The camera shifts to the back where we find ourselves yet again in the office of the Herald. He sits, his eyes cast down at his desk. He says nothing, the only sound we hear is his deep breathing through the holes of his mask as he stares at the desk. Suddenly, without warning, we hear a whispered voice.
“When did it arrive?”
Herald: This morning.
“Who delivered it?”
Herald: I do not know.
Herald slowly brings his hands to trace the outline of the object he is staring at and we see it…an envelope. He unfolds the top of the envelope carefully, slowly, deliberately.
Herald: I have sent agents to scour the city to search for clues.
“You do not think…he did it, do you?”
Herald’s eyes dart up in the direction of the voice.
Herald: No. He would not be so bold, so brazen.
“You forget of whom you speak.”
Herald: If it IS him…then he is a fool. A fool and a dead man.
Herald slowly pulls out the single slip of paper and stares at it.
Herald: Then again, if it IS him…
He balls up the slip of paper, the same slip of paper that invited countless Soldiers and Faithful home all those months ago.
Herald: …he is sending an invitation.
“Do you accept?”
Herald chuckles a muffled chuckle, pulling the hood of his coat over his head.
Herald: I am the voice. I speak, they listen. It is His will, this you know.
“Of course. The Master.”
Herald: His will.
Herald: And as the voice, I can be but a whisper…
Herald: …or the raging thunder. He will soon see that with that…comes power.
The shot goes back to ringside, with a large masked man already standing iun the middle of the ring.
Samantha Coil: The following contest is scheduled for ione fall, with a twenty minute time limit! Introducing first, already in the ring, he is DESPAIR!
Other Guy: It’s never a good sign to be already in the ring.
Eryk Masters: I mean, he’s huge though, so you could be wrong.
"I Don’t Fuck With You" by Big Sean (and featuring E-40) comes over the airwaves jarringly as the Suicide Test Dummy starts to strut-stalk his way through the curtain, wearing a blue and white long jacket with a pointed hood over a pair of white baggy pants with a blue stick figure shooting itself in the head down the right leg. Cade Sydal and Cassi Ryan walk out behind him, Cassi in a pleated purple and gray checkered skirt and purple button down shirt tied off over her mid-drift, Cade in a pair of slightly torn blue jeans and a blue shirt with a large white hand extending a middle finger in the middle of it.
Cassi Ryan: Ladies and gentlemen! Dickweeds and street walkers alike!
The fans begin to boo as STD and Cade make it to the top of the ramp with STD bending and tilting his head to the side while a finger gun moves to the side of his head and Cade turns his body toward STD’s with his other hand extending its own finger gun toward the ring. They both fire their mock guns in unison and Cade wipes imaginary blood and brains off his chest before they start walking down the ramp.
Cassi Ryan: Allow me to introduce to you all, the deviant making his SHOOT Project in-ring debut here tonight! Hailing from League Headquarters and weighing in at two-hundred and twelve pounds of hate and destruction! He is the Go Hard Guru, the Professor of Not Giving A Fuck!
STD hops onto the apron and slings himself over the top rope, landing in the middle of the ring he drops to a knee with his arms spread out wide on either side, while Cade steps through the ropes with his left foot and pushes that off the bottom rope, springing to the middle of the ring right behind STD and they throw their hands into the air crossed at the wrists with finger guns proudly displayed.
Cassi Ryan: He is Hell’s Hero! The Suicide Test Dummy!
STD pushes to his feet and flips a middle finger at Despair before moving to a corner and climbing up to stand with one foot on the top rope and the other on the middle, and Cade comes through the legs and under the middle rope as they both throw the hand sign up once more before the music starts to fade out.
Other Guy: Are you serious? This guy is about to get smoked…
Eryk Masters: He is facing a huge numbers game, and these guys are coordinated at least…you might have a point.
Cade steps through the ropes and sort of one-handed cart wheels off the edge of the apron to land harmlessly on the floor as STD unzips his jacket and hands it through the ropes to a stagehand. The bell sounds, and immediately STD rushes out of his corner, surprising the larger Despair who swings a wild clothesline. STD easily ducks the clothesline and catches Despair with a boot to the gut when he turns around. STD whips Despair into the nearest corner and follows immediately by rushing in at him and launching himself shoulder first into Despair’s midsection!
Other Guy: Haha, that got him!
Despair starts wheezing for air immediately as all of STD’s weight collapsed into his ribs a second time with a nother reckless shoulder thrust, this time dropping him to his knee in the corner. STD grins, he knows Despair is hurt, and he doesn’t care, he even decides he’s going to have some more fun now.
Eryk Masters: Holy shit, those shoulders are stiff!
STD grabs Despair by the wrist and whips him to the other corner, following closely behind him and leaping with a huge elbow as soon as Despair hits the turnbuckles, STD’s momentum carries him over the top rope and Despair clutches his face as he stumbles out and drops to a knee in the middle of the ring. Despair pushes back to his full height and turns around, just in time for STD to springboard back into the ring and crash into him with a heavy flying clothesline, but pushes right back to his feet instead of going for the cover, instead he chooses to throw the Just Us League hand sign into the air once more to a chorus of boos.
Eryk Masters: He might be in control now, but this attitude can’t help him maintain that, surely.
Other Guy: What’s wrong with having fun with your prey?
STD watches Despair closely, and as soon as he starts to push to his feet off his knees STD takes off and jumps off Despair’s uplifted knee and buries his own knee in Despair’s face with a brutal Shining Wizard that elicits a loud "OOOOOOOOH!" from the SHOOT Project Faithful as he rides Despair down to the canvas. STD gets to his feet quickly and pulls Despair up with him right into a front facelock before hoisting him up in the air and turning him to drive him down on his head with a Falcon Arrow!
