(We fade into The Combat Zone in Boston, MA with the crowd going wild in anticipation of the night full of EWA action they’re about to witness. As the crowd stands on their feet chanting “E-DUB-A! E-DUB-A! E-DUB-A!” their excitement spins into confusion as a blast of static booms from the loudspeakers. The lights in the arena dim to pitch blackness as the EWA faithful quickly reach to hold up their phones to illuminate the arena. As they do, familiar words begin to fill the air…)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
(The confusion in the air quickly turns into a mixed reaction for the individuals about to make their presence known. It’s about a 70/30 split of fans who are cheering versus booing the imminent arrival of the Pillars of HATE. As the droning tones of the song billow out across the masses a faint red light shines on the entrance ramp. Into it walks The Harbinger of HATE and the newly crowned EWA World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING. The EWA World Heavyweight Championship is clasped firmly around his waist and as he takes center stage he pauses to look across those in attendance. He then tilts his head to his left, and then to his right, before facing straight ahead.
From out of the darkness behind him Indrid Calder steps forward to join NOTHING at his right side, gaze focused forward. William West is next to join, flanking NOTHING on the left side and staring similarly forward as his grotesque jaw twitches under the crimson light shining down upon them. Finally, standing behind the trio is the Titan of HATE himself, Cal Rayner. The behemoth stands tall with arms crossed directly behind the Champion.
All at once, the four men begin to walk toward the ring in perfect rhythm with one another as the red light follows. Their focus remains on the ring ahead of them, ignoring the boos and scant cheers of the crowd around them. As they reach the ring they all stop as one as quickly as they started. NOTHING takes a deep breath in before grasping the top rope and pulling himself onto the apron. He steps into the ring, advancing toward the center of the ring as the remaining Pillars follow suit.
The red glow from above now rests above the quartet as they stand in the center of the ring, now each standing side-by-side in the center of the ring. The music slowly fades, but the red light remains harshly painting all of HATE in scarlet. Again, much of the crowd boo and jeer wildly while a small contingent of the audience attempts to get a “HATE! HATE! HATE!” chant going.
NOTHING stares out across the humanity before him and reaches into his back pocket to retrieve a microphone. He slowly brings ot to his lips to speak above the considerable crowd noise.)
NOTHING: What you see standing before you is not merely a collection of men, or athletes, or even Warriors. What you see standing before you is a singularity. A single machine whose gears fit perfectly together and move all at once to serve our purpose. We avoid the petty squabbles and disagreements which plague the lives of all of you and of all of the other competitors sitting backstage.
And when we avoid these petty squabbles and set our sights on a singular goal, it does not come at the loss of the individual. No, not in the least. When you look across this group of men, you still see The Stranger… The Masochist… The Titan… and The Purveyor. It is with the strengths and weaknesses of each of us combined that we are able to come together, as one, and achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.
First came the very formation of HATE in the EWA, aligning myself with friends old and new.
We focused our energies on recruiting a certain Banshee into our ranks and, for a time, she was successfully integrated into our way of life. She become a part of the machine, but only until she began to look outside of this family and put her own selfish needs above the needs of the group.
Of course, along the way came the great war with The Youth and, while the winners and losers of the battles within that war can be argued, you need only ask your own eyes – who still stands here, as one, in the EWA?
There is a constant within all of these points and through all of our ups and downs.
That constant is respect. Respect for one another and for the ends at which we will arrive by whatever means we deem necessary. Respect for the relationships we have forged and the unity grown by standing side by side with one another. Sure, from time to time we need the space to breathe… The Stranger briefly departed on his own personal excursion and The Masochist’s faith was briefly shaken before falling back into the fold.
All along the way, though, each of us knew what the finality of our situation would be. That, one day, we would be back here holding the richest prize in all of professional wrestling and proclaiming our dominance over the EWA. Today is Day One of the bleakest future for the EWA, its Warriors, and anyone who stands in the way of the Machine of HATE.
(The Masochist reaches over, and NOTHING places the live mic into his eager hands. West raises it to speak, but he notices a murmuring from the crowd. It starts out faint, but the chant quickly gains momentum, and there is no doubt who it is meant for.)
(West grins, the sickening bone in his jaw poking out even further as he does.)
William West: You’re right. I followed the traitor out of HATE, and look where it got me? Ostracized from the entirety of the EWA. A pariah in the company very few people in this building were even around for its early days. I warred with my brothers, and for what? What did I gain, but new scars? New bruises that have since faded?
What I didn’t gain was happiness, and that’s what everyone wants, right? Everyone wants to be happy, but the problem with that is nobody wants to really do anything to help someone else gain that happiness. It’s supposed to be give and take, and quite frankly, I’m due to start taking.
It’s ironic, you know, that the very person who led me astray, well, she’s the one who pushed me back home where I belong. A gentle hand extended from her little protective bubble, since that’s as close to human contact as a Masochist is allowed, apparently. But I found my way home, and now, HATE has had its Prodigal Son return home, and we are whole once more.
(The crowd at large lets The Masochist know of their feelings: a wave of bile and disdain washes over the collective Hive, but West ignores the boos and the insults hurled at him, save his widening grin.)
And tonight? I can think of no better way to thank you, Mags, but bursting your little bubble. We will cut away at your protection and tonight? I will thank you properly the only way I can picture it. By returning to you the gift that you have bestowed upon me: My Heartbreak.
(Indrid Calder steps forward, planting a hand gloved in gray leather across NOTHING’s shoulder. The Masochist presents him with the microphone, and The Stranger sweeps his gaze across the denizens of the arena. His irises are like swirling blue spirals beneath his hooded shroud, and they offer more questions than answers.)
Indrid Calder: What is the nature of a hive? Why does HATE function to a superior degree compared to our contemporaries? Your World Champion said it best. Within this hive, each chamber is accounted for. If we need guidance, we have a Purveyor to light the way. If we require chaos at its rawest, we call on a Masochist. If strength is necessary, we have a towering Titan. And if we need machinations of a cloak-and-dagger sort…well…that’s where I come in.
(Calder’s mouth blooms up into a knowing smile, and the Pillars return it.)
Indrid Calder: There is a word of power that defines us. That word…is longevity. We have survived impossible conditions. We have endured while many assumed that we were doomed to fall. Times have changed, power shifts have occurred in the EWA, but HATE remains fundamentally the same. The Fallout? Grace has been relegated to an afterthought, and her angels have either strayed or gone to the dirt. The Youth? Scattered to the four winds with nothing but an egotistical boy to claim the remnants of their legacy. 3K? Here for a cup of coffee at best, and snuffed out before even a proper sip.
The groups have come and gone. Groups don’t last. Groups are full of infighting and lackadaisical drive. What lasts, EWA? Only us. Only the hive. We are always here. We always HATE. And we…never go away.
(Calder sweeps his arms outward, and the crowd bellows out a mixed reaction for the soothsayer of HATE.)
Indrid Calder: The World Title binds us, and we are even more powerful with it in our possession. The real question should be…who challenges us? Cerberus? Nothing but a collection of wounded puppies more intent on fucking each others brains out than standing for a cause. The Erinyes? Santa Muerte has grit, and I like what I see with her…but they’re misguided. They think the tweenie Gracie Goeren still has a scrap of relevance left in her bratty little career. The Lemonheads?? They’d have more of a chance than a certain other growing irritation…
(Calder’s teeth grit for a moment. The knife-blue eyes flash with buried fury.)
Indrid Calder: Michael Draven and his stitched-together band of motley fools and backstabbing Banshees. Draven is collecting nothing but MEAT, and he will deliver them straight to the slaughterhouse if this continues. Hear me now if you sit in that EWA locker room. Draven is peddling hope…but it is false hope. Hope does not exist in this organization as long as HATE exists. We starve you of hope. We are the apex. We sit atop the mountain, and there is no room for those who are not Pillars. If you join The Vengeful One…you are aborting your own career in the wrestling business.
(Rayner claps heartily behind Calder, the giant’s tombstone teeth bared in a war dog’s grin.)
Indrid Calder: And if you don’t listen to reason? Well…there’s always the alternative.
(Calder lifts up the mic to Rayner’s scarred lips, and the Titan’s proclamation is short and sweet.)
Cal Rayner: We fuckin’ gut ya. We kill yer dreams. We squash ya like lil’ beetles and smear whatever is left on the heels of our boots. That’s all you are to HATE. That’s all you’ll ever be. Fuckin’ lil circus of optimistic fleas…just looking to get stepped on.
(The Purveyor glances over toward Rayner with a devilish grin stretching across his face. He steps forward slightly, and the remaining three men adjust their position in the ring slightly to form a semi-circle facing forward. NOTHING slowly unbuckles the EWA World Heavyweight Championship from around his waist, grasping it in his right hand and holding it straight out. The red light from above glimmers off of the metal and gold, as then a second hand reaches out – the hand of William West. He places his hand upon the gold alongside the hand of NOTHING before a third hand – the hand of Indrid Calder – reaches out to rest his hand upon the Championship. Finally, the massive hand of Cal Rayner reaches forward and places his hand on the beaming plate of the EWA World Heavyweight Championship. All four members of HATE stand tall, each with a hand laid upon the prize stretched out in front of them. NOTHING raises the microphone in his free hand as he looks back and forth amongst the Pillars beside him.)
NOTHING: We are one. And as long as we stand as one, we will stand tall atop the muck and grime of the EWA. There is no sense in questioning the future lying ahead for each and every one of you. No matter how far you may stray… no matter how hard you try to escape your fate… there is no running from HATE.
(NOTHING drops the microphone, it landing in the center of the ring with a loud thump, as “Strange Our Lives Should End” begins to slowly creep over the loudspeakers. The four Pillars melt away from the wine-shaded ring until all is left is a spotlight over emptiness. As the lights in the arena come back up, the men are nowhere to be found. We cut to ringside where Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe are standing by.)
Mike Malone: Ominous words from our new World Heavyweight Champion here to kick off Battlelines 38, ladies and gentlemen! I’m Mike Malone, and as always I’m alongside my broadcast colleague, Vincent Ashe, and tonight, we’ll see three of these Pillars of HATE in our main event against the former champion Sahara, the reigning EWA Network Champion Maggie McIntyre, and Michael Draven! We’ve also got–Vincent, what in the hell is that?
The camera pans slightly right to show Vincent Ashe holding an object in his hands – he proudly displays it, for all the world to see. It’s a brown teddy bear with black “hair” on its head, a smattering of what’s apparently supposed to be facial hair, and complete with black “fight shorts” and a black “Praise the God Queen” shirt on it.
The bear itself is quite ugly, hideous, even.
Vincent Ashe: This, Malone…this is the greatest possession I own. Possibly the greatest gift I’ve ever received in my entire life. Earlier tonight, as I was coming into the arena, I was stopped by our glorious and wonderful God Queen, who presented this beautiful custom-made Vincent Ashe Build-A-Bear to me, Malone! TO ME! As a Christmas present! She truly is a merciful and glorious God Queen. PRAISE HER, MALONE!!
MM: That bear is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. Why is it wearing Grace Goeren’s ring gear?
VA: YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH MALONE! You’re just jealous that you’re not bathed in the glorious light of our God Queen like I am. Repent, Malone. It’s not too late.
MM: I…yeah I’m speechless. Let’s…let’s just go to the ring for our opening contest here tonight!
MURPHY DOYLE MAHER VS PHILIP DONOVAN
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for —
Holding the mic out toward the fans with a smile, they chant back, “One Fall!”
VA: Nikki will probably hear about that one from Vandervort.
NR: Introducing first, weighing in at 214 pounds from Brooklyn, New York, he is, Murphy … Doyle … Maher!
The arena lights brighten as a drum roll of celtic origin begins to play. From beyond the curtain, “our man”, Murphy Doyle Maher appears, unshaken by the sight of the capacity crowd. 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 as Murphy takes to his corner, awaiting his opponent.
NR: Introducing next, from Newport Beach, California, weighing in at 210 pounds, the man they call 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.
VA: Good God, this entrance. I feel like I’m at a shitty rave.
MM: Yeah, but the fans seem to love its energy!
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 with hand slaps. He walks up the ring steps and enters the ring by hopping over the top rope with a fluid scissor kick, staring at his opponent, Murphy Doyle Maher.
MM: Maher looks about as serious as anyone I’ve seen–
VA: Well, he’s about to get the chance to show us what he’s got. His last match ended so quickly that he let his frustration get the better of him in a post match cheapshot, and if he loses his cool like that against the Doctor, it might be all she wrote.
Motioning toward the center of the ring, David Tucker makes the call for the bell and sends the match underway.
MM: Here we go.
Locking up in the center, Maher ducks under and grabs Donovan around the waist. Grabbing Maher’s hands, PhD slowly forces them away and twists out of his grip as Maher acknowledges the clean break. Locking up again, the two equally matched, nearly identically sized opponents find themselves in a standoff, with neither able to push the other toward the corner — PhD twists into a side headlock and cinches it on before Murph shoves him off into the ropes, Donovan ducks a clothesline on the rebound and hits the other ropes with a head of steam, leaving his feet Donovan connects with a clean flying shoulder to Murph’s upper chest, sending him staggering back into the ropes … scrambling to his feet, Donovan charges and is met with a defensive knee to the midsection!
VA: Now here we go! Action is starting to pick up!
Grabbing Donovan from behind, Murph lifts him into german suplex into a pin!
VA: Not a chance, too soon!
Rolling out of the pinfall, Donovan staggers to his feet and falls back against the ropes and Murph is on him again. Grabbing him by the hand, he sends PhD toward the turnbuckles, REVERSAL, and Maher hits the corner hard, Donovan follows it up with a crushing clothesline in the corner.
MM: Nice reversal.
Climbing to the second rope with Murph pinned up against the corner, PhD raises a fist NO — Murph shoves him off with authority as Donovan again charges toward the corner but is met by a back elbow! Following it up, Murph hits him with a stiff knee to the midsection and hits a quick snap suplex!
VA: Now THAT was a furious exchange!
Stomping down on the falling Phil Donovan, Murph fires off a series of hard rights before PhD smartly rolls himself out of the ring to the outside.
MM: Smart move.
Waiting patiently in the ring, Donovan takes a few breaths before getting up onto the ring apron and slowly stepping through.
VA: Well, Murph kept his cool there, he could have easily followed him to the outside where unpredictability reigns supreme.
Locking up Murph turns it into a side headlock, but PhD rolls back with a rollup!
MM: Kickout at two and a half!
The second Murph gets to his feet he launches a flying clothesline and nearly takes Donovan’s head off. Yanking him back to his feet, Murph sends him into the ropes and PhD launches himself NO! Murph catches him in a bearhug on the rebound!
MM: I can’t believe he didn’t collapse under the weight of that momentum!
VA: It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a bear–OHH!
Rearing back, Murph headbutts PhD in the chin and upper chest area — AGAIN! AGAIN! The crowd cheers the brutal move as Donovan catches him on a successive attempt and shoves his head back, but Murph refuses to relinquish the bearhug!
MM: I’m surprised he didn’t get busted open there, that was three vicious shots to the chin — he’s gotta break this hold!
Reaching back, Donovan fires off a hard right to Murph’s forehead, and another … dropping PhD, Murph shoves him into the ropes and quickly clasps him in the bearhug again only this time, closer to the ropes, Donovan shoves himself off the ropes with his foot sending Murph backwards, BELLY TO BELLY OVERHEAD SUPLEX!
MM: Wow!!! Nice move by Murph!
VA: He barely got him over there. The Doctor shoved himself off the ropes and Murph nearly tripped over his own feet from the sudden change in direction, but wow, I can’t believe he reeled off that suplex! Impressive.
As Donovan slowly staggers to his feet, he grabs hold of the top rope as he’s met by a hard kick to the stomach doubling him over. Grabbing him with an inverted headlock, Murph hooks the inside arm yanks him off the ropes!
MM: The Full Irish!
VA: Without warning! Talk about seizing the moment!
Pulling Donovan away from the ropes, Murph makes the cover.
VA: He got him!
MM: Wow! What a BIG win here in the EWA for the newcomer! Philip Donovan is no slouch in that ring! What a heavy hitting finisher, Vincent.
VA: It was at that, and now I’m not making excuses for The Doctor PhD, but it’s clear he had his mind on Katsuro here and your man Murph showed him why you NEVER look ahead in this business!
MM: My man Murph?
VA: Well, he sure as hell ain’t my man.
Back in the ring, Philip Donovan slams a fist into the mat, clearly unhappy with the match finish before rolling himself out of the ring in disappointment. David Tucker grabs Murph by the wrist and raises his hand in victory.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the match by pinfall, Murphy … Doyle … Maher!
The tentative crowd cheers the victory, but it’s clear they’re still becoming acquainted with the newcomer to the EWA roster. All the way up the entrance ramp, Philip Donovan can be seen yelling at himself in disappointment…
MM: And now PhD goes on to face Katsuro Yoshida at This Means War, after the events that transpired last time at Battlelines 37, folks.
VA: That’s right, Malone, and we’ll see Yoshida here later on as he steps into the ring with one of the EWA’s up-and-comers in Dane Preston!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MURPHY DOYLE MAHER (8:44)
MM: Let’s head backstage where Terry Bull is standing by with the former EWA World Champion, Sahara.
VA: This should be fun. Hasn’t she made it clear only Allison can talk to her?!
MM: I guess we’re about to find out!
(Tentatively approaching Sahara, who is seated on a folding chair with her elbows propped on her knees, Terry Bull clears his throat to get the blonde’s attention.)
Terry Bull: *Ahem* Sahara. Excuse me. Pardon the interruption, but since your devastating title loss at the hands of NOTHING and to some degree, Sinnocence–did you have any words?
(Lifting her head, she looks at Terry with a blank expression on her face, as he stands there nervously, mic extended. The hollow look in her eyes causes Terry to take a step back as she slowly tilts her head, as if she were deciding what to do. Moments later, she turns away and looks off into the distance.)
MM: She’s not all there, Ashe. Terry better get the hell outta there–
VA: She–uh oh…
(The blonde suddenly shoves Terry out of her way and rushes forward, the camera quickly following behind. Storming across the room, Sahara grabs referee Danny Smith by the collar and yanks him up. As people near the scene scatter, she shoves him backwards into the stairs that lead to the gorilla position. Climbing the stairs, she grabs him by the shirt, and forcefully drags him with her.)
MM: What’s she doing with Smith?!
VA: Danny Smith was the referee in her match on the last Battlelines, Malone!
MM: We’d better get securi–
(Mid-sentence, Danny Smith comes flying through the curtain, tumbling partially down the rampway as the furious former world champion quickly catches up to him. Yanking him part way to his feet, she drags him toward the ring and finally tosses Smith beneath the bottom rope. Storming around the outside of the ring, she grabs a mic off the announcers table and rolls herself into the ring.
Getting to his knees as she approaches him, Danny Smith holds up a hand in self defense as she once again grabs hold of his shirt and twists her fist in it.
Her voice is abnormally calm and collected, despite the physical nature of the confrontation.)
Sahara: Good evening, Daniel. You doing well?!
(Like a deer in headlights, Danny Smith simply shakes his head.)
MM: God, her calm, cordial tone is creepy given the circumstance.
Sahara: I was genuinely curious about something, Daniel. The last Battlelines when Sinn busted me open while you were takin’ your exaggerated “ref nap” from one weak ass shot from NOTHING? You know the one, don’t you? When you came around, why didn’t you disqualify him?! Not only did he hit you with the Pure Hate shining wizard thing he does — on purpose I might add — but that bitch Sinn then rocked me with a Ride…and def not the kinda ride I prefer. Of course, in typical ref fashion, you didn’t see anything. Nope. You just turned the other cheek. Kinda like this–
(Shoving the mic up against the side of his face, Sahara forces him to turn his head away as she backs him into the turnbuckles.)
MM: The way she’s–she’s shoving the mic in his face like he’s some sorta dog…someone better get out here before she does something stupid–
VA: It’s crazy how there are never any security around when ya need ‘em.
