(As we fade in, our view is the exact same that we closed Champions Summit III with – the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, resting in the center of the ring. The camera slowly pans over the belt, the lighting from the sold-out Blaisdell Arena shimmering off of the gold faceplate, as our commentators begin speaking over the shot of the belt.)
Mike Malone: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 33rd edition of Battlelines, live from the beautiful city of Honolulu! I’m Mike Malone, alongside my broadcast colleague, Vincent Ashe, and folks, this is the scene we’ve had here at the Blaisdell Arena since the doors opened.
Vincent Ashe: Even before that, Malone. I came out here at 10AM local time, which was about five hours ago, and the EWA World Heavyweight Championship was sitting in the ring even then. I have no clue who put it there or why it’s there!
MM: Folks, as you’ll recall, it was an injured Chris Kage who dropped the newly won championship in the ring as his best friend turned bitter enemy, Alexander Haven, helped him out of the ring and to the back. Since that time, we’ve attempted to get answers from EWA management on what exactly is going on, to no avail. It’s been absolute silence from the entire front office, from Alexander Haven to Alyssa Marie Haven, all the way down.
VA: Even Shawna Jackson hasn’t had much to say, but I’m sure that’s because she’s planning the resurrection of our beloved God Queen.
MM: Nonetheless, it appears that–
(Malone is interrupted by the PA system crackling to life…)
WE ARE THE YOUTH
WE’LL TAKE YOUR FASCISM AWAY
WE ARE THE YOUTH
APOLOGIZE FOR ANOTHER DAY
VA: WHAT THE HELL?!
(The crowd EXPLODES as ‘Anthem for the Year 2000’ by Silverchair begins to play, and through the curtains steps the newly crowned EWA World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Kage. The crowd cheers even louder at the presence of the new World Champion, a man that has now held the EWA crown jewel on four separate occasions, only second to EWA legend Erik Draven. He is decked out in his normal out of ring attire, a black tee-shirt and jeans, and is also missing his other half, Stacy Vandervort. Kage makes his way slowly to the ring, embracing the crowd with high fives and some selfies when prodded, but he has a noticeable limp, as he appears to be favoring his hip which was injured during the Champions Summit Main Event against Alexander Haven, only a few short weeks ago.)
VA: The Youth is dead! What is this buffoon doing, Malone?
MM: I think the bigger story is Kage’s limp, ladies and gentlemen. We knew he was injured against Alexander Haven at Champions Summit III, but we’ve received no word whatsoever on his status up until now…but what an ovation for the four time Heavyweight Champion of the world!
(Finally making his way into the ring, Kage takes a moment to soak in the atmosphere around him before finally grabbing a mic and addressing the capacity crowd.)
Chris Kage: Wow…what an introduction, thank you so much Honolulu. It’s crazy for me to admit this but…this is the first time I’ve been here or anywhere in Hawaii for that matter. But I gotta say, you guys know how to make a guy feel at home!
VA: What a kissass.
MM: It is pretty beautiful here, though.
VA: And those hula dancers…
Chris Kage: Now as happy as I am to be here in Honolulu, I am also extremely sad to have to come out here make the announcement that I’m about to make. As most of you know or probably saw, I went through a war with Alexander Haven at Champions Summit III. And while I walked away with the W, and once again became a World Champion, I sure didn’t feel like one. My entire career has been about winning this belt..
(Kage points to the title laying at his feet.)
Chris Kage: But at Champions Summit I realized that my obsession had finally taken a toll on me. I nearly lost my brother. Now as luck would have it, Alex and I have made amends, and it only took nearly killing one another for us to see the error in our ways, and for this I am eternally grateful.
(The crowd cheers at the news of a reconciliation between Haven and Kage, the first anyone has heard of this.)
VA: He’s lying, right, Malone? Alexander Haven wouldn’t associate with this piss-ant again, would he?
MM: Would you knock it off?
Chris Kage: That’s why when Danny Smith handed me the title belt, I just left it, because what Alex and I had won that night meant more than any piece of leather and tin could ever encapsulate. But unfortunately, while that war was being waged, something else happened…
(Kage takes a moment to collect his thoughts.)
VA: Nothing means more than the World Heavyweight Championship! What kind of man are you?
MM: Would you shut up? I think it’s admirable.
VA: Oh you would, Malone.
Chris Kage: During the Main Event of Champions Summit I hurt my hip, at the time I could’ve cared less, I just wanted to finish the match. However, when the match ended and I went back to see the doc, he immediately sent me to the ER. They ran test after test and it was determined that I not only dislocated my hip, but I also fractured it in two different places. They sent me for surgery the next day, which went extremely well, and I want to thank all the medical staff at the UCLA Medical Center for everything they did for me. A week later I went back for another consultation, and that’s when my doctor told me that I would never be able to perform inside of this ring again.
VA: I…wow! I didn’t expect that!
(Gasps and screams begin to echo throughout the arena.)
Chris Kage: Yea…that’s about the same reaction I had. Shock…because when your life has been about one thing for so long, and then it’s taken away from you, there is no right way to respond. Plain and simple, I didn’t believe him, there was no way that I was hanging up my wrestling boots yet, so I went and saw specialist after specialist, and they all gave me the same answer…Done.
(Kage shakes his head and begins to pace back and forth in the ring, as an eerie silence has fallen over the Blaisdell Arena.)
MM: I…I can’t believe what we’re hearing here tonight…
Chris Kage: It’s at those moments in your life that you truly begin to take stock of everything. And while my life has definitely been on the upswing since Stacy and I have been together, and things between Alex and I have been settled, the end still wasn’t on the docket for me, but here it was. And while it wasn’t my choice, I can at least look back and say…I gave the EWA everything, absolutely everything I had. And for that, I am proud and I can hold my head up high as I walk out of this arena tonight.
(Crowd erupts with an approving pop.)
Chris Kage: I have been through wars with so many of the men and women in the back and I respect the shit out of every one of them, and I thank each and every one of them for going on this amazing ride with me. Michael and Erik Draven specifically, thank you for bringing back the EWA, thank you for giving me a second chance at doing what I loved so much. And of course you the fans, we have had a wonderful love/hate relationship, and it’s def had it’s ups and downs, but your dedication to this sport and your passion for what we do in this ring, it means the world to me. And of course, Ross. Thank you.
(Huge crowd pop)
Chris Kage: So with that, I want to officially announce my retirement from professional wrestling and officially vacate the EWA World Heavyweight Championship…
(The crowd up to this point has allowed Kage to speak, but at this moment, they completely overrun his speech with a chant, forcing him to stop and laugh as he shakes his head.)
“THANK YOU CHRIS KAGE!”
(CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP)
“THANK YOU CHRIS KAGE!”
(CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP)
Chris Kage: No, no…thank you. Thank you to all of you. As I was saying…so while I won’t get to defend the World Title during my fourth reign, at least I can say I went out at the absolute top of this business. And don’t worry, you will get a deserving World Champion soon enough…that’s a promise. Once again, thank you all so much and never forget, you are the greatest part of this industry, without all of you, we would be nothing more than greased up clowns playing grab ass with one another And that…
Is a FACT.
(Kage tosses the mic to the ground and raises his hands possibly for the final time to embrace the capacity crowd, as ‘Anthem’ begins to play once again. We hear an audible clapping, heard over the noise of the crowd, and the camera pans over to Mike Malone, who has stood up and is giving Kage a standing ovation. Vincent Ashe looks up at him and rolls his eyes…but after a moment, sighs, and stands up as well, clapping for Kage. Chris leaves the ring, making a slow lap around the ring to shake the hands of fans. He reaches Malone and Ashe, and shakes Malone’s hand, before looking at Ashe…who reluctantly offers a handshake of his own.)
MM: Thank you, Chris. Thanks for everything, and congratulations.
(Kage nods, before continuing to make his way around the ring. Our commentators are quiet, giving the moment the appropriate respect, as Kage slowly heads back up the entrance ramp, clearly shaken with the emotion of the moment. As he reaches the very top, the owner and CEO of the EWA, Alexander Haven, steps out from behind the curtain. Following Haven is none other than Kage’s wife and the former EWA Executive Assistant, Stacy Vandervort. A smattering of boos is heard, but those are quickly drowned out as Haven smiles, embracing his long-time friend and recent rival in a fierce hug. Haven releases the hug, and Kage turns to his wife, who’s smiling and clearly fighting back tears as she hugs him as well, taking a moment to kiss him and say something to him. Stacy and Haven grab Kage, and the three turn to face the crowd, Stacy and Haven raising Kage’s arms in the air to a thunderous ovation, before the trio heads backstage. There’s a moment of silence, and then the bell rings, signifying the start of Battlelines 33 in earnest.)
WILLIAM WEST VS SAHARA
EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: Well folks, as they say, the show must go on, and right now it’s time for our opening contest! Let’s go up to the ring!
Nikki Rogers: The following match is scheduled for one fall and it’s for the EWA Combat Championship! Introducing first, the challenger from Las Vegas, Nevada, the one they call the Masochist, William West!
Emerging from the back to a mixed reaction, “Who Taught You How to Hate” by Disturbed begins to play as William West makes his way down the rampway, a look of determination and focus in his eyes.
MM: West looks as ready as I’ve seen him.
VA: West needs to be ready, Sahara can get you in many different ways, from her high impact moves to that Flight of the Valkyrie maneuver she uses to highly contagious sexually transmitted diseases.
MM: I–I actually thought you were making a salient point for a second there, I should have known better.
NR: Introducing the EWA Combat Champion, from Chicago, Illinois–
Upon the start of the announcement, the crowd roars and turns toward the entrance ramp as “Adrenalize Me” by In This Moment beings to play, steps out onto the rampway in her black and silver ring gear and the Combat championship strapped around her waist. She stands beneath the lights, basking in the glorious sound of the cheering fans.
MM: I never thought I’d see the day when Sahara was becoming a fan favorite, absolutely never.
VA: Goes to show how stupid and hypocritical these fans are…
Stepping to the front of the stage, Sahara points down at her boots as a closeup appears on the lettering written on them up on the jumbotron–
MM: VINCENT ASHEHOLE!
VA: I swear to God, I can’t stand t-this-this parasite.
In unison, the entire crowd begins chanting his name.
VA: (In an exasperated tone.) Keep it up, bitch.
As she starts walking down rampway, fans reach out to slap hands with her as she goes back and forth from one side of the aisle to the other to touch the fans on both sides of the ramp.
VA: I wanna know how she’s getting this though wardrobe. Isn’t this a family show?!
MM: You of all people know damn well it’s not.
VA: So then it’s okay I call her a stupid cunt on the air? God, I can’t stand her. I really can’t.
MM: A far cry from the man that once thought she was the God Queen’s gift to mankind…
VA: I was blinded while she stood in Grace’s light…I couldn’t see her for what she really was yet.
MM: I’m sure.
Jumping up onto the ring apron, Sahara rocks out to the music, reaching behind her to unstrap the Combat championship, she steps through the ropes and walks directly past William West, following him with her eyes until she jumps up onto the second turnbuckle and holds the title high above her head. Dropping down, she walks across the ring to the opposite turnbuckle and repeats the process.
MM: She really enjoys begin a champion, Ashe, it’s good to see.
VA: Yeah, yeah. She just likes attention. I’ve heard she’s really big into straps…strap-ons…you name it.
Approaching the center of the ring, Juan Cardillo steps between the Combat champion and William West who meet in the middle. Saying something to West in an animated fashion, Sahara holds up the Combat championship. Saying something back, West steps up and bumps into Sahara which prompts her to shove him away as the referee takes possession of the title while keeping the two separated as best he can.
Assuming control in the ring, Juan Cardillo folds up the Combat championship and holds it up for all to see before handing it off to the timekeeper and calling for the bell.
MM: And here we go…
Going in for the lockup, Sahara ducks beneath West’s grip and shoves him from behind with a bit of a smile on her face. West continues facing away from her as he nods in amusement.
MM: I can barely recognize her these days. Had you told me a year ago that the girl that once lost in pretty dominating fashion to Johnny Napalm would be standing here before us toying with William West–
VA: We can thank Sinnocence for that. The bitch that keeps on giving.
Once again they move to lock up, only this time Sahara doesn’t duck out of the way but ties up with the larger William West. Using his weight to his advantage, West powers Sahara back into the turnbuckles and as Cardillo goes to break up the hold, both Sahara and West hold their hands up for a clean break!
MM: We call that mutual respect, Ashe.
Sahara suddenly slaps West across the side of the head as a surprised look comes over her face and she covers her mouth while Cardillo admonishes her.
VA: We call that Sahara’s still an untrustworthy bitch, Malone.
MM: Old habits die hard! She looks like she regrets doing that!
VA: Or that’s exactly what she wants us to believe.
MM: Or that.
Seeming to apologize, Sahara shrugs it off as West rubs the side of his face with a nod. Slowly circling each other, the two lock up again, but West wrenches her into a side headlock. Sending him off into the ropes, West flattens her with a shoulder block and charges the ropes as she gets back up — LUNATIKK SWEET!
MM: NO! HE MISSED IT!
Ducking backwards beneath the move, West lands flat on his back without his opponent. Sahara immediately drops an elbow before springing up and holding the top rope, dropping a boot into his midsection.
VA: That got her going.
MM: He tried to finish this before it started and if anything that riled her up good! That was a sweet dodge, though.
Grabbing West by the hair, she gets him up and tosses him into the turnbuckles, REVERSAL! Sahara smashes into the opposite turnbuckle and Juan Cardillo collapses behind her weight and momentum, having been caught in a bad position! Falling out of the corner, West grabs Sahara in a bearhug, REVERSAL, BELLY TO BELLY ON WEST!
VA: Cheating bitch!
MM: How’d she cheat?!
VA: I don’t know but she did, how else do you explain her ability to even lift West?!
MM: I don’t know maybe relentless training?!
Finally noticing Cardillo is down, Sahara goes to help but immediately stops as the crowd comes to life. Cronos Diamante comes down the rampway and jumps up onto the ring apron and steps through the ropes, staring at Sahara the entire time.
MM: Is she … is she his new contract?!
VA: Not a chance!
Suddenly grabbing William West, Cronos wrenches him up to his feet, lifting him into a torture rack — and drops him with a crushing LUCIFER’S HONOR!
MM: It’s West! The assassin just took out William West, and without his HATE brothers to help, he’s at the mercy of Cronos Diamante!
Stepping through the ropes and dropping down to the outside, Cronos shoves a ringside attendant off their chair and folds it up, sliding it in through the bottom rope.
VA: She’s in on it! I knew it!
MM: She’s as shocked as anyone, Ashe!
VA: This was all a setup for her to retain the title! She’s in on it!
Holding her arms out as Cronos enters the ring, he grabs the chair and waves her back. Bringing the chair down across the fallen William West’s back, Cronos points down at him and says something to Sahara.
The crowd pops as Sahara suddenly shoves Cronos!!!
Yelling in his face, the Combat champion can easily be heard. “I don’t need yer help!” Shaking his head, Cronos points down at William West again and says something to Sahara —
The boo’s are thunderous as Cronos absolutely levels the Combat champion, folding the chair over her head with an echoing crack! She instantly collapses in a heap, blood running down her face from her hair line.
MM: My God! Look at the chair! He literally dented the chair with her head. What the hell is he thinking?! All she said was she didn’t need his help…
VA: I don’t know what was said or what the hell is going on here, but I love it. Did you hear the sweet sound of her stupid blonde head caving in?! I think the echo came from the fact it’s hollow up there…
MM: Would you please?! She’s gotta have a concussion from that kind of blow…we–we need some help out here. Both Sahara and West have been taken apart by Cronos here…
Grabbing West by the back of his shirt collar, Cronos yanks him up and tossed him on Sahara’s prone body. Walking across the ring, he grabs the ref by the belt and lifts him with ease, practically tossing him in the direction of Sahara and West.
As Juan Cardillo lands in a heap, still stirring but not moving enough to make the count, Cronos grabs him by the belt and lifts him, shaking life back into his body. Dropping him next to the beaten combatants, Cronos backs away and steps through the ropes, watching…
The arena fills with booing fans as Cardillo starts to make the count.
MM: Oh, come on Sahara!
VA: No chance, Malone, she’s out like a light.
VA: This is awesome. This is awesome. These fans don’t cheer it so I’ll do it for them. This is awesome. Ding, dong, the wicked bitch is dead!
MM: You are … unbelievable.
NR: The winner of this match, and NEWWWWW EWA Combat Champion–WILLIAM WEST!
A random shot of the crowd shows many fans standing in stunned silence, disbelief etched on their faces. The negative response shows fans clearly upset in the way in which Sahara was dethroned.
MM: (Sigh.) I sympathize with the fans response, but there is little West can do … he’s been awarded the title–OHH!
Stepping back into the ring, Cronos runs right at the stirring West and boots him in the side of the head, sending him rolling toward the ropes. He follows up the crushing blow by pushing him out of the ring beneath the bottom rope. Turning his attention back toward Sahara, Cronos simply makes a threatening gesture toward Juan Cardillo who was standing in front of Sahara as if to protect her but thinks twice of the action and bails from the menacing Cronos.
VA: All those months of torturing referees and this is what you get, Sahara. I hope you enjoy. Even Cardillo abandoned your happy ass.
As Cronos stalks toward her and reaches down, he grabs a fistful of her blonde hair, twisting her head, he says something inaudible right to her face.
MM: Sahara was taken by absolute surprise by the interference from Cronos and West still has no idea what happened as he was blindsided as part of the assault.
VA: In this business, you have to be ready for anything and everything. Including outside interference. She of all people knows this–OHHHH, YES! GET HER, CRONOS, FINISH THE JOB!
MM: It’s not enough he cost her the damn title, but now this?!
Wrenching her to her feet, Cronos shoves the completely dazed blonde into the corner and holds her up against the turnbuckles, a slight smile coming to his face as he gazes at her bleeding before him. Smearing the blood coming from her hairline across the side of her face, he does so in an almost loving fashion as his whispered words fade in and out, picked up by the ringside cameras.
