The charred door of the skybox flies open, Isaac Entragian stepping forward to hurl the production crewman halfway across the room by the collar of his shirt. The man lands roughly, crab walking backwards on his hands and feet, and Isaac tosses a microphone into his lap.
Entragian towers over the man, the albino bedecked in some ragged, tattered gray coat—the coat of a Confederate General—the buttons tarnished and falling off, medals rusted and flaking. It looks like something pulled from the dumpster behind an antique shop with a high, moth-eaten collar.
The man takes time to look at his surroundings. He instantly wishes that he hadn’t looked. He’s landed in a sort of “nest” for street people, a place that has been corrupted and populated by the lowly wretches we’ve come to know as the Coyotes. The stench of them hits him—unwashed flesh, disease, festering wounds—the aroma of frail, decaying scavengers. Dirty faces dance in and out of the gloom, rotten grins, hollow eyes, hands with nicotine-stained fingernails sharpened against hunks of brick…hands that reach for him, caressing, touching, and pinching…taking the measure of the man.
Lionheart is seated in a ruined recliner in the corner, some woman with smeared lipstick and a shaved head bobbing her neck up and down as she fellates him with a sort of desperate hunger. Valentine’s hand is wrapped firmly around the base of her skull, his fingers lightly grazing the blonde stubble on the back of her pate, smashing her face down harder and harder with each thrust. Loud gurgling sounds come from that corner…the sound of saliva oozing across cock-flesh, making the Coyotes cackle and hoot.
Entragian: What’s your name, son?
The man’s voice quavers. He understands the gravity of his current predicament.
“Raymond Boone. I’m just on the production crew, Isaac…I…”
Entragian: Be still, Boone. The backstage interviewers won’t venture up here anymore. It’s tainted territory. They hide in little holes now…because SHOOT Project has gone rotten like a black, shriveled apple on the tree. They hide because Herald is always gliding through the hallways with his armed guards marching at his back. They hide from men like Boyer and women like Blaylock. They hide from US…the stench of the horde, the sound of chattering teeth, the boom of dirty boots across the floor.
Isaac leans down, his scarred bald head shining in the dim firelight of the skybox.
Entragian: I’m promoting you, Boone. You’re a prestigious backstage interviewer now…and you have the luxury of interviewing me! Are you comfortable? Can I get you something to drink?
Boone looks around him, his eyes taking in the grotesqueries of this dark, horrid place. Isaac’s gibbering pet imbecile is tied to a rusted piece of railing by his leather leash, the imbecile scrabbling around on all floors, sniffing at Boone, his nose like a mashed purple mushroom, nothing but dull, feral idiocy in his eyes. Shadows lurk just out of sight, filthy hands bringing bottles to their lips to sip down their poison of choice. There are a group of emaciated shirtless individuals working madly at a wall with some kind of red paint, smearing it across the surface, creating a mural composed of words like “FUCK, RIP, EAT, GNAW, KILL, FUCK” with primitive cave drawings of people being torn apart and dismembered.
Entragian: They are my artists, Boone. They work frantically—as most methheads do—and you’ll be interested to know that the paint they’re using is their own blood. Visually staggering, isn’t it?
Boone: Isaac, please…I don’t know what you want—
Boone is never allowed to finish, the albino raging forward to snatch him up and smash him up against the open skybox window, half of his body dangling out far above the stands.
Entragian: You will refer to me as GENERAL ENTRAGIAN, Boone. You will address me as SIR, Boone. If you are invited into an army encampment, you will behave properly, yes? My Coyotes do not appreciate disrespectful treatment. The streets have been unkind to them…and they’re eager to return that unkindness to the world now.
Boone has no conceivable idea of how many of these subhuman creatures dwell up here. It’s too dark to tell, the shadows constantly moving. There are just so many. A seemingly endless flood of foul forms at Isaac’s back, bent to his will, brainwashed by his temptations and his promises.
Entragian: Now Boone, don’t be impolite. Go and pay your respects to General Lionheart. He commands these legions with the same authority that I do. As you’ll notice…he is currently getting his COCK SLURPED, but don’t let that dissuade you, son! SHOOT Project’s days of decency are long dead. She will work his member for the taste of sweet juice—as the female Coyotes are trained to do—and you will work his beautiful mind for words of future desolation.
