Insert New Tag Team Name Here:
We gotta start Revolution off hot. That’s right, and we’re talking scorchin’. That’s because the Premier champion, Black Sheep Baez, once again lookin’ fly and ready to fight, is with Maddie Seton. The unlikely duo stand not far from Gorilla and we’re catching them in the middle of their conversation.
One thing is noticeable. Baez is without his crew, the On Godtourage, after Matty was viciously attacked by NC-17 yesterday on Ruination. That isn’t stopping Baez from performing because he knows he’s in good hands with Maddie.
Black Sheep Baez: So ya boi thinkin that this tandem rightch’hurr need a name. Feel me? Im thinkin’ somethin’ like (he looks away and acts like he’s presenting something) ¡Los Dioses del Fuego! (He looks back at Maddie) Or, maybe ¡El Maldito Dúo Caliente! Ya feelin’ what I’m puttin down chica?
Madison starts nodding. In a way, she seems to be acting every bit Baez as BSB himself.
Madison Seton: Hellz yeah! Check it out–ya grrl hur…
She has a big breath and a nearly defeated look for a second.
Madison Seton: God, I can’t do this… Okay, here, how’s this action: HotShot BattleAngels? Or, since you strike with such thunder and my side is obvious–ThunderStorm?
Baez’s eyes widen because he knows he has the opportunity to influence his friend.
Black Sheep Baez: Aw shit. Yo, you gotta try that one more time, fam. Lemme hear you say it. Lemme hear Maddie Seton say: yeeeeee it’s ya gurl, the M-a-double d-i-e, bouts to slappidy dap two knuckleheads with ya boiiiiiiii, on…GOD!
Black Sheep Baez: We just gotta to hear it. Sprinkle it on us.
He leans forward with his eyes closed and his hand cupping his ear.
Maddie just looks wide-eyed in confusion at BSB.
Madison Seton: Ya grrl here ’bout to do *whaaaat*?
Al smirks and belly laughs.
Black Sheep Baez: Ain’t no thang, chica. Yo, what we need to do is coordinate our focus on the two we bouts to face. I ain’t got no respect for dude after yesterday (he whispers: this for you Matty), and she know I ain’t finna play around when I get my hands on her. I plan to whoop they asses the right way, in that ring, with my homie in my corner, and we finna make them realize.
Black Sheep Baez: So, Mad Sheep assemble! Ha haaaaa!
BSB smacks his hands together and hops away with a giant grin, leaving a very curious Maddie behind with her eyebrow arched. Ya boi is filled with energy since he’s getting a chance to go toe to toe with his foes. Maddie shakes her head and accepts the fact he’s left them being called Mad Sheep and she walks out of frame.
To the backstage…and beyond!
In fact, we’re way beyond backstage right now. We’re out in the parking lot…but why? Well, it might have something to do with two guys who are also in the parking lot.
“Dude, could you have parked any further away?”
“I keep telling you, that was the closest spot. The reserved level isn’t ever this full.”
They get close enough to the camera that we can see them. It’s tough to tell who they are by their faces, but easy by their brightly-colored ring jackets and shiny gold belts.
Ladies and gentlemen, your SHOOT Project Tag Team Champions, Benjamin and Dennis Colton.
Benjamin Colton: You’d think they could send someone to pick us up, considering we’re proud representatives of the company and all.
Dennis Colton: Maybe they would if you stopped trying to hook up with the drivers.
After traversing more rows of cars, they finally reach the entry point for the arena proper, and that’s where they see why this lot is so full.
A whole row of them, from one end of the garage to the other. All manner of shapes, sizes and styles, most of them heavily customized. Benny lets out a low whistle.
Benjamin Colton: Hot damn. I wouldn’t have complained so much about the walk if I knew there was something this sexy at the end.
Dennis Colton: Hmmph. Ain’t even got a single Harley.
Benjamin Colton: Shows what you know. Harley’s more a name than a machine these days. Now, this…
He walks up to the bike closest to the door. A midnight black Kawasaki with neon green and pink trim. Eagle-eyed viewers might recognize it as belonging to Sho Yoshida, one half of the Midnight Cowboys MC. Tafugai’s red Honda is right next to it. And judging by the rest of the row, the cocky young tag team brought friends tonight.
Dennis definitely notices this fact, but Benny’s only got eyes for one. He runs his hand across the back fender.
Benjamin Colton: Hello, gorgeous.
Dennis Colton: I’ve seen these before. Belonged to those guys who threw down a challenge at the last show.
Benjamin Colton: No kidding. Well, if they want to put hands on our gold, then I’m sure they won’t mind if I just take a seat…
Benny walks around to the side and starts to throw his leg over the Kawasaki.