Cronos Diamante: You’ll question th– this is exac– everything– all that time I could see it in your eyes–
Tightening his grip on her hair, he wrenches her head back and continues talking to her.
MM: I can’t quite catch everything he’s saying to her, get the damn camera closer!
As a cameraman gets in position on the ring apron with a close up, his words come across much cleaner.
Cronos Diamante: It’s been fun watching you grow up, little girl. I always knew the devil was in your heart, those of us that have it can sense it in others…
Suddenly crushing her into the corner with a huge elbow and most of his body, she stumbles forward and he shoves her from behind as she skitters on her knees before dropping down onto her hands, feebly reaching forward at nothing. As he rounds on her from behind, he comes to stand before her, gazing down at his prey. Looking up at him, she shakes her head in disbelief–
MM: It’s hard to tell what’s being said in there right now, but this is something well beyond betrayal.
Cronos Diamante: Now let’s hear you scream–
Standing over her back, Cronos double underhooks her arms into a full nelson as one particular fan’s voice rises clear above the rest, “You suck, Cronos!”
MM: NO, NO, NOT THIS!
Dropping down, Cronos locks in the Ne-Han as Sahara opens her mouth and unleashes a silent scream and taps to no regard from Cronos. This merely brings a smile to his face. The boos spread as blood continues to stem from the wound in her hairline from the added pressure of the Ne-Han being applied.
VA: Cinch it in on the bitch, Cronos! DON’T LET HER OUT OF IT!
MM: This is utterly–
The fans suddenly POP huge as a masked Maggie McIntyre appears from the back at the top of the ramp, making her way down toward the ring with a black baseball bat in hand!
MM: MAGGIE MCINTYRE IS HERE! MAGGIE MCINTYRE IS HERE!
VA: Stupid Banshee ruins every damn thing!
Dropping the former Combat champion out of the Ne-Han, Cronos points at McIntyre as she bends down to check West before stepping over him and climbing up onto the ring apron. Standing above Sahara, Cronos shows no fear as he motions for McIntyre to get in the ring.
MM: DO IT, MAGGIE! KNOCK HIS DAMN HEAD OFF!
VA: She’s got a match with him later tonight and she’s already hurt, Malone…this plays into Cronos’ favor…it’s brilliant!
The fans pop even louder as Maggie suddenly steps through the ropes and charges, taking a wild swing with the bat only Cronos immediately bails to a resounding chorus of boos.
MM: He ain’t stupid, that’s for sure. Man versus bat never turns out well.
VA: Or woman versus bat in the case of Maggie McIntyre…
MM: As if the protective mask she now wears doesn’t already serve as a reminder?!
Stepping toward the timekeepers table, Cronos snatches the Combat championship and it holds it up, showing it to Maggie before dropping it on West’s prone body.
Backing up toward the rampway, Cronos points at Maggie yelling something her direction as Maggie stands near Sahara, kneeling down to help her friend. Pointing the bat at Cronos, Maggie helps Sahara up to a seated position as EMT’s rush down to ringside to assist both Sahara and William West.
MM: Maggie put herself at great risk here tonight for her friend, but what an emotional scene…oh my, Sahara’s just now realizing she’s lost the Combat championship.
Shaking her head, she leans to the side and hugs Maggie with a look of defeat in her eyes.
The now former Combat champion sits in the ring, her hair soaked with a red hue of blood and sweat, carrying on on a conversation with those surrounding her. Nodding as they continue to check on her well being, one of the EMT’s waves a flashlight in front of her eyes.
Kneeling close behind her is Maggie McIntyre, assisting however she can, clad in a protective mask lent to her by none other than William West himself, the man that just defeated her friend for the prized Combat championship.
EMT’s also check on West on the outside, helping him to his feet, one of them draping the Combat title over his shoulder. Glancing in the ring at Maggie, the Banshee simply shakes her head ‘no’ toward the Masochist as he slowly limps backwards toward the rampway, Combat title in hand.
MM: Wise move not trying to console Sahara right now by West…she’d likely fly off the handle. Fans, this is just a devastating turn of events. Less than a month after recapturing her coveted Combat championship, she’s now lost it to William West with an unexpected and unwanted assist from Cronos Diamante.
VA: An assist West wasn’t expecting, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Malone. Love it or hate it, West is the new Combat champion, and that’s a big damn deal. But one thing I won’t do is sit and watch you and these fans in shed tears for this vile bitch. It’s like you all magically forgot all the things she’s done here in the EWA.
MM: We haven’t forgotten, but there is this thing called redemption.
VA: Redemption-schmeption. Look, even the EMT’s know they have to wear latex gloves to handle her!
MM: EMT’s ALWAYS wear protective gear, Ashe, that’s just absur–
VA: Bottom line is, I’m glad she lost. Welcome back to mediocrity, Sahara. Now, instead of dwelling on the poor little whore, maybe we should be congratulating William West for capturing the Combat championship and taking it to new heights.
MM: Say what you will about Sahara and the things she’s said or done, but she’s done a lot to shine light on that title.
VA: Light that now shines on the Masochist.
The fans suddenly cheer as Maggie lifts her from behind, helping Sahara to her feet. She leans on the ropes near the corner and sweeps her hair out of her eyes, finally seeming to catch her breath. The former Combat champion shakes her head in disappointment as she looks out over the crowd, a look of complete betrayal on her face. Nodding to the technicians surrounding her, she winces as she steps through the ropes and holds her head. At one point, she pauses and takes a deep breath to absorb the pain.
MM: For months she fought to regain that title and lost it because of a person that was like a father or brother to her … she just got sold her down the river for money.
VA: Welcome to the real world, Malone. Money talks, and Sahara’s a whore. She’s likely been sold for a lot less, if ya know what I mean. And can we stop pretending what a great person she is already?! She’s NOT–
MM: Woah woah!
Shoving one of the EMT’s away from her, Sahara twists out of a surprised Maggie McIntyre’s grip and storms toward the announcers booth, causing alarm ringside. Mike Malone jumps back as Vincent Ashe sits back in his seat as she reaches toward him…
VA: GET THE–
Exiting the ring in a hurry, Maggie attempts to restore order but Sahara grabs Ashe by the shirt collar, shaking him violently as she rips his headset off, nearly choking him with the attached wire in the process. The panic in Malone’s voice is evident.
MM: SAHARA! Sa–please!
The Banshee can be overheard behind her, trying her best to calm her friend–
Maggie McIntyre: Lauren, LAUREN! They’ll suspen–
Ignoring the Banshee, the blonde SHOVES Ashe back into his seat with authority, which nearly topples over as the chair slides back into the barricade behind them. Grabbing his headset, the blonde pulls it on over her ears and points at a camera ringside.
Sahara: Get over here! YOU! GET OVER HERE! NOW!
MM: Sahara, please–
Sahara: Look at me! LOOK AT ME!
First pointing at her face, half smeared in her own blood, she slams her palms down on the announcers table before motioning for the camera to come closer.
Sahara: Focus that shit on my face. I want you to see my eyes. You’re the knife in my back, Dominick. You mother–fucker!
Unleashing her rage at the turn of events, she screams before shoving the top portion of the announcers booth over, causing Maggie and the surrounding staff — including the cameraman — to jump back from the table.
MM: SAHARA, PLEASE!
Sahara: SHUT UP, MALONE! Look at me. I want this on record. Dominick. Cronos. You’re dead to me. I’m gonna skullfuck you, you goddamn bitch–you cost me my EVERYTHING tonight. I hope it was worth it…all those years.
Shoving the announcers table forward in abject anger, she topples over it before glancing back at Vincent Ashe and doing a double take. Her face contorts into an angry scowl as she suddenly lunges at Ashe, yanking him to his feet.
Sahara: You got some snarky comment to make now, you stupid prick?!
Shaking him again, Maggie seizes the opportunity to grab hold of Sahara from behind and yanks her back. Taking a wild swing at Ashe as the headset is ripped off of her, she lashes out, kicking at him but narrowly missing…
MM: Maggie! Get her under control damnit!
Maggie can easily be overheard, pleading with the blonde.
Maggie McIntyre: Lauren, STOP!
Just being their to help her friend was risk enough considering her extensive injuries and pending match later that night, but now she found herself in a scuffle with the blonde, trying to hold her back from hitting EWA staff which would surely lead to disciplinary action.
Maggie McIntyre: LAUREN DAMNIT!
The EMT’s rush to assist security as they subdue the Crimson Queen.
MM: Fans, as you can see, emotions are running rampan–
“I’m gonna sue your whore ass, you hear me?! I’ll have your fuckin’ job, you unstable bitch!”, Vince’s voice can be overheard as he situates his headset, pointing a finger at the blonde.
VA: Stupid bitch got her diseased blood all over my suit!
MM: Vincent! ENOUGH! Maggie, get her the hell outta here!
Breaking away from Maggie’s grip, the crowd roars as Sahara charges at Vincent Ashe only to be tackled to the ground, causing both her and Maggie to wince in pain.
MM: Good God! Security took them both down!
Gripping Sahara’s arms behind her back and keeping tight control over her as they help her back to her feet, one of the EMT’s throws cold water on her to snap her out of it. As she’s forced away from the announcers table, she can be easily overheard yelling obscenities about Cronos and Vincent Ashe.
MM: Vincent, not another word! You can see emotions are running high, why do you gotta throw fuel on the fire? You know she’s dangerous.
VA: She viciously attacked me, Malone! I demand the EWA hold her accountable. I demand restitution.
MM: You’ve been spreading rumors about this girl on the air for months…she literally sat here a few weeks ago and told you to your face that she’d eat your liver if you kept it up. You had to expect some sort of retaliation at some point, and with what just happened to her tonight, a person could see why she’d lose control.
VA: That’s her job. This is what she does. What she doesn’t do is attack announcers or other EWA employees, something Stacy Vandervort once made very clear to every member of the Fallout, including this bitch.
MM: She was just betrayed by a life long friend and lost a title she chased after for months on end, she’s beaten up, it’s hard not to feel for her. And Maggie McIntyre just risked injury to help YOU, no less.
After a brief pause and a sigh, Malone takes a seat as the ringside technicians turn the announcers table upright and begin putting it back together.
MM: What a tense moment here at Battlelines, folks. Wow. And seemingly as quickly as it started, Sahara’s second reign as Combat champion has come to an end. Enter William West, the new EWA Combat Champion. It’s been a long time coming for West, and despite the circumstances surrounding the finish of this match — circumstances out of his control — he’s earned the opportunity to show us what he’s made of as he now holds one of the most prestigious singles titles in the EWA. Let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND NEW EWA COMBAT CHAMPION: WILLIAM WEST (8:58)
MM: So, right now, we’ve got to take the time to talk to you about the footage that you’re about to see.
VA: I mean, it’s not like it’s crazy bloody or anything.
MM: That’s not the point, Vincent. Ladies and gentlemen, immediately following the end of the match between Azrael Goeren and Donovan King at Champions Summit, King managed to get to Azrael Goeren and cart him to the back on a stretcher.
(We shift from our esteemed commentators to an image from the Summit, where King is shown rolling Goeren up the ramp.)
MM: Despite the best efforts from one Jester Smiles to ease the situation, Donovan King attacked Jester Smiles…
(A still image of King punching Jester in the face and bringing him to the ground is shown.)
MM: …and he proceeded to leave the arena, having stolen the ambulance with Goeren in tow.
(A shot of the ambulance is shown on the side of the interstate is shown with the police investigating.)
VA: So, at some point in the last week or two, the ambulance turned up at the California/Oregon border off the interstate with no sign of either King or Goeren.
(We come back to Vincent and Malone.)
MM: And that was the amount of information we’d been given. Now, law enforcement officials have not seen any reason to show concern beyond the missing persons report filed. However, that is because of a video sent to law enforcement and to EWA officials that we have been given permission to show you now. Again, ladies and gentlemen, I stress that the following video…while showcasing no physical aggression, is disturbing.
VA: Roll it!
(The screen goes black.)
“One, two…this on?”
(The screen opens with immediate…shaking. It’s obvious to anyone with a smart phone that we are watching from a camera on a smart phone. We see a black hand steadying the camera and positioning it to face a dining room chair with a red king sized quilt used as a backdrop. Within moments, Azrael Goeren appears, limping and half dragged over to the chair by Donovan King. Goeren sits down, his head bowed and his hair covering his face. King bends down and pulls a long trip of duct tape from a roll and begins to fasten Goeren’s legs to either side of the chair.)
Donovan King: I appreciate this, Henrik. I know you’re not used to hearing that, but you really are a model…guest.
(Goeren says nothing, only tilting his head to watch as King binds the other leg to the chair.)
Donovan King: You know, Henrik, in another lifetime could you imagine how dominant we could’ve been? You, me, X-Calibur? If you two could have stayed in line when we were all calling ourselves Sovereign, there’s no telling how powerful we could have become as a triumvirate.
(He binds Goeren’s right arm to the arm of the chair.)
Donovan King: Unfortunately, the two of you did what the two of you do and wanted to turn me into another one of your victims. Little did the two of you realize that I’m a hunter.
(King chuckles as he begins to bind the other arm.)
Donovan King: And…do you know the best part of this sordid little tale?
(King stops, sitting the roll of duct tape off to the side.)
Donovan King: The two of you became my prey. X lost his World title to me, tapped out in 47 seconds. Nobody heard from him for years until he came sniffing around EWA. He fled long before I even got here so that just left…you and me.
(King turns to the camera.)
Donovan King: But we’re getting along quite well, given our circumstances, aren’t we?
(Goeren says nothing. King walks behind the camera. The sounds of a chair scraping across hardwood is heard as King sits down away from view.)
Donovan King: Lift your head. I need your eyes up here.
(Goeren slowly lifts his head and we finally see his face for the first time. His hair in his face, but his expression tells the story. There is dried blood on the inside of his left nostril. He has a bruise on his left cheek. His eyes have bags under them and are bloodshot and almost appear sunken into his skull. His face looks completely…hollow. His eyes drift off camera slowly.)
Donovan King: Ah ah ah. Back up here.
(Goeren looks back to the camera.)
Donovan King: Tell the world who you are.
(Goeren opens his mouth slightly and it becomes apparent how dry and cracked his lips are. His speech is heavily slurred. His eyes are glossy.)
Azrael Goeren: I…am Henrik Goeren. Also…known…as Azrael…Goeren.
(His eyes begin to look just above the camera.)
Azrael Goeren: I have been…a guest of mein freund Donovan…King…ever since he…
(Goeren stops, his eyes slowly going left to right.)
Azrael Goeren: …showed the world…my…faults…at Championssss…Summit.
Donovan King: Perfect…perfect. Now, Azrael Goeren, talk to the Warriors of EWA. Talk to the masses. Talk to Grace. Max. Jada.
(Goeren glances over to King for the briefest of moments before turning back to the camera.)
Azrael Goeren: I am…ffffffine. I have…been treated…well. Don’t worry about me. To Max, my son…
(Goeren pauses, looking at the camera.)
Azrael Goeren: …from the bottom of mein heart…I am…sorry. You deserrrrrve…better. Everyone in my…life…deserves…better. I should have…never…never…
Donovan King: Go on.
(Goeren clenches his teeth.)
Azrael Goeren: I should…never have crossed Donovan King…and…caused you…all so much…pain.
Donovan King: A true shame, to be sure.
(Goeren closes his eyes as a tear falls on his bruised cheek. Goeren licks his lips and glances down at his arm.)
Azrael Goeren: Jada. I…
(Goeren stops, his eyes going back and forth over something off screen.)
Azrael Goeren: Nein. Nein.
Donovan King: Hm?
Azrael Goeren: Nein. I will…not..
Donovan King: Excuse me? No, you…definitely will.
(Goeren looks to King.)
Azrael Goeren: You heard me. YOU HEARD ME.
(Goeren strains against the tape, trying to break free. His knuckles are white as he lets out a howl. His arm breaks free and we finally see what he glanced down to look at. A single tube injected into his arm, taped down in such a way that it was hidden from the camera. King quickly grabs the arm and holds Goeren down. Goeren headbutts King but King is persistent, putting all of his weight on the free arm. King quickly kicks at the table, knocking the camera over. The camera lands facing up, staring at a ceiling fan, blades deathly still. Off to the side, a sheet of poster board leans precariously over the edge of the screen, where we see the words written in large black print: “…caused you all so much pain. To Jada, I am” before the sentence is cut off by the bottom of the camera. A struggle is heard before there is a cry and then…silence.
A hand takes the camera and Donovan King stands revealed, the quilt torn down to reveal…an ordinary living room. In the corner of the room is a cot with straps dangling off the edge. The windows are blacked out. Before anything else is seen, the camera goes back to King who grimaces before he turns the footage off…
…only for it to come back on. King is smiling at the screen now and an IV bag is seen dangling from the back of a chair behind him.)
Donovan King: Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for the technical difficulties. You know Goeren, just having the hardest time sleeping in a bed that isn’t his. Such a diva.
(King rolls his eyes playfully.)
Donovan King: Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, that I am not keeping Azrael Goeren hostage. He isn’t some missing person. Henrik Goeren and I are hashing out our differences. At first, I did not want to share this video with you, but you all must know how far this rehabilitation has to go.
(A groan is heard, lightly muffled. King looks over his shoulder briefly before returning to the camera.)
Donovan King: Don’t come looking for us. Should you be so foolish, know that I will not be as kind to you as I have been to Azrael. You will see us again…very soon. In the meantime, think about how much better your lives have been without Azrael Goeren in them.
Donovan King: You’re welcome.
(Instant black. Video over.)
(The camera cuts backstage to the locker room of Maggie McIntyre.
The sable-haired rookie sits straddled on one of the benches with now FORMER Combat Champion, Sahara, in front of her. The blonde is visibly upset from her opening match against William West and the interference from Cronos that cost her the title. Maggie’s hands cup Sahara’s cheeks as she speaks.)