Other Guy: He’s giving this guy brain damage! Haha!
STD pushes right to his feet instead of covering, though, and moves toward a corner and starts climbing to the top.
Eryk Masters: Why didn’t he go for the cover, though?
STD leaps off the top and pumps his arms and legs for a frog splash but turns his body to drive his right elbow down across Despair’s FACE! Another loud "OOOOOOOOOOOOH!" sounds, as STD mercifully hooks a leg while placing his crotch across Despair’s chest.
Eryk Masters: What a display of disrespect!
Other Guy: Hahaha, I love it!
STD pushes off of Despair’s body and spits down on it before raising his hands, crossed at the wrists with the fingerguns in the air proudly.
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner! The Suicide Test Dummy!
As soon as the words leave Coil’s mouth Cade leaps up onto the apron and starts saying something to STD. STD immediately yanks his arm away from the referee, who’s just trying to raise it in confirmation, and begins to stomp away at Despair before rolling him over onto his belly and hooking him in a Bow and Arrow Lock!
Eryk Masters: Oh come on, this is completely uncalled for!
Cade springboards to the top rope and off right away to come crashing down across Despair’s ribs with both feet with a nasty double stomp! Despair writhes in pain as STD releases the hold, clutching his ribs as the Just Us League laugh at him.
Other Guy: The Just Us League is just making a statement, Eryk, chill out.
Cade stops laughing suddenly and grabs Despair by his mask and presumably the hair underneath it as he uses it to yank the man back to his feet before pulling him into a reverse Russian leg sweep position while STD comes charging at him from behind and drives his right foot into the back of his skull with a Yakuza kick while Cade drops backward and drives Despair’s face into the canvas! A loud "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" echoes throughout the Epicenter.
Other Guy: Holy shit! They just killed him!
Eryk Masters: I told you this was too far!
Cade oushes Despair’s limp body off of his arm and gets to his feet before the two men slowly raise their arms in the League hand sign proudly, Cassi does likewise on the outside with a grin and "I Don’t Fuck With You" by Big Sean hits again. Slowly the three of them make their way up the ramp, laughing to themselves about what just happened while a trainer and another referee come running down past them to check on Despair in the ring.
We cut to a black screen, but not any black. A pregnant black. The kind of black that keeps something from you. Not just the kind of black that comes from a black screen or a nothing…but a kind of black that fills the senses to the point of blindness.
It is in this blindness that a single bright light fires up, blindingly so. After a few fleeting moments of that bright white, a man steps into the view of the spotlight. He stands there for a moment, allowing you to take him in. He stands tall, his hair slicked back and a top hat upon his head. His facial hair is cut into sideburns that taper into stubble at the corners of his mouth. He wears a long black coat and fingerless gloves and a smirk on his face.
Thane: Good evening, one and all, and welcome to the bold beginning of something that no one could have prepared you. For, you see, I am here to introduce myself to you lot. Of course, I could have done this with any insane amount of fervor or pomp, but instead I wanted you to see me step into the light as it were. My name is Victor Thane and I am your newest Soldier.
Thane: Now, you do not know me. I know this and I make no attempt to lie to myself that my introduction matters to any of you. All I can do is tell you a little bit about myself and a little bit about what I intend to do.
He removes his top hat and slides his hand over his head, keeping his dark brown hair slicked back.
Thane: I did not receive a piece of paper or anything of that sort. I am no veteran to these shores, as it were. I am, instead, a man that has lived his entire life yearning to make good upon the legacies of those that have come before me. You see, I am no bastard child of some broken home, I know my lineage and I know what I must do to honor that lineage. That is something I intend to do as I make my debut at Dominion where I shall face a young gentleman by the name of HISTERIA.
Thane: You do not know him any more than you know me. But, I assure you this. Watch Dominion. Watch as I make my debut for this company. Pay special and careful attention. Record it if you must. Play it back. Analyze it. Discuss it. Dominion promises to be something…oh so special.
He lowers his head, smiling still as his eyes and brow twist and contort into something of seething rage.
Thane: The Herald has put this man in my path. He has placed this gentleman in a contest with me in the hopes that there may be something special about me or about HISTERIA. Unfortunately for HISTERIA and unfortunately for Herald and unfortunately for all of you…there is much more to me than my name.
His rage disappears and he holds his arms out as if to embrace you.
Thane: But that is all you know for now, yes? My name.
He places the top hat back upon his head.
Thane: My name is Victor Thane.
His smile finally disappears from his face.
Thane: I look forward to making your acquaintance.
And just like that…the bright light dies.
Bobo Rodriguez and CJ Nelson stand across from each other in the ring. Bobo Rodriguez bounces up and down, shaking his arms out and stretching his neck. CJ Nelson stands across the ring, arms crossed, a look of anger on his face. He glares fire at Rodriguez, pure and utter hatred.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL with a time limit of TWELVE minutes. Introducing first, representing RCW, welcome BOBO RODRIGUEZ!
There is a small pop from the crowd, and Bobo waves at them respectfully, seemingly happy to be in competition in SHOOT Project. CJ Nelson looks…less than thrilled.
Eryk Masters:I don’t think I’d want to be facing CJ Nelson tonight.
Other Guy: Or any night, really.
Samantha Coil: His opponent, a former SHOOT Project World TAG TEAM CHAM-
As soon as Coil’s words register in CJ’s mind, he dashes across the ring in a rage. Bobo is not ready for the giant marine and he is quickly in CJ’s grasp, eating punch after punch to the face. Bobo goes limp and falls to his knees, and CJ starts slamming knees into Rodriguez, peppering his face and chest. The crowd goes wild, booing and cheering, eating up the violence. CJ lifts Bobo to his feet and just TOSSES him across the ring. Austin Linam signals for the bell and then quickly gets in between CJ and Bobo, telling CJ to back off. CJ glares down at Linam, but he obliges. Linam goes over to Bobo, who collects himself, the smile from his face wiped clean.
