(The scene opens outside of the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. As one might expect, Terry Bull looks miserable in the drizzly and dreary weather–but once he realizes the feed is live, he’s offering his best professional smile.)
Terry Bull: Ladies and gentlemen, joining me now is EWA’s newest signing… or she will be, as soon as I spot her.
(That smile wavers before he’s catching sight of his intended target, an exaggerated wave given to signal his position. It’s about ten seconds or so before a lean-looking blond ambles into the shot in a pair of old jeans and a Carhartt jacket in tan with the collar up to help shield her from the wind.)
Terry Bull: Allow me to introduce the Oncoming Storm herself… Erin Gordon. Erin, thanks for joining me.
(Erin offers up a brief nod before she speaks, her voice low with a hint of a backwater twang.)
Erin Gordon: Appreciate you meetin’ me out in this garbage weather. I ain’t gonna keep you long. This shit ain’t fit for no one.
Terry Bull: At least it isn’t snowing, right?
Erin Gordon: Don’t use that S-word in my presence, Terry. Don’t wanna hafta’ frown at you.
(They both chuckle before Terry is carrying on.)
Terry Bull: Anyway, it’s my understanding that you’ve only worked a few matches in the indies. How do you think you’ll fare here in the EWA?
Erin Gordon: I reckon I’m gonna get my ass kicked a few times– more’n that. But that’s the way of things, ain’t it? And it ain’t like I’m gonna go down without a fight. Experience means a Helluva lot in this business, but it ain’t the only thing that matters. I’m fightin’ for more’n glory and fame and money, though those’re all nice.
Terry Bull: Then what are you fighting for?
(The beginnings of a smile that was on Erin’s face vanishes, seriousness taking its place.)
Erin Gordon: Simple. I’m here to prove to someone very important that it ain’t ever too late to go after your dreams. I know that I’m gonna hafta pack a lunch and probably a few other meals besides to make it here, but the way I look at it… survivin’ til I thrive is my only option. Too much rides on me makin’ my mark here for anything else to be good enough.
(Terry nods, understanding where Erin is coming from.)
Terry Bull: Well I wish you luck.
Erin Gordon: Thanks, and thanks for your time.
(And with a nod, the blond makes to leave–but the direction she’s heading in has Terry grabbing her by the elbow.)
Terry Bull: Wait, where are you going? The box is–
(Gently pulling her arm free, Erin laughs.)
Erin Gordon: Box? I ain’t gonna use no box. I bought a ticket, same as anyone else. If you learn anything about me, Terry… it’s that I support the business. And in this case, it means that if I ain’t performin’ in a show?
(The Oncoming Storm leans in, those gray eyes meeting Terry’s own.)
Erin Gordon: I’m supportin’ those that are by payin’ my way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s high time we got ourselves out of this shit.
Terry Bull: I couldn’t agree more.
(The scene fades into the KeyArena, where nearly 16,000 rabid EWA fans are cheering as the Battlelines theme pumps through the sound system. Our camera comes to rest on the duo at ringside of Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe, with Ashe once again supporting his Grace Goeren shirt underneath his suit jacket.)
Mike Malone: The road to This Means War on January 4 continues, as we are live from Seattle for Battlelines 37! Mike Malone here alongside Vincent Ashe, and we’ve got a massive show on hand tonight, with major implications for This Means War!
Vincent Ashe: That’s right, Malone! Tonight, NOTHING tries to unseat the rule of the Crimson Queen, as he challenges Sahara for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship! And on top of that, the winner will know their opponent for the big show coming up, as Michael Draven collides with Martin Robertson, with a shot at the biggest prize of all up for grabs!
MM: We also have the EWA Tag Team Championship on the line tonight, as well as a triple threat match to determine who will face Maggie McIntyre for the EWA Network Championship at This Means War! But we’re going to get right into things here tonight…let’s go to the ring for our opening contest!
AZRAEL GOEREN VS BUCK DRESDEN
I…am a man…of constant sorrow
I’ve seen troubles all my days…
The lights dim and the Jumbotron shows the infamous symbol known the world over…
The fans cheer as smoke billows from the entrance to the arena. “Man of Constant Sorrow” by Charm City Devils kicks in, bringing the EWA fans to their feet so they can see the man they call the Bluegrass Bad Ass. Buck Dresden appears on the entrance ramp, lifting his head so the fans and the camera can see Buck’s eyes underneath his cowboy hat.
NR: The following is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first…hailing from the Great American South…he is…BUCK…DRESSSSSSSDEN!!!
Buck walks down the entrance ramp, throwing his coat to the mat. He looks around at the fans and then slides into the ring. He pushes up and stares at Nikki, smiling at her before getting to a standing position, reaching out to shake hands with the referee, Danny Smith.
MM: Buck Dresden has been on a roll since coming to EWA, knocking out impressive victories against several talented Warriors including HATE member and former World Champion, Indrid Calder.
VA: I’m seriously not going to be able to handle this match, Malone. Buck Dresden is loud, obnoxious, says stupid things, I just…
MM: And yet, you do all of those things and you’re nowhere near as popular or likeable as Buck Dresden.
VA: Shut up, Malone!
The arena lights dim as the opening chords of “Sieben” by Subway to Sally blare over the arena’s loudspeakers. The fans jump to their feet amidst a chorus of cheers as the video screens crackles to life with a revolving pair of gold letters: A.G.
NR: And his opponent…hailing from Eberswalde, Germany…he is the MEGASTAR…AZRAEL…GOEEEEEEEEEEEEEREEEEEEEEN!!!!
Azrael Goeren steps out from the back in his usual garb, listening to and appreciating the cheers from the crowd. He staggers down the ramp, clearly still in a great deal of pain. His face shows the after effects of the wounds given to him as of late.
MM: Azrael Goeren is exhausted, Vincent. He’s dealt with some serious violence with Donovan King of late and going up against the strength and tenacity of Buck Dresden is NOT the best course of action for him tonight.
VA: Well, you know, whatever happens, this is like Alien versus Predator. Whoever wins…we lose.
Goeren enters the ring and stares at Buck, who is stretching against the ropes. The two men finally lock eyes as Danny Smith calls for the bell and for the match to begin. Buck walks to the center of the ring and motions for Goeren to come to the center of the ring with him. Goeren walks to the middle of the ring and meets Buck Dresden. The two men share a few words before Buck offers his hand to Goeren. The fans pop when Goeren accepts it!
MM: Fair and equal! Buck Dresden and Azrael Goeren want this to be the best possible match they can make it!
The two men lock up and Azrael is quick to duck under and hook Buck up for a German suplex, but Buck hits him in the head with a hard elbow, sending Goeren staggering backward, clutching his temple already as though he were shot with a full 12 gauge shot!
VA: I guess Azrael Goeren is still reeling from Donovan King putting the beating on Goeren’s head! He’s gotta be, like concussed or something. Call it a day, Azrael! It’s over!
Buck grabs Goeren and whips him to the ropes, knocking him down with a shoulder block. Buck picks Goeren up and nails his neck and jaw with two elbow shots before scooping him up and slamming him back down. The pain Goeren is in is apparent and Buck notices. He motions to Danny Smith to check on Goeren to see if he can continue, but Goeren is quick to push Smith aside and pull himself back to his feet. He points to Buck to continue the match.
Goeren’s head shoots to the entrance ramp and then he starts looking everywhere in the arena as the voice of Donovan King can be heard echoing through the arena. Buck looks confused as well as the two Warriors seem ready for a fight if it happens.
MM: Donovan King is somewhere in the arena tonight and he just announced his arrival in probably the creepiest way he could.
VA: He’s already doing everything he can to mess with Azrael Goeren’s head and man…I’m loving it!
Goeren locks back up with Buck and Goeren manages to whip Buck to the ropes and he catches Buck with a bicycle kick! Buck falls against the ropes and Goeren whips Buck yet again against the ropes and hits Buck with a drop toe hold, sending Buck to the mat! Goeren gets up, bounces against the ropes, and hits a rolling kneedrop onto Buck’s head. Goeren leans against the ropes and measures Buck as Buck tries to pick himself up from the mat. Buck is on his hands and knees and Goeren leaps at him, rolling Buck over with a cradle!
Buck kicks out with authority as Goeren hits Buck in the head and neck with elbow strikes, driving the point of his elbow directly into Buck’s temple again and again and again in an attempt to disorient the big brutal Bluegrass Bad Ass. Goeren nods his head, the fans cheering as Goeren stands up, his arms outstretched.
MM: Azrael Goeren is starting to feel pretty good!
Goeren stops for a moment, listening to the fans booing as he looks around, clearly not sure where his nemesis is. Buck schoolboys Goeren over and Danny Smith is there!
“So…CLOSE. With authority!”
VA: Oh man, King is DEFINITELY watching from somewhere!
Goeren rolls backwards and is up to a standing position, nailing Buck with a HARD knee strike to the head!
“You didn’t think before you took this match, Henrik.”
Out from the back emerges DONOVAN KING. The booing is HUGE as Goeren stops, staring at King as King saunters to the ring, a microphone in one hand and a chain wrapped around his other fist, dangling and dragging along the ground next to him.
Donovan King: You’re hurt. Tired. Did you really think this was going to be a good idea?
Buck is back on his hands and knees, looking at King. Goeren is completely frozen, his head darting between King and Buck.
MM: While there’s no big time relationship between King and Buck, Goeren has to think there’s no love lost between him and Buck so you gotta believe he thinks he’s outnumbered here!
VA: If Buck were as smart as we wished he was, he’d help King end Azrael’s career and the two of them can go on a tear through EWA!
Buck stands up and goes to grab Goeren’s shoulder and Goeren UNLOADS on Buck! He’s punching Buck with furious rights and lefts, staggering and stunning Dixie’s Favorite Son! Goeren takes a step back, kicks Buck in the midsection, and PLANTS Buck with a DDT! Goeren rolls to his stomach and gets to his knees and he locks eyes with King yet again. King shakes his head, chuckling as Goeren stands over Buck, lifting Buck’s arms, placing his boot firmly on the back of Buck’s head…and DRIVING Buck face first into the mat with a Curb Stomp! Goeren rolls Buck over onto his back and goes for the pin!
Donovan King: HERE I COME!
Goeren gets off of Buck, quick to get into a fighting stance as King has his hand out to grab the bottom rope, but he bursts into laughter. Danny Smith points to King and threatens to have him removed from the ringside area as King holds his arms up.
Donovan King: Shut up, Danny, nobody’s gonna get involved in this match. I’m like…the enforcer, you know? Keeping the beasts at bay so these two can, I guess, have a good clean contest.
VA: That’s something to be proud of!
MM: It’s also bull.
Goeren picks Buck back up, and Buck rolls him up into a small package!
Buck rolls away from Goeren and Goeren gets back up, just in time for Buck to lift Goeren up and rush him into the corner! He rams his shoulder into Goeren again…and again…and again…and again, getting the air out of Goeren’s lungs! Buck clobbers Goeren with a short splash, then he hooks Goeren in a bear hug…belly to belly suplex! Buck gets back up and measures Goeren as Goeren gets to his feet…shoulderblock! Goeren is down on the mat, but he’s trying to get his wits about him and get up to his feet, but Buck charges him, running knee strike sending Goeren to the mat! Buck goes for the pin!
Donovan King: There you go, Henrik! Show everybody the heart of a MegaStar!
Buck Dresden: SHUT THE FUCK UP!
King holds his arms out as if to assume all innocence as Buck picks Goeren back up and hooks Goeren’s head and arm…then he hooks the leg…Fisherman’s Suplex NO! Buck turns it into a modified Muscle Buster! Buck rolls Goeren over and goes for another pin!
Buck shakes his head as he picks Goeren up from the mat. Suddenly, Buck gets PLANTED with a jawbreaker from Goeren! Goeren looks at King and then bounces off the ropes and hits Buck with a running swinging neckbreaker!
MM: Goeren is going to pull out all the stops now!
Donovan King: Well, well, well. Look at you! I’m proud of you, man, overcoming the odds like this.
Goeren gets up and motions for King to get in the ring and settle things. Danny Smith, however, has had enough and motions for security to remove Donovan King! The fans POP as guards march down to the ringside area to get Donovan King removed. King nods his head as the guards escort him to the back.
Donovan King: Hey, Henrik! Hey!
Goeren glares at King.
Donovan King: Look behind you.
All of a sudden, Goeren is spun around and SLAMMED to the mat with a spinebuster from Buck Dresden! Goeren is flat on the mat as Buck gets to his feet and cocks his imaginary shotgun, the fans popping because they know what’s coming next!
MM: Here it comes! Buck Shot!
As soon as Buck aims his imaginary shotgun at Goeren’s head, the lights go out in the arena.
“Uh oh…looks like the EWA tech guys went to ITT Tech.”
MM: Donovan King’s voice is back! He was JUST removed from the arena by security!
The lights come back on and Buck Dresden is OUT on the mat! Both Goeren AND Buck are out on the mat and Danny Smith has no idea what’s going on! The referee shakes his head and starts the mandatory ten count for a double KO ending.
Goeren rolls to his stomach and slowly pushes himself up to his feet. He looks at Buck who is slowly starting to stir. Goeren measures Buck, shaking his head to get the cobwebs out. He gets ready as Buck gets to a kneeling position and he RACES forward!
The lights go OUT just as Goeren gets to Buck!
“Twice?! Goodness, EWA, get your act together…FUCK!”
The lights come back on and Goeren HAS KING REELING! Goeren is wailing on King with rights, getting him against the turnbuckle! Danny Smith has NO idea what’s going on until Buck is back on his feet behind the fight between Goeren and King. Smith’s had enough and he calls for the bell! Buck is on his feet and he tries to separate King and Goeren, but King DECKS Buck!
NR: As a result of interference between both competitors…this match has been declared a DRAW!
King is snapped around and Goeren hits him with a flying knee to the head! He staggers backwards and Buck NAILS King with a clothesline, sending King OVER the top rope! Goeren demands a microphone from Nikki and receives it.
Azrael Goeren: NEIN! Donovan King…NEIN. Buck Dresden and I…these lovely people…in attendance…deserve…better than this.
King clutches his jaw as Goeren and Buck hold one another up.
Azrael Goeren: I…tire of this, Herr King. You tire…of this. This must end. You…and I. This.
Goeren and King glare at one another for a long moment.
Azrael Goeren: This Means War. Donovan King and Azrael Goeren for the final…time.
King picks up his microphone and grins from ear to ear.
Donovan King: What makes you think…it’ll be over?
The fans boo as Goeren sighs.
Azrael Goeren: I will let you choose the stipulations, Herr King. Each and every aspect of the match to your liking. You will be at your most comfortable. Whatever you want. In return…all that I ask…is that this ends once and for all.
King purses his lips as he paces outside the ring like an impatient panther.
Donovan King: I choose the stipulations. ALL the stipulations, as many as I want, if I agree that this ends between us at This Means War.
Azrael Goeren: Ja.
Buck looks at Goeren, stunned.
MM: This is insanity!
Donovan King: Agreed.
King drops the microphone to the floor as “Sucker for Pain” kicks in. He leaves the ringside area with no smile on his face, no happiness. Only unbridled fury. Meanwhile, the camera cuts to Goeren, who is talking to Buck about the match and his plans for his future. He lifts Buck’s arm for the masses to cheer as King turns and glares at the ring…and his own future.
THIS MATCH IS DECLARED A DRAW (12:14)
MM: Folks, right now, let’s take a special look at one of the EWA Tag Team Champions…Santa Muerte.
(The sound of a match lighting. Faint yellow light shimmers around the silhouette of a hooded person. A single white candle carries a small flame in front of the silhouette, where a shrine is built. The centerpiece: surrounded by bright yellow Aztec marigolds, is a statue of a skeleton in nun’s vestments. It is a shrine to Santa Muerte.)
Santa Muerte: Piadosa Santa Muerte, eres mi fortaleza de protección, eres mi reina, mi madre.
(The white candle lights a brown votive candle to the left of the statue. Behind it sits a framed, faded photo of an older woman, three young girls, and a man in a mask holding a baby. The mask is a blood-red skull with a ring of horns around the brow: Roberto Cortez, Jr, aka Sangria.)
Santa Muerte: My father was a good man. Strict, sometimes harsh, but he had the best of intentions. He was a good Catholic, a man who tried his best to live a life he could be proud of. He’d be the first to tell you he didn’t always succeed, but he tried his best.
He never told me he was disappointed that I was born a girl. He didn’t need to.
(The white candle moves to a green votive on the right side of the shrine, illuminating the scene further. Another faded photo, of Sangria with a young child, hair cut short, in a Motorhead T-shirt and wrestling tights.)
Santa Muerte: When I was seven, my father took me to his gym, his training ground. To him, it was holy ground; he even called it La Iglesia de Sangre, the Church of Blood. I was fascinated. The artistry, the athleticism… that night, I begged him to let me train there with him. He was adamant that I could not.
But I could tell he wanted it just as much as I did. He wanted someone to pass his legacy to, and by this time, my mother was not having any more children. So on my 9th birthday, he brought me back to la Iglesia, only this time he gave me a set of tights and boots.
“Don’t tell your mother,” he whispered. It was our secret. I was his new student, the son he never had.
(The white candle again moves, lighting a red candle on the foot of the statue. Another picture, this one of three people in masks: Sangria, the younger Sangria, and Hueso.)
Santa Muerte: I trained hard. I wanted to make my father proud. He was my hero, my saint. So I trained. I fought. I bled. As I got older, I bound my chest to keep the secret. I lied about my whereabouts to my mother, just as Papa said. I told the kids at school I had to go home right after school. This was the days before the Internet… nobody knew who my father really was.
I was sixteen the night the world found out. A spot gone wrong. I don’t remember much of it, but they had to remove my shirt to assist me.
La Iglesia was empty the next day. Then the next week. Bookings dried up. Were it not for a timely intervention, we would have lost everything.
I had disappointed him again. He never said it. He didn’t need to.
(Next to the red candle is a blue one, and the white candle lights it as well. A photo of Sangria, shaking hands with a wheelchair-bound Sean Boden in the days of OPW, sits behind it.)
Santa Muerte: And yet, it was a deal with the devil, as it turned out. For the one who saved us is the same one who took him away.
I loved my father. I miss him greatly. And I would do anything to have him back.
So I ask you, Pious Santa Muerte, grant me the strength to face down one who would spurn her father’s love to further her own selfish desires. For as absent as he was early in her life, he made a genuine attempt. He tried to reconnect. He tried to love his child, and she threw his love back in his face.
Azrael Goeren was not a great father. It would be difficult to even call him a good man. But he tried to make it right. And Grace wouldn’t allow it. She needed him to remain the villain.
She needs everyone to remain the villains in her story.
(The white candle lights a black votive in the center of the shrine. It shines its faint light on a mannequin head, holding the blood-red mask with a ring of horns.)
Santa Muerte: I ask you, Holy Death, to allow me to take up your mantle, to take up your power. Grace Goeren needs me to be the villain in her story.
(The hooded figure turns around, the light of the single white candle in her hands illuminating her face. It’s painted in a black-and-white Dia de Muertos skull pattern, with blood-red filigree and teeth. Santa Muerte stares, emotionlessly, at the camera.)
Santa Muerte: And what better villain is there than Death?
(She blows out the white candle, and all the other candles die simultaneously, leaving the room in darkness. A voice whispers.)
Santa Muerte: Amarra y ata los brazos, las manos, las piernas y los pies de mis enemigos, para que no puedan herirme ni dañarme, a mi hogar o a mi familia. En el nombre del padre, del hijo, y del espíritu, Amén.
(Fade to ringside.)
JOE LEMON VS DANE PRESTON
We cut back to ringside just in time to see Joe Lemon, laughing and smiling with fans as he hands out a few shirts to people in the front row, slapping hands and mingling with the KeyArena audience.
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Currently at ringside, from Lemon City, Florida, weighing 240 pounds…JOE…LEMON!!
VA: I can’t believe that dolt Philip Donovan actually signed this moron to a merchandising deal. Who would actually be caught in public wearing a Lemonheads shirt?
MM: I think there’s lots of people who can identify with Joe Lemon’s struggle.
VA: Yeah, losers.
MM: Nonetheless, Joe Lemon’s set for action here against the debut of one of the EWA’s newest signees…
Suddenly the lights go out plunging the arena into darkness, when red and white strobe lights and lasers begin to spin and flash all around the inner walls of the jam-packed arena. A thick white fog bellows out from beneath the entrance stage as the opening riff to Birdy Wing’s ‘Kashmir’ hits the arena sound system.
OH LET THE SUN BEAT DOWN UPON MY FACE
AND STARS FILL MY DREAM
I’M A TRAVELER OF BOTH TIME AND SPACE
TO BE WHERE I HAVE BEEN
NR: His opponent! From Redwood City, California, weighing 245 pounds…HIGH OCTANE…DANE…PRESTON!!
A blaring white light appears from the entrance screen, to reveal the silhouette of Dane Preston banging his head to the beat of the music. A light mist begins to come down on the crowd, while Preston’s demeanor from this distance is enough to give chills to anyone standing at ringside.
TO SIT WITH ELDERS OF THE GENTLE RACE
THIS WORLD HAS SELDOM SEEN
THEY TALK OF DAYS FOR WHICH THEY SIT AND WAIT
ALL WILL BE REVEALED
Preston stands there with his head hung low as the music picks up, before snapping his neck from side to side. As the lights come back on, Preston begins to stalk his way down the entrance ramp, pounding his chest to psych himself out for his match.
TALK IN SONG FROM TONGUES OF LILTING GRACE
SOUNDS CARESS MY EAR
AND NOT A WORD I HEARD COULD I RELATE
THE STORY WAS QUITE CLEAR
Sliding into the ring on his stomach, Preston quickly gets to his feet and walks to a corner with a purpose. Shrugging off his leather vest and handing it to the ring attendant, Preston turns his attention to Lemon, waiting in the corner.
MM: An intense ring entrance from our newest combatant here in the EWA, and we’re about to find out if the man’s ability matches his intensity!
VA: I’m already sold, Malone. Run away while you still can, Joe!