Maggie McIntyre: You’ll get it back, Lauren. I promise.
(Maggie leans in, pressing a deep kiss to the former Combat Champion’s lips. When she pulls back, the hopeful look on the blonde’s face is evident.)
Maggie McIntyre: I love you and I’ll help you get it back, okay?
Sahara: You will?
(The Banshee nods fervently, her own smile growing.)
Maggie McIntyre: I will, Lauren.
Sahara: I love you, Mags.
(Fade to ringside.)
ALEX BROOKS VS JESTER SMILES
VA: Alright, I’m super stoked to see that self righteous Jester Smiles shut up by Alex Brooks, so in the name of Grace, let’s get this thing going!
MM: Alex Brooks is a game competitor, that is certain, but so is Jester Smiles, who is making his debut tonight. You can’t discount his credentials coming in. Multiple titles, multiple awards and trophies, this is certainly going to be a competitive contest.
VA: I can discount whatever I want to discount, and I will drop the prices on clown boy all the way down to free.
MM: I…I don’t get it.
VA: Shut up, Malone. Brooks is gonna make the clown tap.
The entryway begins to fill with green and purple fog. “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic at the Disco begins to play as the various titles and trophies throughout Jester’s career cycle through on the big screens.
A platform shoots JESTER SMILES up as gold and silver sparks shoot out! Jester stands there a moment, looking at the crowd. He then extends both his fists out and looks up at the sky!
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL! Making his way to the ring, debuting tonight and weighing in at TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE POUNDS…JESTER…SMILES!
Gold and silver sparks shoot out on both sides of Jester. Jester then looks at the crowd, beaming brightly. He takes off his golden jester mask and tosses it into the crowd before leaping for the guard rails, high fiving and hugging as many fans as possible. He then runs for the other side and repeats this process.
VA: Oh my god, would you just get in the ring already? Man I already hate this guy.
MM: Come on, Vince, he’s just trying to give the fans who paid top dollar for front row seats their money’s worth.
VA: Yeah, it’s stupid. You don’t see our God Queen Grace doing that?
MM: You also don’t see her with the Combat Title anymore, either.
VA: Shut up, Malone.
Jester begins to take his sweet time getting to the ring, high fiving and interacting with as many fans as possible. When he finally reaches the bottom of the ramp, he holds his hands out and does a sprint around the entire ring, high fiving any extended hands as quickly as possible. When he gets to the front of ring he leaps onto the apron in one jump before climbing into the ring between the top and bottom rope. Once in the ring he goes to the corner and holds both arms out, taking in the cheers of the fans. He then goes to the opposite corner, takes off his trademark “Legends Never Die” shirt and throws it into the crowd.
Jester, having sufficiently warmed up the crowd, now does some shadow boxing and practice knees and kicks to warm up as he awaits his opponent. As “Emperor’s New Clothes” fades out, ear piercing static permeates the arena, Alex Brooks walks out in his grey Denver Broncos hoodie with the hood up, blue jeans and black combat boots. In his right hand, he carries a trusty aluminum baseball bat. He starts and stares at the ring for a few brief moments and then reaches up and flicks his hood off.
NR: And his opponent, weighing in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and NINETY POUNDS…ALEX…BROOKS!
He makes his way down to the ring, twirling his baseball bat like a baton as he walks. He slides in under the bottom rope and perches his himself on the nearest turnbuckle.
VA: Brooks used to be a real push over, a complete wimp, but I am LOVING this new attitude from him. He is here to get the job done, not entertain and dance around like some fools.
MM: While I don’t agree with everything you are saying here, Brooks does seem to be highly and acutely focused on nothing more than his target, and if that baseball bat is any indication, this is a dangerous man.
Rick Iley immediately goes to the turnbuckle, yelling at Alex Brooks to get rid of the bat. Brooks doesn’t even look at the referee. He simply glares over at Jester, who is still stretching out, but has locked eyes with Brooks. Iley continues to berate Brooks for the weapon, so Alex nonchalantly tosses outside of the ring. Iley moves to the center of the ring and calls for the bell. Alex jumps down from the turnbuckle and moves towards the center of the ring. Jester moves out of his corner and comes forward, offering his hand to Alex to shake it. Alex stares down at it and begins to circle, clearly showing he isn’t going to shake Jester’s hand. The crowd boos the unsportsmanlike conduct, but Jester merely shrugs and begins circling to.
MM: Very clear that Brooks doesn’t care much about sportsmanship or respect here.
VA: Of course he doesn’t, Malone. Those things don’t matter. What matters is getting the pinfall or making your opponent tap. Everything else is stupid, just like Jester.
Alex fakes a shoot and then catches Jester with a forearm. As Jester recoils, Alex catches the arm of Smiles and quickly pulls it behind Jester’s back in a hammerlock. Alex tries to reach up and grabs Jester’s throat, but Jester ducks under, gets out of the hammerlock, and quickly gets his arms around Brooks, lifting him into a bear hug. Alex drops a couple of elbows down on Jester, who drops Brooks. Brooks is quick to drop Jester with a drop toe hold, floating over and looking for the STF. Jester scrambles, though, getting to his feet quickly. Alex is still on his back, but the much larger Smiles grabs Alex’s head and flips him over. He then drops down and locks in a rear naked choke while Brooks is in a seated position. Brooks is the one to scramble this time, standing up and transitioning from a rear naked choke into a headlock. He pushes Smiles off. Jester hits the ropes and looks for a clothesline, but Brooks ducks under. Smiles again hits the ropes. Brooks looks for a big leg kick, but Jester jumps over the kick. As Brooks comes full circle, Jester looks for a big right hand, but Alex is able to duck at the very last second. Alex hits the ropes and springboards off, looking for a moonsault, but Jester moves out of the way. Alex is able to land on his feet and Jester goes for the Virginia Sidekick, his own version of the shuffle sidekick, but Alex swipes the foot away and dodges. Both men take defensive stances, staring at each other. The crowd cheers the fast paced action.
MM: Quite the series of moves by both competitors. Both men looking to take advantage, Brooks with his technical prowess and Jester with his big strikes, but right now we have a stalemate.
Jester grins. Alex scrowls. Both men again start to circle. Jester looks for a collar elbow tie up, but Brooks catches him in the stomach with a kick. Jester doubles over. Alex grabs hold of his head and neck and hits a sort of sunset flip neckbreaker! Alex holds on to Jester’s head, rolling back and mounting him, grabbing hold of Jester’s head and holding it in a full mount guillotine choke! Jester throws a punch at Alex’s ribs, which connects, loosening up his grip. Jester scrambles, getting free of Brooks mount and getting to his feet. Jester throws a couple of jabs, keeping Alex out of range, but none of them connect. Jester tosses another jab, but Alex catches the arm and flips over, looking for a flying armbar, but Jester is able to pull his arm out quickly. Jester throws a kick as Brooks tries to get up, but Brooks is able to roll out of the way. Brooks is up and catches Jester with a dropkick, knocking Jester flat. Jester gets up quick, but as he is on his knees, Brooks dashes forward and catches Jester in a headscissors! Jester again is up quick, but he seems disoriented. Alex runs forward and leap frogs over Jester, locking his legs under Jester’s arms and slamming Jester with a hard leg trap sunset flip!
Jester kicks out! Both men are up quick. Alex rushes forward and goes for a hurricanrana, but Jester counters with a powerbomb. He stays standing and holds on, pressing down for the pin.
Brooks gets the shoulder up! Jester looks to lift Brooks back up for another powerbomb, but Brooks suddenly readjusts his legs and locks in a triangle choke! Jester reaches for the ropes, but he is nowhere close! Rick Iley checks to see if Jester wants to tap, but Jester adamantly denies!
MM: This might be what gives Brooks the edge. Jester has the strength advantage and the knockout power, but Brooks is a very technically sound wrestler who clearly has the speed advantage. If Jester doesn’t tap here, he is going to lose a lot of air, which will definitely slow him down.
VA: I don’t think we are going to see much more. Jester is going to tap here, and this isn’t even Alex Brooks’ finishing move!
Alex Brooks pulls down on Jester’s head, tightening his hold and cranking down Jester, realizing he can’t get to the ropes, instead uses his strength and lifts Brooks high up and drops him with a modified powerbomb! Brooks doesn’t release the hold, but his grip has clearly loosened up. Jester lifts him up again and again drops him HARD! The hold is released, and Jester drops down for a pin!
Brooks gets the shoulder up! Jester gets up, taking a second to catch his breath.
VA: He cheated! He cheated somehow!
Jester gets to his feet and lifts Brooks up. He peppers him with knees before whipping him into the corner. Jester comes running into the corner and hits a big splash on Alex Brooks. The size of Jester clearly hurts Brooks, who collapses into a seated position in the corner. Jester lifts Brooks up and catches him with a couple of punches before Irish whipping him to the ropes, but Brooks suddenly leaps up on the ropes and springboards off with a moonsault!
MM: Mile High Moonsault!
He catches Jester and goes for the pin!
THR- Jester kicks out. Alex is up quick, hits the ropes, and hits a fist drop!
VA: Kansas City Shuffle!
Alex again goes for the pin!
Jester gets the shoulder up again. Alex looks a little frustrated, but he keeps cool and gets up, putting a few stomps on Jester. Alex grabs Jester by the head and lifts him up. He places three kicks into Jester’s stomach, bringing him down to his knees. He grabs Jester in a front face lock and backs up towards the ropes.
VA: Alex Brooks is looking for the White Noise!
Alex leaps back onto the ropes, springboards, and twists, looking for the tornado DDT, but Jester shoves him off. Alex lands on his feet, but Jester obliterates him with a hard right hook that catches Alex RIGHT on the chin, twisting his neck awkwardly.
MM: That was the Golden Punch, and that looked NASTY!
Jester drops for the pin!
NO! Brooks kicks out at the last second. Jester looks at Rick Iley frustrated, but Rick Iley holds up the two. Jester shakes his head and gets up. He walks over to the ropes and grabs the top rope. He then flings himself up to the top rope and flips off with his own springboard moonsault! Jester connects and covers!
Brooks gets the shoulder up! Again Jester looks at Rick Iley frustrated, but again, Rick Iley holds up two fingers. Jester shakes his head in shock, but stands, lifting Alex Brooks back up. He begins to pepper Brooks with jabs before slamming him with a hard straight right. The hit causes Brooks to spin around, and Jester locks in a half nelson and a half chicken wing.
MM: Jester looking for the Half and Half Suplex, which he calls The Last Laugh!
VA: GET OUT BROOKS!
Jester lifts up Alex for the throw, but Brooks wraps his legs around Jester and blocks it! Brooks then places his head underneath Jester’s chin and drops to his knees, causing Jester’s chin to take a sick bounce off of the top of Brooks’ head! Jester releases the hold, but Alex grabs hold of Jester’s head and flips back, looking like he is going for Sliced Bread #2, but instead he flips behind Jester and leaps on his back, locking in a Cobra Clutch with a body grapevine!
VA: Yes! Aurora Clutch! Choke the clown out!
Jester’s eyes go wide, but he becomes disoriented quickly from the lack of oxygen. Rick Iley checks to see if Jester wants to tap, but Jester refuses! Jester suddenly runs backwards and slams Brooks into the turnbuckle! Brooks winces, but keeps the hold, losing the grapevine but placing himself on the tope rope to have more leverage on the choke. Rick Iley admonishes Alex Brooks and begins the five count!
At the VERY last second, Alex Brooks breaks the hold. As Jester falls forward, clutching his throat and coughing, Alex Brooks takes to the top rope. He measures Jester, waiting. Jester is up to his feet and he turns. Alex Brooks leaps off the top rope for a crossbody!
And Jester catches him straight in the face with a WICKED Spinning Back Kick!
MM: WIPE THE SMILE! That was the move he used to knock Cal Rayner flat at Champion’s Summit III!
Alex crumbles to the ground. Jester pulls him away from the ropes a bit and pins, hooking the leg!
Jester rolls off of Alex Brooks as the fans erupt in cheers! Alex Brooks comes to, clutching his jaw and rolling away. He looks a bit confused. Jester uses the ropes to stand back up. He is breathing heavily and clearly exhausted, but he still has a big smile on his face.
MM: Wow! Big debut here by Jester Smiles. Some people weren’t sure if the guy could still compete, but that super precise and out of NOWHERE kick just showed that he’s still got the goods. Still an amazing performance by Alex Brooks, though, but tonight, Jester is walking out the winner.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner at a time of THIRTEEN minutes and FORTY SEVEN seconds…JESTER…SMILES!!!
Rick Iley attempts to check on Alex Brooks, but Brooks shoves him away. Jester walks over to Brooks and again offers his hand in a showing of respect, but Alex Brooks slaps it away. The fans boo, but Alex Brooks doesn’t care. He simply drops down and rolls out of the ring, grabbing his bat and exiting the arena with a scowl on his face. Jester shrugs off the lack of a handshake and takes to the top rope, holding his arms high in the air!
VA: You can call that kick super precise, but I call it lucky. Alex Brooks had that match in the bag multiple times, but sometimes lady luck favors the talentless.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: JESTER SMILES (13:47)
(We cut backstage to the locker room of MOCAJO. Nikki Caldwell is on the bench, lacing up her boots as Joshua Kaine works on stretching out his limbs and Moe leans against the hard metal of the lockers with one of the EWA Tag Team Championship belts around his waist. The other shines brightly as it rests in Nikki’s open duffel bag.)
Mojave: You guys ready for this? I mean, I can’t come down to help this time.
Josh Kaine: Dude, we got this. We’ve all been working our asses off for weeks to get ready for them. Minxy and Santa Muerte won’t know what hit ‘em…well, I guess they will if Nikki leaves a bootprint on someone’s face.
(The Amazon snorts and looks up to the younger brother of Sahara.)
Nikki Caldwell: You ready? I mean, you’re gonna be on your own against Grace Goeren.
Josh Kaine: And you know we’ll run down, just in case shit goes sideways.
Nikki Caldwell: With her, you know it’ll go sideways.
(Mojave heaves a sigh and shrugs his shoulders before laughing. He always laughs when he’s nervous.)
Mojave: I’m going in the ring with a goddamn psychopath. It’ll be like getting in the ring with my sister times ten. If I win, I win. If I don’t, run down and save me. The last thing I need is for Grace to rip my dick off.
Josh Kaine: I ain’t gonna let her do that.
Mojave: Yeah, I know, you like my dick too much.
Josh Kaine: Shut up.
Mojave: You shut up. Hey Nikki, you know what’ll make me feel better?
(She shakes her head.)
Nikki Caldwell: Seeing your sister fall flat on her face?
Mojave: Besides, that, I mean.
Nikki Caldwell: Not a clue.
(Mojave just smiles, closing the distance between them to capture her lips with his own. Josh watches, a surprised smile slowly dawning over his face. Moe pulls back after a moment, laughing nervously. Nikki is stunned as she looks up to the third of their triad.)
Mojave: I ain’t ever kissed a girl before.
Josh Kaine: You coulda’ fooled me.
Nikki Caldwell: So I’m a first?
(Nikki pulls him in again quickly, not giving Mojave a chance to respond. His surprise is evident, but he melts into her embrace after a few short seconds. When it is broken, Moe’s smile reaches from ear to ear as Josh chuckles quietly in the corner.)
Mojave: First and second, I guess. I think I’m ready to go face the God Queen now.
(Cut back to ringside.)
MM: What a wild evening this has already been, ladies and gentlemen!
VA: Listen, I want to make a statement about what happened earlier on. I come out here to do my job as a broadcaster. Do I take liberties sometimes with things I say? Yes. Do I believe every word I say? Yeah — well, the majority of them, anyway. But coming after me, physically assaulting me, that’s out of line. I’m not a wrestler. I’m not a “warrior”. I’m a broadcaster. I’m going to let the little incident from earlier go, because clearly Sahara was screwed a little harder than she’s used to. Mr. Diamante apparently likes it raw, no lube. Do I find it funny that Sahara lost the Combat Championship? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I get it. She was pissed, she came after me. This is a dead issue. But Lauren MacKay, I know you’ll hear this, and so I’m going to make this crystal clear. If you ever – EVER – lay so much as a finger on me again, my attorneys will sue the everloving shit out of you until you’re reaching up your own crotch looking for money to pay me.
MM: Are you done?
VA: Yeah. I’m done. Let’s move on.
MM: So coming up next we’ve got —
SHE’S GOT LEGS!
SHE KNOWS HOW TO USE THEM
MM: What the hell?!
VA: Is that who —
(And the crowd’s roar confirms that it is indeed who Vincent Ashe suspected, as none other than Chris Kage’s wife, the lovely Stacy Vandervort, walks out from behind the curtain to her old theme music, Kid Rock’s cover of “Legs”. Stacy’s dressed in a black business blouse and skirt, and smiles out at the Hawaiian crowd as she strolls down the entrance ramp toward the ring.)
VA: She doesn’t even work here anymore, Malone! The only reason she’s been allowed to be here is because she’s Chris Kage’s wife, and obviously Chris Kage is out of here! So what the hell is going on?
MM: How the hell should I know, Vince? All I know is that she’s heading straight to the ring with a purpose, and it’s great to see her back!
VA: Speak for…okay, I’ll admit, she’s easy on the eyes. But that’s it!
(Stacy climbs the ring steps, entering the ring through the ropes, where Nikki Rogers happily hands over the microphone, exiting the ring for the blonde to speak.)
Stacy Vandervort: How’s everyone doing tonight?
(The crowd roars in approval, clearly happy to see Stacy back and enjoying the Battlelines action.)
VA: Oh god, she’s pandering to these morons.
Stacy Vandervort: So you’re probably wondering why I’m out here tonight, and I’ve got some answers for you that I’ll get to in just a moment. But first off, before we go any further…can we get another ovation for my wonderful husband, Chris Kage?
(The crowd erupts in cheers, and quickly a chant breaks out…)
“THANK YOU KAGE!