Eryk Masters: I…I hope we don’t see a murder tonight. I’d prefer it.
Bobo gets back to his feet and signals he is ready. CJ again charges in, but this time Bobo rolls out of the way, standing up and hitting a dropkick to the back of CJ. CJ staggers forward, looking more annoyed than hurt, and comes back swinging. Again Bobo is able to dodge, locking onto CJ’s arm and swinging around, looking for the crucifix pin, but CJ stands his ground. CJ then jumps and falls backward, SLAMMING Bobo into the ground. Bobo lets out a groan, releasing CJ. CJ stands up quickly, pulling Bobo to his feet and slamming him in the gut with a knee. He then places him in the position for the powerbomb, lifts him up, and drops him with a powerbomb. He holds on, lifts and does it again. CJ keeps dropping Bobo with powerbombs, roughly six, before finally letting go and yelling out in anger!
Other Guy: You may not get your wish Eryk.
CJ goes over to Bobo Rodriguez and picks him back up. He holds his face while he slams him in the gut with his fists. CJ then tosses Bobo to the corner, who only remains standing by holding the ropes. CJ rushes forward and slams Bobo with a forearm smash. Bobo almost collapses, but CJ keeps him standing. He pulls Bobo out of the corner and sets up the powerbomb. He lifts him for a Crucifix Powerbomb and DROPS him hard!. CJ walks over to Bobo and begins to stomp him. Linam admonishes CJ, even going so far as to recommend he pin, but CJ just waves off Linam and lifts Bobo back up, setting up for another Crucifix Powerbomb. As he drops Bobo with ANOTHER Crucifix Powerbomb. As CJ goes over to Bobo to lift him up again, there is a commotion from the crowd. Someone is making their way through the crowd, towards the ring.
Other Guy: What is going o-
Eryk Masters: That’s Jared Walsh, OG!
Jared Walsh leaps over the guard rails, steel chair in hand. AS CJ drops Bobo Rodriguez with a third Crucifix Powerbomb, Jared slides into the ring. CJ turns round and WHAM! Jared throws the chair in CJ’s face. CJ is clearly stunned, but he does not go down. Jared picks up the chair and slams it into CJ’s stomach! CJ falls to one knee. Jared hits the ropes and uses the momentum to crack CJ’s skull with the chair! By this point Austin Linam has signaled for the bell and the disqualification, but that means nothing to Walsh. Jared climbs to the top rope and leaps off, placing the chair underneath him and slamming CJ with a chair assisted legdrop! Jared looks a little hurt by this, but not as much as CJ, how is bleeding from the nose, mouth, and forehead. Jared gets up and kicks CJ in the head, yelling “FUCK!” He then kicks him again, yelling “YOU!” He then begins to stomp CJ’s stomach and chest, yelling “FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOU!” Jared looks ready to outright murder CJ, but he sees security running for the ring and decides to clear out. He leaps back over the guard rail and exits through the crowd, leaving an obliterated CJ Nelson and a mostly dead Bobo Rodriguez in the ring.
Eryk Masters: From what I understand, Jared Walsh is here tonight retaliating against CJ’s actions from a past episode of EWA.
Other Guy: From what I understand, CJ Nelson’s brain is baby food at this point.
When the lights fade and “DIM Scene”, by the GazettE, creeps over the arena there is an eerie silence that follows it. As bloody red lights begin to pulsate and surge, the anxious, almost nervous, silence remains as the crowd looks on. When Kenji emerges from the back, all of the blood red spotlights converge on him, and while there are the usual pockets of cheers, there is an anxiousness hanging through the air. The SHOOT Project World Heavyweight title is draped on Kenji’s shoulder but, as he promised, it does not shine.
It is covered in the thick caked on life force of all who have dared to oppose him.
Just like he promised.
When Kenji slides into the ring he takes a moment to look out into the crowd. His desolate blue eyes seem to hunt through the crowd until he finds a young fan in the front row wearing a Jonas Coleman shirt. Kenji tilts his head, smiles, and strokes his hand across the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight championship belt like a paint brush.
The title that refused to shine.
Eryk Masters: I’m gonna be totally blunt. Kenji Yamada has been infallible since becoming World Heavyweight Champion. This ANIMAL has torn through every single competitor that has dared to stand against him since SHOOT Project returned…
Other Guy: I can’t argue that, Masters. There are whispers in the locker room from established Soldiers that have been perfecting their craft in this business for years. People are legitimately AFRAID to even step into the ring with this human being.
Eryk Masters: His reign has been soaked in blood, draped in cartilage, and forged in the systematic destruction of SHOOT Project’s TOP talent. You would have to be absolutely batshit crazy to put yourself into Kenji Yamada’s crosshairs at this point in time….
Kenji: Have I not kept my word? Have we not seen the dawn of a new era DRENCHED in bloody satisfaction, just like I promised you? CHEER FOR ME, for I have given you EXACTLY what you craved. Don’t pretend, don’t hide… embrace it. EMBRACE IT! Is this not what you always wanted, your dream made a reality! We’ve only had three shows, three shows aside from this one, and look, just look, at how beautiful I’ve made MY crown.
Kenji holds high the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight title, once a prestigious gold color it now practically weeps at what it has become.
Kenji: Beautiful as it is, there is ONE prize that I needs claiming, still one PIG in need of bloodletting. And this PIG sits on high, in a skybox, fearful because he KNOWS that I’m coming for him. Fearful because he sees what I’ve done to ANYONE stupid enough to think they can take MY CROWN. Once a master of manipulation, now just a scared little boy…
Kenji, like a rabid dog, grabs hold of the top rope and practically jumps towards the skybox with fangs bared.
