Table of Contents
We cut backstage where the new Iron Fist Champion, Jacob Mephisto, stalks down the hall. The fluorescent lights of the Epicenter gleam off the golden faceplate, accentuating the details and causing the white leather to almost shimmer.
Mephisto takes in the general surroundings, not focusing on one particular thing or person as he passes. The usual hustle and bustle of the area has gone quiet, catching his attention.
The Patriarch pauses, eyes narrowing for a moment. He notices the tense silence and eyes of several road agents and backstage employees staring not just at him, but at a space behind him. He turns slowly, coming face to face with Azraith DiMitri, just inches away.
The Patriarch and The Sandman stare at one another for a long moment. Pale grey eyes meet violent blues. The very breath of the room seems held as the two mortal enemies stand mere inches from one another, neither relenting, neither backing down.
Azraith’s eyes flit to the championship on Mephisto’s shoulder for half a second, no more. The Sandman also cast glances to the tense occupants of the hallway around them, cracking a grin for a half second before he looks back to Jacob, whose eyes haven’t left Az’s. Without a word passing between them, Mephisto and Azraith move along from one another, continuing on their way.
The room lets out a collective sigh as we cut away.
The Carolina Lions Vs. The Twins
Hail to the Chief
Josh Johnson taps his pen repetitively on his desk, checking his watch repeatedly as he continues to look up at his office door.
As he is about ready to grab his phone a knock comes at the door and a visible sense of relief washes over his body.
Real Deal: You’re late.
Not even letting the door open first, Real Deal stands up as a figure walks into his office.
Voice: You’re cheap. Spirit Airlines? Really?
Real Deal scoffs as the man steps into his office wearing a clearly expensive three-piece suit and power tie. Sporting a shaved head and sense of gravitas, the camera follows the man from behind as he gently pushes the office door behind him with his foot, letting it close with a soft *click*
The CEO of SHOOT Project walks around to greet his guest, his fingers running along edges of his oak desk as he sizes up the figure who just entered his office. The camera captures Real Deal’s face over the figure’s shoulder.
Real Deal: You still use a pager? Really?
Voice: It makes it easier for me to know when someone really wants to get a hold of me. Someone like you, Mr. Johnson.
Real Deal: This isn’t Wall Street. Drop the act. SHOOT Project is in your blood and regardless of how I got in touch with you, I’m just glad you agreed to come back even though….
Voice: Business is business. Let me be clear on one thing: Leaving this place was the best decision I ever made.
Real Deal laughs.
Real Deal: So, why did you agree to come back? Really? You’ve already signed the paperwork – no judgment. I’m just curious.
The figure reaches out and puts a hand on Real Deal’s shoulder as the camera swings around, following the sleeve of the well-tailored suit up to a familiar, but older, face…
Lennox Ferguson: Quite simply, this company needs me. And truth be told your reach out got me a bit nostalgic.
Real Deal crosses his arms, looking for a sense of irony in the SHOOT Project icon’s remarks but finds none.
Real Deal extends his hand which Lennox reciprocates in kind.
Real Deal: Happy to have you back, Ox.
Lennox Ferguson: Glad to be back, boss.
El Paria Vs. Nikole Reese
Voice: The vultures are circling.
It’s quiet out on the loading docks, and notoriously not well lit, which makes for some ominous mood lighting for this little bit of promo work. Lindsay Troy is posted up against a pillar; the eerie glow from fluorescent lights outlines her figure and glints off her half of the SHOOT Project Tag Team Titles that’s strapped around her waist.
Lindsay Troy: I can hear them hissing; the young, the old, the ones who’ve just arrived, the ones who’ve been here forever. The ones who have barely any time as a team, and the ones who have teamed for years. They see fresh meat ripe for the picking. Fresh meat…who are ‘just two singles wrestlers who will go back to those divisions soon enough.’
The Queen of the Ring doesn’t face the camera; it captures her from the side, and a smirk creeps slowly, methodically, along her mouth.
Lindsay Troy: How you all amuse me so.
As the shot pans out, slightly, another figure steps into frame… the edges of spiked hair and white face paint catch the reflection of the parking lot’s lighting as Ayumi Seppuku, the Ronin Wraith, joins her tag partner.
Ayumi Seppuku: It has been far too long since these belts have been around the waists of champions that truly represent the power of SHOOT Project to do good for the company and for all of our fans.
Ayumi turns to look at her partner who meets her gaze and nods confidently.
Lindsay Troy: What do they see when they look at us, Ayumi?
It’s a rhetorical question. Ayumi smirks in response.
Lindsay Troy: Do they see flashes in the pan like the Sisters of Steel? Out of touch curmudgeons like SAIGO? Or perhaps variety show novelty acts – as skilled as they might be – like the Unholy Cyber Army?