THANK YOU KAGE!
THANK YOU KAGE!”
VA: Cut her off! This is beyond ridiculous! Where’s security?
Stacy Vandervort: I’m proud of you, Chris.
Now then, let’s get down to business. There’s been a lot going behind closed doors over the past three weeks, and I’m not just talking about Sahara’s bedroom antics.
(The crowd pops, as Stacy smiles, shaking her head.)
Stacy Vandervort: Okay, that was a cheap shot. But in all seriousness, as you might imagine, everything that happened in Los Angeles, combined with Chris’s injury and subsequent retirement and forfeiture of the EWA World Heavyweight Championship…it’s affected a lot of people, and left a lot of things in flux within the EWA hierarchy. There’s been a lot of…let’s call it “mending the fences”, over the past three weeks, and a lot of self-evaluation going on from all sides, I think. And what it’s come down to is that Alexander Haven…
(The crowd boos at the mere mention of the EWA owner’s name. Stacy nods, holding up a palm.)
Stacy Vandervort: I know, I know. He deserves the boos. But that’s not what this is about. Alexander Haven has decided to scale back his involvement within the EWA in terms of managing the day-to-day business, and take a broader role in managing the company as a whole, as well as focusing on training, in the aftermath of Champions Summit III. The…incident with Chris Kage…it’s affected him in a deeply profound way that I’m not quite sure even he understands. Truthfully, it’s affected all of us.
(Stacy licks her lips, looking down for a moment, before smiling and continuing on.)
Stacy Vandervort: So knowing that he needed to delegate some of his duties, for the sake of his own personal well-being, Alexander had a decision to make, obviously. After all, you don’t just step away from a multi-million dollar company. The EWA’s COO, Alyssa Marie Haven…
(Again, Stacy’s interrupted by a loud chorus of booing, one at which she can’t help but laugh at.)
Stacy Vandervort: I agree, she’s not my favorite person either. In any event, as much as I dislike the woman, she’s incredibly busy in her role within EWA Entertainment, and has done an incredible job building partnerships with businesses, establishing sponsorships, and building this company’s brand. To put even more on her plate wouldn’t be fair. Which brings me to Alexander Haven’s decision…
(The crowd begins to buzz, knowing what’s coming – and Stacy can’t help but flash her million dollar smile.)
Stacy Vandervort: …and so I’ve been rehired, effective immediately, as the EWA’s Executive Assistant!
(The crowd explodes in approval at Stacy’s huge announcement, glad to see the blonde back in charge.)
MM: Finally! Stacy’s been the most fair out of any authority figure we’ve ever had!
VA: This is the worst news ever!
Stacy Vandervort: Thank you all, you don’t know how much that means to me. That being said, I already have had a difficult decision to make, and that’s the future of the World Heavyweight Championship that my husband unfortunately had to vacate earlier tonight in this ring. I’ve deliberated on this decision a lot, knowing what Chris would have to do, and I’ve come to a conclusion on what’s best for the EWA and most fair for all of the EWA’s wrestlers.
(The rehired Executive Assistant begins to pace the ring, her heels making soft thumps against the canvas as she speaks.)
Stacy Vandervort: We’re faced with two uniquely related situations coming up. We have no World Heavyweight Champion, and we need a main event for our first ever show in Australia, Live From Sydney, on September 15. Now, I could certainly put together a match that would decide the fate of the vacated EWA World Heavyweight Championship as the main event for Sydney, but I don’t think the fans of the EWA should have to go that long without a champion. And so therefore, what I’ve decided is this.
At Battlelines 34, live from our home base of Boston…the EWA World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line when, for just the fourth time in our history…we will have a Warrior’s Trial Match!
MM: Alright! I like the sound of that!
VA: In my opinion they should’ve just given the belt back to Alexander Haven.
Stacy Vandervort: Every 2 minutes, a new competitor will come out to the ring. Competitors are eliminated by being thrown over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor. This Warrior’s Trial will have a twist, however. At the last Warrior’s Trial, we forced the World Heavyweight Champion to defend the championship in the match itself, which ultimately led to her losing the belt without ever being pinned or submitted. In hindsight, that may not have been our finest hour.
VA: You damn right it wasn’t, Vandervort! You robbed our God Queen of her most precious prize! ROBBED!
MM: Calm down.
Stacy Vandervort: Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Grace Goeren, and we’ll address that in a moment, but I want to point out that I believe I’ve established in the past that I’m here to be as fair and impartial as possible. And therefore, this is what we’re going to do to make sure that whomever the next EWA World Heavyweight Champion is…they earn it, 100%.
Once we’re down to the last two competitors in the Warrior’s Trial, the rules will change. At that point, the Trial itself will turn into a standard match, one that can only be won by pinfall or submission. The next World Heavyweight Champion, as a result, will earn that belt by wrestling, not just throwing the last person over the top.
MM: I like it! That’s fair!
VA: Too little, too late, Stacy. I’m sure Grace is thrilled with how fair that is.
Stacy Vandervort: So now that that’s out of the way…we have the matter of Live From Sydney to attend to. I decided for the EWA’s first show “down under”, we needed to reward the EWA fans, as well as some of the wrestlers who’ve maybe been overlooked in the past. And therefore, I’m announcing that for the Warrior’s Trial IV, there will be three competitors will be barred from competing in the match…..
VA: How the hell is that rewarding anyone?!
Stacy Vandervort: …because instead, they’ll meet whomever wins the Warrior’s Trial IV and becomes champion in a Fatal Fourway match at Live From Sydney, with the EWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line!
MM: Oh yeah!
VA: I…I actually think I like this, Malone.
Stacy Vandervort: So the question became…who would compete in this match? Who, in my opinion, has been overlooked, whether it be by myself or by the previous regime? And those answers came to me rather quickly, ladies and gentlemen. Take for example, the first entrant into the Fatal Fourway match. A woman who was given nothing in this business, who has scratched, clawed, fought and…well, to be blunt…fucked her way to get everything she’s gotten here. So it’s my pleasure to announce the first entrant into the Fatal Fourway match…
(The crowd lets out a massive cheer, clearly excited at the prospect of the former Combat Champion getting the biggest opportunity of her career.)
VA: Nevermind. I hate this.
Stacy Vandervort: The second entrant is one of the greatest professional wrestlers I’ve ever seen, regardless of my personal feelings about him, and amazingly, has never received a shot at the EWA World Heavyweight Championship. He’s one of the founding members of the most formidable group in the EWA today, and he just recently vanquished his greatest foe in the EWA to date. Ladies and gentlemen, the second entrant in the Fatal Fourway match at Live From Sydney…
MM: Wow! HATE gets an opportunity to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship!
VA: It’d certainly make up for that judas William West holding the Combat Championship! Although I’m glad he beat the STD Queen…
Stacy Vandervort: And that brings me to the final entrant. This is going to be a controversial decision, and I don’t think many of you are going to like it, but I feel it’s fair and the right thing to do.
I recently had a conversation with an executive within the EWA offices who made a case for this individual. An individual who, by all rights, is not supposed to be allowed another shot at the EWA World Heavyweight Championship…
(Almost immediately the boos threaten to drown Stacy out, who puts a hand up, nodding in understanding.)
VA: Malone! IS IT REALLY?!
Stacy Vandervort: Now, hear me out, folks! Shawna Jackson —
(Again, a flood of boos rain down, and Stacy simply decides to talk louder, over the boos, eventually getting the crowd to quiet down.)
Stacy Vandervort: Shawna Jackson came to me and highlighted what I mentioned to you earlier. Grace Goeren was never pinned, never submitted. She has a legitimate claim at being the EWA World Heavyweight Champion. As part of the stipulation in the match that she cleanly lost at Champions Summit II to her father, Azrael Goeren, Grace is not supposed to be allowed to compete for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship again. However, and I happen to agree with Ms. Jackson on this point…
MM: I’m sorry, Ms. Jackson, but–
VA: Wooo! I AM FOR REAL!
MM: I regret doing that completely.
Stacy Vandervort: …the recent developments in Azrael Goeren’s life and career hardly demonstrate the character expected and, quite frankly, required of an EWA wrestler, especially someone with as much control over another competitor’s career such as Grace Goeren. Therefore, I, Stacy Vandervort, Executive Assistant of the EWA, hereby declare that the stipulation established at Champions Summit II is now null and void…
Stacy Vandervort: …and that Grace Goeren will be allowed to compete in the Fatal Fourway at Live From Sydney as the third challenger for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship!
VA: YESSSSSS!!! YES YES YES!! PRAISE BE TO GRACE! PRAISE BE TO GRACE! OH MY GOD, WE NEEDED THIS IN OUR LIVES MALONE! PRAISE BE TO GRACE! PRAISE BE TO GRA–
MM: SHUT. UP.
(The crowd boos, but a bit softer than before, as Stacy holds her gaze firmly into the camera.)
Stacy Vandervort: I understand it may not be the popular decision, but I’m not here to make the popular decisions, I’m here to make the fair ones. With that, I’ll take my leave. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the show, and it’s great to be back!
(The crowd quickly turns to cheers in admiration of Stacy’s impartialness, as ‘Legs’ cues back up and she exits the ring, heading up the ramp.)
MM: What an incredible announcement we’ve just received by the returning Executive Assistant, Stacy Vandervort! The Warrior’s Trial IV in three weeks at Battlelines 34 to decide the new EWA World Heavyweight Champion, and three weeks later, that champion will defend at Live From Sydney against Sahara, NOTHING, and–
VA: GRACE GOEREN! OH GLORY TO GRACE, HALLOWED BE HER NAME!!
MM: (sighs) Here we go again…
MOJAVE VS GRACE GOEREN
DING DING DING!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall!
The opening strings of Fall Out Boy’s ‘Phoenix’ blare through the Blaisdell Arena, and the fans erupt to their feet as one-third of the EWA’s Tag Team Champions bursts out onto the ramp, nodding his head in excitement to the beat.
NR: Introducing first, from Chicago, Illinois, weighing in at 198 pounds, he represents MoCaJo and is one third of the EWA World Tag Team Champions…MOJAVE!!
VA: I hate this little twerp almost as much as I hate his sister, Malone!
MM: You may hate him, but these people love him and his high-flying style, and what a hot streak Mojave has been on as of late! He and Josh Kaine successfully retained the EWA Tag Team Championship at Champions Summit III against arguably the greatest tag team in EWA history, The Vice Squad!
VA: Tonight his luck runs out, Malone. It’s over.
Mojave gets halfway down the entrance ramp before breaking into a sprint, sliding into the ring and leaping to his feet. He bounds over to the corner, springing to the top rope in one fluid motion and holding his arms out as the fans erupt, clearly happy to see the young star. The music then cuts out, and the lights go down, before the familiar massive BOOM explodes through the Blaisdell Arena, and the mushroom cloud forms over the jumbotron…
VA: Here comes the rightful and soon-to-be World Heavyweight Champion, Malone! PRAISE BE TO GRACE!!
MM: I thought the Combat Championship was “the real World Championship”?
VA: Psh. Not anymore. It’s now the Venereal Disease Championship.
Sister Sin’s ‘Chaos Royale’ blasts through the arena as the spotlight shines down on the entrance ramp in the darkened Blaisdell Arena, revealing the former Combat Champion herself, with the monstrous Alice standing behind her. She stands in her usual attire of a purple compression top and white vale tudo shorts, with her hair in a tight ponytail and purple MMA gloves covering her hands. The God Queen wears an unusually large amount of makeup, presumably in a feeble attempt to disguise the damage inflicted upon her by Sahara and Elizabeth Gaunt at Champions Summit III during their monumental ladder match.
NR: And his opponent! Formerly from Dortmund, Germany, she is the God Queen…GRACE…GOEREN!!
VA: The next EWA World Heavyweight Champion, thanks to the brilliant decision making of Stacy Vandervort!
MM: You’re such a hypocrite.
VA: I don’t know what you’re talking about, Malone. Praise be to Grace!
Grace stalks toward the ring, never taking her eyes off of Mojave. She’s clearly in pain and clearly doing her best to not sell it as she rolls underneath the bottom rope, leaving Alice on the outside. Without a moment’s hesitation, she crosses the ring, slugging Mojave in the face!
VA: Yes! Get him, Grace!
Referee David Tucker admonishes Grace, who continues to fire off punches in the corner on Mojave, and finally shrugs, calling for the bell to signify the start of this contest. Grace shoots Mojave across the ring, and devastates him with a huge lariat. She lets out a primal roar, and begins raining fists down as she mounts the Tag Team Champion.
MM: Grace is as angry as we’ve ever seen her, ladies and gentlemen —
VA: Of course she is, Malone! She was robbed of HER Combat Championship by that…thing that Elizbaeth Gaunt summoned out to the ring. She had to stand around and watch that walking case of the clap parade around with her title for three weeks – and thank god William “I Left My Balls in the Hive of HATE” West rectified that situation earlier tonight. She’s in the ring with that pipsqueak Mojave, but I guarantee you she’s seeing his sister’s face as she drives her fists into it. Turn him into mush, Grace!
MM: I’d venture to say that Cronos Diamante is a big part of the reason Sahara’s no longer the Combat Champion.
VA: What are you talking about? I haven’t seen Cronos all night.
MM: You…(sighs) In any event, that “thing” you referred to, of course, is the Cherub, some sort of huge…man? That worships the White Angel, and he’ll be in action at Battlelines 34 back in Boston, as it’ll be Elizabeth Gaunt and the Cherub stepping into the squared circle against Grace Goeren and Alice.
VA: May our God Queen’s justice be swift and hard.
Grace gets to her feet, slapping her hands together as if to say, “too easy”. She pulls Mojave to his feet, placing him into position for a powerbomb. The God Queen lifts Mojave up…but Mojave wraps his legs firmly around Grace’s head, flipping over and sending her flying with a beautiful hurricanrana!
MM: Look at the athleticism from Mojave!
VA: The kid’s got guts, I’ll admit, but he’s going to regret that in a moment…
Mojave quickly touches his jaw, wincing at the pain, and then notices Grace getting to her feet. In a flash, he leaps into the air, hitting a perfect dropkick that sends the God Queen sprawling over the top rope and to the outside of the ring!
MM: And we could be seeing a form of this match at Live From Sydney, if Mojave enters the Warrior’s Trial IV and becomes the EWA World Heavyweight Champion!
VA: You know what else we’re going to see in Sydney? Our Grace is going to break three other faces, including Sahara’s, on her road to becoming the rightful EWA Wor–WHOA!
Ashe screams out woah as Mojave FLIES over the top rope, putting his body on the line as he lands on Grace Goeren, knocking her down!
MM: What a death defying maneuver there from Mojave!
VA: What do these idiots see in this guy?
Mojave gets to his feet, pumping his fist in the air as Alice watches on, hair dangling down over her face. Mojave, keeping a wary eye on her, pulls Grace to her feet…only to be met with a thumb to the eye from the God Queen, who capitalizes, throwing Mojave shoulder-first into the steel steps on the outside. Grace picks Mojave up, throwing him back into the ring before rolling in after the tag team champion.
VA: Show him how a World Champion does it, Grace!
Grace grabs Mojave, dragging him to his feet, and lifts him high up in a gorilla press slam…but Mojave slips down behind her and locks in a sleeperhold! Grace is scrambling around, waving her arms frantically and trying to get out of the sleeper, but to no avail! The crowd roars as Mojave cinches it in, and with one final move of desperation, Grace backpedals, sending Mojave into the corner turnbuckle…and sandwiching referee David Tucker in the process!
MM: David Tucker is out cold, and this match continues!
Mojave recovers first, and as Grace is bending over, trying to catch her breath, the young tag team champion leaps into the air, driving his leg down across the back of Grace’s neck with the fameasser, spiking Grace’s face directly into the mat! Mojave pumps his fist out to the crowd, and exits through the ropes, waiting on the ring apron for Grace to get back up!
MM: He’s going for the Sandstorm! What a huge win this would be for Mojave!
VA: It’d easily be the biggest win of his singles career, Malone. Too bad it’s not going to happen!
Grace slowly pulls herself up off the mat, and Mojave grasps the top rope with his hands, ready to pounce. He leaps into the air, intending to hit his patented springboard clothesline…
…AND ALICE GRABS HIS FEET IN MID AIR, FLINGING HIM BACKWARDS AND FACEPLANTING HIM ON THE FLOOR OUTSIDE THE RING!!
VA: DIVINE INTERVENTION, MALONE!!
MM: Oh for god’s sake!
VA: For Grace’s sake!
Alice, emotionless, picks Mojave up, throwing him under the ropes like a rag doll. Grace picks the tag team champion up, and shoves him chest first into the turnbuckle – Mojave staggers backwards, and Grace leaps into the air…
VA: FALL FROM GRACE! IT’S OVER, BABY!
MM: David Tucker is crawling over, as Grace hooks the leg…
NR: Here is your winner…GRACE….GOEREN!!!
‘Sister Sin’ begins to play once again as Grace climbs to her feet, looking down with satisfaction at Mojave, writhing in pain. Grace looks out at the enormous Alice, ready to do her God Queen’s bidding…and Grace points toward Alice, and then down at Mojave!
MM: No, dammit! The match is over! He’s had enough!
VA: It’s never enough! Mo must pay for his wench sister’s crimes! PRAISE BE TO GRACE, FOR GLORY EXISTS BENEATH HER!
Alice lumbers into the ring, obeying her God Queen’s orders as she approaches Mojave…but the crowd roars to its feet as JOSH KAINE and NIKKI CALDWELL come flying out to the ring from the back!
MM: It’s the other two-thirds of MoCaJo!
VA: What do these losers want?
Caldwell and Kaine spring into the ring, standing over their fallen comrade – and directly in front of Grace Goeren and Alice. The crowd buzzes as the tag team champions are face to face with the God Queen and Alice, neither of whom have shown any sort of facial expressions…
VA: Watch yourselves, morons, or the God Queen may decide to snap her fingers and take your precious Tag Team Championship away!
