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Revolution 208

In an unexpected turn of events, Lexi Gold and Străjer found themselves trapped within Lexi’s own mirror maze. This time, the tables were turned, with Lexi usually being the one to trap her adversaries within its confines. However, to her dismay, she found herself without control over the situation. 


As Lexi rose from the ground, she took in her surroundings. Gigantic real spiders hanging from the ceiling, beds suspended in mid-air, and mirrors surrounding them from every angle. Just a few examples of creepy attractions. While everything appeared normal to her, the reversal of roles didn’t sit well with her.

She saw a similarly confused-looking Străjer trying to get to his feet. Fueled by anger, she crept up behind Străjer, wrapping a chain around his neck and applying pressure, determined to regain control of her sanctuary, leaving him struggling for air. 


Lexi Gold: Welcome to my domain. You thought you could outwit the queen of mind games, but now you see where your schemes have led you.

Străjer couldn’t speak; his throat was closed off by the chains, but he managed to grab his staff and tapped it on the ground. Except rather than glowing red, or green, or purple, it remained desaturated and cold.

Lexi Gold: Well, that’s an added bonus!

Lexi tightened the chains, forcing Străjer to flail wildly. However, Lexi began to lose her balance and fell back, landing on her butt. This gave Străjer the opportunity to unwrap the chains around his neck and escape through the maze. His frail body moved surprisingly quickly as he tried to lose Lexi, who had gotten up and started chasing him down.

As she tried to catch up, a giant spider jumped on Lexi’s back, but she ignored it as her legs picked up speed in search of Străjer. She looked from left to right, seeing a lengthy, but empty hallway, lined with mirrors. She cursed openly and opted to go left, but as she did, she tripped and tumbled over Străjer’s staff!

She looked up and saw the staff quickly get pulled up as Străjer’s vanished into the shadows. Lexi screamed in frustration as Străjer’s voice could be heard, panting, but with a bit of a jovial tone.

Dr. Străjer: You continue to surprise me, Ms. Gold. What a wonderful playground! I am even more disappointed you seem to be so resistant to leveraging your talents — under my tutelage of course.


Lexi couldn’t see Străjer, but could tell he had walked straight into her two large pythons. They would serve as an obstacle and block his forward momentum with their menacing fangs. 


Lexi smirked, feeling more confident, as she moved toward the sounds of struggle. Unhappy by the threat he posed to their owner, they coiled around his legs, while she watched from a distance, laughing evilly.


Lexi Gold: What’s a playground without some snakes, right? Let’s see you try to get out of this one. 


Dr. Străjer: You forget my dear, I am a trained beast master. With or without the assistance of the Aether.


Străjer waved his hand once, with little effect. Lexi began to close the distance, the doctor now in her sightlines; however, she watched in shock as Străjer waved his hand once more. This time, he raised his scepter and, like Moses parting the Red Sea, the snakes split off and let him pass.


Lexi watched with anger as Străjer pivoted right and vanished again into darkness. Thankfully, she knew her maze and knew also that the doctor had just made a very poor decision.


Tired of the constant back-and-forth cat and mouse games, and knowing she now had the upper hand, Lexi let out a scream and charged at Străjer. As she turned the corner, she encountered her prey realizing there is nowhere left to run — reaching one of the maze’s many dead ends. Emphasis on the “dead” in this case.

Lexi launched herself violently, catching Străjer from behind and sending him stumbling forward on the ground. The older man was surprisingly spry, but ultimately unable to handle the force of Lexi’s momentum. She mounted Străjer, delivering vicious strikes against the back of his spine all while he grunted in pain from the attack.


Lexi Gold: You son of a bitch. How dare you humiliate me like this. Do you know who the hell I’am?! I’m Lexi fucking Gold and I’ll have no problem poison the remanats of both your careers.

Străjer tried to claw his way out of Lexi’s grasp, reaching for something – anything – to brandish against her. His hand clasped around something that he pulled toward him, but by the time he got his eyes on the item he saw it was a simple, patchwork doll.

The doctor, in frustration, all while trying to squirm his way away from Lexi, threw the doll violently against the wall, which, shockingly, sent Lexi Gold flying from her position on top of his back into the hallway wall, knocking her momentarily from her position of dominance. Străjer looked at the scene, not necessarily confused… but intrigued.


Lexi fell onto her back, eyes shut tight as she lay there, unable to move from the intense pain. The fighter’s eyes shot back open suddenly as she heard a loud pounding sound above her. She looked with shock as, suddenly, images of WOLF MAN began to appear in the mirrors above her… worse than that, she could see cracks forming as the beast was slamming his fists on them from the other side.

After a few moments, she slowly got up, clutching her aching back. Determined to still seek revenge, Lexi resumed her search for Străjer, but found she didn’t need to look far as the doctor was standing just off to the her side in the “kitchen” leaning on his scepter and looking up at the image of his beast trying to break into her mirror world.

Străjer was breathing heavily, tending to his wounds as he spoke.


Dr. Străjer: Ms… Gold. I…. you… have been a fierce…. difficult… beast to tame. But you-

Lexi didn’t wait for the doctor to get another word out. Without warning she walked over to him and delivered a superkick to the head! A shocked Străjer flies backwards into one of the kitchen’s mirror lined walls and falls backward through it into darkness!

Lexi gasped for breath and stomped her foot.

Lexi Gold: Shit… I wanted to feed him to my Bandersnatch.

Lexi looked back and could see pieces of glass shattering, falling to the floor as the snarling face of WOLF MAN was projected from the other side of the mirror. Lexi sighed before looking over at a clock on the wall. Her eyes went wide as she looked down and at her surroundings.

Lexi Gold: No! Is that how long we were here? I’ve got to get back for my match!

With a sense of urgency and purpose, but seemingly little concern about WOLF MAN’s presence, Lexi made her way to a bright blue door that was placed against an adjacent wall. She could hear WOLF MAN’s howls behind her as she opened the door and stepped forward into her locker room in the Epicenter.

She could hear a thud in the distance and an even more vicious howl as she closed the door behind her, locking it from the other side, as she smiled.

Lexi Gold: Just as I had hoped… the beast has finally arrived. Now it’s time to see just how powerful this WOLF MAN truly is without his master to command him.