Dennis Colton: Right. ‘Cause if there’s one thing motorcycle gangs are famous for, it’s being cool with other people messing with their bikes.
Benjamin Colton: No problem, then.
Dennis Colton: Sarcasm!
Benny ignores his cousin’s protests and takes a seat. He grips the handlebars and shifts his weight to stand the bike upright, his smile growing ever wider.
Benjamin Colton: You gotta try this, cuz. Thing ain’t even on and I can feel the power, y’know?
Dennis Colton: Good for you. Can we go now?
Benjamin Colton: Fine, ya big wiener. Just tryin’ to have a little fun, and…
Benny sets the bike back into a resting position…only he must have knocked the kickstand loose, because as soon as he lets go…
…it tips over, colliding with the firetruck red Honda.
Which falls over, taking down a Suzuki with it.
CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!
Another Kawasaki, a Triumph, a Yamaha…
CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!
You get the idea.
One bike after another topples to the ground like the world’s heaviest dominos, and the champions can only watch in horror. So it goes until the very end of the row, with the last bike falling directly onto the cement.
Benjamin Colton: Whoops.
Dennis Colton: Thank you, cousin. You’ve just killed us.
Benjamin Colton: No, it’s okay! I have a plan!
Dennis Colton: You have a plan. To fix this.
He waves his arm at the chaos that they just experienced.
Benjamin Colton: Sure I do! First, we…
And then he runs.
Dennis Colton: Hey! You little–
Then Dennis realizes that it’s a pretty solid plan, maybe one of his cousin’s best, and follows suit.
As Breedlove is getting his hand raised, he smiles in triumphant glory, Puente still reeling in the corner.
Eryk Masters: Joshua Breedlove triumphant here, but you have to wonder how much of a sacrificial lamb Nate Robideau made Percy Puente, OG!
Other Guy: Gotta get your reps in comewhere, dude, and–wiat, what?!
The announce team’s confusion matches that of the crowd, as their cheers give way to excited screams! A figure in a black hoodie has jumped the barricade, rushing to the ring and sliding in…he keeps his eyes on Joshua Breedlove, shaking on the balls of his feet, waiting for his moment–noticing the change in crowd response, Breedlove turns! The assailant doesnt even let him complete the rotation, rushing him when his side is exposed and laying in BRUTAL rib shot punches!! One, two, three, four, all in a rapid succession, leaving the returning superstar reeling!!
Eryk Masters: Who is…that’s not Nate Robideau!!
Other Guy: Nah, too tall, it’s…
With Breedlove doubled over, the attacker throws his hood back to reveal JOEY ‘GOLDEN’ BURKHALTER, who sneers and corrals Breedlove around the back of his neck in a Thai clinch!! Breedlove has no response to the unprotected knees Burkhalter is feeding him, until a particularly hard one sends him reeling backwards!! He’s slowly maintaining his standing, but he’s on wobbly knees, looking like he might be out on his feet!! Burkhalter steps back and begins his approach, leaping and twisting, building momentum for his big twisting roundhouse–BREEDLOVE DUCKS! He ducks and slips out of the ropes, smirking and tapping his temple through the pain!!
Other Guy: Running from the fight?
Eryk Masters: You could call it that, but just as well, this is a veteran move, OG – he’s at a disadvantage and he’s already wrestled. This is just playing the game smart, and it looks like Joshua Breedlove is asking for a mic!
Joshua Breedlove: God you’re impressive.
The crowd isn’t sure how to react, and neither is Burkhalter, who is fuming in the ring starting at Breedlove.
Joshua Breedlove: You are absolutely wasted at Blackhawk. You’re going to get as far as Nate Robideau will let you, and then he’ll turn on you and keep you where he feels like you deserve, but here’s the thing Joey.
You’ve got megastar written all over you.
He backs up towards the barricade and hops up, taking a seat on top. The fans near him are patting him on the back, making indiscernible noise and doing the types of things that fans do when a soldier is nearby.
Joshua Breedlove: Look, do me a favor. Go find Jamie Johnson. Find Jack Johnson. Talk to them. Have that conversation. Learn. Ask them what Nate did for them.
What he REALLY did for them.
Then ask them what the Empire did for them.
He smirks and the crowd starts elevating their volume at the mention of the organization.
Joshua Breedlove: And when you have your answer, I’m an easy man to find, because the reality is, Joey?
The Empire would be insanely strong with you, and you’ll be insanely successful with us.
The scene cuts on a simple, cheshire cat style smile from the former World Champion towards the young upstart rookie.