The bell sounds, and Lemon steps forward, eager to lock up with Preston. Preston locks up with a side headlock, wrenching against Lemon’s head. Lemon pushes Preston off into the ropes, and Preston knocks Lemon down with a shoulder block. The debuting warrior quickly hits the ropes as Lemon gets back to his feet. Lemon swings his arm for a clothesline, but Preston ducks quickly, pumping the brakes, spinning, and catching Lemon with a rapid urinagi suplex!
MM: I’m being told he calls that the Ravager!
VA: Lemon’s certainly getting ravaged, Malone!
Preston quickly leaps to his feet, picking Lemon up and wearing him out with a series of rapid punches. A swift snap kick to Lemon’s stomach is followed by a flowing DDT, and Preston quickly rolls over upon impact, locking in a guillotine choke! Lemon begins flailing his arms, trying to escape the submission hold!
MM: And that’s known as the Royal Dream Sequence!
VA: And I think it’s Joe Lemon that’s about to be dreaming if he doesn’t tap out!
But almost on cue, Lemon slaps the mat rapidly, and referee Rick Iley signals for the bell!
NR: Here is your winner…DANE…PRESTON!!
MM: And a convincing victory here for Dane Preston!
Preston wastes little time after having his hand raised, quickly exiting the ring and walking back up the ramp. As he reaches the stage, another of the EWA’s newest signees, the soon-to-debut Murphy Doyle Maher, walks out onto the stage, clapping his hands as he applauds Preston’s victory. Dane stops, staring at Maher for a moment, before shaking his head and walking past – Murphy quickly follows.
VA: What was that all about?
MM: I’d imagine we’ll find out soon enough, ladies and gentlemen. In the meantime, let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY SUBMISSION: DANE PRESTON (1:02)
(The scene opens up to the back. We see Jester Smiles stretching out, an intense, angry look on his face. He stops stretching and begins to shadow box, though it looks like the shadow he is boxing is getting pummeled considering how hard Jester is throwing his punches.)
Jester Smiles: Coward. I’m going to pummel that coward.
(Jester throws a hard front kick, probably harder than he should be considering he is just warming up.)
Jester Smiles: Beat his stupid face in and make him eat his teeth.
(Jester takes a Muay Thai stance and throws some practice knees and elbows that look more purposeful than for practicing.)
Jester Smiles: House of HATE…trash people doing trash things…fuck’em up…I need to fuck’em up…
???: Ya know, you sound like one o’ them grumpy old men what sits on the front porch hollerin’ ‘bout them damn kids on his front yard.
(The unmistakeable voice belongs to none other than Buck Dresden, the Number One Contender to Jester’s Combat Championship.)
Buck Dresden: I ain’t sure why yer so mad at the air no ways.
(Jester loses his sullen attitude and laughs. He cracks his neck and shakes out his arms, relaxing.)
Jester Smiles: Well, I mean, I am getting on in my years, but, y’know, I’m not a big fan of getting beaten up on by a group of Goth kids.
(Jester grabs his title and slings it over his shoulder.)
Jester Smiles: I just realized something. We’ve never actually met. I mean, we were in SHOOT together, but our paths have never crossed paths.
(Jester extends his hand.)
Jester Smiles: I’m Eric.
(Buck shakes his hand with a grin on his face.)
Buck Dresden: I’m Buck. But I reckon you know that just like I know who Jester Smiles is.
Jester Smiles: I mean, we can still be polite, even if we do have to beat each other’s faces in soon, right?
(Buck shrugs in return.)
Buck Dresden: Ain’t nobody ever said we can’t just do a starin’ contest. Nothin’ more combative than eye contact. At least that’s what my ex-girlfriend told me when we was…you know…
(Buck curls the index finger and thumb of his right hand into a circle and inserts his left index finger repeatedly.)
Buck Dresden: …right? Yeah.
(Jester goes to reply.)
Buck Dresden: I was referrin’ to sex. You know. Just so you know. Sex.
Jester Smiles: I…I caught that…I’m a little weirded out that you recommending a staring competition with me led to you thinking about sex, but, whatever man, love is love.
(Jester playfully winks at Buck.)
Buck Dresden: Man, I was worried about you fer a second!
Buck Dresden: Used to watch you when I was trainin’ to wrassle way back when. You were so goddamn funny! Looked on the sunny side o’ life, the whole nine yards, kit ‘n’ kaboodle, E-T-C. But, lissen, man. Lissen.
(Buck straightens up and stops laughing.)
Buck Dresden: There’s a damn stupid habit formin’ where I get stuck with dipshits gettin’ involved in my matches an’ fuckin’ my opponents up. We don’t know one another that well, sure, but I can imagine since you talk about yer fists an’ hittin’ people that you don’t want to get our match fucked up, right?
(Jester nods. The smile fades off his face.)
Jester Smiles: Cowards, man. These cowards walking around, pretending to have some kind of code of ethics, but they just don’t want to face anything on their own. Fuckin’ tired of it, man. It’s the same shit, everywhere I go. Our match should be match of the century, but we have to watch our backs because some spooky homeboy wants to ‘teach us to HATE’ or some dumbshit.
Buck Dresden: Way yer talkin’, them boys’re doin’ what they want to yer headspace an’ got you seven shades o’ fucked up.
Buck Dresden: Lookahere, feller. This ain’t my favorite time in my career, seein’ how jacked up this place an’ its people are. But the fact o’ the matter is I’m here, you’re here, we’re finna fight, an’ these HATE sumbitches might fuck it all up. All I’m sayin’ is…
(Buck ponders his next words carefully.)
Buck Dresden: ….I mean, I ain’t one to work well with others what ain’t part o’ my Bad Ass Brotherhood, but…I mean…Donovan King…Azrael Goeren…HATE…I mean…you know…
(He waves his hands in front of him, trying to get the words to come out.)
Buck Dresden: …ya know what I mean?
Jester Smiles: I think I smell what you’re stepping in. You’re definitely right, all this bullshit has me fucked up, but understand something…I guarantee we’re having a good match at This Means War, and I’m gonna bring everything I got at you. In the meantime…
Jester Smiles: Up until we step in the ring at This Means War, I got your back, you got mine?
Buck Dresden: You got it. Before then, after then if need be, whatever.
(Buck holds his fists up.)
Buck Dresden: If you need these?
(Buck slides one fist through his open hand.)
Buck Dresden: You got it, champ.
(Buck winks before fighting back his laughter. On this note, the camera fades out.)
(We cut to the backstage parking lot here at the KeyArena, revealing a few members of the EWA crew talking amongst themselves. They seem to be fairly relaxed right now, one of them sipping a cup of coffee while the other casually flips through her phone. That is until Stacy Vandervort steps into the shot, her hands on her hips as the crew members quickly straighten up and start looking about for something to do.)
Stacy Vandervort: What’s going on guys? I send one of you out here to do a job and now we’ve got ourselves a convention? We’ve got a show going on right now, get back to work!
(The crew scatters as Stacy lets out a sigh and rubs her temples in a slow, circular fashion. She takes a deep breath and stops one particular individual before he scurries off.)
Stacy Vandervort: Not so fast. Have they arrived yet?
(The crew member shakes his head despondently.)
Stacy Vandervort: And you’ve been out here since the show started?
Crew Member: Yes ma’am. Just like you said. No sign of them.
Stacy Vandervort: I swear to God I’m going to kill her if she no-shows tonight. Alright…good work, get going. I’ll take it from here.
(No sooner than the crew member scuttles off camera, a Black Escalade careens down the parking garage ramp and speeds towards Stacy. She takes a step back, throwing her arms up as the screeching front tires stop about three feet away from her. She angrily slams her hand down hard on the hood of the car before the driver’s window slides down and GRACE GOEREN sticks her head out of the vehicle.)
Grace Goeren: Jeezus, da fuck you doing Stace? Jumpin’ out in front of the car like that, you fucking high?
Stacy Vandervort: What the hell was that about?! Get out of that car, NOW!
Grace Goeren: Fuck me, calm down! I didn’t see you! Wear some bright-ass colors next time, always walkin’ around here dressed like its a god-damn funeral!
Stacy Vandervort: We don’t have any time for any of your games tonight, Grace. Your match is coming up and you’re not even in your ring gear!
Grace Goeren: Yeah, the whole time zone thing is a bitch. Plus with daylight’s savings time and all…
Stacy Vandervort: That was weeks ago!
Grace Goeren: STOP RUSHING ME BITCH!
(Grace, very slowly and extremely reluctantly, parks and exits the vehicle. The passenger’s side pops open and the massive Alice steps out from the car, noticeably raising the car level when she exits. She shuffles over to Grace’s side who has since grabbed two duffel bags from the backseat and tosses them casually at Alice to carry. Stacy takes a step forward, staring eye-to-eye with the extremely difficult former EWA World Champion.)
Stacy Vandervort: Listen…I know you’re still upset over what happened a few weeks back…
Grace Goeren: You mean being fucked out of my World Title yet again? Nah, I’m totes chill with that now…me and Alice here are focused on taking them tag straps from those Greek or Irish or whatever comic-con bitches. I barely think about how many times you shitcobblers in EWA have fucked me over these days…
(Stacy does not look like she buys that sentiment for one second, rolling her eyes as Grace smiles smugly back at her.)
Stacy Vandervort: Whatever your personal feelings are for the management here in EWA, one thing that is completely unacceptable is coming to the arena this late for your match.
Grace Goeren: Oh fucking sue me, bitch. I still got here.
Stacy Vandervort: I don’t need to sue you. I can just fine you and take your money. $5,000 in fact. Due to the EWA offices by this Monday.
Grace Goeren: Oh I’d love to see you try and enforce that, Vandercunt…
Stacy Vandervort: Read your contract, Grace. I don’t have to enforce anything. You agreed to a lateness penalty when Duane Gates signed you to your entry contract.
(Grace opens her mouth to say something but quickly shuts it, glaring back at Stacy.)
Stacy Vandervort: Now get to your dressing room and get changed, your match against Santa Muerte is coming up very shortly. And do not let this happen again…do we understand each other?
(Alice takes a step forward but is quickly held back by Grace who nods her head knowingly at Stacy. She cracks a smile, reaches up…and gently pats Stacy on the shoulder.)
Grace Goeren: Sure thing, little sister. You are the boss-lady around these parts…
(The God Queen motions for Alice to follow her as the two slowly start to walk off screen, but it’s very noticeable that Grace has refused to break eye contact with Stacy the entire time. Stacy glances over at Alice who lumbers dutifully behind Grace, seemingly sparking a thought.)
Stacy Vandervort: Oh and one more thing…make sure you keep Alice under wraps for your match against Muerte. I’ve already had a talk with the Erinyes and everyone is going to play nice at ringside for your match. If Alice interferes in any way and it’s unprovoked…consider the fine increased to $25,000.
(Grace lets out a small laugh under her breath, batting her eyes back at Stacy with a horribly fake smile.)
Grace Goeren: Whatever you say, sweetie. Whatever you say…
(With those words, Grace and Alice disappear off screen and head towards their private locker room for the evening. Stacy folds her arms across her chest and exhales before we fade back to Mike and Vincent at ringside.)
INDRID CALDER VS JESTER SMILES
MM: Well folks, this next match up might be a non-title match, but these two competitors are still likely to rip each other apart.
VA: That weird clown guy got involved in the business of the House of HATE. Now he’s going to find out exactly what happens when you pick a fight with a group of scary, dangerous individuals.
MM: While I am not inclined to think that our current EWA Combat Champion, Jester Smiles, is incapable of holding his own, we did see the HATE come out on top last week, thoroughly beating down Maggie McIntyre, Michael Draven, and Jester Smiles. I’m not sure what we’re going to see tonight in this match up, but you can bet that Calder has some kind of scheme up his sleeves.
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
“Smoke & Mirrors” by Puscifer plays as the tron showcases a tattered gray shroud floating past multiple willow trees. Smoke seems to curl outward from the shroud as it passes multiple shattered mirrors. Suddenly the shroud darts forward with deceptive quickness, the head rising. All we see is a black hole beneath the hood with two shining knife-blue silver dollars for eyes.
NC: The following contest is a NON-TITLE match up! Introducing first, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and TWENTY FIVE POUNDS…he is a pillar of the House of HATE…INDRID…CALDER!
Calder emerges from the back, a sly smile on his face as he casually strolls down to the ring. The fans boo, but Calder seems to not even care.
MM: Calder seems incredibly nonchalant right now. It isn’t like him to underestimate or come into a match up unprepared, so this attitude can only mean he has something planned.
VA: I think Calder just doesn’t expect much of a challenge from a clown, a joke. You know, this man has outwitted and out wrestled some of the top competitors this industry has ever seen, so I don’t think he’s worried about our…ahem…“esteemed” Combat Champion.
MM: You do realize that this ‘joke’ you are talking about has also beaten some of the best this industry has ever seen and even once knocked out the Ivory Terror himself, right?
VA: He’s a CLOWN, Malone. A CLOWN.
Calder enters the ring and strolls over to the opposite ropes, leaning against the top rope casually. He smiles at the entrance ramp, waiting, without a care in the world, seemingly.
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! It should be noted that he is not wearing the Combat Championship.
VA: He’s not wearing his belt! See, even he knows he doesn’t deserve to hold something that our God Queen, Grace Goeren, used to hold!
Jester, looking far less jovial than usual, glares at the ring. He then darts down the entrance ramp, slides into the ring, and meets Calder in the middle as the two begin to exchange blows! Danny Smith, not wanting to get in the middle, calls for the match to start.
MM: Woah! And we are off! I guess this explains the lack of the belt.
Jester tries to use his superior striking to get the advantage, but Calder is quick to transition from a brawl to grappling, ducking under an angry, overly telegraphed punch and locking in a waist lock. He attempts to take Jester down, but Jester uses his size advantage to keep himself grounded, throwing an elbow back. Calder ducks under and releases, but Jester swings fasts and throws some punches, which Calder backs away from. Jester stays on the offensive, chasing Calder, who simply smiles at the larger man, keeping away. He is able to catch one of Jester’s jabs, but before he can capitalize, Jester slams him with a front kick that knocks him back. Calder winces, but isn’t overly affected. Jester calms himself, realizing that this offensive isn’t doing anything and is only going to wear him out. Calder grins at the Combat Champion, clearly not bothered so far.
MM: Jester looking for some quick offense, but I think his emotions are getting the better of him here.
VA: Calder is in his head, Malone, and he barely did anything! See, this mental state is hardly becoming of a champion.
Calder and Jester lock up. Calder quickly throws a knee that catches Jester, but Jester responds with a knee of his own. The two scramble, with Jester getting a clinch and hitting Calder with another knee. Calder is hurt, but he has the wherewithal to back against the ropes and get Danny Smith to break. Jester looks frustrated, but he backs off. Calder pops his neck and clutches his stomach, sarcastically telling Jester “good hit”. Jester flips Calder off before motioning for him to come at him. Calder obliges, faking for a collar elbow tie up, but then he shoots on Jester, catching Jester with a double leg takedown! Jester attempts to scramble, but in the scramble, Calder takes Jester’s back! He tries to lock in a rear naked choke, but Jester tucks the chin and gets to his hands and knees. He rises up with Calder on his back and leaps backwards, sandwiching Calder between the turnbuckle and himself! Calder releases the hold and Jester turns, ready to fire off shots, but Danny Smith is right there to get in the way, telling Jester to back off. Jester argues with Smith, and Calder goads him on.
Indrid Calder: Come on hero, let’s have a clean fight. Don’t be ‘cowardly’.
Jester Smiles: Fuck you, Spider Goth.
Jester, while irritated, does what Smith wants him to.
VA: Look how shaken this clown is! THIS guy thinks he can take down HATE. Not very likely.
Calder takes his time in the corner, dragging the time out. Jester is clearly flustered by this, but he keeps his cool, watching Indrid’s every move. Indrid finally makes his way to the ring, and again the two lock up. Calder gets Smiles in a headlock, but Jester pushes him off into the ropes, only to be caught with a throat thrust! As Jester recoils, Calder grabs Jester’s head, places his own underneath, and drops to his knees, slamming Jester with a jawbreaker. Jester clutches at his face as Indrid quickly rises, kicking Jester in the stomach, grabbing him by the head, and swinging for a neckbreaker! Calder pins!
Jester kicks out! Indrid lifts Jester back up and irish whips him to the ropes. Calder leaps, looking for a forearm smash, but Jester ducks under! As Calder turns, Jester flattens him with a rolling sabat kick that knocks Calder flat! The smile is gone for a moment as Jester goes for the pin!
Calder kicks out quickly!
MM: For all the mind games and manipulations, Calder needs to remember that Smiles is a game competitor who can come out of nowhere with several VICIOUS strikes.
Now Jester is on the offensive. He lifts Calder up and kicks him in the stomach before following up with a left/right combo! Jester hits the ropes and looks for the Virginia Sidekick, but Calder gets out of the way. Calder looks like he is going to capitalize, but Jester shifts his balance quickly and FIRES off with the Wipe The Smile!
It just BARELY misses! Calder looks legitimately worried, as Jester’s signature kick nearly knocked his head off. Jester is now the one grinning, as he can see the look on Calder’s face. Jester holds up two fingers and motions them closely together, showing Calder that he was “this close” to hitting him. Calder’s face goes from shock back to that sly smile, though, as the crowd begins to boo.
MM: Oh no, here comes the House of HATE!
William West, Cal Rayner, and NOTHING all come charging to the ring. Rayner stops at the end of the entrance ramp, while West goes the left and NOTHING goes to the ring. Jester sees this happening and looks around, getting ready, turning every which way and preparing himself for a fight. Danny Smith yells for the three men to leave, but it is clear that they have no intention of leaving. All three men take their turns faking like they are going to enter the ring, with Calder taking a relaxed stance, smiling coldly at the Combat Champion.
Indrid Calder: Fresh meat, boys…get him…
All three men suddenly storm the ring as Smith calls for the bell. Jester turns and begins to stomp on Rayner, assessing him to be the biggest threat, but his attack is for nothing as NOTHING, West, and Calder all jump him!
VA: This is why Calder wasn’t worried! This match was never about winning, it was about crippling the champion and making a statement!
Rayner is now up, and he begins to help the other three put the boots to Jester. When Jester is sufficiently beaten down, Calder grabs both of Jester’s arms and lifts him up, looking for the FOR THE HORSEMEN…
But the crowd pops as MICHAEL DRAVEN and MAGGIE MCINTYRE STORM THE RING! Draven immediately peppers Calder with punches and Maggie, who has her baseball bat, slams West in the stomach with it. However, NOTHING and Rayner are quick to attack!
MM: Oh no, it looks like we are going to see a repeat of last week!
VA: Nothing can save these three now! The House of HA-
The crowd’s boos again turn to cheers as BUCK DRESDEN storms down to the ring! He hits the ring fast and begins to beat on NOTHING.
MM: Buck Dresden is here, and he’s taking the fight to HATE!
VA: What’s he doing, Malone? This isn’t his fight!
MM: I think the Bluegrass Badass is simply sick and tired of seeing HATE run rough-shod over the EWA, Vince!
Rayner looks to go after Dresden, but Jester Smiles is back up and he SLAMS Rayner with the GOLDEN PUNCH! Rayner doesn’t go down, but he does fall against the ropes, and Jester slams him in the face with the VIRGINIA SIDEKICK, knocking Rayner over the ropes! Buck, meanwhile, plants NOTHING with a STIFF clothesline! NOTHING rolls out of the ring. Maggie and Draven are able to take the attack back to West and Calder, but both men don’t take too much more punishment before retreating out of the ring.
NC: Ladies and gentlemen, due to interference, Indrid Calder has been DISQUALIFIED! This means that your winner tonight is JESTER SMILES!
The crowd cheers as Buck Dresden, Jester Smiles, Michael Draven, and Maggie McIntyre stand in the ring, victorious, while HATE exits the ring. Calder, despite having lost this encounter, grins at the four. Jester can be seen cursing at Calder, showering him with insults and expletives, but Calder is unfazed. He simply retreats, leaving the four in the ring, victorious, but uncertain.
YOUR WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: JESTER SMILES (5:55)
(The camera cuts to the backstage hallway near Stacey Vandervort’s office–and it looks like it does so in the nick of time to catch the EWA’s Executive Assistant approaching the door. As it turns out, however, she’s not alone. The Oncoming Storm herself is beside her, though the heavy-weight winter jacket she had on earlier has been discarded to reveal a simple gray long-sleeved thermal shirt. Even though Erin has her hands in her pockets, her posture is ramrod-straight and her tone is a vaguely awkward polite that suggests that she’s perhaps trying a little too hard.)
Erin Gordon: I appreciate you doin’ this, Missus Kage. I wouldn’ve thought of it.
To her credit, Stacy flashes the other blond a reassuring smile, clearly picking up on the nerves of the rookie beside her. She pauses, her hand on the doorknob as she takes on a reassuring, yet cautioning tone.)
Stacy Vandervort: Call me Stacy, Erin, but… don’t thank me yet. As you’ll see for yourself, your opponent for your debut is–he’s a little intense. Ready?
(Erin nods. As the door opens, Sterling stands, brushing the creases out of his suit jacket and straightening the knot of his crimson red tie. Turning to face the open doorway behind him, his attention is drawn away from Stacy Vandervort and diverted, wholeheartedly, to the 5’8” vision of athleticism entering the room. As the door closes behind her, Sterling sizes her up, his eyes cutting from above the purple bags of tiredness earned by a difficult commute to Seattle, cutting and unrelenting as his mind whirrs abuzz with silent calculations.
Stacy clears her throat, but that alone isn’t enough to break the concentration of Sterling and the target of his senses, the hairs on the back of his neck bristling moreso with each passing second, his heart-rate quickening ever so slightly as the cold, hard reality of the situation washes over him like a bucket of day-old vomit. The cold works for him though, as though that inner frostbite manifests itself outwardly as an icy grey shield over his eyes.)
Stacy Vandervort: I thought it was time you two met, given how you’ll be meeting properly very soon…
(Stacy persists, eager not only to break the mounting tension but to get this business done and move onto more important tasks.)
Stacy Vandervort: Sterling, meet Erin Gordon. You’ll both be in your first match, together, at Battlelines 38 on December the 14th.
(Sterling steps toward Erin, looking down into her eyes, running his fingertips through his trimmed beard and tracing his nails down his own throat before sniffing and looking back to Stacy.)