Lexi looked around, the destruction from earlier and broken mirror cleared from her room by the arena staff.

She frowned.

Lexi Gold: Where the hell did they take it to?

EP.: 208

DATE: 05.13.2024


The lights transition to black, and there’s an immediate buzz over the SHOOT Project Epicenter.


Followed by a symbol.


Jason Johnson: Really? The lights? What the fuck is this shit?!

Eryk Masters: What the… what is THAT?!


The SHOOT Jumbo Tron, SHOOTron, or whatever the fuck you want to call it in 2024, lights up with a harrowing symbol. The entire arena glows as red as a male hooker’s asshole after fifteen minutes with Maximo .



“Slum Planet” by 3TEETH and Mick Gordon hit the Epicenter’s sound system as the boobirds immediately start flying out.


..Taste the waste of our neon disgrace..

..Deformed children made from corporate god’s grace..

..Better wear a mask ‘cause the air melts your face..


The venomous lyrics, heavy drums, and shredding guitars progress further into the song as red light remains shining down upon the entire arena. A beat later, there’s some intrigue throughout the Epicenter. 


..My trash, hate, and lies..

..piled as high as I like..

..So welcome to my slum planet.


Samantha Coil: From Under The Midnight Sun in Barrow, Alaska, he weighs in at two hundred and twenty-five pounds… ARTHUUUUUUUUUUR PLEASAAAAAAAAANT!!!!


Pleasant, with microphone in hand, slowly saunters down to the ring. As he does so, his music fades once he begins speaking.


Arthur Pleasant: It’s so nice to see you again, Vegas!




Arthur Pleasant: Aw. And here I was anticipating another warm response like you shit-eating, diseased rodents gave me last week.




Arthur Pleasant: When I was… eliminated from Master of the Mat?




Arthur Pleasant: Hahaha. You fucking idiots are so easy. To put it in Yoda terms for all you geeky Star Wars neckbeards in the audience tonight, palm of hand, everyone resides you do!


The audience continues to let Arthur have it until Pleasant breaks through the jeering and not-so-veiled wishes of bodily harm.


Arthur Pleasant: I want you ALL to pay your respects to THE greatest–let’s call a spade a spade–serial killer in the history of man. A man who Hannibal Lecter is afraid would get inside HIS head and bite off his OWN tongue! A demon in the flesh that would make Ted Bundy’s crimes look like fucking misdemeanors! A horrible, horrible psychopath that Dahmer would blush over if he saw the crime scene photos from THIS man’s work!


Jason Johnson: Jesus Christ.

Eryk Masters: I have no words. None. Not a single, solitary, word.


Jason Johnson: Technically that was ten.


Arthur Pleasant: So without any further ado? I give you MY tag team partner! The most dangerous man alive, and the flesh-biting, soulless bastard who will win the 2024 Tag Team Master of the Mat with ME… JEFFREY… JAMES… ROBERTS!

In contrast with the music that led Arthur Pleasant out to the ring, “Goldberg Variations” by Johan Sebastian Bach plays over the speakers as four security guards step out onto the stage. The classical music takes on a haunting character in this venue, and fans stand and turn to look in both fascination and discomfort.

The guards—all four of which have the SHOOT Spartan helmet on the vests of their tactical gear—form a square as Jeffrey James Roberts steps out and stands in the middle. His hands are out front, tied with plastic zip-tie cuffs, and he walks toward the ring, keeping his eyes focused on it.

The SHOOT Sec guards keep a perimeter to make sure he can’t reach any fans and they walk with him all the way to ringside. As they reach the ring, the guard in front unlocks the cuffs and then steps back to allow Roberts to climb into the ring. He does so, then leans back against one corner, his eyes closed, head back, swaying slightly to the music.


Arthur, meanwhile, seems to be dancing around the ring in rhythm to the music, waving his hands like a conductor to an orchestra.


Eryk Masters: Have you ever in your life seen anything remotely like this, Jason? I’m talking from all the years of you working here in SHOOT Project. From appointed ownership to management to right here at the announce desk. Have you EVER seen something so macabre like what we’re seeing right now?


Jason Johnson: Never.


Once the music dies down, Arthur holds the microphone to his mouth while testing fate and putting his arm on Jeffrey’s shoulder.


Arthur Pleasant: We’re ready now! Bring our little piggies to the slaughter!



Master of the Mat: Round 1










The Epicenter- Backstage we see “Street Fighter” Scottie Barnes hyping himself up for his upcoming match with Flaco Cortez. He’s shadowboxing in the mirror and practicing wrestling moves like he’s Louden Swain in that one scene in “Vision Quest”. Scottie loves that film and its early Madonna theme song “Crazy for You”. 


???: Looking sharp, new guy! Lovin’ the focus.


He sees in the mirror a living legend: Jester Smiles stands behind him, grinning, with his green and black cane and iconic clown sneakers. He is dressed down, otherwise, in blue jeans and a black dickies shirt with the SHOOT Project helmet on the right breast.


Scottie: Holy shit, Jester Smiles! I’m like a huge fan! 


Scottie becomes embarrassed and offers him a firm handshake. 


Scottie: Cool to meet you.


Scottie attempts to play off his initial excitementJester takes his hand, bowing humbly.


Jester: Hey dude, I appreciate that. You’re the new guy, Scottie, righ-


Scottie: I gotta tell you man you were a major influence on me growing up. I watched Rev 50 live and it like, blew my mind.


Jester: Oh, hell yeah bro, that match was brutal and really defined my caree-


Scottie: Yeah man, like I modeled so much of my career on that. I used to practice swinging a chair like a sword like that for hours. Fuck man, that was cool. I used to think about you all the time when I was in BZW. It was the first time I realized wrestlers were invincible (Scottie crassly says ignoring the cane). I wanted to be just like you and hey, I kinda am!


Jester: Yeah, I mean, from the footage I’ve seen, you definitely know how to take and throw a punch. Brutal shit out there for sure, I’m glad Dan and Josh brought yo-


Scottie: Man I never forgave that pussy Corazon for throwing in the towel, I know you were passed out and near dead and all but I knew you still had a little gas left in the tank. Hey, you kinda dropped off for a few years after that? Where were you? Japan? Mexico? Probably doing something cool as hell.