Isaac throws Boone across the room, the poor man catching himself on the side of the recliner’s arm, timidly lifting up the microphone to the savage features of Valentine Lionheart.
Isaac throws Boone across the room, the poor man catching himself on the side of the recliner’s arm, timidly lifting up the microphone to the savage features of Valentine Lionheart.
Lionheart: With a lip quiver like that Boone, I’m tempted to invite you to join in. *He says while motioning to his cock, as the mouth of the shaven-headed skag-queen continues to gulp on his cock.* Look at those eyes, General Entragian… The wonders Boone has seen here tonight, the atrocities that now befall his psyche; I do believe he is beginning to break.
Entragian smirks, his razor sharp teeth glistening in the light as Valentine regards the jinxed production worker.
Lionheart: To think, all you have seen tonight is nothing but a glimpse, the trailer to the blockbuster. The calm before the storm. The Coyotes are OUR dogs of war, rabid, vile little cunts; whose soul desire is please OUR desire; and our desire isn’t to burn SHOOT Project to the ground, it’s to infect it, to poison its blood and watch it twist and transform into a diseased spastic.
Lionheart: The world you once knew is “Cheyne Stoking.” Giving way to a rotting corpse; a corpse that will nourish The Coyotes, the worms and the maggots. The tomb of SHOOT will be the breeding ground of the repugnant and the depraved… Wait… Give me a second.
Valentine leans back, gripping his hands tightly around the back of the female Coyotes head, thrusting harder into her mouth, the helmet of his dick sliding down past her tonsils and into her throat as he groans loudly and unashamed, cumming inside her mouth.
Boone turns his head to look away, but Lionheart grasps a clump of his hair and forces him to watch as he slides his cock out of her cum-dribbled mouth.
Lionheart: I seem to have lost my train of thought.
The Coyotes chuckle and howl in unison, their voices rattling all around and seeming to come from every direction as Lionheart pushes his fellator away like a discarded toy or scolded dog.
Lionheart: Is it wrong that I thought about Zex and his whore of a wife while I came?
Boone dares not answer; instead he simply looks up at Lionheart expecting an answer.
Lionheart: Thinking about him lying there in a pool of his own blood seems to spur me on; and the idea of raping Rain while The Coyotes force him to watch is enough to make me rock hard over and over. *He points down at his cock, of which is getting hard again* and they all wonder why I like fucking with Zex so much? I do it because NOTHING pleases me more; years and years of experiencing every form of depravity imaginable and yet NOTHING compares to tormenting him. I… Wonder…
Lionheart simply pushes against Boone’s face after having his say, knocking the man back into Entragian’s clutches. A line of Coyotes have formed in front of Boone, about five in total, some bearded, some strangely hairless, one sporting sagging tumors from his chin and forehead. The only defining feature they have is the nasty letter “C” carved into their inner forearms, some of the wounds scabbed over, others swollen and infected.
Entragian: All the Coyotes receive the gash, Boone. They carve it into their own flesh using whatever is readily available. Dirty needles. Cheap ballpoint pens. Pieces of broken glass. The instrument doesn’t matter. It is the SYMBOL…that matters.
Suddenly one of the Coyotes places a shank into Isaac’s pale hand, nothing but a piece of sharp tin with a handle wrapped in rags. Isaac reaches forward and drags Boone’s face closer, cutting into his cheek slowly, letting the blood drip down until that perfect “C” is etched into his flesh. Boone whimpers like a piglet, and Isaac pulls him into a tight embrace, whispering into the man’s ear.
Entragian: These are my archers, Boone. Every army needs archers. Or perhaps it would be better to call them spitters. They are proficient with biological projectiles. Show him…
Isaac steps away, and suddenly the line of Coyotes begin to spit down onto Boone’s open wound, saliva splashing from chapped, ragged lips. Some of the men spit up globs of coagulated blood, all of this foulness landing there in the fresh cut on Boone’s cheek. The “archers” step away, smiling with spittle dripping down their chins.
Boone stares out blankly, terrified and disgusted. Isaac leans down behind him, that dark whisper coming again.
Entragian: The secret to my archers, Boone…is that they’re all HIV positive.
The horror grows across Boone’s face. It blooms there like unfolding orchid petals, contorting his face…driving the sanity slowly out of the man.
