Void Vs. Ignatius Albert Martin
“Give me your Queens.”
“Go Fish yourself.”
“I don’t think that’s physically possible.”
“Anything is possible if you believe in yourself!”
Four voices carry through the SHOOT Project Epicenter as Lindsay Troy, Teresa Ames, Ayumi Seppuku, and Kayden Paulton sit around a folding table with a deck of playing cards.
A stack of dollar bills sit in the center as Teresa reaches into the deck and pulls a card from the central deck into her hand.
Lindsay Troy: Sorry T. Only Queens I see here are the ones holding the cards. No offense, Kayden.
Kayden Paulton: Oh no worries, it’s all good! None taken. I’m comfortable with who I am. Oops. Sorry, Ayumi. Poor phrasing by myself.
Ayumi Seppuku: It’s alright; I’ll just get you back when we meet in the finals of Master of the Mat.
Teresa Ames: Quit Master of the Maturbating and name your card.
Ayumi Seppuku looks up at Teresa.
Ayumi Seppuku: Give me your fives.
Teresa Ames: Goddammitalltohell.
Teresa grudgingly hands over two fives to Ayumi who smirks and sets a full set of fives down on the table.
Lindsay Troy: So gang, how’re we feeling about being in different brackets? You know what happens if we all make it through, right?
Paulton smiles warmly.
Kayden Paulton: Then VALOR is guaranteed to have a Master of the Mat in our ranks… in addition to a Heavyweight Champion and Shut up and Fight Champion. That’d be super swell!
Lindsay Troy smiles.
Lindsay Troy: Out of the mouths of babes.
Ayumi Seppuku: Don’t say that, Lindsay… Breedlove may get jealous.
Lindsay rolls her eyes at Ayumi before a voice yells out from the distance.
Stagehand: PAULTON! First match just wrapped – you’re up!
Kayden hops up with excitement, setting his cards face down.
Kayden Paulton: Oh boy, that’s me! Sorry, everyone I’ll be RIGHT back.
Lindsay looks from Kayden to Ayumi to Teresa and smiles.
LIndsay Troy: Go kick some ass for VALOR.
Ayumi and Teresa smile as well and nod.
Ayumi Seppuku: For VALOR.
Teresa Ames: For VALOR! I feel like a throne queen when we salute like that!
Kayden claps his hands in excitement as he runs off to face the reigning Sin City Champion, Azraith DeMitri. Lindsay and Ayumi chuckle, watching, before turning back to the card table.
Teresa Ames: I knew it! Overly nicely little pecker!
Ayumi snaps her attention back to find Teresa peeking at Kayden’s cards before sinking back in her chair, arms crossed.
Teresa looks at Ayumi and then Lindsay.
Teresa Ames: Speaking of them… queens. Three of them.
Lindsay smirks and so does Ayumi.
Lindsay Troy: Ain’t no one better.
Azraith DeMitri Vs. Kayden Paulton
Azraith stands tall after an earned victory, his arm raised by the referee.
Eryk Masters: Azraith DeMitri is moving on in the tournament! A hard fought victory for sure for the Sandman!
His music is suddenly interrupted by the all too familiar…
TIIIIIIIMEEEE… IS ON MY SIIIIIIDEEE… YES IT IS!
Eryk Masters: Here we go again!
Instead of Jacob Mephisto, however, it’s the Montgomery Twins that emerge onto the entrance ramp.
Other Guy: Oh man, these two just creep me out, E.
Azraith narrows his eyes, steeling himself for a fight as the Twins advance towards the ring. Patience sways side to side, almost dancing as she walks in time with the music. Decius simply stalks forward.
Eryk Masters: Jacob Mephisto held these two back at the last Ruination, but it looks like we’re going to see them in action right here!
The pair stop at ringside, staring up at Azraith. The Sandman steps forward, but his eyes narrow when he hears the crowd ROAR boos.
Eryk Masters: Look out!
Mephisto has slithered into the ring, and Azraith WHIRLS around JUST as Mephisto spews black mist into his face! As clutches at his eyes, clearly in agony.
Other Guy: Oh man, Azraith is flying blind!
Mephisto tosses his head back and laughs before hitting the ropes and CHARGING forward!
BUT AZRAITH REACHES AN ARM OUT AND CATCHES MEPHISTO BY THE THROAT!
Eryk Masters: Oh my! Azraith DeMitri has played this game with Mephisto before and he was ready for it!
His eyes squeezed shut, Azraith’s face twists into a vicious smile as Mephisto’s eyes grow wide, betraying fear behind the pale grey.
Azraith HOISTS Mephisto up by the throat with both of his hands, catches him, and DRIVES him to the canvas with a vicious powerbomb! The Sandman wipes at his eyes and the Twins LAUNCH themselves into the ring. But Azraith bails and staggers backward up the ramp, using the distance between them as an opportunity to start clawing and wiping at his eyes.
