennis, which Dennis happily shakes. The Coltons head back inside the Epicenter, Dennis allowing Benjamin to rest an elbow on him to take some of the pain from walking away. Molly walks around the front of the Atlas with Siobhan in her arms.
Molly Stein: Aww, that’s so sweet. You said the same thing their dad does!
Dan shrugs her off, feigning frustration.
Dan Stein: I’m not old! I’m 35! I’m not old! 35 is not old!
The camera fades as Dan, Molly, and Siobhan head into the Epicenter.
Let the party begin.
Black Sheep Baez Vs. Jamie Johnson (c)
Shut Up and Celebrate
Backstage, Molly and Dan Stein continue their walk to the dressing room, hand in hand with Siobhan in Dan’s arms. The backstage area is decorated with tons of balloons and streamers, along with party favors. Many of the SHOOT Project road crew wear party hats as the company celebrates The Lights’ Super Sweet Sixteen. Dan, in his natural element, simply looks around with a smirk on his face. In front of them, Lexi Gold is seen walking through the hallway looking rather cheerful. Why? We will never know. Since she isn’t scheduled to compete on this show she is using this time to mess around and hopefully bump into some familiar faces. As she continued walking and finding her way around the arena she finally stopped when she spotted Dan Stein. A smile forms on her lips as she begins to speak.
Lexi Gold: Just the man I was looking for. Happy 16-year SHOOTiversary. How does it feel knowing you have been a mainstay to this company?
Molly playfully rolls her eyes, putting her hand on her husband’s chest to stop him from speaking. He looks down at her with a smirk.
Molly Stein: He’s never been more excited in his life.
Dan adjusts Siobhan and looks at Lexi.
Dan Stein: Hey, you’ve been here for about a year, yeah? You know what this place is like. It’s addicting, it’s difficult, it’s…dangerous. But, it’s home. I’m thankful for the recognition, and I’m proud to continue to represent my home, and hope I can for sixteen more years.
Molly nudges Dan in the ribs. Dan winces, rubbing the spot with his hand.
Dan Stein: Maybe not sixteen.
Lexi laughs and leans against the table with a smile as she plays with the party streamer.
Lexi Gold: You’ve been a great representation to this company, no matter how much crap people give you. I hope one day I can be in your shoes, but until then I’m going to continue to support your career.
Dan Stein: Wow, Lexi. That means a lot to me. Tha-HEY, wait a minute, who gives me crap? (looking at Molly) Who gives me crap?
Molly feigns being just as confused as Dan, but leans over and talks to Lexi.
Molly Stein: Dan doesn’t get on Spitter very much. I just scroll through and chuckle sensibly at that fox boy and Chad Kyle.
Dan steps between Molly and Lexi, handing Siobhan off to her mom. Stein turns back to Lexi, sticking his hand out for her.
Dan Stein: Lexi, we’ve tangoed for the Shut Up and Fight Championship in the past, and if I remember right…you beat me for your first championship reign. If things go the way I want them to, maybe we’ll run it back. One thing I’ve never done in 16 years of being in the SHOOT Project is run from a tough match.
Lexi rubs her chin and thinks about that idea before clapping in excitement about the future.
Lexi Gold: I would love that. Hell, we could circle back around to this every week if we wanted and each time it’ll be different and exciting like it was the first time when we faced off. You are one of my favorite competitors, Dan.
Dan Stein: Well, that’s settled. When I get ahold of Real Deal or Donovan King to thank them for this celebration going on, I’ll make sure to ask them about getting you another shot at my Shut Up and Fight Championship. It’d be an honor to lose it to you twice.
Dan sticks out his hand for Lexi to shake. Lexi smiles at him, and politely shakes his hand then leans in to kiss Molly on the cheeks. Lexi rubs Siobhan’s chin, then bops her nose gently, causing Siobhan to smile at her.
Lexi Gold: Good luck tonight! Congratulations again, Dan.
Lexi pats Stein on the shoulder and then steps past him and off camera. Dan looks over at Molly and Siobhan, nodding.
Dan Stein: She’s really nice.
Molly Stein: Like, unbelievably. It’s so cute.
Dan Stein: Yeah, it’s incredible.
The three Stein’s disappear off camera.
