(The camera feed cuts to that of the Combat Zone parking garage, the big black truck belonging to the Kaine family pulls into an open space. The three heads of Cerberus soon appear as the doors open, Mojave jumping out first followed by Nikki and then Josh from the driver’s side. Josh and Nikki reach into the bed, pulling their ring gear bags out and turn to follow their older lover to the dressing room.
It’s only then that our intrepid Bluegrass Bad Ass makes an appearance, calling out to the son of Jada Kaine.)
Buck Dresden: Josh! Got a second?
(The teenager knows that the older man wouldn’t harm them, nodding for Nikki and Moe to continue on their way. He’ll catch up shortly. Josh turns, shifting his bag from one shoulder to the other before extending a hand.)
Josh Kaine: I got a few, what’s up?
(Buck grins at the younger Kaine, his fake grin turning to a warm and disarming smile.)
Buck Dresden: Hey, man. I don’t mean to bug ya, I know you got a big damn night. I also know yer big damn night can be really jacked up once HATE gets its claws in ya. I want you to put the hurt on those bastards by puttin’ the spear directly in their hearts. Take that title, ya know?
(Buck looks around for a moment before turning back to Josh.)
Buck Dresden: Truth be told, man, I ain’t that concerned what happens tonight, all I wanna do is make sure you got people on yer side. You need allies if yer goin’ to war, brother, and I wanna be that fer you.
(Josh raises a curious eyebrow, he pulls his hand back and manages to return a smile.)
Josh Kaine: Look, I appreciate the words, man…but I got people on my side. You miss ‘em?”
(He nods in the direction that Nikki and Moe went before turning his bright blue eyes back to Buck. The former tag champion shifts his weight, knowing he’s in for hell tonight when he steps into the ring with NOTHING.)
Josh Kaine: No offense, man…I know you ain’t out to screw people over, but I ain’t knowing you from Adam. I’m doin’ what needs to be done and then I’m done with ‘em. Sorry I can’t help ya.
(Buck sighs, turning to the other members of Cerberus for a moment before turning back to Josh.)
Buck Dresden: I know y’all can take on the world an’ ya got the pedigree to do whatever ya want in this business, but Josh. Man, yer goin’ to war even if ya don’t wanna go to war. HATE’s an army an’ they’ll beat you an’ then they’ll break you. Ask Nikki over there. Now, brother, I’m beggin’ ya. I can’t fight these guys alone an’ they’re gonna do all they can to isolate you an’ destroy y’all from the inside out. Y’all can help me, I can help y’all. Think about it, man. Please.
(He sighs again, knowing full well his pleas are falling on deaf ears by the expression on Josh’s face. The son of Jada Kaine frowns, taking a step back. He halfway glances to the pair behind him, noticing they’ve stopped a few yards off to listen in on the conversation.)
Josh Kaine: I know what HATE’s capable of. Been on the end of a beatin’ from Calder twice now…and Sahara…and Rayner more than once. We can hold our own. So…maybe another time, Buck. We got this on our own for now.
(Buck clenches his jaw and takes a few steps back. He turns to the other members of Cerberus and then back to Josh. He nods to him.)
Buck Dresden: Good luck out there, man. I’ll be rootin’ fer ya.
(Buck takes one final step backwards and then leaves.)
INDRID CALDER VS MARTIN ROBERTSON
PATH OF THE WARRIOR II FIRST ROUND MATCH
Mike Malone: Good evening everyone! With Vincent Ashe, I’m Mike Malone, and we are only a few weeks out from the EWA’s biggest card of the season, Live from Toronto!
Vincent Ashe: Yes, but tonight, Malone, we’ll get to see the Purveyor of HATE, the World Heavyweight Champion, NOTHING, beat down that punk, snot nose brat Josh Kaine..
MM: … with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line, might I add! And Buck Dresden will defend the EWA Combat Championship against Lou!
VA: And the Queen of HATE, the ever vivacious Sahara will smack around Jester Smiles a bit more…
HAIL TO THE KING
HAIL TO THE ONE
KNEEL TO THE CROWN
STAND IN THE SUN
HAIL TO THE KING!
MM: But we’re starting off the show with the first of our two Path of the Warrior tournament matches!
(As “Hail to the King” blares through the speaker system, the arena goes pitch black, save a large spotlight shining down on the top of the entrance ramp. Stepping through the curtain and emerging underneath the spotlight is the Youth King himself, donning a purple robe with the inscription “Perfection” in silver sequins on the back…)
Nikki Rogers: Ladies and gentlemen, this first match of the evening is a first round Path of the Warrior II tournament match, scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, he is the self-proclaimed “Youth King of the EWA”… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
VA: Self-proclaimed? Where the hell did Nikki pull that one out of?
MM: Well, has he won any tournaments? Is he a current champion?
VA: He is the longest-reigning singles champion in EWA history! And he won the Final Solution match against HATE! Need I go on?
(Martin makes his way down the entrance ramp, taking his time as he walks around the ringside area…)
MM: No, at some point, though, we’re just hoping you go.
VA: You know, over the past few shows, you’ve been more and more rude to me down he…
(Martin leans over the announcer’s table, placing his face between Malone and Ashe…)
Martin Robertson: Call this match down the middle tonight! Make sure Malone doesn’t slant this match against me, Ashe!