Other Guy: Well, Mephisto tried to catch Azraith off guard here, but it backfired in a big way!
Eryk Masters: It looks like Azraith got the upper hand here, but looking at him backing up the ramp, it’s not like he’s that much better off.
Other Guy: True enough, but he’s the one walking!
The Twins tend to their fallen father. Mephisto staggers to his feet, staring daggers at the smiling Azraith DeMitri as we cut away.
Jamie Johnson Vs. Nate Robideau
The cameras cut to the backstage area where watching the action from the last match is none other than ‘the Prince of Brooklyn’ himself, Anthony Moretti. Despite not having been seen in SHOOT Project in quite a number of months after an impressive start, Moretti is here in person, and hasn’t come alone. Standing next to him is the giant figure that some may know as ‘The Problem Solver’ Joe Barone.
Moretti, who is dressed in a smart dark suit definitely doesn’t look ready for battle tonight, and he definitely doesn’t look impressed with the last match that just took place.
Anthony Moretti: “Marone! Can you believe that the crowd were actually cheering for those gavone’s out there?”
Barone doesn’t reply verbally as he stands with his arms crossed just to the side of the man he considers his boss, instead displaying his disgust with a small shake of the head and an upturned lip.
Anthony Moretti: “Just wait until the fans get a little taste of what we are all about compared to this puzzi they are getting served up… it’s gonna knock their socks off!”
Moretti gives a little chuckle to himself as he turns away from the TV monitor which is still showing replays from the last match. However as he does he walks straight into a security guard, who is standing with a ‘jobs worth’ look on his face and a hand on his radio that is clipped onto his belt. Moretti points at the security guard and looks at Barone, before looking back to the guard trying to act tough.
Anthony Moretti: “Ohh! Hey stunade, what’s this all about huh?”
Security Guard: “I am sorry sir. Neither of you have access to be here this evening, I am afraid I am going to have to ask you to leave.”
Moretti looks incensed as he glances back to ‘The Problem Solver’ again, who as always has a neutral expression on his face.
Anthony Moretti: “Va fungool! This is anti-Italian discimination! Get out of our way, don’t you know who we are?”
Moretti throws his arms up in the air in disgust, but the security guard takes it as a sign of aggression, placing a hand on Moretti’s chest and pressing the talk button on his radio which releases a burst of static.
Security Guard: “I won’t ask you again sirs. Your credentials are no longer valid to be back here, you must leave or I will call for backup.”
Moretti looks down at the greasy hand of the security guard on his expensive suit, and waves Barone forward with a flick of his finger, without even taking his eyes off of the security guard. Joe Barone quickly springs into life, as if someone has flicked a switch on a robot to turn it on, as he grabs the security guard around the throat with one hand and reaches into his pocket with the other, pulling out a wad of dyed red dollar bills.
The security guard tries to protest and struggle, but there is little he can do under the grasp of the massive Joe Barone, as the Problem Solver begins to feed the dyed red dollar bills into his mouth one at a time.
Anthony Moretti: “You stupid schifosa! Now maybe you will know who Blood Money are! Get used to seeing us a lot more on your TV screen from your hospital bed!”
Moretti laughs as Barone continues to feed the red dollar bills into the security guard’s mouth as he sinks to the floor.
Anthony Moretti: “Abasta! Let’s get out of here.”
Barone ceases immediately, tossing the last few dollars down onto the body of the whimpering security guard, before Moretti & Barone make a slow but deliberate getaway from the scene through the twisting backstage corridors.
There might still be some administrative issues to work out in terms of backstage access, but fahgettaboudit! – The team of Blood Money have made their arrival in SHOOT Project!
Jacob Mephisto Vs. Teresa Ames
Mephisto stands in the center of the ring, arms held out wide and head tilted back, soaking in the jeers of the sold out Epicenter crowd.
Eryk Masters: The comeback tour continues for Jacob Mephisto as he picks up his first ever win in a Master of the Mat tournament.
Other Guy: But, can he stay focused while he’s staring down the barrel of Azraith DeMitri?
Eryk Masters: Well, that remains to be see-OH!!
As if on cue, Mephisto is CLOBBERED from behind by none other than AZRAITH DEMITRI! Azraith’s eyes are still stained with Jacobs black mist as he snarls out indecipherable threats his way. Mephisto stumbles forward and whirls around and just like that, the war is back on! The two men immediately begin to trade heavy shots, no hesitation present in any strike.
Eryk Masters: If you’ve ever needed a definition of the term “on sight,” you’re seeing it right now with these two men. There is no love lost here!
