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Revolution 209

YOU'RE WELCOME

A hush falls over the Epicenter crowd as the lights dim and the evening is set to begin; however, the calm turns to calamity as a single spotlight is cast down onto the Epicenter rampway ring to find Ayumi Seppuku sitting calmly at a baby piano.

The cameras cut to her as she playfully flips the tail of a lengthy suit behind her and adjusts her hands above the ivories before playing a familiar tune.

Ayumi Seppuku: Boy, the way Kenji Yamada fought

Every fighter had a shot

You could make it, last name or not…

Those were the days!

The crowd grows restless, booing the performance, but Ayumi continues as a collection of visual slides from the SHOOT archives begin to play on the Epicenter screen like a graduation party.

Ayumi: Didn’t need no Blackhawk Gyms,

No Judy-Es, Jacks, or Tims,
There was no need for nep-o-tis-m…

Those were the days!

And you knew who everyone was then!

There was one Johnson instead of ten.
I think the system may be bro-ken.

Ayumi smirks and takes in the vitriol from the crowd as it rains down on her from all sides.

Ayumi Seppuku: Now it’s time for a change of pace.
A chance for HEXXX to make its case
Whether heel, tweener, or babyface…
You are in our wayyyyyyssss!

 

Just as soon as Ayumi concludes her rendition “Those Were the Days,” HEXXX’s theme hits the speakers and Ayumi stands up from her seated position to give a round of applause to Lars von Bremman, Johnny Vig, and NC-17, who each emerge from the back and spread out on the top of the rampway… as they do, a laughing red devil mask appears on the video boards and the arena is bathed in blood red.

Ayumi, microphone in hand, walks over to the members of HEXXX.

Ayumi Seppuku: Tonight’s edition of Revolution, the penULTIMATE, showdown before Master of the Mat is most certainly filmed in front of a studio audience, but I think to call any of this group “live” would presume they have the cognitive capacity to think for themselves!

The crowd roars in disapproval, but Ayumi continues… feeding off of the anger and raw emotion.

Ayumi Seppuku: Because all I have seen this week is bitching and moaning about how HEXXX is ruining SHOOT Project, when really all we are trying to do is help you. Get you clean from your addiction to the SHOOT Extended Universe… and while you may not understand it now, one day you will look back and realize we did this for your own good.

The fans push back, roaring their disapproval as Ayumi just shakes her head, looking up at Johnny, Lars, and Seventeen.

Ayumi Seppuku: And from the bottom of my heart, know that I say all of this not out of spite, but out of a clear moral imperative that if SHOOT is going to survive, it needs to understand that family is more than just blood. It’s about respect. It’s about caring for one another. It is about BEING there for people when they are at rock bottom…

Ayumi lets those words hang in the air for just long enough before continuing…

Ayumi Seppuku: And there is no one, not even me, who knows that more than the member of OUR family who isn’t out here right now.

The fans grow even more agitated, ROARING in anger as an early photo of Daihm Ferguson appears on the screen. She makes a grand display of standing on the far end of the rampway, leaving a clear empty spot for one final HEXXX member, as she leans her head back and gives her best Samantha Irvin impression.

Ayumi Seppuku: SHOOT Project; it gives me the ABSOLUTE pleasure to welcome this individual out to join us this evening. While he may have been born into a family of privilege, he had to fight for everything that he had. An individual who has never wanted anything more than acceptance, but even though he thought SHOOT would be that place, he remained abandoned. By his friends the Pop Punks; by his father, Lennox Ferguson; and most importantly by the men he loved… but HEXXX provided him a family. He finally, FINALLY, understood what it means to feel wanted.

Ayumi gestures towards the back.

Ayumi Seppuku: Daihm “The Dragon” Ferguson is dead. He is no longer a beast to be tamed, but a monster who will lay siege to those who have wronged him. Introducing the return of our prodigal son… Daihm the Kingslayer.

The arena cuts to pitch black before strobing lights kick on and “Kingslayer” by Bring Me the Horizon kicks over the speakers and the fans in the arena stand up, everyone trying to take in the scene.

Hi, are you looking for the other side?

Feel like nothing ever seems quite right?

Are you circling the drain pipe?

Getting off on pain like

You’re CORRUPTED!?

 

I need to know where your loyalties lie.

Tell me, are you gonna bark or BITE?

Do you really wanna twist a knife in the belly

Of the MONsTEr?