Sahara: No? Ya got nothing?! No lame excuse?! No denial?! Ya know something? You ref’s, which are nothing more than failed wrestlers, y’all are still gettin’ back at me for what we did to the legendary George Abjornson, aren’t ya? Remember when us Fallout girls broke that bitch and put him out to pasture? Oh, I know you do…I can see it by the way you look at me with disdain in yer eyes.
(Knocking on his head with the mic, she creates a repeated thud that echoes across the arena as a devious smile comes across her face. The stunned crowd quickly turns negative to her bully like treatment of Danny Smith.)
MM: For those of you that may not be aware, George Abjornson was the former head referee of the EWA before the Fallout ended his career permanently with a cowardly backstage attack, and now she’s standing here laughing about it.
VA: She’s seriously lost it, Malone…
Sahara: Can you feel that, Daniel? It sends shivers down my spine. You ever get that tingling sensation that something bad is about to happen?
(Grabbing him by the back of the neck, her voice perks up with an almost jovial tone.)
Sahara: That’s because it is!
(Yanking Danny Smith forward, she stands nearly nose to nose with him as she brings the mic up between them, snarling through her words.)
Sahara: You cost me everything. Because YOU can’t do your fucking job. A job I will now deprive you of–
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
(The crowd EXPLODES as the retired former EWA World Heavyweight Champion, Sinnocence, emerges from the back and storms down the rampway, heading directly toward the ring–)
MM: Oh, thank goodness!
VA: Saved by the bell, Danny boy!
MM: That woman right there is one of the biggest legends in the history of our industry. Two time former EWA World Heavyweight Champion, and if you train those cameras on the fans here in the Combat Zone, you’ll see by the sheer number of Sinnocence shirts the lasting impact that Jada Kaine has left on the EWA, nearly two years after her medically forced retirement.
(A scowl comes to the blonde’s face as she drags Danny Smith around by his collar as she watches Sinn come down the rampway. As the Viking Queen approaches, the blonde violently shoves him away.)
MM: I got a feeling this confrontation is exactly what Sahara wanted.
VA: Jesus, this is like watching Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker — only all twisted up and reversed!
Sahara: Come to gimme another “Ride”?!
(Grabbing a mic ringside, Sinnocence ascends the stairs and steps through the ropes. Immediately approaching her protege, she gets right up in Sahara’s face, causing the blonde lean back ever so slightly and turn her head away as her mentor stares her down.)
MM: Not so tough now that she’s up in your face, are ya?
VA: She’s always had some sort of odd control over Sahara, but you can see by her demeanor, the student is slowly breaking free of her grasp here. Anyone other than the legendary Sinnocence getting in Sahara’s face like that and fists would already be flying. I’m kinda surprised Sahara didn’t straight up attack her–
MM: She probably wants answers, Ashe.
VA: Can you blame her?! Sinnocence cost her the most coveted prize in all of wrestling.
Sinnocence: You’ve been blowin’ enough smoke to engulf your fuckin’ hometown, Blondie. I get that you’re pissed, but I did nothin’ you didn’t fuckin’ deserve.
(A smirk of disbelief comes to her face as Sahara finally takes a step forward, looking her mentor in the eyes.)
Sahara: Deserve? You may not believe this, but there was a time that I loved you, Jada Kaine … or Sinnocence … whichever you’d prefer. Maybe I wasn’t very good at showin’ it, but you were like a mother to me, as fucked up as that sounds. To all of us girls. You shattered the glass ceiling that held us down, and I’ll never forget you for it. I only exist because you broke through that barrier, both physically and painfully, and showed girls like me that it WAS possible to dream and dream BIG. You took the brunt of it — for all of us — and look at you now … you paid the price. And that’s why this hurts so much. That’s why this is so painful … for me.
Sinnocence: Painful…for you? Bitch. You’re not the one who’s spilled blood and broken bones in the name of this business. You’ve contributed nothing to the legacy of women in this industry besides being a thirty-five year old rookie who would have been an epic failure had it not been for me.
(The collective gasp and laughter echoes throughout the arena.)
Sinnocence: You signed your name over to me because it was the smart thing to do and you agreed with me. I saved your life. I kept you from crashing and burning…I saved your career from becoming an implosion….and how do you choose to repay me? By stealing from me. You take my finishers and call them your own. You wear the braids of a Valkyrie when you’ve done nothing to earn that trip to Valhalla. You broke my real heir’s heart and put him in the fucking hospital. So tell me, when did you ever love me, Sahara?
(The Viking Queen doesn’t give her a chance to continue as the crowd roars their approval of the interruption.)
Sinnocence: You’ve been talking your damn head off for a year, so shut the fuck up and let someone else talk for a change!
MM: Ohhhh, wow!
VA: She can’t talk to the Crimson Queen like that! Who the hell does she think she is?!
MM: She’s the legendary Sinnocence, and she can do whatever she damn well pleases!
(A buzz from the crowd quickly shifts to a vulgar chant directed at the former champion…)
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
(CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP)
“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
(CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP)
(Turning to the side with an annoyed look on her face as the crowd repeatedly chants ‘shut the fuck up’, Sahara mouths something back at them as she struggles to maintain her composure. Sinn waits a few moments for the crowd to calm itself.)
Sinnocence: Everything I did for you…I did for your own good. If I hadn’t worked you like a dog for as long as I did, you wouldn’t have become what you did. You never would have captured the World Title…and it feels fuckin’ good, doesn’t it?
(Sahara just nods, giving a half-hearted shrug.)
Sinnocence: And how’d it feel when you’re riding on top of the world, Blondie? Felt like you were invincible, huh?
Sahara: Maybe. What of it?!
Sinnocence: And how’d it feel to have it all taken from you with one well-placed punch?
(Gritting her teeth, the blonde shakes her head at the crowd’s reaction to the comment.)
Sahara: Probably how it felt when you watched me dismantle that puppydog you call a son.
VA: Hahahaha! That was great!
MM: That was a sickening attack laid onto Josh Kaine, the son of Sinnocence, at the hands of Sahara a few weeks ago…
(The retired EWA legend just cracks a smile, shaking her head.)
Sinnocence: You never fucking learn, do you? I made you, Sahara. You think I can’t unmake you? Josh is young, he can take a beating and he learns from his mistakes while he heals. But you…you’re old, Blondie. You’re a year into the business and already at the end of your rope. I gave you the chance to succeed and when you won that title, I was so proud. I was ready to hand you back the reins to your career and to your finances because I thought you were ready to handle your life again.
Sahara: I AM ready and I want what’s MINE!
Sinnocence: You’re far from ready, Blondie. What you did to Josh proves that. What you did to me proves that. So please, tell me more about how you were wronged and slighted and unable to learn from the simplest of lessons. Really, do go on. I’m sure the fans here want to hear more of your fucking whining.
Sahara: You know what the worst part about this is, Jada?!
(There’s obvious condescension in her tone as she emphasizes the name.)
Sahara: Seeing you like this. Seeing you try to grasp that last dying breath of fame before it’s gone forever. All I wanted to remember was the Sinn that took this industry by storm. The champion you were. The champion that trained me. Just a few years back you were the one that motivated me to step in this ring. To give this a shot. I remember it like it was yesterday. Watching you on Combat TV, seeing this–this can do, badass, take no shit, firestorm that just … kept … coming for more. You had no quit in ya.
(With an index finger, Sahara motions back and forth from her eye to Sinn’s.)
Sahara: And that’s what we got in common. And I can tell by that look in yer eye that you know it’s true. It’s what you saw in me. It’s what sets us apart from pack. When we come out here … in this ring … we’re both willing to die in it. Most say that, but they don’t mean it.
Ya know, you sent shivers down my spine the day you won the title? You were the hero I looked up to–
(The crowd cheers, momentarily cutting her off.)
Sahara: Yea, that’s right. Cheer her! She was a hero! My hero! A hero to each and every one of us!
(The taller blonde takes a step forward, looking down at Sinn.)
Sahara: A hero I now look down upon.
(The thunderous boos emerge as Sinn cocks her head to the side, her eyebrows slightly raised.)
Sahara: So I’ll tell ya what. At This Means War … it’s time I step out of your overbearing shadow. A little while ago you claimed that I’ve contributed nothing to the legacy of women in this industry? How about I contribute a little something called…your end?! Whether ya like it or not, I’m the only woman that matters in this industry — no, fuck that, I’ve transcended this ‘woman’s movement’ bullshit — I AM this fucking industry. You wanna prove me wrong?! Then step out of the shadows at This Means War … or make it easy on yerself and step aside so I can take the throne … where I belong.
MM: Oh my…did…did Sahara just challenge Sinnocence to a match at This Means War?!
VA: These people want to see it, Malone, listen to them!
(Indeed, the crowd has picked up a thunderous chant…)
“ONE MORE MATCH!
ONE MORE MATCH!
ONE MORE MATCH!”
MM: Can she even medically compete, though? She was forced into retirement due to injuries sustained at the hands of Osbourne Kilminster…
(Jada visibly heaves a loud sigh and shakes her head.)
Sinnocence: This really is not a road you want to go down, Sahara.
(The former World Champion sneers at her mentor, pointing a finger at her and yelling inaudibly at the Viking Queen.)
Sinnocence: But if you fucking insist, I will be happy to put my monster to rest.
MM: OH MY GOD! SHE ACCEPTED THE CHALLENGE!
(A thunderous roar from the crowd is quickly cut off as Jada Kaine continues speaking.)
Sinnocence: You do not matter, Sahara. You never have. You were nothing but a colossal waste of my fucking time. You’ll never measure up.
(A slow smile spreads across the face of Sinnocence as she stares down her protege with absolutely no fear.)
Sinnocence: You’ll never sit on the throne for long because you don’t have the foresight to keep it, I proved that with one well-placed punch…but I’ll give you your match. It’s the last thing you’ll ever get from me, but for now, I’m done with you.
(Jada hands her microphone back to one of the ringside attendants and goes to step through the ropes held open for her graciously by Referee Danny Smith. Sinnocence never looks back at her protege, instead thanking Danny Smith for helping her and asks him to accompany her to the back to the roar of the crowd.)
MM: What an incredible turn of events we’ve witnessed here tonight, ladies and gentlemen! At This Means War, for the first time in nearly twenty months, the legendary Viking Queen, SInnocence, will return to the squared circle to go one-on-one with the woman she trained, Sahara!
VA: I thought we’d seen the last of Jada Kaine, Malone. I truly did. But I’m thrilled with this development. I’m over the moon! Because finally, once and for all, we’re going to see Sinnocence put down like the crippled old dog that she truly is!
(Annoyed by her mentor’s sudden exist, Sahara approaches the ropes toward the rampway, and watches them leave. When they reach the top of the rampway, the blonde finally lifts the mic back to her lips.
The Crimson Queen’s voice is distinctly sullen.)
Sahara: Yer right. I may not sit on that throne for long … but I WILL sit on it.
(We fade backstage on the scowling visage of the Crimson Queen.)
(He doesn’t like the shows where he has to prepare for matches – he never has. There’s something to be said for childhood backyard fights when you agreed a time and a place and you met at precisely that time and it was on. There was no time for nerves, no time for anticipation or doubt. In, fight, done.
Sterling sits on the poorly-varnished slat bench and stares at the outfit laid on the chair in front on him. He hadn’t even known what to wear, so came with some basic black gi pants, a red belt, some red hand wraps and black and red wrestling shoes. This isn’t boxing or kickboxing or Thai boxing, so no need for 16oz gloves. It’s not technically MMA, so no need for 4oz gloves. It’s not pure amateur or Greco-Roman wrestling, so no need for a singlet.
Yeah, if it hadn’t washed over him before, if it had ever somehow slipped his mind, this would be the moment when it washed over him… but it isn’t. Nothing slips his mind, curse that it can be at times. He knows he’s not entirely sure what to expect, but he knows his opponent isn’t either. On paper, it’s a level playing field, but in the flesh it’s oh so very different.
He runs his hand through his hair and clenches a fist, measuring just how much could be grabbed and is pleased that there’s not enough to restrain his head. Arcing his neck from side to side, it pops and cracks, relieving the pressure as he stands and rolls his shoulders.
There’s a knock on the door to let him know he’s a few minutes out. The towel around his waist, having done the job of drying him after his shower, now due to be replaced by his chosen attire.
KATSURO YOSHIDA VS DANE PRESTON
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall!
The crowd, in unison, responds with “One Fall!”
NR: Introducing first, accompanied by his manager Mr. Kevin Oppenheimer, representing WorldWide Bushido Buntai, Katsuro Yoshida!
The arena suddenly falls into darkness as a lone spotlight shines down onto the stage as Koto by CloZee begins to play.
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.
MM: I say this everytime I see him come out, but what an intricate entrance.
Emerging from the back is his long-time 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.
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, 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, from Redwood City, California, “High Octane” Dane … Preston!
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.
VA: I see what he did there. High Octane Dane.
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
A blaring white light appears on the jumbotron 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 as Preston emerges onto the rampway, his 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
VA: May Led Zeppelin rest in peace.
MM: Can you ever just let anything go?! I think it sounds pretty damn energetic!
VA: Let it go? Not in this case. No. Preston has ruined music forever.
MM: I take it you’re not a fan?
VA: Of Dane Preston? Jury is still out — but his music is strike one.
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, giving Katsuro a glance as he brushes past him. Shrugging off his leather vest and handing it to the ring attendant, Preston turns his attention to his opponent. Referee Danny Smith approaches the center of the ring and calls for the bell.
MM: And here we go!
Locking up in the center of the ring, the slightly bigger Katsuro seems to have the advantage by weight, but Dane twists into a side headlock. Patting him on the back, Katsuro shoves him off into the ropes and the two collide shoulder to shoulder, Katsuro giving a few inches due to the momentum behind Preston, but neither man goes down.
Backing up a few steps with a bit of a smirk on his face, Preston thumbs at his nose as the two lock up again, this time Katsuro twisting Dane into a headlock, which Dane reverses into an armbar, which is reversed into another arm bar!
MM: Nice little technical display–
Locked up in a series of reversals, they tie up in the ropes as Dane releases the hold, holding his hands up as he takes a few steps back for the clean break.
VA: Technical schmeckle. This isn’t Japan. I wanna see some corkscrew planchas and red arrows. And Grace, I wanna see Grace.
MM: Well, the EWA crowd seems to like what they’re see–
Suddenly, the jumbotron springs to life with an image that reads, “Welcome to The New Wave” as ‘Le Perv’ by Carpenter Brut hits the PA.
MM: What the hell is this?!
VA: The Doctor is in the house!!!
Stepping out onto the rampway, Philip Donovan emerges from the back and slowly makes his way toward ringside, his eyes locked on Katsuro as his music stops…
VA: Katsuro cost him a shot that the Network Title at Battlelines 37, and it would appear The Doctor doesn’t forget.
As Katsuro approaches the ropes facing the rampway, Dane Preston looks out toward the crowd and shrugs, a bit of a snarky look on his face before he approaches Katsuro from behind with a rollup!
THREE — KICKOUT!
VA: Oh my God, YES! YES! AGAIN! IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
Vincent Ashe can clearly be heard laughing as a shocked Katsuro springs to his feet and kicks the bottom rope in frustration as a laughing Philip Donovan backs up the rampway. Dane Preston appears equally amused with the relatively easy victory–
MM: You can’t take your eye off the ball in the EWA, Katsuro! Our Warriors look for any edge they can find, because in the end, a win’s a win. And Dane Preston is victorious once again. The new guys are making quite the mark in the early goings.
VA: Dane Preston winning exactly the way his buddy MDM won against Katsuro is just icing on the cake, Malone. It’s time for Katsuro to recognize this the EWA and not whatever the hell he came from.
Pointing to his wrist, Dane Preston stands center ring as Danny Smith raises his hand in victory.
VA: But like I said earlier, the jury is still out on Mr. Preston. I still wanna see what this guy has got…
MM: He keeps winning and it’s just a matter of time before the world finds out.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: DANE PRESTON (3:36)
(We slowly fade in on Stacy Vandervort’s personal backstage office here at the Combat Zone, her desk littered with manila folders and stacks of paperwork. Stacy has her hands folded in front of her, looking back at an elderly bespectacled individual wearing a neat, wool gray suit.)
Stacy Vandervort: And you’re willing to state that on the record, Dr. Covington?
(The man on the opposite side of the desk smiles warmly and gives a reassuring nod. He gestures to one of the folders with his free hand before pointing at it directly with his index finger.)
Dr. Covington: Most definitely, Ms. Vandervort. In all my years of treating severe trauma cases I can safely say that this particular instance is one of the worst I have seen. You would be doing a disservice to the individual if you ignored such injuries. You have my findings and my opinion on the matter and I’ll be more than happy to reiterate them again when needed.
(Stacy smiles and gets to her feet, extending her hand to the doctor.)
Stacy Vandervort: Thank you so much for your expertise, doctor. We’ve done something great here tonight.
(The doctor stands and removes his coat from the back of the chair, draping it over his arm. He shakes Stacy’s hand and gives her a smile.)
Dr. Covington: If we don’t save them from themselves…who will?
(With that, the doctor turns and exits Stacy’s office. The exhausted EWA Executive Assistant beams down at the paperwork, organizing it neatly on her desk. Her face is one of immense relief, clearly whatever just happened is a huge weight off of her shoulders. The door to her office clicks open again as Stacy calls out without looking up.)
Stacy Vandervort: Did you forget something, Doctor…?
(When she receives no immediate response, Stacy glances up…and immediately her mood changes to one of extreme annoyance.)
Stacy Vandervort: No! Not now! Get out! NOW!
(Sliding into the camera shot is none other than the God Queen herself, GRACE GOEREN. Grace carries with her an extremely long and beautifully gift wrapped present under one arm and a fruitcake in her free hand. She plops down the decadent treat on Stacy’s desk which lands with a THUD, Stacy barely pulling a particular folder out of the way before she does so. Grace is all smiles and sunshine, extending the gift towards Vandervort.)
Grace Goeren: Merry Christmas, bitch! You’re looking super kawaii right now, you do somethin’ different with your hair? Like wash it or something for the first time in years? Combed all the cum out? Good on you, girl!
Stacy Vandervort: Get out of my office, Grace. NOW! I don’t have time to deal with you or your games tonight.
Grace Goeren: Games? Moi? Oh my lil’ hunty, I ain’t playin’ no games! I’m just here to spread a little holiday cheer! Even got you this nice little gift…that’s gratitude for ya!
(Grace not-so-subtly motions with her eyes towards the giant gift under her arm before dropping it haphazardly onto the desk with another loud THUD, again showing no regard for Stacy’s personal space or property.)
Grace Goeren: I wouldn’t open that with other chicas around though. They totes will get jelly. I went all out for you, girl. The Super Thrusting Pleasure Vibe 3000, complete with a gallon of lube for even the crustiest vag…
Stacy Vandervort: LEAVE!
(Acting like she’s been mortally wounded, Grace puts on the fakest sad face that she can conjure and hangs her head low.)
Grace Goeren: Fine, I know when I’m not wanted. I’ll just leave you here with your assload of problems and all of those other fuckcakes in the locker room bleating for your head. I mean, the whole NOTHING thing? Winning my strap? Thats bad juju, honey…turned a lot of them boys and girls backstage against you. I mean, they really be hatin’ on you. No confidence in your ability to have fair matches at ALL, that’s what they all be sayin’. That lil’ job of yours…hangin’ by a thread these days…
(Stacy glares back at the cocky former World Champion, not taking the bait that Grace is dangling in front of her. This of course only pushes the God Queen further.)
Grace Goeren: Just lettin’ you know the temp of the locker room, fam. The natives be getting turnt up and I thought you should know. But thing is, bae…
(Grace leans in for dramatic effect.)
Grace Goeren: …it don’t gotta be that way. Say the word and I turn the dogs loose on all of those shitsticks. I can make things so much easier for you around here. Keep you in your cushy job. Break all dem other bitches after your gig and anyone else causin you to lose all of your evens…just say the word and I got you, girl. I can make all your problems go away…
(The demented teenage sociopath takes a step back with a smile.)