Other Guy: That may be the understatement of the year, E! These guys hate each other!
Mephisto snatches Azraith by the hair on either side of his head and SLAMS a headbutt to the bridge of Az’s nose! Azraith staggers back and Mephisto moves in, delivering short punches to the ribs followed by a quick succession of knee strikes.
Eryk Masters: Mephisto is just so deadly with those precision strikes.
Mephisto takes a few steps back and lunges forward, BUT Azraith reaches out and SNATCHES Mephisto by the throat with BOTH hands and biels him up OVER the top rope! Mephisto hits the ring apron and then the floor!
Other Guy: Yea, but Azraith is just plain dangerous!
Azraith follows Mephisto to the floor and drags him up by the hair. Mephisto breaks the grip and delivers and BRUTAL high knee to the jaw of Azraith and the Sandman answers with a haymaker from the depths of dreamland! The two men trade increasingly wild shots, no end to the madness on sight. Their eyes burn with pure vitriol until finally Az SHOVES Mephisto back against the ringside barricade and backs up.
Eryk Masters: This isn’t gonna end well!
Azraith CHARGES forward, but Mephisto SPRINGS forward off the guardrail and uses Az’s momentum to launch him up onto his shoulders in a fireman’s carry position.
Other Guy: They’re trying to kill each other out here. We’ve got a tournament going on! Can we get this thing broken up!?
Mephisto rushes forward toward the barricade with Azraith on his shoulders, BUT Azaraith slides free behind Mephisto. Mephisto stops on a dime and turns to eat a HUGE fist to the jaw! Azraith goes to pull back, but Mephisto snatches his wrist and pulls him in, leveling him with a short-arm lariat!
Eryk Masters: Oh! Pride Before the Fall! We haven’t seen that in a while!
Mephisto drags Azraith to his feet and over to the barricade. He struggles, but muscles the Sandman up onto the barricade with him. Setting him up in a suplex position.
Other Guy: Oh, no. He’s not gonna spike Az on that barrier, is he?
Eryk Masters: Ok seriously, get security out here now!
Mephisto goes to hoist Azraith up, but Azraith fires short, vicious shots to Mephisto’s ribs, breaking his grip. The two men stand precariously balanced on the guardrail, locked together and firing shots into each other’s body.
Finally, a swarm of backstage security makes its way to ringside, trying to get the two Soldiers separated, but not quite sure how to do so.
Mephisto looks Azraith in the eye and smirks.
Mephisto: See you soon, Sandman.
Mephisto shoves himself off the barricade into the arms of the security team and Azraith stumbles and falls into the ringside crowd.
Azraith: Stop fuckin’ CALLING ME THAT!
As Azraith clambers over the barrier, rage etched on his face, the security team intervenes, holding him back as Mephisto backs up the ramp, a trickle of blood falling from his forehead.
Eryk Masters: Folks, we’ve got a lot more coming your way, stay tuned!
C.K. Butcher Vs. X-Calibur
The backstage area is a swarm. Production personnel, road agents, wrestlers who arent booked tonight in their street gear, press, and medical professionals. In the gorilla position, Nate Robideau enters from the arena proper, stumbling on uneasy feet, not quite getting his sea legs as of yet. He’s positively coated in sweat, his breath comes in ragged gasps that make his entire frame expand and contract in shuddering gulps. Some people are talking to him, but it’s too low to hear over the din of activity.
Robideau: Jamie…where’s Jamie?
A production assistant strides over, taking Nate’s arm. He begins to lead the dazed man in a direction that implies this is rote for him, something he does with regularity after these wars in the Epicenter.
Assistant: Nate we’re gonna walk over here, bud. Medical wants to look at you, standard after a match, then–
Nate’s eyes widen. He’s been here before. He stalls his movement and wrenches his arm free.
Robideau: Answer me now…where is Jamie Johnson?!
The noise dies down, as really no one is accustomed to hearing Nate bark with such an authoritative thunderclap. He eyes the production assistant for a long, silent moment, before the man points toward a locker room. Nate begins to stalk in that direction, using the wall to steady himself, leaving a wet streak across the painted cinderblock as he makes his way to the locker room. With a shove, he throws the door open.
Jamie sits, a medical professional tending to his forehead. Jamie is as soaked as Nate, half finished bottle of gatorade in hand, looking more dazed than anything. He doesn’t say anything when Nate enters, though his spine straightens a bit. The medic backs away slowly, unsure of what might happen. Nate stumbles forward, crouching down, before reaching out with both of his arms, grasping Jamie’s shoulders.
He leans forward, grasping Johnson in a tight hug that the younger competitor reciprocates. For a long moment they’re there, Nate clapping his big porterhouse mitt on Jamie’s shoulder. As they separate, Nate looks him dead in the face. His eyes wet. Smiling. Jamie is the first to pipe up, though he is cut off quickly.
