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Revolution 201

IN THE RING

THE WORST OF US

 

We cut immediately to the ring, where Nate Robideau stands in his street gear–these days, Alexander Wang athleisure, some form of high-technology running shoe, and a watch worth as much as a certified pre-owned Ford Fiesta on his wrist.  He looks healthy: the break has afforded him some time to heal up, something he’d hesitate to admit he needed.  And the crowd are already very much letting him know that they don’t care for who many perceive as the biggest bully in SHOOT, showering him with boos.  He shakes his head, smirking. 

Robideau: I’d say ‘I get it’, but that’s not going to stop you–so I’ll just move forward.

Ignoring the jeers, he turns to the entrance, bellowing a thunderclap so loud into the hot mic that it actually gets some feedback from the building PA.  

Robideau: Joshua Breedlove!

At this, the crowd’s boos turn to…well, full throated cheers.  And Nate doesn’t try to silence them, doesn’t even look perturbed.  He holds his arms out, letting the cheers for his rival wash over him before speaking again. 

Robideau: Hear that?  Don’t just hear it, listen to it. 

He gives those in attendance another ten seconds of juice, before continuing. 

Robideau: Facts are, three years ago, hearing the crowd respond like that to your name would have been unthinkable.  Put all our posturing and hate for one another aside and just…consider it, right?  

He chuckles, looking down to the canvas. 

Robideau: The world is a truly surprising place. 

Nate shakes his head, straightens his posture, and begins addressing the entrance. 

Robideau: Josh, the reason I’m out here tonight making these people seethe is…well, let me start.  See, some folks come out here and just riff, right?  Speak from the heart.  I was never good at that, so I always kinda…drilled.  In front of a mirror or backstage in my own head.  Envision the outcome, come out, execute.  No different from a fight. 

He shrugs his boulder deltoids. 

Robideau: And now we’re well off the page, man.  I psyched myself up to come out and say some heinous shit to you.  But something was holding me back, for once, and it wasn’t fear.

A smirk.  

Robideau: It was pride. 

Nate pauses.  The crowd has largely stopped jeering at him, either out of interest or because he’s not being directly antagonistic.  Slowly, he begins a circular pace around the ring, his steps ponderous. 

Robideau: We’re really similar in one way: we’re both architects.  We build.  Probably the reaper breathing down our necks–we don’t hesitate in this ring, and that carries a price.  So we have to create a legacy.  And when I was walking down here, that’s the first thing I thought about.  My gym.  My students.  Izzy, Burk, and others that you’ve never seen.  I thought about Izzy nearly taking the whole Belmont.  I thought of when I was directionless and I needed somewhere to teach me discipline.  To teach me the laws of flesh and iron.  And I remember the abuse I suffered in that place and vowed that my gym would be run differently. 

He stops suddenly, rushing to the ropes that face the entrance, his hand out. 

Robideau: Now hold on, hold on.  Josh, this is normally where you’d come out and we’d get to jawing at one another.  You’d call me full of shit, I’d call you two faced, whatever–I’m imploring you, dont. 

Nate’s tone is quiet, but there’s sincerity to his words here.  No posturing. 

Robideau:  I know you think we have unfinished business.  I say our business is finished.  Not because I fear you, because even you know I absolutely don’t.  But you don’t fear me either.  What we do to one another, it’s…unhealthy, I guess.  It brings out the worst in me.  It brings out the worst in you.  And we’re both at the helm of something that’s bigger than who we are, now.  When we faced each other back in the day, you were still leading a band of miscreants and I was depressed, living in a basement, and in the midst of a losing streak–owning a gym, let alone a successful one, wasn’t even a glimmer in my eye.  But now, look at you.  Look at what you’ve built.  It is, no bullshit, impressive.  I know we don’t get a chance to be this real with one another face to face, and I think that’s the problem.  Whatever wounds there are between us, whatever bad blood, it’s just too powerful.  But we’ve got stakes.  Big stakes, in my case.  And I can’t trust myself to not focus on what’s really important at this stage with you looming in the future, I just can’t.  I’ve got two students who are really the future of not only my fight philosophy, but probably of this sport. 

With a somewhat sad smile, Nate Robideau shrugs, the move of a man who’s not making demands.  He’s not begging.  He’s not full of braggadocio or machismo.  He just seems to be speaking…plainly. 