Grace Goeren: I’m the only friend you got left in EWA, Stacsh. Bout’ time you start treating me better…
(With that, Grace turns and exits the office, making sure to slam the door as loudly as she can when she leaves. Stacy stands in a silence for a few moments before violently clearing her desk of the present and fruitcake, smashing them both into the nearby wall before we slowly fade out.)
(The scene fades into the back. We are greeted with the former World Champion, Sahara, in front of a vending machine. She has a dollar and some change in her hand, which she promptly puts into the machine. Sahara presses her beverage selection and waits. The sound of the machine letting lose one of its frosty, cold drinks can be heard, but suddenly the noise stops, no drink being produced in the tray.)
Sahara: …oh you’ve gotta be shitting me…
(Sahara steps back and kicks the machine.)
(Sahara shoves the machine before she steps back and kicks it again, this time harder.)
Sahara: YOU COCK SUCKING BITCH ASS PRICK OF A…FUUUUUCK!!!
“That was an IMPRESSIVE string of cursing. Prick of a fuck, I mean…”
(From the top of the machine, a foot drops down and kicks the side of the machine. Sahara jumps back, surprised and a bit confused as the camera pans up revealing none other than Jester Smiles sitting atop the machine.)
Sahara: I’m in no mood, clow–
(The sound of a drink dropping into the tray is heard as Sahara stops and rolls her eyes. Jester hops down off the vending machine, reaches in, and grabs the beverage.)
Jester Smiles: Just gotta know where to tap it. Nice and cold even.
(Jester hands the drink over to Sahara, who reluctantly accepts. She was CLEARLY annoyed.)
Sahara: …and I suppose you want a thanks?!
(Looking calmly at Jester Smiles for a few moments, she looks down at the bottle she’s holding and rolls her eyes. Tilting her head back, she glares at Jester and suddenly turns and slams the soda bottle off the wall which results in a glorious explosion of fizz, which showers the both of them.)
Sahara: I didn’t want diet, moron — do I look like the type of person that goes to McDonalds and orders a number one super sized with a diet fucking coke, as if that’s gonna be the thing that makes me thin?! No. No I do not. And I’m not in the mood for any of your games or pleasantries or whatever it is you even do, so seriously, save it for someone who cares.
(Jester continues to grin, wiping some soda from his face. He reaches to the top of the vending machine and takes down his Combat Championship.)
Jester Smiles: Then why did you pick diet? I didn’t press the button for you, I just tapped it with my foot while I was sitting up there…
(Jester leans back against the wall, his arms crossed. He still looks really relaxed.)
Jester Smiles: You don’t need to thank me. I was sitting up on that vending machine for…well, I’m weird, I just sorta do strange things sometimes…but you came along and seemed like you needed a hand. All I did was smack a machine with my heel. No trouble.
(Jester extends his hand, smiling as pleasantly and friendly as someone possibly could after being called a moron.)
Jester Smiles: Listen, we haven’t been formally introduced. I’m Eric.
Sahara: I know who you are, dumbass — I remember you from back in Shoot Project.
(Looking at his still extended hand, the blonde rolls her eyes before grabbing it for the briefest of moments.)
Sahara: I’d introduce myself, but I really don’t see the point. Everyone knows who I am.
(Jester quickly takes his hand back, standing straight up.)
Jester Smiles: Wow…you must be a blast to be around. Are…are you always this much of a bitch to people trying to be friendly?
Sahara: In case you haven’t noticed what goes on around here — Sinn decided to make a big comeback because she can’t stand the fact my name is in the spotlight and her’s isn’t…so forgive me if I’m in no mood for your little clown act–
(Jester holds up his hand, cutting Sahara off.)
Jester Smiles: You think you’re the only person in this business who’s been screwed out of a title? I got robbed of the Shoot Project World Championship in less than a month in a match designed to be impossible for me to win! Every…single…person in this locker room who’s been doing this for any length of time has been screwed over or lost a title due to circumstances beyond their control.
(Jester puts his hand down, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms again.)
Jester Smiles: Keep in mind, you didn’t even have to pin the actual champion to win your belt in the first place. I’m not saying you didn’t earn your title, because you did, and I understand that was a huge moment for you, but you don’t get the right to walk these corridors sulking when all you’ve experienced is something every…single…person to ever hold a title has experienced. Run-ins happen. Referee bumps happen. Getting screwed is what this business is all about.
(Jester uncrosses his arms and stands up again, beginning to walk away.)
Jester Smiles: You’re a super talented competitor, Sahara, and I have no doubt you’ll find a way to get back into title contention, but cut the ‘woe is me, everyone around me must face my wrath’ bullshit. You’re not special. You’re just experiencing what everyone else in this business has gone through.
Sahara: Ohhhhhh, how thoughtful!
(It was obvious the former world champion was being sarcastic.)
Sahara: Should I drop to my knees and suck yer dick now or do ya wanna save it for later? Nobody asked for your opinion, Eric…and I’ve got some news for you, you washed up has-been wannabe … nobody cares about Shoot Project, or you anymore. I see through yer little fake act anyway. I saw what you did back in the day, and you ain’t convincing me for a second you’ve changed. You are who you are, and I’m alright with that, but be a man and show it. Take yer smiles and yer little fake pleasantries and advice and shove ‘em straight up yer ass. And by the way, as to what you said about me not being special? I’m the beating goddamn heart of the EWA, friend. I’m the blood that makes this place flow.
(Taking a step back, she dismissively shrugs.)
Sahara: So yeah, I think I’m pretty fuckin’ special.
(Jester turns around, a grin on his face. He laughs openly.)
Jester Smiles: The ‘beating goddamn heart of the EWA’?
(Jester does air quotes, just to be uber clear.)
(Jester cuts her off.)
Jester Smiles: Wow, you’re delusional. Otherwise, that would mean EWA has a pretty weak heart and wouldn’t be around for too much longer.
(Sahara goes to speak again, but Jester holds up a finger.)
Jester Smiles: Shush, child. Adults are speaking. I’d think someone who found a way to be better than Grace Goeren wouldn’t just steal her attitude and act like her, but maybe that’s just how people do in this sport nowadays. Either way, as of right now, I have more…important things to worry about. You know, some of us are STILL champions and need to defend those titles soon. However, after This Means War, maybe I’ll see if I can’t get us a match together. I mean, you’ve called me a dumbass and moron after all I did was try to do you solid.
So…I figure the least I should do is knock the taste out of your mouth. Hell, then you won’t notice the flavor of the drinks you buy and won’t even realize when YOU picked diet.
But, again, I’ll save that for after This Means War. I don’t have time to play with brats throwing a tantrum right now.
(Jester pats his Combat Championship and proceeds to turn around, leaving the scene. Sahara is clearly fuming, but Jester is no longer there to hear anything she has to say. Annoyed, a bit of a laugh escapes her lips as she watches him walk away.)
Sahara: Only reason that Combat title even means anything is because of me, but whatever–
(Snarling, Sahara turns and plants her boot into the front of the Coke machine, sending a crack through it’s plastic logo. She follows it up with another shot, followed by another, and another, and one last boot that cracks a large chunk of plastic off the front of the machine. Left panting for breath, she goes to storm off but finds herself face to face with newcomer Murphy Doyle Maher.)
Sahara: Oh what the FUCK—
(Straightening up, she glances to Murph’s side, and gives whoever’s standing with him a bit of a sideways look and a roll of the eyes.)
Murphy Doyle Maher: Excuse me. Sorry for this, truly. But could yeh autograph this for me friend here?
(Sahara looks at the person standing behind MDM with a scowl, and his nervousness increases ten fold. She looks back to the 16th best in the business, and snatches the paper from his hand, and grabs the pen from his other. She quickly scribbles her name and hands it back, throughly annoyed. But the nervous fan nudges our man Murph, and he takes a deep breath.)
Fan: Ask her! You promised…
Murphy Doyle Maher: Fine. Sahara. Could ya–maybe…rub it on yer cleav-
(Not waiting to hear the end to that sentence, Sahara hauls off and cold cocks our man Murph square on the jaw, sending him stumbling back. She turns her attention to the fan that was standing by his side and lunges forward and grabs him by the shirt and points to the busted up Coke machine.)
Sahara: It’s not enough that you come back here and ask for my autograph, but you want me to rub it on my cleavage?! I’ll tell ya what, you little perv, you see that Coke machine? How about I put yer stupid face through it? No?! Then get outta my face. Rude prick.
(Giving the fan a violent shove, Sahara storms off. Murphy, still holding his jaw, watches as she walks away. He looks to the fan and gives a bit of a smile.)
Murphy Doyle Maher: …’s that worth yeh three dollars, yeh?
Fan: J-jesus, are you okay?!
(Rubbing his jaw, Murph shrugs.)
Murphy Doyle Maher: Truth be told, I think I’m in love…
(A bit of snickering can be heard from Vincent Ashe as we go back to ringside.)
MM: The ever volatile Sahara.
VA: The new guy better watch out! After that exchange with Jester Smiles, Murph is lucky she didn’t go through with it and put that fans smug little face through that Coke machine. What the hell kind of question was that?!
MM: While I don’t condone the question, she can’t be threatening fans–especially when she perpetrates that kind of behavior from the fans that tend to follow her.
VA: Oh seriously, Malone?! You’re going to shame Sahara for how her fans act?!
MM: No. No, I’m not shaming Sahara for it, I’m simply pointing out that she’s fostered that sort of fanbase.
VA: Whatever, Malone. Jester was kinda rude to her there–
MM: Jes-it’s like we just watched two different things. Jester was rude to HER?!
VA: That’s what I just said. Glad you agree!
MM: Nonetheless, after the events of earlier tonight, Sahara certainly has a lot on her plate, with her now impending matchup with none other than the legendary Sinnocence at This Means War. Right now, let’s take you up to the ring for our next contest!
ERIN GORDON VS STERLING
MM: Should be an exciting match up as we see the debut of two different warriors!
VA: Psssh, I’m expecting a pretty simple match up. Big dude is going to destroy small woman. I mean, come on, that’s just how things work.
MM: So…if Grace Goeren was in this match, would you feel the same way?
VA: …clearly that’s a different situation, Malone.
The overhead lights slowly go dark as the first strummed chords of ‘Hurricane’ by Thrice fills the air, the crowd’s cheers rising in response to the woman that is about to emerge. Gray lights flare into being around the curtain when the song starts proper, illuminating the outline of “The Oncoming Storm” Erin Gordon as she stands with her shoulders square and her hands curled into fists at her sides. The wind machine is on behind her, blowing her hair around as her gaze moves over the assembled crowd and the surroundings alike… before it settles upon the ring.
NC: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL!
As ‘Hurricane’ cuts to the chorus, she makes her way down the aisle, not shying away from the hands that reach out for her. Erin’s focus never wavers, even as she grabs onto the ropes and hauls herself up onto the apron.
NC: Making her in-ring debut, weighing in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY FIVE pounds…THE ONCOMING STORM…ERIN…GORDON!
Wiping her feet, she climbs into the ring between the top and middle ropes before she heads to her corner, turning to rest her back against the turnbuckles. Only then does she play a little to the crowd, a single fist thrusting itself skyward to earn more cheers as her music fades.
MM: Erin Gordon is a feisty, salt of the earth type, ready to show who she is and what she can do in that ring.
VA: Blah blah blah, I see a lamb being led to the slaughter.
As “Grind 2 Halt” by Static X cuts in, pale blue lights strobe around and Sterling steps out onto the ramp, one trained directly down on him. Sleeveless black hoodie pulled up and sunglasses covering his eyes, he looks all about into the stands and he slowly and methodically paces down toward the ring, unhurried.
NC: And her opponent, also making his in-ring debut tonight, weighing in at TWO HUNDRED and TWENTY FIVE pounds…STERLING!
He flicks his arms out, stretching his shoulders and cracking his neck as he reaches the ring, nodding to himself and looking up high into the rafters as he peels away his hoodie and sunglasses, taking a deep breath before leaping up onto the ring apron and leaping again over the top rope to take his place in the ring. David Tucker calls both competitors over, admonishing them both right away and warning them to keep it clean. Gordon locks eyes with Sterling, never looking away. Sterling has a cocky smirk on his face, while Erin looks intense with focus. Tucker tells both competitors to go back to their corners and calls for the bell.
Both begin to circle, Sterling quickly going in for a collar elbow tie up. Erin locks up with him, and very quickly Sterling gets a headlock in. Sterling drops Erin with a headlock takedown, but upon hitting the ground, Erin is able to scramble up. Sterling is up quickly to and again they circle. This time, Sterling throws a leg kick that Erin is able to block. He follows this up with a jab, but Erin gets out of the way. She tries to charge in with a Superman punch, but Sterling gets out of the way and catches her with a jab. He follows this up with another leg kick that hits HARD! Erin winces, but she stays up.
MM: Sterling using his MMA background and reach advantage effectively here. Gordon is going to have to find a way to get in close.
VA: Not gonna happen, Malone.
Sterling again goes in and throws a few punches, but Erin mostly dodges, only catching grazing blows. Erin suddenly lashes out and catches Sterling with a hard leg kick, which surprises Sterling, but he catches her with a straight right that rocks her, allowing him to move in and grab a hold, LAUNCHING Gordon across the ring with an overhead belly to belly suplex! Sterling moves over quick and goes for the pin!
Kickout! Gordon kicks out with a fury and starts wildly throwing punches from the bottom, but Sterling gets up quick and begins to launch kicks and stomps at Erin. Erin keeps her composure, throwing up kicks, but is unable to land anything solid. Sterling finally catches one of Erin’s legs and lifts her up with brute strength, but as he lifts her, Erin suddenly flips forward and catches Sterling with a hard forearm to the face! Sterling releases her leg and Gordon lands on her feet. She does a quick headstand and grabs hold of Sterling’s head, flipping him with a headscissors takedown. Erin scrambles and goes for the pin!
Sterling tosses Erin off, and both scramble. Sterling throws a punch, which catches Erin, but she simply eats it, getting in close and jumping with a hard knee to the gut. Both stagger backwards, the cocky smile off of Sterling’s face. He looks much more serious now, realizing that this opponent isn’t going to be knocked off as easily as he thought.
VA: Why isn’t this Sterling guy just ripping her apart? Come on, let’s see some blood already!
MM: He’s not because he can’t. Erin Gordon just ate that hard punch that Sterling threw at her so she could get in close enough with her own knee!
Both competitors charge forward. Sterling looks ready to launch a barrage, but Gordon suddenly leaps forward and wraps her legs around Gordon’s waist. She clutches him like a monkey and begins to drop hard elbows down on Sterling’s head. Sterling runs forward, sandwiching Gordon in between himself and the turnbuckle. This gets her to let go, but he clinches in, pulling her away from the turnbuckle and peppering her with knees. Once she is softened up, he throws a forearm shot that catchers Erin on the nose! Sterling kicks her in the stomach and locks her up for a vertical suplex. He lifts her high in the air, holding her there for a second, but suddenly Erin wiggles out! She falls behind him and lands on her feet! She hits the ropes and catches Sterling with a running neckbreaker! Erin covers!
Sterling kicks out. Gordon is up quick as she hits the ropes and hits Sterling with a baseball slide dropkick! She pins again!
Sterling again is out quick at two! Gordon again hits the ropes, but Sterling comes to life, standing up quickly and launching himself forward, planting a Superman punch to her face! Gordon falls flat and Sterling covers!
TH-Erin kicks out! The crowd begins to buzz as Sterling lifts Erin up. He peppers her with some punches before tossing her to the ropes. As she comes back, he goes for a clothesline, but Erin is able to dodge!. Erin springboards off the ropes and catches Sterling with a flying enziguri! This time Erin pins!
TH-Sterling kicks out! Erin rolls off, breathing heavily, the exhaustion finally starting to set in. Both competitors stand at the same time and stare at each other, neither one really sure what to do to keep the other one down. The crowd begins to cheer at the display.
The chant brings Erin to life. Sterling ignores it, a little bewildered at the woman in front of him. Suddenly, both charge in and begin to trade blows! They go back and forth, which is astonishing considering the size difference, but both competitors eat punch after punch as they deliver blow after blow!
VA: Man…this reminds me of some of my arguments with my second ex wife.
MM: Oh, I’m sure it was far less impressive.
VA: Shut up, Malone.
Sterling, being the larger competitor, does get the upper hand, and he uses the blows as a chance to get in close. He gets a hold of Erin and drops her with a Fisherman Suplex, bridging for the pin!
THRE-Erin gets out of it. Sterling keeps hold, though, and floats over, lifting Erin up and going for another Fisherman Suplex, but Erin gets her other knee up and catches Sterling in the chest. He lets go, and Erin hits the ropes, dropping Sterling with a Thesz Press and begins to just pound on Sterling with punches! This goes on for a moment before Tucker is forced to pull Gordon off. She looks wild, the adrenaline pumping, and we can see a small amount of blood drip out of her nose. As Sterling gets up, it is seen that he has some blood on his lips, which he wipes away with a bit of an amused surprise. As soon as he is up, Gordon again charges in, but gets dropped by a well timed one two punch combo! Sterling stays on the attack, picking up Erin and again lifting her for the suplex.
MM: This might be the brainbuster that Sterling calls the Greenwich Mean Time!
Erin struggles, throwing Sterling off. He tries to regain his grip, so that he can drop her, but she continues to struggle and fight, slapping at his face as best she can from her position. Sterling finally falters, lowering Erin, and again she tries to grapevine her legs around his body. Sterling blocks this though, holding her in the air. The two struggle for position, trying to get the better of the other, when suddenly Sterling hoists Erin up onto his shoulders, looking for a powerbomb!
MM: This is looking bad for Erin!
VA: She shouldn’t have tried to stay in so close!
Erin starts firing off punches to Sterling. Sterling begins to falter as Erin continues to bash him in the face with punches. Suddenly, the punches get the better of Sterling and he falls back against the ropes! The ropes bend, causing both competitors to go crashing to the ground! There is a very audible “Oooooh” from the crowd, showing that both competitors have hit the ground hard!
VA: That was a nasty spill!
MM: It looks like both competitors hit their head pretty hard!
As Tucker begins his ten count, both competitors lie on the ground clutching their heads. An instant replay shows Erin hitting her face against the floor while Sterling took a nasty bump on his head and shoulder. The crowd is even more audible during the instant replay, seeing the hit in slow motion.
Sterling tries to get up, clutching his neck. He is sitting up, but he doesn’t seem to be fully aware of his surroundings. Erin is up on her hands and knees and has begun to crawl for the ring steps.
VA: I swear to Grace, if this ends in a bs double count out…
Sterling tries to shake the cobwebs out, shakingly getting to his feet, though he is very slow. Erin attempts to crawl up the ring steps, seemingly aware of her surroundings and the situation, but far too damaged to move quickly.
As soon as Sterling hears eight, his eyes go wide. He shoots up to his feet. Erin suddenly comes alive to, but she begins to falter as Sterling goes to for the ring!
Erin, uncertain of what move to make, leaps off desperately and collides into Sterling, knocking both competitors to the ground!
Tucker calls for the bell as Erin rolls off of Sterling. Both competitors look spent.
NC: Ladies and gentlemen, due to a DOUBLE COUNTOUT, this match has ended in a NO CONTEST!
Ring crew runs to the ring to check on the two competitors. Erin nods that she is fine while Sterling pushes the road crew away, standing up and walking away, a frustrated look on his face. The crowd is pumped at the excitement of the match, and they cheer raucously for both Gordon and Sterling. Sterling seems to not notice as he walks to the back, but as Gordon stands up on her own, she nods at the crowd respectfully.
VA: I SWEAR TO GRACE! A double count out!? That idiot just threw that match away!