Percy Puente Vs. NEMESIS
It's a Sin City party!
Cutting to the back. The camera opens on a table set up with a flat cake with Dan Stein’s face on it, along with the SHOOT Project helm, and a congratulations on “Sixteen Years of Greatness”. The camera pans back to reveal the rows of soda, a beer vendor, and a hotdog cart, along with several of the Reign talent enjoying the refreshments. Further, Dan Stein walks into the area, which causes many of the Reign talent to start to applaud him. Dan puts up his hand to hush them, feigning embarrassment.
Dan Stein: Hey, hey. Keep it down. I don’t want people knowing I’m out here. Thank you, though. It means a lot. I know a lot of you have had a cup of coffee on Revolution or Ruination but there’s a reason why the Instant Heat guys keep you around. Keep working at it and you’ll be up here in no time.
Dan shakes his head, realizing he’s being a bit self-congratulatory. Dan waits and allows everyone to go back to their conversations before turning around, directly into Laura Seton.
Laura Seton: Sixteen years here, eh? Bet you’re feeling every one of them.
She smiles at him. Not an action normally taken by her in his presence, but she could appreciate the moment for him.
Dan Stein: Every. Year. In fact, I’m gonna start a research study to figure out if taking a Cookie Cutter shortens someone’s career.
Dan adjusts his jaw.
Laura Seton: Yeah, well, let me know how that turns out. But, seriously, you’ve pieced together quite a career. Not easy to do in this industry. Definitely not easy to do here, considering SHOOT’s past.
Dan shudders. He looks off into the distance, a thousand yard stare.
Dan Stein: Terrifying.
He shakes his head slowly, speaking as he turns back to Laura.
Dan Stein: Hey, didn’t you beat me for the Sin City Championship? You’re still one of the longest tenured Sin City Champions in SHOOT Project’s history. Now, that’s scary.
Dan moves over to the flat cake, where a caterer is able to cut him off a piece. Dan brings the piece of cake back into the camera. Laura takes a look at it, and then Dan.
Dan Stein: It’s, uh…for Molly…
Laura Seton: Suuuure it is…
She picks up a soda and cracks it open.
Laura Seton: Sin City was awesome and Rules of Surrender is pretty sweet too. Maybe you and I will meet in the ring in the future for something big. I do believe our overall scorecard is… tied?
Dan subconsciously takes a bite of the cake, talking while chewing.
Dan Stein: I mean, who’s counting, really?
Laura crosses her arms over her chest, staring at Dan until he realizes. Dan speaks with cake in his mouth.
Dan Stein: I should get Molly a piece.
Laura nods. Dan does, too. Dan puts the cake down on the table they stand beside. He wipes off his hands as he speaks.
Dan Stein: You know, me from three years ago probably can’t believe I’m saying this, but a rubber match with the great Laura Seton…would be an honor. Not sure when, maybe we’ll both be in wheelchairs, but…an honor nonetheless.
Laura Seton: You showing me actual respect? Can’t say I ever expected that from you.
Dan Stein: Fatherhood tends to put things in perspective.
Laura Seton: Maybe you aren’t such a jerk after all. Congrats on the 16. May you have just enough more to do what you need to.
Dan chuckles sensibly. He leans in, whispering to Laura.
Dan Stein: Don’t tell anyone about the whole…not a jerk thing. I’ve got a reputation to uphold. Oh, hey, camera.
Dan shoots a finger pistol at the camera. As Laura turns to leave, Dan stops her.
Dan Stein: Hey, before you go.
Dan quickly sticks his hand out for Seton to shake. Laura takes a moment to look at it, before putting her own in his and the two share a hearty handshake.
Dan Stein: Thanks for the kind words.
Laura nods. Their hands release, and they go their separate ways. The camera fixates down the hall…
…until Dan’s head pokes back up, grabbing his cake plate and two for his girls back in the dressing room.
The camera fades when his head disappears again.
Dennis Colton Vs. Power Devil
We Are Iron People
Kazoos. Ratchet noisemakers. Foil blowouts. Party horns. They all welcome Dan Stein into the audio/video room, where the show gets directed. Dan is taken aback, not expecting the people in this room to be a part of the celebration. Stein blushes a bit, the first time all night. He puts his hands up to stop everyone. Someone close to him pulls a popper, shooting streamers all over his face and shoulder. Dan closes his eyes and chortles.