VA: See! I was just telling him how biased he has been recently!
MM: I have not! Martin, I…
Martin Robertson: Mr. Robertson to you, Malone. Ashe…
(Martin does the eye point towards Malone before turning around and climbing into the ring, posing towards the crowd as they continue to jeer him…)
MM: What are you doing? Trying to get me in trouble or something?
VA: I’m not doing anything that everyone else doesn’t already suspect about you!
(The arena lights go out once again…)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
(The video screen above the entrance ramp lights up with an image of a gray tattered shroud floating amongst a grove of gently swaying willow trees. Below the screen, a low cloud of smoke begins to billow out from the entrance curtain, slowly filling up the stage. At the head of the stage, though, the smoke flows around a figure standing there, dressed in all black. As the smoke begins to rise around the figure, it moves slightly, revealing two shining knife-blue eyes peering from the darkness, focused directly ahead towards the ring as wisps of smoke float by…)
NR: … and his opponent, he is one half of the EWA World Tag Team Champions… representing HATE, he is “THE STRANGER”… INDRID… CALDER!
(The spotlight shines down on the tag team champion, who discards the black shroud on the ramp, revealing the gold belt wrapped around his waist. He removes the belt, slinging it over his shoulder as The Stranger slowly makes his way towards the ring, eyes focused on his next victim in the ring…)
MM: What an entrance!
VA: You actually enjoyed that? You enjoy being freaked out like you’re in a graveyard?
MM: No, of course not. But the ominous presence Calder exudes when he enters the arena is awe inspiring.
VA: I don’t think HATE wants you as a member, Malone.
MM: That’s good for both me and HATE, Vince.
(Calder steps into the ring, a wry smirk across his face as referee Rick Iley comes over to check Calder, taking the World Tag Team Championship belt from him…)
MM: Vince, this is one of those matches you’d expect to see on a Pay Per View, but here we are, getting it for free… and in the first round of this tournament!
VA: Well, I get the Network for free because of my pirated cable deal…
MM: But it’s not ca… you know what, nevermind. But these two men are se… what in the hell?!?
(Just as Iley is about to go ring the bell, instead, we hear “CloZee” by Koto blaring out throughout the arena as, stepping out onto the entrance ramp, both dressed in designer black suits are Kevin Oppenheimer and the current EWA Network Champion, Katsuro Yoshida…)
MM: It’s World Wide Bushido Buntai!
VA: What the hell are they doing out here, Malone? They have no part in this match tonight!
(Led by Oppenheimer, the two men stand on the entrance ramp, looking out at the crowd for a second, soaking up all of the cheers of the faithful here in Boston before Yoshida adjusts the belt on his shoulder and following Oppenheimer down towards ringside. The two men pass by the stairs into the ring, and head over towards Malone and Ashe…)
MM: I don’t know what they doi…
VA: HEY, CHAMP! WHAT’S UP?!? COMO ESTAS?
(Ashe goes to shake the champions hand, but instead, gets a death stare from Yoshida as Oppenheimer grabs two folding chairs, setting them down next to the announcer’s table before looking at Ashe)
Kevin Oppenheimer: While Mr. Yoshida is a man of grea’ intelligence, Vincent Ashe, he’s not gonna dignify your id-i-otic statement asking him how he is doing in Spanish.
VA: Yeah, see… I…. I was just testing him. Great job!
MM: Mr. Oppenheimer, what are you and your colleague doing out here tonight?
Kevin Oppenheimer: It’s simple, innit, Mr. Malone? Anyone payin’ attention KNOWS that Katsuro Yoshida won his first round match in the Path of the Warrior Tournament, righ’? And as such, he’ll be taking on the winner of this match in front of us… you know, hence the ole brackets thing that got put togetha so ev’ryone can see thin’s like this. So we are simply here to observe and take notes on these two men, first hand, like quality competitas are liken to do. So if you don’t mind, we’d just like to sit here tonight and take in the battle between Mr. Calder and Mr. Robertson.
VA: Fine by me! Less I have to hear you go on about how much smarter you think you are over everyone else.
MM: Vince! Would you mi… OH! Calder attacks Robertson from behind!
VA: He can’t do that! There hasn’t been a bell yet!
DING! DING! DING!
MM: Well, there’s the bell now!
Calder did indeed get the first shot in on Martin, but just as soon as he did, he backed off towards his corner. For the next minute, an enraged Martin Robertson would try to catch an Indrid Calder misstep, but it never came, as it was clear that Calder was enjoying winning the mind game battle against Robertson. Martin even got frustrated at his inability to get more than one shot in on Calder that, after Calder was able to successfully dodge a single leg take down from Robertson and respond by simply placing his boot on the top of Robertson’s head. Martin was quick to roll to the outside to try and catch a breather, but more importantly, trying to break the match up into a pace and style that’s more to Martin’s liking than Calder’s liking. Martin went back in, but Calder was waiting for him to stop him in his place, striking the Youth King with an open palm strike to the chest. Martin crumpled to the mat, rolling outside again, trying to get the pace of the match to more his pace. Calder never took the bait, though, letting Robertson just make it back into the ring before the count of ten. This time, Robertson finally outsmarted Calder, able to catch a single leg take down. Finally starting to be able to put together a move or two, Robertson seized on the opportunity to show some of his technical skill side, keeping Calder grounded with a series of headlocks, leg locks and stretches, making the match look more like something from his time at Cornell University than his time in the EWA.