Jester: You know…retired cuz I’m, like, crippled. You know, bad knees, no cartilage, one bad fall away from being in a wheelchair.


Jester meant it as a joke, but an awkward silence falls over the two. Jester shuffles his feet for a minute as Scottie thinks about how to improve the conversation.


Scottie: Anyway man, you are the Merch guy now right? I was thinking about like cool t-shirts for me like maybe one that says “Unrelenting Violence” with like a condo covered in barbed wire firing nukes from its mouth. What do you think? Any ideas for me?


Jester: Hey dude, I’m really excited to see you perform against Flaco and then, from there, you can come by my office and we’ll work something out.


Scottie: But, like, nukes firing from the mouth, right? 


Jester is quiet for a second.


Jester: I mean, uhhhh…


The conversation having come to an awkward silence they both look at each other for a moment and quietly depart.



Backstage, lots of things can happen, but in this particular moment, Joshua Breedlove is standing with Jamie Johnson, presumably talking strategy for Johnson’s Master of the Mat matchup against NC-17. 


Joshua Breedlove: I know a lot of people are saying you need to reign in your emotions for this match, but frankly man? I don’t think you should. I think you should dig into that rage. I feel like you getting a piece of that filthy P.O.S. is going to give you some much needed catharsis.


Jamie’s not giving a lot back in terms of conversation, but he does seem to be listening actively, when from behind Breedlove comes a figure.  A hand gently lands on a shoulder.  The feminine voice seems filled with a smile.


???: You sure know how to make a woman work.


Breedlove smirks, as Jamie steps away. He turns to face his “assailant” and eyes her up and down once he realizes it’s SHOOT Project’s World Heavyweight Champion, Laura Seton. He then chuckles at the comment.


Joshua Breedlove: I find that women I’m interested in like me a lot better if I’m not up in their face all the time, so I decided to just start applying that to every day life. 


He smiles.


Laura Seton: Even when something like this is involved?


She positions herself so Breedlove has a good look at the World Heavyweight Championship around her waist.


Laura Seton: You doing okay?  You seem off the last couple weeks.  Even for you.  Even for good guy you.  I get part of it.  Jamie and Jack and their situation.  But what about you?  You still wanting?








She points at the Title.


Laura Seton: Because when I hear you, the most title-wanting person here saying something like, “It’s feeling like…” in regards to one of the most wanted title in all of wrestling?



You okay?


Breedlove is honestly shocked at the question, and hadn’t even taken time to consider it, himself. He doesn’t let himself look shocked for long though, returning to his more “recognizable” countenance.


Breedlove: The way I look at it, Setes, is that I’ve experienced a lot of success in my relatively short career. I move merch, I’ve won titles, people treat me as some kind of “generational superstar”, and I love all of it. Live for it. Bleed for it. The whole nine.


He nods.


Breedlove: I do. And it would be easy to just coast for the rest of this ride, truly. I have a hall of fame career already, I have my future set with the Empire, and I could see how one might look at that and be like “oh, yeah, he’s not hungry anymore” but the reality is, Laura? I’m hungrier than ever. The problem though? 


The problem is that I’m still, in some ways, trying to figure out what 2024 Breedlove looks like, sounds like, and acts like. There’s a very instinctive part of me that sees Lindsay Troy walk out after our match and I just… want to eliminate her from the conversation immediately with the many, many ways that I have at my disposal to accomplish that.


The less instinctive part of me, the part that I’m working to sort out, is wanting to see how things play out. See what the landscape looks like, you know? Because right now, there’s just a lot of talking and a whole lot of not much else. 


He shrugs.


Breedlove: So maybe I just need to be patient in a way that I’m not used to being patient and see how it all shakes out. You know what I mean?


Laura Seton: Welcome to my career.  “Be patient.”


Now it’s her turn to shrug.


Laura Seton: You got spoiled early.  You made it work out in your favor.  You said it yourself and you’re really not wrong.  “Hall of Fame” career.  It’s just odd seeing you, for lack of a better phrase because I know it’s not the truth, appear complacent.  I know what you do want.  I know that.  It’s just odd that you aren’t… jumping right at it.  That’s not you.


It’s me, or it was anyways, but it’s not you.  That’s why I question my own resume for a Hall of Fame.  I wasn’t “jumpy” enough.  Not that that couldn’t work in your favor.


But all this aside.  You gonna go once more?  Try a fourth time?  ‘Cuz I mean… you got really close last time.  Will you spin that wheel?


Or try solving the puzzle?


Breedlove laughs.


Breedlove: I’ll never turn down a shot at any title, and certainly won’t ever turn down a shot at the World Championship. You know that if you want another dance partner and another five star match at Master of the Mat, I’m your guy. 


He thinks about tapping the World title, but instead just points at it.


Breedlove: That’s everything. Winning that again means tying the record and it means beating you. I NEED that. You sure you want to give me another chance to take it?


Laura Seton: And beating you again to prevent all that?  Another feather in my cap.


She smirks.


Laura Seton: Bring it on.








“I’m not sure if I can do this anymore…”


The location is one of the many Epicenter hallways.  This hallway is quiet, and conveniently empty.  CK Butcher paces back and forth with a cell phone in his hand.  He’s already wrestled at Ruination and is taking in an evening on Revolution to observe his comrades.  A sleeveless Batman t-shirt allows the audience to see his taped right shoulder.  A result from his match with Thunderfist, as is his visible exhaustion.  


CK Butcher:  I’m not saying that I am going to quit.  That’s out of the question.  This whole thing that I’m experiencing is enough to make anybody break.  I’m trying so hard not to break.  When do you think that we can meet?


The resonance in the man’s voice hammering through the phone’s speaker is familiar, but most in the audience wouldn’t guess who it could be.  There’s no giving it away.  The conversation continues.


Man: I’m free this week.  I’ll text you the address. But, you got this.  I’m telling you right now that you will get through this.  Just continue to fight.  This will pass.  It has to.


CK Butcher:  It has to.  Right.  I wish that would be a guarantee.  How did you do it?  How’d you get through it?  


