El Paria Vs. Felix Mullen
Contemplate This on the Tree of Woe
Where we are is uncertain.
It’s dark. The wind howls. And the moon’s glow on the landscape makes it feel like we’re witnessing a dream; a feverish vision of nothing but rock and dust, cast in black and white neon. And that is truly the landscape that the camera’s field pans over: broken earth, robbed of moisture for what feels like an eon framed by boulders the size of titans. And in the distance…a tree. Bleached, from an age prehistoric, a nasty, gnarled thing of rotting limb and almost bone colored trunk.
But the trunk is not bare. It is holding up… something.
Walking into the field of view are two absolutely hulking beings. Though we are following their trek to the tree from behind, there are a rare few in SHOOT who bear shoulders as broad, and even fewer who will elect to drape themselves in furs and leather plating. The chains and buckles that they’re clad in clank and jingle softly as they tread, but other than the wind, that’s all we can hear. Metal, howling, and the crunch of heavy boots. But as they advance toward the tree, a thing becomes apparent.
The howling isn’t just the wind. It is a cry for penance.
As they reach the tree, we can see the figure more clearly. It is Judy Punchinello, lashed to the trunk with wire. She is clearly delirious from exposure. Her eyes are red and practically glued together with dust; her lips ragged and chapped. She forces her eyes open as she hears footsteps and strains against the ropes when she sees the Unholy Cyber Army, trying to form the words that she needs, but the booming bass of Superbeast cuts her off.
Superbeast: You think this is torture. This is a mere test. But REMEMBER these feelings.
Power Devil: Push them inside of you and let them infect your bones. Let them infest your muscles. Let them cloud your eyes. Use them.
Judy opens her mouth and begins speaking in a raspy whisper.
Judy Punchinello: The… moon. It weeps. It shines light upon the sand waiting for response. There is none. Only silence. It is a hand looking for its arm… a… a…
Judy’s body sags as she seemingly loses consciousness.
Power Devil and Superbeast simultaneously draw blades from sheaths on their waist and begin carving the ropes in half. Punchinello flops forward, draped over their shoulders, and after they finish cutting her free, she is laid down on the earth with a surprising level of care. Power Devil uncaps and provides a canteen, at the sight of which Judy comes frantically alive, snatching it from his mitts and guzzling greedily.
Power Devil: Good. You’ll need your strength. You’ll need your rage.
Judy mouths something that neither can hear. Power Devil leans in. She reaches out, her hand weakly grasping for his stonelike face, as if gauging if he is real.
Once she feels him from hairline to jaw…she rears back and SOCKS him in the nose hard enough to make the big demon stumble backwards!! Superbeast doesn’t even wait to make sure his partner is okay, breaking into a big roaring laugh as Power Devil walks back up, his lips and chin coated in blood. He begins to laugh as well, both Demons of Cyber Roppongi damn near cockling, an act so infectious that Judy herself begins to dryly chuckle, that one punch clearly having taken up most of what was left of her energy.
Superbeast: Days on the tree and she still has a thirst for blood! Judy, this is good! This is very good. Because soon, we will find ourselves on the field of battle once more…and we need a third.
Power Devil: Furia Invernial have made it plain that they will face anyone. So at Master of the Mat…we will show them the true meaning of pain. We will teach them the answer to the riddle of suffering. We will break their bones and use their bodies to pave our road to glory once again. But Judy…this will only work if you’re ready to become who you are meant to become. Are you ready to bathe in the blood of those who would oppose you?
Judy pushes herself up on her elbows, clearly weak from dehydration and glares at the two Cyber Roppongi apostles and then just starts laughing.
Judy Punchinello: The things I’ve seen? The things I promised to do to … whomever… if I got free? The things they said BACK to me?
Judy throws back her head in laughter once more.
Judy Punchinello: You didn’t SAVE Judy Punchinello. You UNLEASHED something else. Something angry. Something… hungry. Something that is no longer afraid of those who only live understanding the limits of the flesh. For they… they cannot know when a threshold is crossed from terror and horror to absolute euphoria of understanding. We cannot fight our demons. We must learn from them. Let them give us strength.
Superbeast and Power Devil look at each other and extend their arms, pulling Judy to her feet.
Superbeast: You saw.
Power Devil, still bleeding from his nose, smiles broadly.