KINGSLAYER, destroying castles in thе sky

KINGSLAYER, forevermore the apple of my eye

I’d sacrifice my life to find you, angel of the blade

KINGSLAYER, come and collect us from the night!

The members of HEXXX turn around and watch as Daihm emerges from the back, donning a red demon mask and steps forward. He holds a bloodied, splintered chair leg in his hand as the screens in the Epicenter glitch out suddenly before a new image appears:

 

Ayumi’s face turns into an emphatic grin as “The Kingslayer” steps forward to fill the empty slot lining the top of the rampway. She looks out over the crowd before gesturing over toward Daihm, Vig, Lars, and NC-17.

Ayumi Seppuku: Look closely, SHOOT Project. Because this is YOUR future. We are the monsters YOU’VE created. HEXXX is the future YOU deserve.

A HEXXX logo appears above the five members on the jumbotron as Ayumi’s smile turns to an angry sneer as an absolute torrent of boos rain down from the crowd.

Ayumi Seppuku: You’re welcome.




 

EP.: 209

DATE: 05.27.2024

ARENA: THE EPICENTER

SGDR Vs. GARDEN VS. KAINE Vs. CORTEZ

SIN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN SLOT

FOUR WAY ELIMINATION

IN THE RING

THEATERS OF WAR

Eryk Masters: Well, we’ve got a hell of a show tonight with the Master of the Mat tournaments gearing up and…

Masters stops in his tracks as “Lexapro” by VOIID fires up on the PA.

Jason Johnson: WOW! Miranda DC’s music popping up. She’s not on my runsheet, Eryk.

Eryk Masters: Well, after that second round loss in the Master of the Mat, she’s kinda been lost in the shuffle. And she’s the Premiere Champion. I don’t think that sets well with her.

The Champ walks with purpose in her Marist hoodie and blue/black striped tights, carrying her belt over the shoulder. She asks for a microphone before sliding into the ring. Scowl on her face, she taps on the mic and lifts it up.

Miranda DC: EPICENTER! I’m HOT!

The crowd cheers, half because they got what she meant, half because they think she’s hot as in attractive. Men will never learn.

Miranda DC: I thought I joined a wrestling company when I signed my SHOOT Project contract. I thought this was a place where wrestlers were just called “soldiers” because it was hip imagery. A little bit tasteless, but you get used to it. I am proud to call myself a SHOOT Project Soldier, or at least I was.

The crowd murmurs.

Miranda DC: Turns out we all are soldiers here, literal ones, fighting a war none of us wanted. NONE. OF. US.

She throws down her arm by her side, closing her eyes and breathing heavy through her nose.

Eryk Masters: I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out who she’s talking about here.

She lifts the mic back to her mouth.

Miranda DC: HEXXX. You no good putos, coming in here, endangering careers. And for what? WHAT? Ayumi, you’re mad because the Wolf Man almost ended your career? I’m sorry, did you think this was shuffleboard? 17, what did you think you were doing trying to get an elevator to the top off this? I don’t even wanna think about what Lars did to Max and Barbie. This is all just…

She pulls the mic back and turns her head away.

Eryk Masters: I think it’s all really bothering her.

Jason Johnson: Well, she’s not the only one, but I mean, she’s on the front lines.

Miranda DC: …POINTLESS.

A roar arises from the crowd.

Miranda DC: Pointless and stupid. All the people you hurt. Dan. Chick. Jamie. Max. Barbie. You turned this into a war zone, you gutless cowards. I didn’t sign up to be a literal soldier. I signed up to be a SHOOT. PROJECT. SOLDIER.

RAAAAHHHH!

Miranda DC: And since I failed at cooling off 17’s massive ego or stopping Ayumi in the tournament, it’s time to do something outside of the box. We’re going to open up on another theater.

Eryk Masters: Theater? That’s not really…

Jason Johnson: No, like theater of war, you know like World War II?

Miranda DC: If you pendejos want to wage your war against the front office, that’s fine. Go ahead. You’re going to lose anyway, whether I fight against you or not. So I’m going to do what I know how to do best. I’m going to wrestle. I’m going to use all my sheer force of will to open up a SHOOT Project where the soldiers aren’t literal. And I’m going to start at Master of the Mat.

The crowd ERUPTS.

Miranda DC: You guys wanna pretend play like you’re this righteous guerrilla faction? Go ahead. Stein already told me that the PPV is gonna see me defending my title, MY PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIP, in a scramble match against several fighters from my side of the bracket. I, no, WE are going to show you what this company is all about.

