(We cut to the parking garage as a large black truck pulls into a space and the rumbling engine turns off. The door opens to reveal a knockout blonde, sliding out of the driver’s seat in a pair of boots that nicely show off the long length of her legs. A moment later, the other door opens and the arena erupts in a chorus of cheers upon the sight of EWA Legend Jada Kaine getting out of the truck.)
(She pulls her gear bag from the back and slings it over one shoulder before smiling at the sounds reverberating through the building.)
Sinnocence: Come on, Tarzan, let’s get going. Lilah’s planned something amazing for my last match ever.
(The camera pans to the leggy blonde, a smirk slowly appearing on her face.)
Lilah Hurst: Damn right I have…and it better be the last one ever.
(And as Lilah moves away, we see the man Jada just called Tarzan. No Anglo blond guy in a loincloth here; more like a six-foot-four broad-shouldered man in a leather jacket with black hair and a skintone that made him just a bit ethnically ambiguous.)
(He looks up at the arena, the terrible scar around his neck is the first thing to notice. Ragged, deep, thick scar tissue. Someone had obviously tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, with middling results. The rest of his face bore the occasional marks of battle, most notably a nose that’d been broken a time or twenty. As he speaks, there is a guttural sound to his voice– not a deliberate growl, but simply a consequence.)
V: If it isn’t, you’ll have help locking her in the bathroom until she sees sense. Call it returning the favor.
Sinnocence: You ever lock me in a room again, I’ll be breaking that nose of yours…along with every other limb you have.
(Some clear inside joke between the two of them as the doors to the truck are closed and they are soon approached by none other than EWA Journalist Terry Bull. The older man stops just short of the EWA legend, holding his microphone out to Sinnocence.)
Terry Bull: Sinnocence, a moment please!
(The half-blind Viking Queen nods, smiling pleasantly for once. She doesn’t like interviews. She never has, he knows this better than most.)
Sinnocence: Terry, you’re sweet and all, but I’ve said all that needs to be said regarding this match. The only thing left to do is show my monster exactly what happens when you step in the ring with me…especially after I’m supposed to be retired. That’s one reason why I have these two with me, (she motions to the gorgeous blonde and tall man behind her). To make sure that after this, I stay retired.
Sinnocence: They’re like Wrestling Addicts Anonymous.
Terry Bull: Exactly who are they? I dare say our viewers have only seen them a handful of times.
(Sinnocence takes a step back to stand between her companions.)
Sinnocence: This is the manager of Valhalla in Boston and…manager of most things in my life. Lilah Hurst, the most beautiful woman you’ll never have. Just be careful, she wields those stilettos like a knife.
Lilah Hurst: Oh honey, you always gotta warn ’em about me.
(Lilah winks at the camera.)
Sinnocence: Damn right I do. And Terry, this tall hunk of battered-to-shit handsomeness in the leather jacket is…V. My braintwin. A brother-in-arms…a kick in the ass for each other when we need one. Oh, he’s also our Amazon’s older brother. So that makes him like…oh fuck if I know. King of the Jungle.
Terry Bull: Speaking of, did you call him Tarzan earlier?
(Sinnocence just nods, raising an eyebrow at the snickering to her right.)
Terry Bull: Can I ask why?
Sinnocence: Parkour. That’s why.
Terry Bull: …Did you say Parkour? Why–
Sinnocence: Yeah, I’m not going to tell you why, Terry. And on that note, I’ve got my last match ever to prep for. I’ll see all of you in the ring.
(We fade to ringside, where Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe stand. The raucous Target Center crowd erupts as the theme for This Means War, Disturbed’s ‘Immortalized’, blasts over the PA system, and Malone excitedly begins to speak.)
Mike Malone: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota! We’re live tonight at EWA This Means War, and what a massive night we have for you, with NOTHING defending the EWA World Heavyweight Championship against the Youth King himself, Martin Robertson!
Vincent Ashe: Malone, I’m not sure exactly what the temperature is outside, but it’s freezing. It may be colder than the black heart of Sahara, and we’re going to find out tonight as she steps in the ring with the woman you just saw, a woman who hasn’t been in the ring in twenty months, the legendary Sinnocence herself.
MM: We also have Michael Draven and Indrid Calder finally colliding, nearly a year after Calder shattered Draven’s leg in the ring. The Tag Team Championship is on the line in the Asylum for the first time ever, Donovan King and Azrael Goeren will have their final encounter, and so much more. Let’s not waste another moment…let’s go up to the ring!
KATSURO YOSHIDA VS PHILIP DONOVAN
Nikki Rogers: Our opening contest here at This Means War is scheduled for one fall!
The entire Target Center goes dark as the crowd oohs and ahhs with anticipation and wonder.
The iconic organ solo intro of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” fills the arena which comes as a delight to the now hyped crowd. The opening narration echoes everywhere.
We are gathered here today/
To get through this thing called “life”
Electric word, life/
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time/
But I’m here to tell you/
There’s something else/
Two spotlights shine on the edges of the entrance ramp. It’s Joe Lemon and Serpent Man dressed in gold and green vinyl jumpsuits respectively. Both men look up to the ceiling as they slowly raise their wide open arms to the heavens above. The applause and cheers intensify.
A world of never ending happiness/
You can always see the sun, day or night
Cause in this life/
Things are much harder than in the afterworld/
In this life/
You’re on your own!
The two spotlights converge between Joe Lemon and Serpent Man to the silhouette of Philip Donovan who has his back turned to the audience. Two cylinders of steam pipe fervently at his sides. He is standing still with his signature “O.C.” hand gesture lifted high above his head. Purple, gold, and white lasers strobes and scatter onto the entrance in rhythm to the drum kicks of the song.
And if the elevator tries to bring you down/
Go crazy (Punch a higher floor! )
The EWA Tron lights up with PhD’s special graphic for the event.
PhD does an about face and steps out of the spotlight to face the now raucous crowd. He’s decked out in purple and gold paisley long tights, glowing neon purple and white shutter shades, and a pair of Black Grape Jordan Vs. After performing the signature Lemonheads handshake with both men onstage, PhD struts down the ramp rocking out while interacting with the fans. The Lemonheads follow behind him looking upbeat as well.
PhD jogs up the ring steps and hops over the top rope with a scissor kick as The Lemonheads do a lap around the ring fist-bumping the fans. He walks over to a ring corner and ascends to the top turnbuckle to survey the crowd one last time. After doing the Birdman hand rub, he jumps down onto the apron and runs the ropes three times, finally tossing his shades into the audience.
MM: Revved up and ready to go, it would appear that Philip Donovan has been anxiously awaiting this match, to get some retribution against Katsuro Yoshida.
VA: Retribution? For what?! It’s The World Wide Bushido Buntai who were wronged in all of this, and if anyone’s going to even up the score, it’s Katsuro Yoshida.
MM: I think your math might be a little “off” on this one, because I’d say they’re about even as it stands.
VA: Agree to disagree!
NR: And his opponent…
The lasers cut out and suddenly we’re draped in darkness. A lone white spotlight shines down onto the stage as Koto by CloZee begins to play. Red lights slowly flicker on, shining upwards, as the rolling fog illuminates an eerie shade of crimson.
NR: Accompanied by his entourage… the face of the World Wide Bushido Buntai in the United States…. Katsuro Yoshida!
An older Japanese man walks out onto the stage wearing dark robes emblazoned with golden Japanese symbols outlined in burgundy, and a matching Toppai jingasa hat. He is followed by four women, each wearing similar robes. Though the man travels slowly towards the ring, the women stand at four equidistant spots around the circle formed by the spotlight. From the back emerges Katsuro Yoshida, wearing a similar dark robe, though his has white stitch detailing, making it far more ornate. He is not wearing a hat like the others, but rather his robe comes up over his head as a hood which blocks a large portion of his face.
VA: This guy gets quite the entrance, Malone.
MM: Very ornate, to say the least. It’s something to behold live.
Emerging from the back is his long-time British business partner and advocate, Kevin Oppenheimer, wearing his blonde hair spiked up, dark sunglasses which reflect the light like mirrors, and a suit which coordinates very nicely with that of the other individuals on the stage. Embroidered into the left breast pocket portion of his jacket is the symbol for the WorldWide Bushido Buntai.
VA: Look at this guy… I’ll admit it, I’m a bit jealous.
MM: He is quite fashionable, I’ll give him that.
With a huge grin on his face, Oppenheimer stands next to the legendary Katsuro Yoshida, then pats him on the shoulder and then follows two steps behind him as they make their way to the ring, following the spiritual leader who is already en route, as the four women fall in line behind Oppenheimer. Upon reaching the ring, the spiritual leader waits outside the ring while the women and Oppenheimer follow Katsuro Yoshida into the ring. Oppenheimer looks out over the crowd as the women help disrobe Katsuro Yoshida, who is wearing loose-fitting dark pants underneath which coordinate perfectly with his dark robe.
MM: Looks like things are about ready to go, and…
VA: Hold on, Malone, I think something amazing is happening here… could it be…?
MM: I do believe that Kevin Oppenheimer is looking to join us on commentary.
The camera switches to show the commentary position, where Kevin Oppenheimer has now joined an empty seat at the table, putting on the headset. He smiles at the duo who look surprised.
VA: Kevin Oppenheimer, welcome!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Thank you, kind sir. I thought that since this is quite the big match, you may as well get treated to someone with some insight.
MM: The fans have been enjoying your recap sitdowns with Terry Bull, so I suppose this is a natural extension of that.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Naturally, Malone. Naturally. Who knows, maybe at some point, I’ll be takin’ your spot ‘ere and givin’ the ole EWA commentary team a much needed upgrade!
VA: Oh, Kevin, don’t tease us like that if you’re not serious!
Back in the ring, Philip Donovan is stretching, the referee checking for illegal objects. In the opposite corner, Katsuro Yoshida is also stretching a bit, and his eyes are scanning up and around the crowd. Having found something, his eyes stay fixed for a bit as the referee comes over and checks him as well. The camera then switches up to the luxury box area where we get a glimpse of an Asian man in very ornate garb, fashion-forward stylings from what we can tell, though the luxury box in which he is sitting is darkened, so he’s not completely visible.
MM: Kevin, if you don’t mind, it looks like Katsuro Yoshida has turned his attention on a luxury box… is that who I think it is?
Kevin Oppenheimer: The one and only.
VA: The leader of the World Wide Bushido Buntai, Osamu Hayashi is in the building?!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Don’t expect an introduction. He wants to see things first-hand, fellas. That’s why we asked to allow Donny to make his entrance first. We can’t have him attackin’ us durin’ our entrance, can we now?
VA: Keepin’ things in control, I like it!
As the opening bell rings, the two competitors start circling the ring, and as Katsuro Yoshida turns a bit, he notices something up in the luxury box again, and as he looks up there, Philip Donovan rushes in and takes him over with a roll-up pinfall attempt. The referee is there to make the count…
MM: Great strategy there by Philip Donovan, keeping Yoshida on his toes especially given how things have gone down for Katsuro recently.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Bit of a slap in the ole face, that’s how I see it!
As both men get to their feet, Donovan utilizes his speed advantage and connects with a dropkick that puts Katsuro back onto the mat. The moment that happens, PhD turns and runs into the ropes, and on the rebound he catches his opponent just as Yoshida is getting up off the mat, grabbing his shoulder, placing his knee against Katsuro’s face, hopping up and then smashing back down onto the mat with a stomp.
MM: Great flurry of offense here early by Philip Donovan, and we might get yet another quick finish for the World Wide Bushido Buntai!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Oi, bite your tongue!
Holding his jaw, Katsuro stumbles around, trying to get back in it, but when he turns his back to PhD, Yoshida gets grabbed from behind and lifted up as if for an atomic drop, but Donovan spins him around and flips him over and PLANTS him back down onto the mat with a Blue Thunder Bomb, and the fans go wild! Hooking the leg from a seated position, PhD goes for a pinfall…
VA: I KNEW it wasn’t over yet!
Kevin Oppenheimer: I’ll admit, this isn’t startin’ quite how we’d like it to go, but Katsuro is a veteran, and he’s stickin’ with it!
Frustrated and determined, Katsuro Yoshida shoves Donovan off of him and tries to get up, but PhD still has the speed advantage, and he gets up right into a sprint, hitting the ropes, gaining momentum, and then he puts Yoshida back down onto the mat with a running leg lariat. As Donovan gets to his knees and pumps his fist in a minor celebration, Yoshida rolls out of the ring under the bottom rope.
MM: Katsuro Yoshida looking to regroup now, and one has to wonder just how much of a distraction Osamu Hayashi is, seated up in the luxury boxes as he watches on in person.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Don’t put this on him, Malone, especially when there’s nothin’ to blame for yet! We’re still in this match!
Inside the ring, PhD measures up his opponent on the outside, then turns and hits the ropes, targeting Yoshida with a baseball slide kick to outside, but at the last moment Katsuro quickly dodges out of the way. Donovan lands on his feet and turns around to find his opponent and gets a MASSIVE clothesline down to the arena floor.
Staying in on the attack, Yoshida reaches down, helps him to his feet and then grabs him around the torso and drives him backwards, smashing Donovan’s back into the ring apron. As PhD arches a bit in pain, Katsuro grabs him by the head and shoves him back into the ring under the bottom rope, quickly following suit.
VA: Here we go, Katsuro on the move, making things happen just like I knew he would!
Kevin Oppenheimer: He found the opportunity and exploited it, Malone! That’s how things happen!
MM: I’ll take nothing away from him, he’s a veteran talent, but so is former EWA Television Champion Philip Donovan!
As PhD gets back to his feet, he’s met with a kick to the leg from Yoshida. Then another, and another, the third dropping him to a knee. A fourth kick comes in, this one connecting with his ribs. Donovan leans to that side to try to cover up, so Yoshida does a shuffle step, switches legs and the fifth roundhouse kick connects to the ribs on the other side. Donovan wants to avoid more offense, so he does a backwards roll and works his way back to his feet. Katsuro waits for a moment, then shoots in and takes him to the mat with a single-leg takedown, driving him backwards onto his shoulder awkwardly. Getting to his knees, Yoshida dives back in with a double ax handle smash that flattens PhD onto the mat.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Anyone who doubts the potential for brutality based on what they’ve seen from him thus far in EWA simply doesn’t know Katsuro Yoshida, but they’re going to find out!
MM: The World Wide Bushido Buntai member in control here after a shaky start to the match.
Grabbing Donovan’s wrist, he twists his arm back around and puts PhD in a hammerlock. Katsuro then gets to one knee, the other foot planted behind him, and he dives in, connecting with a falling headbutt to the ribs.
VA: That’ll make it hard to get out of bed tomorrow!
Kevin Oppenheimer: That’s a bit of the ole point, yeah?
In a show of respect, Katsuro Yoshida backs up and lets Philip Donovan get back up to a vertical base, seeing signs that the work he has done on the ribs is having the desired effect. Yoshida then moves in and connects with another kick, but this time Donovan immediately spins around after the blow connects, and he rocks Katsuro back with a spinning back elbow smash to the jaw. After the first punch from Donovan lands, Katsuro blocks the follow up and then takes him down with a belly to belly suplex. Returning to his feet, Yoshida attempts a standing falling headbutt, but PhD rolls away just in time and Katsuro comes up with nothing but canvas.
MM: I bet he wishes he had that one back!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Donovan hasn’t taken control back just yet! Don’t be too quick with your hatchlings!
Both competitors back on their feet, Katsuro attempts another roundhouse to the ribs… but Donovan blocks it and grabs his leg in the process. Ducking in and twisting around, Philip Donovan pulls his opponent down to the mat with him violently with a fisherman’s swinging neckbreaker, and the fans go wild!!
MM: There’s The Cradle of Love, and I think we can say things are back in Donovan’s favor!
VA: Don’t get smug, Malone!!
Katsuro in a bad way, Philip grabs him by the arm and pulls him back to his feet… LEVELING him with a short-arm clothesline. Not letting go, Donovan again gets him back to his feet… hitting a SECOND short-arm clothesline and the fans are loving it!
As Donovan maintains his grip and pulls Katsuro up and attempts a third short-arm clothesline, this time, Yoshida ducks underneath the huge swinging attempt. As Philip turns around to keep in on the attack, he’s the one grabbed by the arm and sent into the ropes. On the return, he’s lifted up off his feet by Yoshida, spun around and driven down onto his knee, both men crumpling to the mat.
MM: Yoshida with a huge tilt–a-whirl backbreaker there that sets things back to even, now can he capitalize?!
Kevin Oppenheimer: He’s got plenty left in that tank, don’t you worry about that!
Yoshida is, in fact, the first of the duo to get up off the mat, but as Donovan isn’t far behind, Katsuro steps in and makes sure to take to the offensive before Philip gets the chance. Grabbing him by the head, he forces him up while bending him backwards, hooking his arm around his opponent’s neck. Katsuro then drives his knee upwards, repeatedly, into PhD’s back, before the referee forces him to relinquish the hold.
MM: Luckily for Donovan, he had the presence of mind to reach out with his foot and hook onto the middle rope to force the break.
VA: Those knee strikes were a thing of beauty, and Donovan is feeling it!! And it looks like Katsuro has an idea on how to follow it up!
Taking him by the shoulders, Yoshida doesn’t allow Donovan to scurry off too far. Leaping up into the air, Katsuro lifts his knees up and pulls back, but the lung blower attempt is blocked as Donovan gets his hands on the ropes, sending Yoshida crashing down hard onto the mat.
Working as hard as he can to get up, Katsuro Yoshida uses the ropes to pull himself to his feet. Donovan up first, he sees his opponent’s resolve to keep going, measures him for a moment and then as soon as the moment is available, he drills Katsuro with a superkick to the jaw.
MM: What a strike by Donovan!
VA: Don’t count Yoshida out just yet, he was able to grab the middle rope on his way down!
MM: That very well might be the case, but he’s in a bad way and Philip Donovan is looking to capitalize!
Kevin Oppenheimer: He can look all he bloody-well wants!
Pulling Katsuro up and placing his arms over the top rope, Philip Donovan gets set up in the corner, and trying to keep things in his favor, he steps up onto the middle rope, then hops up onto Yoshida’s shoulders, hooking his legs into the ribs of his opponent, then archest back looking for a poison rana… but Yoshida pushes off the middle turnbuckle, sending them both down to the mat before Donovan can arch back far enough.
VA: Great counter by Yoshida!
MM: Very timely, as well, because if Donovan had completed that move, the match might be over right about now!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Yeah, but instead, it looks like he’s now seriously favoring that shoulder!
Getting his knee underneath his body, Katsuro struggles to get back to his feet while shaking some of the cobwebs while his opponent shows signs of having injured his shoulder when he crumpled to the mat. With a short burst of energy, Yoshida DRIVES into Philip’s shoulder with a knee strike that keeps his opponent from getting off the mat.
Keeping control, Katsuro grabs Donovan by the head and arm and pulls him off the mat, back to his feet, then trades the arm for Philip’s knee. Hooking it into a Fisherman’s position, Yoshida hops back a step, then hoists Donovan up off the mat and falls backwards, then drops straight down with the modified brainbuster.
VA: Can you feel it?! This is the beginning of the end for Donovan!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Oh I can sense it alrigh’!!
MM: It would seem that Katsuro Yoshida is of the same opinion, as he’s now out onto the apron and looking to go to the top rope.
Reaching the top turnbuckle, Yoshida measures up his opponent’s location, then dives head-first… AND CONNECTS with the huge falling headbutt right to Donovan’s ribs. Having tumbled away a bit after connecting, Yoshida gets to a knee and pushes himself over on top of PhD, going for the pinfall…
Just as the referee signals that the match continues, Philip Donovan reaches up and moves his leg into position and then locks in with a surprise submission hold.
MM: Signs of life from Philip Donovan as he not only avoids the pinfall, but moves straight into a bunny choke!
VA: What the hell?!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Fight it! Fight it!!
Trying to pull himself away, Katsuro is unable to get out of the submission hold, but he does reach back and over with his leg and is somehow able to get his foot on the rope. Braking it up, the referee moves in and tries to get PhD to relinquish the hold. After a moment, he does, and then rolls out and gets to his knees, throwing his fists into the air, arching his head back.
VA: He thinks he’s won!!
MM: It was close, but the referee’s trying to get him to understand that it’s not over just yet!
As the referee explains to a confused Philip Donovan that the match isn’t over yet, Katsuro Yoshida works to stretch out some lingering pain during the distracted moment. PhD starts to look seriously angry, thinking he should’ve been given the win, and after Katsuro Yoshida looks up at the luxury box for a moment, that’s when he strikes.
Katsuro Yoshida dives in from behind, nailing Donovan in the back with a leaping knee strike, causing him to tumble forwards into the referee, knocking him out of the ring and almost going with him. Yoshida grabs Donovan by the leg, then by the waistband of his pants, and pulls him back into the ring. A small chorus of boos start echoing from an otherwise stunned crowd.
MM: The referee is down on the outside… and you’d have to blame Katsuro Yoshida for that!
VA: It was clearly Philip Donovan who made contact with him!
MM: Contact that wouldn’t have happened if not for Katsuro Yoshida’s knee strike!
After a forearm smash to the back, Katsuro Yoshida again looks up at the luxury box, and then the booing pours in as he deals a VERY blatant low blow to Philip Donovan!
MM: Come on now… How do you explain that?!
VA: I… I don’t….
Kevin Oppenheimer: Rather than explain that, why not talk about these brutal elbows that Katsuro is now raining down onto Philip Donovan’s head with?!
Having taken Donovan down to the mat with a forearm to the jaw, Katsuro Yoshida has placed himself behind Philip Donovan in a kneeling position, and he’s striking downwards with elbow shows to PhD’s head. Repeatedly.
Over. And over.
Relentlessly, he drives his elbow downwards into his opponent’s forehead, which is now busted open, the beginnings of a crimson mask forming.
MM: I’m not sure how much more of this I can watch…
VA: Well Philip Donovan has stopped trying to defend himself, I think he’s out!
Kevin Oppenheimer: ….
As the elbows fire in, less rapidly than before, the boos of the crowd give way to cheers and the camera switches to show Joe Lemon rushing down to the ring. He checks on the referee, who is out cold, and then he takes the towel that was around his neck and throws it into the ring, hitting Katsuro Yoshida with the knot tied in it.
MM: Well as Joe Lemon throws in the towel, I would think this would be the end of the match.
VA: It should be, but there’s no one to count it!
Sensing that his opponent is out cold, Katsuro stops with the elbows. He looks around for the referee, and when he doesn’t see him, he takes the towel that Joe Lemon threw at him and wipes off his elbow, removing most of the crimson liquid in the process. After a glance up at the luxury box, he hoists the lifeless body of Philip Donovan off the mat…
MM: What’s this all about, Kevin? What’s the point of this here?!
Kevin Oppenheimer: ….
Grabbing both of Donovan’s arms behind him in a double underhook / butterfly position, Katsuro picks him up off his feet and sends him down with a belly to back suplex. Keeping his arms locked in, Yoshida plants his head on the mat and flips his body up and over into a bridging position, squeezing his grip on Philip Donovan’s arms and locking in the cattle mutilation submission hold.
VA: Way of the Samurai, and this should be it!
MM: Well you might be right, and the actions of Yoshida the last couple of minutes has left these fans stunned, and they’re showing their displeasure with how he has acted.
The referee gets to his feet on the outside, a bit drowsy, but he slides into the ring, sees the submission hold, sees the lifeless nature of Donovan’s face, checks his arm and then immediately calls for the bell.
NR: Here is your winner as a result of a submission…. Katsurooooooo Yoshiiiiida!
MM: Throw any mention of honor out the door, because the way Katsuro Yoshida acted tonight, it defies whatever honorable approach he was trying to take.
VA: Honor’s overrated, Malone! This is a big statement victory for the World Wide Bushido Buntai. What say you, Oppy?!
Kevin Oppenheimer: …
Instead of answering, Kevin Oppenheimer takes off his headset, gets up and leaves the announce position. He joins Katsuro Yoshida, who is carrying the bloodied towel, as they head back to the locker room area. EMTs are rushing past them, trying to get to Philip Donovan to check on what degree he needs medical attention. Joe Lemon looks on in concern as the medical workers attend to Donovan.
MM: Philip Donovan showed a lot of fight in him tonight, but the referee going down was too much to overcome.
VA: But how’s he going to react to Joe Lemon trying to throw in the towel for him, Malone?
MM: One thing’s for sure – PhD may be down right now, but he’s not out. Let’s head backstage!
YOUR WINNER: KATSURO YOSHIDA (11:12)
(We quickly cut to footage of the backstage area, officials and administrators are seen grouped around something, shouting to each other, over each other. Pushing our way through the crowd, we find Murphy Doyle Maher, laid out and bleeding from several wounds to the face. A pair of EMTs make their way through the crowd, and begin to attending to MDM, as the chaos continues, and begins to move toward another area.)
MM: Well, it would seem like there was a preemptive strike against Murphy Doyle Maher. Wonder who was behind that.
VA: Me too, no one we employ would do that.
VA: Zip it, Malone. Look.
(The camera crew follows the chaos from the MDM area, to an area a few feet away. We find the crowd of officials now standing over another person, Dane Preston, who is just as busted up as his partner. The EMTs attending to Murphy call out for attention, and we rush over. They’ve rolled him off his back, and reveal several deep cuts in his back, spelling out three bloody letters.)
MM: That says FYA! This wasn’t HATE! This was FYA?
VA: Who are these people?
MM: Chances are, it could be just about anyone, really.
VA: Except for Erin. Then it would be Fuck Ya’ll.
MM: …You literally stole that joke from the website.
VA: It’s EWA property either way, broseph.
MM: Nonetheless, with Murphy and Preston down, what comes of this match scheduled between them and the team of William West and Cal Rayner tonight? That match is coming up shortly..
VA: Just give HATE a forfeit win, Malone. It amounts to the same anyway.
MM: Let’s head backstage once more!
(The scene fades in to the back. We see Michael Draven, Jester Smiles, and Maggie McIntyre all in a private dressing room. We can see the Combat Championship and the Network Championship sitting on the counter in front of a large mirror. Jester looks confused, Maggie looks worried, and Michael looks focused.)
Jester Smiles: Where’s Sahara? Should she be in this meeting of the minds?
(Michael’s brow furrows a bit.)
Michael Draven: She’s not coming.
(Jester quirks his eyebrow.)
Jester Smiles: Oh…is she…is she still going to be one of the lumberjacks tonight?
(Maggie shakes her head.)
Maggie McIntyre: I’m not sure. Probably not. I wouldn’t count on it.
Jester Smiles: Oh. So…it’s just the two of us?
(Maggie nods slowly, stretching her arms out in front of her. Michael stands up abruptly, shaking his head.)
Michael Draven: It doesn’t matter. You two can handle HATE. I have no doubt in my mind. Prudence’s top priority is going to be retaining his title in the main event against Robertson. His mind won’t be 100% on this match. You…
(He points to Jester.)
Michael Draven: …you go out there and defend your championship against Buck. And you…
(He looks over at Maggie, smiling, but she interrupts him.)
Maggie McIntyre: I don’t need the pep talk, Mike. I can’t wait to face Lou. It’s going to be a blast.
(Michael Draven nods, pleased.)
Michael Draven: Then we’re all set. And tonight…I end this thing with Calder. Once and for all.
Jester Smiles: Michael…
(Jester looks serious. Very serious.)
Jester Smiles: No matter what, you stay in the back. Even if HATE comes out, stay in the back. I can handle myself on this. You need to stay fresh.
(Michael tries to speak up.)
Michael Draven: Jester, I ca–
(Jester holds up his hand, interrupting.)
Jester Smiles: If you want this to end tonight, you need to be fresh. Stay in the back. I’ll be fine. Promise me, okay?
(Maggie looks incredibly worried. Michael is deep in thought.)
Maggie McIntyre: Jester…if they come out, it won’t be to just beat you up a little. You have to know that, right?
(Jester puts on a big grin, faking confidence and attempting to downplay the situation.)
Jester Smiles: Don’t worry about it, guys. I’m a big boy, and I can handle a couple of Edgar Allan Poe wannabes. Besides, they all have bigger fish to try. They aren’t going to want to push their boundaries to much.
(Jester gets serious again, looking over at Michael.)
Jester Smiles: Michael, promise me. If this ends tonight, you need to be as fresh as possible. You know Indrid will be. Promise…me…
(The room is quiet, awkward even. Michael looks up and nods, not able to bring himself to agree verbally. Maggie continues to look concerned, but Jester puts on a smile and tries to keep the room light. It is on this awkward scene that the camera fades out.)
MM: What’s the deal with Sahara? Why isn’t she going to be one of the lumberjacks?
VA: Are you serious, Malone? She’s got more important things to think about, like sending Sinnocence back to the old folks’ home she crawled out of!
MM: Nonetheless, this leaves Michael Draven’s crew outnumbered in the Lumberjack match…but if there’s one thing Michael Draven’s used to, it’s having the odds against him.
VA: And losing.
VA: He’s used to losing. A lot. To everyone. He always chokes, Malone. You know it as well as I do!
MM: (sighs) Let’s go to the ring for our next contest!
ERIN GORDON VS STERLING
Nikki Rogers: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall!
The crowd responds with a “ONE FALL” of their own.
NR: Introducing first, from Blooming Valley, Pennsylvania, the oncoming storm, ERIN … GORDON!!!
The overhead lights slowly go dark as the first strummed chords of ‘Hurricane’ by Thrice fill the air. The crowd’s cheers slowly rise in anticipation of the newcomer to the EWA 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 as she stands with her shoulders square and her hands curled into fists at her sides.
MM: This has been dubbed a return match after their previous meeting, which resulted in a double countout.
VA: It was a closely contested match, too, from both newcomers. But it’s gonna take more than that to survive the brutal landscape of the EWA.
The wind machine is on behind her, blowing her hair around as her gaze moves over the audience before it settles upon the ring. As ‘Hurricane’ cuts to it’s chorus, she begins making her way down the aisle, not shying away from the hands that reach out. Erin’s focus never wavers, though, even as she approaches the ring grabs onto the ropes and hauls herself up onto the apron. Wiping her feet, she climbs into the ring between the top and middle ropes before she heads to a neutral corner and turns to rest her back against the turnbuckles. Only then does she play to those sitting near ringside, a single fist thrusting itself skyward to earn more cheers as her music fades.
MM: You can see the determination in her face to make her mark here in the EWA. But Sterling is no joke, and she’s gonna have to give it her all if she wants to walk outta this one a winner.
VA: Both of these competitors have a lot to prove here in the EWA, Malone. One or two matches isn’t enough for me to start singing their praises. They’re gonna have to earn it if they want it from me.
MM: Just do your job, Vincent.
VA: My job isn’t to shill for people that haven’t earned it yet. How about we let what they do in that ring do the talking?! I wanna see some blood, guts, sweat and tears before I make up my mind on either one of them. Even these fans aren’t quite sure yet–
MM: You could say that same thing about any newcomer to the EWA, but ya gotta give ‘em a chance to show what they’ve got.
NR: And her opponent, from Greenwich, London, STERLING!
VA: This guy needs a nickname or something … something that’ll give ‘em some added pizzazz–
MM: Maybe that’s what his ability in that ring does.
VA: And maybe I’m the pope.
As the music cuts in, pale blue strobe lights ignite the stage and the man known as Sterling steps out onto the ramp. A sleeveless black hoodie is pulled up and sunglasses cover his eyes, he looks all around into the stands and he slowly and methodically paces down toward the ring, unhurried. 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.
MM: What interesting ring attire, Ashe–from head to toe this guy appears to be self made, and that just brings a … aura of seriou–
VA: It looks like a blind tailor stitched those trunks–did the EWA wardrobe department go on strike or something?
MM: His trunks have a raw look to them–
VA: Whatever, Malone. What’s the red L stand for? Loser?
MM: I don’t know, why don’t you ask him that?
VA: I’ll pass.
As Nikki Rogers exits the ring, referee David Tucker approaches the center and briefly reminds both competitors of the basic rules before motioning them both back to neutral corners, but before retreating, Sterling holds out a fist, offering it to Erin.
With a nod, she accepts and returns the gesture, the two lightly bumping fists with a show of respect.
MM: Nice show of respect, Ashe. Something we don’t see a lot of around here.
VA: Give me a break. And give it time. In a couple of months of bein’ in this place, these two are gonna be off the deep end with everyone else around here. You can’t roam the same halls as the likes of HATE, Grace Goeren, Donovan King, and Sahara and play the respect game — they’ll drive yer face into the concrete for your troubles.
MM: That part I don’t doubt. But it starts with something like what we’re seeing with Sterling and Gordon.
Calling for the bell, David Tucker motions to the center of the ring and backs away–
Slowly circling the ring, the distance between them grows smaller and smaller, LOCKUP. Sterling immediately twists Gordon into a side headlock which she reverses into a chicken wing wrist lock before shoving him away. The moment Sterling turns they lock up again, Gordon once again twisting out of his grap and putting him in an arm bar, she plants her foot beneath his arms against his ribs and falls on her back, WRENCHING his arm!
MM: Woah, that was a nice move!
Backing into the ropes, Sterling attempts to shake out his arm, but Gordon is on him–backing him into the turnbuckles she grabs him by the wrist — the same arm she wrenched moments ago — and runs him into the opposite turnbuckles, but Sterling rebounds and nails her with a falling clothesline, but he grimaces in pain from the impact!
VA: He instinctively hit that but used the same arm!
MM: Maybe this little country girl is a bit more serious about this wrestling thing than anyone thought!
VA: Pump the breaks, Malone, she still got a lot to prove. Like Sterling said this past week on the EWA Network, this ain’t a place for family. And a person like Erin Gordon is fighting an uphill battle.
Back on his feet, continuing to shake his arm out, Sterling grabs for Gordon, but she rolls him up!
The crowd yells, “SWEEEEEET” as Sterling powers out of the surprise pin attempt at two. Scrambling back to his feet, Sterling goes to kick Erin Gordon but suddenly stops himself.
VA: Better not let up on the ladies in this federation, Sterling.
MM: Nothing wrong with showing a bit of class, Ashe. She’s down, and maybe kicking someone when they’re already down isn’t his style.
VA: Hey, I’m not sayin’ it’s not, but there are women in this place that are gonna take advantage of that and eat him alive, quite literally…and I don’t mean the way Sahara eats people, either.
Opting to allow Erin to get back to her feet, Sterling slowly moves back in and the two lock up, but he quickly backs her into the ropes. Grabbing her by the wrist, he shoots her across the ring with a perfectly executed arm drag that sends her reeling into the ropes — coming off the rebound, Gordon ducks a follow up clothesline and SLINGBLADE! STERLING IS DOWN! Grabbing the back of his head, Sterling rolls toward the ropes as Erin Gordon scrambles to reach him–
MM: Wow! Perfect execution!