Kenji: ISN’T THAT RIGHT ISAAC? You sit up there LIKE A COWARD, because you know I’ll RIP you limb from bloody fucking LIMB. For everything, EVERYTHING, you’ve ever done to me, boy, I’m gonna make it SLOW. You’re going to FEEL it, and not like these other people I’ve destroyed, no, no, no, their fate will seem like a HEAVEN when I’ve finally grown tired of RIPPING YOU APART. Do you remember the old days, brother, when we talked of making this place beautiful and in our image, like a prodigy to canvas we were going to REALLY make this place bleed. Believe me, Isaac, when I get my fucking hands on you…
Kenji’s eyes widen, his eyes nearly bulge out of his skull.
Kenji: You’ll be my MASTERPIECE. You’ll BEG me to stop, BEG me. And I won’t, oh god, I won’t stop no matter how LOUD you scream for me to. It’s going to be BAD, Isaac, REALLY, REALLY BAD. You wanna know how bad it’s going to be? These people, all of them, they hate your fucking guts. They want me to kill you, they want me to beat your brains in, and they WANT ME to end you. But when I finally do, when I get your pale ass in this ring, and when WE ALL get what we wished for?
They’ll beg me to stop to, they’ll beg for my mercy, and they’ll look away in FEAR.
It’s going to be THAT bad, Isaac.
The cameras suddenly swings upward, passing over row after row of bleachers filled with screaming fans until we’re viewing the opening of Isaac’s commandeered skybox. The albino is seated at the window, his boots propped up against the sill. He begins to loudly clap his pallid hands together, condescending applause that seems to go on and on. He actually gives Kenji a standing ovation before seating himself back down and propping his feet back up, the microphone hovering near his lips.
Other Guy: Speaking of BATSHIT CRAZY…
Isaac: APPLAUSE, ladies and gents! Roar and scream and stomp your feet and feel free to rip your blouses open and shake your titties in support of this MONSTER of a WORLD CHAMPION! The Barbarian of Bluster. The Reaper of Redundancy. Our tedious TYRANT that shows off his murderous monotony show after show after show…
Isaac lightly claps his hand across his mouth, stifling a yawn as he smiles down at Yamada pacing in the ring.
Isaac: Kenji rip. Kenji tear. Kenji crush. Kenji destroy. I’m sensing a pattern, little brother. Every time you open your mouth repetitive dingleberries fall out of it. Shut that shit-chute for a minute and stop your endless BARKING, you irritating doggie. You’ve got no style, Yamada. You’re such a tired cliché of a beast…always bleating for blood and putting on your very best angry grimace to establish just how utterly BIG AND BAD YOU ARE!!!
Isaac chuckles, leaning backwards, simply shaking his head.
Isaac: You’re a bore, Kenji Yamada. You’re a predictable god damn bore…and that stained gold you wear across your waist will never change the undeniable fact that KENJI YAMADA will forever be remembered as living in the shadow of ISAAC ENTRAGIAN. That’s your legacy. Own it, motherfucker. Rip open every vein in SHOOT Project and drop a few severed heads at the Master’s feet…and you’ll still just be a piss-soaked puppy that shivers FOREVER beneath the shadow of The Ivory Terror.
That grin. That serrated, mocking grin…
Isaac: I’ll whup your overconfident ass when I’m in the MOOD to do so…and not one millisecond before. Sweat it out, Champ. Keep wondering about the when and the where. Keep on growling and pacing and showing me your sullen little WAR FACE. I love it. Because deep down…you’re squirming inside. You’re a broken record of man, a one-trick pony, A BEASTLY OL’ BORE.
Isaac looks down at the microphone for a moment, lightly tapping it.
Isaac: Here’s a little gift. Feel free to take out your impotent rage on this microphone. Pretend it’s me…YOUR LOVING BIG BRO! It’ll be your own personal voodoo doll. Make sure you stomp the shit out of it and rip it up and tear it up and smash it up and drop elbows on it, etc etc. It’s the best you’re gonna get, doggie…because those grubby paws aren’t getting anywhere near my porcelain skin anytime soon. My shadow will fall across you soon enough. It’s not like it’ll be anything new for you…you’ve been living under it for years now.
Isaac suddenly darts to his feet and PUNTS the microphone from the skybox window, the object tumbling and sailing through the air before it clatters down at Kenji’s feet in the center of the canvas, a huge whine of feedback going up and causing the crowd to vocalize their hatred for The Ivory Terror even more.
Isaac has already faded back from the skybox window, leaving the World Champion there the ring. Kenji, practically foaming at the mouth, paces back and forth in the ring. Unsettling to those in the front row that can hear him, as he paces, he keeps muttering the same words over and over.
Eryk Masters: Isaac Entragian is just poking the beast and seeming to delight in stoking Kenji’s rage more and more each week. I would say that is EXTREMELY unwise…and it’s something the albino may regret very soon.
Other Guy: I dunno, Masters. Entragian seems to always have some scheme brewing behind the scenes. He’s a crafty old devil…and I’ve gotta believe he’s provoking Kenji for a reason. The Ivory Terror is about the only one brazen and unhinged enough to actually say these things to Kenji…and as much as Kenji wants to rip that pallid head off, the World Champion has to keep his eyes open and not let that red haze of anger blur his vision completely.
Eryk Masters: Isaac is definitely up to something. I just pity the poor bastard who has to face Kenji Yamada next week after Isaac has got his ire raised up to entirely new levels…
The tag match starts off with Markus Pascal and Joshua Breedlove in the ring. Breedlove made it a point to start against Pascal, wanting to avoid an immediate confrontation with Buck Dresden. Breedlove is a bit of a technical dynamo and Pascal is absolutely no slouch, so the Faithful are treated with a spirited round of chain wrestling that is both appreciated and enjoyed by the fans in attendance. Dresden makes his support known vocally, wanting to both get in the head of Joshua Breedlove and also spur his partner on to gaining an advantage.