Dan Stein: Gee, thanks, Bob.
Dan pulls the streamers off his face and asks a question while he looks around the room.
Dan Stein: Anyone know where I can find Real Deal? Donovan King? Hell, even Ron Barker?
A few murmurs, but nobody explicitly saying anything that Stein can discern, thus leading him to believe that nobody has an idea where anyone is. Dan smirks, putting his hand up and thanking everyone quietly, before sliding back out the door to the hallway. Dan backs out into the hallway and hip-bumps into the Iron Fist Champion, RAIKO, on her way to the ring for her non-title match with Belle Grant. At first, there’s a look of annoyance on her face. But once RAIKO sees who she happened into, her face brightens.
RAIKO: Stein-san. Congratulations.
RAIKO offers a polite bow. Dan returns the bow.
Dan Stein: Ah, RAIKO. Thank you, kindly.
Dan bows again.
Dan Stein: The Champion of the Iron Fist. You know I’m a…
Dan stops himself from gloating about his championship reigns.
Dan Stein: Haha…nevermind. You alright? I know you and Judy Punchinello got into it at Ruination.
RAIKO turns away from Stein. Her previously positive vibe shifts to a colder one.
RAIKO: Am fine. Am always fine.
Between her tone and the shift of attitude, it’s obvious she’s not fine. She turns back around, eyes on Dan. Dan shifts awkwardly on his feet. RAIKO shakes her head, seemingly trying to push away the storm cloud that’s invaded her person. She offers a slight smile to “The Lights.”
RAIKO: Do not worry. Can handle things. This you night. Should enjoy self.
Dan nods. He thinks for a moment before speaking.
Dan Stein: Yeah, hey, there’s some cake back in catering if you get done with your match and want a bite. I gotta be on my way, anyways. Trying to find the old folks and thank them for all this…stuff.
Dan gestures around him.
Dan Stein: But, thank you. For the congratulations. I love this place. I’m just happy to be allowed in the building anymore. Good luck out there tonight, RAIKO.
RAIKO: Arigato, Stein-san.
RAIKO again offers a polite bow before going on her way. Dan watches her walk away, wanting to say something but not knowing the words. As she disappears, he turns back toward the door he backed out of originally. Standing in the doorway is Bob, with another streamer-popper.
Which he pulls. Right in Dan’s face. Dan doesn’t flinch. Dan speaks calmly.
Dan Stein: Gee, thanks, Bob.
The camera fades as Stein pulls tiny confetti from his face again.
Sparkling or Still
Though he isn’t competing tonight, that doesn’t mean he won’t show up. And his demands are simple, despite his more lavish bearing these days–a flat screen to watch the show, a couch, and an ample source of filtered drinking water. Nate steps in, title over his shoulder, looking lean and comfortable in a Nike tech sweatsuit. As he steps towards the couch, idly tapping on hios smartphone, the door closes sith authority–because someone has slammed it shut.
The figure’s face cant be seen. His hooded coat covers everything but his chin, and Nate legitimately jolts at the sight of him, before chuckling and taking a deep breath.
Robideau: Ha, you scared me. Offer you a drink? We have…looks like still, or sparkling. Preference?
The figure, who doesnt acknowledge this, steps forward a couple of steps. Nate shrug, grabbing two cans of Liquid Death, cracking them both open and setting the second one on the table. .
Robideau: There you go.
The figure regards the door with a nod of the head. Nate shakes his own.
Robideau: The boys? Nah. They aren’t coming, and I’m not calling them.
Figure: Funny, that.
The voice is a memory, but it’s familiar enough, and it seals it–Nate is in a room, alone, with Jonas Coleman.
Robideau: Isn’t it just? See, the thing is, I know how you feel, so I know where you’re coming from. You’re pissed, and you want to do something about it. And hey, let me be gracious here and say: you’ve got every right to be angry. But let’s say, just for the sake of the thought experiment, that you somehow beat me half to death. Break my face, snap my arm, scar me real good–just out and out fuck me up. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Jonas: Can’t say it doesn’t have an appeal.