VA: That really hurt Sterling! What’d I tell ya about taking it easy on the ladies of the EWA, Malone?! He’s lucky his momentum carried him toward the ropes because I gotta say, she dropping him on the back of his skull with that one.
Dropping to the outside, Sterling attempts to get to his feet, but stumbles against the ring apron as Gordon slides out beneath the bottom rope. Grabbing Sterling, she shoves him back into the ring and rolls in, making the quick cover!
VA: He’s too close to the ropes!
Sterling grabs hold of the rope with his free hand, breaking the pinfall. As the David Tucker backs Erin Gordon away, Sterling slowly gets to his knees before pushing himself up to his feet, still holding the back of his head. When the referee makes the signal, Erin Gordon closes in again with a clubbing forearm, only Sterling HAMMERS her with a lunging shoulder tackle turned into a spear!
MM: Oh, a desperation move that drove her straight down into the mat.
VA: That had to knock the wind out of her! That’s taking advantage of a situation, Malone. Maybe Sterling’s learned his lesson about letting up in the ring, lady or no lady, if she hit that slingblade with better positioning, and this one might already be over–
Getting back to his feet, Sterling collapses back onto one knee before gritting his teeth and pushing himself up to his feet. He once again grabs the back of his head.
MM: Sterling is still feeling the effects of that slingblade–
Back on his feet, Sterling grabs Erin Gordon by the arm and lifts her back to her feet. Taking a wild swing, Sterling is reeled back by a solid right, rushing forward, Gordon uses her shoulder to ram Sterling backwards into the turnbuckles. Attempting to break free, Sterling brings a clubbing forearm down on Gordon’s back, again, and again! Using the ropes, Sterling leaps up over Gordon and wraps his legs beneath her arms, SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB!
Rolling through the move, Sterling grabs hold of stunned Erin Gordon and loops her arm over his neck, lifting her into a suplex, he drives her down into the mat!
Making the over, Sterling hooks back both of her legs, leaning as much leverage onto her shoulders as he can muster.
MM: He got her!
VA: She seemed to get a shoulder up somehow, but still too late, Malone. That surprising sunset bomb really shook her.
Sitting up, Sterling grabs the back of his head, still feeling the lingering effects of the match.
As his hand is raised, Erin Gordon pushes herself back to her knees, shaking her head as she leans against the ropes and looks up at her opponent.
NR: The winner of this match by pinfall, Sterrrrrllllling!
MM: A nice victory for the newcomer Sterling that seemed to come out of nowhere, but I have to say Gordon was just as close to pulling that off — bad positioning cost her, and Sterling took advantage.
VA: That’s the name of the game, Malone. Never underestimate your opponent, and when opportunity knocks, answer the damn door. The last time these two met it was a double countout, so the girl’s got something, she just needs some time.
MM: Everyone’s got a story to tell–
VA: And for that matter, I said it once and I’ll say it again, Sterling better wake up and smell the coffee. Hesitating against Gordon almost cost him, and his next opponent may not be as upstanding as Erin Gordon.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: STERLING (8:46)
(As Nikki Caldwell steps out of her rental in the closed off section of the parking lot of the Target Center, a bundled up, beanie and hood wearing Sahara calls out to her as she rushes up and reaches out, but stops short when the Amazon pulls back defensively.)
Sahara: Nik, please, I just need a moment, it’s freezing out here. You gotta believe me, I didn’t set you up at the hotel, we really gotta talk–
(From a distance, a contingency of fans that hangs out to see the talent arrive cheer as they see Nikki standing with Sahara. Sahara rolls her eyes…)
Sahara: Just smile and wave, you’ll get used to it…
(Sahara, doing anything but taking he own advice and outright ignoring the fans calls, reaches out and takes Nikki by the hands.)
Sahara: I didn’t mean for that to happen to you. The pictures I mean, that was a private moment between–
(Sahara stops dead as Josh Kaine steps out from the passenger side of the vehicle, and Moe from the back seat. The looks on their faces as they glare at Sahara are enough to back her away from Nikki..
And in the same moment, the look on Nikki’s face is pure anguish, crushed– and then the next moment comes and she shuts it down, everything so tight that it looks deceptively like rage, especially from a distance. Up close, though? There’s some hint that she’s dying to talk to Sahara.)
Nikki Caldwell: I can’t do this right now. Not right now, not here. Please.
(Whether she means the boys or the fans, it isn’t clear– but a plea is a plea, even without the lilt of a question on the end of it. She flips the hood on her hoodie up, shielding herself so that only those close can see her face, quelling the view of picture-takers. Her head shakes. )
Nikki Caldwell: No. Wait. Just… you said you didn’t intend it. But tell me, was there some spark in there on how hilarious it’d be to fuck Jada’s golden child? That it’d get back to her some way or another?
(How quickly that resolve to not do this now crumbles. Her eyes dart around, scanning the faces of their audience as well as the boys. )
Nikki Caldwell: Why did you do what you did at the hotel?
(Based on Sahara’s reaction, the rapid-fire questions caught her by surprise. She nervously glances at both Moe and Josh, who slowly approach from the side of the vehicle, causing her to backup another few steps.)
Sahara: Nikki–I-I … I don’t know why, I didn’t even know that was gonna happen, I just know I didn’t do it to set you up … Maurice, I swear to God!
(Sahara holds a hand up at her little brother as he takes a step in front of Nikki.)
Nikki Caldwell: Well, I can’t say shit there, ’cause if you asked me the same question, it’d probably be about the same answer.
(She turns to her boys, hands held up. )
Nikki Caldwell: Guys? I know…. I know you’re… yeah. But killing her right now won’t change a thing, ‘cept probably piss off Jada for cheating her out of her chance at it? We all need to get through tonight first before we deal with this, right?
(Not wanting to risk further confrontation with Cerberus, Sahara continues backing away from the trio.)
Sahara: Nikki, come find me after the show … Josh … Moe …
(She gives them a wink as she turns on a bootheel and jogs off toward the arena, not waiting for a response.
Fade to ringside.)
DANE PRESTON & MURPHY DOYLE MAHER VS CAL RAYNER & WILLIAM WEST
MM: Folks, our next matchup is the result of a backstage encounter at Battlelines 38 between two members of HATE, William West and Cal Rayner, and two newcomers to the EWA, Murphy Doyle Maher and Dane Preston. But before we get to that match…
VA: No, Malone.
MM: We have some pre-recorded footage–
VA: Goddammit, Malone, don’t do it!
MM: –taken before the show involving Dane Preston–
MM: –and our very own Vincent Ashe! Roll the footage!
VA: I warned you about this!!
(The ring and stage crews are roving around like worker bees, while many of the senior staff, production team and few Warriors are grazing in the catering area before the show kicks off. Vincent Ashe is seen stuffing a powdered donut in his mouth when Dane Preston walks up to him and grabs him by the collar with one hand.)
Dane Preston: Hiya Vincent, good ta see ya bud. Listen, I just wanted to have a little chat with ya before we go on the air. Is that okay with you?
(Preston waits for Ashe to nod nervously before he continues speaking.)
Dane Preston: I understand you’re not a big fan of my theme song. But you know what? Neither am I, it was one of those random “pick a generic tune” kinda deals until my agency could secure the theme song I really wanted. As far as that goes, I have a couple more contracts to sign in order to gain the rights to use the song as a theme. Meantime, do us all a favor, and quit your whining about my fuckin theme. Alright? Crissakes man, it’s JUST a cover song. Sheezus, ya dweeb.
(Dane pulls Ashe into a headlock and gives him a solid noogie before ruffling his already messed up hair. Helping Ashe back to an upright position, Preston pats him on the cheek a couple of times before shoving him aside and walking away.)
(We now cut back to our present view of our commentators, with Mike Malone laughing and Vincent Ashe silently fuming.)
MM: Yeah, you dweeb, it’s just a cover song!
VA: I HATE IT, MALONE! It sucks! Dane Preston sucks! He hasn’t proven anything yet, and I’m glad those FYA weirdos destroyed him earlier tonight!
MM: Indeed, if we can turn serious for a moment here, there’s a chance that Preston and Murph may not even make it out here, as they were victims of a heinous assault, apparently, by the mysterious group known only as “FYA”. We saw a couple of short videos on Combat TV over the last couple of weeks from this group, and while we have no idea who they are or what they’re doing here–
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
MM: And on that note, here comes HATE!
As Disturbed’s ‘Who Taught You How to HATE’ blasts through the Target Center, the lights turn down to a dark green haze as the Masochist and the Titan make their way onto the entrance ramp.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, this tag team contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, at a total combined weight of 658 pounds, representing HATE…from Deep Ellum, Texas…Cal…RAYNER! And his tag team partner, from Las Vegas, Nevada…William…WEST!!
MM: Look at the Titan! The man is massive!
VA: Indeed he is, Malone! HIs body may be old and withered, but the fighting spirit of that man and the way he towers over his competition makes him a threat, no matter what match he’s in!
MM: And William West, a former EWA Network Champion, a former EWA Combat Champion…his accolades speak for themselves, and his recent return to HATE seems to have emboldened him.
VA: That’s because he finally realized that there’s no stopping HATE, Malone. If you can’t beat ‘em, rejoin ‘em!
Rayner lumbers over the top rope, pressing a huge boot down on the rope for West to enter behind him. The Titan stands tall in the center of the ring, while West climbs the turnbuckle in the far corner of the ring, staring out at the capacity crowd inside the Target Center.
MM: And realistically, this could be a formality, folks. We’re not even sure Murphy and Dane are in the building at this point!
VA: Well, someone has to interject some quality into this show. Now shut up and let the Masochist speak, Malone.
(West picks up a microphone, and pulls it to his mouth, a smile from ear to ear. His smile is quickly removed, as the lights dim, and then vanish. The darkness is broken intermittently by flashes from thousands of cell phones, and then constantly by the explosion of pyrotechnics from the entrance area. They are accompanied by three letters flashing over every monitor in the arena, and a theme song to boot. The heavy guitar riffs of Slipknot’s ‘Surfacing’ has the fans out of their seats in anticipation.)
FUCK YOU ALL
(The music intensifies as it continues to play, when the lighting shifts from darkness to an orange tint, and the crowd pops loudly, but confusingly, as the song ends abruptly, as West and Rayner look to the entrance way, and every other set of eyes look to the two men standing behind them. The house lights pop back on, and we see our first look at the two men, both wearing FYA T-shirts.)
MM: WAIT, THAT’S…
VA: That’s Murphy and Preston! They ARE FYA! TURN AROUND!!
(West and Rayner relax their stances, and turn, coming face to face with their opponents, who are smiling larger than we’d ever seen.)
MM: So does that mean…that whole attack was a ruse?
VA: I’m not sure how to feel about this, Malone. On one hand, their music is a lot better than Dane’s, and they certainly played a hell of a mind game on HATE here…but on the other hand, it’s Dane Preston!
MM: Indeed it is, and it’s Murphy Doyle Maher! The team of FYA is here!
NR: Introducing team #2, at a total combined weight of 460 pounds! First, from Redwood City, California…Dane…PRESTON!! His tag team partner, from Brooklyn, New York…MURPHY…DOYLE…MAHER!!
MM: A flashy debut here for the team now known as FYA, but we’re about to see them test their mettle against a dangerous combination, folks. Murphy and Preston are in the ring, and it’s time to get this underway!
DING DING DING!
Dane Preston starts off the match for FYA, while in the HATE corner, West and Rayner briefly confer before the mammoth Titan steps over the top rope into the ring.
VA: Malone, Preston gives up nearly 200 pounds to Rayner! This is like watching a mouse step into the ring with an elephant!
MM: Preston definitely has a size disadvantage here, but we’ve seen that he’s a legitimate talent here in the EWA. Let’s see what he can do when he’s clearly outsized.
Preston circles Rayner rapidly, trying to ascertain the best way to begin the bout against the Titan. Finally, Preston lunges forward, locking up with the mammoth Rayner. The two struggle, flexing biceps for a moment, until Rayner bellow out a guttural roar and FLINGS Preston to the mat! Preston does a full tumble to a seating position, gazing up in awe at the Titan of HATE.
VA: He’s simply out-matched here, Malone!
MM: It’s going to take something besides strength to take down the Titan!
Rayner’s masked visage reveals no emotion, but he extends an arm outward to Preston…and beckons for him to get up! Preston, clearly not intimidated by the Titan, springs to his feet, and locks up once again…only to have Rayner drive him backwards into the corner. Referee Juan Cardillo is there, and quickly begins to fire off a five count as Rayner’s massive frame compresses Preston against the turnbuckles. Rayner releases at four, and then delivers a huge overhand palm strike directly to Preston’s chest!
VA: Did you hear the sound of that strike, Malone?!
Rayner chuckles, the throaty rumble heard even over the crowd, as he walks away from Preston, toward his corner – and at that moment, Murphy Doyle Maher reaches over, tagging himself in. He vaults over the top rope and rushes Rayner, who has his back turned, and dropkicks him in the back, sending him staggering toward HATE’s corner!
MM: Our man Murph!
VA: Maybe he’s your man Murph, Malone, but he sure as hell isn’t my man Murph.
William West, his grotestque jaw jutting out as he eyeballs Murphy, tags himself in, giving Rayner a break from his impressive effort thus far. West steps through the ropes, eyeballing MDM…and the Masochist suddenly sprints toward Murphy! But MDM is ready, and grasps West in a bearhug, lifting him up and slamming him down to the mat with an impressive belly-to-belly suplex! And Maher hooks the leg for the cover!
TH–WEST KICKS OUT!
MM: What an impressive maneuver from Murphy Doyle Maher!
VA: That came out of nowhere, Malone!
Murphy drags West to his feet, but the Masochist quickly comes back, raking Murphy in the eyes. West kicks MDM in the stomach, and picks him up with a scoop slam, driving him to the mat. West leaps in the air, driving a knee straight down onto Murphy’s forehead! Murphy tries to pull himself to his feet, and West assists, a vile look of malice on his face as he whips Murphy into the ropes, leaping in the air to deliver his devastating Lunatikk Sweet…
….but Murphy catches himself on the ropes, and West lands with a thud in the center of the ring! Murphy races toward him, punting him in the face, and then leaps toward Rayner, catching the Titan off guard with a flying forearm that sends the giant spilling off the ring apron and to the outside!
The fans erupt as Murphy races over, tagging Preston in, and whips West into the ropes. Murphy ducks down, facing the Masochist lifting West in the air as he rebounds off the ropes…and Preston catches him with a cutter!
MM: What an incredible display of teamwork!
VA: I can’t believe this is happening!!
MM: And now Preston makes the cover!
VA: No way!
NR: Here are your winners…F…Y…A!!
MM: What a huge victory for the newcomers! I smell a lot of success in this team’s future at this rate!
VA: Maybe…I’ve been wrong about Dane Preston?
MM: Vincent Ashe admitting he’s wrong?
VA: Nah. Good point. I’m still not impressed.
(Murphy and Dane begin to call for microphones, and snatch them from the ring assistants who bring them. Dane Preston walks over to Rayner, glaring up at the duo from outside the ring. who is still unconscious, and kneels. Across the ring, Murphy stands over West, watching him breathe shallowly, joyfully so.)
Dane Preston: They say the definition of insanity, is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. We want you two to remember that when you come to. When you watch this match, and try and figure out where you went wrong. We need you to understand. Any action you take towards us, is a step in this direction. You bring the noise, we bring you the pain, and then we bring you here.
Murphy Doyle Maher: I’d also like to point out the suspicious absence of two other cogs. Did they run out for somethin’? Did they take a powder at the exact moment, you two, their friends, were handed something they couldn’t take? Or is it like I’ve said before, and will say again now. You don’t matter to them. Which is understandable. Because you don’t matter to us, neither.
Dane Preston: This isn’t only about you. We want you to know that. We need you to know that this was not, and will not, be only about you. You are a symptom of the disease that we’ve come here to cure. This show is called THIS MEANS WAR, but this..
Murphy Doyle Maher: This isn’t war. This wasn’t even a fight. Where it goes from here, that’s up to you. But just so you know, We aren’t going to be making friends with your enemies. We will not use the dislike others have for you to pad FYA’s numbers.
Dane Preston: We don’t care for those who don’t care for you, and vice versa. We can do more with less than guys like you can do with more.
Murphy Doyle Maher: We didn’t come here to Fuck just you hate boys and girls.
Dane Preston: We came here to Fuck You All.
(The two men drop their microphones, and slip under the ropes. Removing their FYA shirts, they throw them into the crowd, and begin their walk up to the entrance way. At the top of the ramp, they are met by their newly hired Manager, Sarah Wolf. Standing together, they all point up to the large monitor above the entrance, and a flash of explosive pyro sets off, as ‘surfacing’ plays once more, the letters FYA are displayed once more, and we watch them smile bigger than they ever had once more. The three of them disappear behind the curtain, and we cut back to Rayner, who reaches into the ring and pulls West out, hauling him toward the back.)
MM: What a big moment tonight for Murphy Doyle Maher and Dane Preston! An injury fakeout leads to them revealing themselves as the new team of FYA, and a statement victory tonight over William West and Cal Rayner!
VA: I was also right about them faking their injuries. You see that? Not a cut on them. Not even their backs! I told you it was faked!
MM: You never said a single thing about that!
VA: I absolutely did!
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL: FYA (2:39)
MM: And folks, right now I’m being told that our very own Allison Haines is standing by with the EWA Executive Assistant, Stacy Vandervort. Let’s go back to her now. Allison?
(The camera fades back to Allison Haines, microphone in hand, standing next to a visibly stressed Stacy Vandervort, dressed in a form-fitting red blouse and skirt to her knees. She runs a hand through her tousled blonde locks as Allison begins to speak.)
Allison Haines: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here with the woman in charge of the day-to-day bookings of the EWA, Stacy Vandervort. Stacy, thanks for joining me.
Stacy Vandervort: Always a pleasure, Allison.
Allison Haines: Stacy, a lot of people are anxiously awaiting many of tonight’s matches, but as you know, one of the big talking points is the return of the legendary Sinnocence, nearly twenty months removed from being retired by Osbourne Kilminster. Sinnocence, also known as Jada Kaine, was forced into retirement at that time due to her injuries at the insistence of medical officials, both from the EWA and elsewhere, and as such there’s been rampant speculation as to the status of Ms. Kaine’s health. Stacy – what can you tell us at this time?
(Stacy throws her head back, letting out a long sigh, and shakes her head slightly before beginning to speak.)
Stacy Vandervort: I can tell you Dr. Furman refused to clear her to compete tonight.
(An audible gasp emerges from the capacity crowd within the Target Center.)
Allison Haines: Stacy, are you saying that–
(She holds a finger up, cutting off the interviewer.)
Stacy Vandervort: Let me finish, Allison. Upon informing Jada of this, I was presented with medical reports from three third-party physicians. Not just regular physicians, mind you – these men are highly regarded in the medical industry. Dr. Furman even confirmed that. These medical reports stated that Sinnocence passed all physical exams, blood tests, etc, etc, and cleared her to return to action. And so…
(It’s clear from Stacy’s body language that she’s not comfortable with all of this, but she presses on after a pause.)
Stacy Vandervort: …after a…debate…between Jada and myself, it was decided that she would sign paperwork absolving myself and EWA Entertainment of all liability in this contest tonight.
Allison Haines: So…you’re saying this is now an unsanctioned contest here tonight between Sinnocence and Sahara?
Stacy Vandervort: That’s correct.
Allison Haines: And Stacy, what are Dr. Furman’s thoughts on this?
(Another sigh, and a flash of a smile from Stacy.)
Stacy Vandervort: Mark is…let’s just say that Mark respects the work that these other doctors have done, and highly regards them in the medical profession…but that he disagrees with their conclusions. Strongly.
Allison Haines: Stacy, thanks for your time.
Stacy Vandervort: No problem, Allison.
(Allison turns back to the camera as Stacy quickly exits, the sound of her heels clicking against the concrete fading rapidly in the background.)
Allison Haines: Well there you have it, folks. After much controversy over the medical status of one Jada Kaine, it’s confirmed – she will compete tonight as scheduled in her return to the ring against Sahara, in what is now an unsanctioned match. Mike, Vincent, back to you at ringside.
BUCK DRESDEN VS JESTER SMILES
EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: It is COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP time, and there has been a lot of buzz about this match up. Buck Dresden and Jester Smiles have gone all over the United States doing press for this match-up, and the respect they have shown for one another throughout it is commendable.
VA: Bah, it is probably just going to keep the match from being exciting. The EWA fans don’t want to see respect and sportsmanship. They want to see BLOOD and MAYHEM. If these guys refuse to deliver that, I don’t think we’ll be seeing either of them for too much longer.
MM: While I won’t deny that the EWA fans do like to see a bloodbath every now and again, I think the popularity of these two men speaks to that point for days. Besides, this is an interesting match. Not only is it for the Combat Championship, but both men are undefeated, both sporting several wins with only one draw, Jester against Maggie McIntyre and Buck against Azrael Goeren.
VA: We’ll see. I just hope this match isn’t all hugging and kissing…
I…am a man…of constant sorrow…
I’ve seen troubles all my days…
The lights dim and the Jumbotron shows the infamous symbol known the world over…
The fans cheer as smoke billows from the entrance to the arena. “Man of Constant Sorrow” by Charm City Devils kicks in, bringing the EWA fans to their feet so they can see the man they call the Bluegrass Bad Ass. Standing in the entrance, his black cowboy hat dusty and worn and his head bowed, is BUCK DRESDEN. Buck wears a long black duster coat, just as worn and ragged as the hat. He looks up to the audience and grins ear to ear with his stubbled jawline. On the front of the hat is the old symbol of his tag team, the Skull of the Bad Ass Brotherhood. On the back of his coat? The same. He wears no shirt, his hands are taped up, and he wears his blue jeans, a hole through the right knee revealing his black knee pad, and we can assume there is a matching one on the other knee, and black work boots with a giant BAB belt buckle. He looks out over the crowd, a big confident smile on his face, and he throws his hands up high, a fountain of gold sparks flying up in the air! Buck makes the championship symbol around his waist as he begins to walk to the ring.
NC: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and is for the EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP!
He walks down the ramp and talks to several fans as he saunters past. He slides under the bottom rope and gets to one knee in one fluid motion, removing his hat and holding his arms outstretched, nodding his head to the camera.
NC: Introducing first, the challenger, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and SIXTY pounds…representing the Bad Ass Brotherhood…BUCK…DRESDEN!
He gets to his feet and winks at Nikki as he slides his hat out of the ring. He slings his coat off of his shoulders to the mat and leans against the ropes, again talking and pointing to some of the fans, laughing and joking around with them while running his hands over his dirty blonde hair. He nods his head as he begins to stretch against the ropes, preparing for his match.
MM: Buck has talked about being overlooked in his career here, despite having been in high profile matches and being undefeated. Claiming the title would do big things for Buck Dresden, but taking it from Jester Smiles will be on easy task.
VA: I’m just happy that one man is walking out of here with a defeat. The look on their face when they taste their first EWA loss will be hilarious.
The entryway begins to fill with green and purple fog. “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic at the Disco begins to play as the various titles and trophies throughout Jester’s career cycle through on the big screens. The parade of titles ends on the EWA Combat Championship!
A platform shoots JESTER SMILES up as gold and silver sparks shoot out! Jester stands there a moment, looking at the crowd. He then extends both his fists out and looks up at the sky!
Gold and silver sparks shoot out on both sides of Jester. Jester then looks at the crowd, beaming brightly. He takes off his golden jester mask and tosses it into the crowd. He then removes his EWA Combat Championship and holds it high as another fountain of gold and silver sparks shoot up into the air! Jester playfully winks at Buck as he holds his title up just a little too long.
NC: And now, making his way to the ring, the EWA Combat Champion! He weighs in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and SIXTY FIVE pounds…hailing from RICHMOND, VIRGINIA…JESTER…SMILES!
Jester leaps for the guard rail and begins hugging and high fiving fans. He then leaps for the other guard rail and does the same. He then begins to run, high fiving everyone around the ring before running back up the ramp and high fiving everyone in the front row. He then darts to the ring and slides under, getting face to face with Buck. Both men smile, but neither man backs down. They stand, nose to nose, and we can see that they are playfully smack talking. Jester holds the title up high with his right hand. Buck looks up at it before looking back at Jester. Buck winks at Jester, and Jester merely makes a kissy face.
Danny Smith separates the two men, who respectfully back away. Jester politely hands Danny Smith the title before removing his “Legends Never Die” shirt, revealing that he is also wearing a “Bad Ass Brotherhood” shirt. The fans pop slightly, and Buck nods approvingly. Jester removes that shirt as well and tosses them both into the audience on different sides. The crowd is clearly ecstatic, and while both men stretch out, a chant begins.
“LET’S GO JES-TER!
LET’S GO BUCK!
LET’S GO JES-TER!
LET’S GO BUCK!”
Both men stop to admire the scene, nodding respectfully to the fans. They then meet in the middle of the ring and shake hands, but Jester is quick to pull Buck in with a bro hug! The fans cheer loudly at this!
MM: All they want is blood, huh?
VA: Well, maybe people in Minneapolis are dumber than the rest of the world.
Danny Smith signals for the bell, and Buck and Jester begin to circle. Buck and Jester quickly lock up with Buck having the strength advantage. He pushes Jester back into the turnbuckle. Smith quickly comes in and breaks them up. Buck makes a clean break up, smiling at Jester. Smiles nods respectfully as they circle again. Again they lock up, and Jester tries to duck down and shoot on Buck, but Buck stuffs the takedown and lifts Jester back to his feet. Buck attempts to lift Jester for what could be a powerbomb or piledriver, but Jester wiggles free. He attempts to lift Buck for a back body drop, but Buck is able to plant is feet. Jester gets free of Bucks grasp, and they again lock up. Again, it looks as though Buck will simply over power Jester, but Jester suddenly switches the lock up and begins to throw knees. As Jester’s knees collide with Buck’s body, Buck attempts to pull away, but Jester clinches tightly and pounds Buck. Buck finally pulls away. Jester puts his fists up and motions for Buck to bring it. Buck smiles.
And then charges forward with his fists!
MM: Here we go!
Jester and Buck start slamming each other with punches, both men’s fists colliding with each other’s faces! Jester, being more precise, suddenly rocks Buck right under his right eye. Buck gets wobbly, so Jester continues to pound Buck’s face with lefts and rights! Buck goes out on his feet, so Jester knocks him flat with an uppercut! Jester pins!
Buck kicks out quickly, and the fans erupt! Jester stays on the offensive and lifts Buck back up, but suddenly Buck comes to life and grabs Jester by the waist, lifting him up HIGH in the air and spinning him around, dropping with him a spinebuster! Buck floats over and pins!
Jester kicks out. Buck stands back up and lifts Jester up, Irish Whipping him to the ropes. When he comes back, Buck slams him with a spinning forearm that DECKS Jester! Buck again pins!
Jester again kicks out quickly. Buck stays aggressive, though. He lifts Jester back up, kicks him in the stomach, and gets him in the standing headscissors. He lifts him up.
VA: Looks like he might go for a piledriver. Yeah, break that clowns neck!
Buck doesn’t stop at the piledriver position, though. He continues to lift, which causes a few fans to gasp audibly in shock, as Buck has the two hundred and sixty five pound man in the position of a powerbomb! Jester looks shocked, but before he can do anything, Buck runs forward and falls forward, SLAMMING Smiles with a powerbomb! The impact is BIG as all the ring ropes shake, and even Danny Smith jumps a bit at the impact. Buck stands and pushes forward with the pin!
Smiles kicks out! Buck pauses for a moment, a little surprised that this move didn’t work, but he doesn’t stop for long. Buck lifts Jester back up, but he gets behind Smiles. He cocks an imaginary shotgun and fires it. The crowd reacts!
MM: Buckshot might be coming up!
Buck waits for Jester to turn around, and when he does, Buck charges with all his might, looking for that massive lariat, but Jester ducks under and hits the ropes, firing off the Virginia Sidekick and knocking Buck flat!
VA: BAM! That’s that superkicky type move that Jester does, and he really whalloped that big dumb country boy!
MM: It’s called the Virginia Sidekick, and I am a little surprised that you are giving props to Jester Smiles.
VA: I mean, I really like watching that big dumb hillbilly get popped in the jaw with a boot.
Jester goes for the cover!
Buck kicks out! Jester seems surprised, not just at the fact that Buck kicked out, but how quickly Buck kicked out. It is now Jester’s turn to take the offensive, though, and he lifts Dresden back up. He peppers him with some punches before Irish Whipping him into the ropes. He spins, looking for his big Spinning Back Kick, but Buck stops and catches the foot. He pulls Jester in, still holding the leg, and LAUNCHES Jester with a Tazz Suplex! Jester’s back hits the turnbuckle and he crumbles in the corner, clutching his back in pain! The crowd pops loudly at the display.
MM: Geez, Jester has the weight advantage on Buck, but Buck Dresden is just so damn strong!
VA: You’d think years of his cousins copulating would cause his muscles and bones to be weak, but, no, that was an impressive suplex! God, maybe I do like this match, because I get to watch these two morons get hurt!
Buck adjusts his jaw as he walks over to Jester. He lifts Jester up and puts him in the corner, peppering Jester with a few punches. He then walks away and runs forward, SLAMMING Jester with a turnbuckle clothesline. Jester slumps to ground, but Buck doesn’t give him time to rest. He lifts Jester back up and pulls him in for a belly to belly suplex! Buck pins!
T-NO! Jester is out! Buck lifts Jester back up, but Jester comes to life, pushing Buck away! GOLDEN PUNCH! NO! Buck ducks under and gets behind Jester…
MM: Eight second ride!
Buck has Jester in the katahajime and rides Jester to the ground, which doesn’t take long. The crowd starts murmur, wondering if this submission will take Jester out! He isn’t too far from the ropes, but he can’t quite make it, and Buck has the submission on real tight!
VA: I think the clown is going to tap out! His first loss in the EWA will be via submission! YES YES YES!
Jester struggles, trying to push himself towards the ropes! He reaches out, his finger tips almost touching the ropes, but he isn’t quite there! Buck squeezes as hard as he can, doing everything in his power to get Jester to tap out. Jester lets out a slight scream and, with all his strength, pushes himself just forward enough to grab the ropes! Buck releases as soon as Smith tells him, and Jester clutches the rope for dear life! The crowd pops at the survival. Buck looks frustrated, but he also grins.
MM: This match hasn’t been going long, but both of these men have been going absolutely full tilt from the start.
Buck goes over to Jester once he lets go of the ropes, but Jester throws a wild elbow that catches Buck perfectly in the stomach! Jester throws another elbow! Another! Another! He stands and slams Buck with a forearm strike! Knee strike! Right jab! Left jab! Leg kick! Right jab! Suddenly, Jester lets out a scream and spears Buck, but he doesn’t drive him to the ground. Instead, he lifts him by the waist and runs all the way over to the opposite turnbuckle, placing Buck on the top rope! Buck comes to life suddenly and tries to hit Jester with a punch, but Jester blocks and SLAMS him with the GOLDEN PUNCH!
MM: Big hit there, and it looks like Buck is out on that turnbuckle.
Jester, seeing the situation, gets a devious smile on his face. He steps onto the first turnbuckle, throwing Buck’s arm over his shoulder in an uranage position. He then climbs to the second turnbuckle, steadying himself. The crowd again comes to life, sensing what is about to happen.
VA: He’s…he’s not going to try and do what I think he’s going to try and do.
Jester lifts Buck up to a standing position and forces his feet to the top rope. They are both wobbly, but Jester holds his balance.
MM: I’ve…I’ve heard he can hit this move, but…these are two really big guys…
Jester places one foot on the top turnbuckle. Again, both men wobble, but Jester is able to keep both men in position. He then places his other feet on the turnbuckle. Both Buck and Jester are standing on the top turnbuckle. Jester balances for a moment…he smiles brightly…and he LEAPS backwards, flipping with Buck Dresden…
MM: JESUS CHRIST! SPANISH FLY! SPANISH FLY!
Jester keeps his position, pinning Buck Dresden!
THREE-NO! Dresden kicks out at the last second!
The Minneapolis crowd ERUPTS at the sight they just saw. Jester rolls onto his stomach and he’s…laughing. He seems to be laughing at the fact that the match is still going! Buck has rolled onto his stomach, but he doesn’t seem to be moving much now. Jester gets to his knees and looks over at Dresden, a look of amused shock on his face. You can see discoloration forming around Jester’s eyes, and Buck looks fairly beat up as well. Jester stands up, walking over to Dresden and lifting him up. He spins Buck around and locks in a half nelson and a half chicken wing.
MM: Could it be time for the half and half suplex, or as Jester calls it, The Last Laugh?
VA: How do you know all these stupid names?
Jester looks for the suplex, but Buck suddenly stomps on Jester’s foot. This gives him some wiggle room to squirm out of the hold, but he keeps a hold of Jester’s arm and tries to pull him in for another Buckshot! Jester is able to dodge, though, and gets out of Buck’s arms. He runs to the ropes, leaping onto the top rope and springboarding off, looking for a moonsault, but Buck catches Jester on his shoulder! It looks like the force hurts him, but he doesn’t let that stop him from dropping Jester with the Michinoku Driver!
MM: That’s the Cattle Driver! It’s over! It’s got to be over!
MM: New champion!
VA: FIRST JESTER LOSS!
NO! Buck did not consider his ring positioning, and Jester was able to get his foot on the rope at the last second! The crowd absolutely erupts! Buck rolls back, and it is now his turn to laugh at the absurdity of this whole thing.
MM: How did that NOT end the match? How is either man able to keep going?
VA: Brain damage, mostly, I’d imagine.
MM: Can you for once not ruin a good moment.
VA: Sure can’t.
Jester is up to his knees, and Danny Smith is checking on him. Since Jester is worn down, Buck goes ahead and, once again, cocks his imaginary shotgun. Buck suddenly runs forward and goes for the Buckshot!
JESTER AGAIN DUCKS! Buck turns around only to be OBLITERATED by Jester’s WIPE THE SMILE! JESTER PINS!
MM: Oh no. When Buck went for the Buckshot, he accidentally leveled Danny Smith who was checking on Jester…
Danny Smith lies on the outside of the ring, clutching his head. Jester gets off of Buck and crawls over. He tries to yell for Smith to get back up, but Smith is out. The crowd is confused at this point, and there is a strange murmur throughout the building, but this quickly turns to boos.
MM: Oh no…
VA: Oh yes!