Ayumi cocks her head slightly in Lindsay’s direction.
Ayumi Seppuku: Whatever they think they see – they are mistaken. We’re different. We’re like nothing SHOOT Project has ever seen before and these belts are the spark that turns the simmering ember every time the two of us crossed paths into a blaze that will burn down everything people thought they knew about what it means to be a champion.
The two fighters look off into the distance, past the loading dock, into the setting sun sinking below the Las Vegas desert. The scene looks like the desert is on fire… the glow reflecting back in the eyes of the two women standing alone taking in the sight.
Lindsay Troy: From the ashes… a phoenix rises.
Ayumi Seppuku: A rebirth.
The two friends and SHOOT Project Tag Team Champions stand there in silence for a beat before Lindsay speaks up.
Lindsay Troy: Lux. Veritas. Virtus.
Ayumi Seppuku: Lux Aeterna
Lindsay Troy looks over at Ayumi and gives a bit of a laugh.
Lindsay Troy: SHOOT could use a bit of light I think. May not stop the vultures, but it’ll scatter the roaches.
Ayumi puts a hand on Lindsay’s shoulder as the sun finally sets all the way past the horizon.
Ayumi Seppuku: A true light never goes out… it merely rests until it’s time… and this is our time.
The Bone Brigade Vs. SAIGO
Be Careful What You Ask For
Voice: I demand to be taken seriously!
An agitated Blaze Claymore is standing over a stoic-looking Lennox Ferguson who leans forward, hands clasped, as he rests forward onto a cheap card table.
Blaze looks around wildly, trying to process his thoughts, and sees a bucket and mop sitting on a shelf above SHOOT Project’s newest executive hire’s head.
Blaze Claymore: Is this some sort of weird intimidation technique? Some sort of executive mind control? I won’t fall for it!
The truth of the matter is that due to his delayed flight, The Ox, as he was once known, has had to set up his “office” in a custodian’s break room … for the time being.
Lennox Ferguson: Mr. Claymore… I’ve had a chance to review the footage and, yes, Ms. Gold did “bump” you on her way out of her dressing room but it hardly qualifies as “assault” as you claim.
Blaze shakes his head.
Blaze: No no no no no. See… Lexi Gold wants you to think she’s some sort of sweet, innocent angel but she’s a VICIOUS attacker who has targeted ME and I’m afraid for my life, SIR.
Lennox chokes back a laugh.
Lennox: Blaze… can I call you Blaze?
Blaze: You may.
Lennox: Let me be clear here. If I was Lexi Gold I would have done a lot more than just BUMP you after breaking into my locker room and catching you writing threats. Not to mention I see there’s reports of you… attacking a fan a little while ago?
Blaze: I was exercising my First Amendment rights! I didn’t realize this was East Berlin!
Lennox pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs.
Lennox: What is it you WANT, Claymore? Let’s start there.
Blaze: I’m glad you asked! I want…. I… want…
Blaze stutters and Lennox blinks, incredulously.
Lennox: You mean to tell me you tracked me down, screamed at me to let you into my ‘office’, made me listen to a bunch of nonsense and you can’t even TELL me what it is you hoped to achieve at the end of this charade?
Blaze: I want JUSTICE!
Lennox leans back and looks at the “SAG Award Winning Actor” Blaze Claymore, standing in front of him with sunglasses sliding down the bridge of his nose, wearing a disheveled leisure suit and breathing heavily.
Ox nods solemnly and pulls out a notepad and begins writing something down. Blaze leans over the table trying to decipher what he is writing but soon has a piece of paper shoved into his face – causing him to recoil.
Lennox: This is an IOU for a match with Lexi Gold.
Blaze: I don’t want a match! I want her fired! Arrested! BURNED AT THE STAKE!
Lennox: Well, THIS is an IOU for a match with Lexi Gold and so if you truly want JUSTICE, Mr. Claymore, you will take it and be HAPPY for it.
Blaze lets out a grunt as he snags the paper and looks it over.
Blaze: What is this here? What is this … gap at the bottom?
Lennox: Oh? That? That’s where you’ll need to get Lexi’s signature agreeing to the match.
Blaze looks at Lennox as if he’s been slapped.
Lennox: …and Blaze? If you DON’T get her signature by the end of Revolution tomorrow? I’ll be opening an investigation into your actions against Lexi Gold including harassment; vandalism; breaking and entering; stealing; and terroristic threats.
Blaze’s already pale face goes sheet white as Lennox waves him away, speaking tersely.
Lennox: Good luck, Blaze. I’m really rooting for you.
