(The Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona opens upon a somber scene. The lighting in the arena is dimmed quite significantly, the only light shining softly down upon the entrance ramp leading to the stage. The screen at the top of the stage is dark and still. Along the entrance ramp stands wreath after wreath of flowers, artfully and meticulously selected for this very occasion. Some hang with ribbons or other accessories attached while some rest solemnly on their black wire stands.
As a murmur works its way through the crowd, the stage begins to become faintly illuminated in a gold light. The soft glow illuminates, like a beam of heavenly light, the scene on top of the stage. Laid out side by side by side, dead center on the stage, are three closed caskets. The light reflects off of their sleek white finishes while the murmur begins to grow more bewildered. Suddenly, cutting through the puzzling scene, a voice is heard overhead.)
???: Friends… family… loved ones… we are gathered here today to bid our farewell to brave souls. Brave, defiant individuals who struggled through pain and humiliation to find themselves standing strong… together. Casting aside all others – enemies, naysayers, and even those for whom they reputedly held close to their hearts – in order to strengthen their own bonds. It is with a heavy heart that, today, we say goodbye to these dear, dear friends.
(The crowd, still unsure of what exactly is happening, is now on their feet and buzzing loudly. They are left to contemplate what they have just heard for only a few moments before their buzzing turns to booing. Out from the entrance steps the source of the eulogizer – the EWA World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING. He wears a smart black suit, finely tailored, with his striking white hair neatly styled. A small microphone is attached to his lapel, his hands empty as he approaches the caskets in front of him. He stands at the head of the pristine box in front of him, his arms reaching out to his sides as he gently places his hands atop the other two. A grin spreads across his face as he looks across the crowd, who are now booing and hurling obscenities [and some trash] at The Purveyor.)
NOTHING: Yes, today is a day that many of us thought would never come. A day that many of us hoped would never come. Yet… for others… it is a day that could not have come soon enough. For today, we finally say our goodbyes to the thorns that have been sticking in our sides for far, far too long. With one quick motion, we have pulled the offending element out and deposited it in the trash where it rightfully belongs. No longer will the annoyance sting at us with every step… no longer will we feel the constant gnawing and scraping as it refuses to leave our side. Finally, the day has come!
The day has come… to bid fond farewell… to Michael Draven and Maggie McIntyre.
Mike Malone: We’re live here from Phoenix tonight for Battlelines 40, and — oh, this is just sickening. Just sick! Can we just cut his mic already?!
Vincent Ashe: Hey, shut up, Malone! Have some respect – you shouldn’t talk during a eulogy!
NOTHING: Now, I could speak at length about Michael and Maggie myself. We all know that with the history between the three of us alone, I could fill a book with stories. Stories of how, in them, I have seen the worst of humankind. Stories detailing the ways in which they have lied to and manipulated their loved ones into falling for every disgusting, vile trap they have laid over the years. Stories of how they always come crawling back, tail between their legs, to the one constant in their lives… the one thing that is always there for them when they need it the most. No, I’m not talking about one another – I’m talking about failure. For it is the failure to end The Stranger that leaves Michael Draven with a raspy voice and a bruised neck. It is the failure to truly love a Goddess amongst us that leaves both Michael and Maggie with broken hearts. And it is the failure to break themselves out of their moronic cycles of love and loss that leaves them to wallow in their extravagant palace, just waiting for the next catastrophe to befall them.
(NOTHING pauses, soaking in the vitriol coming off of the fans in Phoenix, before turning and walking toward the casket to his left. He places his right hand at the top of it and allows his palm to slowly caress the metal as he walks alongside it. He stops at the center of the coffin and reaches his hand toward the edge. He grips the casket lid tightly before slowly pulling it open to reveal… an empty interior. He gazes down into the caskets briefly before turning his head to look out at the rabid EWA Universe.)
NOTHING: But still… there is loss that is yet to come. While others who stand by my side will have their time to speak their minds on Michael Draven and Maggie McIntyre, I stand alongside this casket void of a body. Void of a soul.
But not for long.
While we have already had time to say our teary goodbyes to Michael and Maggie, there is another amongst us who has yet to be sent out to pasture just yet. That all changes in just a few hours time. I’ve reserved this luxuriously, finely-crafted place of rest for one Martin Robertson. We’ve already seen what happens when you and I step into the ring, Martin. Whether it’s for the EWA Network Title or the EWA World Heavyweight Title, you have proven to yourself, to me, and to everyone else that you simply can not cut it against The Purveyor. Yet, here are are again… you and I, poised to go toe-to-toe albeit a non-title affair. Nevertheless, Martin, the outcome will be the same.
Tonight, I finally put to rest the myth that Martin Robertson is anything but “Pure Perfection”. I put the final nail in your coffin, Martin, when I drive my knee through your pretty, young face one more time and pin your shoulders to the mat. I just hope you’ve made peace with your old man, Martin… because you’ll never have the chance to say goodbye.
(He peers out across the crowd once more before slamming the lid on the casket. He walks back around and stands at the head of the casket, reserved for Martin Robertson, as a second voice is heard.
A scream derived from a place of incredible loss melds into uncontrollable sobbing.
Running out from the back, dressed in a beautiful black dress with her shock of platinum hair cascading over her shoulders, the Crimson Queen THROWS herself onto Michael’s casket, and her momentum causes it to start rolling away! NOTHING, stifling an accidental laugh, quickly grabs hold of it to stop both Sahara and the casket from wheeling itself right off the side of the stage!)
MM: Awww, God…here we go.
VA: She’s a widow in mourning!
MM: A-a widow?! Alright…
(Her mocking sobs and repeated cries of ‘why?’ echo across the arena, drawing loud boo’s from the crowd. After wheeling the casket back to its rightful place on the stage, NOTHING takes Sahara by the shoulders, PRYING her from the lid of Michael’s casket. As she turns toward NOTHING, she places one of her hands over her eyes, and what appears to be a gratuitous amount of tears stream down her face as the Purveyor of HATE hugs her tightly.
After a few more exaggerated sobs and sniffles, she steps away from NOTHING and the newest member of HATE places a single black rose on the surface of Maggie’s casket. Bending down, she kisses the casket, leaving her inky black lip prints on it’s shiny white surface before moving over to Michael’s. This time, the rose is red, but she leaves a similar set of black lip prints on the casket. Turning away from the somber scene, she once again brings her hand up to her eyes and a bountiful amount of tears stream down her cheeks, causing her mascara to run.)
MM: This is ridiculous…
VA: I can’t believe you’d mock a woman in mourning, Malone. You oughta be ashamed of yourself.
MM: I’m not doing this, Ashe. I’m not selling this sham of a funeral for these despicable people.
(Through an endless amount of sniffles, sobs — and more tears — Sahara finally takes a deep breath at the behest of NOTHING, who continues trying to soothe her endless pain.)
Sahara: I– (Her voice cracks.) I can’t do this, I just can’t say goodb–
(Once again bringing a hand to her face, more tears flow as a few more pieces of trash hit the stage.)
VA: She’s in such pain she’s at a loss for words…I don’t believe I’ve EVER seen that happen. I feel for her, Malone.
(The lumbering Rayner appears next, the giant bedecked in an ill-fitting black tux with a crimson bowtie. Each time he moves his enormous limbs it seems that the material of the tux is about to split. He stands next to Sahara, and he produces a silken red handkerchief from his pocket and hands it to her. She thanks him dramatically and blows her nose, and Rayner brings a mic up to the stitched mouth of his mask.)
Cal Rayner: I ain’t really the eulogizing type, but I wanted to say a few words.
(The Titan of HATE casually opens up the casket lid, starts hawking up phlegm and mucus from deep within his throat, and then he spits a big ol’ greenish loogie into the casket before closing it again.)
Cal Rayner: Good riddance, ya lousy fuckin’ cunts. There we go. Those are my few words.
(The Pillars of HATE part to the side, and from the shadows emerges The Spider King. Indrid Calder literally STRUTS in his midnight-colored suit, a crisp black rose tucked into the lapel, and gleaming black dress shoes that click as he walks. There is an enormous shit-eating grin plastered across his face… the grin of a conniving wolf that has gotten EXACTLY what he wants, and now he just can’t wait to howl to the world about it.
He tosses the microphone jovially up into the air and catches it with a swift hand, proceeding to lift up a leg and rest his foot on the casket, leaning there with one knee high in the air.)
Indrid Calder: Give me a minute. I’m a bit distraught…
(Calder clears his throat in dramatic fashion, and Sahara rushes forward to cling to her Stranger, stroking her fingertips against his neck in a comforting gesture. Rayner steps forward too, the big lug patting Calder on the back with a log-sized arm.)
Indrid Calder: Alright. I MUST be strong. Even though the hour is dark and dire, Pillars must not crumble under the weight of emotion. My own personal grief is so SEVERE that I had to indulge in deliciously depraved pleasures of the flesh with Sahara to overcome my sadness right before the show started. The hurt…just cuts so deeply…
(Sahara winks while resting an arm across Calder’s shoulder, but then quickly brings the hankie back to her face to wipe at her eyes.)
Indrid Calder: I want to remember the good times. Michael and I have shared SO much. I mean, I did fuck both of his wives to the point that their knees wobbled, but that’s beside the point! I feel like Mister Draven and I were so close that there just isn’t another person on this roster that can eulogize him quite like I can.
(Calder pauses, his jaw lifting upward slowly. He must be resolute. He mustn’t break down…)
Indrid Calder: Whenever I stared into Michael Draven’s beady little weasel eyes, I saw reflected in them a sense of kinship. Aside from the thinning hair, flabby musculature, and baby carrot cock, I saw MUCH of myself in Michael! Determination. Willpower. A hunger…for triumph.
(Calder pauses, looking downward with a small rueful smile.)
Indrid Calder: Such fond memories. I recall Michael being pushed off a ladder when The Banshee betrayed him and landing right on that concussed broken eggshell that he calls a skull. He wiggled and seized on the canvas like a dying catfish. I recall breaking his leg and listening to the bone snap, and I remember him gritting his teeth so hard that I was afraid he might bite his own tongue clean in two! What a comical evening that was. And then there was the time that Sahara placed a belted noose around his neck and choked him to that point that spit was running down his chin…in that moment he reminded me a gibbering lobotomized oaf begging for a spoonful of pudding!
(Indrid chuckles at all of those sharp nostalgic memories.)
Indrid Calder: Forgive me, just a little gallows humor. If I can be serious for a moment…I will miss Michael Draven and Maggie McIntyre. Maggie threw me away when I needed her the most, just like Michael and Maggie both threw Sahara away when she needed them the most. But discarded things…come together. They build up a new HATEful dynasty and eradicate the ungrateful swine that spurned them. So have a wonderful dual RETIREMENT, Michael and Maggie! I wish you nothing but the best, and I sincerely hope that the two of you ROT together.
(Calder’s beaming smile blooms bright, and Sahara nuzzles up next to him and rests her grieving head against his shoulder. The Spider King pauses for a moment and lifts a pallid finger up, almost like he’s forgetting something.)
Indrid Calder: One last thing! I’d like to honor Michael Draven’s legacy. The very last image of Mister Draven on EWA programming was a beaten, bloodied carcass with a noose around its neck. As an act of goodwill, I’ll wear this fashionable noose to commemorate his time on the EWA roster.
(Rayner steps up from behind Calder and slips a sleek black—roped noose around Calder’s neck, and The Stranger adjusts it just tight enough—like a necktie—to make it perfect.)
Indrid Calder: Toodles, Mister Draven. Shame you had to HANG up the boots…
(Calder and Sahara share a laugh over the HANG comment as she runs her hand down the length of his new “necktie”. Wrapping a leg around Calders as he holds her close, Sahara sweeps her free arm out in a sensual pose and leans her head back, allowing her platinum braids to dangle as Rayner meanicingly folds his arms over his chest behind the trio. The Purveyor of HATE, NOTHING, retrieves the EWA World Heavyweight Title from beneath one of the caskets and slowly lifts it up for all to see.)
MM: I honestly can’t wait to watch each one of these individuals get what’s coming to them.
VA: And who’s gonna give it to ‘em?! The Erinyes? Team Jada who are falling apart at the seams? ‘Fight the Good Fight’ Bucky Dresden?! The Drunk Guy?! Katsuro?! Oh, wait, I know! Maybe FYA?
MM: Someone will step up.
VA: I don’t think so, Malone. You’re looking at the present and the future of wrestling.
MM: All Empires fall, Ashe.
VA: Except HATE. They’ve outlasted the Youth. The Three Kings. The Fallout. The Hierarchy. You name it. Look at this, Malone, Sahara got it for me! It’s the new HATE hoodie! Now available at concession stands or on the EWA online store for only fifty bucks!
MM: You are unbelievable…well ladies and gentlemen, despite this horrible opening to Battlelines 40, we have a great show for you tonight, and right now, we’re going to head backstage!
(Rolling his shoulders as he strides down the hallway, Sterling cranes his neck from side to side, a pained and mildly irritated expression etched into the lines of his face as he hurriedly makes his way down the corridor, his hood still pulled up and his bare arms setting the pace.)
Sterling: Worst. Fucking. Flight. Ever. Late as fuck for fuck’s sake…
(He looks down at a little slip of paper in his hand and starts looking at the doors as he passes them, cheap faux pine veneer over corrugated cardboard bearing engraved numbers on cheap brass-plated scrap metal.
He stops, drawing in a heavy breath and allows his rucksack to fall from his shoulder, sliding down his arm and hitting the tiled floor with a thud as he reaches up to pull down his hood.)
Sterling: You’re havin’ a fuckin’ laugh…
(Panning across, we can see his door has been ripped from its hinges and stood up against the whitewashed wall, an A4 piece of paper sellotaped to it bearing a crudely-drawn three-headed dog with exaggerated genitalia.
Looking past it and into his room, he checks it out and seems relatively happy nothing else has been damaged, in one fluid moved kicking his rucksack into the room where it hits the wall at eye-level and slumps down to the floor.)
Sterling: I’ll deal with that later…
(Fade to ringside.)
ERIN GORDON VS JOSH KAINE
MM: Kicking off tonight’s matches, we have what should be an interesting match-up…a newcomer who’s been relatively quiet on the Network as of late and the Son of Sinnocence, who threw up a scathing acceptance of NOTHING’s World Heavyweight Championship Challenge.
VA: Yeah, like he’s going to make it through that.
MM: You never know, Josh Kaine’s been surprising everyone lately!
VA: Surprising he hasn’t shown up at some STD clinic with all of Cerberus in tow. He gets around more than Sahar–well, people who get around.
MM: You almost said Sahara.
VA: No I didn’t. Now into the ring for Nikki’s introductions!
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for…
The fans stop then, waiting for the lovely Nikki Rogers to continue.
NR: One Fall! Introducing first, from Blooming Valley, Pennsylvania…Erin Gordon!