Unfortunately, Breedlove is on top of things early on. The RCW Heavyweight Champion is their champion for a reason and he’s putting that on display now, utilizing quick strikes and standard technical wrestling fare in order to establish his lead. Taking Pascal over with a hip toss, Breedlove follows up, torqueing the pressure on his arm. Pascal stuck in the center of the ring, reaching out towards Buck Dresden as Breedlove goes to work, twisting and pulling Pascal’s right arm. Breedlove manages to keep hold of it as he pulls Pascal back to his feet and shoves him into the corner towards Dan Stein.
Eryk Masters: Joshua Breedlove here is asserting his will on Pascal and doing a good job in controlling this matchup.
Other Guy:Look for Stein to get a tag here, wanting to take advantage of the work that Breedlove has done.
Stein does indeed get the tag from Breedlove and enters the ring quickly, as the two start to lay into the newer SHOOT Project soldier. Pascal is stunned in the corner and Stein pulls him up and over, dropping him with a vertical suplex in the center of the ring. He doesn’t waste time and goes for a cover!
Pascal kicks out, somewhat forcibly, surprising Dan Stein. Pascal and Stein get to their feet simultaneously, as though Pascal was conserving his energy and waiting for Stein to get into the matchup. Following that, Pascal starts to press on Stein, hitting him with a series of rights, staggering Stein. Pascal drops Stein with a DDT and goes for a quick cover himself!
Eryk Masters: Stein kicks out right at the last moment! I think he was surprised by this!
Other Guy:Oh no doubt about that, E. Stein got into this match with a slightly weakened Pascal, and what he’s seeing here is that that wasn’t the case. He definitely got surprised.
Stein his to his knees with an incredulous look on his face, looking up at Pascal who is coming in to follow up. Stein, with presence of mind about him, slips under Pascal and gets to his feet. Pascal turns and takes a poke to the eye from Dan Stein. Stein follows that up by wrapping him up and delivering a belly to belly that lands a little awkwardly and Pascal gets up, holding his shoulder. Stein sees this, points it out to Breedlove, and tags Breedlove in who runs over to Pascal and drills him with a kick to that hurt shoulder and causing Pascal to cry out in pain. Buck, who hasn’t yet been able to make an impact in this match, is still on the side of the ring cheering Pascal on. Breedlove runs over and sucker punches Buck, sending him to the floor!
The Faithful boo the cheapshot and Breedlove smirks as Buck gets back to the ring and starts to look like he’s coming into the ring, only to be stopped by Scott Kamura, drawing more boos from the crowd. With the distraction, Stein comes in after Breedlove just claps his hands, fooling the referee into thinking a tag was made. Stein gloats to the crowd and gets booed, then he puts the boots to Pascal before going for another cover!
Other Guy:Pascal with the kickout. I think Stein knew he wouldn’t catch the victory there, but this move serves both as a way to send a message to Pascal and also to possibly catch his breath.
Eryk Masters: Yeah, all the showboating and fake tags must have been really exhausting… at this point, Pascal’s been taking a beating and he hasn’t had a chance to get to his corner.
Stein gets into the corner and tags out to Breedlove who comes in and goes to work on Pascal, who at this point, appears to be out on his feet. Breedlove pulls him to his feet and starts to wrap him up. Pascal, on instinct alone, manages to avoid Breedlove and get closer to his corner! The Faithful start to come alive as Pascal inches towards Buck, but boo immediately when Breedlove gets to him and prevents him from making the tag!
Pascal manages to shake Breedlove again and starts to head towards the corner, but this time a commotion causes Buck to turn around and he sees Kitsune running down the ramp towards the ring! Buck jumps down and meets him and the two start to exchange blows! Breedlove makes it back to Pascal, who wasn’t anywhere near in a position to have made a tag, and he pulls him back to his feet and DROPS him with the INIQUITAS.
Breedlove goes for the cover!
The bell rings as Buck looks up at the ring towards Breedlove who’s got a huge grin on his face, and Dan Stein, also with a huge smile and he just loses it and starts laying into Kitsune to the horror of Joshua Breedlove! Soon, Kitsune is a beaten and bloodied mess as Buck looks up at Breedlove and points at him!
Eryk Masters: Man, that’s a tough loss for Dresden. He didn’t even get to get involved in the match and then Breedlove’s freaking lackey runs down here and further distracts him. That’s such garbage, OG.
Other Guy:Buck is a smart guy, but he’s also really emotional. He took a chance at meeting Kitsune half way and it backfired and they lost the match. Now he’s trying to get even, but on this night, Joshua Breedlove and Dan Stein had the last laugh.
The feed cuts back to the arena, with Salvador Olivares already standing in the middle of the ring with a microphone in hand. A collection of the SHOOT Project faithful are standing on their feet, already endeared to the man from last week’s Dominion when he took on Jackson Jeffries. Olivares had worked in the business long enough to appreciate even the smallest of responses as he establishes himself. Olivares steps forward, pulling the microphone to his mouth.
Olivares: Last week at Dominion, I had a match against one of the best Alienation-One has to offer in Jackson Jeffries, and like the two soldiers that we are, we gave our all for each and every one of you out there in the arena.
A smattering of the Faithful cheer for the statement.
Olivares: Unfortunately, it was Jeffries that was victorious that night, and I was forced to return to the back to forge the next plan of attack.
Another loud cheer.
