Midnight Cowboys VS. Kings of the Wild Frontier
Tag Team Match
You Can Get Lost
She had a spark in her eye as she walked the back halls of The Epicenter. Madison Seton seemed a bit too excited–even for her. Though she had no specific direction in her walk, we notice her eyes take note of something. Her eyes narrow a bit, though a smirk forms and a scoff comes from her. She approaches as she calls out.
Madison Seton: You knock a couple nuts and bolts loose up there?
She does a tap of her head before our focus changes.
The figure slowly turned around and judging by the hideous doll mask that concealed their face, it belonged to Lexi Gold. She is wearing a gothic long black dress with moths printed on it and combat boots. Once the two women were face to face with each other, Lexi tilts her head to the side, not bothering to remove her mask.
Lexi Gold: Don’t use the word nuts around me. I might just take that as a compliment, you know.
Madison gets a look of shock. Or horror? Either way, it takes a few seconds to sink in at the sight before her.
Madison Seton: Are you from planet Earth? Like–is this real life?
Lexi shakes her head, not finding humor in her response as she breathes heavily under her mask.
Lexi Gold: Oh, Maddie, unlike Baez I am not here to play comedy hour, or to entertain your stupid ideas, unless you are here to congratulate me on my win last show, then we can continue this conversation. If not, you can get lost.
Madison Seton: You getting an ego now, too?
She shakes her head.
Madison Seton: Never mind. Not worth it. I’ve been on cloud nine for a week. You’re not fucking up my mood.
She eyes Lexi up and down once more for good measure.
Madison Seton: Jesus H… I don’t know what my sister did to you…
Lexi Gold: It’s funny how you credit your sister for my awakening. She did nothing but be a roadblock in my quest for her championship at the time. If you are going to credit anyone for who I am today, it is my grandma. She has taught me that I no longer need anyone by my side but her and if I want something done I shouldn’t be scared to walk through hell and destroy everyone in my path regardless without no remorse.
Madison Seton: Got a feeling Nana didn’t think you’d go off your rocker.
Lexi lifts her mask up, taking offense to what Maddie said, as she snarls in her face.
Lexi Gold: You don’t know her like I do. You don’t know what consumes her mind, but I can tell you one thing, she would love nothing more than to see me knock you out into a state of unconsciousness and have me drag your carcass to her.
Her eyes narrow. Even her furthest happy thoughts of Dame and Giannis lighting it up in Milwaukee faded. She wastes no further time in lifting her right hand…
Across the exposed face of Lexi! Lexi responds instantly with a shot to the midsection before the two begin throwing hands. Most punches are deflected, save for a quick left to Madison, bloodying her mouth, but just before SHOOT officials can separate the the two?
A shot lands across the left eye of Madison, sending her to the floor!
Lexi smirks and looks on, satisfied with her actions. The lights then suddenly go off, then once they turn back on Lexi has vanished instead we see some live worms rain down on the face of Madison, causing her to scream.
Ryan Samuels Vs. Felix Mullen
IN THE RING
The End of an Era?
No entrance, no music–when we cut to the ring, Nate Robideau is already there. Wearing his standard outfit–expensive athletic wear, pricey shoes, and a five figure watch–he hasn’t bothered to clean up much, from what we can see. He’s still rocking a four-day beard, he still looks like he hasn’t slept a wink. He also looks sad, and though the crowd is burying him in boos, one gets the sense that his frown isnt due to that. He waits until the hatred dies down to a manageable level, then calmly speaks into the mic–and his tone seems…less boisterous. Not meant to scare an opponent. Unprideful.
Robideau: I know you all dislike me. I’m not here to change that.
The crowd responds in the affirmative with a shower of fresh boos.
Robideau: Burn I am here to speak honestly. To speak clearly.
Pacing, he lets the noise die down to a manageable level.
Robideau: You folks have to understand…I was a kid on the Rez. Dad wasn’t around, grew up poor as hell. And that’s not me asking for your fucking sympathy. But you have to understand how low I was even before I spent time on an all-expenses paid vacation courtesy of the State of Nevada. After that? After that, I didn’t know if there would be much I could do to make a life for myself.