Calder, however, to his credit, never gave up looking for an escape, and was able to make it to his feet…
MM: Calder now, elbow to the midsection of Robertson… now off the far ropes… BELLY TO BELLY RELEASE OVERHEAD SUPLEX BY ROBERTSON! GOOD LORD!
VA: Martin has sneaky strong power and sneaky quick execution skills, Malone! And now, he’s finally getting to put them all on display against someone who people thought you could never out-mastermind him!
MM: Well, I don’t think he’s trying to outsmart Indrid Calder, Vincent, but…
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
(The lights don’t dim, but the familiar music — “Without You I’m NOTHING” by Placebo — tells us exactly who’s making their way onto the entrance ramp…)
VA: THE WORLD CHAMP IS HERE, MALONE!
MM: Yes, I see that, Vince! But why?
VA: Why ask why, Malone…
MM: I don’t like Bud Dry, Vince.
VA: Just sta… wait, Bud Dry? Nobody said anything about Bud Dry. I’m talking about NOTHING, Malone!
MM: So am I! And now he’s standing here down ringside… hasn’t interefered yet, but you know it’ll happen at some point, Vince!
Martin looks down at NOTHING, who’s just standing there, looking up at one of the challengers to his World Heavyweight Championship title at the upcoming pay per view. Naturally, Calder is able to come up from behind with a double ax handle, sending Smith down to the mat, where Calder is able to start laying boots to the back of the Youth King.
VA: What an incredibly smart move, Malone. NOTHING comes out here to scout his opponent, and find all of the weaknesses in Martin’s game plan for the match!
MM: You don’t think some of this also has to do with the fact that Martin is facing another pillar of HATE, and he’s out here to help Calder more?
VA: Possibly, but this is just the Path of the Warrior tournament. Martin has a much bigger task in Toronto in a few weeks when he faces not only NOTHING, but Buck Dresen AND Jester Smiles.
MM: But if either man can pull off the victory here tonight and make it past Katsuro in a few weeks, what good is it to win the match in Toronto?
VA: Because you can be World Champion, Malone! DUH!
MM: Yes, but with the Path of the Warrior tournament, you get a title match of your own choosing when you want it!
VA: Yeah, pass up a guarantee for something that may happen in the future. That’s why I’m the smart one of the group, Malone!
MM: Smart one?
Calder has continued to pick apart Robertson in the ring, using slow, methodical, precision strikes all across the body of Robertson, attempting to inflict as much pain as possible. But the most noticeable thing about Calder’s attacks is that they all have taken place directly in front of Martin’s opponent in a few weeks — and Calder’s fellow pillar of HATE — NOTHING, who simply smiles with each strike on the Youth King. Martin would make attempts to stem the tide that Calder had been building up the past few minutes, but a well-placed knee or fist would stop Martin in his tracks. The Youth King was able to get a quick breather when he caught Calder coming off the ropes with a slingblade. But as Martin attempted to string a few moves together, Calder shoved Robertson into the corner chest first, with the force causing Robertson to stumble out backwards…
MM: Robertson spins around… misses wildly with the right hand… lung blower by Calder!
VA: He caught Robertson flush in the small of the back with that double knee strike!
MM: Calder looks like he’s setting up For The Horsemen.
VA: He hits this, he’ll be facing Yoshida in the second round, who I already hate…
MM: Why do you hate Yoshida already?
VA: I dunno… make something up for me.
MM: Ugh… Martin begins to stir in the ring… and the Spider King stands poised, waiting to strike… Calder…
VA: What the hell is that, Malone?
(Just as Calder looks like he’s about to hit his finisher on Robertson, he straightens up, looking up towards the entrance ramp. The crowd clues in the Purveyor and the Spider King that, standing on the ramp now, both yelling down towards the ring, are Jester Smiles and the EWA Combat Champion, Buck Dresden…)
MM: It’s Dresden and Smiles!
VA: What are they doing here?!?
MM: Maybe they want to get a look at their opponents for the main event in Toront…. OR MAYBE NOT!
VA: This is chaos!
MM: Buck and Jester are heading after NOTHING! He’s in the ring now! And Jester’s following him!
VA: These guys are always causing trouble! I have no idea why these idiot fans of the EWA like this duo!
MM: Calder’s just watching all of this chaos… this is crazy! OH LOOK AT BUCK!
VA: He can’t do that!
MM: Buck outsmarted NOTHING, and he caught him back outside the ring! NOTHING looks for an escape, but Jester is right behind him! He’s trapped outside…
VA: Why isn’t Iley doing anything about this?
MM: Technically, they haven’t interfered in the match…
VA: What do you mean they haven’t interfered?
MM: Calder turns his attention back to Martin, though, who’s still down in the center of the ring. Calder…… Calder……
VA: Why isn’t he going for it?
MM: OH MY GOD! LOOK!
