I AM A MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW
I’VE SEEN TROUBLE ALL MY DAYS…
(BUCK DRESDEN steps out on the entrance, “Man of Constant Sorrow” by Charm City Devils blaring through the PA system. Buck stands there, a smirk on his face as he stares dead ahead. He is wearing his BUCK SHOT t-shirt with the EWA Combat Championship resting on his right shoulder, his grip tightly locked on the strap. Otherwise, he wears his black jeans He walks down to the ring with a determined look on his face.)
Mike Malone: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Battlelines 41, right here in the heart of beautiful Baltimore, Maryland! I’m Mike Malone, alongside my broadcast colleague, Vincent Ashe, and we’re kicking off tonight with the Combat Champion! I have to admit he looks focused, like he has something on his mind!
Vincent Ashe: That’d be a first, Malone.
(Buck takes the microphone from Nikki Rogers and stands in the center of the ring, the fans cheering HARD for the Bluegrass Bad Ass. “Man of Constant Sorrow” dies down. Buck begins to pace back and forth.)
Buck Dresden: EWA faithful, how are ya.
(The fans POP as Buck continues to pace.)
Buck Dresden: Between last Battlelines an’ now, EWA’s seen…near collapse…
(He holds one finger in the air.)
Buck Dresden: …backstage drama an’ tension…
(He holds a second finger in the air.)
Buck Dresden: …an’ questions. So many damn questions.
(He holds his third finger in the air.)
Buck Dresden: Questions about the future. Questions about what things’ll mean fer the EWA from the Warriors in the back to you audience in the stands. I’ve watched a divorce damn near cause this place to fall. I’ve seen people argue an’ bicker an’ breed contempt an’ apathy until I’ve gotta tell ya…I’m goddamn sick of it.
(Buck stops pacing. He stares at the camera. He points to the camera, keeping his EWA Combat Championship firmly locked in his grasp as it glistens in the lights.)
Buck Dresden: You look at somebody who wants to take their ball an’ go home the moment things don’t go their way or you look at somebody who shuts a company down an’ tries to take food out the mouths of families just because they can’t get their shit together an’ the fact of the matter is this…an’ I want you to pay damn close attention…
(The camera zooms in as he points back to himself.)
Buck Dresden: …the EWA is my home. It’s the home for guys like Jester Smiles, the home for Nikki Caldwell, the home for Josh Kaine, the home for Lou, even the home for HATE.
(The fans boo at that final mention.)
Buck Dresden: So you sorry sons of bitches take your problems, you take your piss poor excuses, an’ you take your bullshit drama an’ head on right down the DAMN road.
(The fans POP.)
Buck Dresden: I’m gonna keep this Combat Championship in your face, I’m gonna keep my merchandise in your face, an’ I’m DAMN sure gonna keep EWA in your face an’ you know why that is? Because EWA don’t belong to no Cameron Blacks or no Alyssa Havens or no damn courtrooms. It don’t belong to you suit an’ tie types. You think yer gonna shut us down when things don’t go yer way? Mother fuckers, Buck Dresden will defend this Combat Championship against Hobo Joe in the parkin’ lot of an abandoned K-Mart fer all I give a goddamn.
(Buck is back to pacing, the fans are absolutely electric with excitement.)
Buck Dresden: I’m walkin’ in here Combat Champion, I’m walkin’ out tonight the Combat Champion, I’m goin’ all the way through the Path of the Warrior an’ when the time is right? You best believe that World Championship stuck around NOTHING’s scrawny damn waist is gonna be comin’ home to these people an’ Dixie’s Favorite Son.
(The fans ERUPT.)
VA: Buck needs to focus on his own division before he tries to go up against big dogs like NOTHING or even Martin Robertson!
Buck Dresden: Indrid Calder, Sahara, NOTHING, Rayner, all you HATEful sons o’ bitches? You get in my way, I’ll take you down.
(Another round of cheers.)
Buck Dresden: Martin Robertson? You keep gettin’ in my way? I’ll take you down.
Buck Dresden: An’ if anybody in the back, be it the locker room, the production truck, or the court rooms have some more drama they wanna churn up to try to fuck with this place an’ try to fuck with me an’ mine? If anybody wants to take this from me or from each an’ every fan in attendance here an’ across the world watchin’?
(He pauses, looking at the fans in attendance. A smirk crawls across his face as he nods his head to the cheers of the fans. He points down to the mat, the Combat Championship rubbing against the mat as he does so.)
Buck Dresden: This…right here…belongs to us. Not you, it was never yours. It belongs…to us.
(Buck points out to the fans.)
Buck Dresden: This belt here? This belongs…to us.
(Buck holds the Combat Championship out to the masses.)
Buck Dresden: All the rest o’ y’all? You want it? You want this? You wanna play like…ANY of this is yours? I got one final message fer each an’ every one o’ you.
(Buck motions to the camera, beckoning anyone to come to him.)
Buck Dresden: Try an’ take it.
(Buck drops the microphone as “Man of Constant Sorrow” kicks back in, bringing the fans to their feet. He rolls from the ring and slaps a few hands, letting the fans slap the face plate of the Combat Championship. He leans into the audience, putting the Combat Championship on the shoulder of a fan as he takes the cell phone from the fan, taking a selfie with him.)
MM: Buck Dresden putting EWA on notice, Vincent! He came out here tonight and he really put it all in perspective, didn’t he?
VA: That he’s insane? That he managed to piss off HATE, Martin Robertson, AND EWA Management in one promo?
MM: Whether any of them want to admit it or not, maybe Buck Dresden has a point, Vincent! Maybe EWA belongs to these people. Buck Dresden just told the world the Combat Championship belongs to them, EWA belongs to them, and in essence HE belongs to them!
(Buck continues to slap hands as he makes it to the entrance stage. He turns to the audience one final time and hoists his EWA Combat Championship belt high for all to see, nodding his head to the fans and pointing to several of them before disappearing to the back.)
MURPHY DOYLE MAHER VS PHILIP DONOVAN
The camera returns to the ring with Murphy Doyle Maher already in the ring, shouting at Rick Iley, who is doing his level best to calm him down. Sarah Wolf is absent.
MM: Well, folks, I’d like to say that things are going as normal here, but it seems that MDM is angry about something, and he’s not afraid to let Rick Iley know about it!
VA: I heard that Sarah Wolf was escorted from the premises by security, so that might have something to do with it, Malone.
MM: Be that as it may, I guarantee Rick Iley neither had anything to do with it, nor has the power to change it. Leave the poor guy alone!
VA: Eh, I feel like he earned it.
MM: What?! How?!
VA: Being related to John Iley, obviously. That’s like drowning in the gene pool.
NR: This contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, already in the ring, from Brooklyn, NY, weighing in at 215 lbs, MURPHY DOYLE MAHER!
The crowd is ambivalent, unsure how to take the loose cannon’s actions right now. Some are cheering, others booing, and still more are unable to decide. In the meantime, Maher continues to shout down Iley, who seems to be asking what MDM wants him to do. The crowd takes a turn when the house lights dim, and the unmistakable image appears on the video wall.
As Carpenter Brut’s “Le Perv” starts its synth-filled beat, the arena explodes in cheers, and the one and only Philip Donovan steps out, arms outstretched, flanked by the Lemonheads. The blacklight spot light makes his skin glow a strange blue color, as neon-green lasers strobe all over the stage, dancing across the pink and baby-blue shutter shades.
NR: And his opponent, from Newport Beach, CA, weighing in at 212 lbs, PHILIP DONOVAN!
MM: Donovan’s looking a lot more confident after breaking a losing streak he’d been on since November, defeating Sterling last Battlelines.
VA: Say what you will about PhD, and trust me, I do, guy’s a showman, through and through. Not really sure why he had to bring those doofuses with him, though.
MM: Hey, he’s done a great job merchandising those two. Lemonheads T-shirts are the second top-selling in the EWA.
VA: No accounting for taste, I guess.
PhD steps forward, waving in the cheers subtly, before looking over at the camera nearest him, and throwing up the “OC.” He nods to the camera, sauntering toward the ring, slapping hands with fans as he goes, with the Lemonheads following close behind. He stops near a particularly attractive fan at ringside, smiling, and pausing to take a selfie with her, once more throwing the “OC” sign.
He walks up the steps, hitting a scissor kick over the top rope, before turning around and climbing the turnbuckle to survey the fans one more time. He rubs his hands, Birdman-style, before hopping off the turnbuckle, and running the ropes three times as the house lights come back on.
Rick Iley doesn’t even have a second to call for the bell, as MDM continues to berate him in the center of the ring, poking him in the chest repeatedly. Iley looks angry, but he’s doing his best to hold in his temper, although he looks like he’s starting to have trouble. Donovan attempts to turn MDM around to get the match started, but Maher shoves him away, continuing to rant at Iley.
Donovan looks around at the crowd, and down at the Lemonheads, shrugging. As Maher continues to yell at the beleaguered referee, Donovan PLANTS him on his head with the Flashback!
VA: Maher never saw it coming! This match hasn’t even officially started and it might already be over!
Iley calls for the bell, and Donovan goes for the cover!
NR: Here is your winner, PHILIP DONOVAN!
MM: And just like that, Murphy Doyle Maher is out! Unbelievable!
VA: A humiliating defeat for a Warrior who has been nothing but impressive up until now! There’s no coming back from that, Malone!
MM: And this can do nothing but make Donovan’s stock rise, Vince! Both in the figurative sense, and the literal sense with PDT!
VA: That’s a few new pairs of Jordans, at least. He can’t get the Lemonheads respect, but maybe he can get them some decent footwear.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: PHILIP DONOVAN (0:04)
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.)
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
(The son of Sinnocence stops at the top of the ramp, a microphone in hand as he waits for the roar of the crowd to die down a bit before he speaks.)
Josh Kaine: Y’all know I ain’t one to come out here like this, ‘specially on my own, but I got a few things to get out there before I get in the ring proper tonight.
VA: Oh great, the slut son of the queen of sluts is here to grace us with his presence.
MM: …did you just…
Josh Kaine: First off, I wanna let all the good folks know that my Ma (the crowd roars at the mention of Sinn and he smiles)…my Ma came home from the hospital finally a couple of days ago and she’s gonna make it. House has been busy as all get out since then and even though Sahara put her through hell, Jada Kaine ain’t never gonna stay down. Dunno if she’ll ever be allowed in the ring again, but she’s still breathin’ and y’all know her. If she’s breathin’, she’s fightin.
(Josh can’t help the ever-growing smile as he looks around the stadium at the show of support for his biological mother.)
VA: Yes, I went there. She might be out of the hospital, but she’s obviously not here to be able to punch me in the face.
MM: What makes you think he won’t punch you in the face if he heard you?
(He brings the mic back up to his mouth and continues speaking, beginning to pace across the stage.)
Josh Kaine: And that’s one thing I got from her.
I know I ain’t been the best, but after seein’ what happened to my ma?
Y’all think I’m gonna let anyone bowl me over so quick?
VA: The Stranger showed us just how easy it is to bowl you over, boy.
(Josh continues to pace, his bright blue eyes scanning the crowds before he makes his way down the ramp. The former EWA tag champion takes a moment to jump up onto the apron and step through the ropes.)
Josh Kaine: I’m gonna be facing down my girlfriend, Nikki Caldwell, here in a bit and she’s gotta get past me to face the salty bitch who calls herself Sahara. Y’all think just ‘cause I love her I’m just gonna lay down and let her win? Nah, I’ll give her all I got because I love her. Ain’t no bad blood gonna be between us. I know I ain’t been home much, Nik, but ain’t nothin’ gonna come between us. ‘Specially not some bitch who is too much a chickenshit to tell ya to yer face that she’s leavin’ so she writes you a fuckin’ note instead or some salty bitch who ain’t got one thought that’s her own in her head.
Some bitch who’s just tryin’ to show the world she ain’t a scared little girl on the inside.
Some bitch who had a bunch of people who loved her and stuck their necks out for her, and she just throws ‘em under the bus like they don’t matter.
Like those wrongs you did ain’t gonna come back to haunt yer ass…and I don’t mean gettin’ fucked in the ass by Mr. Spooky himself every night. I watched what y’all done to each other and done to me and mine…and it ain’t gonna happen no more. Don’t care what I gotta do, it ain’t gonna happen. Your fuckin’ Titan wants to see just how sharp my fuckin’ teeth are? I’ll show ya bastards tonight.
VA: You’re just asking for trouble when you bring them up.
MM: Yeah, you’re not wrong there.
Josh Kaine: And speakin’ of them assholes–
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
(Josh is suddenly interrupted!
“Smoke & Mirrors” by Puscifer plays as the tron showcases a tattered gray shroud floating past multiple willow trees. Smoke seems to curl outward from the shroud as it passes multiple shattered mirrors. Suddenly the shroud darts forward with deceptive quickness, the head rising. All we see is a black hole beneath the hood with two shining knife-blue silver dollars for eyes. The music ends as the voice of the Stranger reverberates throughout the arena.)
Indrid Calder: Little Joshua…
You continually open your mouth and prove to the unwashed masses of the EWA faithful that you’re unworthy of the mantle of your dragon of a mother tried so hard to foist on your shoulders. My fellow Pillar…my friend, our Titan of HATE has extended his great paw to you…to help do what Sinnocence never could, but you slapped it away.
You were raised better than to slap away a helping hand, I know that much.
But when my friend asks a favor, I’m not one to say no…
And if there’s even an OUNCE of the potential Rayner thinks there is in you? I’m gonna reach down that pup throat…pull at your innards…and make you spew it up to the surface. I want to see if there’s real mettle in you, little doggie. So you take off that muzzle that Moe makes you wear…and you show me something.