The overhead lights slowly go dark as the first strummed chords of ‘Hurricane’ fill the air, the crowd’s cheers rising in response to the woman that is about to emerge. Gray lights flare into being around the curtain when the song starts proper, illuminating the outline of the Oncoming Storm as she stands with her shoulders square and her hands curled into fists at her sides. The wind machine is on behind her, blowing her hair around as her gaze moves over the assembled crowd and the surroundings alike… before it settles upon the ring.
VA: For a hurricane, she certainly moves like molasses.
MM: It’s for effect, Ashe.
VA: Yeah, well…she’s cutting into Sahara’s screen time.
MM: Sahara’s not even wrestling now!
VA: She will be later!
As ‘Hurricane’ cuts to the chorus, she makes her way down the aisle, not shying away from the hands that reach out for her. Erin’s focus never wavers, even as she grabs onto the ropes and hauls herself up onto the apron. Wiping her feet, she climbs into the ring between the top and middle ropes before she heads to her corner, turning to rest her back against the turnbuckles. Only then does she play a little to the crowd, a single fist thrusting itself skyward to earn more cheers as her music fades.
As the Oncoming Storm finds her way to the ring, Nikki Rogers steps up again to introduce the second competitor in the match with a bit of a smile.
VA: Come oooooon.
NR: And her opponent, one third of Cerberus and former EWA Tag Team Champion….Josh Kaine!!!
VA: Oh yeah, everyone cheer for the kid that only got here on his mom’s name!
MM: Don’t discount what the son of Sinnocence has done here already, Ashe!
Aaah! Aaah! Aaah! Aaah!
The raspy and electric voice of Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and those distinctive guitar riffs suddenly starts over the speakers of the arena, igniting a pop from the crowd. The heir to Valhalla himself appears from backstage, a grin on his face as he jogs to the ramp with his arms extended, basking in the attention from the people in the audience. They know all too well who he is and the name he has to live up to, especially considering what he put out on Combat TV this past week!
I believe them bones are me
Some say we’re born into the grave
I feel so alone, gonna end up a
Big ole pile of them bones
Giving nods and slapping a few fans’ hands on the way down, Josh climbs up onto the ring apron and smiles before climbing through the ropes. The son of Sinnocence retreats to his corner before new EWA referee Aria Moretti invites them both to the center of the ring.
MM: The newest EWA referee makes her debut tonight as well!
VA: She’s already eyeing up Kaine. Look at it. Look, Malone.
MM: …she’s patting down Erin for foreign objects. She can’t even see Kaine.
Moretti clears both competitors of possible foreign objects before calling for the bell.
MM: And we are underway!
The two competitors lock up right away, but the taller of the two is clearly the stronger and pushes Gordon back until she lets go and side steps, elbowing him in the side. Josh recovers quickly and the two exchange blows, neither backing down from the other. Gordon catches up with Kaine eventually, trapping him in the corner with a veritable rain of heavy right hands…driving him down to his knees.
VA: Damn, she still moves like molasses.
MM: Gordon has Kaine trapped in the corner and he’s down to his knees…but I don’t think it’ll be for long!
VA: It’s all good. He’s used to it! He’s on his knees for everyone, worse than his mother!
MM: People can hear you, you know.
VA: Yeah, but Sinnocence is still in a hospital bed, so she can’t punch me in the face.
MM: Any number of her proteges can–GOOD GOD!
VA: Kaine just exploded out of that corner!
The son of Sinnocence is back to his feet after driving Gordon back with a vicious and rudimentary mule kick. He’s back on his feet before stalking over to the recovering woman, EWA Referee Moretti keeping an eye on his every move. Josh moves quick as lightning, jumping just as Gordon turns to face him, grabbing her wrist and taking her down with him as he falls into that flying armbar his mother named Fenrir’s Bite!
Moretti falls to the mat with them, watching closely for any sign of the submission from Gordon as Josh tightens in the armbar.
MM: This’ll be twice now he’s caught a Warrior in that armbar!
VA: Doesn’t he know any other moves? Yeesh.
MM: Gordon is furiously shaking her head no while our newest Referee keeps asking her for the submission…but she may not soon have a choice!
VA: …is he…
Josh Kaine locks it in all the harder, hyperextending her joint even more before an audible crack is heard!
VA: HE DID!
Gordon lets out a cry, smacking against the Heir’s leg before Josh finally lets her go.
MM: Moretti’s helping Gordon to her feet, the Oncoming Storm is cradling her arm, I think he did some real damage with that one!
VA: Just like his mother! Doesn’t know when to stop!
YOUR WINNER BY SUBMISSION: JOSH KAINE (5:31)
Alice in Chains hits the loudspeaker as Josh Kaine stands in the center of the ring after his match, the tattooed youth glistening with sweat after performing for the EWA faithful.
He’s about to exit through the ropes, but the light in the arena flickers and dies. It dies slow, and when it returns, the glow is more yellowish and sickly, the kind of illumination that might shine on a cadaver left alone in the morgue.
A lone figure stands a mere foot behind Josh Kaine.
A Grey Man with a shroud covering his face. The material looks tattered, ripped, and even chewed. Josh becomes aware of the presence behind him, and he slowly spins around to face it.
A cautious hand reaches out, and Josh pulls the shroud from the figure’s face. He is greeted with a familiar face. Hollow cheeks. Eyes of the purest blue, like two dead seas full of salt and desolation. A smile that cracks itself into life as Josh watches in dawning horror…
What stands before him is entirely soulless.
What stands before him…is Indrid Calder.
Indrid Calder: Hello, Little Joshua.
He leans just a few inches closer.
Indrid Calder: Let me show you how to bite.
MM: Oh no…anything but this man. This infernal engine of HATE we’ve come to call Indrid Calder is here…but to what end??
VA: Run, Little Joshua! Run to your mommy’s bedside before it’s too late!
Josh looks incredibly spooked, but to his credit, he summons up some courage and fires off a stiff right hand…that is promptly blocked by Calder’s forearm. Indrid is as quick as a cat, palming the back of Josh’s head and RUNNING across the ring with him before tossing him forward and SMASHING his skull into one of the turnbuckle posts!
Josh falls backward while cradling his skull, but Indrid doesn’t allow him to collapse. He catches the youth, and he runs him to the other turnbuckle post across the ring, repeating the process and HAMMERING his head down to a chorus of boos!
Calder gives Josh this brutal treatment with ALL FOUR RING POSTS…and when he’s done, Kaine drops down to his knees in the center of the ring with droplets of blood splashing down from his hairline.
The Stranger knows nothing of wasted motion, and he is already gone from the ring, snapping closed a steel chair before slithering right back in beneath the bottom rope. He circles his quarry, and then he begins to BLUDGEON Josh with the chair, shots to the torso, neck, arms, and even legs. Josh is SQUIRMING in anguish…
And Calder takes that moment to pick up the young man’s head and slide the chair underneath his face.
Indrid picks his spot, backing up slowly…AND THEN HE RACES FORWARD AND CURB STOMPS JOSH’S FACE INTO THE STEEL CHAIR WITH ALL THE FORCE HE CAN MUSTER!!!
The sound of flesh meeting steel is sickening; a crunch that permeates the entire arena…and Josh Kaine is in another world as blood leaks from his nose and mouth to pool against dented metal.
VA: This kid never had even a ghost of a chance…Rayner has been right all along. He needs to toughen the hell up! Needs a few notches in his belt. A little tough love to harden a naive pup!
MM: Are you condoning this? Calder just BRUTALIZED this young man in a totally one-sided mugging…and you’re sitting there spouting off about toughening up?!?
VA: I condone anything The Stranger does. I bask in the presence of his dread!
MM: You bask in being a HATE fanboy, Ashe, and that’s all you bask in.
(The Grey Man of the EWA takes up a microphone and he saunters over to the carcass of Josh Kaine and lords over him, standing with both feet planted on either side of the fallen Heir to Valhalla.)
Indrid Calder: Did mother ever tell you stories, Little Joshua? Let me tell you one. Once upon a time, I came to the EWA, and a grizzled old monster caught my eye. This towering beast was like something that survived from the Jurassic era, and he fascinated me. His name is Rayner. I’m sure you two are already acquainted…
(Calder pauses, musing on his past.)
Indrid Calder: I hunted this old monster because it was good sport to hunt him. I became like a Dog with blood on its muzzle, and this is what Rayner called me. He called me a Dog that just kept on coming. A slavering Dog that loped through the night, eyes glowing yellow, froth dripping from purpled lips…eager for another taste of the sweet blood of my quarry.
(He rubs a gray-gloved hand against his chin.)
Indrid Calder: The years passed, and that old monster became my brother in the hive. And now that old monster has asked of me a particularly intimate favor. He needs me to be that Dog again. He tells me there’s someone young and supple that needs a good gnashing of the teeth to show him the way. And because Rayner is my brother, and because Draven is officially OUT of my life and I need something new to occupy my time…I accepted.
(A smile stretches across pallid skin.)
Indrid Calder: The Titan sees something in you. He calls it a glimmer of some precious stone lodged deep down in soft puppy flesh. He wants to see if that jagged part of you can be mined and brought to the surface, and if not, I think he’s perfectly happy to see you die in the dirt. I do not agree with Rayner. I don’t think you’re HATE material, Joshua. I don’t think you have the right stuff. But Cal has this hunch that if driven to a certain point…the fat will be trimmed, and a Pillar will rise. So I figure, what the hell? It’s nothing to me either way. It’s all good sport…and I’m eager to paint my hands red with all of the weakness that drips out of you.
(Calder leans down to prove his point, pressing his palm into Josh’s blood on the steel chair. He lifts his red right hand and shows the crowd, much to the chagrin of the EWA faithful.)
Indrid Calder: For the first time in centuries—ahem—I mean for the first time in YEARS (he winks slyly at the camera) I’m having a tremendous amount of fun. I feel limber, strong, and ever so hungry for Viking doggie meat. And so it begins, Puppy.
(Indrid brings his red right hand to his face, and he inhales deeply of that coppery scent. It makes him swoon on his heels.)
Indrid Calder: I’m going to hunt you. And hunt you. And hunt you. Not because you’re my project. Not because I see anything of value in you. Just because…I like the way your blood smells when it’s dripping from your veins.
(Indrid smirks while shrugging his shoulders.)
Indrid Calder: I am the Dog that is aiming for the sensitive skin of your throat, and so the only question is…are you going to let me tear it out, Little Joshua? Or are you going to find something within yourself that you didn’t even know was THERE…to stop me?
(Indrid lets this question hang, and he drops the mic onto the back of Josh’s head.
Feedback buzzes through the arena, and the lights die again. When the blackness fades, Indrid Calder is gone, and all that remains is the bloodied carcass of Josh Kaine trying weakly to pushing himself up.
(The camera cuts backstage to the locker room area, where we see Martin Robertson sitting in front of a row of lockers, wrestling trunks on with a black Youth King t-shirt. He’s wrapping his wrists with white medical tape when we turn towards the door and see Allison Haines enter the locker room, microphone in hand. Right behind her is Alyssa, still dressed in regular street clothes…)
Alyssa Marie Haven: … said he was getting ready! Why don’t you fucking listen!
(Allison turns around towards Alyssa…)
Allison Haines: I have a job to do, and I was asked to come get a few words from Martin about his non-match tonight against the World Heavyweight Champion…
Alyssa Marie Haven: Just because Cameron told you to go do something doesn’t give you the right to barge right into someone’s locker room! And when did you start taking fucking tasks from Cameron?
Allison Haines: Who said it was from Ca…
Martin Robertson: Ladies, please…
(Martin rips off the last piece of tape from the roll, securing it to his wrist before throwing the roll in the gym back next to him. He stands up and walks over towards Allison…)
Martin Robertson: Sweetheart, I got this. Now, Allison, if you don’t mind indulging me for a moment…
(Martin takes a step towards Alyssa, giving her a kiss on the lips…)
Martin Robertson: I’ll be right back. Start getting ready.
(Martin grabs Allison’s hand as Alyssa rolls her eyes, continuing on further into the locker room as Martin gently pulls Allison out of the locker room and into the hallway…)
Allison Haines: Where are we going?
(Without saying a word, Martin brings Allison over towards a large black curtain hanging up along one side of the hallway. He pulls back part of the black curtain, where he can see, from the side of the entrance ramp, out into the arena.)
Martin Robertson: Look at all these people here tonight. You know why they’re here? Because like both Alyssa and I know, they know that the reign of the Purveyor as World Heavyweight Champion is slowly coming to an end. It didn’t happen at This Means War, but you know what? That’s alright… that’s alright because great things come to those who are patient, Allison.
Tonight, these people who came here get to see what they paid all their hard earned money for, and that’s to see Martin Robertson back in the main event, putting a beating on the leader of HATE right there in the middle of that ring.
So I’m not sure who told you to come ask me a few questions… but why don’t you go find NOTHING, and ask him one very…. Very specific question…
How does it feel? How does it feel to know that your time in this business is slowly coming to an end? How does it feel to know that the sixteen pounds of gold you wear around your waist is soon about to go away? How does it feel knowing that you are no longer relevant in this company? Because tonight, I begin doing something that people for twenty years have been trying to do, and that’s close the final chapters on the story of NOTHING. I write the final chapters on the sad parable of a few misfits known as HATE. And I start writing the story of how Martin Robertson became the greatest World Heavyweight Champion in the history of our business. Now…
(Martin turns towards Allison…)
Martin Robertson: Is there any specific question you had to ask me… or are we done here?
(Shockingly, Allison is speechless, looking at Martin, still holding the microphone in her right hand. Martin smiles, patting her on the shoulder before taking a few steps past her back towards his locker room.)
Martin Robertson: Good talk, Allison. Next time, send Terry. At least he puts up a fight…
(Martin disappears back into his locker room as the camera focuses on a stunned Allison…)
MM: I… I don’t think I’ve ever seen Allison like that!
VA: Well, when you’re standing next to the future World Heavyweight Champion, how can you not get awestruck like she was?
MM: I’m pretty certain she wasn’t awestruck by standing next to Martin.
VA: Why not? I know you would be. Then again, you get awestruck when you stand next to the statue of the Hamburglar at the McDonalds back in Boston.
MM: What? I do no…
VA: ROBBLE ROBBLE!
MM: Good lord…
MM: Coming up later in the show, Buck Dresden defends his Combat Championship against former champion Jester Smiles to conclude once and for all who truly deserves the title.
VA: And in our main event, Martin Robertson takes on the World Heavyweight Champion, the Purveyor of HATE, NOTHING, in a non-title contest that’s sure to be a–
(Vince is interrupted by the pounding drumbeat of the Pretty Reckless’s “Heaven Knows,” a single spotlight hitting the ramp and turning into the familiar horned skull.)
VA: Aw, jeez, not these… women again.
MM: Sounded like you were going to say something else.
VA: Yeah, well, I really don’t want Santa Muerte attacking me, so I’m trying to play it cool.