Entragian: And now you’re one of them.
Isaac tosses Boone to the archers, the Coyotes scrabbling and clawing at him, drawing him into their putrid, roiling ranks. Isaac slowly walks towards the skybox window, bellowing outward with the full weight of his voice, a roar that sails out over the bleachers.
Entragian: THANK YOU FOR WELCOMING ME INTO THIS SHOOT PROJECT, MASTER. THANK YOU FOR THIS SHANGRA-LA. THANK YOU FOR THIS EDEN. THANK YOU FOR THIS PARADISE. THANK YOU, MASTER…FOR THIS HELL OF HELLS!
Isaac sweeps his arms open, saliva flying from his fangs as he roars out of the skybox window…and the Coyotes howl and bark and shriek right along with him. It seems that this new incarnation of SHOOT Project feeds into Isaac Entragian’s madness even more, taking it from a controlled burn and transforming it into an uncontainable wildfire.
Entragian: And when I finish what I started with my little brother…I will become the King of this Hell. I will be crowned. I will sit my throne. I will watch SHOOT Project fester. I will watch SHOOT Project rot.
It won’t take much.
Look around this godless place…
SHOOT Project drowns in blood already.
A few more drops in the bucket won’t even be noticed.
Two teams looking to make their names in the SHOOT Project kick this Dominion off. They are the American Lions and former RCW Tag Team Champions, AzteX, Javier and Julio Gomez. Javier starts out the match against Jackson Jeffries. Jeffries is a step quicker than Javier who is subject to a barrage and flurry of the younger American Lion member. On this occasion, Jeffries would keep the pressure on, not allowing Javier to get to Julio and continuing to deny the tag. Jeffries tags Thane in and Thane, the more methodical of the two, goes to work and starts to isolate Javier’s leg.
Thane works Javier’s right leg until there’s a significantly noticeable limp. They’ve kept Javier pinned into their corner for the entirety of the match but only managed a couple of near falls. When Javier makes it to Julio, the Faithful explode for the new life shown by the AzteX. Julio figuratively sets the ring ablaze with his energy and surprises both Thane and Jeffries. He picks up a near fall of his own that had to be broken up by Jeffries. Thane makes the tag allowing Jackson and Julio to square off.
It looks for a moment like the AzteX might pick up the victory, but Victor Thane will not be denied as Jeffries tags out to him and Thane takes over. It’s not long before Thane and Jeffries cut off the rest of the AzteX and they capture the victory, the American Lions standing tall!
WINNER: THE AMERICAN LIONS (9:45)
Dan Stein and Molly, his worrisome girlfriend, walked through the grungy doors of the wrestler’s entrance to the epicenter. Stein held the door for her as they walked in, taking the time to check out that fine heiny that presented itself before him, but the mood still felt tense. Molly wasn’t her normal, peppy self. Stein showed his injuries from Revolution in the form of a group of stitches on his lower lip. There was still a part of him that was thankful he didn’t have any sort of public appearances, but he tried not to show it. Molly slowed to let Stein, who was carrying his bags catch up to her.
Molly: There’s something weird about this place, Dan.
Dan Stein: Yeah, I’ve been in Mexican whore houses that look better than this place, when it used to be the Taj Mahal of wrestling.
Molly: Well yeah, but, I mean… just an aura about the company has shifted.
Dan Stein: Yeah, I guess. The Herald and the Master bullshit is getting old quick. But I’m not about to question it.
Stein’s words resonated between the two of them. A look of concern flashed in both of their eyes. Dan adjusted his bags.
Molly: You sure you aren’t having second thoughts about tonight? Won’t the stitches break open?
Dan Stein: It’s not like I’m getting in the ring with a heavy handed mixed martial artist or anything, Molly.
Molly playfully slapped Stein, who chuckled, shifting the bag on his shoulder.
Dan Stein: I mean, yeah. Four stitches, lip will probably split open again. Probably will whenever I step back into the ring. It’s fine. I’ll probably have my first blemish on this beautiful money-maker. But that…bullshit, the modeling shit, that’s behind me.
Molly looks like she’s about to talk, but Stein stops her, speaking quickly.