Blaze Claymore’s eyes narrow, wanting to say something in response, but instead he simply crunches the paper in his hands and storms out of Lennox Ferguson’s office, slamming the door behind him.
Lindsay Troy Vs. Muratagi Hanzo
IAM Your World Heavyweight Champion
“Gangsta Ass Anthony” begins to pipe over the loudspeakers in the area as Ignatius Albert Martin comes out from behind the curtain. The fans pop for the New Heavyweight Champion as he stops on the entrance ramp to take it all in. He isn’t dressed to compete, instead wearing a pair of black track pants, a white T-shirt, and tennis shoes. He has the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship slung over his right shoulder, the faceplate facing outward. The cheering from the fans begin to die down as Ignatius slaps the faceplate twice and throws an arm into the air. The fans let out one more chorus of cheers before IAM begins to make his way down the ramp. The music comes to a close and he slides under the bottom rope and kips up to his feet. IAm removes a microphone from his pocket with his left hand.
IAM: I cannot even tell you guys how it feels to come out here and talk to you guys tonight.
Martin rests his arm against the rope, facing the entrance ramp. He adjusts the belt on his shoulder, ensuring it doesn’t slip down.
IAM:I spent the first two days after Revolution going back through every stitch of footage I could find of champions. How they acted, how they celebrated. From the Super Bowl to the Stanley Cup I wanted to see what it looked like to carry yourself as a champion. I saw the way some dudes came out with respect for their opponents, gave all the credit they could to their coaches, to their opponents, everyone but themselves. I even saw the dudes that closed down the bars and threw money around, celebrating themselves in some brilliant spectacle. It took me a little while to figure out what kind of Champ I was gonna be. There’s a part of me that wants to tell you that I knew the second I held this belt over my head that I was gonna carry it with all the respect and dignity that it deserves. I wish I could tell you that the idea that I was gonna go out, buy a bunch a bottle service for me and some fools that I’d never see again never crossed my mind.
I wish I could tell you that, but it’d be a lie.
I didn’t know anything. I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I knew that I went into the Champion’s Choice challenge with a mission. I told Josh Breedlove that I was going to give him everything I had, and I did just that. I went out there, I gave Breedlove the match of my career, and I came out on top.
The Audience begins to boo at the mention of the leader of the Breedlove Empire, but Martin raises his hands and attempts to quiet them down a bit.
IAM: Joshua Breedlove is a lot of things. We all know he’s not the nicest dude in the world, but that’s not what he’s all about is it? What he is, is the best at what he does. I’m not about to come down here tonight and tear him apart or talk any shit. It just wasn’t his night. It was mine. That’s not a bash against him or nothing, it just is what it is. At that one place, at that one time, Ignatius Albert Martin was the man that came out on top. Now I gotta figure out how to back up all the shit that I talked before the match. I was mad that Breedlove used the Empire to keep this title around his waist for as long as he did. I bitched about the shortcuts he took when facing off against Lindsay Troy. I bitched about how he treated his open challenge. Now I’m tha dude in the driver’s seat. And none of this means nothing if I don’t figure out a way to do it better. To do it my way. That’s what i decided to do. That’s who I decided to be. I decided to be the champion that was going to forge his own path, do it the right way. Do it the way I’ve always been taught to do it. Whether that be my friends, my family, my teachers here in SHOOT. They’ve all molded the type of champion that stands here before you tonight.
Martin comes off the ropes and begins to walk towards the center of the ring. He looks around the crowd and puts a hand on his waist.
IAM: There’s no way to say how long my reign as Champion is going to be. For all I know it could end tomorrow night. Tha bosses in the back picked my first challenger for the title, and don’t you know they picked one of the hottest starts in the APEX in RAIKO. I’m been training all week and watching as much tape as I can find on the girl, and nothing I’m seeing shows any sign of weakness in her game. Going up against her is going to be a totally different monster in facing off against Breedlove. But that’s the downside to being a relative new blood aint it? Seems like every single week I’m going to go toe to toe with a whole new challenge the likes of which I ain’t never seen before.
I know it sounds a little hokey and white bread for me ta come out here and talk about how much I respect my opponent. But I do. I’ve seen what she’s been through. I’ve seen the journey that she’s made to get here, and I respect the hell outta here being able to hold her head up and forge ahead week in and week out. RAIKO was dealt a shit hand in the APEX, being asked to step into another dude’s slot and take over with the tournament already started. And not just anyone. She was asked to step into tha shoes of a hall of fame dude. And she didn’t just fill his slot. Naw man. She almost ran that bracket. She was a force to be reckoned with, and was one of the hottest names coming outta that thing.