(As the chorus kicks in, pyro shoots off on either side of the stage, going from the center stage to either side. Lágrima raises her head to the crowd, the EWA Tag Team Championship over her shoulder. Minxy stands next to her, the belt wrapped around her waist, the red hourglass painted on the front. Behind them, Santa Muerte stands, silent and brooding. They start the walk to the ring, with Lágrima and Minxy bickering with the ringside fans, while Santa Muerte silently glides behind them.)
MM: The Tag Team Champions not scheduled to appear tonight, and apparently that’s a bone of contention with them.
VA: You know them, Malone, everything that doesn’t benefit them is patriarchal oppression.
(Lágrima scales the ring steps, looking over the audience with disgust as Minxy slides into the ring. Santa Muerte follows, bouquet in hand, and Lágrima and Minxy call for microphones.)
Lágrima: I think it’s fair to say we’ve proven that we are THE premier tag team in the wrestling business today.
Minxy Jones: We repeatedly put those little kiddies Cerberus in their place, reminding them that anything they can do, we can do better.
Lágrima: And, more impressively, we finally removed the poison that is Grace Goeren from the EWA, along with her pet monster Alice.
Minxy Jones: Was there anyone who didn’t cheer when Santa Muerte speared that sociopath through the glass?
Lágrima: So really, it comes as no surprise that EWA staff isn’t sure what to do with us. Grace has run back to Daddy, Cerberus has realized they’re not good enough to face us so they’ve focused elsewhere.
Minxy Jones: And that’s why we’re out here now. Never let it be said that the Erinyes aren’t fighting champions. Because RIGHT NOW, we are putting forward an open challenge to anyone in the back. You want a shot at these belts? Find someone who can tolerate you slightly and get out here.
Lágrima: Let us show you and the rest of these methheads in Phoenix why we’re the present and future of tag team wrestling.
MM: Just as NOTHING threw down the gauntlet last Battlelines, so too have the Erinyes!
VA: At least NOTHING had the decency to give them time to prepare, Malone! There’s no way this will be a fair match!
(Lágrima and Minxy pace around, waiting for someone to answer the call. Santa Muerte stands silently, staring down the entrance ramp.)
Lágrima: Nobody? Really? Are you little boys back there too scared? How–
Lágrima and Minxy look at each other in rage as the Lemonheads burst through, in their PhD-approved T-shirts! Lemon looks as happy as always, with Serpent Man following close behind!
Lágrima: Cut the music!
Alex Boye cuts off quickly, and the Lemonheads stop halfway down the ramp, looking confused.
Lágrima: Is this a fucking joke? Is this just how seriously the rest of you take this division? Is this how seriously you take us?
The Lemonheads shake their heads, inaudibly responding.
Minxy Jones: Out of all the so-called “Warriors” in the locker room, we get this pathetic showing for our open challenge? Do all you muscle-bound he-men just enjoy mediocrity that much?
Lágrima: Fine, fuck it. Get in here so we can get this over with.
Minxy Jones: You know what? We don’t even need to be here for this. Santa Muerte can handle you two clowns by her lonesome.
(Lágrima and Minxy drop the microphones, rolling out of the ring, and walk to the commentary table.)
VA: Oh come on, can’t–
(Lágrima tosses Ashe out of his chair, and he flops roughly to the floor! She swipes the headset off of him, sitting in the empty chair next to Mike Malone.)
Lágrima: Mike, I think maybe it’s time for your break. Maybe head over to catering?
Lágrima: Unless you’d rather Minxy forcibly remove you?
MM: Catering sounds great.
(Minxy takes Malone’s headset as soon as Malone is out of his chair.)
Minxy Jones: And what a match we have here today for you, folks, as Santa Muerte takes on the Lemonheads in a handicap match for the EWA Tag Team Championship!
Lágrima: Although I’m pretty sure “handicap” isn’t supposed to mean that the opponents actually have special needs, Minxy.
Minxy Jones: What do you think the Lemonheads chances are in this match, Lágrima?
Lágrima: Oh, 100%, Minxy.
Minxy Jones: You think we’re looking at new tag champs?
Lágrima: Oh, no, no no no, no. I thought you meant their chances of leaving in an ambulance.
Minxy Jones: (fake laughter) Classic Lágrima. Let’s go to new referee, and clearly the one who should be next in line for Danny Smith’s position, Aria Moretti to get this match started.
Santa Muerte pulls two of the white roses from her bouquet, kissing the blooms, before dropping them at the feet of the Lemonheads. The two men converse as she takes off the robe, tossing it and the bouquet to the floor. Joe Lemon decides he’s going to start the match for the Lemonheads, and Moretti calls for the bell!
Lemon and Santa Muerte circle for a moment, before locking up, and Lemon hits her with a European uppercut! Santa Muerte doesn’t budge, looking back at Lemon with the same blank face! Lemon looks shocked, throwing a punch that Santa Muerte shrugs off, then another, then another! Santa Muerte barely notices, before dropping him hard with a massive clothesline!
Minxy Jones: She almost took his head off with that one, Lágrima!
Lágrima: We should be so lucky! (fake laughter)
Minxy Jones: (more fake laughter)
Santa Muerte pulls Lemon up, hooking his arms in a double underhook, but Serpent Man jumps through the ropes and charges! Santa Muerte drops Lemon back to the mat, turning quickly and crushing Serpent Man with a Naja de Sangre!
Lágrima: My god, Minxy! She got him! Who could possibly have seen this coming?!
Minxy Jones: And she’s got Joe Lemon back up, and about ready to banish him to the Shadow Realm!
Lágrima: Was that a Yu-Gi-Oh reference?
Minxy Jones: It sure was!
Santa Muerte pulls Lemon up into the Sombrabomb, and it’s good night Joe Lemon! She crosses his arms across his chest, staring at the hard cam, and making the cover!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: SANTA MUERTE (1:42)
Minxy Jones: Unbelievable, Lágrima! Santa Muerte defends the championships by her lonesome and comes out on top!
Lágrima: The only unbelievable thing is that this match ever took place, Minxy! I guess out goes to show that there really is nobody worthy of taking on this talented, smart, funny, athletic, and might I say extremely attractive team!
Minxy Jones: Under most circumstances, I’d probably chastise you for acting like their attractiveness rated a mention, but I’m inclined to agree with you! The Erinyes are positively enchanting! And there’s a lot of loyal Lemonheads out there feeling very disappointed tonight!
Lágrima: Well, I think that’s all the time we have here at the Erinyes Wrestling Association, so on behalf of myself, Minxy Jones, and Santa Muerte, we hope you go fuck yourself for supporting bullshit like this.
Minxy Jones: And don’t forget to smash the patriarchy! Thank you and–
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
(The mere words cause the crowd to turn their attention toward the entryway where an image of the word HATE slowly burns into the EWAtron–)
(The words echo as the blistering beat of In This Moment’s ‘Adrenalize Me’ hits. Fog rolls over the stage and the Crimson Queen emerges from the back, already clad in her HATE designed black and red ring attire. Her fingers are notably interlaced with that of another figure; the ever so dapper Indrid Calder, dressed in his perfectly tailored charcoal grey suit.)
Lágrima: Oh, look, the Hot Topic Wonder Twins have arrived.
(As Santa Muerte looks on from the ring, to this point, neither member of HATE looks down toward the ring, their eyes lustfully locked on one another as if nothing else exists around them. Knife-blue eyes meet that of sparking sapphire. Releasing her, the Stranger grabs his prize by the curve of the small of her back and draws her in for a ravenous kiss atop the stage. The blonde’s leg instinctively wraps itself around Indrid’s, solely to draw him in even closer…)
Minxy Jones: Gross.
(When they finally break the embrace, Sahara lets out a satisfied sigh and animatedly fans herself as the Stranger reaches down and calls for a couple of mics, handing one off to the Crimson Queen.
The mere action of bringing the mic to her lips causes a wave of negative sentiment from the capacity crowd.)
Sahara: Alright, we get it. But we ain’t out here for you idiots. We’re out here for them–
(Sahara points down the rampway toward the team of the Erinyes.)
Sahara: I’d say your team name but I don’t even know how to pronounce it. Not that it matters, because you got somethin’ we want — those tag titles — and since you mentioned something about an open challenge??
(Sahara seems to instinctively stop speaking as Calder chimes in with two simple words…)
Indrid Calder: We accept.
Sahara: You morons already know the deal, if ya don’t stand with HATE, you won’t stand long.
(Calder taps his fingers rhythmically along the handle of the mic before bringing it up to grinning lips.)
Indrid Calder: The House of HATE already glimmers with World Title gold, but if there’s one thing you should know about The Crimson Queen and The Spider King…it’s this…(Calder pauses, smirking at Sahara)…we are a GREEDY duo. If we get a sniff of something…we want a taste. And we’ll do absolutely anything and everything to get that taste.
(Indrid inhales deeply, nostrils flaring in dramatic fashion.)
Indrid Calder: I smell that forged gold, ladies. I want it, and I mean to have it. Your reign ends on our terms. You’ve had your time, and you’ve flourished. But all good things come to end…when Pillars come to collect.
(The Spider King drops his mic, allowing the scratching feedback to wash over the arena, and he slithers behind Sahara and leans his chin against her shoulder, knife-blue eyes staring down at the Erinyes. He very slowly runs his hands along Sahara’s waist, indicating that soon it’ll be decorated in a golden prize.
Minxy and Lágrima have slid back into the ring, microphones in hand, as Vincent Ashe scoops himself back up off the floor, and Mike Malone slides back into his seat.)
VA: Why the hell do they always leave you alone?!
MM: Is that a serious question?
Lágrima: Finally, the big scary Pillars of HATE take an interest in the tag team ranks, huh? Fuck, we’ve only had the belts since September, and have held them for more than half of the last two years, but sure, I guess now they matter more than the soap opera drama that is Sahara’s life, right?
Minxy Jones: What, the new power couple needs some brass rings to make it official? We all saw that kiss… you trying to convince us, or yourselves?
Lágrima: Well, we’ve already defended them once tonight, so I guess you’re just gonna have to wait until next Battlelines. But don’t worry, Jack and Sally, after FYI or whatever takes care of you tonight, we’ll be happy to put an abrupt end to your honeymoon.
Minxy Jones: And when Erinyes set their sights on someone, they don’t stop. Ever. You want to talk about not standing long? You’ll find out real quick that Hell hath no fury–
Santa Muerte: Like us.
(The champions drop the microphones in the ring, staring down the ramp at HATE. Sahara and Calder merely smirk knowingly as they back through the entranceway from whence they came.)
MM: And what a match we’ll see at Battlelines 41, Vince! The EWA Tag Team Champions will defend their titles against Sahara and Indrid Calder of HATE!
VA: I really don’t know who to back in this race, Malone. On the one hand, I really despise the Erinyes, but on the other… Calder and Sahara. HATE. Even I can’t get behind that.
MOJAVE VS NIKKI CALDWELL
SAHARA'S GAUNTLET: MATCH #1
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for one fall–
Once again, the crowd responds with a resounding “One Fall”!
NR: Introducing first, from Los Angeles, California, representing Cerberus, Nikki Caldwell!
A scream followed by the percussion of Skylar Grey’s “Wreak Havoc” sweeps over the arena as gold pyro erupts from the stage. The fans rise to their feet as Nikki Caldwell walks onto the stage under a burst of green and red lights.
I CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR, THE ONLY REASON THAT I’M HERE
IS TO WREAK HAVOC
EVERYBODY PRAYIN’ THAT I’LL CHANGE, YEAH
MAYBE ONE DAY, BUT TOMORROW I’LL BE BACK AT IT
Her face is streaked with black warpaint, the large scale-armor of Sinnocence’s heirloom black-and-red Doom Jacket juts from her shoulders. She pauses at the top of the ramp with her feet slightly parted and her arms slightly spread out from her sides.
‘CAUSE BAD HABITS, THEY DIE HARD
WE LIVE FAST, WE DIE HARD
GO AGAINST ME, YOU’LL DIE HARD
Nikki suddenly charges down toward the ring and three quarters of the way around it, sliding beneath the bottom rope and rolling up to her feet. She steps up on the bottom and center ropes and raises a fist while unleashing a warcry. The fans answer her back with a cheer of their own, and after letting them have their due, she steps down and sheds the jacket as she awaits her opponent.
VA: Keep in mind that if at any point Rick Iley doesn’t believe this fight is on the level, he’s been ordered to disqualify Nikki Caldwell and thus put a stop to her blasphemous attempt to fight the new Viking Queen of HATE one on one.
MM: Blasphemous attempt? Sahara has ridiculed and embarrassed this woman on multiple occasions, not to mention what she did to Sinnocence, a person Nikki Caldwell thinks the world of–
VA: Sahara put this woman on the map, Malone.
MM: You are as delusional as she is. You really are.
NR: And her opponent, from the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois, also representing Cerberus, Mojaveeee!
Fall Out Boy’s “Phoenix” starts to pump through the arena, and Mojave steps out from the back. He holds himself with a confident determination as he pauses for a moment, staring down at the ring and his opponent, Nikki Caldwell.
You are a brick tied to me that’s dragging me down
Strike a match and I’ll burn you to the ground
We are the jack-o-lanterns in July setting fire to the sky
Here, here comes this rising tide, so come on
Making his way toward the ring, he touches the outstretched hands of the fans keeping his eyes trained on his tag-partner, Nikki Caldwell. As he makes it to ringside, he jumps from the floor to the apron and steps through the ropes as his theme dies down.
Approaching Nikki, they quickly bump fists in a show of respect as Rick Iley calls them together. Once again reminding both competitors of what’s at stake, Iley reiterates that he will call the match if Moe doesn’t give it his all.
VA: Should just call the match now. I don’t know why Sahara even pitched this sham of a gauntlet. At no point do I believe Moe is going to uphold his end of the bargain when everyone knows how he feels about his beautiful, amazing, majestic, more successful sister–
MM: I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Grace already…the last thing this woman needs is you cheerleading her ad nauseum.
As the bell sounds and before she can even react, Moe kicks Nikki in the gut and drops her with a DDT!
MM: You were saying?!
MM: Again, you were saying that Moe wouldn’t bring the fight?
VA: Shouldn’t you be calling the match?! You completely missed that DDT!
Holding the crown of her head, Nikki rolls toward the ropes, only Moe grabs her by the ankles as she scrambles to grab hold of the bottom rope. Yanking hard, Moe lifts her off the mat and drops her on her back as her hands slip from the rope. Going for another pinfall attempt, Nikki powers out at the count of only one, trying to create some separation between her and Mojave. Having none of it, the youngest MacKay follows the Amazon into the corner and hits her with a stunning knee to the gut before sending her across the ring, SMASHING her into the opposite turnbuckles where Moe follows it up with a clothesline that collapses Nikki in the corner against the ropes.
MM: I don’t think Mojave has any intention of letting Nikki win this match without a fight, no matter how much I’m sure he’d want to see Sahara get what’s coming to her…
VA: Oh, and who’s going to give it to her, Nikki freaking Caldwell?! That’s like Tyson versus … Barney the purple dinosaur?!