Man: I can explain that when we meet.  Listen, you don’t know how proud we are to see that you’re back and that you’re fighting to make things right.  I can’t wait to see you win the big one.  I know it’ll happen.  It’s bound to happen.


CK Butcher:  Yea.  I need to get this monkey off my back, first.


Man: Don’t let it anchor you.  Your confidence and your focus is on an entirely different level.  I envy it.  I hope that when I return that I will have the same warm welcome and support that you’ve received.  The fans love having you back.  You’re a staple.  You’ll be in the Hall.  Mark my words.


CK Butcher: I appreciate you.  Send me that address.  I’ll hit you up.


Man: Can’t wait.  Take care, my friend.


CK Butcher: You too.


The call ends.  Butcher shakes his head and then closes his eyes.  He’s indifferent with his situation.  He pinches the bridge of his nose and mumbles something inaudible.  A relaxing, deep, inhale is followed by a stress relieving exhale.  That’s going to be necessary, because when his eyes open – he’s not alone.  


Dara Saelim: Mr. Butcher…good evening. 


Butcher tenses up as LOCUST and CICADA, SWARM, appear to his side, led by one of their representatives? Managers? Handlers? He wasn’t sure, which is why he assumed a more defensive stance, just in case these strange, white and blue masked figures wanted to get their shots in like Ultimo Muerte. 


CK Butcher: Pardon my body language, my expression, and the fact that I’m skeptical.  Interruptions haven’t gone in my favor late – –


Dara’s face begins to morph and blur, the evil laughter of the other Butcher starting to come through. However, before she fully morphs, the blurring dies down, leaving the cold, emotionless face of Dara Saelim. As this attempt fails, evil Butcher attempts to do the same to LOCUST and CICADA, but his efforts are thwarted even faster. 


Dara Saelim: We mean you no harm, Mr. Butcher. We understand you have…struggles.


Butcher seems stunned, unsure of why the nightmarish appearance of his former self is unable to take hold of these three.


Dara Saelim: I see things too, Mr. Butcher. Not in real life, but…let’s just say sleep is difficult for me. It’s very common for those of us who work within ERID LLC. to find ourselves tormented by visions, sometimes unclear what is real and what isn’t.


Dara gets closer to Butcher, the MUCH smaller and more slender Thai woman showing no fear or trepidation from a truly imposing and dangerous man. Butcher is breathing heavier, a few beads of sweat appearing from his brow.


CK Butcher: Wha…um…how? How?


Dara Saelim: You aren’t him, or, at least, you don’t have to be. You’re a good man. You may not have always been, you may not always be, but you are a good man, and you can remain the same. Be well, Mr. Butcher. ERID LLC. thinks very highly of you.


No smiles, no signs of warmth in her voice, yet there is an air of honesty in what Dara says. She walks by him, LOCUST following suit, but CICADA stays. He gets very close to Butcher, which makes Butcher tense up again. Had Dara’s words been a ploy to put him off guard? CICADA bends over to place his head against Butcher’s. Was this some kind of standoff? As this happened, Butcher noticed that CICADA’s breathing was noticeable. Was he getting amped up? Was he preparing to strike?


No…his pattern was rhythmic. 


Breath in…1…2…3…4…


Exhale. 1…2…3…4…


Breath in…1…2…3…4…


Exhale. 1…2…3…4…


Soon, Butcher noticed that he was doing it too. He breathed in for 4, exhaled for 4, in for 4, out for 4. It was a simple breathing exercise, one that he had tried in the past, but somehow, in the presence of these people who his other self could not control, he was able to find a calm. After a few moments, CICADA leaned back, no longer face to face with Butcher. He pats CK on his shoulder and proceeds to leave.


There has to be a moment to reflect.  What just happened?  CK Butcher is shocked, confused, flabbergasted.  He raises an eyebrow and turns to watch SWARM walk away, but they are already gone.  He hears only the whistling of an Epicenter custodian as he slowly shuffles backward down the hall and mops the tile floor.  The custodian pauses, and peaks over his shoulder.  


Custodian: Oh, sorry sir.  I was just – 


He drops the mop and then quickly spins around with arms wide open.  


Evil Butcher: TA-DA! Miss me?  What’s with those fuckin’ bugs, anyway?  Let’s be honest – that was fucking weird.  Heh – I mean, c’mon.  That polynesian babe was talkin’ some real serious bullshit.  Screw’em.  Screw all of’em.  Why don’t we go out there and interfere in a match.  Like the good ole’days.  Decapitate a bitch via lariatooo with that mammoth tusk you call an arm.  Hit a solid spinebuster, ya’know?  Grind some vertebrae into coke dust and then sell it to NC-17.  Heh – dude would still get high after snortin’ some bone to the dome.  You know, bud, you’d make a fantastic addition to that HEXXX group.  You’ve always wanted to reign supreme over SHOOT.  Hate to say, but they’re doing it better.  We can learn a thing or two from them…


CK turns and walks away.  He has nothing to say, and he wants nothing to do with any of it.


Evil Butcher: Ohhhh c’mon, Cee!  Where they storin’ your balls these days?  Definitely not between your legs.  Keeeeeep walkin’.  Keeeeeep walkin’.  …Where’s my fuckin’ mop…






Master of the Mat: Round 2



#2 NC-17



Adorned in a pair of cerulean blue fight shorts with black trim, black MMA gloves, and black wrestling boots, Hall of Famer and former X-Calibur wraps his hands tightly with white tape. Black Kinesiology tape holds together the joints in his left arm that’s in pain from possibly overdoing it with the training. He stands in place, throwing punches and ducking phantom return lefts and rights. His seemed to have grown since the last time we saw him in his ring gear, as has his muscles. A little trimmed down–maybe 10 or so pounds– X-Calibur finally stops. Taking a swig of mineral water from a sports bottle, X notices a man in the corner of his eye, clapping sarcastically.  


Rick Hull: Really impressed there, X. Dropped a few kilos, eh?


Rick walks over and sits down at a bench next to X-Calibur. 


Rick Hull: Looks like you are trying pretty hard for a match everyone thinks you have in the bag, eh?


X takes another swig of the mineral water.


X-Calibur: Well, yeah. I haven’t gotten to where I am today in SHOOT Project’s history books by underestimating anyone. Nothing’s in the bag until my opponent is tapping out, napping in, or crapping inside their fucking gear. Heh.