(Calder was making an attempt to hit For the Horsemen — for the second time — on Martin, but as he realizes his foot isn’t moving, he turns around, looking down towards the corner of the ringside area…)
VA: ALYSSA! SHE’S BACK!
MM: WHERE THE HELL DID SHE EVEN COME FROM?!?
VA: I have no clue, but she’s got a death grip on Calder’s right foot.
MM: Calder’s got his right foot free, but now he’s turning his attention towards the Queen Bitch! And he’s smiling!
VA: Run, Alyssa!
MM: That’s exactly what she’s doing! Getting as far away from Calder as she can, realizing that it might not have been the smartest thi…. MARTIN! FROM BEHIND…
VA: What a knee strike!
MM: He pinned Calder in the corner with that running knee. Calder stumbles backwards… ROLLUP…
VA: OH MY GOD!
NR: The winner of this match, and advancing on in the Path of the Warrior tournament… MARTIN… ROBERTSON!
MM: This… chaos…. And Martin won??
VA: Believe that, Malone! The Youth King is not only going to go on to Toronto and win the World Heavyweight Championship, he’s also going to win the Path of the Warrior tournament and win another title!
MM: As idiotic as it sounds coming out of your mouth, the possibility is there, Vince, that at the end of the Path of the Warrior tournament, Martin Robertson could be both the World Heavyweight Champion and the Combat Champion, AND the Path of the Warrior tournament winner!
VA: Complete and utter domination by the Youth King, Malone!
(As a winded Martin Robertson slumps in the corner of the ring, the Spider King has retreated to the entrance ramp, looking up at the Youth King in the ring, trying to figure out how he was outsmarted by the youngster. Meanwhile, Buck and Jester have chased NOTHING through the crowd and towards the backstage area. And at ringside, Yoshida and Oppenheimer stand up from their ringside chairs, looking up towards the Youth King, acknowledging the fact that Yoshida and Robertson will face off sometime soon in a continuation of the tournament. As the entrance ramp clears, Alyssa has gone over to the timekeepers area, taking the microphone from Nikki and sliding in to the ring to greet Robertson. He looks at the Queen Bitch, smiling wryly as he stands up and heads towards the center of the ring.)
(Breathing heavy, Martin bends over, placing his hands on his knees for a moment, microphone still in his right hand. Alyssa is standing behind him, her hand on his back, smiling before she begins clapping as he straightens back up. But before he can start talking…)
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
(Obviously a chant towards the actions of Alyssa from a few weeks ago when she filed the legal injunction to shutter EWA Operations. Martin, not going to stand for it, walks up behind Alyssa, placing his hands over her ears as she starts to scream out at the crowd. Martin swings around, now facing Alyssa, but still having his hands over her ears. He looks at her for a moment, mouthing something before she nods. He slowly removes his hands from her ears before spinning around…)
Martin Robertson: I TOLD YOU!
(More heavy breathing as the crowd roars into a raucous of jeers…)
Martin Robertson: I told… each and every one of you… I told you all, that I am the greatest in this business today, without a shadow of a doubt! Ever since that debacle by that incompetent ref at This Means War, take a look at the record books! Week… after week… after week.. It shows the same exact thing… winner, Martin Robertson. I’M A WINNER!
(Of course, this causes another round of chants from the crowd…)
“YOU’RE A LO-SER!”
“YOU’RE A LO-SER!”
“YOU’RE A LO-SER!”
(Martin paces around the ring, shaking his head towards the crowd…)
Martin Robertson: I am not a loser! I’M NOT A LOSER! I’M A WINNER! I beat Erin Gordon… I beat NOTHING… I beat Jester Smiles… and just now, I beat the great Indrid Calder!
MM: He did lose at the last Fight Night in the tag match, though…
VA: No, NOTHING lost that match. He got pinned, idiot.
Martin Robertson: … and come two weeks from now, I’ll be leaving Toronto as the greatest winner this company has ever seen, because I’ll be walking out of that stupid country with BOTH the Combat Championship AND the World Heavyweight Championship… all in one night!
(The crowd erupts into even more jeers…)
Martin Robertson: Don’t believe me? Ask the Queen herself!
(The crowd, if they haven’t been loud enough in their displeasure of Robertson so far, just amplify their dislike for Alyssa Marie Haven. Alyssa, who had been smiling while Martin had been talking, has changed her facial expressions considerably, looking at Martin as if he has three heads. He’s still smiling as he hands Alyssa the microphone, all while Alyssa is indicating to him that she doesn’t really want to talk on the mic. Martin’s expression now changes, as he moves the microphone a little closer to her, but she pushes it away. We see Martin mouth the words “Why don’t you want to talk?” towards Alyssa, who just looks sullen, shaking her head no.)
(The crowd continues to boo even more as he turns Alyssa away from the hard camera, placing his arm around her shoulders, pulling her in so he can talk to her a little more privately. We can’t figure out what they’re saying, but Robertson is a little more animated in his discussion towards Alyssa and she is back towards him. After a few seconds, we see Alyssa nod her head, and as the two separate, she finally takes the microphone from Martin. Martin turns back to the crowd and smiles as Alyssa stands there, holding the microphone, unsure of what to say. He continues to stand there, smiling, for a few more seconds, before realizing that Alyssa really doesn’t want to talk on the microphone. The crowd, which has been jeering the entire time, has switched over to chanting…)
(Martin starts to strut around the ring, trying to get them to quiet down, but it’s having absolutely no effect on the crowd. Alyssa’s sadness has seemed to grow into pure anger and contempt for the crowd now, and as she looks ready to speak on the mic…)
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
“SHUT HER DOWN!”