(The arena suddenly plunges into darkness and when the lights come back on, Calder is behind Josh in the ring! The sudden reaction of jeers and cheers from the crowd bring some empty grin to the Stranger before he lashes out on the unsuspecting teenager!)
MM: Calder’s here! Again!
VA: And giving the punk exactly what he needs! Forearm strike to the back of that stupid head with the stupid mohawk!
(Josh reels from the blow, pushing through the pain to quickly turn and deliver a blow of his own to the Spider King’s midsection. He drops the microphone as the two begin to trade blows! A left, a right…two rights! The crowd seems split between them as they battle, the teenager clearly having put in some practice lately to keep himself upright against opponents as dangerous as Indrid Calder!
At least until Indrid sees an opening and takes it!)
MM: Calder’s put that wiry strength of his to use and whipped the son of Sinnocence into the ropes hard enough to slam him back down to the mat!
(The mohawked teenager hits the mat hard and his hands immediately go to his neck to try an alleviate the pain. Calder begins to stalk towards him, ready to set up the For The Horseman and put this boy out of his misery.)
VA: Please just stomp on his stupid head already.
MM: No! Look!
(Josh catches the glimpse of the Stranger out of the corner of his eye and immediately lashes out with a vicious mulekick that catches nothing but air as Calder moves out of the way, but is enough to get him the time he needs to get back to his feet. He keeps the space between them, Josh reaching up to rub at his neck as he looks for an escape. It all too soon becomes clear…there is no escape. There is only one way out of this.)
MM: They’re at it again! Calder’s obviously just toying with him, but that kid is not falling into the traps!
(The brawl soon spills out of the ring as the teenager is knocked between the ropes and lands hard on the mats outside, but the Spider King is right on him.
Josh comes up with a hard right to Calder’s jaw, knocking him back far enough to put some space between them. He moves quickly, grabbing the dropped microphone and brings it to his lips.)
Josh Kaine: You–you leave me the hell alone!
(Most of the crowd appears behind the younger of the pair, chanting their encouragement for him.)
Josh Kaine: Told you…I ain’t gonna let no one bowl me the fuck over! ‘Specially not people like you no more!
(A sly, hollow smile appears on the Stranger’s face as he slicks back his mussed hair with a hand before giving the teenager a begrudging nod. He inhales deeply before opening his mouth to speak. This was enough. He’d seen enough. His Titan had what he wanted. The pup’s teeth were indeed sharper. Josh keeps backing up with an eye on his surroundings, lest there be more Pillars around.)
Indrid Calder: Until next time then, Little Joshua.
KATSURO YOSHIDA VS LOU
PATH OF THE WARRIOR II: FIRST ROUND MATCH, FOR THE EWA NETWORK CHAMPIONSHIP
MM: Alright, our first round in the Path of Warrior tournament is happening now, and this one is a doozy, because it’s also for the EWA Network Championship.
VA: You know, Yoshida’s been on a bit of a losing streak, not picking up all that many wins, but…he’s going to win, because I hate that whore Lou. She associates with Erinyes, and…well…well I don’t like’em!
MM: While Yoshida’s record isn’t the best, he is a game competitor, and he is coming off a win over Melissa McCoy at Fight Night, so anything could happen tonight.
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 emblazoned 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.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is the a FIRST ROUND match in the Path of the Warrior tournament and will be for the EWA Network Championship! Introducing first, the challenger, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and SIXTY TWO pounds…KATSURO…YOSHIDA!
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.
MM: We will see what kind of effect Oppenheimer’s presence has out here tonight, but that weight advantage HAS to be noticed.
VA: Lou is outweighed by almost one hundred and fifty pounds. She ain’t overcoming that hurdle.
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.
OHH, AFTER MIDNIGHT
The house lights go out as the crowd claps along to Dorothy’s bluesy “After Midnight,” and a single teal spotlight hits the entrance ramp. The video screen shows a stylized image of a diamond, and as the name “LOU” is signed across it in teal calligraphy, the Deathmatch Debutante herself steps out! In a Diamond Lou T-shirt with the sleeves, neck, and midriff cut off, Daisy Dukes, black fishnets and black boots, she raises her hands title up high in the air, and just as the chorus kicks in, teal pyro blasts from the center to the ends of the stage! Lou swaggers to the ring, swaying her hips to the beat of the song, pointing and slapping hands with fans!
NR: Making her way to the ring, she weighs in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY ONE pounds…the EWA NETWORK CHAMPION…LOUUUUU!
She slides into the ring, locking eyes with Yoshida for a moment. Yoshida looks stern. Lou is smiling. Lou hands over her title and, heading for the side of the ring facing the hardcam, pointing to the crowd as she steps on the bottom and middle ropes, and finally raising her hands into a diamond shape once more, before jumping back to the mat and swinging her arms back again! She heads to the corner, swinging her legs up onto the top rope and laying across the corner, waiting for the match to start.
Lou starts off the match by charging at Yoshida and rocking him with forearm shots. Lou takes an early lead, but Yoshida is able to push her away and sweep her off her feet with a hard leg kick. Lou rebounds quickly and goes for more strikes, but again, Yoshida shows himself cautious and guarded, weathering Lou’s storm before placing well timed shots of his own that generally knock Lou flat with a single hit. This pattern goes on for a couple of minutes before Lou realizes she will have to be a bit more methodical in her process. She begins to use hit and run tactics, using her speed to get Yoshida off balance before hitting him with dropkicks and leg kicks of her own, but Yoshida’s much superior size causes Lou to not be able to knock Yoshida down.
MM: Lou is fighting hard and fiery, as she tends to do, but Yoshida is absorbing those shots and seems completely calm.
VA: Like a samurai! Or…or a ninja! Or…uhhh…or a Mongol!
MM: None of those things are the same.
Lou is finally able to stun Yoshida with an enziguiri, and she attempts to take advantage with a springboard crossbody, but Yoshida is able to catch her mid air and TOSS her back with a fallaway slam! Yoshida proceeds to slow the pace, grounding Lou and striking her with knees and elbows before resorting to arm locks and chokeholds! Lou is always able to wriggle out, but Yoshida stays dominant and keeps her grounded. He lifts her up a couple of times to weaken her with knees and forearms strikes before dropping her with backbreaker variations. It becomes clear that Yoshida is targeting the back.
VA: Can’t be fast if your spine is out of place! Smart thinking Mr. Miyagi!
MM: That is SUPER racist.
VA: Would you prefer I call him Odd Job?
Yoshida lifts Lou up from the ground. He turns her around and locks in the double underhooks. He lifts her up, looking for the Way of the Samurai, but Lou grapevines her legs around Yoshida and blocks it. She wiggles her arms free and, using the momentum, holds onto Yoshida and rolls forward, catching him in a pinning predicament!
Yoshida kicks out, but Lou is up fast and baseball slide dropkicks him in the face! Yoshida shoots up, clutchings his face. Lou hits the ropes behind Yoshida and slams him in the back of the head with a flying forearm smash! Yoshida drops forward on his knees! Lou, sensing an opportunity, grabs his head and looks for the Trendkill…BLOCKED! Yoshida throws Lou forward. She lands awkwardly, the shockwaves going through her back that Yoshida had targeted the whole match. Yoshida moves forward, locks in the double underhooks, and THROWS Lou back with the Way of the Samurai! He doesn’t go for the added submission, but merely bridges for the pin!
VA: Called it! I knew Chong Li would pull through!
MM: You are just the worst.
Lou rolls out of the ring, clutching her back. Oppenheimer hits the ring, takes the title from Danny Smith, and hands it to Yoshida. Yoshida looks down at the belt, studying it, while Oppenheimer jumps around in excitement. Yoshida holds the belt up high, savoring his victory, but remaining calm and collected.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner, moving on to the semi finals of the Path of the Warrior tournament, and NEW EWA Network Champion…KATSURO…YOSHIDA!
Oppenheimer straps the belt to Katsuro’s waist, or, at least he tries to, but it had been made to fit Lou, so it doesn’t really work. Katsuro throws it over his shoulder, patting the gold proudly, but without any real bravado. Katsuro and Oppenheimer exit the ring, victorious, but handling the victory in very different ways.
YOUR WINNER AND NEW EWA NETWORK CHAMPION: KATSURO YOSHIDA (7:34)
HATE VS THE ERINYES
EWA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Nikki Rogers: The following contest, scheduled for one fall, is for the EWA Tag Team Championship! Introducing first, the challengers from the House of HATE, The Stranger, Indrid Calder and his partner, The Crimson Queen … the Goddess Supreme … the one and only … Saharaaaaaaa!
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
MM: I don’t know how Nikki gets through her ridiculous introductions without laughing, let alone why she even reads them.
The tron bursts with static, and we see an image of Sahara standing before an antique mirror. Her sapphire eyes glimmer with vanity, and from within the looking glass, a grinning face pushes forward through the smoke.
The face of Indrid Calder.
Their eyes meet, and numerous cracks travel through the glass. Her hand reaches to the mirror, and a gray gloved hand reaches back. Shards of glass explode outward, and the hands interlock, crimson plasma dripping down from the embrace.
The blood forms a single letter on the tron.
Mirror mirror on the wall
Who’s the fairest of them all?
Tell me I’m the perfect queen…
Mirror mirror in my hand
Who’s the fairest in the land?
Are they lining up for me?”
The HATEful ones appear together, “Dirty Pretty” by In This Moment playing with images of shattering mirrors on the tron heralding their arrival. Indrid walks from the wispy smoke in his gray-clad ring gear, ragged bits of charcoal cloth hanging down from his wrists.
His gloved hand extends to the curtains, and Sahara makes her presence known, The Crimson Queen looking stunning and lethal in her red & black ring attire.
VA: Look at them, Malone! Calder and Sahara…the two of them are GOALS! The perfect blend of ravishing and malevolent. Listen to these ungrateful fans braying like mules…no appreciation for Pillars!!
MM: Goals, Malone? Sahara is a vicious narcissist and Indrid is a manipulative sociopath. They’re very bad humans, and these fans recognize them for what they are.
VA: Fricken prudes, the whole lot of em! I’ll have you know I’m an honored guest at the House of HATE! The most PRESTIGIOUS House in all of the EWA!
MM: I assume you just stand outside of the gates and drool all day and night, Ashe…
Calder and Sahara stalk down to the ring hand in hand, Sahara flipping her blonde hair and smirking while The Stranger cracks his neck from side to side.
They slither into the ring like serpents, and Sahara goes to the climb the buckles while mouthing off to the fans and Calder drops down into a sitting position against the bottom buckles, his hands dangling between his knees.
As the music fades, a purple spotlight in the shape of a horned skull drops onto the entrance ramp, where the masked figure of Lágrima already stands, the tag-title securely fastened around her waist with her back to the ring, head in her hands. The opening chords of Melanie Martinez’s “Pity Party” plays, and Lágrima turns to look over her shoulder, the tear-streaked mask staring toward the ring.
NR: And their opponents, the most decorated, longest running and most successful tandem in EWA history, the undisputed EWA World Tag-Team Champions, the Erinyesssss!
Her music slowly fades into the Ramones’ classic, “I Wanna Be Sedated” as the purple horned skull suddenly shifts to that of pink and Minxy Jones emerges from the back with a big smile on her face, also sporting the EWA Championship around her waist. She looks to the ring, pointing, before looking at Lagrima with a nod, and suddenly sprinting down the ramp! As she gets to the apron, she springs up, sailing over the top rope, and rolling through, running immediately to the corner, raising her hands into a heart shape! Lagrima joins her in the ring, as both keep a watchful eye on their opponents.
As the most dominant force in tag-team wrestling unbuckle their championships, both hold them out toward Sahara and Calder, a move that seemingly annoys the blonde, prompting her to turn away and say something to Calder.
MM: Sahara was none too happy with that display of showmanship.
VA: After this match ends, we’ll see who’s the showman–
MM: No easy task. The Erinyes, formerly known as the Vice Squad are the team that set the bar here in the EWA when it comes to tag-team wrestling. They are, without a doubt, the greatest tag-team to ever grace the EWA.
Calling both teams to the center, Juan Cardillo quickly goes over the rules and sends both to their respective corners as he calls for the bell.
The more experienced Erinyes dominated the early goings of the match, keeping the relatively new tandem of Sahara and Calder on their heels with a series of hard hitting double-team maneuvers. Tagging each other out in an attempt to change the pace of the match, Sahara and Calder were met with resistance from a team that always seemed to know exactly where their partner was, without having to look.
During an extended stay in the ring, Sahara scrambled to get herself out of the ring in order to take a breather, only Lagrima wasn’t about to allow the blondes usual stall techniques. Chasing her back into the ring, and finding herself unable to reach her corner to tag out, Sahara was in for a rough series of nearfalls as the Erinyes seemingly toyed with the former World Champion with continued tag outs and quick pinfall attempts. Sahara was left reeling, nearly losing on a couple of occasions that brought the crowd to its feet.
Sahara had no idea where she was at one point, trying to tag Minxy Jones into the match, only to receive an echoing slap across the face. Clearly out of her element, Sahara nearly lost her cool for the second match in a row, desperate to make a tag, she raked Lagrima’s eyes and planted her with a stunning DDT only to have referee Juan Cardillo issue the one and only warning he’d afford the blonde. Finally left with a moment after planting Lagrima, Sahara tagged Calder in to take care of their now fallen opponent…
Capitalizing on Sahara raking the eyes and knocking Lagrima off her game, Calder kept her away from Minxy in a wise attempt to turn the match into a one-on-one affair, killing the momentum of the tag-team champions. Planting Lagrima into the corner with a hard hitting sit down dropkick, she hit the turnbuckles with such force it temporarily knocked the wind out of her.