He goes to the side of the ring facing the entrance, leaning on the ropes.
Robideau: A lot of thanks needs to be put toward Josh Johnson and the management here. I know I’ve had some clashes with the front office–some that ended bloody. But they took a chance on a convict who was honestly too old and had zero rep.
Eryk Masters: I’m not sure where he’s going with this.
Other Guy: I don’t like it, I’ll say that.
Robideau: I achieved here. Built a legacy here. I made it to the top of the mountain and I stayed there. No fluke. I won’t go down as one of the greats, and that’s okay with me. That’s just a pure ego stroke. But I achieved it. I held it. And I didnt lose it in a flash circumstance, either. I lost it to a legitimate legend who just plain beat me. No excuses, no rage, no need to call him out or attack his family. Azraith beat me, and Azraith deserved to.
He paces back to the center of the ring, chuckling. Unable to resist.
Robideau: After all, not like there were many others who could have taken me down. I made sure of that.
Eryk Masters: Can’t help himself.
Other Guy: He’s also not wrong.
Robideau: Look, I’ve never been one to talk when I didn’t have something to say. I’ve achieved what I wanted to in this company. I’m older now, I’m tired, I have a successful gym and a new generation of stars to help cultivate. I’ve got so many long-term nagging minor injuries that I sometimes get surprised when I’m reminded about them. And above everything else, I don’t want to be what I accused Azraith DeMitri of being. There’s nothing worse than when a guy starts declining and can’t accept the truth of it. So I’m taking that possibility off the table.
He sighs, looking to the mat. There’s a long moment of silence, here, and we can see him chewing his bottom lip before finally nodding.
Robideau: I’m retiring. Effective immediately.
Bombshell. The crowd erupts–boos, just plain screams, confusion. Pandemonium. He shakes his head, taking a tight pace.
Eryk Masters: What?!
Other Guy: No!
Eryk Masters: Folks, this is a massive surprise–Robideau pacing the ring, clearly at least somewhat at peace with the decision, but just…wow!
Other Guy: No one has meant more to this sport–
Eryk Masters: Okay, chill.
Nate takes a long moment to let the confused reaction of the crowd die down. It’s not hard to guess why there might be4 mixed emotions–though he’s a notable bastard, by his own admission, he’s also been an integral part of SHOOT since the rebirth. There are even a small smattering of fans chanting his name, which he notices and waves off.
Robideau: No, no. This isn’t me trying to get back into your good graces so I can enjoy retirement with a clear conscience. This is me just telling you like it is. It’s been a wonderful, beautiful, enraging, gratifying, hellacious, awe-inspiring ride. I can’t put it better than that, and I can’t ask for more than that. What I’ve always said is–
“Make Way for the King” hits, and Josh Breedlove doesn’t even wait to soak in the eruption of adulation from the fans! He jogs briskly down the ramp, his brow furrowed in confusion. Sliding into the ring, his body is coiled for a fight…until he realizes Nate is leaning in the far corner, not even pretending like he’s got bad intent. He’s just…letting him in.
Eryk Masters: Joshua Breedlove is here, seeking…a fight? Understanding?
Other Guy: Clarity, I think. This news has thrown all of us for a loop!
Breedlove begins to pace, arms crossed. Nate chuckles and brings the mic up.
Robideau: I know it’s hard to believe, Josh, but it’s true. I’m just…washed, man. And I know it. And if I push myself, make a big to do about trying to beat you again? Maybe I win. Maybe I fuck you up good. But you know what’s just as likely an outcome, maybe even more likely an outcome? Win or loss, I end up hurting something really, really badly. You can only bend something so many times before it inevitably breaks, right?
Robideau: I’m doing this on my terms, before a freak accident or someone like you has a chance to make the decision for me.
Breedlove shakes his head, laughing. Maybe he thinks it’s going to bait him, but Nate does nothing. Finally, smirking, he speaks again.
