The show opens in a blacked out Epicenter, the Faithful standing on their feet, excited and ready for what should be a jam packed evening. There’s a murmur and hum that is coming from them and that turns into cheers when “Come Together” hits the PA, signaling the arrival of Herald.
Herald: In true SHOOT Project fashion, I will keep this short.
The crowd cheers, ready to get to the action.
Herald: Sovereignty. That’s what this is for. The SHOOT Project is a sovereign land. In its history, there have been many men who seek to destroy SHOOT. They want to ruin this place that we call home. They want to take what we are away from all of you.
Another cheer as Herald walks across the top of the ramp.
Herald: But we are… (he trails off) we are supremacy in this art form. We are the ascendancy of combat sports and entertainment and what we do, we do for you. We bleed and we suffer so that you, the Faithful, can live vicariously through us and walk with us on this journey. And so, the Master through me, his vessel, gives you this gift.
The crowd stays hushed as the camera focuses in on Herald’s black mask.
Herald: …the gift of Dominion.
The crowd pops loudly as black curtains are pulled away from the ring apron, the mat, the video wall, and much more, revealing the electric green lettering that signals the genesis of the SHOOT Project’s new offering.
Herald: Before I leave, let me introduce you to the players. First, our announce team features none other than Dutch Harris and Mark Kendrick. Samantha Coil persists as our ring announcer as well as Abigail Chase and Mary Kelly, our esteemed interviewers. Additionally, you will see combatants from far and wide here in our Dominion.
The Herald pauses as the crowd cheers at their inclusion.
Herald: Men from Reality Check Wrestling (pop) and Alienation-One Wrestling (pop) will be here, on display, for your entertainment. In time, both the RCW World Heavyweight Championship and the A1W World Heavyweight Championship will be defended in this arena, another gift to you, our Faithful. For now, though, the Master humbly presents you with this offering. AzteX begin their walk into the SHOOT Project by taking on a team known only as Outstanding Absurdity. Have a wonderful evening, everyone.
“Come Together” kicks on again as Herald exits the ramp and the camera shifts to Mark Kendrick and Dutch Harris.
The match starts off quickly as the AzteX (Julio and Javier Gomez) look to have a speed advantage over Outstanding Absurdity (Bobo Rodriguez and Roddy Superior). The teams go back and forth, reversal after reversal, with the AzteX gaining a slight lead. The crowd seems to be into them as Kendrick and Harris explain their history and discuss their Aztec heritage.
The match takes a turn when Superior gets to the corner and manages to tag Bobo in, setting the AzteX on their heels for a bit. Rodriguez is the younger and faster member of Outstanding Absurdity, so Julio is caught off guard before he can change his strategy up. Rodriguez catches Julio with a hurricanrana that grants him a near fall and the crowd’s support starts to shift, thinking that Rodriguez might be able to take this one on his own.
A moment comes in the match where Julio gets a tag in to Javier, who proceeds to completely take over the contest. Both of the AzteX are about the same size, 5’10” and 200 pounds, so their speed is unparalleled. Rodriguez gets overwhelmed and Superior tries to get in but gets caught by Julio as he’s coming across the ring.
This temporary distraction allows Rodriguez to recover enough to get back to his feet. Superior slips through Julio’s hands and hits Javier with the OUTSTANDING DESCENT (Reverse DDT) and Bobo launches from the top rope with the ABSURDITY (THE OUTSTANDING ABSURDITY) but Julio pulls Javier out of the way and Bobo lands face first into the mat. Bobo is getting to his feet when Javier hooks him from behind in a full nelson, Julio DRILLS him in the chin with a superkick, and Javier complets the move, known as the XOLOTL for the three count!
WINNERS: AzteX (12:49)
As AzteX and Oustanding Absurdity are clearing the ring, a video plays over the video wall.
The sepia colored silhouette of a man stands in a run-down gym, somewhere in Mexico City. He has his hands wrapped and he’s standing in front of a heavy punching bag. He’s stringy black hair down to his shoulders.
I was a brawler.
He starts hitting the punching bag, slowly, powerfully at first.
My professional boxing record was 27 wins and just 4 losses.
The speed picks up, but the power stays the same. Droplets of sweat can be seen flying off of his body.
I could have… should have been a champion, but I got left behind.
Clips of various mixed martial arts contests took over, none featuring anyone who looks like the man striking the heavy bag.
I fought for everything I have ever earned… I clawed and scratched just to make ends meet… the people of Mexico, they embraced me. That was my entire life, until now.
The sepia filter clears, showing a brown skinned man who turns and looks, brown eyes into the camera. His full beard features a few gray hairs and a large scar across his face. He smiles, eyes hardening into the camera.
My name is Salvador Olivares, the Mauler of Mexico City, and I’m coming to the SHOOT Project.
The second match of the evening featured the SHOOT Project debut of none other than Lucy Blaylock. Blaylock took on RCW’s Arturo Escuela. The SHOOT Project Faithful were very much into Lucy, who towered over poor Arturo. Escuela never really had much of a chance as he was disadvantaged right out of the gate. The 40 year old veteran tried as best he could to do any kind of damage to Blaylock at all. He made some headway about three minutes into the contest, but Lucy would ultimately have none of it.
