The hair is immaculate. The gear, cotton candy. The paunch, oiled. The man: Bobson Dugnutt. He stands backstage, mic in his hand, dancing a little bit from side to side, his eyebrows raised in quizzical incredulity.
Bobson: Now this Josh Breedlove cat wants to lay down a rap like he’s the king of this here SHOOT Project? Of wrasslin’ itself? Of the World?? C’mon now mack, get real!
He laughs, slaps his knee, an overblown pantomime
Bobson: You think you the first to claim this? Heck daddy, I done faced guys calling themselves Princes, callin’ themselves Kings, even faced a Daimyo! Daddy Dugnutt once had a best of seven series with a guy called himself Supreme Allied Commander Drew Donk! You might can fool them jokers in your inner circle baby, but you ain’t foolin’ the Hootchie Cootchie man!
He begins pacing back and forth, his back arched, shuffling like Mick Jagger with a hand on his hip.
Bobson: See you struttin’ like a peacock but you just warmin’ my belt, baby!
He turns, goes the other way.
Bobson: See you struttin’ like God’s gift to the sport, but you just a jabroni with a big head, jack!
He turns, this time adopting a Guys and Dolls strut, snapping his fingers to a beat only he can hear.
Bobson: See you struttin’ like you’re made of gold, but you just had it easy, daddy!
He jumps up, crosses his legs, lands it, and spins in a full 360 with only a little bit of an unbalanced stumble.
Bobson: Fact is baby, when I take that belt, oh ho, have mercy, that’s gonna be a moment America been waiting for! I’m talking ticker tape parades, the keys to the city, commemorative stamps level big! Bobson Dugnutt just been a champion without a belt, and I been a champion without a belt since before you ever laced ‘em, kid! And save me to trash you’re probably already scribblin’ down on a notepad to talk into your phone or whatever, cause I done heard it! “Oh Bobson Dugnutt is so old, Bobson Dugnutt isnt as good as he says he is, I’m gonna feed him a knuckle sandwich”–can it, baby! Daddy Dugnutt done heard it, one million times!
Ne blows this off with a laugh and a wave of the hand.
Bobson: Thing is…them kids who talk that kinda trash? They askin’ you if you wanna super size your combo, baby! And Bobson Dugnutt still given’ foolks like you that oooooh, Slam-a-Doo! Bobson still blessing you with that Hootchie-Coo! And Bobson still turning yall young punks cattywampus with that Sweet, Sweet Sassy, daddy!! So take that belt and kiss it goodbye, champ! Mount Bobson is a challenge you gonna come up short on!!
He claps his hands, gives a “Whoo!” and struts out of frame. We cut away…
Bobson Dugnutt Vs. Joshua Breedlove (c)
Abigail Chase: I’m here backstage with none other than James “Scion” Johnson!
The crowd doesn’t offer much of a reaction one way or the other, but do seem to offer something in the neighborhood of “surprise” at seeing the former member of the New Vanguard.
Scion: Hey Abby, I’m actually not 100% sure why I’m in Vegas right now. I’ve heard that there’s some kind of an announcement coming down the pike for the PPV?
Abigail Chase: That does seem to fit the rumor mill, you’re right. Real Deal has kept things tight lipped on what’s going on, so I suppose we’ll find out at some point what that’s about. While I’ve got you, though, how’s REIGN and Atlanta been treating you?
Scion: Oh man! It’s been great. It’s been nice to be able to get involved down there and just… wrestle. No world domination plots, no sneaking around and attacking people… I’m happy to just be wrestling. The guys down there are freaking GREAT too. You’ve seen some of that with the Sin City Championship tournament with Bobson Dugnutt and Clemson Dean.
Abigail Chase: So, you think it’s been worthwhile? Any chance we’ll see you holding the REIGN Championship anytime soon?
Scion: Frankly? Probably not, haha. KIMO is absolutely dominant down there and there are a lot of competitors that offer a lot of different things to that organization. I’m not trying to get title shots when they aren’t deserved or take a spot that I haven’t earned. I got my fill of that in the first year of my career, and now I’m basically trying to course correct. So, if they give me a shot, I’ll put in everything I can to try and capture it, but if they don’t, and I just get to keep wrestling?
Scion looks to the camera.
Scion: I’m good with that.
Abigail Chase: Fair enough! Well, Mr. Johnson, it’s been good to see you and catch up with you a little bit, but we’re going to get back to the action, as Ruination continues!
C.K. Butcher Vs. Blade McGuinness
The scene is backstage with interviewer Abigail Chase and Kayden Paulton.
Abigail Chase: Kayden, you’ve really made your mark here in SHOOT. A couple of championship matches but, albeit, losing results. I’m wondering what your take has been in these recent contests…
Kayden smiles warmly and then leans into the microphone.
Kayden Paulton: Firstly, Abigail, it’s great to see you again and I hope you are well.
She nods and says “thank you” as Paulton continues.