Finally, after a tense moment, Grace laughs, backing away slowly – but not before pointing down at Mojave, and then at both Caldwell and Kaine, saying something that our cameras don’t quite pick up. She beckons to Alice, who follows her as the duo exit the ring, heading up the ramp. Nikki and Josh, meanwhile, tend to Mojave, helping him to his feet as ‘Phoenix’ plays once again, and the trio receive a nice ovation from this capacity crowd.
MM: Certainly a tense moment there in the ring…and right now, let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: GRACE GOEREN (7:15)
(The click-clack of the newly rehired Executive Assistant’s heels hitting the concrete floor echo throughout the Blaisdell Arena as our camera follows her down the hallway backstage, clearly heading to her office. Stacy Vandervort turns the corner…and freezes, clearly having seen someone standing at her office door.)
???: Well, well, well. If it isn’t the new Executive Assistant.
(The camera pans, and the Blaisdell Arena fills with boos as the fans catch their first sight of the Chief Operating Officer of the EWA, Alyssa Marie Haven. The Queen Bitch looks up and down, eyeing Vandervort, before speaking to her.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: How’s it going, Stacy? How’s Chris? When’s he coming back to the rin–oh, wait! He isn’t!
(Stacy, clearly struggling to keep her composure, takes a deep breath, smiling back at the COO.)
Stacy Vandervort: I’m just trying to do my job, Alys–
(Alyssa’s hand snaps up, a non-verbal cue for Stacy: “shut up”.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: I understand that my husband hired you so he can focus on “training”, which is clearly needed considering his loss to your broken husband. What I’m trying to understand, Ms. Vandervort, is why exactly you went out there and made that string of ridiculous announcements, when the logical decision was to immediately hand over the EWA World Heavyweight Championship to my husband, The Incomparable Alexander Haven?
(Stacy nods, taking another deep breath, trying to suppress her anger. The last time she’d seen this woman was at Champions Summit III, and things weren’t so friendly there.)
Stacy Vandervort: I was told, by your husband, to make what I felt was a fair and impartial decision regarding the World Heavyweight Championship. That’s exactly what I did, an–
(Alyssa quickly cuts her off, snapping at the Executive Assistant – who, to her credit, does not back down.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: The only FAIR thing to do would be returning the championship to my husband, immediately!
(Alyssa takes a deep breath of her own, calming herself down as Stacy responds.)
Stacy Vandervort: I was hired to do a job by your husband, Alyssa, and I did that job to the best of my ability. My understanding was that your husband wasn’t looking for a hand-out.
(The crowd “ooohs”, as Alyssa smirks, shaking her head.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just say that to me, Stacy. How about this? Why isn’t Martin Robertson in your little main event at Sydney? You have him facing Joe fucking Lemon tonight, when he should be competing along with those other fucksticks for this opportunity.
Stacy Vandervort: Martin is free to enter the Warrior’s Trial, just as any EWA competitor is. That being said, Martin hasn’t exactly done much to show he deserves to be in that main event, unless you forgot about his crushing defeat at the hands of the legendary Grady Smith three weeks ago?
(A look of fury falls over Alyssa’s face as the crowd pops in the arena at the mention of Grady’s name.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: Listen, you little bitch. You need to consider the fact, Stacy, that I’m technically your boss as well. You don’t solely answer to my husband. You know what, though? It’s fine, Stacy. Really. It’s fine. If you want to overlook the fact that Alexander Haven is the rightful EWA World Heavyweight Champion? That’s fine. Consider this my formal notice to you that Alexander Haven will be entering the Warrior’s Trial IV in three weeks in Boston. Consider this my notice to you that Alexander Haven is going to throw each and every wrestler over that top rope in three weeks. Consider this my notice to you that Alexander Haven will walk away as the next EWA World Heavyweight Champion. Consider this, Mrs. Kage, my notice to you, that Martin Robertson will get the rightful opportunities he deserves around here…one way or another.
And consider this my notice to you, Stacy Vandervort, that I’m watching you. I’m watching you very, very closely. And if there’s only one thing you take out of this conversation, you need to remember this…
(Alyssa Marie leans in closely, almost whispering into Stacy’s ear.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: There’s a reason they call me the Queen Bitch.
(And with that, Alyssa turns on a dime, storming off, leaving Stacy Vandervort to consider her harsh words.
Fade to ringside.)
(Entering the scene with the EWA Combat Title draped over his shoulder, William West knocks on a slightly ajar dressing room door. The voice that emerges is unmistakably Sahara, prompting the crowd to cheer in anticipation of what’s about to go down.)
Sahara: Come in…
(The new Combat Champion clears his throat as he pushes the door open a bit revealing a half dressed Sahara, prompting even more cheers.)
William West: I uh–I’m sorry…
(Turning away and blushing at the sight of her, West quickly tries to shut the door before she stops it with her boot and kicks it the rest of the way open. While her bottom half is still clad in her boots and tights, her top half is covered by nothing more than her arm, covering the areas most of the male section of the crowd would die to see.
She merely shrugs.)
Sahara: Oh, good God, like I care…whaddya want?
(The blonde rolls her eyes as she kicks her half packed duffle bag to the side, but stands there looking up at William West.)
William West: Listen, Sahara, I uh–
Sahara: Uncover your eyes, dumbass, if yer gonna talk to me, look at me.
(Nodding, William West looks upon the scantily clad blonde who doesn’t seem to have any shame, making sure to keep his eyes up as he addresses her.)
William West: I just wanted you to know I had nothing to do with what Cronos did tonight.
Sahara: Yeah, yeah, whatever…didn’t stop you from taking that.
(With her other arm, she slaps the faceplate of the Combat title draped over his shoulder.)
William West: I–
(She lifted a finger to her lips requesting silence.)
Sahara: You don’t need to make any excuses. Not with me. When I first won that, I beat Alexander Haven for it, and you can put the word ‘beat’ in air-quotes if you’d like. I think HATE lent the assist crowning me the new Combat champion at the time…which is pretty ironic. Then again, my mind is hazy. Needless to say, I didn’t return the title to it’s rightful owner, and nor should you.
(While somewhat receptive to her explanation, West shrugs and shakes his head.)
William West: Still, I’m not a fan of tainted victories, I–
(His reaction merely prompts her to sigh.)
Sahara: Listen, Billy. I know you’ve been around for a long time, much longer than I have, so I’m likely the last person that should be giving you any sort of advice, but listen to me very carefully. If you’ve paid attention to anything I do around here, you’d know I don’t give a shit. I’m on my way up, and this little bump in the road ain’t stoppin’ me. I’ll handle Cronos, I promise ya that. So … I don’t wanna hear yer excuses, and I don’t wanna make any. A victory is a victory. Now, the way I see it, you got two choices.
(She holds up her index finger.)
Sahara: One, you could do what I did and make that title mean something.
(She adds her middle finger to the mix, holding up two fingers.)
Sahara: Or two, you can fuck it up and turn that gold green with the tarnish of being a shitty champion. Don’t pick option two, because if another person does that around here, I’m gonna kill them. I mean literally … kill … them. You listening to me, Billy Boy? I’ll stop … yer … fucking … heart.
(As West begins to respond, she turns her hand and drops her index finger, leaving her middle finger in the air.)
Sahara: And then there’s hidden option number three. Well, this isn’t so much of an option as it is a command. If you ever approach me backstage again, we’re gonna fight. Cuz I don’t give a fuck about you, your respect, or anything other than me around here. Ya got that?! Now fuck off!
(Kicking the door with authority, it slams shut in the new Combat Champion’s face.
Nodding, a slight smile comes across West’s face.)
JOE LEMON VS MARTIN ROBERTSON
MM: Up next, Vince, we’ve got a rematch, of sorts. Martin Robertson, looking to get past his loss at Champions Summit 3 against Grady Smith, will step into the ring with the man who beat him in his very first match here in EWA, that’s Joe Lemon.
VA: This isn’t going to be a match, Malone. It’s going to be a massacre. Haven’t you seen the mood Robertson’s been in since Champions Summit?
MM: He has been quite…. Sour… since losing to Grady.
VA: Yuck it up, Malone. But Joe, if you’re listening, I’ve got one piece of advice for you: run. Because Marty’s going to kill you!
The lights around the ring go out as the arena slowly becomes pitch black. Just as the music begins, yellow lights flash all around the arena…
Up with it, Joe
Rock with it, Joe
Show dem it, Joe
Squeeze the fruit, Joe
Add the ice, Joe
Shake the cup, Joe
Come on, come, turn the ring lights on
It’s Friday night, and I won’t be long.
Gotta get my cup, I put my new hat on
It’s Friday night, and I won’t be long
Til I, hit the fruit stand
Hit the fruit stand
They got all I need.
No I ain’t got cash
I ain’t got cash
But I got fruit, baby…
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight.
(I’ve got Lemons!)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight.
(I’ve got Lemons!)
VA: Oh good lord…
NR: Introducing first! He hails from Lemon City, Florida, and is the leader of the Lemonheads…. JOE… LEMON!
Blasting through the curtain is the Lemonhead leader, Joe Lemon. Looking fresh with his white and yellow ‘Nomelhead’ t-shirt, his bright yellow hat with a fuzzy lemon on the brim, and a large lemon-shaped bag, Joe stops at the top of the entrance ramp to look out at all of the fans with the hugest smile on his face. He excitedly starts to Walk down the ramp, hugging some of the children in attendance along the guardrail…
MM: Listen to these fans here in Hawaii!
VA: He realizes that this is Hawaii and not Jamaica, right?
MM: Oh, get a sense of humor, Vince! He’s having fun here tonight, and the fans here are loving it!
VA: You think these people have any taste, Malone? They still eat Spam!
MM: I’ve heard you do as well.
VA: Yeah, well, that’s besides the point. I choose to eat it.
MM: That makes absolutely no sense.
Joe climbs into the ring with his lemon-shaped bag, reaching into it to reveal a batch of fuzzy lemon squeeze toys. He moves around the ring, tossing out the toys to fans on the floor.
MM: The kids love this guy!
VA: They also like clowns, Malone, and those things are as freaky as anything.
As Joe sets the lemon basket down in the corner and removes his hat, the lights go back out in the arena again. The opening guitar riff and drum solo to Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King” begins to play as the strobe lights flash all throughout the arena, giving the building that rock concert feel to it. As the beat picks up and continues, the strobes slowly shift their focus towards the entrance ramp and, once they are all centered on a single spot on the ramp…
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
NR: … and introducing his opponent! He hails from New Rochelle, New York, and is the former EWA Network Champion. Here is the self-proclaimed ‘Youth King’… ‘PERFECTION’… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
Stepping through the curtain is indeed Martin Robertson. However, instead of his typical black jacket with “Perfection” on the back in script, the jacket has been replaced by a royal purple robe, with the same inscription on the back. He steps towards the center of the entrance ramp before lowering his head and extending his arms out, the robe opening up to show Martin wearing a black “Three Kings” t-shirt along with his wrestling trunks. The crowd continues to boo as he simply smiles when he looks up before strutting down to the ring…
VA: Now this… this is an entrance Malone!
MM: Robertson is certainly not lacking in any confidence, despite everything he’s shown to the contrary since Champions Summi…
VA: Don’t you say it, Malone! You’re like all the goddamn fake news around here that has to repeat everything over and over and over!
MM: It’s not fake news that Robertson lost to Grady…
VA: LA LA LA LA LA LA LA….
Martin slowly enters the ring, walking right past Joe and towards the corner where Joe left his basket of lemons. Seeing the basket, Martin kicks it off the ring apron and to the floor below before climbing up the ring ropes and onto the second turnbuckle to pose to the fans…
MM: What was the point of that?
VA: Joe needs to learn the fun and games are over, and Marty just showed him that!
Martin climbs down off the ropes, removing his robe and t-shirt, placing them over the top rope and onto the ring apron. Joe, meanwhile, has climbed out of the ring to the floor below, and is by the basket that Robertson kicked over a few seconds ago…
VA: What the hell is Joe doing?
MM: He’s picking up his things that Martin so rudely kicked over.
VA: Rudely? Maybe Joe shouldn’t have brought all his toys to the ring. I mean, would you want to see Sahara bring all of her toys to the… well, now that I think about the toys she might have… scratch that.
MM: You’re ridiculous!
VA: … and now I’ll be daydreaming for the next couple of minutes. You don’t need my help calling this match, do you?
MM: Never have, Vince.
VA: Good deal.
DING! DING! DING!
As Martin watches from inside the ring, Joe continues to hand out the fuzzy lemon toys to fans at ringside. Already frustrated, Martin climbs out of the ring and starts to chase Joe, who begins running for his life. Joe rolls back into the ring, and Robertson is quick to follow, standing over the kneeling Joe. Joe begs off, holding out one of his lemon toys towards Martin as Joe gets to his feet. Martin slaps the fuzzy lemon out of Joe’s hand.
MM: What a jerk! Joe’s just trying to entertain the fans!
Martin swings a right hand towards the leader of the Lemonheads, but he misses as Joe ducks under and is now on the opposite side of Robertson. Martin turns and pushes towards Joe, but Joe ducks under the ropes, prompting referee Rick Iley to step in between Joe and Martin, pushing Marty back away from Joe. Robertson raises his hands, giving Joe a moment to come back into the ring before lunging forward with another right, but missing Joe again as he ducks and runs to the opposite side of the ring.
MM: Martin is still getting frustrated by Joe, as Joe’s still trying to get ready for the match…
VA: Boo Joe…. War Marty!
MM: “War Marty”? What the hell does that even mean?
VA: Shhhhhh… still dreaming.
Martin continues to stalk Joe, who has now resorted to throwing the fuzzy lemon toys at Martin. The first one hits Martin squarely in the forehead, but he doesn’t flinch, still moving forward. A second lemon hits Marty as well. The third lemon, though, Martin catches. He fakes throwing the lemon back at Joe, who ducks for cover. But just as Joe comes out from covering up..
MM: Good lord what a right hand by Martin Robertson!
VA: Told you he’s got it. Now shhhh….
Joe’s basket goes flying as Joe is lying back first on the mat. Robertson walks over, pulling Joe up by the head to his feet before pushing him back first into the corner. Martin just starts unloading shots to Joe, who’s just absorbing them all like a punching bag. Right hands, left hands, chops… Joe takes about fifteen blows before he finally slumps down in the corner, where Robertson just continues his onslaught, kicking Lemon another dozen times with his right boot before finally getting pulled away from the corner by Iley.
VA: Whoa… look at Marty go!
MM: You back from your virtual date with Sahara?
VA: Yeah… she had to go stroke Draven’s ego for a bit. Said it wouldn’t take long, just like him!
MM: I thought you hated her and were going to sue her?
VA: She’s still got one hell of a body, Malone. Duh.
MM: Oh dear god… when do I get to go back to Utica?
Martin sidesteps Iley to get back to Joe in the corner, but Iley is once again pulling Robertson away, not even giving him a chance to continue working on Joe. Joe slowly starts to get to his feet, but just as he reaches a standing base, Robertson sprints across the ring, catching Lemon with a corner clothesline! Robertson doesn’t let him fall, though, pulling him out of the ring before wrapping his arms around Joe’s head and throwing him across the ring with a head and arm release suplex!
MM: He just damn near broke Joe’s neck on that move!
Robertson is not giving Joe any time to recover, as he’s immediately back over to the Lemonhead leader, pulling him back to his feet again. He wraps his arms around Joe again, lifting him for another head and arm suplex, but this time, not releasing him and, somehow, pausing just briefly near the top of the suplex before dropping Joe on his head once again!
MM: Iley should just stop this match!
VA: For what? Joe’s got that ‘fighting spirit’, right? He’ll come back!
Martin picks up Joe once again before whipping him across the ring. Joe manages to bounce off the ropes, but Martin is there to push him up towards the rafters with a press, before landing a beautiful European uppercut on Joe as he’s falling back towards the mat. Not wasting a second, Martin picks up Joe once again, and, again, whipping him towards the ropes. But this time, on the rebound….
VA: PURE PERFECTION!
MM: Martin just nailed that superkick on Joe, and hopefully this will end this…..
MM: Now why would he do that?
VA: Like I said, Joe’s got that ‘fighting spirit’!
MM: No, Robertson clearly had the three count, but he pulled Joe back up!
VA: I….. I didn’t see that.
Martin, laughing as he holds Joe’s head off the mat. He slowly pulls Joe back to his feet, whipping him into the corner as Joe crashes back first, the only thing holding Joe up is the fact that his arms are draped over the top rope. Martin walks over to Joe in a very cocky manner, swinging his arms back and forth. He stands in front of Joe…
MR: Not so funny now, are we?
Martin slaps Joe…
MM: Now was that really necessary?
Martin Robertson: Got any more jokes, funny man? Huh?
Martin slaps Joe again…
MM: This is just uncalled for… Just finish the match already!
VA: Now this is entertaining!
MR: The king says….
Martin takes a few steps back…
MM: Oh dear lord!
VA: PURE PERFECTION!
Martin Robertson: Off with his head!
Joe stumbles out of the corner…
MM: Martin Robertson…. What in the…
MM: He just stole his father’s finisher! That…
MM: This one’s over, fortunately.
NR: The winner of this match, MARTIN ROBERTSON!
MM: Martin wanted to make a post Champions Summit statement tonight, and he most certainly did that!
VA: I don’t think there’s anyone that can actually match up with Martin when he’s as focused as he was tonight!
MM: I actually agree with you, except for the fact that he needs to grow up, and there’s no need to taunt Joe right now like he’s doing!
VA: The king is making an example to all of his subjects in the EWA: obey… or face execution! Treason against the king will not be tolerated!
MM: Well, Martin was victorious here tonight and…. What the…
VA: What’s Alison doing, Malone?
MM: I’m trying to figure that out as well. She keeps turning around to look back at the entrance ramp, but she’s heading down towards the ring.