Charging for another clothesline in the corner, Moe catches a back elbow as Nikki powers her way out of the corner, only Moe reverses the follow up and TOSSES Nikki with a hip toss, sending the Amazon skittering across the ring toward the opposite corner.
MM: Vicious reversal! You can see moments where Mojave resembles his sister … the way they move in the ring. It’s highly disconcerting…
VA: It’s about the only good thing about Mojave.
Not going easy on his tag-partner, Mojave continues the assault on Nikki Caldwell, who to this point in the match hasn’t had much offense to speak of.
Just as Vincent Ashe was about to add his two-cents, the crowd begins booing as they notice the newest pillar of HATE, Sahara, emerging onto the rampway dressed in her signature black and red ring gear, her hair braided back like a Viking warrior. Slowly making her way down the ramp, she catches the eye of her younger brother who quickly mentions something to referee Rick Iley before going back on the offensive and hitting Nikki Caldwell with a vicious short arm clothesline.
VA: Okay, this just got good…
MM: What’s she doing out here?!
Coming to a stop at the bottom of the rampway, she leans up against the barricade near the first row of fans as many of them reach out to pat the Crimson Queen on the shoulder while others try to fight their way for a good angle to snap a quick selfie.
VA: Look at these animals touching her…disgusting.
MM: You just wish you were in the first row.
Back in the ring Mojave stomps down on Nikki Caldwell only shes catches his boot and TWISTS it into an ankle lock as she snarls out toward Sahara!
MM: THAT shifted the momentum!!!
Crying out, Mojave reaches toward the ropes as he falls to the mat, burying his head his arms! He reaches out again– In position, Rick Iley shakes his head as Moe refuses to tap! Again reaching for the ropes, Moe slowly inches his way for the save–
Seeing Sahara on the outside of the ring watching, Nikki Caldwell roars as she WRENCHES Moe’s ankle just as he grabs hold of the bottom rope. Rick Iley quickly begins the five count to break the hold, only Nikki stares DAGGERS at the blonde seemingly lost in the moment!
VA: THAT’S FIVE, SHE SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED!
MM: Oh, give it a rest, she broke the hold…
Grabbing hold of Nikki’s arms, Rick Iley forces her to break the hold at the count of four and admonishes the Amazon, holding up a finger and issuing a final warning. Up against the ropes, Nikki Caldwell stares down at Sahara and screams something at her as the blonde nonchalantly reaches into the audience and grabs a handful of popcorn out of a random fans bucket–
MM: Eyes on the prize, Nikki! She’s doing it on purpose to distract you!
VA: Sahara’s so good at what she does she doesn’t even need to do anything to get under Nikki’s skin! I love her-err…IT! I mean, I love it!
MM: Yeah, I bet.
As Moe slowly recovers, still holding his ankle, Nikki says something at Sahara who approaches the area where she’s yelling down at her. Gazing up at the Amazon, the blonde shrugs as a bit of a smirk comes to her face. Pointing down at Sahara, Nikki issues a stern warning to the blonde who suddenly flings a handful of popcorn up in Nikki’s face!!!
MOE WITH THE ROLLUP FROM BEHIND! NIKKI’S LEGS FLAIL!
Nikki Caldwell powers out at the last possible moment of the surprise pinfall attempt, absolutely seething! Turning her attention toward Mojave, Nikki Caldwell roars in anger and charges, hitting him with a STUNNING knee to the side of the head! Quickly following it up, Nikki wraps herself around Mojave and locks in the tilt-a-whirl armbar as the crowd springs to its feet!!!
MM: The Lasso of Truth! She’s got it locked in! I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nikki this angry!
Screaming in agony as Nikki wrenches back on his arm, Moe flails his legs, attempting find the ropes to no avail!
MM: He’s too far away to break the hold, she’s got ‘em dead to rights! He’s gonna tap! HE’S GONNA TAP!
Just as Moe begins to shake his head yes and his hand comes down to tap out, he’s yanked free of the Amazon’s grasp and falls to the outside!
MM: SAHARA YANKED HIM OUT!
VA: Like a good older sister would, she just saved Moe’s arm from being broken! They should both be thankful since Nikki obviously can’t contain her anger…
MM: You’ve gotta be … kidding me, Ashe! She just cost Nikki Caldwell the first match in the gauntlet by getting her disqualified!
Grabbing hold of an absolutely SEETHING Nikki Caldwell and holding her back, Rick Iley orders her to stay put in the ring as he yells out at Sahara to calm the tense situation. Pushing Nikki back in the corner, Rick Iley calmly continues to talk her down as he makes motion–
MM: He’s calling for the bell!
Sahara holds her arms out in confusion as if questioning what the hell she wrong did as Rick Iley once again grabs Nikki around the waist, keeping her in the ring and away from the Crimson Queen!
NR: The winner of this match at the result of a disqualification…
MM: That’s fantastic! Referee Rick Iley isn’t going to fall for Sahara’s shenanigans, he knows she was trying to intentionally get Nikki disqualified and so he DQ’d Moe instead! It’s just like this woman to come out here and get involved, stealing Nikki’s moment. She had Moe dead to rights–
Shaking her head in disappointment and fury on the outside, Sahara bends down to check on her little brother when Moe is suddenly flies forward HEAD FIRST INTO THE RING STEPS!!! Nikki SCREAMS out toward Sahara as Moe COLLAPSES like dead weight on impact, laid out on the outside!
Charging, Rick Iley grabs Nikki and ties her up in the ropes as the crowd boos the Crimson Queen, who quickly backs up the rampway and heads toward the back with a snarky look on her face!
MM: That–THAT…SAHARA JUST TOSSED HER OWN BROTHER HEAD FIRST INTO THE DAMN STEEL STAIRS!
VA: She went to check on him and I think he tripped!!!
MM: Tripped?! Th-that’s NOT what happened and you know it. She literally picked him up and SHOVED him head first into the stairs, after SHE got upset he’d been disqualified, when SHE interfered in the match!
Turning toward Iley, Nikki SHOVES him off and yells something before Iley sticks a finger in her face, reminding her of the consequences in spite of her rage over the Crimson Queen’s actions.
MM: Nikki’d better get her emotions in check before she does something she regrets…if she wants to get her hands on Sahara she NEEDS to keep cool…
Finally released by the referee, Nikki jumps to the outside and checks on Moe. Getting down on her knees next to him, she slowly turns him over, where he’s holding his head in his hands.
As Nikki shakes her head, Moe gathers the strength and sits up under his own power, bringing cheers from the audience.
MM: Thank God he’s alright! Moe seems to be getting up on his own accord, but he’s got himself a bit of color there from that collision with the steps!
VA: That’s what you call a crimson mask courtesy of the Crimson Queen, Malone!
Looking toward the back where Sahara disappeared, both Moe and Nikki shake their heads, Nikki’s jaw clenched in absolute anger and frustration over what went down. Moe pushes himself up to his feet, repeating something Nikki, his words picked up by the cameras. “This is what she does, Nik, this is what she does. Keep your cool, I’m fine, I promise ya.” As the two make their way up the rampway, Moe rubs the blood from the slight cut at the top of his hairline as Nikki suddenly stops at the top of the rampway. Grabbing hold of Moe’s hand, Nikki raises his hand and hugs him close to a loud pop!
MM: That’s how ya do it, kid! Don’t let her steal your moment and don’t let her under your skin! The good news is, Nikki still advances to the next round of the gauntlet where she will face off with the embattled Josh Kaine.
YOUR WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: NIKKI CALDWELL (10:04)
(A cringing look on his face, Kevin Oppenheimer stands up against a wall backstage, next to a door with the World Wide Bushido Buntai logo affixed to it. His entire body looks tense, and when Terry Bull shows up next to him, he’s not prepared for it.)
Terry Bull: Mr. Oppenheimer…
(Kevin nearly jumps.)
Terry Bull: …fancy seeing you here!
Kevin Oppenheimer: TERRY! Mate, di’n’t your motha tell you it’s impolite to sneak up on people like that?!
(Terry looks confused.)
Terry Bull: I just walked down the hallway, there was no “sneaking around” of any sort, and if anyone’s sneaking around, it’s you! I’ve been looking for you before and after each one of the past few events, and you’re nowhere to be found!
Kevin Oppenheimer: I guess you just ain’ quite the detective you fancy yourself, then.
Terry Bull: I think maybe you’re just avoiding me so you don’t have to do any more of those sit-downs to talk about the show!
Kevin Oppenheimer: Those were VOLUNTARY, TERRY, I could quit those anytime I’d like!
Terry Bull: Good, then we’re still on for today after the show?
Kevin Oppenheimer: Sure… yeah… righ’… just come find me.
Terry Bull: I certainly will! And, I’ve gotta ask… what’s up with that music?
(There has been a slightly muted reverberation of sound the entire time. Kevin looks over at the door, cringes again, and looks back at Terry.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: I guess you could call it… “get hype” music? You’d have to ask Katsuro about it.
(Terry shrugs and then starts towards the door, and Kevin steps in front of him.)
Kevin Oppenheimer: Just, not righ’ now. It’s a bit… disorientin’ if you’re not prepared for it, and you, Terry, might neva’ be prepared for it!
Terry Bull: I guess I’ll take your word on that… but what about Katsuro Yoshida, how is he adjusting to this new approach? Things weren’t always like this.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Proof’s in the puddin’, that’s the sayin’, righ’? So I guess you’ll just have to see how Yosh’ does out there against Mr. Sterlin’, and you can judge for yourself.
Terry Bull: Or that can be the first thing I ask you about when we do our post-show sitdown!
Kevin Oppenheimer: You can certainly try, Terry. You can certainly try.
(Fade to ringside.)
JESTER SMILES VS BUCK DRESDEN
EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
A platform shoots JESTER SMILES up as gold and silver sparks shoot out! Jester stands there a moment, looking at the crowd. Jester looks over the cheering fans and nods his head, a stern expression on his face.
Gold and silver sparks shoot out on both sides of Jester, but he ignores them, opting instead to focus on the ring as he walks towards his target.
MM: Jester Smiles is focused here tonight! He must be ready for anything!
VA: I hope he’s ready for embarrassment!
Jester rolls into the ring and removes his shirt, throwing it into the crowd before going to his corner to stretch. Jester motions to the crowd, sliding his hands across his waist to show them he’s there to get his title back when all of a sudden…
I AM A MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW
I’VE SEEN TROUBLE ALL MY DAYS…
Out from the back emerges BUCK DRESDEN. He stands on the entrance ramp, wearing a black trenchcoat and his trademark black cowboy hat. He also has on a pair of blue jeans and, of course, the EWA Combat Championship. He marches down to the ring, slapping hands of a few of the fans but never taking his eyes off of Jester as he hops up onto the ring apron, removes his Combat Championship belt from around his waist, and ascends the turnbuckle, looking out at the sea of fans, hoisting his Combat Championship high for all to see.
MM: These men may be friends, but you’d never guess it by looking at them here tonight!
Indeed, Jester is already in the center of the ring, pointing to the Combat Championship as Buck turns to him, hopping down off of the turnbuckle. Buck’s music dies down as Nikki Rogers speaks up.
NR: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and is for the EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP!
Buck nods his head, removing his coat and hat, sliding them from the ring while keeping the Combat Championship gripped firmly in his right hand.
NR: Introducing first…he hails from Richmond, Virginia, and is a former Combat Champion…he is Jester…SMIIIIILES!
Jester nods his head, pointing to the belt and maintaining his stern stare at Buck.
NR: His opponent…he hails from the Great American South…he is THE…Combat Champion…Buck…DRESSSSSSSSDEN!
The fans cheer once more as Buck slowly but surely lifts the Combat Championship high above both his head and his challenger’s. Jester looks up to the belt, purses his lips, and offers his hand to Buck, who immediately takes it.
VA: Ew. Respect.
Buck hands the Combat Championship to the referee and both men walk to their respective corners to begin the match.
MM: Say what you will, Vincent, but I’ve been looking forward to this match for a long time!
The bell rings and the match is on! Buck and Jester stare at one another for a long moment before finally meeting in the middle of the ring. Buck reaches out his hand as a sign of respect and Jester shakes it in return, bringing a pop from the crowd! Jester nods and goes back to his corner but wait! Buck yanks Jester in and hooks him in a belly to belly suplex! Jester gets right back up and is greeted with a hip toss from Buck! He gets right back up and is arm dragged back down by Buck! Jester is right back up yet again and Buck goes to lock up but Jester ducks underneath and hooks his arms around Buck’s midsection and deadlifts Buck up and brings him down to the mat! Jester sprawls over his foe and circles around, catching Buck’s head, wrapping his arm around Buck’s head and driving knees into Buck’s head!
VA: Jester knows how thick that skull of Buck Dresden’s is, Malone! He’s gotta soften it up early or he’ll never put the Bluegrass Bad Ass down!
Jester gets up, bounces against the ropes, and hits a rolling kneedrop to the back of Buck’s head. He gets to his feet and NAILS Buck with an elbow drop to the back of his head! Jester shakes his arm as though it were in pain and rolls Buck over for the pin attempt!
Jester picks Buck back up and whips him to the ropes, but Buck counters, whipping Jester to the ropes. Buck throws a clothesline that Jester ducks, but Buck catches him with a back elbow! Jester is dazed and Buck spins around…ROARING elbow! Jester falls against the ropes, giving Buck time to hook him in a vertical suplex…and he drops his friend and rival onto the top rope! Jester’s head dangles precariously in perfect position for a Buck Dresden European uppercut! Jester flies backwards, landing feet first onto the ring apron. Buck goes for another strike, but Jester ducks between the top and middle ropes, hitting Buck with a shoulder block, causing the Combat Champion to double over. Jester goes for a sunset flip over the ropes but Buck rolls through and cradles Jester up!
Jester is up quickly and strikes Buck in the face several times with open palm strikes until Buck quickly rolls Jester into a small package!
Jester rolls away and gets to his feet and plants himself for the Virginia Sidekick! Buck is up, Jester GOES for it! He kicks but Buck DODGES! Buck goes underneath the kick and quickly grabs Jester’s arm, hooking it between Jester’s open legs and has him in perfect position for the Cattle Driver! Buck gets Jester in the pumphandle position, lifts him up, but Jester goes the rest of the way through and lands on his feet behind Buck! Jester falls to the ground and rolls Buck up in a schoolboy!
Buck shakes his head in frustration but Jester charges at him…SHINING WIZARD! Buck goes down for the count and Jester pins him!
MM: My goodness this is exhausting! They’re just not stopping!
VA: They got a lotta aggression to work out, Malone!
Jester gets Buck up to his feet but Buck hits him with a jawbreaker! Jester bounces backwards and Buck catches him, whips him to the ropes and following him in, catching him with a HARD knee to the gut! The wind is knocked out of him! Jester doubles over and Buck wastes no time, he hooks Jester up in a Northern Lights suplex, but Buck rolls through the bridge, picks Jester up, and hits Jester with a vertical suplex! Buck rolls through and sprawls over onto the chest of Jester, hooking in a SICK front face chokehold!