Power Devil: GLORY!
Judy smiles a bit herself, still weak and holding her waist as she tries to stabilize herself. The Unholy Cyber Army goes to hold her up, but she refuses and plants her feet firmly in the ground and clenches her fists tightly. As she does a rumble of thunder can be heard in the distance as ominous-looking storm clouds begin to make their way towards Las Vegas.
Superbeast, Power Devil, and Judy Punchinello all look off into the distance at the gathering storm, letting the sound resonate around them. Then, the two Unholy Cyber Army members turn and look, in unison, at Judy, whose eyes remain focused on the storm.
Power Devil: Fist.
A smile creeps up Judy Punchinello’s face at the words as the trio make their way back toward civilization… and their destiny.
Daichi Oyama Vs. Haskell Payne
A camera pushes in over the shoulder of Daihm Ferguson as he sits, dabbing his eyes, in front of a mirror as he looks up from his phone.
Suddenly, a large, thick hand rests on his shoulder as the inverse hourglass-shaped Chick Grillbreast steps into frame.
Chick Grillbreast: It’s going to be okay! I’m sure your dad has made enough SICK GAINZ not only to survive but thrive out wherever he is.
Daihm Ferguson: Thanks, Chick. I just… I’m worried, ya know? I spent so long trying to track down me dad’s wearabouts and then find out he’s a right cock, wondering why I even went looking for ‘em in the first place… then he fuckin’ turns out to be this cool guy who I can finally connect with and learn from and now he’s gone off the grid again?
Daihm dabs at his eyes.
Daihm Ferguson: I can’t help but think… I did something to make him leave, again.
Chick Grillbreast: Listen, I’m going to level with you, Dan Dragon. My dad was never really around, mainly because he died of a heart attack when I was a wee swole bro sucking protein shake out of my bottle. My mother, Mullica Hill-Grillbreast, raised me by herself, which is why I got her thirty pounds of chicken breast for Mother’s Day. THE FINEST GIFTS FOR THE FINEST MOTHER.
He flexes, causing Daihm to look at him cross-eyed.
Chick Grillbreast: The point is, dads are tricky beasts that I really have not figured out. Like avoiding all cardio. Dodging the USADA. Going number two more than twice a year… But what I DO know is that you’re my bro, Dan Dragon.
Daihm lets out a short laugh and shakes his head.
Daihm Ferguson: I’ve been meaning to tell you – all this time – It’s Daihm…
Chick Grillbreast [oblivious]: And bros always stick up for each other and are there for each other. So no matter where your dad is… I AM here. And if he’s okay and was just hiding because some bad people wanted to make him eat a bunch of pasta or something and that it wasn’t because of you, I’ll be here to give you a big high five.
Daihm doesn’t know how to process his emotions. He just falls into Chick’s arms as he sobs.
Chick Grillbreast: I… uhhh….
Daihm stands up, wiping his eyes one last time.
Daihm Ferguson: Thank you. So…. so much.
Daihm sheepishly extends his arm for a hand shake, but Chick swats it away.
Chick Grillbreast: No, we’re bros. Bros hug.
Chick brings Daihm in for a hug which looks more like a wrestling submission move with how hard the King of the Swole Bros is squeezing. Daihm’s eyes bug out of his head, but he also seems to kind of… like it, as the camera cuts back to the announce desk.
Curtis Rose Vs. Benny Colton
Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” begins fading out as Laura Seton gets a mic and heads to mid-ring, dressed in her red leather jacket, black pants, black boots and the Rules of Surrender Championship over her right shoulder. Her blonde hair down, she has a smug look as the fans give her a reaction that is noticeably more boos than cheers.
Laura Seton: Didn’t take much to get back to the classic welcoming, did it?
The smugness grows as she grins while the booing picks up.
Laura Seton: See, just like years ago, I don’t think all of you get me. You couldn’t understand sense and sensibility back then, and now…
I’m not sure you understand growing pains.
Because what we have in SHOOT today is a nice foundation of young talent intermixed with cagey vets. It’s a winning formula—
When the young kids don’t learn? It can get ugly. Fast. I like the majority of the newer blood here, but some? Well… I just don’t want to see SHOOT die. I say that as someone who loves this iteration of what it is. This is a SHOOT I love to death…
The fans cheer at this.