Dan Stein: Yeah, I’m a little worried about the lip, I’m worried about the nose, I’m worried about the ribs, and the bruising, I’m worried about it all right now. Fuck, I’m worried that Valentine and his crew of misfit toys will pop up again to soften me up for next week. For all I know, Markus is going to pop up in the middle of the match and I’m going to take a ride on the T-M-B train straight to Tapville. But I can’t worry about that tonight.
TMB is on the warpath after I straight shut down his gym buddy, and if I don’t go out and show him, and that Canadian fuck boy, that Dan Stein is still the man in SHOOT Project, then I’ll be worried about a lot more than a split lip.
Besides, Zex and I can’t both look like tenderized meat in the ring, right?
Stein smirked, again shifting the bag on his shoulder, then leaned in to give Molly a peck on the lips.
Thomas Manchester Black and Dan Stein have met a few times over their long careers in the SHOOT Project. Stein and Black both former champions, working here to stake a claim towards glory. Lately, Markus Pascal has been tied up with Stein, causing a lot of grief for the former champion. Pascal wouldn’t be present tonight, but Stein is every wary of the newcomer. Black, on the other hand, has struggled to find his footing and looks to take this victory here and start on a more productive path.
The two lock up and match up evenly to begin with, despite Black’s size advantage. Stein takes over with his speed and starts to chop down at TMB, working Black’s arms. Stein is a bit more technical than Black, so he’s got some leverage in that regard, but Black is a resilient brawler and that’s been the case here tonight as he’s defended all of Stein’s offense and minimized the damage as much as he can. Stein has a last gasp at victory, but Black manages to stop him.
With finality, Black hits his finish on Dan and captures the pin, thwarting the former World Heavyweight Champion’s efforts. Stein gets up after the match with a dejected look on his face and it’s hard to tell whether he’s let the Pascal distraction get to him too much or he just didn’t have it on this day.
WINNER: Thomas Manchester Black (11:23)
The screen lights up with a shot of the Epicenter from outside the walls before panning to the roof and spinning to overlook the city of Las Vegas. Police sirens sound in the background as an unidentified voice can be heard whispering.
???: In times of depravity, we foresake all that we are.
The police sirens can be heard getting louder ever-so-slightly as they head toward the Epicenter.
???: We yearn for a guiding hand to lead us from the abyss even as we spiral further and further down. We seek refuge from the storm of our own creation, not knowing where that shelter can be found.
The sirens are even closer now and there are several of them from the sounds of it. They are in a hurry, and the voice gets a little louder.
???: We tarnish ourselves even as we seek our redemption.
Closer and closer, the sirens approach. A second voice joins in, a little higher in pitch.
??? ???: In times of chaos, we foresake all that we are. We yearn deeply for a restoration of order even as we shed our own morality.
Closer still, the sirens become. The speaking can no longer be described as whispering now.
??? ???: We find ourselves rebelling against our inhibitions even as the world burns around us.
The sirens fly past the Epicenter one by one, a total of seven cars fly down the street and more sirens can be heard approaching from other directions. A chase is evident.
??? ???: We destroy ourselves even as we seek our restoration.
The sirens begin to grow fainter and the first voice chimes in again.
???: In times of darkness, we foresake all that we are. We yearn for peace even as the hate boils out of our souls. We seek hope even as we build walls of sorrow.
??? ???: We destroy ourselves even as we seek our resolution.
???: But in the darkness, the light shines brightest. It can strengthen your resolve, and ease the pain of hatred.
??? ???: The light can restore your morality and the natural order.
The sirens stop moving away.
???: The light can redeem your soul and save you from the abyss. It can shelter you from the storm, and it can pull you from the depths of depravity.
??? ???: From the psychosis of chaos.
???: From the doom of darkness.
The shot pans away from the view of the city to focus on the speakers, behind where the camera had been. A large man wearing an orange mask with bright yellow "explosions" around the eyes and ears, but covers the entire face otherwise, and a matching hoodie. A smaller man with a sky blue mask with silver lightning bolts all over it, open on the top with locks of blonde hair spilling out of it and the mouth is uncovered as well, revealing a large smile and a matching hoodie.
FLASH Dynamite and Kid Lightning.
The Flying Avengers.
FLASH Dynamite: We are the light.
Kid Lightning: We are…hope.