Sterling: I’d fight tonight, but I guess not everybody’s ready for that…
(If Sterling expected the Oncoming Storm to back down, then he’s going to be disappointed– or who knows? Maybe he’ll be pleased that she’s squaring right up to him rather than wasting any time overanalyzing the situation, that bit of a height difference almost disappearing with how she draws herself up to her tallest. That accent of his, the way he’s dressed… everything about him screams condescending city folk, and that immediately rubs her the wrong way. Add that quip when he’s the one that’s obviously not remotely well-rested and Erin scoffs, that backwater twang intensifying a little thanks to her dander being up.)
Erin Gordon: Yeah, you’re right on that one–you ain’t ready to fight a broomstick, much less me. Not as strung out on whatever-the-Hell you’re on as you are. Or are those bags beneath your eyes for packin’ purposes?
(Sterling steps back, smiling and nodding his head.)
Sterling: Hard work takes a toll, tiring the best of us… but it looks to me as if you’re not… just not quite there. I could go right now, but there’s a way to do things. Isn’t that right?
(Sniffing back an urge to comment further, he glances to Stacey and back to his future opponent, impressed by what might be called moxy.)
Stacy Vandervort: Right. As much as I’d love to watch you two square off right now, I don’t want to have to pay to clean up the aftermath. Getting blood out of carpeting isn’t cheap.
(Stacy’s the only one that chuckles at that attempt at a joke, the Executive Assistant able to keenly feel the tension in the air. There’s not been much said back and forth, but such isn’t needed for there to be an explosive confrontation down the line… and she thinks she knows a way to amp things up even further.)
Stacy Vandervort: Now shake hands and you can both be off on your way.
(Erin doesn’t dare to take her eyes off of Sterling, though the way a brow quirks shows how she feels about that idea. Such doesn’t keep her from offering her left hand regardless, albeit cautiously. He looks down at her hand, noting how odd it is for her to offer her left and he wonders if she expects him to kiss it like some Southern gent, but he denies her that, briefly shaking her hand as he looks her back in the eye.)
Sterling: I’ll be seeing you soon, Miss.
(Looking back over to Stacy, he nods and takes his leave, brushing past Erin and vanishing into the labyrinthine corridors. The Oncoming Storm watches him go, her jaw set in a way that suggests she’d knock him on his ass if Stacy hadn’t asked her not to. Her gaze returns to the Executive Assistant before she’s offering up a parting nod.)
Erin Gordon: You have a good night now, Missus Kage.
(At Stacy’s nod, Erin is making her exit–likely snagging a production assistant to guide her back to her seat. Once she’s alone in her office, Stacy nods to herself, smiling at how well that went. Fade to ringside.)
SANTA MUERTE VS GRACE GOEREN
NR: This contest is scheduled for one fall!
A single white spotlight hits the stage, coalescing into a horned skull. As the string section of Caccini’s “Ave Maria” languidly starts to pour through the Key Arena, so too does a fog pour over the stage, ramp, and ringside area.
MM: The Erinyes’ most potent weapon in the defense of the EWA World Tag Team Championship is on her way to the ring, Ashe.
VA: The only thing potent about her is the heebie-jeebies she gives me. Santa Muerte is just… creepy, Malone.
MM: I’d say she’s a little more than creepy, after managing to neutralize Alice at last Battlelines, when she interrupted the match between her teammates and Gr–
VA: THAT’S THE GOD QUEEN AND HER RIGHT HAND, MALONE. Do you even listen to me when I speak?
MM: Not when I can avoid it.
VA: What was that?
Through the fog, a lone figure stands, head bowed. She slowly raises her head, a bouquet of white roses in her hands, a black hooded robe flowing off of her body. Santa Muerte stares at the ring emotionlessly, her face painted in a Dia de Muertos sugar skull motif: black and white with bloody red filigree, the the teeth on her lips painted red as well.
NR: Introducing first, from Mexico City, Mexico, weighing in at 198 lbs, representing the EWA World Heavyweight Tag Team Champions the Erinyes, SANTA MUERTE!
Without a sound, and seemingly without moving her legs, she starts to glide down to the ring through the fog, eyes kept forward. The crowd is slightly hushed, as she comes to the ring steps, climbing up and walking halfway down the apron. She stops, looks over the crowd, then steps through the ropes and into the ring, standing at the center, facing the hard cam. She pulls a single rose out of the bouquet, smelling it lovingly. She kisses the flower, and as she drops it to the mat, all the lights go out, save for a single white spotlight on the rose.
As the lights come back up, the robe and bouquet are gone, and Santa Muerte stands in her corner, eyes focused on the ramp.
“Chaos Royale” by Sister Sin hits over Key Arena’s loudspeakers as Grace Goeren makes her way out from behind the curtain. She stops in front of the curtains, glaring out at the crowd and gives a quick smirk.
VA: She’s here, Malone! She’s finally here, praise be to Grace!
MM: Ugh, here we go again.
NR: And her opponent, from Dortmund, Germany, weighing in at 140 lbs, the God Queen, GRACE GOEREN!
She holds her hands up high, waving on the fans absolute hatred of her as she starts jawing with them before making her way down the ramp. She stops and slaps a fan’s hand away, flipping off the entire arena in the process.
MM: Is it just me, or does Grace seem not to be taking this seriously, Vince?
VA: Why should she? She’s a perfect being, and Santa Muerte is a false idol. You’ll see, Malone, this match will take less time than it took to do her face paint.
MM: I think you’re forgetting that Santa Muerte outweighs Grace by over 50 pounds, and has a 4 inch height advantage.
VA: And I think YOU’RE forgetting that only one deity in this match has held the EWA World Heavyweight Championship at 18.
MM: …you got me there.
She finally hits the ring and rolls underneath the bottom rope before pulling herself up to her feet. After taking a few moments to glare out at the seething audience, Grace cracks her knuckles and starts stretching out her legs in the center of the ring, taking up as much space as she needs with no regard for anyone else. Santa Muerte makes no move, just continuing to stare at Grace emotionlessly.
Grace turns to Santa Muerte, pointing and laughing, as Juan Cardillo calls for the bell! In a flash, Santa Muerte LEVELS Grace with a running lariat that nearly takes her head off! Grace lands on her stomach, but is able to pop back up, ducking another lariat! Santa Muerte turns around into a superkick– caught! Santa Muerte pulls her in, wrapping her up with a capture suplex! Grace crashes down on the mat, but she’s quick to recover, slamming her hand on the mat! Santa Muerte comes in quick with a basement dropkick to Grace’s face! Santa Muerte covers!
MM: Grace already having a little trouble here today, Vince.
VA: Nonsense, she’s lulling Santa Muerte into a false sense of security. You’ll see.
Santa Muerte stands first, pulling Grace up by the head and powering her into the corner! Cardillo tries to get between them, but Santa Muerte lands a STIFF knife-edge chop to the former World champ! You could hear that one in the cheap seats! Grace clutches her chest, trying to escape the corner, but Santa Muerte quickly shoves her back with a forearm before laying into her with another! Grace’s chest is already red! Before Grace can fall, Santa Muerte pushes her back into the corner, before whipping her out– and into a short-arm clothesline! Grace hits the mat hard, and Santa Muerte drops down for the cover again!
Grace kicks out, and immediately rolls out of the ring! She stares up at the ring, where Santa Muerte stares back, pulling her hands together in a prayer stance! Grace slams the apron as Cardillo starts a ten count! Grace turns to the crowd, where one particular fan has gotten her attention, and screams in his face, before knocking the Seahawks hat off of his head!
MM: It looks like Grace is taking out her frustrations on the 12th man, Vince!
VA: The God Queen is a master of psychological warfare, Malone. Don’t make light of her or I will be forced to destroy you.
MM: Uh-huh. So you’re sure she hasn’t just entirely underestimated her opponent?
VA: Your blasphemy has been noted, Malone. Her righteous fury will be upon you.
Grace gets up on the apron, yelling at Cardillo to keep Santa Muerte away as she steps through the ropes. Santa Muerte lets her back in the ring, and Grace capitalizes immediately, charging in lightning-quick, and driving three solid kicks to Santa Muerte’s knee! She drops to one knee, and Grace cracks Santa Muerte with a step-up enziguri! But she doesn’t fall! Santa Muerte is stunned, but doesn’t drop! Grace’s eyes widen, and she throws a massive roundhouse to Santa Muerte’s head! The kick connects with a crack, but Santa Muerte still doesn’t go down!
MM: Shades of last Battlelines, with Santa Muerte and Alice!
Grace lets out a guttural growl, and drives her palm forward! Patricide– no! Santa Muerte caught her hand!
VA: WHAT?! Unbelieveable!
Grace looks just as shocked as everyone else! Before she can register, though, Santa Muerte pulls herself in, and brings Grace over her head with a Northern Lights suplex! She bridges, and makes the cover!
Grace slides out of the ring once again, staring up in rage and shock at Santa Muerte! Grace turns around once again to scream at a fan, as Cardillo starts a ten count! Santa Muerte takes advantage, running to the opposite side of the ring! Grace turns back around as Santa Muerte flies over the top rope with a tope con hilo! Santa Muerte flattens Goeren, and the two crash to the floor!
1! 2! Santa Muerte gets to her feet, pulling Grace up! She whips Goeren into the ring steps– reversed! Santa Muerte hits the steps hard, flipping over them! 3! 4! Grace walks around the ring, grabbing the timekeeper’s bell! Cardillo is yelling at Grace to stop, but Grace Goeren is on the warpath! Santa Muerte gets to a knee, and Grace SLAMS the ring bell over her head!
Cardillo starts waving his arms, and motioning toward the timekeeper, but he doesn’t have the bell anymore!
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner via disqualification, SANTA MUERTE!
Once more, Santa Muerte refuses to go down! Her head lolls back, but she stays on her knee! Grace screams in frustration again, slamming the bell back down on Santa Muerte’s head!
Security is running down to the ring, as Santa Muerte hits the floor! Grace drops the bell, as security swarms her, holding her back! Medical staff rushes to the ringside floor–
–as the lights go dead!
VA: What the hell is this, Malone?!
MM: I dunno, Vince, but I know it isn’t good!
Suddenly, the lights come back up, and Santa Muerte stands on the apron, looking down at Grace! She kisses the flower of a single white rose, dropping it down onto Grace’s head! Grace tries to escape the grasp of security, but they start to pull her toward the entrance ramp! Santa Muerte simply watches emotionlessly as they drag her backstage!
MM: Who’s the false idol now, Ashe?!
VA: O Holy Grace, grant me the power to conquer this heretic in your name!
MM: Santa Muerte has shown she has what it takes here, Vince, and I think Grace Goeren is starting to realize that she doesn’t have the only powerhouse!
VA: I promise you, Malone, this won’t go unanswered! The God Queen will have her vengeance!
MM: Let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY DQ: SANTA MUERTE (8:41)
(The camera cuts to a corporate meeting room inside the arena. We see The Lemonheads sitting down at a long table jabbering with each other. A few seconds later, their new employer Philip Donovan comes strolling in casually decked out in a green and yellow “BRING BASKETBALL BACK TO SEATTLE” t-shirt —which goes over very well with the crowd watching the footage—, white warmup pants and a pair of green and white Reebok Kamikazes made famous by former NBA superstar Shawn Kemp. He is flanked by a woman who we haven’t seen in a long time: Kendra, who was last seen as the Executive Assistant of PD Threads at their Huntington Beach HQ. She’s carrying a FedEx package underneath one arm. Both Philip and Kendra take a seat across the table from The Lemonheads.)
Philip Donovan: Alrighty, we’ve got ourselves a full boat in here! Time for quick pleasantries. Joseph, Serpentor… this is my newly-minted CBDO, Kendra Blake.
Lemonheads: Hi Kendra!
Kendra Blake: Good evening, boys! Philip’s told me a lot about you two. You both sound like the perfect icons with a strong cult following.
Serpent Man: Oh no. We having nothhhhing to do with cultssss and religion.
Philip Donovan: Guys guys, she doesn’t litz mean a cult like Charlie Manson and ish. Just means you have a modest fanbase, but a very passionate one at that.
Kendra Blake: Yes, what he said. That’s a good thing.
Joe Lemon: I hope so. So Phil, do we finally get to see these new shirts you’ve been talking about?
Philip Donovan: Ask and ye shall receive! So… at PDT, we sometimes take inspiration from the past and remix it for the present. We pull references that aren’t played out that make people do a double take. The result? Most peeps will be like, “What you did there. I SEEN IT!” So with your design Joseph, I went with one of the most brilliant innovators of our generation. Twenty years ago, we were told to “Think different”. What happened next? Only one of the most mayj coups in tech history. Today, we’re gonna’ flip the EWA upside down and show why peeps need to get to your lev. Kendra? The sample.
(Kendra opens the sealed box and pulls out a black t-shirt. After unfolding it, the camera zooms in on the logo placed squarely on the chest.)
Joe Lemon: This is… real?
Kendra Blake: 100% of the finest combed cotton money can buy. Lightweight. Breathable. Give it a feel.
Joe Lemon: (gently stroking the shirt material) That is soft.
Philip Donovan: And it’s all you, baby. A classic twist on an iconic logo with a perfect tagline. And your name subtly placed on the left sleeve cuff. Great for EWA fans and even casuals who just want a hip t-shirt that’ll makes for a great convo piece.
Kendra Blake: Now, we can’t forget Serpent Man. He’s got something buzz-worthy too.
Philip Donovan: And how! For the record Serpy, this design scored totes high in our focus group. This will deffo be a… ssssuper sssseller, if you catch my drift.
Serpy, you’ve been knocked down a boatload of times. Even knocked out a few. But are you dead? Are you crippled? No and no. You’re something most people aren’t. You’re beyond what people can imagine. You’re extraordinary. You are… THE SUPER SERPENT!
(Kendra pulls out a forest green vintage styled t-shirt. After unfolding it, the camera zooms in on the logo placed squarely on the chest.)
Philip Donovan: See that? Dark green like a serpent. Gave it that vintage aesthetic with the mashup logo of that superhero guy. Your name’s on the left cuff as well. I mean, this thing pops!
Kendra Blake: And that’s not all! Phil, the lights?
(Philip runs over to the room’s light switch and turns out the lights. Instantaneously, the logo on Serpent Man’s shirt glows in the dark which brings out an audible gasp from both Lemonheads.)
Serpent Man: (completely astounded) Thissss… it’ssss beyond my wildesssst dreamssss!
(Philip turns the lights back on.)
Philip Donovan: And our marketing strategy —thanks to Kendra’s big sexy brain— is perfect. Both shirts are dope and make it impossible to decide which one you gots to buy. So you cop BOTH! Two distinct looks, both supporting the two men of the people: The Lemonheads.
Joe Lemon: Wow, Phil. You’ve really outdone yourself this time. I’ve never had anything this amazing made for me.
Philip Donovan: Being friends with the oddball on the block has its perks. Everybody’s too busy caring about themselves. I’m caring about my fam right here in this room.
Kendra Blake: So guys: Love it or scrub it?
Lemonheads: WE LOVE IT!
Kendra Blake: Very well then. All we need is someone from the EWA brass to greenlight this officially. If they like making money —and you can bet your last nickel they do— they’d be fools to pass up these profits.
Philip Donovan: If all goes as expected, we can get the pre-orders going right after the show. And soon, err’body will put down the Haterade… and drink up the lemonade. Bet.
(The scene ends with The Lemonheads and Philip doing their signature handshake while Kendra gathers up all the collateral.)
Allison Haines: Ladies and gentlemen, the EWA World Heavyw—
(Allison stops mid-sentence with a confused look on her face as Sahara steps into the frame.)
Sahara: Perfectweight, Allison. Do I look overweight to you?! Check this out. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the EWA Perfectweight Championnnnnnnn of the Wooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrllllllld, Saharaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
(Leaning her head back as she finishes her own introduction with a smile, Allison raises her eyebrows.)
Sahara: Were you implying I’m overweight by calling me heavy?
Allison Haines: No, I—
(Sahara twists slightly away from the camera, looking down at her backside.)
Sahara: I’m thinking perfect, Ally. Go ahead, wanna touch it?
(Stifling a smile, Allison Haines merely shakes her head.)
Allison Haines: I’m good.
Sahara: Suit yourself, your loss. Or maybe it’s my loss. Whatever.
(Readjusting the EWA World Title draped over her shoulder, Sahara once again twists, showing the title off for the camera, before brushing it off a few times with the back of her hand.)
Allison Haines: You’ve got a big title defense later tonight against the Purveyor of HATE, NOTHING. Do you have any concerns that HATE will interfere?!
(Suddenly serious in tone, Sahara looks Allison up and down.)
Sahara: Of course they’re gonna interfere. They’re a faction. That’s what they do. Why else would the “Purveyor of HATE” keep them around?! I know a little bit about how factions operate, as you’re well aware. They say HATE is a Hive. Or Pillars. Or a HIVE of Pillars. Or something like that. Whatever. The point is, they stick together. They’re as thick as thieves, whatever that saying even means. But tonight, they’re gonna need to stick together. Ya see, cuz I’m the new standard bearer around here, Ally, and while NOTHING has been weighed, he’s been found wanting, because he’s anything but perfect. You think I fear the Purveyor of NOTHING? I’ve stood up against the likes of Sean Boden and the Ivory Terror and lived to tell the tale. Now I’ve–
(She pauses a moment thinking over the use of words, but shrugs and continues.)
Sahara: I’ve got nothing in particular … against NOTHING, ya see. But he wants what I got, and I’ve got the gold. Which means I’ve got something. What’s he got? A Hive? Pillars? HATE? Some desolate cabin in the woods? Which was actually quite nice, by the way.
(Sahara lets out a sarcastic laugh.)
Sahara: William West?
(She rolls her eyes.)
Sahara: He’s got nothing, Allison.
(Slapping the faceplate of the EWA World Title, Sahara turns toward Allison.)
Sahara: What is this, Allison?
Allison Haines: That?! It’s the EWA World Heav—uh, Perfectweight Championship.
(Sahara shakes her head.)
Sahara: It’s more than that. Look me in the eyes, Allison. Better yet—
(The Crimson Queen turns toward the camera, a look of absolute seriousness in her blazing blue eyes.)
Sahara: All of you look me in the eyes and understand something. This isn’t just some title, only bigger and better than the rest. This is the EWA World Championship. It’s not just a brass ring … it’s THE golden ring. NOTHING’s gonna need to bring the thunder, the lightning, the rain, the Hive, the Pillars, and a fuckin’ earthquake if he even wants even an inkling of a chance of takin’ this away from me.
I’m not just some opponent. I’m willing to die out there to keep this. So ask yourselves something. Is anyone else? My reign doesn’t end tonight, Allison. You can look me in the eyes and know that.
I’m just gettin’ started.
(And on that note, the Crimson Queen stalks off, leaving Allison Haines to shrug her shoulders.)
Allison Haines: Mike, Vince…back to you.
(Fade to ringside.)
MURPHY DOYLE MAHER VS KATSURO YOSHIDA
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by his manager Kevin Oppenheimer, the face of the WorldWide Bushido Buntai, Katsuro Yoshida!
The arena suddenly falls into darkness as a lone white spotlight shines down onto the stage as Koto by CloZee begins to play. Red lights slowly flicker on, shining upwards, as the rolling fog illuminates an eerie shade of crimson.
An older Japanese man walks out onto the stage wearing dark robes emblazoned with golden Japanese symbols outlined in burgundy, and a matching Toppai jingasa hat. He is followed by four women, each wearing similar robes. Though the man travels slowly towards the ring, the women stand at four equidistant spots around the circle formed by the spotlight. From the back emerges Katsuro Yoshida, wearing a similar dark robe, though his has white stitch detailing, making it far more ornate. He is not wearing a hat like the others, but rather his robe comes up over his head as a hood which blocks a large portion of his face.
VA: This guy gets quite the entrance, Malone.
MM: Very ornate, to say the least. It’s something to behold live.
Emerging from the back is his long-time British business partner and advocate, Kevin Oppenheimer, wearing his blonde hair spiked up, dark sunglasses which reflect the light like mirrors, and a suit which coordinates very nicely with that of the other individuals on the stage. Embroidered into the left breast pocket portion of his jacket is the symbol for the WorldWide Bushido Buntai.
VA: Look at this guy…
With a huge grin on his face, Oppenheimer stands next to the legendary Katsuro Yoshida, then pats him on the shoulder and then follows two steps behind him as they make their way to the ring, following the spiritual leader who is already en route, as the four women fall in line behind Oppenheimer. Upon reaching the ring, the spiritual leader waits outside the ring while the women and Oppenheimer follow Katsuro Yoshida into the ring. Oppenheimer looks out over the crowd as the women help disrobe Katsuro Yoshida, who is wearing loose-fitting dark pants underneath which coordinate perfectly with his dark robe.
NR: And his opponent, making his in ring EWA debut, weighing in at 215 pounds from Brooklyn, New York, he is, Murphy … Doyle … Maher!
The arena lights come on fully as a drum roll of celtic origin begins to play over the sound system. From beyond the curtain, the man known as Murphy Doyle Maher appears, unshaken by the fully visible capacity audience. The drum roll suddenly ceases, as the opening notes to his theme song, Dream On by Aerosmith, begins to play.
I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win
Murphy makes short work of the walk to the ring. He does not look to the fans on either side of the rampway, but keeps his focus on the man standing in the ring. Katsuro Yoshida. His hands are by his sides, and they do not move. He is as still, and as calm looking as a man can be.
Half my life Is books written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it’s true, oh
All these things you do come back to you
He slides into the ring and moves to the center, staring down at his feet, and slowly begins to nod. He snaps his head up and looks out at the people in attendance. He does not raise his arms, he does not point. He only observes, and flashes a smile.
Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away
The song ends abruptly, and Murphy takes to his corner, still focused on his opponent.
VA: At least he has good taste in music.
MM: Pretty classic taste.
VA: Yeah, yeah, but now let’s see what he’s got. Keep in mind that while Katsuro started off a bit slow, he showed something against NOTHING on our last Battlelines and brought the match to a double countout.
MM: MDM, as he’s called, is going to have his work cut out for him tonight.
As David Tucker motions for the bell, Katsuro and Maher slowly begin to circle the ring, inching closer and closer until they finally lock up.
VA: Here we go.