Standing in his own corner, watching patiently as Lagrima slowly gets onto all fours, Calder waits … and waits … timing his opportunity perfectly, Calder charges just as Sahara slaps him on the back!
FOR THE HORSEMAN!!!
The crowd ‘Ohhhhhh’s’ as Calder plants Lagrimas face into the mat!
VA: NAILED IT!
MM: He got all of that one.
Dropping down, Calder yanks Lagrima onto her back!
VA: But Sahara tagged herself in there, Malone! I think she’s the legal man, err, woman!
MM: I don’t think Calder even realizes what she did, the little sneak!
Stopping Calder frome ever even making a pinfall attempt, Minxy jumps through the ropes knees him in the face, the two colliding which causes both to tumble up against and through the ropes! SMASHING into the ring apron, both Calder and Minxy drop to the floor awkwardly as Sahara seizes the moment and scrambles through the ropes, nearly tripping herself as she goes for the pin on Lagrima. Hooking the leg, Sahara rolls back–
Sahara quickly puts her feet up on the middle rope!
Just as Cardillo counts three, Sahara immediately rolls off Minxy, not giving the him any extra time to realize what happened, despite the middle rope clearly shaking!
VA: YES! YES, YES, YES!!!
MM: NO! Damnit!
Juan Cardillo pauses a moment before making his decision and signaling for the bell! Scrambling to her feet, Cardillo goes to raise Sahara’s hand, but she wastes little time and jumps through the ropes to the outside and literally attacks the timekeeper!
MM: She leveraged herself on the ropes so Lagrima couldn’t possibly power out on top of what was already a devastating For The Horsemen from Calder, and Cardillo simply missed it!
VA: This isn’t the NFL, Malone, we don’t go by instant replay. Too bad, so sad. Sahara’s a goddamn genius, Malone. Tagging herself in right there was downright brilliant…and everyone but Cardillo seems to have missed it!
MM: Hard to argue the point but, look at her! She practically attacked the timekeeper like a gold hungry savage, ripping the tag titles out of his hands!
VA: And all is right in the world!
NR: The winners of this match and NEWWWWWW EWA World Tag Team Champions, the team of HATE, Indrid Calder and Saharaaaa!
Scrambling over to Calder on the outside, Sahara sits him and up and shows him his tag-title, a look of absolute elation on her face! Back in the ring, Lagrima sits up as Minxy reaches up and grabs the ring apron to lift herself on the outside, Lagrima clearly pointing at the middle rope in protest!
MM: Lagrima’s right! Sahara clearly used the ropes to leverage that pin!
VA: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s there to see it…well, you know!
Back with Calder on the outside, Sahara hugs her tag-title close as Calder looks down at the gold she left in front of him!
VA: They did it Malone! The ERA of HATE is upon us! NOTHING, Sahara and Calder now RULE the wrestling world!
MM: Michael, Maggie, Jester, I don’t know, Katsuro, Dresden, F.Y.A..hell, even Martin Robertson! Someone! ANYONE! Ya gotta do something!
VA: Yea, I’m sure Martin Robertson cares about the EWA, Malone. Robertson is like Sahara, they care only about themselves.
As Sahara and Calder huddle together on the outside with their newly won tag-titles, the severely disappointed team of the Erinyes exit on the opposite side of the ring, heading up the rampway to the back. Moments after, NOTHING emerges onto the rampway with Cal Rayner in tow, the World Heavyweight Title draped over the monsters shoulder. Following close behind NOTHING, they make their way down toward ringside, NOTHING with a notable amount of arrogant swagger to his stride. They greet the NEW EWA World Tag-Team Champions much to the dismay of the audience!
Sahara and Calder slide into the ring as NOTHING slowly climbs the steps and enters the ring through the ropes, the tag-champion grabbing up their titles and situating them on their shoulders. Cal Rayner steps over the top rope and hands the EWA World Heavyweight Title over to NOTHING.
VA: Terrible?! What a visual, Malone! We’re entering the GOLDEN era of HATE! You get it?! GOLDEN?!
MM: Oh, I get it…I just with they’d get theirs.
VA: They just got theirs!!!
MM: Not what I meant.
Flanking the Purveyor of HATE, the tag-champion look over at each other as Cal Rayner takes his place behind the trio, his arms folded across his barrel like chest. Taking a moment to look out toward the crowd, NOTHING, Sahara and Calder raise their hands in unison as In This Moment’s ‘Dirty Pretty’ begins to play!
Breathing heavily from the match that just concluded and the post match celebration of capturing the EWA World Tag-Team Titles, Sahara reaches through the ropes and motions for a mic as she situates the title on her shoulder.
MM: Here we go again…
VA: Shhhh, Malone, let’s hear what the Crimson Goddess has got to say!
Sahara: I just … hang on, cut the music. Cut the damn music!
Pausing as the music fades, Calder says something to her and she nods, hardly able to contain her excitement.
Sahara: If I could get serious for a moment, I just wanna say one thing to my “husband” — who’s sitting at home building cribs and sorting through diapers right now with his bloated has-been of a wife — yo Michael, I did it!
With a massive smile on her face, Sahara lifts the EWA World Tag-Team championship and looks up at it, glinting beneath the lights to a resounding chorus of boos.
VA: She’s always thinking of others, Malone. In her finest hour here tonight, she takes the time to thank a loser like Michael Draven.
MM: Her finest hour? She cheated as usual and she’s gonna get away with it — you know what, you’re unbelievable.
Sahara: And I’d also like to say I did it without you, you micro-limp-dicked piece of shit! Enjoy your new life, cuz I’m sure as hell enjoying mine!
Sharing a laugh, she flips the mic to Calder as she retreats to a corner, sitting herself up on the top turnbuckle, she gently rubs the faceplate of the tag-team championship draped across her shoulder as The Stranger takes center stage.
Calder saunters into view, lifting up his tag team championship and placing it ever so gently across his shoulder. He runs his gray-gloved hand across the faceplate, and his face splits into a self-serving rictus of a grin.
Indrid Calder: Are you watching, Maggie and Michael? Watching and weeping, I hope. Won’t you say hello to the children I’ve sired with Sahara? These magnificent golden babes. They don’t scream and defecate and beg for attention. They just GLEAM.
Calder climbs one of the buckles to the second rope, and the crowd is ROARING their disdain at him and Sahara.
Indrid Calder: They’re twins. Such shiny things…and worth protecting from this cold, hard EWA world. They’ll be quite sheltered with us. We’ll NEVER let them leave our sides. And while we cradle these beauties…you’ll be growing into your saggy old dad-bod, won’t you, Draven? And darling Maggie…you’ll become The Banshee of Buttered Biscuits as Michael runs around like a submissive little toadie to fulfill all your cravings.
MM: Does Indrid Calder have even an ounce of decency in him? The things this man says!
VA: An eloquent wordsmith with the sexual prowess of a male bengal tiger! What a role model, Malone! I’ll have you know that I’m in the running to be The Stranger’s next “project.”
MM: He’s got his work cut out for him, then….
Indrid Calder: We have taken the mountain of the tag division as our own. We have usurped the dual thrones, and we’ll sit them with grace. And it’s essential that you remember…if you come for these (he lifts up the title, and Sahara lifts up hers in turn)…and if you don’t stand with HATE…
Calder leans back against the buckles and places the mic right in front of Sahara’s smiling pink lips.
Sahara:…you WON’T stand long.
MM: The one thing I begrudgingly admit here is that Sahara has fully adapted herself to the House of HATE. The partnership might have gotten off to a rocky start with the match against FYA, but this is a complete show of unity.
VA: That’s right, Malone! If there was ever any doubt about Sahara being a Pillar, that has been dispelled here tonight. This deathly pair of The Spider King and the Crimson Queen seem to have a perfect dark synergy, and I can’t wait to see them stomp every team on this roster!
After congratulating both Calder and Sahara on their hard fought victory, NOTHING takes his place dead center in the ring. Glancing to his left and right at the new EWA Tag-Team Champions, he simply nods to both of them … as all three raise their title belts above their heads and the looming spectre of Cal Rayner stands behind them.
YOUR WINNERS BY PINFALL, AND NEW EWA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: SAHARA & INDRID CALDER (13:49)
MM: Folks, right now let’s take you to some pre-recorded footage we received earlier today. Roll the tape.
VA: What’s a tape?
(A video begins playing. Music is in the background, playing heavily.
A man walks amongst the shadows, getting closer and closer to the screen as the lyrics kick on.
NO MAN IS EVER TRULY GOOD
The video flashes to quick glimpses of EWA action, starting with a man throwing hands with Martin Robertson in the center of the ring.
NO MAN IS EVER TRULY EVIL
I DO THE THINGS YOU NEVER COULD
A shot of the same man pointing to the big screen, laughing as a helpless Ray Willmott looked on at a loved one taken hostage.
AND WE WON’T EVER BE EQUAL
The man raises the EWA Combat Championship over his head, daring someone off screen to come and take it from him.
NO MAN IS EVER TRULY GOOD
Bloodied and battered, the man brawls with the sadistic Sean Boden.
NO MAN IS EVER TRULY EVIL
I DO THE THINGS YOU NEVER COULD
The man watching on as Michael Draven’s leg was shattered by Indrid Calder, and then driving his fist in a low blow to Draven in an act of betrayal.
AND WE WON’T EVER BE EQUAL
The man wears the EWA Network title across his shoulder, staring down Philip Donovan, the man he had just taken it from
YOU POINT YOUR FINGER AND PLAY THE VICTIM
Brawling, with Cal Rayner, with FYA backstage at Battlelines.
SO TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT
RELEASE THE PRESSURE
Cackling silently with glee as he plays his role in the torching of the Youth’s tour bus.
YOU PERPETRATE YOUR PROPAGANDA
The figure in the dark has come much closer to the screen, and his face is nearly visible.
AND NOW I’M CALLING YOU OUT
Silence. The music shuts off as a beam of light moves across the screen.
It illuminates the man’s face momentarily. Dark eyes. Scarred.
And the most disgusting grin upon his face, enhanced, so to speak, by the lump in left side of his face that used to be his jawline.
The screen goes black, but the message is clear.
The Masochist is on his way…..back.)
JOSH KAINE VS NIKKI CALDWELL
SAHARA'S GAUNTLET: MATCH #2
Nikki Rogers: Ladies and gentlemen, the following match is scheduled for one-fall and is part of the ongoing gauntlet match for Nikki Caldwell to earn the opportunity to face Sahara at Live from Toronto! Introducing first, from the team of Cerberus, from Lenoir, North Carolina, The Heir to Valhalla, Josh Kainnnneeee!
Aaah! Aaah! Aaah! Aaah!
The raspy and electric voice of Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and those distinctive guitar riffs suddenly hits the speakers, igniting a pop from the crowd. The heir to Valhalla himself appears through the curtains, the usual grin on his face nowhere to be seen. Making his way to the ring, Josh uncharacteristically ignores most of the outstretched hands of the fans, focuses intently on the ring.
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
Josh climbs up onto the ring apron and smiles before climbing through the ropes. The son of Sinnocence retreats to his corner, hands on the ropes to await his opponent’s arrival.
NR: And his opponent, hailing from Los Angeles, California, also representing Cerberus, The Amazon of the EWA, Nikki Caldwell!!!
A scream followed immediately by machine-gun percussion of Skylar Grey’s “Wreak Havoc” as gold pyro erupts from the stage as the fans turn their attention toward the rampway. Nikki Caldwell emerges 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 braced and her arms slightly spread at her sides, eyes flickering over the crowd while focusing intensely on the ring.
‘CAUSE BAD HABITS, THEY DIE HARD
WE LIVE FAST, WE DIE HARD
GO AGAINST ME, YOU’LL DIE HARD
Nikki runs down the ring and three quarters of the way around it, sliding into the ring and rolling to her feet in one motion. She steps up on the bottom and center ropes, raising one fist and letting out 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 her jacket to prepare for the fight.
The first female referee in the EWA, Aria Moretti instantly steps to the center of the ring and runs through the rules for a clean match before stepping between Nikki and Josh and motioning for the bell, relinquishing the ring to them…
Having been put through hell earlier in the night at the hands of Indrid Calder, Josh Kaine entered the match at a distinct disadvantage, but assured both referee Aria Moretti and Nikki Caldwell he was ready to go. With first hand knowledge of how dangerous the Crimson Queen could be, having witnessed what she did to both himself and Jada Kaine, aka Sinnocence, Josh did not want to see his partner and lover Nikki Caldwell going after Sahara or HATE under any circumstance.
Despite the disadvantage of not going into the match fresh, the Heir to Valhalla put the reluctant Caldwell through the paces in the early goings. It wasn’t until a few minutes into the match that NIkki flipped the switch, and the fight was on.
MM: At first, Nikki looked reluctant to fight considering what happened to Josh earlier in the night, but Josh appeared just fine and ready to go–
VA: And that’s why Nikki doesn’t stand a chance. As a great man once said, mercy is for the weak, Malone. Even if she does somehow get through this gauntlet, IF she meets the Crimson Queen one on one, she’s in for a wake up call.
MM: Nikki is tougher than she knows, and ohhh, we’re seeing flashes of that right now!
Nikki with a knife edge chop to Josh sends him reeling into the turnbuckles. Josh attempts to counter and Nikki hit’s him with a T-Bone suplex out of the corner! As the action continued, Nikki Caldwell came out looking fierce, taking control of the match until thousands upon thousands of leaflets begin falling from the rafters, momentarily catching the Amazon’s attention.