Laura Seton: But that doesn’t mean a wrong choice won’t kill it.
“5 out of 6” by Dessa interrupts as Lexi Gold makes her way from behind the curtain with a mic in hand. She struts down the ramp, wearing a tank top, a studded leather jacket over it, leather leggings and heels. The crowd cheers her on as she finally finds her way toward ringside, where she climbs the steps and gets into the ring through the bottom rope, then walks over and stands across Laura, locking eyes for the first time tonight with her as she raises the mic to her lips.
Lexi Gold: You mention killing things, but your presence alone always seems to do that already in SHOOT. You talk a big game, Laura, but face it, you and Judy not only failed to win the tag match on the last show, but you failed in taking me out. You really know how to pick them, don’t you?
Laura Seton: Wooow… must’ve been watching some old-school SHOOT to throw that one at me. Haven’t heard that in a long time. And yeah, you got through my challenge. On one hand? Good for you. On the other? Who was it that closed the deal? Did Lexi finally clean up things herself?
Oh wait, it was Dan Stein.
Yeah, I got pinned and standing on the outside is better than being pinned, I get it. But while your team won and you survived? Well, color me only 70-something percent impressed.
Lexi rolls her eyes and paces the ring back and forth before stopping, as she continues speaking.
Lexi Gold: You are right, I was not the one who secured the pin fall, and that’s okay, but I’m willing to bet that if you and I faced off one on one next time I would claim victory unless of course you are scared and want to book yet another tag match.
Laura Seton: You’re not giving up on this, are you? All right, well, if you–
Lexi Gold: I’m not giving up on this. Your betrayal is still fresh on my mind, and not to mention you haven’t received your proper payback. Having a tag team match involving other people is not enough to satisfy me, so you in, or not you chicken shit? Stop ducking me and prove yourself worthy.
Laura has a bit of the giggles, being taken off-guard with Lexi’s reply.
Laura Seton: Okay… o-kay… o-kay…
The giggles come to a stop, though a small grin remains.
Laura Seton: You’re really emotional, know that? I’m a chicken shit. I’m apparently the devil, too–which by the way…
The grin disappears and gives Lexi a cold glare in the eyes.
Laura Seton: I take that very personally. Are you going to go Paula Abdul and call me a “cold-hearted snake?” No, you like them… never mind–
Lexi raises her finger and interrupts.
Lexi Gold: Shut up and and answer the fucking question.
Laura Seton: Fine! You want me and only me? YOU GOT IT!!
As the fans cheer the acceptance, it looks like Laura’s eyes catch sight of something. She turns and walks to the ropes. She runs a finger over them.
Laura Seton: Maybe it was seeing it two weeks ago that bore the idea within me. A relic of the past… To see just how tough you are, Lex? To see if you’re SHOOT tough and ready for the main event?
She smiles again.
Laura Seton: Let’s do a barbed wire match of our own!
Lexi gets the biggest smirk on her face over the idea. She was no stranger to those type of matches as she rubs her lips.
Lexi Gold: Oh, so you want to go the hardcore route now? I’m no stranger to that and while it has been a long time since I’ve been involved in anything such as that I would not say no to racking your face with some Barbwire, and wrapping your body in it like a blanket, so I ACCEPT!
The crowd applauds. She then inches closer to her and looks down at her belt dangling in her hands, running her fingernails along the nameplate with a smirk.
Lexi Gold: Seeing as how you may, or may not, have a match at the PPV, it doesn’t matter to me either way, I want you. Oh and to add to the fun, you could put your Rule of Surrender Championship on the line. Let’s see the lengths you are willing to go to try and retain. I know my own and if you accept you will see the viciousness that you wished never came out of me.
Laura Seton: If you want to play hard? Let’s see everything you’re made of!
Lindsay Troy Vs. RAIKO
Inside the Ring (Pt. 1)
Scott Kamura: We have seen an influx of fresh faces here in SHOOT over the past couple months. Recently, our own Abigail Chase had a chance to sit down with one of those newcomers, the fiery Madison Seton.
Dutch Harris: Certainly many of you out there have questions about her intentions and joining SHOOT. I wondered myself, but, as we hope you all out there will agree, this isn’t some sideshow act. She’s going to be fun to watch.
Scott Kamura: For time constraints, we’ve split the interview into two parts. Part two will air tomorrow on Revolution.