Robideau: But you do that…then I’m still the champion. My associates are still my associates–and trust me, they’d probably have a grand ole time hunting you down. Hell, even if they don’t? You know I will once I’m healed up.
Nate takes this moment to sit down on the couch and get a guzzle of his water.
Robideau: To say nothing of the fact that there’s a better than coinflip chance that I tear you apart when you try. So I figure we’re at an impasse.
Coleman scoffs, obviously disagreeing.
Jonas: That’s the thing, we’re not at an impasse at all, Nate. I’m very clear on my goals here, and it should be very clear to you and anyone else who’s paying attention what it means that I’ve picked now to step back into the light. And I’ll spell it out for you, so that you walk away from this encounter with a very clear, very concise understanding.
The camera zooms a little tighter on Jonas’ face. He wears no smiles, and generally carries very little in the way of emotion.
Jonas: You see, Nate? I’m animal control. I show up when the SHOOT Project has a vermin issue that threatens my home. You see me, you know that the needle with the pentobarbital is coming next, because you are out of control and you’re threatening the livelihood of everyone and everything that we worked so, so hard to build.
He makes a sticking motion into his arm to illustrate his point.
Jonas: And don’t get it twisted, Nate. I know you’re a rabid dog. You might have everyone fooled or confused, but I see it in the back of your eyes. I see the chaos, I see the unruly nightmare that you have become, and I see just the slightest glint of absolutely unhinged reckoning and fury. It comes out ever so slightly every time you go up against someone who you’re afraid of.
Jonas: Because that’s what you are, Nate. You’re afraid. You’re afraid of failure. Afraid of loss. Afraid of irrelevancy. You live with an interminable fear, and that’s causing you to do things like put OutKast in a coma or rip out Joshua Breedlove’s shoulder or crack Buck Dresden’s skull. You fear what your career looks like when you lose the World Heavyweight Championship for the second time, because you know what it did to you the first time. You saw how quickly they forgot you existed, how quickly the SHOOT Project moved on from the Nate Robideau era, and you can’t stomach that again.
He starts to walk towards the door.
Jonas: I’ve stared some of the worst monsters the SHOOT Project has to offer in the eyes. I’ve beaten them, I’ve sent them away, and I’ve reclaimed this place from the people who would see it rebuilt in their image. I stared the Black Death in the face and I put him down. You? You are not Adrian Corazon. A far cry from it, actually.
Robideau: Know what, Coleman? You’re right. I’m not Adrian Corazon.
Nate stands, and his dickish congeniality drops. His eyes burn with a thorough intensity, and his voice drops to turn his next words to a rumbling threat.
Robideau: I’ll prove that by beating you so badly that you’ll go sulking back to the batcave with irreversible joint damage.
Jonas smiles at this–Nate smiles back. He continues to back towards the door and leaves smoothly, slipping out and into the hallway, leaving Nate to sit back down and consider his enemy.
RAIKO Vs. Belle Grant
Eryk Masters: What an impressive debut by Belle Grant here tonight, OG.
Other Guy: Come on; she’s been a part of the roster for more than a year. This isn’t a “debut” by any means.
Eryk Masters: Singles work is a LOT different than tag team work and you know it.
Other Guy: I’ve never been tag teamed in my life and I resent you implying otherwise.
In the ring, an exhausted pair of fighters, RAIKO and Belle Grant, are raising each others’ hands in a show of solidarity as the fans are eating it up.
Eryk Masters: I don’t think it gets more wholesome than this, OG. Belle needed someone to give her a platform to start her solo career and RAIKO stepped up to make it happen!
Other Guy: I’ll admit that, of anyone to extend an olive branch, I would never have expected RAIKO to be that person. I have to admit, it’s great to see.
And the fans agree as the pair take in the cheers and finally embrace in a friendly hug before exiting the ring and making their way to the back.
With Friends Like These
We cut to the back where RAIKO and Belle Grant are walking through the curtains to the interior of the SHOOT Project Epicenter.
In a flash, a masked figure suddenly appears and absolutely LAYS OUT RAIKO with a Superman punch.
The camera whips around to see a purple and green peacoat as well as an Oni face mask, meaning Judy Punchinello was no fan of the performance just put on by her two estranged friends.