MM: Buck Dresden is showing some very impressive innovative moves!
Jester’s arms flail around, catching the ropes and forcing Buck to break the hold. Buck gets up and reaches down to pick Jester up, but Jester rolls Buck up in a small package!
Buck gets up, but Jester trips Buck and puts him on the mat, going for a quick pin!
Buck rolls away, gets to his feet and charges Jester with a clothesline, but Jester ducks…VIRGINIA SIDEKICK! Buck is PLANTED with that move! Jester runs to the ropes, leaps up…SPRINGBOARD MOONSAULT! Buck is dazed, but Jester’s not finished! He picks Buck up, and he grabs Buck’s wrist…BUCK SHOT! JESTER JUST HIT BUCK WITH BUCK’S OWN FINISHER!!
MM: OH MY! BUCK IS OUT!
VA: NEW CHAMP!
Jester hooks Buck’s leg and the referee counts!
BUCK GOT HIS FOOT ON THE BOTTOM ROPE!! The fans let out an audible gasp as Jester slaps the mat in frustration. He picks Buck up and kicks Buck in the midsection. He runs to the ropes…BUCK HITS JESTER WITH A DESPERATION WIPE THE SMILE! BOTH MEN ARE DOWN!
MM: Buck responds in kind with Jester’s finisher!
VA: But he’s down! Jester is down!
Buck looks over at Jester and manages to sling an arm over onto Jester for the pin!
JESTER WITH THE SHOULDER UP! The fans POP as Jester throws his arm in the air! He balls his fist up while his arm is in the air and pounds it onto the mat, rolling over to his stomach and getting to his hands and knees. He looks at Buck, who is slowly starting to do the same. Both men are on their knees glaring at one another. Jester with a right! Buck falls backwards, but he picks himself up and hits Jester with a right! Jester falls backwards and then hits a right of his own! Buck with a right! Jester with a right! Both men start getting to their feet, Buck with a right! Jester with a right! Buck with a right! Jester with a right! Buck with a right, but Jester ducks the attempt, catching Buck’s head…neckbreaker! He sprawls over Buck’s body!
MM: Oh my goodness! These guys are pouring their hearts into this tonight!
Jester picks Buck up and wraps him up in the Last Laugh, half nelson and half chickenwing! He lifts Buck up, Buck counters with a snapmare! Jester gets to his feet, aims, and NAILS a Virginia Sidekick to Buck! Before Buck can stagger back, Jester takes a whole of Buck again with a half nelson and a half chickenwing, he lifts Buck up for the Last Laugh, Buck powers back down, turns around and he’s got Jester’s wrist…BUCK SHOT! NO! Jester ducks the Buck Shot at the last second, wrapping Buck up yet again for the Last Laugh, but Buck counters into a STUNNER! Jester’s head POPS up and Buck gets to his feet when MARTIN ROBERTSON NAILS BOTH MEN WITH A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE!
MM: WHOA! Where did HE come from?!
VA: I don’t know, but I think Martin’s here to make sure these guys know not to meddle in his affairs!
The referee calls for the bell as Martin puts the boots to both men.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, this match has been declared a DRAW due to DOUBLE DISQUALIFICATION and STILL your EWA Combat Champion…BUCK…DRESDEN!!
VA: Doesn’t look like much of a champion right about now!
Martin goes to pick up Jester, but he gets clobbered from behind by a dazed Buck! Martin quickly dives from the ring and clutches the back of his head, a smile on his face. Buck is handed the Combat Championship as he helps Jester to his feet. Both men glare down at Martin, who shrugs his shoulders and walks away, content with having taken yet another moment from Buck and Jester.
MM: There’s yet another match where Buck Dresden and Jester Smiles were screwed out of a legitimate chance at becoming or retaining the Combat Championship!
VA: When are guys like this gonna learn, Malone? You backed the wrong horse, fellas! Pack it in! I bet HATE needs some good manservants to, I don’t know, clean Cal Rayner’s cage or something.
MM: I can’t believe it, Vincent, I just can’t believe it. First HATE gets involved with Buck and Jester, and now Martin Robertson has an axe to grind with these two! It seems impossible for Buck Dresden and Jester Smiles to get a fair match against one another?
Malone sighs as Buck points the Combat Championship at Martin, furious over what has transpired while Jester slaps the top rope in frustration.
THIS MATCH IS DECLARED A DOUBLE DISQUALIFICATION (11:04)
MM: Folks, up next we have the team of FYA taking on the unholy union of Indrid Calder and Sahara–
VA: The Crimson Queen of HATE, Malone! This is gonna be great!
MM: And let’s go to the rin–
(A pause, as Malone’s brow furrows.)
MM: Actually, no, that’s not what we’re doing. We’re apparently going to a piece of pre-recorded footage instead.
VA: Why do you have people talking in your ear, Malone? I don’t have anyone talking to me.
MM: That’s because you’re intolerable.
VA: Am not!
(The pre-recorded scene opens to a stone porch and a dark-haired woman seated on a comfortable wooden bench.
The Banshee, Maggie McIntyre, sits cross-legged on the bench, a warm–yet sad sort of smile on her face. Clad in an oversized hoodie with her hair pulled back into a low ponytail, she reaches up, wiping at her eye before a cue from someone behind the camera gets her talking.)
Maggie McIntyre: Hi guys, to all you awesome people in the EWA world, you watched last Battlelines how my husband and I were brutalized when he was trying to announce his retirement from the wrestling world.
Some folks, namely the House of HATE, took personal offense to that.
Folks like Indrid Calder. Indrid…I know you loved me once upon a time. You took me under your wing when my world was falling apart and tormented me until I was firmly yours. You made it very clear to me that the House would never let me fall, they’d pick me up when I stumbled…that you would be there for me no matter what. You even confessed your love for me, but I couldn’t return your affection. No matter what delusions and anger drove me into your arms, my heart belonged to one man.
The man I pulled off a balcony before he became road pizza.
The man who once woke up next to me after a one-night stand and was too scared to walk past my great big scary Uncle GRIMM.
The man who went to the very monster who was tormenting me.
The man on the ladder that I pushed over.
The man who came back and whipped me with a fucking belt.
The man who goaded a psychopath into punishing me and leaving me looking like dear ol’ Ivory Ike.
The same man who moved the stars to earn my forgiveness and asked the most that anyone could ever ask of someone…to share him with another and I did so, because I loved him that much. I even grew to love her too…
But turns out, she was a figment of our imaginations. Now she’s on the very arm of the Stranger who led me astray. A piece of advice, Sahara? Don’t spoon up to him for warmth. He fucks like an animal and it’ll be the best sex of your life…but he’s got no capacity for love and warmth. It’ll be like snuggling up to a corpse. There’s nothing in him but greed and hate and violence. I know you, Sahara. You’ll never find the admiration and admonition you so crave with him.
(Maggie laughs a little, shifting her weight and letting one leg dangle. The bench was clearly made for someone of a much taller stature.)
Maggie McIntyre: I can already imagine the outcome of the news of this video…see, EWA fans…you’re not just losing Michael Draven, but you’re also losing me.
(She pauses, just for the dramatic effect.)
Maggie McIntyre: But don’t worry, it’s not forever.
Only for about another seven months or so. You see, sometime back in November when shit was really hairy between the three of us, I was a dumbass and missed a few of my birth control pills. I mean, can you really blame me? We had Miss Center of Attention living with us and we couldn’t concentrate on anything but her…the rare moment Mike and I could get some time alone?
And here I thought it was just the stress making me sick.
(The sound of footsteps makes her pause and look behind her. Michael Draven has appeared, a grim look on his face as he comes around to take a seat next to her on the bench. Maggie wastes no time in simply curling up next to him. It’s cold in Massachusetts and she’s keen to sap his body warmth. The healing bruises from his near strangulation at Battlelines 39 and the assault by HATE and Sahara are blatantly on display.)
Maggie McIntyre: So, as much as you’d like to think you’ve won, Indrid Calder….you haven’t.
Sahara, the only thing you’ve gained is a very empty future.
You see, Mike and I have done a lot of talking over the last couple of days. While he might be done, I’m not. But obviously, I’m not going to wrestle while pregnant. Not only would Stacy sue the fuck out of me, I actually kind of want to be a mom. It’s not really how I planned it, but I’m working on getting ready for it. I’ve got family to help me out. Not just my husband, but my family…
And a couple of very good friends who tried their best to help us last Battlelines.
You guys are welcome to our house anytime. Eric…seriously, come over and hang out. We’ll find something fun on Netflix. Buck, that goes for you too, with or without Wink. You’re both people we want around for a long time and if you need anything…we’re both here for you. Pregnant or retired, it doesn’t matter.
Oh and just a quick aside…hey Lou, I’m really happy you won our match and I’ve never had more fun in the ring, but can we tangle again after I pop out the kid? Facing you was…exhilarating and I’d love it too if we could be friends outside the ring. Come on and hang out too. I’ve got like seven more months of being patient to do.
(Michael Draven just chuckles to himself, pressing a kiss to the crown of her hair.)
Michael Draven: You’re not very good at being patient.
Maggie McIntyre: Yeah well, you’re worse at it than I am.
(She cracks a cheeky grin before turning her dark eyes back to the camera.)
Maggie McIntyre: Anyway, this isn’t so much of a goodbye forever, but more a I’ll see you all later this summer. I don’t know what I’m having yet, but for the EWA fans–and just to rub it in some people’s faces, I’ll keep you guys updated.
It’s farewell for now! I’ll miss you guys so much!
(Michael Draven, mostly silent throughout Maggie’s speech, suddenly speaks.)
Michael Draven: Calder…Sahara…you may have taken me down and out at Battlelines 39. Congratulations. But you know, it’s ironic. As much as you hurt me…here…(he puts a hand to his throat)…and here…
(Michael moves his hand to his heart…and then slowly reaches across, placing it across the – for now – flat stomach of his wife.)
Michael Draven: ….I still came out as a winner.
Maggie McIntyre: Enjoy yourselves. You deserve each other. Nature abhors a vacuum.
(And with that, the scene abruptly cuts to black, leaving us to fade back to ringside.)
MM: Maggie McIntyre and Michael Draven delivering us the most special of announcements, and on behalf of everyone at the EWA, we wish them the very best in–
VA: The hell if we do, Malone! You think that’s a goddamn coincidence that this video suddenly came in to air right before Sahara’s match? You think that wasn’t a deliberate mind game on the behalf of those two losers?
MM: Why would it matter? Sahara’s with Calder now. Why would she care if Maggie’s pregnant, or if Michael Draven is happy?
VA: Are you even hearing yourself right now? You’re prescribing logic to the Crimson Queen! She’s certifiably insane, Malone! Of course this is going to bother her!
MM: Well, we’ll find out first hand in just a moment, because it’s time to go to the ring here on Battlelines!
FYA VS INDRID CALDER & SAHARA
Nikki Rogers: The following tag-team match is scheduled for ONE FALL! Introducing first, the team of Dane Preston and Murphy Doyle Maher … F. Y. A.!
VA: Vulgar and inappropriate. Even Nikki Rogers refuses to say their full team name.
MM: While I don’t blame her, you would choose now to determine a name is to vulgar, simply because they’re going up against your new flavor of the month.
The crowd stirs in their seats, as the sound of an engine roars, accompanied by a drum of some sort, which erupts into Slitknot’s ‘Surfacing’, lead off by a familiar statement.
FUCK YOU ALL
Fuck it all!
Fuck this world!
Fuck everything that you stand for!
Don’t belong! Don’t exist!
Don’t give a shit!
Don’t ever judge me!
From behind the curtain, Dane Preston and Murphy Doyle Maher, accompanied by their manager, Sarah Wolf, appear, and rush toward the ring, as the thrash style metal of Slipknot plays loudly over every speaker, and the letters FYA appear on every screen.
Reaching the ring, Murphy and Dane slide in, and begin to pose at the turnbuckles for the thousands of onlookers, as Sarah grabs the microphone and offers it to Dane. Without taking his eyes off the entrance ramp. Dane accepts the mic and tosses it to Murphy, who gives the ‘cut it’ sign to end the music. Looking out into the sea of people, he addresses the EWA faithful with a smile stretched across his face.
Murphy Doyle Maher: Every single time I’ve got to sit in the back, and listen to this one, ‘r that one, prattle on, about this thing, ‘r that thing. This time, it’s yeh turn to listen, and it’s my turn to talk.
Since we’ve showed up here, we’ve made a lot of comments, made a lot of statements, and by the proof of the puddin’, we’ve made a lot of progress. Right now, two nobodies with no business being in this business — their words, not ours — are about to face two of the biggest names this sport. We can say what we like, we can act any which way, but at the end of it, we’ve made it further than anyone ever thought we would, and we did it better than many others could even imagine. So whatever happens, right here and now, against the house of HATE, know it. Get it tattooed on yeh body. I know a guy or two to help yeh. Don’t dare say, we didn’t deserve what we got coming.
Now, Sahara, and Calder, all gorilla’d up in the backstage area, wanna come out here, and show us that we either stand with them, or not at all. They wanna obtain victory, or valhalla. Well, you know what I say? We’ll take the third option. And you can bet your asss, there’s a third fucking option. Play ‘em out!
Throwing the mic to the side, Murphy and Dane stand at the ready, awaiting their playmates from the house of HATE.
NR: And their opponents–
Nikki makes a dramatic pause.
NR: Representing the House of HATE — the true King and Queen of the EWA — hailing from the smoldering ruins of Valhalla, ‘The Stranger’ Indrid Calder and ‘The Crimson Valkyrie’ Sahara!!!
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
MM: It really astounds me the stuff Nikki will read off for Sahara. And you KNOW Sahara’s feeding her those intros.
VA: She’s royalty, Malone. I can’ blame Nikki for doing as she’s told!
As the lights dim down, Indrid Calder emerges onto the rampway as fog slowly rolls over the stage as if following him from the dark beyond. The random sounds of a radio tuning through various stations floats over the arena as red lights suddenly shine up from the stage, casting him in an eerie glow.
YOU DON’T KNOW HOW HARD IT IS
BEING A WOMAN
HOW WILL I EVER LIVE UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS
As the rolling beat of In This Moment’s ‘Dirty Pretty’ begins pumping through the speakers, the Stranger stops toward the middle of the stage and turns ever so slightly toward the entryway. Holding out a gloved hand, his fingers slowly beckon forth — his prize — the Crimson Queen of HATE.
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL
WHO’S THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL?
TELL ME I’M THE PERFECT … QUEEN
As she steps through the curtain, her rows of platinum braids shine from within the shadows. Clad in black and red attire, jagged stripes of red warpaint streak across her face, giving off a terrorizing look of blood. Her jaw is clenched tight, and her face etched with a permanent scowl. Her mere appearance brings a with it notable look of approval to Indrid’s face. She accepts her Stranger’s outstretched hand and turns her gaze toward the ring…
MM: You can’t tell me that bombshell of an announcement from Michael and Maggie Draven moments ago isn’t weighing on the Crimson Queen, she looks positively ready to flay someone!