Robideau: I can’t do them the disservice of turning into who you bring out in me.  So I’m saying we have no business, but I’m also asking you to respect my saying that and not pursue me.  You’ve got a big thing on your own horizon, Joshua.  It’s smarter for everyone involved, most importantly you, for you to focus on that. 

Now he looks to the ramp, and the air has changed.  His eyes gain a hardness, and his tone matches–now the gym leader is making a demand.  He is making an order. 

Robideau: Let Blackhawk versus the Empire die.  Here, tonight. 

He drops his hands to his side, clearly done–but stops himself.  Nate raises the mic to his lips, and though these next words feel a little foreign on his lips, he states them clearly and firmly. 

Robideau: Thank you. 

With that, he drops the mic to the mat, “Say my Grace” firing up and rattling the rivets in the building with its bass.  The crowd starts to boo him on cue, and with a smile creeping across his face, Nate Robideau raises his arms.  He’s in his element, he’s comfortable, he knows the score.  We cut away…

 

 

MIDNIGHT COWBOYS MC VS. FEAR & LOATHING

Tag Team Match

POST MATCH

BIKES & TRIKES

 

After the match, the Midnight Cowboys seemingly take over the ring…other members of their motorcycle club ride down the entrance ramp to meet their leaders at ringside, their fancy rides garnering “oohs” and “aahs” from the Epicenter. 

 

Eryk Masters: And it looks like we’re getting an impromptu car show, OG.

 

Other Guy: Right? These guys should be in a parade or something. Back in Tokyo. That exhaust is *cough, cough* overpowering! Is it safe for those things to be in the Epicenter?

 

Sho Yoshida is dapping up the new biker arrivals and conversing amicably with them in Japanese when-

 

I WANNA FEEL IT DAY AND NIGHT!

The crowd boos as “Pump It” by Electric Callboy hits. The camera briefly cuts to Sho and Tafugai, who look annoyed at the interruption. Lucha Fitness emerges on big wheel tricycles. They wear biker gear, but it’s very different. Maximo wears a pink jacket, pink boa, and lime green cowboy hat while Kid Lucha wears a lime green jacket and bright pink leather pants. Maximo is also wearing hot pink booty shorts which are largely covered up by his “Sexiest In SHOOT” championship belt. They ride around the ring on their big wheels, circling the bikers, coming close to hitting the bikes once or twice but always keeping their distance. 

 

Other Guy: What’s the…what’s the move here?

 

Eryk Masters: I’m not entirely sure, but apparently Lucha Fitness is trying to ‘out biker’ the Midnight Cowboys?

 

Lucha Fitness parks their big wheels in front of the ring bell and grab two microphones. They enter the ring and walk bow-legged, like cowboys, which may or may not be connected to bikers, but to Lucha Fitness it’s basically the same thing. Kid Lucha is the first to speak in really bad Japanese.

 

Kid Lucha: Haudeipātonā! Hey, from one metal cowboy to another, great job with…uhhhh…

 

Maximo Fisico: Lux Aeterna?

 

Kid Lucha: No, no, not them. Ummm…Bone Brigade?

 

Maximo Fisico: I don’t think Mike would wrestle twice in one night. Who…who did these guys wrestle?

 

Kid Lucha pulls a piece of paper from his jacket pocket.

 

Kid Lucha: Fear & Loathing?

 

Maximo Fisico: I thought Hunter S. Thompson was dead.

 

Kid Lucha: He is, but, hey, a wins a win.

 

At first glance, Tafugai appears annoyed with this new series of events. But when his partner Yoshida pulls out a black and mild and lights it up, he resigns himself to grab a beer from one of the other bikers and bite the cap off with his teeth. It’s almost as if Lucha Fitness is invisible. Finally, after a couple puffs of his cigarello, Yoshida begins to slow clap. One of the bikers brings him a microphone.

 

Sho Yoshida: Hardy har har. Very funny you guys. C’mon boys, time to fuck off. Must be time for “intermission”.

 

The bikers have a hardy laugh as they start exiting the ring. Yoshida is still chuckling and shaking his head. Kid Lucha looks confused, but Maximo…he’s pissed.

 

Maximo Fisico: Listen up, hijueputas. Who the fuck are you to just walk away from two physical specimens like us? What, you luck your way into a title match that you FAIL in and you think that makes you better than us. Intermission? Boys, we’re the whole show.

 

Maximo looks at Kid Lucha to say something, but Kid Lucha remains stunned and a bit out of his depth. Maximo shakes his head.