Crew scatter from the scene as Judy Punchinello next turns to Belle and throws a haymaker at her former partner’s face. Belle ducks the first shot, but leaves herself open for a gut punch by Judy that drops Belle to her knees.
Judy Punchinello just looks down at the pair in silence. As she begins to catch her breath, Belle looks up at her former tag partner.
Belle: Why? What is this FOR, Judy?
The expressionless mask hides Judy’s reaction as she instead turns to look at RAIKO, who is now coming to, sitting up under her own power. Judy reaches into her coat jacket and pulls out a tightly-woven colored bracelet that has been ripped apart and frayed at the edges.
Judy tosses the bracelet at RAIKO. It lands in her lap as Judy turns to leave exactly the way she came, leaving the two other SHOOT Soldiers in stunned silence.
We Are the World Champions!
The camera fades up on Molly carrying Siobhan alongside Dan Stein. Still, everyone cheers for him as he walks past, those of which Dan politely waves toward. The Steins look headed toward the ring for the Official On-Screen celebration of Dan’s time in SHOOT Project – everyone dressed for the occasion. Molly wipes a bit of cake from Siobhan’s tiny face. Dan feels his phone vibrate, so he reaches for it in his pocket. While looking down at the screen, he speaks to Molly.
Dan Stein: LT. She had that match and all that, couldn’t make it.
Molly looks at Dan, mocking surprise.
Molly Stein: Just open the text message, Cassanova. We’ve got to get out to the ring.
Dan looks at Molly incredulously. Molly just smirks and points at the phone’s screen.
Dan Stein (reading from the screen): “Happy SHOOTiversary, Lights. Go kick Chad in the face to celebrate.”
Dan snorts. He looks at Molly while fumbling to put his phone on Do Not Disturb. Siobhan giggles at the look on Molly’s face.
Molly Stein: Is that funny, Rugrat?
Molly taps Siobhan’s nose lightly, causing her to giggle more. Molly smiles at her daughter, and then up at her husband. The three Steins continue merrily on their way to the ring, finally making it to Gorilla position. Real Deal sits behind a screen, flanked by Donovan King and Ron Barker. Dan’s eyes grow wide with excitement.
Dan Stein: Hey, uh, Josh.
Real Deal leans back in his chair, pulling his headphones down on his neck while the rest of the crew keep focused on the show.
Real Deal: What’s up, Dan of the Hour? Are you ready to go out there?
Dan Stein: Yeah, definitely. Hey, uh…I’ve been bumping into people all night long trying to find you guys. I just wanted to thank you for setting all this up. It’s really an honor.
Real Deal looks around curiously.
Real Deal: Well, you definitely deserve the recognition but…this isn’t us.
Dan looks at Real Deal, confused.
Real Deal: Yeah, no. We thought it was Molly setting this up for you.
Dan turns to Molly with a happy smile. Molly takes a step back.
Molly Stein: Don’t look at us, we think your ego’s already plenty big.
Siobhan giggles at the look of confusion on Stein’s face. Real Deal leans back into the monitor in front of him.
Real Deal: Alright, Dan, that’s your cue! Go get ‘em, Tiger!
Molly pushes Dan through the curtains and out onto the stage.
Sorry For Party Crashing!
YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH!!
YOU’VE GOT THE POWAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!
The fans in the SHOOT Project Epicenter absolutely EXPLODE at the music. Out from the back walk Molly with Siobhan in her arms, and a confused Dan Stein in tow. Dan shakes his head to clear his thoughts, looking out at the fans and smiling. Dan waves at the SHOOT Project faithful, noticing the posters congratulating him and the party hats people are wearing to celebrate this moment.
As the Steins get closer to the ring, Dan realizes there are several easels in the ring, each highlighting a monumental moment in Dan’s career. There’s a photo of him in Fighter Pilot gear, standing next to Paul Jarvis – his first appearance in SHOOT Project. Next to that is a picture of him atop the cage in WAR, the night Jonny’s Friends took on the Sons of Liberty. Then his first Iron Fist Championship reign. His Redemption Rumble win. His World Heavyweight Championship win. And finally, his daughter.