A group of youngsters play street hoops. Teenagers, men, women, of all nationalities and sizes, share a bonding moment strategically passing the ball and hitting their shot. A young African American grabs a behind the back pass, dribbles twice, and then his leap is in slow motion. Slam dunk.
A narration from a man with a very deep, hoarse voice.
Teamwork makes the dream work. Power in numbers. You can be a monster, but an army can take you down. Grow, and accept the selflessness of the bond. Strange bedfellows. A symbiotic marriage of ultimate power, and genius thinking. Squad up!
Pop Warner football. A young boy, padded and intense, is handed the ball and he runs straight for the offensive line. His team, and the defense shift, so he makes a decision: spin right, and revolves around the hoarde. His teammate, a boy much bigger than he, the tight end, blocks a defender, moves off, and is able to run ahead of the back to begin bulldozing a path toward success. He takes out three of the opposing teams defense before the young back races to the sideline and leaves everyone in his dust. Touchdown.
Another narration but the voice is younger and with a hint of cockiness.
A wise man once said: I came to bring the pain hardcore from the brain. That’s what we do. Our method is simple, yet hard to maintain. You can’t keep up. You won’t. Because with every giant cannon there’s a ball flying toward you at an uncanny speed. You won’t see it coming. You can’t. Because we’re too powerful, and too fast. The perfect balance. This ain’t any team. This is a squad. Squad up!
Cue the music. Block Lockdown by Ludacris. Don’t act like youve never heard it. You have. Now bob your head and go ham as this video turns into a montage for the newest SHOOT Project tag team.
I got permission to put ya mama in a headlock (what?)
She tried to jook me in a figure-fo’ leg lock (oh)
She said she like the way I stick and make the bed rock
Or how I lick and leave her twisted like a dreadlock, and it’s on
There’s two men that make up Paydirt Squadron: Lil Virtuoso, and BASHTIN. You heard BASHTIN first. He’s a big boy, and we’re talkin’ thicc with a beard and a lot of tattoos. This dude looks like he spent some time in the clank, but looks can be deceiving. He smashes. He mashes. He ‘dozes his way through puny beings. He’s the living embodiment of a human wrecking ball.
So stop the sweatin’ like a wristband
And get some balance like a bike without the kickstand
I think I changed the definition of a hit man
‘Cause I could really give a fuck about that bitch man, come on
Lil Virtuoso is not your average high flyer. No sir, this little dude can do some crazy ass shit. He’s a master of parkour, with a mutated form of ninjutsu and Olympic acrobatics. The boy can still kick your nose into your colon, so don’t take a whiff. He’s fast, unforgiving, and doesn’t give up. When you think of Lil Virtuoso, he looks like a young Wesley Snipes from White Men Can’t Jump, but he dresses like he’s going to the Warped Tour. He’s the epitome of street chaos with an above average level of critical thinking.
We puttin’ holes in your residence
And lose anybody for the right president
We thugged out street niggas with intelligence
So all that bullshit you yappin’ is irrelevant
They’re the perfect team. A monster and his little friend. They show it in the ring. They eat, and breathe, tag team wrestling. It’s their lifestyle. They understand its organizational structure. They abide by its laws. The code of conduct is secure when Paydirt Squadron hits the ring. There’s no other team like them. They work off each other, and they understand that without one there is not the other. Say less, this is the next greatest tag team to sign a contract, and you all know it.
Oh yeah, I represent the Dirty Southside
I’m a dentist makin women open they mouth wide
Could be in jail still runnin’ it on the outside
Think not, then won’t ya open up ya mouth right, but who cares?
They’re here. The Buffalo natives who have risen the ranks of independents to be here. They’ve outshined every tag team from Maine to Albuquerque, Spokane to the Keyes. There ain’t no land scorched by the fire these two have ignited in rings across the nation. And, don’t think they’ve never left. Strong style have seen the ultimate muscle of BASHTIN and the explosion of Lil Virtuoso. Luchadores have been hurricanrana’d into the hands of the beast. Canadians have had their souls reduced to syrup, and the Brits were union jacked all over the queen’s land. They’re a global phenomenon. So, remember, when the squad assembles: you’ll hit paydirt.
I got my corner on lockdown
About to hold this whole block down
Ludacris tell ’em how the South sound
(Uh) grrah, (uh, uh-uh) grrah
(Uh) grrah, (oh)
I got my corner on lockdown
About to hold this whole block down
Ludacris tell ’em how the South sound
(Uh) grrah, (uh, uh-uh) grrah
(Uh) grrah, (oh)
Midnight Cowboys MC
The Bone Brigade
Bright Green Mesh
At one point in time, this restaurant would have been considered a classy place, the type of establishment where good cigars and fine wines were consumed by professional people with lots of money to spend. It would have been the type of place where lawyers, bankers, and crime bosses would try to impress showgirls into their beds by buying them oysters and spinning tales of trips to Italy, France, and Dubai.