MM: She took a gamble. I think she lost her balanced and realized she wasn’t going to be able to stay on the steps, so instead of fall off and lose to Sterling, she lashed out and went for the draw! I think Sterling thought this was going to be a cakewalk and was a little overconfident coming into this one, but nonetheless, an impressive showing from both of these two, and I for one would love to see a return bout between them!
VA: Me too, Malone, so Sterling can knock Gordon’s teeth down her throat!
THIS MATCH ENDS IN A DOUBLE COUNTOUT (13:41)
(We fade backstage to the locker room, where we see the EWA Executive Assistant storming down a hallway, clearly focused on the task at hand. Catching up with the explosive former EWA World Champion, Stacy Vandervort reaches out and places a hand on her shoulder.)
Stacy Vandervort: Lauren, hold up, we need to talk.
(Rolling her eyes, Sahara stops and slowly turns to face the Executive Assistant as her lip curls into an arrogant little smirk.)
Sahara: Lauren? Wow. So nice of you to be so formal. But … sorry, Stace, I’m needed in wardrobe. Just following orders, ya know. Kinda like how I was told to stop posting on social media by a certain someone–
Stacy Vandervort: Just … hold up. Forget about that. I know we’ve never been on the best of terms, but … I need you to reconsider this match at This Means War–
(Sahara holds up a hand, immediately stopping Stacy before she can continue.)
Sahara: Against Jada?! Yeah right, not a chan–
Stacy Vandervort: Lauren, listen. You do this…you sign a contract right now that says you’ll cease any and all action regarding this match? And I’ll put you in the main event and make it a triple threat for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship.
(Stacy raises her eyebrows as she notes Sahara’s reaction.)
Stacy Vandervort: You do this for me, and you get your rematch. I personally guarantee it.
(The shocking offer stops the blonde dead.)
Stacy Vandervort: I see I’ve got your attention. Good. Now you give me what I want, and you get your chance to reclaim what you lost.
Sahara: You mean what was stolen from me.
Stacy Vandervort: However you want to put it, Lauren, I don’t really care.
(A skeptical look comes over the former champion’s face.)
Stacy Vandervort: Because we both know Jada won’t.
(Tilting her head back, Sahara seems to ponder the offer for a few moments before her eyes narrow.)
Sahara: So you want me to back out and look like the coward? I just issued that challenge not an hour ago…if I take it back now?
(Sahara takes a step forward as her face scrunches into an angry scowl, an expression that backs the Executive Assistant up a few steps.)
Stacy Vandervort: Sahara, don’t be stupi–
(Suddenly walking forward to match Stacy step for step, the Crimson Queen backs the Executive into the wall, where she stands mere inches from her face. As her personal security escort comes up behind Sahara, Stacy holds up a hand and stops them in their tracks. The former champion’s scowl seems to soften.)
Sahara: Sahara? Hmm. I thought it was Lauren? Eh, whatever, not to say no to your generous offer, Stacy, but I think I’m gonna need something … more.
(Reaching up, the Crimson Queen gently runs her fingers through Stacy’s golden hair before bringing some of it to her nose and sniffing it with a playful smile. The situation completely disgusts the Executive Assistant, who appears entirely uncomfortable being this close to the other blonde. As Sahara nonchalantly twirls Stacy’s hair between her fingers, a devilish smile comes to her face.)
Sahara: So you do for me and I do for you?
(The Executive Assistant swallows hard, gazing into the icy blue eyes of the former champion.)
Stacy Vandervort: Just so we’re…clear…are you…are you trying to…blackmail me?
(Sahara’s smile simply grows.)
(The blonde playfully laughs.)
Sahara: Why no, Stacy … I’m trying to fuck you.
(A hint of a smile crosses the face of the Executive Assistant.)
Stacy Vandervort: Well, in that case…
(Without warning, and in a rare display of physical aggression, Stacy grabs the Crimson Queen by the shoulders and spins her around, pinning her up against the wall. Sahara lets out an excited chuckle as she licks her lips, a seductive grin crossing her face. Vandervort leans in closely, their lips coming mere millimeters apart from one another, but she simply speaks in little more than a whisper…)
Stacy Vandervort: I sincerely hope Jada rips your black fucking heart out.
(And just as abruptly, Stacy releases the former champion, her heels rapidly clicking against the floor as she walks in the other direction with her security escort quickly following.
Stepping out from against the wall, Sahara calmly looks down the hallway and yells out to get the Executive’s attention, the name “Stacy” echoing through the hallways of the Combat Zone. Stacy stops momentarily and looks over her shoulder at the Crimson Queen.)
Sahara: You can take that title shot — the one that’s owed to me contractually anyway — and shove it up your ass. I’m gonna finish the job Osbourne Kilminster couldn’t! You hear me, Stacy?! Jada’s DONE.
(Stacy doesn’t respond – but displays a brief look of concern on her face before turning around, continuing her walk down the hallway. Sahara stares after her, trembling with rage, as we fade to ringside.)
GRACE GOEREN VS MOJAVE VS LAGRIMA
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
The lights go down, as the thumping beat of the Pretty Reckless’ “Heaven Knows” starts to pound through the Combat Zone, and a chorus of boos showers the stage where two women stand in silhouette.
NR: This contest is scheduled for one fall under triple threat rules!
The single white spotlight hits the stage, slowly morphing into a horned skull, and Minxy Jones and Lágrima lift their heads to face the ring. Both have their halves of the EWA World Tag Team Championships, with Minxy’s still sporting the red hourglass on the front. Lágrima stares down toward the ring, her black skull mask (with bloody tears) making her look even more menacing than usual. The pair start to stalk down to the ring.
NR: Introducing first, from New Orleans, LA, weighing in at 166 lbs, accompanied by Minxy Jones, representing the EWA World Tag Team Champions the Erinyes, LÁGRIMA!
MM: A triple threat match that could end up as a preview of This Means War, Ashe; these three teams have been absolutely savage to each other over the last few weeks.
VA: To each other? The Erinyes have been savage to me, Malone. I feel like I should get hazard pay whenever Santa Muerte sits at this table.
MM: Speaking of, she was the final casualty of Grace Goeren and Alice’s rampage at the end of last Battlelines’ Tag Team Championship match between these two women here, the Erinyes, and Mojave and Nikki Caldwell representing Cerberus.
VA: I’ll admit, I smiled a little. She shouldn’t have pissed off the God Queen, Malone. She wreaked holy vengeance on the pretender, just like she’s going to do tonight.
As Minxy walks around the ring to the announce table, Lágrima steps up on the ring steps, looking over the crowd disgustedly, before stepping through the ropes. Rick Iley tries to take the belt from her, and she yanks it away from him, inaudibly giving him hell before handing it down to the timekeeper on her own.
Minxy Jones: Rick Iley better learn to mind his business. What’s up, Mike? Vinnie.
VA: Could you please not call me that?
Minxy Jones: Oh, calm down, Vinnie, don’t get so bent out of shape.
MM: Welcome to the commentary table to Minxy Jones.
Minxy Jones: Thanks, Mike. I’m really looking forward to this match. It’ll be nice to see Grace get pounded into hamburger after last show.
VA: That’s the God Queen you’re slandering.
Minxy Jones: Aw, Vinnie, you’re cute when you have opinions.
The house lights go red, as the stylized three-headed dog appears on the video screen, before being engulfed in flames, replaced by a phoenix as Fall Out Boy’s “Phoenix” starts to play. The Combat Zone erupts into cheers as Mojave steps out onto the stage, rolling his neck and cracking his knuckles.
NR: Her opponent, from Chicago, IL, weighing in at 198 lbs, representing Cerberus, MOJAVE!
MM: Mojave looks to be ready for war tonight.
VA: As well he should. Both of his opponents–
Minxy Jones: He should be upset after last show. Not that he would’ve won, anyway, but Cerberus deserved to lose fair and square, not get screwed.
VA: Minxy, I was mid-sentence.
Minxy Jones: Oh, sorry about that, sweetheart. You know, women don’t like it when you’re bossy like that.
MM: What do you think of Mojave’s chances tonight, Minxy?
Minxy Jones: I’m sure he’s counting on my girl and Gracey overlooking him, but he’s going to be sorely disappointed on our end, so I wouldn’t give him great odds.
VA: I think you’re–
Minxy Jones: Tell you what, Vinnie, when we need an opinion on beer or football, we’ll come to you. Until then, maybe just let the folks who know what they’re talking about chat? Thanks, sweetie.
Mojave charges to the ring in a sprint, jumping up onto the apron, and stepping through the ropes. He races to the turnbuckle, climbing up and throwing his fists in the air, before backflipping off the top rope into the ring. He looks at Lágrima as she mocks his theatrics, shaking his head.
“Chaos Royale” by Sister Sin hits the Combat Zone, and the crowd erupts into more boos 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.
NR: And their 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.
VA: Praise be to Grace, Malone! The God Queen has arrived?
Minxy Jones: Oh, you’re a Grace Goeren fan?
VA: Fan? I worship her.
Minxy Jones: If you’re so devoted, what’s the name of her first soccer coach?
Minxy Jones: That’s what I thought. Can you believe these fake fans, Mike? I bet he’s just saying that for attention.
MM: Honestly, you’re probably right.
VA: Don’t encourage her, Malone!
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. Rick Iley tries to corral her to a corner, and she ignores him completely.
MM: What’s your take on Grace Goeren, Minxy?
Minxy Jones: She’s accomplished a lot in a very short period of time, and I respect that.
VA: Wow, I–
Minxy Jones: That said, she’s a spoiled brat who needs to get taken down a peg for the way she treats her “friends.”
VA: That’s more what I expected.
Minxy Jones: Shh, adults are talking, sweetie.
Iley calls for the bell, and the three competitors square off, each one scanning their opponents, looking for the opening. Mojave and Lágrima share a quick glance, before the pair NAIL Grace with a double superkick! Grace falls to the mat, rolling backwards and up onto her knees, taken aback by the sudden teamwork from the others!
VA: It looks like both of them are unhappy with Grace’s actions last Battlelines!
Minxy Jones: I’d say both of them are pretty pissed about last show.
VA: I literally just said that.
Minxy Jones: Oh, did you? My bad, honey, nobody heard you.
Lágrima doesn’t give her time to breathe, launching a dropkick to her face! Mojave charges to the ropes, coming back as soon as Grace hits the mat to land a senton across her chest! Lágrima springs into action, flying off the second rope with a springboard moonsault! She covers!
TW– broken up by Mojave!
Mojave kicks Lágrima in the back of the head, and it looks like the temporary partnership is over! Lágrima gets back to her feet, and Grace rolls to the outside! Mojave locks up with Lágrima, whipping her to the ropes! Mojave leapfrogs her, running to the ropes on the other side, and taking her down with a savage spinning wheel kick! Lágrima hits the mat hard, and Mojave wastes no time, hitting the ropes once again– Grace grabs his foot! Mojave almost falls, turning around to chastise the former world champ! They share words, neither one wanting to give up the advantage to attack! Grace keeps his attention just long enough for Lágrima to come behind with a dropkick that puts Mojave over the top rope!
Mojave crashes to the floor, and Grace is quick to take advantage, pulling him to a seated position and driving elbows into his head! She pulls him to his feet, whipping him into the ring post with a clang! He stumbles back, and Grace wraps him up in a front facelock– from the ring, Lágrima leaps with a springboard corkscrew plancha that takes everybody to the floor!
MM: Lágrima with the high-risk move that paid off!
VA: It’s part of what makes her so dangerous, Malone, she can–
Minxy Jones: She’s a speed demon and, just, so incredibly athletic.
VA: You interrupted me again.
Minxy Jones: Oh, relax, sugar, you weren’t saying anything important anyway.
Minxy Jones: What’s with that face? You should smile more. You’d be a lot more attractive if you smiled.
Lágrima is the first to her feet, and as Grace gets to her knees, she throws a stiff roundhouse kick at her head– ducked by Goeren! Lágrima spins around, and Grace hooks her up into a German suplex, dropping her hard on the floor! Lágrima flops onto her stomach, and Grace grabs her left leg, slamming her knee into the floor! Grace doesn’t let go of the leg, rolling her over into a calf slicer!
Lágrima howls in pain, but they’re on the outside! Iley’s shouting over the top rope to get back in the ring, that Grace can’t get a submission on the floor, but Grace’s eyes are manic! She doesn’t care! Lágrima kicks and squirms, trying to get out, but no luck! Grace wrenches on Lágrima’s foot! Lágrima screams louder, until Mojave stomps on Grace’s face!
Goeren releases the hold, stunned, and Lágrima crawls away, holding onto her leg! Mojave pulls Grace to her feet, whipping her into the ring apron! Goeren hits hard, stumbling forward into a European uppercut from Mojave! He scoops her up into a vertical suplex, before laying her abdomen-first across the guardrail! Before Grace can get away, Mojave drives her head into the guardrail with a basement dropkick!
Meanwhile, Lágrima is pulling herself up on the apron, trying to put weight on her leg! She collapses to the floor once again, a grimace of pain on her masked face!
MM: It seems possible that the calf slicer from Grace Goeren may have effectively taken Lágrima out of this match!
Minxy Jones: I’ve seen how she trains, Malone, trust me, she’ll fight through it.
VA: With the kind of pressure that move puts on the calf and ankle, it’s possible she’s got some serious damage.
Minxy Jones: Aww, look at you, knowing stuff… you’re pretty smart for a guy, y’know.
VA: Excuse me?!
Minxy Jones: Jeez, learn to take a compliment.
Rick Iley is futilely trying to get the match back in the ring, but it seems like nobody has any intention of doing so! Goeren falls to the floor, and Mojave steps up onto the guardrail, leaping off with a somersault legdrop across Goeren’s throat! He pulls Grace to her feet, dragging her to the apron, and slamming her head against the edge of the ring– no! Grace puts a hand out, and stops herself, driving a solid elbow right into Mojave’s nose! Mojave stumbles back, and Grace whips him HARD into the ring steps! He sails over the top of them, clutching his shoulder! Grace shakes off the cobwebs, pulling Mojave back toward the steps, and SLAMMING his arm against the steel!
Grace smiles wickedly as she mounts him, driving fists into his face at the protests of Rick Iley! Mojave gets his hands up, but this just causes Grace to change tactics, hopping over to his side and wrapping his arm in a Kimura!
MM: I’m not sure Grace is even trying to win this match, so much as she’s looking to take out the competition!
VA: It’s smart strategy, Malone! The God Queen–
Minxy Jones: Hey, listen, Vinnie, I’m getting kinda hungry. How about you go over to catering for me and make me a sandwich, huh?
VA: Holy fuck did you really?
Minxy Jones: God, Mike, does he ever shut up?
MM: No, unfortunately.
As Grace cinches harder on Mojave’s arm, Lágrima is limping over, trying to get her leg back in fighting shape! Grace doesn’t have a good line on her, and Lágrima sees her chance! She charges as fast as her leg will let her, landing a senton across Grace’s back! Grace releases the hold, but the damage is done! Mojave rolls over, holding his forearm, and Lágrima gets back to her feet, pulling Grace up and rolling her back into the ring!
Minxy Jones: See? I told you she’d get back in it.
Lágrima pulls herself to the apron gingerly, stepping back into the ring, but still obviously favoring her leg. Grace is getting to her knees, and Lágrima approaches, grabbing her by the head– jawbreaker from Goeren! Lágrima stumbles back, turning around, and Goeren snatches her by the waist, tossing her up in a German suplex! No! Lágrima swings her body over, landing on her feet, wincing, but still up! Grace doesn’t have time to turn around, before Lágrima grabs her head, pulling it under her arm!
VA: Not so fast, Malone!
Minxy Jones: Dammit, can’t we get one clean match?!
Alice has scurried out from under the ring, and she slides in behind Lágrima! The champion gets her leg up, but before she can drop Grace with the Victimizer, Alice lands a solid punch right to her kidney! Lágrima drops Grace, who rolls out of the way quickly, and as Lágrima turns around, Alice puts her on the mat with a overhead belly to belly suplex! The crowd boos hard, and Alice picks Lágrima up into the Grace Under Fire!
Minxy Jones: Two can play this game.
Minxy tosses her headset onto the table, and as Grace and Alice put the boots to Lágrima, she slides into the ring! Alice sees her, but Minxy leaps onto Alice’s back, driving punches into her head! Alice seems to barely even feel them, swatting at Minxy’s head with a massive fist! Minxy catches one to the side of her head that dazes her, and Alice pulls her down into a fireman’s carry!
VA: God, this is satisfying to watch.
MM: But here comes Mojave!
Sure enough, Mojave charges at Alice leaping with a flying crossbody! NO! Alice catches him! Alice lets out a roar, slamming BOTH of them down with a combination Samoan drop/fallaway slam!
MM: Good lord, the power!
VA: I told you! I told all of you the God Queen had a plan, but did anyone listen to Ashe?
MM: Does anyone ever?
VA: You’re starting to sound like her, Malone!
Minxy rolls out of the ring and down to the floor, nearly unconscious! Mojave isn’t so lucky, as Alice scoops him up off the mat, putting him back down with a powerbomb! Alice is on the warpath, but the cavalry is coming!
MM: Josh Kaine is back, Vince!
VA: Just in time to get wrecked by another woman the God Queen made into a monster! The irony!
Kaine sprints toward Alice, throwing punches and kicks at the unstoppable powerhouse! Alice turns around, barely fazed, and Josh doubles his efforts! Alice swats his arms away, shoving him back– right into the waiting arms of Grace Goeren! She drops him down with the Fall From Grace, before getting back to her feet and putting her arms up in victory!
Alice kicks at the fallen Cerberus members, as they roll out of the ring, leaving just Grace, Alice, and the fallen Lágrima in the ring! Grace covers with a smile, and Alice throws Rick Iley to the mat to make the count!
The lights go out!
A single white spotlight hits the stage, morphing into a horned skull! “Ave Maria” starts to hauntingly echo through the Combat Zone, as fog pours into the entranceway and ringside area! Grace gets to her feet, ready to fight, as Alice bristles, the pair staring at the ramp!
VA: Oh, come on! Just make the cover!
Just as suddenly as they went out, the lights come back on! Nobody on the ramp or the stage, but Santa Muerte stands in the ring behind the pair! Lágrima rolls out of the ring as Santa Muerte turns Grace around, kicking her in the gut, and hooking her arms! But Alice catches on, swinging a punch at Santa Muerte! She staggers, dropping Grace, but doesn’t drop! Alice backs Santa Muerte into the ropes, staggering her with a massive knife-edge chop! Santa Muerte doesn’t fall, but it gives Alice enough time to spear her through the ropes and to the floor!
MM: This is a madhouse! And Rick Iley trying to regain some semblance of order here!
Grace gets to her feet, laughing down as Alice and Santa Muerte continue to trade blows on the floor! Lágrima is stirring, barely, and both Minxy and Josh Kaine are out of commission! But Mojave slides into the ring, and Grace hasn’t seen him! He catches her by surprise, dropping her with a Russian leg sweep, and rolling back to his feet, immediately following up with a leg drop!
MM: Sandstorm! This is it!
VA: Dammit, Iley, why’d you stop the count?!
THREE! Lágrima gets to her feet just in time to see Iley call for the bell!
NR: Your winner, representing Cerberus, MOJAVE!
Alice gets up from the floor in shock! She slides into the ring as Mojave escapes, helping Josh to his feet and quickly disappearing to the back! Alice kneels next to Grace, cradling her, trying to rouse her! Santa Muerte and Lágrima get Minxy to her feet, and the trio back slowly away from the ring! Alice rushes to the ropes, leaning over them to scream at the Erinyes as they exit! Grace rises to a knee, and Alice is there to help her, Grace holding her head!
VA: What a cluster of an ending to that match, Malone. Grace Goeren had it won, were it not for those vile Erinyes and Santa Muerte ruining everything!
MM: Alice interfered before anyone else, Vince! All Santa Muerte did was distract Alice!
VA: She put her hands on the God Queen, Malone. That’s unforgivable.
MM: You’re just upset because Minxy hurt your feelings.