MM: What’s this now?!
VA: Look at these, Malone!
MM: Ugh, God…it’s blurred photocopies of the leaked images of Sahara and Nikki Caldwell…that woman has no shame. This is honestly just degrading.
Grabbing hold of some of the leaflets in the ring, Caldwell looked momentarily stunned as the gazed out across the audience who were jumping up, clamoring for the photos, all apparently “autographed” by the one and only Sahara. Kicking some of the leaflets from the ring, Nikki Caldwell seemed to outright snap at this point, hitting Josh shortly after with the I of the Storm. Hooking the leg, Nikki Caldwell is sure to cover Josh properly following the move.
Aria Moretti is in place, ready to make the count.
MM: That’ll be it!
NR: The winner of the match via pinfall, Nikki Caldwell!
MM: And more mind games from the Crimson Queen. Papering the arena with illicit photos–Nikki almost lost her cool there, and Josh didn’t pounce at the opportunity as others may have while Nikki was distracted…
VA: Speaking of those photos … standards and practices not allowing the the use of the unedited photos sucks, Malone! I’ve never seen them!
MM: There are children present, Ashe…adult content or not, and I’m sure Sahara tried her damndest to use the unedited photos. Look at Nikki, she’s absolutely seething.
VA: She should be embarrassed, Malone. She’s not even as good looking at the back of Sahara’s head in these shots!
MM: You’re unreal.
“This is bullshit…”
“This is bullshit…”
MM: We all know whose voice that is!
“This is bullshit…”
VA: The benevolent Queen of HATE, and NEW EWA World Tag-Team Champion, Malone!
“This is bullshit…”
MM: Don’t remind us, because I’m sure she will about fifty times right now…
As the distinct voice of the Crimson Queen echoes over the arena, she steps out from behind the curtain, her flowing platinum hair swept over her shoulders. Her newly won EWA World Tag-Title is proudly draped over a shoulder, and she’s sure to highlight its presence by glancing at it a number of times. Back in the ring, Nikki Caldwell, in the midst of helping Josh back to his feet, allows her gaze to fall on the rampway.
Sahara: Awww, no sing along with Sahara? Whatever, you douches hand out these chants like candy, but when a time comes that actually calls for it you can hear a fucking pin drop up in here…
The crowd boos as the Crimson Queen shakes her head in annoyance.
Sahara: Well, sad news, Nik, but we ain’t fightin’ in Toronto, because this IS bullshit.
The boos rain down even harder.
Sahara: Oh, shut up. Josh got his ass kicked by my man earlier in the night and he was clearly running half mast out there, so it doesn’t even count…I’m sorry, but the deal’s off–
MM: Nevermind the fact that’s not quite what happened, but whatever.
VA: Oh, great, Nikki wants to talk now.
Angrily calling for a mic back in the ring, Nikki Caldwell shakes her head, nearly beside herself.
Nikki Caldwell: How typical of the Crimson Coward. Keep movin’ those goalposts, Sahara … you told me to beat Moe and Josh and I did just tha–
Sahara: Yeah, yeah, an obvious error in judgement on my part. How stupid of me to think they’d actually try to beat you when everyone knows they both wanna see you get yer fifteen minutes of fame in Toronto. I got better things to do that night, yanno, like fighting for something worth having?
Sahara gently knocks the mic against the faceplate of the EWA Tag-Title with a smile.
Nikki Caldwell: Maybe all that bleach finally soaked into your little brain, so I’ll tell you what … you ain’t satisfied? Gimme a name and I’ll beat whoever the hell you want–
Bending down, Nikki grabs a couple of the fliers that came down from the rafters during her match and crumbles them up in a white knuckled fist, holding them out toward Sahara.
Nikki Caldwell: And AFTER I beat that person? Then I’m gonna do the wrestling world a favor and shut the Crimson CUNT up in Toronto!
The crowd pops huge as merely Sahara smirks, her eyes practically rolling into the back of her head.
MM: Woah! Sahara put her through the gauntlet and now Nikki just threw that gauntlet down!
Sahara: Whatever you say, Caldwell. The most famous you’ll ever be is what’s printed on those leaflets. But ya know what? I’ll tell you what, cuz I know the person I got in mind won’t hold back and let you breeze on by like yer two little boyfriends did–
Sahara once again pauses to look at the world tag-title draped over her shoulder, before she brushes it off with the back of her hand.
Sahara: Because like I said, I got better things to do in Canadia, eh?
VA: (Laughter.) She called it Canadia.
Sahara: So without further adieu, Little Nikki, if you wanna face me at Live from Canadia, all you gotta do is beat a little guy I know named … Cal Rayner!
The crowd boos as the name Cal Rayner rolls off the blondes tongue with a sinister smirk.
VA: BOOM, Malone! Mic Drop. It’s over before it started! The 7 foot 2 beast of HATE vs Nikki Caldwell! Roll the credits!
MM: You know that chant Sahara tried to start earlier?! I couldn’t think of a better time to use it.
Back in the ring, Josh immediately goes to protest but Nikki talks him down and slowly lifts the mic to her lips, a look of absolute confidence etched onto her face.
Nikki Caldwell: Cal Rayner? You’re on, BITCH!
Nikki drops the mic with a thud as the crowd cheers her take no prisoners response!
MM: Wow! That’s how badly Nikki wants to get her hands on the Crimson Queen! She’s gonna take on the Beast of HATE!
VA: She just dug her own grave, Malone! She’s insane!
Sahara: If you say so! That’ll be so much fun to watch, I think I’m gonna get myself a front row ticket…to your funeral, Caldwell! But you keep puttin’ up that tough girl front, we’ll see what it gets you…bitch.
Pivoting on a bootheel, Sahara tosses her mic to a member of the production crew as she disappears through the back, and we fade backstage from a view of Nikki Caldwell, focused and determined expression plastered across her face.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: NIKKI CALDWELL (9:17)
(A huge grin on his face, an extremely muscular man walks through the back halls of the arena. His pectoral muscles push the limits of his all-red tank-top, visible underneath his vintage Coca-Cola tshirt. He’s clearly looking for someone, because as he passes various doors along the corridor, he checks the name plate on them. Finally he’s approached by someone.)
Terry Bull: Sir, might I be able to help you figure out where you’re going?
(The muscular guy stops, measures-up the elder backstage interviewer, and chuckles for a moment.)
Coca-Cola Rua: The name’s Rua, Coca-Cola Rua, and yes, Terry, I believe you might be THE BEST person to help me!
Terry Bull: Well, then, what can I do for you, Mr. Coke?!
(Rua quickly lifts a hand, only the index finger extended, and shakes it inches from Terry’s face.)
Coca-Cola Rua: No, no, The name’s Rua, Coca-Cola Rua, and Terry, the reason I believe you might be THE BEST person to help me is because I’m looking for one of your associates…
Terry Bull: Allison Haines…?
Coca-Cola Rua: No, your co-host for the glorious Battlelines Recap Show, The Brilliant Brit, Kevin Oppenheimer! And, might I add, you two might want to get back on that, you’ve missed a couple shows, a Fight Night or two…
Terry Bull: I’d be happy to help you….
Coca-Cola Rua: Great, so where is he?
Terry Bull: Well, I could ask around and find where their locker room is located, but that’s not really the type of information I’m supposed to give out to just anyone.
(A small arrogant chuckle comes from Coca-Cola Rua.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Oh, that won’t be a problem. You see, they were at the Developmental Center the other day, looking for me, and I wasn’t around. Naturally they were looking to offer me a contract, and I’m here to accept!
Terry Bull: Well that’s fantastic, let me get you in touch with someone who can help you track them down! Promise I can get the exclusive first interview once it’s all made official and we can start discussing what your role will be within their organization?
Coca-Cola Rua: Oh, I’ll put in a good word for you, but it’s clearly Osamu Hayashi who would make that sort of decision, not me! But don’t worry, he and I go way back, like, 8 years, and so I’ll make that recommendation once we have that Welcome Dinner and we catch up on everything. I mean, it has been like 7 years, there’s plenty to catch up on… but I won’t forget!
(After giving Terry a huge but friendly open-handed pat (smack) on the back, with a smile on his face Coca-Cola Rua escorts Terry off to go find the World Wide Bushido Buntai.)
The entryway begins to fill with green and purple fog. “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Panic at the Disco begins to play as the various titles and trophies throughout Jester’s career cycle through on the big screens.
MM: Here comes Jester Smiles, Vince!
A platform shoots Jester Smiles up as gold and silver sparks shoot out! Jester stands there a moment, looking at the crowd. He then extends both his fists out and looks up at the sky!
VA: It looks like he’s not alone, Malone!
Coming out from behind the curtain and joining Jester’s side is the current EWA Combat Champion, Buck Dresden. The duo look at each other for the moment before nodding towards each other and heading down towards the ring.
VA: What are they doing out here?
MM: I don’t have a clue. They’re not on the schedule right now.
VA: See, I knew it!
MM: Knew what?
VA: That you don’t have a clue. Thanks for finally admitting it, Malone. It’s the first step towards recovery…
MM: Good lord.
Both men climb into the ring, each one heading towards a corner, climbing up and posing out to the crowd and getting a nice ovation. After a few moments, Jester walks over towards the timekeepers area, where Nikki Rogers hands a microphone to Jester through the ring ropes. He heads towards the center of the ring, but before he can get anything out…
MM: What a raucous crowd we have here tonight!
VA: Yeah, wonderful… they’re loud, obnoxious and constantly interrupting. Sounds just like my roommate freshman year of college. I bet you were that guy, too, when you were in college.
MM: I stayed home my freshman year of college with my parents to save some money.
VA: Point, Vincent Ashe.
MM: Can we focus here, please? Jester justs wants to ta… WHAT IN THE HELL?!?
(Suddenly, from behind Jester before he can get a word out, Martin Robertson has slid into the ring, clubbing Jester from behind…)
MM: Where the hell did he come from?
VA: I didn’t even know he was in the building tonight, but I’m glad he’s here!
MM: He’s not even scheduled to be here tonight!
(Martin continues to stomp away at Jester, however, Buck now tries to pull Martin away, and Martin takes a swing at him as Jester begins to roll towards the outside. Buck and Martin begin to exchange blows as Martin begins to gain the upper hand. He backs Buck against the ropes, whips him across the ring, but Buck holds onto the ropes, dropping down and sliding out of the ring as well, going to check on Jester…)
???: Hold on just a damn minute!
MM: What’s Stacy doing out here?
Stacy Vandervort: What the hell are you doing, Martin?
(The camera cuts to the ring with Martin yelling down at Jester and Buck ringside. Martin’s holding the back of his neck as he turns to look up towards Stacy…)
Stacy Vandervort: You can’t just come out here and interrupt people!
(The camera cuts back to Martin, where we hear him yell up towards the entrance ramp “I do what I want!”)
Stacy Vandervort: But…
VA: But? But what?
Stacy Vandervort: But since you’re out here now, I’ve got an idea. Buck already has a match tonight…
MM: That’s right, the Path of the Warrior first round match against Mojave…
Stacy Vandervort: But since neither you nor Jester have a match tonight… get me a referee out here!
VA: I think we’re going to have a match, Malone!
(Stacy stands on the entrance ramp, impatiently waiting as Martin continues to yell inaudibly up towards the Executive Assistant…)
Stacy Vandervort: I said get me a damn ref…
(Sprinting through the curtain, Rick Iley looks at Stacy for a moment, out of breath, before she points down towards the ring, which is where we see Iley headed…)
MM: I think we are!
Stacy Vandervort: Start this match… NOW!
JESTER SMILES VS MARTIN ROBERTSON
DING! DING! DING!
MM: It’s now an official match, Vince! Martin Robertson versus Jester Smiles!
VA: Wait… where’s Stacy going?
MM: I think… I think she’s coming down here to ringside with us!
VA: Listen to Martin yell at her as she walks by!
Martin Robertson: … full of crap, you know that! This is full of crap! You can…
From behind, Jester has slid back into the ring, and, in a matter of returning the favor, he clobbers Robertson in the back of the head, sending him over the top rope and down to the floor below, crashing a few feet from Stacy as she simply walks by Martin and takes a seat in a chair next to the commentary table.
VA: What a cheap shot, Malone!
Jester was able to use the initial distraction to maintain the advantage early on in the match against Robertson. He spent the first two minutes of the match outside the ring, wearing down Martin with a variety of stiff maneuvers and blows. And, of course, Stacy was all the more willing to allow the competitors to be outside the ring for the extended period of time, especially with Robertson on the receiving end of most of the punishment. Eventually, Jester would roll Robertson back into the ring, continuing the onslaught between the ropes as well. Lots of strong striking blows as well as a well-timed suplex prevented Robertson from gaining any kind of momentum. And just when Martin started to look like he was getting back into the match, Jester landed the Golden Punch — a precision right hand to the jaw of the Youth King — spinning him around, giving Jester the opportunity for a bridging German Suplex which nearly netted the former EWA Combat champion a three count.
But the more Robertson was able to hang on through the onslaught early, you could start to see wisps of frustration come out from Jester. Martin began using the ropes to his advantage, forcing the referee to break the momentum Jester was trying to build. And as Jester looked towards Iley, Robertson was able to catch Jester with a drop toe hold, sending Smiles’… well, smile, into the second turnbuckle, providing Robertson the opening he needed to get his wind back and to try and take the advantage in the match. And did he ever. We got to see the vicious side of Robertson, who was relentless with stomping Jester while he was in the corner. And an irish whip allowed Robertson to catch Jester with a stunning knee strike before following it up immediately with a slingblade. Jester made an attempt to break up the momentum by rolling to the outside, but Robertson was quick to follow, catching Jester with another running knee strike against the barricade…
MM: What a vicious blow by Robertson!