Rick leans back against the wall. 


Rick Hull: Listen X, I’m not going to sit here and put you down. You’re a legend around here. Everyone knows it. The name X-Calibur means something around here. Roy and Harv, they don’t appreciate someone of your caliber. You know how to break a person down and bend their will. Hell, if I wasn’t standing across the ring from you, I’d definitely be in the stands, watching. Game respects game, eh?


X nods.


X-Calibur: I appreciate that, Rick. But just so you know?


His 6’2”, 244lbs frame steps to Rocket Rick.


X-Calibur: Flattery will not save you come match time. I have nothing personal against you or the Punchline–even with that shit you tried to pull with me on Spitter– but this is for the Tag Team Master of the Mat. Or Masters of the Mat. Or whatever the official fucking name of this thing actually is. This tournament is a chance to prove to myself, to the WORLD, that I’m not ready to hang ‘em up yet. And my tag partner? She is the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion for a reason, and that means she’ll sniff out any bullshit you, your partner, or Ryan Samuels try to pull in this one.


He pauses, looking right into Roy’s eyes.


X-Calibur: My point is this: real recognizes real, alright. We just can’t tell if you are real. You know what I’m saying?


Rick refuses to back down from the hulking mass of 20 years of SHOOT Project experience.


Rick Hull: Right. Thing is? You’re old news. Legend? Sure. But truth is, when’s the last time you were in the headlines, X? The way I see it, you’re a thing of the past. A relic. Time to move out the old and bring in the new. I’m the new. Fresh off out of the factory, eh.


X chuckles.


Rick chuckles. 


Everyone’s a chucklefuck these days.


Rick Hull: I am very real, X. It’s true, it’s damn true. Out of all the Punch Line, I’m the one who trains day in and day out. I’m the one who runs mile after mile, trying to beat my previous day’s record. I put my blood, sweat and tears into being the absolute best, eh. You might just pin me but you will never submit me. I’m here for a fight and I’m ready, X. 


Suddenly we see “The Canadian Shield” Harv Norris poke his head into the room. 


Harv Norris: Hey b’y, it matters not if he reads these words or those. Roads are paved with sticky tar?


Rick Hull: Give me a second, Harv.

X-Calibur: Yeah, give him a second, Harv. Me too, while you’re at it.


The two-time SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion points at Rick.


X-Calibur: Actually? I don’t give a fuck, and I can assure you that neither does Laura, if either of us submits you, pins you, or criticals you into a nice little coma out there. I’m in this to win, and I will do what I have to do to ensure you, or Hemorrhoid Harv here, don’t make it to the second round. Now if either of you want to make a move and try to gain an advantage before we’re up? You best do it now, and you best make it count.


X-Calibur rolls his neck and shoulders.


X-Calibur: And, of course, you best do it while I’m alone. The Champ won’t take kindly to a couple of maple syrup drinking upstarts like yourselves trying to fuck with her tag partner.


Rick throws his hands up in a mocking self defense. 


Rick Hull: Easy, Tiger. All this was, was a little chat between opponents. Nothing more. Don’t get your poutine all dried out, eh. Harv and I will be going, okay?


Rick strolls over to the door and stops. 


Rick Hull: I gotta say, it’s really awesome to see that fire still burns in you, old man. For a second, I thought you were going soft on me, eh? Come on, Harv. 


Rick walks out of the room but Harv stands there for a minute. 


Harv Norris: Dee couch cover and hall drapes were blue. In some forin or other we need fun, b’y. 


And with that, Harv walks off. X stands there, still trying to figure out what Harv just said.


X-Calibur: What the… a hover couch and hauling grapes?


He shakes his head.


X-Calibur: Ugh. Fucking Canadians. Now I want some poutine.




It’s a serious, if not somber scene as HEXXX members Ayumi Seppuku and NC-17 stand, arms crossed, looking out from the Epicenter concourse as the ring is cleared ahead of the next round of the Master of the Mat.

NC-17 shifts anxiously on his feet as the rush of fans walk behind the pair, using the intermission to grab a snack, a drink, or use the restroom. Every so often someone will stop and do a double take, but keep walking, confident that the SHOOT’s most wanted certainly couldn’t be standing so casually out in the wild.

NC-17: This isn’t safe, Ayumi. We don’t even have Lars back yet… and you barely recovered from Ria’s attack… and….

Ayumi holds up her hand.

Ayumi Seppuku: We may be a bit… on the defensive, yes, but we still have our leverage. As I’ve said from the start, this is a war on what SHOOT has become and, in war, you have to be prepared to lose a couple battles.

NC-17 reaches up to make sure his mohawk isn’t peaking out from the baseball caps Ayumi brought for them to wear to keep incognito. Though… he’s not sure the disguise is helping.

NC-17: I trust ya, Ayumi. I do. I just… would feel better if the odds weren’t two against… twenty thousand up here.

Ayumi lets out a laugh.

Ayumi Seppuku: You know why people like them are called fans, Seventeen?

NC-17 genuinely looks curious.

Ayumi Seppuku: Because they make a lot of noise, run around in circles, and get turned on just as quickly as they get turned off.

NC-17: And they hurt you when you try to stick your fingers in them.

Ayumi Seppuku: Yes, that too… but what I’m saying is that they are fickle creatures. Especially SHOOT fans. It doesn’t matter what they think of us, or what they think they can do to us. They may boo us, but we’ve also seen what makes them cheer.

Voice One: Word. Fans suck. But I bet they’ll still enjoy what we’ve got planned for ya.

Voice Two: Please, Lou. You’ve never planned a thing in your entire life.

The HEXXX members turn around to find Lou and Jane of the Wild Ones, standing just feet from them and looking eager.

Lou: Man, those cement stairs look reeeeeally hard and angular. Think they might take a tumble?

Jane: Yeah, and if their bones are as fragile as their egos, it’ll take more than all the king’s army and all the king’s men to put Frumpy and Dumpy back together again.

NC-17 scowls, squinting his eyes.

NC-17: Who the fuck are you two?