We fade in to a simple setup of a SHOOT Project backdrop, with two seats in front of it, facing towards each other. On the right is Abigail Chase and on the left is one of SHOOT’s newest competitors, Madison Seton.
Abigail Chase: It is my pleasure at this time to give everyone a chance to better one of our newest entrants to the ring. Right now better known for her basketball exploits, but hoping to be an even better wrestler, I introduce Madison Seton. Thank you for spending a few minutes with us, Madison.
Madison is full of smiles right now.
Madison Seton: It’s an honor to be here right now.
Abigail Chase: This is something I’ve been wanting to do since you first appeared on SHOOT programming back in September. But since you’d never been a contracted SHOOT member, you’ve never had to do this.
Madison Seton: Well, you saying it like that makes me even more honored to join you, then. It means I’m under contract.
Abigail Chase: It’s really that special for you, isn’t it?
Madison Seton: Being able to get in that ring… do it in a place like SHOOT… it’s just… indescribable. I was about four when this sport first caught my eye. That I get to be able to do what I’ve been a major fan of for so long is just fucking awesome!
Abigail Chase: So let’s start with your contract.
Madison smiles and nods
Madison Seton: Yes, the elephant in the room. I’ll only go over the wrestling half here. For those who care for the basketball side, they can find a transcript from media day. So, this is something I’ve been seriously looking at since August…? Yeeaahhh–August.
Abigail Chase: Something Laura has been helping with.
Madison gets a confused look and shakes her head.
Abigail Chase: Then who?
Madison Seton: Judy P.
Abigail Chase: Really??
Madison Seton: Hell yeah. We became friends… I mean, long story short, she was in the bar in Seattle I frequent back when SHOOT was up there. I recognized her and we hit it off. She texts me soon after asking if I was serious about joining here. She set up the meeting with the heads here. Talks progressed as basketball finished and by Thanksgiving, I’m spending the holiday at Laura’s while poring over every nook and cranny of my contract looking for anything that would allow me to wrestle. My agent and I spent countless hours on the phone and we saw it was possible to do this without having to rip it all up.
Abigail Chase: How did your team react?
Madison Seton: My teammates were really cool, actually. Like, when I signed we all sat down to see if a game in Vegas coincided with a SHOOT show so they could come cheer for me. The Storm heads, though–not big fans.
Abigail Chase: How so? At the least it’s extra publicity.
Madison Seton: So obviously, the injury factor. But I told them if I got hurt wrestling, they aren’t at fault. They don’t pay insurance or any doctor bills–we wrote that in. They did have to take out a policy on my contract with them–but that’s a different story. What they hated though was possible representation. Like, when my sister broke in, she has to be this great person cuz she represents the US Olympic team. Like… people back even 20-some years ago couldn’t easily tell the person on TV was doing what they did to get ahead in wrestling. It wasn’t necessarily “who they were.” I’d like to think people can tell the difference today.
Abigail Chase: You feel people are smarter today.
Madison Seton: Like… I represent the Seattle Storm quite well. Charity, PR, all that; I’m professional. But if I wanna fucking win in wrestling? I might have to fucking make an asshole move. But that doesn’t make me a fuckin’ asshole, right? I’m just trying to win. Like… okay, Judy P.’s kind of a bitch no matter what, right? Heh, she’s a special one… but the Madison Seton in wrestling? Not necessarily representative of Madison Seton the person. And I think that’s what the Storm execs are afraid of.
Abigail Chase: Any words to calm them?
Madison just shrugs.
Madison Seton: Fuck ’em.
Abigail gets surprise-eyed at Madison’s nonchalant answer.
Madison Seton: Seriously. If they can’t tell the difference, to hell with them. And I don’t care if I get fined for that.
Abigail Chase: So what’s your playing status while wrestling?
Madison Seton: My priority is here. In that if there’s a day where I have a game and a show? I’m going to be here. And the girls all get it. They know when I’m with them, I’m busting my ass on the court. I want to win another WNBA championship. But at the same time? I wanna live my fucking dream and wrestle. They get it. They may not all like it, but they know when I’m with them, I’m not half-assing it to save myself for here.