(The chants, growing louder and louder each time, continue to spark the anger inside of her. But the chants grow… and grow… and grow… and, finally, having had enough of the crowd, as Martin comes back to Alyssa to coax her into speaking, Alyssa throws the microphone back into Martin’s chest and begins to storm out of the ring and up the entrance ramp. Confused, Martin looks at Alyssa, then down at the microphone. He starts to bring the microphone up to his mouth, but seeing Alyssa distraught on the ramp, he throws the microphone towards the timekeeper before leaping out of the ring and comforting Alyssa…)
MM: I don’t think we’re going to get to hear Alyssa tonight!
VA: Can you blame her after all of the disrespect this crowd has showed her tonight?
MM: She did shut down the EWA a few weeks ago, Vince.
VA: She only did what she felt she had to do, Malone. This is completely uncalled for by the crowd, though!
MM: But… but did you see the expressions on her face? I’m not even sure she’s ready to be back in front of the crowd yet…
VA: Whether she is or not, she’s back now, Malone, and she did help Martin advance in the tournament, and that’s the most important thing right now!
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: MARTIN ROBERTSON (13:43)
(The scene fades into the back. Allison Haines is standing next to a locker room door.)
Allison Haines: I am back here at the dressing room of Jester Smiles. I’m hoping we can get a word with hi-
(The door flies open. Allison jumps back as Jester emerges, almost getting hit by the door. At first he is completely oblivious to the fact that there is a person nearby.)
Allison Haines: Woah! Watch it!
(Jester turns to Allison, looking a little stunned that someone was there. However, the scowl on his face doesn’t vanish.)
Jester Smiles: Oh…hey Allison. Sorry about that. Listen, I don’t really have time fo-
Allison Haines: -Jester, you’ve been quiet lately, only producing the occasional promotional video, and I thought your fans would like to know what is going on inside your head right now.
(Jester gives Allison an irritated look.)
Allison Haines: I mean…you have plenty of time…your match doesn’t start for a few more minutes and…
Jester Smiles: What’s going through my head is how fucked this whole federation is. I mean, I can’t get a fair match to save my life. Some bullshit ALWAYS goes down, and the higher ups just keep rewarding groups like HATE and guys like Robertson for fucking everything up. All I wanted…
(Jester holds up a single finger.)
Jester Smiles: Was ONE thing…ONE single thing, and that was to get a fair match with Buck Dresden. Then HATE comes along and pulls some shit that would have gotten them fired in any other professional sport. But not pro-wrestling. For some fucking reason, whether you are in SHOOT, NYSWF, or EWA, you can murder a human being in the middle of the ring, and not only will you not go to jail, not only will you not lose your job, but…but FUCK, you’ll probably get a push!
(Jester sighs, running his hands through his hair in frustration.)
Jester Smiles: So, no, I haven’t had much to say, because I don’t care much about talking. Right now, all I want to do is get in the ring with any member of HATE or Martin Robertson and beat them to a pulp. If EWA won’t fire them, I’ll force them into retirement. And I’m going to start with that overrated blonde tonight.
(Jester turns to the camera and gets right into it.)
Jester Smiles: All I wanted was a chance to cement my legacy in FAIR matches. I was never interested in wars. All I wanted was to fight with other top ranked fighters in legitimate competition.
I want you to remember that Calder, NOTHING, or even West when you drag your ass back in here. I want you to remember that Sahara.
YOU did this.
(Jester storms off, leaving Allison Haines confused. She looks at the camera, frustrated, and signals for them to cut the feed.)
MM: Folks, earlier this week, our own Terry Bull had the esteemed pleasure of sitting down with the members of HATE in a special interview session.
VA: And he survived?
MM: Right now we want to take you to this pre-recorded interview session, which I must say was incredibly enlightening.
(We fade in to a close-up of Terry Bull sitting in a chair slightly angled toward the camera. He holds in his hands a small stack of papers and is wearing his best suit which, if we’re being honest, is not a very good suit. The top of his tanned, bald head gleams under what look to be scorching lights shining oppressively on the intrepid reporter. He brings a hand up to his tie, jostling it back and forth, and takes a large gulp as he squints under the lights.)
Terry Bull: Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to a special sit-down interview with a group of individuals who have staked their claim on the EWA in the past several weeks. They have battled against bitter rivals and, though they may not have always come out victorious, they have nonetheless vanquished those foes. They have taken control of the top prizes in the EWA, including the EWA World Heavyweight Title and the EWA Tag Team Titles. In addition, two of these individuals are set to compete in Path of the Warrior II with a guaranteed shot at an EWA Title of their choosing going to the winner. Please welcome my guests at this time – the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOTHING, the EWA Tag Team Champions Indrid Calder and Sahara, and “The Titan” Cal Rayner.