As Dan and Molly stand in the middle of the ring, looking at all the easels, a stagehand brings a microphone into the ring, handing it to Dan Stein. Dan takes another moment to collect himself, then puts the microphone to his mouth. The Faithful drown him out with
YOU DE-SERVE IT!
YOU DE-SERVE IT!
YOU DE-SERVE IT!
Dan has to take another moment to himself, which only makes the fans cheer louder.
Other Guy: Wow, Eryk. Listen to the Faithful! We know Dan Stein is a multi-time champion and Hall of Famer, but to truly recognize his decade-and-a-half-long career summarized here is truly something else.
Eryk Masters: Even the most ardent Stein detractor has to admit-
Without warning, the entire arena goes dark. SHOOT fans start to roar – first with excitement, but then confusion. Seemingly, the announcer audio has also been cut as all we hear is just ambient chatter until…
The SHOOT jumbotron flashes to life as a pale white light shines directly onto the ring. A confused-looking Dan Stein steps out of the shadows and into the light. A humming, guttural sound emanating from the speakers.
Other Guy: Hello!? Testing? Are we back? Are we-
A throbbing bass line, like an earthquake, roars through the area as the jumbotron comes back to life with a bright red screen – words rhythmically flashing in jagged, white lettering:
KILL. THE. LIGHTS.
KILL. THE. LIGHTS.
Suddenly, without warning everything is back with the full house lights up.
Other Guy: FUCK ME.
The “Dan of the Hour” spins around, his wife Molly and daughter Shioban now at his back as Delayed Heat have appeared in the ring without notice … all of the pomp and circumstance accessories gone from the ring.
Other Guy: Of course Blaze has to come and ruin Dan’s big night. He’s just such a tool and… uh… what’s the matter, Eryk? This is just Blaze we’re talking about. BLAZE.
Eryk Masters: I just… I don’t like this, OG… this feels different.
A chorus of vitriol rains down on Blaze, who approaches the Shut Up and Fight champion confidently with a microphone in hand. He ignores the crowd – focused purely on Dan Stein as The Lights stretches his arms out to protect his family – looking Blaze in the eyes with a mixture of rage and pleading.
Dan yells something at Blaze, who stops and scoffs.
Blaze Claymore: That’s right, Dan. I watched you run around backstage ALL NIGHT to all your DeepSHOOT buddies, thanking them for putting on this celebration. You think the person who put this on adores you?
I assure you Dan, I do NOT adore you.
The fans roar.
Other Guy: Wait! BLAZE did this? That’s… well that’s kind of impressive, actually.
Eryk Masters: …
Blaze Claymore: WHY, you ask? Isn’t it obvious, DANIEL STEIN… or whatever name you’ve chosen to go by tonight?
Dan just looks confused, trying to keep his family shielded.
Blaze Claymore: How about tonight we just call you what you REALLY are: The tip of the Deep SHOOT Spear! And when I reveal the information I have about your conspiracy no one can look away and deny it – any longer!
The crowd begins to boo again as Blaze waves them off.
Blaze Claymore: You all want to hear about Mr. Stein’s wonderful career? Sure. Let’s talk about it, then! After all, I’ve been doing my research! Do you know, for example, that Dan Stein doesn’t have his phone number listed in the phone book? Not something an INNOCENT man would do.
Other Guy: Phone books still exist?
Blaze Claymore: Or, DAN, how about the fact that you named your daughter Shioban Stein. I mean, SS, that’s pretty on the nose, don’t you think?!
Eryk Masters: Okay… maybe you were right, OG. I don’t know who I feel more embarrassed for here, myself or Blaze with this pitiful display for relevancy.
Blaze Claymore: But worst of all, Dan Stein, ladies and gentlemen, is part of the “Make a Wish” foundation, which is CLEARLY a cabal of Satanists who lure innocent children to be sacrifices to pull the strings of the Las Vegas high rollers who FUND the SHOOT Project.
Now the crowd begins to laugh and even Dan has dropped his shoulders – seeming relaxed; but Blaze is still looking intense. Dan shakes his head and says something inaudible to Blaze as he turns around and goes to leave the ring with Molly and Siobhan.
Blaze, seeming almost disappointed, leans into the microphone.
Blaze: Have it your way..