HATE is standing at the top of the ramp. The crowd’s boos get even louder as Indrid Calder, NOTHING, William West, and Cal Rayner all stand at the top of the ramp. Rayner has a heavy sack draped across his shoulder. They walk to the ring, slowly, every single member has their eyes intently trained on Jester. As they reach the ring, they all spread out. Rayner leaves the large bag by the entrance ramp. Jester is up on his feet. He puts his hands up, preparing to fight the men off, but as he sees them surround him, there isn’t much he can do.
Indrid Calder: …kill him…
All four men hit the ring at the same time! Jester leaps for Rayner and puts boots and fists to him, but NOTHING is on Jester quick, pummeling him from behind. Jester tries to turn and fight the World Champion, but Calder and West are also there now. Jester throws punches wildly and is able to get a couple of good hits on each man, but the numbers get to him! Finally, Cal Rayner is up, and he quickly grabs Jester in a full nelson, allowing each member of HATE to beat Jester at their leisure. Buck Dresden and Danny Smith are completely out and have no idea this is happening. The crowd’s boos are SO loud now.
MM: This is disgusting. I mean…this is absolutely…I mean…gah!
VA: I personally love it!
All three men back up. Rayner releases Jester, who drops to his knees. NOTHING suddenly rushes him and slams him with PURE HATE! Rayner picks up Jester and pushes him over to West, who slams him with the Heartbreak! As Jester lies on the ground, barely moving, Calder rushes over and hits him with the For the Horsemen! Jester is out, bloody, and not moving.
West, Rayner, and NOTHING clear the ring. Calder pulls Jester over to the middle of the ring. Calder sees Buck Dresden stirring, so he slams Dresden with a For the Horsemen for good measure! Calder then drags Dresden on top of Jester and exits the ring! West, meanwhile, has picked up Danny Smith and pushed him into the ring. All members of HATE stay out of Smith’s view. Smith, who is still reeling from getting hit by the Buckshot, simply sees that he is in the ring and Dresden is covering Jester. Despite the ENORMOUSLY loud boos from the crowd, Smith makes the count!
MM: No…come on…not like thi-
Smith signals for the bell before collapsing again. The bell rings, but it can barely be heard over the boos from the crowd. The camera pans across, filming the audience. Very few people are still in their seats. All members of HATE are looking around, admiring their handiwork. Not only have they cost Jester Smiles the title, but they have ruined this match for the fans. The camera pans over to Nikki Rogers who looks shocked, disgusted, and concerned. A man in an EWA staff shirt comes over to her and tells her to announce the winner, but Nikki refuses…
MM: This crowd looks ready to riot, Ashe, and..wait…what is HATE doing now!
HATE again enters the ring. Rayner has the bag and Calder has a microphone. Buck Dresden begins to rise, but NOTHING takes him out with another PURE HATE! Rayner then picks up the downed Dresden and tosses him out of the ring. The crowd continues to boo, and now you can hear all kinds of profanity being screamed from the front row.
Indrid Calder: Was THIS the great symbol of HOPE for EWA that I heard so much about…
Calder laughs before spitting on Jester Smiles.
Indrid Calder: I told you, you little fucking cuck son of a whore, I told you that getting in the way of HATE would end badly for you. Did…did you think we were done with you? Did you think we would leave you alone now?
Calder kicks Jester right in the ribs.
Indrid Calder: I told you what would happen, clown. I told you we would break you. I told you we would take your hope.
Indrid motions for Rayner to pick up Jester. Rayner lifts Jester to his knees, holding his arms in place. Jester is bloodied. His eyes are glassed over.
Indrid Calder: Oh no no no, Mister Smiles, this won’t do. This won’t do at all. I need you focused. I need you to pay attention.
Calder slaps Jester hard in the face! Jester comes alive and tries to lunge for Calder, but Rayner holds him in place. Jester looks up with fury and rebellion in his eyes, but it is to no use. To Calder, it just looks funny.
Indrid Calder: So defiant, Mister Smiles. You know what, you deserve a treat for your hard work, even if you are the loser tonight.
Calder walks over to the the big sack and pulls out…two bottles of whiskey.
VA: What…are they going to celebrate in ring?
MM: Oh no…oh I really hope this isn’t what I think it is…
Indrid walks over to Smiles. He hands a bottle to West. They both open the bottle and take small sips.
Indrid Calder: What did I tell you would happen, Mister Smiles? What did I say?
Suddenly, NOTHING grabs Jester’s face and forces his mouth open. Calder violently shoves the whiskey bottle into Jester’s mouth. The crowd absolutely ERUPTS in boos. Trash starts flying into the ring. EWA security has to stop people from jumping the guard rails. More security rushes down as the fans lose their shit.
MM: This is…god, this is…I’m sorry folks, but this is fucking unbelievable! Jester Smiles has a well documented battle with alcoholism behind him and…geez…
The sound of a headset being dropped on the table is heard.
VA: Oh, come on Malone, don’t pout like that.
Jester tries to fight the bottle, but all the members of HATE make sure he can’t get away. He sputters and coughs, trying not to swallow, but at some point his body responds naturally, and he is forced to drink. The members of HATE make him drink the whole bottle. When they remove it from his mouth, he quickly vomits everywhere.
Indrid Calder: Oh, come now, that won’t do at all…
Indrid takes the other bottle and repeats the process. Jester drinks more this time, as he is too weakened to fight. NOTHING grabs another bottle, and once again the liquor is poured down his throat. The scene up front is nuts as a few fans try to jump the guard rail. So much trash is being thrown into the ring.
Indrid Calder: That’s it, Mister Smiles. Drink your…medicine.
Rayner throws Jester down on the ground. Indrid places his boot on Jester’s place.
Indrid Calder: You did this to yourself, Eric. To yourself…
Jester weakly crawls on his hands and knees across the canvas in a puddle of vileness, his lips sputtering and his eyes bloodshot after the funneling. Rayner keeps a sack of full booze bottles slung across his shoulder, and NOTHING casually reaches inside and retrieves a full bottle of absinthe. He makes eye contact with Calder, and The Stranger can’t help but grin from ear to ear.
Indrid drops down into a crouch next to Smiles, and he claws a hand into the back of his hair and forcibly lifts his head up while staring down at him.
Indrid Calder: What defines you, Mister Smiles? That’s an easy one. It is…or it WAS…your sobriety. It’s something that HATE took from you in the span of just a few measly moments. Something you built on and worked at for YEARS, right?
Smiles grits his teeth, pawing at Calder and struggling to defend himself, but Indrid just lightly smacks his hand away.
Indrid Calder: Easy now, boozehound! You stay down there…because I enjoy seeing a man like you crawl on his belly in the muck and the dirt of life. It reminds you of your station. It shows you the truest part of yourself.
Smiles hangs his head, his stomach betraying him as a little of the liquor that was forcibly introduced into his system is regurgitated, a slosh of it leaking out from both corners of his mouth. Calder just pulls back harder on his hair, tweaking his neck…that smile purely merciless.
Indrid Calder: You will wake tomorrow, and your head will ache like an infected slab of meat. You will stumble to the bathroom, and you will vomit and spew until your guts ache and you WISH you were fucking dead. But that’s not the worst. THE WORST…Mister Smiles…is knowing that you let the poison be reintroduced into your body. You’re not a proud and sober man now. You’re just another pitiful alkie looking for a wet drop to numb the gullet. It’s all gone…because of HATE. We deal in poison. You should have known that…
NOTHING is winding up now, holding the neck of the absinthe bottle and smirking as he lines up his shot.
Indrid Calder: Many great battles will take place here at This Means War, but I think the person who lost the most tonight…is Jester Smiles. A luckless fate, but it’s a lesson for those that provoke the hive. And all hope isn’t lost! Remember that bullet you almost ate once a long time ago?
Calder releases his hair, stepping back while lightly pushing against Jester’s head with the toe of his boot. Calder reaches into the inner lining of his shroud, and he produces a single bullet. He gently places it into Jester’s hand and closes his fingers around it.
Indrid Calder: I found it for you. Maybe you can do it right this time around, Mister Smiles.
Calder turns his back on Smiles after this exchange, and NOTHING places the bottle of absinthe right up against Jester’s forehead and smirks down at him.
NOTHING: Goodnight, Jester.
NOTHING then rears back with ALL of his might and CRUSHES the absinthe bottle into Jester’s face, pieces of glass flying, wormwood liquor splashing, and Smiles collapsing backwards into a growing pool of blood and liquor.
VA: Don’t cross, HATE. Man…I don’t have much to say about this.
MM: This is sickening. Get the camera off…off these disgusting…just…cut backstage.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND NEW COMBAT CHAMPION: BUCK DRESDEN (23:47)
(As the Asylum begins to lower to the ring for the EWA Tag Team Championship match, the camera begins to pan around over this capacity crowd as we hear the voices of our announce team of Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe…)
MM: As we continue on with this momentous night, let’s head up near the entrance ramp, where Terry Bull is standing by…
(The camera cuts up to a platform that’s just about the same height as the entrance stage a stone’s throw away. Standing on the platform in his best tuxedo is Terry, holding a microphone)
Terry Bull: Thank you Michael, and what a great card it has been so far…and look at this platform they have me on…isn’t it incredible! And right now,if you call my special hotline number of 1-900-909-9999, for only $2.49 a minute, I’ll give you an exclusive look into all of the backstage happenings tonight, including who is here, who is not here, and who has the locker room all a-buzz here tonight. 1-900-909-9999, that’s only $2.49 a minute…kids, get your parents permission. But right now I want to introduce to you a man that needs no introduction. He’s the man that will begin the main event tonight, following in his father’s footsteps…
(The crowd, at this point, realizing who is about to come out, begins to flood the arena with a chorus of boos…)
Terry Bull: … he is the number one challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship…I present to you the second generations superstar…
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
Terry Bull: … The Youth King… Perfection Martin Robertson!
(As Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King” continues to blare throughout the arena, dressed in a pair of blue jeans with a lime green button down shirt and sunglasses, Martin emerges from behind a curtain on the floor, with a smile so bright it’s no wonder he has the shades on at the moment. A few fans try to reach out to touch him, but he ignores them all as he walks up the stairs to join Terry on the stage. He walks over towards Terry, putting his arm around him as he adjusts the shades…)
Terry Bull: Martin Robertson…
Martin Robertson: Terry Bull…. ha ha…
Terry Bull: Well aren’t you in a good mood tonight…
Martin Robertson: Well of course I’m in a good mood tonight, Terry! I mean, just look around you, Terry! All these people here tonight, to witness the greatest night of their lives… When Martin Robertson enters that squared circle later on tonight and takes home what rightfully belongs to him… the EWA World Heavyweight Championship!
Terry Bull: Indeed, you have your match later on tonight with the World Heavyweight Champion, The Purveyor of HATE, NOTHING.
Martin Robertson: The Purveyor? Let’s call him what he really is, Terry… He’s an imposter! He’s a fake, a phony… A pretend King to the EWA, Terry… And he’s holding something right now that belongs around the waist of the Real King!
Terry Bull: The real king…
Martin Robertson: The real king, Terry… Take a look at me! I am royalty personified… and NOTHING… He’s nothing more than a burger king, Terry. A paper champion, wearing a paper crown, Terry. Grady proved it to him all those years ago, and tonight Terry….oh, tonight the story continues, Terry!
Terry Bull: But remember, Martin… he does hold a singles victory over you from your match back in Japan…
Martin Robertson: Shut your mouth, Terry! … and fix your hair, too, while you’re at it.. it’s starting to fall off..
Terry Bull: Leave my hair alone…
Martin Robertson: That match was 18 months ago, Terry… it means nothing! He and his merry band of misfits jumped me and put me in a hospital for three weeks… left me concussed… battered… bruised…. but not broken, Terry. If it wasn’t for that, I’d have beat him twice in five minutes, and it’s not even a match! Just like tonight. It’s not even a match, Terry. Get him face to face in front of me, and it’s not even a contest. I’m stronger than him, I’m faster than him, I’m smarter than him… let’s sum it up, Terry… I’m just flat out better than him. And since he seems to have forgotten that… tonight, I’ll remind him one more time… right before I take the World… Heavyweight… Championship. It’s great to be the king, Terry!
(Martin’s entrance music begins to play again as he flashes his smile towards the camera one more time before removing his arm from around Terry and posing out to all the fans.)
Terry Bull: There you have it, folks! The Youth King, all set for tonight’s mat… Get your hands off me…
(Martin walks over, adjusting the lapels on Terry’s suit before turning back around and posing for the fans once again…)
VA: Now that’s a man who’s ready for his match tonight, Malone!
MM: He certainly believes he’s the next World Heavyweight Champion, Vince, but he still has to step into that ring tonight in our Main Event against the current champion, and we’ll see if he can come out victorious.
GRACE GOEREN & ALICE VS CERBERUS VS THE ERINYES
TAG TEAM ASYLUM MATCH, FOR THE EWA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The large steel hexagon slowly lowers down from the ceiling of the Target Center, the crowd hushed in awe.
MM: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s history in the making. The first ever tag team Asylum match in the history of the EWA.
VA: 8 competitors, six pods, one team comes away with the EWA Tag Team Championships. There’s no disqualifications, no countouts, and no mercy inside that structure.
MM: A quick rundown of the rules of this match, as announced by executive assistant Stacy Vandervort in our special Christmas Day event: As my colleague said, there are no disqualifications and no countouts. Each team will start the match with two of their members inside the pods, which means Grace Goeren and Alice get a nice little rest to start off. One member each of the Erinyes and Cerberus will start in the ring, and every five minutes, a pod will open, allowing another competitor into the match.
VA: There will be no pinfalls or submissions counted until each team has two members in the match. After that, however, one pinfall or submission will get the win. No eliminations, winner takes all.
MM: It’s important to note that this means that Grace and Alice could become champions before the last members of the other teams have entered the match.
VA: Um, you mispronounced “will,” Malone. And it’s “The God Queen” and “Her Right Hand,” I’ll thank you to respect the titles.
MM: *sigh* …and it begins.
The Asylum structure has finally finished its descent, and Rick Iley is standing by at the door, ready to lock it closed. The lights go down, as Sister Sin’s “Chaos Royale” starts to blare through the arena to a chorus of boos.
NR: The next contest is an Asylum match for the EWA World Tag Team Championship! Introducing first, at a combined weight of 345 lbs, GRACE GOEREN AND ALICE!
Grace steps through the curtain, with Alice following shortly behind. Grace glares down at the ring, skipping her usual antagonism with the crowd, and Alice keeps her head down, staring through stringy hair. Grace rolls her head side to side, before putting in her mouthguard and striding confidently to the ring, Alice never more than a foot behind her.
MM: A rare subdued side of the former World Champion, Vince. It’s… it’s somehow more unnerving.
VA: She knows this is serious, Malone. That’s the face of a woman who isn’t walking out of this match without the gold. The God Queen will not be stopped by a three-headed puppy or some angry feminists.
MM: She definitely–
VA: Oh, man, I just realized something, Malone! If all of the Erinyes are in the Asylum, then none of them can make my life a living hell today! Damn, this match just got ten times better! TAKE ‘EM OUT, O GLORIOUS GOD QUEEN!
MM: Oh brother.
Grace and Alice step through the door, to two of the open pods. They close behind them as they enter, locking shut. The lights turn red, and a stylized three-headed dog burns into the video screen as “The Phoenix” begins, the crowd on their feet!
NR: And their opponents, at a combined weight of 535 lbs, the team of Josh Kaine, Mojave, and Nikki Caldwell, CERBERUS!
The trio hit the stage, Caldwell standing between the two men, and they raise their arms in sync as a wall of flames extends down the front of the stage, and the sides of the entrance ramp! Nikki is the first to move, Doom Jacket flowing behind her, as Kaine and Mojave follow behind, taking in the presence of the Asylum.
MM: Cerberus has really come into their own as a unit, ironically after losing the tag titles at Live From Sydney. I feel they’ve really impressed recently, especially with Mojave gaining a huge win over Grace Goeren and Lágrima at Battlelines 38. Nikki Caldwell, also, getting a W over the #1 contender to the Network Championship, the Deathmatch Debutante herself on the same night.
VA: Yeah, well, from what I understand, Nikki Caldwell got under a certain teammate’s sister, so I don’t know how much of a unit they’re gonna be now, Malone.
MM: I can not believe you just said that.
VA: I know, right? I’m usually MUCH more vulgar.
MM: How do you sleep at night?
VA: Ambien and Jack Daniels, mostly.
Iley leads them into the structure, and they all slide into the ring, with Mojave and Kaine taking to the turnbuckles and Caldwell between them on the bottom and second rope, facing the hard cam. She raises her fist in the air with a war cry, before dropping to the canvas. Mojave walks past Grace’s pod, smiling and holding up three fingers as he enters his own, and Grace just scowls at him. Kaine follows Nikki to hers, and they share a barely-there nod as the pod closes, leaving Josh to get back into the ring. The ringside area and stage begin to fill with fog, as a single white spotlight shines on the stage, finally coalescing into a horned skull when “Heaven Knows” starts to thump through the PA. The crowd boos fiercely as three silhouettes stand in the entranceway.
NR: And finally, at a combined weight of 519 lbs, they are the EWA World Tag Team Champions, the team of Lágrima, Minxy Jones, and Santa Muerte, the ERINYES!
The lights come up super bright as teal and purple pyro shoot off in a line on either side of the stage, and the champs sneer down at the ring. Lágrima has her half of the belts on her shoulder, with Minxy wearing hers with the signature red hourglass marked on the front. Behind them, Santa Muerte stares stone-faced, her bouquet of white roses in her hands. Lágrima and Minxy start to saunter toward the ring, as Santa Muerte glides behind them, seemingly without moving her feet. Iley tries to take the belts from them before they get into the structure, but Minxy gives him the “talk to the hand” attitude, walking around the Asylum to put the belt on the timekeeper’s table. Lágrima rudely yanks hers away from Iley, screaming at him for a moment before following Minxy. Jones gives Ashe a little wave.
VA: Oh, don’t patronize me.
MM: It’s fair to say that the Erinyes have proven to be a dominant force in the tag ranks, with Lágrima a three-time tag champ, but also helped in a big way by their own angel of death, Santa Muerte.
VA: I’m gonna be completely honest with you, Malone, there’s only one woman in this match who legit terrifies me, and that’s Santa Muerte. I’m starting to wonder how much of it is really a gimmick.
MM: What, you’re saying you think she might actually be Santa Muerte?
VA: Well, when you say it like that, it sounds ridiculous.
MM: And… wait, you’re not afraid of Alice?
VA: Please, that’s Her Right Hand, and me and the God Queen are pretty much besties, so she’s not gonna hurt me. Although she’s definitely intimidating.
The three enter the structure, and as they do, Iley follows them in, locking the door and handing the key to the timekeeper through the mesh. As Santa Muerte glides past Alice’s pod, Alice presses herself against the glass, snarling. Santa Muerte turns her head, looking back, her painted face stoic. She walks to a pod of her own, turning around as the door closes, and standing like a statue with her bouquet and robe.
Minxy and Lágrima step into the ring, discussing back and forth who’s going to stay and who’s going to go to the pod. Looking across the ring at Kaine, Lágrima urges Minxy to go, giving Josh a little smirk. Minxy throws him the finger guns as she slides out of the ring to her pod, and Rick Iley calls for the bell!
MM: And this match starts with Lágrima and Josh Kaine, and I don’t think these two have really had a chance to duke it out since Sydney, Ashe.
VA: Oh, but it’s certainly not the first time they’ve been alone together, Malone.
MM: Christ, is all your commentary going to be about the sexual exploits of the competitors?
VA: I’d put it at a good 65% minimum.
Lágrima smugly blows him a kiss, and Kaine responds by charging her with a clothesline– ducked! As Kaine turns around, Lágrima is already on the other side of the ring, coming off the ropes with a back handspring into a moonsault! Kaine gets flattened, and Lágrima rolls to her feet with lightning speed! Kaine sits up, but before he can get to his feet, Lágrima flips over him, grabbing his head and bending him forward in half! Kaine flops backward, holding his neck, and the dynamo doesn’t stop moving, as Lágrima is already running to the ropes yet again! Kaine gets to his knees as Lágrima comes back with a shining wizard– Kaine drops to the mat, and Lágrima sails over him, getting caught up in the ropes! Kaine smells the blood in the water, immediately pulling her up and slamming her back down to the mat! Lágrima hits hard, flopping over onto her stomach, but Kaine isn’t about to let up. He grabs her legs, maneuvering her under the bottom rope, and catapulting her into it throat first!
MM: That’s one way to slow down arguably the fastest competitor in the EWA.
VA: Can’t run if you can’t breathe!
Lágrima flops like a fish on the canvas, and Kaine bounces off the ropes, throwing her out of the ring with a baseball slide dropkick! Lágrima falls to the floor, nearly hitting the Asylum wall! Josh stands next to the ropes, looking down at the fallen champion as she starts to get to her feet! He grabs the top rope, slingshotting over and CRUSHING Lágrima with a body press just as she gets to her feet! Lágrima rolls over, trying to get back up, but Kaine puts a boot to her ribs, flipping her once more! He steps over to her, grabbing her by the head– low blow! Kaine doubles over, and Lágrima drives his head into the ring steps with a CLANG!
VA: I bet the last time she was in contact with that, it was a bit of a softer touch.
MM: Stop being gross.
Rick Iley tries to chide her for that, but she waves him away, pulling the woozy Kaine to his feet, and whipping him into the side of the cage! He hits the steel chain, dropping to the floor, holding his ribs! Lágrima lines up, running at the ring steps, and leaping off of them with a somersault senton that hits home across Kaine’s back! Lágrima clutches her own for a moment as she gets to her feet! Kaine is woozy, but not out, as Lágrima flips the apron up, reaching under the ring! She pulls out a trusty steel chair with a smile, readying it to swing as soon as the Heir of Valhalla gets to his feet! Kaine gets up on his knees, and Lágrima swings– no! Kaine spears her into the apron hard, and they both fall to the floor, Lágrima dropping the chair! She puts her hand to her back, as Kaine rolls over, attempting to get back up!
The crowd chants along with the timer!
MM: Who’s it going to be, Ashe?
VA: HALLOWED BE THY NAME! IT’S THE GOD QUEEN, MALONE!
The door to Grace’s pod swings open, and the former World Champion steps out, cracking her knuckles and charging over to where Kaine is getting to his feet! It seems like he hasn’t seen her exit, and as he reaches for Lágrima, Grace cuts him down with a clip to the back of his knee! Kaine falls backward, and Grace follows up by mounting him and driving a massive series of fists into his face! Kaine tries to get his hands up, but Grace darts around them, her punches hitting the mark more often than not! Finally, Kaine swats her hands out of the way, driving up into Goeren with a headbutt! Grace is stunned, and Josh tosses her off, getting to his feet, but it looks like the damage has been done! Kaine’s bleeding from a cut above the eyebrow! Grace is also back up, and she rushes Kaine, nailing him with a European uppercut! He staggers, and Grace follows up with a pair of kicks to the midsection– Kaine grabs her leg! He pulls her towards him, hosting her up and right back down with a spinebuster!
VA: UNHAND HER, you disgrace to the name Kaine!
MM: Wait, since when are you a Sinnocence fan?
VA: I’m not, really, but that’s just how much I don’t like Josh Kaine. I mean, how does one disgrace a name that’s basically shameless?
MM: I have no idea.
VA: Me neither, but THIS RUFFIAN did it!
Grace gets to her knees, holding her back, but Kaine grabs her arm, whipping her toward the cage– but she runs into a superkick from Lágrima! Grace stumbles back, as Lágrima gets up onto the apron! Kaine pulls Grace down across his knee, waving for Lágrima to go for it! She runs down the apron, leaping off with a somersault legdrop across Goeren’s neck! Grace crashes hard against Josh’s knee, and rolls onto her front, clutching the small of her back! Lágrima gets to her feet, only to get LEVELLED by a Josh Kaine clothesline!
MM: That was a quick team-up!
VA: Probably quicker than when–
MM: Please, for my sake, don’t finish that sentence.
MM: Thank you.
VA: THEY TOTALLY BONED, MALONE.
Josh pulls Lágrima to her feet, dragging her by the head around the ring, before whipping her straight into Minxy’s pod! Lágrima hits hard, dazed and dropping to the floor! Minxy yells inaudibly at Josh through the glass, flipping him the bird, as Kaine looks at her as he stomps a mudhole into her partner! Minxy slams on the glass, and Kaine ignores it, deadlifting Lágrima into a gutwrench suplex! Grace is back on her feet now, but she seems content to let her two opponents wear each other out! She grabs the chair on the floor, setting it up and taking a seat, arms crossed as Josh pulls Lágrima back to her feet! She isn’t quite all there, but she takes a swing at Kaine– he catches her arm, dropping her to the floor again with a Russian leg sweep!
MM: Josh Kaine was off to a rough start here tonight, but he’s definitely got the momentum now, and it looks like Lágrima doesn’t quite know where she is!
VA: Don’t forget who’s sitting in that chair, just waiting for the chance to ruin a three-headed dog’s day, Malone!
MM: She might not want to get too comfortable, Vince, because one of those pods is ready to open!
With a scream of rage, Alice bursts through the door of the pod! Grace chuckles, standing up as her protege charges like a bull at Josh Kaine! Grace folds up the chair with a smile, and Alice grabs Josh Kaine by the head, tossing him like a sack of potatoes into the steel structure!
MM: Good lord! Josh Kaine just got some serious air! I wouldn’t be surprised if he slipped a disc in his neck!
VA: THE GOD QUEEN AND HER RIGHT HAND WILL DESTROY ALL, MALONE! A slipped disc would be the LEAST of his worries now! Hahaha!
MM: You take way too much pleasure in this.
VA: What can I say? I’m a zealot.
Alice continues to bear down on Kaine, stomping on him, before leaping into the air to flatten him with a splash! Meanwhile, Grace stalks over to where Lágrima is barely standing! The champ turns around– Grace doubles her over with the chair to the gut! She drops the chair under Lágrima’s face, and puts her on the floor with a NASTY facebuster! Lágrima rolls over, holding her face with both hands, and Grace gets back to her feet, grabbing the champion’s legs, and locking in a Rivera cloverleaf! She yanks back, and Lágrima starts to scream like a banshee! Minxy looks on from her pod, powerless to do anything about it!
MM: The Officially Licensed Azrael Goeren Cloverleaf©! Wait, is that meant as a tribute or an insult?
VA: Who cares? Break her, O Holy Grace!
MM: She can’t win the match yet, Vince!
VA: She doesn’t need to yet, Malone! She just needs to take Lágrima out of it!
Alice pulls Kaine up, tossing him like a ragdoll into the ring steps! The top half fall to the ground, and Kaine tries to crawl away, reaching toward Nikki Caldwell’s pod! Nikki presses herself to the glass, screaming inaudibly, but Alice doesn’t slow down! She yanks Kaine by the hair, pulling him down into a powerbomb– onto the bottom half of the ring steps! Kaine hangs on the steps for a moment, before rolling painfully to the floor!
Lágrima tries to reach for something, anything that will get her out of this hold! Minxy’s stomping on the floor, trying to psyche her up, but Grace won’t relent! Rick Iley begs Grace to let her go, but he’s powerless to do anything else! Lágrima grabs the ring apron, bellowing as she pulls herself up on it, cinching her back even more!
MM: What is she trying to do?!
She pulls further up, and it forces Grace to stand higher! She tries to wrench Lágrima back down, but Lágrima howls as she pulls up even further! Grace can’t help but stand higher, and Lágrima sees her chance! She swings back under Grace, grabbing her head and dropping her across her legs! Grace falls to the side, and Lágrima is spent!
MM: Unbelievable! There is nobody, literally NOBODY else who could’ve bent that way to escape!
VA: She’s definitely quite flexible, Malone. I bet that flexibility–
MM: Nope. Not going there now, Vince.
Josh is trying to regain his bearings as Alice continues to savage him with kicks and stomps! She turns her head at just the right moment to see Lágrima escape the cloverleaf, and she lands one final stomp on Josh before striding over like an enraged animal. She lifts Lágrima up and hoists her immediately on her shoulders in a torture rack, wrenching on the champion’s body! Lágrima doesn’t get much time to suffer before Alice puts her back on the floor with an inverted DVD! Kaine is pulling on the apron to get to his feet as the time ticks down!
Nikki Caldwell charges out of the pod, immediately at Josh’s side! She pulls her teammate to his feet, trying to help him recover while Alice is more concerned with the champion! Grace gets to her feet, smiling down at Lágrima while Alice puts the boots to her! Alice beasts her up, deadlifting her into a powerbomb and dropping her back first on the ring apron! Lágrima hits the floor, kicking her legs and clutching her back yet again, and Grace gets on top of her, grinding her elbow into Lágrima’s face! Caldwell slides into the ring, and Josh kicks Alice in the back of the knee! Alice drops down to a knee, and Kaine throws a pair of fists to her face, followed by a roundhouse kick that catches her in the temple!
Alice, however, doesn’t go down! She turns and looks at Kaine with fire in her eyes! Grace gets behind her, egging her on! But before they can do anything, Nikki Caldwell FLIES over the top rope with a tope con hilo that connects with both Grace and Alice! Grace collapses to the mat, and Alice staggers back, into a lungblower from Kaine!
MM: They did it! Caldwell and Kaine managed to drop the Right Hand of Grace! No Santa Muerte needed!
VA: It’s not gonna last, Malone, you know it! She’s too tough!
Kaine scoops up the chair, and Nikki gets to her feet! Alice is getting to her knees, and Kaine slams her across the back with the chair! Alice howls, arching her back, but she doesn’t drop! He smashes her across the back of the head, but that just sends her forward to her hands and knees! He lays the chair across Alice’s back as Nikki leaps off the ring steps with a double foot stomp to the chair! Alice gets flattened to the floor, and Nikki and Josh each grab one of her legs, slamming her knees into the concrete! Kaine grabs the chair, driving the edge into the back of Alice’s knee! Alice screams, rolling over, but Grace is back on her feet! She makes a move toward Nikki, but Lágrima with a German suplex out of nowhere!
VA: I had no idea she was still alive, Malone!
MM: She doesn’t have much left, Vince, but she’s gonna use it!
Lágrima gets back to her feet, but she’s unsteady! She pulls Grace up and rolls her back into the ring! Goeren is on her hands and knees, as Lágrima gets to the top turnbuckle! Grace is faster, though, and she dives at the top rope, dropping Lágrima to seated on the turnbuckle! Grace runs up the corner, standing on the top turnbuckle, and sending Lágrima back to the mat with a superplex!
Back on the outside, Nikki and Kaine are just trying to keep the monster down! They aren’t letting up, continuing the attack on Alice’s legs! They each grab one, but Alice kicks back pushing the pair into the ring apron! She tries to stand, but clearly finds it more difficult than she imagined! Nikki and Josh move toward her, but she drops them with a double clothesline that nearly takes both of their heads off!
The door opens, and Minxy has had enough! She charges past Alice and straight to the ring, where Grace is pressing her forearm across Lágrima’s throat! Minxy runs forward, driving a soccer kick into the face of Grace Goeren! Grace flops back, as Minxy immediately jumps over Lágrima to land a senton on the God Queen! Minxy covers!
MM: We’ve got two members of each team in the ring, Vince, this match could be over at any time now!
VA: Not while the God Queen and Her Right Hand aren’t on top, Malone!
Alice looks up, seeing Grace in trouble, and moves to get back in the ring, but Caldwell is not down for the count! She grabs Alice’s head, springing off the apron with an assisted bulldog! Alice hits the floor, and Kaine has the chair again! He gets to the apron while Nikki continues to cut at Alice’s legs, trying to keep her off her feet! Alice is on her hands and knees, trying to power through it, but Kaine sails off the apron with a moonsault, holding the chair to his chest!
MM: Kaine throwing away his own safety to try to take Alice down!
VA: He’s been in this match from the beginning, Malone, he knows he doesn’t have much left in the tank!
MM: Well, he might have nothing left now, but he’s put Alice down for the time being!
Kaine crashes down across Alice’s back, and quickly rolls off, clutching his ribs! Nikki checks on him quickly, before sliding a table out from under the ring! She hoists it up, pushing it into the ring!
Minxy and Grace are still battling it out, as Lágrima lies on the mat, trying to will herself back into this match! Grace ducks a clothesline, responding with a heavy forearm to the back of Minxy’s head! As Minxy doubles over, Grace comes off the ropes, dropping her with an axe kick! Grace makes the cover!
THR– broken up by Caldwell!
Nikki has set the table in the corner of the ring, leaning against the turnbuckle, and she pulls Grace to her feet, whipping her to the corner– Grace reverses into a short-arm clothesline! She holds on to Nikki’s arm, pulling her down into a triangle choke!
Minxy is still trying to get to her feet, but Lágrima is almost to a vertical base! On the outside, Josh has pulled himself up using the cage! He looks over at Mojave, who points toward the ring! He moves to get into the ring!
VA: You can’t keep a good lunatic down, Malone!
MM: Alice is inhuman!
Alice grabs Kaine’s leg! He turns, kicking at her face, but she powers through it, pulling him into an overhead belly-to-belly that sends him flying against the steel! Mojave winces as Josh lands on the floor in a heap!
Alice looks down at him, face bloodied and stringy hair starting to soak in it! She picks up the chair, folding it around Kaine’s leg!
Alice raises a foot to crush Josh’s knee– but instead she gets ROCKED by a bouquet of white roses! Alice staggers, dropping to her knees as Santa Muerte stands before her, rose petals fluttering down around her!
VA: It’s flowers! How the fuck?!
MM: Looks like there was something a little more substantial in that bouquet, Vince!
Santa Muerte shakes out her hand, revealing the brass knuckles underneath! She tosses her robe aside, leaving Josh to free himself from his predicament!
In the ring, Rick Iley leans down to check on Nikki, but before she can tap, Lágrima drops a knee across Grace’s face! She releases the hold, but Grace isn’t taking it lightly! She pulls Lágrima into a clinch, driving knees into the champion’s face! She pushes her down, grabbing her by the belt for a piledriver, but Minxy sails over with a corkscrew flying lariat! Grace drops to the mat, letting Lágrima go, and the champions capitalize! Lágrima wraps Grace in the DTF! Before she has a chance to give up, Minxy comes off the ropes with a baseball slide!
MM: DTFU! Shades of the original Vice Squad!
VA: No! It can’t end here!
Grace looks close to unconscious, and Lágrima immediately bridges into a Muta lock! Minxy nods excitedly, before setting Grace up in another Muta lock from the other side!
VA: Yeah, really rolls off the tongue, Malone.
MM: Look, I didn’t name it.
Grace is wildly trying to escape, her energy suddenly back! Rick Iley checks on her as her hand pops into the air! No! Nikki Caldwell and Josh Kaine land simultaneous sentons across all three! They collapse in a heap, and Kaine and Caldwell descend on the champions! Caldwell pulls Lágrima up, tossing her to the corner opposite the table! Kaine grabs Minxy, backing her into a corner as well! Grace wisely rolls out of the ring, trying to regain her composure!