Robideau: You want this, man? I’m sure it’s gotta be grinding your gears to not talk shit about me.
With that, he tosses the microphone to Josh Breedlove, who catches it easily.
Joshua Breedlove: I’m not even sure I want to talk shit, Nate. I’m mad, yeah. I really wanted to get back at you for taking a year of my career away. I really wanted to do this dance, take everything, stand tall, all that. I fully intended to make that decision for you.
Breedlove pauses, considering his next set of words very carefully.
Joshua Breedlove: There’s a part of me that wants to call you a coward, trash you for taking the easy way out, but then there’s the angel on my shoulder telling me to just let it go. Just let you be you, get you out of SHOOT, give you the flowers you earned, because the reality of it is that you did work here, Nate. You changed the SHOOT Project culture by doing what you do. You gave idealistic kids a chance to work hard and earn a spot.
He shakes his head, the crowd only murmuring at what they’re hearing, hardly reacting at all.
Joshua Breedlove: So for as much of a garbage human as I think you are, and for me trying to be better about… just being me… I think I have to let this go. I have to congratulate you on a career well fought, and that’ll have to be that.
Breedlove sighs, pulls the microphone away from his face, looks at it for a brief moment and then hands it back to Nate Robideau, who takes it back from him.
Robideau: Josh, I’d never thought I’d be saying this, but thank you. You’re a bastard, but thank you.
With a smile, he extends a hand. The crowd buzzes, but Breedlove waves them off before making a bit of a production out of shaking Nate’s hand.
Robideau: I won’t ever say the better man won, but you weren’t wrong. The Nate Robideau era is over.
He releases the handshake and turns to leave
Then he twists.
Dropping his body low, a coiled snake. His leg follows…Nate Robideau kicks Josh Breedlove in the side of the knee so hard he damn near cartwheels, landing awkwardly on his head and left shoulder!!
Eryk Masters: Oh, come on!
Other Guy: He’s on his way out, let him have the exclamation point!
Nate doesn’t even consider letting up, pouncing on the obviously surprised Breedlove and burying knee strikes into his head! Josh covers as best he can, but Nate is approaching a speed and a fury not seen in some time, transitioning from knees to 12-to-6 elbows before BRUTALLY hammer fisting Josh Breedlove in the face, over and over!!
Eryk Masters: There’s exclamation points and then there’s sadism! Let him go!!
The Blackhawk grabs Breedlove’s arm and neck, wrapping him up in an arm triangle choke and rearing back on it! Breedlove’s face is already bloody, his nose clearly pouring out over his mouth, as he struggles to get air with his neck pinned to his shoulder by the mammoth arms of Nate Robideau! Veins begin showing on Josh’s beet-red face as his eyes tear up, and he begins weakly flailing his free arm, tapping to signify that he’s giving up–but there’s no referee to stop things! Finally, the tapping gets weaker…and weaker…until there’s nothing left.
Joshua Breedlove goes limp.
Nate stands, brushing himself off, and snatches the microphone from the canvas. Casually, he spits on the mat, laughing.
Robideau: I don’t know what’s funnier, Joshie: seeing you trying to regain consciousness, or the fact that you actually thought I was going to let you get away with disrespecting me.
He crouches, looking closely at him.
Robideau: You think you can attack me? Insult me? Poach my fucking students, you swine? You?! See, I know you, Josh. I know what a piece of shit you are. I know that Burkhalter just needs to call any of the dozens of careers you’ve ruined in your vampiric quest to make sure that everyone remembers Josh Breedlove.
He grabs Breedlove under his arms and, with a grunt, hauls him to uneasy, dangling feet. With a little effort, he gets him situated in the corner, arms draped over the ropes to hold him up.
Robideau: There you go, stay right there for a minute. Johnson boys, I know you’re in the back! Is this your savior?!
He rears back and lets off an absolute shotgun blast of a hook into Breedloves ribs!!
Robideau: You sycophants in the audience…is this your king?!