VA: She needs to harness that anger and keep her cool in there, Malone. Dale and Murph, better known as F.Y.A., are no pushovers in the ring, regardless of how formidable this team of HATE may be. But I do have to say, Sahara and Calder together is like the stuff of nightmares.
MM: You meant Dane. And there is no doubt about that.
VA: Right, Dave.
MM: DANE! And fans, I’m going to quickly note that Rick Iley has ordered the manager of FYA, Sarah Wolf to the back, I suppose in the interest of fairness?!
VA: As she should be, you don’t see the King and Queen coming out here with the hive of HATE, do you?!
MM: Right. I’m sure if push comes to shove, they won’t break any rules.
As Sahara and Calder make their way to the ring, they slowly climb the ring steps and step through the ropes, both keeping their eyes trained on their opponents all the way. Rick Iley calls all four competitors to the center of the ring to quickly go over the ground rules of the match as the four meet in the middle. Iley points to both neutral corners as he explains–
The crowd suddenly EXPLODES in excitement as Sahara BLASTS Dane with solid right to the side of the head!!! Rearing back to launch a second, she’s simultaneously tackled and yanked back by both Rick Iley and Calder! The Crimson Queen is seething as spit flies from her mouth as she screams at her opponents! Murph quickly jumps in front of Dane and holds up a hand to keep his partner at bay!
VA: The bell hasn’t even rung yet and she’s already lost it!
MM: You were just saying she needs to keep her cool, but it’s apparent she has no such intent…
Quickly getting a handle on the situation, Rick Iley admonishes the team of HATE — namely Sahara — and orders her out onto the ring apron, signifying Calder will start the match. As she yells something back at Iley, he points a finger in the Crimson Queen’s face and simply commands her to, “cool it!”
Rubbing a palm across the side of his head where her blow landed, Dane nods his head as if accepting the terms of the match set forth by Sahara. Murph pats him on the shoulder as Dane angrily steps through the ropes and onto the ring apron…
In the opposite corner, Calder can be seen whispering something to Sahara, only she’s glaring past him at her opponents with a look of bristling anger. Grabbing her by the side of the neck, Calder shakes the Crimson Queen just violently enough to get her attention, repeating himself a second time.
MM: To say that announcement is bothering her is an understatement, Ashe. She’s out of control!
The bell finally rings signifying the start of the match as Calder breaks off from Sahara in the corner and slowly circles the ring, with Murphy Doyle Maher doing the same. Sizing each other up, they lock up, pushing back on each other to gain ground…
VA: It’s surprising to see Indrid Calder is actually bigger and taller than Murph, Malone. The way that man carries himself, I’d have easily guessed he was the bigger of the two.
MM: It’s a testament to his personality, but all of these personalities in this ring are larger than life.
VA: That’s an understatement…
Gaining the advantage on size alone, Calder twists into a side headlock, only Murph shoves him into the ropes and on the rebound, both collide, with Murph taking a few steps back from the impact of Calder’s momentum off the ropes. The collision brings a slight cheer from the crowd as both men stare each other down.
Slowly circling each other, they lock up again, only this time Calder lifts his knee into the midsection of Murph but the Irishman catches his leg!
MM: Modified belly to belly on Calder!
Rolling back into the corner, Indrid slowly nods up at Murph, accepting the prowess of his opponent. As Murph approaches, Calder suddenly LUNGES out of the corner and grasps him under both legs and picks him up, charging across the ring and slamming him into their corner! Calder quickly follows it up with a kick to the gut as Sahara grabs Murph from behind by his beard, yanking him back with a snarl on her face!
VA: She got him by the beard!!!
MM: Jeez, that’s gotta hurt!
VA: My Savage Queen of Crimson Beauty!
Calder quickly tags Sahara on the shoulder and she releases him, and enters the ring as both proceed to repeatedly kick Murph down into the corner. Rick Iley orders Calder out onto the ring apron as Sahara continues to repeatedly stomp Murph down into the corner prompting Iley to yell out a warning–
One. Two. Three–
Only the Crimson Queen turns toward Iley and picks up the count–
Yelling in Sahara’s face to let Murph out of the corner, she ignores the command and continues counting as she stomps down on her opponent.
Grabbing hold of the Crimson Queen, Iley SHOVES her away as Murph finally collapses to the mat. His admonishment of the blonde comes across loud and clear, “I’m warning you now, Sahara…do NOT continue to ignore my orders!”
Waving him off, Sahara screams in his face, “Whatever! Now get outta my way…”
MM: Sahara needs to get a handle on her anger, Ashe.
VA: She seems to have a handle on things, Malone.
MM: Not what I meant. She’s clearly upset about you know what and it’s affecting her judgement.
Noticing Murph crawling out of the corner toward his own, reaching out to Dane, Sahara comes off the ropes and brings the comeback to a halt with a leaping elbow drop across Murph’s back! Rolling onto her back while leaning up against Murph with a smirk on her face, she yanks him over by the and lazily hooks a leg.
MM: Powers out at two!
VA: I love the little things she does to show up her opponents, Malone. That little smirk as she went for the pinfall she knew he’d kick out of…just wonderful.
After kicking out, Murph reaches toward his corner for the tag but Sahara gets up and grabs him by the ankle and begins dragging him back toward her corner. As he’s dragged across the mat, Murph rotates his body and plants his other foot into her chest and SHOVES her back! Sahara FLIES BACK and SLAMS off the turnbuckles and rebounds, charging after Murph who DIVES FOR THE TAG!
The crowd explodes as Dane Preston LEAPS over the top rope and comes face to face with the Crimson Queen, who throws her hands up and tries to back away!
Only Dane backs away himself!
VA: The coward doesn’t wanna fight her!
MM: I think he said he doesn’t wanna catch anything, Ashe!
VA: Oh, super funny, Malone.
Flashing a smile as he converses with Rick Iley, Dane can clearly be overheard asking if he has an abundance of hand sanitizer just in case, which draws a laugh from the crowd! The comment merely adds to Sahara’s growing frustration.
With a scowl, Sahara says something to Dane only he lifts up both hands, and backs up against the ropes, pointing out at Calder, making a motion to tag.
MM: He wants her to take Calder in!
Sahara: You want Calder?!
The Crimson Queen points at Indrid on the outside as Dane nods his head and the crowd cheers.
Sahara: Too bad!
The crowd let’s out a resounding ‘ohhhhhh’ as she SPITS right in Dane’s face and yells, “Sanitize THAT, bitch!”
VA: Ohhhh! Awesome! Not so funny now, is it funny man?!
MM: Dane looks absolutely beside himself–
Reaching up to wipe her spit out of the corner of his eye, Dane suddenly lunges into her with a surprise shoulder block that forces her back against the ropes and he quickly sends her across with an Irish whip, on the rebound she ducks a discus clothesline and Dane spins again and charges, SPEARING the Crimson Queen THROUGH the top and middle ropes! Sahara crashes down HARD on the ring apron as both tumble to the outside, his momentum carrying him into the barricade while Sahara grabs the bottom rope and remains laying on the ring apron, her one leg dangles off the side with a look of agony on her face!
MM: Look at the impact of that collision, Ashe! Sahara’s hurt!
VA: Yes, but what excellent ring presence keeping herself up on the ring apron like that!
MM: This match just got personal with these two teams having plenty to say about each other leading up to this match.
Rolling herself under the bottom rope with a hand on her lower back, Dane recovers and reaches beneath the ropes just as Sahara reaches out to tag Calder — she’s suddenly yanked out of the ring, landing on her feet just long enough … SUPERKICK! Dane smacks her with an echoing kick on the outside and Sahara flatbacks, left staring up at the lights.
Picking up the Crimson Queen, Dane rolls her back into the ring beneath the bottom rope and makes the cover, hooking the leg!
VA: Not even close, Malone.
Stumbling to her feet to make the tag, Sahara’s eyes open wide, noticing she accidently went to the wrong corner! Spinning around, Dane grabs her in a belly to belly, AND SUDDENLY HOWLS!
MM: She’s got him by the…the…
VA: It’s okay to say balls, Malone! This is the EWA! She’s got him by the BALLS!
With a fistful of Dane’s junk, Sahara snarls in his face only Dane fights through the pain and grabs her by the wrist! Her eyes grow wide as Dane slowly removes her hand from where the sun don’t shine, only she cuts him off and reaches under from his backside and grabs ANOTHER HANDFUL! She lets out a scream as she CLAMPS down, doubling Dane over in pain, she then latches back on with the hand he’d previously broken off and the Crimson Queen wrenches him over her head — T-BONE SUPLEX!
Rolling into the corner while grabbing his groin in agony, Sahara sits up and snaps her head back toward Dane Preston with a depraved smile on her face, watching him kick his legs against the mat in agony.
MM: I’m not exactly sure what to call that?! A uh, Sahara-plex?!
VA: Sahara-plex it is! And speaking as a man, you KNOW that hurt, Malone!
Once again admonishing Sahara on her questionable tactics, Rick Iley issues another warning as Sahara brushes past him, paying him no mind. Grabbing Dane by the hand, she drags him toward her corner and reaches out a foot, refusing to let go of her opponent and Calder tags in via slapping her boot.
Wrenching Dane’s arm, Calder stomps down on it as Sahara let’s go, holding her hands up as Rick Iley back her out of the ring.
Yanking Dane back to his feet, Calder lifts him and drops down with a crushing side slam, hooking the leg for another cover.
MM: Another kick out at two.
VA: Dean and Murph should be milking these counts, Malone. They’re too charged up. That one extra moment of rest could make the difference–
MM: Dean? I don’t think you’ve gotten his name correct once tonight, Ashe, it’s DANE. D. A. N. E.
VA: You mean D. U. M. B. A. S. S? Oh, yeah, ya see, big badass can attack me backstage and apologize like nothing happened…and I can bury him on commentary. That’s how this works.
MM: You are such a child.
VA: Just doing my job.
Lifting Dane back to his feet, Calder’s head ROCKS back as Dane launches and connects with a solid uppercut. Calder returns the favor, rocking Dane. As Calder winds up for another, Dane gets an arm up for the block, and absolutely dazes the Stranger, catching the edge of his jaw with a solid right. Stumbling back a few steps, Dane rushes forward with a knee to Calder’s gut, following it up by launching him into his corner, where he tags in the now rested Murphy Doyle Maher. As Murph steps into the ring, Dane sends Calder off into the ropes but he ducks beneath a double clothesline from Dane and Murph, rebounding on the opposite ropes and — DOUBLE SUPERKICK!
Calder nearly does a 360 flip from the impact as Sahara immediately jumps into the ring and grabs Calder by his ankle to drag him back … when she looks up–
MM: Uh oh!
For a second, Dane and Murph glance at each other before they look back at the Crimson Queen prompting the crowd to pop — DOUBLE SUPERKICK!
Sahara drops to the canvas and rolls from of the ring to a chorus of boos as both men’s kicks fly safely over her head. Dane makes a quick motion toward Sahara with his thumb and index finger about an inch apart to show how close they were only to have her blurt out, “I know how small your dick is, Dane, I just had a handful!”
This remark prompts exuberant laughter from Vincent Ashe, and even draws a bit of laughter from some of the fans at ringside.
VA: Oh, that was just marvelous.
Back in the ring, Rick Iley finally forces Dane out of the ring as he’s yelling down at Sahara while Murph takes control of the dazed Indrid Calder. Sending him into the ropes, CALDER DROPS! Grabbing hold of his leg, Sahara yanks him out of the ring to safety to another resounding wave of boos from the capacity crowd.
VA: Look at that teamwork, Malone!
MM: Both of these teams have been showing some great teamwork tonight.
Murph motions for both to get back into the ring as they crawl up onto the ring apron where Sahara tags herself back in much to Calders surprise! Standing on the ring apron, Sahara dismissively waves Murph back to “give her some room”. As Murphy backs away, Sahara slowly and tentatively steps through the ropes. Murph immediately rushes toward the Crimson Queen, only she ducks her upper body back to the outside of the ropes and once again waves him away.
MM: Stall tactics. Get in the ring, Sahara, these people came to see a fight!
VA: Brilliance, Malone. Sheer brilliance. I don’t know how she did it, but Sahara’s become something of a ring general in an astoundingly short amount of time–
MM: What is it with you and Sahara?! She can suddenly do no wrong as far as you’re concerned!
VA: This beautiful creature dethroned and rid us of Jada Kane–
MM: Forget I asked.
Finally stepping back into the ring, Sahara and Murph lock up, and after a few moments of push, Murph rears back and TOSSES Sahara back into the turnbuckles to a pop from the crowd! Charging out of the corner, Murph hits her with a surprisingly agile hip toss, which rolls her in a kneeling position into the opposite turnbuckles. Glancing at Calder, who holds his hand out for the tag, Sahara shys away from her corner, keeping herself in the match!
MM: Mistakes are being made by the Crimson Queen right now…whatever strategy HATE had in mind, it’s all going out the window.
Pushing her braids out of her face, Sahara stands back up in a neutral corner and mouths something to Murphy who points to his ear as if he couldn’t hear her. Seemingly to only infuriate the blonde, she kicks the bottom rope and screams for the fans to “shut up”, drawing even more heat from the audience.
Once again moving toward the center of the ring, they lock up, only the bigger heavier Murph hooks Sahara by the arm and sends her into the ropes, and she CRASHES down on the rebound from a huge shoulder block and rolls herself back into the ropes as Rick Iley backs Murph away. Seething, she looks up at Murphy and suddenly starts screaming, kicking and pounding on the mat!
MM: She’s throwing a tantrum! I’ve never seen this side of Sahara before…it’s more than clear that little announcement is the only thing on her mind right now.
VA: She NEEDS to tag out and take a breather…
Repeatedly calling for calm on the outside, Calder reaches out to the Crimson Queen to make the tag only she once again shakes it off, saying she’s got it. But the smoldering snarl on her face says it all.
Moving back toward Murph to lock up, Sahara breaks off pursuit at the last second and grabs Rick Iley by the shirt and points at Dane Preston–
MM: What’s going on now?!
Calder yells out to his Queen…attempting to soothe her restless anger.
VA: Even in the midst of the action, Calder remains cold and calculating, even referring to her as my qu–OHH!!!
As Rick Iley turns his attention toward Dane, she boots an unexpecting Murph right between the legs to a massive chorus of boos!
Murphy collapses to his knees as Dane furiously jumps up and down on the outside, pointing into the ring, yelling at Rick Iley to pay attention as he points at Sahara and mimes a kick to the groin!
VA: Haha! Look at Preston acting the baby because his partner tripped into Sahara’s beautiful foot.
MM: Tripped?! Good God you’re as delusional as she is.
Calder reaches out, again motioning to Sahara to make the tag, but she holds up a finger and tells him to wait! Rick Iley approaches her, clearly seeing what went down but lacks any evidence. Murph holds his groin in agony as Iley discusses something with her. Dane leans over the top and holds his hand out, calling for the tag!