The Wild Ones look at each other briefly before launching at Ayumi and NC-17, pushing several fans out of the way as they try to close the distance. HEXXX splits off and all the Wild Ones can get their hands on are the pair’s baseball caps. With a FWOOP! Both Ayumi’s and NC-17s high-volume hair gets turned up to 11 and the fans on the concourse all stop and form a circle pit around the four fighters.

NC-17 screams something at Ayumi whose former confidence drops suddenly as she looks legitimately nervous, eyes scouting from side to side.

Jane: That’s right, let’s OPEN THIS FUCKING PIT!

Lou: Hey, I like a no-ring match as much as the next girl…

Ayumi and NC-17 try to flee, but immediately get pushed back into the center of the pit by a roaring group of fans. Ayumi looks around and taps NC-17 on the shoulder.

Ayumi Seppuku: Fuck it. Let’s go.

Ayumi and NC-17 rush forward and begin to clash, exchanging blows with Lou and Jane, HEXXX and The Wild Ones going at it much to the fans’ shock and enjoyment. So much so that they begin to throw objects into the middle of the pit!

Jane reaches up and catches a full box of popcorn and SLAMS it into Ayumi Seppuku’s face, sending kernels flying everywhere. An angry NC-17 rushes Jane and knocks her down to the cement floor with a haymaker!

The fans boo and begin to throw more items into the pit. Water bottles, rings, shoes, literally ANYTHING you can think of. Lou and Jane begin to scoop up some of the items with Lou finding a particularly gnarly pair of stainless steel Pigpen Matsumoto-branded forks! The Wild Ones member hops on the back of NC-17 and begins to stab him mercilessly in the back only to have the prongs snap off immediately. Not stainless steel. Stainless plastic.


Lou: Fuckin’ bullshit!

NC-17: OW! Fuck! You bitch!

Ayumi shakes her head, picking popcorn kernels out of her hair as she looks up and locks eyes with Jane. Without hesitation, Ayumi reaches inside her suit jacket and pulls out a hidden weapon gifted to her from her fiance’s truck of treasures: A cattle prod.

She brandishes the item as electric sparks fly.

Ayumi Seppuku: Back up, NOW!

Lou and Jane look nervously at each other, but seem determined to keep the fight going. Ayumi raises her eyebrows and sneers before turning quickly and pulling a random fan out of the crowd, a young woman who can’t be more than 17 years old.

The young woman screams in shock as Ayumi has her in a headlock, applying pressure while holding the cattle prod dangerously close to her face. You can hear the young fan’s tears sizzling as they drop onto the electronic end of the prod as Ayumi dares the Wild Ones to make their move.


Lou and Jane step back and hold up their hands, not wanting to escalate further, as Ayumi beckons NC-17 over to her side. He quickly joins as she remains holding the fan’s head in a dangerous position, backing up through the crowd for several feet before suddenly shoving the fan forward and retreating with her partner as fast as they can through the remainder of the crowd.

Lou and Jane watch in anger and frustration over the tops of the heads of dozens of fans as they close in and try to attend to the traumatized teen. Lou flips both of her middle fingers up.


Lou: Pussies!


Jane: Should’ve waited for Cormac.


Master of the Mat: Round 1










We’re at the backstage interview set-up with Abigail Chase, who looks poised and ready to go.


Abigail Chase: Everyone, please welcome my guest, making her first appearance since her unexpected return at Warrior’s Code….Lindsay Troy!


The Faithful out in the Epicenter unleash a thunderous roar of approval as the Queen of the Ring slides into the shot, all decked out in a black, purple, gold and pink leather jacket, black jeans, and a new SHOOT Project VAE VICTIS: ROYAL TREATMENT T-shirt (on sale at the SHOOTporium now, go see Anna Daniels to get yours today).


Lindsay Troy: Abs, good to see you again.


Abigail Chase: Good to see you too. Been a long time.


Lindsay Troy: I know. But as they say, timing is everything, and the timing seemed right for me to make my return a few weeks back.


Abigail Chase: And make a return you did, after the conclusion of the heavyweight title match between Laura Seton and Joshua Breedlove. Two people you’re familiar with, have had battles with…who can forget the series of 60 minute matches between you and Laura, right?


That earns a pop from the crowd, and a thin smile from the Queen.


Abigail Chase: And obviously, you and Josh Breedlove feuded over the World Title as well.


Lindsay Troy: Yes, we did. Too bad he lost it to I.A.M. before I could beat him for it, but I suppose someone had other plans for me.


Abigail Chase: You weren’t here two weeks ago at Revolution and Ruination, and I think a lot of people were expecting you to be. There’s been quite a bit of chatter since your return, and both Breedlove and Ayumi Seppuku took the time to mention you by name, either directly or indirectly. Is there anything you want to say now, or anything you want to say to the World Heavyweight Champ, Laura Seton?


Lindsay Troy: Oh, I’ve got plenty I want to say to Ayumi. In time. Right now, she’s too busy heading up a new spoopy crew and committing legitimate crimes with the next villain of an episode of Law and Order: SVU for me to direct my attention toward, and I think Dan Stein, Real Deal, and Mira deserve a piece of her first. But, don’t worry, there’s going to come a time when Ayumi and I are gonna have a conversation that she’s not gonna like one bit. 


Abigail Chase: And Breedlove and Laura?


Lindsay Troy: What I want to say to Laura, I’d like to say to her in the ring, face to face, in two weeks, if she’s up for it. As for Josh…..


Lindsay chuckles and smirks.


Lindsay Troy: Y’know, it’s funny, Abs. Joshua Breedlove spent nearly two years running me down to anyone who’d listen about how, because I was an outsider and because I competed in other places, that I was less than here in SHOOT Project. That it somehow didn’t make me worthy of the opportunities that I worked my ass off for. That I grinded for. That I was willing to go above and beyond the call of duty for. He’d run me down on SHOOT Project programming. He’d run me down on Spitter. He’d run me down behind the scenes. But now, all of a sudden, I’m a commodity. I’m an asset. I’m gonna help elevate that next World Heavyweight Title match because of the history EYE BRING to the table between the three of us. Wild, huh Abs?


She looks at Abigail Chase, who can only offer a slight nod in agreement.