Gunshots sound in the background, from the same direction as the sirens. Kid Lightning taps FLASH on the arm with the back of his hand and the pair start to walk off as the shot fades out.
ECLIPSE, the team of Akuma Lee and Kitsune, are making their SHOOT Project debut tonight and are taking on the RCW Tag Team Champions, Spinebuster Island. Kitsune, who’s been around a little bit as Joshua Breedlove’s associate, has not seen a whole lot of success thus far in the SHOOT Project. With Akuma Lee, he hopes to right that ship. Spinebuster Island is a well oiled machine of a team and they’ve conquered the RCW landscape after capturing the tag titles from the AzteX.
Akuma starts the match off, wanting to impress on his debut. His manner in the ring is quite good and he’s very technically sound. Like Stacy’s mom, he’s got it going on right now against Dan Quinn. He and Kitsune are doing a good job of staying fresh while Quinn is working hard to get to the rope. Quinn, not adverse to a little gray area underhandedness, hits Akuma with an eyepoke that stops him in his tracks and allows Quinn to get to Richards on the apron.
With that tag, Spinebuster Island opens the match up and Kitsune gets in as well. Richards works Kitsune over, employing the same tactics that were being used on Quinn earlier, isolating him. It’s not long before Richards and Quinn set up their finish and hit Kitsune with it, but when they go for the pinfall, they’re interrupted by Akuma Lee! In the chaos, Kitsune manages a roll up onto Quinn and gets the three count! HUGE win over the RCW Tag Team Champions for ECLIPSE!
WINNER: ECLIPSE (12:35)
The scene fades into the back. Eric Rohkar paces the backstage area. It is a darker hall, one that isn’t being used as heavily on this day, so some of the automatic lights have shut off. He paces back and forth, staring off into the distance, his eyes wide. He maybe doesn’t have the five-hundred yard stare of soldiers who have seen the horrors of combat, but he is looking at a solid two-hundred and fifty.
And he looks terrible. His face is covered in bruises and sewn shut cuts. The sewing looks rough, as if it had been done by himself. Furthermore, his eyes are sunken in. It has become hard to tell whether his eye sockets are bruised or simply black from lack of sleep. He still looks as fit as before, but the only thing helping his appearance is the fact that he doesn’t shave his hair or beard. Even sections of that hair, though, are matted in a weird way, as if all the blood from his war with CJ Nelson can’t be washed off.
Eric Rohkar’s pacing is broken up by the sound of someone crying. A low cry, as if someone were trying to hide, but still overcome with emotion. Eric quirks an eyebrow and walks over towards the sound, finding Mary Kelly hiding behind some road cases, her legs pulled up to her body. Her make up runs as she balls into her hands, completely unaware of Rohkar. Eric is silent for a moment, unsure of exactly what to do. After a moment though, he clears his throat. It is unclear whether he really needed to clear his throat, he was trying to get her attention, or whether the awkward silence was just killing him. Mary looks up and shrieks a little, quickly standing to her feet and taking a defensive stance.
Mary Kelly: The fuck do you want, Eric!?
Eric steps back, holding out his hands to show that he had no aggressive tendencies at the moment.
Eric Rohkar: Oh, right…I kinda forgot you hate me.
Mary Kelly glares absolute fire at Rohkar.
Mary Kelly: You forgot? YOU FUCKING FORGOT!?
Mary Kelly, forgetting the size difference, rushes forward and SLAPS THE HELL out of Eric. Eric recoils, not because he can’t handle a hit from someone of Mary’s size, but she catches him right on one of his stitches.
Mary Kelly: MY FIRST FUCKING DAY OF SHOOT PROJECT…YOU ATTACKED ME!
Mary stumbles backwards and guides herself back to her seated position, crying more into her hands. Eric touches the spot she slapped him, pulling his hand away and noticing a small amount of blood. Her nails must have caught one of the wounds and reopened it a bit. He’d have to deal with that later.
Eric Rohkar: You…you’re right. What I did to you was wrong…fucked up on a lot of levels. I…I’m sorry, I was just coming to check on whoever was crying. I’m sorry.
Eric starts to walk away.
Mary Kelly: How do you deal with a place like this?
Eric stops, turning back to Mary.