VA: I’m very sensitive, Malone.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MOJAVE (10:19)
(The backstage area is buzzing, and we soon see why. Kevin Oppenheimer is fuming mad. His brow tightened, gritting his teeth, fists clenched, he walks towards the camera. His dress shirt is unbuttoned and his tie is dangling, still knotted. Behind him, Katsuro Yoshida, mostly composed, but with a scowl on his face. He is wearing his in-ring attire pants and a sweaty charcoal-colored tshirt with the World Wide Bushido Buntai logo on it.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Where is he? Terry! TERRY!!
(Oppenheimer looks around as he makes his way back through the corridor, calling out the name of the elder interviewer. Finally, he finds him.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Terry! Get a microphone and follow us!
Terry Bull: What’s going…
Kevin Oppenheimer: NOW, Terry! Don’t make me tell you twice!!
(At that, Kevin Oppenheimer and Katsuro Yoshida turn and start making their way back through the corridor, and a surprised Terry Bull struggles to try to keep up.)
(The view then switches and we are now looking inside the arena bowl, focused on the entrance curtain. Without fanfare, without music or anything else, Kevin Oppenheimer bursts through the curtain, Katsuro Yoshida behind them, and they make their way to the ring. A moment later, a frazzled Terry Bull works to try to keep up, a microphone in his hand, uncertain what’s going on. Oppenheimer and Yoshida get into the ring, then wait for Terry to join him. Kevin doesn’t look to be in a patient mood.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Come on, Terry, step it up! Pick up the pace, geeza’!!
(Finally, Terry has joined them in the ring. Mic in hand, he straightens his shirt and then addresses Kevin Oppenheimer.)
Terry Bull: Sir, since you called for this interview, I don’t know exactly what you’re seeking here…
Kevin Oppenheimer: Come on, Terry, do your job!!
Terry Bull: Alrighty, well, earlier tonight, we saw…
Kevin Oppenheimer: A travesty, Terry!! A damned travesty, that’s what we had! These fans were swindled out of the opportunity to see two of the top competitors in EWA compete in what would have been quite the enjoyable contest, but Philly Donovan took it upon himself to interrupt it, and yet again, Katsuro Yoshida gets screwed out of a match when the hijinx occur!
Terry Bull: Some of what you said is subject to opinion, but I will ask you this, sir, what makes it any different for what Philip Donovan did here tonight than what the World Wide Bushido Buntai did back when he was in a Three-Way Match for the right to move forward and get a shot at the EWA Network Championship? Tell us how you reconcile that, because from where I stand, you look a bit hypocritical at the moment!
(Kevin Oppenheimer is fuming, and just before he starts to respond, Katsuro Yoshida steps up and gently uses the back of his hand on the side of Oppenheimer’s arm to move him aside. Terry Bull looks a bit surprised that he’s getting a response from the competitor instead of Oppenheimer.)
Katsuro Yoshida: Many of your feeble brain might think they are the same, but they are not, and I will tell you and everyone listening why it is different.
When I interrupted that match, it was simply to cause Philip Donovan to not have the opportunity to win his match because, quite simply put, he is not worthy of holding a championship in the EWA. I find him to be a disgrace in many ways, but still, I treated him with honor in doing so.
Terry Bull: Honor?! I certainly don’t understand how you can consider that honorable, especially when you complain about what happened here tonight!
Katsuro Yoshida: The video for what occurred when I interrupted Philip Donovan’s top contender match can easily be found, there is no need for me to have it played for everyone here and now. Do your follow up research if you don’t believe what I am telling you now, but what you will find is that when I interrupted, I did not simply blindside attack him. I did not simply show up and knock him out in an unfair fight. What I did was I kept him from putting himself into a spot which would embarrass him, but I gave him the chance to fight back. I didn’t take the coward way of doing things, striking without chance for retribution. No, I brought him out to face me, and fight we did. Unlike what happened earlier here tonight, where he gave me no chance to attack back.
Terry Bull: So is that why we’re out here, are you calling him out?!
Katsuro Yoshida: No, what we’re doing here, now, is making a challenge. I want to face Philip Donovan one-on-one at THIS MEANS WAR.
(The fans cheer at the sound of the challenge going out, knowing they’re going to get to see another heated match added to the big upcoming event if Donovan agrees to the challenge.)
Terry Bull: This all begs the question, guys… why Philip Donovan? And it can’t be because of tonight’s attack, I mean “why Philip Donovan?” in general? Why did you target him in that triple threat match for the shot at the Network Championship?
Kevin Oppenheimer: It’s simple, righ’?! The winless streak we’ve suff’ad ‘ere so far in EWA, it’s not the end of the world. Buck Dresden? Future champion. NOTHIN’? Champion. The fact that those matches weren’t wins, whateva’, but the major blemish… the rubbish outcome of the whole spot, it’s when Philip Donovan got a fluke vict’ry over Katsuro Yoshida… and we won’t abide that loss goin’ unavenged any longa’!!
Terry Bull: What makes that loss any worse than what happened in the matches with Dane Preston tonight or a couple weeks ago against his tag team partner, Murphy Doyle Maher?! Those matches were over before they started!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Firstly? Those matches will get avenged, mark my words on that! But Terry, those are talents who took advantage of distractions, savy? And while we will get a rematch with each of them in due time, those blokes are going to be champions at some point, take it from a guy who has been in the ring with them.
Terry Bull: But you HAVEN’T been in the ring with them!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Don’t get fresh, Terry! KATSURO has, and Katsuro is an excellent judge of talent, Terry! If HE says they have the skills to be champions here, his word is good enough for me. But Philip Donovan? He’s flash not substance at this stage of his career, and at THIS MEANS WAR, we’re going to make an example out of him!
(With that, Kevin Oppenheimer and Katsuro Yoshida leave the ring, with their theme music playing over the speakers as they head backstage.)
CAL RAYNER VS MARTIN ROBERTSON
MM: Coming up next, Vince, Martin Robertson’s going to get a chance to show he’s ready for his match at This Means War, as he takes on the Monster of HATE, Cal Rayner!
VA: Whoever set this match up for Robertson clearly wants him to lose, Malone. Why would you set up the Youth King for failure like this?
MM: Are you saying he can’t beat Rayner here tonight?
VA: No, of course not. He’s going to wipe the floor with him. But the match is pointless for him. He gains absolutely nothing… no pun intended.
MM: Oh, don’t worry. Nobody thinks you’re funny anyways.
VA: What was that?
MM: Let’s head to the ring!
DING! DING! DING!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall!
It seems strange that my life should end
In such a terrible place…
You made a monster of me
Through all your wicked lies
Forever tortured by you
Abandoned at death’s door
Until I said no more
NR: Introducing first! Hailing from Dallas, Texas, and weighing in at 420 pounds, he is the Titan of HATE… CAL… RAYNER!
Disturbed’s “Monster” continues to play over the loudspeaker as, stepping through the curtain is the man formerly known as Dredd. Rayner walks towards the ring with a slight limp, the huge knee brace around his knees helping keep him stable as he pays no attention to the fans along the entrance ramp.
VA: See what I mean, Malone? How is this guy considered capable talent to take on the Youth King?
MM: He might be a little less mobile than he was in his younger days, but don’t think he isn’t just as dangerous, Vince. Anyone aligned with HATE still has that crazy streak in him, and at 420 pounds, he’s still a monstrous human being.
VA: Are you defending HATE here?
MM: I call them like I see them.
VA: If I give you this girl’s number, can you call her and tell her you see me as a young, strapping fellow capable of sex all night long?
Rayner lumbers into the ring, standing in the center, looking very disinterested at the capacity crowd in the arena tonight. He turns towards the entrance ramp, staring up, waiting for his opponent to arrive. Within a few seconds, the lights in the arena go out as the jumbotron comes to life…
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
VA: Bow down, Malone!
MM: Every week you do this… why?
NR: … and his opponent! He hails from New Rochelle, New York, but currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Weighing in at 234 pounds, accompanied to the ring by Alyssa Marie Haven, he is the Youth King… “PERFECTION”… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
A single spotlight shines down on the center of the entrance ramp as Robertson stands in the center of the light, back towards the ring, the gold “Perfection” shimmering off his royal purple robe. Stepping into the light next to him, leaning under the outstretched arms of Robertson is Alyssa Marie. She takes a step back as, with arms still outstretched, Robertson slowly spins around to face the ring, looking skyward, before getting energized, motioning around his waist.
VA: Here’s the man, Malone, that in three weeks, will officially take back what should have become his a year ago, and that’s the World Heavyweight Championship!
MM: Should have been his?
VA: I mean, just look at this man, Malone! He exudes the presence of a champion! He is wrestling royalty, and should have nothing less than the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist!
MM: So says you…
VA: So says everyone!
MM: Oh yeah, who else?
VA: Alyssa told me everyone’s been saying that.
MM: Ah hah….
Robertson climbs up the ring steps, taking a couple of steps onto the ring apron before holding the ropes open for Alyssa to enter before climbing into the ring on his own. He spins around a few times, his robe flaring out before he climbs the corner ropes to pose out to the fans for a few seconds before climbing down and, with the help of Alyssa, removing the robe.
VA: Look at this man, Malone. You mean to tell me you don’t think he can become World Heavyweight Championship in three weeks?
MM: Oh, I have no doubt that, if he wrestles the way he can that, with the athleticism that he has, there’s no doubt that he could become World Heavyweight Champion…
VA: THANK YOU!
DING! DING! DING!
VA: … and the match is underway, Malone… shut up!
Both men turn to the corners and begin to stretch, but while Rayner continues to stretch, Robertson stops. And just as Rayner turns around, Robertson is already there to greet him with a fury of right hands, attempting to catch his much larger opponent off guard.
VA: Robertson’s taking the fight to the Titan, Malone!
The fury only lasts for four punches, as Rayner extends the big right bear paw, pushing the Youth King back away from him and down to the mat. Robertson rolls through back to his feet, charging again at the Titan of HATE, but once again, after three or four blows, Rayner bear paws him back down to the mat. This time, though, Rayner takes two steps towards Robertson as the Youth King makes it back to his feet. Robertson ducks down, going around Rayner and climbing his back to start punching him again. Rayner staggers for a minute before taking a few steps back towards the corner, dropping down just enough to ram Robertson’s back into the turnbuckle, causing him to slump down and let go of the larger Rayner.
MM: Robertson is trying his hardest to get something going here against Rayner, but the big man is nearly twice the size of Robertson, and he’s just having his way with him so far.
VA: He’s trying a bunch of quick hit shots against Rayner, but the Titan of HATE seems like he’s expecting every move from Robertson so far.
Just as Robertson starts to stand up, Rayner rears back, landing a HUGE elbow to the jaw of Robertson, staggering the number one contender. Rayner winds up again, and lands another vicious elbow to the same spot on Robertson’s jaw, jarring his head to the side.
VA: What vicious blows by Rayner!
MM: He might not have the speed or agility that he used to…
VA: He never had speed or agility, Malone.
MM: … regardless, he’s always had power, and Robertson is going to feel those shots for quite a while…
Rayner winds up a third time, but this time, Robertson wisely drops down to the mat, and Rayner whiffs on the elbow. Robertson slides out of the ring right around the corner post, reaching back into the ring to grab at Rayner’s ankles, attempting to pull him down. But Rayner steps through the hands of Robertson, breaking free and moving to the center of the ring, turning back around to face Robertson, taunting the Youth King to get back into the ring.
MM: Vince, I’ve never been a fan of anyone from HATE, but Cal Rayner looks to be on his game tonight!
VA: He’s had a counter to everything the Youth King has thrown at him so far, Malone. Martin’s going to have to come up with a new gameplan on the fly if he’s going to have any shot of heading into This Means War with any kind of momentum.
Robertson leaps up onto the ring apron on one knee, slowly pulling himself to his feet, keeping an eye the entire time on the Titan. Martin steps into the ring slowly, leaning with his back against the turnbuckle. Rayner flashes a devilish smile towards Robertson as Robertson feigns charging towards Rayner, before backing off back into the corner, shrugging his shoulders, and telling Rayner that he’s number one… twice… with each middle finger extended.
MM: Well… not quite the change in game plan that I’d expect Martin to have..
VA: Yeah… umm… I got nothing.
Once again, Rayner smiles before the expression on his face changes to anger, and Rayner charges into the corner after Robertson. The Youth King, though, moves once again, and this time, Rayner crashes into the turnbuckle chest first. Martin speeds around the Titan, getting to the opposite side turnbuckle and charging back towards Rayner, and landing a running knee to the back of the Titan before he can get turned around!
MM: There’s that quick hitting style of Robertson.
VA: See, change of gameplan. I knew he had it…
Martin quickly gets up, climbing up the second rope, leaping over towards Rayner and taking him down with an Inverted Facelock DDT! Martin quickly covers the Titan…
KICKOUT BY RAYNER!
MM: Near fall there by Robertson!
VA: I know it’s going to take a lot to keep Rayner down, but I don’t think Cal was expecting any of that!
Rayner easily powers out of the pin attempt, throwing Robertson into the ropes! But Martin lands on his feet, and starts to stomp away at Rayner, trying to keep him down as long as he can. But Rayner stands up through the kicks, shoving Robertson back away from him temporarily. Robertson charges back towards Rayner, but Cal sticks out his big right arm, clotheslining down the number one contender before trying to shake off the cobwebs from the recent onslaught from Robertson.
MM: And just like that, Vince, the Titan of HATE stops all of the momentum that Robertson had built up.
VA: That’s what the brute power of Cal Rayner affords him, Malone. He hits you, you’re going to feel it.
Rayner bends over, pulling Robertson up by the back of his head to a vertical base before picking him up and pressing him overhead! Rayner holds Robertson overhead for a few seconds before slamming him down into the middle of the ring, the loud thud of Robertson hitting the mat echoing throughout the arena. Rayner looks down at Robertson, laughing before casually placing his right boot on the chest of Robertson and stepping over the Youth King, putting all of his weight down through his right leg for a few moments. Rayner yells something inaudible out to the crowd, which actually (and shockingly) gets a few rounds of applause from the fans.
MM: Rayner, now just toying with the second generation superstar here, Vince. He’s been in control for almost the entirety of this match.
VA: This has to be Stacy just punishing Robertson…
MM: No, I think Rayner is the one doing all of the punishing, Vince.
VA: Yes, but do you see Martin’s opponent at This Means War, NOTHING, in a grueling matchup tonight?
MM: He does have the six person ma…
VA: Exactly! A six person match where he can hide out and let everyone else fight tonight. Meanwhile, Robertson has to deal with Frankenstein and his fat foot stepping all over him!
Rayner picks up Robertson again, and this time, throws him into the corner back first. Rayner slowly walks towards the Youth King before extending his right boot to the throat of Robertson, leaning back and holding onto the ropes to gain additional leverage in choking out Robertson!
VA: Why aren’t you yelling at Iley to break this, Malone? If it was Robertson doing it, you’d be all over him for cheating!
MM: If Robertson could do that to Rayner, I’d be impressed…
Referee Rick Iley is over to start a count on Rayner, but Cal responds with a simple two word, explicit phrase. Iley starts his count again as Rayner smiles at him, slowly lowering his foot away from Robertson’s throat before reapplying the choke just as Iley stopped his first count. Iley gets to four a second time before Rayner brings his foot back away from Robertson’s throat, as Robertson slumps down in the corner.
Cal Rayner: “Can’t talk much now, can ya, bitch?”
Rayner reaches down, pulling up Robertson by the hair on top of his head. Robertson gets to his feet, knocks Rayner’s hand away, and lands a huge right forearm to the chest of Rayner. But the Titan of HATE simply laughs at the much smaller Robertson, especially as Robertson lands a second, even stiffer, forearm shot to the chest of Rayner.
MM: Robertson trying to throw shots at Rayner, but they’re having no effect…
Rayner reaches out with his right hand, grabbing the throat of Robertson, as Robertson attempts to use both of his hands to pull Rayner’s hand away. The Titan pulls Robertson towards him with his hand still around Martin’s throat, and begins to lift him up for a chokeslam…
VA: No, no, no…
… But Robertson floats over the Titan, landing on his feet behind Rayner.
MM: Biased much?
VA: You… suck much?
Robertson immediately kicks out the back of Rayner’s left knee, causing the Titan to begin hobbling around the ring in a circle. Robertson follows behind Rayner, kicking him again in the back of the left leg, but the Titan of HATE just won’t go down.
MM: See, now this is the kind of game plan Robertson needs to have. Try and get the big man down on the canvas.
Robertson kicks the left leg a third time, causing Rayner to stop circling, holding onto the top rope. Rayner spins around, attempting to kick Robertson with the same left leg, but Robertson dodges the kick, then proceeds to kick out the right ankle of Rayner, causing the big man to get tied up in the top and middle ropes!
MM: What luck by Robertson here!
VA: Now is his chance, Malone!
Robertson looks around, unable to believe his good fortune of having Rayner tied up in the ropes. He walks up to Rayner, who is spitting explicits towards the Youth King, and Robertson begins to smile right in the face of Rayner, actually taunting him to hit him! Rayner struggles, but is unable to free himself from the ropes. Robertson slaps the Titan of HATE a few times as Rayner actually changes his tune, and is now laughing at Robertson, who in turn is now infuriated with Rayner!
MM: I’m not sure this is what Robertson should be doing while he’s got Rayner tied up, Vince.
VA: Robertson is a master of the mind games, but I think I might actually agree with you, Malone. He’s got this HUGE advantage now… he’s got to hurt the Titan as much as he can while he’s tied up!
Robertson steps close to Rayner and begins to pummel him with right hands to the temple before bouncing off the far ropes and nailing Rayner with a Yakuza kick to the side of the head! Rayner slumps his head as Robertson backs up and lands a second Yakuza kick to the opposite side of Rayner’s head this time!
VA: That’s what I’m talking about!
MM: Two Yakuza kicks, and look at Martin!
VA: This is the Youth King, ladies and gentlemen!
MM: This is exactly what I was talking about earlier, Vince. If he can bring this intensity and focus to the match in three weeks, I have no doubt he’s got a great shot at becoming World Heavyweight Champion.
The fire evident in Martin’s eyes, he slides outside the ring on the opposite side of the ring from where Rayner is still tied up, reaching under the ring apron skirt for a moment before pulling out a steel chair from under the ring!
MM: Where’s he goi…
VA: You wanted to see him do damage, Malone? He’s about to bring in reinforcements!
Robertson bangs the chair on the ringside floor before sliding the chair into the middle of the ring. Robertson climbs back into the ring, picking up the chair, and looking over at Alyssa on the outside, who’s telling him to smash Rayner with the chair! Robertson smiles, walking over towards Rayner…
… just as Rayner breaks free from the ropes, and in a bit of good timing, punches right through the chair, sending the chair back into the face of Robertson!
MM: Oh good lord! He just punched through that chair!
VA: Yeah… he’s dead.
Martin drops the chair and staggers back towards the ropes, where the Titan of HATE stalks Robertson, holding him against the ropes, and lets three thunderous chops fly onto the chest of the Youth King, causing him screams to echo throughout the arena.
MM: Rayner looks pissed, Vince!
VA: This is not good…
Rayner whips Robertson towards the ropes, but Martin is able to duck the clothesline attempt from Rayner and continues on to the opposite ropes. Rayner turns around just in time for Robertson to land a beautiful dropkick to the face of Rayner, causing him to stagger back for a moment.
Robertson looks over to see the chair just an arm’s length away from him. He looks towards Alyssa, who immediately runs over to the far side of the ring and climbs up onto the ring apron.
MM: What’s Alyssa doing?
VA: She’s probably complaining about Rayner using the chair earlier. See, even after being canned as COO, she’s still trying to maintain the integrity of this company! God bless her!
Iley, without hesitation, is over to start yelling at Alyssa to get down off the ring apron. Robertson picks up the chair and stands up. Just as Rayner shakes off the cob webs, he looks back towards Robertson and sees the steel chair in his hand.
MM: What’s Robertson doing with the chair? He… he just threw it to Rayner?