 

Maximo Fisico: You guys against us at the next Revolution. How about it? 

 

Sho stops in his tracks and glances at Tafugai. The two confer in Japanese for a moment…it’s as if they’re discussing the idea amongst each other. Sho hands Tafugai the mic.

 

Tafugai: マッサージパーラーとのとても重要なデートがある!!!!

 

The big-bellied Tafugai hands it back.

 

Sho Yoshida: Tafugai say he would if could, but he have very important date with massage parlor.

 

The smaller biker shrugs and pantomimes a crying sad face.

 

Sho Yoshida: Sorry guys.

 

Kid Lucha attempts to put the microphone to his mouth to say something.

 

Kid Lucha: Wait, you gu-

 

The motorcycle club begins to rev their motorcycle engines, creating such a cacophony of noise that it completely drowns out the PA system. Kid Lucha and Maximo both drop their microphones, KL looking dejected and confused, while Maximo simply seethes. The motorcycle gang is clearly laughing at the flamboyant pair as they drive their motorcycles up the ramp and out of the arena.

 

Eryk Masters: Well…an attempt to pick a fight with the Midnight Cowboys has resulted in Lucha Fitness being made to look foolish. 

 

Other Guy: I mean, c’mon, the silliness of these guys only gets you so far. Looks like, if they want to be treated like they feel they deserve, they’re going to have to do something big.

 

Backstage

A FRIENDLY PHONE CALL

The camera tip toes along backstage, seemingly following somebody – though we can’t quite see who yet. The only shot we’ve got is the back of somebody’s gaudy lime green dress pants as they silently creep up on a cracked door. Inside what appears to be a dressing room, Premier Champion NC-17 is calmly and coolly standing on the other side of a cell-phone, one of his tattooed arms gripping his ribs in a resting position.

 

NC-17: Mm-hm. Riiight. 

 

He’s deep in conversation, and we’re itching to know who he’s talking to. The door suddenly creaks ever so slightly as our person in the lime green accidentally leans through the frame. Seventeen looks up from his conversation, his eyes narrowing.

 

NC-17: Yah…no…hey, I appreciate YOU. Dead ass. But I gotta run.

 

The door suddenly kicks open VIOLENTLY and the camera zooms out, revealing a not-so-sneaky Johnny Vignochi – NC-17’s sleazy manager and talent agent, caught in the moment! The rail-thin grifter is wearing some sort of ridiculous thrift shop 70s suit and looks like a cartoon character as he tries to play the whole thing off…but Seventeen isn’t buying it.

 

NC-17: Do I even wanna know what the fuck you were just doing?

 

Johnny Vig: Nothin’ champ! Just checkin’ in on ya. Seein’ if ya need a sandwich or anything. Ya sounded pretty chummy there on the phone. 

 

Johnny’s arched devil eyebrows raise in intrigue.

 

Johnny Vig: Mutual acquaintance? 

 

Seventeen shrugs.

 

NC-17: Ayumi Seppuku. 

 

Vig looks annoyed that he’s not handily being filled in.

 

Johnny Vig: And?!?!?!

 

NC-17: And what? Ya nosy cunt, I was over there for Christmas dinner. Just wanted to tell her thanks.

 

Johnny Vig: You were at Ayumi Seppuku’s house for Christmas dinner?!?

 

NC-17: Yah why, did you want me to bring you some leftovers? I woulda gone over to your house but you still haven’t given me your new address. Fuck, I don’t even think I had the old one.

 

Johnny Vig: Oh, so now ya two are good buddies or something?

 

Seventeen takes a pause to consider the prompt before nodding emphatically.

 

NC-17: Yah, actually…ever since I told her about the scandalous little fuck that attacked her friend Claire Voyant and burned down her shop. But that’s ancient history…

 

Seventeen draws in close on his manager, smiling in his face menacingly.

 

NC-17: …isn’t it?

 

The “cream of obscene” clasps Johnny’s shoulder reassuringly – though Johnny doesn’t look particularly reassured – before pushing past him, chuckling to himself and leaving Vig standing there with more questions than answers.

 

NC-17: Now make yourself useful and go grab 7teeny. The people wanna hear their champion speak, and the focus groups we surveyed seem to like me more when my lil’ buddy’s standing next to me tuggin’ on my pant leg and shit.

 

The camera slowly fades as Johnny scrambles in pursuit of his boss’s orders.