Now, Regino’s was a shell of what it used to be, tacky flooring, overpriced menus, and the stench of old tobacco from decades past. It had become the type of place that certain older, greasy types swore was a staple of the Las Vegas restaurant scene, that it was a place for royalty, but anyone under the age of 40 would be generally disgusted by. Where customers previously wore tailored suits that were starched to a perfect edge, now they wore wrinkled dress shirts that had been bought in discount stores. Not thrift stores, but no better than a Burlington Coat factory.
Which is why it was strange to see a man wearing a perfectly tailored hot pink suit coat and dress pants over a bright green mesh sleeveless, revealing brown skin that rippled with muscles. The fact that the man had a green and pink luchador mask and titled belt that red “Sexiest In SHOOT” was extra odd. He lightly sipped on a glass of brown liquor, wincing slightly at the burn.
Maximo Fisico: Top shelf mi culo…
The camera footage that we see is clearly hidden, a couple of tables away, filmed discreetly from an iPhone. The audio quality reveals that there is a hidden microphone close to Maximo, but not on him.
Yet what is even more shocking than how Maximo is dressed is who he is seated across from.
Daihm Ferguson: You know just because I’m Scottish doesn’t mean you need to order scotch. Besides, the quicker we can get out of here the better…
Maximo takes another slow sip, grinning.
Maximo Fisico: Por favor, hermoso, I want to wine and dine you. Besides, the grit of this place, it has a certain…encanto…
He leans in, trying to make as much eye contact as possible.
Maximo Fisico: I must say, pleased as I am, I’m surprised you accepted my invitation. Your larger…friend…
He rolls the r hard, possibly for emphasis, possibly for mockery, and possibly to just show off what his tongue is capable of.
Maximo Fisico: …would have me believe we are bitter enemigos.
Daihm squirms and stutters a bit.
Daihm Ferguson: L-l-l…. Look, okay? You’ve been harassing me – harassing us – for weeks now and if going on a “date” is what it takes to get you to leave us alone, then fine. Once I beat your partner fair and square tomorrow I don’t ever want to see you near Chick or I again, or else.
Daihm leans in, trying to be imposing but all he does is find himself locked in Maximo’s adoring gaze. Maximo leans in further, flexing his upper body a bit as he does so.
Maximo Fisico: Mi dulce dragón…that’s not how this works.
Maximo picks up an oyster from a plate that has been relatively untouched. You’d never guess that there was a smooth or seductive way to eat an oyster, but, somehow, Maximo does so, really letting his tongue do a lot of work. He tosses the shell away, the clatter on the plate causing Daihm to flinch ever so slightly.
Maximo Fisico: Daihmbreast is a tag team, no? You and your…frrriend…are ambitious, industrious guerreros. You’ll no doubt want the gold. Myself and mi hermano will also want the gold. In the ring…our paths will cross.
He smiles, revealing pearly white teeth.
Maximo Fisico: Over and over again preferiblemente. And we’ll fight you. We’ll fight you with everything we have, pero…
Maximo leans back, relieving at least some of the tension in the air.
Maximo Fisico: …what happens outside of the ring can be separate, hermoso.
Daihm awkwardly grabs for his glass of water and takes a drink. As he does he looks down at the tongue-shucked oyster shell and gets flushed. He absentmindedly reaches for a breadstick and then puts it back.
Daihm Ferguson: Chick and I are… well. It’s complicated. And all you’ve done is make it even more complicated. And you keep playing at these mind games and meanwhile I’m trying to just hold on to something proper when it seems like every other member of the roster is seemingly going loopy every other week.
Maximo doesn’t react; he just listens.
Daihm Ferguson: Look, yes, you’re incredibly fanciable and you saying all these things to me has actually been really… swell. But we’re opponents! And besides that I feel like this is all just one big laugh to you – and if it’s all the same to you, prefer to be taking the piss than be the butt of the joket. So can we just… get this over with and you can tell your partner you had your fun?
Maximo provides a mocking frown, taking another sip of his Scotch.
Maximo Fisico: Hermoso…mi dulce dragón…this isn’t about mi hermano, Kid Lucha, or
Señor Músculos. This is about tú y yo, and I haven’t had my…fun…until you stop being so prudish and start having some fun of your own.
Daihm bristles slightly at Maximo’s tone, which has gone from playful to almost… serious. In response, the Dragon scoffs, almost defensively. After several seconds he reaches back over to the bowl of breadsticks and begins to suggestively enjoy the appetizer.