Santa Muerte stands over Alice, who steadfastly refuses to fall! She slams her in the face with the knuckles once again, and Alice appears to be out of it, but she’s still up on her knees! Santa Muerte scowls, tossing the knucks away, and pulling Alice into a double underhook!
She’s stopped as Grace lands a dropkick to her back! Santa Muerte lets go of Alice, turning to her new attacker! Alice falls to her hands and knees, and Grace throws punches at the vision of death! Santa Muerte takes them on the chin, but shrugs them off! Grace swings again, but Santa Muerte swats her arm away, driving a huge headbutt to Grace’s nose! She stumbles back, bloodied, and Santa Muerte whips her into an empty pod! Grace hits the door back first, but before she can drop, Santa Muerte SPEARS HER THROUGH THE GLASS!
VA: GOOD GRACE, NO!
MM: I can’t believe what I’m seeing! Grace Goeren may be seriously injured, folks!
VA: And Alice hasn’t seen it yet!
Santa Muerte stands over the broken Grace, glass shards and dust in her hair and on her shoulders! She turns back to Alice, satisfied her work is done!
In the ring, Kaine is up on the second turnbuckle, driving fists into Minxy’s head! Nikki is using similar tactics, driving boots to Lágrima’s midsection!
Mojave bolts from his pod like a man possessed, past Santa Muerte and Alice! Nikki whips Lágrima across the ring to the table! No! Lágrima stops herself before she hits! She doesn’t turn around, but a blind back kick manages to catch Nikki in the face! Lágrima points to her head with a smile, before turning around, right as Mojave springs off of Nikki’s back, crushing Lágrima with a calf kick– and sending her crashing through the table!
MM: Everyone is in the match now, Vince!
VA: Everyone but Grace!
Santa Muerte has Alice in a double underhook again, but as soon as she hears the table breaking, she turns to the ring! She’s just in time to see Josh put Minxy down with a tornado DDT! Minxy is out! Lágrima is out! Alice is not! She crushes Santa Muerte from behind with the Decapitator! Santa Muerte drops to her knees, and Alice grabs the chair! She r raises it high… but stops when she sees the fallen Grace! Her eyes widen, and she runs to her side, panicking!
MM: Alice doesn’t know what to do! She hasn’t had to deal with this before!
VA: Imagine the guilt she must be feeling for not having been there to stop it!
Santa Muerte stands, taking the chair! In the ring, Mojave and Nikki scale the top ropes, while Josh grabs Minxy’s legs! He catapults her up, and Nikki and Moe dive off the turnbuckles with a double missile dropkick! Minxy collapses in a heap! Lágrima is barely conscious, but she leaps at Kaine with a hurracanrana! No! Kaine holds on, bringing her up in a powerbomb! She desperately tries to escape, punching him in the head, but he moves to the ropes, tossing her to the outside! Lágrima hits the floor hard, and Kaine collapses on the top rope, trying to hold himself up! He turns around– Santa Muerte slams him with the chair, and he follows Lágrima out of the ring!
Mojave and Nikki pull Minxy to her feet, and Nikki wraps her arm around Minxy’s face, letting out a war cry!
MM: I of the Storm!
Mojave follows it up with a somersault legdrop across the back of Minxy’s head!
MM: Could we call that the I of the Sandstorm?
VA: We could call it a tragedy, Malone! They aren’t supposed to win this!
Nikki makes the cover!
THR– Santa Muerte sends Nikki flying with a release German suplex!
MM: So close to new champions, Vince!
VA: C’mon, Alice! Worry about the God Queen after you’ve won!
Alice seems to perk up in response to Ashe, looking into the ring with rage in her eyes, the crimson mask coating her face! She lets out a roar, sliding into the ring!
Mojave squares up with Santa Muerte, but before he can do anything, Alice shoves him out of the way, throwing a barrage of angry punches at Santa Muerte’s face! Santa Muerte is staggered, stumbling backward to the ropes! Alice whips Santa Muerte to the opposite side of the ring, and as she returns, she tosses her over the top rope with a back body drop! But Santa Muerte catches the top rope on the way over, and she hangs on!
Mojave charges at Alice, and she tries to grapple him, but he slides through her legs, hopping back up behind her! She doesn’t have time to turn around before he leaps up onto her shoulders, turning around, and pulling her into a hurracanrana! He hangs on and hooks the legs, and he can see Santa Muerte skinning the cat!
MM: Can he get the three?!
TWO! Nikki Caldwell gets in Santa Muerte’s way and eats a Naja de Sangre for her troubles!
THREE! NO! Broken up at the last possible second by Minxy Jones!
Minxy dives forward, barely catching Mojave with a forearm to break the pin, before falling back to the mat! Alice gets to her feet, and Mojave is now caught between two rabid monsters!
Alice grabs him before he can escape, pulling him above her head with a guerrilla press! He yells, shaking his head as she HURLS him out of the ring, and he crashes into the cage! He drops to the floor in a heap! Alice tries to follow, but Santa Muerte turns her around! They lock eyes for a second!
VA: That’s a terrifying sight to see, Malone.
The peace is broken as both women throw wild punches at each other, drifting toward the ropes! Alice has Santa Muerte backed against the ropes once again, and she whips her to the other side! Santa Muerte slides under the bottom rope, popping up on the apron– Alice with a spear! Alice puts enough force behind it to send both of them crashing into the cage!
MM: Good god! I don’t care how strong or tough you are, you’re not taking a shot like that and ignoring it!
Alice appears to have hit her head, and she’s out on her back! Santa Muerte lays on the floor, holding her ribs, trying to move!
Mojave has gotten to his feet, and he looks around at the carnage! Nikki is on the mat, still feeling the effects of that vicious kick! Josh and Lágrima haven’t moved from where they were tossed! Alice and Santa Muerte are out of commission, and Grace is barely moving in a pile of broken glass!
That leaves only one! Mojave looks to the ring just in time to see Minxy fly off the top turnbuckle to the outside!
MM: Smash the Patriarchy! She nailed it!
VA: That sounds really weird coming from you.
Minxy and Mojave hit the floor hard after that huge blockbuster, and Minxy flops on him for a cover! Nikki pulls herself up to see the pin attempt!
TWO! Nikki charges across the ring and flies over the top rope with a tope!
THREE! Nikki crashes down on Minxy, but Rick Iley is calling for the bell!
MM: She just missed it by a hair’s breadth, Ashe! Unbelievable!
VA: Someone get medical down here before we lose our best World Champion!
NR: Here are your winners, and STILL EWA World Tag Team Champions, the ERINYES!
Rick Iley unlocks the Asylum door, as medical staff rush in to check on everyone, but particularly Grace Goeren. A crowd of EMTs start to put her on a board, bracing her neck for safety.
MM: As you’ll see here in the replay, just after Santa Muerte entered the match, she speared Grace Goeren through the glass pod door, and right now I’m honestly concerned for the safety of our youngest ever World Champion.
VA: I will never forgive her for this, Malone. Never.
MM: What an incredible match, ladies and gentlemen. Right now, let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: THE ERINYES (29:44)
(The camera cuts backstage, where we watch as Martin Robertson heads back into his locker room. Standing there, waiting for him in the middle of the locker room is Alyssa, who walks up and gives him a kiss…)
Alyssa Marie Haven: You were wonderful out there!
Martin Robertson: Thanks, sweetheart.
Alyssa Marie Haven: I don’t know if I’ve ever been this excited for a title match tonight. Finally, almost a year later, you’re getting your change to become World Heavyweight Champion…
Martin Robertson: This… this is everything we talked about.
???: Hey, Martin!
(The camera turns to see the familiar voice behind Martin…)
Martin Robertson: Dad?
Grady Smith: Hey, son!
(The look on Martin’s face turns from excitement to bewilderment, as Grady walks over to give Martin a hug. Following behind the 11-time World Heavyweight Champion is Martin’s mom, Janelle Smith…)
Martin Robertson: What… what are you doing here?
Grady Smith: What do you mean what are we doing here? It’s your first World Heavyweight Championship match! We wouldn’t miss it for the world!
(Martin tries to feign a smile, but you can tell he’s fighting it…)
Janelle Smith: Plus, after you and your dad starting to talk again at Christmas, once we saw the envelope come with the tickets in it, we just couldn’t say no…
Martin Robertson: Wait… what envelope with tickets in it?
Grady Smith: The one you sent to us… See, Janelle, I told you that, even as calm as he acts, he’d be a little nervous and scatterbrained.
(Martin looks over at Alyssa, who shrugs her shoulders towards the number one contender)
Martin Robertson: Dad… I didn’t send you an envelope with tickets.
Janelle Smith: Sure you did, look…
(Janelle hands Martin a FedEx envelope that has been addressed to the Smith’s household in Cortland. Alyssa comes over to look at the envelope as well, and looking in the upper left hand corner, we see that the return address points back to…)
Alyssa Marie Haven: Why is my address there?
Martin Robertson: Did you send the tickets to my parents?
Alyssa Marie Haven: No! I mean, why would I? If I was going to surprise you by having them here, I’d just have told someone on the staff to let them in.
Martin Robertson: So how did your address get put on the label?
Alyssa Marie Haven: How the hell would I know?
Grady Smith: Either way, we wouldn’t miss this match for the world! Look, Janelle, our boy is growing up!
Janelle Smith: Sweetheart, don’t worry about the tickets. Just pretend we’re not here, because I know you’re going to do just great tonight!
Martin Robertson: Yeah, thanks Mom…
Grady Smith: Hey, where was that brisket stand? I could go for a great brisket sandwich now…
Janelle Smith: It’s on the other side of the arena. We better go now…
(Janelle walks over and kisses Martin on the cheek)
Janelle Smith: You can do this, sweetheart. We’re rooting for you…
Martin Robertson: Gee, thanks. Glad to hear you’re rooting for me and not Prudence tonight…
Grady Smith: See… he’s still got his sense of humor! I told you he was ready! Break a leg tonight, sport! Just not your leg…
(Janelle and Grady walk back out through the locker room door as Martin turns towards Alyssa…)
Martin Robertson: What the hell was that?
Alyssa Marie Haven: Listen, baby… Just go take a quick shower, get changed, and get focused. Tonight is your night, and not even that can ruin it for you!
(Martin looks at Alyssa, shaking his head before turning towards the back of the locker room, heading into the bathroom area as Alyssa looks out towards the hallway…)
MM: I can’t believe it! The 11-time champion, The Legend Grady Smith is here tonight!
VA: Great… just another opportunity for him to steal the spotlight from Martin once again.
MM: I don’t know, Vince. I mean, if there’s anyone you’d want giving you advice on how to best defeat NOTHING later tonight, wouldn’t it be his longtime rival?
VA: You mean some old washed up has been who is more focused on a sandwich? Yeah, no thanks, Malone.
MM: Well, you and I will just have to disagree on this one…
VA: … like we always do…
MM: … but let’s head backstage once again!
(The scene fades into the back. We are in the same private locker room as before, though the scene has changed significantly. Sahara is not there, once again; likely preparing for her match, coming up next. Draven stands in a corner, furious and fuming, while Maggie and Buck Dresden sit next to a drunk, bloody Jester. Buck looks uncertain of what to do, and he stares at the Combat Championship on the table that is now his. He doesn’t stare at it with pride, though. More shame and confusion. Jester Smiles openly cries, wiping tears and blood from his face.)
Jester Smiles: I…I haven’t had a drink…since…since…
(Jester buries his head in his hands, attempting to rest his elbows on his knees, but missing the mark and slipping a little. Maggie moves to his side, placing a hand on his shoulder, trying to comfort the devastated veteran.)
Maggie McIntyre: It’s okay, Eric. You’ll pull through this.
Michael Draven: I’ll make sure the son of a bitch pays for what he’s done to you, Jester.
(His gaze shifts from Jester, to Maggie…and then down to his leg.)
Michael Draven: For what he’s done to all of us…
(Jester removes his hands and looks desperately at all parties in the room. He looks like a frightened, lost child looking for his parents. He doesn’t know what to do or what to say, exactly, but he clearly just wants to feel okay.)
Jester Smiles: What if…what if I can’t stop…what if I go back to…back to…
(Again, he drops his head into his hands, weeping. Buck remains silent. Maggie pulls Jester in and hugs him tightly. Michael slams his fist into the wall.)
Michael Draven: Son of a BITCH! This ends TONIGHT.
(Jester stands up, but he’s wobbly, so he falls back down, bumping his head on the wall. He ignores it, wiping more blood and tears away.)
Jester Smiles: We…we gotta fuck them up. We gotta hurt them. I can’t let them do this to me and get away with it. I can’t fucking let the-
Michael Draven: You can’t go out there, Jester. You…you have to know that…
Maggie McIntyre: He’s right, Eric. You’re in no condition to be out there. You’ll do more harm than good. That’s exactly why Indrid did what he did tonight. Divide and conquer.
(Buck Dresden stands up suddenly, grabbing the Combat Championship and storming out of the room. The three look at him as he departs, and then Jester buries his head in his hands once more. Maggie moves in closer to Michael, talking in a hushed voice.)
Maggie McIntyre: This puts us as two on four, Mike.
Michael Draven: I know. Wouldn’t be the first time you blazed a trail through the hive, right?
(Maggie’s answer is a sly grin.)
Michael Draven: It ends tonight, regardless. I’ll watch your back during your match with Lou. First sign of anyone, and I’m out there.
(Maggie looks up at him suddenly, an odd expression across her face.)
Maggie McIntyre: Just…end this tonight, Mike. Promise me we’ll leave everything we have out there. We–
(Michael interrupts her with a kiss. He breaks the embrace, nodding solemnly.)
Michael Draven: It ends tonight. One way or another.
(Fade to ringside.)
SAHARA VS SINNOCENCE
MM: Folks, what we’re about to witness is something, I can honestly say, I never thought we’d see again. May 31, 2016 was the last time Sinnocence competed in the world of professional wrestling, as she stepped into a steel cage with her ex-husband, Osbourne Kilminster. The injuries she sustained in that contest would force her to retire from in-ring action. She’s occasionally shown up on our shows since that time, but the majority of her contributions to the business post-retirement have been the influx of talent into the EWA that she’s helped train and guide. Josh Kaine. Mojave. Nikki Caldwell.
VA: And most importantly of all, the woman that she trained before any of those names. The warrior who would use that training to reach the peak of the mountain, becoming EWA World Heavyweight Champion…until the jealousy and bitterness of Sinnocence surfaced, causing her to cost Sahara – her opponent tonight – that very championship.
MM: What my broadcast partner leaves out, ladies and gentlemen, is that Sahara inflicted a grave attack on Sinnocence’s own son, Josh Kaine, hospitalizing him, which led to Sinnocence’s attack on the former champion at Battlelines 37, costing her the championship. And so here we are, January 4, and for the first time in almost twenty months…Jada Kaine is about to compete. Let’s go to the ring, and Nikki Rogers!
The crowd begins to buzz as the bell chimes three times, knowing what’s next.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest, scheduled for one fall…
Crowd: ONE FALL!
NR: …is an unsanctioned match! EWA Entertainment has been absolved from all legal responsibility for the actions of the two competitors in tonight’s contest. The only way to determine a winner is by pinfall, submission, or forfeit.
VA: Malone! Look in the ring! Isn’t that —
MM: That’s former SHOOT Project head official, Scott Kamura! Why’s he officiating this contest?
VA: It’s an unsanctioned match, Malone! Why would the EWA involve its employees?
MM: That’s actually a great point.
VA: I just can’t believe he’s here! The guy’s been officiating since the dawn of time! The battle of the ages…officiated by someone who defies age itself!
MM: Oh, knock it o–
Fog slowly rolls onto the stage as floor lights shine up, casting it in an eerie shade of crimson. Moments later, a lone spotlight drops down onto the center of the stage…
COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER
BEFORE WE BEGIN
LEMME TELL YA HOW I WANT IT
AND EXACTLY WHAT I NEED
NR: Introducing first, from Chicago, Illinois, the self proclaimed Crimson Valkyrie — the one and only — Saharaaaa!
I’M HERE FOR ONE DRUG
I’M ONLY HERE FOR THING
MM: The Crimson Valkyrie?! I can’t believe she gets Nikki to read these titles, as if that wasn’t a blatant shot at her mentor–
VA: Yeah, but where is she?!
CAN YOU FLY LIKE YOU’RE FREE
Suddenly, the spotlight snaps upward, and seen standing atop the scaffolding above the jumbotron is Sahara, her arms spread wide — the red warpaint shining beneath her once-again platinum blonde hair as In This Moment’s ‘Adrenalize Me’ continues to play.
VA: She’s back, Malone! The blonde Goddess is back!
MM: I never thought I’d agree with a decision this woman made, but the dark hair was — OH MY GOD!
In unison with Mike Malone, the crowd gasps as the Crimson Queen steps off the scaffolding and drops about five feet before coming to a halt, hovering above the stage with her arms stretched out and her head tilted back, looking up into the lights.
VA: My God is right, Malone, she’s literally embodied a Valkyrie descending from Valhalla!
MM: Everything about this was blatantly lifted from her mentor, the true Viking Queen of the EWA, Sinnocence.
As Sahara slowly lowers down to the stage, her boots that read ‘Victory’ and ‘Valhalla’ touch down and she reaches back and disconnects the harness and steps forward onto the stage. Gazing out across the capacity crowd, they respond with thunderous boos.
MM: Folks, in recent months, Sahara’s received somewhat of a polarizing response from the EWA fans across the world. But ever since this issue with Sinnocence has broken out, she’s been overwhelmingly rejected by our fans, and I for one believe it’s because she’s finally showing her true colors.
VA: True colo–are you kidding me right now, Malone? Of course she’s shown her true colors! This is who Sahara is! This is who she’s always been! Love her or hate her, and many hate her, she is exactly what she projects. She’s the oldest and perhaps most improved rookie in the industry of this business! Former – and rightfully still – EWA World Heavyweight Champion! This is the kind of girl you don’t want to bring home to mommy and daddy, folks – you want to keep her as far away from anything you love as you can, because she’ll rip the throats out of everyone and everything you love.
MM: As Sahara enters the ring, and my broadcast colleague continues to fawn over her —
VA: I speak the truth, Malone!
MM: — let’s make one thing perfectly clear. Sahara is the favorite in this match. Sinnocence is more accomplished. She’s more experienced. She’s competed all over the world and won more matches than Sahara’s even dreamed of. She’s also nearly twenty months removed from a medically-forced retirement. The odds are against the Viking Queen here tonight, but Sinnocence always has bet against the house. Having said that, tonight could be her biggest challenge to date.
As the music dies down, Sahara paces back and forth like a feral cat, ready to pounce at the first sight of her nemesis. Nikki Rogers, taking a cue from a cameraman, raises the microphone to her lips once more.
NR: And her opponent…
The lights immediately cut out at the words of Nikki Rogers, and the jumbotron suspended above the entrance sparks to life. We’re witnessed to a silhouette, walking down a darkened hallway in a backstage area. We hear a voiceover from a prior event…
MM: Sinnocence has done it! Jada Kaine is the new EWA World Heavyweight Champion!
The montage of the figure walking down the hallway flickers on and off, interspersed with smash shots of victory after victory from her EWA career. We see shots of the legend facing off against a literal who’s who of legendary figures in professional wrestling – Osbourne Kilminster, Jacob Mephisto, Philip Donovan, Marcus Mirage, Hank, Chris Kage, Michael Draven, Alexander Haven, Grace Goeren, Martin Robertson, Lunatikk Crippler, Indrid Calder…the shots become faster and faster, and as the silhouetted figure reaches the end of the hallway, we hear a voiceover once again, this time from Jada Kaine herself, with the familiar refrain that fans of hers over the years have lived by, her infamous mantra…
A thunderous BOOMING sound echoes through the Target Center as the jumbotron suddenly cuts out completely.
VA: What the hell was that, Malone?!
MM: I don’t kno–
VA: What the hell?!?!
The lights suddenly return to normal, and our eyes avert to the scene at the foot of the entrance ramp, in front of the ring. A man stands there, adorned in Nordic garb, his muscular frame on display for the world to see. His dark brown hair is intricately woven into a Viking braid, and the man’s muscles bulge as he swings a heavy hammer into the Viking drum that’s now situated at the foot of the ramp.
The camera quickly pans up the ramp, where a SWARM of men and women are making their way out from behind the curtain. These warriors, all dressed in various Nordic battle armor, carry weapons designed to strike down the most feverous of foes – large battle hammers, double-bladed battle axes, swords, shields, and so on. The Viking warriors, faces masked with expressions of grim determination, line up along each side of the entrance ramp, and as they do so, the crowd begins to buzz even more, as a NORDIC HORSE, with its beautiful white mane, slowly trots out to the entrance stage. Sitting atop the horse is a beautiful woman with stunningly long blonde hair, also dressed in viking attire. Her Nordic skirt rides nearly up to her hips, and above and below her eyes, her skin is covered with black warpaint extending all the way across.
MM: This is spectacular!
VA: Okay, even I’ll admit I’m impressed. Does anyone have that woman’s number?
The woman, one Lilah Hurst, circles the beautiful stallion across the front of the entrance ramp, essentially blocking the ramp, and reaches down to her waist, unbuckling an object from her belt. She lifts the object high above her head, where it becomes evident to all what exactly it is…a Viking horn.
The blonde woman lifts the horn to her lips, sounding a stunningly thunderous blast from the horn…and at that moment, the booming drums of In This Moment’s ‘Comanche’ begin to reverberate throughout the Target Center. The lights begin a strobe effect, and the crowd explodes as Maria Brink’s lyrics echo through the arena…
WILL YOU COME WITH ME
WILL YOU STAND WITH ME
WOULD YOU FOLLOW ME
WOULD YOU BELIEVE IN ME
TELL ME YOU’LL BLEED WITH ME
TELL ME YOU’LL DIE WITH ME
COME ON, COME ON
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY!!!
The horse standing at the top of the ramp moves forward slowly, revealing a figure now kneeled down behind where it previously stood. This figure is on one knee, wearing black wrestling boots with fur lining them, black leather pants with a sheer mesh inlay rising from ankle to hip on each leg, a black tanktop, jet-black hair, and a wolf-fur cloak clasped around her neck. She carries an enormous shield, braced on the ground before her, in one hand, and in the other hand a steel sword, blade planted firmly into the steel grating of the entrance ramp.
COME ON, COME ON
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
COME ON, GET UP
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY
LET IT OUT, DO OR DIE
LET ME HEAR YOUR WAR CRY!!!
NR: From Las Vegas, Nevada…SINNOCENCE!!!
Jada Kaine rises to her feet to a FLURRY of pyrotechnics set off above the jumbotron, and at the bottom of the entrance ramp, the drummer begins to beat his mallet once again against the Viking drum. Two of the Viking warriors lining the entrance ramp join her, gently unclasping her cloak and taking her weapons away from her as she stares unflinchingly toward the ring, eyes blazing with fury at her former protege, Sahara.
MM: What an incredible entrance!
VA: But is the substance still there, Malone? Can her body handle the onslaught of pure violence it’s about to receive? We’re about to find out! What a moment this is!
Jada slowly marches down the entrance ramp, with each Viking warrior on either side dropping to one knee in reverence as she approaches. She pays them no attention, solely focused on Sahara, who’s pacing back and forth inside the ring, returning the icy glare. Jada steps around the drummer, who continues to methodically beat the drum, before approaching the ring steps, slowly climbing them. The Viking warriors disperse, making their way back up the ramp, and the drummer follows as Jada steps onto the ring apron. SHOOT Project referee Scott Kamura orders Sahara out of the ring, and after a brief argument, the Crimson Queen obliges, as Sinnocence steps inside the ring to a deafening roar from the crowd! She climbs to the second turnbuckle, screaming out at the crowd as she points at the sea of EWA fans, clearly fired up and ready to go.
MM: One thing’s for certain, Jada Kaine has kept herself in absolutely remarkable shape!
VA: The last time I complimented that woman on her appearance, she punched me in the mouth, Malone, so I’ll just say you’re right and leave it at that.
Jada hops back off the turnbuckles, and Sahara slowly climbs the steps as the music fades out. Kamura keeps a wary hand outstretched in Sinn’s direction, allowing Sahara the space to step in the ring, and a thunderous eruption from the crowd sounds at that moment as Scott Kamura calls for the bell!
MM: Here we go!!
VA: This atmosphere is electric, Malone!
MM: Two of the absolute best at what they do, in a match we never thought we’d see! What a moment!
Sahara and Sinnocence, both with focused expressions masking any internal emotion they may feel, step forward toward one another, meeting in the center of the ring.
MM: Sahara stands five feet, ten inches tall, and Sinnocence is just a tick under that at five feet, nine inches. And now these two women, these two fighters, are eye to eye in the center of the ring!
VA: Sahara’s come so, so far from her debut, Malone, and as much as I hate to admit it, a large part of it is due to the woman standing across from her. But the question has to be, has the student surpassed the teacher?
MM: We’re about to find out!
The two iconic women come face to face, and Sahara starts talking first, her head whipping back and forth as she verbally lays into her mentor. Sahara puts a finger on Jada’s chest, metaphorically poking the bear, but Jada simply looks down at the finger, before her eyes rise up to meet Sahara’s once again…and the blonde reaches back, SLAPPING Jada right across the face!
MM: Oh, that might not have been wise…
VA: Sahara, that’s not the way you start this out!
Sahara smiles, a smug, proud look on her face as Jada slowly turns back toward her. The Crimson Queen reaches back, ready to whip her hand across the face of Sinnocence once more…but this time Jada catches her by the wrist in mid-air! Sahara’s eyes widen as she stares at the hand of the former two-time champion, and Jada swings a hard left, catching Sahara flush against the jaw and dropping her to the mat! The crowd roars in approval, but Sahara gets right back to her feet, swinging and connecting with a right of her own! And now these two warriors that have this hatred for one another begin swinging fists, connecting with rights and lefts, neither giving an inch!
MM: It’s already broken down and we’re less than a minute into this match!
VA: Good lord, Malone, listen to those shots!
But finally, Sahara shows signs of fatigue, and Jada manages to block a punch, firing off a series of volleys that send the blonde rocking back into the corner! Jada grabs Sahara by the wrist, whipping her into the opposite corner, and Sinn charges at the blonde – but Sahara ducks out of the way, and Sinn crashes into the turnbuckle.
The Crimson Queen whips Sinnocence around, firing a right hand in her direction, but Jada kicks the blonde in the stomach before it ever connects, and delivers a huge knee lift, staggering Sahara backwards again! Jada back on the offensive with a crushing forearm to the face of Sahara, leaning her back against the ropes…Sinn takes a step back, and rushes forward, clotheslining the Crimson Queen over the top rope and to the outside to a thunderous ovation from the crowd, followed by a roaring chant!
“YOU’VE STILL GOT IT!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
“YOU’VE STILL GOT IT!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
“YOU’VE STILL GOT IT!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
MM: Holy hell! What an opening flurry from Jada Kaine here tonight!
VA: Sahara looks like she’s seen a ghost, Malone!
Indeed, the blonde’s eyes are wide as she stares up at the ring from a seated position on the outside. Inside the ring, the Viking Queen roars, clearly fired up and feeling the adrenaline from being back in the ring for the first time in over a year and a half. Sahara pulls herself to her feet, and as she climbs to the apron, Jada marches over, prepared to yank Sahara right back into the ring. But Sahara propels herself forward between the ropes, driving a shoulder directly into the abdomen of Sinnocence and dropping her to a knee. The blonde vaults over the top rope, clearly pleased with herself, and rocks Jada into the ropes with a forearm to the face. Sahara whips Jada into the ropes, rushing toward her on the rebound, but Sinn ducks the clothesline attempt. Jada hits the ropes, and leaps in the air as she comes off…
MM: RIDE OF THE VALKYRIE!! OH MY GOD, SHE JUST CRUSHED SAHARA!!
VA: This is over already?!?!
Sinn pumps a fist vigorously in the air as the crowd roars, and quickly drops on top of the fallen blonde, hooking her leg! SHOOT referee Danny Kamura drops into position, and begins to make the count!
THRE–NO! Sahara gets a foot on the rope, and Kamura sees it at the last moment, waiving off the count! Jada just smiles that sly grin of hers, nodding in approval as she sees the blonde’s foot.
MM: And you have to wonder if that ring awareness is something that Jada Kaine drilled into Sahara during their training sessions, folks.
VA: I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that Sahara drilled her feet straight into Josh Kaine’s chest at Battlelines 36, and it was great!
MM: And that’s a big part of why this epic encounter is unfolding in front of us, folks, but right now, Sahara is being rocked, and she’s going to have to find a way to rebound somehow from this early flurry from the Viking Queen!
Sinnocence drags Sahara to her feet, shoving her sternum first into the corner turnbuckles. The force of the impact sends the blonde staggering backwards, and Sinnocence swings her arms up, attempting to lock in a full nelson —
MM: She’s going for the Iron Maiden! She’s looking to make Sahara submit right here!
VA: Fight it, Sahara! You don’t want to tap out to this has-been!
MM: I’d say she’s looked like anything but a has-been so far, Vince!
Sahara bucks wildly against the force of the full nelson, as Sinnocence tries to wrap a leg around the Crimson Queen to get her to the mat and lock in the body scissor. Sahara thrashes around, and finally races backward, slamming Jada into the corner! The impact causes Sinnocence to break the full nelson, and Sahara drops to the mat, rolling to the outside and holding her neck as she tries to put some distance between herself and the former two-time champion.
MM: Sahara hasn’t had an answer for this flurry of offense thus far from Sinnocence!
VA: She’s just taking a moment to compose herself, Malone. It’s coming, she’s going to beat the hell out of Sinn any minute now…
….but as Sahara continues to walk around outside the ring, holding her neck, the Viking Queen quickly recovers, dropping to the mat and rolling outside the ring as well! The crowd buzzes as Jada races around the ring, unbeknownst to Sahara, until she grabs her by a fistful of her long blonde locks! Sahara shrieks in pain as Jada spins her around, and FLINGS her by the hair into the steel guardrail!
MM: Oh my god! Did you see the distance that Jada just threw Sahara?! Incredible power!
VA: She could’ve ripped out that beautiful blonde hair, Malone!
Jada smirks at Sahara, crawling away as she desperately tries to get some sort of momentum going. Giving no quarter, the formerly retired legend grabs Sahara by the back of her long tights, delivering a hard kick straight to the blonde’s stomach!
VA: The sound of that kick…Sahara may feel that one for weeks, Malone!
MM: It’s been all Jada Kaine thus far!
Sahara tries to pull herself to her feet by grabbing ahold of the guardrail, but Jada helps her up, rocking her with a hard right hand! Sahara staggers away, desperate to get away and catch a break just for a moment, but the relentless Viking Queen stalks her prey, grabbing Sahara by the back of her head and rushing toward the steel steps…
….but at the last moment, Sahara pivots, reversing momentum and tossing Jada hard into the steps! The crashing sound of Sinn’s body slamming into the steps echoes throughout the Target Center as Sahara falls to her knees, breathing hard as she finally gets a break from Jada’s onslaught.
VA: The tide is turning, Malone!
Sahara slowly gets to her feet, a look of malice blazing in her deep blue eyes as she stalks toward the fallen Sinnocence. The Crimson Queen pulls Jada to her feet – by her hair this time – and slams her face into the steel steps! A second, third, and fourth slam, and Sahara grabs Jada, flinging her into the guardrail in a mirror image of what occurred moments ago!
Scowling, Sahara drags Sinnocence over to the announce table, and SLAMS her face into the table itself! Vincent Ashe noticeably jumps as Jada slumps backwards to the mat, and Sahara raises her arms in the air, soaking in the chorus of boos that rain down upon her. The Crimson Queen turns to Sinn – but hesitates, and a moment later, springs to the top of the announce table, kicking aside an iPad. and Sahara reaches down and snatches Mike Malone’s headset, off his head! Malone simply holds his hands up and backs away, not wanting any part of a confrontation with the volatile blonde.
Not bothering to put it on, Sahara simply holds the mic of the headset up to her mouth.
Sahara: Vandervort, I know yer standing in front of a monitor watching right now, nervously biting at yer nails, hoping for the impossible. Well, keep on hopin’, bitch, cuz this is the last time the “Legendary” Sinnocence will EVER step foot through these ropes! I–
But Sahara’s suddenly cut off, and the headset falls to the table with a loud “thump” as Jada YANKS backwards on Sahara’s ankles, cauinsg the blonde to fly off the table, her head landing with an audible smack right on the table! Sahara collapses to the ground as the crowd roars, and with a smirk, Sinnocence climbs on top of the table herself, putting a fist in the sky!
MM: Can you hear me? Can anyone hear me?
VA: I wish I couldn’t, Malone. I can’t believe that just happened!
MM: Well, Sahara’s certainly known to be impulsive–
VA: Not that, you dummy! Sahara’s busted wide open!
Indeed, the Crimson Queen is now that in name; as she rolls over onto her back, we can see the blood flowing from her forehead after her head smacking against the table. Clearly groggy, and seeing Sinnocence standing on the table above her, she slaps the mat in frustration, rolling back over and pulling herself to her knees. Sahara grabs the ring apron, pulling herself up to her feet, and as she turns around, Jada Kaine leaps off the announce table, fist cocked for a Ride of the Valkyrie from above…
…but Sahara manages to duck the fist, catching Sinnocence in mid-air! The bleeding blonde snarls, quickly turning and driving Jada’s back directly against the ringpost! Sinnocence cries out in pain as Sahara does it for a second and third time before dropping Jada to the padded concrete floor!
MM: What an amazing display of strength by the former World Heavyweight Champion, to just snatch Sinnocence out of mid-air like that!
VA: And Jada’s definitely hurting now, Malone, look at her reaching at her back!
And Sahara’s like a shark that smells blood, as she begins to viciously stomp Jada’s back on the outside. The blonde snarls at Nikki Rogers, ordering her out of her chair, and the ring announcer quickly obliges as Sahara slams the steel chair shut, sliding it underneath the bottom ropes. Sahara turns back toward Jada, who’s clearly in a great deal of pain after those brutal blows to her back via the ringpost, and drags her to her feet, rolling her into the ring.
VA: That gash on her forehead isn’t getting any better, Malone.
MM: Indeed, Sahara’s quickly becoming a bloody mess, but I don’t even think she realizes it! She’s completely focused right now on gaining momentum in this match!