VA: Ummm.. Martin? You might want to get the chair ba…
MM: PURE PERFECTION!
MM: Robertson just blasted Rayner with that vicious superkick through the chair!
VA: Yeah, but it didn’t knock Rayner down! He’s still standing with the chair!
Rayner bounces backwards off the ropes before taking a few steps forward…
VA: PURE PERFECTION THROUGH THE CHAIR AGAIN!
MM: That one sent Rayner down to the mat!
As Alyssa hops down off the ropes, Robertson pushes the chair out of the ring…
VA: COVER HIM, ROBERTSON! YES, COVER…
NR: The winner of this contest, Martin Robertson!
VA: What a win by Robertson!
MM: What a win? He had to use a steel chair and two superkicks!
VA: Like a great man once said, Malone, ‘You play to win the game!’ And Robertson won, and that’s all that matters!
MM: Did you just quote Herm Edwards as part of a wrestling match?
VA: Who’s Herm Edwards?
Robertson has rolled out of the ring and is standing next to Alyssa, leaning on his companion for a moment as Rayner rolls out of the ring on the other side and slumps down on the ring floor. Robertson takes a few deep breaths before raising his arms in the air before, once again, signaling for the belt to be around his waist.
VA: Take a good look, ladies and gentlemen! The Youth King is showing everyone why he fully expects to walk into Minneapolis in three weeks at This Means War, and walk out as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion! The Youth King has taken his final step towards the EWA throne, and come This Means War, he’s no longer watching the throne, he’s sabotaging it and taking his rightful place!
MM: Was that some kind of stump speech, Vince…
VA: BOW TO THE KING, MALONE!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MARTIN ROBERTSON (9:14)
MM: Vince, I’m getting word that Stacy Vandervort is backstage now with an announcement regarding the triple threat match from earlier in the evening.
VA: Oh, thank Grace, she’s overturning Mojave’s victory. I knew you’d see the light, Stace!
(We cut in on Stacy’s office, where the Executive Assistant sits at her desk, facing the camera. She has her hands clasped in front of her on her desk, and looks at the camera, stonefaced.)
Stacy Vandervort: Thank you, Mike, Vincent. I apologize for the short notice, but I think it’s important that this be addressed sooner rather than later.
Over the past few weeks, since Live From Sydney, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the team of Grace Goeren and Alice, as well as the Erinyes, seem to believe that the rules do not apply to them. Every match between these two teams and Cerberus since Sydney has been plagued by interference and disqualifications. Something needs to be done to bring some order back to the tag division.
Now, I have a lot of options available to me in my position. I could fine the offending parties. But I’m not entirely certain that Alice cares about money, and Santa Muerte is married to a millionaire, so I don’t know that it’s really effective. I could suspend them. But besides the flak I’d get from all sides for that decision, we’re a little too close to This Means War to put the tag champions on the sideline. So what’s the solution?
In this case? I’m going to give them exactly what they want. At This Means War, the Erinyes will defend their titles against Cerberus, and Grace Goeren and Alice. Now, I know that isn’t groundbreaking in and of itself. But I promise you, the stipulation for this match will guarantee that it is contained, that it is fair, and that all their brutal prayers will be answered. That stipulation…
…will be announced right here on the EWA Network, live on Combat TV, Christmas Day. Consider it a small gift to our loyal subscribers. In the meantime, I would caution the competitors against doing anything too strenuous. You’re going to need everything you have on January 4th.
(The camera cuts back to ringside.)
MM: A huge announcement from the Executive Assistant, Vince! What’s the stipulation?
VA: She says it’s gonna be fair, but how? Both of the other teams have three people on them, Malone! How is she going to keep the extras from causing problems?
MM: I don’t know, Vince, but have faith in Stacy!
VA: Oh, yeah, because she’s done such a bang-up job in the tag division so far.
MM: Let’s go to the ring for our next contest!
JESTER SMILES & BUCK DRESDEN VS DONOVAN KING & AZRAEL GOEREN
SPECIAL ATTRACTION TAG TEAM MATCH
I…AM A MAN…OF CONSTANT SORROW…
I’VE SEEN TROUBLES…ALL MY DAY…
“Man of Constant Sorrow” kicks in, bringing the fans to their feet. However, nobody is coming out. Suddenly, “Man of Constant Sorrow” fades out.
The entryway begins to fill with green and purple fog. “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic! at the Disco mashed up with “Man of Constant Sorrow” begins to play as the various titles and trophies throughout Jester’s career AND Buck’s career cycle through on the big screens.
AND I BID FAREWELL…TO OLD KENTUCKY…THE PLACE WHERE I WAS BORN AND RAISED…
BUCK DRESDEN AND JESTER SMILES appear, both men dressed in special silver and gold variations of the BAB gear! Buck stands there, looking at his all silver gear and then to Jester’s all gold attire to match his Combat Championship. Jester throws some fake punches at Buck, who ducks them and counters with a fake punch of his own before both men slam their forearms against one another. They nod, slapping hands as they walk down to the ring.
NR: The following tag team contest is set for ONE FALL! Introducing first…the team of BUCK DRESDEN AND COMBAT CHAMPION JESTER…SMIIIIIIIIILES!!!
Jester and Buck enter the ring, rolling into the ring at the same time. “Emperor’s New Sorrow” dies down as they await their opponents. 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 their opponents…introducing first…he is…AZRAEL GOEREEEEEEEN!!
Goeren enters the Combat Zone and saunters down to the ring. He stands there at the ringside area, takes a few moments, and then climbs the ring apron, entering the ring. He walks to the center of the ring, shakes Jester’s hand and then Buck’s hand.
MM: Well…where is…Donovan King?
Goeren walks over to Juan Cardillo and whispers in his ear. Jester and Buck are quick to talk to Cardillo, trying to convince him not to ring the bell. Goeren, however, points at Jester and Buck and demands Cardillo start the match.
VA: HA HA HA! Donovan King has ABANDONED Azrael Goeren!
MM: No! I want to believe there’s some part of King that can’t hide from his fighting spirit! Goeren knows King enough to know King wouldn’t hide like a coward!
VA: A coward or a GENIUS?! HA HA HA HA!!
Juan Cardillo sighs and motions for the bell and we’re off!
MM: The bell has rung and I guess…it’s looking like Goeren’s going to have to go it alone against a very very formidable duo in Buck Dresden and Combat Champion Jester Smiles!
VA: Malone, you can tell King’s playing the game the way it’s meant to be played. Goeren’s an idiot for even thinking he’d have a partner tonight!
Goeren hooks up with Jester, who is quick to duck under and push Goeren away. He tries to reason with Goeren, but the MegaStar is having none of it, and demands that Jester lock up with him yet again. Jester hooks up with Azrael and pushes him against the ropes, but Azrael quickly ducks under, runs against the opposite ropes, and catches Jester with a flying forearm! The fans are loving it as Goeren puts the boots to Jester before quickly picking the Combat Champion up and whipping him to the ropes, catching him with a front dropkick! Jester staggers backwards and lands against the ropes. He looks at Azrael for a moment and then glances over to Buck, who holds his hand out for the tag. Goeren motions for Jester to tag in the Bluegrass Bad Ass, and now it’s Buck versus Azrael!
MM: Azrael is ready for competition tonight, even if it’s one on two!
Buck is quick to meet Goeren in the middle of the ring and Azrael quickly hits Buck with an elbow strike! Buck staggers backwards and he CLOBBERS the smaller Azrael with a HARD elbow strike of his own! Goeren staggers back, but he comes back with another elbow strike! Buck meets Goeren with ANOTHER hard elbow strike, and this time, Goeren is down to one knee, but he is quick to get back up to his feet and meet Buck with another elbow strike! The two men begin to trade shot after shot after shot! Azrael uses his speed and he begins peppering Buck with elbow strikes to the neck and side of the head, causing the Bluegrass Bad Ass to stumble backwards into a blind tag from Jester, who leaps OVER the top rope and OVER Buck and hits a cross body block on Goeren! Juan Cardillo is there!
Goeren powers out. Jester is quick to catch Goeren in the head with a knee drop and he tags Buck back in. Buck gets into the ring quickly and whips Goeren into the ropes, he snatches Goeren off of the mat and PLANTS him with a spinebuster! Buck tags Jester in and Jester leaps back over the top rope and hits a FLYING elbow to Goeren’s sternum! Buck is out quickly and Jester tags Buck back in, only for Buck to use the top rope to springboard into a ROLLING senton splash! Goeren is being positively handled by the team of Jester Smiles and Buck Dresden!
MM: Oh my goodness! Look at the chemistry these two men have as a team! It’s like they’ve always been working together! Quick tags, smooth transitions, power moves into quick offensive maneuvers…I mean…I’m speechless at how well these two men gel together!
VA: Say what you will, Malone, I know Buck Dresden’s a tag team warrior first and foremost, and I can only guess that this is what happens when tag teams actually communicate. I’m guessing Azrael forgot to text King directions to the Combat Zone tonight.
Buck sprawls over Goeren for the pin attempt!
Buck tags Jester in when all of a sudden…the lights go out. The arena is bathed in darkness and a fog begins to emanate from the entrance. The fog is lit in an eerie gold giving way to purple.
I TORTURE YOU
Take my hand through the flame
I TORTURE YOU
I’m a slave to your games
I’M JUST A SUCKER FOR PAIN
MM: NO WAY.
Standing at the entrance to the Combat Zone, dressed to compete, is DONOVAN KING. He stands there, glaring at the ring as Jester stops, Buck turns, and everyone is staring at the stage. King stands deathly still for the longest moment until finally he pushes his trenchcoat from his arms and lets it fall to the ground, revealing his gear.
I WANNA CHAIN YOU UP
I WANNA TIE YOU DOWN
I’M JUST A SUCKER FOR PAIN
“Sucker for Pain” by Imagine Dragons featuring Lil Wayne, Ty Dolla Sign, Wiz Khalifa, Logic, and X-Ambassadors plays in the PA system as King marches down to the ring. He stares at the men in the ring and specifically locks eyes with Goeren, who is dragging himself to his hands and knees. He almost looks relieved, like he wants to smile at the sight of King. However, the fans begin to boo as King stands at the ringside area, near where his corner should be. He grimaces, his fists balled up at his sides.
VA: HA! He wants to watch the fall of Goeren in person!
Jester motions to King, trying to get his attention but to no avail. Jester points to Buck and then to Goeren, shaking his head in disappointment. He picks Goeren up and Goeren is quick to use his second wind to hit Jester with a high knee, rocking the Combat Champion and then turning around and hitting a European uppercut to Buck, sending Buck to the floor! Goeren LEAPS to his corner to tag his partner, but King merely stands there, glaring up at Goeren from the ringside area! Goeren rests against the turnbuckles, looking down at his longtime foe, and he nods his head slowly, as if he understands. Goeren gets to his feet and gets PLANTED with a Virginia Sidekick! Jester rolls Goeren up for the pin!
Jester picks Goeren up and drags him to his corner, where Buck is back up and ready to get the tag. Jester tags Buck in and Goeren gets caught in a HARD DDT! Buck gets up to a seated position and then rolls over onto Goeren for the pin!
GOEREN’S FOOT IS ON THE ROPE!
Buck picks Goeren up and whips him to the ropes but is quick to follow him and SLAMS into him with a HARD clothesline, sending the Depraved German OVER the ropes to the floor, right at King’s feet!
MM: Look at King’s face!
VA: This is your time, King! FINISH HIM! He doesn’t even have to MAKE it to This Means War!
King stands there, glaring at Goeren, who is slowly coming to. Buck stares down at King and Goeren before walking back over to his corner where he talks with Jester about what’s going on between King and Goeren. King stands deathly still as Goeren picks himself up. The two men finally lock eyes, saying nothing. King turns to the ring as Goeren rolls back in, defiant and ready to continue the fight. Buck goes to attack Goeren, but Goeren ducks under and hits a neckbreaker on Buck! He gets up and charges at Jester, but Jester catches him and SNAPS his head off the top rope! Goeren falls to the mat, clutching his throat as King continues to glare at the ring. Goeren reaches out to his corner, trying valiantly to convince King to tag into the match, but King doesn’t move. Buck reaches out for Jester as Goeren gets up to his feet, staggering back and forth. Goeren turns to Buck, sees the Bluegrass Bad Ass is on his knees and, as if on instinct, CONNECTS with a PICTURE PERFECT BLITZKRIEG! Jester is stunned, but Goeren SNAPS off a flying knee, sending him to the floor!
MM: GOEREN HAS THIS MATCH SINGLE HANDEDLY WON!
Goeren falls to the mat, realizing Buck’s body is between him and his corner. He sees King staring at him from across the ring and he crawls PAST Buck!
MM: It’s like it’s more important for King to tag in and prove himself a part of the team and this match rather than Goeren going for the easy victory here!
VA: But WHY?!
MM: If Goeren can get King to get involved, if he can get King to…HELP him…what does that say about King?
King bows his head, trying not to look at Goeren crawls to the corner. Jester is slowly pulling himself up and he sees the look on King’s face as Goeren drags himself to the corner. Jester gets the rest of the way up onto the ring apron and he locks eyes with King. There is a long pause and King…CLIMBS UP THE RING STEPS, visibly frustrated and angry as he stands on the ring apron, stretching out his hand!
VA: NO. FUCKING. WAY.
Jester enters the ring to cut Goeren off, but Goeren makes a last ditch effort to dive…AND TAGS DONOVAN KING INTO THE MATCH! The fans ERUPT at this sign of possible teamwork from King! Goeren rests in his corner on the ring apron as King NAILS Jester with right hook after right hook, sending his longtime friend and rival rocking back! Buck gets to his feet slowly and is met with a Samoan drop for his troubles! Jester gets back up to his feet and King immediately drops him BACK down with a reverse atomic drop! Buck tries to get back to his feet and is met with a PRECISE dropkick to his head, sending him FLYING onto his back! King is SEETHING in anger as he turns to Goeren, who is getting to his feet. King backs up to his corner, glaring at Jester and Buck as the two of them groggily try to get themselves together. King turns to Goeren and motions to the two of their opponents in the ring. King taps Goeren’s chest, pointing to Buck as if to ask if Goeren will help him take the two of them on. Goeren enters the ring.
MM: Donovan King and Azrael Goeren are on the SAME PAGE! I can’t BELIEVE it!
Goeren shakes off the cobwebs and King SNAPS HIM DOWN TO THE MAT WITH A KINGBREAKER!
King rolls from the ring as the fans boo MERCILESSLY at him. Goeren is flat on the mat as Jester shakes his head in disappointment. Buck sprawls over Goeren, watching King as the referee makes the count!
The bell rings as our winners stand together and our defeated…even further apart.
NR: Your winners…BUCK DRESDEN AND JESTER SMILES!!
King takes a microphone as he stands there, glaring at Goeren.
Donovan King: Henrik…I tried. I want you to know that.
King enters the ring, kneeling over Goeren as he glares at Jester and Buck, who seem bewildered at what they’re seeing.
Donovan King: But here…at the raggedy edge…here we stand, you and I. At This Means War…we conclude this saga between us. Once…and for all.
Donovan King: I will face you in the match that I used to great effect against one of my old targets…you might know him well…Mirage.
Donovan King: I want you in a no…holds…barred…I Quit Match. I want you…to tell me and the whole world…that you’re done. You’re finished. Do you hear me?
King bows his head.
Donovan King: Of course not. I’m…sorry…it’s…it has to end this way. But I see no other way…
He drops the microphone as “Sucker for Pain” kicks in again. He closes his eyes, mumbling under his breath until he finally rolls out of the ring away from Goeren as Goeren slowly comes to, blinking away the disappointment.
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL: BUCK DRESDEN & JESTER SMILES (12:22)
(We fade backstage, and see two members of the Hive of HATE standing against a wall, having a discussion.)
Cal Rayner: Hope you’re ready for tonight, Cunt.
(William West smirks.)
William West: Cal, I don’t know if anyone’s told you, but you need some new pet names for us. Cunt is pretty well past it’s expiration.
(Rayner shrugs. His expression is hidden behind the ominous burlap mask that adorns his entire skull.)
Cal Rayner: Jus’ sayin’. You wanted that little traitor, and you might not get another chance at the slippery little thing.
William West: I’ve got plenty in store for my bestie tonight, don’t worry.
(West begins to break into his normal, high pitched chuckle, but stops suddenly.)
William West: Well. Looks like we have a legacy on our hands, Cal.
(The camera pans out to see who the duo are looking at.
Dane Preston stops, as he is fully aware there’s nobody else in the vicinity of the HATEful duo.)
Cal Rayner: Naw, I thought he was the jailbird.
William West: They’re both jailbirds, Cal. We ain’t gotta hold that against them, though. This guy, though. You see him plow through Joe Lemon a couple weeks ago?
Cal Rayner: Who ain’t plowed through Joe Lemon?
William West: I think Sahara, actually.
Cal Rayner: Fuck, who ain’t plowed through her, either?
William West: Oh, I see what you did there.
Dane Preston: As I hear it, you two nasty fucks got STDs from your own hands. Hell, Sahara has standards, even she wouldn’t fuck you tools.
William West: Oh? That’s how it is, huh?
Dane Preston: Let’s see here, we have some knockoff James Bond villain looking clown on one hand…
(Preston is looking at West as he speaks before gesturing to Rayner as he continues. )
Dane Preston: Then on the other, we have some geriatric giant that should’ve been put out to pasture a long time ago. So yeah, that’s how it is.
(West stares back in amazement.)
William West: You hear the dulcet tones on this one, Cal?
Cal Rayner: Yep.
William West: God, it’s almost like-
(THUMP! West sucker punches “High Octane” right in the cheek! Preston staggers back against the wall, hands up to defend himself, but the numbers game is too much!
He’s able to duck a staggering blow from the monstrous Titan of HATE, and Rayner’s fist crunches against the concrete. Rayner bellows in pain and rage, but West thrusts both hands into the throat of Preston!
Rayner begins pummeling his huge fist into the facial region of Dane Preston, and the man’s lip is already split open!)
(Another figure jumps into the scene, plowing right into the Masochist, taking the Prodigal Son of HATE off his guard, crashing into the concrete wall!
Murphy Doyle Maher has arrived on the scene, and he is throwing hands at anything that moves! He catches big Rayner in the side of the face with the point of his elbow, and cocks back and fires into the disfigured jaw of William West!
Preston is back on his feet now, and the odds are even! Pro/Con look to one another and nod, and turn back towards HATE! Preston rears back to fire a shot of his own and MDM looks ready to strike, when suddenly a blur of black and white floods the scene!
A fleet of referees and EWA Officials have arrived on the scene, quickly getting in between the two tandems, doing their best to make sure that there’s no more to this altercation!
The four men are shouting over the pleas and orders from the officials, making everything damn unintelligible! As the scene begins to calm, with the two teams being forcefully separated, we cut away.)
(The camera cuts backstage into the locker room of Martin Robertson, where we see the young superstar sitting on a wooden bench in his locker room, t-shirt on from having just finished his match earlier against Cal Rayner. He begins to unwrap the tape from around his wrists when he suddenly looks up, bolting to a standing position. The camera turns to the left, and standing directly in front of the Youth King is none other than the current EWA World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING. Dressed in his ring attire, prepared for the main event in a little bit, belt slung over his left shoulder. The two stand face to face with each other for a moment before Martin starts to look around at NOTHING…)
Martin Robertson: I’m surprised you didn’t bring along your Spencer’s support group. I thought you didn’t go anywhere without them. I mean, I know usually Alyssa is around, but I don’t need her to be my voucher like you do with Calder…
(NOTHING flashes a brief smile…)
NOTHING: I wouldn’t concern myself with the rest of HATE, Martin. All you need to worry about is standing right here in front of you.
Martin Robertson: Funny, because last time you and I met in a locker room, it took all of yo…
NOTHING: Merely a test, Mr. Smith… oh, excuse me… Mr. Robertson.
Martin Robertson: A test?