ULTIMO MUERTE VS. FELIX MULLEN

Singles Match

Backstage

ALL YOU GOTTA DO...

In the back are Abigail Chase and the latest to come up just that much short against Azraith DeMitri, Laura Seton.  Dressed in her red leather jacket, jeans and black sneakers with her hair down, Laura gives a friendly acknowledgement to the camera before Abigail begins.

 

Abigail Chase: I think it does little to introduce someone whom I think we all know quite well here in SHOOT.  And yet?  Ladies and gentlemen, with me at this time, one of the most successful female competitors in SHOOT Project’s history, still going strong at 42, even if coming up short in her quest at Redemption for the World Heavyweight Championship… she is Laura Seton!

 

The crowd gives a big pop for the Midwest native.  She again returns a friendly smile.

 

Laura Seton: I thank you for that, Abby, and to all of you as well.  I’ve missed that over our holiday break!

 

The crowd cheers again before Abigail speaks once more.

 

Abigail Chase: Laura, you closed out 2023 almost the same way you fought over the year as a whole: An intense fight that came down to the wire, albeit you were on the losing end.  How have you been since?  Especially with the stakes being as high as ever for you?

 

There’s what seems like a lengthy pause as Laura stands with the mic in front of her.  She looks down, then up.  She has a small breath with a small shake of her head.

 

Laura Seton: I gotta be honest, Abigail; that’s not the fight I had in mind.  Because I stayed up late night after night thinking, strategizing, playing it all out mentally.  My big match… my match I had pined for, yearned for for so long and I FINALLY GOT IT!

 

Laura Seton gets to fight for the SHOOT World Heavyweight Championship.  The chance to defeat the legend Azraith DeMitri and possibly cement a spot in the SHOOT Hall of Fame…

 

 

And I came up short.  I let myself down.  And everyone that bought a ticket or the right to watch Redemption one way or another… I lost.  Not just a pin or submission, but I went downFor the count.  Out cold.  And I don’t know.  I just…

 

Well, I wonder–

 

A large hand comes into the shot, and gently cups the top of the microphone.  The camera pans out, and the massive, suited frame of Azraith DeMitri comes into picture.  His black/blue hair tied back into a clean, professional ponytail.  A pair of black and silver aviators hang across the top collar of his white dress shirt, no tie, top button un-buttoned.  It wasn’t overly fancy, but it was apparent that Azraith knows how to dress the part of a champion.  There’s a look of small concern on his face as he leans in a bit, causing everyone except Laura to back up, just a little bit.

 

Azraith DeMitri: Listen, I’m really not one to interrupt folks during their time, especially with how hard that time can be to get sometimes.  I…hm.

 

Azraith seems to chew on his words a moment, something that is all-together unusual for the champion that usually lets whatever’s rolling in his brain come out at any given time.

 

Azraith DeMitri: One of my first real championship chances I got, after years of working and making a name for myself, was against a guy called Greyson Blade.

 

A small smattering of cheers rip out through the stadium, and Azraith beams, but quickly shakes his head and continues.

 

Azraith DeMitri:  Anyways…I’ve fuckin’ trained, busted my ass, worked so hard and I get a chance to face this legend in my eyes, an absolute beast of a champion.  I had his number.  I knew it, everyone did.  I keep training, I watch tapes, I work with my gym team and I keep prepared all the way up until the match itself.  I step into the ring and I know.  I fuckin’ know at the very least we’re gonna have a banger of a match.  The bell rings, I lunge in…

 

…he counters with a rising knee strike, clean and flush to my jaw. I apparently went down like a sack of bricks.  I say apparently because the only other thing I remember about that whole week is waking up in a hospital the next day with a broken jaw and a concussion.  My big fuckin’ shot.  My chance at greatness, to prove to everyone that I deserved to be there.  I lasted less than thirty seconds.

 

Az shakes his head, looking down at Laura.

 

Azraith DeMitri:  You have nothing to prove to these people, Laura.  I don’t say that out of malice for you, or them, but I say it as someone who KNOWS you’ve already done it, dozens and dozens of times over by now.

 

The crowd ROARS out in agreement with that.  Laura shakes her head a little.

 

Laura Seton: Yeah, but this wasn’t “just a match.”  It wasn’t a random main event thrown together for ratings.  This was me in my dream.  The one spotlight that seemingly evaded me FOR-FUCKING-EVER!!  I finally got the chance and–

 

Az politely cuts her off.