Daihm Ferguson: Just because I’m not snogging people without their permission doesn’t mean I’m a prude. I’m just selective.
Maximo sits there for a few moments, his demeanor and expression unchanging. He grabs his drink and finishes it.
Maximo Fisico: Yes…you are. You select the ones that…¿Cómo se dice?
He smiles meanly at Daihm.
Maximo Fisico: The ones that don’t want you.
The Dragon’s playful smirk falters at Maximo’s words. He looks up at his “date” for the evening and shakes his head ruefully, beginning to push himself back from the table.
Daihm Ferguson: Like I said… you want to have a laugh at my expense? Fine. But you’ll have to do it alone. See you at Revolution, mi amigo.
Daihm goes to leave but, as he does, Maximo reaches out an arm with a reach that, even from the perspective of the hidden camera, seems incredibly gentle. His face has softened a touch, even showing some signs of regret.
Maximo Fisico: I hope I’m wrong about him, mi dragón. I meant what I said earlier. What is in the ring is in the ring; don’t let that stop you from living life outside of it. Si?
Daihm looks surprised at Maximo’s words as he releases Daihm’s arm. The Dragon seems to hesitate for a second, looking at Maximo who gestures to the empty seat across from him. The Dragon closes his eyes and sighs before returning to the table and reaching for another breadstick.
Daihm Ferguson: Bloody ‘ell. If I wasn’t so bloody hungry…
Maximo looks a bit surprised, but he smiles a legitimately happy smile. Daihm, begrudgingly, grins back as Maximo picks up another oyster and the camera fades out.
Daihm Ferguson w/ Chick Grillbreast
Kid Lucha w/ Maximo Fisico
Got a second?
Backstage, ‘Golden’ Burkhalter is storming through the hallways. While he isn’t cutting a swath through the people who make the broadcast work, he is deftly avoiding them, his face a mask of sour rage.
Stumbling behind him, with none of his apparent dojomate’s grace, is Percy Puente, still holding onto himself after eating a loss at the hands of Joshua Breedlove. He careens from wall to wall, sometimes running into producers, wincing each time. This is the path that we watch until they round a corner, and Burkhalter sees someone who wants to speak to him.
Jamie: Hey, Joey. Got a second?
Burkhalter: James. What do you want?
There’s an electricity in the air here, and while most would be forgiven for forgetting, these guys know one another: Jamie was a student instructor during the days of the first location of Blackhawk Fight Gym, and Joey is an original student. There was a time, what seems like a lifetime ago, where the Realness probably trained Burkhalter during striking sessions. But while Golden stays tense and terse, Jamie is trying to be conciliatory–even friendly.
Jamie: I heard what Breedlove was talking about out there, and I thought that I’d just come find you rather than waiting for you to seek me out. That cool?
Joey slightly shrugs.
Jamie: Breedlove is a lot of things, man. He’s meticulous and he’s conniving, but he’s also very good at this, he cares about the people who are under his umbrella, and he doesn’t lie. If he says that you’ve got the ability to be huge in this business, it’s because he knows. I was with them right before I kicked off my Sin City Championship run.
He just has an eye and a talent for this kind of thing.
With Nate? Man, I learned a lot from Nate. My family helped prop the Blackhawk Gym up when he was just getting started. Dad helped Nate get through all of the legal stuff and didn’t ask for anything in return.
You see what that got him.
Jamie sighs, while Burkhalter and Puente stay in front of him, Burkhalter growing slightly more uncomfortable as Jamie speaks.
Jamie: I’m not gonna tell you what to do, man. I know that a lesson that needs to be learned is sometimes best learned on your own, but from someone who’s been right exactly where you are right now, I think you should take Breedlove’s offer seriously and consider breaking away from Blackhawk sooner rather than later.
Nate thought I was the bee’s knees until I beat him in a tournament. Then I was a threat.
Then I was gone. Some of that was on me, but that defeat is when the tone started to shift. All I’m saying is, this business? You gotta do what’s best for you. Don’t be afraid to bounce if you need to bounce.
Burkhalter considers this for a moment–then dryly chuckles, patting the palm of his left hand with the knuckles of his right.
Burkhalter: You know like…I looked up to you, right? And then one day you decided that you weren’t gonna be coming to the gym anymore. And maybe you just like, didn’t get that your actions have consequences or whatever? Like fuck me, right? Who was I, to you?
He steps forward slightly, leaning in to emphasize his words.
Burkhalter: I was acceptable collateral damage. All I’m looking at is someone who didn’t have the guts to have a hard conversation and grow. And for you to come over here and like try to gaslight me about any of this, Just know: one man had my back this entire time. And it wasn’t some rich boy who couldn’t hang.