She pauses and looks at the hard cam with eyes that could pierce the thickest armor.

Miranda DC: …Wrestling!

She throws the microphone down as “Lexapro” hits on the PA again.

Eryk Masters: Miranda is pissed! I wouldn’t want to be any of the wrestlers across the ring from her at Master of the Mat.

Jason Johnson: Or maybe you would? She’s pissed off. She could be fighting off raw emotion and expose some of her weak points.

Eryk Masters: Either way, well, that was intense.

Miranda heads back to the back as the camera cuts elsewhere in the EPICENTER.

RIA VS. KAZNA Vs. BARNES VS. MORITON

PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN SLOT

FOUR WAY ELIMINATION

Backstage

LOT TO LEARN

Backstage. Kincaid is outside his locker room, pacing, stretching, already in his gear for his huge match later in the show for the Master of the Mat tournament. He’s made a hell of a run so far, including his victory over current Sin City Champion Madison Seton the night before. Now he waits for his opportunity to punch his ticket for the finals later on. His concentration however is broken…

Voice: There he is.

The crowd roars as Mr. Ho and Moriton appear on screen, still riding the high of destroying Felix Mullen the night before.

Mr. Ho: Kincaid.

The upstart immediately goes into defensive position.

Mr. Ho: Relax, young champion. We’re merely here to wish you good luck in your big match tonight. You made a long journey to get here. It’s commendable.

Kincaid: What’s your game, Ho?

Ho chuckles.

Mr. Ho: I get it. You don’t trust me. You shouldn’t. But, truthfully, you should feel honored. Yes, this began with you stealing a win from us, but do you think we’d keep pursuing you if the hunt were not worth it?

Moriton snorts and rolls his neck impatiently.

Kincaid: Look, I’m not into your bullshit, okay? Just because your whatever it is you call him failed and I didn’t, I don’t want to play into your mind games. I’ve got a huge match tonight.

Mr. Ho: As we’ve already established. Which is why my Mighty Garuda wants to shake your hand.

Moriton extends his beefy mitt towards Kincaid, who looks it up and down, before shaking his head.

Kincaid: No.

Mr. Ho: Okay, then, you have chosen the hard way.

Moriton advances with his left fist, but Kincaid bats it away and fires back with one, two, three wind up punches to the face of the massive hunk of Mongolian beef. He leans back to charge in further, but suddenly he crumples to the ground. Mr. Ho gets up after clearly chop-blocking the young wrestler.

Mr. Ho: GET HIM!

Moriton advances, lifts him up to his feet, and nails him with a STIFF Chingisiin Yalalt, leaving Kincaid laying on the corridor. Mr. Ho stands over the fallen semifinalist.

Mr. Ho: Kincaid, you were right not to trust me. You’re smarter than you look.

Moriton snorts and grunts.

Mr. Ho: But you still have a lot to learn.

 

Ho signals to his Mighty Garuda and they exit to the right as Kincaid lays writhing.

Backstage

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Eryk Masters: We’re just about set to see Vito Valentino against Mike De Los Huesos, which, in my mind, has the potential to be a real banger.

 

Jason Johnson: A representative of the Empire against an absolute classic, it should definitely be-wait, we’re getting word that there is some commotion in the back.

 

We cut to the backstage where about 20 SHOOT Project staff are attempting to keep SWARM and Devil’s Advocates apart! On the ground, being tended to by EMTs is Antonio Santos, a representative of ERID LLC. His clothes are ripped and his face and body is covered in blood. SWARM keeps trying to push through and get their hands on Arthur Pleasant while he taunts them furiously.

 

Arthur Pleasant: BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ BUZZZZZZZZZZ!! 

 

The various staff that are trying to keep SWARM and one-half of the Devil’s Advocates apart are barely succeeding. Arthur Pleasant seems satisfied, so he flashes a cheeky smile at SWARM and signals for security to allow him to leave the scene unscathed.

 

Arthur Pleasant: Spread your wings for me, fellas! (smirking) Jeffrey and I want to know if you can truly fly! 

 

Pleasant blows a kiss to CICADA and LOCUST before pantomiming whacking them with a fly swatter. The entire focus of the 20 staff is keeping SWARM from storming forward. The scene cuts back to Masters and Johnson.

 

Jason Johnson: Well, looks like that semi-final matchup just got a lot more interesting.