Katsuro, easily outweighing his opponent, moves him back toward the ropes and shoves him off with an irish whip, catching Maher with a closeline on the rebound. Quick like a cat for a man his size, Katsuro is back on his opponent. Lifting Murphy back to his feet, Katsuro staggers back as Maher hits him with a surprisingly flush headbutt out of nowhere. Grabbing Katsuro by the arm, Murph twists it before sending him off into the ropes, Katsuro ducks a backhand strike and rebounds with a falling dropkick that takes Murphy off his feet!
MM: Great exchange!
Katsuro bends down to grab Murphy, only he twists onto his back and underhooks Katsuro with an inside cradle!
VA: Wa-wait! What the hell?!
Getting up to his knees, Katsuro holds up two fingers to referee David Tucker as an incredulous looking Murphy holds his arms out in confusion. David Tucker holds up three fingers to both Murphy and Katsuro and motions for the bell.
MM: WHAT?! You gotta be kidding me?! That was three?!
VA: The words out of nowhere come to mind, Malone. Even Murphy can’t believe it!
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match by pinfall, Murphy Doyle Maher!
The stunned crowd gives a bewildered yet mixed reaction to the official word as Maher shakes his head in disappointment. Still on his knees, Katsuro holds up two fingers in protest — while a seemingly annoyed Maher suddenly charges and kicks Katsuro dead on with a shot to the side of the head!
VA: WHAT A SHOT! He almost took his head off with that one! One second Murphy was looking disappointed how the match ended and when Katsuro was clearing up what the hell just happened with Tucker, Murph delivered the stunning kick!
Seeing this go down, Kevin Oppenheimer jumps onto the ring apron and climbs through the ropes in a hurry as Murphy steps through the ropes on the opposite end of the ring and drops down to ringside, backpedaling up the rampway with a shrug. Murphy lifts his hands before throwing them down as if to wash his hands of the situation. Getting back to his knees while holding the side of his face, Katsuro motions Oppenheimer back, who was stepping through the ropes to confront Murphy about the vicious kick he delivered out of exasperation.
VA: Katsuro appears so disappointed in himself he doesn’t even care about what just happened.
MM: What’s so interesting is Murphy’s own reaction to this stunning — I can’t call it an upset — but Katsuro was taken completely by surprise with that schoolboy and not even Murph could believe he didn’t get out of it in time!
VA: He’s probably upset because he wanted to show these people what he could do, but instead ends up winning with a small package just a few minutes into the match?! I just…I can’t believe what we just witnessed. Katsuro simply looks out of his element, he’s obviously having issues adapting to the American style.
MM: That was just … bizarre, Vincent. And then that kick at the end, Katsuro got back up and called Oppenheimer off! That didn’t go quite as expected for either man, but I suppose it happens.
VA: Katsuro looks completely flustered, Malone, there’s nothing more to it. It’s an absolute clash of styles.
MM: Let’s go backstage, and see if we can get a word with Mr. Oppenheimer as to what just happened!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MURPHY DOYLE MAHER (1:39)
(Backstage, Kevin Oppenheimer bursts through the curtain, a frustrated look on his face. He holds back the curtain and Katsuro Yoshida walks through, heading down the corridor. As he passes the other members of the entourage, they start to follow him, careful not to say anything or even bump into him. Oppenheimer moves through them, slightly bumping one of them as he catches up with Yoshida. Neither say a word, still fuming after the loss he just suffered in the ring. It’s eating him up, and Kevin can no longer keep quiet.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Such bullshit, that was. What a disrespectful and cheap way…
(He’s so angry, he can’t even finish his thought. The cameraman moves aside slightly as the duo get too close, not wanting to be in the way. Moving to their side, then ending up slightly behind them, the cameraman gets a better view of the hallway in front of them. A somewhat crowded hallway. Some of the production crew members step aside, not wanting to be in the way of a heated competitor, but some people backstage seem a bit oblivious. We see Philip Donovan, The Lemonheads, and Kendra Blake oncoming from the opposite direction.)
Philip Donovan: (to Kendra) So all we’ve got left is to get Ms. Vandervort to Jane Hancock these forms. Next thing y’know, we’re stackin’ chips like Pring…
(PhD sees the duo and signals his posse to stop behind him.)
Philip Donovan: ‘Sup Yoshi? (extends his arm out for a friendly fist bump) How’s Mr. Worldwide feelin’?
(Slowing down to a stop because of the impeded path, Katsuro simply looks at the extended fist and scowls. A look of shock and disgust comes over Kevin Oppenheimer, beyond annoyed as they try to move past them.)
Philip Donovan: It’s all good, Yosh. (retracts his fist bump) Bet you killed it out there tonight, eh? (gives a hearty pat on Katsuro’s shoulder) I mean, I had big side deals brewin’ in the back so I didn’t get to see much of you other than your entrance… but you’re probz gettin’ recruits up for the WWBB, word? After seein’ how I inked The Lemonheads, you’re learnin’ a thing or two about that, amirite?
(Katsuro shoulders on through, but before Oppy follows, he wants to add his two cents.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Oi, these two? You’re proud of “this”? I once had a three-way in New Jersey that I thought was the low point in my adult life, but I’m far more proud of that than you should be of the little “menage-a-twats” you’ve assembled.
(Proud of his comment, Oppy starts to walk off, but PhD doesn’t let it sit.)
Philip Donovan: Wait wait, don’t tell me. Yoshi took another L?! Damn, son. Tough break.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Oh, ‘magine that, Mr. Big Side Deals Brewa’ wasn’ even payin’ attention to what his ACTUAL job is ‘cause he was too focused on signin’ more Donald Duck D-Listers because you and ev’ryone ‘round ‘ere’s worried that they prospectiv’ friends are goin’ World Wide and leavin’ ‘em behind!
Philip Donovan: You’re right, I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man. Entrepreneur, grappler, tastemaker, Pied Piper of Good Vibes… I juggle those gigs like it ain’t no thing, thank you very much.
Kevin Oppenheimer: It feels like it ain’t a thing because you’ve got NO gigs to juggle. Like a clown who lost his props, you’re BALL-LESS!!
Philip Donovan: Aight, aight… no need to come at me sideways, Oppy. But on the real… if WWBB still can’t reach liftoff, have your peeps call my peeps. We’ll hook up free tickets to my brand loyalty building seminar in L.A. in January. You won’t regret it.
Kevin Oppenheimer: The fact that you even have “peeps” is shocking… but no need to have them save any tickets, we don’t muddle in the minor leagues, learnin’ how to pick up pennies on the street.
(A bit of a smirk on his face, Oppenheimer turns and walks off.)
Philip Donovan: Take it sleazy, fellas!
(sees them walking off into the distance)
(in a semi-hushed tone to his posse) Don’t sweat those guys. Their alphabet soup ain’t nothin’ but L’s floatin’ ‘round. Anyhoo, off to Ms. V.
(Backstage, in front of a black backdrop, Allison Haines is seated next to the EWA World Tag Team Champions, Lágrima and Minxy Jones, two-thirds of the Erinyes. Both women have their belts with them, Minxy wearing hers around her waist – with the red hourglass painted on it in the center – and Lágrima keeping hers on her shoulder. Both are in their masks, and, while they don’t look happy, they don’t exactly look upset, either. Just… bored.)
Allison Haines: I’m here with two-thirds of the EWA Tag Team Champions, Lágrima and Minxy Jones, the Erinyes, formerly the Vice Squad. Now–
Lágrima: OK, first of all, Allison, if you ever bring that name up in front of us again, we’re not going to be happy.
Minxy Jones: And when we’re not happy, Allie, nobody’s happy. Understand where I’m going with this?
Allison Haines: I-I think so…
Minxy Jones: Good. Then please, continue.
Allison Haines: You’re slated tonight to defend your titles against two-thirds of Cerberus, Nikki Caldwell and Mojave. What are your thoughts on the match?
Lágrima: Always with the hard-hitting journalism, Allison. You’re worth more than this.
Minxy Jones: But we’ll play along, I guess. What are our thoughts? We think the match is going to be everything one of our matches usually is. An entertaining show of athleticism, power, agility, and of course, victory for yours truly.
Lágrima: Now, Nikki Caldwell had a few choice words for us on Combat TV this week.
Minxy Jones: She called me a radfem concern troll. I mean, I’ve been fighting the good fight against the patriarchy since before she burned her first training bra, but whatever, I guess.
Lágrima: But she brought up the name change. And I can understand where she’s coming from a little bit. The Erinyes chased down the sacrilegious.
Minxy Jones: We’re aware, Nikki, we picked the name, but thanks for the condescending mythology lesson.
Lágrima: And that really says everything, doesn’t it? Sacrilege. You know what the biggest sacrilege you’ve committed is? Thinking you and your little cuddle-puddle deserved any chance at this prize, much less to hold it for as long as you did. I MADE this division. I MADE these belts. And now that I’ve got them back? Look at all the tag teams coming out of the woodwork to try to knock us off our pedestal. Cerberus was a good name for you, since you’re pretty much only good for nipping at our heels like a stray puppy.
Minxy Jones: And honestly, radfem? Thanks for the compliment, sweetie.
Allison Haines: Since we’re on the subject, what’s going on with this new radical feminist outlook?
Minxy Jones: Allie, if you think this is a new direction, then you haven’t been paying attention. My signature move is called Smash the Patriarchy. This is who Minxy Jones has always been, and always will be. You can look no further than my interactions with walking dumpster fire Dan Stein in SHOOT Project if you need evidence of that.
Lágrima: And if you’re just asking why we’ve ramped it up so much recently, all you have to do is take a look at any of EWA’s social media. You have knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers all over the Facebook page with comments about how Sahara’s a whore, or she’s blowing half the locker room, and that’s why she is where she is. It’s disgusting. All of these dick-support-systems seem to think that a woman’s only value is in her vagina, and they say these things while conveniently forgetting that Sahara is a legitimately dangerous woman. I mean, she literally ATE Azrael Goeren in the ring in front of thousands of people, and the only thing any of these taint-scratchers can say is that she’s promiscuous.
Minxy Jones: First, what’s wrong with that? She’s allowed to do what she wants. But second, and here’s where it ties in a little, Allie, it’s spread around the locker room, too. It’s why an arrogant little shit like Josh Kaine thinks he can challenge the World Fucking Champion to a no-DQ match and come out of it unscathed. Because it’s Sa-whore-a. Because it’s Moe’s sister. Because it’s anyone other than a bloodthirsty and ruthless opponent who’s willing to do just about anything to keep what she has. Far as I’m concerned, that dumbass made his hospital bed, and now he’s lying in it.
Allison Haines: Are you trying to say he deserved what happened to him?
Minxy Jones: I’m not trying to, Allie, I’m saying it, flat out. You ask me, he deserved worse.
Allison Haines: Let’s shift gears a little here. Last Battlelines, you two faced Grace Goeren and Alice, and were on the verge of being pinned were it not for Santa Muerte’s intervention.
Lágrima: Not really my interpretation on it, but go on.
Allison Haines: And earlier tonight, Grace Goeren faced down Santa Muerte on her own, only to disqualify herself in an attempt to take her out. How is your partner?
Minxy Jones: She’s doing just fine, Allie, thank you for your fake concern. Santa Muerte trained in one of the toughest wrestling schools in Mexico. A little love tap with a ring bell isn’t gonna do much to her.
Lágrima: Her faith is her shield, she likes to say. She means it literally.
Allison Haines: What do you have to say to Grace and Alice after these events?
Lágrima: Allison, I love you, but stop having the men backstage write your questions. You’re a smart woman. Go off-script every now and then. Show some fucking backbone.
Minxy Jones: We’ll let your lack of creativity in this interview slide today, Allie, but let’s come up with something better for next time, huh?
Lágrima: To answer your droll question, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Grace Goeren is a scared little girl trying to make herself into a monster. She watched a 35-year-old rookie that nobody had any faith in go from serving her to dumping her, to attaining heights that she knows she’s just not capable of anymore, so what does she do? She focuses on the tag division, because fuck it, they should be pushovers, right?
Minxy Jones: Big mistake.
Lágrima: See, Grace got used to being Queen Bitch wherever she was. And she might think she still is. She might think she’s got Stacy under her thumb, she might think she’s got everybody pegged, she might have Alice as her hammer and shield. But she’s in our house now, Allison.
Minxy Jones: And someone like Grace, who looks at the other women around her as just tools to be used to further her own desires, is not welcome in our house. And, as she found out earlier, we have the means to evict this undesired tenant.
Lágrima: So to Grace and poor, innocent Alice, we say this: bring it. We aren’t afraid of little Gracie, and we’re not scared of Alice, either. We have our own scary monster, and we don’t have to be afraid that one day, she’s going to figure out that we’re manipulating her.
Minxy Jones: That is the price of Grace’s outlook on life, Allie. No loyalty. You’re constantly on guard for the knife in your back that you miss the one coming from the front.
(As Minxy finishes her sentence, Santa Muerte glides behind the duo, the hood on her robe hanging over her forehead.)
Lágrima: That’s not a problem we have, Allison. We know we can trust each other through anything.
Allison Haines: Santa Muerte, what’s your take on all of this?
Santa Muerte: Our enemies are simply prolonging the inevitable. The Erinyes will not stop, they will not give up, and they will not fail. And nothing can stop the cold march of Death. Not Cerberus, not Grace, not Alice. Santa Muerte always wins in the end. We should leave now.
(The champions stand up out of the chairs as Santa Muerte glides off-screen. Lágrima blows a kiss to Allison, and Minxy shakes her hand.)
Minxy Jones: It’s been a pleasure as always, Allie, but maybe some more creative questions next time. And remember, you don’t have to be a radfem to be a rad femme.
(Minxy walks off frame, leaving Allison somewhat bewildered, as we fade to ringside.)
MARTIN ROBERTSON VS MICHAEL DRAVEN
#1 CONTENDER'S MATCH
MM: Coming up next, Vince, we’re going to have our first of two matches to determine the main event of our next pay per view, This Means War… it’s the number one contender match!
VA: The Youth King versus the diseased non-King!
MM: He does not have any diseases!
VA: That you know of… have you ever been there when he’s been tested?
MM: You’re unbelievable…
VA: No, I’m totally believable.
MM: Let’s head to the ring…
DING! DING! DING!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and is for the number one contender to the EWA World Heavyweight Championship!
Suddenly, the lights in the arena go dark. As a few fans begin to cheer, the image of the skull king appears on the screen, and instantly incites a ferocious jeer from the crowd…
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
VA: Bow down, Malone!
NR: Introducing first! He is accompanied to the ring by the Queen of the EWA, Alyssa Marie Haven…
MM: (muttering) Queen bitch, perhaps…
VA: What was that?
NR: … He hails from New Rochelle, New York. Weighing in at 237 pounds, here is the Youth King… “PERFECTION”… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
As Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King” continues to blare over the arena’s sound system, first stepping through the curtain underneath the jumbotron is Alyssa Marie Haven in a sparkly sequin gown. She stands in the spotlight as she applauds for a moment before turning around as Martin steps through the curtain and into the spotlight. Arms outstretched, fanning out the regal royal purple robe with “PERFECTION” inscribed on the back, Alyssa tucks herself right next to her man before sharing a kiss, then proceeding to start the walk down the ramp.
VA: Just look at this power couple, Malone! Stand up and applaud, for the one true King of the EWA has arrived here in Seattle and has graced us with his presence!
MM: So am I supposed to stand or bow? Because you just said to do both…
VA: Just shut up and appreciate the King, Malone!
Martin climbs up the stairs first, walking over and holding open the bottom and middle rope for Alyssa. She slowly enters the ring first, and Martin wipes his boots on the ring apron before climbing between the middle and top rope, slowly strutting around the ring before climbing up to the second turnbuckle in the corner, undoing his robe and posing out to his fans.
VA: Just look at how regal he’s going to look when he has that belt around his waist!
MM: If that’s going to happen, Vince, he’s going to have to make it through two very, very difficult opponents…
The lights dim down in the arena, as the thundering drums of Disturbed’s ‘The Vengeful One’ pulsate through the arena. The crowd erupts, recognizing the theme, as a strobed lighting effect begins.
MM: … with one of them being this man here!
NR: And his opponent! From Charlotte, North Carolina, weighing in at 245 pounds….MICHAEL…DRAVEN!!!
VA: Michael Draven, also known as the biggest overachiever in the entire world! How a loser like this has the domestic life he has, and is a former World Heavyweight Champion is absolutely beyond my understanding!
MM: Lots of things are beyond your understanding, Vince.
VA: Name one.
VA: That’s not true. I understand women very well. I’ve been divorced by four of them, you pick things up over experience.
MM: And what did you pick up?
VA: That a drunken cocaine-fueled orgy with midget stripper prostitutes may not be the best thing for the sanctity of your marriage.
The former champion steps out from behind the curtain, a focused look on his face as he steels himself for the battle ahead. Inside the ring, Martin stares toward the entrance, watching his opponent, while Alyssa Marie carries the usual look of disgust on her face. Draven begins his walk down the aisle, reaching the steel steps and slowly – without taking his eye off of Robertson – enters the ring, quickly running the ropes to warm himself up for the match at hand.
MM: And make no mistake about it, folks, this is a different Michael Draven than we’ve grown accustomed to. Ever since his return from his severely broken leg, we’ve seen a focused, determined Michael Draven. And there was never more proof of that than his finally having defeated his long-time rival, Alexander Haven, and becoming World Heavyweight Cha–
VA: Blah, blah, blah, Malone! What has he done since then? Oh, right, he failed to retain the championship, and instead we have a walking case of syphilis as our champion. Wow, what a great job he’s done, right Malone? Give me a break.
The lights return to normal, and the referee gives a couple of last minute instructions to both Robertson and Draven.
DING! DING! DING!
MM: And this match is underway, folks!
Robertson and Draven circle each other a couple of times, extending and pulling hands from each other, before Robertson stands up and openly begins to taunt Draven.
MM: What is Martin doing?
VA: Wrestling is just as psychological of a competition as it is physical, Malone. And the Youth King is showing he excels at both!
MM: Well, I think the last thing you want to do is… OH!… rile up your former partner! What a right hand by Draven!
As the announcers were talking, Draven got sick of Martin’s trash talking, and walked up to the youngster and punched him square in the jaw with a right hand, dropping the Youth King to the mat. Robertson is up quickly, though, and dropped for a second time with another right by Draven. Repeat the process for a third time, and finally, Martin rolls out of the ring and to the floor on the outside, standing on his feet and looking up into the ring at the former World Heavyweight Champion. Martin bangs his hands on the ring apron as Alyssa comes over and consults with him, both of them still looking up at Draven, yelling and pointing towards him.
MM: Not the way Robertson was hoping to start off the match, Vince.
VA: Those were illegal punches, Malone… you know it, Martin knows it…
Martin starts to walk around the ring, away from Alyssa as he tries to regain his composure. He spots a fan at ringside giving him an especially hard time, but he… ignores him?!? Impressive for Martin. Robertson reaches up, climbing up slowly onto the ring apron before stepping back through the ropes and into the ring. Draven begins to make some quick steps towards him, but Robertson ducks back underneath the top rope to the outside, drawing the referee over to step in between Martin and Michael.
VA: What a smart play by Robertson, Malone. Make Draven fight his game…
MM: More like a piece of chicken shi…
Draven backs up a step, raising his arms in the air to give Martin the time to step into the ring. Robertson is finally back into the ring as he and Draven start to circle each other once again. The two men go to lock up, but just as they come together, Robertson stands up straight and hands a thumb to the right eye of Draven, who immediately staggers backwards, placing both hands over the affected eye. Martin just smiles and shrugs out towards the crowd as he walks over to Draven and places him in a side headlock.
MM: Oh, what a low, dastardly tactic by Robertson
VA: Yes, but effective.
Robertson pulls Draven’s head down deep in the headlock before turning his back away from the referee for just a moment before burying a right hand on the temple just above the right eye of Draven. Robertson immediately lets go, putting his hands in the air as the referee comes over to admonish Robertson.
Robertson walks back over towards Draven, pushing him back first into the corner before moving just off to Draven’s side, landing a vicious knife edge chop to the chest of Draven, who now clutches at his chest. Martin stands the former World Heavyweight Champion back up and nails him with a second chop, before following it up with a right hand. He whips Draven across the ring to the opposite corner. Draven hits hard, but as Robertson follows up, Draven charges out of the corner, taking down his former partner with a clothesline. Robertson back up quickly, but is dropped with another clothesline. Up for a third time is Robertson, and this time, he’s finally able to duck Draven’s clothesline. He stops and as Draven turns around, he’s greeted by Robertson with a belly to belly suplex.
MM: Draven, just as he was starting to gain some momentum, thwarted by a vicious belly to belly suplex by Robertson!
VA: Only 25 years old, Malone. You telling me this kid isn’t already at a world class level?
MM: Of wrestling or of being a jerk? Because the answer to both of them is yes.
VA: Wrestling. He does the jerk stuff for free.
Robertson stands up and starts to stomp away at the right leg of Draven, who immediately clutches towards his knee. Robertson bends down to pull away Draven’s hands, then stomps on the knee again. Draven again clutches at the knee, but Robertson moves towards Draven’s head, stomping on his right shoulder, then moving around his body to stomp on his left shoulder as well. Draven sits up to avoid more stomps, but Robertson is there to pull Michael to his feet. He whips the former champ across the ring, following right behind Draven and nailing him with a knee to the midsection just as he turns around in the ropes. Martin whips Draven across the ring again, but Michael manages to reverse it, sending Robertson into the ropes and as Martin rebounds, Draven catches Martin with a powerslam, covering him…
KICKOUT BY ROBERTSON!
MM: The quick cover by Draven, but Martin has too much fight left in him at this point.
VA: You’re not going to beat Martin Robertson with a powerslam like that. He could barely put any weight on that leg.
Draven tries to be the first to his feet, pulling up Robertson, but Robertson stops on his knees, blasting Draven in the midsection with a right hand, doubling Michael over. Robertson with a second fist before standing up and hitting Draven with a right hand to the side of the head. Robertson hooks Draven’s head, taking him over with a snap suplex before standing back up and dropping an elbow across the chest of Draven. Alyssa applauds at ringside as Robertson takes a moment to look down at Draven, admiring the work he’s done so far. Robertson picks up Draven but only for a brief moment before dumping him through the middle and the top ropes and out to the ringside floor.