Lindsay Troy: And just think…’s all because Joshua Breedlove somehow gained some perspective. Somehow, he’s turned over a new leaf, and everybody loves him. And all it took was getting the dog shit beat out of him and feeling like he needed to stand up for a company he cared about. So weird, that a person would do that.


Another smirk.


Lindsay Troy: He should get ready to get the dog shit beat out of him again.


The Queen looks away from Abigail and casts a cold gaze at the camera.


Lindsay Troy: He and Laura both.


With one last nod to Abigail, Lindsay walks off camera, and the scene fades.


Master of the Mat: Round 2






We aren’t expecting to be backstage, but that’s where the producers have decided we need to be after hearing a massive crashing out coming from a nondescript supply closet somewhere in a random corner of the Epicenter less-traveled hallways.

A small crowd of facilities crew have gathered, having heard the sound and are debating amongst themselves who needs to open the door — suddenly, though, stepping out of said closet is none other than Dr. Străjer.

A furious-looking Străjer wipes off his suit jacket and tries to re-adjust his hat as he kicks random debris out of his way. His face is scratched up and he appears to have a welt growing on his forehead.

Străjer looks around at the gaggle of onlookers who have gathered and he immediately attempts to go for his staff, but doesn’t have it in his hand. He begins to curse in Romanian as he turns around and searches for his staff in the closet.

The crowd remains silent and confused, but jumps nervously as Străjer screams in frustration.

Doctor Străjer: It’s not HERE!? What did she do with it!? No no no no no.

An uncharacteristically nervous Străjer mumbles something else under his breath before stopping abruptly and letting out a chuckle. It starts low at first but eventually Străjer arises from the rubble with Lexi Gold’s doll; he grins wickedly as he holds the doll close to his chest.

Doctor Străjer: Yes. yes. yes… now I have you! NOW I HAVE YOU!

Străjer ignores the growing crowd, walking away at a speedy clip, clutching the doll tightly. The confused crew all rush forward to look in the closet only to find a bunch of broken shelves and a shattered mirror pushed up against the wall.

The silence is heavy for several seconds before a random crew member decides to speak up.

Crew Member: Dude must really be into collecting dolls, I guess. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Crew Member 2: Nothing at all.

Crew Member 3: Certainly not… not anything wrong… with… any of this.

The crowd collectively grows silent again.


Crew Member: Welp. Uh…. obviously nothing to see here. Let’s just… uh… make sure this door stays locked, OK? I’m already enough on edge without worrying about weirdo witch doctors popping out of closets.

Everyone nods and begins to disband as the vocal crew member walks up to the closet door, shuts it, and locks it tight.


Master of the Mat: Round 1










“You ready for this?” 


He’s standing next to his wife-to-be, Madison Seton, when the voice calls out through gorilla position. It’s his father, the Real Deal, and his laser focus is broken at the words. Madison places a hand of assurance on his lower back and takes her leave, with just Jack and Josh standing together, waiting.


Jack Johnson: I mean, honestly? No. I don’t think I am.


Real Deal: What’s got you struggling? 


Jack Johnson: Rage. 


Real Deal: You and your brother, just lots of anger in you two. Warranted anger, but anger nonetheless.


Jack Johnson: The problem isn’t really the anger. The problem is that I’m not standing across the ring from the person responsible for it. 


Real Deal nods his head, acknowledging the reference to Ayumi Seppuku and HEXXX.


Jack Johnson: And I gotta be honest, with Jamie losing to NC-17? I’m feeling the pressure.


Real Deal: That’s natural, bud. The thing is, you earned your opportunity here, you know? You beat me, you have all of the tools to beat CICADA, and then you’ve got your shot at Ayumi. 


Jack shakes his head.


Jack Johnson: Maybe, but CICADA is an intense and dangerous competitor. Seems like if you can just survive him for like 10… 15 minutes? You’ve got a decent shot. That’s what I’m working with. 


Real Deal: That how Breedlove suggested you approach it? 


Jack laughs.


Jack Johnson: Nah, Breedlove thought maybe I should throw everything I’ve got at him as quickly as possible. He said there’s nobody in SHOOT that’s faster than me right now and that’s my advantage. 


Real Deal: He’s probably not wrong about that. I don’t know about just going full boar into the dude, but you do have speed over everyone else. That’s what beat me.


Smiling, Jack turns towards the ramp entrance.


Jack Johnson: Well, you’ve got your own problems now, right? I can’t believe you and Eddie beat the Coltons and now you’ve got some rando tag team mad at you for “reasons”. 


Real Deal lets out a big exhale, then chuckles.


Real Deal: Everyone hates their boss, Jack. Doesn’t matter that we pay health insurance and the highest salary in the industry with the best merch cut for the talent… people with no business savvy are just… stupid. Mad and stupid. If it’s not “wahhh you disrespected me” it’s “the shadow forces are working against me in the dark and keeping me from glory.” Boring. 


He smiles, Jack snickers.


Real Deal: I’m gonna cue your music now, get out there and fuck him up. 


Jack Johnson: That’s the plan.


Master of the Mat: Round 2






She emerges from her locker room. Unlike earlier, seeing her in street clothes with Joshua Breedlove, Laura Seton is now dressed ready to rumble. The World Heavyweight Championship is now slung over her right shoulder. She looks in both directions, either making sure the coast is clear…


…or looking for someone.


After narrowing her gaze, she seems to find him. A grin comes to her face as she walks towards, and places a hand, with a slightly firm grasp, upon his upper shoulder.


X-Calibur: You know, there was a time in my career when someone who walked up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder, I’d probably turn around and clock them in the mouth.


X smirks, and turns around.

X-Calibur: But how can I when the hand that’s touched me belongs to the best tag team partner an over-the-hill, washed up guy like me can have?  


Laura saw more than enough of history.  She nearly busts a hearty laugh.


Laura Seton: Better than the other schmuck from Profanity & Insanity?


She turns and winks, as if breaking the 4th wall.


Laura Seton: Sorry, Loco.


X cackles at the thought.


X-Calibur: Don’t be. Loco knows his place in the X tag team pecking order. He’s somewhere between Cade Sydal and, uh, that one time I teamed with Justin Moreno. At least, I think it was Justin Moreno? Maybe that was Crash? I know it wasn’t Azrael because he didn’t reek of pomegranates and cocaine.