The fact is, tomorrow night at Revolution could be the end of my run. A short one, for sure. But I don’t want that to be the fact. Imma go out there again and give you guys everything that I got. I aint gonna promise you that at the end of the night that it’ll be me hoisting the title above my head, but I am gonna promise you that You are not gonna forget the show that me and Raiko put on. We’re gonna give you a hell of a match.
Martin moves to the turnbuckle and lays the title across the top rope. He steps up onto the second rope and looks, again, towards the curtain.
IAM: One thing that I will promise you all is this. If I make it through tomorrow night as champion, I am going to keep moving forward. Forward towards Redemption. Any challenger, any time. Breedlove wants another shot? He’s got it. LT wants to get a fair match against a fair champion? Right on, man. Whoever the bosses put in front of me, any time, any show. You gonna get a hundred percent Iggy. Because IAM the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion. Today, tomorrow, next month. IAM going to be the best champion that I can be. And IAM going to make everyone that has every believed in be proud.
Martin’s music again hits over the speaker system as he reaches down, grabs the title belt, and hoists it over his head as he ascends to the top rope. The fans begin to cheer again as Martin hops down and makes his way back up the ramp and to the back. He shakes hands with as many fans as he can, before disappearing behind the curtain, his music fading out…
Laura Seton Vs. Jamie Johnson (c)
El Paria Makes His Move
Dutch Harris: Big win here for Jamie Johnson! Holy shit!
Scott Kamura: I definitely didn’t think he could pull it off, but it was a grueling match and I KNOW we’ll see these two square off again in the future.
Dutch Harris: They all but guaranteed as much when they met backstage earlier tonight, so I’m really looking forward to–
Dutch is cut off as the crowd gets to their feet as someone runs out from the back VERY quickly, almost like a blur! Seton and Jamie are both getting back to their feet as this person slides in underneath the bottom rope, gets to his feet, and then GOES RIGHT AFTER JAMIE JOHNSON!! He rebounds off of the rope and NAILS the downed Jamie with a low dropkick to his head!
Scott Kamura: That’s El Paria! These two have had some weird interactions of late, and Paria has decided to make his move!
Dutch Harris: And he’s fucking Jamie Johnson UP too. Holy shiiiiit.
Paria is laying the boots into Jamie, pulls him to his feet, Jamie comes to a little bit and tries to throw a few punches in defense, but El Paria boots him in the stomach, goes behind him, and hits him with EL PICO ONTO THE SIN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP! THE SPIKE! Jamie is OUT COLD.
Scott Kamura: What’s even the deal with this? Do you know the history here?
Dutch Harris: I don’t, but what I DO know is that Paria has been very watchful of Jamie anytime they’ve been in the same place. Also, he knows a nickname for Jamie that apparently is not super well known?
El Paria is smiling under his mask and asks for a microphone. He pulls the championship from under Jamie’s face and holds it up as the crowd boos him!
El Paria: Oh MAN. I just fucked the Sin City Champion up! Like, big time! Oh man, that felt good. I bet a lot of you are like “whoa who is this dude and why did he just attack a champion?!” and I will be GLAD to let you know.
El Paria disrespectfully rolls Jamie out of the ring with his foot, and Jamie hits the floor with a thud.
El Paria: I’m definitely getting ready to tell you all about that, but first… CAROLINA LIONS!!! You guys are an inspiration! You don’t even know or realize it, but it’s because of you that I just fucked Jamie Johnson up. Y’see, I saw what you guys did to ol’ Donnie King at Revolution. You made a big splash, and I thought to myself…
Paria obnoxiously points to his head.
El Paria: “Chico, why haven’t you done something JUST LIKE THIS???” and so, my plan formed. I knew as soon as the show was announced that I was going to attack lil Jam Jam over here, I HOPED that he’d still be the Sin City Champion, but if he wasn’t? Fuck it. I thought to myself… The Lions… they attacked a member of management. That’s a big balls move, for sure. What can I do that’s… you know, similar but not quite so bitey??
He mockingly places his hand on and underneath his chin, as if to say “hmmm”.
El Paria: Why, of course! Attack the family member of the guy that runs the place! It’s BRILLIANT, and so… here we are! The beleaguered Jamie Johnson… a kid that’s just trying to find his way… gets absolutely fucked up by a guy that knows him but he doesn’t know how. I love it! YOU love it!
Paria motions out to the crowd with the microphone, who boos him.
El Paria: So, to Jamie Johnson?
He throws a middle finger towards the area where Jamie hit the ground.
El Paria: To the Carolina Lions? Thank you.
He puts his hands in a prayer formation and does a bow.
El Paria: And to the rest of the SHOOT Project? You’re gonna get to know me, the REAL me, REAL soon.
El Paria: That, my friends? That’s a real deal.
He laughs UPROARIOUSLY at himself as the show fades and he drops the mic.