Lucy toyed with Escuela some, seeming to allow him to get some offense in but any time Escuela tried to get to her face, Blaylock would turn serious and would remind Escuela what his place was. It didn’t take much for Blaylock to dominate Escuela, but Arturo tried his best to muster up some of that fighting spirit the Japanese always talk about. Still, it wouldn’t matter.
The Faithful called for Escuela’s blood and Lucy gave it to them, destroying the pro wrestling veteran and busting him open. At one point, Blaylock picked Escuela up, holding him on her shoulder. She took her other hand and lifted his head to show the bloody mask to the crowd that ate it up. Finally, Lucy had mercy, finishing Escuela off and capturing her first SHOOT Project victory.
Winner: Lucy Blaylock (5:37)
The cameras go to the back, with Abigail Chase standing by, quite uncomfortably as a man stands creepily too close to her, leering as he licks his lips with his split tongue and rubs his tatooed hands together. With both eyebrows pierced, a bull ring in his nose, and a labret piercing his face is a sight to behold, complete with graphic tattoos and a buzzed head. The rest of his appearance isn’t any less sktetchy, as the tattoos go down his neck and seem to cover his whole body as they reappear at the end of his blue t-shirt with an obscene cartoon depiction of Princess Peach getting double teamed by the Mario Brothers.
Mark Kendrick: What the Hell? Should we have security get back there with Abigal Chase right now?
Dutch Harris: Who the Hell is this guy?
The camera pans out further, with Cade Sydal and Cassi Ryan standing next to the man, who stands almost half a foot taller than Cade. Cade in a similar blue t-shirt, only with Link facing the front with Princess Zelda on her knees in front of him, his hands behind his head. Cassi in a pink halter top with tight jeans and pigtails. Abigail Chase tries to compose herself and begin the interview with some professionalism, but she’s saved by Cassi as she snatches the microphone out of Chase’s hand.
Cassi Ryan: Kick rocks, Amanda.
Chase doesnt even argue. She just shakes her head and starts to leave, with the leering man starting to stalk after her until Cade grabs his arm.
???: She smelled pretty…
Cade Sydal: Easy, Dummy.
Cassi shakes her head and shoots Cade a glance before turning her attention to the camera.
Cassi Ryan: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s at this time that we’re joined by the most prolific athlete to ever grace a SHOOT Project ring, or any other ring for that matter, and his enchanting queen, Cade Sydal and Cassi Ryan!
Cade and the other man cup their hands over their mouths and mimic the sounds of a roaring crowd, before Cade stops and raises his hands, waving at no one in particular as he feigns some semblance of humility.
Cade Sydal: Oh stop, for me? You shouldn’t have.
Cassi Ryan: Cade, Cassi, it’s nice to see you guys again. Now, I have to ask…who’s your friend? Is he the man you’ve been spotted on the phone with?
Cade Sydal: That’s an amazing question, and one I’m all too happy to answer for you. This guy right here is the Suicide Test Dummy. He’s a friend of mine, he’s a man that can…get things, and he’s here to help Cassi and I save SHOOT.
The man raises his hand.
Suicide Test Dummy: Sup.
Cassi nods her head with a big smile on her face, playing the part of doting interviewer as over the top as possible.
Cassi Ryan: Great to meet you Suicide Test Dummy! Now, when you guys say you’re saving SHOOT what do you mean? SHOOT has only just reopened.
Cade nods his head and strokes his beard in mock contimplation, clearly they rehearsed this "interview" a few times.
Cade Sydal: Ya know, that’s a great question. I guess, in a word, itself.
Cassi cocks her head back, as if she was surprised by the response.
Cade Sydal: See, allow me to explain. There are some fantastic athletes here, you’re looking at the top three right in front of you, but there are others.
Cade points at himself, the Suicide Test Dummy, and Cassi in order as he says the last sentence.
Cade Sydal: Unfortunately, most of them would rather talk about their feelings and all that bullshit. Unfortunately, most of them are afraid to man up and fight.
Suicide Test Dummy: So we’re gonna make ’em fight. Ain’t no room for bitchassness.
Suicide Test Dummy leans into the microphone to interject himself, and Cade nods slowly.
Cade Sydal: I was going to say it a little differently, but yeah, there you have it. We’re looking, we’re watching, and we’re going to eliminate the weakest links. Systematically and without remorse. Without predjudice.
Suicide Test Dummy: ‘Cause we don’t give a fuck about you…you….or you.
He points to the left, then right, then right at the camera.
Suicide Test Dummy: All that matters is us, just us, and only us.
Cassi Ryan: SHOOT Project, please join me in welcoming…the Just Us League.
Cade Sydal and Suicide Test Dummy raise a pair of hand guns before crossing their arms at the wrists with the palms facing the camera before Cassi tosses the microphone into the air and motions for the guys to follow her and they exit stage right.
Dutch Harris: Well…uhhh…I guess they were honest about their intentions, at least?