Sahara crawls underneath the rope, getting to her feet, and wipes some of the pooling blood from her forehead on the back of her wrist. Glancing down at it, a sinister grin crosses her face as she grabs Sinn by the hair, dragging the Viking Queen to her feet and shoving her back into the turnbuckles. Sahara extends a leg, pressing her boot across the throat of the legend, and referee Scott Kamura barks at Sahara to release the hold – but to no avail, as there’s no actual rule stating she has to. As Sinn flails, gasping for air and trying to escape, Sahara finally relinquishes the choke, walking a short circle around the ring with her arms in the air, soaking in the negative reaction from the crowd.
MM: They hate her now, folks. There’s no doubt about it.
VA: These morons don’t appreciate the fact that Sahara has become everything Sinnocence once was, and so much more, Malone. She’s making a mockery of their idol right now, and I love it.
MM: Jada’s controlled the majority of this match!
VA: Looks to me like Sahara’s in control right now, Malone, and that’s all that matters.
As Sinn hunches over, trying to catch her breath, Sahara strikes once more, sprinting at the former two-time EWA champion and hitting her square in the jaw with a running knee lift! Sinnocence’s head snaps back as she hits the mat, and the sinister, sly grin on Sahara’s face only grows, as the Crimson Queen is clearly proud of herself. Sahara grabs Jada, pulling her back up to her feet, and shoots her across the ring into the ropes. As Sinnocence races back toward her, Sahara stops the momentum of the Viking Queen by kicking her squarely in the stomach, and thrusting Jada’s head between her legs. Sahara begins to hook Jada’s arms up behind her back…
MM: She’s going for the Downfall! Michael Draven’s Downfall maneuver!
VA: Not anymore, Malone. Sahara does that move better than Michael Draven ever did, just like she does everything better than Sinnocence ever did!
Sahara hooks the first arm, but as she reaches for the second, Jada sweeps her feet out from under her, and Sahara hits the mat hard. Sinnocence, with fire in her eyes, rears back and SLAMS her foot down right between Sahara’s legs, to a collective gasp, and then roar, of the Target Center crowd!
MM: I don’t care what you’ve got there, ladies and gentlemen…a kick like that is one you’re gonna feel for a long time!
VA: I’m hurting just thinking about it, Malone!
Sahara rolls onto her stomach in agony, slamming her boots against the mat, as a fiery Sinnocence reaches down, yanking the blonde to her feet. Sinn whips Sahara into the ropes, catching her on the rebound with a bear hug, and FLINGS her across the ring with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex! The momentum from the suplex sends Sahara rolling under the bottom rope and out to the floor below. The bleeding blonde tries to pull herself to her feet quickly, but the cagey veteran is faster, as Sinnocence hits the ropes, sliding under the bottom rope and connecting with a baseball slide that sends Sahara staggering backwards against the guardrail near the entrance ramp!
MM: And just like that, Sinnocence is back in full control!
Jada stalks Sahara, who once again finds herself desperately trying to get away as she crawls toward the entrance ramp. Sahara scrambles to her feet just in time to fire off a quick right hand at the approaching Sinnocence, rocking her back. Sahara delivers a swift kick to Jada’s stomach, and grabs her by the head…
MM: OH MY GOD!!!
VA: HOLY HELL MALONE!!
Indeed, the reactions are appropriate, as Sahara, in a moment of utter desperation, just FLUNG Sinnocence directly into the side of the Viking drum placed at ringside during Sinnocence’s ring entrance earlier on! Sinnocence’s head crashes through the material of the drum, leaving her invisible to the audience and our cameras from the shoulders up, and her body goes limp against the weight of the drum itself. Sahara, breathing heavily, leans for a moment against the guardrail to gain a moment of rest as she stares at her handiwork. Jada slowly pulls herself out of the drum–
VA: Oh wow!
MM: Jada’s bleeding like a faucet, folks!
Blood flows from Sinnocence’s forehead in rivers after the impact of her skull crashing through the drum. The Viking Queen staggers toward the guardrail at ringside, seemingly unaware of her surroundings as she tries to regain her composure. But like a shark in water smelling the blood of the legend, Sahara strikes, chop-blocking Jada’s knee from behind. Jada collapses to the mat, and Sahara mounts her, driving fist after fist into Sinn’s head, her knuckles quickly turning red from the blood of the Viking.
MM: That’s a bit much, get her inside the ring!
Sahara finally gets to her feet, with a maniacal gleam in her eyes as she drags a limp Jada by the arm toward the ring. Sahara picks up Sinnocence – appearing to be unconscious at this point, and rolls her under the bottom rope, amidst Scott Kamura’s repeated orders to get back into the ring.
MM: Jada’s out cold, folks. Sahara has this match won, and —
VA: I don’t think she’s concerned about winning anymore, Malone.
MM: Oh, come on! That’s completely unnecessary! What a revolting–
Malone trails off, but the crowd doesn’t, and a chorus of boos rains down on the Crimson Queen as she pulls a steel chair out from underneath the ring. She SLAMS the chair down on the steel steps, creating a loud bang, and with a snarl, rolls underneath the ring, slowly stalking a barely conscious Sinnocence, who’s trying to pull herself up to her feet by the ring ropes. Sahara crouches, beckoning for Jada to get up as the boos increase, and slowly but surely, the Viking Queen – her face saturated with her own life force – pulls herself up by the top rope. She staggers toward Sahara, and the Crimson Queen swings for the fences, SMASHING the chair right across Sinnocence’s head!
VA: WHAT A SHOT, MALONE!
MM: This is sickening. That’s enough, there’s no need for this! Just pin her, dammit!
Sinn collapses in a heap, and Sahara slams the chair down to the mat, a triumphant grin on her face as she drops to her knees, making the first cover of the contest! Scott Kamura is in position, and here’s the count!
MM: NO!!! SINN KICKED OUT! SINN KICKED OUT!
VA: How the hell?!?!
The crowd ROARS in approval as Scott Kamura signals two to a furious Sahara, who is in absolute shock that Sinnocence somehow managed to kick out of the pinfall attempt! Visibly shaking in anger, Sahara storms to her feet, grabbing the steel chair, and SLAMS the edge of the chair down into Sinnocence’s abdomen! Over and over, the Crimson Queen screams and screeches with each chair shot impact as she continues to slam the steel chair into Jada’s stomach. Finally, Jada rolls over weakly in a desperate attempt to shield her body, but Sahara goes to work on her lower back at this point, slamming the edge of the chair down a few times, before spinning the chair in her hand and bringing it down flat against her back!
MM: Enough, goddammit!
VA: Malone, even I’ll admit, this seems a bit excessive. There’s no way she doesn’t have her beat now!
Sahara rears back, driving one final crushing blow across Jada’s back with the steel chair, and drops to her knees once more, rolling Sinnocence over and making the cover!
TH–SINN KICKS OUT AGAIN!!
VA: Unbelievable, Malone!
MM: You have to admire the tenacity of the legendary Sinnocence, ladies and gentlemen, but at what point is it enough? She’s proven her point, she can still go toe-to-toe with Sahara! Sahara had to resort to throwing her through that Viking drum just to gain control of this contest!
Sahara, quickly growing even more angry at her inability to finish Jada Kaine off, drags the Viking Queen to her feet, quickly setting her up once again, and this time driving her face-first into the mat with the Downfall – which seemingly opens up the lacerations on Sinn’s forehead even more, as blood begins to pool below her. Undeterred, Sahara once again makes the cover!
MM: Stay down, Jada!
VA: I can’t believe I’m saying this, Malone, but I agree! Just stay down!
THR–ONCE AGAIN JADA KAINE KICKS OUT TO THE ROAR OF THE CROWD!!
MM: This is both awe-inspiring and awful to watch, folks. I…just stay down, Jada, please!
VA: Malone, at some point this goes beyond a wrestling match, or even a fight, and you have to be concerned about the long-term health and viability of Jada Kaine. She needs to realize that she’s lost this match, and there’s no shame in that, Malone! She’s put up a hell of a fight!
Sahara, absolutely in shock that Sinnocence once again has kicked out, shakes her head, getting to her feet and stepping through the ropes onto the ring apron. A bloody mess, the Crimson Queen waits, hands clenching the top rope and legs quivering in anticipation as Sinn slowly, gingerly, pulls herself to her feet. Jada finally turns toward the blonde, and Sahara leaps in the air, springboarding herself off the top rope for the Flight of the Valkyrie…
…but in an incredible display of strength and courage, Jada ducks the springboard superman punch, hitting the ropes, and leaping in the air, connecting with her patented original version of the move, the Ride of the Valkyrie!!
MM: INCREDIBLE! JADA HIT IT!! COVER HER, DAMMIT!!
VA: So much for unbiased broadcast journalism!
But Sinnocence collapses to the mat in exhaustion, mere inches from Sahara! Both women are down on their backs, and the crowd roars and pounds their feet against the ground in the stands, trying to will the Viking Queen to just roll over, to just lay an arm on Sahara, to squeak out one last incredible victory!
And finally, the legendary Sinnocence begins to stir, reaching her arm out, grasping for the Crimson Queen…and finally drapes her arm across Sahara! Scott Kamura is in position for the cover!
THRE-NO!! SAHARA KICKS OUT!!
MM: Sahara kicks out, and she had just enough time to recover from that devastating Ride of the Valkyrie!
VA: These two women are a bloody mess, Malone!
And the crowd, booing at Sahara’s kickout, nonetheless break into that time-honored chant…
“THIS IS AWE-SOME!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
“THIS IS AWE-SOME!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
“THIS IS AWE-SOME!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
MM: What’s it going to take for one of these two to get a victory here?!
Very slowly, Sinnocence begins to rise to her feet…but Sahara is just a little bit quicker, despite the blood freely oozing from her forehead once again, a testament to the amount of punishment Jada Kaine has received in the last few minutes. And Sahara, like an uncaged tiger, unleashes a volley of kicks right to Jada’s stomach, putting her back on the mat. She flings her head back, roaring with a primal rage, and once again heads for the ropes, ducking to the ringside of the apron. The Crimson Queen gets into position for another attempt at the Flight of the Valkyrie….but suddenly reaches down to her foot, digging down into her boot…
MM: Oh come on! Enough is enough, for god’s sake!
The crowd begins another resounding round of boos as Sahara pulls a pair of BRASS KNUCKLES out from the side of her boot! Sliding them onto her right hand, she anxiously waits for Sinn to get to her feet, hands clenched against the ropes. Sinnocence, to her credit, can barely stand at this point, battle-weary and having lost a lot of blood, but finally gets to her feet, swaying and staggering. She looks to the ring apron toward the Crimson Queen, and for a brief moment before Sahara leaps onto the top rope, their eyes lock, and Jada finds the strength to lift a hand in Sahara’s direction…and then a middle finger.
Sahara leaps into the air, springboarding off the top toward Sinnocence, and CRASHING her brass-knuckled fist right across Jada’s jaw.
Sahara falls on top of Jada, and Scott Kamura slides into position.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner….SAHARA!!
MM: What an absolute war we’ve just witnessed, folks. Both women are bloody messes…
VA: Malone, this is somewhat of a cliche in our industry, and I think we’re guilty of hyperbole at times and saying this a bit too often, but I think it really rings true here tonight. I’m not sure if either of these two will ever be the same again.
MM: I couldn’t agree more, partner.
A stream of medics swarm toward the ring, breaking off into groups to tend to both Sahara and Sinnocence. Two medics speak with Sahara, who nods and answers their questions, but refuses their help, pulling herself up to a standing position and leaning against the ropes. As ‘Adrenalize Me’ continues to blast over the Target Center’s PA system, Sahara finds a burst of energy, and climbs to the second turnbuckle, letting out a victorious scream of triumph, pointing out to the crowd and screaming out trash talk in between grimaces of pain.
MM: I will say this. When Sinnocence first began training Sahara, it was clear she didn’t belong in her role in the EWA. She’s certainly came a long way since then. Two time EWA Combat Champion, including the longest reign in that title’s history. EWA World Heavyweight Champion. And tonight, a victor over Sinnocence. You may question her methods, you may question her integrity, and rightfully so, but you can’t doubt the fact —
VA: You can’t doubt the fact that Sahara’s the baddest bitch around, Malone! She conquered the Viking Queen, just like she told the world she’d do! You HAVE to give her the respect she deserves now!
Sahara hops off the turnbuckle gingerly, and rolls underneath the bottom rope, casting one last glance at her former mentor, who’s just starting to come back to consciousness. Allowing the medics to help her, she takes each of them under her arm as she walks slowly up the ramp and toward the back.
Meanwhile as the music fades out, inside the ring the medics are attempting to pull Sinnocence to her feet. A battered, beaten and bloody wreck of a woman, Jada’s pride nonetheless won’t allow for this, and she shoves the medics aside as she gets to one knee.
VA: That’s uncalled for, Malone!
MM: Perhaps, but that’s pride. And oh my god, what a proud woman she is. Jada Kaine has nothing to be ashamed of. Many thought she didn’t stand a chance here tonight, out of the ring for the better half of two years and medically speaking, a fraction of what she used to be. But the heart, the guts, the determination she showed tonight…and if not for that drum, we might be telling a different story at this moment.
VA: She does deserve the respect, Malone. I’ll reluctantly admit it.
As Jada shakily gets to her feet, SHOOT Project referee Scott Kamura walks over to check to her, but is dismissed with a light shove. Sinn staggers around the ring, leaning against the ropes…and looks out onto the sold-out Target Center as a chant begins to form. The chant grows and grows, until it’s overwhelmingly heard throughout the building…and Jada’s eyes, bloody and bruised, seem to glisten underneath the crimson mask at the sound of it.
“THANK YOU JA-DA!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
“THANK YOU JA-DA!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
“THANK YOU JA-DA!”
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
‘Comanche’ blasts through the arena once more, and Jada somehow finds the strength to storm to the center of the ring, flinging a fist high in the air to the ROAR of the crowd!
MM: What an incredible moment. Perhaps the goodbye she never got in her last match in the late spring of 2016, ladies and gentlemen. I have goosebumps and chills, and it’s an honor to be at ringside for this moment.
VA: Listen, as much as I dislike her, she’s one of the most incredible competitors we’ve ever seen. That much is indisputable. She deserves this moment.
Slowly nodding as she basks in the adulation from her fans, Sinnocence finally hits the ground, rolling slowly to the outside of the ring. With a hand on her lower back and medics following closely behind the entire way, Jada Kaine walks the long walk up the entrance ramp, pausing at the very top, her back to the ring. The fabled warrior raises a fist high in the air once more, again receiving that intoxicating response from the crowd that every professional wrestler craves, the drug that they can never get enough of, the drug that brings them back night after night for their fix.
And at that moment, Jada Kaine collapses, falling forward to the stage. Her body gives out on her, and the medics swarm to her, beckoning to the back for the help as the music abruptly cuts off and a hushed silence falls over the arena. Medics feverishly work on the fallen Sinnocence, and two workers quickly wheel a gurney out from the back.
MM: I…she just couldn’t take another step, folks. The beating she endured tonight…perhaps beyond the limits of what her already failing body could take.
VA: I…I can’t believe what I’m seeing, Malone.
The medics quickly strap her to the gurney, rushing it backstage and vanishing from our point of view, as the camera cuts back to Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe.
MM: Folks, we’re being told that Jada’s being taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. She is conscious at this time and responding to medics, but the matter is considered rather urgent, as we simply don’t know the extent of her injuries. We’ll try and update you with more information as we receive it throughout the evening.
VA: Jada…hell of a performance tonight. I have nothing to say but…we hope you’re alright.
MM: Let’s head backstage.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: SAHARA (23:39)
LOU VS MAGGIE MCINTYRE
EWA NETWORK CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: Folks…what we can tell you right now is that Sinnocence…Jada Kaine…has been taken to a nearby hospital. She’s apparently suffered…some severe injuries during that match with Sahara. We…we don’t know a lot right now, but we’ll try and get you an update, either before we go off the air tonight, or over the weekend on Combat TV.
VA: Thankfully, we do have an update on our Glorious God Queen, Grace Goeren. She’s also been taken to a medical facility, and while there’s no severe injuries, she did suffer a minor concussion that could put her out for the next show. The Erinyes will have hell to pay for this.
MM: Still to come right here on the EWA Network, Indrid Calder and Michael Draven will finally come to a head in a lumberjack match that sees HATE across from a motley crew of folks who’ve seen enough!
VA: And of course, the Youth King faces the Purveyor with the World Heavyweight Title on the line! NOTHING and Martin’s father Grady Smith had a rivalry for the ages, Malone, and it seems like Martin Robertson’s more than willing to do whatever it takes to surpass that.
MM: But right now, it’s time for the EWA Network Championship match, as the Deathmatch Debutante, the Diamond, Lou tries to get her first taste of singles gold against the one and only Maggie McIntyre. The Banshee has seen her fair share of tough matches since coming into the EWA, but I don’t think she’s had an opponent quite like Lou.
VA: Nobody’s had an opponent quite like Lou, Malone. She’s one of a kind, and I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good or bad thing.
OH, AFTER MIDNIGHT
A teal spotlight hits the stage as Dorothy’s “After Midnight” thrums through the Target Arena. The one and only Lou steps through the curtain, dressed in a sexy nurse costume, with a large bonesaw and first aid bag on her back, surgical mask, and magenta crosses on the top of her boots, a la Valentine from Skullgirls! She stands on the top of the ramp, pulling the bonesaw from behind her like a dagger, before starting her march down to the ring.
NR: This match is scheduled for one fall, and is for the EWA Network Championship! Introducing first, from Forest Park, AL, weighing in at 121 lbs, the Deathmatch Debutante, LOU!
VA: God, what a woman.
MM: I’ll admit, that costume is easy on the eyes, Vince, but the last time she wore a costume like this, she ended up covered in blood by the time the match was over.
VA: I know. Like I said, what a woman.
Lou hands the bonesaw and first aid pack to the timekeeper as she skips around the ring, before sliding in and heading straight toward the ropes facing the hard cam. She leans over the top rope while standing on the bottom one, putting up her hands in a diamond, before hopping back, swinging her hands back down, as teal pyro erupts from the ringposts! She blows a kiss to Juan Cardillo, hoisting herself onto the turnbuckle to lean across the top ropes.
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
HEY MISS MURDER CAN I
MAKE BEAUTY STAY IF I TAKE MY LIFE?
The opening riffs of AFI’s “Miss Murder” reverberate throughout the arena and the lights flicker in time to the beat as the Banshee, Maggie McIntyre, appears at the top of the rampway. In a tight black top, buckled corset and fishnets tucked into knee high boots, carries the EWA Network Championship on her shoulder, looking down at the ring, where Lou shimmies on the top rope to the music.
NR: And her opponent, from Albany, NY, weighing in at 155 lbs, she is the EWA Network Champion, the Banshee, MAGGIE MCINTYRE!
She saunters down the ramp, her raven hair bouncing with each step.
MM: Maggie McIntyre hasn’t lost a singles match since she lost the Combat Championship to Grace Goeren back at Battlelines 28, Vince.
VA: And yet, she still loses at life because she’s with Michael Draven.
MM: Oh, come on.
VA: Sorry, you’re right. My bad.
MM: That’s better. You–
VA: His name’s Micro Draven.
MM: How do I fall for that every time?
VA: I don’t know, but please keep doing so. It’s one of the joys I have in life.
Maggie climbs up onto the apron, stepping through the ropes and raising the belt up high with one hand, letting out a war cry! She passes the belt to Juan Cardillo, shedding her leather jacket to the floor. Cardillo raises the belt high in the air, and Lou hops down off the top rope, squaring up with the champ, her six-inch height disadvantage even more obvious.
VA: This has got to be one of the few times that Maggie feels like a giant.
MM: Lou is quite small, but there’s nobody tougher. I gotta be honest, I’m surprised you didn’t make a nasty joke there.
VA: Hey, look at me, Malone. I’m in no position to bodyshame.
MM: That’s very progressive of you.
VA: Oh, I’ll shame literally everything else. I just don’t want people pointing out my physical flaws in response. I told you, I’m very sensitive.
We can see Lou’s talking, her head shaking and her jaw moving, but the surgical mask obscures her face too much to figure out what. Maggie sticks out her tongue, and Lou gives a little shiver, her eyes showing the smile her mouth can’t right now, and they start to circle. They lock up, and Maggie almost immediately shoves her to the mat! Lou drops to her back, rolling over, and staring back up at her with hands on hips! She pops to her feet, and Maggie shrugs as the two circle again. Maggie goes in for a lockup, but Lou puts her down with an arm drag! The Banshee pops to her feet, but Lou isn’t one to wait, launching a dropkick to the champion’s torso! Maggie stumbles back into the ropes, and Lou wastes no time getting back to her feet, running back to the ropes! Maggie leapfrogs Lou as she comes back, and on the second return Maggie drops to the mat, Lou jumping over her! Lou springs off of the second rope on the next pass, launching a HUGE roundhouse kick that connects with Maggie’s head!
MM: This is what happens when you let Lou get too much momentum!
VA: That’s what happens? I’ll be honest, I had a very different picture in mind.
MM: Wait, what? What do you– oh, come on, Vince.
VA: You brought it up!
Maggie drops to the mat, and Lou goes for an early cover!
TWO! Kickout by the champ!
Lou doesn’t go far, swinging her leg over Maggie’s torso and wailing on her with hammer fists! Maggie puts her arms up, finally just shoving Lou off of her! Lou gets back to her feet quickly, but Maggie is just as fast, and Maggie ducks a clothesline, hooking Lou’s head and dropping her in a float-over DDT! Lou rolls to a sitting position, dazed, and Maggie takes the opportunity to drive a soccer kick into her back!
Lou arches up, and Maggie hits the ropes, coming back to deliver a massive shining wizard to Lou’s face! Lou drops to her back, and Maggie goes for a quick cover!
MM: Both warriors using early pinfalls to try to sap the stamina of their opponent, but I have to wonder who that benefits more, Vince.
VA: Look, I’ll deny I ever said it, but Maggie McIntyre has proven to be one of the toughest and most resilient competitors in this business. Lou, though… Lou is something else, man. She never stops!
Lou gets to her knees, but Maggie pulls her into a snap suplex, slamming her back to the mat! Lou winces, rolling over, and the champion leaps, driving a knee into the challenger’s back! Lou tries to roll out of the ring, but Maggie grabs her leg before she can get there, pulling her toward the middle of the ring, and slamming her down! Maggie pulls Lou up by her teal hair, Cardillo yelling in her ear for it, but Lou thumbs her in the eye! Maggie stumbles back, and Lou flies forward, bringing Maggie down with a facebuster! Lou rolls under the bottom rope, slinging herself back over the top with a slingshot legdrop!
Maggie flops over, and Lou lays her across the second rope, before standing on her back and shoulders, and pulling on the top rope! Cardillo starts a five-count, and Lou rocks her head side to side wildly as she stomps on the champion’s back, before hopping off at 4 and trying to shoo Cardillo away! Maggie lays across the second rope, coughing, and Lou charges across the ring, leaping onto her back again with a splash! She lands on her feet as Maggie flops off the rope, coughing on the mat, and Lou just shrugs innocently at Cardillo!
The champ gets to her hands and knees, and Lou grabs her, shoving her into the corner! Maggie sits on the mat, back against the turnbuckle, and Lou holds on to the top rope, driving knees into her face! Maggie is dazed as Lou runs to the opposite corner, where she tugs the surgical mask down, giving her palm a good lick, before putting it square between her legs!
MM: Good god, that’s just vulgar.
VA: Yeah it is! Keep it up!
Lou springs across the ring, diving into Maggie with a massive bronco buster, increasing in speed until she comes to a screaming, tense conclusion! She hops off of Maggie’s face, blowing her a kiss, before looking out at the crowd and shimmying her salaciously short skirt back down!
MM: It’s a good thing we don’t have to deal with censors, I guess.
VA: The internet is a lawless wasteland! I love it! This is why we need net neutrality!
MM: Of all the spokespeople for that cause, I’m sure they love having you on that list.
VA: Hey, I’m fucking classy, Malone.
Lou puts her mask back up, and turns back to Maggie– and gets absolutely levelled by a clothesline from hell! Lou does a 270, landing on her face as Maggie struggles to get back to her feet! Maggie pulls herself up on the ropes, and Lou pushes herself to her hands and knees! Lou shakes the cobwebs out, but not fast enough, as Maggie pulls her to her feet, before chucking her over her head with a German suplex! Lou crashes to the mat hard, rolling back on her abdomen! Maggie takes stock of the situation for a second, and Lou is already stirring again! Maggie looks shocked, running to the ropes as Lou gets to a knee! Lou stands up, and gets HAMMERED by a springboard Superman punch! Lou drops like a stone, and Maggie covers!
Maggie shakes her head, pushing the hair out of her face, as Lou crawls to try to get the bottom rope! Lou succeeds, but Maggie grabs her legs, kicking her in the abdomen between them! Lou lets go of the rope, curling in the fetal position and kicking her feet! Maggie kicks Lou in the back again, causing her to stretch out, clutching her back! She pulls Lou up, before dropping her right back down with a backbreaker!
Lou looks to be in quite a bit of pain, but through it all, she’s also smiling a little! Maggie grabs her by the waist, lifting her up and walking away from the ropes before crashing her back to the mat with a vicious sidewalk slam! Maggie covers!
THR– kickout again!
Maggie’s frustration is beginning to get more apparent, and she looks pleadingly at Cardillo! He holds up two fingers, and Maggie slaps the mat! Lou looks dazed, but she’s still trying to get to her feet! Maggie lets out a roar, hooking her with a swinging neckbreaker! She holds on, getting back to her feet, and dropping her with another! And then another! Maggie finally releases the hold after 4, and Lou isn’t moving!
MM: Bête Noir! This one could be finished, Vincent!
VA: I don’t want this match to ever end, Malone! Make her stop! I have a Florence Nightengale thing, man.
MM: You know that character’s an evil nurse who performs medical experiments, right?
VA: That’s a character? I just thought it was a sexy nurse costume.
Maggie makes the cover!
Maggie looks absolutely shocked! She looks around the ring, as if asking the crowd what it will take to keep Lou down! Lou hasn’t gotten up, but she’s moving on the mat, and Maggie gets to a knee, grabbing her head! She pulls Lou back up, before dropping her with another Bête Noir– but this time she does it one, two, three, four, five, six times! On the fifth and sixth, Lou didn’t even look like a human anymore, just ragdolling to the mat! Maggie covers, counting along with Cardillo!
The crowd goes insane, and Maggie looks to be about to pull her hair out!
MM: Lou just got TEN swinging neckbreakers in a row, and she still has the wherewithal to kick out!
VA: She’s incredible, Malone! And even Maggie is having a hard time believing this is real!
Maggie closes her eyes for a second, taking a deep breath! She reaches down and grabs Lou by the hair once again, before sending her to the ropes! As Lou comes back, Maggie strikes with a Banshee’s Wail! No! Lou ducked it, and Maggie nearly loses her footing! She springs back up, just in time for Lou to catch her with a Diamond Cutter! Maggie gets rocked, and both women are stuck on the mat! Cardillo starts a ten count!
VA: All Lou has to do is cover her and we have a new, and frankly superior, Network Champion!
MM: And Lou will be the first person to defeat the Banshee in singles competition in nearly ten months! But only if she can capitalize now!
Lou struggles to move, rolling over onto her abdomen! McIntyre hasn’t moved! 1! Lou moves her head from side to side, trying to figure out her bearings! 2! She spots Maggie, and slowly starts to move toward her! 3! Lou puts one arm past the other, snake crawling toward the champion! 4! She reaches Maggie, but Maggie is out– face down! 5! Lou rolls her over, dropping back to the mat next to her! 6! Lou drapes an arm over the Network Champion, just barely!
Maggie just turned her shoulder up, tossing Lou’s arm off! Lou tries to hook her arm over the bottom rope nearby, as Maggie sits up, trying to shake out the cobwebs!
MM: Lou hit the Diamond Cutter in desperation, but it wasn’t enough! Maggie is still in this match!
VA: If Lou wins, or if the match just keeps going, I’m perfectly fine with that! Seriously, the nurse thing.
MM: What part of–
VA: Oh, no, I looked her up. The character’s super hot either way, man. See?
MM: I was not interested in seeing the weird fanart you found, Vince. Jesus.
Lou’s barely able to pull herself to her knees, but Maggie’s back up, shaking out her head, and checking her nose for any blood! Lou hooks an arm over the top rope, pulling herself back up! Maggie lies in wait, ready for Lou to turn around! Lou stumbles backward, turning around to be met with a Banshee’s Wail directly to the face! It connects, and Maggie makes the cover!
Maggie looks back at Cardillo in frustration, and he points to Lou’s foot on the bottom rope! The Banshee runs her hands through her hair, screaming at the sky in rage! She stands up, kicking Lou’s leg off the bottom rope, and dragging her a bit further away from the ropes! Maggie takes another deep breath, before scaling the turnbuckle!
MM: She’s gonna go for it! The Outlaw Star! She hasn’t used that move since Sydney!
VA: And it didn’t help her then, Malone! It took two Banshee’s Wails and that incompetent referee to stop Martin Robertson!
Maggie gets to the top, turning around and trying to get her balance, but Lou is on her feet lightning fast! Maggie barely has time to react as Lou runs up the turnbuckle, before flying back forward with a Diamond Cutter off the top rope! Maggie crashes to the mat, hard, and Lou takes almost as much punishment! Maggie seems to be unconscious, twitching, and Lou rolls over, pulling Maggie onto her back, and lazily dropping over her chest for the cover!
Maggie kicks out almost out of instinct, but it’s too late! Lou flops onto her back, looking up at the arena lights as the bell rings, and “After Midnight” starts to play again!
NR: Your winner, and NEW EWA Network Champion, the Deathmatch Debutante, LOU!
Cardillo brings the belt to Lou, who sits up, clutching it to her chest! She gets up on her knees, crying, looking down at the faceplate! She raises the belt high above her head with both hands as the crowd goes crazy! Maggie has pushed herself up to her knees as well, holding onto the second rope, and Lou stands up, putting the belt on her shoulder! She walks to Maggie, putting a hand out to help her up!
Maggie takes it, and Lou immediately pulls her into a hug!
MM: A great match, hard fought on both sides, and clearly no animosity between them now.
VA: Maybe we could get some fun pics from the other corner of the Draven triangle.
MM: I swear, Vince, you are a vile human being sometimes.
VA: It pays the bills, Malone! Alimony ain’t cheap!
Maggie and Lou share words, and Maggie slowly exits the ring, with Lou standing dead center, raising her hands into a diamond!
MM: There were a lot of questions about whether Lou would be able to hang in the singles division, Ashe, and I think this just answered all of them, picking up her first singles title in the EWA, and the Network Title at that!
VA: I can’t wait to see her defend it. Especially if she’s gonna wear things like that to do it.
MM: Let’s head backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND NEW EWA NETWORK CHAMPION: LOU (11:19)
(The Crimson Queen’s tanned skin is awash in a watered down shade of red and her blonde hair a pinkish hue from the remnants of the blood that still covers her. Seated on the metal examining table backstage at the Target Center, still dressed in her ring gear, Sahara winces as the curved surgical needle punctures through the skin above her eye.)
Dr. Furman: Hold still, Lauren–
(Speaking through gritted teeth, the blonde hisses.)
Sahara: Jesus that fucking hurts, Doc … and make sure the stitches are small enough, that shit better not scar up my damn face–
(Dr. Furman pauses a moment, flexing his hands, the needle left sticking through the skin above her eye.)
Dr. Furman: For christ’s sake, Lauren, I’ve been working in this profession longer than you’ve been working in yours. Now hold still!
(Allowing a nurse assistant to blot the beads of blood emerging from the wound, Furman commences his intricate needlework as the nurse continues to clear the skin of fresh blood when the needle enters and exits her skin.
Sahara: You gotta gimme somethin’ to dull this pain.
The door to the examining room suddenly bursts open, startling Dr. Furman, which causes Sahara to yelp.)
Sahara: OWWW! WHAT THE FUCK, DOC?!
(Stepping aside, Dr. Furman opens his mouth to protest the intrusion but falls silent at the sight of the visibly angry EWA Executive Assistant, Stacy Vandervort. The needle hangs from the blonde’s eye by the self-dissolving protein thread as Stacy pushes Dr. Furman to the side.
Stacy speaks, her voice trembling with pure malice and disdain.)
Stacy Vandervort: I hope you’re proud of yourself–
Dr. Furman: Stacy, do you realize how inapp–
(Holding up a hand, Stacy Vandervort’s mere glance gives Dr. Furman pause, as she snarls back at the physician.)
Stacy Vandervort: I don’t even care this time, Mark. This — this —
(Her words seethe in anger as she searches for the appropriate description.)
Stacy Vandervort: This … CUNT! This lowlife–
(The sound of the frenzied crowd can be heard roaring their approval as the EWA Executive lambasts the blonde. Having had enough, Dr. Furman finally interjects–)
Dr. Furman: Security! If you would please escort Mrs. Vandervort out of the examining room … you can continue this discussion with the talent AFTER I’m finished doing my damn job! And don’t you EVER barge in here when that door is closed because you know it means I’m with a patient! There’s such a thing as doctor-patient priv–
(Sitting there, the needle still dangling from her eye, blood starts to run down the side of her face, but once again, Sahara doesn’t seem to care. She holds up a hand and brushes Dr. Furman aside, her adrenaline still firing from the match.)
Sahara: Naw, it’s okay, Doc. Tell me how you really feel, Mrs. Vandervort. Or should I say…Kage? I’m about fed up with this place, yanno? I go out there and do my job and that makes me a piece of shit?! You signed the fucking match, Stacy. YOU. Sure, you hemmed and hawed about the risks to Jada, but in the end, you caved to the almighty dollar and you authorized the unsanctioned match. Jada knew what she was in for, just like I did. Look at me, do I look like I came out of that match unscathed?! No. I don’t. But thanks for showing me the same concern you show others. What was it you said to me in Boston, Stacy? “I hope she rips your black fucking heart out?!”
(Ignoring the fact that a curved surgical needle dangles from her eye, Sahara pushes herself off the examining table and winces, grabbing hold of her ribs, but steps up into the executive’s face despite the pain.)
Sahara: When the historians and the scholars and alla’ those…fucking…people…when they talk about Sinn’s legendary career? They’ll no longer discuss how she broke down barriers. They won’t talk about her epic battles in Shoot Project, or wherever the fuck else she was, or even her EWA Championships. The only thing that’ll be discussed is what happened here tonight. That image … that image of the infallible Sinnocence collapsing on the stage.
That’ll be how they remember her.
And they’ll remember that I — Sahara — put her down.
(The former champion continues to hiss her venomous words.)
Sahara: Legends. ALWAYS. Die. Stacy. I want you to understand something. This is MY time now. I may not have that title, but I sure as hell got their minds.