Void Vs. Kitsune
Void rolls from the ring, breathing heavily. He waves frantically as Fade slowly walks down the ramp to him. She hands him a towel and a bottle of water as he sits on the ring apron. He douses himself in the water and throws it on the ground, splashing on her and causing her to wince as it flies in her direction. He demands a microphone as he drapes the towel over his shoulders.
Void: It…doesn’t matter, does it?
He chuckles as he looks at the audience.
Void: It doesn’t matter…who wins what, who loses what. All that matters is I have a date with a wretch of a woman at this upcoming event. I hope Lindsay enjoyed watching this spectacle this evening. Fade…
He turns his attention to his mate, whose gaze is off in the audience.
Void: …Fade, be a lamb and pick that bottle up, darling. We can’t have the denizens of my Tunnels thinking it’s okay to litter.
He slides off the ring apron and starts walking up the ramp. He glances to his side and sees that Fade hasn’t moved. The fans are starting to sense something is amiss as she closes her eyes and tightens her jaw. Void turns completely to her and walks back to her.
He taps her on her shoulder and she winces again.
Void: Pick up that bottle, dear. We have work to do.
She finally opens her eyes and stares back at Void. The two of them share a look that tells this story instantly. The fans who are near can see it, too. They instantly begin to cheer.
He takes a step towards her and looks down at her. She realizes just how small she really is in comparison to him.
Void: Don’t let that fucking woman poison you, Fade.
She reaches up slowly and bends the microphone to her lips. The fans grow quiet as she stares at her beloved.
The fans ERUPT. Void yanks the microphone from her.
Void: Fade, you have one more chance to—
Before he can finish his sentence, Fade has her own microphone. She inhales deeply, though her body is shaking as she speaks.
Fade: I have followed you, I have worshiped you, and I have loved you since I first…I first met you. You…meant EVERYTHING to me. I gave everything I had to you. I took you in my heart, in my soul, in my BED…because I believed in you. I believed in your vision for those people that don’t know where they can lay their heads down at night.
The fans grow quiet as Void drops his arms by his side, finally taking the time to…listen.
Fade: I wanted to be the woman that could stand by her man no matter what, Thomas. I wanted the world to cheer for you the way I do. But it was just…never enough. You always had a snide comment when we disagreed. You condescended to me, belittled me, and you broke me down until the woman I was didn’t even exist anymore. But I stayed, Thomas.
She starts to cry. She can’t help it.
Fade: I stayed. But now…this crusade to hurt Lindsay Troy all because she’s…popular? Because I LIKE her? I’ve given you EVERYTHING…EVERYTHING. You couldn’t let me HAVE this? You couldn’t just LET ME HAVE THIS?!
He slowly lifts the microphone to his lips. His eyes are red. His cheeks are flushed. His lips tremble. Then, in an instant, he steels himself.
The boos RAIN down on Void as all of a sudden, the man Fade was appealing to…disappears before her eyes. She staggers back and tries to regain her strength. Before she can speak again, his hand is around her throat. Fans begin to reach at him to stop him as Fade’s eyes grow as wide as saucers. Void leans in to her and sneers into the microphone.
Void: What I’m about to do to you in front of all of these people? None of them will save you. No one cares about you to save you. But just remember…
He tightens his grip as she starts clawing at his vice-like hand.
Void: …you deserve this.
He pushes her against the ring and arches back with his free hand, fingers splayed out as though he intends on crushing her with his massive bear-like hand. The fans, however, don’t even have time to react when LINDSAY TROY appears almost out of nowhere, FLYING into him! He rams into Fade by sheer force and Lindsay wastes absolutely no time punching down on Void’s head with rights and lefts! Once he goes down to a knee, she SLAMS her foot repeatedly into his temple! Void tries to rally, to get back in the fight that he didn’t see coming, but he can’t! Lindsay Troy grabs him by his hair and starts trying to drag him to his feet. Void cries out in pain and tears himself away from her grasp!
By this time, security has gotten between them as Void sits on the entrance ramp staring at Lindsay Troy, her hands firmly tightened around several black and silver strands of his hair! Void reaches up, touching his scalp, and brings back blood on his fingertips. He stares at Lindsay and then to Fade, who Lindsay has started to check on. Fade nods her head that she’s okay and Lindsay puts her arm around the girl.
Void sits there, trembling with impotent rage at the two women who just got away from him.
In two weeks, though, there won’t be any escape.