 

Eryk Masters: Jesus Christ, can this ring even handle those two teams when they are both out for blood?

VITO VALENTINO VS. MIKE DE LOS HUESOS

MASTER OF THE MAT SHOW MATCH

Singles Match

ELSEWHERE

THE OFFERING

The bedroom room was dimly lit, casting creepy shadows across the walls. Lexi Gold sat in her rocking chair, the creak adding an unsettling sound to the interview. She clutched her doll tightly to her chest, rocking back and forth, her eyes fixed on the interviewer, Abigail Chase, who sat across from her on a faded sofa. Abigail’s unease was showcased as she held the microphone, trying to maintain her composure.

 

Abigail Chase: Lexi, how are you feeling being reunited with your doll again?

 

Lexi’s lips formed a slight, barely noticeable smile.

 

Lexi Gold: I feel a sense of relief, Abigail. For a long time, I couldn’t eat, sleep, or breathe properly without her. She was always on my mind, even when she went missing.

 

Lexi’s voice was gentle, yet it held a hidden intensity. 

 

Lexi Gold: There were times I thought I heard her giggling from under my bed, but I knew it was just the voices in my head playing tricks on me.

 

Suddenly, the door creaked open and slammed shut by itself. Abigail jumped, her heart racing, but she forced herself to continue. 

 

Abigail Chase: That must be comforting, to have her back where she belongs.

 

Lexi’s eyes narrowed as she looked at her doll. 

 

Lexi Gold: She’s home now. Safe and sound. 

 

She sighed, her voice just a whisper.

 

Abigail Chase: I’m happy for you, Lexi, but I have to ask about Strajer and Wolf Man. They attacked you on Ruination. Did you expect that to happen?

 

Lexi’s expression darkened, and she growled under her breath. 

 

Lexi Gold: No, I didn’t expect it. Wolf Man woke up from his dazed state, found his power again, and had the nerve to attack me. It’s about time he did something worth talking about, instead of hiding behind Strajer to do his dirty work.

 

Abigail could see the intensity in Lexi’s eyes as she continued. 

 

Lexi Gold: The attack woke a new devil within me. I don’t think Wolf Man has what it takes to face that face to face, one on one.”

 

Abigail looked on with a look of confusion.  

Abigail Chase: What do you mean by that, Lexi?

 

Lexi’s nails ran through the fabric of her doll’s clothing, avoiding eye contact. 

 

Lexi Gold: I still sense his vulnerability on my skin, but I have to admit, Abby keeping him under control didn’t satisfy me enough. I want more. That’s why I’m issuing an open challenge for him to face me in the ring at Master of the Mat. Him and Strajer need to pay for the torment they’ve caused me, mentally and physically. They even tried to use my doll against me. You have a death wish if you dare attempt that.

 

Abigail sighed, trying to make sense of the situation. 

 

Abigail Chase: Had you agreed to align with them, do you think this could have been avoided?

 

Lexi scans the room. 

 

Lexi Gold: Maybe, maybe not, but I don’t regret my decision. I never understood why Strajer was so infatuated with aligning with me. I don’t benefit from being with him. I do believe I’m stronger on my own. It’s funny because when I was vulnerable, no one cared. Now that I’m content in my own world of darkness, he decides to want something from me. I’d rather laugh in his face and walk away.

 

Abigail nodded slowly, digesting Lexi’s words. 

 

Abigail Chase: Before the camera’s turned on you mentioned the attack was pure child’s play. Do you believe that when Master of the Mat comes around and Wolf Man accepts your challenge, you’ll defeat him?

 

Lexi’s eyes sparkled with a dark certainty. 

 

Lexi Gold: When the Master of the Mat arrives, and should Wolf Man agree to the match, he will find himself in the same state I’m left in half the time and that is submerged in a pool of his own blood, defeated, and with despair in his eyes.

 

The room went quiet, with only the creak of Lexi’s rocking chair breaking the silence. Abigail shivered, sensing Lexi’s intense determination and the darkness surrounding her as the room went pitch black.



#16 THE BRASS VS. #12 HEXXX

MASTERS OF THE MAT: SEMI-FINALS

TAG TEAM MATCH

Backstage

5 BUCKS

After the attack by Moriton and Ho earlier in the night, Alex Kincaid is seated backstage in the SHOOT trainers office getting checked on by the medical staff. He scowls and glares into the light one of the doctors is holding in front of his face. When he changes to the other eye, the Canadian winces. Moriton’s attack has done damage whether he wants to admit it or not. A moment later and door opens. Dan Stein and Head Trainer Trey Willet step into the room. Steins brow is furrowed with worry as closes the door behind him. Kincaid laughs bitterly and shakes his head.