Olivares: And when the athletic Mary Kelly entered the locker room, I told her that while I am the Mauler of Mexico City; that I am looking to grow my legend in the great Western United States of America. It starts here in Las Vegas, and it starts tonight
Salvador points to the ring as he looks out at the fans, turning around with a confident look upon his face. The man embraces each of the fans that cheer for him, even if it he hasn’t quite turned the entire Faithful supportive of him. He flashes back over his career in Mexico, and his accomplishments in Mexico City.
Herald: Hello, Mr. Olivares.
The arena absolutely explodes with boos now, as the Herald walks out. Herald does not have a microphone and yet his voice still booms over the PA system. Olivares turns to Herald, keeping his stance open and ready for a fight at any minute.
Herald: Please, Mr. Olivares, The Master understands that you want a fight tonight, but he is not one to attack from a man’s blindside.
The wise, veteran Olivares does not back down, looking over his shoulder to defend himself from an onslaught.
Herald: Fine, Salvador, behave as you wish. The Master, as I stated, understands that you want another chance to establish yourself here in Las Vegas, and as such he has quite the opportunity for you.
Salvador motions up to the ramp for Herald to come down and get in the ring, Herald bellyaches, shaking his head.
Herald: Oh, no, Salvador, not with myself, the Herald, but with a man you are all too familiar with, and a man the Faithful will come to fear, my overzealous friend. Because your opponent tonight…
Is Ultimo Muerte
Olivares’ stance completely shifts into disbelief. The heavy bass drum echos through the arena as “You’re Already Dead” by Critical Mass plays. Stepping out from the back, wearing a black and red cape with skulls protruding from the stand up collar and long red and black tights with an Aztec design on one leg and “UM” interlaced on the other, is the MASSIVE SEVEN foot superbeast from Reality Check Wrestling. The massive, tanned man wears a red and black mask, designed to look like a decaying face, with the eyes shrouded by cloth. The SHOOT Project Faithful stand up on their feet in absolute ASTONISHMENT at the build of the man; The man’s upper body is well defined as there is hardly any body fat.
Eryk Masters: OH, MY GOD, WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT GUY!
Other Guy: I’ve heard stories about this Ultimo Muerte, E, but I thought they were exaggerations. He’s part of the Imperium from Reality Check, and I don’t think it needs saying, but this guy is absolutely ENORMOUS.
Eryk Masters: This man, definitely takes care of his body, and you can only believe it’s to inflict as much pain on his opponents.
Other Guy: I’ve never seen anything like it, E.
Ultimo Muerte stops at the top of the ramp next to Herald, who looks up at the gigantic man. Muerte still hasn’t taken his eyes off of Olivares in the ring. The Faithful are absolutely beside themselves as Muerte unclasps the cape from around his neck and lets to fall behind him, then proceeds to make his way down to the ring. The Herald steps back and fades backstage.
Olivares steps back away from the ropes to get away from the long arms of the monster in front of him. Muerte grabs on to the top rope and pulls himself up to the ring apron, then steps over the ropes and into the ring. As Olivares backs away, a referee rushes down to the ring and slides in quickly, signaling for the bell. Ultimo Muerte extends out his arms to his sides as if looking up to the skies. Olivares, not one to back down from a fight, rushes across the ring and unleashes a strong forearm that would knock most men down to the mat, but Muerte merely takes a step back to steady himself.
Olivares, taken aback briefly, realizes that his attack provided no measure of security in the match and unleashes a barrage of strikes to Ultimo Muerte’s midsection, again only causing the gigantic man to steady himself. Finally, Muerte has had enough of the strikes and grabs the Mauler of Mexico City by the head, and LAUNCHES the man spinning clear across the ring and out onto the floor.
Eryk Masters: Olivares has made his living in Reality Check Wrestling with his striking ability, and this Ultimo Muerte doesn’t seem fazed at all!
Other Guy: It’s going to take everything the Mauler has if he wants to even walk to the back tonight, I think, Eryk.
Olivares gets to his knees and grabs the bottom rope, shaking off the cobwebs. He grabs the bottom rope while looking up at the beast walking toward him. Muerte reaches over the top rope and grabs Olivares, basically palming the man’s head. The referee makes sure to get up next to Ultimo Muerte to have him back away, but Muerte slowly turns his head at the referee and watches him back away, while still barking orders. Olivares rips at the man’s hand, but quickly finds himself on the ring apron, and the recipient of a massive clothesline to drop him to the apron again.
Muerte reaches down to the mere mortal man in front of him and pulls him under the bottom rope by the hand. He grabs Olivares by the back of the head and neck, lifting him up to his feet. Olivares gets lifted up and spun over so that when he rests on Muerte’s shoulder his head he can look out at the fans. Muerte steps forward to drop Olivares for a Michinoku Driver, but Olivares desperately slips out the back door and dives down at Muerte’s knee, taking the man off balance! The SHOOT Project Faithful erupt as Ultimo Muerte hobbles away briefly. Olivares bounces off the nearest ropes and dives down at the knee in a chop block! Muerte’s leg collapses, and he’s taken down to the knee! Ultimo Muerte puts his fist onto the mat, then throws his head back, releasing a primal howl to the skies above him.
Eryk Masters: Olivares was just able to sneak out of that move and took advantage of the situation by attacking that knee!
Other Guy: Trying to cut that tree down, Eryk, but I’m not sure he’s done anything to the tree but pissed it off.
Olivares sees this as his biggest opportunity and bounces off of the ropes, swinging his leg at the downed Muerte’s head!
BUT MUERTE CATCHES THE LEG! Olivares is in absolute panic mode as Muertes stands up, still holding onto the Mauler of Mexico City’s limb! Olivares hops on his other leg trying to maintain balance. Ultimo Muerte reaches out with a long arm and grabs Olivares by the throat, lifting him up, and driving him down to the mat. The sound Olivares’ body makes as he hits the mat sounds more like a thud than a slap, and the only movement he’s able to make is the electrical signals firing in every direction.