Kayden Paulton: It was a rough go for me in the recent contests against Joshua Breedlove and Courtney Hatchett but the most important thing is we had great matches and helped send the crowd home happy. That’s my main concern in SHOOT, Ms. Chase. Can I hang with the talent and put on good contests? Titles and accolades are second. I’d like to have fun first and feel like my wrestling means something.
Abigail nods politely.
Abigail Chase: And tonight, you’re up against Pat Cassidy, who’s also a pretty tough customer.
Kayden looks excited but tries to maintain his composure.
Kayden Paulton: Yes. It should be a tremendous test. Teresa’s been texting me about Pat Cassidy. He seems like a super swell guy, so I can understand why she has feelings for him. Really looking forward to pitting our skills against one another!
The interviewer nods once more, thinking of something else to ask Paulton but he leans in again.
Kayden Paulton: Hey Ms. Chase, may I ask you something?
At first, Abigail’s a little taken back, perhaps assuming it’s going to be a question that will make her uncomfortable. After all, wrestling locker rooms aren’t always known for their… appropriateness.
Paulton catches on quickly and tries to reassure the question has nothing to do with her directly.
Kayden Paulton: Oh, no, nothing bad. Please, don’t worry.
But Kayden’s still thoughtful enough to pause as he waits for Chase’s answer.
Abigail Chase: Sure, Kayden, what’s on your mind?
Kayden Paulton: Well, to be honest, I’m still a little rattled at the thought of Mystery Opponent…
Abigail Chase: “Mystery Opponent”?
Kayden Paulton: Yes. You see, at Reckoning Day back in January, it was Teresa Ames, Daryn Thompson and I in a match. We were supposed to be paired up with Mystery Opponent but he or she never showed…
Abigail Chase: Kayden, I think you mean A Mystery Opponent. I don’t think that “Mystery Opponent” is the actual name of a person…
Paulton catches on and laughs at himself.
Kayden Paulton: Oh… oh yeah, I guess not. Silly me. However, and I mean no disrespect to that comment, if there was meant to be a Mystery Opponent then I hope they’d feel welcome to join in on the fun anytime they’d like.
Abigail Chase: That sounds fair, Kayden.
Paulton realizes he’s taking up a lot of time and smiles warmly again.
Kayden Paulton: Thank you so much for the time, Ms. Chase.
Abigail Chase: You’re welcome, Kayden. Good luck in your match tonight.
Kayden Paulton: Thank you!
The Easy-Going Grappler says once more and he turns away from Abigail. As Kayden begins his walk down the hall, he comes across the three SHOOT crew members, Martin, Todd and Jake, whom he ran into two weeks ago on television. Upon seeing the trio having another coffee break, Paulton stops in front of them and greets them all individually.
Kayden Paulton: Hi Martin, Todd, Jake. I hope you’re all well!
Two of the men, Martin and Todd, smile back at Kayden while Jake rolls his eyes. The Easy-Going Grappler continues standing there grinning before a light goes off in his head. Kayden reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of pamphlets. They read “WELCOME Mystery Opponent!”
Kayden Paulton: I don’t know if you overheard the interview but I’m hoping to get these out there for the general SHOOT public. Wanted to make sure that if there was a mystery opponent for Reckoning Day, we didn’t scare him or her off.
Martin and Todd take a pamphlet while Jake reluctantly does so but tosses it on the ground afterwards. The smiley SHOOT superstar wanders down the hallway, more pamphlets in hand.
Kayden Paulton: Take care, guys. Hope the family’s are well!
The collective trio all look at each other.
Jake: Why do people like this guy? He’s too nice.
Todd: No, that’s the point. He’s too nice. How can you boo a guy like him?
Martin: Yeah. Great guy. Always asks about my kids.
Jake, however, doesn’t agree.
Jake: He’s an assclown.
Kayden Paulton Vs. Pat Cassidy
Dutch Harris: Great win from Kayden Paulton, holy COW!
Scott Kamura: Yeah, Paulton really made it work against Cassidy here and he notches a big win in the Sin City Championship Series.
Dutch Harris: I think you mean the Breedlove Invitational Tournament.
Scott Kamura: I don’t, actually. I don’t mean the Breedlove Invitational Tournament, and I’m surprised you do.
Harris waves Kamura off as they move on.
Dutch Harris: Ignoring all of that, we’ve got a KILLER main event for you this evening. We’re gonna see the World Heavyweight Champion, Buck Dresden, in action with NEMESIS and Courtney Hatchett as they take on THE HOLLER in the very first “Battalion Rules” match. You want to give the people watching at home some idea as to what that’s all about, Scott?
Scott Kamura: Absolutely. So, awhile back, Mr. Johnson put out the word that he wanted everyone in the SHOOT Project to partner up, find a group, that sort of thing. The idea behind it is that we’ve seen the SHOOT Project put under siege so many times by so many outside forces, that he believes the presence of groups will help dissuade that kind of thing in the future. Thus, the battalion rule. This is the first match with those rules in place, so we’ll see what happens up next!
Dutch wipes a fake tear from his eye.
Dutch Harris: Beautiful.