 

Kincaid: This again huh? Again? What Stein, what do you have to say? You think Moriton put me down? You think because he laid an asskicking on me I can’t win the semifinals? You back here to tell me they won’t clear me?

 

Stein goes to say something but a furious Kincaid hops off the medical bed and points an accusing finger at him.

 

Kincaid: I KNOW I can win this. I know it. And if you think for a second that I’m letting that son of a bitch take away my chance at Master of the Mat you’re out of your goddamn mind. I. Will. NOT. Stop! I’m not letting him rob me! And you, you think what? You two can just take it away from me? Just walk in this room and tell me I’m too banged up, that my head is a mess that I can’t go out there and wrestle at that level? You think I can’t do it? I KNOW I can do it Stein! Ever since I got here, you’ve doubted I can get this done. After tonight NOBODY can doubt it! You hear me? NOBODY.  First, I’m coming for Master of the Mat and when I’m done I’m going to make Moriton run back to the mountains with his tail between his legs. NOBODY takes this away from me, not him, not you, NOBODY!

 

He whips past them in a fury and slams the door behind him. The camera pivots around back to Stein. Slowly, he breaks into a smirk. He turns to Trey.

 

Dan Stein: What I tell you? Almost word for word. He just needs a little encouragement sometimes. You owe me five bucks. We are in for one HELL of a semi-final…

 

Trey starts fishing through his pockets with a sigh as we’re left on a shot of Dan Stein looking like the cat who swallowed the canary, more than happy with a well played attempt to motivate one of the more difficult members of the roster. 

Backstage

OBSTACLE COURSE: PART 2

Kid Lucha: Wait…just…huff…wait…

 

Kid Lucha stops running for a moment. His partner, equally winded, turns around to him.

 

Maximo Fisico: Gotta…keep…going…

 

Kid Lucha holds up his hand.

 

Kid Lucha: We’ve been running…around…this Epicenter…for…two…shows.

 

Kid Lucha stands a little taller, still trying to catch his breath.

 

Kid Lucha: In leisure suits.

 

Kid Lucha lets out a big breath.

 

Kid Lucha: Where are we anyway?

 

Lucha Fitness continue running, though a bit slower now. They reach an intersection, where a janitor is mopping the floor. He’s covered the opposite side of the hall, and is starting to pass over the corridor to our right. Lucha Fitness turn left instead.They stop again, trying to assess their situation.

 

Maximo Fisico: Are…are we even being chased anymore?

 

Dennis Colton: COME ON OUT AND TAKE YOUR ASS KICKING!

 

Hearing the Coltons nearby, LF continues sprinting. A likely escape route appears in the form of an open elevator. Unfortunately, just before the champs can get there, two stage hands pushing a rack of folding chairs cross in front of the doors…and by the time they’ve passed, the elevator is closed.

 

Maximo Fisico: Mierda.

 

Hearing the footsteps of the Coltons, who seem to be running with great intensity despite also having been sprinting for an entire show, LF books it. There’s a stairwell farther along. Surely that will help them get away, unless there’s something weird going on with them.

 

Like an “out of order” sign.

 

Kid Lucha: HOW THE FUCK ARE STAIRS OUT OF ORDER!? LIKE HOW…THE…FUCK!?

 

Benjamin Colton: QUIT RUNNING! YOU’LL JUST DIE TIRED!

 

Both members of Lucha Fitness dart their eyes back and forth, looking for some way out.

 

Maximo Fisico: Amigo, the door!

 

Maximo points to an open door that is suspiciously dark inside, but any port in a storm, right? LF darts into the room and closes the door. In the darkness, their panting can be heard.

 

Kid Lucha: So, like, we’re good right? The Coltons are too stupid to figure out doors, righ- 

 

“Evenin’, shitbirds.”

 

A light comes on. LF turns in the direction of the voice. Let’s describe the room. There’s a desk. There’s a pair of contracts. There’s a pair of pens. And there’s a pair of imposing figures wearing very familiar ring jackets. The young lady is Jennifer Colton, MVW Women’s Champion.

 

The man in the blue jacket is a little more familiar. Especially to Maximo Fisico.