Nate collars Breedlove around the back of his neck and elbows him so hard in the face the blood from his nose mists! The crowd starts to break into excited cheers, however–as Jamie and Jack Johnson have made their way from the back, intent on putting a stop to this!
Eryk Masters: Finally–I mean he did call them out!
Nate notices this, sneers, and drops the mic, immediately roping Breedlove into a tightly torqued kimura lock! Though he’s no longer speaking into a microphone, the parabolics on the camera pick up what he’s saying quite clearly, and it’s making the Johnson’s pause their approach.
“Take one fuckin’ step closer! You think I won’t snap him in two?!”
Suddenly, from the back, come the Blackhawk Fight Gym students!! Joey ‘Golden’ Burkhalter and Izzy Sia sprint out and circle around the would-be interlopers, placing themselves in between them and the ring!!
Other Guy: I’d say they’re evenly matched, but Nate has beat Josh Breedlove half unconscious at this point!
Eryk Masters: I think it’s sick what Nate’s doing, this has to count as poisoning the youth of this city!
Other Guy: Poisoning them with what, ‘Ryk? Success?
His safety secured, Nate drops Breedlove, who lands like a sack of bricks. He crouches once more, grabbing the microphone, and starts lightly slapping Josh in the face to rouse him. Trash is flying into the ring. When Breedlove finally opens his eyes and starts blinking, bell more than thoroughly rung, Nate begins to speak.
Robideau: I didn’t lie about one thing. The Nate Robideau Era is over.
He drags one of his massive sledgehammer hands across Breedlove’s bleeding visage. He drags the bloody hand across his own face, like war paint.
Robideau: Right after I put you away for good.
With that, Nate tosses the mic and slides from the ring. He casually approaches his students, absolutely beaming, his face covered in streaks of blood. There’s a long moment where Jamie and Jack Johnson seem intent on blocking the Blackhawk contingent’s exit, but none of the gym are backing down–Nate is elated, Burkhalter is unwavering, and Sia is practically begging them to start something with her. Finally, cooler heads prevail, and the two teams pass one another with a heavy amount of jawing. Nate and his students stride to the back, all smiles.
Jamie and Jack rush to the ring to check on Breedlove.
LA Muerte Roja Vs. Avalanche Anderson
Feast of the Demon
La Muerte Roja stands in the center of the ring with a sinister grin on the only part of his face you can see from his kaleidoscopic luchador mask. The crowd isn’t quite sure what to make of him, despite his impressive debut performance and inherent dispatchment of Avalanche Anderson.
La Muerte Roja: Well, well, well.
His English is better than one might expect judging from his tone and pronunciation.
La Muerte Roja: So this is SHOOT Project?
He looks back at Avalanche Anderson with a dissatisfied look. Roja goes to speak, but there is a sudden wave of booing making its rounds throughout the Epicenter. Roja looks unbothered.
La Muerte Roja: Oh don’t act surprised, pendejos. You knew EXACTLY what you were getting when I said my piece earlier in the week. I stepped into the destacar and proved I am not just another masked luchador. I am a force to be feared. Nor am I a man, but an entidad!
Roja licks his lips, touching the corners of his mouth-space within the mask. The fans boo this man exuding the aura of something sinister.
La Muerte Roja: To all the naive fools in that locker room who call themselves Soldados and Soldadas: La Muerte Roja is a true guerrero. I will show you all what it means to treat professional wrestling as a religion, and this ring as my grand pulpit. I am here to expose your weaknesses, exploit every flaw, and crush your dreams into a thick and gooey black paste. Quizás pienses que eres duro, pero yo soy más duro! Puedes pensar que eres hábil, pero yo soy más hábil!
Roja cackles like a madman.
La Muerte Roja: I thrive on chaos and the destruction of hope. I will break your bodies, your spirits, and leave you lying in a heap in the middle of my parish. This is not a game, idiotas. This is war, and to all the guerreros falsos standing back there, watching me with your glass jaws touching the ground, I am the harbinger of your demise.
The Demon feasts on the flesh of the frail.
Teme la mirada… de Los Demoníacos!