(Allison takes the final few steps to reach the ring, climbing up into the ring as Martin looks at her just after pushing the leader of the Lemonheads out of the ring… )
Allison Haines: Martin, I’ve been told to come out here to talk to you after this, as it was described, a ‘devastating’ win here tonight against Joe Lemon.
(Martin takes his hand, wipes it against his forehead, and shakes it out towards the front of him before reaching out and holding the microphone along with Alison)
Martin Robertson: Did you see… what I did to Joe Lemon here tonight? He, just like everyone else, thought that Martin Robertson had become a joke, Alison. Do you think I’m a joke, Alison?
Allison Haines: No, not at all, Martin.
Martin Robertson: That’s right. I should be the most feared competitor in this organization. Instead, I’m here having to wipe the mat with guys that are CLEARLY not on my level.
(Martin points down to Joe, who is now being helped to the back by several EWA officials)
Martin Robertson: This guy… he thought he was on my level, but got taught a very painful lesson in MY ring tonight! Because in this ring…. There’s only ONE GUY….. ONE GUY, ALISON…. That can get the job done! And that’s me! Martin… Robertson.
Allison Haines: So, now that we’re past Champions Summit, what’s next for you, Martin?
Martin Robertson: For the past two years, all I’ve heard for Martin Robertson is that he’s the future… he’s the future of professional wrestling. Well, SCRATCH THAT, Alison! Because the future is now! There’s no more Grady Smith! There’s no more Chris Kage! There’s only one man… ONE MAN… that deserves to have that World Heavyweight Championship belt around their waist, and that’s ME!
Allison Haines: The World Heavyweight Title?
Martin Robertson: Did I stutter, Allison? Yes, the World Heavyweight Title. You think there’s someone around here that deserves it more than I do? What, do you think that disease infested whore, Sahara, deserves the title more than me? The belt’s been tarnished enough as it is… it doesn’t need weekly vaccinations as well. Or maybe… maybe it needs to go to someone like NOTHING, right? He’s done a lot, right? Well, the only thing he needs to do is die, and join the rest of the geriatrics that are finally realizing that they don’t belong near the same ring as Martin Robertson!
Allison Haines: Bu…
Martin Robertson: Shut it, Allison! I don’t want to hear it! Or maybe… maybe, the so-called ‘Fallen God Queen’, Grace Goeren… maybe she should get another shot at the title, huh? NO SHE SHOULDN’T! She’s had her shot, and she couldn’t get the job done!
(Martin wipes his hands through his hair once again, taking a quick breath…)
Martin Robertson: There’s only one man…. One… Youth… King… around here, who’s no longer the future. It’s my time! And if I have to execute everyone in front of me in order to get that title, then so be it! I’ll take them all on! Because I’m the King! I’m the God! I’m the man!
(Suddenly, the fans near the entrance ramp rise to their feet and start cheering, for what at first appears to be no reason, until we see the reason, and now everyone is on their feet, as Stacy Vandervort has emerged onto the top of the entrance ramp with a microphone in hand…)
Stacy Vandervort: Martin Robertson… it’s so good to see you again.
(Robertson, seeing Stacy on the ramp, snatches the microphone away from Alison and heads towards the set of ropes closest to the ramp, facing Stacy)
Martin Robertson: What are you doing here? Don’t you have some cripple you should be pushing around in a wheelchair right about now?
(Martin, referencing Stacy’s husband, Chris Kage, begins to fake walk with a limp around the ring, holding his hip. He stops and laughs towards Stacy)
Stacy Vandervort: My husband is doing just fine right now, thank you for asking. But I’m not here to talk about Chris right now. I’m here to talk about a statement you just made a few moments ago, about how you feel you deserve the World Heavyweight Title.
Martin Robertson: It’s about time you recognize my talents, Stacy! I mean, you’re only catching up to the most influential people in the business right now in that assessment, so thank you.
Stacy Vandervort: Well, that may be, but the last time I looked, you’ve only wrestled twice in the past few months, including tonight, and one of those matches was a loss at the hands of the legendary Grady Smith.
(The crowd pops loudly at the mention of the now-retired legend. Martin has an equal, but clearly opposite, reaction to the mention.)
Stacy Vandervort: So while you think that it might now be the era of the Youth King, as you are now calling yourself, I’m thinking that if you want to get anywhere near the World Heavyweight Title, you’re going to have to prove yourself first. So I’m thinking…
Martin Robertson: I don’t care what you think, Stacy! What I care about is what you do, and what you should be doing is taking that World Heavyweight Title and putting it around my waist. So I don’t care what you have to do, or who you have to upset, because at the season premiere in Sydney, I want to be in the main event, and I want it for the World Heavyweight Title!
Stacy Vandervort: You might want to care about what I’m thinking, because I’m having a different thought process than you are. I don’t think you’re ready for that World Heavyweight Title shot you’re looking for. But…
(The hum in the arena from the buzz this conversation is generating has picked up a bit in the arena…)
Stacy Vandervort: I recall a time that you took a certain title and elevated it to heights never imagined. As you say during your introductions into the ring, you are the longest reigning singles champion in EWA history. So you want a shot at the big belt around here? Why don’t you try your hand at winning the EWA Network Championship first?
(Martin, furious, starts to storm around the ring. Alison, for her safety, quickly scurries out of the ring, standing on the outside ring floor area, looking up at Martin)
Martin Robertson: You want me to prove myself? Just look at me! That’s all the proof you need!
Stacy Vandervort: I prefer my proof in the ring. So at our season premier show in Sydney, I’m thinking that you, Martin Robertson, can take on the winner of tonight’s main event between Maggie McIntyre and Cronos Diamante, for the EWA Network Title. Now that… sounds like Perfection.
MM: Whoa! Martin with a chance to become a two-time Network champion in Sydney!
VA: What the hell is Stacy doing? He deserves to be going for the World Title, not the Network title!
MM: Well, I know Martin will agree with you on that point, but Stacy seems pretty set in her thinking.
VA: Martin can change that.
MM: How so?
VA: I…uh….um…Let’s head backstage!
(We cut backstage. The camera shows a close up shot at the EWA Combat Championship. The golden nameplate on the front still reads “Sahara”, but as we saw earlier, and see again as the camera pans out, we have a new Combat Champion.
William West looks a bit worse for wear after his encounter with the Crimson Queen, and subsequent run in with Cronos Diamanté. He may not enjoy how he won the title that is now laying across his shoulders, but there is a bit of pride in his eyes that has been long absent.
There is a glimmer of respect in his walk, in his face as he carries that golden crown.
Nothing can bring him down.
And that’s when he hears the chains.
Scraping against the concrete as if being dragged with purpose. With malice.
West turns around, and finds the source of the sound immediately.
An angered Purveyor stands before him. He carries the chained dog collar in his right hand, a memento carried over from the war he won with Jacob Mephisto.
Anger isn’t the only emotion echoed in the face and eyes of NOTHING. There is pain. Betrayal. Maybe a touch of heartbreak as he looks upon the man he once shared the NYSWF Tag Team Championships with.
The two Pillars stare off with each other, neither making a move, neither making a sound.
It’s The Masochist that breaks the silence.)
William West: You have something to say? Or are you just gonna jump me like the giant did?
(The Purveyor scoffs.)
NOTHING: That’s all you have to say to me?
(West doesn’t respond. He glares at the man whose side he has been on for the better part of twenty years.)
NOTHING: You can’t even be bothered to talk to me, and now you think you can demand anything of me?
(There is a bit of sheepishness in the eyes of the Masochist, but the Purveyor is only getting started.)
NOTHING: I thought I knew you better than that. I figured the man who helped me build the foundation for the House of HATE decades ago could, at the very least, be bothered to provide a heads up before he betrays me.
William West: Betrays you? That fucking ogre kidnapped me! He beat a defenseless woman because he wanted to get to me. To send me a message!
NOTHING: The message still stands. You can’t just leave, West.
(West’s face contorts with rage, causing his jaw to jut out even further. The Purveyor’s features, however, soften just a little.)
NOTHING: Come home, brother. I have built the House anew. You know you should be a part of it. You know your place is holding the roof up like the Pillar you are.
William West: My place, is it? I kinda like the place I’m in.
(West pats the Combat Championship on his shoulder.)
William West: And you’re doing just fine without me. The fruits of your labor are beginning to ripen. You don’t need me to become victorious in Sydney, Pru.
(NOTHING gives West a dry smirk.)
NOTHING: I am talking about forgiving your transgressions against our House, and you want to talk about gold?
William West: And what transgr-
NOTHING: I have to see on the EWA Network that the traitor is wearing your mask?
William West: You can leave Maggie out of this! Y’all have done enough to her!
(NOTHING chuckles to himself.)
NOTHING: I could have predicted that reaction. But sooner or later, West, you’re going to realize something. The cold, hard truth.
(NOTHING turns to leave, but stops short, looking over his shoulder.)
NOTHING: Everything returns to HATE, eventually. One way…
(The Purveyor raises his chains in his hand, grinning in fond remembrance.)
NOTHING: …or another.
(The Harbinger of HATE slinks off, chains scraping against the concrete as he leaves The Masochist fuming behind him.
Fade to ringside.)
MINXY JONES & SANTA MUERTE VS JOSH KAINE & NIKKI CALDWELL
NR: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall!
The house lights drop, and Fallout Boy’s “The Phoenix” starts to play. A red phoenix appears on the stage!
You are a brick tied to me that’s dragging me down
Strike a match and I’ll burn you to the ground
We are the jack-o-lanterns in July setting fire to the sky
Here, here comes this rising tide, so come on
NR: Introducing first, at a combined weight of 345 lbs, accompanied by their partner Mojave, they are the EWA World Tag Team Champions, Josh Kaine and Nikki Caldwell, MOCAJO!
Mojave, Caldwell and Kaine step out from the back, Nikki standing between the two men, titles raised in the air between them as fire shoots out from the sides of the stage! The crowd roars their approval, as the trio make their way down to the ring!
MM: After this week’s announcement from Alyssa Marie Haven, it’s official that Nikki Caldwell shares in the championship gold with her teammates in Mojave and the Heir of Valhalla, Vince!
VA: Bah. What the hell did she do to earn it? And I thought Sahara slept her way into titles.
MM: Nikki Caldwell’s been there almost every step of the way, Ashe!
VA: Really? Who faced down the Vice Squad at Champions Summit? Who won those belts from Kharrion? And, alternatively, who got her face kicked in by Santa Muerte?
MM: Whatever your feelings on it, Ashe, the fact is that Caldwell can call herself champion, and she’ll be walking into Live From Sydney as a champion, as well.
The three slide into the ring, with Josh and Mojave going to opposite corners and Caldwell leaning over the top rope facing the hard cam! Mojave takes both of the belts, sliding out of the ring, and Kaine and Caldwell huddle in their corner to discuss strategy.
NR: And their opponents–
(Nikki is cut off by the heavy guitar opening of Faith No More’s “Epic,” and the crowd roars their approval as a single powder-blue spotlight, in the shape of a horned skull, hits the stage! None other than Hueso, the manager of the Vice Squad, steps onto the stage with a smile! He leans on his cane in his powder blue suit, with black shirt and no tie, looking over the crowd through the bone-white horned skull mask!)
VA: Jared Walsh is here! Here’s hoping he gets a little revenge on the champs for attacking him!
MM: Attacking him? You mean when they were defending themselves from his cheating?
VA: Potato, potahto, Malone.
(Hueso walks to the ring, a little more briskly than we’ve seen in recent weeks, and climbs the stairs to the ring! He calls for a microphone, as Nikki and Josh take defensive positions in the corner!)
Hueso: Woah, woah, hold up. I’m not out here to fight you. Quite the opposite.
First things first, I want to apologize. Before Champions Summit, I let my emotions run high, I let my tension about the DSI situation get the best of me. I was upset. I lashed out. I shouldn’t have done that, that’s for sure. So I’m sorry.
I don’t expect you to jump all over yourselves to accept my apology, but I needed to get it out there. Now that I have, let’s get to the real business at hand, shall we?
By now, we’ve all heard the news. Congratulations, Nikki, on becoming one-half of the tag champs. One-third? Or is it three halves? I dunno, it’s not important. Congrats.
I’m sure, of course, that the question on everybody’s mind in this brave new world we’re in is “who’s it gonna be?” Who’s going to defend those belts in Sydney? And against whom?
Well, allow me to answer the second part of that question, real quick. In case you hadn’t heard, on September 21, live from Sydney, Australia, the EWA World Tag Team Champions will defend their titles against the second-greatest tag team to ever set foot in an EWA ring, and the greatest tag team that didn’t have yours truly in it… my pride and joy, the Vice Squad.
(Hueso smiles, letting the crowd soak that in, as they voice their approval. Mojave’s in the ring now with the others, and they keep their eyes on Jared with suspicion.)
MM: The match is made, Ashe! MoCaJo defends their titles against the Vice Squad in Sydney!
VA: And that abomination of a tag team is going to lose the belts! My money’s on the Vice Squad!
Hueso: Now here’s the tricky part. Who’s going to actually fight in the match? Do we go with the two veterans, and have the youngest of the Squad sit out? Will the original tag champs be the ones in the ring, with Nikki Caldwell for moral support? So many possibilities, and will anything really feel satisfying that way?
I cut my teeth in La Iglesia de Sangre in Mexico. That was where I learned who I really was, in a beat up ring, in front of a hundred hardcore fans of the sport of lucha libre, under the tutelage of a great man; the closest thing to a father I’ve ever known. The traditions of lucha libre are rich, and deep, and they were instilled in me as a member of the Sangria wrestling family.
In particular, lucha libre has a very specific tradition when it comes to tag team wrestling. Tag teams are a big draw in Mexico, but particularly those tag team matches known as trios, or the more fitting relevos Australianos. Three-man or -woman teams, with a team captain. To win, one team has to either pin the team captain, or the other two members of the team. To keep the action flowing smoothly, since the Mexican audience loves their fast-paced displays of athleticism, tags are almost completely unnecessary. As soon as the legal man or woman leaves the ring, any of his or her partners can enter as if a tag was made, whether or not they left the ring voluntarily.
This makes for an interesting change of pace, don’t you think? And, incidentally, it clears up the problem of who gets to wrestle in the match: you have three members. We have three members. I think you see where I’m going with this.
So here’s my proposition to you, dear champions. Live From Sydney, Australia, in honor of a true lucha libre legend, the grandfather of the Vice Squad himself Roberto Cortez, Jr., Lágrima, Minxy Jones, and Santa Muerte challenge the EWA World Tag Team Champions of Mojave, Nikki Caldwell, and Josh Kaine, in a lucha libre Australian rules tag team match. Three on three. No excuses, nobody sits out, and may the best team win.
(MoCaJo start to speak, but Hueso puts up a hand.)
Hueso: Don’t say anything yet. Think it over. If you accept, we can hash out the finer details at next Battlelines. Until then, though… I believe we have a match to start, don’t we? Don’t worry, Nikki, I’ll take it from here.
Introducing, their opponents, at a combined weight of 353 lbs, accompanied by Lágrima, los Angeles de Sangre, the most dangerous women in the EWA, Minxy Jones and Santa Muerte, the VICE SQUAD!
“Heaven Knows” starts to thump through the speakers as a single white horned-skull spot hits the entranceway, splitting into three: one purple, one red, and one teal, catching the silhouettes of Lágrima (head bowed into her hands in mock tears), Minxy Jones (in her usual Sailor Moon pose) and Santa Muerte (in the hooded robe with white-rose bouquet) on the entrance ramp. As the chorus thrums in, the spotlights strobe and red, purple, and teal pyro shoots off on either side of the stage!
MM: The Vice Squad throwing out the challenge to the champions tonight, Ashe, lucha libre style!
VA: I will admit, I’m intrigued. But it’s obvious to me who has the experience in that kind of match, Malone, and I’d say it’s the team with the masks.
MM: They may not have the same experience, Vince, but you can’t discount MoCaJo as a unit. They’re very clearly on the same page here, and–
VA: Can we not talk about them as a unit? Kinda grossing me out.
MM: Wh– you’re disgusting.
VA: Tell me something I don’t know, Malone.
Lágrima rushes the ring, vaulting onto the apron and then over the top rope, rushing to the corner, while Minxy slides under the bottom rope! Santa Muerte slowly scales the steps, and as Minxy and Lágrima backflip off the corner turnbuckles simultaneously, they gather in the center of the ring, facing the hard cam! Minxy drops into an HBK-style bicep flex, with Lágrima leaning over her, tracing the tear lines of her mask! Santa Muerte stands behind them, kissing the bloom of one white rose, before reaching over Lágrima’s shoulder and dropping it in front of the trio! Lágrima slides out of the ring, heading next to Hueso, as Mojave once again heads to the outside, taking the EWA Tag Team Championship belts with him. Santa Muerte passes her robe and bouquet out of the ring, and it looks like it’ll be Minxy and Nikki to start off the match as Danny Smith calls for the bell.
Minxy and Caldwell circle each other, and as they lock up, Minxy uses her lower center of gravity to pull Caldwell over into an arm drag. Caldwell pops up, just in time for Minxy to land a solid dropkick to the face, and as Caldwell hits the mat, Minxy’s already back up and running for the ropes! Caldwell ducks a clothesline, but Minxy blindly goes for a moonsault as she gets to the ropes, taking Nikki to the mat for a two-count!
Minxy rolls to her feet, and Caldwell is struggling to find a way to counter the dynamo that is Minxy Jones! Caldwell gets to her knees, and Minxy comes in with a running knee lift! Caldwell hits the deck, and Minxy immediately delivers a standing shooting star press, and makes the cover!
TWO! Kickout by Caldwell!
MM: Nikki Caldwell is used to a much different style of wrestling from the other member of the Vice Squad in this match, something a little more grounded!
VA: Minxy Jones is like a goddamn pinball, Malone! She never stops moving unless you stop her!