At this, Burkhalter turns to leave. Jamie holds his hands out.
Jamie: Just trying to give some friendly advice, you–
What cuts him off is Joey Burkhalter cutting the distance between them in a blink, pushing his forehead into Jamies! His hands ball into fists, and for the first time, we can see how angry he is.
Burkhalter: I am so fucking tired of people telling me what’s best for me! Now back the fuck off before something bad happens to you, heard?!
Puente doesn’t say anything, looking at the confrontation with worry. After a tense moment, Jamie allows himself a soft smile and backs away, holding his hands to his sides.
Jamie: You got it man.
As he walks off. Percy manages to get a hand up to clap Burkhalter on the shoulder.
Percy Puente: Fuck yeah man, you told him! Whaddaya say we go grab some chow and some women, big dog?
Burkhalter bristles for a moment. His shoulders tense up…then release. He smiles, but there’s no warmth in his eyes–he looks like he’s doing an impression of his sifu.
And without warning, he twists his body
And buries his elbow into Percy Puente’s temple!!
The would-be superstar hits the wall hard, and Burkhalter sizes his reeling body up before executing another twist and powering into Puente’s midsection with a shotgun of a spinning mule kick!! You can hear the air being forced from his body in a split second, a wheezing groan, and he collapses onto his knees and forehead, grasping his stomach in agony! Burkhalter leans down, his smile dropping into a sneer.
Burkhalter: Robideau wanted me to let you know that you’re going to need to seek your training elsewhere. Have your locker cleared out by tomorrow or all your shit is going in the dumpster.
Burkhalter: Have a nice life.
The lanky rookie storms out of frame, and we cut away…
Into the Fire
As the crowd starts to calm from the last match, the lights darken and a familiar, sinister guitar riff leads to a deafening drop! “The Only Thing They Fear is You” by Mick Gordon screams over the PA system while the pots near the area strobe a violent, bright blue and white. The champion’s name slowly crawls across the ‘tron like it’s a horror movie marquee:
As the ‘verse’ of the guitar harrows through, Azraith stalks through the entranceway, moving to the top of the ramp and INSTANTLY hoisting the SHOOT Project Heavyweight Championship above his head! The crowd roars as he looks over them intently, a small smile hidden behind his usually intense features.
Other Guy: I really…I’ve known Az a long time, and I can tell you that this exact moment right here is something that he’s been living for.
Eryk Masters: He’s absolutely one of the most tenured wrestlers on the roster at this point, and Azraith had to fight an absolute war to win it. I’m definitely curious what his next steps are going to be!
Az basks in the cheers for just a few more seconds before letting the championship fall over his shoulder. He’s wearing a clean black button down shirt and matching black slacks. For those watching the show in 4K you can see an intricate filigree pattern sewn into the button down. It only takes him a few seconds to get to the ring, walking up the ring-steps and calmly sliding between the top and middle ropes. He grabs the mic that was waiting for him on the nearest turnbuckle and finds his spot in the middle of the ring, the lights keeping dim as a spotlight centers down on him. Again, he seems to be basking in the moment, trying not to let an infectious smile overtake him as the crowd chants “RIP AND TEAR” along with the music. As the music dies, so does the crowd settle, and Az nods humbly.
Azraith: I really don’t think I could’ve ever asked for a better moment than that. This…uh…genuinely has been a lot. I want to quickly thank everyone that’s sent in congratulations, it’s fuckin’ nuts that I’m here right now and everyone that says they’re happy about it just kind of makes this all the more amazing.
The crowd starts a “YOU DESERVE IT *CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*” chant but Az makes a cutting motion across his throat while shaking his head, chuckling.
Azraith: Don’t start that shit y’all, I appreciate it but really…I just did what I said I was gonna do. When I said I had a list of shit to get done, way back when…this was the big thing at the top of it. So really, I may deserve it…but I wouldn’t be anything, I wouldn’t be anyone without all of you. I know that’s hokey shit but y’all stuck by me through the shit. When I burned every fucking bridge I could. When I couldn’t give enough of a shit about this sport, this profession to even show up on time y’all still would stop me on the street and tell me y’all remembered. When I came back you didn’t treat me like some novelty act. When I came out nearly a year ago now and told y’all that I got shit to get done before it’s ‘done’…y’all didn’t roll your eyes. So really, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
Az bows down, as humbly as he can to the crowd.
Crowd: AZ-RAITH AZ-RAITH AZ-RAITH!
Az stands tall, and takes a deep breath before nodding.