MM: See, what’s the point of this, Vince? You saw a great chain of technical wrestling from the youngster, but then why does he need to throw him outside the ring?
VA: Why are you questioning the Youth King, Malone? When you were in your mom’s basement in your fifties watching the NYSWF, did you question guys like Grady Smith when he’d grind NOTHING’s face into a steel cage?
MM: I was not in my mom’s basement watching the NYSWF.
VA: Then your dad’s… whatever. Point is, greatness doesn’t need an explanation, Malone. Just sit back and watch the Youth King do what he does best.
Robertson quickly follows outside, but he’s met with a right hand by Draven, but counters with his own right hand, halting any momentum Draven thought he’d start to build up. Martin slams Michael’s head into the ring apron, then begins to chase the former champ as he staggers away from the Youth King. Draven attempts to come back against Robertson, but he’s met with a boot to the midsection before Robertson slams his head again, this time into the ringside barricade.
VA: Look at that. Using every piece of the ringside area. Awesome, awesome skills by the kid, Malone.
Draven’s head bounces up, and Martin grabs his head by the back, right in front of the extremely loud fan from earlier. This time, Robertson isn’t ignoring him. Instead, he’s taunting the fan with the dazed former World Heavyweight Champion standing in front of him, grimacing from the earlier damage.
Martin Robertson: Oh, look Mikey… he’s got your shirt on! He’s a fan!
Martin feigns towards the fan before laughing, then follows that up with a knee to the midsection of Draven, then holds the former World Heavyweight Champion in front of the fan again.
Martin Robertson: Tell this fat kid thank you for being one of your two fans, Mikey!
Martin stands Draven up before landing another right hand to his temple, but still holding onto him by the back of the head.
Martin Robertson: Pick a better hero, dumbass!
MM: See, and this is completely uncalled for.
VA: Oh, stop. The kid’s just upset with Martin because he wouldn’t let Michael stop the match to sign an autograph, and he has every right to not allow that to happen.
MM: What color is the sky in your world, Vince.
VA: Green, the color of raining money, Malone!
Martin spins Draven around, looking to slam him face first into the ring post, but instinctively, Draven counters, and sends Robertson face first into the post! A small cut immediately opens on the forehead of Robertson, with a very slow trickle of blood starting to run down between the eyes of the Youth King. Draven tries to follow up, but drops to a knee, looking to recover before continuing the onslaught.
MM: This might be the opening Draven needed to get back into this match!
Martin slyly rolls back into the ring, trying to pull himself back to his feet using the ropes. Draven climbs up onto the ring apron, but is met with a shoulder to the stomach by Robertson, doubling him over. Quickly, Robertson flips over Draven to the outside, looking to powerbomb him onto the floor! But somehow, Draven holds on, and STOMPS straight down onto the forehead of the Youth King, opening the cut from a moment ago just a bit more.
VA: He can’t do that, Malone! Illegal stomp!
MM: I… didn’t know stomps could be illegal.
VA: When the guy’s bleeding from the forehead it is! Get Martin some medical attention out here!
Draven steps into the ring and quickly runs off the far ropes and back towards Martin, baseball sliding into Robertson! But Martin moves at the last second, causing Draven to land on his feet. Before Draven can do anything, though, Martin catches his former partner, and THROWS him overhead with a belly to belly suplex. Instead of the floor being the first thing Draven hits, however, Robertson has thrown him back first into the ring post! Draven crumples up at the base of the pole, grabbing at his back…
VA: Did you see how high Robertson threw Draven up that pole, Malone? Holy cow!
MM: We all know about Martin Robertson’s incredible wrestling pedigree, but I’m just as impressed with that throw as you are, Vince. Wow!
Robertson touches his forehead, finally seeing the blood that is still trickling out of his skull. He bends down, pulls up Draven, and slams him head first into the ring apron three or four times angrily before pushing his former partner into the ring, following behind him. He stomps away at Draven a few more times before pulling him by the right leg towards the middle of the ring. He laces his leg together with Draven’s before dropping down and reaching forward, locking Draven into a STF submission hold.
VA: He’s got this submission locked in, Malone!
MM: Michael Draven is in trouble here, Vince. Can Martin Robertson make the former World Heavyweight Champion tap out and move onto This Means War?
VA: Tap you son of a bitch!
Draven screams in agony as Robertson does his best to pull backwards on Draven’s head, adding more pressure and pain to the hold. Even Alyssa has made her way over, and is on the outside of the ring in front of Draven, taunting him, telling him to give up. Draven does his best to belly crawl towards the ropes, but is going slowly.
MM: He’s reaching for that rope, Vince
VA: Alyssa, pull the rope away!
MM: She can’t do that!
VA: Why not? Maybe she needs to stretch her back using that rope. I mean, she’s bound to have FLBP…
MM: Dare I even ask what FLBP is?
VA: Future Lower Back Problems.
MM: Future Lower Back Problems?
VA: Yeah, because of that amazing rack she’s got on her!
MM: Don’t let her or Martin hear you say that, or you might not be saying too much afterwards…
VA: Oh, we’re cool. Homies that care are homies that share.
MM: I highly, highly doubt that.
Draven starts to fade, but with one final lunge, he’s able to grab a hold of the bottom rope with his left hand, forcing the referee to step in and break the hold.
MM: Draven got the rope!
VA: How very astute of you, Malone.
Robertson looks up to see Draven clutching the bottom rope, and swings his hips over to the other side of Draven’s body, continuing to hold onto Draven’s head, but letting go of the leg lace. He rotates his hips forward, wrapping his legs around Draven’s arm that’s clutching the rope, pulling it off the ropes and starts to re-apply pressure to Draven’s neck, cranking back as hard as he can with the headlock.
VA: What an incredible counter by Robertson, Malone!
MM: I have never seen anything like that, Vince. How did he pull that off?
VA: He’s the Youth King, Malone. You don’t have to like it, but you better get used to it!
Before he gets himself into too much danger, though, Draven reaches out with the other hand, grabbing the bottom rope once again, forcing the referee to break the hold.
MM: Draven is able to force Martin to break the hold.
VA: Just stalling fate, Malone. He’s just stalling fate.
Robertson stands up, looking at the exhausted Draven still clutching the ropes, and stomps down on that shoulder, causing him to let go of the rope. Robertson slides out of the ring, grabbing at that same left arm, using it to pull Draven towards the corner post. In one quick motion, he winds the left arm of Draven up before SLAMMING it into the ring post! The referee yells from inside the ring at Robertson, but he pays him no mind as he slams the arm into the corner post a second… and a third time! Draven finally pulls the arm away, attempting to stand up, staggering towards the opposite corner of the ring.
VA: Robertson is doing work, Malone!
MM: Like you said, using everything available to him, right?
VA: See, now you’re learning!
MM: Yeah, you know… illegal things, like the guardrail and the ring post…
Undeterred, Robertson enters back into the ring, sliding under the bottom rope, charging at Draven just as he gets up with a clothesline in the corner! Draven slumps to a knee before standing up, staggering away from the Youth King. But the younger Robertson is quick, grabbing Draven and draping his arms over the back of the top rope and furiously starts to chop away at the former World Heavyweight Champion. Five, six, seven chops in rapid succession by Robertson cause a lot of “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the crowd.
VA: Look at how red Draven’s chest is, Malone.
MM: His chest might be red, but his face is turning red, too, Vince…. With focus!
Somehow, Draven absorbs the blows, with each one seeming to reinvigorate the veteran. The crowd also senses the build up in Draven, encouraging him on.
MM: I don’t think this is what Martin was expecting, Vince!
Robertson also senses the revitalization in Draven, chopping away at his former partner again, pausing to try and deliver each chop with more force and fury than the one before. But the chops are not having the same effect as before and after the fourth chop, Draven is now, inexplicably, standing toe to toe with Robertson, staring the youngster in the eye, daring him to hit him one more time.
VA: Hit him harder, Marty!
Robertson obliges, but Draven is now actually stalking towards Martin, as he backs up away from Michael. Martin throws a quick fury of short punches, but they’re not having any effect, either. Martin tries one final trick: a thumb to the eye. But Draven swats his hand away and starts throwing lefts and rights of his own, staggering the Youth King backwards towards the ropes.
MM: Here comes Draven, Vince!
VA: Yeah, yeah, I see it…
He whips Martin across the ring, and drops him to the mat with a back elbow on the rebound. Martin is up quickly, but taken back down again with a clothesline from Draven. Draven can’t keep Martin down, though, as Robertson is back up, but staggers into Draven, who nails the Youth King with an inverted atomic drop, then mimics his former stable mate for a moment before backing up to the ropes, then charging and knocking Robertson back to the mat with a boot to the side of the head.
MM: Big boot by Draven… COVER!…
KICKOUT BY ROBERTSON!
MM: That was close, Vince!
Draven quickly picks up Robertson, nailing him in the side of the head with a right hand, sending his younger opponent back to the ropes. Draven whips Robertson across the ring. As Robertson charges back, Draven leapfrogs Martin and as Martin rebounds back, Draven spins around and locks in a sleeper lock on Robertson.
MM: He’s got this locked in tight, Vince!
VA: This isn’t cool, Malone…
Martin begins to struggle, flailing his arms around in the air for a few moments before finally spinning around, bringing Draven to his side. He attempts a back body drop, but quick on his feet, Draven lets go of the sleeper and floats over top of Martin, landing on his feet. Draven quickly grabs Martin by the head with an inverted facelock before dropping him down to the mat with a reverse DDT.
MM: DESCENT! Draven just dropped Martin Robertson with Descent! COVER…
VA: KICK OUT, MARTIN!
TH… KICKOUT BY ROBERTSON!
VA: Oh, thank you, thank you thank you thank you…
VA: No, I just want to see bonus wrestling.
MM: Well, Draven needs to stay focused here…
Draven slams the mat in a brief moment of anger before standing up, pulling Robertson to his feet as well. But Robertson is quick to push Draven back, giving him enough space to be able to kick Draven in the midsection as he comes back towards the Youth King.
MM: Martin with a counter to try and get the advantage… Vertical suplex by Robertso… NO! Draven floats over.
VA: How is he still alive, Malone?
MM: Who, Draven?
VA: No, the Boogeyman… Yes, Draven!
MM: He’s been a survivor for nearly twenty years, Vince. Draven, now with his own boot to the midsection of Robertson…. He’s going for Downfall!
VA: Oh god, I can’t watch…
MM: Draven has the arms hooked…. But Martin with a great counter, back body dropping Michael Draven.
VA: Oh yes! I can watch now.
MM: Both men now, scrambling to get back on their feet. Draven’s up, heading towards Martin… Oh my god!
VA: Oh, the ultimate insult!
MM: Martin Robertson’s trying to lock in Draven’s own finisher!
VA: This will be awesome!
MM: But Draven, too wise to his own finisher’s counter, returns the favor with a back body drop of his own… but Robertson, lands on his feet! What athleticism! Robertson off the ropes, but Draven’s there… POP UP POWERBOMB!
VA: Holy cow!
MM: Draven, trying to recover, grabs Martin’s legs… He’s going for Deliverance, Vince!
VA: Why can’t he just go away?
MM: Draven steps through, and turns ov…. What the hell is she doing?
Before Draven can step through, though, Alyssa does her best to get up on the ring apron while still in view of Draven. Draven notices this and, just as Alyssa gets to her feet, standing directly in front of her now is Michael.
VA: Uh oh.. Alyssa, look out!
The shock of seeing Michael standing in front of her, smiling like the cat who just caught the bird, quickly turns to anger as she reels back to slap Michael! But Michael ducks, causing Alyssa to do a hundred eighty degree turn on the ring apron.
MM: Michael was ready for that one!
VA: Of course he was, with all of the women that have slapped him during his life!
MM: More like he knows Alyssa’s tendencies too well…
As Alyssa faces out towards the crowd, Draven extends his boot out, pushing it against the backside of Alyssa, sending her back down to the outside floor.
VA: Now why did he have to do that?
MM: Turnabout is fair play, right Vince? He just gently nudged her off the apron…
VA: That was not a gentle nudge…
Michael, still smiling at the misfortune of Alyssa, waves down to her as she turns up to look at Draven…
VA: And now he’s taunting her… what a jerk!
MM: Only you think tha… OH MY GOD!
VA: YES! MARTIN!
MM: Just as Michael turned back around in the ring, Martin Robertson was standing there and he just BLASTED him with Pure Perfection!
VA: I think Draven’s out, Malone!
MM: Martin collapses down for a cover…
NR: The winner of this match, and the new number one contender… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
VA: What a match, Malone! A dominant performance by the Youth King!
Alyssa slowly climbs back into the ring as Martin rolls to the opposite side of the ring, trying to use the ring ropes to pull himself back up to a standing base…
MM: He just stole another win, Vince…
VA: Yeah, but it’s a win that now makes him the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, Malone!
MM: Yes, but…
VA: Yes, but nothing, Malone. It doesn’t matter how you win, it just matters that you win. And in the Youth Kingdom of Martin Robertson, all that matters is that you win. He took Draven’s best shots here tonight, but Martin proved that those shots just weren’t good enough to finish the job. Martin got part one of the job done, and now he moves on to part two of the job, which is the main event of This Means War to win the World Heavyweight Championship! Don’t question me!
MM: I’m not questioning you, Vince… I’m just saying…
Martin Robertson: I TOLD YOU!
MM: … oh god, who gave him a mic?
Martin takes in a few deep, heavy breaths while he uses his sweat to try and wipe away most of the dried blood that trickled out of the small wound on his forehead…
VA: Shut up and let him speak!
Martin Robertson: I told each and every one of you that this… this win tonight is part of my destiny!
Martin Robertson: I told you that there’s only one King in the EWA, and that’s me, Martin Robertson!
The jeers from the crowd are threatening to drown out Martin, even with a microphone…
Martin Robertson: I’m the number one contender, which means I’m in the main event of This Means War, whether any of you like it, or whether this piece of crap likes it or not!
Martin points out towards Draven, who’s on the outside of the ring, leaning against the ring apron, surrounded by two referees and a few EWA officials.
Martin Robertson: So tonight, I don’t care if it’s NOTHING, or if it’s his disease-riddled side piece of a wife…
Martin walks over towards Draven’s side of the ring, standing over the former champion for a moment before kicking down towards him. He missed, but he’s got his point across, as Draven backs up from the ring while the refs and the officials yell up at Martin.
Martin Robertson: Get him out of my ring! Whether it’s NOTHING or it’s Sahara, it clearly doesn’t matter, because it’s MY TIME! It’s the reign of the Youth King, Martin Robertson, and there’s not a damn thing Michael Draven, NOTHING, Sahara, or anyone else can do about it!
Martin throws the microphone down to the mat before heading over to the near corner, climbing up to the second turnbuckle and posing out to the crowd.
VA: You heard the man.. In five weeks time, Martin Robertson is going to become the World Heavyweight Champion, Malone!
MM: He survived the first test tonight, Vince, but he’ll have an equally difficult task, regardless if it’s NOTHING or Sahara as the World Heavyweight Champion heading into This Means War.
VA: BOW TO THE KING!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MARTIN ROBERTSON (16:43)
MM: Ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget to check out all the new merchandise on EWA.com! A special Black Friday sale is incoming with savings on all your favorite EWA warrior merch! Just look at all these fans clamoring for it!
VA: They should sell a blow up doll of you.
MM: If they were gonna sell one, it’d probably be of Sa-
VA: YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, MALONE!
MM: Just trying to be real-
VA: Shut up, look at that merch stand. Is that..
MM: What ar-Oh, well it seems ladies and gentlemen that one of our newest hires, the self proclaimed ‘16th best’, Murphy Doyle Maher has decided to try his hand at sales, after his successful debut earlier tonight.
VA: He probably just got tired of not talking.
(We zoom in to the merch booth, where our man Murph stands, smiling and talking with a very large, very sweaty looking fan.)
Fan: One Sahara shirt, XXL please.
Murphy Doyle Maher: …She’s got like 50. Wanna be a tad more specific?
Fan: …the one where she’s ha-
Murphy Doyle Maher: Yea, that sold out an hour ago. How about the one where she’s holding the belt in that easily photoshopable way?
Murphy Doyle Maher: We’ve got a special offer today. Buy any T-shirt, and get one of mine for just $3. What’dya say?
Fan: …you work at a merch booth, why do you have a shirt?
Murphy Doyle Maher: Because..Do you want it or not? It’s even autographed!
Fan: Fine. I guess.
Murphy Doyle Maher: That’s a lad. Here ya go. Enjoy. Next!
(The customer begins to walk away, but finds something odd about the shirt he just bought. He checks the Sahara one, and it is fine. But the MDM one, seems to be just a plain black t-shirt, worn, and somewhat dirty, with his signature on it in silver marker. The fan comes back to the table in a huff, and interrupts our man Murph’s next sale.)
Fan: HEY! What’s the deal? This is just a plain black shirt with your signature on it!
Murphy Doyle Maher: I told you, it’s one of me shirts, autographed. It’s literally one of my shirts, and I autographed it. (turning to the other customer) What’s he on about?
Fan: I thought I was buying official EWA merch.
Murphy Doyle Maher: For $3? People are spending more than that just to watch this conversation. You want your money back? Or, You can use my name to get any food you want, as they let us Warriors eat for free. How’s that sound, boyoh?
Fan: …hmm. Well. I could use some nachos.
Murphy Doyle Maher: Obviously. Go over to that stand, and tell them that it’s on me. You’re actually making money on the deal, really. Best day ever, amirite?
Fan: Alright, But you can keep your shirt.
Murphy Doyle Maher: No, fair is fair.
Fan: This won’t even fit my leg.
Murphy Doyle Maher: Fair enough.
(Murphy takes the shirt back, and the fan walks over to the concession stand, and begins to talk to the young man behind the counter. He references the nachos, and then references the merch booth he just came from. The worker looks over, and then back at the fan, confused. The fan turns to find our man, Murphy Doyle Maher, no longer there.)
MM: Did he just rip a fan off for $3?
VA: I’m sure that $3 was going to go to something heart attack inducing anyway. He did him a favor.
MM: I’d pay more than $3 to be rid of you.
VA: I’m sure you–hey!
MM: Let’s go to the ring!
LOU VS WILLIAM WEST VS PHILIP DONOVAN
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH - WINNER RECEIVES NETWORK CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Nikki Rogers: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is a triple threat match and the winner will compete for the EWA Network Championship at This Means War! Introducing first, a special guest announcer for this match, the reigning EWA Network Champion, The Banshee, Maggie McIntyre!
The crowd pops in unison with the opening of AFI’s ‘Miss Murder’ as the Network champion steps out onto the rampway. Making her way toward the ring, she reaches out, alternating between the two sides of the rampway to touch the hands of the many fans that reach out for the fan favorite.
VA: This should be interesting.
MM: Just watch it with the Sahara comments, if any happen to come to mind, McIntyre probably won’t take too kindly too them.
VA: Good call.
As she arrive at the ringside announcers booth, Maggie places the EWA Network Title on the desk and takes a seat next to Mike Malone, who hands her a headset.
VA: Welcome, Mrs. Draven!
Maggie McIntyre: Don’t be a smartass, Vince. Hello everybody!
MM: Welcome to the Battlelines announcing team.
Maggie McIntyre: Good to be here.
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
NR: Introducing first, from Las Vegas, Nevada, the former EWA Combat Champion, William West!
The opening notes to Disturbed’s ‘Who Taught You To Hate’ begins to play as William West emerges onto the entrance ramp and makes his way toward the ring.
VA: Anything good to say about your former bestie in HATE, Mrs. Draven?
Maggie McIntyre: Nope.
MM: Couldn’t agree more.
As West climbs into the ring, Nikki Rogers lifts the mic to continue her introductions.
NR: Introducing next, from Newport Beach, California, The New Wave, Philip Donovan!
As the heavy synth sounds of Carpenter Brut’s ‘Le Perv’ hits the speakers, neon green laser beams scatter and strobe across along the entrance ramp, as a singular black light spotlight shines on PhD, arms outstretched welcoming the audience.
The most distinct feature of his outfit are his glowing neon pink and baby blue shutter shades. The rest of his ring attire consists of long tights that are deep azure with gold and white piping on the sides, rounded out by a pair of Air Jordans. PhD takes a few steps forward out of the dimming spotlight, then stops to survey the crowd. He turns his palms upward making a subtle beckoning gesture before crossing his forearms at his chest and making a two-handed “OC” gesture. Walking down the rampway, he acknowledges a number of fans fans with hand slaps. He saunters up the ring steps and enters the ring by hopping over the top rope with a scissor kick. He brushes past William West to a neutral corner and steps onto the second turnbuckle to survey the crowd one final time.
MM: Quite the … colorful entrance.
VA: Honestly makes my eyes bleed, Malone.
Maggie McIntyre: I like it. It’s different, and it’s fun.
OH, AFTER MIDNIGHT
The house lights suddenly go out as the crowd claps along to Dorothy’s bluesy ‘After Midnight’ and a single teal spotlight drops down on the entrance ramp. The video screen shows a stylized image of a diamond, and as the name “LOU” is signed across it in teal calligraphy.
The Deathmatch Debutante herself steps out, taking center stage in a Diamond Lou T-shirt with the sleeves, neck, and midriff cut off, Daisy Dukes, black fishnets and black boots. She raises her hands up in a diamond sign, and just as the chorus kicks in, she swings her arms down, teal pyro blasting from the center to the ends of the stage!
Lou swaggers to the ring, swaying her hips to the beat of the song, pointing and slapping hands with fans! Sliding into the ring, she heads for the side of the ring facing the hardcam, pointing to the crowd as she steps on the bottom and middle ropes, and finally raises her hands into a diamond shape once more, before jumping back to the mat and swinging her arms back again!
VA: She’s very into diamonds.
MM: What girl isn’t?
Maggie McIntyre: Lauren sure as hell is.
Calling all three competitors toward the center of the ring, referee Rick Iley quickly goes over the rules before pointing back toward neutral corners and calling for the bell.
As the bell rings Lou drops to the canvas and rolls beneath the bottom rope to the outside, leaving West and Donovan in the ring alone. Tapping the side of her head, she strolls around on the outside as West yells something down toward her.