Eryk Masters: I think you’re right, OG. I don’t know if Ultimo Muerte was trying to sucker Olivares in, but this beast was ready for him.
Ultimo Muerte again grabs the Reality Check mainstay by the head and neck, lifting the man up and spinning him onto his shoulder. The referee moves in front of Muerte, attempting to get a good look at Olivares, but Muerte has nothing of it and steps away. Muerte looks around the arena as Olivares’ arms are dangling out in front him. Muerte extends out his arms and looks up to the skies again, the massive shoulders providing more than enough platform to maintain Olivares’ stability. The fans, witnessing complete domination of Olivares, are unsure if they should be in awe or boo the man. Muerte puts his thumb to his throat and drags it across! Up Olivares goes, and Muerte sits out as Olivares crashes to the mat back first.
Eryk Masters: Michinoku Driver! As if Olivares needed to take any more beating!
Muerte grabs Olivares’ legs and pulls them up for the pin. The referee hurries into position, but at this time it’s just a formality. The atmosphere in the arena has completely shifted as the referee hits the three count. Muerte throws Olivares out of the way and moves to his feet.
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner by pinfall, Ultimo MMMUERTE!
Ultimo Muerte stands in the middle of the ring, letting the Faithful take a good long look at the superbeast that stands before them.
Eryk Masters: This monster absolutely dominated Salvador Olivares, and you have to wonder what his intentions are here in SHOOT Project, OG.
Other Guy: I think it’s safe to say that Ultimo Muerte is going to become a household name, but is he one of the Master’s minions? Is he staying in SHOOT Project as a free agent, or can we expect him to return to Mexico City until the Master calls upon him again?
Eryk Masters: Whatever the case, Ultimo Muerte put on a show here tonight for the Faithful, and I think it was his own legend that started to grow!
Mary Kelly jogs towards the sounds of a raucous being raised in the back of the Epicenter. She tries to avoid tripping over the wires and cords scattered all over the floors as she serves as the cameraman’s navigation through his skewed vision. She turns the corner and sees BUCK DRESDEN flipping a table in catering in frustration. He is still wearing his ring gear from earlier.
Mary Kelly: Buck! Buck, what are you doing?!
Buck Dresden: RRRRRRRAGH! FUCK!
He kicks the table, breaking it at the center. He plops down onto a single steel folding chair, sitting there with his head down.
Buck Dresden: I’m sorry, Miss Kelly. I’m sure Herald’ll charge me fer this.
Mary Kelly: Buck, are you upset over the loss you took this evening where Breedlove and Kitsune managed to catch you unawares?
Buck Dresden: Mary, this thang with me ‘n’ Breedlove ain’t just affectin’ just me no more. Now, Breedlove has his little masked thug Kitsune fuckin’ up tag matches, costin’ more’n me wins, but partners as well! I can’t take it, girl, I just can’t damn take it!
Mary Kelly: Do you have any ideas for what to do to take care of the situation?
“I believe I might.”
Buck and Mary turn to see none other than THE HERALD. He stands there, his hands clasped in front of himself. His hooded, masked face hiding his disappointment.
Herald: Buckley…why do you persist? You are outnumbered, outplanned, outmanned. What do you hope to accomplish against Joshua Breedlove and Kitsune?
Buck stands up, face to face with Herald.
Buck Dresden: Both of ‘em are part o’ Magnus International. They’re here representin’ Charles Brandon Magnus.
Buck Dresden: I aim ta find out why he ain’t here to face me himself. D’you know why, Herald?
Herald bows his head.
Herald: Unfortunately, Magnus did not answer the call. Perhaps he is ashamed of the dissolution of his control in AlieNation-One at your hand. Perhaps he is too broken hearted at your friendship’s destruction.
Buck kicks the folding chair away.
Buck Dresden: THEN WHY THE FUCK DOES HE SEND SOME GODDAMN GOONS AFTER ME?!
Herald: I wish I…could give you the answers you seek, Buckley. I do. All I can say and do for you here and now is offer you a chance at fighting back. Do you want that chance?
Buck Dresden: Yer goddamn right I do.
Herald: Then it is settled. Buck Dresden will face Kitsune one on one.
Buck Dresden: I want a stipulation.
Herald: Oh? Do you want Breedlove barred from ringside? A cage?
Buck shakes his head.
Buck Dresden: Hell no. I want that high flyin’ lil’ purple fox to be strapped to me. I don’t want him to get away. No escapin’ me. Not this time. I don’t give a damn what Breedlove does. Let him come see it fer himself. Hell, tell Breedlove to get Chuck a laptop so he can watch the show himself. I want him to see, too.
Herald: Interesting. Buck Dresden versus Kitsune in a strap match. Perfect.
Buck nods his head, slapping Herald on the shoulder. Herald is somewhat taken aback for a moment before he nods at Buck as he leaves. Herald turns to Mary Kelly, who has said nothing since his arrival.
Herald: A problem, Mary?
Mary Kelly: No sir. I was just curious…you seemed really eager to help Buck Dresden get a chance at revenge. Why?
Herald: Brotherhood is a bond earned so rarely and lost so easily, Mary. Buck Dresden faces the demons of his past and does so with his head high and his eyes forward. The Faithful adore bravery…especially when it is backed by bloodlust. Why would I not want to see him shed his blood as well as another’s?
He chuckles, leaving Mary to her own devices in the wrecked room.
We cut to the ring As Kenji Yamada is handing the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight championship to Ton Lorenzo. Trey Willett and Kenji Yamada stand in the center of the ring, neither one wanting to be the first to break eye contact. The deep river of bad blood between Trey Willett and Kenji’s former family is not lost on the champion. Lorenzo calls for the bell.