(As Sahara’s blistering words continue to pour forth, the slow trickle of blood coming from the still open wound above her eye slowly begins to flow more freely.)
Sahara: Listen to ‘em, Stacy. Listen to the fans. Can you hear ‘em?!
(Sahara pauses for the effect, and the boos heard are deafening even back in the medical room deep within the bowels of the Target Center, which brings a knowing smile to her face.)
Sahara: They’ve sure as fuck made up their minds now, haven’t they? I destroyed the legend, Stacy, and they love hating me for it. They hate me almost as much as you do. I bet you’d just love to take a swing at me right now, wouldn’t ya? Go ahead, Stacy. DO SOMETHING. DO SOMETHING AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!
(The Executive Assistant’s face trembles with emotion, and when she speaks this time, her voice shakes with rage…and with pain.)
Stacy Vandervort: You’re wrong, La–Sahara. People will remember…they’ll never forget everything she’s done…and you didn’t…kill…you…you couldn’t just win, could you? That couldn’t just be enough for you, could it?! What you did tonight…you could’ve…they-they took her out of here on a goddamn stretcher!
(The battered and bloodied blonde simply smirks, a hateful face contorted by malice and disgust.)
Sahara: Would it have been enough for her?! Look at me. This is what you wanted, after all, isn’t it? Remember when I first got here? What was it you said to me? Oh, that’s right — you told me to…show ya something?! Tell me, Stacy, have ya seen enough yet?! Lemme answer that one for ya – you haven’t. And neither have they. What I did tonight — no, what WE did tonight–
Stacy Vandervort: We?!
Sahara: Oh yeah. We. C’mon, Stace, deep down when you signed this match you knew what I’d do. You once watched me a rip a guys throat out, and what’d ya do?! You rewarded me with a push up the card. All ya had to do was give me what I wanted and I woulda backed out like you asked… but apparently your wedding vows were more important than Jada’s livelihood. And knowing what you did with Jada while SHE was still married gives this a sense of … poetic justice. Know this, Jada Kaine was just the beginning. When I’m finished, this entire fucking company will drown in the blood of it’s Warriors. Careers will be ended, lives will be changed…and there’s not a goddamn thing yer gonna do about it, because these people are gonna empty their goddamn wallets to watch me do it.
(Stacy, clearly furious, turns away, heading toward the door, before whirling around angrily, shouting back toward the former champion.)
Stacy Vandervort: You could’ve done things differently, Sahara! A woman – a goddamn friend of mine – a legend in this business…she’s on her way to the emergency room…and whatever happens to her…that’s on you, Sahara! That’s on YOU!
(As blood flows down the blondes cheek and soaks into the corner of her mouth, she smirks in the executives face and flashes her crimson stained teeth.)
Sahara: It’s on me? I don’t care, Stacy. I don’t care if she has to spend the rest of her miserable existence sucking her food through a straw. I don’t care if she has to pay to have someone wipe her ass every time she takes a shit. When I hear the name Jada Kaine, I think of the past, and now she’s history. I’m the future. I killed the legend of Sinnocence, and I’m fucking glad I did it. And you know what, Stacy? While yer going on and on and on, bitching and moaning about her being rushed out of here in an ambulance, do you wanna know the real truth of it all?
(With a nonchalant shrug, her next words bring a deafening silence to the room.)
Sahara: I hope she dies.
(Upon hearing those words, Stacy Vandervort’s fists clench and her lip quivers as she stares into the unwavering blue abyss of the Crimson Queen’s eyes. Stacy swallows hard, doing her best to quell the rising tears as she storms out of the medical office, slamming the door behind her loudly enough to rattle the hinges.
Sahara looks back toward the stunned Dr. Furman, his surgical needle still dangling from her eye and her face discolored by the life force seeping from the partially stitched wound.)
Sahara: Now finish the fucking job, Doc.
(We flick to the parking garage, where Terry Bull and his crew are pursuing a figure only properly introduced earlier by Sinnocence– the man known as V. )
Terry Bull: V! Hey! Any updates on Sinnocence?
V: You know, that might just be what I’m trying to leave fo find out about? But thanks for letting me know the journalism in wrestling hasn’t gone and evolved any while I wasn’t looking.
(He rounds a corner and immediately stops. It’s abrupt enough that we get a high-def capture of the raw look on his face before he can hide anything– and he looks like he’s seeing a ghost. Not just a ghost, but of someone he knew on top of it. The camera turning to chase his gaze, on the concrete wall behind the big black truck:)
V: Well that’s just… that’s just great, innit. So quick on the ball. Just lovely, thanks.
(The newly introduced friend of Sinnocence has bounced back quickly from horror to irritation… or at least a mix of the two.)
Terry Bull: What could it mean? Could it be directed at–
(The tone in the larger man’s voice voice cuts off the interviewer’s musings.)
V: Calm your tinfoil, okay. I don’t suppose you’ve watched much wrestling outside EWA, yeah?
Terry Bull: Well, I mean, I don’t–
V: Yeah, thought so. That’s perfectly honorable of you, don’t blame you a bit. This.. I’ll address this mess at a better time for it.
(He climbs unceremoniously into the truck, slamming the door and taking off with a slight screech of tires, and the camera centers on the strange graffiti for a moment before cutting.)
DONOVAN KING VS AZRAEL GOEREN
THE FINAL ENCOUNTER: I QUIT MATCH
The bell rings, bringing the fans’ attention to the center of the ring where the lovely Nikki Rogers stands.
NR: The following contest is an I QUIT MATCH!
The fans overwhelmingly roar in approval as the lights in the arena dim. The opening chords of an orchestra playing “All of the Lights” by Kanye West begins to play. We see Donovan King standing in the center of a SHOOT Project ring, SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship on his shoulder with his head bowed. We hear him speak.
Donovan King: They say heavy is the head that wears the crown…but I always knew I could carry it.
We cut to Azrael Goeren, laughing as he stands triumphantly with X-Calibur by his side.
Azrael Goeren: I owe a lot of my success to my excess, as it were.
Donovan King is shown next, reeling back on a Carolina Crossface.
Donovan King: My path took me through hell, but I never looked back. This is my destiny.
Back to Goeren, taking his opponent out with the Blitzkrieg.
Azrael Goeren: I am predisposed to vice, you see, but I became determined to become better.
King and Goeren lock eyes backstage before Goeren’s big match against his daughter in EWA.
Donovan King: When I saw him for the first time in forever, I knew this was my moment. I wouldn’t miss this chance.
Azrael Goeren: I truly thought this man in front of me was an old friend. We had gone through so much in our careers, he would know and understand the paths we take aren’t always decided by us.
The music stops.
Donovan King: But sometimes…when you have the chance to make your history…you destroy someone else to do it.
We see King remove his hood, standing over Azrael Goeren. Suddenly, the screen goes black. The sound of Tupac Shakur’s trademark growl can be heard echoing in the darkness.
Am I wrong ‘cause I wanna get it on ‘til I die?
Suddenly, “Bleeder” by Nothingface explodes to life as we see King attacking Goeren at their first match.
It’s not ending, what’s it to you
Isolate me, feel unsure
King is shown attacking Jester Smiles as he tries to wheel Goeren up the ramp after defeating him.
My eyes see everything I want them to
I just don’t want them to see you
We see Goeren’s arm being strapped down.
Just the way that you are
It’s so cold
We see King flicking the syringe just before it plunges in.
Safely tortured, hiding the scars
No one knows it, just you and I
Goeren is shown staring at the camera, his eyes glazed over, blood stained on his cheek and his mouth slightly agape.
Sometimes there’s no control
Goeren is seen dumped at the entrance to the arena.
Shut up ’til I’m done talking
Goeren manages to overcome King and start fighting back.
It seems so insincere
King wraps his chain around Goeren’s face.
It seems you got it all
Flashes of King looking at the house Goeren’s family has called home interlaced with shots of Goeren’s face wrapped in a chain being pulled back.
You got it all
Goeren reaches out to King’s hand, trying to get him to tag him.
YOU GOT IT ALL
King kneels over Goeren.
Donovan King: I’m sorry…it has to end this way…
It freezes on King’s sullen face and Goeren’s prone form before the song goes completely out and we are left with silence.
Donovan King: I will not stop.
Azrael Goeren: I will not surrender.
Donovan King: There is only one way this ends.
Azrael Goeren: With redemption.
Donovan King: With vengeance.
Azrael Goeren: I will save you.
Donovan King: I will end you.
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
“Sucker for Pain” by Imagine Dragons, Ty Dolla Sign, Logic, Lil Wayne, X-Ambassadors, and Wiz Khalifa plays throughout the arena. A dark green smoke emanates from the entrance as out from the back emerges DONOVAN KING. King stands there, dressed in his dark green hoodie, his hood pulled tight over his head, and matching dark green tights, pads, and boots.
MM: I can’t believe what we are about to see.
VA: Azrael Goeren’s death knell!
MM: Two fallen angels, Vincent. These two men are hurting, limping, broken inside. This war is the embodiment of the idea that if you hunt with vengeance in mind, dig two graves!
King enters the ring and stands in the center of the ring and glares at the camera as “Sucker for Pain” dies down. “Sieben” by Subway to Sally kicks in and the fans begin to cheer loudly as out from the back emerges none other than AZRAEL GOEREN. Goeren stands there, not acknowledging the fans. There is worry in his eye, but not about the task at hand.
MM: You can see the concern on Azrael Goeren’s face, thinking about Sinnocence and her insane battle with Sahara.
VA: No doubt. I know I worry when my women get in danger.
Goeren glares at King now. Both men are merely locked on one another.
MM: Gone is the fanfare, gone is the charisma, it’s time for a fight and both men are ready for it!
Goeren rolls under the bottom ring rope and springs back to his feet. He glares at King, who paces in his corner. “Sieben” dies down and all we’re left with…is King and Goeren.
The bell tolls.
NR: Introducing first…hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina…he is…DONOVAN…KIIIIIIIIIIING!!!
King doesn’t acknowledge the boos whatsoever. He merely glares dead ahead.
NR: And his opponent…hailing from Eberswalde, Germany…he is…AZRAEL…GOOOOOOOEREEEEEN!!!
The cheers are equally ignored by Goeren. Goeren opts instead to look dead ahead at King. King motions to Nikki and demands she give him the microphone. He stands there for a moment, the fans curious what he might say.
Donovan King: One last chance, Henrik. Forfeit. Quit.
King points to the entrance.
Donovan King: Walk away and never return.
King lowers his arm.
Donovan King: Or stay here…and fall.
The fans boo a little bit as Nikki hands Goeren the microphone.
Azrael Goeren: Funny thing about falling, Herr King.
Azrael Goeren: For some reason, I always land on my feet.
King grits his teeth, infuriated and he NAILS Goeren with a shot! The referee calls for the bell and the match is officially on! King sprawls over Goeren to hit him with punches but Goeren rolls King into the ropes and lets him fall to the outside! King gets up and Goeren hits him with a baseball slide, sending King rocking back and he lands on the ramp on the outside. King tries to get to his feet and Goeren COLLIDES with King with a BLITZKRIEG!!!
MM: OH MY!
Goeren gets up to his feet and helps King get to his feet. He whips King into the side of the ring, causing King to cry out in pain. Goeren charges at him with a shining wizard, but King moves out of the way and Goeren’s shin connects with the side of the ring! Goeren calls out in pain as King falls to his hands and knees, trying to shake loose the cobwebs from the Blitzkrieg. Goeren grits his teeth, clutching his shin as the referee gets down to talk to him.
MM: Goeren’s in a lot of pain after King managed to get away from him on that maneuver.
King shoves the referee out of the way and stomps on Goeren repeatedly. He picks Goeren up and goes to whip Goeren to the guardrail, but Goeren manages to leap OVER the guardrail into the laps of the front row. Goeren looks at the lovely lady who has his head in her lap and he can’t help but smile up at her a groggy smile. She smiles back and then shrieks as King comes over the guardrail to hit Goeren, but Goeren is quick to punch King in the face to send him rocking backwards. Goeren stands up and looks at King for a moment before he leaps to the guardrail, then SPLASHES onto King! He gets to his feet quickly and grabs a hold of King, throwing him into the ring and following him in. David Tucker, meanwhile, has two microphones tucked in his pants pockets, ever ready for the time when either man is willing to call it a night.
MM: Goeren wasting no time giving King the business tonight!
King gets to his feet, staggering back and forth and instinctively catches Goeren, going for a Kingbreaker, but Goeren is quick to counter with a belly to back suplex! Goeren rolls from the ring and looks underneath the apron, looking for weaponry of some sort. What he finds is a coiled up bundle of BARBED WIRE.
King looks over his shoulder as Goeren gets back into the ring with the barbed wire. King crawls away and starts to beg off, but Goeren doesn’t bother with mercy and BRINGS THE BARBED WIRE ONTO KING’S FOREHEAD! King calls out, clutching his head in agony. Goeren slaps his hands away and he NAILS him again, blood trickling out from Goeren’s fist and blood starting to drip from King’s forehead! Goeren motions for Tucker to bring a microphone to his face.
Azrael Goeren: What do you think, mein freund?
Goeren kneels down, looking at King.
Azrael Goeren: Ready to call it?
King slaps at Goeren and Goeren stands up, cocks his fist back, and goes for a third punch, but King CATCHES IT. King’s bloody face is grimaced in pain and anger and his hand is bleeding from clutching the barbed wire. King arches back for a punch, but Goeren counters the punch attempt and CLOBBERS King with a clothesline wrapped in barbed wire! King is flat on the mat as David Tucker offers him the microphone again, but Goeren shrugs it off.
VA: The fiend! The monster! He has King’s blood on his hands! He doesn’t even want to let David Tucker call it!
MM: Vincent, come on. You can’t tell me Donovan King doesn’t have this coming. As a matter of fact, it seems like Goeren’s poking and prodding at King, trying to see just how fractured his brain has become from this…war.
Goeren wraps the bloody barbed wire around his arm and he drops down…and LOCKS IN THE CAROLINA CROSSFACE WITH BARBED WIRE! King calls out in pain as Goeren tries to cause more carnage to King, but before King can even be asked for surrender, Goeren releases the Carolina Crossface. He throws the barbed wire down, shaking off the fresh cuts on his own arm as he looks at the bloody King below him. King cradles his head, trying to push away the pain. Goeren picks King up and King instinctively hits an elbow strike to Goeren and LAUNCHES Goeren over the ropes to the floor! He falls to the mat, his face and hands bloodied and cut to shreds. King looks over to Goeren, who is getting himself up to his feet on the outside. King rolls from the ring and immediately slumps over, the pain too great.
MM: King isn’t thinking, Vincent! He’s flying blind out here tonight! He keeps coming out of instinct, but his body isn’t going to want to go where his mind is trying to go!
Goeren gets to his feet and points to the fans in attendance, the fans cheering the carnage of this, the final battle between the two legendary performers.
Goeren looks over to King, who is struggling to come to. Goeren slowly strolls over to King, but King hits him with a low blow! Goeren doubles over in pain as King quickly reaches underneath the ring and withdraws…the infamous CHAIN.
MM: He was luring Goeren in! Son of a bitch!
VA: I believe you meant to say tactical GENIUS!
King throws part of the long chain over the top rope and then reaches down, taking a hold of Goeren by the throat. He ties a rudimentary knot with the chain and rolls into the ring.
MM: Oh God…oh no!
King begins to pull the chain until it goes tight…and it lifts Goeren up…AND GOEREN IS HANGING FROM THE SIDE OF THE RING!! Goeren cries out but the sound is an insidious gurgle as his toes try desperately to scrape the floor outside of the ring. King motions to Tucker, who rolls from the ring, microphone in hand.
David Tucker: Goeren! Do you quit?
Donovan King: SURRENDER, HENRIK!!
Goeren gasps, his face turning beet red…and then a violent purple.
David Tucker: Azrael Goeren! DO YOU QUIT?
King is hauling back with all of his might, hanging Goeren from the side of the ring as the fans are STUNNED, booing loudly. We can see parents turning their kids’ faces from the violence happening before them.
David Tucker: AZRAEL…DO YOU…
Azrael Goeren: NO!!!
The fans ERUPT as King yanks one final time before his arms give out on him, Goeren collapsing to the ground, struggling to breathe. King falls to his knees, shaking his head as blood drips to the mat below him. He rolls from the ring and finds a table underneath the ring. He sets it up next to Goeren’s prone form, his body curled into the fetal position. King gets up onto the table and stands there, looking down at his longtime foe. He thinks for a moment about how close he is to the final defeat of Azrael Goeren and yet…how far he truly is. He looks around at the jeering fans and down to his bloodied hands. He aims at Goeren…and NAILS a flying elbow drop!
VA: You don’t think Donovan King is feeling…some kind of remorse, do you?
MM: He sold his entire life out to get to Goeren. He knows…he KNOWS…he lost the war. No matter what happens tonight, he knows Azrael Goeren will still wake up tomorrow morning and he will still draw breath. King knows the violence he’s inflicting on Goeren tonight is only drowning the flames of hate that are deep inside of Donovan King!
VA: Bullshit, Malone! Donovan King can make Azrael Goeren quit tonight and prove once and for all that he’s been right about Goeren this whole time!
MM: So what if he’s been right this whole time, Vincent?! So what is Goeren is an addict, a quitter, a sleaze, a coward, whatever you want to call him! All Donovan King has proven is that he’s willing to go just as low or lower! All he’s proven is that he was right all the way until he was wrong!
King stands up and looks at a fan in the front row hurling insults at him. He doesn’t know what the guy is saying. He doesn’t hear him. Suddenly, Azrael Goeren SHOVES the table from underneath at King! King is caught off guard by the attack and it gives Goeren just enough time to fly OVER the table onto King, punching his HARD in the temple! King is rocked into the guardrail as Goeren uses the rail to keep himself standing as he marches towards King.
Azrael Goeren: DOES THIS MAKE YOU HAPPY, DONOVAN?!
Goeren kicks King in the midsection and follows it up with a European uppercut.
Azrael Goeren: WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVE?!
Goeren grabs King by the head and SLAMS him into the ring steps! King crumples in a heap next to the ring steps as Goeren stands there, holding himself up against the ring steps.
Azrael Goeren: Think…come on, mein freund, THINK. About your wife. Your kids. Donovan…
Goeren picks King up and SLAMS him back into the ring steps again.
Azrael Goeren: …please.
Goeren picks him back up and rolls him into the ring. Goeren follows and King EXPLODES up! He hits Goeren with a right! Another right! Another right! Another right! Another right! He whips Goeren into the ropes and SLAMS him down with a spinebuster! King pops up to his feet as the fans boo him heavily. He drags Goeren over to the ring apron near the still upright table. He pulls Goeren from the ring and both men stand on the apron. Suddenly, Goeren punches King, trying to stop the attack. King wastes no time…KINGBREAKER! HE HITS THE KINGBREAKER OFF THE RING APRON INTO THE TABLE!! BOTH MEN ARE DOWN!!!!!
MM: OH MY GOD!
David Tucker clutches his head in disbelief as both men are out on the outside of the ring.
VA: Can I Quit matches end in a double knock out??!
MM: I hope not! This needs to end tonight!
King slowly begins to stir, his eyes glassy. He glances over to Goeren, who is breathing heavily, but trying to say something almost as if it were by pure instinct. King motions for David Tucker to come to him with a microphone.
Donovan King: …Henrik…you…have…to…
King shoves the microphone in Goeren’s face, but only gets an ungodly groan from it.
Donovan King: God damn it…you…HAVE..to…
He SLAMS the microphone into Goeren’s face yet again but gets nothing.
Donovan King: GOD DAMN IT, GIVE UP!!! PLEASE!!!!
King WAILS on Goeren with the microphone, static and the sounds of the microphone shorting out resonate throughout the arena. King throws the pieces of microphone away and picks Goeren up. He rolls Goeren into the ring and clutches the apron, watching Goeren’s prone form. King slides into the ring now and demands another microphone from David Tucker.
Donovan King: We…you…this…fuck…NO.
King shakes his head.
Donovan King: Wake UP, you sorry son of a bitch. I want to hear you SAY IT.
Goeren rolls onto his back, his right eye swollen shut, blood pouring out of his nose down his cheek, past his ear. He licks his lips, trying to breathe.
Donovan King: YOU HEAR ME, YOU SON OF A BITCH, SAY IT!!
King points the microphone at Goeren, who can only force a swollen smile, his one eye looking up at King.
Azrael Goeren: No.
King screams in frustrated agony as he throws the microphone to the mat. He rests against the ropes as David Tucker grabs the microphone and checks on Goeren.
MM: He…just won’t die! Azrael Goeren is the most tenacious and durable warriors I’ve ever seen!
VA: I just can’t believe it. Just give Donovan King what he wants and this is all over!
MM: He doesn’t want to give King what he wants, Vincent! He wants to give Donovan King what he needs!
VA: What is that?!
King rolls from the ring and finds the age old professional wrestling weapon: the steel chair. He slides back into the ring with the steel chair and SLAMS the chair down on Goeren’s chest and face!
Donovan King: FUCK YOU!
He hits Goeren again.
Donovan King: FUCK YOU!
He hits him a third time.
Donovan King: FUCK…YOU!!
He throws the chair down, Goeren’s face a bloody mess now. King, still bleeding from before, collapses. He goes to pull himself up and sees Goeren rolling onto his side. King uses the ropes to pull himself up and staggers over to Goeren. He picks Goeren up and goes to whip him to the ropes, but Goeren counters with an STO, SLAMMING King into the chair! BOTH men are down yet again!
VA: This…is nuts.
EMTs are rushing down to the ringside area as David Tucker summons them from the back. One slides into the ring, but Goeren slaps at them to get away. Goeren pulls himself to his hands and knees, his blonde hair red with blood. He looks with his one good eye at King, who is clutching his kidneys and ribs. Goeren motions weakly to David Tucker to hand him the microphone. He leans back on his knees and looks at King as King starts to pick himself up.
Azrael Goeren: …you…can….keep hitting me…but…I won’t…stop.
King starts picking himself up to his own hands and knees.
Azrael Goeren: …you…need to know…your family…loves you. These people…they…fucking…love you.
The fans POP as Goeren motions to them.
Azrael Goeren: This…isn’t…who you are. You are…better…than…this.
King sits there, resting on his knees as Goeren stands up.
Azrael Goeren: Go…home, Donovan. Your family needs you…more…than you…need…this.
King looks around at the fans and then to Goeren, who is primed and ready in position with the Blitzkrieg. He is trapped. Bloody. Broken. He looks back to the fans and motions for the microphone.
Donovan King: You…gonna…finish me?
Tucker hands Goeren another microphone.
Azrael Goeren: Only if you…need to be finished.
Donovan King drops his head and bites his lips, tasting the blood from his face. He nods, defeated.
Donovan King: Do it. Do it.
Goeren closes his eyes and inhales, taking a step back to prepare himself.
Donovan King: DO IT, GODDAMN IT, I QUIT, DO IT!!!
Goeren CRACKS King’s head with a Blitzkrieg JUST as the bell rings, calling for the end of the match! King falls flat to the mat, his arms spread as a flurry of EMTs rush to both men. “Sieben” by Subway to Sally begins to play.
MM: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! THE WAR IS OVER!! THE WAR IS OVER!!! AZRAEL GOEREN HAS DEFEATED DONOVAN KING!!!!
VA: I…can’t believe…what we just saw! WOW.
Goeren sits there as EMTs check on him, but he watches King. EMTs pull King from the wreckage in the ring and around the ringside area. They have a gurney they carefully begin to strap him to. Goeren rolls from the ring and stands up, holding himself up with the ring apron.
VA: That coward is going to kick Donovan King while he’s down!
MM: Shut up, Vincent!
The EMTs all stop and stare as Goeren walks towards Donovan King as King is strapped down to the gurney. Azrael Goeren motions to the EMTs to help him. They begin to push King up the ramp, Goeren placing his hand on his old enemy, his old friend, and holds King’s shoulder as they march towards the back.
MM: Respect. At the end of the day, he gave Donovan King what he needed when he needed it most.
VA: Think this is the end of Donovan King?
MM: I don’t know, Vincent. But what I do know is Azrael Goeren defeated Donovan King tonight, won the war, and he may have just saved King in the process. And you can expect similar action like this folks, when we come to you for our next supercard on March 22…as for the first time ever, the EWA…goes north of the border!
YOUR WINNER: AZRAEL GOEREN (13:01)
MICHAEL DRAVEN VS INDRID CALDER
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and is a lumberjack match!
MM: You can feel the sheer magnitude of this match, Ashe. There may be no titles on the line, but the stakes feel just as high.
VA: You ain’t kiddin’, and I’m not sure if it’s jealousy speaking or not, but there’s a part of me that hopes Michael Draven gets curb stomped here tonight.
MM: Color me surprised.
NR: Introducing first, accompanied by HATE, from Nothing, Arizona, The Stranger, Indrid Calder!
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
The haunting strum of “Smoke & Mirrors” by Puscifer begins to play as the tron showcases a tattered gray shroud floating past multiple willow trees. Smoke seems to curl outward from the shroud as it passes multiple shattered mirrors. Suddenly, the shroud darts forward with deceptive quickness, it’s head rising. All we see is a black hole beneath the hood with two shining knife-blue silver dollars for eyes as Indrid Calder emerges from the back, flanked by NOTHING, William West, and followed by the Titan of HATE, Cal Rayner.
VA: This music almost feels like a death march for Michael Draven. For almost a year, Indrid Calder has evaded him at every turn, and somehow always found a way to get the better of Mr. Draven, no matter the situation.
MM: Well, tonight Calder will be in that ring with Michael Draven and the Vengeful One will finally have his chance. While HATE may allow Calder an easy escape to the outside, I have a feeling the lumberjacks backing Michael Draven won’t!
VA: That’s just it, Malone, what lumberjacks?! After HATEs vicious assault on Jester Smiles earlier in the night, odds are against Smiles being on the outside, and as for Sahara?! After her shockingly brutal war with Sinnocence, we last saw her getting stitched up backstage and with all that’s going on with her? That’d clearly leave Michael with just Maggie McIntyre!
As HATE arrive at ringside, they slowly spread out and surround the ring, each Pillar takes position near a ring post before climbing up onto the ring apron. They slowly move toward the middle and step through the ropes as Nikki Rogers finishes her introductions.
MM: Not a great place to be, surrounded by the denizens of HATE.
NR: And his opponent, accompanied by … his lumberjacks, from Charlotte, North Carolina, Michael Draven!
VA: Nikki doesn’t even know which of his lumberjacks are left!
MM: This doesn’t bode well for Draven, Ashe.
The lights suddenly drop down to a red hue for a moment as the opening lyrics of ‘The Vengeful One’ starts up. The red hue transitions to a strobe effect as Michael Draven steps out onto the stage, flanked by Maggie McIntyre and her trusty barb wire wrapped baseball bat. Nodding to Maggie with a look of sheer determination and focus upon his face, Draven begins the long walk toward the ring.
MM: I guess we just got our answer. It is in fact just Maggie McIntyre with him. Such an unfortunate turn of events for Michael Draven losing most of his Lumberjacks in what has now become a pretty lopsided affair.
VA: Even with that barbwire wrapped neutralizer in her hands, it wouldn’t take long for the members of HATE to swarm McIntyre, and her weapon of choice could turn into THEIR weapon of choice! These odds practically gives Calder free reign on the outside, while keeping Michael Draven limited to the space between the ropes.
MM: And all the while he has to worry about McIntyre on the outside by herself against the World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING, William West and Cal Rayner. That’s a lot to have on your mind when facing off against the likes of Indrid Calder.
As Michael and Maggie reach the midpoint of the rampway, Cal Rayner, William West and NOTHING drop to the outside and form a line at the bottom of the rampway as the duo continue to make their approach. Maggie has her bat at the ready–
MM: They’re not even waiting for the match to start!
VA: I can’t even hear myself think, listen to this crowd!
Suddenly, the crowd gets even LOUDER!
I…am a man…of constant sorrow
I’ve seen troubles all my days…
The crowd pops huge at the mere sound of the music that hits the PA as the newly crowned Combat Champion emerges onto the rampway.
MM: ANOTHER EQUALIZER FOR TEAM DRAVEN! BUCK DRESDEN! THE BLUEGRASS BADASS IS HERE!
VA: It’s still three on two, Malone, but that’s better than McIntyre standing on her own against her former brothers in HATE.
Unstrapping his Combat Championship as he walks down the rampway, Buck points at the trio of HATE members mouthing something toward them as he takes his position opposite Maggie and next to Michael Draven.
Motioning back toward the ring, NOTHING holds his arms out in front of Rayner and West as the three slowly back away.
MM: NOTHING just told his agents of pain to back away, to save it for later, whatever that means.
VA: I think we both know damn well what it means, Malone.
Rick Iley orders Indrid Calder to a neutral corner as Michael Draven climbs the stairs and steps through the ropes, McIntyre and Dresden taking their place on his side of the ring, standing next to the ring apron.
MM: This is gonna be a wild ride. Look at those two warriors in the ring staring each other down. You can just feel this powder keg waiting to explode.
VA: Light the damn fuse, because I for one, can’t wait to see it!
Yelling out orders to both men, Rick Iley holds a hand up and motions for the bell! Not a second passes before the two lock up, both men pushing as hard against each other as possible before Michael Draven SHOVES Calder off of him.
MM: You can just feel the tension in the air. These two wanna kill each other.
Going in for a second lockup, Calder simply BLASTS Michael in the face with a solid right, staggering him back. Charging forward, Calder rains down blow after blow as Michael covers up in the corner, finally charging forward and lifting Calder, running clear across the ring with him and slamming into the turnbuckles. Absorbing the impact, Calder continues to rain down clubbing forearms to Michaels upper shoulders. Also absorbing the series of blows, Michael lifts calder again and slams him into the turnbuckles a second time, following it up with a shoulder to the midsection.
MM: This is off the rails! These two are just hammering each other with everything they got!
VA: There is no love lost here!
Slamming her hands down on the ring apron, Maggie yells up at Michael to keep going, who hits an astounding TENTH shoulder into Calders midsection before he finally slumps to the mat. Going to grab hold of him, Calder is suddenly yanked from the ring by NOTHING, much to the dismay of the audience!
Storming to the other side of the ring, both Maggie and Buck Dresden point at the members of HATE, yelling in their direction as Rayner and West stand in front of NOTHING and Calder. Michael Draven, still in the ring, motions for Calder to get his ass back in the ring. As Maggie, Dresden, West and Rayner yell at each other, the crowd suddenly roars as Draven FLIES over the top rope and collides with HATE, sending the entire faction sprawling against the barricade!
Sending their moment to strike McIntyre and Dresden take advantage of the two on three scenario and begin stomping down on the fallen members of HATE as Michael Draven zeroes in on Indrid Calder, who scrambles to his feet, nearly falling into the barricade again before he scurries around to the other side of the ring!
MM: He’s running!
VA: He’s smart! He’s gotta stop the momentum swing, Malone!
Giving chase, Calder slides through the bottom rope only for Michael to follow and Calder just as quickly rolls himself back out to the floor on the opposite side of the brawl between Buck, McIntyre and the rest of HATE. Michael Draven follows only is instantly met with a driving shoulder tackle into the ring apron!
MM: This is absolutely insane! It’s been full throttle nonstop action from the opening bell!
Grabbing hold of Michaels arm, Calder angrily whips him into the steel ringsteps, sending him toppling over and detaching them from the ring post. Holding his leg in agony from the impact against the steps, Calder zeroes in and launches a barrage of stomps to Michael’s lower leg!
VA: That’s how you wear down an opponent, Malone! You zero in–
MM: That’s the same leg he shattered!
Suddenly, Maggie McIntyre LEAPS onto Calder’s back as Michael scrambles to his feet. As Calder reaches back trying to free himself of the Banshee’s grip, Michael charges forward and Maggie lets go of Calder and leaps away at the last second as Michael DRIVES the Stranger back first into the ringpost!
MM: This is completely off the rails! Uh oh, the numbers game is beginning to catch up with Dresden on the outside!
NOTHING, West and Rayner gain the advantage over Buck with Maggie having broken off to assist Michael, spilling Buck up and over the barricade and into the crowd!
VA: These lumberjacks are supposed to keep the competitors in the ring, and so far they’ve done anything but! It’s an all out WAR between HATE and … I don’t know, team Buck Draven?!
MM: What about Maggie?!
VA: She’s already a Draven, Malone!
MM: Good God, Draven’s picked up the bottom half of the staircase! What the hell kinda superhuman strength does that even take?!
Michael stalks around the ring on the outside as Indrid Calder slowly pushes himself up against the ringpost, still recovering. He grabs hold of the bottom rope and MICHAEL CHARGES!!!
The metal staircase CLANGS against the ringpost and drops to the floor as Indrid Calder rolls himself beneath the bottom rope at the last possible second!
MM: THAT COULDA’ KILLED HIM!
VA: I think that’s exactly what Michael Draven was trying to do, it’s clear he doesn’t even care if he gets disqualified! He just wants to END Calder in this match!
Rolling himself into the ring as Calder attempts to crawl away, Michael charges — FOR THE HORSEMEN! FOR THE HORSEMEN! Michael SMASHES Calder’s face into the mat as a gob of blood spatters against the canvas and the sheer impact of the move bounces Calder onto his back!
MM: He’s gotta make the cover!
VA: He’s obsessed, Malone! Calder told the world this, and this proves it! Michael’s not here to win, he’s here to DESTROY his White Whale!
MM: He’s gotta seize this opportunity, while Maggie holds HATE at bay with her barbed wire equalizer! This is — there‘s just so much going on it’s hard to follow!
Buck Dresden has crawled back over the barricade and is helped back to his feet by Maggie but Rayner rushes up from behind and FLATTENS Maggie against the barricade!
VA: Rayner just RAN over her, Malone!
As Rick Iley attempts to regain control on the outside, Michael Draven rushes toward the ropes to assist Maggie but Rayner, NOTHING and West stand at the ready, beckoning Michael to step through the ropes to the outside.
MM: He’d better think twice about that! WATCH OUT–
Up from behind Michael, a bloodied Indrid Calder NAILS him with a low blow and the distracted Rick Iley never sees a thing. Clutching his midsection as he falls to his knees, Calder seizes advantage.
Indrid Calder mounts Draven with casual viciousness, and he begins to just RAIN down hammer blow fists into Michael’s face with both hands. Hard lefts and rights connect, the knuckles biting in, causing little bruises and abrasions with each impact. Indrid’s mouth is stretched into a maniacal rictus, and a few little specks of bloody froth sputter out from the corners of his lips.
MM: Calder is both rabid and ravenous…someone needs to toss this guy BENEATH a sanitarium and throw away the key.
VA: It’s called showing HEART, Malone! The Spider King is giving Draven everything he’s got!