VA: No, smart. She’s one of, if not the smallest competitor in the EWA, and it’s this sort of cunning intelligence that keeps her alive. These two easily outweigh her, so she has to be crafty–
Maggie McIntyre: I’d have to agree with Vincent for once. Take it from me, as a woman that’s not the biggest competitor in the EWA, you have to find ways to win that don’t rely solely on strength or size.
VA: Maggie, who would you rather face out of the three of these warriors?
Maggie McIntyre: Any of the three would be a great test for me to step in the ring with, but if I’m being honest? The Masochist may enjoy pain, but I promise you this, if he wins and moves on to face me, he won’t enjoy what I have in store for him.
As West continues to star out at Lou, Donovan blindsides the member of HATE to a pop from the crowd! Sending West into the turnbuckles, PhD collapses him with a huge body splash into the corner, and kicks him down to the mat with repeated stomps.
VA: See that?! Also smart. While west was busy jaw jacking with Lou, The Doctor took advantage.
MM: The Doctor?
VA: PhD, Malone. The man has a PhD!
Maggie McIntyre: Vince’s on point with the initials game, at least.
MM: They are just his initials, he surely doesn’t have a PhD.
VA: Incorrect. The Doctor has a PhD in whopping West’s ass!
Grabbing West and yanking him to his feet, he levels him with a european uppercut that sends him back into the ropes as a smiling Lou simply stands on the outside, ignoring referee Rick Iley’s commands to get back into the ring and watches. Sending West off into the ropes, PhD goes for a huge lariat, only West ducks and hits the opposing ropes AND FALLS FLAT ON HIS FACE!
MM: Lou tripped him up!
As West attempts to scramble to his feet, PhD drops him with a huge leaping elbow drop, taking advantage of the situation. Quickly rolling on top of West, he twists him between his legs and rolls over–
MM: The Enchanted Bunny!!! A move we rarely see!
VA: What the hell is an Enchanted Bunny?
Maggie McIntyre: I’m pretty sure we’re seeing it now — and my “friend” William isn’t gonna last much longer —
Seeing West reach for the ropes, refusing to tap, PhD cinches the hold on even tighter, as West’s face turns a shade of red!
MM: He’s not giving up!
Releasing the hold from a thundering boot to the back of the head, Donovan rolls onto his back holding his head as Lou stands over him, breaking the hold before West could tap or pass out from the pain. Stomping down on both West and Donovan, alternating between the two, Lou assumes control of the match.
VA: Like I told you earlier, clever girl. She let those two beat each other up and took advantage when the time was right.
Maggie McIntyre: I don’t think Lou’s even been hit so far in this match.
MM: Hard to argue with you on this one, Ashe.
Slowly getting to his feet, West stands tall and shakes out the cobwebs as Lou charges, hitting him with a barrage of perfectly placed blows, flashing her speed. Charing off the ropes before West can regroup, she launches into him with a huge knee and turns it into a tornado DDT!
Maggie McIntyre: Damn, she’s fast.
Getting back to his feet, Donovan sees Lou taking the boots to William West and joins in! Tapping Lou on the shoulder, PhD motions toward the ropes as he picks up West and Lou nods, charging into the ropes — LOU LEAPS, WEST DUCKS AND SHE COLLIDES WITH PHILIP DONOVAN!
MM: All three are down!
VA: But West didn’t get hit there, he’s got momentum in his favor if he can capitalize!
Getting back to his feet, West grabs Lou and tosses her into the ropes, colliding with her and dropping her with a massive shoulder block. The crowd starts buzzing as someone is seen coming down through the crowd–
MM: It’s Katsuro! What’s he doing here?!
VA: Him and The Doctor had words shortly before this match started, and I got a feeling that conversation isn’t over!
Maggie McIntyre: So if Katsuro does something and one of them gets disqualified, does that mean the other two win, and turn my match into a triple threat?
MM: I’m not sure, maybe?!
VA: So what if it does, are you complaining?
Maggie McIntyre: Give me a break, Vincent, my name isn’t Grace–
VA: HOW DAREEEE YOU!
Back in the ring, West lifts Lou to her feet but spins and decks PhD with a huge European uppercut sending him into the ropes, spinning around West goes to unload on Lou but Donovan is on his back with a sleeper hold! Held into the clutches of a sleeper, Lou takes advantage and unloads a furious storm of rights and lefts into West’s gut as the crowd goes wild!
Falling back into the ropes with West in his grasp, refusing to release the sleeper, Rick Iley tries to break them up with the five count, KATSURO GRABS PHILIP DONOVAN BY THE LEG!
MM: All hell is breaking loose right now! Iley doesn’t want to end this match in a disqualification, he’s yelling at Katsuro, he’s yelling at PhD for not releasing West and Lou — she’s laughing!!!
VA: Well, it’s funny.
Maggie: It is kinda wild, Malone.
Finally releasing his grasp of William West, PhD spins and tries to reach down and grab Katsuro in a fury, but his momentum carries him over the top, and from his hands on the ring apron, PhD throws himself onto Katsuro! West stumbles, gasping for breath having been let go from the sleeper — Lou rushes at West, and West lays her out with a huge lariat!
VA: And that HATEful soul rises to the top again! Hey Maggie, how did it feel when the guy you thought was your friend laid you out at the last Battlelines? Bet you and your weirdo lovers didn’t see that–
Maggie LURCHES across the table, grabbing Vincent Ashe by his necktie, eyes blazing.
Maggie McIntyre: Leave…my family…out of your mouth.
Maggie releases Ashe, who immediately begins coughing, and William West, watching from inside the ring, begins laughing maniacally. He beckons for Maggie to come into the ring, holding the ropes open for her with his foot.
MM: Maggie…don’t fall for his trap, you know better than–
But the Network Champion stands up, gazing up at her former friend. The Masochist beckons her, clearly wanting to get Maggie in the ring…but suddenly from behind, Lou spins him around and —
MM: DIAMOND CUTTER! DIAMOND CUTTER! HE TURNED RIGHT INTO IT!
Dropping on top of West, Rick Iley shakes off the pandemonium of the match–
On the outside, Philip Donovan breaks free of Katsuro–
Seeing the cover being made, Philip Donovan slides in through the bottom rope and launches himself to break up the pin!!! Falling short, Philip Donovan is yanked back out of the ring by Katsuro!!!
VA: The cunning bitch did it!
Maggie McIntyre: Lou deserved that–
MM: Perfect execution of that Diamond Cutter right after PhD had West in that sleeper, what fortunate timing.
Continuing to launch lefts and rights on the outside, a frustrated Katsuro and an very angry Philip Donovan exchange blows as Rick Iley calls for the bell.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match and the NEW number one contender for the EWA Network Championship — The Deathmatch Debutante — LOU!!!
Standing up at the announcer’s booth, Maggie McIntyre is seen nodding, applauding the decision. Back in the ring, Lou points out toward the Network Title on the announcers desk in front of Maggie and makes motion around her waist.
VA: What a crazy match, you two — we got Katsuro and The Doctor brawling up the ramp, we got William West, shocked and stunned at the turn of events, and arguably the smallest but fiercest competitor in the EWA, Lou, standing victorious in this sea of insanity.
MM: Capped off with a nod of respect from both Maggie and Lou toward one another–that was a crowd pleasing turn of events, lemme tell ya.
Maggie McIntyre: I look forward to facing Lou at This Means War. She’s deserved an opportunity like this for such a long time.
MM: Let’s take you now to a word from one of our sponsors!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: LOU (11:07)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
(All the light dies in Seattle. Fans fire up their flashlight apps all across the arena, and the tension seems to linger. “Smoke & Mirrors” by Puscifer starts to wash over the KeyArena, the haunting melodies of the song reaching a fever pitch as the Spider King emerges from the curtains.
Indrid Calder sweeps his gaze from side to side, and then he begins to slowly saunter down to the ring. The gray hooded shroud covers his head and shoulders, and his forearms are taped and twisted up with bits of gray cloth. He wears gray slacks and gray dress shoes, and those merciless blue eyes seem especially driven tonight.)
VA: Rise up and pay tribute, Malone! Seattle is being graced with a visitation from The Stranger himself!
MM: I’m not a sycophantic HATE fanboy like you, Ashe…so I think I’ll keep my seat.
VA: Watch those words, pal. Calder might just make you eat them with a side of rusty nails!
(Calder slithers into the ring beneath the bottom rope and he immediately calls for a microphone. Once the mic is in his hand, he goes to the closest turnbuckle and perches up there in a sitting position with his knees high and his boots resting across the top rope.)
MM: It’s rare for Calder to take up a solo microphone inside of the squared circle. He usually likes to weave his plots from behind the scenes…so apparently something has him in the mood to make a powerful public statement.
VA: Will you please shut up? I want to relish in the beautiful word webs that this humble soothsayer is about to spin!
(Calder stares out at the crowd, shadows from the shroud playing across his hollow cheeks.)
Indrid Calder: There is a thorn that lingers in my side. I scratch at it, but it does not dislodge. I dig into the flesh, but it remains embedded. I tear at it. I maul it. I snap off splinters from the thorn, but I cannot be free of it. It is always on my mind. The thorn…predominates all else.
(Calder digs his fingernails across the mic, scratching at it, and it sends a whine of ragged feedback through the entire arena.)
Indrid Calder: My thorn is Michael Draven. And even if I must dig the tweezers right down to the bone, I will rid myself of this thorn. He is a man of obsession. A man dedicated to opposing me. I shatter his leg and put him on the shelf, but instead of deterring him, that only motivated him to train harder and come back stronger. And not only is he dedicated to my personal destruction, but he has the GALL to make his little backstage deals and recruit anti-HATE minions to his flawed cause…
(Calder’s gaze darkens.)
Indrid Calder: He’s becoming brazen. And when Michael Draven starts to make progress in a positive direction, it falls to Indrid Calder to twist and snap parts of his anatomy to remind him of his place in the EWA food chain. It’s necessary. It’s important for him to KNOW that every action he takes against me will end in me TAKING something from him…
(A knowing smile cracks itself into place across Calder’s face.)
Indrid Calder: As it happens, my dance card is free at This Means War, and after tonight’s…unfortunate series of events…so is Michael’s. Is your tibia up to the challenge, Draven? I know how you crave my fall, and I’m willing to give you a fair shot. Would you happen to be free, persistent thorn of mine? I mean you lost your World Championship to Sahara last time I checked…so I’ll assume you have nothing going on?
(Calder looks to the curtains, and for the moment he’s met with silence. His soft tenor turns to a primitive roar.)
Indrid Calder: ANSWER ME, DRAVEN! My memories of slaughtering you the first time are starting to fade…and I’d like to make some NEW ONES!
MM: This Indrid Calder truly is a cancerous presence here in the EWA. He wears the skinsuit of a calculating gentleman, but underneath all that he’s just a slithering ball of rage and malevolence. Michael Draven makes the cracks in Calder show more than anyone else ever has, and the corruption that seeps out of him is a hideous sight to see.
VA: All Draven does is INSPIRE Calder to rip him apart in new and exciting ways! Michael must have a real deathwish to provoke this man–
(Vincent Ashe is cut off, as the Jumbotron flickers to life. The KeyArena crowd roars in approval as we’re greeted with the visage of Michael Draven himself, standing in a darkened room. Shadows cast across the row of lockers positioned behind the Vengeful One give the room an eerie aura, and he smirks at the camera as he speaks.)
Michael Draven: My, my, Stranger. You’re not used to this, are you? To someone ignoring your demands, not giving you what you want precisely when you want it? But then, this entire situation is something you’re unaccustomed to, is it not?
(We see Draven’s arm, positioned below our line of sight, move swiftly, and we hear a loud clanging noise, as if an object has been struck against something.)
Michael Draven: You thought you’d beaten me last year, when you used your power and your influence to make Maggie McIntyre your student in HATE. But…I came back. And you lost, Calder. You lost that war, and Maggie saw the light and came home to me. Was that the first time something had ever been taken from you, Stranger?
(Again, the swift movement, and a loud clang.)
VA: What’s he doing, Malone?
Indrid Calder: The first and the last—
Michael Draven: Shut the fuck up, Calder. This is my time, and I want you to hear exactly what I have to say.
(The crowd ‘oohs as Calder rolls his eyes, the trace of a smile crossing his lips. He gestures to Michael with his hand, as if to say, ‘continue’.)
Michael Draven: So you escalated things, and snapped my leg. A gruesome injury designed to end my career…but guess what? I came back. And it infuriated you, did it not? Anything the mighty Stranger’s ever wanted, he’s been able to slither his way into. World Championships, the project formerly known as Dredd…but, let’s face it, Indrid, you just can’t find a way to rid yourself of this “persistent thorn” in your side.
And so you come after those who I care about. You try to recruit Sahara into your HATEful circle. You go after Maggie McIntyre, smashing her face against her prized baseball bat. You remember that moment at Champions Summit III, don’t you? On your knees, begging for mercy from my wife, begging her to finish it….only to use that to your own twisted advantage as you wrapped her mouth around the edge of her bat, and stomped her head with it.
You could’ve killed her, Stranger…but you knew what you were doing that night. You weren’t trying to hurt Maggie McIntyre…you were sending me a message. I still remember your words, Indrid, as you spoke into the camera that night.
(One more time, the clanging sound preceded by the swift jerk of his arm. This time, Draven lifts the arm up…revealing that very baseball bat, painted black by the Banshee herself so long ago. He holds it in front of the camera, smirking in disgust.)
Michael Draven: And now it’s your turn to watch, Stranger. I’ve been that persistent thorn in your side, but now we’re finished with the games, Stranger. Now it’s time for you and I to settle this, once and for all…at This Means War.
(The crowd roars in approval at the acceptance of the open challenge from Indrid Calder.)
VA: He accepted, Malone! He just signed his own death certificate!
MM: I doubt that, Vincent Ashe, indeed I doubt that very much.
(Our camera focuses back on the Stranger inside the ring. His face is grave, but also satisfied.)
MM: This match is actually going to happen, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s been months – perhaps even years, in the making!
(Calder rubs his chin a bit, artic blues shining all the while.)
Indrid Calder: A light bulb is flickering, Michael. How about we make this especially interesting? Really raise the stakes. At This Means War… I’ll bring the hive. And you…feel free to bring that patchwork group of misbegotten souls that you’re so desperate to form in opposition to HATE.
Indrid Calder: We’ll see who can really count on their ranks…in a lumberjack match.
VA: What…what’s Calder thinking? That’s giving Michael even odds? He’s completely negating the advantage of having the Hive by his side!
(Draven chuckles, nodding on the jumbotron.)
Michael Draven: A lumberjack match it is, Calder. All the things I’ve had to watch you do…to myself…to the ones I love…and in just over a month, Stranger, it’ll be your turn to watch. You’ve done your best to rid yourself of me. Leaving talismans with the ones I care about to try to exert your influence on them, trying to end Maggie’s career, trying to end my career? But at This Means War, Indrid…it’s my turn. And trust me…
(Draven rears back suddenly, swinging the bat ferociously into the row of lockers, creating a huge dent, before he turns back toward the camera.)
Michael Draven: I intend to do my worst.
(The feed cuts out abruptly, leaving the jumbotron – and arena itself – in sudden darkness. A few moments pass, and the lights return to the KeyArena – with no sign of Indrid Calder.)
MM: Where…where the hell did he go, Malone?
MM: I don’t have a clue, but one thing I do know is that the match is official. Indrid Calder and Michael Draven will square off one-on-one at This Means War…in a lumberjack match! What a combustible situation that is!
VA: Calder is the master of mind games, Malone…but I can’t figure out why he’d do something like this! What’s he thinking?! Draven will have McIntyre, Jester, maybe even Dresden…and the World Heavyweight Champion!
MM: Make no mistake about it, Calder’s up to something, folks. Let’s go up to the ring for our next contest!
CERBERUS VS THE ERINYES
EWA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and is for the EWA World Tag Team Championship!
Fall Out Boy’s “The Phoenix” blares through the PA, and a stylized three-headed dog appears on the video screen.
MM: Cerberus is here tonight, but one has to wonder where their heads are at after Sahara’s brutal beatdown of Josh Kaine last Battlelines.
VA: Given who they’re facing tonight, their heads better be right here in the ring, Malone. This one’s for the belts, and you can be damn sure the Erinyes aren’t going to let them go without a fight.
MM: Do you think they’re going to be able to focus on the match, Vince?
VA: Well, Kaine’s the one who has problems focusing when beautiful women are around, so maybe?
Mojave and Nikki Caldwell step out onto the stage, looking ready for business. Caldwell’s got the Doom Jacket, war paint streaking her face, and Mojave rolls his neck and cracks his knuckles before the pair stride confidently to the ring.
NR: Introducing first, the challengers, at a combined weight of 345 lbs, Mojave and Nikki Caldwell, CERBERUS!
Caldwell runs three-quarters of the way around the ring, before sliding into the ring and rolling to her feet. Mojave jumps up onto the apron, stepping through the ropes, and as Nikki steps up on the ropes next to the hard cam, she raises a fist and lets out a war cry! Mojave does the same on the turnbuckles in the corner, and the fans respond in kind! Mojave hops down, as does Caldwell, who removes the jacket. They move to their corner as the lights fade, to be replaced by a single white spotlight on the entrance.
The crowd boos as the light changes to a horned skull, and the three champions stand, heads bowed. Minxy has her hand on her hip, Lágrima’s face is buried in the belt, and Santa Muerte stands behind them, in her robe and with her bouquet. As “Heaven Knows” starts to play, the trio raise their heads, and the lights come back on. Minxy’s belt is around her waist, the red hourglass painted on it, and Lágrima carries hers on her shoulder as they march toward the ring. Santa Muerte effortlessly glides down behind them.
NR: And their opponents, at a combined weight of 321 lbs, accompanied by Santa Muerte, they are the EWA Tag Team Champions, Lágrima and Minxy Jones, the ERINYES!
MM: Santa Muerte looks no worse for wear after her match with Grace Goeren earlier in the evening.
VA: She’s probably got a concussion after getting her bell rung like that.
MM: I think if she–
VA: Get it? Bell rung? I’m hilarious.
MM: That said, her presence here does tip the odds in favor of the champions.
VA: What have I said before, Malone? The Erinyes know how to play the numbers game. Look who trained ‘em. You know, before they beat him up.
As Lágrima hops onto the apron, Minxy walks up the steps, stopping to look over the audience with disgust. Santa Muerte once again steps up to the announce table.
VA: Oh jeez, not this again.
MM: Welcome again, Santa Muerte.
She turns to look at Ashe once again, her face getting uncomfortably close.
VA: Please, this is just…
Santa Muerte: …
VA: How’s your head?
Santa Muerte: The dead no longer feel pain.
Santa Muerte: Does this bother you, Vincent?
VA: Let’s just focus on the match, huh?
Santa Muerte: Si, let’s.
David Tucker takes the belts, raising them into the air, before passing them down to the timekeeper and calling for the bell! It looks like Minxy and Mojave will be starting this one off, as they circle each other. Mojave goes for a lock-up, but Minxy dodges away! Mojave tries again, but Minxy’s faster! She chuckles as she bobs and weaves away from him! Mojave rolls his eyes, before going for a lock-up once again! Minxy dodges– Mojave connects with a kick to the gut! Minxy doubles over, and Mojave drops her to the mat with a swinging neckbreaker! He wastes no time, running to the ropes and flying back with a moonsault! He covers!
Minxy kicks out, kipping to her feet, and Mojave finally catches her in a tieup! He powers her to a neutral corner, and Tucker tries to get him away! While Tucker’s not looking, Minxy jabs a thumb in his eye! Mojave steps back, turning around, and Minxy hops onto the turnbuckle! Mojave shakes it off, and turns around– diving tornado DDT from the champ! She rolls over him for a cover!
Mojave rolls backward to his feet, and Minxy runs at him with a spinning wheel kick! Mojave stumbles back to the ropes as Minxy gets to her feet, and she charges him again– Mojave ducks a flying clothesline, and Minxy sails over the top rope! She tries to correct herself in mid-air, but hits the floor on her back!
MM: Ouch! That could cost the Erinyes big!
VA: What do you think, Santa Muerte?
Santa Muerte: …
VA: Insightful commentary.
Santa Muerte: Perhaps you’d like to make an insightful comment about Minxy’s breasts instead, Vincent?
VA: Hey, I–
Santa Muerte: Yes, of course, just doing your job. Good little puppy.
Mojave rolls out of the ring as Minxy clutches her back, and he grabs her by the head– kick to the face! Mojave drops Minxy as Lágrima kicks him again! Tucker starts a ten count! 1! Mojave tries to block as Lágrima sends rapid-fire punches to his face, following up with a pair of kicks to his sides! 2! Minxy starts to get to her feet, and Nikki Caldwell charges Lágrima, spearing her to the floor! 3! Nikki gets on top of Lágrima, throwing lefts and rights into her face! 4! Minxy gets up as Mojave grabs her from behind, slamming her head into the ring apron! 5! Mojave rolls Minxy back into the ring! 6! He hops onto the apron, leaping over with a slingshot senton that connects hard! Minxy rolls over, clutching her chest!
Nikki drives a hard elbow into Lágrima’s face, and heads back to her corner! Mojave grabs Minxy by the laces of her mask, and pulls her to her feet! Nikki puts a foot on the turnbuckle, and Mojave whips Minxy to their corner– reversed! Mojave barely stops himself in time before connecting with Nikki’s boot! Mojave turns around– monkey flip from the champ! Minxy rolls with it, standing above Mojave, before nailing a double-stomp to his face!
MM: Minxy doing a good job of recovering, but can she keep it up?
Santa Muerte: Speechless, Vincent?
VA: I’m worried that if I say something bad things will happen.
Santa Muerte: It must be rough, wondering if a coworker is going to suddenly get violent over something you say.
VA: OK, this is a bit heavy-handed, don’t you think?
Santa Muerte: Keep talking and you’ll find out how heavy my hands can be.
Minxy taunts Nikki inaudibly, and Caldwell tries to get in the ring, but referee Tucker puts his hands up, trying to keep her out! As the ref is distracted, Minxy holds a forearm on Mojave’s throat! Nikki tries to get Tucker to turn around, but she’s still through the ropes, so he keeps trying to get her back onto the apron! Minxy laughs, until Mojave jabs a thumb in her eye!