 

Nate Colton: Been meaning to have a talk with you again.

 

Kid Lucha does an audible gulp, sort of like a cartoon character. In fact, EXACTLY like a cartoon character.

 

Nate Colton: Now, I know this business comes with a lot of bullshit. And I know that no matter where you draw the line, some asshole is always willing to jump across. But watching you two cowards pull this chickenshit act week after week…well, we figured it was time to step in.

 

Jennifer smiles. She’s a pretty young woman, but that is not a pretty smile.

 

Nate Colton: Now, I’m a fair man, so I’ll give you two one last chance. Got here a couple of contracts for Masters of the Mat. Coltons vs. Lucha Fitness. Tag Titles on the line. Barbed wire ropes. Not the kind of thing I go for, but the lads have their hearts set on it. Here’s your choice–we can sign them in ink.

 

Behind the champions, a pair of shadows occupy the space in the window.

 

Nate Colton: Or we can sign them in blood.

 

Jennifer Colton: Please please please…pick the second one.

 

Maximo looks at KL. KL looks at Maximo. Maximo looks at Benny and Denny. KL look sat Nate and Jenny. Maximo look sat Nate and Jenny. KL looks at Benny and Denny. Maximo looks back at…you get the idea.

 

Maximo Fisico: Ink?

 

Kid Lucha nods.

 

Kid Lucha: Ink.

 

Lucha Fitness quickly grabs the pens and sign on the dotted line.

 

Maximo Fisico: Alright, sooo…no murder until Master of the Mat, right? ¿Nosotros somos buenos?

 

Nate Colton: I think we can–

 

Jennifer Colton: Leave the belt and you got a deal.

 

Kid Lucha: Fuck no, we’re not dropping leaving the tag belts with you. You’ve got to actually…you know…beat us.

 

Jennifer Colton: Not that belt.

 

Maximo’s eyes go wide with horror. He looks down at his Sexiest In SHOOT belt.

 

Maximo Fisico: No…

 

Maximo scans the room, pleading in his eyes. He is met with no sympathy.

 

Maximo Fisico: Voy a tener sus cabezas para esto.

 

Maximo removes the Sexiest In SHOOT belt, stares at it longingly, kisses it, and leaves it on the table.

 

Maximo Fisico: Adiós…mi corazón.

 

Dejected, Lucha Fitness head for the door that the Coltons are blocking. To the surprise of some, Benny and Denny stand aside, allowing them to pass. Once they do, the lads join the others in the makeshift office. Gotta say, they look rough. Like they’d been chasing people through the halls of the Epicenter all day.

 

Benjamin Colton: Thanks a million, you guys.

 

Dennis Colton: We really appreciate the help. These guys were giving us fits.

 

Nate Colton: Hey, you know us. Anything for family.

 

Jennifer Colton: Threatening a couple douchebags, or buying dinner for all the stage hands and custodians. All in a day’s.



#10 SWARM VS. #14 DEVIL'S ADVOCATES

MASTERS OF THE MAT: SEMI-FINALS

TAG TEAM MATCH

Backstage

YOU CAN'T. YOU WON'T. NOBODY CAN.

Mary Kelly is backstage with a motivated CK Butcher.  He’s in the final four.  He’s up against Kincaid very soon.  He’s dressed to wrestle.  He’s bouncing back and forth.  There’s an aura of intensity and purpose with his existence.  He cracks his neck to the left and right.  He is limber.  

 

Mary Kelly: CK – tonight you’re in the Master of the Mat semi-finals against one of the best fighters in SHOOT Project: Kincaid.  What are your thoughts going into this match?

 

No hesitation.  

 

CK Butcher: Kincaid is a great athlete.  He’s a phenomenal performer.  I know that what I have in front of me is a formidable challenge.  That’s not to say Quincannon, Thunderfist and Burkhalter were not.  Each round has been tough. However, I’m sure that he feels the same.  I know he does.  He’s been tested every round just as much as I have.  His challengers were and are just as strong.  He’s ready.  He and I have one thing on our minds.  Winning Master of the Mat and the World Heavyweight Championship.  Obviously – only one of us can, and will.  I respect Kincaid and I am excited to get to this point.  Let’s have ourselves a fight.

 

Mary Kelly: Where are you at mentally going into this fight?  You’ve been challenged since Warrior’s Code.  You’re stalked by your past.  You’re being hunted by Ultimo Muerte.  We’ve seen you interact with SWARM and last night it seems like the part of the chapter featuring Joey Burkhalter isn’t over.  You’re up against a lot.  How are you doing?