Haunting orchestral music starts to play as Los Hijos de Mefistófeles spreads throughout the Epicenter like a great plague, infecting with despair to all those who listen.
The audience is quite taken aback by Roja’s words as we transition to the backstage area.
Sin City Scoundrels Vs. Boomer Shooters
Tag Team Match
After the three count, the two teams immediately go back to fighting with one another! Mike NAILS Rob with a superkick, dropping him to the ground, but immediately gets hit by David Fox with a hard elbow strike to the head. Lucas, who is just getting up from having hit a 450 splash and securing the win, sees this and immediately lunges towards the pairing with an attempted double clothesline, but he doesn’t get enough behind it and is stopped!
Eryk Masters: The former tag team champions got the win here, but it seems like they’re going to pay for it!
Other Guy: What’s this? I’m hearing we’ve got a commotion in the back too!
The scene immediately swaps and Ignatius Albert Martin is bloody and unconscious on the floor of the Epicenter! There’s debris and all sorts of things around him, along with a broken table. SHOOT Project personnel are headed towards him now to check on him, but the fight continues in the ring.
Other Guy: So that had to be Mushigihara, right?
Eryk Masters: Don’t know who else it could have been, but IAM is not going to be able to help his boys!
The Scoundrels are fighting back, starting to turn the tide. Lucas staggers Rob Sharpe while Michael drops David Fox to the ground. The brothers fist bump each other and continue the assault, showing an edge they haven’t had before!
Other Guy: Looking grim for the Boomers, E!
Eryk Masters: The Scoundrels, despite having been injured or out more recently than not, are an incredible tag team that delivered losses to teams like the Unholy Cyber Army! They shouldn’t be underestimated, and it’s a really smart thing that IAM did by aligning with them.
The crowd is starting to stir and get into it as Lucas pulls Michael into the ropes in an Irish Whip, looking to create some momentum on the rebound, but as Lucas vaults Michael into the air, Michael freaks out and gets NAILED with a HARD knee to the face. Michael crumples to the ground, having been knocked completely down and out. Lucas turns and is met with a huuuuuuge palm strike to the throat. Luke goes down coughing and gagging!
Other Guy: It’s Mushi! Mushigihara is on the scene!
Eryk Masters: And he has NEUTRALIZED the Scoundrels here! Mike Sexton is OUT. Luke might as well be out, but this trio ISN’T done. This has to feel great for them after IAM and the Scoundrels have seemingly had their number!
Fox rolls out to the ring, produces a table, and slides it into the ring. Sharpe picks it up and sets it up in the middle, as Mushigihara looks on, pleased. Fox goes over and drags Luke Sexton to his feet and just feeds him to Mushigihara who doubles him over and delivers a hard spike powerbomb THROUGH the table! The fans go nuts! They’re not done! While Lucas is writhing in pain, Fox is grabbing Michael Sexton and he sends him to Mushigihara as well!
Eryk Masters: Oh nooooo. This is gonna hurt!
With deliberate and immediate motion, Mushigihara swings Michael Sexton up and brings him back down with a SECOND POWERBOMB RIGHT ON TOP OF LUCAS SEXTON! THE BROTHERS ARE OUT COLD! The Boomer Shooters and Mushigihara stand tall, clasping each other’s hands and standing over the fallen former tag team champions!
Other Guy: We’re gonna need some help out here for the boys, though!
Eryk Masters: Just absolute decimation. They demolished those two, and from the looks of it, demolished IAM as well. We’re going to get this cleaned up, and then we’ll be back for more SHOOT Project action!
Timothy Roy’s eyes are locked to the ground, Airpods firmly in his ears as he drowns out every possible distraction on the way from his locker room to the arena of the Epicenter.
A man of his size and presence is enough to part the concourse like Moses – at least for the stagehands, crew, and various security on site. But, at least one person didn’t catch the memo as a hand finds its way on top of Tim’s shoulder.
Stopping immediately, Tim turns – his eyes set to burn a hole into the person on the other end of that arm – only to find a familiar face in X-Calibur.