 

Azraith DeMitri: Listen I just wanna say this and I promise you can call me an asshole in just a second.  I can’t control how you feel about your matches, and I know I look back at some of mine and wish things went differently, but I can’t tell you how immensely proud, and humbled I was to be able to share the ring with a legend like you, Laura.  You pushed me to my absolute limit, not with over the top violence of crazy stipulations, but with pure, technical wrestling and skill.  I got a good shot in and your body stopped playing nice for a few seconds, that’s all.  There’s no shame in that.  I get it though.  Shit like that sticks in your brain like a splinter…and if you don’t address it it’ll keep burying itself in.

 

Az leans back at that point, his brief interruption almost over.

 

Azraith DeMitri: So I haven’t quite squared this with everyone yet…but I’m just gonna tell you this.  If it’s eating at you…the way that went down?  

 

…all you gotta do is ask.

 

The crowd rumbles to life at the implication.  Laura raises an eyebrow.

 

Laura Seton: What, ask myself why I bombed out when I needed to impress more than ever?

 

Az almost scoffs at her being so hard on herself.  He shakes his head before giving a look of further questioning.  After a couple seconds, Laura seems to piece things together.

 

Laura Seton: Care to dance again?

 

A familiar grin grows across Az’s face, and he nods.

 

Azraith DeMitri: Hm…

 

Apparently satisfied with the question even being asked, he steps out of the interview space, and starts back on his way, talking back to Laura as he does.

 

Azraith DeMitri:  No guarantees yet, but if I have any say in the matter…that ring is ours.

 

He gives a little wave with his left hand before disappearing around a corner.  Laura watches him go, a small smile finally showing.

SWANNY VS. Mushigihara

Singles Match

IN THE RING

BLACK SHEEP SPIRIT

The upbeat synthesizers of “Gnarly” by Kodak Black starts to play over the PA, and the heat is palpable. The boos are…ridiculous. And they get louder with the appearance of NC-17 and his entourage at the top of the ramp.

 

Our SHOOT Project Premier Champion, NC-17, emerges with his agent and valet, Johnny Vignochi, as well as SHOOT Project’s newest talent and superstar…the diminutive NC-7teeny! Seventeen is wearing his trademark pink and white wrestling tights in addition to a long, flowing pink and white bathrobe. Johnny Vig is wearing the shaggy lime green suit from earlier and looks as skeletal as ever, and 7teeny…well, he’s dressed exactly the same as his larger companion, minus the Championship belt.

 

The journey down the ramp is a contentious one. There are a lot of people swearing and yelling…a ton of angry, spitting faces. The trio would look uncomfortable if it wasn’t for Seventeen’s absurd, drunken bravado; he dodges a projectile or two and returns the favor with some vicious one-liner the cameras don’t quite pick up. 

 

Eryk Masters: It looks like our Premier Champion, NC-17, has something he wants to talk about…but I dunno if this crowd’s gonna let him. They are riled UP right now OG.

 

Other Guy: And rightfully so. This guy is a piece of shit. 

 

Eryk Masters: When we last saw him at Redemption, he’d retained his newly won Premier championship against fan favorite Black Sheep Baez. Afterward, he revealed his latest companion…the 4’5 wrestling sensation NC-7teeny!

 

Other Guy: Who went on to wrestle in the Redemption Rumble, where he and his boss were both eliminated. I hope they don’t give ANY of them a microphone.

 

By the time the group of three roll in under the ropes, the Epicenter is HURLING trash. Johnny Vig and Seventeen receive microphones from ringside and wait for the jeers to die out, but the ring is filling up with debris. Somebody throws a plastic cup full of beer but NC-17 manages to catch it. He shotguns it and drops the cup.

 

NC-17: Miller High-life…the champagne of beer! Was that Ryan Samuels who threw that?

 

Seventeen and 7teeny laugh at the joke, the only two people in the Epicenter to do so. The oily-haired Johnny Vig raises the mic to his lips.

 

Johnny Vig: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! Johnny Vignochi Talent and Entertainment Agency is PROUD to PRESENT to YOOOUUU…standing at 6’2 and weighing in at a brisk 232 lbs…hailing from GARY, INDI-ANA! He is your SHOOT Project Premier CHAMPION! They call him the KING of CRASS. The little BANANA from INDIANA…THE CREEEAAAAM of OBSCEEEEENE…N-C-SEVEN-TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!