Kenji goes in for a simple tie up but is instead met with an open pal slap across the face b the former World Champion. After the previous week’s attack, Trey unleashes an entire week’s worth of frustration into one defiant act of disrespect to the Current Champion. Kenji moves forward, nearly pressing his nose to Trey’s face. His pupils dilate, his breathing increases. Lorenzo calls for the bell to start the match.
Eryk Masters: Here we go with tonight’s non title match up and we’re already getting off to a prett uncharacteristic start here for the former World Champion.
Other Guy: Uncharacteristically stupid. I don’t really think that poking this bear is the best idea for Trey Willett. Kenji Yamada looks like he is about to rip his head from his neck.
Kenji stands, his back stiffens. For his part, Trey does not back down. The two men inch closer until Trey unloads a hard right hand towards the chin of the Champion. Kenji’s face snaps right back to attention, not phased by the opening salvo from Trey.
Following a few more stinging strikes from Trey Kenji, without flinching, grabs Trey by both shoulders and headbutts him. Trey’s knees buckle and he begins to fall, but is held up by the champion. Kenji tosses him into the turnbuckle before taking complete control of the bout. The champion shows a streak of ferocity that has been his calling card over his career and refuses to let up on Trey as he beats him from on corner to the other. The faithful sit in stunned silence as Kenji absolutely dismantles Trey.
Eryk Masters: This was certainly not the fight that the faithful was expecting.
Other Guy:I dont think this is the fight the faithful were expecting either.
After several moments of vicious attacks at Trey, Kenji lifts Trey and slams his head into the mat with a thunderous powerbomb! Trey’s eyes roll into the back of his head and the life seems to dry out of his arms. Kenji drops to the mat for the cover.
TH….Trey kicks out hard and the faithful start to stir back to life as it seems this match has yet to be over. Trey rolls over on to one knee and begins to stir back to his feet. Kenji immediately gets back to his feet and reaches down to grab Trey b the back of the head, but is met by ANOTHER OPEN HAND SLAP ACROSS THE FACE!!
The faithful roar back to life as Kenji staggers back more from disbelief at the continued disrespect from the challenger than from the pain of the slap. Trey makes his way to his feet. Kenji squares his shoulders up and begins to breath heavily again. The fury coming from the champion can be felt throughout the arena.
Eryk Masters: Trey is not going to let the champion out of this match that easily, and it looks like he is telling him that he will not be intimidated.
Other Guy:Yeah, this strategy worked out really well for him in the beginning of the match.
Trey gets a second wind trading blows with Kenji Yamada. The match starts to normalize as the two men have a respectable back and forth. Trey starts to get a bit of an upperhand, capitalizing on a series of quick strikes to the champion, Trey catches him with a running bulldog and drops down for a quick cover. He gets a one count on the champion before he rockets back to his feet. Kenji grabs Trey by the back of the head and plunges it into his lifted knee, staggering Trey backwards.
Kenji Grabs Trey’s head with one hand and leads him into the corner. With his free hand he rips the turnbuckle apart. Over and over he slams Trey’s head into the exposed turnbuckle until blood begins to pour from Trey’s face. He falls backwards onto the mat. Kenji unscrews the top turnbuckle as the top rope falls slack on the mat. The fans gasp with shock as Kenji DRIVES the turnbuckle into the open head wound of Trey Willett!!
Eryk Masters: Kenji Yamada has lost all control here tonight, just punishing Trey Willett tonight.
Other Guy: Someone has got to put a stop to this, there is brutal. And then there is this.
Trey’s blood paints the canvas as Kenji goes to work on him with the turnbuckle. Trey puts his hands up to cover head head from a blow and Kenji responds by grabbing Trey’s wrist and biting his middle finger. Trey writhes in pain, rolling out of the way of another vicious swing. The turnbuckle comes down onto the mat and cuts into the canvas, revealing a small section of plywood.
Kenji straitens his stance as a twisted smile comes over his face.
With an otherworldly quickness he descends on the ring and claws at the canvas. He pulls the canvas and padding off, revealing the plywood underneath. Kenji drops to the mat and grabs hold of Trey’s Head. He drags Trey to the exposed side of the ring and grabs hold of the back of his head with two hands. Over and over again he drives Treys face into the plywood ring floor. The sound of skull hitting wood floor is a thicker, more dull sounds without the layer of canvas and padding as a barrier. The faithful begin to litter what’s left of the ring with various pieces of garbage and debris.
Trey’s hands go limp and fall to his side. His blood seeps through the pores of the plywood, becoming literally part of the SHOOT Project ring. Wood splinters around, thud after thud, until Kenji finally ceases his vicious barrage.
The Champion stands tall in front of his fallen challenger. With his foot he rolls Trey over onto his back, and places one foot atop his chest. For a moment it appears as if Trey has stopped breathing. Silence everywhere. The only sound that can be heard over the airwaves is the collective breathing of the commentary team. Trey’s apnea lasts for only a split second before Kenji drives his boot into the sternum of the former champion forcing him to immediately spit a large clot of blood onto the hard wood.
Kenji brings his boot onto a rest atop the sternum of Trey Willet and motions towards Tony Lorenzo to make the count. The color drained from his face, Lorenzo pauses for a moment. Kenji leans his shoulder in towards the referee and screams “COUNT!” jarring Lorenzo from his momentary lapse. Lorenzo drops to the mat.
Kenji Yamada wins the match. Silence…
Without grandstanding or celebration Kenji simply removes his boot from the chest of Trey Willett. He steps through the remains of the ring and begins up the aisle, passing the paramedics as they rush down towards Trey.
Fade to black…