I Don't Think That's How Shakespeare Wrote It
There’s a spot backstage designated for interviews and promos. That’s where we are now, along with Benjamin and Dennis Colton. No one from SHOOT Project staff is on hand, because let’s be honest, these guys are a lot.
They’re looking fresh in their wrestling gear and ring jackets–Benny in red, Denny in green–and practically buzzing with anticipation. They obviously can’t wait to get started, so they don’t.
Benny Colton: Friends!
Fortunately, Denny did well in English Lit, so he knows the next line.
Denny Colton: Romans!
Unfortunately, Benny always fell asleep in that class.
Benny Colton: …Greeks?
But of course, the lads can’t give up now.
Denny Colton: Freaks!
Benny Colton: Geeks!
Denny Colton: Dorks!
Benny Colton: Forks!
Denny Colton: Spoons!
Benny Colton: Knives, hives, hide your wives, we are LIVE at Revolution, baby! The Midwest Best are ready to take their place and melt your face! The Coltons are HERE to take care of business. And what’s our business, big man?
Denny Colton: Master of the Mat, tag team style.
Benny Colton: SHOOT has the best tag team scene going, we all know that. You, me, the Indiana Pacers, your softball team…EVERYONE knows that if you want to make your mark, SHOOT’s the place to be. That’s why we’re here–to test ourselves against the best, see how we measure up. And if you saw the fights we’ve had already, you’d know we’re looking pretty tall.
Denny Colton: But it ain’t about what’s past, it’s about what’s next.
Benny Colton: Too true, cousin! What’s next is Spinebuster Island–which is NOT in Lake Michigan, as I was told.
Denny Colton: Nobody told you that.
Benny Colton: It turns out Spinebuster Island exists in our hearts, right alongside Jesus and ranch. Now, Dan Richards and Joe Quinn are some kick-ass guys, no doubt. They got the talent, the skill, the passion, Dan’s cute haircut, call me–
Denny Colton: Focus, cousin.
Benny Colton: But those boys don’t got what we got. They don’t have the fire, the desire, the blood that fuels our family legacy, pumping through their veins. We were born and raised to do this, trained by Big Daddy Colton–
Denny Colton: I am not calling Uncle Jake that.
Benny Colton: –and powered by a love for wrestling. We’ve been through it all together since day one, with one goal in mind…to someday be the greatest tag team in the world. That path takes us right to you, and trust me boys, that is bad news. Denny, let ‘em know!
Denny Colton: Tonight we’re building a bridge to Spinebuster Island, marching right in, and taking over. From the first to the last, we’ll be putting on a tag team clinic. And I want to invite everyone in the tag team division to come down and watch, so we can show you what we’re about…and how it’s done.
Benny Colton: And as for the residents of Spinebuster Island…if you’ve got a problem with that, then once the match is over you can step on that same bridge, and get over it. LET’S DO THIIIIIIIIS!!
They share an intense high five and practically run off the screen.
What a pair of goofs.
Spinebuster Island Vs. The Coltons
We are taken to the back hallways of the Epicenter, where we see Madison Seton coming through an office door. Unlike of late, this time the rookie is in more formal attire; a blue pantsuit with white heels with her dark brown hair down. As she turns a corner, she sees a figure straight ahead – one whom she is familiar enough with that she can’t hide the smile on her face as she steps forward just enough to tap them on the shoulder.
Madison Seton: Judy, Judy, Judy…
Judy Punchinello spins around earnestly surprised to see Madison standing before her. After a second to process, she extends her hands mockingly.
Judy P: It’s showtime!
Madison looks confused.
Madison Seton: Well… yeah. You’re about to go to your match, right?
Judy sighs and shakes her head.
Judy P: It’s a Beetlejuice joke… you know? The ghost with the- nevermind.
Madison’s eyes light up – suddenly understanding.
Madison Seton: OHHHH. Is that why you always look so pale, have dark rings around your eyes, have poorly fitting clothing, and matted green hair?
Judy recoils at the absolute shade Madison just threw at her.
Judy Punchinello: That’s a deep cut, Maddy. Bloody ‘ell. I don’t know how you and Laura are even related… you’re like two completely different people, you know that?
Madison can’t help but smile at that.
Madison Seton: I love hearing that! Never gets old. Laura does what she does, but she can be such a stiff. Although… did you see what she did to Lexi?
Judy Punchinello: I certainly heard about it… a windshield wiper? Really? Though I can’t say it wasn’t resourceful. But I am a bit surprised; they are two of the “nicest” people in SHOOT, so I would have thought that out of anyone they would be peas in a pod, sharing pleasantries over tea and crumpets or whatever. But, then again look at what’s happened with Lindsay Troy and Void, look at what happened with Danni and Ria, look at Nate bloody Roubideau.