 

The audience doesn’t seem to care or acknowledge this introduction at all. They are LOUDLY booing and hissing. NC-17 is an octave higher in volume than normal when it’s his turn to speak in his signature throaty gravel.

 

NC-17: Hey, boo your fuckin’ selves, would ya? If ya didn’t buy a ticket to see me, who’d ya buy one for? Huh? Mushigihara? SWANNY? Hahaha. This place is a GHOST TOWN without me. I bring the eyeballs…I got your SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT. And tonight, you’re in luck. ‘Cause I plan on putting on another clinic in this evening’s MAIN EVENT. Against RYAN SAMUELS…the MIDWEST NIGHT-MARE.

 

Straight to business it appears, but the arena doesn’t let up. The boos rain even harder with the mention of Samuels. Seventeen plows on.

 

NC-17: Ryan Samuels, you’re a tough SOB. That Tom Selleck mustache is delectable. Your BO is legendary. The Midwest Tainthair. I’d almost rather not step into a ring with you. But I gotta do these people justice…I gotta give ‘em what they want. I’m gonna slap that fuckin’ Cookie Duster off your face and wear it on the back of my hat a la Davy Crockett. 

 

Eryk Masters: “Cookie Duster”. Can’t say I’ve heard that one yet, OG.

 

Other Guy: ….

 

The crowd hates this dude. There isn’t even a reaction to the one liner. But Seventeen keeps blathering.

 

NC-17: But truth be told, that’s not what I came out here to talk about. As your PREMIER CHAMPION, I’ve been privileged with a platform to address THOUSANDS. And I intend to use it. Ya see…I got some concerns about the way things are being run around here. I dunno if ya heard, but we got SHOOT superstars being attacked…we got SHOOT superstars being disappeared…and I would be remiss if I… 

 

But Seventeen can’t even get the words out. The Epicenter has taken up a familiar chant…they’re not interested in what this asshole has to say. And they know just the guy to come and handle him.

 

B…S…B! B…S…B! B…S…B! B…S…B!

 

Sounds like…Black Sheep Baez chants? The chant is elevated and clear now, and it has NC-17 and company FURIOUS. The premier Champion facepalms, pacing back and forth. 7teeny is yelling back at the crowd, flicking them off. Johnny Vig dodges a bag of popcorn thrown at this head.

 

Eryk Masters: Is that a BSB chant?

 

Other Guy: I think so. Not what this guy wanted to hear, I’m sure.

 

NC-17: Oh wow. Oh jeez. Teeny, pinch me. Are they…are they REALLY chanting THAT guy’s name? You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me. 

 

The chant somehow gets louder. The Epicenter is quaking. B..S..B. B…S..B. Seventeen is PISSED.

 

NC-17: I GOT SOMETHING TO SAY, God dammit, and YOU’RE gonna LISTEN. I’m your PREMIER CHAMPION. The KING OF CRASS. The CREAM of OBSCENE. You paid to see ME! I ate Black Sheep Baez’s LUNCH. I made him my-

 

Just then, “Lexapro” by VOIID hits on the PA and the crowd. Goes. NUTS.

 

Other Guy: What does SHE want?

 

Eryk Masters: The same thing I want, for this buffoon to shut up.

 

Miranda DC, dressed in a Marist hoodie and jeans, carrying her Sin City Championship and sporting a new dyed-red pixie cut. She has a microphone.

 

Miranda DC: Okay, okay, I need this all to stop. You’re just, ugh.

 

She throws her hand up and looks behind herself in disgust.

 

Other Guy: She’s definitely being performative now.

 

Miranda DC: Being a sleazebag on social media? Palling around with a little person version of yourself? And it’s not like I have a crush on BSB or anything, but right is right, and wrong is wrong. You beat him, yeah, but let’s not pretend he didn’t nearly yank your head out of your own ass in the process.

 

A cheer from the Epicenter faithful rises up.

 

Miranda DC: Baez isn’t here to defend himself. You’re just being a creep and a loser, and if there’s one thing my teachers, my mentors, mi familia have taught me, is that in wrestling like in life, you should always stand up for what’s right. And what’s right at the moment? Shutting your puto ass up!

 

The cheers get louder, prompting 7teeny to growl and snarl back at the audience. NC-17 makes a skeptical face.

 

NC-17: Oh gawd, it’s spitter come to life…another punk zoomer living in their own reality. Seems like I hurt your fee-fees kid, now you’re out here wantin’ me to mop ‘em up for ya, huh? Your teachers, your mentors, your “familia?” I’d cocksmack the whole dirty dozen, but honestly I got bigger fish to fry than you, chica, and you’re hogging MY camera time, so uhhhh…fuck off?