Blaze motions as Chad and Rooster move in on Stein quickly. He sees the approaching members of Delayed Heat and yells at his family to run. Dan turns to face his attackers while Molly holds Siobhan tightly and she tries to exit the ring … only to be stopped by a member of the ring crew.
Eryk Masters: What… I don’t…
Other Guy: Is he thinking this is still part of the celebration!?
Molly is crying now, pleading with this security guard who will NOT let her leave the ring even as Dan Stein is now in a two-on-one fight just feet behind her!
Rooster and Chad, but mostly Rooster, have wrapped Stein into a strangle hold. The Lights thrashes around wildly as Blaze just shakes his head. Dan yells out something to Blaze who says nothing.
Then, suddenly, out of the corner, another ring crew member appears.
Eryk Masters: Oh good! Someone who can… wait… what is that in his hand?
Other Guy: Is that a fucking baseball bat!?
Sure enough, the stage hand calmly walks over and hands Blaze Claymore a Louisville Slugger and then bows slightly as he scurries off somewhere into the backstage area. Stein is holding his own against Rooster and Chad but doesn’t see Blaze approaching – weapon in hand.
Blaze screams something at Dan, causing Rooster and Chad to recoil just in time for Blaze’s bat to land squarely against Dan Stein’s ribs. Dan howls in pain as Blaze gestures for Rooster and Chad to pick Stein up.
Chad steps back, shaking his head, but Rooster has enough strength to wrap his arms around Stein’s neck and waist as Blaze jams the head of the bat into Stein’s sternum, causing him to keel over in pain, but Rooster doesn’t let go… instead he lifts Stein up into a modified stretch hold and then drops him straight on to the big man’s knee – injured ribs first.
Eryk Masters: This is SICK. What was supposed to be a celebration for this man’s career has become a mob-style attack by Blaze and his goons. We need some help out here!
Rooster picks up a groggy Stein and then throws him like a ragdoll into the turnbuckle. He then lays his big boot firmly against Stein’s throat, pinning the SUAF Champion in the corner. Meanwhile, X-Chadlibur is looking legitimately panicked, pleading with Blaze to stop this.
Blaze turns around to Chad and…
Other Guy: OH GOD!
Eryk Masters: BLAZE JUST CRACKED X-CHADLIBUR IN THE FACE WITH THE BAT! WHY!?
Blaze looks down with anger at Chad as he shakes his head and brandishes the bat wildly in the air, pointing it at Stein like Babe Ruth about to call a shot. The fans in the SHOOT Epicenter look about ready to riot.
Blaze Claymore: I TRIED, SHOOT Project. I TRIED to warn you about the insidious nature of this company and the men who stand at its pinnacle. Now you’ve left me no choice but to KILL. THE. LIGHTS.
As Blaze monologues, he raises his hand, mocking Dan Stein. As he does, we see a rush of security begin to make their way down to the ring.
Eryk Masters: Thank God! STOP THIS!
Security has begun to circle the ring as Blaze surveys the scene with a cocky smile on his face, twirling the bat in his hand. Meanwhile, Dan Stein has begun to stir, trying to struggle against Rooster’s boot.
Other Guy: Security is out there, what are they waiting for!? Molly! Get out of there!
Molly’s eyes go wide as she searches for an exit from the ring, and tries to run over to her left, Shioban crying now in her arms but as she does all the security guards slowly climb up onto the ring apron to block her from leaving. She screams something at them but they aren’t looking at her – they are looking at Blaze, who is chanting something to himself:
Blaze Claymore: Kill… the… Lights. Kill… the… Lights. Kill… the… Lights.
Eryk Masters: Wait… what the absolute hell is going on here!? Why are they listening to Blaze!?
Other Guy: I’m scared, Eryk…
The security guards begin repeating the phrase like a chant as Molly begins to stagger backwards. As she does, she finds herself at Blaze Claymore’s back.
The leader of Delayed Heat feels someone approaching and instinctively reacts, swinging the bat as hard as he can – connecting directly with Molly Stein’s head. Shioban spilling from her arms.
Eryk Masters: OH GOD!
Other Guy: OH GOD!
Dan Stein: MOLLY! MOLLY! MOL-
Rooster presses down on Dan Stein’s neck, crushing his windpipe as the crowd has gone from roaring in anger to stunned silence.