Mary Kelly: I mean…Entragian had an army of…what were those people? Some of the halls still stink from those…Coyotes? And they were feral…like wild animals…
Mary has stopped crying, but now it is her turn for the two-fifty stare.
Mary Kelly: Plus all the matches last week. I mean, SHOOT Project has always been violent, but…last week was so intense. So violent. Cronos almost choke Blaylock to death, Despair could have been blinded forever by Cade and his thumbtacks…I mean, you hit CJ Nelson in the head with a hammer.
Mary freezes for a second, holding her knees to her chest and rocking a little bit.
Mary Kelly: I mean, you feel it, right? I know SHOOT has never been a happy-go-lucky kind of place. Madmen and sociopaths have always roamed these halls, but it’s…it’s different now. This Herald guy and his…his Master. There is something so dark and so evil about them. You can feel it, right?
Mary looks up at Eric, almost pleading. Eric nods.
Eric Rohkar: Yeah, I can feel it. This isn’t Jonny Johnson. This isn’t The Family. This isn’t even Project: SCAR or Azrael Goeren. This is…something completely different. I’m a fucked up human being with more sin on my conscience than your average person, but…yeah, it’s bad.
Mary Kelly grins just a bit, at least happy to see that she isn’t the only person who sees this.
Mary Kelly: Then how do you deal with it? You know, now that you are sober.
Eric Rohkar: I don’t. I mean, look at me Mary. I go out there, every week that I fight, and I drag the match out longer than it has to. I don’t try to finish anybody. I get hurt, I get beaten. I am probably taking months off my life every match, and let us be real, I probably don’t have that much longer to live anyway. You know, because I used to not be sober.
Mary looks disheartened. This was not the advice she wanted. Eric sits down on the road case, still keeping his distance. Mary is not on hugging terms with him, and probably never will be.
Eric Rohkar: Listen Mary, there is no healthy or sane way to deal with SHOOT Project. When I say the people here are damned, I mean exactly that. Most of us aren’t even human anymore. We are shells of humans, hollow men, ready to eat each other alive just to feel…something. But you…you don’t have to be like us.
Mary looks at Eric inquisitively.
Mary Kelly: What do you mean?
Eric Rohkar: I mean…you aren’t damned, Mary. You’re a good person. You’re smart and decent. You shouldn’t be here. You could do ANYTHING with your life. Don’t…don’t waste it here. This place doesn’t deserve to take the soul of another good person. If I were you…I’d quit.
Eric stands up and again goes to walk away.
Mary Kelly: Do you mean like you?
Mary Kelly: Do you mean it doesn’t deserve to destroy another good person like it did you?
Eric half laughs, half sighs. He doesn’t answer though. He allows the silence to be the answer. Eric walks away, leaving Mary Kelly alone to her thoughts.
And her tears.
Buck Dresden and Joshua Breedlove meet yet again in the main event for Dominion. The Faithful, still lusting after blood, would see very little of it in this match. That isn’t to say that the pain didn’t come from this match, because while both men could be able to stay out of the hospital, it isn’t for lack of trying with the bruises to show for it. Buck and Breedlove pace the ring before they lock up, Buck taking the offense doled out to him by Breedlove. Breedlove, the Reality Check Wrestling Champion, can’t seem to stop himself from mocking Buck at every turn. While being in complete control, Breedlove calls for Kitsune to come down to watch. Kitsune came, followed by Kitsune’s A1W tag team partner, Akuma Lee. The Japanese punk tag team call themselves ECLIPSE, and they march to the ring to support their Magnus International comrade, Joshua Breedlove. Akuma is making his debut here and was definitely out to impress Breedlove and the Faithful. He slid into the ring and dodged a Buck Lariat, countering with a Pele kick and bringing Buck to the mat. The referee sees it and ignores it, Masters and Other Guy noting that the Herald made this match a no disqualification match.
Breedlove leaned against the ropes as ECLIPSE entered the ring to fight Buck. They double Irish whip him to the ropes and hit him with a double dropkick. The two men stomp Buck out and pick him up once again. Akuma leaps to perform a hurricanrana, dropping Buck onto his head. Kitsune catches the back of Buck’s head with a twisting guillotine leg drop. Breedlove saunters over, rolls Buck to his back and goes to pin him…only for him to kick out! Breedlove gets up, angry at ECLIPSE’s failed attempt to take Buck out. He points to Buck and demands ECLIPSE try again. Akuma and Kitsune go to try again only for the AMERICAN LIONS to rush the ring! The rest of the members of Pride stand at the entrance stage to watch the chaos unfold.