VA: After all of the punishment Robertson was on the receiving end of, Malone, it’s about time he started delivering some of it back!
MM: Yeah, but he could have decapitated him there!
VA: Your point?
MM: My point is that it’s reckless!
VA: No, what’s reckless is Stacy’s blatant favoritism towards anyone not named Martin Robertson!
MM: Martin SLAMS Jester Smiles into the barricade right in front of that open seat.. Hey, wait a minute! Robertson’s reaching for the chair!
VA: Maybe he’s about to offer Jester a seat to relax…
MM: No… I don’t thin…
But just as Robertson is about to pull the chair over the barricade, he looks up just as the crowd begins to roar, dropping the chair…
MM: What in the …
MM: This match just got more interesting folks, as the World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING, is now at ringside!
VA: He doesn’t belong down here!
MM: Well, he apparently thinks he does! He just took that chair Martin was going to use, and now he’s taking a seat right at ringside!
VA: See what I mean… EVERYONE’S trying to stack the deck against Robertson!
MM: OH! And a mule kick by Jester! Robertson’s back down…
As Robertson drops to a knee, so does Jester. NOTHING stands over the two men, but before anything can happen, Buck comes over, getting between NOTHING and Jester. As Buck and the World Heavyweight Champion start to talk amongst each other, Jester gets up, rolling Martin back into the ring. Once back in the ring, Jester continues to maintain control of the match, keeping Robertson down on the mat, including landing a springboard moonsault on Robertson for a long two count. Martin attempted to come back, but Jester wasn’t having any of it, blocking the attempted onslaught from Robertson…
MM: Jester now, pulls Robertson up… but Robertson still has fight left in him!
VA: Get him, Marty!
MM: Fist to the midsection by Robertson… VIRGINIA SIDEKICK! OH, HE LANDED THAT SQUARE ON THE JAW OF ROBERTSON! COVER…
Thre… NO! Robertson out just in the nick of time!
VA: That was clo…
MM: Jester can’t believe it… wait, what… what’s NOTHING doing?
VA: He’s been talking to Buck this whole time on the outside…
MM: Yeah, well, it looks like Buck is tired of it… he’s now over yelling at the World Champion! He’s right in NOTHING’s face!
VA: Apparently, he’s not the only one to get NOTHING’s attention!
MM: You’re right… Jester Smiles is now in the ring watching all of this. He’s pointing down at the pair right no…
MM: Rollup from behind…
NR: The winner of the match, Martin Robertson!
MM: He got the win, but Jester’s back up and he’s arguing with Iley! And now Buck, realizing what just happened, he’s now in the ring, too!
VA: He can bitch all he wants, but the record books will show that he lost to Robertson!
MM: And look at NOTHING on the outside… he’s smiling at all of this chaos that he’s caused!
VA: Of course he is! All he cares about is causing chaos, and he’s done just that tonight! But you know who else is smiling right now, Malone? Martin Robertson, because he just beat the former Combat Champion in the middle of the ring!
MM: But that doesn’t matter now… Buck and Jester are stomping a mud hole in the Youth King!
VA: What sore losers these guys are! They can’t get it done during their matches, so now they’re restoring to attacking Robertson after the match!
MM: I think it happens to be justifi…
(The voice echoes loudly through the PA system, surprising Martin Robertson, Jester Smiles and Buck Dresden into actually stopping. NOTHING, on the verge of entering the fray, pauses as well, his cold eyes transfixed on the announcers table, where Stacy is now standing in front of Mike Malone and Vincent Ashe. The normally cool, collected and friendly Executive Assistant has a scowl on her face and a microphone in hand, clearly upset at the turn of events here tonight.)
MM: Stacy Vandervort’s had enough of these four and their antics, it would seem!
VA: What about those of us who’ve had enough of her, Malone? I miss the days of Alexander Haven actually being present to run the company he owns.
MM: Present? She’s been sitting here the whole match, Vince!
VA: I was watching her… she was playing on her phone the entire time.
MM: Considering Stacy signs your paychecks, I think —
VA: — that she’s a truly beautiful woman, a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine, a sparkle to my day, a–
MM: I rest my case.
(Stacy, almost seething in anger from her position in front of the announcers table, cocks a hand to her hip and lifts the microphone to her lips.)
Stacy Vandervort: We’ve been through a lot here in the EWA over the past few weeks. With Alyssa’s injunction…
(A massive, massive chorus of boos floods the arena, and Stacy can’t help but smile…)
Stacy Vandervort: Her failed injunction, I might add…
(And just like that, the raucous boos turn to cheers, followed promptly by a chant of “EEE-DUB-AYY! EEE-DUB-AYY!”)
Stacy Vandervort: And yet throughout all of that, the one thing that hasn’t changed…is all of this.
(Stacy jabs a finger in the direction of the ring.)
Stacy Vandervort: Week after week, event after event, it’s the four of you, involved with one another in some way. If it’s not Buck Dresden and Jester Smiles trying to get a fair match against one another, it’s HATE interfering with those plans, or NOTHING slamming a bottle of liquor down Jester’s throat, or now, Martin Robertson involving himself in their affairs – and I don’t even know why you’re there at all, Martin!
(The crowd pops for this, as Martin screams down toward Stacy, “I’m the rightful World Champion! I was robbed!” Stacy rolls her eyes, continuing on.)
Stacy Vandervort: It’s to the point now where there’s not a single match involving one of you that precludes at least one of the others from getting involved. Enough is enough, and we’re going to settle this the way it should’ve been settled all along…
…inside the ring.
(Another cheer from the crowd, as Jester and Buck nod their heads together – clearly happy with this proclamation.)
Stacy Vandervort: So on April 18 at EWA Live From Toronto, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have ourselves a Fatal Fourway, one fall to a finish. Martin Robertson…
(Loud boos from the crowd.)
Stacy Vandervort: …versus Jester Smiles…
(The boos quickly turn to cheers.)
Stacy Vandervort: …versus Buck Dresden…
(The deafening cheers continue…)
Stacy Vandervort: …versus NOTHING.
(And just like that, the boos bottom out once again.)
Stacy Vandervort: … and Buck, if you’re still the EWA Combat Champion at this time, this match will be for your EWA Combat Championship. And NOTHING…
(Stacy relaxes her pose, and for the first time, a smile crosses her face.)
Stacy Vandervort: If you manage to make it past Dane Preston here tonight, and you manage to retain the EWA World Heavyweight Championship against Josh Kaine at Battlelines 42…
(A crowd pop, as NOTHING’s eyes widen in surprise, clearly not having expected that announcement. The camera shifts to Buck Dresden, who is nodding his head, already excited at the idea of defending his title against the best.)
MM: Stacy just slipped a blockbuster match in there! NOTHING said two weeks ago that Josh Kaine wasn’t worth the open challenge for the Heavyweight Championship, but apparently our Executive Assistant feels otherwise!
VA: What a joke, Malone!
Stacy Vandervort: …IF you manage to get past both of those encounters and walk into Toronto as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion…
(A gleam is in Stacy’s eye, as she smiles once again.)
Stacy Vandervort: …then the four of you will have a second match, immediately after the first, with the EWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line!
VA: That’s not fair! That’s ridiculous!
(On the outside of the ring, NOTHING is irate, while the crowd explodes in cheers at the huge announcement from Stacy Vandervort. Buck slaps Jester on the shoulder, a grin on his face as he motions to NOTHING, pointing to the World Champion and running his hands along his waist. Martin has slipped out of the ring, and now he’s in the face of NOTHING, yelling at him “This is all your fault!” before walking up the ramp, raising his arms in the air. Stacy smiles once more as she turns around, setting the microphone back down on the announce table before following Martin back up the ramp.)
MM: What a huge announcement! These four men will meet at Live From Toronto, in potentially two separate matches, with the two biggest prizes in the industry on the line!
VA: And that’s absolutely unfair to our World Champion, Malone! He has three consecutive title defenses, and a match immediately before one of them! Why is Stacy stacking the deck against HATE?
MM: I for one think it’s about time the front office lays down the law against these despicable individuals! What a blockbuster announcement!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MARTIN ROBERTSON (11:19)
(As Martin steps through the curtain, he turns left, following a sign on the far wall that points towards the parking area. However, about four steps into his walk in that direction, standing there holding a microphone is Terry Bull…)
Terry Bull: Martin Robertson, what do you have to say for your actions tonight?
(Not paying any attention to Terry, though, Martin simply smirks in Terry’s direction before taking a step past him…)
Terry Bull: Martin! Martin!
(Terry turns around, following after Martin, a few steps behind. However, probably realizing that Terry is not going to give up this pursuit very easily, Martin stops and turns around, almost running into the gaining-speed Terry…)
Martin Robertson: Jesus, Terry! I know you’re looking for the scoop, but christ, I don’t need you halfway up my ass like half the inanimate objects in Sahara’s apartment!
Terry Bull: What in the hell do you think you were doing tonight?
Martin Robertson: What was I doing? Did you not watch the match? What I’m doing, Terry, is making a statement. What I did tonight, was exactly what I’ve been saying that I was going to do ever since I got robbed out of MY World Heavyweight Championship at This Means War a few months ago, Terry.
Terry Bull: By sneak attacking Jester Smiles?
Martin Robertson: By making an EXAMPLE out of Jester Smiles, Terry. A former Combat Champion, and he couldn’t even lace my boots out there tonight! I mean, take a look at me..
(Martin steps back for a second, allowing the camera to get a full view of the Youth King’s physique…)
Martin Robertson: Then you take a look at those other three so-called superstars that were out there, and it’s really no comparison why the EWA is finally realizing that I’M THE MAN that carries this organization!
Terry Bull: How dare you! NOTHING is now the longest-reigning World Heavyweight Champion in the history of this organization…
Martin Robertson: …and how many times has he defended it, Terry? ONCE! He’s defended it one time, and he knows that he had absolutely no business winning that match that night! He KNOWS that he was three seconds away from history repeating itself, just like at the Final Solution. He’s a paper champion, Terry!
Terry Bull: He has a World Heavyweight Title match against Dane Preston later on tonight… and you heard Stacy out there… he’ll be facing Josh Kaine in a World Heavyweight Title match at the next Battlelines!
Martin Robertson: Dane Preston? Josh Kaine? Give me a break, Terry! I know you last celebrated a double-digit birthday the same year Pluto was officially announced as a planet, but please tell me you’re not that stupid to buy into the narrative.
Terry Bull: Narrative? What narrative?
Martin Robertson: To trash every single thing that I’ve ever been a part of, Terry. I’m not going to crap on a dead person’s grave, but Chris Kage’s 109 day title reign while I was carrying the Youth has just been surpassed by a guy who’s defended the title one time, Terry. And the two “superstars” that he has to defend it against the next couple of weeks… clearly they’re not to the level that Martin Robertson is at! Hell, I could have held onto the Network Title for four hundred days if I had title defenses against Dane Preston and Josh Kaine!
Terry Bull: Are you serious? And Chris Kage isn’t dead, by the way…
Martin Robertson: Well, he might as well be with that giraffe fish he’s married to now…
Terry Bull: Hey now!
Martin Robertson: Here’s the bottom line, Terry. I’ve been plotting and scheming ever since that night that I was screwed out of MY World Heavyweight Title, and you just saw earlier tonight why I’M… me, Terry… I’m the new Mastermind around here. I’m the Youth King here, Terry and now….. Now…. now I’ve got my World Heavyweight Title shot at Live from Toronto. And whether it’s just NOTHING, Jester Smiles, Buck Dresden, or all three of them at once, it simply doesn’t matter. I guarantee you, Terry… this time… I’m coming home with the gold belt around my waist!
(Martin smacks the microphone out of Terry’s hand and down to the ground, smiling as he turns around and continues down the hallway, but not without…)
Martin Robertson: … and get a better toupee, Terry!
(Terry bends down to pick up the microphone, adjusting his suit before straightening up and heading in the opposite direction, as we fade back to ringside…)
BRYTAIN MONTGOMERY VS STERLING
The arena plunges into complete and total darkness as the first few heavy beats of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Marilyn Manson thunders from the sound system. There is an explosion of pyro, blindingly white; it pops and crackles across the stage like lightening. As the pyro fades out, the stage is bathed in red light.
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
The song continues, and the woman makes her appearance.
NR: Introducing first, weighing at one hundred and twenty five pounds….Brytain Montgomery!
Her pink hair curled around her shoulders and bathed red in the light as her sharp blue eyes sweep across the crowd and the ring, reacting very little to her surroundings.
MM: This will be Miss Montgomery’s stiffest competition yet since she arrived in the EWA.
She saunters to the ring, the light catching on the rows of gold spikes, tarnished with age, that run down the back of her boots from knee to heel.
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler,
The back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
VA: Which says pretty much nothing. She’s got a lot to prove, and a tough individual to prove it against.
One hand reaches up, grasping the middle rope as she uses it to pull herself up on the apron and with a quick dip, she’s inside of the ring, circling it like a predator. She wanders towards her corner, leaning against the turnbuckle as she tilts her head.
The music of Static-X kicks on, “Grind 2 Halt” blaring throughout the arena.
Pale blue lights strobe around and Sterling steps out onto the ramp, one trained directly down on him. Sleeveless black hoody 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.
NR: And her opponent, weighing in at two hundred twenty five pounds….STERLING!
VA: Nah, it’s cool, dude. We’ve got all night.