 

Butcher’s eyes widen with a deep inhale.

 

CK Butcher: Wow, yea.  Well, you wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t ask the tough questions.  You know what?  I feel good.  I feel as if I’m finally doing something substantial.  I’m proving that anyone can return to the ring and make it meaningful.  Like a phoenix, baby!  The feel good story of a man wanting to change his ways.  I’m not doing that because I have to.  I’m doing it because I want to.  I don’t care what God throws in my path.  He is challenging me to be stronger.  There is nothing that will stand in my way.  So, I am doing great.  

 

Mary Kelly:  You have a chance at becoming Master of the Mat.  What happens next for CK Butcher? Win or lose.

 

CK Butcher: Losing is out of the question, but I’ll tell you that result won’t stop my rise.  When I win – I will further my journey and continue the rise.  So, if you’re doing the math?  It doesn’t matter.  The result will be the same.  I’ll continue to escalate and I won’t allow anything, or anyone, to stop that.  This will be one of the many amazing stories of 2024.  The return and rise of CK Butcher.  Future SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Famer.  Mark my words.

 

Mary Kelly: CK – best of luck tonight.  Is there anything else you’d like to add before we go?

 

He turns to the camera and looks into all of our eyes.  His intensity rises.  

 

CK Butcher: Ultimo Muerte – did you hear what I said?  Nothing…nobody…not a damn thing will stop me from being the best version of CK Butcher.  I know I’m on your mind and I know you want nothing more than to see me suffer.  Good luck with that.  You can’t stop me.  You won’t stop me.  Nobody can.

 

The intensity transitions to a smile and he beams at Mary.

 

CK Butcher: Thank you Mary.

 

He nods, and departs.  Mary smiles and motions to the camera. Cut to ringside.



#14 CK BUTCHER VS. #5 KINCAID

MASTER OF THE MAT: SEMI-FINALS

SINGLES MATCH

COMMERCIAL

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Introducing the “Seton Slayer” T-Shirt – Celebrate the shocking victory over the SHOOT Project World Champion, Laura Seton, with this exclusive black tee. 

 

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Punch Line Merchandise – Because Champions Deserve the Best!

IN THE RING

FIVE MINUTES OF FACETIME

As Revolution fades back in from commercial, the lights in the Epicenter dim, and what’s becoming familiar to the SHOOT Project Faithful as the ominous chords of a doom piano begin their disconcerting symphony.

 

dunnn dunnn dunnn. dunnn dunnn dunnn. dunnn dunnn dunnn. dunnn dunnn dunnn.

 

Thunderous drum beats soon follow. A haunting voice wails through the gloom before the lyrics creep through the Epicenter’s speakers.

 

STRANGER FRUIT

HOW IT GROWS AND GROWS

WE ALL SAW THE SHOOT

BUT WE TEND TO THE ROSE

 

“Stranger Fruit” by Zeal and Ardor heralds the arrival of Vae Victis’ Co-Consul, Lindsay Troy. The Lady of the Hour strides onto the stage, dressed in street clothes, a confident smirk on her face. She briefly pauses to survey the crowd before walking down the ramp and entering the ring. A ring attendant tosses her a microphone as the lights come back up and the music fades out.

 

The Queen doesn’t wait for the crowd’s cheers to die down before speaking.

 

Lindsay Troy: Thank you, Vegas, as always, for that welcome, but I’m gonna get straight to the point here. Two weeks ago, Abigail Chase asked me if I had anything I wanted to say to Laura Seton, given my return at the end of Warrior’s Code, and I said I’d like to do it in the ring tonight. So Laura? If you don’t mind joining me out here, I’d appreciate it.

 

CAN’T READ MY

CAN’T READ MY

NO, HE CAN’T READ MY POKER FACE

(SHE’S GOT ME LIKE NOBODY)

 

And right on cue, the beginning of the chorus to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” kicks in. A blast of fireworks. A figure stepping to the center of the top of the ramp. Black boots, jeans, red leather jacket and World Heavyweight Championship over a shoulder. The crowd erupts seeing Laura Seton answer the call!

 

She strides quickly to the ring and gets a mic of her own as she steps face to face with Lindsay. A smile growing.