Jamie: Nate, we–
Robideau: No! No. Look at me Jamie. Look at me.
He jams his finger into his student’s chest.
Robideau: No “we”. You did this. Do you understand me? Not your father, not the gang you ran with, not Eddie, not me. You did this. You. Don’t you ever…ever forget that.
He finally lets go and stands erect. Jamie, at a loss for much in the way of words, offers his coach the other half of his sports drink. Nate grasps it uneasily, then kills the whole thing in roughly two gulps. Tossing it into the trash, he grasps his friend on the shoulder once more.
Robideau: I am so fucking proud of you.
At this, Jamie actually reels. Nate chuckles hoarsely, the turns, stumbling his way out of the locker room. He’s lost too much fluid, dizziness is setting in, the lactic acid in his muscles shutting down his engine. He takes a step and stumbles full on into the wall, steadying himself shakily. Two agents get a hold of either arm and lead him away. Exhausted, broken, a loser.
But he’s smiling through it all. .
Dan sits alone in the middle of the dressing room. He wears his ring attire – pink and blue tights with a new black SHOOT Project t-shirt – but still, he sits in the dressing room. Dan shakes his head before he speaks.
Dan Stein: I should be happier about this moment. I know I should. This all started with the sonogram in this very dressing room. It nearly ended with the loss of the two most important people in my life. I should be happier that I have a chance to end this war you’ve waged on my family. I should have popped some champagne, drank until I was full and then drank some more.
But this isn’t a cause for celebration. This isn’t the moment I had envisioned when this all started. You’ve…you’ve changed me. Forever. You’ve scarred me. There’s so much I want to say to you, but so little time to say it, even here in SHOOT Project. In time, I will say what needs to be said.
I don’t owe you anything. The things you’ve done to me…to my family… I don’t owe you something to grasp on to for your own sanity. You’ve stripped me of mine, over and over and over again. I could be selfish. I could laugh at you, I could watch you squirm. I could make you beg for this match over the course of the next few weeks, but I’m, just…
If ending this war means giving you something to hold on to at the end, then, Void, I accept your challenge for a submissions match. But this isn’t ending the way you think it is. You won’t break me. Even if you tear me limb from limb, I won’t break. I won’t give in to you. I’ve proven that to you. I won’t quit. I won’t stop.
I’m going to end the Void. Once and for all.
Arthur Pleasant Vs. Lindsay Troy
A focused-looking Ayumi Seppuku stalks through the halls of the SHOOT Project Epicenter, her only thoughts being focused on defeating Dan Stein.
A camera in the back catches her as she rounds a corner and runs directly into Eryk Van Warren himself – X-Calibur.
The Iron God takes a step back and hisses out a sigh, running a hand through his hair as Ayumi locks eyes with him, not saying a word.
The two watch each other as they correct course and continue on their original paths. The camera keeps them in frame for several seconds before they become to distant to be seen in one shot…
As she approaches the curtain leading to the ring, Ayumi shakes her head in disbelief … meanwhile, X-Calibur, heading somewhere deep into the bowels of the Epicenter, does the same. A dry laugh escapes from his lips, one that Ayumi can’t hear, as he disappears into the shadows.
Dan Stein Vs. Ayumi Seppuku
Dan sits in the locker room, removing the tape from his ankles. Three powerful knocks pound on the door, THUD THUD THUD. Dan holds his side as he stands up from the chair and walks to the entrance. Dan pulls the door open, revealing…no one. Dan steps out into the hallway, accidentally kicking a large, bright, and colorful bag sat just outside of the room. Thankfully, the bag isn’t damaged.
Dan leans down, again holding his ribs, and picks up the bag. He opens the bag and feels around for a moment. Pulling out a Target gift card, Dan reads it.
To: The Steins
Note: Diaper Money
Dan spins the card in his hand and drops it back in the bag. Dan reaches back into the bag, pulling out the white box of a Fridababy Nose Frida. Dan cocks his head to the side, again dropping the box back into the bag. He then reaches in and pulls out a Teddy Bear. “Mr. Bunches” as it says on the tag on his left paw. Dan inspects the Teddy Bear, noticing a tear over the bear’s nose. Dan smirks, putting the bear back in the bag. Dan calls out down the hall.
Dan Stein: You there, Void?
No response. Dan nods. He thinks for a moment; the words don’t come easy to him. Dan’s eyes mist.
Dan Stein: Thank you.
Dan turns, gift bag in hand, and walks back into his locker room. The camera draws back down the hall, revealing Void standing in a cross hallway, listening in. Just as quickly as he’s revealed, he disappears down the said hallway, and the camera cuts.