MM: This man Sterling, he’s been impressive. Meshing his experience in mixed martial arts with scientific wrestling, he’s quickly becoming a man that can pick any for apart in that ring.
VA: Yeah, well, something tells me Brytain Montgomery isn’t shaking in her boots.
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 hoody 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.
The bell gets rung, and so does Sterling’s. The moment he moves in for the normal collar and elbow tie up, Brytain Montgomery quickly snaps off a sickening superkick to the butt of his chin!
VA: I’m hoping he didn’t have plans for that chin earlier. Or ever.
MM: Brytain goes for the cover already! Is this one over?
Sterling kicks out in the nick of time, but Brytain has already asserted control. She started off simply enough, weakening Sterling with strikes. She went first for the hamstrings, attempting to knot them up with kicks snapped off as fast as she could fire them.
Sterling tried his best to block, but the lighter Brytain used her speed advantage to strike where he wasn’t guarding. Soon, he found himself peppered with fists and feet and kept moving his guard until she dropped him once more with a step up enziguiri! Another cover!
Sterling rolled his shoulder up, and Brytain quickly caught the arm, rolling him into a head and arm triangle!
This was her mistake. Once the game went to ground submission, Sterling was at home. After a few moments of agony in the hold, he was able to slip out and transition to a ground hold, grapevining his legs around the midsection from behind and squeezing the breath from her lungs.
Brytain tried to flail backwards, trying to strike her way out of the hold, but Sterling grabbed her arm and smoothly transitioned into a kimura! Through the pain, Brytain is somehow able to get to her feet, but Sterling is still on top, switching off to a top hammerlock to bring her back to her knees.
Brytain fought back to her feet again and escaped the hold, hitting the ropes, but got caught in a scintillating tilt a whirl back breaker! Sterling went for the pin!
Brytain kicked out! She immediately grasped at her back in pain, which was easily picked up upon by Sterling, who now smelled blood. He would spend the next few minutes punishing her back, dazzling her and the crowd with an array of suplexes designed to punish the human anatomy. Brytain would keep her wits about her enough to escape any pinning attempt, including a quick float over after a punishing Saito suplex, but Sterling remained in control.
He hoisted Brytain over his shoulder, making her scream out loud at the start of an Argentine backbreaker submission! Aria Moretti, who has gotten quite the workout in this contest, is right there on top of things to check for Brytain’s submission, but it doesn’t come.
What does come is a timely rake across the eyes and Sterling drops Brytain, stumbling around the ring, temporarily blinded.
Brytain is in pain, but she runs the ropes. As she nears Sterling, he can see enough to tell that someone is almost upon him. He uses his strength to propel Brytain in the air, but she adjusts, coming back down on Sterling with both knees! Sterling is flat on the mat with Brytain on his chest, and she hooked the leg, but only for a two count!
Sterling is more than shaken as he gets back to his feet, but Montgomery is already perched on the top turnbuckles. She walks the top rope like a high wire, and leaps down and catches her man with a big DDT!
Thr- Sterling gets out of it!
Sterling is having trouble getting back to his feet, but Brytain, bad back and all, is going back to the top rope! She leaps high, rotating in air with her patented high angle senton bomb she calls the Thrillkiller!
AND STERLING MOVES INTO A FETAL POSITION ON HIS BACK! Brytain catches nothing but the caps of Sterling’s knees on her way down, right in her already sore back!
Brytain is in agony, and Sterling powers up to his feet. Still a little shaky, he grabs Brytain by her pink locks and hooks her for a vertical suplex, calling an audible mid-move! Instead of dropping her back, she comes sideways and Sterling falls backward, knees up, driving the right into her back! He quickly executed a three quarter roll up after impact!
The bell rings, and this one is over!
NR: Here is your winner, STERLING!
MM: This one was very hotly contested, but Sterling pulls out the victory here!
VA: Yeah, what you said! That could have gone either way! But it didn’t, and this pink haired beauty is gonna have to try again another day.
Sterling is already making his exit, as Brytain recovers in the center of the ring. Fade to the backstage area.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: STERLING (7:47)
(We cut back to back where we see none other than interviewer extraordinaire Terry Bull. He is standing in front of a television screen showcasing the EWA logo and a smile on his face.)
Terry Bull: Ladies and gentlemen, I was hoping to get a few words with this man before his match later tonight after what we just heard, so here we go. Folks, the Combat Champion, Buck Dresden.
(Buck steps into frame wearing a BUCK SHOT trucker hat cocked at an angle. His face is stubbled, and his face tells the story of someone who doesn’t have time for nonsense.)
Terry Bull: Tonight you set foot in the ring with Mojave who, as you know, has some serious back up in Cerberus. Not to mention his family ties to HATE with his sister Sahara and who knows where they stand on any given day. I was hoping to catch your reaction to the announcement made just now, pitting NOTHING and yourself in a fatal four way with Martin Robertson and Jester Smiles, one fall for the Combat Championship, one fall for the World Championship. After what you said at the start of the show, are you worried that you’re destined to be caught off guard and attacked for your comments?
(Buck nods his head, adjusts his EWA Combat Championship on his shoulder and turns to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Terry, from day one Buck Dresden has had a target on his back. I know, because it’s the back o’ my t-shirt fer a damn reason! Now you look at what I had to say at the start of the show, you look at my match against Mojave tonight, an’ yeah…it stands ta reason that HATE or somebody’s gonna have somethin’ to say back to me in the first of a fist or two!
(Buck slaps the face plate of his Combat Championship before he points to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: I said it once before, I’ll say it again. I am RIGHT…HERE. I don’t give a damn how big yer army is, I’m the one man nuclear bomb ready ta drop…
(Buck whistles as he shows his left hand flying into his right.)
Buck Dresden: …on each an’ every goddamn head what stands in my damn way! Now, Terry, I know HATE hears me loud ‘n’ clear. I know Martin hears me loud ‘n’ clear. I know Mojave hears me loud ‘n’ clear. I am more’n just the Bluegrass Bad Ass. I am…the People’s Bad Ass. I’m one o’ the only sumbitches in the locker room what understands why I’m here.
(He points beyond the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Them. Alla them. Them an’ only them. The People. An’ I’m gonna stand fer these people, I’m gonna fight fer these people, I’m gonna claw, scrape, bleed, cry, live, an’ DIE fer these people an’ the fact o’ the matter is THIS, Terry…
(He catches himself, inhaling deeply to return to calm.)
Buck Dresden: The days o’ bloody HATE are comin’ to an end. NOTHING just celebrated bein’ the longest reignin’ World Champion in EWA history. That’s a helluva feat. At his side he has Sahara, the longest reignin’ Combat Champion in EWA history. He has Indrid Calder, a man that’s only been beaten clean a handful o’ times in his career. He has Cal Rayner, a psychopathic behemoth of a man that has left a trail of broken bodies in his wake.
(Buck laughs a derisive laugh.)
Buck Dresden: Goddamn that sounds…good, don’t it?
Terry Bull: How does that sound good, Buck? HATE is a scary and intimidating faction. Not to mention you have Martin Robertson and his supporters, and even if you’re on good terms with Jester Smiles I have to believe he’s going to want a fair shake in the two fall match up pitting the four of you against one another!
(Buck nods his head.)
Buck Dresden: The odds are stacked against me in that match, this much is true. I could walk in that match the Combat Champion an’ walk right back out the Combat Champion, the World Champion, the World Combat Champion, or I could walk out empty handed. Hell, I wouldn’t even have to take a loss in order for that to happen. Martin could pin Jester or NOTHING, NOTHING could pin Jester or Martin, Jester could pin Martin or NOTHING, and I could just be laid out an’ come up with a whole heap o’ nada.
Buck Dresden: But I didn’t get this belt or go fer this belt because I wanted to have it easy. I told NOTHING I’m comin’ fer his title. If I win Path of the Warrior, I’m gonna get his belt. If I win this match, I’m gonna get his belt. If I lose everything an’ have nothin’ to show for it…I’m still gonna get his damn belt.
(He turns back to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: The winds of change are comin’, EWA. It’s a Southern breeze pickin’ up power until finally…Hurricane Buck makes landfall in Toronto an’ sweeps the two fall fatal four way to retain his Combat Championship an’ become the NEW…EWA…World…Heavyweight…Champion.
(He looks down at his title and then back to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Try’n stop me.
(Buck leaves Terry there alone, exiting the side of the screen.)
Terry Bull: There you have it, folks, straight from Dixie’s Favorite Son himself! Buck Dresden is laying down the law here in EWA and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it unfolds! Back to you!
(Fade to ringside.)
(The EWA World Tag-Team Championship lays across Sahara’s lap, prompting jeers from the audience as she slowly fans her hands out across it’s lustrous surface. The dressing room door opens, but the Crimson Queen’s eyes remain locked on her newly won title.
Candice Diamond enters the scene, a glowing smile on her face, followed by EWA field reporter, Allison Haines.)
Candice Diamond: I hope you don’t mind, but I saw Allison coming back from catering with your coffee and she asked if she could have a few words with our new champion–
(Sahara slowly lifts her head, her glimmering sapphire eyes lock in on Candice for a few moments before they move to Allison. A mere look from the Crimson Queen brought a momentary silence to the room.)
Allison Haines: Sahara, a big win tonight, with HATE now taking over the tag-team division, how does it feel to be a champion again?
(Looking down at the title belt draped over her lap, Sahara stands up, keeping her eyes trained on the title.)
Sahara: It means everything, Allison. It’s what we do this for–
(But her voice trailed, falling into silence…
Allison swallows a bit nervously as she takes a step closer to the new tag-team champion.)
Allison Haines: It appears you have something else on your mind … is the fact that Nikki Caldwell keeps advan–
(Sharp laughter is heard from Candice at the mere mention of Nikki’s name.)
Sahara: Nikki Caldwell doesn’t matter, Allison. She ain’t getting past Cal Rayner anyway. What? Do you want me to sugar coat it for ya? The only reason she even got this far is because I was stupid enough to pitch that she fight her own little lovers, who obviously let her win. A situation I’ve now corrected. Even if she does somehow weasel her way past the titan of HATE, does anyone actually think she’s going to beat me?
(Sahara rolls her eyes as she drapes the tag-team championship over Candice’s shoulder, who carefully holds the coffee she brought her friend, while staring at the title now draped over her shoulder.
Sahara turns back to the mic Allison holds.)
Sahara: That’s not what’s on my mind just yet, if Nikki wants my attention, she’s gonna have to get it…
Allison Haines: Than what is?
Sahara: Michael Draven.
(The crowd pops are the mere mention of the Vengeful One’s name.)
Sahara: I know Michael Draven better than most. Hell, the word vengeance is right in his damn profile. And he ain’t foolin’ me. He’s obsessive. Bitter. Jealous. Angry. I can go on and on with the descriptors, but we all know the kinda man he is, and I know he can’t let this go. For over a DECADE he couldn’t let go of what Alexander Haven did to him, and he kept coming back, no matter how long or hard the road was … so don’t think for a single minute that I’m convinced he’s moved on.
Allison Haines: So you think he’s waiting in the wings, looking for an opportune moment–
Sahara: Think?! I know he is, Allison. This is eating away at him. The worst thing I ever did was train him after he got hurt, because if there was one thing he NEVER had before I came around, it was patience. He was so dead set on getting his revenge that he’d rush in without thinking. Hell it took me two meetings with the feeble minded moron to break him down. He went from, (high pitched mimicking Draven voice) “Ohhh, Lauren, I have one shred of dignity left in me, I’d never cheat on Maggie!”, to hate fucking me against the wall of his apartment–
(Allison’s mouth nearly drops open as the crowd lets out an audible “Ohhhhhhh!”, but Sahara grabs the mic and pulls her back.)
Sahara: Oh, grow up. I know that man, and I know he’s watching this in secret, tryin’ to keep his obsession away from his little Banshee. You’ve vanished, Michael. Without a word, without a passing thought. No media. No podcasts. Nothing. But we both know you can’t let this go…
(Turning toward the camera, Sahara once again yanks the mic back closer to her lips as she points at the EWA Tag-Team title draped over Candice’s shoulder.)
Sahara: You see that?! The EWA is our playground now. The Kilminsters, the Sinns, the Smiths, the Kage’s … gone. So I’m beggin’ ya, Nikki, Michael, someone … ANYONE … come out and play.
(Turning toward Candice, Sahara makes motion toward the dressing room door.)
(Heading toward the door, Candice pauses a second and smiles, turning toward the camera to show off Sahara’s EWA Tag-Team championship one final time.)
Allison Haines: Michael, Vincent, back to you–
(As the camera switches back to ringside, Mike Malone evens out the stack of papers before him before looking up into the camera.)
MM: Some heavy words from one half of the new tag-team champions…
VA: Some truth is what you mean. Where are all the heroes, Malone? You think Buck Dresden is gonna be able to do this on his own? I can’t wait to see what HATE does to that man!
MOJAVE VS BUCK DRESDEN
PATH OF THE WARRIOR II: FIRST ROUND MATCH, FOR THE EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP
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
Fall Out Boy’s “Phoenix” blazes through the arena (see what I did there) as Mojave arrives. He hops from one foot to the next, looking a mixture of cocky and confident. He slaps no hands, opting instead to focus on the ring and his tough as nails opponent.
NR: The following contest is for ONE FALL and is for the COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP and is ROUND ONE of the PATH OF THE WARRIOR! Introducing first…weighing in at 198 pounds…he is…MOJAVE!
I…AM A MAN…OF CONSTANT SORROW…
I’VE SEEN TROUBLES ALL MY DAYS…
Out from the back comes Buck Dresden, wearing his Combat Championship and new BUCK SHOT trucker hat. He storms down to the ring, slapping hands as he does so.