VA: Payback’s a…
Santa Muerte: A what, Vincent?
Minxy falls back, getting to her hands and knees as Nikki steps back out of the ring, and Mojave gets back up to his feet! He grabs Minxy’s arm, pulling her into the corner, and tagging in Nikki! Mojave lays Minxy across his knee as Nikki gets onto the turnbuckle, and sails off with a legdrop! Minxy collapses in a heap, clutching her back again, as Nikki makes the cover!
THR– broken up by Lágrima!
Tucker tries to push Lágrima out of the ring, but she yells at Nikki, who turns her attention toward her! The referee starts a five count, and Lágrima finally throws her arms up in the air and steps out of the ring! Before Nikki can turn around, Minxy pulls her own into a schoolboy!
Nikki ANGRILY kicks out, getting back to her feet and stomping into Minxy’s back! Minxy tries to roll away, but Nikki isn’t having it! She slows the assault for a second, and Minxy gets to her hands and knees, but Nikki leaps up with a senton across her back! Minxy flops back down to the mat again! Nikki lets out a war cry, before pulling Minxy up, and cracking her across her knee with an STO backbreaker!
Lágrima leans over the ropes, trying to give her partner the will to tag her in, but Minxy is in trouble! Nikki pulls her to her feet, wrapping an arm around her face!
MM: This could be it, Vince!
VA: You planning on running in and ruining this match, too?
Santa Muerte: I know how much you hate not finishing, Vincent. Perhaps that’s why you’ve been divorced so many times.
VA: Jesus, that’s cold-blooded.
Nikki screams at the top of her lungs, going for the I of the Storm– no! Minxy with a German suplex out of nowhere, and both women are on the mat! Minxy isn’t moving, and it looks like Nikki might have landed funny! Tucker starts a count!
FOUR! Nikki’s starting to pull herself to her feet, hooking an arm over the ropes!
FIVE! Lágrima stomps on the apron as Minxy starts to crawl toward the corner!
SIX! Nikki is on her feet, holding the back of her neck, and Minxy is just inches away from a tag!
Nikki grabs Minxy’s leg– no! Minxy gets the tag! Lágrima flies through the ropes, dropping Nikki with a dropkick! She rolls back to her feet, running toward the ropes, and coming back– no! Lágrima gets pulled out of the ring!
MM: What the hell?!
VA: Mojave pulled her out of the ring!
MM: Mojave’s on the apron still!
Mojave turns to see Lágrima get CRUSHED as ALICE drops her to the floor with the Grace Under Fire!
MM: Where the hell did she come from?!
VA: The back, I would assume, Malone.
Santa Muerte: Looks like you don’t get your finish after all, Vincent.
Mojave leaps off the apron at Alice, but she catches him, tossing him up on her shoulders and driving him to the floor with a Death Valley driver! Santa Muerte gets up from the announce table, as David Tucker calls for the bell! Nikki Caldwell slides out of the ring, charging toward Alice– CLANG! Grace Goeren flattens her with a chair! Alice pulls Minxy out of the ring, pulling her up in the Grace Under Fire– but Santa Muerte slugs her in the face!
Alice drops Minxy, turning to Santa Muerte and throwing a haymaker of her own! Santa Muerte takes it on the chin, turning right back, and swinging again! Fists are flying in front of the announce table, as Grace runs around the ring, slamming Santa Muerte in the back with the chair! Santa Muerte arches her back, but doesn’t fall, turning around to face Grace with rage in her eyes! Grace begs off, backing up and dropping the chair, but Santa Muerte will not be placated! She slowly stalks Grace– until Alice puts her on the floor with the Decapitator! Santa Muerte isn’t out, but Alice is on top of her in an instant, driving a knee into her back!
MM: This is pandemonium, Vince!
VA: This is entertainment! The God Queen has her revenge, Santa Muerte! I told you!
Alice pulls Santa Muerte to her feet, holding her arms behind her back, as Grace picks the chair back up, and she SLAMS Santa Muerte in the head once again! Alice doesn’t let go, and Grace NAILS her once more! Santa Muerte hangs limp in Alice’s arms, but Grace just laughs, slamming her AGAIN! Grace nods, and Alice drops her unconscious to the floor! Security and medical staff rush to the ring, with security escorting Grace and Alice back to the locker room, though the pair leave with no trouble! Grace just laughs as they walk to the back, and the medical crew starts to check on the other two teams!
THIS MATCH IS DECLARED A NO CONTEST (12:02)
(We cut backstage to find Allison Haines standing in a corridor in front of the closed door of a locker room in the KeyArena. The door is unmarked, though one can assume the man – or men – who are beyond said door as we join Allison at this particular time. With microphone in hand and smile on her face, she nods into the camera and takes it away.)
Allison Haines: I’m just outside of the locker room of the man who will challenge Sahara for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship tonight and am hoping to get a word with The Purveyor of HATE before he heads to the ri-
(Allison is startled and jumps slightly as the door swings open. She takes a step to the side in order to clear the space in the narrow hallway. The disconcerted look on her face slowly turns to confusion as, out from the dressing room, steps Serena Collins – the wife of NOTHING. Wearing a pair of tight black jeans, a black top, and a black leather jacket she shoots a grin toward Allison who opens her mouth to speak. Serena holds a finger up and steps to the side as this evening’s challenger steps out from the locker room. His white hair stands tall atop his head, strands hanging wildly in his face, as he looks down at Allison. Dressed in his ring gear of a pair of black leather pants and a high-collared, black, leather vest with gold accents The Purveyor turns toward his wife who meets his gaze.)
Allison Haines: NOTHING, if I may – earlier tonight Sahara had some pointed words for you heading into the EWA World Heavyweight Championship match this evening. How are you feeling as you’re set to challenge The Crimson Queen?
(Saying not a word, NOTHING puts his arm around the waist of Serena and the pair begin to make their way down the hallway. Haines follows behind them in an attempt to get a response from the challenger. After a few moments of silence as their trek begins, NOTHING responds.)
NOTHING: Sahara… like the rest of the EWA, and its fans, continues to believe that she has me figured out. That she has HATE figured out. And, Hell – maybe she does. We do tend to operate as a single unit, Allison, because no single Pillar stands taller than any other. We support the House of HATE and one another evenly and without question or regard for our own well-being. It just so happens that, for all of the time I’ve spent here in the EWA, the odds never seem to be quite even. There have always been Youthful adversaries, Pariah chomping at the bit, and even a scant few goddesses and angels who have worked the very same way.
And then, of course, you have your more sickening relationships. The ones that never quite seem to make sense. I can understand why one would have fought alongside The Youth, Pariah, and The Fallout. That all makes sense to me. But what leaves me puzzled, Allison, is the type of person you have to be to willingly align yourself with Michael Draven and Maggie McIntyre. This is a trio who can barely stay together from week to week… and then you look at HATE. A faction that has thrived for nearly two years in the EWA, always pulsing with the beat of the hearts within our ranks. Always moving forward.
So you’ll have to excuse me if I refuse to entertain the notion that Sahara has anything figured out as far as factions, families, or loyalty are concerned. Perhaps you’re correct, Sahara – maybe the Hive will be in full force as I challenge you for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship. And I ride high with the confidence of knowing that, if I need their support, they will be there for me as I will always be there for any of them.
Can you say the same for your husband? Your wife? A pair who seem to relish any opportunity they get to have time to themselves and away from you? That’s not loyalty, Sahara… and that’s certainly not a faction. That’s deception.
Tonight, I’ll tear the blindfold from your eyes and reveal to you exactly the type of world in which you live. A world in which you need allies. A world in which you need to know you have someone to watch your back. And, yes… a world in which, sometimes, you need a little help from your friends.
You refer to yourself as the “standard bearer”, Sahara? I find that interesting… even compelling. For as long as we’ve known you in the EWA, you’ve kept company with Duane Gates, Grace Goeren, Sinnocence, Michael, and Maggie. Your standards, my dear, are nothing but low if they even exist at all. Prepare for me to save the EWA World Heavyweight Championship from the filth and muck into which you have plunged that prize. It’s time to open the hearts and minds of everybody in the EWA to what is coming for them… and what is coming for you, my dear. It’s time to open up and accept Pure HATE.
(The duo reach the end of the corridor, standing just behind the Gorilla position behind the entrance to the arena. Allison Haines, to her credit, followed the pair dutifully to catch each word from The Purveyor. She has now faded into the background as only Pru and Serena Collins stand together on the precipice of greatness. He raises his right hand and runs his fingers through her hair, his hand holding the back of his wife’s head. She does the same, reaching her hand up to hold the back of his head. The two pull each other close in a kiss before tilting their heads downward until their foreheads meet. They stay like this for a brief moment before Pru pulls back, kisses his wife on the forehead, and steps toward the curtains into the KeyArena, as we quickly cut back to ringside.)
Main EventNOTHING VS SAHARA
EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: And folks, it’s now time for our main event. For one woman, her lifelong dream achieved thirty four days ago. She reached the pinnacle of our industry, a late-bloomer who went from, to be frank, the end of a joke in this business, to the reigning and defending Heavyweight Champion of the world. On the other side, a man, driven by HATE, a veteran in this business looking to pad an already hall-of-fame-worthy resume with a championship he’s never attained before in his storied career. It’s NOTHING, it’s Sahara, and it’s our main event right here in Seattle, Washington!
DING DING DING!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall…
Crowd: ONE FALL!!
MM: Listen to these people!
Nikki flashes a brief smile before continuing with her introduction.
NR: ….and it is for…the EWA World…Heavyweight…Championship!!
VA: Here we go, Malone!!
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
The lights in the KeyArena extinguish all at once as the pulsing beat of Placebo’s remix of “Without You I’m NOTHING’ reverberates throughout the arena. A few moments pass, and a single spotlight shines down on the entrance ramp, revealing the Purveyor, cloaked in the same gold-accented black vest and black leather wrestling pants we saw moments ago, his ghostly white hair standing out amongst the spotlight. He looks out for a moment at the mostly booing capacity crowd, before beginning a slow walk to the ring.
MM: Folks, NOTHING has certainly paid his dues here in the EWA. He’s fought a long, hard road to get to this moment, where he’ll receive his first solo World Heavyweight Championship match. But let’s not mince words here. The Harbinger of HATE is a dangerous, dangerous man. This is a former two-time NYSWF World Heavyweight Champion. This is the man who ended Martin Robertson’s record-breaking EWA Network Championship reign last summer. This is also the man who, alongside his cohorts in HATE, some would argue, directly led to the dissolution of one of the greatest factions in professional wrestling history in The Youth.
VA: That’s right, Malone. The Purveyor has always been the beating heart of HATE, and tonight he has the opportunity to become the second member of the Hive to hold the coveted EWA World Heavyweight Championship. I just hope he sanitizes the belt thoroughly after he wins.
MM: You just couldn’t resist, could you.
VA: Never, Malone.
The challenger climbs the steel steps, ducking into the ring and immediately removing his vest. NOTHING crosses the ring to the corner, hopping up to the second turnbuckle and gazing out once again into the masses as the ring lights slowly fade up, before turning around, taking a seat on the top turnbuckle.
MM: And the Purveyor is focused tonight, ladies and gentlemen. He’s going to need every bit of it as he steps into the ring with–
As the pounding beat of In This Moments ‘Adrenalize’ hits, the lights flash and bathe the stage in blinding white light. The fans stand at attention, turning toward the entrance ramp as the jumbotron simultaneously fades in from black to white, leaving a staticy white background on the screen. Sahara can be seen standing front and center on the stage, her arms lifted toward the heavens and her head tilted back beneath the extremely bright lights. The EWA World Heavyweight title is prominently on display, securely fastened around her waist.
Come a little bit closer, before we begin
Lemme tell you how I want it
And exactly what I need
As the lights dim a bit, she tilts her head down and stares toward the ring with a purpose. Sporting rows of Nordic style braids that tie her platinum hair back, dark eyeliner accentuates her ferocious eyes with wild tribal designs over her cheekbones, applied almost like warpaint. Her inky black attire has silver trim down the sides of her legs, and black wrestling boots blend into black knee pads. Emblazoned on her boots in silver lettering are the words, VICTORY and VALHALLA.
I’m here for one drug
I’m only here for one thing
So come on and tell me
Can you fly like you’re free
Cause I need to feel
Yeah, I need to say
Making her way down toward the ring, her eyes lock on her opponent, NOTHING.
VA: She looks absolutely fierce, Malone.
MM: There is no doubt about that. She appears laser focused on this match. Just look at how she holds that EWA World Title as if it were her child or something.
VA: You could say a lot about Sahara, but one thing nobody will ever be able to say is she didn’t respect that belt and everything it stands for.
I must confess
I’m addicted to this
Shove your kiss straight through my chest
I can’t deny, I’d die without this
Make me feel like a god
Music, love and sex
Ascending the steps, Sahara walks across the ring apron and turns out toward the capacity crowd before stepping one leg through the middle ropes. Stepping all the way in, she unfastens the title as she spins toward the crowd, holding the championship belt up for all to see. She retreats her corner, staring across at her challenger as the music dies down.
NR: Introducing the participants. First, the challenger! From Albany, New York, weighing in at 255 pounds…he is the Purveyor of HATE….NOTHING!!!
A resounding chorus of boos fills the KeyArena as NOTHING doesn’t move, continuing to lock eyes across the ring at the champion.
NR: And his opponent! From Chicago, Illinois, she is the reigning and defending EWA World Heavyweight Champion…The Crimson Queen…SAHARA!!!
A decidedly mixed reaction brings a hint of a smile to Sahara’s face, but she too continues to gaze across at the Purveyor, handing the championship belt to Danny Smith, who displays it high in the air for all to see.
MM: And you can feel the tension here tonight, ladies and gentlemen. NOTHING arguably could have been the World Heavyweight Champion 34 days ago at the Asylum if not for the retaliatory strike from the special guest referee, the legendary Grady Smith. Sahara capitalized, but without a shadow of a doubt, she faces her toughest test thus far as champion right here tonight.
VA: Oh, we can play that game all night long, Malone, because OUR God Queen, Grace Goeren, should’ve been the World Heavyweight Champion back in Sydney, were it not for the corrupt management of Stacy Vandervort and fifty-seven referees being attacked by every other thug in that match! But she’s not, is she? Sahara’s the World Champion, and until NOTHING proves he can pin her shoulders to the mat for a three count, that’s the reality we live in.
MM: A rare astute observation from Vincent Ashe, ladies and gentlemen.
VA: I wear your shirt to bed every night, my God Queen.
DING DING DING!
MM: And here we go!
The crowd roars in approval as the bell sounds, and Sahara and NOTHING circle one another rapidly for a moment before locking up in the center of the ring. Sahara strikes first, transitioning to an arm-drag and twist, and swiftly moving behind the Purveyor into a wristlock. In an impressive display of chain wrestling, the champion smoothly transitions into a side headlock, wrenching back to tighten the hold.
MM: Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that the Crimson Queen has came a long, long way from her days of losing to Johnny Napalm over a year and a half ago at local live events in high school gymnasiums.
VA: But does she have what it takes to take out a literal legend in Prudence Collins, Malone? Johnny Napalm he is not. NOTHING is one of the most dangerous individuals in the history of this business.
NOTHING, with a palm on his back, shoves Sahara off, breaking the hold and sending her into the ropes. NOTHING hits the deck as the champion gracefully leaps over him, bouncing off the opposite rope. As Sahara races back toward the challenger, he ducks his head, backdropping the blonde high in the air over his head…but incredibly, Sahara manages to land on her feet, spinning around – and staring face to face with the Purveyor! The two nod in approval, and the crowd cheers as the first moments between these two end in a standoff.
MM: This is going to be a great match, ladies and gentlemen, and this is one of those situations where you have to be perfect. The slightest mistake made here could end this match, and the championship dreams, for either of these two.
The two warriors circle one another again, looking for any advantage they can gain over the opposing combatant. Sahara moves in to lock up, but NOTHING strikes first with a swift kick to the gut. A hard right hand follows, rocking Sahara backwards, and NOTHING whips her into the opposite corner. The Purveyor charges at her, attempting to drive his shoulder into the stomach of the champion, but Sahara quickly dodges out of the way, and NOTHING dives forward through the ropes, his shoulder making a hard impact with the ringpost. The World Heavyweight Champion quickly darts behind NOTHING, and schoolboy-rolls him up for the first pinfall attempt of the match!
And NOTHING kicks out! Both warriors quickly to their feet, and NOTHING ducks the clothesline attempt from Sahara, reaching back and snapping Sahara down to the mat with a neckbreaker. And now it’s NOTHING with the lateral press, and Danny Smith makes the count once more!
And Sahara kicks out! Again, both warriors quickly to their feet, giving each other space as the crowd cheers, Sahara wincing as she places her index fingers on her jaw.
MM: No clear advantage here in the early going of this match, folks, but both NOTHING and Sahara look to be in peak physical condition.
VA: They both get plenty of exercise, Malone. NOTHING does a lot of work rebuilding that house that HATE uses as their base, and Sahara–
MM: Just stop there, Vincent.
VA: ….I was going to say Sahara’s relentless in the gym.
MM: No, you weren’t.
VA: No, I wasn’t.
This time, instead of circling one another, Sahara and NOTHING go face to face – or rather, face to neck, as the Purveyor has a significant height advantage over the Crimson Queen. Sahara looks up at NOTHING, showing zero fear, and hauls off with a huge right hand, visibly staggering the challenger. Sahara, relentless, begins firing off a series of rights and lefts, knocking NOTHING back against the ropes, and sends him shooting across the ring into the ropes. Sahara plants herself firmly, lashing out with a superkick as NOTHING comes back…but the Purveyor puts the brakes on, grabbing Sahara’s foot before it can connect with his face.
VA: She’s in trouble now, Malone!
NOTHING smirks, but before he even has time to react, Sahara LEAPS off the mat with her left foot, whipping it around in a perfect arc and connecting to the side of NOTHING’s head with an enzuigiri! The challenger stumbles backwards, falling through the middle rope and to the outside, and Sahara gets a great response from the crowd!
She crouches in the ring, watching the outside as NOTHING slowly gets to his feet, and takes off toward the other side of the ring, bouncing off the ropes on one end, sprinting toward NOTHING and LEAPING through the ropes, knocking NOTHING off his feet as she connects with the suicide dive! The Purveyor is sent sprawling all the way to the base of the entrance ramp, and the KeyArena audience roars its approval for the risk taken by the World Heavyweight Champion!
Danny Smith, inside the ring, breaks from the norm, and does not administer a standing ten count, instead ordering both combatants back inside the squared circle.
MM: Obviously Danny Smith understands the controversy in which the last two World Heavyweight Championship matches have ended, and is making sure this match is decided inside the ring, by pinfall or submission.
VA: Oh, so it’s not okay for the God Queen to bend a rule here and there to try and overcome the ridiculous grudges held against her by EWA management, but it’s alright for the high and mighty senior official to make up his own rules? This isn’t a no-DQ match, Smith, make the count!
Sahara walks the Purveyor over to the steel steps, yelling in his face for a moment before SLAMMING his head down against the steps! NOTHING stumbles backward, crumbling against the ring apron, and Sahara smirks at a particularly vocal fan in the front row. Suddenly, a large portion of the fans begin to rise up out of their seats, craning their necks up toward the top of the arena. Sahara looks up as well…
VA: Malone! Look! Get a camera shot of that – up there, near the balcony! The entrance to the concourse!
A moment later, the camera view changes abruptly, and standing in the entrance to the concourse, surrounded now by EWA fans being held at bay by security, is none other than the Stranger, Indrid Calder. He stands in his soot-colored cloak, his expression revealing nothing, observing the match as it plays out below.
MM: Indrid Calder is here! And of course, the Stranger is NOTHING’s partner in HATE, but perhaps even more importantly, has been openly recruiting the wife of his opponent at This Means War in that huge lumberjack match, Sahara, to join him in HATE!
VA: Indrid Calder is a force to be reckoned with. Somehow it’s more ominous just knowing he’s among us, Malone.
Sahara stares up at the concourse area, almost in a trance, and NOTHING takes the opportunity to capitalize with a headbutt to the stomach. The Purveyor pulls himself to his feet, rolling quickly back in the ring and out once again to break the count, and attempts to hook Sahara for a vertical suplex, but the champion has the awareness to lunge forward, driving NOTHING backward against the ring apron. The Purveyor yells out as his hand goes to his back, and Sahara, a menacing gleam in her eye, quickly pounces, grabbing NOTHING and DDT’ing him right onto the floor!
MM: And did you see the way NOTHING’s head snapped down off the ground on the outside! She could’ve given the man a concussion with that move alone!
Danny Smith shouts out to Sahara, ordering the champion back into the ring, but the blonde refuses, glaring at Smith and shouting out to him, “You ain’t gonna count out shit!”
VA: Why is our senior official allowing himself to be ordered around by the World Heavyweight Champion?
MM: As I said earlier, I think it’s clear Danny Smith understands after the controversial finish to the Asylum, the EWA deserves a winner in this contest.
VA: And he just now came to that understanding?
MM: I don’t know, Vince, why don’t you go up there and ask him?
VA: No thanks. He smells bad.
Sahara races toward NOTHING, leaping in the air in an attempt to smash him with a running knee – but amazingly, the Purveyor catches her in mid-air, tossing the champion OVER his head with a fallaway slam! The Crimson Queen lands in the aisle on the other side of the guardrail, and security rushes toward the area to prevent fans from swarming her. NOTHING hops over the guardrail, grabbing Sahara, and the fight is now on in the audience as the challenger stomps away at the World Heavyweight Champion! NOTHING grabs Sahara, pulling her to her feet, but the champion rakes at the eyes of the Purveyor, causing the challenger to stagger back toward the guardrail. Sahara gets a running head start in the aisle, and LEAPS at NOTHING with a hard right superwoman punch, sending the HATEful soul over the guardrail and back to ringside!
VA: These two are fighting for their lives out here, Malone!
NOTHING crawls toward the ring, trying to gather himself and get back to his feet, and comes to rest against the steel steps as Sahara quickly vaults the guardrail. Seeing a moment of opportunity, the Crimson Queen takes off in a sprint toward NOTHING, leaping in the air to smash the body of her opposition against the steel ring steps…but the Purveyor moves at the last moment, and Sahara’s knee crashes into the steps with a sickening thud! The champion howls in pain as she hits the floor, clutching at her injured knee.