(Terry turns to his left as the camera zooms out to reveal the four members of HATE seated together across from him. The lights shine much more softly on the Pillars who are decked out in their Sunday best. The EWA Tag Team Champions Indrid Calder and Sahara sit next to one another on a slightly raised platform, their Tag Team Titles resting in their laps. In front of them sit the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOTHING, in a deep navy suit jacket over a white shirt with olive chinos with the EWA World Heavyweight Title resting on his lap, and Cal Rayner who looks to be wearing a suit jacket torn from Frankenstein’s Monster himself with battered slacks to match. The behemoth grunts in the direction of Terry as he hears his name uttered.)
Terry Bull: Guys, I gotta tell ya – (he reaches into the breast pocket of his suit jacket to retrieve his pocket square, dabbing his forehead) – it’s hotter than the dickens under these lights! Can’t help but, uh… can’t help but notice it’s a much nicer tone over on that side. Think we could, y’know… ease up on ole Terry Bull a bit?
(Sahara scoffs and looks at Indrid, her face twisting into an annoyed grimace.)
Sahara: Where the hell is Allison? Guys? Why are we dealing with this troll? As if his Queen isn’t sitting right here in front of him? But whatever, that’s fine – address us all in the same way with this sexist, misogynistic language that’s tried to hold me down for so long. It’s reasons like this he’s treated the way he is, yanno, second fiddle of a superior journalist like Allison Haines?
(Calder utters not a word, but a devilish grin grows across his face. He reaches his left hand out to place it on the leg of Sahara, his fingers rhythmically tapping on her knee as she settles back into her seat.)
Indrid Calder: I suggest you simply get on with the questions, Mister Bull, lest you feel the wrath of The Crimson Queen of HATE under these bright lights.
(Terry clears his throat and adjusts himself in the chair, taken aback by the perceived threat from Indrid and Sahara, and looks down at the papers in his hands.)
Terry Bull: Well, moving on…! I ventured into the wild world of social media for this, soliciting questions from fans on Facebook and Twitter so the EWA Universe could learn a little more about all of you, as well as your plans for the future. Some of these questions were, uhm… quite salacious, to say the least, so I’ll do my best to present them in a respectable and professional manner.
The first question here comes from Mitchell from Boston. Mitchell asks, “Sahara, you have a contractual rematch for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship that you have yet to exercise. With that knowledge, exactly when will you be taking that match, given that the champion is your comrade in HATE, NOTHING?” Care to comment?
(Rolling her eyes, she pushes her platinum hair back over her ear.)
Sahara: Are you seriously trying to like, cause friction between us or something? There’s a reason HATE has stood the test of time, Terry, and it’s because we play chess, not checkers like the Youth, or anybody else. I already have a title, you see this?
(Sahara picks up her tag-title from her lap and holds it out toward Terry Bull.)
Sahara: It’s right here, and it’s the EWA World Tag-Team Championship. I have no … issues with Pru, just know that when the time is right, I won’t forget I got that coming…and neither will the EWA.
Terry Bull: Fair enough. I’ve got another question, this one from an “E.A.W.” in Vermont. They ask, “Where’s the Masochist at? I liked that guy when he wore that mask.”
Sahara: What the hell is an EAW in Vermont? This guy uses his initials like anyone knows who the hell he is…
NOTHING: I got this one.
(NOTHING shifts forward in his seat, his hand grasping the championship across his lap. He cocks his head to the side and allows a smirk to briefly cross his face before turning his head toward Terry.)
NOTHING: At some point in every individual’s life, Terry, there must come the time to move on. Whether that comes in the form of ending romantic relationships, changing jobs, or moving to a new city – every person is free to make those changes and should feel comfortable doing so as long as their decisions will not harm or otherwise cause irreparable damage to those around them. Recently, our beloved Masochist and one of the men I have grown closest to in my two decades in this sport invited me to engage in a conversation about his future. About his life. About his goals, his hopes, and his dreams.
William West expressed to me that he was grateful for the relationship we had cultivated over the years but, nonetheless, felt as though it was his time to walk away from the warm embrace of HATE. Now, Terry, no individual is kept in HATE as a prisoner. We are all free to come and go as we choose – there are no Gods and there are no Masters as far as we are concerned. It was not up to me to grant William his freedom from the House of HATE – it was only up to me to listen to the words of my friend.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I must inform you, and the EWA Universe, that William West no longer stands as a Pillar of HATE.
(Terry, taken aback, sits straight up in his chair and leans forward with wide eyes.)
Terry Bull: Forgive me if this comes out of turn, but… considering how we have seen HATE deal with detractors in the past, specifically Maggie McIntyre–(Sahara groans loudly over Terry’s voice, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms as he winces in his chair.)–past… members… of HATE. (He clears his throat.) Based on your history with detractors, one would assume that the future looks bleak for William West?
(NOTHING shakes his head and guffaws at Bull who leans back in his chair now with a look of befuddlement on his face.)
NOTHING: No harm will come to those who do not deserve it. We sank our teeth into The Banshee because she attempted to spread a poison through the Hive, Terry. She spread her lies in an attempt to destroy this House and did so for selfish, ridiculous reasons. Everything that has happened, and everything that still could happen, to her is deserved. William West came to me as a friend and laid his heart on the line for me. We talked, we reminisced, we drank… and at the end of it, we shook each others hands and went our separate ways. William West is not our enemy unless he makes himself our enemy.