NOTHING: A test to see exactly what you were made of. Whether or not you were a product of today’s societal issues, developing whiny brats with no backbones… or if some of that Smith DNA your daddy passed along to you managed to manifest itself into any semblance of your old man.
Martin Robertson: Yeah… just like the old man. Keep running that, just like everyone else around here. Only difference is, the old man would have talked your ear off… whereas I… I might just drop you where you stand.
NOTHING: Yes, but unlike you, the old man actually won a match or two when it counted.
(Martin smirks, shaking his head back and forth a few times)
Martin Robertson: Is there a reason why you decided to wander over here? Would you like me to make sure you don’t make it to your match later tonight? Or have you become just as delusional as the old man has and get yourself lost?
NOTHING: Not particular reason, Martin. Just wanted to… size up the competition for This Means War, so to speak. To see how you’ve grown from the young boy that I faced in Japan last year.
Martin Robertson: Young boy… Funny, that’s not what you were calling me after the Final Solution.
(NOTHING takes a deep breath as Martin smiles right back towards his opponent at This Means War…)
NOTHING: There it is… still the same cocky young brat. The King who thinks he’s going to rule the world. The King who will soon realize that kings and queens no longer rule the world… a world full of HATE.
Martin Robertson: A world full of HATE… Buddy, you’ve been spinning that same line of crap for nearly twenty years now. And just like twenty years ago, nobody’s buying it. But like the song from your era says, ‘Everyone wants to rule the world.’ Well, in MY world, there’s only one ruler… one King… one YOUTH King…
NOTHING: Cute. You stay in your own little world with your cougar toy back there, while the rest of us, living in this world, see through all the smoke and bravado. And at This Means War, I expose Martin Robertson for exactly what he is… a cheap knock off counterfeit from the Smith wrestling dynasty. A dynasty that ended when the old man abdicated his throne.
Martin Robertson: You keep on bringing up the old man, but you really should cut it out with the revisionist history. He whooped your ass all those years ago, and three weeks from now, I’m gonna whoop your ass just like he used to.
(NOTHING smirks at the brashness of the Youth King…)
NOTHING: Oh, to the contrary, Martin. I see a repeat from Japan last year. You remember that, don’t you? I know you spent a good deal of the eight weeks before that match in and out of consciousness, but just to refresh your memory… Our match in three weeks is going to end exactly the same way that match ended. A room full of HATE.. and me, standing over your lifeless body, holding up gold once again.
(NOTHING holds the belt in the air over Robertson for a few seconds before returning it to his shoulder, turning around to head out the door.)
(NOTHING continues to face towards the door, but turns his head back towards Robertson…)
NOTHING: … and for their sake, please tell mommy and daddy dearest to stay home for this beating. I’d HATE to have them need to carry your body out of another arena.
Martin Robertson: Funny, because I was going to tell you to be sure to bring your wife to the match…
(NOTHING turns his head back to face the door, but motionless otherwise…)
Martin Robertson: I mean, I know she can’t wait to see the belt around my waist, but tell her to wait until after I win the match to start call me daddy, even tho…
(In an instant, NOTHING drops the title belt, turning around and starts to pummel Robertson with right hands, knocking the Youth King over the wooden bench in the locker room and to the floor below. Just as quickly, though, the Stranger — Indrid Calder — is in the room, pulling the Purveyor off of Robertson and back towards the door to the locker room. Martin slides to lean up against the back wall of lockers as the two members of HATE leave the locker room…)
MM: Is Robertson trying to play mind games with the Purveyor ahead of their clash at This Means War?
VA: I’ve never seen NOTHING snap like that!
(Robertson puts his hand to his lip, noticing the slight trickle of blood coming from inside his mouth before smiling…)
MM: Well, I think when you mention a man’s wife in the way Robertson did, just about anyone is going to snap.
VA: You can mention all my ex wifes all you want, Malone. I don’t give a damn about them.
MM: That’s why they’re called exes, Vince.
NIKKI CALDWELL VS LOU
MM: As we roll into our next match, joining us at the commentary table is one of the EWA World Tag Team Champions, Lágrima.
Lágrima: Thanks, Malone, great to be here.
VA: How are you feeling? Must have been tough to deal with your loss earlier in the evening, after the way your match ended.
Lágrima: Why are you talking to me, dickhead?
VA: Whoa, OK, dial it back a little. What are you even doing out here tonight?
Lágrima: My old tag team partner and the bitch who’s after my title are having a match. Are you saying I don’t have some insight here, fat boy?
MM: OK, Lágrima, I think maybe you should lay off Vince a little.
Lágrima: Yeah, whatever.
OH, AFTER MIDNIGHT
NR: This contest is scheduled for one fall!
The crowd EXPLODES as the diamond logo shows up on the screen, and the Deathmatch Debutante herself steps onto the stage under a single teal spotlight! She’s wearing a Santa hat, and her usual fishnets have been changed out for red-and-green striped knee socks. She scans the audience with a smile on her face, before pulling out a baseball bat– wrapped in silver tinsel!
VA: How festive!
MM: She knows it’s not a no-DQ match, right?
Lágrima: The silver tinsel as barbed wire. It’s funny. I like it.
Lou struts down the ramp, swinging the bat over her shoulder, before pointing at the camera at her side, walking with her down the ramp.
NR: Introducing first, from Forest Park, AL, weighing in at 121 lbs, the Deathmatch Debutante, LOU!
Lou: That’s right, I’m back in the Combat Zone. Happy fucking Holidays, Warriors. You better put a ribbon on that belt, Mags.
VA: What do you expect to see tonight, Lágrima?
MM: What are your thoughts on the match coming up?
Lágrima: Oh, I’m glad you asked, Malone. I’m really hoping to see Lou beat Nikki’s face in, since I can’t do it myself.
VA: You couldn’t say that when I asked?
Lou saunters around the ring to the announce team, smiling, and dropping red mesh bags of chocolate coins in front of all three of them.
Lou: Happy Chanukah, don’t let her talk too much shit, huh?
She blows a kiss to Lágrima, before turning toward the ring.
MM: Does she have a dreidel on her back pocket?
VA: Ha! And it’s on gimel! She wins the pot!
Lágrima: How the fuck do you even know that?
VA: Wouldn’t you like to know?
Lágrima: Not really, honestly.
Lou tosses the bat to the floor on the outside, sliding into the ring and raising her hands into a diamond in the center of the ring, with pyro exploding from the ring posts as she swings her hands back down! She tosses the Santa hat to referee Juan Cardillo, who chuckles before putting it on himself. Lou hops up onto the top rope, lounging across the turnbuckle while waiting for Nikki to enter.
A scream followed by the machine gun sounds of “Wreak Havoc” rattles the Combat Zone, as the gold pyro bursts from the edges of the stage! The crowd roars, as Nikki Caldwell steps out in the red and green lights, face streaked with war paint, the scales of the Doom Jacket jutting from her shoulders!
I CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR, THE ONLY REASON THAT I’M HERE
IS TO WREAK HAVOC
EVERYBODY PRAYIN’ THAT I’LL CHANGE, YEAH
MAYBE ONE DAY, BUT TOMORROW I’LL BE BACK AT IT
She pauses on the top of the ramp, bracing her feet and with her arms spread slightly at her sides, eyes flickering over the crowd, before focusing intently on the ring, and Lou in particular.
NR: And her opponent, from Los Angeles, CA, weighing in at 147 lbs, NIKKI CALDWELL!
MM: Nikki Caldwell looking to score a win against the number one contender to the EWA Network Championship, something that would bring her stock up considerably here in the EWA.
Lágrima: Yeah, she’d go from zero to almost zero. It’s not like she or her little poly trio have accomplished anything of note here.
VA: She’s got a win over Alice and Santa Muerte, and she’s a former tag team champion.
Lágrima: I don’t remember asking for your useless opinion, Vinnie.
VA: It’s not opinion, it’s fact.
Lágrima: “Ooh, she beat Alice!” Get off of Grace’s tits already, Ashe, Jesus.
Nikki sprints down to the ring, running around it, and stopping as she reaches the announce table. She stares down Lágrima, who stares intensely back.
Lágrima: You got something to say, then say it. Otherwise, your opponent’s over there.
Nikki says something, but the microphones aren’t quite able to pick it up.
Lágrima: I look forward to it.
Nikki steps away from the table, sliding into the ring and rolling to her feet. She steps up on the bottom and center ropes, facing the hard cam, and raises her fist in the air, bellowing a war cry! The fans yell back, and she drops back down onto the mat, shedding the jacket and looking across the ring. Lou smiles, swinging her legs off the top rope and dropping back to the mat.
Cardillo calls for the bell, and Lou and Nikki circle, and they lock up, with Nikki backing Lou into the corner! Cardillo tries to separate them, but as Nikki backs off, Lou swats her in the face! Caldwell pushes Cardillo away, driving a knee into Lou’s midsection! Lou doubles over, and Caldwell stands her back up with a knife-edge chop that takes Lou off her feet! And another! And a third! Lou stumbles forward out of the corner, but doesn’t fall– until Nikki drops her with a bulldog!
MM: I don’t think Nikki’s used to being the bigger competitor in a match.
Lágrima: Hey, Lou’s small, but there’s a lot of fight in that body.
VA: Judge her by her size, do you?
Lágrima: Oh, shut the fuck up.
Lou gets to her hands and knees, shaking it off, but Caldwell drives a kick right to her ribs! Lou flips onto her back, and Caldwell hops over her, running to the ropes and taking flight with a springboard moonsault! She crashes down across Lou’s chest, and goes for the cover!
Nikki grabs Lou by the head, pulling her up– but Lou drops down in a jawbreaker! Caldwell stumbles back, and Lou whips her into a short-arm clothesline! Caldwell hits the mat, and Lou runs to the ropes, returning with a double stomp to Caldwell’s chest! Caldwell rolls over, pushing herself to her hands and knees, and Lou steps up, standing on her back! She leaps into the air, dropping her hips across Nikki’s back, dropping her back to the mat!
MM: That was… creative.
VA: When you’re less than a buck and a quarter, you can’t afford not to be!
Lágrima: Really top notch observation there, Sherlock. Just… stellar color commentary from the master himself.
VA: I’m just gonna pretend you’re not being sarcastic and say thank you.
Lágrima: Whatever, loser.
Lou gets back down onto Caldwell’s back, slamming her head into the mat repeatedly! Cardillo starts a five count, and Lou lets go of Nikki’s head at 4, looking up at the referee and putting her hands up. She stands, pulling Caldwell to her feet, and whipping her to the corner! Lou goes to the other corner, while Caldwell tries to get her bearings again… and Lou sprints across the ring with a spear into the turnbuckle! No! Caldwell moved, and Lou’s shoulder clangs against the ring post!
Lou turns back around, stumbling out of the corner, clutching her shoulder as Caldwell hops onto the second rope, cracking Lou across the face with a springboard roundhouse kick! Lou drops to the mat, rolling over and trying to cover her arm, but Nikki rolls her over, coiling her wounded arm into a keylock! Lou howls out as Nikki torques her elbow, but she won’t tap!
Nikki extends her leg, pressing her weight down on Lou’s chest and shoulders, but despite the pain Lou refuses to give in! Cardillo drops to the mat to check on her, but she shakes her head! Nikki adds a little rotation, causing Lou to call out again, but Lou pushes her hips up, trying to erase Nikki’s leverage! But that causes her to put her shoulders to the mat!
THR– Lou drops her hips, moving a shoulder up, but Caldwell readjusts, torquing on Lou’s elbow even further!
MM: Nikki taking clear advantage of Lou’s mistake, trying to take her entire arm out of the equation! And if I recall correctly, that’s the same arm that put her on the shelf at Champions Summit II back in January!
Lágrima: See, Malone, that’s why I like you. You call the match, and without any insults, or lewd comments about our physical attractiveness, as if that makes us better or worse wrestlers or something.
VA: It’s called color commentary!
Lágrima: It’s called being a misogynistic turd, unless you make it a habit to talk about all the beautiful male physiques here in the EWA?
Lágrima: Thought not.
Lou starts trying to roll over while under Nikki, but it’s not working! She reaches her free arm out, driving elbows into the ribs and back of Caldwell! She catches Nikki with a solid shot to her kidney, and that finally gets her to loosen the hold enough for Lou to squirm out! Lou shuffles to the ropes, cradling her elbow, as Nikki gets back to her feet, a hand on her back! Cardillo checks on Lou, who waves him off as she hooks her good arm over the ropes, getting back to standing– but Nikki runs at her with a clothesline! Lou ducks it, turning it into a floatover DDT! But as Lou lands, she grabs her elbow again, rolling over on her head and knees, kicking her feet!
Cardillo steps over again, and Lou pushes herself up to her knees, showing him that it still moves just fine, pulling herself to her feet again. Caldwell is stirring, and Lou pulls her up to her feet before she can get her bearings, dragging her into the corner! Lou climbs the turnbuckle, wrapping Nikki’s head with her good arm, and leaps off with a tornado DDT– but before she can drop her, Nikki stops Lou’s momentum, and plants her with a Northern Lights suplex!
VA: That was an impressive reversal from Nikki Caldwell!
Lágrima: Ugh, stop saying things I agree with, it’s making me nauseous.
Caldwell bridges into a pin!
Caldwell runs a hand over her head, looking at Cardillo, who holds up two fingers! She shakes her head, but doesn’t argue, pulling Lou up by the head– Diamond Cutter! NO! Lou tried for the move, but Nikki instinctively pushes her away, and Lou lands on her back! Lou sits up, wincing, and Caldwell lands a heavy soccer kick to Lou’s back! Lou throws her arms out in pain, and Nikki hits the ropes, coming back with a dropkick to Lou’s face!
MM: Lou just can’t catch a break, Vince!
Lágrima: This is a woman who survived two Full Tilt Boogies, a street fight with Ethan Leers, and getting an X-Terminator off the top of the Jumbotron at Arena Mexico. I’m pretty sure Half-Life 3 is gonna come out before you find the top of her pain threshold.
VA: Sounds like–
Lágrima: Seriously, Ashe, just don’t.
As if to test that theory, Caldwell wraps Lou’s leg around her own, dropping to the mat and yanking under Lou’s chin with a stepover toehold sleeper! Lou howls out again, reaching for the ropes! She’s close, but not quite close enough to grab them! Lou tries to scoot forward, but Nikki pulls back harder, putting them just out of her reach again! Caldwell lets out a war cry, cinching hard, and Lou screams right back, almost willing the ropes closer! With a bellow, Lou pushes forward, grabbing the bottom rope, her face a pained grimace! Cardillo tells Caldwell to break the hold, but she pulls tighter! Cardillo starts a five count, and Caldwell finally releases at 4!
Nikki gets to her feet, raising her head and shouting into the heavens, the crowd roaring in approval! Lou hooks her arms over the second rope, trying to get back to her feet, but Caldwell isn’t about to let her catch her breath. She grabs Lou, pulling her up– low blow from Lou! Caldwell doubles over in pain, and Lou winces, holding her elbow again! Lou gets to her feet, grabbing Nikki’s hair and dropping her to the mat with a facebuster!
Lou hooks Nikki’s legs, flipping her onto her back, and catapulting her into the corner! Caldwell crashes into the corner, and Lou turns her around, grabbing onto the top rope and delivering a massive series of kicks to Caldwell’s midsection! Caldwell drops to her butt, and Lou is just stomping a mudhole in her! She throws a double-deuce at Nikki’s face, before putting a solid boot to it! Nikki is stunned, and Lou takes a few steps out of the corner… before charging in and crashing into Caldwell’s face with a bronco buster! She starts off slow, getting faster and faster before coming to a screaming, twitching halt and hopping off and fanning herself!
VA: OK, seriously, how do you expect me to call that without being sexual?
Lágrima: …honestly, that’s fair.
Lou: Was it good for you?!
Lou chuckles, grabbing Nikki’s arm, and pulling her to her feet! She turns around, facing the corner with a smile!
MM: Setting up for the Trendkill! We haven’t seen this in a while!
Lou tries to run forward, but Caldwell latches on with a rear waistlock! Lou tries to wriggle free, but Nikki charges forward, crushing her against the turnbuckle! Nikki backs away, and Lou stumbles backward, holding her chest! Caldwell nods, smiling, and Lou turns around– right into the I Of The Storm! Caldwell yells out a war cry as she drives Lou’s head into the mat! Lou bounces, face down on the mat!
MM: I Of The Storm! Lou is out!
Lágrima: No fucking way.
Caldwell makes the cover!
Lágrima: No… fucking… way.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner, by pinfall, NIKKI CALDWELL!
Nikki gets back to her feet, running to the ropes by the hard cam, stepping on the bottom and second rope and throwing a fist into the air with a scream! The crowd explodes, and Lou starts to get her bearings, Cardillo checking on her. Nikki walks to Lou, who sits up, and presents a hand to help her up!
VA: What a classy move, great show of sportsmanship by the victor here.
Lágrima: Oh gag me, fuck outta here with this sappy bullshit.
Lou grabs it, pulling herself up, and the pair smile at each other, sharing words that the crowd and the music have drowned out. Lou raises Nikki’s arm in the air, and Lágrima stands up at the announce table, giving a golf clap while rolling her eyes.
Nikki steps out of the ring, walking to the announce table and pointing straight at Lágrima.
Nikki Caldwell: You’re next.
Lágrima tosses the bag of chocolate coins at Nikki.
Lágrima: Better enjoy those, that’s the only gold you’re gonna see for a long time.
MM: A tense showdown here at the commentary table… save it for This Means War, ladies.
Nikki lets the bag fall to the floor, before backing away and making her way to the back!
VA: A tough loss for the number one contender to the EWA Network Championship, but Lou will still be going on to This Means War with a shot at Maggie McIntyre’s belt, and Nikki Caldwell will be getting a shot at the tag titles with Cerberus, as we found out earlier tonight.
Lágrima: Yeah yeah, and with your fucking oh-so-beloved God Queen. They’ll get a shot. Anyone can get a shot, Vinnie. But they better get used to disappointment. Hey, you’re a disappointment, maybe you could spend time with them.
She throws the headset down, walking away (but making sure to snatch the coins on the way out).
VA: She sounds like my ex-wife.
MM: Which one?
VA: Take your pick, Malone, they all sucked.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: NIKKI CALDWELL (10:56)
Main EventSAHARA, MICHAEL DRAVEN & MAGGIE MCINTYRE VS HATE
SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following six-person tag-team match is our main event of the evening…and it is scheduled for one fall!
Crowd: ONE FALL!
NR: Introducing Team #1! First, from Charlotte, North Carolina, The Vengeful One … Michael Draven!!!
The crowd cheers as the initial beat of Disturbed’s ‘Vengeful One’ begins to play and Michael Draven steps out onto the entry way bathed in a pulsating strobe effect that casts wicked shadows across the stage dressed in his signature ring attire when he suddenly stops and turns back toward the curtains as his music slowly blends into AFI’s ‘Miss Murder’.
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
Emerging onto the rampway, dressed in a tight black top, buckled corset and fishnets tucked into knee high boots, she joins Michael Draven at center stage and unlatches the EWA Network Championship from around her waist before holding it up to a raucously cheering audience.
NR: And his partner, from Albany, New York, the reigning EWA Network Champion, the Banshee, Maggie McIntyre!!!
MM: A show of unity! If any trio in the EWA could be unified to take on HATE, it’ll be these three right here!
VA: Yeah but after the events of tonight, Malone, you have to wonder if Sahara’s head is going to be in this match–
The lights suddenly cut out, dropping the arena into near pitch darkness which causes Vincent Ashe to fall silent. Thousands of cellphone screens and flashlights ignite across the audience.
As fog rolls onto the stage, Michael and Maggie glance at each other as they await their partner as the pounding track of In This Moment’s ‘Adrenalize Me’ continues to play.
NR: And last but not least, the final member of the team from Chicago Illinois, The Crimson Queen — Sahara!!!