NR: And his opponent…weighing in at 252 pounds…he is the Bluegrass Bad Ass…BUCK…DRESDEN!!
Buck reaches out for a handshake, and Mojave slaps his hand, but is more dismissive than anything. The referee calls for the bell and the match is on!
MM: Buck Dresden establishing himself as the People’s Bad Ass tonight has one hell of a test in Mojave!
Buck tries immediately to establish an air of respect, but Mojave begins the match seeking ways to throw Buck off of his game, capitalizing on his speed and agility to counter Buck’s offense at every turn. Buck finds himself off balance, with the smaller Mojave putting on a clinic at the beginning of the match. However, quickly Buck is able to regain control with a spinebuster, asserting his dominance over the Cerberus member. Buck takes his time, breaking Mojave down bit by bit with power moves and grinding submissions designed to weaken Mojave’s offense. Mojave finds himself on the defensive and his frustration shows, arguing with the referee and kicking the bottom rope after every near fall.
Buck goes for his Buck Shot after what he thinks is an ample amount of softening up for his opponent, but Mojave ducks under the attempt, only for Buck to turn it into a pump handle, going for the Cattle Driver. He slings Mojave up, but Mojave manages to slide down Buck’s back and pushes Buck into the ropes, but Buck catches the ropes and Mojave rolls away. Buck turns around, right into an eye poke from Mojave, prompting boos from the crowd. It seems to unnerve him slightly as the referee warns him once again. Buck is fighting blind, unable to open his pained eyes as Mojave re-establishes control. He bounces off of the ropes to hit Buck with a high flying move. He goes for a flying crossbody on Buck, but Buck catches the Cerberus member, brings him down to his feet, cocks back and NAILS the Buck Shot, flipping Mojave into the air. Buck keeps a hold of Mojave, picks him back up, and hits ANOTHER Buck Shot. Convinced his opponent is out, Buck rolls him over and hooks him for the pinfall and the advancement into the Path of the Warrior!
NR: Here is your winner…and STILL EWA Combat Champion…BUCK…DRESDEN!!!
Buck is handed the EWA Combat Championship and ascends the turnbuckle, holding the title high for all to see. He points to the fans in attendance, excited to be advancing in the tournament.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA COMBAT CHAMPION: BUCK DRESDEN (11:58)
(Because people in the EWA listen really, really well, a cameraman continued following Martin after his brief interview with Terry Bull earlier all the way out to his car, parked in the farthest reaches of the parking garage. Since he wasn’t scheduled to be at the event tonight, he wasn’t reserved a spot in the normal garage located closer to the backstage area. Instead, he had to walk essentially halfway around the building to get to the overflow garage. He had just finished changing in the back of his vehicle, just finishing tying his shoelaces as his phone rang from the back seat. He grabs the phone, hitting a few buttons on the screen before throwing it back on the seat next to him…)
Martin Robertson: Hi dad.
Grady Smith: Hey… where are you?
Martin Robertson: I’m at Battlelines, where’d you think I was going to be? Aren’t you watching?
Grady Smith: No. Had to take your mother’s car to the garage tonight. She slid into the sidewalk and dented the left front rim in, so they’re replacing it now.
Martin Robertson: She ok?
Grady Smith: Yeah, yeah, she’s fine. But I meant where are you, as in it sounds really echo-y, like you’re in a small space or something.
Martin Robertson: Yeah, I think they’re trying to punish me for Alyssa’s stunt a couple weeks ago. I’m out in the overflow lot. Not scheduled to be on the show means no reserved spot.
Grady Smith: Oh… Cameron’s idea, I take it?
Martin Robertson: Gotta treat your stars the best, right?
Grady Smith: I never liked that prick anyways, even back in New York. Too cocky for his lack of talent.
Martin Robertson: Hasn’t changed much, dad.
(Martin stands up leaning back against the truck, grabbing his phone before closing the door behind him.)
Martin Robertson: So to what do I owe the honor of your phone call? I know it’s not to tell me about mom’s tire…
Grady Smith: To be honest, I forgot Battlelines was tonight. Figured you’d be home at your apartment or something. Just wanted to check up on how you were doing after the chaos of a few weeks ago. She… she’s not there, is she?
Martin Robertson: No. Figured it might not be the smartest idea to come tonight after the lawsuit.
Grady Smith: Makes sense. So, how are you doing?
Martin Robertson: We’re doing alright, I suppose. Just trying to ma…
Grady Smith: Not *we*, Martin. *You*. How are *you* doing?
Martin Robertson: I’m fine, dad. What are you trying to get at?
Grady Smith: You’re mother and I just wanted to make sure you were doing alright through all of this, that’s all.
Martin Robertson: I’m good, dad. Yes, it’s been a lot of stress recently, but nothing we can’t handle.
Grady Smith: We know you can handle it, and we’re not trying to tell you what to do with your life… we see how well that’s worked out in the past. We just want to make sure that you are looking out for yourself and doing what’s best for you.
Martin Robertson: I got it, dad. I just got my rematch for the title coming up at the next pay per view… things are looking up.
Grady Smith: That’s great, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Martin Robertson: Look, I know what you’re getting at. I’m very much well aware of everything that’s happening, and we… WE… we are good, dad.
Grady Smith: … but you’re in the maintenance garage right now…
Martin Robertson: Still nicer facilities than the arena in Albany, dad.
Grady Smith: (talking away from the phone…) You hear this kid? He’s a regular Rodney Dangerfield!
Martin Robertson: Who?
Grady Smith: You still have so much to learn, boy. Alright, they’re just about done, so I’m going to go wrap this up. Listen… take care of yourself, alright kid? Sky’s the limit for you, Marty. Just know you can’t go any higher, though, once you’re tethered to the ground.
Martin Robertson: I got it, dad.
Grady Smith: Alright. I’ll talk to you later… (away from the phone) This is the bill? C’mon, it’s dead wrong!
(Martin hangs up the phone, but looks at it for a second, pondering the words his father just said. But right before he’s about to put the phone away in his jacket pocket, it buzzes once again. This time, a text message…)
Message: I love you!
(A blue spotlight appears at the top of the walkway, unannounced, as the highlighted figure stands with a sleeveless black hoodie pulled up to cover the better part of his head and face, trackpants and sneakers of the same colour. Waiting a moment, he pulls down his hood and pulls a microphone out of his pocket and raises it to his mouth.
Looking about, he realises the crowd is still just murmuring and talking to eachother opening snacks and drinks, oblivious to his presence. Slowly, he pats the microphone with his free hand, the bass thud of each hit echoing around the arena. Eventually, he seems satisfied with the level of attention he’s receiving and clears his throat.)
MM: Hey, there’s someone up there!
VA: Who gives a shit, man? No music, nothin’.
MM: It’s kind of our job to, Vince.
VA: Wake me up when Sahara shakes her lil tooshie out here again.
Sterling: It’s cool. I get that you don’t ordinarily see me out here, so you didn’t expect to see me just now and I didn’t make a big song and dance about it because it’s sort of a last-minute thing, but here we are…
MM: This is last-minute!
VA: I hope so. Can we cut to a commercial? Seriously, some B-rate chump is what? Holding the show hostage? C’mon already.
(He surveys the crowd, looking at all the banners and the signs, the T-shirts and the foam fingers waving about.)
Sterling: I’m disappointed at what’s being offered to you. I really am. I’m not knocking the EWA because it’s a tremendously successful business, but sometimes that success has had a cost and you can sort of hide that cost for a finite period before it shows through. The model here has always been to strive for something new, to ride the bandwagon if they couldn’t build it themselves, to find the hottest stars and make the hottest matches and… yeah… usually, that works. Usually.
VA: Sure it fuckin’ does! What’s ya fuckin’ point?
(Shaking his head, he looks down at his feet for a moment and only slowly raises his head again, almost looking out from behind and beneath his own eyebrows.)
Sterling: The problem with that is that not everything that’s new is good. You bring in some young stud from the fucking wilderness and slap them with a suitcase full of money as their signing-on bonus and they high-tail it out of town and they’re never seen again. You get people just not showing up and then you get people showing up who just half-ass their shit. That’s what new gets you. New is a risk.
Me? I’m new, but I’m not out here to talk shit about ushering in a new era of whatever – in fact, quite the fucking opposite. I see the front office getting mugged in broad daylight by these assholes… the half-assers and the no-shows… and I look around at how few of the top level talent supposedly keeping this ship afloat were here a year ago or two years ago. The old-timers got pushed out in favour of new blood. Well, I think that new blood’s contaminated and I think this company needs dialysis.
MM: This guy hasn’t been around long enough to be talking like this, surely? Making some BIG accusations here!
VA: Man, if I had a Dresden for every time some new kid gets a hold of a mic and runs his fuckin’ mouth about shit beyond his pay-grade. Seriously. Hashtag yawn.
(He hears the fans begin to murmur more loudly, pondering his narrative as he gives pause for them to do so, pacing on the spot before clearing his throat again and continuing.)
Sterling: Instead of trying to bring in a new-school, I say we take it back oldschool and I say we take a long, hard look in our collective mirror and ask if the term “warrior” really applies to half the asses keeping benches warm in the locker room. You’ve got gimps with entourages. You’ve got farm girls and college kids. You’ve got nothing.
Actually, no, that’s wrong because you have ME. I don’t care if I walk out here every week or every two or three weeks with black eyes and a broken nose and teeth missing or whatever happens and whatever wounds I sport. I’ll be out here every week or two or three and I won’t be out here to push my podcast or make friends… I’ll be here to fight. Every step of that wretched Path of the Warrior has my name on it like a Hollywood star and… oh… you might even know who I am.
I am Sterling and my name… is money.
(Dropping his mic to the steel grating which makes up the surface of the walkway, Sterling bows as his spotlight shuts off and he simply vanishes into the shadows, leaving the fans clamouring for more as his promises of raw fights appeals to their natural sense of competition and their desire for that primal, gladiatorial entertainment.)
MM: Well, we knew who he was before but now we know his intent!
VA: You know what? He made some sense. People wanna see fights and they wanna see people who WANT to fight. This company has a history of providing that and standards have slipped. I agree.
MM: I disagree there. I think our current standards are possibly… possibly… the highest they’ve ever been and with the Path of the Warrior coming up, all of that will be on PROUD display!
Main EventDANE PRESTON VS NOTHING
EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: It’s main event time here in Baltimore, Vincent, and the first in the open-challenge series for the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOTHING!
VA: And what a gracious, generous champion he is, Malone – giving any random schmuck off the street who utters his name a chance at glory!
MM: I’d hardly call his opponent tonight just any random schmuck–
VA: I’m pretty sure that means you fall into that same “schmuck” category too, then…
MM: Listen, I’m not getting into a debate over schmucks with the guy who has spent the last few years of his life drooling over women like Grace Goeren and Sahara despite the fact that no woman in her right mind would even bat an eyelash in your direction!
VA: Malone, you son of a–
MM: Let’s head up to Nikki Rogers for the introductions!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and is an EWA World Heavyweight Championship Open Challenge Match!
(The crowd cheers as Nikki makes that announcement before Metallica’s “Fuel” begins to blast out over the loudspeakers.)
GIVE ME FUEL
GIVE ME FIRE
GIVE ME THAT
WHICH I DESIRE
(Dane Preston appears at the top of the ramp, but he’s not headbanging to the music as he normally would. Instead, he steps out onto the stage somewhat apprehensively. He shakes his arms, attempting to shed the jitters, as he looks around the arena. He brings a hand up to wipe his mouth before beginning the walk toward ringside.)
MM: Are we seeing, perhaps, a more focused Dane Preston tonight?
VA: Focused?! He’s TERRIFIED! Look at him – he’s already drenched in sweat! It’ll be a wonder if NOTHING can even get his hands on him, it’s gonna be like trying to catch a greased watermelon!
MM: Greased water…? Whatever on earth that means – either way, Dane Preston making his way to the ring with a different demeanor than we’re used to in what is arguably the biggest match of his career!
VA: No argument about it, doofus! He’s about to step in the ring with The Purveyor himself! The man who has crafted for himself a career renaissance culminating with him capturing the EWA World Heavyweight Title! Preston should be kissing the feet of NOTHI–
MM: OH, my God! Do you ever stop!? They’re never going to let you into that house! Just cool it! You’re never having brunch with Serena, you’re never getting the chance to look through the keyhole of Indrid Calder and Sahara’s bedroom door, and you’re never going to pal around doing whatever the Hell it is Cal Rayner does these days! Give it up!
VA: Jealousy is ugly on you, Malone.
(Preston slides into the ring and shrugs his vest off, tossing it to the side. He rolls his neck and jumps from foot to foot still trying to shake out the nerves of the coming match.)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place
(The lights dim down as those eerie words trickle out over the arena. The static and noise transition into “WIthout You I’m Nothing” as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion appears under a single spotlight on the stage. He stands, head down, his white hair standing wildly atop his head and the golden color of the World Heavyweight Title gleaming from around his waist. He wears his sleeveless leather vest with gold accents, matching the gold stripe running along the sides of his leather pants. He raises his head and looks toward the ring, his eyes burrowing a hole straight into Dane Preston who has stopped in his tracks. With a smirk spreading across his face The Purveyor makes his way to the ring to a mixed reaction, though the majority of the crowd is hurling vitriol and obscenities toward him.)
VA: And here’s the man, Malone – the man who stands on top of the EWA!
MM: That, Vincent, I can not argue with. NOTHING has positioned himself on top of the EWA and with what we saw earlier tonight with Sahara and Indrid Calder capturing the EWA Tag Team Titles, I don’t know if anything can stop HATE!