As a crying Siobhan lies on the ring, Blaze shakes his head and points to Molly, yelling at Dan.
Blaze Claymore: How disgusting can you be, Dan!? Using your wife as a distraction!? LOOK WHAT YOU-
Blaze gets cut off as X-Chadlibur has returned to his feet and has yanked Blaze’s baseball bat from his hand as the crowd erupts! Blaze Claymore looks incredulous as Chad shakes his head and warns Blaze to stop what he’s doing.
Blaze Claymore: Come on now, Chad, remember who the REAL enemy here is!
X-Chadlibur stops and lowers the bat.
X-Chadlibur: Yeah… you’re right.
Blaze looks relieved, but only for a split second as Chad swings upward with all of his force and connects the bat squarely with Blaze Claymore’s jaw to a tremendous pop from the SHOOT Project crowd.
Other Guy: Thank GOD for Chadwick Kyle!
Eryk Masters: Words I never thought I would hear, but damned if it isn’t true here tonight.
The security guards who had been protecting Blaze begin to try and enter the ring, trying to close in on the defecting X-Chadlibur, but before they can gain much ground, another rush of security come down to even the score, beginning to pull their coworkers down off the ring apron and restrain them.
Rooster gives Stein a swift kick for measure before grabbing Blaze Claymore, throwing him over his shoulder and sliding out of the ring – as the Blaze-affiliated security guards use themselves as shields to clear a path for the two to exit.
As order begins to be restored outside the ring and paramedics begin arriving, a crawling Dan Stein has reached his family. X-Chadlibur hands him his daughter, who he cradles, sitting on the ground, with tears streaming down his face and a white hot anger blazing in his eyes.
Jonas Coleman Vs. El Paria
As the bell rings, the crowd pops, and Jonas Coleman gets off of El Paria having secured the victory. “Holy Defender” picks up, but Jonas doesn’t exit the ring, instead he stares down the ramp and draws his thumb across his throat. The music abruptly stops, and the crowd gets even louder.
Eryk Masters: Jonas Coleman has something on his mind, something he wants to do!
Other Guy: If I’m El Paria, I’m finding a way to wake up and get the hell out of that ring, right now.
Jonas rolls out to the ring and walks right over to where he leaned the steel pipe against the barricade, picking it up. He smirks, flips it into the air and rolls quickly back into the ring, where El Paria has started to get back to his feet. His eyes get nearly cartoonishly wide as he sees Coleman coming for him and puts his arms up instinctively, causing Jonas to swing the steel pipe, delivering a hard thud into Paria’s abdomen and chest area. Paria collapses to the ground and coughs, blood and spittle hitting the mat.
Eryk Masters: Oof. That’s a big ol’ ouch, OG.
Other Guy: Jonas made it real clear at Ruination and again tonight that he was gonna start a crusade against these guys, and it starts with the decimation of El Paria, it would seem.
Eryk Masters: You have to imagine that Nate and the Lions will be hitting the ring very, very soon.
Jonas knows this too, keeping his eyes towards the ramp as he puts the boots to El Paria over and over again, each hit right into the same area that he hit with the steel pipe. The crowd is RABID right now as Jonas continues his work, almost unhinged, but still watching the ramp. He picks El Paria back up to his feet and slings him up over his shoulders, and it’s at this point the SHOOT Project World Tag Team Champions and the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion make their appearance, as the Carolina Lions and Nate Robideau run down the ramp.
Eryk Masters: Didn’t think it was going to take a long time, and I was right. They’re coming for their boy.
Other Guy: Jonas needs to make a decision here, because he can either drop Paria and get the hell out, or he can fight all of these guys, and while Jonas Coleman is an absolute monster, I… don’t think that’s the best play.
As though he heard OG, Coleman slings Paria over the top rope and he lands right in the path of the oncoming trio, hitting the ground with a thud, and causing them to come to a quick stop. Isaiah and Luis kneel down and check on Paria, trying to help him to his feet, and the last scene we’re left with is a simple one. A staredown.
Jonas Coleman, the Challenger. SHOOT Project’s Holy Defender.
Nate Robideau, the Champion. SHOOT Project’s Decimator.