VA: Well this is new…
Red lights shine up from the stage beneath them, casting the fog in an eerie shade of Crimson as a lone white spotlight drops down at the entryway where we see the Crimson Queen slowly rise from beneath the stage on a platform, bathed in pure white light.
VA: What the–
MM: Her–her hair!
Indeed, Sahara’s trademark blonde locks are no more. Instead, her hair has been dyed a jet-black color, the raven-colored hair highlighting the red greasepaint smeared across her right cheekbone. Gone is the signature black and silver attire, replaced with black and a deep crimson trim. Michael and Maggie look at each other in utter shock–
MM: Her blonde hair is gone!
VA: This just got awesome. She’s back, Malone! SHE’S BACK!!!
MM: She must’ve dyed her hair during the show!
As the platform becomes even with the stage, the Crimson Queen ignores her partners and storms down the rampway, grabbing a mic as she passes by a production assistant before sliding beneath the bottom rope. Back at the top of the stage, Michael holds his arms out in confusion as Maggie motions toward the ring.
Sahara: I want you to look at me, bitch!
Her music cuts amidst the confusion as Nikki Rogers finds herself shoved aside, the lights coming back up and fully revealing the new look Sahara.
MM: Who’s she talking to?!
Sahara: Jada Kaine. You bitch! LOOK AT ME!
Sahara: I’m gonna bathe in your fucking blood at This Means War. The only god damn thing in this life right now more important than that fucking title is your still-beating heart on a platter–
Rushing toward the ring, Michael slides in through the bottom rope, closely followed by Maggie, both trying to talk sense to their partner, who simply pushes past them to look directly at the hard camera.
Sahara: This face will be the last fucking thing you’ll EVER see in this ring, Jada Kaine, when the world witnesses your own monster destroy what’s left of you. Go ahead, add a stupid stipulation like your son did before I put him in the hospital. I accept! Only difference is, you contract stealing, title costing, abusive, manipulative BITCH, is your TICKET WILL BE A ONE-WAY TRIP–
Grabbing Sahara by the arm, Michael wrestles the mic away from her, leaving her snarling in his direction. Maggie holds her by the other arm, saying something inaudible to her partner.
MM: This is off the rails.
VA: I think I’m in love again.
MM: She’s LOST it, Ashe. She’s absolutely lost it.
As Michael and Maggie attempt to talk some sense into Sahara, the lights suddenly dim in the Combat Zone, and the familiar refrain echoes throughout the arena…
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
As Placebo’s classic remix to their hit track blares throughout the Combat Zone, the four standing Pillars step out from behind the curtain, standing side by side in solidarity at the top of the entrance ramp, much to the disdain of the Boston audience.
NR: And introducing team number two! Accompanied to the ring by the Titan of HATE, Cal Rayner, and weighing in tonight at a total combined weight of 718 pounds! First, from Las Vegas, NV, he is the Masochist of HATE…WILLIAM….WEST!! His tag team partner, from Nothing, Arizona…The Stranger…INDRID…CALDER!! And their tag team partner, from Albany, New York, he is the reigning EWA World Heavyweight Champion…The Purveyor…NOTHING!!!
MM: The new World Heavyweight Champion heads toward This Means War on January 4, where he’ll defend the championship against Martin Robertson…but first he has to lock up with this trio in the ring, including the former champion in Sahara!
VA: You heard the Crimson Queen a moment ago, Malone. Her mind is nowhere near the title right now, it’s solely focused on beating the holy hell out of Sinnocence. I can’t believe she came back, Malone!
MM: Meanwhile, as HATE makes their way to the ring, we’ll finally see Michael Draven and Indrid Calder lock up for the first time since Draven’s horrific injury at the hands of the Stranger back in May. And William West has a date of his own at This Mean War, as we’ve just been informed of a new match signed for January 4. Due to tonight’s events, it’ll be the Masochist teaming with that man, the massive Cal Rayner, against the up-and-coming duo of Dane Preston and Murphy Doyle Maher.
VA: I can tell you this, Malone. There’s no pot of gold waiting at the end of this rainbow for MDM. HATE’s going to make them regret that little incident earlier this evening at This Means War.
MM: Did you really just make an Irish joke, Vincent Ashe?
VA: Bloody fookin’ right I did. What’s he gonna do? Sic his pet leprechaun on me?
The Hive members enter the ring, staring across at their opponents. Rayner issues a throaty chuckle as he steps over the top rope, and both teams head to their corners, Michael and Maggie still conferring with Sahara – who appears to have calmed down at this point, but is visibly disengaged. Nonetheless, the newly raven-haired former champion steps through the ropes, ready to start the match against the Masochist. Danny Smith calls for the bell, and our main event is underway!
Sahara, a bored look on her face, locks up with West, with West immediately twisting her into a side headlock. Sahara shoves off, shooting West into the ropes, but the Masochist springs back, knocking her to the mat with a shoulder block. The Crimson Queen immediately kips up, springing to her feet…and promptly slaps Maggie McIntyre on the arm, tagging her in!
MM: What the hell was that about?
VA: I told you, Malone. She doesn’t care. There’s only one thing on her mind right now.
Maggie stares incredulously at Sahara before stepping through her ropes, and the Masochist charges her, delivering a series of clubbing forearms down across Maggie’s shoulders! With a fire in his eyes, West grabs the Network Champion, whipping her into the corner turnbuckle, and charges the Banshee – but Maggie gets her legs up, stomping West’s momentum cold with a double boot to his chest. Maggie hops into a seated position on the second turnbuckle, leaping off and catching West with a flying knee, and the Network Champion with the lateral press!
And West kicks out. The crowd immediately begins to buzz, and the fans in attendance begin craning their necks toward the stage area…
VA: Malone! We’ve got company out here!
Indeed, the camera pans to the entrance stage, where the #1 contender for the EWA Network Championship, Lou, has made her way out. Soaking in the adulation from the crowd, Lou skips down toward the ramp, stopping at the edge to watch the match.
VA: What’s Lou out here for, Malone?
MM: I’d say she clearly is here to scout her opponent at This Means War, Maggie McIntyre.
VA: Better stay away from Rayner, Lou.
Lou stares up intently as Maggie pulls West to his feet, but West quickly fires off a series of hard right punches to Maggie, before hooking her arm over his shoulder, and lifting her high in the air for a stalling vertical suplex! West keeps his grip on the Banshee, pulling her to her feet and backing into the corner of HATE before tagging in The Stranger!
MM: And this is the first time that Maggie’s been in action against Calder since their vicious match back at Champions Summit III in June, when Calder nearly dislocated the jaw of his former lover.
VA: What a great moment that was. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do to Draven in the lumberjack match!
MM: Indeed, the lumberjack match at This Means War is going to be a chaotic affair, for certain. We’ve learned that for Calder, those lumberjacks – ooh, and a hard shot from Calder right to the face of the Banshee here! – we’ve learned Calder’s lumberjacks will of course be the entirety of HATE, while Michael Draven’s lumberjacks will be none other than Maggie McIntyre, Sahara, and the EWA Combat Champion, Jester Smiles.
VA: Good luck getting Sahara to focus on anything other than Jada Kaine that night, Michael. I imagine instead of sugar plums, she has visions of breaking Jada’s face dancing through her head! I’m getting a woody just thinking about it!
MM: Okay, first of all, I never want to know that. Ever. And please, for the love of god, never use the word “woody” again.
VA: For the love of Grace. Do not desecrate the name of our beloved God Queen.
MM: I hate working with you.
Calder stares down at the floored McIntyre, a sinister grin forming on his face as he pulls her to her feet by her hair, shoving her back into the corner. Calder rears back, and delivers a HARD chop to Maggie’s chest, causing her to cry out. Calder smirks, sending her whipping across the ring – but Maggie reverses the irish whip, and sends Calder sternum first into the turnbuckle! Maggie taps her foot against the ground, waiting for Calder to turn around so that she can nail him with the Banshee’s Wail – but Calder sees it coming and smartly drops to the ground, rolling to the outside of the ring.
VA: There’s not a more cunning competitor in this match than Indrid Calder, Malone. The man just…knows things.
MM: There’s no denying that he’s extremely familiar with the Network Champion.
Calder smiles at Maggie from the outside, slowly climbing back into the ring. The crowd once again begins to buzz in the meantime, and our camera shifts toward the entrance ramp for a second time…
VA: Oy, me bucko! It’s the new lads!
MM: Would you stop it?
But Vincent Ashe’s observation, though derogatory, is correct, as Murphy Doyle Maher and Dane Preston march down the ramp, joining Lou at the bottom. The former tag team champion simply stares at the duo briefly, ignoring them after a moment and slowly walking away. Meanwhile, both Preston and MDM begin to jaw at William West, who returns the dialogue from his place on the ring apron…all while Cal Rayner watches silently from across the ring.
MM: Things are certainly getting crowded in a hurry down here, folks!
Calder steps into the ring, and Maggie, standing in her corner, flashes an extremely insincere smile toward him…before tagging in Michael Draven, to the eruption of the Combat Zone crowd!
MM: Looks like we’re going to get a preview of This Means War right here in Boston!
Draven vaults himself over the top rope, clearly amped up and ready to fight his nemesis. Calder stares daggers with his ice-blue eyes across at the man he tried to cripple, before cracking his neck…and tagging in the World Heavyweight Champion, to a chorus of boos from the Combat Zone! Draven, clearly furious, starts forward as Calder yells out to him, “We do this on my terms, Michael!”
MM: Draven is seething, folks! He can’t wait to get his hands on the Stranger!
VA: Be careful what you wish for, moron…
On the outside of the ring, Lou begins to move toward the corner of Maggie/Michael/Sahara, watching intently. Maggie’s eyes dart between Lou and the action in the ring as NOTHING and Michael Draven begin to trade blows. William West continues to talk trash to Murphy and Preston behind him, as the Titan of HATE slowly moves closer toward them. Inside the ring, NOTHING shoots Draven into the ropes, but Draven puts the brakes on, kicking the World Heavyweight Champion in the stomach and going for the Downfall! But NOTHING sweeps Draven’s legs out from underneath him, slingshotting him into the corner! Draven’s head cracks against the turnbuckle, and he slumps forward as the World Champion approaches from behind, placing him on the top rope.
MM: This is a dangerous position for both champion and former champion right now.
VA: Anywhere in the ring is a dangerous position to be in if your opponent’s the Purveyor, Malone.
MM: That’s…actually an astute point, Vincent.
VA: Thank you. I’ll be here all night.
NOTHING climbs the turnbuckle, and lifts Draven up, dropping him to the mat in a thunderous back suplex from the top rope! Both men are down, and the crowd begins to cheer, stomping their feet in hopes that their favorite will get to his feet first. In the meantime, Indrid Calder slides into the ring, ignoring Danny Smith’s orders to exit the ring!
VA: What’s he doing, Malone?
Maggie McIntyre steps into the ring, attempting to cut Calder off…but William West blindsides her, knocking her out to ringside. Sahara remains in the corner on the ring apron, stone-faced as Calder begins to move toward her!
MM: What is Indrid Calder’s fascination with Sahara?
VA: I mean, look at her, Malone! That’s reason enough, isn’t it? Especially with that black hair….
Calder approaches Sahara near the corner, and the Crimson Queen remains on the ring apron, seemingly mesmerized by the Stranger’s approach. Inside the ring, Michael Draven and NOTHING are stirring, but Draven sees Calder approaching Sahara, and springs to his feet, rushing at Calder! Michael Draven swings wildly…
…but Calder drops to the mat, ducking out of the way! Draven stops his fist just INCHES from the face of Sahara, who stares at him, mouth wide open!
VA: He tried to punch her, Malone! Michael Draven tried to punch Sahara right in the face! I told you he’s a piece of garbage!
MM: Don’t be ridiculous, he was clearly–
Malone cuts himself off as Sahara’s facial expression slowly begins to change from open-mouthed shock. Her mouth slowly contorts into a scowl, her icy blue eyes blazing. Draven attempts to explain himself in an effort to calm her down, but the former blonde begins visibly trembling in anger, and all at once, lashes out, SHOVING Draven backwards — right into NOTHING, who schoolboys Draven from behind for the cover!
NR: Here are your winners….HATE!!!
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL: HATE (7:58)
MM: What a travesty!
VA: A travesty is right, Malone! I can’t believe Michael Draven tried to knock Sahara out cold!
Maggie McIntyre slides back into the ring as Calder moves back toward NOTHING, holding his hand up in victory. Maggie begins talking to Sahara, trying to calm her down as Draven stares up at her in shock, but Sahara just stares blankly ahead, seemingly tuning out the Network Champion.
And all at once, things seem to break loose.
Indrid Calder and NOTHING pounce on Michael Draven, stomping away at him with hard boots. Maggie moves to intercept them, but at that moment, Lou slides into the ring, spinning the Network Champion around, and fires off a hard right. Maggie responds by tackling her into the corner, and the two women vying for the Network Championship at This Means War begin brawling. On the outside of the ring, Dane Preston and Murphy Doyle Maher simultaneously pull William West off the ring apron, slamming his face into the apron, before whipping him into the guardrail – which brings the behemoth Cal Rayner over, delivering a massive boot to the face of Preston, as Maher begins to fire off punches on the former Dredd.
VA: I love this, Malone!
Sahara slowly steps into the ring, seemingly in a daze – but makes no effort to help Maggie McIntyre in her fight against Lou – nor does she try to assist Michael Draven, who’s being worked on in the corner by the Stranger and the World Heavyweight Champion.
MM: Things have completely broken down here in the Combat Zone! There’s fights all over the ringside area!
VA: This is insane, Malone!
MM: We need security, or something out he–
COME ON, COME ON
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
MM: AND HERE WE GO!
The Combat Zone crowd EXPLODES as, for the second time tonight, ‘Comanche’ blasts over the PA system. Inside the ring, Sahara’s attention snaps toward the entrance ramp, no longer seemingly disinterested in the evening’s events. Her eyes blaze toward the stage, and as the crowd response grows louder, her fists clench at the sight of the legendary Sinnocence, stepping out onto the stage!
MM: For the first time in over 20 months, Sinnocence will step into the ring at This Means War to go one-on-one with her protege. We thought we’d never see Jada Kaine in the ring again, but that changes when she does battle with Sahara.
VA: But what kind of condition is she in, Malone? She was believed to have retired not out of desire, but out of being completely incapable of competing due to her injuries in that cage match against Osbourne Kilminster!
Sinnocence stands on the stage, soaking in the adulation from the capacity crowd, eyes staring a hole through Sahara. A moment later, the crowd response grows even larger as JOSH KAINE, the son of the legend, steps out on the stage behind her!
MM: And Josh Kaine is here too! It was Sahara’s attack on Jada’s son that started all of this, and we hadn’t seen him since that time until earlier tonight…and now he stands side by side with his legendary mother!
VA: If the kid knows what’s good for him, he’ll run away, Malone! As fast as he can!
Sahara slowly nods, and begins to march forward! Sinnocence simply smirks, beckoning the raven-haired former champion to meet her on the stage – and at that very moment, Lou leaps into the air, hitting Maggie McIntyre with a dropkick that staggers her back into Sahara – who promptly leaps forward and SLUGS Maggie right in the face!
MM: What the hell?! She–she just hit her own wife!
VA: Maggie’s in the way of her getting to Jada, Malone!
Michael Draven, having fought back NOTHING and laid Calder out with a hard clothesline, sees this and SHOVES Sahara back into the corner, screaming at her!
Michael Draven: What the fuck are you thinking?!
MM: She already cost her team the match earlier, and now she’s laid out Maggie…
VA: Good, Malone! It’s about time she wakes up and realizes that she’s the third wheel in that weird trio!
Sahara stares daggers into the eyes of Michael, while suddenly on the stage, Josh Kaine is FLOORED from behind by the monstrous Alice, emerging from behind the curtain along with Grace Goeren!
VA: ALICE!! AND MY GOD QUEEN!! PRAISE HER, MALONE! PRAISE HER!!
MM: Alice and Grace are set to meet Cerberus and The Erinyes at This Means War for the EWA Tag Team Championship, but they’re getting started right now on Josh!
Grace and Alice begin stomping away at the younger Kaine, but Grace is SPUN around by Sinnocence, a snarl on the Viking Queen’s face!
MM: Oh my god! Jada Kaine and Grace Goeren are teeing off on one another! This is a dream matchup right here!
VA: Arguably the two most dominant women in the history of the EWA are beating the hell out of one another!
MM: And Josh is back on his feet, and now here come Nikki Caldwell and Mojave, to take the fight to Alice!
Inside the ring, Sahara continues to try to get around Draven, who’s having to physically RESTRAIN the Crimson Queen…and Calder from behind LEVELS Draven with a chair! Sahara just stares down at Draven…and quickly leaves through the ropes, hopping to the outside!
MM: What the hell? She’s not even helping out Draven!
VA: That’s how badly she wants to get to Sinnocence!
Sahara quickly makes her way through the various fights at ringside, dodging bodies as she circles around the ring…only to be met at the edge of the ramp by a SWARM of security officers, with Stacy Vandervort behind them, screaming out instructions! Sahara writhes and thrashes against the wall of security, seething with fury as she tries to break through to get at the legendary Jada Kaine.
MM: Vandervort’s not going to allow this fight to go down until This Means War, folks!
VA: Let them fight!
Meanwhile, Grace and Sinnocence continue to slug it out on the stage, and the Erinyes have joined Cerberus’s attack on Alice…
VA: LOOK OUT!!
MM: They just threw Alice off the stage through that production table! GOOD LORD!!!
VA: GOOD GRACE!! Someone do something!!
Security officers continue to flood out of the back, working to separate the various fights at ringside. Jada, finally pulled away from her brawl with the God Queen, attempts to lunge after Sahara, only to be held away by security – Sahara, meanwhile, screams and writhes against the officers, desperate to get her hands on the legendary Viking. Michael Draven and Indrid Calder topple over the guardrail in their brawl, fighting in the crowd, while three different groups of security officers manage to separate Lou from Maggie, the Erinyes from Grace Goeren and Cerberus, and MDM & Preston from West and Rayner. Quickly slipping out of the ring is the Purveyor, who grabs his World Heavyweight Championship before returning the ring, demanding that security free the Titan and the Masochist.
MM: Absolute bedlam here tonight in the Combat Zone, as–
Just as Ashe speaks, NOTHING turns around – and is immediately caught with a superkick to the face by MARTIN ROBERTSON!!
MM: Where the hell did the #1 contender come from?!
VA: I think he came right by us, Malone! Through the crowd!
Robertson springs forward, screaming out at the Combat Zone audience as he storms a circle around the Purveyor, stopping as he reaches the object of his aspiration…the EWA World Heavyweight Championship. Martin reaches down, grabbing the belt in one hand and gazing down intently at it. The #1 contender steps directly over NOTHING, looking down at the fallen Purveyor of HATE as he holds the championship high in the air.
VA: We could be looking into a glimpse of the future right now, Malone!
MM: Indeed we could, Vince…that man right there, Martin Robertson, could be the next EWA World Heavyweight Champion! Folks, we’re out of time! Security’s still trying to restore order out here, but we have to go! For Vincent Ashe, Terry Bull and Allison Haines, as always, I’m Mike Malone. We’ll see you on January 4 from Minneapolis at This Means War!
We fade to black on the camera interspersing between two visuals – Sahara and Sinnocence, rabidly struggling against the security team to get at one another…and Martin Robertson, EWA World Heavyweight Championship in hand, standing over the fallen champion, NOTHING.
EWA Wrestling – a Division of EWA Entertainment
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Katusro Yoshida vs Dane Preston – Harlan H.
MDM vs Philip Donovan – Harlan H.
Erin Gordon vs Sterling – Eric M.
Mojave vs Grace Goeren vs Lagrima – Sean B.
Cal Rayner vs Martin Robertson – Chris F.
Jester Smiles & Buck Dresden vs Donovan King & Azrael Goeren – Brandon H.
Nikki Caldwell vs Lou – Sean B.
HATE vs Michael Draven, Maggie McIntyre & Sahara – Gates