Judy shakes her head.
Judy Punchinello: That desire to hold on to power? It’s fuckin’ intoxicating and you sister fought tooth and nail to earn the Rule of Surrender title, there’s no question about that. But what has she done with it, other than hoard it? Meanwhile Lexi… a modern icon of the Shut Up and Fight circuit, wanting to prove her mettle at the next level? Can’t say I blame her… can’t blame Laura either for feeling threatened.
Madison has a bit of a stunned expression.
Madison Seton: I… didn’t… expect such a… monologue. Anyways–you ready for your own match? Can’t say I envy you right now, but man, I’m looking forward to being in such a position. Fight your way to an automatic World Title shot?
Judy Punchinello: There’s a couple folks I’d need to cut my way through, first; though, honestly, for the first time in a long time I actually feel pretty at peace. You know? Who would have thought that two Dr. Who knock-offs would be the only ones in SHOOT with brains?
Madison Seton: Doctor…Who?
Judy Punchinello: Cybermen! Or whatever you call them here in the States. Cyberdudes. Cyberbros. They fuckin’ get it! All that matters is just competitive domination. Absolute and total command of your opponent psychologically, physically, and emotionally. Until I can do that? I don’t deserve any sort of championship.
Madison Seton: You’ll be fine, Judy. Don’t over-analyze it all. Just do what you do. Because you’re becoming a force. A legit force. It’ll be a crime if you don’t have another title run of some sort by year’s end–it’d have to be stolen from you not to have one.
Judy smirks and flashes Madison a pair of finger guns.
Judy Punchinello: Don’t ever change, Maddy. Just promise me you’ll find Laura the strong stuff so she can mellow out a bit. Ya know. Before she beats Lexi with a cup holder or something.
Madison nods but halts as Judy’s smirk turns serious and she places an arm on Madison’s shoulder.
Judy Punchinello: And make sure that, when you do, you give her a message. While her eyes are on Lexi, right now? Mine are focused squarely on climbing the ladder – one rung, and one opponent at a time – until I reach the finale of Master of the Mat. I know we have some bad blood between us… but she better be ready to spill some more if she gets in my way.
Madison looks as Judy pulls her hand back and runs it through her newly-dyed fuschia-colored hair.
Judy Punchinello: That’s a bloody promise I intend to keep.
With that, Judy turns away from a speechless Madison Seton and calmly leaves the scene, her first round matchup with Gabriel Martinez is just a few minutes away…
Thane Vs. Danni Johnson
All to Myself
Thane is slowly making his way through the backstage area. He keeps his head up, breathing heavily. He notices the camera watching him and he stops, rubbing his head and brushing his hair back.
Thane: Great job, Danni.
He still tries to catch his breath.
Thane: You deserve it.
He bows to the camera but he stops when he hears a small chuckle. He turns his head and locks eyes with none other than BRONSON. BRONSON is leaning against the wall, grinning from ear to ear. He claps his hands together in a rather mocking applause.
BRONSON: Couldn’t get past her, huh?
Thane says nothing.
BRONSON: It happens, Vic. Keep in mind, she’s more focused on whining about me than she ever was you and she walked right over you.
He laughs as Thane says nothing.
BRONSON: But you know what this does, Vic? Can I tell you? Do you wanna know? Huh? Huh? Do you?
He leans towards Thane and whispers.
BRONSON: I have you all…to…my…self.
He pats Thane on the shoulder and smiles.
BRONSON: See you soon. Real…real soon.
With that, BRONSON walks down the hall Thane came through. Thane says nothing still, just tilts his head to watch BRONSON in his peripheral. He hears BRONSON chuckling as he walks away, the laughter echoing. He still says nothing, only continuing to watch as it fades to black.
Judy Punchinello Vs. Gabriel Martinez
Dan Stein Vs. Daiichi
We're gonna need a montage!
We fade up to a scene of a serious-looking Daihm Ferguson hunched over with hands and abdomen taped up. He bobs his head rhythmically as a slow, 80s beat plays.
I’ve gotta take a little time
Suddenly, a massive arm reaches out and extends out to Daihm as he looks up into the eyes of Chick Grillbreast.
A little time to think things over
They lock hands, like the EPIC HANDSHAKE between Carl Weathers and Arnold Schwarzenegger from Predator.
I better read between the lines, in case I need it when I’m older.
Their eyes meet. An intensity glows around them like the corona around the Sun. Daihm looks like he’s about to melt, but then Chick does something surprising. Well, not that surprising to anyone else but Daihm, but you get the picture.