X sports a pair of cadet gray breakaway Under Armour snap pants and a black tank top with the “Iron King Ale” logo from his Vegas distillery. He wears a black SnapBack SHOOT Project hat— with the spartan helmet in gold— backwards as he nods at Tim.
X-Calibur: Hey, Tim. Just wanna say good luck in your match tonight. Tryin’ to take that strap off of Azraith DeMitri in his first title defense is no easy task, but if anyone’s up for it? I’d wager it’d be you.
Tim tries to play off his irritation as he plays nice and nods.
Timothy Roy: I appreciate that. I’ve tried to keep telling myself it’s just another match, but that doesn’t seem to settle my stomach.
X-Calibur: Nope. It never will, either. No matter how old you get, the butterflies will always be there.
X looks Tim up and down, nodding.
X-Calibur: I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think Maverick would be proud.
Tim grunts and shifts his weight uncomfortably as his tone changes.
Timothy Roy: On that note… have you learned anything more about whomever is playing these games recently? Seems that the shadows are a popular breeding ground as of late – given what happened to Dan Stein and all. Everyone’s a bit on edge.
X-Calibur: Nope. Not a fuckin’ clue. To be honest, I haven’t given it a ton of thought. I should, but… ehhh. You know, I’ve been around the block more times than fuckin’ Jenny, and this shit always ends up being the same deal.
He pauses, looking around at the various personnel on site.
X-Calibur: Some fuckin’ asshole from the past— my past, in this case, it seems—wants to make a huuuge return by causing a little civil unrest in the locker room. I don’t give a fuck if it’s TMB or Mephisto. Fact is, this coward obviously isn’t ready to give up his identity. But when he is? I’ll be right there, ready to put him in the fuckin’ dirt before he can touch both feet on the ground.
Tim clearly continues to try and get a read on X, but rather than force the issue he simply nods and then gestures toward the rampway.
Timothy Roy: Got a bit of an appointment I can’t be late for. You understand; but….
Timothy Roy: Once tonight is over – win or lose – let’s connect soon and compare notes. More and more I’ve been thinking… you and I?
X-Calibur looks on intently.
Timothy Roy: Sooner or later… we might end up needing each other’s backs. Or at least, I think we need to know where we each stand if this mysterious individual seems to know quite a bit about my family, as well. That’s worth digging into.
X-Calibur: I agree. It’s inevitable really. And I don’t mean that in the sense that I wouldn’t want to have your back, either. It’s just.. this whole thing is a bit frustrating. I came back to fight and win championships until my body can’t go no more. But… yeah, man. Better having each other’s backs then being at each other’s throats. Haha.
Tim squints slightly at X-Calibur’s choice of words before letting it go and gesturing that he needs to be going. X holds up his hands defensively and steps back.
X-Calibur: Get it done. Become SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion. Make ‘em eat their words for ever doubting a Roy.
Tim gives a thumbs up and then reapplies his air pods before turning his back on X-Calibur – his attention firmly focused on Azraith DeMitri and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Timothy Roy Vs. Azraith DeMitri (c)
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The match bell rings as a tired, but victorious Azraith DeMitri rises from the mat in victory and breathing heavily as Timothy Roy’s gaze remains focused on the arena ceiling.
Eryk Masters: And the Heavyweight Championship remains in the hands of Azraith DeMitri as he seemingly heads on a collision course with Laura Seton at Redemption in just a few weeks!
Other Guy: The hall-of-famer continues to cement his legacy in both SHOOT and the industry by taking down a very formidable opponent in Timothy Roy that had to be an emotional battle for both men.
Azraith looks down at Tim as he tries to push himself up. The champion extends his hand to help Tim up as the crowd buzzes. Tim closes his eyes but cracks a smile as he accepts the offer and gets pulled to his feet by his perennial rival-turned-friend.
The crowd roars as the pair exchange some words before Tim gives Azraith a congratulatory pat on the back and turns away to leave the ring. As he does, Azraith raises the SHOOT Heavyweight Championship above his head, taking in the cheers from the fans as the show ends and fades to black.