Azraith: All that shit’s in the past now, though. I’m the SHOOT Project Heavyweight Champion…and I think I’ve heard my name in more people’s mouths in the last two weeks around here than I have since this place started back up. That’s right. I hear y’all. I might not post on Spitter but I do read it on occasion. So, I guess the real question comes up, right? What’s next?
Eryk Masters: There have been a decent number of people seeming to indicate they want to get in line to take the championship now that Azraith is holding it.
Azraith: I’ve been thinking about it the last few weeks as I’ve been recovering from the fucking wrecking-ball that is Nate Robideau…and really one name keeps coming to mind. They’ve been a workhorse in every company they’ve worked for. Whether it’s SHOOT, LEGACY, wherever they’ve stepped foot in, they are the measuring stick. I’ve always respected that position. Whenever anyone thinks they’re hot shit…there needs to be someone like this person to stomp them back down, make them remember there’s always a part of your game to improve. They’re able to do that because, quite simply, their skill, acumen, and technical knowledge is second to none. I ain’t here trying to gas anyone up, all the shit I’m saying has all been said before. I can’t think of anyone better to be the first challenger to my reign.
Dramatic pause. Az flashes a grin as the crowd groans in anticipation, before taking a deep breath.
The crowd goes NUTS.
Other Guy: Holy SHIT!
Azraith turns, and stares directly at the entranceway now, leaning against the ropes as his grin grows.
Azraith: I heard you two weeks ago and, I mean…it sounds like the crowd is hype for it. I’m sure the suits’ll clean up the fine print, but what about it, Laura? Legend vs Legend? Just a good ol’ fashioned wrestling match that’ll blow the goddamn DOORS off. You still down?
In a heartbeat, Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” kicks in, keeping the crowd in its rowdy state.
… show him what I got…
A set of fireworks go off at the top of the ramp. Within the smoke, head down, stands Laura herself. As the smoke begins clearing, she lifts her head, a grin on her face. In her jeans and red leather jacket, her black boots step quickly down the aisle. She moves quickly up the steps and steps through the ropes, her blonde ponytail swinging with each head movement.
Erik Masters: For as long as these two have been in SHOOT, much less the sport itself, I do believe this is the first time they’ve ever been in the same ring at the same time.
Laura gets a mic in her hands, gently wrapping her left hand around the base. She waits for the crowd to cool down before speaking.
Laura Seton: Sooo… you want to bring the house down? Give the fans an adrenaline rush like what gets us going? Get a test like you haven’t had in… maybe… ever?
She smirks as the fans cheer.
Laura Seton: That’s what you want?
Azraith’s grin grows as he motions towards the crowd before motioning to the championship on his shoulder.
Azraith: What can I say? Sometimes I’m simply inspired. You’ve more than earned your shot at this. Laura Seton vs Azraith DeMitri for the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship. The match of the goddamn century?
There’s nothing I want more.
There’s this frenetic energy in Az’s voice all of a sudden that’s nearly bursting at the seams. Even he seems to be keyed into this first time moment, eyes lighting up before he reflexively holds his right hand out to her. She looks down at his hand, before looking up to him. After leaving the moment hanging for maybe a few seconds longer than she needs to before laughing a bit and nodding, the crowd ERUPTING as the two shake hands in the middle of the ring.
Laura Seton: Yeah, this is happening. Let’s move that needle.
Azraith already dropped his mic, but everyone can see him say “LETS FUCKIN’ GO!” loudly!
Eryk Masters: Azraith DeMitri already lighting his reign up, making sure it’ll see the history books as he lines up a LEGENDARY first challenge!
Other Guy: Wait, take a look in the ring!
Az slowly turns to start walking to one of the turnbuckles to pose for the fans…
…but Laura yanks him right back into a close engagement! Laura’s grin never fades from her face, but she exchanges a few words with Azraith in the middle of the ring that the only two of them can hear. The crowd seems to hush instantly, trying to parse what’s being said, but as soon as they realize what’s happened, the both of them break the handshake amicably, and they both pat each other on the shoulder! A singular nod of respect before they both go to opposite corners and pull themselves up, Laura throwing her arms up in the air and Azraith hoisting up the SHOOT Project Heavyweight championship!
Eryk Masters: The two share a brief moment in the ring before giving this crowd a shot of a lifetime here tonight! Can’t wait to see where this goes from here!
The crowd is abuzz; absolutely reeling from the conclusion of the encounter between Dan Stein and El Paria, with both competitors backed into their respective corners. Neither is willing to give the other the satisfaction of a complete victory even though it takes considerable effort to keep themselves held up on the ropes.
Eryk Masters: What more can you say, OG? We’ve got some of the best here in the business. I’m not sure anyone could…
Other Guy: Could… what?