Caldwell gets to her hands and knees, but Minxy plants a dropkick to her side, knocking her back over! Caldwell flops back to the mat, and Minxy kips up, turning it into a somersault senton– Nikki slides out of the ring just in time! Minxy hits the mat hard, and pops up to a sitting position, clutching her back! Caldwell hops back onto the apron, leaping up and slinging herself through the top and middle ropes to flatten Minxy with a dropkick to the face!
Caldwell shifts her weight over, grabbing Minxy’s arm, and swinging her legs over Minxy’s chest into a cross armbreaker! Minxy’s eyes widen as Caldwell yanks back! Minxy reaches for the ropes, but Caldwell pulls her further toward middle ring, locking her in again! Minxy stretches with her foot… but she’s just not quite close enough! Danny Smith is checking on Minxy– Santa Muerte drops a leg across Caldwell’s throat!
Nikki releases the hold, and before Smith can say anything, the Heir charges the ring, throwing nasty punches at Santa Muerte! Smith gets between the two, sending them out of the ring!
VA: If this had been a singles match, Malone, I think Caldwell would’ve just won it!
MM: Thankfully for Minxy that wasn’t the case!
Minxy gets to her feet, clutching her elbow, and Caldwell is back up as well. They lock up, and Caldwell ducks under Minxy’s arm to pull her into a rear waistlock! Caldwell picks her up, tossing her over her shoulders with a German suplex, but Minxy over rotates, landing on her feet! Caldwell turns around– European uppercut from Minxy! The challenger whips the dazed Caldwell into the corner with Santa Muerte, and tags her in!
Minxy pulls Caldwell out of the corner, whipping her to the ropes, and Santa Muerte lies in wait! Minxy launches Caldwell up into a flapjack, and Santa Muerte plants her back down with a cutter!
MM: The Deer Park Death Drop! Shades of Long Island Hardcore! Hueso must be proud!
VA: Proud?! They just stole his move, Malone!
MM: It’s his wife, Vince, I can’t imagine he minds.
VA: Of course he minds, Malone! Look at him! He’s enraged!
Hueso pounds hand on the mat in celebration as Santa Muerte makes the cover!
THR– Kaine with a stomp to the head of Santa Muerte!
Santa Muerte pops to her feet, scowling at Kaine, before pulling Caldwell up by the hair, and dropping her back down hard with a swinging neckbreaker! Santa Muerte puts a foot across Caldwell’s throat, staring Josh Kaine down as Danny Smith starts a five count! She steps off at four, and Caldwell coughs, rolling onto her stomach! Santa Muerte takes advantage, grabbing Caldwell’s arm and rolling her into a magistral cradle! Smith with the count!
TWO! Kaine drives a boot into Santa Muerte’s face!
Santa Muerte immediately goes after Kaine! She makes a beeline for Kaine’s corner as he leaves the ring, but Smith gets in the way! Kaine and Santa Muerte trade barbs, with Smith trying to keep Santa Muerte on task! She turns around– Caldwell flies in with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors! Santa Muerte hits the mat in shock, and she gets to her knees, trying to regain her bearings– somersault cutter from Caldwell! Nikki grabs Santa Muerte’s legs, and Kaine puts a foot up on the top turnbuckle, as Caldwell sends Santa Muerte flying into the Heir’s foot with a catapult! Santa Muerte drops like a stone!
MM: Josh Kaine got under Santa Muerte’s skin, and it cost her!
VA: Leave it to a woman to let her emotions get the best of her.
MM: Three out of four participants in this match are women, Ashe.
VA: I know, and Kaine was the one who used her womanly emotions against her. Point for the men!
MM: I… are you just saying that for the cheap heat?
VA: I’LL NEVER TELL, MALONE!
Caldwell drops a leg across Santa Muerte’s throat, before pulling her back up to her feet and whipping her to the MoCaJo corner! Santa Muerte hits the corner with a thud, and Caldwell is quick to follow, driving a shoulder into her gut with a spear! Santa Muerte collapses to the mat, and Caldwell tags in the Heir!
Kaine gets in the ring, and the pair immediately start stomping mudholes in the luchadora! Smith starts a five count, and Nikki steps through the ropes on three, leaving Kaine to pull Santa Muerte to her feet, and back to the mat with a release Northern Lights suplex! Kaine makes the cover!
VA: That was on pure instinct, Malone! Santa Muerte just took a serious beating, and I don’t think she knows where she is right now!
MM: If Kaine acts fast, he could put this away right now!
Santa Muerte kicked out, but she’s laying on the mat, seemingly out! Kaine looks down at her with a smile, pulling her up to her feet, and lifting her into the Berserker Slam!
VA: He must’ve heard you, Malone! This could be it!
He steps over Santa Muerte’s arms, holding her up– Minxy springboards off the top rope, landing a missile dropkick to the champ’s face! He staggers, and Santa Muerte chops the backs of his knees, pulling him down into a modified sunset flip! Santa Muerte covers!
ONE! Caldwell charges in, but Minxy catches her with a spinning wheel kick!
THR– kickout by Kaine!
MM: The Vice Squad almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat there, Ashe!
VA: And I almost made out with Sinnocence once, Malone! What do you think that counts for?
MM: I don’t think that actually happened.
VA: It was just as close to happening as JoCa losing ten seconds ago. I swear on my alimony checks.
Minxy and Caldwell are brawling in the ring, and Smith is trying his best to corral them back out! Santa Muerte is still not quite aware of her surroundings, and Kaine is pulling himself to his feet! Santa Muerte is up first, and as Kaine turns around Santa Muerte fires off a Naga de Sangre kick– ducked by Kaine! Santa Muerte spins almost a full 360, and as soon as she’s back facing him, he flies in with Fenrir’s Bite!
VA: He got her! Fenrir’s Bite!
MM: But look at the strength of Santa Muerte!
Santa Muerte doesn’t fall, and Kaine is hanging on her arm with that flying armbar! Santa Muerte grabs her hand with the other, and pulls Kaine up, just enough to drop him back down with a powerbomb! Kaine releases the hold, and Santa Muerte clutches her elbow!
Minxy and Caldwell continue to trade shots on the outside, with Caldwell getting the upper hand! She tosses Minxy into the guardrail, and follows up with a solid running knee to Minxy’s face!
Kaine is getting to his feet again, while Santa Muerte is attempting to work the pain out of her arm! Kaine dives forward with a spear– no! Naga de Sangre, connecting to the temple this time! Kaine drops to the mat, and Santa Muerte covers!
TWO! Nikki runs toward the ring, but Minxy grabs her foot, and she drops to the floor!
NR: Here are your winners, Minxy Jones and Santa Muerte, the VICE SQUAD!
Santa Muerte leans back on her knees, raising her good arm in victory as “Heaven Knows” starts to pump through the arena once again!
MM: Such a back and forth for this entire match, Ashe!
VA: And if the member who actually EARNED his championship had been in the match, we might have seen a different outcome!
MM: Nikki Caldwell more than proved that she was worthy of the belts tonight, Vince! But now we have to wait and see: will the champs take up the Vice Squad’s challenge at Live From Sydney?
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL: THE VICE SQUAD (9:41)
(Cronos Diamante sits in his locker room with blood on his hands after the brutal attack on his perceived “family” Sahara. He stares past his partner Slade at the EWA Network Championship, almost in a trancelike state. It is obvious to Slade that he regrets taking it as far as he did, evident by the fact he hasn’t washed the blood from his hands and every attempt Slade has made to help facilitate washing it off has been met with opposition and death stares.)
Slade Volkov: You could have backed out, Cronos. Why are you torturing yourself over this? You take brooding to a whole new level, comrade.
(Cronos said nothing and continued staring at the championship in front of him, no doubt wondering what kind of champion he actually is to have perpetrated an act on someone he cared about.)
Slade Volkov: Snap out of it, Cronos! You still have a title defense tonight. Your job is half finished.
(Cronos shows some sign of life with a simple shrug after the mention of a defense; a defense that is going to be much harder with a revenge seeking Sahara lurking about in the shadows. He knows Sahara all too well to believe she won’t try to strike back at him. He also knew Slade would try to interfere if he could.)
Cronos Diamante: Go home and pack. I don’t want you here for the title defense. I know what you’ll do if you see her heading for the ring and she doesn’t deserve more than I gave her. Nothing I did was deserved but–
(Cronos falls silent as he looks at the blood on his hands, a lone tear trickles down and away from his right eye.)
Cronos Diamante: What have I done? I-
(Cronos brings his hands to his face and buries his head in them, the grim reality of what he’s done finally setting in.)
Cronos Diamante: The sick part, the truly sick part, is somewhere deep down I enjoyed part of what happened out there. How fucked up is that? I did-
Slade Volkov: Your job. Frankly, under the circumstances, I’m surprised that’s all you did out there. You just found out your wife is still alive and you followed through on the contract you were hired for rather than duck out. You did that because you’ve been a mess since you found out and you needed purpose. So stop beating yourself up about it. Focus on Maggie. Focus on winning that title defense tonight. I’ll go to the house and get us packed but you damn well better carry that through. Remember… Champion For Hire.
(Cronos nods his head in agreement with Slade and with that acknowledgement, Slade leaves. As Slade is leaving the locker room, he passes by another figure, unseen in the doorway; his employer on the Sahara contract. Slade lets out a sharp whistle to let Cronos know he has company and within seconds Cronos transforms from a dejected, emotional mess into the cold, calculating mercenary he’s come to be known as.)
Cronos Diamante: What can I do for you, Mr Gates?
(The crowd in the arena boos as none other than Duane Gates, the former EWA owner and previous manager of the Fallout, steps into view, a grin crossing his face. He crosses the room swiftly, extending a hand to the mercenary, smiling even more broadly.)
Gates: I just wanted to thank you, Mr. Diamante. Tremendous, tremendous job out there! It was everything I’d hoped for and so much more. I’ve wired you the remainder we agreed on, plus a little extra for your efforts. That…that was amazing. The way her blood spattered against your fist…
(Gates pulls his hand back before Cronos can shake it, pantomiming punches in the air – and looking rather ridiculous in the process. The man is clearly fired up at seeing the woman who brought about his excommunication from the Fallout hurt by the Network Champion.)
Gates: It was GREAT! So thank you, seriously. That was perfect.
(The anger in Cronos rises up quicker than normal anger would in any human being at the absolute Glee the man is showing over the contract he accepted. That and the canceling of a business handshake he was only offering as a courtesy and deal closer.)
Cronos Diamante: I don’t think you understand how this works, Mr. Gates. Let me enlighten you.
(Cronos stands up to his full height, extending his height slightly and tensing his muscles to cast an imposing figure before his recent employer.)
Cronos Diamante: You hired me to do a job. I did what I did for that reason and that reason only. I love Lauren like she’s my own family so doing what I did was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. That said, if she comes to me and want to hire me for retaliation… she gets my services free of charge. If I can do what I did to her, someone I care more about than some over-excited, posturing buffoon… imagine what happens to you. Between you and me, I pray this is the last attack you have planned for her. I might not be so neutral the next time around.
(The crowd audibly gasps with an “OOOOOOHHHH” sound from inside the Blaisdell Arena, as Gates holds both hands up, palms outstretched and slowly stepping back.)
Gates: Easy, big man. I won’t ask you to take another job out against her. You’ve done everything I expected, and I appreciate it. I just…
(Gates continues to step back, clearly intimidated by the imposing mercenary, who steps forward methodically toward the former Fallout manager. He reaches the locker room door, fumbling at the doorknob with a hand behind his back.)
Gates: I’m not asking for trouble. I just wanted to say thanks.
Cronos Diamante: Thanks is in the money and a handshake, Mr. Gates. It’s not gloating about the manner in which I performed my job.
(Cronos holds out his hand for Gates to shake to seal the deal. Gates looks down at the outstretched hand wearily while Cronos stares at him through a rather deceptively blank countenance.)
Cronos Diamante: For future reference. Sahara is off limits but the rest of EWA isn’t. I trust you’ve been enlightened.
(Gates slowly reaches out his hand again, hesitantly shaking Cronos’ hand as he stammers out a response.)
Gates: Y-y-y-yes…yes…absolutely, Mr. Diamante. Tha-thank you.
(Cronos smirks and uses the handshake to pull Gates to him, the two face to face mere inches away from one another.)
Cronos Diamante: She’s off-limits.
(Cronos lets go of Gates’ hand and takes a few steps back and casually sits back down as if transforming from a protective older brother back into the cold mercenary he normally is.)
Cronos Diamante: Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Gates. If you’ll kindly shut the door when you leave, that’d be most appreciated. Thank you.
(Gates steps through the doorway, and turns back toward Cronos with a hand on the doorknob. The distance between the two men seems to have emboldened the man who hired Cronos, as a sneer forms across the man’s face.)
Gates: I said I wouldn’t ask you to take her out again…I never said anything about anyone else.
(Gates quickly slams the door shut as he utters those words, leaving Cronos behind to consider the meaning as we fade back to ringside.)
NOTHING VS LAURA SETON
DING DING DING!
NR: Our next contest live here at Battlelines 33 is scheduled for one fall!
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
Placebo’s dark masterpiece echoes through the Blaisdell Arena as the lights sim, and the lone spotlight shines down on the Purveyor as he slowly makes his way toward the ring.
NR: Introducing first! From Albany, New York, weighing 255 pounds…he is the Harbinger of HATE…NOTHING!!!
MM: And NOTHING makes his way to the ring, and folks, right now, HATE has seen better days! Cal Rayner suffered a devastating defeat to his own comrade, William West, at Champions Summit III, and West apparently is on the outs with what’s left of the Hive, after Indrid Calder’s disappearance.
VA: Not to mention Maggie ‘Judas’ McIntyre leaving the Hive back in March. But listen, Malone, this whole thing about HATE being on the downswing, it’s completely underrated. Did you not hear Stacy Vandervort earlier tonight? This man is a former NYSWF World Heavyweight Champion, and next month he gets his first opportunity to become the EWA World Heavyweight Champion. HATE with NOTHING as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion would immediately render them a powerful force.
MM: Indeed it would–
VA: Of course it’s not going to happen because the almighty GOD QUEEN will reign supreme!
As NOTHING steps into the ring, Vixtrola’s ‘Gunboat’ replaces Placebo’s classic, and the arena erupts in a mixed reception as Laura Seton makes her way out from behind the curtain!
NR: And his opponent! From Oshkosh, Wisconsin…LAURA…SETON!!
MM: Laura comes off a big win at Champions Summit III over Ray Willmott, but we’ve heard virtually nothing from her or the injured Willmott since that time. We don’t know the status of their relationship, but what we do know is that Laura has aspirations of becoming EWA World Heavyweight Champion once again, and this is a big match for her, going up against one of the #1 contenders.
VA: Fat chance.
The bell rings, and NOTHING charges immediately, catching Seton off guard! The Purveyor catches Laura in the corner, pummeling her with forearms and knees. NOTHING’s strikes are quick and clean, as the referee can only do what he can to bring the fight out of the corner! NOTHING ends his assault by grabbing Seton’s hair and driving her face into his rising knee, snapping her head back hard.
VA: Things are looking bleak early on for Miss Milk and Cookies right now, ain’t they, Malone?
MM: I’ll admit, NOTHING has Seton overwhelmed right now, but the match is still early going!
Laura gets her bearings enough to stumble out of the corner, only for NOTHING to charge back in and drive her head into his planted knee with s facebuster!
VA: Free rhinoplasty at the House of HATE!
Laura sinks to the canvas, flailing her legs out in pain as she clutches her face. NOTHING makes the quick cover, but only gets a two!
The Purveyor of HATE goes back into the offensive, stomping at Seton’s head as she tries to get to her feet. He ends up allowing Laura to get to her knees before dropping her with a DDT that again, only gets two.
MM: NOTHING’s offense has been oriented in one specific region of Laura Seton’s anatomy.
VA: In English, he’s softening up her frickin skull for Pure HATE!
Laura gets uneasily up to her feet, only for NOTHING to knock her down again with a big forearm shot! Laura snaps up on adrenaline, only to be sent back down to the canvas!
The third attempt by NOTHING bears no fruit, as Seton ducks the forearm and shocks the Purveyor with a jawbreaker! NOTHING doesn’t go down, it is in some serious pain, which allows Laura to finally turn the tables with a running dropkick to the knees that causes Collins to flip frontwards in mid air!
VA: AMAZING ATHLETICISM!
MM: You’re… complimenting?
VA: Did you see how NOTHING nearly stuck the landing on that no hands cartwheel? Impressive!
MM: Are you not able to see Laura Seton in the ring right now?
NOTHING clutches at his knee, and Seton begins her own offensive, using the new aggression she has been exhibiting to target the injured appendage of the Pillar of HATE. Kicks and stomps find their mark, and allow gasp after gasp of pain fall from the lips of NOTHING.
The Purveyor battles up to his feet and attempts to kick his way out of the predicament he’s in, but Laura fluidly grabs the leg and snaps him back down with a dragon screw leg whip!
Seton immediately locks in a half Boston Crab, intent on ripping the leg from its socket by sheer will or force.
MM: He’s got nowhere to go! NOTHING could be finished here!
Just as Malone says that, Laura moves in for the kill. She quickly moves to transition into her deadly knee bar, Green 19!
NOTHING senses the transition, and kicks himself free as Seton attempts!
VA: Well, it wasn’t pretty, but that got the job done!
MM: Why do I have a feeling you’re going to-
VA: Just like Laura at Champion’s Summit! Hahahaha!
MM: -make a joke about Laura Seton?
NOTHING gets gingerly to his feet as Seton easily gets up. NOTHING tests his injured leg, seeing how much weight he can put on it before Laura kicks it out from under him!
The Purveyor snags the top rope to keep to his feet, but barely. Seton whips NOTHING, reversal!
No! Reverse of the reversal! NOTHING goes into the ropes and ducks a Seton clothesline on the rebound! He bounces off again and goes for Pure HATE!
Seton ducks! AU BATIDO KICK!
MM: Angel’s Fury!
VA: NOTHING ducks!