 

Laura Seton: My favorite co-artist. You know, because we draw so well together…

 

She has a bit of a laugh as does the crowd at the knowingly rather cheesy joke.

 

Laura Seton: I admit, my heart skipped a beat there at the end of Warrior’s Code, and it wasn’t because of my age.

 

Oh yes, Lindsay Troy, I was just as excited to see you back as everyone sitting out there was. But are you indeed here for a challenge? Or to just be a presence? For better or worse, be it stupidity or something else–

 

I hope it’s the first option!

 

The crowd lets out a healthy cheer! Lindsay smiles wryly and lifts her microphone to respond.

 

Lindsay Troy: Laura, I didn’t need to show up at the end of Warrior’s Code to be a presence. Fact is, the second I get name dropped in a news and notes report, or I get tagged on Spitter, my presence is felt, whether people like it or not. So yes, you can say I’m here for a challenge. More importantly, though…

 

The Queen points to the belt on Laura’s shoulder.

 

Lindsay Troy: I’m here for that. 

 

Laura looks at her title. Readjusts it on her shoulder for good measure. Smiles a champion’s smile.

 

Laura Seton: Well I’ve never been one to turn down a fight! Thing is, I’m already confirmed for a rematch with Joshua Breedlove for Master of the Mat, and—

 

Lindsay Troy: (interrupting, flatly) I don’t give a shit about your match with Breedlove.

 

This gets a round of loud OOOOOOHs from the crowd.

 

Lindsay Troy: Let me make something very clear. I’ve come back to SHOOT for one thing and one thing only, and it’s sitting on your shoulder right now, Laura. I will not be placated, nor will I be made to wait, nor will I stop until the SHOOT Project World Title is in my hands. That opportunity was taken from me once. It will not be taken from me twice.

 

Laura’s cheerful expression turns serious upon hearing this declaration from Lindsay. She nods her head before responding.

 

Laura Seton: Like I said, I’ve never been one to turn down a fight. If you want a shot at my SHOOT Project World Title, and if Breedlove’s fine with it, then you’ve got it!

 

“MAKE WAY FOR THE KING” 

 

Ohana Bam’s “Make Way for the King” responds to Laura’s nod, signaling the entrance of the inimitable Joshua Breedlove, who’s getting that love from the Epicenter crowd. With khaki pants on, Jordan 1’s, dark red Empire t-shirt, and a microphone in hand, Breedlove walks out onto the top of the ramp, big smile on his face.

 

Joshua Breedlove: I don’t have a lot to add to this, so I’ll keep it brief. You’ve got your issues, Lindsay, and I’ve got my incessant need to beat Laura Seton and reclaim that World Championship, but frankly? I don’t care what the match looks like at Master of the Mat and I’m ready to roll with the punches, like I said at Ruination

 

He paces the top of the ramp, considering his next words. 

 

Joshua Breedlove: So whether it’s Breedlove vs. Seton, or Breedlove vs. Troy vs. Seton, as long as the belt…

 

He motions around his waist.

 

Joshua Breedlove: And victory…

 

He raises his arm in the air, drawing a cheer.

 

Joshua Breedlove: Are on the table, then I’m here for a triple threat. What a feather in the cap it would be to end my Laura Seton curse while also defeating you and reclaiming that belt. Whether it’s Stein or Real Deal, get that paperwork to me and I’ll get this shit signed, sealed, and delivered instantly. Hope that works for everyone. 

 

One last pause.

 

Joshua Breedlove: Next World Champion out.

 

And he drops the mic, exiting back through the curtain. 

 

Laura remains stoic and proud in the ring as Breedlove leaves, while Lindsay sports her trademark smirk. The Queen looks at The Champ one last time, remarking “See you in two weeks” off-mic before taking her leave as well.

 

Eryk Masters: EXPLOSIVE. That confirms our Master of the Mat main event! Joshua Breedlove and Lindsay Troy challenge Laura Seton for the SHOOT Project World Heayvweight Championship in a TRIPLE THREAT MATCH.

 

Jason Johnson: That’s something that the whole WORLD is going to be watching. And speaking of that, our main event is for the last slot in the finals of the Master of the Mat tournament. Kincaid has already punched his ticket, will it be “The Second Nephew” Jack Johnson facing off against him or “Jerk Off Jones” NC-17?? We’ll find out next!

 

#4 JACK JOHNSON VS. #2 NC-17

MASTER OF THE MAT: SEMI-FINALS

SINGLES MATCH