Jackson Jeffries and Victor Thane slide into the ring and even the odds for Buck Dresden. Breedlove isn’t happy about it and tries to command ECLIPSE once more. Jackson and Thane attack Kitsune and Akuma while Breedlove and Buck begin to trade blows. Thane quickly catches Akuma with the Godspeed and Jackson manages to bring Kitsune down with a stiff spinebuster, courtesy of lessons learned under Spinebuster Island! ECLIPSE is down on the mat, the American Lions pushing their foes from the ring. It leaves Buck and Breedlove to continue to trade shots in the ring. Breedlove catches Buck with the Iniquitas! He laughs his derisive and triumphant laugh and rolls Buck over…but Buck kicks out!
Breedlove slams his hands on the mat, frustrated at Buck’s persistence. He picks Buck back up and hooks him for the One Percenter but Buck slides out! Breedlove turns around, hooks Breedlove up, and NAILS the Buck Shot! Buck rolls onto Breedlove for the count and it’s over! Buck Dresden wins! The members of Pride rush down to the ring and provide protection to Buck, who is trying to shake the cobwebs loose after the quick and sudden ending of the match. Kitsune and Akuma pulls Breedlove from the ring. Breedlove demands the microphone.
Joshua Breedlove: How…DARE YOU?!
Buck looks around at Pride, the five men standing between Buck and Magnus International.
Joshua Breedlove: You make me…sick, you know that? You make me sick, Dresden. If you’re not hiding behind Charles Magnus, you’re hiding behind these neophytes! You! You five…who do you think you are?
Jackson Jeffries takes a microphone for himself.
Jackson Jeffries: I’m Jackson Jeffries. This man here is Victor Thane, RCW Television Champion. He and I? We’re the American Lions. Over there is Joe Quinn and Dan Richardson, known as RCW Tag Champions Spinebuster Island. The other two? That’s Salvador Olivares and Tadakatsu Mishima. Collectively?
We’re the Pride, bitch.
The fans cheer.
Tadakatsu Mishima: You have wasted your chance at greatness, Breedlove. You and these two…punks.
Mishima hands the microphone to Buck.
Buck Dresden: Near’s I can tell? We’re one an’ one, Josh. One…an’…one. Now…these young fellers here? They’re sick, man. They’re tired. They see bloodshed, they see this place stripped of its honor an’ its dignity all fer the sake o’ what? Some guy’s desires? Breedlove, things are bigger’n us here, man. I’m gonna ask you this one last time, man. One last time.
“Come Together” picks up and the fans are actually…booing as Herald steps out on the stage. He tries to silence the Faithful, who continue to jeer him.
Herald: The…Pride? Buck Dresden, do you think for one moment you’re going to get your way?
Jackson Jeffries: Why don’t you come down here and we’ll see if you can get yours!
The fans POP.
Herald: American Lions…Spinebuster Island. I think it’s time to see what the lot of you are so…proud of. You four will face off against one another at our next Dominion. Mishima, is it? Olivares? You two can team up with Buck Dresden here and face off against Breedlove, Kitsune, and Akuma Lee. You know…Magnus International.
Herald chuckles as the Pride look at one another, very concerned.
Buck Dresden: Herald. Herald, Herald, Herald. Wait. Wait a second, man. You gotta tell me, you gotta know. What’s going on here, man? Why you tryin’ to punish these six young’uns who just want a shot? Why you…
Herald: Silence, Buck. This is my realm, not yours. You will learn. They will learn.
Victor Thane: And if we don’t?
Herald: You’d hate to see what happens to people that cross the Master, gentlemen. Now this show is over. Goodnight.
“Come Together” kicks back up as Herald turns to leave. The camera cuts back to Breedlove, Kitsune, and Akuma, all of which are laughing as if they just enjoyed a huge win. The camera shifts to the Pride and Buck Dresden, the seven of them seemingly at a loss for words for standing up for themselves and what they believe in. We end on the men in the ring staring down the three men at the top of the ramp, laughing and mocking them.