(The Crimson Queen lets out a bit of a snort-like laugh.)
Sahara: Which in that case, there’s plenty of room in the Sahara wing of Boston General…maybe they can fit him in between Sinnocence and Michael Draven, and they can have a reunion of the has-beens.
Indrid Calder: West served us well. He was our brother in the vanguard for a great deal of time. He detaches himself from the hive not as a conniving betrayer, but as a truly honest man. THAT is the difference. We are not without compassion…when shown the proper respect.
Terry Bull: Our next one comes from… An Interested Party. They ask, “HATE has outlasted several other stables since its inception. Do you envision another rising to topple you or do you think you’ll always be the only game in town?”
Indrid Calder: HATE is in it for the long haul. There are simply no viable competitors. When a competitor rises, we squash them before they can even get legs under themselves. Smiles got brazen, so we drowned him in alcohol, and he hasn’t been right since. Michael and Maggie sought to finish us, so we used a noose and the element of surprise to harry them into retirement. Dresden still wants to fight the good fight, but Dresden is alone with nothing but a riverboat dog to stand with him…
(Indrid chuckles to himself.)
Indrid Calder: Harken, Mister Bull…I’ll present an example to you. The hive endures because there is no division WITHIN the hive. Division within the hive is the only thing that could best us. It shall never come to pass. Take for your example Prudence Collins…and Indrid Calder. We have stood as brothers from the very beginning. We have shown each other nothing but loyalty and support. A moment has never arisen to bring us into contention with one another.
(NOTHING and The Stranger share a glance, and Indrid continues.)
Indrid Calder: There has never been a split between us. Never even a ghost of a fracture between The Purveyor and The Stranger. Our visions have always been allied, you see? Our goals…the same. We are two of the founding Pillars of this new BREED of HATE…and conflict has yet to tear us apart…
(Terry Bull leans closer, seeming to seize on that.)
Terry Bull: But what happens if something DOES bring The Purveyor and The Stranger into conflict with each other? What happens if for a single moment…your visions are not allied, but torn in two different directions? This is an unpredictable business, Indrid…and it could happen…
(An uncomfortable silence infiltrates the room. Sahara shifts in her chair, and Rayner grunts and clears some mucus from his throat. NOTHING sits like a sentinel in his chair, and Calder’s gaze has become as black as midnight clouds passing through the sky. His next words fall from his mouth like razor blades, and Terry Bull knows not to press the issue…)
Indrid Calder: Tread carefully, Mister Bull. Move on…
(Bull does just that, shuffling his notes to find the next question.)
Terry Bull: Next up… and I can’t believe I have to ask this, but… I was given very clear instructions. This one comes from, uh–Not Sahara in Boston. The question reads, “Who did or does Calder like more, Sahara or Maggie — and who is better at everything she does?”
(Stifling a smile, Sahara rests back in her chair and raises her eyebrows, looking at The Stranger.)
Indrid Calder: A silly question. That is like choosing between loyalty and betrayal. I built Maggie up into The Banshee that she is today, and she turned her back on me and this entire hive. She’ll paint me as the monster each time she opens her mouth, but she is the one that walked away from her family. I loved her, Mister Bull…and she spat on that. Maggie McIntyre is my greatest disappointment, and her name falls dead from my lips. Sahara warms my bed each night, fights beside me with exquisite brutality, and proves herself over and over again. SHE is the prize. There is simply no comparison. The Crimson Queen…wins by a landslide.
(Calder offers that thin smile, and Sahara bats her eyelashes at him while whispering, “Ohhh youuuu!”, complete with a devilish smirk.)
Terry Bull: This next one is for the EWA World Heavyweight Champion and comes from Madge in Toledo. Madge asks, “NOTHING, two of the members of HATE are in the Path of the Warrior and if they win could ask for a shot at your title at any time. How do you keep the peace when you could have an enemy right next to you?”
(NOTHING moves in his seat, attempting to get comfortable while having grown increasingly annoyed with the quality of questions from some of the EWA faithful.)
NOTHING: This is the thing nobody seems to understand about HATE. It’s the reason we are still standing here while every other group has fallen to pieces and splattered on the floor over the past several years. We don’t do in-fighting. When there is a problem between Pillars, if one arises, we speak to one another and solve that problem. William West took that course of action and is now plotting his own path. The Banshee attempted to drive a wedge between us and she now finds herself married to a perpetual loser in some dump on the outskirts of Boston. If one of our Pillars wins the Path of the Warrior? Well, that just makes us more powerful. To have the gold we have, and then the opportunity to do whatever we want with a Path of the Warrior victory at our fingertips? Why would I be afraid? Why would any of us be afraid? We fight together, and we stand together. And as our Crimson Queen has so eloquently put it – if you don’t stand with HATE, you won’t stand long.
Sahara: Damn straight.