MM: He hit him with a low blow to gain the advantage!
VA: I don’t recall that…
Indrid’s snarl turns into a roar, and spittle bursts against Michael’s wounded face.
Indrid Calder: YOU’RE SPINELESS, MICHAEL. YOU’RE A WORM BENEATH MY HEEL. YOU BREATHE…BECAUSE I LET YOU. YOU EXIST…SO I CAN TORMENT YOU.
Calder’s voice howls as he takes hold of the sides of Draven’s head and just begins to BASH the back of his skull against the canvas, taking immense delight in doing damage to his head. Michael’s eyes start to roll precariously in the sockets after each BOOMING hit…
Indrid Calder: Your spirit…is FRAIL. Your body…is ruined beyond repair. This ends like it ALWAYS ends, Draven. You…in a puddle of blood…with me standing–
Indrid never gets to finish his thought. A burning FIRE ignites in Michael’s eyes, and he FLIPS Calder over with a sudden burst of adrenaline. Indrid scrambles to reach his feet, but Michael beats him to it and he SNAPS a brutal kick into the back of Calder’s knee. Indrid hisses in pain and hobbles forward, and Michael hits the ropes and just OBLITERATES the back of Indrid’s leg with a chop block!
Calder drops down to both knees, crying out in a mixture of shock and pain, his eyes growing as wide as saucers. Draven approaches him slowly, teeth gritted and seething, and Calder actually looks around desperately for the other Pillars of HATE. The lumberjacks are either down or engaged in their own battles on the outside…
And The Spider King is alone with a man seeking long-awaited vengeance.
Calder licks the blood from his lips, and he slyly lifts up a hand, showing Draven a supplicating palm…looking almost like a serpent who wants very badly to slither away from harm.
MM: You know, Michael Draven compared this man to that clown from the movie IT, and this scenario shows us why that comparison was so apt. Despite all the fearmongering and machinations from Indrid Calder, he withers when faced with a fight where the odds are not stacked in his favor. You strip away his mystique and his low cunning…and you’re faced with nothing but a slippery eel with a grandiose sense of self-importance.
VA: How dare you speak ill of the Stranger! It’s called being crafty, Malone…something you wouldn’t know anything about. Indrid isn’t begging off. That mind is running a mile a minute, and he’s thinking up a new strategy as we speak!
MM: Say what you want, Ashe…but I think the Turtle is firmly behind Michael Draven tonight. IT might be a monster, just like Calder, but monsters can never stand long against the brave and the true…
VA: Oh shut the hell up, you Stephen King fanboy.
MM: Well, it’s true!
Planting a boot directly into Calder’s chest, Michael knocks him for a loop as West once again reaches beneath the bottom rope and grabs hold of Calder, only Michael scrambles forward and grabs him by the wrist, refusing to allow HATE to drag him out of the ring!
Rushing to the ropes, Rick Iley commands West to let go, but West refuses, trying to yank Calder to safety! As all hell breaks loose on the outside again, with both Maggie and Buck attacking NOTHING and Rayner, Rick Iley kicks Wests hand off of Calder’s leg to the crowds delight!!!
VA: That’s blatant favoritism!!!
MM: He’s doing his damn job, Vincent. The job of a Lumberjack to keep the competitors IN THE DAMN RING, not yank them out of it every time they’re in danger!
Grabbing hold of Calder by the neck, Michael lifts him up and send him into the ropes, dropping him with a vicious spinebuster on the rebound that lands so hard, Calder bounces and reaches behind is back in pain!
Not giving Calder a moment to breathe, Michael grabs hold of an arm and yanks him upward, twisting under it, he flattens Calder with a short arm clotheleline, but dones’t release his arm, yanking him back to his feet and repeating the process! Yanking him for the third time, Michael sends Calder off into the ropes — REVERSAL! COLLISION! Rebounding off the ropes, Michael and Calder collide, sending both sprawling to the mat.
MM: The sheer impact of that collision knocked the wind out of both of them. I don’t know if what I’m watching is wrestling or an all out brawl!
VA: They’re just hitting each other with anything they can think of, Malone.
First to his feet, Michael grabs Calder by the arm and sends him flying into the turnbuckles with authority. Calder slams into the corner and rebounds from the impact, Michael grabbing him and sending him clear across, but Calder ducks under and levels Michael with a short arm clothesline of his own! Wrenching his arm, Calder keeps him on his feet and sends Michael into the turnbuckles with such force, Calder leaves his own feet and Michael slams into the corner and LANDS FLAT ON HIS FACE!
MM: Damnit! NOTHING just yanked his feet out from under him!
With Michael crawling away from the corner, Calder rushes toward the corner, and in a rarely seen display of athletic desperation, Calder leaps over Michael and onto the second ropes and twists, leaping off!!!
VA: FOR THE HORSEMEN!!! FOR THE HORSEMEN OFF THE SECOND ROPE! THAT’S IT! THAT’S GOTTA BE IT!
MM: YANK HIM THE HELL OUTTA THERE, MAGGIE!
Reaching beneath the bottom rope, Maggie grasps at Michaels leg only Calder notices this and pulls Michael away from the grasp of either Maggie or Buck as Rayner, West and NOTHING once again collapse on Maggie and Buck, exchanging a furious series of blows!
MM: NO!!! DAMN HATE TO HELL!
VA: What happened to the job of the Lumberjacks are the keep them in the ring, Malone?!
MM: I’ll make an exception in this case, the only reason he even hit that move was because NOTHING tripped him up in the corner!
Calder drops down and underhooks both legs and rolls back for the pin!
Fans in the crowd are shown with their hands on the sides of their heads as a thunderous pop emanates across the arena!
MM: HE KICKED OUT! HE KICKED OUT!
VA: HOW?! HOW?!
Rick Iley holds his thumb and index finger a mere millimeter apart, signifying the kickout! Rolling to his side, the glassy eyed Michael gazes out at the crowd, feeling their roar. Meanwhile, Calder grasps handfuls of his hair in absolute disbelief!
MM: The look on his face! Calder can’t believe it! Nobody can! Everything Michael’s been put through, he’s not about to roll over and die tonight, Ashe!
VA: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone escape the For The Horsemen in all my days, Malone, let alone taking one off the second rope! That shoulda’ been it!
Getting to his feet, Calder backs Rick Iley into the turnbuckles and holds up three fingers only to have Iley wave him off, holding up two in response! After a brief yet heated exchange, the Stranger turns his attention back to Michael Draven, who’s still down on the mat, shaking the cobwebs free. Reaching down to grab Michael by the hair, Calder suddenly stops dead as his head turns, eyes training on the outside. On Maggie McIntyre. Grabbing her by the arms, Rayner and West SLAM her back against the barricade, knocking the wind out of her from the impact.
Dropping down and rolling out of the ring, Calder approaches them and grabs both West and Rayner by the shoulder, backing them away. On the other side of the ring, Buck Dresden sends NOTHING head first into the ringside stairs and turns his attention back to Maggie, he CHARGES, only Rayner and West cut him off, the larger of the two men leveling him with a clothesline.
Meanwhile, the Stranger slowly approaches the Banshee, his head tilting to the side as he reaches out a hand and softly lifts her chin, his knife-blue eyes catching her glassy eyed gaze.
Rick Iley’s calls to get back in the ring fall on deaf ears as Michael Draven slowly crawls toward the ropes.
MM: Oh my…Maggie! I-I don’t know if Michael can see anything yet, he’s still dazed from that devastating curbstomp!
VA: Maggie is struggling to catch her breath right now, Malone, and now she’s caught in Calder’s web!
Calder suddenly grabs her around the throat, backing her up against the barricade, his face mere inches from her own. He SQUEEZES his hand around her throat, and she struggles mightily. She frantically TEARS at his forearm, but the Stranger refuses to release his iron grip, her face turning an eerie shade of red. Buck Dresden reaches out toward the Banshee but West stomps down on his lower back, and Rayner slams his head off the padded floor with vicious stomp of his own.
Michael Draven rolls out of the ring and collapses on all fours, deflating the crowd as West motions to Rayner and points toward the fallen Draven.
MM: These cowards–Iley’s gotta end this. He’s … he’s gotta just call it! HATE’s just got the numbers…
VA: He can’t disqualify the Lumberjacks, Malone, so once again, Draven comes up short. The story of his life.
MM: How could you be so callous–
As West and Rayner approach Michael, they bend down and grab him by the shoulders when he suddenly lets out a roar from a place unknown. The echo stirs the crowd as Michael Draven SURGES forward and slams both West and Rayner into the ring apron! Turning, he NAILS West with a staggering uppercut and spins toward Rayner, slamming into him with a shoulder block and runs him straight back into the ring post!
The crowd LOSES it.
Turning back toward the stumbling West, the Vengeful one grabs him by the arm and whips him into the rinside steps with such force he leaves his own feet. The collision with the stairs sends him up and over them from the momentum!
The crowd gets even LOUDER as Michael turns his gaze toward Indrid Calder, drinking in the horrific image of him choking his wife out–MICHAEL CHARGES!
MM: HE … IS … ALIVE!!!
Despite the THUNDEROUS cheers, Calder merely tightens his grip on Maggie’s throat, snarling at her, saying something to her, whispering his poisonous words into her ear — completely oblivious to anything going on around him.
Charging full force, Michael Draven clips Calder off of Maggie with a full force spear THROUGH the ringside barricade that sends the crowd into an absolute FRENZY!
MM: GOOD GOD!!!
VA: The impact, Malone! THE IMPACT! He folded Calder in half and ripped him off his wife in one fluid move!
Rearing back, Michael Draven lets out a ROAR!
As the moment settles, he turns to his wife, her hand around her throat, gasping for breath, and with a mere look, she glances at Calder before looking back up at her husband, tears streaming from her eyes. As if time itself stops, Michael scans the landscape, seeing the bodies on the floor, the carnage caused on the outside. Michael Draven slowly turns back toward Maggie and nods.
As he slowly turns his head toward Indrid Calder — with a look of UNSTOPPABLE determination in his eyes — the crowd begins chanting his name!
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
*clap clap clap-clap-clap*
MM: He’s found that place. That place deep down where all the pent up rage and frustration gets buried deep and he’s unleashing it now.
VA: You don’t gotta be so damn poetic about it, Malone, he’s gone nuts!
Grabbing hold of Indrid Calder, Michael drags him over the broken down barricade as fans surround them, he steps over the shambles on the outside and tosses Calder back into the ring. Rolling beneath the bottom rope, Michael grabs the Stranger and positions his head between his legs and double underhooks both arms.
MM: He’s gonna end this now!
In last ditch desperation, Indrid Calder attempts to lift Draven, whose feet briefly leave the mat before touching back down again, Michael leaps!
On the outside, all the Lumberjacks are stirring, but nobody’s in sight–
Draven makes the cover–
VA: HE GOT A SHOULDER UP!
The crowd absolutely deflates, members of the audience covering their mouths in disbelief as Calder rolls onto his stomach, having absorbed and somehow escaped the Downfall.
MM: I … I can’t believe what I’m witnessing here tonight.
Michael Draven leans back on his heels, sweat dripping from his hair as he pushes himself back up, following Calder, who crawls toward the corner in desperation — reaching for the bottom rope, Calder is suddenly yanked backwards as Michael turns him over and steps between his legs–
MM: He’s going for the sharpshooter! HE’S GOT HIM OVER AND ALMOST GOT IT LOCKED ON!!! SIT BACK, MICHAEL, SIT BACK!
Attempting to sit down on the small of his back, Calder unfurls a ragged scream as he reaches toward the ropes–
MM: HE’S GOT HIM DEAD CENTER!
Lifting himself off the mat Calder slowly crawls toward the ropes, shaking his head furiously, inching his way forward–
VA: He’s gotta sit back, Calder’s refusing to let him cinch it on, and he’s getting closer and closer to the ropes!
MM: Sit back, damnit!
Lifting Calder’s legs higher, Michael walks back toward the center of the ring, but as he walks, Calder grabs his ankle and yanks his feet out from under him, inverting the hold!
VA: HE’S REVERSED THE SHARPSHOOTER!!!
Shaking his head, Michael reaches for the ropes that are at least a few feet out of his grasp. The Stranger sits back, locking the hold on tighter, as the Vengeful one collapses to the mat.
VA: He’s dead center, Malone and fading fast!
MM: A man can only take so much, Vincent, and one little mistake trying to move back to the center derailed the rally when Calder was able to grab his ankle and reverse the submission. Damn. One little mistake.
VA: That’s the story of his life, Malone. One mistake like that is the difference between winning and losing. Living and dying.
As the Lumberjacks help each other to their feet on the outside, retreating to neutral positions on the ring apron, Draven continues to fade, refusing to submit from the pain. A hand slams against the mat. Again. And again. The echoing sound slowly coaxing the crowd to clap along with it. Again. Again. And again! As Rick Iley checks to make sure Michael Draven is still conscious, his eyes flutter, his gaze turning toward the source of the sound.
MM: He’s vision is growing hazy, Ashe, you can see that look in his eyes.
His eyes lock on his wife, Maggie McIntyre, who holds a hand to her damaged throat.
Dropping her hand, exposing the bruising from the choke Calder applied on her earlier, the Banshee leans back and SCREAMS–
Maggie McIntyre: FINISH IT!
The echo of the Banshee’s voice carries above the roaring crowd as Michael’s eyes SNAP OPEN and he lifts himself off the mat, unleashing a blood curdling roar! KICKING CALDER CLEAR OFF HIS BACK, THE STRANGER IS SENT SHOULDER FIRST THROUGH THE TOP AND MIDDLE ROPES INTO THE CORNER RINGPOST!!!
MM: WOW! THIS PLACE HAS COME UNGLUED!
VA: I CAN’T EVEN HEAR MYSELF THINK, MALONE!
Getting to his feet, Michael collapses down to a knee and into the ropes, holding his lower back as Calder falls back into the ring. Shoving himself off the ropes to move toward Calder, Michael takes a step and collapses back to a knee again, fighting for his footing.
MM: This is an all out war–
Finally getting to his feet, Michael grabs Calder and throws him back into the turnbuckles, following it up with a gut busting knee to the midsection that doubles him over. Underhooking Calder’s legs, Michael lifts him into a seated position onto the top turnbuckle and grabs at his lower back, the pain from lifting his opponent coursing through him.
VA: Is he?! Is he going for a damn superplex?!
MM: It looks like it–if he hits this and makes the pin, this is gonna be it!
Climbing to the second turnbuckle, Michael tosses Calder’s arm over the back of his head, but Calder lands a solid shot to his ribs! Michael fires back a right of his own to Calder’s ribs in return!
MM: WHERE ARE THEY GETTIN’ THIS?!
Absorbing another shot to the ribs from the Stranger, Michael rears back and headbutts him so hard! Both men nearly fall off the ropes to the outside! Catching themselves, Michael braces himself on Calder, barely able to balance, he somehow steps up to the TOP ROPE!!!
VA: What the HELL is he doing?!
Underhooking one of Calder’s arms, the Vengeful One brings a roar of anticipation from the crowd. He underhooks the other arm!
MM: NO WAY!
VA: NO … WAY!
Leaping back off the top, Michael Draven comes down off the top and DRIVES Calder face first into the mat!
MM: DOWNFALL! SUPER UH — MEGA AWESOME DOWNFALL! MY GOD!
VA: I don’t even know what to call that, and apparently, neither do you!
A raucous dueling chant floods the arena and for a little while, it’s the only thing that can be heard–
On his knees, Michael grabs Calder and struggles to roll him onto this back, pulling him over with everything he’s got left in the tank. On the outside, the baseball bat, steel chair wielding combo of Maggie McIntyre and Buck Dresden chase the HATE collective away from the ring apron!
MM: THIS IS IT! THIS HAS GOTTA BE IT!
Michael collapses on top of the Stranger and the entire crowd counts along with Rick Iley!
MM: HE’S OUT!
VA: Abso-fucking-lutely incredible. Pardon my language.
The entire crowd seems to let out a sigh of relief through the elation as Rick Iley jumps up and signals for the bell. Rolling off Calder, and without a second of hesitation, the first person in the ring to greet him is none other than Maggie McIntyre, bat still in hand. The completely drained Michael Draven holds an arm out for her to lift him and he collapses against her, his arms wrapping around her waist, hugging her close.
MM: Now THAT right there is what you call a moment, Vincent. That image right there is what’s gonna go up on that wall in the EWA headquarters, etched in time. A husband and wife overcoming ALL odds — along with their friend, a great assist from Buck Dresden — rose up to slay the dragon.
Sliding beneath the bottom rope, steel chair still in hand, Buck Dresden watches over Michael and Maggie as HATE yank Indrid Calder from the ring, Rayner holding the near-lifeless Stranger up. As they retreat up the rampway, NOTHING continues to issue threats, enraged at the turn of events, clearly stating it’s never gonna be over so long as HATE lives. When they’re a safe distance away, Buck Dresden helps Maggie lift Michael to his feet, and a few moments later, both raise his arms in victory, a smile of absolute elation crossing his face. The trio slowly turn to each side of the ring and take a bow in unison, the crowd eating it up.
“THIS IS AWESOME!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP*
“THIS IS AWESOME!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
“THIS IS AWESOME!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
VA: Ahh. Damnit. I’m not a fan of that chant, Malone, but for once I’m gonna agree with these morons. That truly was something special. That truly was … awesome.
MM: Let’s go to Nikki Rogers for the official call…
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match by pinfall — Michael Draven!
Still on wobbly legs, Michael holds out a hand to Buck Dresden and the bluegrass badass smiles and accepts it. As the two share a hearty handshake, Michael clearly says thank you, paying his respects, as Buck pats him on the shoulder. He then turns his attention to his wife, Maggie McIntyre — both who have been through so much together — and gently takes her by both sides of the face saying something in private to which she nods.
MM: After over a year, Michael Draven has truly become the Vengeful One, destroying the demon that has haunted him and his wife — or wives — for so long. On this night, Michael Draven has emerged victorious in a battle that will surely change him forever.
VA: I got a feeling it’s gonna change a lot of things, Malone.
Gazing into her eyes, Michael pulls her in and plants a kiss on Maggie’s lips, and she in turn wraps her arms around the back of his head in a tight embrace!
MM: A kiss long deserved that finally marks the end of the saga of Indrid Calder and Michael Draven. Truly an amazing moment that has been so long in the making, and I’m honored to have had a front row seat to witness it.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MICHAEL DRAVEN (19:28)
(Limping down the hallway of the Target Center, Sahara stops and leans against a wall, a grimace of pain flashing over her face as she holds her ribs. The adrenaline from the match having faded, she’s now feeling the full effects of her epic confrontation with Sinnocence. Still dressed in her ring gear, the wound above her eye is stitched shut and a fresh piece of gauze is taped over it, amongst other bandages as applied by Dr. Furman. Every muscle in her body clearly aches. Her wrestling boots that read Victory and Valhalla drag against the concrete floor, every step she takes toward the locker room looks excruciating.
She never sees Nikki Caldwell coming, but the Amazon’s voice is distinct, echoing through the halls — filled with pain, anger, confusion — you name it.
Feeling the full force of Caldwell’s body crashing into her own, Sahara SMASHES against a metal garage door as a wheeze of breath exits her lungs. She’s barely able to hold herself up, but she somehow finds it in herself to stay on her feet.
Grabbing the blonde by the throat, the Amazon slams her up against the metal garage door, a snarl on her face. Her voice filled with rage.)
Nikki Caldwell: Why’d you do it?!
(Holding her by the throat, she once again slams Sahara up against the door…
The smile that forms on the blondes face leads to an ominous laugh, her teeth still stained red from the bloody affair against their mentor earlier in the night. But it isn’t a mocking laughter. It’s one of surrender. Gazing upon the savagely beat up blonde, Nikki relaxes her hand as she ses blood begin to soak through the gauze above her eye.
Sahara’s voice is ragged, filled with pain — a far cry from the woman Stacy Vandervort had confronted over the same situation earlier in the night.)
Sahara: Ya got me, Nikki.
(Only the smile doesn’t leave the blonde’s face. Nikki balled a fist up in Sahara’s top, her knuckles going white. The knuckles of the other hand by her side, also white.)
Nikki Caldwell: Why?! Why’d you always gotta go too far?! Why’d you have to try to fucking kill her out there?! Is that why you wanted to fuck me in the first place?! Was it some kind of batshit plan to psych her out?!
(The Amazon takes a deep breath, looking to stay coherent, at least for now.)
Nikki Caldwell: You don’t like me. You don’t even like people— why not Josh, you know how he is– just why?
(But Sahara’s smile only grows as her hand moves up to brush Nikki’s cheek, a faint smear of blood being left behind.)
Sahara: Fuck you to psych her out? Oh, Nikki, you wish you were that important. I can’t help who I am … but Sinn knew. She knew exactly who I was when she … unleashed me.
(She begins laughing again, a delightful little giggle coming through with her words.)
Sahara: She relished in the thought that one of her own would wreak havoc over the industry that left her for dead. But then I became something of a monster that not even she could control.
Sahara: It’s just who I am.
(Sahara suddenly reaches out and grasps Nikki by her top, the laughter disappearing from her voice as quickly as it appeared as she pulls her in closer.)
Sahara: Yet you find yourself with the unique opportunity to finish the job, and I’d be powerless to stop ya in this condition. Right here. Right now. You have a choice, Nikki. You can finish me … end my career. Do what Sinn couldn’t do and save them all from what’s coming. Or let me walk away, knowing I ain’t done…
(Grabbing Sahara by her top in kind, Nikki SLAMS her up against the garage door, the blondes words sputter out–)
Sahara: Don’t … blame … the lioness … for huntin–
(Nikki snarls in the blonde’s face.)
Nikki Caldwell: Stop … TALKING. You … NEVER … STOP … TALKING!
(Pulling back a white knuckled fist, Nikki stops short of smashing it through Sahara’s already bruised up face, her whole body trembling at the amount of restraint. There is conflict in her eyes, and the blonde’s smile simply growsin the face of this as she whispers…)
Sahara: Shhhh. Listen–
(The sounds of the cheering crowd from inside the Target Center resonates backstage…sending their hauntingly sweet chorus echoing through backstage area.)
Sahara: Have you ever heard a sound so sweet?
(Nikki raises her head to focus on it a moment. More than absorbing it, she was caught in the moment.
And the temptation to just keep beating Sahara to a bloody pulp seems so sweet. Prolong that noise, give Sahara back some of the misery she’d inflicted on Sinn.
But there was that word, misery, putting a thought in her head. Dropping her fist, she leans in close to Sahara.)
Nikki Caldwell: I could tear you to pieces right now, you fucking bitch, but you know what might be worse?
I condemn you to a life of being you.
As great as this is for you, taking down Jada? It’ll wear off and you’ll need more. You’re fucking miserable and I really doubt you’ll ever be more, no matter what you find to try to fill yourself up with, but I fucking see you. How long till this gorgeous face of yours wilts, huh? Till the audience sees a hag doing the same old song and dance and just dries up, and there’s nothing left to feed that transparent ego of yours anymore?
You’re gonna fucking die alone, Sahara. And I bet you’ll lay there dead for weeks before you miss a few bookings or your rent’s past due and somebody starts wondering.
(Nikki shoves Sahara in the face and storms away. The blonde slowly slides down the garage door, the smile returning to her battered face, along with the sinister laughter that accompanies it.)
(Fade to ringside.)
Main EventMARTIN ROBERTSON VS NOTHING
EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: It’s main event time, Vince, and this one has history written all over it!
VA: Of course it does, Malone! Tonight we get to witness the coronation ceremony of the greatest second generation superstar in the EWA! Tonight… the Youth King ascends to his throne!
MM: Well, I think there’s one person who has something to say about that tonight…
(In an instant, the arena goes pitch black…)
VA: Here we go, Malone!
(Two solo spotlights shine down on either side of the jumbotron. We begin to hear the sound of trumpets blasting over the sound system, and as they do, two rows of men dressed in purple robes with white capes carrying long poles come pouring out through the spotlights and begin to line the stage. On the capes we see the familiar symbol of the Youth King — the skull wearing a tilted crown — in blood red. As they finish lining the stage, the trumpets stop, but only for a second, as they are replaced with an even louder blast of trumpets. The two spotlights converge into the center of the entrance ramp, where a single person stands, dressed in the same outfit as the others. However, instead of carrying a pole, he has in his hand a scroll, extended out as the second sound of trumpets fades out…)
Royal scribe: Hear ye! Here ye! A traitor to the crown, King Nothing of Hate, has attempted, and failed, to rule the kingdom of the EWA in a manner befitting to the crown. And so, it has been decreed, that on this day in the year of the Youth King, that he be sentenced to death by execution at the hands of the one true King of the EWA, the Youth King Martin Robertson. All here in attendance tonight are cordially invited to witness the execution, to take place tonight in the arena of battle. So it has been decreed, and so it shall come to pass. May God have mercy on Nothing, for the Youth King shall have none!
MM: Well, that certainly was intere….
(But before Malone can finish his sentence, the image of the Youth King appears on the jumbotron as we hear over the sound system…)
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
VA: There he is, Malone! Kneel to the Youth King!
(As Avenged Sevenfold’s “Hail to the King” continues to play over the sound system, coming through the curtain first is Alyssa Marie Haven, dressed in a gorgeous sequin black dress that shimmers in the solo spotlight still shining down on the entrance ramp. Following behind her is the challenger, Martin Robertson, but at a different pace, as he’s being carried on a throne by four guys also dressed in the royal costume from earlier.)
VA: Look at this entrance, Malone! Befitting for a king taking his rightful place as he proceeds into battle here tonight!
MM: Martin has certainly looked as if he’s ready for the challenge here tonight of taking on his opponent, the World Heavyweight Champion. But isn’t this a little too much?
VA: It’s never too much when you have the royal bloodline as Martin does! He’s the Youth King for a number of reasons, Malone, and he should be treated as such!
(As Robertson continues to be carried to the ring, the line of soldiers from earlier have now lined the ramp, and they continue to pass Robertson from one group to another as he looks down upon the ringside crowd with the most evil of disdain. To be fair, the crowd has no love for Robertson, either, after earlier tonight. The throne finally reaches the ringside area, and the first two soldiers rest the front of the throne on the ring apron as Alyssa, in the center of the ring already, summons her Youth King to enter. Martin enters and begins to climb to the second turnbuckle on the corner post nearest to him, but just as he does…)
MM: What’s Robertson doing now? He’s heading outside the ring…
VA: Maybe he needs to admonish some of his subjects already…
MM: No, look! He’s found where his parents are seated tonight, and they were right! Front row, smack dab in the center of the ring.
VA: Yeah, but you heard him earlier… he didn’t invite them here! Man, if Grady could just stop being so selfish for one night…
(Martin has climbed out of the ring, with Alyssa right behind him, and they both go over to Grady, who is front and center ringside, with Martin’s two uncles, Calvin and Louis Walker, better known in the business as Public Enemy, on either side.)
Martin Robertson: They’re here, too?!?
Grady Smith: Well, once we got your tickets, I called the office and got these guys in, too..
Calvin Walker: Break a leg, kid…
Louis Walker: … just not your leg!
Martin Robertson: I told you, I didn’t send you the tickets…
Janelle Smith: Just do your best, sweetheart!
Martin Robertson: UGH!
(Martin rolls back into the ring, but is still looking down at his father, yelling at him, but we can’t hear the words anymore as the camera has switched away from the ringside camera. Alyssa, meanwhile, is still over there trying to figure out just why Grady is still here…)
MM: I have no clue why Martin is so upset about this.. I think anyone would be ecstatic to have their father watching them in the biggest match of their career!
VA: It’s because Grady has always been about one person and one person only, and that’s Grady Smith. Clearly he’s here to show up his son once again…
(The lights go out in the arena once again…)
MM: Regardless, he better change his attention, and fast, as here comes the champion!
(An eerie hush falls over the arena as we wait for the introduction of the champion. But the more we wait, the longer the silence continues, until we hear…)
It seems strange that my life should end
In such a terrible place…
(But that’s it… the silence returns, and the arena remains pitch black…)
(That is, until a strange rumbling sound begins to come from the sound system. The lights, in the arena, begin to dimly flicker on and off, very scattered around the arena as a strange fog begins to grow from the base of the entrance ramp.)
VA: Does… does it sound like an earthquake in here, Malone?
MM: Don’t be ridiculous… earthquakes don’t happen in Minnes…
(Suddenly, the rumbling sound gets louder… and louder… and louder, as the lights now begin to flicker over the entrance stage, and we see that coming up through the stage are four columns… nay, pillars. Massive stone columns rise, each one with a figure on top of them. The pillar to the right has a statue of ‘The Monster’ Cal Rayner. All the way to the left has a statue of ‘The Masochist’ William West. The middle pillar in the rear has a statue of ‘The Stranger’ Indrid Calder. And the pillar in the middle front has a statue of the EWA World Heavyweight Champion, ‘The Purveyor’ NOTHING. But as quickly as they came about, the spotlights over the statues fades out, replaced with a flickering static image on the jumbotron above the pillars, still including the low rumblings in the background…)
(As the sounds of Placebo’s “Without You I’m Nothing” begin to echo throughout the arena, the solo spotlight on the front pillar shines again, but instead of the statue on top of the pillar, it’s been replaced by the World Heavyweight Champion himself, head down, title belt around his waist. As the pillar begins to lower back down into the entrance stage, NOTHING extends his arms out, head still down as there’s a rumbling of anticipation throughout the arena.)
MM: Harkening back to his entrance eighteen months ago in Japan, here comes the World Heavyweight Champion!
VA: He may be trying to bring back memories from their match in Japan, but the shoes on the other foot this time, Malone. NOTHING’s coming into this match as the champion and has everything to lose compared to the Youth King!
(Once the pillar reaches the stage, NOTHING takes a few steps forward, arms still outstretched, and pauses for a moment before looking up towards the ring towards Martin Robertson. He looks towards the ring for a few moments, before reaching down, undoing the belt and holding it above his head as he begins his walk towards the ring.)
MM: In his first title defense as EWA World Heavyweight Champion, one can’t help but think back to all of the classics he had starting nearly twenty years ago against Martin’s father, the legendary Grady Smith.
VA: Yeah, who just happened to invite himself to this main event tonight.
MM: But here he still stands, now the World Heavyweight Champion, and the series of matches NOTHING and Martin have had already here in the EWA have been nothing, no pun intended, short of classics. First the match in Japan, then the Final Solution match a few months after that. And now, these two men fight for the greatest prize in all of professional wrestling!
(As NOTHING reaches the ringside area, rather than turning left to head up the staircase in the ring, he instead turns right, and walks right over towards where Grady Smith is standing. He stands in front of his former rival, holding the World Heavyweight Championship belt in front of the legend’s face. The two men say nothing, but the stare between the two speaks volumes. NOTHING flashes a brief smile before turning and leaping up on the ring apron, still standing in front of Grady, holding the title high in the air before he enters the ring. He moves to the center of the ring, laying the belt in front of him, and extends his arms outward…)
MM: I remember seeing some of those old classic matches between NOTHING and Grady, and this match has that very same feel to it.
VA: Well, if it’s got the same feel to it, then it’ll have the same outcome, right? Just hand the title to the Youth King right now and let’s call it a night!
MM: You know that’s not going to happen.
VA: Well, you make a ridiculous statement, I’ll make an equally stupid one.
MM: You are great at that.
MM: Let’s head up to the ring to get this epic main event underway!
DING! DING! DING!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall, and is for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship! First, introducing the challenger…
(A chorus of boos begins to rain down from the crowd…)
NR: He is accompanied to the ring by the Queen of the EWA, Alyssa Marie Haven…
(Even more boos as Alyssa attempts to silence the crowd… good luck with that, Alyssa…)
NR: He hails from New Rochelle, New York, and weighs in tonight at 234 pounds. He is known as the ‘Youth King’, here is the number one contender… “PERFECTION”… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
MM: Just look at Robertson… he’s trying his best to regain his composure, but for some reason, seeing his father at ringside almost looks to have thrown him off his game a bit!
VA: That’s Grady Smith doing what he does best, trying to preserve HIS legacy!
NR: … and now, introducing the champion…
(Is that a muted applause reception for the champion?)
NR: He weighs in tonight at 253 pounds. He hails from Albany, New York, and is a founding pillar of the group HATE! He is the reigning, defending EWA World Heavyweight Champion… He is “THE PURVEYOR OF HATE”… NOTHING!
MM: NOTHING, stoically looking across the ring, focusing solely on the challenger right now.
VA: You think this is all just a mind game by NOTHING, to get inside the head of the Youth King?
MM: I certainly wouldn’t put it past NOTHING, who is one of the greats of our time at playing the mental chess match of professional wrestling.
DING! DING! DING!
MM: And ladies and gentlemen, our main event is underway!
NOTHING leans back in the corner, looking across the ring at Robertson, who wipes his feet on the mat, then grabs the ropes for a few stretches before starting to circle the ring. This will prompt NOTHING to do the same, as the two competitors eye each other up. Martin shoots in quickly for a single leg takedown, but NOTHING easily sidesteps him, and Robertson promptly bounces back up to his feet. The two men stop and look at each other for a second before circling each other once again..
MM: These two men, taking their time early on… collar and elbow tie up, and the two men jostle for position. Robertson drops to a knee for leverage, but it doesn’t work, as the two release in a stalemate in the center of the ring.
VA: Both men trying to play mind games with each other right now.
MM: Robertson extends a hand out, looking across at NOTHING, as the two men look to lock hands. NOTHING now extends his hand out, but Robertson with another single leg shoot, but NOTHING picks up on it, backing up into the corner, and Robertson pops up right in front of him, and the two men are face to face!
VA: You can tell there’s an intense hatred brewing between these two men, but both men are trying to play it calm right now.
MM: Robertson smiles and backs up away from NOTHING to the opposite side of the ring, and now it seems like Robertson is the one trying to play mind games!
Robertson grabs the ropes to stretch again as the two men begin to, once again, circle each other. They lunge together into another collar and elbow tie up. NOTHING, the slightly larger competitor, is able to push Robertson back into the corner. Both men release the hold at the same time, raising the arms in the air just as Juan Cardillo comes over and steps between two, ensuring a clean break. But as soon as Cardillo steps away, Robertson charges again, trying to catch NOTHING off guard. But the champion is ready, as the two men tie up once again. Robertson, with a little leverage, is able to to back NOTHING into a corner. And as Cardillo comes and steps between the two men to get another clean break, Robertson slaps NOTHING! But NOTHING slaps Robertson right back!
MM: Now we’re starting to see some of the animosity pour out of these two!