VA: And there’s that mistake I spoke of, Malone! That’s the same knee she injured in Sydney!
MM: Indeed, an injury at the hands of Rick Remington, who reportedly has indeed been signed to an EWA contract, and we’ll likely be seeing him soon…
As Malone speaks, our camera view shifts to backstage, where Martin Robertson and Alyssa Marie Haven stand, in front of a monitor, intently watching the match unfolding before them.
MM: …and speaking of seeing someone soon, there’s the number one contender for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, Martin Robertson, and we’ll be seeing him in the main event of This Means War against the winner of this contest!
The camera cuts back to ringside, and NOTHING, like a shark in the water circling its prey, stalks Sahara, eyes fixated on her clutching her knee. The challenger reaches her, and begins stomping away at the injured knee, taking delight in the screams of pain his foot causes as he slams it into the injured limb repeatedly. NOTHING pulls the champion to her feet, throwing her back in the ring and immediately sliding in afterwards.
VA: And this is why NOTHING’s so good, Malone. His tenacity, his relentless pursuit once he’s exposed a weakness in his opponent.
NOTHING, quickly on the attack, lifts Sahara’s knee and rolls the blonde over her back, wrenching back on the knee as he applies a half-crab submission hold.
MM: He could hyperextend her knee right now, folks! We may have a new champion!
NOTHING continues to yank back on the knee, as Sahara, clearly in agony, scratches and claws at the mat, desperately trying to get closer to the ropes. The Purveyor can be heard screaming at the champion, imploring her to tap out, and Danny Smith hovers nearby, anticipating a possible submission from the Crimson Queen. Sahara’s hand stabs outward, hovering just inches from the rope, and with one final heave, she lurches forward, grabbing the bottom rope! Danny Smith implores NOTHING to release the half-crab, and after a moment, he does so, slamming Sahara’s knee against the mat. He quickly grabs her legs, turning her around, and then exits the ring, hopping back down to the outside.
MM: The Harbinger of HATE with bad intentions here tonight, ladies and gentlemen!
Indeed, NOTHING grabs Sahara’s ankles from the outside, pulling her legs underneath the ropes, and SLAMS her knee against the ringpost! Sahara screams in pain as NOTHING does it a second, and then a third time, and follows this up by lifting the steel steps, tossing them aside. NOTHING grabs Sahara’s legs, placing his own foot on the ring apron…
MM: What’s he doi–
VA: Oh my god…oh my god!
….and NOTHING, in a rarely seen maneuver, falls backwards, his legs locked with Sahara’s into a figure four submission hold around the ringpost! Sahara SHRIEKS in pain, pounding her fists on the mat and trying desperately to wriggle free. Danny Smith rolls to the outside, yelling in NOTHING’s face and threatening to disqualify him, and finally, he releases the hold, glaring up at the senior official.
VA: Her knee may be destroyed, Malone! What a huge moment that was for this match, and for NOTHING in general!
MM: The Purveyor of HATE is proving he’s willing to do whatever it’ll take to become the EWA World Heavyweight Champion, folks.
NOTHING holds his arms out, basking in the negative reception from the crowd, before quickly rolling into the ring and aggressively grabbing Sahara by the ankles, yanking her toward the center of the ring. The challenger lifts her right leg, twisting his own around it as he prepares to apply a figure four in the center of the ring….
…AND SAHARA WITH AN INSIDE CRADLE OUT OF NOWHERE!! DANNY SMITH IS THERE!
THR–NOTHING KICKS OUT! And now Sahara, seemingly on the verge of a comeback, hops up on her good leg, ducking a clothesline attempt from NOTHING, and begins firing off rights and lefts, backing him against the ropes as the crowd cheers in approval. Sahara shoots NOTHING off to the ropes, and runs toward him…but a few steps in, collapses to the mat, clutching her knee in pain.
VA: Her knee gave out on her, Malone! If she can’t stand up she doesn’t have a prayer of winning this match!
MM: And look at NOTHING! He’s laughing!
Indeed, the challenger chuckles with glee at Sahara’s injury, as he pulls her to her feet and flings her over the top rope and back to the outside. NOTHING follows, grabbing her by the wrist as he pulls her up once more, and flings her toward the steel steps…but at the last moment, Sahara has the ring presence to reverse the whip, and sends the Purveyor CRASHING shoulder first into the steps!
MM: Sahara with a desperately needed turn of events here! Could this be a momentum shift in the match?
VA: She can barely walk, Malone!
Sahara, as Vincent has stated, is heavily favoring the knee, and takes a moment to lean against the ring apron, fingers working furiously to massage the knee. NOTHING, now favoring his shoulder, sees this and springs to his feet, racing toward Sahara – but as he reaches her, she lifts her arms up, allowing NOTHING’s momentum to give her the ability to propel him backwards with a huge exploder suplex straight into the ring post! NOTHING crumples to the ground as the crowd explodes for the huge move, and Sahara instantly once again grabs for her knee.
MM: What a huge move out of nowhere! She’s staying in this match even with that injury to the knee!
VA: It’s just a matter of time, Malone! She’s doing a great job of holding it up so far, but this can only go for so long with the way that knee’s bothering her!
Shaking her head and gritting her teeth, the World Heavyweight Champion pulls herself to her feet, taking one tentative step forward to test her knee. Nodding, she walks slowly over to NOTHING, picking him up and FLINGING him into the guardrail! The Purveyor’s back slams against the railing, but otherwise there’s no movement from NOTHING, clearly still recovering from that devastating exploder suplex into the ringpost. The Crimson Queen is relentless, immediately grabbing NOTHING and sending him sprawling onto the commentator table.
VA: Nope. I’m nopeing right the hell out of this one. Later, Malone!
Ashe throws his headset down, retreating to a safe corner, and Malone stands up, cautiously backing away as Sahara rains down fists onto NOTHING’s forehead, before driving an elbow straight down into the Purveyor’s throat! Sahara pauses for a moment, gazing at the prone body of her challenger, and retreats, rolling back into the ring.
MM: If Vincent Ashe were here, I think he’d say that now Sahara wants a countout win…but somehow I’m afraid that’s not what she has in mi–oh no! No, don’t do that!
The crowd begins to ROAR as Sahara, a grim look on her face, begins climbing to the top rope in the corner! Sahara reaches the top rope, her knee wobbling ever so slightly, and she looks down at ringside at the fallen Purveyor of HATE, laid out on the announce table. A glimmer of a smile crosses the Crimson Queen’s face as she savors the moment, closing her eyes ever so briefly, and we hear a “thud” as Mike Malone’s headset is dropped. A moment later, Sahara opens her eyes….
….AND LEAPS OFF THE TOP ROPE, DROPPING A FLYING ELBOW ONTO NOTHING AND SHATTERING THE ANNOUNCE TABLE BENEATH THEM!!!
A few moments pass, as we’re treated to the sight of both Sahara and NOTHING, laid out in the wreckage of the table. Our camera view shifts once to Indrid Calder, still watching, void of all emotion, from the concourse entrance, before moving back to ringside, where Sahara begins to move. The champion finally pulls herself to her feet, grabbing NOTHING by the arm and dragging him toward the ring.
MM: Folks, if you can hear me, this is utter chaos out here! Sahara and NOTHING have just went through our table, there’s carnage everywhere —
VA: Can you hear me, Malone?
MM: I hear you, Vincent. What a match this has been!
Sahara rolls NOTHING into the ring, crawling in after him, and collapses on top of him as Danny Smith makes the count!
THREE–NO! NO! NOTHING KICKED OUT! NOTHING KICKED OUT!
MM: What the actual hell?!
VA: Never count the Purveyor out, Malone!
“THIS IS AWE-SOME!
*CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*
THIS IS AWE-SOME!
*CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*
THIS IS AWE-SOME!
*CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*”
Sahara, clearly stunned at NOTHING’s kickout, grimaces, and her face shifts to an expression of steely resolve. Gingerly, she rolls underneath the ring ropes, rising to her feet as she grasps the top rope.
MM: And now Sahara’s looking to put NOTHING away, if she hits this, the move she calls the Flight of the Valkyrie!
VA: The most devastating knockout blow in the business today, and perhaps of all time, Malone!
NOTHING slowly begins to stir, rising to one knee, and Sahara begins to squirm in place at the anticipation of finishing him off. NOTHING pulls himself to his feet, and just as he begins to turn toward the champion, Sahara leaps into the air, springboarding off the top rope….
…AND NOTHING CATCHES HER IN MID-AIR WITH A THUNDEROUS POWERBOMB! The Purveyor, with an INSANE counter to the Flight of the Valkyrie, falls down on Sahara, hooking the leg!
THRE–SAHARA KICKS OUT!!!
VA: Oh my god!!!
Undeterred, NOTHING springs to his feet, quickly exiting the ring and going up top…
MM: Is he…
VA: We haven’t seen this from Prudence Collins in years!
NOTHING reaches the top rope, lines himself up, and LEAPS off the top, connecting with a swanton bomb!
MM: SUICIDE BOMB! SUICIDE BOMB! Formerly the setup for one of the most devastating maneuvers in all of this business…could it be time for Pure HATE?
VA: I think it is, Malone! He’s on his feet!
MM: And now NOTHING has his eyes firmly set on his goal of becoming EWA World Heavyweight Champion for the first time ever!
VA: He’s in complete control right now, Malone!
The Purveyor crouches, waiting for Sahara to get to her feet. The blonde stirs slowly, reaching up to clutch the back of her head after the vicious powerbomb moments ago. The champion rolls over onto her stomach, pushing herself up to her knees…and at that moment, NOTHING races forward, preparing to deliver Pure HATE…
MM: Are you kidding me?! Sahara…she just pulled referee Danny Smith into the path of Pure HATE! NOTHING just drilled the official, and it’s thanks to Sahara!
VA: Oh, come on, Malone, she was clearly trying to get help from Danny to get to her feet! It’s not her fault he’s a clumsy buffoon and stumbled into NOTHING’s path.
MM: Are you…are you really that delusional?
VA: There’s nothing delusional about it, Malone! Have you ever seen Danny Smith dance?
NOTHING stands over the fallen referee, dismayed at the turn of events, but then quickly turns back toward Sahara, grabbing a fistful of her golden braids and pulling her to her knees….only to have the champion deliver a HARD uppercut right between the legs!
MM: And just as this match seemed to be in the Purveyor’s control, Sahara turns the tide with a cheap shot!
VA: This match has been full of cheap shots, Malone!
The camera quickly pans to the shadowy figure of Indrid Calder, still standing in the concourse at the balcony level, surrounded by fans cheering and attempting to speak to him. He ignores all around him, but his lips have curled into a faint smile as he watches the action below.
MM: Calder’s made no secret of his attempts to recruit Sahara into the hive of HATE, and you have to wonder exactly how he feels about all of this.
VA: He gives me the creeps, Malone. He’s probably happy that she’s unleashing her inner hatred or some wacko crap like that.
Sahara quickly gets to her feet, grabbing the Purveyor by the hair and unleashing a series of knees straight into the challenger’s face. After the fourth, she takes a step back, kicking NOTHING in the gut…
MM: Downfall! A move straight out of the page of Michael Draven’s playbook!
VA: I think she actually does it better, Malone.
MM: You think so? Her form certainly looked good, and–
VA: Yeah, it just seems more natural for a man’s head to be between her legs.
Sahara flips the Purveyor over on his back near the corner, quickly exiting the ring and climbing to the top. She takes a deep breath, looking out at the crowd for a brief moment, before LEAPING off the top of the rope and coming down onto the challenger’s chest with a huge double stomp! Sahara rolls backward, absorbing the impact onto her rear, and quickly scrambles forward, hooking NOTHING’s leg!
MM: Danny Smith isn’t there to make the count for her, and it’s because she pulled him in front of NOTHING moments ago! How’s that for karma?
VA: We already talked about this, Malone. He’s clumsy.
MM: Who are you even cheerleading in this match? You’ve went back and forth more times than Sahara in a football team’s locker room.
VA: Malone…did you just…did you just make a joke? At Sahara’s expense?
MM: I…I don’t know what came over me, ladies and gentlemen. I apologize, that was extremely unprofessional of me–
VA: That was freaking AWESOME!
Sahara slams a fist on the mat in frustration, eyes flickering back and forth between the fallen Danny Smith and NOTHING. A moment later, she pulls herself up to her feet, exiting through the ropes and taking up position on the ring apron. She grasps the top rope with both fists, slowly beginning to hop in place in anticipation as she waits on NOTHING to get to his feet.
MM: And Sahara’s looking to finish NOTHING off with the Flight of the Valkyrie here, ladies and gentlemen. If she hits this, and if she can get Danny Smith to make the count, it’ll be all over!
VA: Why didn’t she try to wake that clumsy moron up before she went for the move, Malone?
MM: I would say every second counts in a situation like this, Vince. If NOTHING gets up while she’s trying to wake Danny Smith up, it’s all o–
COME ON, COME ON, LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
COME ON, GET UP, LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
YELL IT OUT
DO OR DIE
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
VA: What the HELL?!?!
The crowd absolutely EXPLODES at the sound of In This Moment’s ‘Comanche’, daring to believe that it might mean what they think it could signify. All heads quickly turn toward the entrance stage, including Sahara’s, with a look of absolute bewilderment on her face as her jaw drops to the floor. And after a moment, just when the initial crowd reaction begins to taper off, an even LOUDER pop emanates from the crowd as a figure, dressed in a black wife-beater, black leather jacket, and black leather pants, emerges from behind the curtain…
MM: OH MY GOD! IT’S SINNOCENCE!!
VA: What in the holy HELL is Jada Kaine doing here, Malone?!?
MM: The former two-time EWA World Heavyweight Champion! She’s been retired since June of 2016 due to multiple injuries…AND SHE’S COMING TO THE RING!!
Indeed, Sinnocence has begun marching down the ramp toward the ring. As a clearly befuddled Sahara looks on, unable to comprehend exactly what the woman that trained her is doing here, we pan back toward the Viking Queen – a look of steeled determination on her face, and something else, bubbling underneath the surface, barely contained.
VA: What’s she doing here, Malone?!
MM: I think the champion’s hens may be coming home to roost, ladies and gen–
VA: What the hell does that even me–
Sinnocence climbs up onto the apron on the far side of the ring, and something inside Sahara clicks. Her face, masked by confusion, suddenly clears, and a snarl crosses the Crimson Queen’s face. As the Viking warrior ducks underneath the ropes, stepping inside an EWA ring for the first time in 17 months, Sahara flexes her legs, leaping to the top rope and springboarding off, flying straight toward Jada…
VA: She’s attacking her mentor! YES!!!
But Vincent Ashe’s excitement dies in the air as Jada sprints at Sahara, ducking the blonde’s attempt at a Flight of the Valkyrie, her version of Sinnocence’s famed maneuver named for the Viking Queen. Sinnocence continues her run, and as she hits the ropes, Sahara’s already on her feet, having rolled through the missed move. Sahara’s momentum carries her forward, and the champion hits the ropes on the opposite end, the rebound putting her on a collision course with the legend…
…but she never sees it coming.
For by the time Sahara’s on the way back toward her trainer, Sinnocence has leapt into the air, and in one perfectly fluid motion, her fist crashes straight into the mouth of the World Heavyweight Champion, dropping her in the center of the ring like a sack of potatoes as the crowd comes completely unglued.
VA: What is going on?! What the — I can’t even hear myself, Malone!!
MM: It was at Battlelines 36 when Sahara’s relentless assault on Josh Kaine put him in the hospital, ladies and gentlemen…and hell hath no fury like a mother scorned! The Viking Queen has returned and knocked our World Heavyweight Champion out cold!!
Sinnocence stands over the fallen Sahara for a moment, blood pooling from the champion’s mouth. She appears to be completely unconscious, and Jada Kaine stands, trembling with fury for a moment, gazing down at her as if she were the late Muhammad Ali towering over Sonny Liston. After a moment, she walks away, hopping over the top rope and landing on the outside. The retired legend walks up the ramp to a thunderous ovation, not acknowledging anyone in attendance, and never looking back toward the ring as she exits through the curtain.
VA: So…now what?
MM: What an unbelievable moment! Sinnocence just made the most unlikely of returns, perhaps in the history of this sport, to strike back at Sahara in retaliation for what she did to the Viking Queen’s son at our last Battlelines event! And now champion, challenger, and referee are all out inside the squared circle!
After a moment passes, NOTHING slowly comes to, shaking his head slowly to clear the cobwebs. The first thing he notices is referee Danny Smith – and a beat later, he sees the fallen Sahara, across the ring. He grabs Danny Smith by the hand, and physically drags the senior official behind him as he crawls over to Sahara, collapsing on top of her and shouting at Smith. Smith looks up, clearly dazed, but sees the pin, and begins an agonizingly slow count….
THREE–NO!! SAHARA WITH HER FOOT ON THE ROPES AT THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND, AND DANNY SMITH SEES IT!
MM: Sahara nearly lost the World Heavyweight Championship right there, thanks to Sinnocence! What an incredible turn of events! This match continues on!
VA: Thanks to that evil, no-good–
MM: Remember what happened the last time you bad-mouthed her, Vince?
VA: My jaw remembers. (sighs)
MM: And NOTHING is livid! He’s really letting Danny Smith have a piece of his mind right now!
Indeed, the Purveyor’s in the dazed Danny Smith’s face, demanding an explanation. Meanwhile, Sahara claws at the mat, kicking her legs out wildly as she desperately tries to climb to her feet, mouth still oozing fresh blood from the devastating punch delivered by the Viking Queen. The World Heavyweight Champion finally manages to pull herself up to her knees, holding her mouth with one unsteady hand…
MM: PURE HATE! PURE HATE!! PURE HATE!!
VA: He hit it out of nowhere, Malone!
Indeed, just as Sahara pulled herself to her knees, NOTHING noticed, and after taking a few steps backward, raced forward, NAILING Sahara with the full force of the move! The blonde crumbles to the mat, and The Purveyor falls on top of her, hooking the leg as Danny Smith begins the count once again!
MM: Oh my god he did it! The Crimson Queen has been dethroned!!
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this contest….and….NEWWWWW….EWA World Heavyweight Champion….NOTHING!!!!
VA: It’s a HATEful era in the EWA once again, Malone!
Danny Smith retrieves the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, handing it to the Purveyor, who staggers to his feet, clasping the World Heavyweight Championship to his chest. The camera quickly pans back up to the onlooking Indrid Calder, high above the arena at the balcony concourse, who simply nods, turning and exiting into the sea of humanity as Placebo begins to echo through the KeyArena once again.
MM: An incredible performance tonight, and a tremendous amount of guts shown by both NOTHING as well as the now-former champion, Sahara–
VA: Ruined, Malone! Ruined by a retired has-been who couldn’t lace Joe Lemon’s boots in the condition she’s in! What the hell was Stacy Vandervort thinking to allow such a travesty as this? Congratulations to NOTHING, but Sahara was just robbed of the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, and that’s a fact!
NOTHING climbs the turnbuckle, holding the championship belt high above his head. Meanwhile, in the opposing corner, Sahara pulls herself into a sitting position, leaning against the corner turnbuckles…a completely vacant look in her eyes. No emotion, no meltdown…as if she’s devoid of all feeling, she stares blankly ahead with a near catatonic look on her face.
MM: Ladies and gentlemen, NOTHING is the new EWA World Heavyweight Champion, and we now know our main event for This Means War on December 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’ll be that man you see there, in his first title defense, as he defends the EWA World Heavyweight Title against a man he knows all too well, the Youth King himself, Martin Robertson.
VA: And it’ll be another chapter written in that epic rivalry from 2016, Malone. Speaking of 2016, that’s where Sinnocence belongs! I still can’t believe this actually happened!
NOTHING hops down from the turnbuckle, noticing the bloodied Sahara seated in the corner. He crosses the ring and extends a hand – and perhaps an invitation – to the now-former champion. But Sahara simply stares through him, almost as if she doesn’t even know he’s there, and after a moment, the Purveyor gazes at her before slapping the championship on his shoulder and exiting through the ropes.
VA: I hope Sahara’s okay, she looks broken or something.
MM: Ladies and gentlemen, that’s all the ti…
HAIL TO THE KING!
HAIL TO THE ONE…
MM: What in the hell?
VA: It’s Robertson! He’s putting the new champion on notice immediately!
Stepping out on the top of the entrance ramp, as NOTHING looks up from the bottom of the ramp, is Martin Robertson, bandage across his forehead from his earlier match with Michael Draven, accompanied by Alyssa Marie Haven right by his side. Martin stops and simply begins gesturing that the title will be around his waist soon enough…
MM: Nearly twenty years ago, Grady Smith and NOTHING started what was perhaps one of, if not the greatest rivalries our sport has ever seen. But now…
VA: But now, his far-superior son, Martin Robertson, is going to finish what his father couldn’t!
As Martin continues to motion for the belt around his waist, NOTHING takes the World Heavyweight Championship and hoists it high in the air above his head.
MM: It’s going to be an epic main event at This Means War, but before that, we’ll see you back here on December 7, when we head back home to Boston, and bring Battlelines 38 to you live from the Combat Zone! For Terry Bull, Allison Haines and Vincent Ashe…I’m Mike Malone. NOTHING is the new World Heavyweight Champion, and Martin Robertson is his number one contender! Good night, folks!
The camera focuses one last time on the Purveyor, standing on the stage, championship belt held high above his head – before cutting once more to Sahara, still staring blankly ahead, expressionless.
Fade to black.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND NEW EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: NOTHING (22:49)
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Azrael Goeren -vs- Buck Dresden – Brandon H.
Joe Lemon -vs- Dane Preston – Gates
Indrid Calder -vs- Jester Smiles – Eric M.
Santa Muerte -vs- Grace Goeren – Sean B.
Murphy Doyle Maher -vs- Katsuro Yoshida – Harlan H.
Martin Robertson -vs- Michael Draven – Chris F.
Lou -vs- William West -vs- Philip Donovan – Harlan H.
Cerberus -vs- The Erinyes – Sean B.
NOTHING -vs- Sahara – Gates