Mark Kendrick: Yeah, but what’s with that name?
Dutch Harris: Just Us League is an okay name.
Mark Kendrick: No, the other one…does he know his initials are STD?
In the third match of the evening, the paragon of all things amazing, Fuego Eterno would step into the ring against Cronos Diamante. Diamante, fresh off his loss to Zex at Revolution, was in no mood for antics of any kind. Still, Eterno is an optimist and a pure-hearted man that believes in all things good and wonderful. Eterno offered Diamante a handshake, but Diamante slapped his hand away, drawing a boo from the crowd that was pleasantly surprised to see someone like Fuego Eterno in the SHOOT Project.
Diamante took over the match from the beginning, and though the Faithful would get behind Fuego Eterno as much as they can, he just wasn’t able to build any momentum before Diamante would expertly slap him down. Yet, towards the end of the match, it seemed like Eterno summoned the spirit of the eternal flame and started to get some damage in on Cronos.
Once that happened, you could see Cronos’ whole demeanor shift. The guy who’d previously been calculating and handling Fuego from the very beginning all of the sudden became very erratic and overly aggressive. Eterno started to catch Diamante over and over before something just snapped in Cronos. At that point, it was just a beating. Eterno got thrown to the outside and Cronos followed him mercilessly, intent on destroying him. They would never return to the ring, as the match was officially thrown out and declared a no contest when Cronos walked away, leaving Eterno in a heap.
Winner: NO CONTEST (8:48)
We cut to an office that is dimly lit. It isn’t extravagantly decorated. It’s unassuming, quaint, plain. Sitting behind the lone desk in the room is a man shrouded in mystery. His masked face betrays no hint of emotion.
Sitting on the other side of the desk is a man that many of the Faithful would recognize. His pale, grey gaze favors the mysterious Herald with a hint of curiosity. Jacob Mephisto places a piece of paper delicately on the desk. The now familiar emblem of the SHOOT Project is illuminated by the low light of the room.
Jacob Mephisto: I certainly appreciate the invite. This place… it feels like home. I’ve heard the cry of the Faithful. They miss their “Mr. Sin City.”
Herald: I’m sure the Master will be pleased to hear…
Jacob raises his hand politely, interrupting Herald.
Jacob Mephisto: He may not be. You see, while I do appreciate the invite, I’m not going to be returning to competition. But, I’ve brought the SHOOT Project something I promised quite some time ago.
Herald bows his head for a slight moment.
Herald: I see. Is that the purpose of your friend in the corner then?
Jacob smiles. It’s never a pretty sight and the gesture never reached those eyes.
Jacob Mephisto: You’re quite observant.
Another man steps from the shadows. His face is covered in a mask of his own, the only uncovered part being his mouth, which is painted in the design of a skull.
Jacob Mephisto: This… is Despair. And, in this brave new SHOOT Project, he’ll fit right in. My legacy will live on through him.
Herald pauses for a long moment, and then nods.
Herald: I’m sure the Master will accept your offer… on one condition.
Jacob’s grin falters for a split second.
Herald: You may not be competing, but if you want Despair in the SHOOT Project, you come with him. Your name, your brand… is one of the reasons you received the invitation. You can take that how you want. Either way, it’s a package deal.
Mephisto scowls. After a moment, he stands and walks toward the door. He turns back quickly to face the masked Herald.
Jacob Mephisto: Fine. You have a deal. But, a word of advice. All of these Soldiers you’ve invited… be careful what you wish for.
Mephisto smirks and walks out the door, the silent Despair following close behind.
Kitsune is a name that many have come to learn over the first two episodes of the Revolution season. Kitsune and the imposting Thomas Manchester Black squared off in a battle that wound up being a lot more hotly contested than previously predicted. TMB, who previously lost to Cronos Diamante in a very close contest, starts the match off aggressively, looking to pressure the upstart early on. Kitsune manages a few reversals that put TMB on his heels, but Black’s persistent aggression keeps him in control.
In A1W, Kitsune is known for his disdain for the fans, and this came through in his match against Black. Drawing boos from a very loud audience, Kitsune mocked them any chance he got. He would, every once in awhile, shout “BUY MY SHIRT” which would inevitably draw the ire of the Faithful. He managed to take control of the match about six minutes in, forcing Black to the ground and yanking on his arm with an armbar. Black did not submit, much to Kitsune’s chagrin, and instead managed to reach the ropes, causing the break.
This represented another shift in the momentum of the match as Kitsune lost his concentration, allowing Black to capitalize and regain control. A tenuous few moments happened when Black nailed Kitsune really hard with a kick to the head, something that staggered the Japanese star. The Faithful cheered for him as he got back to his feet but quickly booed him once more when they were reminded about his merchandise.
The conclusion of the match featured a scintillating sequence where Kitsune put his speed on, squirming out of Black’s grasp a number of times, and hitting him with a series of strikes that stagger the larger TMB. Kitsune attempts a superkick to try and put Black down, but TMB reverses it and hoists Kitsune up before finishing him off with the SkullFuk’D and scoring the pinfall!
Winner: Thomas Manchester Black (14:21)