Robertson charges the corner, but NOTHING side steps the challenger, who crashes into the corner. NOTHING goes for a kick to Martin’s midsection, but Robertson catches the foot and shoots forward, taking NOTHING to the mat. Robertson floats over putting NOTHING in a headlock, but the champ is quick to reverse, sliding out and putting Robertson in a hammer lock. NOTHING stands up quickly and stomps on the still bent arm of Robertson, who rolls to the other side of the ring, coming back up to a knee shaking his arm.
MM: The veteran NOTHING just one step ahead of Robertson right now!
VA: This is all just a cat and mouse game between the Purveyor and the Youth King, Malone. Robertson knows what he’s doing.
NOTHING stands in the middle of the ring, burning a hole through Robertson with his glare as Robertson pops back up to two feet. The two men circle again and, as they go for another tie up, this time, Robertson takes the advantage with a thumb to the eye of NOTHING. He pushes the champ back towards the corner and drapes his arms over the ropes before landing a vicious knife edge chop to the chest of NOTHING, as cries of “WOOOOOO!” echo throughout the arena. NOTHING winces as Robertson stands him back up, lacing him again with another chop, almost instantly turning the champion’s chest red. Alyssa begins to applaud on the outside as Robertson hits a third chop, this time an overhand open palm chop.
VA: Listen to that echo, Malone!
Robertson smiles down at his Queen as he grabs the arm of NOTHING and whips him across the ring. NOTHING hits back first hard into the turnbuckle, as Robertson follows behind quickly. But the champ was ready for him, as he moves out of the way, and it’s Robertson who crashes hard back first against the turnbuckle. And NOTHING, not wasting any time, begins to furiously return the chops to the challenger. But rather than take his time with each one, NOTHING lands them in rapid succession…
MM: … seven, eight, nine…. Ten chops! And now Robertson’s chest is starting to look like it went through a meat grinder!
Robertson stumbles forward out of the corner as NOTHING comes up alongside him and whips him into the ropes. Robertson rebounds, but is taken down with a clothesline by the champion. NOTHING looks down at Robertson and begins to drop a series of three elbows across the chest of Robertson. As the champ stands up after the third elbow, Robertson rolls under the bottom rope and out to the ringside floor, landing on his feet, but leaning against the ring apron.
MM: The champ is hot early on here, Vince.
VA: The key word is early, Malone… it’s early in the match…
NOTHING looks down at the contender on the outside, imploring him to come back into the ring. But Martin has none of it as he starts to walk away from NOTHING and around the ringside area. As Robertson turns the corner, NOTHING climbs through the ropes and down to the ringside area as well. He starts to chase after Robertson, but Robertson puts it into gear, and manages to keep himself at least a ring length away. Eventually, Robertson rolls into the ring, but rather than follow him, NOTHING pulls up and just looks up into the ring at Robertson.
The two men stare at each other for a second before Robertson walks over towards the ropes closest to NOTHING, sitting on the middle rope and lifting up the top rope…
VA: See… what a sportsman! Martin is holding the ropes for NOTHING…
MM: I wouldn’t necessarily call it sportsmanship, Vince.
After a few seconds, Juan Cardillo comes over to back Robertson up from the ropes, as NOTHING uses this opportunity to climb back onto the ring apron and into the ring. The two men begin to circle each other once again. Just as they go to tie up, Martin kicks the champion in the midsection, doubling him over before nailing him with a double axehandle to the back of the neck, sending NOTHING down to the mat. Robertson follows it up with a boot to the small of the back, flattening NOTHING down on the mat before continuing to stomp on various parts of NOTHING’s body, very meticulous with each stomp.
VA: Now this is the Youth King we’ve all been waiting to see in the match. Methodical, taking his time, not rushing the moves…
MM: You realize you just said the same thing three times…
VA: No I didn’t.
As Martin poses out towards the crowd and Alyssa, NOTHING tries to make his way over to a corner, but Martin is right behind him, pulling him up by his head before slamming his head into the top turnbuckle, spinning NOTHING around so he’s now back first into the corner. Martin climbs up the turnbuckle, dropping down right hands to the temple of NOTHING. Martin climbs down and heads to the middle of the ring, taunting NOTHING to come towards him. NOTHING does so, unexpecting that Martin is still there…
MM: Spinebuster by Robertson in the middle of the ring!
VA: He planted NOTHING with some viciousness, Malone!
MM: Martin Robertson has firmly grasped control of this match right now, Vince.
VA: Only a matter of time before he did it.
Martin goes for a quick cover, but only gets a one count as he pulls the champion back up off the mat. He straddles NOTHING, continuing to rain down fists to the head of the champion. He climbs over the champ to his side, pulling him back up to his feet as Robertson stands up as well. Another kick to the stomach by Robertson doubles over NOTHING before he reaches around, locking in an abdominal stretch…
VA: See… this is what I’m always talking about, Malone. He’s wisely wearing down the champion, realizing that he’s not going to get the win in the next fifteen seconds or so. So he’s working on the head, he’s working on the body… he’s taking apart the Champion with surgical precision here, Malone, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch!
Martin slaps down on the stretched abdominal region of NOTHING, causing him to wince in a bit of pain. Martin leans forward for a second, but not before rearing back, stretching the Purveyor even more.
“LET’S GO NO-THING!”
“LET’S GO NO-THING!”
“LET’S GO NO-THING!”
MM: Are… are these fans actually chanting for NOTHING here? After what he was involved in earlier tonight, with Jester Smiles and then Michael Draven? This is unbelievable!
VA: Well, when you have a bunch of lake-bred hillbillies who don’t appreciate raw talent like Martin Robertson, of course they’d cheer for NOTHING!
NOTHING slowly starts to try and pull himself back up to a vertical base, which he eventually does so. He manages to get free of the hold, and as Robertson tries to get over the shock, NOTHING grabs a hand and whips Robertson towards the ropes. But just in time, Robertson reverses, sending NOTHING into the ropes and, on the rebound, he locks in that abdominal stretch once again. But this time, NOTHING is quicker on his feet, standing up and hip tossing Robertson over onto his back. NOTHING holds his back for a second before bouncing off the ropes and charging towards the grounded Robertson. He leaps over the Youth King…
MM: Springboard moonsault… NO! Robertson was able to get the knees up at the very last second!
NOTHING rests on his knees, clutching at his stomach as Robertson picks himself up and goes behind NOTHING. He wraps his arms around his downed opponent…
MM: What’s Martin doi… Oh my! Deadlift German Suplex on the champion! And there was no release there, Vince! That was all impact Vince!
VA: What a beautiful counter by Robertson! There’s that technical ability I’ve been waiting to see!
Robertson stands up as he looks down at NOTHING. He doesn’t go for a cover. Rather, he sits NOTHING up, going behind him and locking in a seated abdominal stretch…
MM: Now this… this is the type of stuff that will win Martin Robertson championships, folks. When he slows the match down, he fully implements any game plan he has on the match, and he executes as he is now… I don’t know too many people that can stop him when he’s rolling like this, Vince.
VA: YES! HALLELUJAH! Malone has seen the light!
MM: I might have seen the light, but I haven’t drank the kool-aid like you!
VA: Kool-aid? Nah, we’ve graduated to freezy pops!
Robertson holds the stretch for another couple of seconds before standing up over top of NOTHING, still holding onto the arm in an armbar position, but now pushing down on the neck of the champion. NOTHING struggles to try and find a release for the hold, but he find one once he starts to get pulled to his feet by the challenger. Martin wrings the arm, then slams into the shoulder with a shoulder charge… and follows that up with another shoulder charge, before wringing the arm once again, then taking NOTHING back down to the mat with a short arm clothesline.
VA: See… this is what Martin was talking about when he said it was going to be completely different than their match from Japan! Total domina…
MM: Small package by NOTHING!
Kickout by Martin!
MM: He almost got caught there by the champion…
VA: See… NOTHING can’t do anything that doesn’t involve being sneaky. But now look, Malone… the Youth King is going to turn one of the pillars of HATE into the moat around the castle!
MM: Robertson, vicious with those stomps onto the champion, and NOTHING now is the one heading to the outside for a breather. But Robertson… what’s he doing on the inside…
VA: AIR ROBERTSON!
MM: Robertson with a dive to the outside on NOTHING, sending him into the barricade!
VA: … and right in front of his father, too! How poetic!
MM: Yeah, but now listen to him!
Martin Robertson: See that, dad! That’s how you do it!
Martin bends down and picks up NOTHING, slamming his head into the barricade right in front of his father.
Martin Robertson: I got this!
(Martin looks down at NOTHING)
Martin Robertson: Same family, Prudence… same result!
Martin slams NOTHING’s head into the guardrail once again as NOTHING flails backwards down along another side of the ring. Alyssa is right by the challenger, clapping with her approval for the domination by Robertson so far.
VA: (singing) All around the wrestling ring, the Youth King chased the champion…
MM: Please… no more singing.
VA: Why shouldn’t I sing? This is a glorious occasion!
MM: It seems like Cardillo has abandoned the count on both NOTHING and Robertson outside the ring, giving these guys some leeway in this World Heavyweight Championship match…
VA: As well he should. This isn’t some basic television match… it’s for the richest prize in our industry… let the two men settle it with a definitive finish!
NOTHING rolls back into the ring, trying to avoid the pursuit of Robertson. Martin quickly follows in, but NOTHING is there to meet him with a kick to the midsection… but Robertson catches it, just a step ahead of NOTHING still. Martin smiles as NOTHING hops on one leg, trying to evaluate his options. As NOTHING hops towards the center of the ring, Martin spins NOTHING around…
MM: OH! Enzuigiri by the champion! This might be the opening he needs!
Robertson drops to a knee as NOTHING starts to slowly pick himself up, getting back to a vertical base. Just as Robertson starts to shake off the cobwebs from the kick, NOTHING is there to greet him with a right hand to the temple… and a second… and a third! But neither have knocked Robertson from his knee, as he reaches up and pushes NOTHING back towards the center of the ring. NOTHING uses his momentum, though, to continue towards the ropes, charging back towards Robertson and taking him down with a double foot front dropkick, sending Robertson bouncing off the bottom rope and down to the mat! NOTHING looks to pick up the pace as he quickly pounces on Robertson, pulling him up to his feet and backing him up against the ropes. He whips the challenger across the ring, and as he comes back, throws him with a high back body drop. Robertson stands up, but he turns right into NOTHING, who executes a inverted atomic drop, which looks to cause Robertson a lot of pain. And as the challenger holds himself where it hurts, he finds himself back on the mat with a running clothesline by NOTHING…
MM: Listen to this crowd, Vince… I think they’re actually getting behind the champion here!
NOTHING looks out at the capacity crowd for a moment before bending back down and picking up Robertson, only to dump him back to the outside where, again, they find themselves in front of the 11-time World Champion, Grady Smith. Robertson lands, but bounces up quickly, turning towards the ring, where he’s met with a pair of boots flying through the bottom and middle ropes, smacking him square in the face, sending him back into the guardrail behind him… and directly in front of his family.
MM: NOTHING is starting to turn on the heat here, as he’s now climbing outside as well!
VA: Isn’t he supposed to be setting a good wrestling example as the champion here? Not relying on cheap wrestling tactics on the outside?
MM: A good wrestling example? Give me one example of someone who exemplifies “good wrestling” around here?
VA: Martin Robertson.
MM: Anyone else?
VA: Ummm… let me get back to you on that.
NOTHING bends over and pulls Robertson to his feet, bending him backwards over the guardrail, directly in front of his family…
NOTHING: Baby boy should have retired, Grady… just like you!
NOTHING slaps down across the chest of Robertson with an open hand chop, and the blood curdling scream from Robertson could be heard out in the concourse… as NOTHING slaps him again with another open hand chop to the chest, turning his chest bright red once again. He turns him over and slams him head first into the guardrail before starting to taunt his long time rival, daring him to take a shot at him! Calvin and Louie are a bit more animated than Grady, who just stares directly at the champion, watching every movement, not taking his eye off him.
MM: Look at the intensity in the eyes of the Legend, Vince.
VA: What, is he looking for a chance to hop into this match, too, and try to steal another World Title from Martin?
NOTHING picks up Martin again, and slams him a second time into the guardrail. Martin slumps against the barricade with his back to his father as NOTHING places his boot across the throat of the challenger, but still staring directly at his lifelong rival. Alyssa walks over, trying to yell at everyone — NOTHING, Martin, Juan Cardillo.. Even Grady — but nobody is paying attention to her. Cardillo finally hops out of the ring and starts admonishing NOTHING, but how do you admonish someone who doesn’t care what you think? NOTHING stomps down on Martin’s chest with his boot as he heads back to the ring…
… but simply to roll in long enough to break whatever phantom count Cardillo had, and he’s back out choking Robertson with his boot against the guardrail once again.
MM: The tides have really turned in this match now, as NOTHING has grasped control here in the past couple of minutes.
VA: Yeah, he’s managed to ground the attack of the Youth King here, but you know Martin has a comeback here at some point… right?
MM: You don’t seem so sure about that, Vince…
VA: No, no… I am… Yeah.
NOTHING pulls up the challenger by his arm, sliding into and out of the ring very quickly, still holding on the arm, and using it to pull Martin into the ring post from the opposite side! He relaxes a little bit to give Martin some slack, but then pulls him back into the ring post a second time! Martin manages to escape, but collapses to the ground, holding his right shoulder. NOTHING continues to stalk the challenger, reaching him and kicking at that same shoulder he just rammed into the ring post. Without missing a beat, he reaches back to grab Martin’s right arm, and begins dragging him the opposite way around the ring. Martin tries to put on the brakes, but everytime he does, NOTHING turns around and kicks the shoulder one more time. NOTHING reaches the next corner where there’s a set of the ring steps waiting. NOTHING climbs up the steps, still holding onto Martin’s arm, and jumps off the other side of the steps back to the ring floor, but slams Martin’s arm into the ring steps at the same time!
MM: NOTHING really methodical here, working over that same arm that was fractured last year.
VA: Yeah, but it’s smart because it really takes away Martin’s ability to throw that wide variety of suplexes that he loves to do.
Martin crawls backwards away from the steps, trying to get to his feet. He eventually does so and rolls back into the ring, trying to get some distance between him and NOTHING, but NOTHING, a true master of the sport, knows Martin’s moves and is right back into the ring as well. Martin backs himself into the corner as NOTHING closes the distance between the two. Just as NOTHING arrives, Martin attempts to throw a punch with his left hand, but it obviously lacks the same power as a punch with his right hand. NOTHING winces for a second, but flashes a brief smile before quickly lunging in and grabbing Martin by the head, pulling him out of the corner. He locks on the front facelock before lifting Martin up into the air for a vertical suplex… holding… holding…
MM: Look at the strength of NOTHING here, holding the challenger up in the air! Ten seconds… thirteen… fifteen…
VA: Ok, ok… you’re showing off, Purveyor. We get it.
NOTHING finally drops Martin down to the mat, but with a brainbuster rather than the vertical suplex.
MM: But now this is what I don’t get. Why not make the cover, NOTHING?
VA: Because he knows he’s not winning, so there’s no sense in covering him.
MM: That… makes absolutely no sense.
NOTHING walks over to the corner, climbing up to the second rope before turning around and taking a seat on the turnbuckle for a moment, looking down at his challenger, watching him writhe around in pain for a few moments before standing up and dropping down a vicious right hand to the top of the forehead of Robertson!
The camera cuts over to the Smith family, where the three men are standing, imploring Martin to get back up and get back into the match, as Janelle is sitting next to Grady, rubbing her forehead, attempting to not look at the ring for the moment. Alyssa is near the family, but purely focused on the ring, banging her hands on the mat, trying to wake up Martin.
NOTHING stands over his challenger, dropping a knee across the forehead of Robertson before standing back up over him, looking down at him, void of any empathy or emotion for his opponent on the mat. NOTHING pulls Robertson back to his feet once again, but the vacant look in the eyes of Robertson shows where his mental state currently is. NOTHING looks out at the crowd for a brief moment before pushing Robertson backwards. Martin rebounds off the ropes, but in a shocking move, Robertson connects with a forearm to the jaw of the champion, startling him! But NOTHING responds just as quickly with a boot to the midsection before following it up with a snap DDT! He floats over for a cover, but Martin kicks out at two.
NOTHING, unfazed by not getting the pinfall, grabs Martin’s arm while standing, grapevines it around his leg as he rolls Martin over on his stomach, then reaches out and grabs the right leg, pulling backwards in a single leg boston crab maneuver!
MM: Now it’s NOTHING who’s really stretching out the challenger!
VA: NOTHING was a good wrestler before this new reincarnation of HATE, but now that he’s partnered up someone who’s a master of torture like Indrid Calder, he’s picked up so many of these maneuvers that are just meant to hurt someone, and he’s doing that now to our Youth King.
MM: You’re absolutely right with that, Vince, and we’ve seen that with this most recent run by NOTHING that’s brought him to this point as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Martin attempts to reach out with his left hand for the ropes, but the champion has him squarely in the middle of the ring, equidistant from each rope. Martin reaches one direction before trying to turn and reach another, but each attempt is futile. He tries to reach back and grab onto NOTHING somehow, but the champ is perfectly positioned in the move. Martin looks up to see Alyssa begging him to come towards her and the ropes, and the challenger summons some strength to push himself up just slightly off the mat, inching him closer to the mat.
VA: The Youth King needs to dig deep here, Malone, because NOTHING seems intent to hold this maneuver in until either he breaks it or he’s ended the match with it!
Martin pushes himself up slightly again, patiently moving closer and closer towards Alyssa and the rope. A third push and a little inching, and now Martin is within a hand’s length from the rope. Alyssa pushes the rope closer towards Martin, but just as she does, NOTHING stands up, releasing the arm grapevine, but holding onto the leg, dragging Martin back to the center of the ring, and locking the single leg crab in even deeper than before!
MM: NOTHING is determined to make Robertson submit here, Vince!
But just as NOTHING sinks his body down into the maneuver even more, he leans back just enough to give Martin an opportunity to roll through the crab to where he’s now sitting up in front of NOTHING. The champion is now seated on the mat as well as he lets go of the hold, bounces off the ropes and drills Robertson square in the mouth with a seated dropkick! NOTHING rolls back after landing, getting back to his feet quickly…
MM: NOTHING.. Running shooting star press! He’s got a cover on the challenger…
THR… NO! Robertson kicks out!
VA: That was close, Malone!
MM: Martin Robertson has been on the receiving end of this HATE-ful onslaught by NOTHING for quite a few minutes now! But that shooting star press was beautifully executed by the champion. But he doesn’t seem to be done here, Vince..
VA: No, he’s climbing the rope on the outside…
MM: TOP ROPE ELBOW DROP!!
VA: That’s not very macho, Malone…
MM: Another cover…
THR… NO! Again, Robertson kicks out!
NOTHING, resting on his knees right next to the challenger, is disgusted both at Cardillo for not counting the three, but also at Robertson for kicking out! He looks down at the challenger, pulling his head up with his left hand and begins to land right hand after right hand to the top of the forehead of Robertson, with the fifth punch breaking open the skin on Robertson’s head. Red from Martin’s blood begins to cover NOTHING’s hand, Martin’s face, and pool up just a tiny bit on the mat underneath the challenger.
MM: Forget the methodical side, Vince… NOTHING’s pure HATE for the Smith family is showing now, as he just bust open the challenger!
NOTHING continues with blow after blow right on that open cut until Alyssa climbs up onto the ring apron, causing Cardillo to come over and start yelling at her. The commotion is just enough to cause NOTHING to stop for a minute to look up at the situation, giving Robertson time to roll outside of the ring, just in front of his family.
MM: What’s she doing up there?
VA: Exactly what just happened… she distracted NOTHING enough to get Martin out of that situation. I mean, look at that cut!
As the camera zooms in on Robertson, his face and chest are covered in his own blood as the wound has mixed with his sweat and is just causing a mess. Dr. Furman comes bursting from the backstage area out with a medical bag next to the Smith family, and he attempts to look at his cut as Martin tries to push him away, not realizing where he is or who he’s pushing against. But in a matter of a few seconds, Dr. Furman has applied a piece of gauze and some white gauze wrap around the forehead of Robertson, and is back over by the timekeeper as NOTHING is now back right next to Robertson.
NOTHING looks at Robertson and grabs him in a headlock, holding him right in front of Grady, ripping off the bandage that Dr. Furman just applied a minute ago. The bleeding has mostly stopped…
NOTHING: Remember seven-thirteen, Grady?
VA: Seven-thirteen? What the hell is that?
MM: Seven-thirteen is the date of Battlelines 15, when HATE savagely attacked Martin and Alexander Haven in the basement of the Combat Zone! But just look at the face of Grady as soon as NOTHING mentioned it..
VA: I guess he knew what it meant!
NOTHING, smiling, turns and pounds on the forehead of Robertson again, and again, and again… all right in front of the Smith family. Janelle buries her head into the chest of her brother Calvin unable to watch, as Grady, again, does nothing but stare straight ahead at NOTHING. The blood, once again, has started pouring out of the forehead of Robertson.
NOTHING: I’ll finish what I started that night… right in front of your whole family!
NOTHING drags Martin over to the steel ring steps, slamming his head against the steps twice, as a pool of blood now collects there. He rolls Martin into the ring, dragging him by that injured right arm into the center of the ring. He pulls Martin up just enough to where Martin is on his knees in front of the champion. NOTHING takes his finger, rubbing it in some of the blood from Martin’s forehead and making two lines on his own face before looking out at the crowd…
NOTHING: If he is the king… the king… must be executed!
MM: Martin, motionless…
VA: NO, no, no, no no no….
MM: PURE HATE! NOTHING just nearly decapitated Martin Robertson! This match has to be over!
MM: ROBERTSON KICKED OUT! AT TWO AND NINE-TENTHS! UNBELIEVABLE!
MM: Maybe it is his destiny… maybe it is his night to become World Champion! And look, everyone in this arena is shocked! NOTHING, Alyssa, Grady and his family… NOBODY thought Robertson would kick out of that after this savage beating he’s taken at the hands of the champion!
VA: THE YOUTH KING IS MY SWORD AND MY SHIELD, AND WITH HIM I SHALL BE VICTORIOUS!
NOTHING, sitting on the mat next to Robertson, just begins to kick at him, causing him to roll back out of the ring once again. Taking quick advantage of the free moment, Dr. Furman is once again over to Martin, and this time, the bandage he applies has about five layers of tape around it as well before heading back to the timekeeper’s table. NOTHING, doing his best to hide his frustration, is back outside the ring now as well next to Martin. He slams Martin into the nearest ringpost. Martin does his best to try and stumble away from NOTHING, but the champion is not far behind, as he slams him into the next ringpost on the outside. Martin again stumbles away…
MM: NOTHING, stalking his prey on the outside, following Martin around the ringside area… OH! Martin into the third ringpost!
Martin gets away far enough to make it to the fourth ringpost, where NOTHING eyes him up…
MM: Here comes NOTHING… HE MOVED! Martin moved out of the way at the last second, and NOTHING went crashing into the ringpost full speed!
VA: I think it’s more he collapsed and NOTHING just missed him, but I like your version better!
MM: Either way, does the Youth King have anything left in the tank to try and mount a comeback here?
If he did, it still wasn’t as much as NOTHING, as the champ is the first to shake the cobwebs off and is marching back towards Martin again. But Martin is able to sucker NOTHING in, and he pulls him into the guardrail behind him face first! Martin rolls over on top of NOTHING, and uses the champion to try and pull himself back to his feet. He finally gets there, but the champ is stirring, getting back to his feet as well. Martin swings wildly towards NOTHING, missing as the champ ducks, and tries to counter with a right of his own, but misses as well…
MM: OH… MY!
VA: That’s the great equalizer, Malone!
MM: Martin Robertson with a VERY low blow!
NOTHING reaches down for his manhood as Martin reaches out with his right hand, placing it on top of NOTHING’s head, almost as if he’s using the cranium of the champion to hold himself up. Martin lunges forward, head butting the champion with no regard for his head, but the force sends NOTHING down to a knee. The white bandage has turned red again as Martin drops to a knee as well for a second, but is quickly back up and charges towards the champion, nailing him with a well placed knee strike to the temple!
VA: I think Martin’s found that second tank of energy here, Malone!
MM: Robertson is growing more confident with each and every move he is able to land against the champion, Vince.
Martin grabs the slumping NOTHING and throws him into the ring and quickly follows behind. He starts to stomp away at the champion as NOTHING continues to try and roll away. But now Martin is the pursuer, and he’s relentless in trying to inflict damage onto the Purveyor of HATE. NOTHING to the ringside floor, but is on his feet leaning against the ring apron..
MM: Martin… what’s he…. SLINGSHOT CROSS BODY BLOCK TO THE OUTSIDE!
VA: The Youth King is pulling out all of the stops here tonight, Malone!
Martin is right on top of NOTHING as he rolls him back into the ring. He quickly follows, pulling the champion back up to his feet before pushing him chest first into the corner. Martin backs up and charges at the champion, nailing him with a knee to the back, causing NOTHING to stumble backwards away from the corner. Martin, with a new found energy to him, sprints back to his original corner, then charges again at NOTHING, taking him down with a bulldog. Again, Robertson is back to his feet as he climbs up the closest corner turnbuckle…
MM: What the hell is Robertson doing?!?
VA: I don’t have a clue, Malone… I never have a clue!
MM: Truer words have never been spoken. Martin to the top rope… OH! NOTHING catches him just in time, kicking out his right leg, sending him to a seated position on the top turnbuckle. NOTHING leans against the corner for a second before climbing up to the second turnbuckle, throwing a right hand at the temple of the challenger. But he responds back with a right of his own, shaking his arm after the punch. NOTHING with another right, followed by another one from Robertson. Robertson is slightly quicker and is able to get the next punch off… and another one…
MM: Robertson now… NO! NOTHING with a headbutt to that bandaged gash on the head of Robertson! NOTHING locks in a headlock… SUPERPLE… NO! Robertson floats over and lands on his feet…
VA: What the hell is this?!?
MM: Martin, he has NOTHING on his shoulders… ONE HANDED ELECTRIC CHAIR DRIVER!
VA: OH MY GOD! HE’S LIKE AN OMEGAMAN!
THRE… NO! The champ kicks out just before the three count!
VA: And look at the face of Robertson… he thought he had it!
MM: Martin pulling out all sorts of moves here! But he’s wasting no time here, pulling NOTHING back to his feet.. He’s hooking the arm and leg of NOTHING… will this be the Perfect Ending? Martin has him up… but NOTHING floats over! Wait… what the…
VA: NO WAY!
MM: FALL FROM GLORY! NOTHING just nailed Martin Robertson with that Fall From Glory Death Valley Driver!
VA: But isn’t that Ale…
VA: NO! Look!
MM: Vince is right! Martin had his foot on the ropes, and Cardillo caught it just in the nick of time! This match is still on, folks!
VA: NOTHING is pissed… he thought he had it!
Without hesitation, NOTHING immediately pounces up and corners Juan Cardillo in the corner, questioning how he has not already won the match.
VA: I think NOTHING is starting to lose it, Malone!
MM: Has he ever really had it, though?
VA: Touche… wonderful point.
As NOTHING continues to question Cardillo, Alyssa has walked over to Martin and is talking to him as he tries to regain his composure for… I dunno… the seventh time? He has two hands on the bottom rope as Alyssa sprints around to the other side of the ring, and now she’s on the other side of the ring, up on the apron opposite Cardillo as well! NOTHING knows Alyssa is there, but he’s refusing to acknowledge her, since that’s exactly what she wants. NOTHING begins to point his finger into the chest of Cardillo, who then pushes NOTHING in return.
MM: NOTHING, wasting valuable time here…
MM: PURE PERFECTION BY MARTIN ROBERTSON! AND HE GOT ALL OF THAT, SQUARE ON THE CHIN OF THE CHAMPiON!
VA: COVER HIM, MARTIN!
MM: But look! All that damage NOTHING did to the Youth King earlier has taken its’ toll… he can’t even afford to make the cover right now!
MM: What a war between these two!
VA: Did you expect anything less?
Just as Martin connected with the kick, he collapsed backwards as NOTHING did, but in the opposite direction. Alyssa is back down off the apron now, running over to the other side of the ring to continue to encourage Martin, but neither man is moving very fast. But the encouragement seems to be working, as we see Robertson roll over onto his stomach and begin to crawl over towards the champion, managing to drape an arm across his chest…
THRE… NO! NOTHING with an arm up at the last second!
VA: That was a slow count!
Robertson, still exhausted, doesn’t move except to use the same hand he just covered NOTHING with and begins to pound — weakly — on the chest of NOTHING, attempting to do any kind of damage that he can. NOTHING rolls away from Robertson, arm draped across the bottom rope to try and pull himself up. Martin rolls onto his back, looking up at the lights in the rafters. NOTHING finally pulls himself up to his feet, but stumbles back into the corner for a moment. He looks around for a moment before straightening himself up and starting to head towards Robertson in the center of the ring…
VA: WHOA! What the hell was that?
MM: Robertson just kipped up out of nowhere, and now he’s pounding away on the champion!
VA: Where is he getting all of this energy from?
MM: I have no clue, but he has the champion reeling right now! He backs NOTHING into the ropes… Irish whip… caught… OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX BY THE CHALLENGER!
VA: Yeah, but he’s still favoring that arm, Malone!
MM: NOTHING is back up quickly, but Robertson’s waiting right there for him… ANOTHER OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY! These are all impact, folks!
VA: He’s coming to life, folks! The Youth King is arriving!
MM: NOTHING is trying to get right back up, but Robertson is waiting for him again… Forearm smash by Robertson.. but NOTHING lands one in return! Another forearm by Martin…. and another return by NOTHING! These two guys are really battling right now… Robertson with a boot to the midsection… off the ropes he goes, but NOTHING ducks the clothesline. Robertson rebounds back… Powerslam by NOTHING! BUT ROBERTSON IS RIGHT BACK TO HIS FEET!
VA: I TOLD YOU MALONE!
MM: He’s right in the face of the Purveyor! And I don’t think anyone — NOTHING, the fans… — anyone believes what they’re seeing right now! After the ten-plus minutes of punishment Robertson just took from NOTHING, here he stands defiant of the champion! And Robertson’s just laughing at him… he’s daring him to hit him… A right by NOTHING, but no effect! Another right, still no effect! Rapid forearm smashes by NOTHING back Robertson into the ropes… Irish whip… NO! Reversal by Robertson… HEAD AND ARM OVERHEAD SUPLEX BY ROBERTSON!
VA: THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!
MM: NOTHING is down on the mat… Robertson picks him up.. whips him into the corner hard and charges… clothesline by Robertson causes NOTHING to bounce out. Robertson backs up as NOTHING stumbles out… PURE PERFECTION AGAIN!
VA: BUT NOTHING IS STILL ON HIS FEET!
MM: He is, but he’s slumped in the corner, his back to Robertson. The corner is barely holding up NOTHING… he’s out, folks! But what… what’s Robertson doing?
VA: C’mon Martin… finish him and take home your crown!
MM: He’s… he’s pointing towards Grady?
VA: Why? Just finish it!
MM: He is… he’s looking right at his father right now, pointing towards him and saying… he’s saying something, but we can’t hear what over this capacity crowd… What’s he doing… OH…. OH MY!
VA: OH MY GOD!
MM: MARTIN ROBERTSON HAS NOTHING UP, LOOKING DIRECTLY AT HIS FATHER, FOR THE CHOKEBUSTER..
VA: FINISH HIM!
MM: But he’s just holding him there… wait a second… what’s Alyssa doing?
VA: She’s over yelling at Grady and his family now…
MM: But why? Grady hasn’t done anything in this match except encouraging his son!
VA: I don’t know, but I know they call her the Queen Bitch for a reason, and she’s really laying into Grady now… And now she’s got the rest of the Smith family yelling back at her! This is a cluster!
MM: It is, because now, whatever it is, it’s caused Martin to drop NOTHING, who’s down on a knee now. Martin walks over to the ropes to see what’s happening… But NOTHING is up… Spins Martin around… Boot to the midsection… HIGH KNEE STRIKE! NOTHING off the ropes… running knee drops Martin…
MM: PURE HATE BY NOTHING!
VA: BUT WHY IS HE…
MM: A SECOND PURE HATE! COVER…
NR: The winner of the match, and STILL EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION… NOTHING!
NOTHING DEFEATS MARTIN ROBERTSON VIA PINFALL (27:19)
NOTHING RETAINS THE EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
MM: What a finish, Vince!
VA: What do you mean what a finish? What the hell happened there?
MM: You know them better than I do… you tell us.
VA: I… I’m still trying to figure it all out. Why was Alyssa over talking to Grady? She could clearly see that Martin had the match won! I mean, NOTHING’s been beaten so many times in the past with a Chokebuster that, as soon as he gets hit with it, he’s out for a week!
MM: Are you saying that you think Alyssa purposely sabotaged Martin’s chance at becoming World Heavyweight Champion?
VA: No, not at all! I’m saying that greedy Grady Smith couldn’t bear to see his son surpass his legacy so quickly that HE sabotaged Martin’s title win. I mean, that can be the only reason she’s yelling at him right now!
MM: But isn’t she the one that walked over towards Grady and his family while Martin had NOTHING in the Chokebuster?
VA: I… I don’t know… I’m so confused, Malone! All I know is that this is a travesty, and the Youth King was robbed of his crown!
(As “Without You I’m Nothing” continues to play over the loudspeaker, NOTHING has finally reached his feet, resting in the corner with Juan Cardillo next to him, holding the World Heavyweight Championship belt in his hands until NOTHING snatches it away from him. He throws the belt over his right shoulder and staggers to the middle of the ring with it, where Robertson is still laying flat on his back. NOTHING kneels down over his unsuccessful challenger for a moment, saying something to the youngster before tapping him on the right shoulder a few times before standing back up and holding the belt high overhead…)
MM: In any event, while Vince tries to come up with some more conspiracy theories, the spotlight tonight shines brightest on the house of HATE, as NOTHING has successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship tonight! For Vincent Ashe, Nikki Rogers, Terry Bull and all of our crew here tonight, so long from This Means War, as the pillar of HATE, the Purveyor NOTHING stands tall, still the EWA World Heavyweight Champion! Goodnight everyone!
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Katsuro Yoshida vs Philip Donovan – Rob B.
Erin Gordon vs Sterling – Harlan H.
Dane Preston/Murphy Doyle Maher vs William West/Cal Rayner – Gates
Buck Dresden vs Jester Smiles – Eric M., Brandon H., Jeremy M.
The Tag Team Asylum – Sean B.
Sahara vs Sinnocence – Gates
Lou vs. Maggie McIntyre – Sean B.
Donovan King vs Azrael Goeren – Brandon H.
Michael Draven vs Indrid Calder – Harlan H.
Martin Robertson vs NOTHING – Chris F.