Not liking what Iley has to say, Sahara steps up into Iley’s face, her head bobbing and weaving with attitude before she brushes past him, yanking Murph back up to his feet, who is STILL in agony, standing on wobbly legs!
MM: Takes awhile for a guy to recuperate from that!
VA: You ain’t lyin’!
Grabbing fistfulls of his beard to keep him up, Iley once again orders Sahara to release him when a look of expiration crosses her face. Letting Murphy go, she suddenly lifts both middle fingers in his face and PUNTS him in the nuts AGAIN!
The crowd boos as Iley’s had enough!
The bell rings as Sahara screams at Rick Iley and a furious Dane Preston LEAPS over the top rope and charges into the Crimson Queen, sending her up and over the top rope with a huge clothesline popping the crowd! Rolling back onto her ass on the outside, looking up at Dane, she wipes her mouth and starts mouthing off again as a few referees charge out from the back to keep order…
Dropping off the ring apron to attend to Sahara, a visibly disappointed Indrid Calder scolds her selfish, uncontrolled actions on the outside as Dane yells down at the team of HATE. Sahara gets to her feet and storms off up the rampway as Calder follows.
NR: The winners of this match at the result of a disqualification, the team of F.Y.A., Dane Preston and Murphy Doyle Maher!
Still on the ground, holding his hands over his groin, Murph kicks his legs as Rick Iley and his partner, Dane Preston attend to him.
MM: That was uncalled for. Pure and simple. Sahara couldn’t keep her emotions in check and the more offense Murph got in on her, the more frustrated she became, finally culminating in her kicking him where the sun doesn’t shine, not once but twice. Blatantly.
VA: Insert Sahara dick joke here, right? Isn’t that what everyone does?! They got what they deserved as far as I’m concerned.
MM: They also got a win over the Crimson Queen and The Stranger, regardless of how you look at it, it’s in the record books. FYA sent a message and looked like they belonged in that ring with Calder and Sahara, and that’s saying something. It’s just a shame she ended things that way because it was a shaping up to be a great contest!
VA: I’ll even give them that, Malone. As much as Dane may have annoyed me, he and Murph showed me something here tonight. And so did Sahara’s boot.
Finally getting to his feet with the help of the ropes and Dane, Murphy shakes his head in disappointment, taking a deep breath, doing his best to shake off the pain.
YOUR WINNERS BY DISQUALIFICATION: FYA (13:37)
(We fade backstage, where Allison Haines is standing by, the bright smile plastered on her face as always.)
Allison Haines: Ladies and gentlemen, joining me at this time, the EWA Executive Assistant, Stacy Vandervort.
(A clearly frustrated Vandervort steps into the view of the camera, running a hand through her blond hair as she nods toward Allison.)
Allison Haines: Stacy, this is now the second time that Buck Dresden and Jester Smiles have had a championship match marred by interference. First, it was HATE involving themselves in their Combat Championship match at This Means War, and now tonight, Martin Robertson seemingly has an axe to grind with the duo, and involved himself in their match. What are your plans to…to counteract all of this?
(A rattled sigh from the Executive Assistant.)
Stacy Vandervort: I honestly don’t know, Allison. Things are out of control right now as it pertains to HATE, and to their involvement in everything Jester and Buck, and now Martin’s getting involved as well…
(She sighs again, folding her arms and looking down for a moment, before snapping her gaze back toward Allison.)
Stacy Vandervort: I’ll tell you this much, Allison. We’re going to have to get creative with how to solve all of this. How to stop HATE and Martin from getting involved, how to give Buck and Jester the match they deserve….
(She sighs for a third time, shaking her head.)
Stacy Vandervort: I’ve got a lot to think about.
Allison Haines: And understandably so, Stacy. Thanks for you–
Stacy Vandervort: Wait. Not finished yet. One more thing. Martin’s scheduled to face NOTHING here tonight in the main event, right? Non-title match? This isn’t something that we normally do here in the EWA, but I’m banning everyone from ringside during that match. Anyone who wants to test me on this issue? They’ll be facing an immediate 30 day suspension from the EWA. Enough is enough, Allison. Now, if you’ll excuse me–
Allison Haines: Of course. Thanks for your time, Stacy. Mike, Vincent, back to you at ringside!
KATSURO YOSHIDA VS STERLING
Nikki Rogers: The following contest is scheduled for one fall!
“One Fall!!” the crowds chant back to the lovely ring announcer.
MM: The fans of the EWA are always lively, and Phoenix is no exception!
VA: I think they just chant it to try to get in with Nikki.
MM: Are you insane?
VA: Can you blame them? I mean…look at her, Malone!
MM: She’d never give you a chance.
VA: I know. (sighs)
NR: Introducing first, from Miura, Japan and weighing in at 262 pounds…Katsuro Yoshida!
The lights go out completely and a lone white spotlight shines down onto the stage. Red lights shine upwards, illuminating the fog as it rolls in. An older Japanese man walks out onto the stage wearing dark robes emblazon with gold 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.
Coming out behind him is his long-time British business partner and advocate, Kevin Oppenheimer, wearing his blonde hair spiked up, dark sunglasses which reflect like a mirror, and a suit which coordinates very nicely with that of the other individuals on the stage, the dark fabric utilized for his pants and jacket and tie, and a deep burgundy-colored shirt. Embroidered into the left breast pocket portion of his jacket is the symbol for the WorldWide Bushido Buntai. 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, the four women following 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. They exit the ring, and then after smacking Katsuro Yoshida in the chest with two open-handed strikes to help awaken the legend to the time of combat, Oppenheimer exits the ring as well.
As the escort exits, Nikki Rogers speaks again.
NR: And his opponent, weighing in at 255 pounds and hailing from Greenwich, London, England….Sterling!
As Static-X cuts in, pale blue lights strobe around and Sterling steps out onto the ramp, one trained directly down on him. Sleeveless black hoodie pulled up and sunglasses covering his eyes, he looks all about into the stands and he slowly and methodically paces down toward the ring, unhurried. 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.
He glares over at his opponent before taking to his corner.
Referee Juan Cardillo calls for the bell and this match is underway!
MM: There goes the bell and here comes Katsuro!
Yoshida comes out of his corner like a freight train with a big boot to the chest of Sterling, but those quick reflexes come into play, grabbing that boot to yank his opponent down with him when he goes down. The two are quickly on their feet again and locking up, testing their strength against each other. It’s only after a few long moments that Yoshida has Sterling backed against the ropes, using his height and weight advantage before he delivers a strong blow to the Englishman’s chest…the sound of which resounds throughout the arena.
MM: Hell of a chop there!
VA: And again!
Sterling outright shoves the taller man back, but Katsuro comes back with a vengeance!
VA: Is…is it just me or is this a different Yoshida than we’re used to seeing?
MM: You’re right, Ashe…we’ve yet to see him this…intense!
Yoshida throws blows left and right, but Sterling has gained his wind, bringing up those arms to block each of them before he takes down the older man with a strong right hand!
Sterling quickly picks up Katsuro, whipping him across the ring before catching him with a clothesline, sending him back down to the mat. Sterling drops an elbow across Yoshida’s chest and goes for the first cover, but the Japanese man manages to kick out right at two! Slowly regaining some of the senses that Sterling tried to knock out of him just a minute ago, he pushes the Englishman away and staggers to his feet.
MM: That was a quick cover, but it’s far too early for Sterling to take down someone like Yoshida!.
The two continue to battle back and forth, trading blows like candy, but neither one bending to the other. Rights, lefts. Armbars, and ankle locks. These two put on a veritable spectacle of a show that leaves both of them panting for breath by the end of it.
VA: Yeeeah, this definitely is a much different Yoshida than we saw in the beginning!
Cardillo stands at the ready as both warriors widen their stance only–
MM: Yoshida’s rushing Sterling!
The taller man rushes his opponent, only for Sterling to quickly sidestep and sweep his feet out from under him! The predator takes advantage of the moment and rolls his opponent up for the count! Cardillo drops to slap the mat!
VA: He’s got him rolled up tight!
MM: Yoshida’s throwing all his power to try and kick out–
VA: But he can’t quite!
Sterling releases his struggling opponent as his music hits and Nikki Rogers moves to stand.
NR: And your winner, ladies and gentleman, Sterling!
MM: An intense battle here between Sterling and Katsuro, and these two both have a bright future here in the EWA, ladies and gentlemen.
VA: Sterling’s record may not indicate that, Malone, but he’s certainly continuing to improve by leaps and bounds every match he has. It’s only a matter of time before Katsuro makes a major impact, and I fear for the person he does it against.
MM: Let’s take you backstage!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: STERLING (12:41)
(We cut to backstage of the Talking Stick Resort Arena where Terry Bull stands dutifully in a corridor, microphone in hand and ready to grab the scoop from some poor, unsuspecting soul. He nods into the camera before speaking.)
Terry Bull: Ladies and gentlemen, I am anxiously awaiting the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOTHING and I’m hoping to catch a word with him before he heads to the ring for his non-title contest against Martin Robertson. With the numbers in HATE growing and targets appearing from multiple corners of the EWA, The Purveyor is now in the sights of every Warrior. Will he–
(Terry is cut off as the door to a locker room along the corridor swings open. He turns his head to see The Harbinger of HATE himself, the current EWA World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING emerge. He wears his standard entrance gear of a sleeveless, black leather vest with gold accents over his black leather pants and boots. The gold stripe running along the sides of his pants matches the gold accents on his vest… and, even better, the EWA World Heavyweight Championship strapped around his waist. He lets out an exasperated sigh as he notices Terry down the hallway. He begins walking toward Terry as he stretches and rolls his wrists.)
Terry Bull: NOTHING, I was hoping to get a word with you before you head to the ring tonight. At Battlelines 39, you laid out the red carpet to the Warriors of the EWA in an open challenge for your EWA World Heavyweight Championship. We’re looking forward to the first match of this open challenge – who is it going to be?
(NOTHING glances over to Terry with a side-eye that would make Sahara proud, continuing to walk past the intrepid reporter. Terry follows alongside NOTHING whose sites are set on the task at hand this evening. He barely acknowledges Terry’s presence as the two walk side by side toward the backstage entrance to the arena.)
NOTHING: What I’m focused on, Terry, is Martin Robertson. Not that I’m nervous, or afraid, or unsure of how this is going to turn out… but he is, after all, someone who demands one’s full attention. I’m not going to sully my thoughts for too long playing games with you and the rest of the EWA. You want to know who I’ll be facing at Battlelines 41?
(He pauses, a smirk growing cross his face as he runs a hand through his tousled white hair.)
NOTHING: I can tell you, it won’t be Josh Kaine. That poor little pup… he needs to show me, and the rest of the EWA, that his teeth are a bit sharper before he can hold his own in the ring with The Purveyor. But there is a man who threw his hat in the ring whose teeth are plenty sharp. The only problem is, he doesn’t stop flapping his lips long enough for anybody to notice them. Seems this person has a problem knowing when to close his mouth at all, actually. I’ll fix that problem, Terry.
At Battlelines 41, I shut Dane Preston up. And after I drive my knee straight into his face? Maybe his man Murph can pick up the shards of his poor little pearly whites and glue them back into place for him.
(NOTHING picks up his pace, taking wider strides and leaving Terry in the dust. Terry stops walking and brings his microphone down to his side before we cut back to ringside.)
Main EventMARTIN ROBERTSON VS NOTHING
DING! DING! DING!
NR: The following contest is our main event! It is scheduled for one fall, and is a non-title matchup!
VA: We all know that it’s bullshi…
(The lights in the arena drops, with a glow emanating from the jumbo screen above the entrance ramp..)
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
VA: What the hell is that?
(An image pops up on the jumbo screen of a figure wearing a crown. However…)
MM: Is… is that…
VA: Gonzo from the muppet babies?
MM: How do you know that?
VA: Ummm… pass.
(Sure enough, as “Hail to the King” by Avenged Sevenfold blares throughout the arena, with the white and purple lights flashing brightly, the image on the screen that is normally the smiling Skull King image that accompanies the music has been replaced… with a smiling Gonzo King. Unaware of the change, striding confidently through the curtain in his royal purple robe is Martin Robertson, head down as he holds his robe out to the side as he makes his way to the center of the entrance stage. Walking next to him, looking as ravishing as ever, is the Queen Bitch, Alyssa Marie Haven. She stands next to Robertson, leaning into her boyfriend as he stands stoic, looking towards the ring with a face full of anger.)
MM: Does… does he even know?
VA: I don’t think so…
(As Martin looks up, he unties the robe, yelling out towards the crowd, boisterous in nature. However, he stops for a second, looking out…)
VA: Are they… are they chanting….
MM: They are! They’re chanting “Gonzo King”.. And he’s totally unaware?
(Indeed, the look of confusion on Martin’s face shows that he has no clue why the crowd is chanting what they are… until Alyssa happens to turn around, looking up to see the rotating image of the Gonzo King on the screen. She motions to Robertson, telling him to look up. He does so, and the confusion changes to anger as Martin rips off the robe and marches intently towards the ring, not waiting for Alyssa…)
VA: I think he’s pissed, Malone.
MM: You think? This isn’t the first time someone’s been messing with his entrances recently.
VA: And you wonder why he continues to call this company incompete…
(Martin rolls into the ring, quickly reaching Nikki, snatching the microphone out of her hands, and…)
Martin Robertson: THIS… IS NOT… FUNNY!
(Alyssa is trying to reach the ring as quickly as she can, hurriedly making her way down the ramp in her high black heels…)
Martin Robertson: STOP IT! STOP CHANTING THAT!
MM: I don’t think that’ll get them to stop, Vince…
(Alyssa reaches the ring, placing her hands over the ears of Martin, but he quickly shrugs her off…)
Martin Robertson: This… this is the exact incompetence I’m talking about around here! The leadership sucks…
Martin Robertson: That’s right… I said it, Stacy… your leadership around here with Cameron Black sucks! You’ve been burying your greatest talent…
Martin Robertson: STOP…. CHANTING THAT! This place is a god damn circus around here! Hell, the Handicap Hero Erik Draven ran this place better than you are, and he was never around! Now, there’s apparently some free-spirited intern from one of those crappy schools in Boston messing around with my entrance! I swear… to god… tha…
(Before Martin can finish his sentence, the microphone cuts out, and the arena, once again, goes pitch black…)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
VA: Why’d they cut Martin off?
MM: Here comes the champion!
As Plecebo’s “Without You I’m Nothing” blares out across the arena sound system, stepping through the curtain is the World Heavyweight Champion NOTHING, belt strapped around his waist peeking out underneath a full length black jacket. In a rare instance, as he stands in the center of the entrance ramp, we see the champion… Smiling?
MM: Look at the World Champion… I…I think he’s loving this!
VA: Of course he is… It’s been complete chaos all throughout the night tonight. I would not be surprised if he was the mastermind behind all of it!