NOTHING leaps again, this time connecting with his patented Shining Wizard! Laura drops like a stone, but NOTHING lands on the bad knee! He grasps it in pain, but the look on his face shows none! The Purveyor hooks the leg!
NR: Here is your winner…NOTHING!
MM: Prudence with the huge win here over Laura Seton, fresh off the news that he’ll be challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at Live From Sydney…
VA: Malone, I don’t think he’s even done yet!
Indeed, NOTHING seems to be fully enraged! He mounts Seton, and begins hammering with closed fists stop the Olympian’s forehead!
VA: I don’t know what possessed NOTHING right now, BUT MALONE IS OVER HERE!
The referee tries to intervene, but NOTHING forcefully shoves him away! The referee calls for the bell to be rang, but NOTHING pays it no heed, as he head butts Seton on the ground! Laura’s head bounces off the mat, and NOTHING reaches into his back pocket! He pulls out a piece of black cloth and begins to tie or fasten it around the face of Laura Seton!?
MM: What is that cl-oh. Oh lord.
NOTHING backs away momentarily as the near unconscious form of Laura Seton lolls on the ground. The bottom of her face is now covered with a cloth replica of a very familiar mask.
The mask of a Masochist. William West’s mask.
MM: Is this a message? A warning of sorts to the new Combat Champion?
VA: Whatever it is, it spells bad news for Twenty Minutes of Terror!
NOTHING begins to pummel on Laura Seton again, possibly looking to open her up, but before he can throw too many punches, a roar shoots up from the crowd.
MM: William West!
NOTHING looks up to see his old friend barreling down the ramp, to the ring. The Purveyor laughs and slides out the opposite side as West enters, making an unlikely save for one of his fiercest enemies.
VA: Did the Masochist actually just HELP Laura Seton? I thought they hated each other!
MM: Maybe he got the message loud and clear from the House of HATE. Maybe he didn’t think Laura should be taking punishment designed for him?
NOTHING almost looks pained as he retreats up the ramp, staring in as West puts himself between the Purveyor and Laura Seton. A couple of trainers come in to check on the fallen former World Champion.
West, meanwhile, stares a hole through his former friend, former partner, former ally in the House of HATE. And NOTHING simply vanishes behind the curtain.
MM: West survived the battle with Cal Rayner with the aid of one of his rivals. Now is the war set to continue as he comes to the aid of another?
VA: How many times are they going to let West side with the enemies of HATE before the decide that he is one himself? That idiot is making all the wrong choices, here!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: NOTHING (9:17)
(We move through the arena’s back door, into the humid Hawaiian night. The camera rounds a corner and finds itself in a circle of torches and deconstructed wooden packing crates. What?)
???: Now, now–
(The perspective whirls, trying to find the source of the man’s southern drawl. When it does, it’s not much comforting. For a brief moment, the strange figure in the large wolfskin coat takes up the whole viewfinder– we quickly pull back.)
The Soothsayer: Don’t trip over your own feet, you’ll break your neck, boy. I was wondering, you know, I’d made a game of this. How far I could encroach before one of you noticed anything was up. Next stop, I was going to walk right out on your stage, how would that have been, hm?
(He leans against a packing crate, and the camera jitters, almost as if it’s unsure of itself being here. This isn’t… part of the show, is it? This was an accident, but turning off the camera would be rude. This doesn’t feel like the sort of place anyone wants to risk being rude.
The Soothsayer: Just in time, though. You noticing how things seem to just be coming undone?
(He flicks a card out of his sleeve. Tarot. The Falling Tower.)
The Soothsayer: It’s almost as if you’ve been building on some unstable foundations. The Fallout has fallen. The Pillars coming down. Well, what else could you have done? Professional wrestling… it’s more than just a sport. Professional wrestling is a microcosm of the world around it. It’s a reflection. And when the whole world’s falling to pieces so surely, what else can it do?
But what’s happening isn’t what you want to know, is it? You want to know what happens next.
I can’t give it to you that fast, no. I’ll hearken to advice that was given to me by a kinder soul than I, he used to say that giving a person more thoughts than they could handle at once was a cruelty. You haven’t even felt my words yet, but let them sit in your mind. Let ’em steep.
You come back and see ol’ Levi, he’ll tell you what’s what.
(There’s a hesitation, then the man ushers him away with sweeping motions of his hands–)
The Soothsayer: Go! GO!
(The cameraman turns, hasty in his relief of dismissal, and we hear the beginning of a laugh before the feed’s cut off.)
(We open up inside one of the private offices that the EWA executives have been using here at the Blaisdell Arena since they arrived earlier in the week. Sitting at the conference table in the middle of the room is Shawna Jackson, the Head of Public Relations for EWA, along with several other EWA officials and executives. Shawna is hunched over a few dozen spreadsheets that are sprawled out over the table as she points out a particular figure with her pen.)
Shawna Jackson: So, as you all can see in your ledgers, we’ve received great feedback from the fans on this current leg of our tour. The key 18-35 male demographic has responded overwhelmingly positive to both our price structure on tickets and merchandise points and we should continue to see…
???????: Yo, douche-canoes! Spread the fuck out unless y’all wanna get wrecked AF! I got some business to take care of!
(The gathered executives turn towards the door as GRACE GOEREN barges into the shot, looking as impatient as ever. She’s still dressed in her ring gear with a noticeably heavy amount of makeup on, clearly doing her best to hide from the cameras the scars from her brutal war against Elizabeth Gaunt and Sahara at Champions Summit III.)
EWA Executive: Excuse me, Miss Goeren but this is a closed…
(Grace shoves her palm directly into the young executive’s face and pushes him down into his chair, clearly not giving his complaint the time of day. She squirms her way in past the suits and moves directly next to Shawna, looking down at the paperwork with disdain.)
Grace Goeren: The fuck you looking at now? Merch numbers and shit? Shove this grunt work onto these dickless interns and get lit baby, we got waaaaaaay more important things to deal with…
(Shawna, to her credit, remains composed and calmly stands up from her seat and adjusts her blouse. She takes a step towards the door with her arm around Grace, leading her away from the executives and finally speaks to her in a hushed, pleasant tone.)
Shawna Jackson: Don’t you ever fucking come into an EWA office again like that, you hear me?
(Grace’s eyes widen in anger.)
Grace Goeren: Oh I know you didn’t just talk to ME like that, bitch. Not after the last few weeks that I’ve had. You’re just BEGGING me to let Alice loose on ya, aintcha? I’ll tell that retard-muffin you made me cry and she’ll be wearing your fucking ribcage like a sun hat in no time…
(Shawna flashes a reassuring smile back at her fellow executives, never letting her professional demeanor falter even once before she whispers something back to Grace.)
Shawna Jackson: I am trying to run a very large part of this business and I can’t have you come in and disrespect me like that in front of my associates.
Grace Goeren: Oh grow the fuck…
Shawna Jackson: Let me finish. It’s extremely important to your plans…and my plans…that I be seen as a source of stability in this company. This is a business that is currently experiencing a shift in leadership and could be thrown into a state of chaos again at a moment’s notice. If you think that Stacy Vandervort’s new position of power isn’t precarious than you don’t know shit about the EWA. We both know that there is going to be another upheaval around here soon, it’s just a matter of time. When that disruption does occur, you can bet your ass that people in EWA will be looking for new leadership and I’ll be in the best possible position to take the reins.
(Grace suddenly smiles, almost as if a light bulb just went on in her delusional, damaged brain.)
Grace Goeren: You savage little twat, look at you play that corporate game like a champ.
Shawna Jackson: I grew up on the streets, Grace. Just playing the best angles like I always have. Now then, what do you want?
(The sociopathic God Queen suddenly remembers her initial outburst and points a finger back towards the hallway.)
Grace Goeren: You talk to Vandercunt about me yet? About the World Title shot? If things are supposed to be fair and equal again now that the bitch is in charge, how in fuckity’s sake could she be cool with a stipulation keeping ME…the EWA’s most talented wrestler…from winning the World Title? That’s fucked up!
Shawna Jackson: Do you even watch the show when you’re in the back?
Grace Goeren: What? Fuck no, I was too busy planning on how I was going to bleed out that Mojave dick-rag to pay attention to what she was screeching about in the ring.
Shawna Jackson: You’ve got your match. That “No World Title” stipulation that your father forced on you has been waived. You’re back in the World Title picture.
(Grace’s face lights up with pure jubilation and ecstasy as she punches the nearby wall in celebration.)
Grace Goeren: FUCK YES! See, I knew I always liked Vandercunt! Best decision EWA has made in months! FUCK YEAH!
Shawna Jackson: Told you I’d take care of it.
Grace Goeren: Oh you did baby, you sure did. Okay, this is great. I’ve got so much to do to get ready for this shit. Let me go fetch my walking, talking Franken-bitch from catering and we’ll talk about our next move. FUCK YES! PRAISE GRACE, BABY!
(Slapping Shawna excitedly on the shoulder, Grace bolts from the room in an apparent search for Alice as Shawna turns back towards the gathered EWA executives with a calm and collected smile.)
Shawna Jackson: Now then ladies and gentlemen…back to the business at hand…
Main EventMAGGIE MCINTYRE VS CRONOS DIAMANTE
EWA NETWORK CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is our main event of Battlelines 33, and it is scheduled for one fall for the EWA Network Championship! Introducing first, the challenger, from Albany, New York, the Banshee … Maggie McIntyre!!!
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
MAKE BEAUTY STAY IF I TAKE MY LIFE?
The crowd cheers as the heavy opening drum beats of AFI’s “Miss Murder” reverberate throughout the arena and the lights flicker in time to the beat as the Banshee, Maggie McIntyre, appears at the top of the rampway. Dressed in a tight black top, buckled corset and fishnets tucked into knee high boots, she begins to stride down the ramp.
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
MAKE BEAUTY STAY IF I TAKE MY LIFE?
Jumping up onto the ring apron, she climbs into the ring, raising a fist to the roar of the crowd before shedding the leather jacket to the outside. Her music slowly begins to die down as she awaits her opponent.
Heavy guitar riffs boom over the Public Address system as “Monster” by Skillet floods the arena. As the lyrics smoothly blend into the music … nothing happens prompting jeers from the capacity crowd. As the music continues to play, the Banshee paces the ring, looking impatiently up the rampway for Cronos to finally emerge. Repositioning the protective mask – formerly worn by William West, and given to her last week by the former Masochist of HATE – over her face, she continues waiting on her opponent.
MM: And Cronos keeping us waiting…
VA: As a superstar of his caliber should. These people aren’t going anywhere, besides, it’s brilliant. Every passing second he has Maggie second-guessing her decision to compete tonight despite her extensive injuries.
MM: In addition to that, earlier tonight, she risked herself to save Sahara from an absolutely brutal assault at the hands of her soon to be opponent, Cronos Diamante. Cronos doing what he did to Sahara was an absolutely shocking considering their extensive past–
VA: He’s known her longer than anyone in the EWA. That should tell you something about the kind of person she is. And now her diseased blood is all over my shirt from earlier tonight, which means this suit is going to have to be taken to an incinerator and I’m going to be forced to take a penicillin bath by Dr. Furman, I just know it…
MM: Would you stop? We–wait a minute.
MM: I’m receiving word that something just happened near the gorilla position. Can we get a camera back there?!
While the jumbotron comes to life, there is no video feed, just audio. Some inaudible yelling is heard accompanied by a clanging sound of a metal pipe bouncing off the ground. A scuffle in progress…
MM: Can we get visual?! OHHHHHHH!!!
Cronos Diamante CRASHES through one of the LCD screens lining the back of the stage, sending sparks flying as he rolls to a stop atop the rampway. Rolling to his side, blood trickles from his mouth as he struggles to push himself up.
MM: WE GOT VISUAL!
VA: What the hell?!
Emerging through the gaping hole created by the now missing LCD screen is the Crimson Queen herself, Sahara. The crowd pops as she takes the stage holding a steel chair in one hand and his Network title in the other. Stopping in front of Cronos, she looks out at the crowd before looking down at the Network champion with a scowl.
Dropping the Network title at the top of the stage, she brings the chair down with a thunderous crash across the side of Cronos’ shoulder and face before repeating the process a couple of times. She finally tosses the chair to the side, yelling something down at Cronos.
MM: First she threw him through a screen and then waylaid him with that chair! Multiple times!
VA: She’s a cheater. This should be a disqualification!
MM: The match hasn’t even started yet, Ashe!
VA: How convenient.
Reaching down, Sahara grabs Cronos and helps him up as the EWA’s official timekeeper rushes to get possession of the Network title prior to the match. Struggling with his weight, she shoves him up against the barricade for balance before taking a deep breath and kneeing him in the gut before yanking him toward the ring as Cronos stumbles, struggling to keep his legs under him. As they approach ringside, Sahara SHOVES Cronos with malice toward the ringside steps, and unable to keep up with his own momentum, he takes a head first spill into the steps, sending them flying off kilter with a clang.
VA: Listen to these hypocrites cheer this. Where are the ‘this is bullshit’ chants now?! Why’s it okay for her to do this for Maggie?!
MM: Why was it okay for him to do what he did to her earlier tonight when he cost her the Combat championship?
VA: That’s different. It was against her.
Forcing Cronos to his feet, Sahara forces him up against the ring apron and pushes him up onto the edge of the ring, rolling him in beneath the bottom rope. Taking a step back, she dusts off her hands and shrugs up at Danny Smith who holds his hands out, saying something to Sahara which she shrugs off.
VA: Make the right call here, Danny, call the match a no-contest.
Speaking to Maggie first, Danny Smith then checks on Cronos who slowly shakes his head, attempting to get to his feet.
MM: The bell hasn’t rang yet, Ashe! These fans came to see a main event, they should see the main event. Besides, wasn’t it you last week that said a champion should be ready for anything?!
VA: I didn’t mean a champion should be ready to be thrown through a damn screen, hit with a chair, and thrown head first into the ring steps, and NOT by their opponent, Malone.
MM: Perhaps you need to look up the definition of the word anything then.
VA: And perhaps you’re the latest person getting favors from Sahara that you’re suddenly defending her actions here tonight.
MM: That’s absurd.
Rolling to his side, it almost appears as if Cronos is laughing as he pushes himself off the canvas, leaning against the ropes to gain his footing. Looking up at the lights, he takes a few deep breaths before pushing himself up to his feet, wobbling forward as Maggie takes a few steps toward the center of the ring, ready to go.
MM: HE WANTS TO GO!
VA: This is what’s absurd.
Motioning toward Maggie to come at him, she shakes her head and looks at Danny Smith who shrugs and reluctantly calls for the bell!
*DING* *DING* *DING*
The second the bell rings, Maggie jumps forward–
MM: BANSHEE’S WAIL! BANSHEE’S WAIL!
VA: Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me…
Jumping on top of Cronos, she hooks the leg!
VA: Wow. That sucked. Negative three stars–
MM: FOR THE NETWORK TITLE! WE GOT A NEW CHAMPION IN RECORD TIME!
VA: This is–insane.
MM: This has to be a new world record!
NR: The winner of this match by pinfall and NEWWWWWWW EWA Network Champion, Maggie McIntyre!!!
Rushing toward the timekeeper, Sahara rips the Network title away back away from the camera focusing on her with a wicked smile on her face before rushing up the ringside stairs stepping into the ring. Grabbing hold of Maggie’s hand, she raises it in victory to a huge pop as she hands the Banshee the Network Title.
MM: Both Cronos and Sahara won their titles at Champions Summit and on the first Battlelines since, they cost each another those titles. That’s called poetic justice, Ashe.
VA: Actually, that’s called Sahara’s a whore and Michael Draven probably has whatever she’s got. Oh, and Maggie should probably get herself tested.
As Maggie and Sahara exit the ring slowly backing up the rampway in celebration, the Crimson Queen stares into the ring with a very satisfied smile on her face as a bloody Cronos rolls to his side and struggles to prop himself up on an elbow.
MM: Look at the look on his face! He almost seems … amused?!
An almost proud smile forms on Cronos face, showing through his bloodstained teeth as he slowly nods, staring up the rampway at Sahara and Maggie. Sahara once again raises Maggie’s arm in victory and points at her to a thunderous ovation. Standing behind Sahara, Maggie bends down before jumping up, holding the Network title up as Sahara stands in the middle of the rampway and condescendingly curtsies toward the ring.
VA: He should have finished her when he had the chance. I’m telling ya, Malone, she’s like an incurable infection. Azrael couldn’t finish her off. The Ivory Terror couldn’t do it. Hell, not even the God Queen herself, hallowed be thy name, could cure us of what I call Saharial Disease. And now Cronos has fallen victim…and you know whose fault this is?! Sinnocence. She’s a scourge on this industry. She’s the one that trained this … thing.
MM: Fans, while my partner rants and raves about who knows what, I’ve just been informed that an emergency meeting was underway and Cronos versus Sahara has been signed and sealed to meet at Battlelines 34!
MM: You heard it here first! Battlelines 34! Two old friends who have become bitter enemies will collide–
VA: Why do you keep getting these messages and I don’t?! What’s wrong with my headset?!
MM: And we’re out of time! Ladies and gentlemen, in 28 days, we’ll be back in the Combat Zone for one of the biggest episodes of Battlelines in our history, with The Warrior’s Trial IV for the World Heavyweight Championship, Sahara and Cronos Diamante, and much more! For Allison Haines and Vincent Ashe, I’m Mike Malone, saying so long from Honolulu!
YOUR WINNER, AND NEW EWA NETWORK CHAMPION: MAGGIE MCINTYRE (00:05)
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William West vs Sahara – Harlan Heubaum
Alex Brooks vs Jester Smiles – Eric Mann
Mojave vs Grace Goeren – Gates
Joe Lemon vs Martin Robertson – Chris Furman
Minxy Jones/Santa Muerte vs Josh Kaine/Nikki Caldwell – Sean Boden
NOTHING vs Laura Seton – Will Santa
Cronos Diamante vs Maggie McIntyre – Harlan Heubaum