 

The crowd “OOOHS” before they all rain boos down on the Premier Champion.

 

Miranda DC: You know, there was a time when I’d go on the phone after this segment and call The Anglo Luchador and tell him someone was talking shit, but you know what? That’s not what tecnicos do. I am trying my hardest to being one of the good guys, and if that means interrupting your camera time because you’re kicking a man while he’s both not here and also down? Fuck that, puto. Black Sheep Baez, I hope he’s doing well wherever he is, but he’s not here. But Miranda DC, the Peach of SHOOT Project, the Puertorriquena Princess, THE SHOOT PROJECT SIN CITY CHAMPION… she’s here. And she’s ready to fight!

 

The crowd roars their approval, much to Seventeen’s chagrin. In fact, he looks like he wants nothing to do with this fight. He shakes his head and beckons his cohorts to make their exit.

 

NC-17: Well I guess that makes one of us. I don’t have time for this shit. Teeny, Vig, I guess we’ll do this another evening. Way to fuck up the vibe, lady. And 7teeny was gonna do some photo ops with the kids after I said my piece too. What a God damn shame.

 

NC-17 drops the mic in the now trashed wrestling ring as his music abruptly hits the PA, not even allowing for a rebuttal from Miranda, who simply rolls her eyes and throws up her best “talk to the hand.” The sleazy entourage make their exit through the ropes, Johnny Vig and 7teeny talking tough from a safe distance, their leader sneering and waving his hand at DC in dismissal.

 

Eryk Masters: What a letdown, OG. Somebody comes out and stands up to this guy…a fellow CHAMPION no less, and this is his response? I call chickenshit.

 

Other Guy: And look…they’re exiting through the audience, they won’t even LOOK in Miranda’s direction. This dude’s got something coming, he just doesn’t know it yet. All that edgelord shit-talk, it’s gonna catch up to him.

 

Eryk Masters: I hope so, OG, I hope so.

JOSHUA BREEDLOVE Vs. Mike DE LOS HUESOS

Singles Match

POST MATCH

A NEW FOCUS

After the fall, “Make Way for the King” hits the noise and the referee holds up Joshua Breedlove’s arm as he celebrates his victory. Breedlove looks over to Mike de Los Huesos and smirks, shaking his head. He walks over to the defeated competitor.

 

Eryk Masters: Not sure what Breedlove has in mind here, he’s… I guess he’s pretty unpredictable these days.

 

Other Guy: Unpredictable is one word for it.

 

Breedlove is standing over Mike and just offers him a hand to help him to his feet. The crowd pops for the display, and as Mike gets to his feet, the two share a respectful look. Breedlove turns to face the crowd who cheers him on, and Mike exits the ring. “Make Way for the King” begins to fade once Joshua Breedlove asks for a microphone.

 

Other Guy: We’re getting some Breedlove on the STICK~! 

 

Eryk Masters: Well heard from Nate Robideau at the top of the show, so maybe he’s going to address that? 

 

Breedlove receives the microphone and the crowd quiets, letting him speak.

 

Joshua Breedlove: Mike de los Huesos has come a long way since he started here in the SHOOT Project. I’m impressed, and you should all be impressed too. Give it up for one half of the Bone Brigade.

 

The crowd cheers!

 

Eryk Masters: What a random set of friends, OG.

 

Other Guy: You’re not kidding about that. I can’t imagine what those two might have in common.

 

Breedlove: We heard from Nate Robideau a little while ago.

 

The crowd boos, Breedlove laughs.

 

Breedlove: I know, I know. He talked about the future. Ours, SHOOT’s, and so on. Nate Robideau wants to move on, wants to put all of our nastiness behind us and focus on the future. He wants to build his gym, I want to re-establish the Empire, and he admitted that… well… we bring the worst out of each other.

 

An awkward murmur has taken over the crowd, and Breedlove holds his hand up.

 

Breedlove: Yeah, sounds weird. But hear me out. We both want something better and stronger for this business, and we’ll never be friends or even business partners or anything other than competitors in a wrestling company. The fact is, Nate brings out tendencies in me that are not representative of the person I’m trying to be and the competitor I’m trying to be. 

 

I can’t set an example if I’m not being an example.