Chick Grillbreast: Alright Dan Dragon! Time to do squats!
This mountain I must climb feels like a world upon my shoulders.
Chick leaves the barbell roughly on Daihm’s shoulders. His lanky Scottish frame nearly collapses under the too-much weight Chick put on there for a man of his stature, but he steels himself, girding his legs against the crushing steel weighing down on his back like a mountain.
Daihm’s face begins to glow as red as his hair as he grips the bar tightly and tries to push it up. As he does he once again locks eyes with Chick.
Daihm Ferguson: You’ve got it, coach!
Through the clouds, I see love shine. Keeps me warm as life grows colder
With determination, Daihm begins to stand up as Chick’s eyes beam brightly, clapping his hands emphatically as the Dragon looks like he may actually be able to rise to the challenge. Yet, as the adrenaline fades, Daihm begins to lose his balance and weaves back and forth, trying to avoid dropping the weights.
In my life, there’s been heartache and pain. I don’t know if I can face it again.
Chick Grillbreast: DON’T LOSE FAITH NOW! MAKING SICK GAINZ IS ABOUT WHAT’S IN THE STRONGEST MUSCLE OF THEM ALL!
Daihm is barely holding on at this point. He musters an answer.
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far to change this lonely life.
Daihm Ferguson: The quadriceps?
Chick’s face now turns beet red. He’s, unsurprisingly, SO MAD.
Chick Grillbreast: NO! The strongest muscle is…
He reaches his hand out to pat Daihm on the left side of his chest.
Chick Grillbreast: THE HEART!
I wanna know what love is. I want you to show me
Daihm screams with passion, with energy, and with a rush of testosterone as he regains his ground, firmly planting his boots on the floor and giving every bit of energy he has to lifting the weights back up to his shoulders. He firms up his grip with Chick’s hand still on his chest.
I wanna feel what love is. I know you can show MEEEEE
Daihm, with every ounce of his strength, lifts the bar up and hoists it over his head with a violent, powerful yell and then lets the weights fall to the ground. As he does, Daihm’s legs give out and he buckles forward.
Gotta take a little time
Chick catches… the bar. Daihm stumbles forward, luckily hurting only his pride.
Chick Grillbreast: Maybe I’m pushing too hard. Too much penetration too fast. It might leave you with bruising, not just outside, but inside too. Let’s try something different.
The choice of words brings a quick smile to Daihm’s face even as he’s struggling to get up off the gymnasium floor.
A little time to look around me
Chick scans the weight room and finds a leg press machine.
Chick Grillbreast: The key to a strong core is a strong base. Maybe we need to do leg day today.
I’ve got nowhere left to hide.
Chick outstretches his arm for Daihm to get on the seat.
Daihm Ferguson looks down, realizing he’s worn his extra large gym shorts today and shakes his head, his face going red again as Chick continues to insist. The Dragon shakes his head.
Daihm Ferguson: No. No. We can do… arms. Or.. abs. Or… feet?
Chick Grillbreast: YOU MUST WALK BEFORE YOU CAN LIFT!
Chick grabs Daihm by the shoulders and begins to walk him over to the leg press machine as Daihm tries to resist.
Little time to look around me
I’ve got nowhere left to hide
Chick Grillbreast: C’MON DAN DRAGON! GET OVER TO THE LEG PRESS! YOU CAN DO IT!
Daihm shakes his head, but Chick grabs his wrist and drags him. Slowly, Daihm acquiesces as he seats himself on the machine.
Looks like love has finally found me
Chick looks down at his student who is shaking as he grabs a hold of the hand grips and presses his legs against the pads of the machine. He looks down, much like he was before Chick originally arrived, bopping his head rhythmically.
In my life, there’s been heartache and pain
I don’t know if I can face it again
Daihm looks up again at Chick who nods confidently back at him. Daihm sighs and forces his legs against the pads, pushing as hard as he can to move the weights providing resistance.
Chick Grillbreast: HARDER! HARDER! HARDER!
Daihm Fergsuson: STOP SAYING THAT!
The Dragon, with a final effort, manages to push the weights out on either side of him in a spread eagle formation.
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far
To change this lonely life
As he does, Chick Grillbreast claps enthusiastically and then slightly less enthusiastically and then not at all as he finally sees the reason Daihm did not want to use the leg press.
Chick, confused and possibly offended, is surprisingly at a loss for words as he makes a face and then just shakes his head before leaving.
Daihm closes his legs and puts his face in his hands in embarrassment.
I wanna feel what love is
(And you know you just can’t hide)
I know you can show me
I wanna feel what love is (oh, I wanna know)
I want you to SHOOOOW MEEEEE.