VA: Good! And that’s exactly why they need a solid hype man like me on retainer, Malone!
MM: If there’s one thing HATE doesn’t need, it’s hype. Just uttering the names of the individuals involved in this group is enough hype all its own.
VA: Yeah, well… okay… that’s a good point. But still! I hate you, so I’m sure they’d be able to find a place for me!
(NOTHING reaches ringside and slowly makes his way up the ring steps before entering the ring. He steps toward the center of the ring while staring Preston down, then turns slightly to put him out of his sight. He outstretches his arms and tilts his head back, the arena now bathed in light, before slowly tilting his head forward again with the same smirk plastered on. He sheds his vest before backing into the corner.)
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall (ONE FALL!) and is for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship! Introducing first – weighing in at two-hundred and forty-five pounds, hailing from Redwood City, California… DAAAAAANE PREEEESSSTOOOOONNNN!
(Dane steps forward from his corner, raising his arms into the air as he begins to jaw-jack toward the reigning EWA World Heavyweight Champion.)
MM: It looks like the Dane we’ve come to expect has started to emerge – he’s already trash-talking NOTHING!
VA: He better watch that tongue, Malone!
NR: And his opponent… weighing in at two-hundred and fifty-five pounds, from Albany, New York… the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOOOOTTTTHHHIIIINNNGGGG!
(NOTHING unbuckles the title from around his waist and raises it into the air, staring silently at the trash-talking Preston the entire time. He hands the title off to referee Danny Smith who passes the title off to the timekeeper and calls for the bell.)
MM: This one is underway!
Both men come to the center of the ring, Preston finding his sea-legs and now having the confidence to begin running down the EWA World Heavyweight Champion. NOTHING stands tall unwavering in the verbal onslaught from Preston.
VA: If this was a talking contest Preston would be ahead on points, but that’s not how you win championships!
MM: He’s trying to get into the head of NOTHING, Malone and–
VA: OH! NOTHING just got into the head of Preston!
WIth a snap, NOTHING reels back and then quickly forward delivering a vicious headbutt into the face of Preston! Preston stumbles back, clutching at his nose and mouth which are already beginning to trickle blood.
MM: A headbutt, and… and just straight into the face!
MM: That’ll teach him!
Preston looks up at NOTHING, the lower half of his face and his entire right hand now covered in blood. His eyes narrow and he charges at the champion!
MM: NOTHING may have awoken something in Preston!
SNAP! Preston charges in and NOTHING connects with a massive superkick out of nowhere!
VA: And if he did, he just put it to sleep!
MM: Good God, Preston may be concussed!
Preston, indeed, flies back into the corner and referee Danny Smith is in to check on him!
VA: Just call it – collect your paycheck and get outta here, kid!
MM: I don’t think Preston has that in him, Vincent!
VA: You’re right, he’s probably too stupid to just walk away while he has the chance.
Preston is down in the corner and… he shoves Danny Smith away!
MM: He’s still got some fight in him!
VA: He’s just trying to get himself disqualified so this match can end!
Preston pulls himself up and walks forward – but stumbles down to the mat!
MM: HERE COMES NOTHING!
NOTHING wastes no time charging in – PURE HATE!
VA: That’s it, he’s dead!
NOTHING’s knee connects with the face of Preston as he falls forward – the momentum of Preston’s body weight falling meeting with the force of NOTHING’s knee driving in the opposite direction!
MM: I think he lost some teeth, Vincent!
Preston is out on his back, blood now pouring from his nose and mouth, as NOTHING rolls into the cover.
VA: It’s academic!
MM: And just like that, it’s all over!
VA: The Champion didn’t even break a sweat!
MM: He may have broken several bones in Preston’s face, though…
VA: If we’re lucky, they’ll have to wire his jaw shut for the next six to ten years…
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: NOTHING (1:42)
(NOTHING rolls off of Preston as Danny Smith presents him with the EWA World Heavyweight Championship. NOTHING grabs it violently before walking to the corner and demanding the ringside microphone. Smith turns his attention to Preston who is being rolled out of the ring by EWA medical staff, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. NOTHING, meanwhile, leans back in the corner looking up toward the entrance as Preston is worked on outside of the ring behind him.)
NOTHING: This… this is what passes for competition in the EWA? When your World Heavyweight Champion lays out an open challenge for the richest prize in the game, this is the best you can do?
No… no, I don’t accept that.
As of this moment, March 15, 2018… I am officially the longest-reigning EWA World Heavyweight Champion of all time.
(The crowd offers a mixed reaction at this bit of information – some applauding the accomplishment while others are less than pleased with the person who now holds such an accolade.)
NOTHING: One-hundred and thirteen days, just edging out Chris Kage. So it seems, yet again, HATE stands above and beyond all vestiges of The Youth. One-hundred and thirteen days and the best you can throw at me is a man who talked himself into an early grave. I mean, at least when Martin Robertson runs his mouth I know he has the history and ability to back it up.
Right now, though, I don’t care about Martin Robertson’s accomplishments. I don’t care about Buck Dresden’s accomplishments, and I don’t care about Jester Smiles’ accomplishments. Of course, with that last one, we’re probably still waiting for a few more sober days before he officially accomplishes anything in his life.
(The crowd boos wildly at this, the disdain for the actions of HATE toward Jester Smiles several weeks ago still fresh.)
NOTHING: No, what I care about tonight is the lack of professionalism on the part of Stacy Vandervort. Not only did she let this company almost slip into a black hole, but now she’s making decisions and matches based on her own frustrations of being unable to control the world around her. You want to stack three men against me? And, not only that, you want to force me into wrestling against those three men directly prior to that title defense? Stacy… Stacy, Stacy, Stacy… you’ve officially lost the plot, my dear.
Nonetheless, as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion I am more than used to dealing with ineptness… (he motions toward Preston being attended to on the arena floor)
So, let’s do this. I’ve already put one down tonight.
I’m ready to put down two more.
(The crowd buzzes, not quite knowing where he’s going with this.)
NOTHING: Anybody in the back – anybody at all – if you want to take a shot at me and the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, step through that curtain and try to make a name for yourselves! Gimme two! Any pair of fools who thinks they can stand with The Harbinger of HATE – answer the call, and find yourself in the same position as our dear friend Dane Preston here.
(NOTHING drops the microphone to the arena floor, tosses the EWA World Heavyweight Title to the canvas and steps toward the center of the ring awaiting an answer.)
MM: Can he… can he do that?!
VA: He’s the champion, Malone, and he just did! Everyone else wants to make lopsided matches around here, why should our fearless leader be left out of the fun?!
MM: But he’s putting everything at stake here – Battlelines 42 against Josh Kaine, and Live From Toronto!
VA: He’s calculating, Malone! There’s no risk here!
(The crowd suddenly begins to murmur as two individuals step out from behind the curtain. Their steps are weary and uncertain, but there is also a pep in their step knowing the opportunity that has presented itself.)
VA: Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me!
MM: Are… are we… is this happening??
VA: YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!?
(The crowd is unsure of the would-be challengers, but still gets behind them nonetheless as Developmental Center trainees Dexter Lester and The Pope of Pain make their way to the ring. NOTHING furrows his brow at the pair, clearly confused and a little put-off, but stands up straight to welcome the duo to the ring.)
MM: The Pope of Pain, a recruit of Murphy Doyle Mah–
VA: Enough said! No wonder this guy’s coming out here! Discovered by that dimwit? The partner of the guy NOTHING just eviscerated?? I doubt those three have a pair of brain cells between ‘em!
MM: Your delightful commentary notwithstanding, he’s joined by Dexter Lester!
VA: … and? I mean, c’mon Malone – were The Lemonheads too busy at this very moment in time?!
(The pair slowly enters the ring on opposite sides, hoping to catch NOTHING on the wrong end of the numbers game. Referee Danny Smith slides back into the ring and backs NOTHING into the corner, doing the same with the would-be challengers. He turns back to NOTHING and asks him a question… NOTHING nods yes, and Danny Smith calls for the bell!)
VA: Oh, my God it’s going to be beautiful! Two new lambs to the slaughter!
MM: We’ve got… we’ve got a triple threat match here for the EWA World Heavyweight Title!
VA: Triple Threat?! I only see one threat in that ring, Malone, and he’s the current champion!
Pope and Lester begin to slowly advance toward NOTHING who moves toward them with an annoyed expression on his face. He waves them both onward and Pope is first to bite!
MM: He charges right in!
A sudden kick to the stomach, and NOTHING throws The Pope of Pain head-first into Lester’s stomach! Lester doubles over in pain, Pope’s head buried in his midsection…
VA: PURE HATE!
MM: Lester goes flying!
Indeed, NOTHING uses Pope’s back and improvises Pure Hate on Lester! Lester flies backward and straight out of the ring, as NOTHING begins to roll to his feet.
MM: Lester seems to be indisposed at this point, but The Pope of Pain is still on his feet!
VA: Let us start the countdown now and see for how much longer that statement will ring true…
Pope, with his right hand clutching at his ribcage, moves toward NOTHING and reaches out – NOTHING grabs the arm and bends down to pick Pope up…
MM: Spicolli Driver, and he landed HARD on his neck!
VA: Heh… hard on…
MM: Oh, will you… just… just shut up!
NOTHING grabs a hold of Pope’s hair, pulling him to his feet and then backwards toward the corner. He jumps up into a seating position on the top rope and hooks his opponent up before leaping and flipping–
MM: Darkness Falls! NOTHING connects with his version of Diamond Dust out of the corner, and The Pope of Pain is in a heap!
VA: He’s out cold, Malone! He’s about to become The Pope of Pins!
MM: That one was pretty bad even for you, Vincent…
NOTHING pushes Pope over and hooks the leg as Danny Smith responds…
VA: WHAT A VICTORY! WHAT A MAN! Three in one night, how brave!
MM: Oh, enough already!
NR: Here is your winner… and STILL EWA World Heavyweight Champion… NOOOTTTTHHHIIIINNNNGGGGG!
NOTHING is once again handed the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, stepping into the center of the ring… before noticing Dane Preston stirring on the outside!
MM: Preston’s still awake?!
VA: Preston’s still alive?!
Preston grabs the top rope from the arena floor and pulls himself up, his knee planting on the apron as the medical staff attempts to pull him back down. NOTHING tosses the title down against and rolls his eyes before charging — PURE HATE!
MM: OH, JESUS!
Preston gets nailed AGAIN right in the face and flies hard and fast, crashing back-first ON TOP of the steel railing at ringside! The first row is covered in sweat and blood as Dane crumbles to the arena floor, his body spasming while Mark Furman rushes to his side!
MM: He’s got to have a broken spine!
VA: If he had a spine to begin with!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: NOTHING (2:22)
(NOTHING once again retrieves the ringside microphone before grabbing the EWA World Heavyweight Title and falling back into the corner as he surveys the scene around him.)
NOTHING: Day after day… week after week… month after month… body… after… body. The story always remains the same. Whether it’s one-on-one, two-on-one, or three-on-one, the result is always the same! There is a reason we stand tall and overlook the Kingdom of the EWA as our own. It’s not just because we’re the best in this ring. It’s not even just because we know how to get into the heads of our opponents week in and week out.
The reason is quite simple.
It’s because, from day one, HATE has stood as a unified force in the EWA. The most unified force this company has ever seen. The only faction who actually practices what it preaches – that we fight for each other and for the Hive. The needs of one do not outweigh the group, yet in moments of need… every Pillar will come forth to make sure, in our moments of weakness, that we are all held up high.
Seems to me, though… there aren’t a whole lot of moments of weakness in HATE these days. We now stand before you the EWA World Heavyweight Champion and the EWA Tag Team Champions. And at Live From Toronto? It won’t be enough for me to walk away still the longest-reigning EWA World Heavyweight Champion. I’ll also be walking out the EWA Combat Champion.
The Renaissance of HATE is upon you, ladies and gentlemen… and if you don’t stand with HATE?
You won’t stand long.
(He drops the microphone to the canvas before slowly exiting the ring. From the apron, he looks out at his handiwork once more – Dane Preston, bleeding from his face and being restrained on a backboard, The Pope of Pain motionless in the center of the ring, and Dexter Lester staring up at the lights from the arena floor. He leaps down from the ring, slings the EWA World Heavyweight Title over his shoulder and backs up the ramp, his eyes scanning the crowd with contempt the entire time.)
MM: Ladies and gentlemen, an emphatic statement made here tonight by the EWA World Heavyweight Champion.
VA: Martin Robertson! Jester Smiles! Buck Dresden! Take notice of the carnage out here tonight! This is your future at Live From Toronto! The future of all who stand against HATE!
MM: Unbelievable. Folks, we are desperately out of time. On behalf of the entire EWA, we want to thank all of you for sticking with us through rough times. We are back, and as we roll forward, we do this for you, the people who matter. I’m Mike Malone, along with Vincent Ashe…we’ll see you again soon!
(We fade to black as NOTHING stands atop the entrance ramp, holding the World Heavyweight Championship high above his head, ‘Without You I’m NOTHING’ echoing through the arena.)
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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Murphy Doyle Maher vs Philip Donovan – Sean B.
Katsuro Yoshida vs Lou – Eric M.
HATE vs The Erinyes – Harlan H.
Josh Kaine vs Nikki Caldwell – Harlan H.
Jester Smiles vs Martin Robertson – Chris F.
Brytain Montgomery vs Sterling – Will S.
Mojave vs Buck Dresden – Brandon H.
NOTHING vs Dane Preston – Corey C.
NOTHING vs The Pope of Pain & Dexter Lester – Corey C.