Eryk Masters: Sorry, I… I’ve got this…GAH. This awful ringing in my headset. You don’t hear that?
Other Guy: No I don’t think… ARGH!
A high-pitch wail emanates through the speakers, the sound of a massive analog TV with no signal enveloping the arena. The audience quickly moves their hands to their ears, but it continues unabated. El Paria and Dan Stein remove their hands from the ropes, going to cover their ears as they wince in pain – looking around for the source.
Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, the sound stops – the arena now in a state of nervous, almost deafening silence.
Other Guy: Hello? Hello? What the? Eryk? Can you hear me? I think we’re back; let’s-
A figure, a blur, swoops down from the ceiling in a swinging motion. Rather than drop to the mat as expected, the figure continues their arc, their momentum carrying them through until they connect squarely with the chest of Dan Stein!
Eryk Masters: CHRIST ALMIGHTY!
The Lights is caught off guard and literally ascends above the top rope and lands a good 20 feet away on the concrete. As he does, El Paria’s eyes go wide seeing the unmoving Dan Stein now laying on the ground. Meanwhile, the figure hover for a split second, looking down at The Lights before the cable they are attached to recoils rapidly, pulling them back up into the catwalk – somewhere into the darkness.
Eryk Masters: Get someone out here, now! We’re under attack! Get someone out here! Now, dammit!
El Paria is actually the first to move, running immediately to check on his downed opponent before the ringing, high-pitched sound plays over the speakers once again. This time it’s clearly a warning.
Other Guy: What is going on here, Eryk?
Eryk Masters: LOOK OUT!
The same blur, now more visible to the audience, goes for another attack, swinging down and this time aiming for El Paria who DUCKS OUT OF THE WAY! As he does, the figure changes course and pauses their ascent, clinging to the edge of the arena’s video board like a predator targeting its prey.
Now, paused, the crowd gets a better look at the attacker. Wrapped in black cloth from head to toe, a white, horned mask with streaks of red is visible as the figure looks around. The cameras try to get a closer look but almost immediately, the figure recomposes themselves and they point confidently downward – past El Paria.
Both El Paria and the crowd quickly put the pieces together as a frantic Molly Stein rushes down the rampway towards her husband.
The figure grabs a hold of whatever wire they have attached to their body and LEAPS off the side of the video board hanging above the ring. They seem to give themselves more slack as they drop what looks to be 15 feet, just inches above a confused El Paria as they pull themselves backwards, swinging like a human pendulum all the way up to the apex before they rapidly pick up speed, aimed squarely at finding a way to make it over to Molly Stein!
Other Guy: This is bad! This is ba-
Eryk Masters: WHAT!?
El Paria leaps with everything he still has in his legs and grabs a hold of the figure by their feet – just within his reach. As he does, the momentum carries him and the mysterious intruder over the top rope and tumbling to the outside in a mass of humanity.
The fans are roaring in approval at the display and selfless act by El Paria who is reeling on the ground, on his back in clear pain. The masked figure, meanwhile, seems only momentarily halted. They detach whatever mechanism had given them their previous airborne mobility as they make a beeline for Molly Stein.
Other Guy: GET HER OUT OF THERE!
Molly looks up just in time to see the demonic visage closing in on her and Dan, who remains unconscious and unmoving. Molly throws herself on top of Dan, trying to protect her husband as the figure pauses, looking down at the pair – contemplating their fate. However, that hesitation is all it takes for El Paria to close the distance and LAUNCH himself at the figure! However, he’s a second too slow as the figure side steps and Paria has to pivot and throw himself out of the way so he doesn’t crash directly into Molly and Dan Stein, crashing himself into a set of steel barricades.
The crowd is livid as the masked figure raises a gloved hand to the sky. As they do, the high-pitched ringing returns, the loudest it has been to this point, and obliterates the ears of everyone in the arena.
Eryk Masters: JESUS CHRIST! MAKE IT STOP!
The high-pitched whining reaches a peak as everyone, including Molly and a recovering El Paria, is trying to plug their ears. In that moment, the figure, hand still raised, snaps their fingers and causes the lights in the arena to go out.
Other Guy: I’m sick and tired of this spooky sh-
All it takes is a few seconds, hardly any time at all, before the lights come back up but the figure is already gone. Somehow vanished. The sound cuts out abruptly as the lights return to normal and only then do the EMTs FINALLY make their way down the ramp to the side of a sobbing Molly and seriously injured Dan Stein.
As the EMTs attend to The Lights, El Paria pushes himself to his feet, looking around and taking in the scene, trying to find any sign of the figure. His face contorts in fury as there seems to be absolutely no remnants, no trace of who – or what – just made their presence known within the SHOOT Project.