RAIKO Vs. Void
NEMESIS Vs. Nate Robideau (c)
Nate turns, raising his knee, clearly intent on driving his heel into the skull of NEMESIS–but she’s scouted this action beforehand, and quickly rolls out of the way and to her feet! She gets a two step run and cocks back, looking for a flying superman punch, but Robideau spins out of the way and drops himself down, practically flipping DeMitri onto her head with a leg sweep!!
Eryk Masters: NEMESIS ready for the inevitable post-bell attack, but Nate’s digging into reserves of speed that I think we’re all surprised by!
Other Guy: And he’s not letting up!!
Nate scrambles onto her, taking her back–but rather than lock on some sort of choke, he starts raining down 12-to-6 elbows into the base of NEMESIS’ skull! As the crowd’s boos get louder, Nate starts laying them in even harder, with Judy-E’s attempts at covering up only delaying the damage! Finally Nate gets fed up, eyes full of rage, and grabs her by the head…and starts pounding her face into the mat, over and over!!
Eryk Masters: A new low! This sickening display is a new low!!
Other Guy: She said his time was up in SHOOT–he’s in a Last Dance mentality! He took it personally!
Eryk Masters: Oh what doesn’t he take personally?!
Nate pops to his feet, stalking around the reeling NEMESIS with cold fury in his eyes. She gets to her hands and knees, and he grabs her by the back of the head, Thai clinching her, dragging her down in the path of his rapidly raising leg–Nate BURIES his knee in her face!! Judy-E flies backwards, landing on the mat in a heap, her face covered in blood!! Nate roars for something that can’t be heard over the crowd’s hatred, as he storms to the ropes and leans over, being handed both his belt and a microphone. He holds it to his face, then pauses as the boos grow even louder. He lets the crowd noise wash over him, chuckling, before bringing the mic to his face.
Robideau: This was an insult.
Still breathing heavily, he paces around DeMitri, pausing to spit on her body, before addressing the rafters.
Robideau: See, I’ve got…loftier goals, you’d say. I’ve got a legacy I’m building! And you know what, folks? You don’t build a legacy by just being reactive. By beating whoever the office wants to put in front of you. You build a legacy by taking. Taking what you want. Calling your shots. That’s why I got this little warm up bout moved up in the schedule.
He pauses his pacing, looking down at his opponent. She’s trying to regain her bearings, but it’s clear that a massive unprotected knee to the face has rung Judy-E’s bell properly.
Robideau: I don’t want NEMESIS.
Robideau crouches next to her, running his scarred hand across her bloody face. He uses it to draw on his mountain expanse of a chest. “A”. Another swipe. “Z”. He stands up and faces the entrance, grinning.
Robideau: I want you, old timer.
This re-energizes the crowd, as they begin to buzz on top of the layers of loathing they’re heaping on the Blackhawk.
Eryk Masters: Is he…is Nate Robideau calling out Azraith DeMitri?!
Robideau: It’s too bad you aren’t in the building tonight–maybe you could have saved her. Or heck, maybe you wouldn’t have. I can’t pretend to understand what goes on inside of that skull of yours. But consider her condition a signed, sealed, and delivered challenge. A gauntlet that’s been thrown down. Because it isn’t going to end here, not by a long shot. Now we can do the dance or you can man up quickly, your decision! The ball is in your court.
Long sigh. Fake concern and tenderness.
Robideau: I understand how frightening this must be. I’m in the prime of my existence, stronger and faster and meaner than you could hope to be. And you?
He scoffs, shouldering his title belt once more.
Robideau: You’re two seconds away from working backstage and making sure my hotel accommodations are what my contract stipulates. A demon, a monster…choking to death in a cubicle, living off the glimmer of what you used to be. So this is my offer, such that it is one…
He leans over the ropes facing the entrance. Nate milks this moment, letting the anticipation build, before cracking a wry smile and speaking again.
Robideau: You get one last bit of relevance. And I get a new name to add to my accolades. Because this ends one way, buddy.
Robideau: And if you refuse?
He looks over to NEMESIS…and turns, kicking her in the side of the head entirely unprovoked!!
Robideau: Well…he really shouldn’t.
With that, “Ragnarok” cues up and Nate drops the microphone, throwing his arms wide to bask in adulation that seemingly only he can hear. He clambers to the corner, climbing up and raising the World Heavyweight Title high above his head.
Other Guy: Bombshells! Nate with the bombshells!
Eryk Masters: Nate Robideau is calling his shot against one of the most decorated soldiers in SHOOT–but we’re going to have to wait to see if the challenge is accepted!
We leave the show there: the aftermath in the ring, the champion standing tall, the challenge hanging in the air.