 

Conversely, I get into Nate Robideau’s head in a way that has him losing focus on the things that matter to him and that? That’s dangerous, not just to us and our prospective organizations, but to the SHOOT Project at large. It’s never good if two of the bigger stars in a company are destructively at odds. 

 

Eryk Masters: Breedlove making a lot of mature, honest sense here.

 

Other Guy: It’s definitely a big change from what he’s been in the past. No doubt about that.

 

Breedlove: So I’ve decided that I’m going to move on from Nate Robideau, and I’m going to instead put my focus on the opportunity that I won by capturing the Redemption Rumble! 

 

The crowd pops, imaging an encounter between Azraith DeMitri and Joshua Breedlove. 

 

Breedlove: I’ve never beaten Azraith DeMitri, and there are only like one or two three time World Champions here in this company. Azraith is kind of my kryptonite, it seems, and I’ve got a lot… A LOT of work to do, but hear me.

 

At Reckoning Day, I’m going to stand across the ring from one of the most recognizable and worthy champions in this company’s history, and I’ve got to be at 200% to have a chance. I learned a long, long time ago that getting into the ring with Azraith DeMitri isn’t just a match, but it’s an encounter. 

 

I will be ready, willing, and able for that. 

 

I’ve known for a really long time now that if you want to be the king? You can’t just look like the king. You can’t just dress like the king. You can’t just act like the king.

 

You have to BE the king, and folks? 

 

I will once again run this shit. 

 

I AM the king.

 

The crowd shows him some love for that last comment, and he smiles as “Make Way for the King” kicks up again as he tosses the microphone off screen to waiting hands. 

 

Eryk Masters: Bold words from Breedlove and an interesting change of focus! 

 

Other Guy: Yeah, really surprising to me too. I thought for sure, after he made that statement at the end of Redemption, that he wanted to put Nate Robideau into the ground figuratively. It’s a nice change to see him embrace the idea of moving forward.

 

Eryk Masters: You know it, and now we know that he’s got his eyes set on Azraith DeMitri, the World Championship, and Reckoning Day. It’s going to be an exciting few weeks to come! 

NC-17 VS. RYAN SAMUELS

PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIPS CONSIDERATION

Singles Match

Backstage

FACE TO FACE

Eryk Masters: Huge win by NC-17 here, and like him or not, he’s proving to be a formidable Premier Champion.

 

Other Guy: It’ll be interesting to hear what Ryan Samuels has to say after all this. He is, after all, very prolific on Spitter. 

 

Eryk Masters: We’re getting word in the back that Azraith DeMitri and Joshua Breedlove are face to face! We’re headed back there now!

 

The atmosphere is thick, with the sense of an impending storm on the horizon. Joshua Breedlove stands on one side of the screen, his face sweaty and red from his earlier matchup, but also intense and focused. He’s changed from his gear and is in jeans and an “Empire” t-shirt, but carries a sense of Breedlove about him. Swagger, arrogance, entitlement, and determination. 

 

Across from him, standing with a beyond imposing presence, is Azraith DeMitri, the World Champion. With the exception of a slight smirk, he is stoic exuding an aura of unshakeable confidence and the battle-hardened resilience that comes with his experience.

 

They lock eyes with an unwavering gaze. The air around them seems to crackle with the electric charge of their silent confrontation. Neither man moves, no words have been exchanged or will be exchanged. Their expressions alone convey volumestell the story. Breedlove’s eyes are fiery with ambition and determination, a burning desire to once again obtain the pinnacle of wrestling glory. Azraith’s eyes, in contrast, are calm yet piercing, the eyes of a champion and Hall of Famer who has weathered countless battles.

 

Behind them, a line of security guards stands watchfu, recognizing the importance of this moment. They are only to intervene if things get physical.

 

The camera pans slowly, capturing the intense standoff from multiple angles. The only sounds are the cheers from the Epicenter crowd and the murmurs of the crew. The tension between Breedlove and DeMitri is a physical force, an unspoken dialogue of challenge and response. Breedlove’s posture suggests he’s ready to leap into the ring at any moment, while Azraith’s steady stance is immovable and enduring.

 

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, Joshua takes a step back, breaking the eye contact but not the tension. Azraith remains motionless, his gaze following Joshua as he backs away. The message is clear: the ring will be their battleground, and words will give way to action. The camera lingers for a moment on Azraith’s unwavering form before fading to black, leaving the audience in anticipation of the epic confrontation to come.