MM: I know NOTHING loves to play mind games, especially with Martin, but Muppet Babies? That doesn’t seem like his style, Vince…
VA: You never know with NOTHING…
The World Champion removes the belt from his waist, flinging it over his shoulder as he makes his way down towards the ring, stoic in his walk towards the battle that awaits him. Martin, however….
MM: Suicide dive to the outside by Martin on the champion! He’s not even giving him a chance to get into the ring!
VA: Martin’s pissed off… And rightfully so!
Martin bounces right back up and is kneeling over the champion, pounding away at him with right hands. Nothing throws Martin off, trying to stand up and remove his jacket, but with half an arm still in the jacket…
MM: Martin with a forearm smash to NOTHING! He grabs the champion… HEAD FIRST INTO THE RING POST!
VA: This match might not even start, Malone!
NOTHING, staggers along the ring apron, trying to regain his composure, but the Youth King continues to stalk him from behind, spinning him around and landing a heavy right hand to the skull of the champion. Martin continues following behind NOTHING, but this time, as Martin goes in to grab the champion, he spins around with a back elbow, catching the Youth King on the jaw…
MM: NOTHING with his own shot now!
NOTHING gives himself enough time to turn around to face Martin, landing a right hand to the temple, but Martin quickly counters with a knee to the midsection, doubling the champion over as Martin grabs NOTHING by the back of the head, spinning him around and throwing him head first into the guardrail, dumping the champion on the floor. NOTHING curls up against the guardrail trying to protect himself, but the Youth King continues to stomp away at the World Heavyweight Champion, giving him very little room to breath.
MM: Robertson here with the onslaught so far!
VA: With the amount of disrespect shown to the Youth King and his kingdom here in the EWA, can anyone fault Martin Robertson for decimating the World Champion?
In classic Martin fashion, as some of the fans immediately around the competitors start to harass Martin, continuing the chants of “GON-ZO KING!”, Martin pauses for a moment, looking up at the fans and getting in their face…
Martin Robertson: I got your gonzo right here, pal!
VA: See what I mean? Listen to how disrespectful these fans are at ringside!
MM: They’re disrespectful? How about Martin shouting and yelling at them, calling them…
Martin Robertson: … sit down, fat boy!
VA: See what?
MM: Good lord…
NOTHING starts to claw his way up Robertson’s leg, pulling at the Youth King, trying to get himself back to a vertical base… but Martin knees NOTHING square on the temple..
MM: What a knee strike by Robertson!
Martin, feeling the champion’s body go limp, picks him up and rolls him underneath the bottom rope back into the ring, quickly following behind..
DING! DING! DING!
MM: This match is finally underway, but it hasn’t been much of a match so far… COVER!
KICKOUT BY NOTHING!
VA: He might have kicked out, Malone, but there was not a lot of force behind that. He’s taken a beating thus far!
Martin quickly picks up NOTHING, not taking much time to get angry about the pinfall attempt, and throws NOTHING into the corner. The champ spins around so he’s facing out from the corner, but Martin is right there with a boot to the midsection. He stands NOTHING up straight before lacing him with a knife edge chop! As the champ cringes, Martin lands a right to the jaw before standing him up straight again and landing another knife edge chop! Martin whips NOTHING across the ring, who crashes hard back first into the corner, falling face first to the mat upon impact.
MM: Folks, when Martin Robertson is focused, when he has that intensity, that fire.. And he can harness it all into the match and not be distracted by all of the outside influences… he can look good…
VA: LEGENDARY, MALONE! He can look legendary, even moreso than his old man!
NOTHING rolls onto the ring apron under the bottom rope as Robertson takes his time following the prone champion. Robertson reaches the corner, sliding out the opposite side of the ring post to the outside. He comes around the pole, grabbing the head of NOTHING in a front face lock, pulling NOTHING out away from the ring until he’s feet are the only part still on the apron…
MM: He’s not going to… is he? NO! NOTHING drops his feet down, and drives Robertson into the barricade behind him!
VA: What sheer luck by NOTHING!
MM: This could be the opening the champion needs to finally get into this match, Vince.
NOTHING, despite the beating he’s taken so far, is somehow able to be the first one back to his feet as Robertson reaches a knee. NOTHING drops punches down onto the Youth King, keeping him grounded on the floor. Martin extends his arms out, attempting to push NOTHING away, but this moves him back far enough to give him room for a running start…
MM: RUNNING KNEE INTO THE BARRICADE! NOTHING returns the favor from earlier!
VA: Isn’t that an illegal strike while the opponent is on the ground?
MM: Oh, you mean like when Martin did it a few minutes ago?
VA: That was different.
VA: It’s like dating. It doesn’t count as cheating if it’s in a different area code.
MM: They were only on the other side of the ring!
VA: Same thing. Doesn’t count.
NOTHING has picked up Martin and rolled him back into the ring, following him by climbing to the top rope. He stands there, poised, watching Robertson like a hawk as he struggles to stand back up. But once he’s back onto his feet, he spins around looking for the champion, finally finding him on the top rope…
MM: MISSILE DROPKICK BY THE WORLD CHAMP! That sent Robertson flying halfway across the ring!
VA: Sneak attack after sneak attack, Malone. Is this all that HATE knows?
NOTHING sees Robertson on the far side of the ring and crawls over towards him, rolling him over…
NO! KICKOUT BY ROBERTSON!
VA: He’s still in this, Malone!
NOTHING gets to his feet first and, as Martin tries to get up, the World Champion kicks him in the ribs while Robertson is on all fours. NOTHING with another kick, and this moves Robertson over to the corner, where he uses the turnbuckles to try and get up faster. But NOTHING is right there on him, pelting him with right forearms and right front kicks, beating down the Youth King. He whips Robertson across the ring to the far turnbuckle, where Martin crashes hard back first, prompting him to stumble forward. But there’s NOTHING…
MM: Boot to the midsection… NOTHING now, hooks the arm… the leg… SPINESHANK! That swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker! COVER…
THRE… NO! AT THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND!
VA: It’s going to take more than that!
MM: And I think NOTHING realizes that. He pulls Robertson up to his knees now, in the center of the ring.. OH, WHAT A SLAP! He just damn near slapped the taste out of Robertson’s mouth! Now he’s yelling something at the Youth King..
VA: Maybe how much he respects him as a competitor?
MM: Doubtful… but here’s NOTHING… PURE HA… NO! ROBERTSON CAUGHT THE LEG! He stands up… OVERHEAD T-BONE SUPLEX WITH A RELEASE! ALL IMPACT ON THAT! And now both men are down!
VA: Listen to this crowd, Malone!
Alyssa begins to bang on the ring apron as both Robertson and NOTHING are laying with their backs on the mat, looking up at the ceiling. NOTHING is the first to roll over, reaching out towards the ropes to try and get himself to his feet.
MM: NOTHING is the first one to start moving here, but if we look at the replay of that suplex by Robertson, look at how high he was able to get the World Champion in the air before he lands in the center of the ring.
VA: That’s that All-American wrestling background coming out of Robertson there, Malone. Having the instinct, when you’re at your most tired, to still execute high-impact moves. No wonder he was a TWO-TIME NCAA wrestling champion, Malone!
MM: He does have a stori…
NOTHING has made it to his feet, but is slumping in the far corner, looking down at Robertson, who has just started to stir on the mat. As Martin rolls over to be on all fours, NOTHING springs into action, moving quickly to the center of the ring, pulling on the head of the Youth King to bring him to his feet. But Robertson, with a burst of energy, blasts the arms of NOTHING away, following up with a huge forearm shot to the jaw of the World Champion. NOTHING staggers backwards a step, but uses the momentum to fire back at Robertson, landing his own forearm to the jaw of the Youth King…
VA: Forget the technique right now, Malone… these two are slugging it out!
MM: Robertson now with his own shot… and NOTHING returns one as well! Back and forth… Robertson… NOTHING… Robertson… NOTHING… Robertson… NOTH… OH! What a cheap move!
VA: YES! The classically-executed thumb to the eye by Robertson! Oldest trick in the book by the more youthful competitor! I love it!
The thumb to the eye stops NOTHING in his tracks, as Robertson takes a deep breath before nailing the World Champion with a knee to the midsection, doubling over the Purveyor. Martin looks at the ropes, then bounces off the far side, charging back at NOTHING. But he stays low and ducks the Robertson clothesline. Robertson continues off the opposite ropes and comes back… NOTHING with a back body drop, but Robertson continues to roll and lands on his feet. Off the ropes a third time…
MM: OH! What a slingblade by Robertson, taking down the champ! Robertson is up quickly… WHAT THE ….
VA: OH MY GOD!
MM: He just nailed NOTHING with that running knee strike! I don’t think he got all of it, though, as the World Champ was falling away as he…
TH… NO! KICKOUT BY NOTHING!
MM: But Robertson isn’t letting the lack of a three count discourage him. He’s pulling NOTHING back to his feet… BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! He picks him up again… ANOTHER BELLY TO BELLY!
VA: Where is he…
MM: Robertson pulls him up a third time… BELLY TO BACK THIS TI…. NO! NOTHING breaks the hands, goes behind, but Robertson breaks the hands just as quickly. Martin behind NOTHING… Foot stomp by the World Champ! He reaches up… SALIDA DEL SOL BY NOTHING!
VA: WHERE THE HELL DID HE PULL THAT FROM?!?
THR… NO! KICKOUT BY ROBERTSON!
VA: Where are they getting this energy from?
MM: These are two of the greatest competitors of our time, Vince. They’ve both shown that they’ll do anything to succeed in our business!
Both men have rolled over onto their stomachs, and they’re using each other to try and get up ahead of the other! NOTHING gets to a knee first, but Robertson reaches out and gets a foot underneath himself. NOTHING matches the Youth King as they both get to their feet…
MM: WHAT IN THE…
VA: I thought he were banned from ringside!
MM: He was! Jester, Buck… hell, everyone not a part of the match was banned from ringside earlier by Stacy! But can you blame either of them for wanting to come down and do to these two the same thing they’ve done the past two shows to the Combat Brothers?
VA: Great, so nobody follows rules around here! Let chaos reign supreme…
Both NOTHING and Martin are confused as to what is going on… they’ve stopped fighting each other and have turned towards the entrance ramp…
MM: The action’s stopped in the ring… I don’t think anyone knows what to expect!
VA: Martin was right… they should fire this whole production crew!
MM: Well, the music is still playing… I don’t have a clue as to where Jester and Buck are.
VA: Nobody does…
MM: Well… there. The music’s stopped, but … I never saw anyone come out. Maybe it was a malfun…
I… AM A MAN… OF CONSTANT SORROW…
VA: You can’t be serious!
I’VE SEEN TROUBLE… ALL MY DAYS
MM: Now we’ve got Buck’s music playing! This crowd.. Hell, everyone here has to be confused at this point!
VA: I was confused a minute ago… now… I don’t know what to think!
MM: Can we… can we just unplug the sound system? Is there a malfunction going on? First it was Martin’s video… now Buck and Jester’s mu…
VA: MALONE, LOOK!
MM: MARTIN WITH A SCHOOLBOY….
VA: HE GOT HIM!
NR: The winner of this match… the Youth King, MARTIN ROBERTSON!
VA: Martin used the chaos to get the pinfall! What a brilliant move!
MM: Look at him… he’s like the cat that caught the canary! He’s loving this!
Martin is already part way up the ramp with Alyssa under his arm, smiling, laughing, pointing up towards NOTHING, who is furious in the ring… at the ref, at the EWA production crew at ringside… basically anyone who’s within earshot of the Purveyor.
VA: Of course he is! With everything that’s happened to him over the past month plus, he absolutely deserves this win tonight! And the fact that he pinned the World Champion… not even that idiot Cameron Black can keep him out of the title picture at this point!
MM: Through all of your rambling, Vince, that last line is a very excellent point. Martin just scored a victory over the Purveyor of HATE and the current World Heavyweight Champion. And I’ll give the youngster credit… he said last show that he was going to do anything he needed to do to get another shot at the belt that rests around the waist of NOTHING, and he’s clearly done that these past two shows!
VA: Exactly! Who are you to doub…dou… dou… MARTIN!
As Martin continues to walk backwards up the ramp, once he reaches the top of the ramp and is on the stage…
MM: IT’S THE COMBAT BROTHERS! BUCK DRESDEN AND JESTER SMILES!
VA: They can’t be out here!
MM: Sure they can! Stacy only banned them DURING the match, Vince! Match is over, and these boys are out here looking for a fight!
Martin and Alyssa have no clue that the duo are behind them. Martin takes two more steps back before he backs into the duo who are standing side by side. He stops, putting both arms behind him, touching each man on either side of him. He looks up and takes a deep sigh before turning around to face his makers. Alyssa, meanwhile, scampers off to the side and around the duo, heading back through the curtain.
MM: This is great! Martin’s going to get what’s coming to him!
VA: What should be coming to him is a World Heavyweight Title shot, Malone… not a beating by these two wild men.
MM: I don’t think begging off is going to work here, Martin! Right hand by Buck! Right hand by Jester! Buck! Jester! Buck! Jester! They’re rag-tagging the Youth King!
VA: No… no rag-tagging! …. Whatever the hell that even means, Malone.
MM: Martin’s barely on his feet at this point… VIRGINIA SIDEKICK BY JESTER… CLOTHES LINE BY BUCK!
VA: Get someone out here to stop this!
MM: I don’t think anyone in the back is going to take pity on Martin here! Jester’s got him up… Last Laugh… NO! Martin slips out, and now he’s running like the scared dog he is!
VA: He’s not a scared dog… it’s self-preservation, Malone. Live to fight another day, and all that stuff!
MM: Martin’s gone, but now the Combat Brothers look towards the ring… wait, where’d NOTHING go?
VA: He wasn’t stupid. Once he saw that Buck and Jester were beating up on Martin, he probably high-tailed it outta here!
MM: He did! Look, he’s up at the top of the stairs on the complete opposite side of the ring amongst the crowd! He’s looking down at Buck and Jester… he’ll definitely live to fight another day as well. But listen to this ovation from the crowd for Buck and Jester, on top of the entrance ramp here tonight! They managed to get a little bit of revenge against Martin tonight, and if I were a betting man, I would be watching my back if I was the World Heavyweight Champion, as I think the Combat Brothers will be coming for him shortly as well!
VA: Well, thank god you don’t bet, Malone.
MM: For Vincent Ashe, Nikki Rogers, and the rest of the EWA production team, I’m Mike Malone, saying so long from Phoenix, Arizona… Good night everyone!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MARTIN ROBERTSON (14:22)
EWA Wrestling – a Division of EWA Entertainment
This event may not be rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of EWA Entertainment.
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Erin Gordon vs Josh Kaine – Val K.
Mojave vs Nikki Caldwell – Harlan H.
Jester Smiles vs Buck Dresden – Brandon H.
FYA vs HATE – Harlan H.
Sterling vs Katsuro Yoshida – Val K.
Martin Robertson vs NOTHING – Chris F.