Laura Seton: I think I’m the only one that Az has been sober around for longer than two weeks straight.  Anyways… you’re being hard on yourself.  You’ll be fine.  You always figure it out quickly when you return.


X-Calibur: Yeah, maybe. I just… this feels different. Woke up needing Rocktape, as you can see on the back of my shoulder. Popped some ibuprofen and about three tylenol. This, all before we even have our first match. Oh, and Esper saw me with the Rocktape and pain meds and asked if I was going to be okay. It just… did something to me, Laura. It… it shook me. To my core.  


Laura Seton: I guess I get the part with Esper.  That would surely hit home if it were me.  I mean, you know yourself best. … Right?  I can’t really say anything since I’ve never used more than like two Tylenol at a given point.  Just–


She puts a hand on his shoulder, almost more reassuringly.


Laura Seton: You’re 48.  Life’s fast.  You didn’t seem like you slowed much last time.  I mean, I had moments when you were facing Azraith at Revolution 200 that it’d be me and you fighting for this…


She readjusts her shoulder to show off the belt.


Laura Seton: And that’s why I trusted you back in November.  You know what’s up in wrestling.  For better or worse.  You trust yourself?  We team up again two weeks from now.


X, feeling better now, thanks to Laura’s kind words, nods his head. He’d be remiss if he didn’t 


X-Calibur: You’re goddamn right we team up again in 2 weeks. We team up all the way through Master of the Mat where we become SHOOT Project World Tag Team Champions. Period. 


Pausing, he lets out a chuckle. 


X-Calibur: Oh, And THAT match?! Versus Azraith? I might’ve lost, but I carried that big bag of sand to a Match of the Year award! That’s nothing to sneeze at considering how many AMAZING matches SHOOT had in 2023. 


She lays a hand on his lower arm.


Laura Seton: There’s the confidence I knew was in there.  See ya in the ring.


X looks down at her hand on his lower arm, and then back up at Laura’s eyes.


X-Calibur: Oh. Yeah. For sure. I’ll, uh, I’ll see you out there.


Unsure of what to make of what just happened, X pulls away and makes his way to the Gorilla position.


Laura Seton: Uh… You good?  Did I hit a sore spot or something?


X-Calibur: Oh, I’m good. Nah, just nerves I guess, hun. Errr, I’ll see you out there Champ!


X looks around nervously, prepared to head out to the ring, leaving Laura there to marinate about X’s sudden mannerisms. 


Master of the Mat: Round 1











Eryk Masters: Well, we’re about to find out who will be taking the final slot in the Premier Block of Master of the Mat as Ayumi Seppuku and Miranda DC are set to square off. Frankly, I hope Miranda destroys Ayumi tonight.

Jason Johnson: You know where my loyalties lie, Eryk, but it despite being the reigning Premier Champion, it will NOT be easy for-

Eryk Masters: Wait.. what?

Jason Johnson: Is someone talking to you? I don’t hear anything. Do you have a special headset!?

Eryk Masters: We need to cut to the back! I think… oh! Jesus!

The feed moves to the back as a running camera shot approaches an assault in progress as Chick Grillbreast is wailing on someone near the loading dock!

A roar of anger and frustration emanates from Chick’s gullet as he lifts up and tosses a red-masked figure into a pile of debris stacked against the wall! The figure’s body crashes through a wooden palate and Chick doesn’t even wait for them to begin moving again before he approaches and grabs a stray 2×4


Chick raises the 2×4 and brings it down with incredible force as the figure manages to roll out of the way just in time. The wood plank hits the cement floor and splinters into pieces. Chick stalks his prey and then runs full bore at his victim SPEARING them out of their shoes and onto the floor below.

Chick mounts the red-masked figure and raises his arms, hands clasped together as he looks to drive a finishing blow, but as he drops his muscular meat sacks towards the prone figure, glass shatters behind him, spraying everywhere as the camera zooms out to see LARS VON BREMEN holding not one but TWO broken fluorescent light tubes.

The bodyguard and persona non grata roster member lifts both tubes up and goes to STAB them directly into Chick’s deltoids. Chick pivots, the glass scratching his shoulder as he rolls out of the way and kicks at Lars’ shin.

Lars is unphased as he snarls, throwing the broken glass tubes directly at Chick Grillbreast! Chick swats them away like unnecessary asparagus spears on top of a perfectly good Porterhouse as they fall and shatter on the floor.

Chick Grillbreast: AH! Lars Von Barbenheimer! Tell me where DAIHM is! I know you’re working with that adult film star and masculine Japanese lady holding my friend ransom!

Lars smirks and pounds his hand into his palm, cracking his knuckles. As he does, from behind him NC-17 appears alongside Johnny Vig. The red-masked figure behinds to stir as well, grasping for something to use as a weapon as Chick looks around, realizing he’s outnumbered now four-to-one.

Chick screams in frustration as he quickly assesses his chances and begins to back away from the members of HEXXX.

Chick Grillbreast: I will MAKE YOU TELL ME! I WILL!

The protein-rich SHOOT Soldier makes his forced exit as NC-17 and Vig watch until he’s completely out of sight.

NC-17: Nice to have ya back, Lars. Needed to even the odds a bit against these… sycophants.

Vig looks over at NC-17.

Johnny Vig: Where did you learn that word?

NC-17: I’ve got a Penthouse Word-a-Day calendar, leave me alone.

Lars reaches down to help the red-masked figure up, and as he does, the mask slips ever so slightly from the person’s face — enough to cause Lars to stop mid-hoist. He stares as the figure readjusts the mask, securing it back in place.

Lars turns to look back at NC-17 and Vig as the figure pulls themselves up using Lars’ arm as a fulcrum and calmly dusts themselves off.

Lars scoffs, shaking his head at NC-17 and Vig.

Lars: You’re all fuckin’ out of your minds… .

Lars looks back at the red-masked figure who stares back at him with an unreadable expression behind his demonic visage. He nods affirmatively with smile.

Lars: I can work with that.

NC-17 chuckles as the Cream of the Obscene cocks his head over his shoulder, gesturing for the members of HEXXX to follow.

NC-17: Come on, we’ve got a main event to catch.


Master of the Mat: Round 2