Terry Bull: Sahara, this next question is for you. From anonymous, “Sahara, there have been rampant rumors and speculation as to what occurred between you and a fan in Hawaii last year. Some rumors say you savagely beat a man and were arrested for assault, subsequently settling out of court to have the charges dropped, can you shed some light on these ru–”
(In the midst of the question, Sahara uncomfortably shifts in her chair and gets up, resting her EWA Tag-Title on the seat of the chair as she starts to hurriedly remove the mic attached to her shirt.)
Sahara: I’m–I’m not answering this, I’ve already said all I need to say–
(The anger in her voice was evident as she finally detaches the mic and fusses with untangling the wire. At this point NOTHING also stands along with Calder, sensing her obvious frustration.)
NOTHING: I think this interview is over, Terry.
JESTER SMILES VS SAHARA
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
Fog slowly rolls onto the stage as floor lights shine up, casting it in an eerie shade of crimson. Moments later, a lone spotlight drops down onto the center of the stage…
COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER
BEFORE WE BEGIN
LEMME TELL YA HOW I WANT IT
AND EXACTLY WHAT I NEED
NR: Introducing first, from Chicago, Illinois, representing HATE … The Princess of Pestilence — The Crimson Queen — Saharaaaa!
I’M HERE FOR ONE DRUG
I’M ONLY HERE FOR THING
MM: She has more made up names than anyone I’ve ever seen, Ashe.
VA: And every last one of them earned and deserved for such a fine creature…
CAN YOU FLY LIKE YOU’RE FREE
Stepping out onto the rampway with her platinum mane flowing over her shoulders and the EWA World Tag-Team Title draped over a shoulder, Sahara saunters toward the top of the rampway and pauses, gazing out across the crowd. Slowly lifting a mic to her lips with a smile, she pauses as the expected boos rain down as her music fades.
Sahara: I got it from here, Nikki! Everybody ready?!
She looks out at the crowd with an arrogant smirk.
Sahara: The following contest is scheduled for …
Holding the mic out toward the crowd, most don’t respond as they weren’t quite ready for the cue, which makes her roll her eyes in an exaggerated fashion.
Sahara: Alrighty people, let’s try this again. I said … THE FOLLOWING CONTEST HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR …
Sahara holds the mic out toward the crowd, only this time they respond…
Crowd: ONE FALL!
MM: I really wish they wouldn’t play along with her, it merely emboldens everything she does…
Sahara: Introducing first, at the perfect height, and the perfect weight, with the perfect hair–
She sweeps her hair over a shoulder for effect.
Sahara: Carrying the EWA World Tag-Team Title and representing the unstoppable faction of HATE … THE BEAUTIFUL … ME!
Continuing her way toward the ring, reveling in the boos the fans throw at her as well as ignoring a number of outstretched middle fingers, she makes her way up the ringside steps and slowly wipes her boots on the ring apron before stepping through the ropes. Once inside the ring, she stops and stares at Nikki Rogers.
Sahara: I already said I got this, Nikki, take a hike. Aww, don’t whine about it. You know I love ya, girl…
MM: I don’t believe she loves anyone more than she loves herself at this point. She just does whatever she wants. She recently changed another event at Fight Night, because she “didn’t feel like wrestling that night”, and now she’s doing ring introductions, undoubtedly to make fun of her opponents?
VA: Well, if the EWA is gonna let her get away with it, can you blame her?
Sahara: And my opponent, from somewhere not very important, weighing in at a weight nobody really cares about … representing nobody … with NO titles to his name … a has-been from a bygone era of–
The mere opening to sound of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ by Panic! at the Disco brings a roar from the crowd, which only gets louder when Jester comes sprinting down the rampway, not bothering with his usual entrance. Caught in a momentary state of panic, Sahara’s eyes grow wide as she glances to her left and then to her right as she hesitates to choose a route of escape! Wasting no time, Jester slides into the ring beneath the bottom rope as Sahara finally makes a decision and quickly steps through the ropes, but Jester is too quick, grabbing a handful of her platinum locks much to the crowds delight! She drops the mic she was holding and grimaces as Jester yanks her back against the ropes and brings down a clubbing forearm across her upper chest, nearly causing her to flip over the top rope into the ring. Her tag-title drops on the ring apron as she clutches her upper chest and Jester YANKS her over the ropes into the ring by her hair!
MM: Now THIS is how you handle HATE! Jester looks to be in a place well beyond pissed off, Ashe!
As Sahara grabs her disheveled hair in pain, Juan Cardillo quickly slides into the ring and starts the match as Jester rains down a number of vicious stomps on her back, ignoring the Crimson Queen’s cries for mercy. In the opening moments of the match, Jester Smiles is in full control!
VA: And he should be disqualified, she was in the middle of that stellar ring introduction and he just comes out and starts stomping her into the mat?! And the supposed impartial referee just starts the damn match like nothing happened?!
MM: I think everyone is beyond fed up with her antics, Ashe, and it’s about time someone brings it to her damn doorstep!
Continuing to stomp Sahara down onto the mat everytime she gets onto her hands and knees, she scrambles for the bottom rope, crawling toward an escape as Jester wisly ignores her cries begging him off.
MM: Don’t let up, Jester!
Allowing the action to continue, Jester doles out quite a bit of punishment before Sahara scrambles toward the ropes to tie herself up. Grabbing her by the ankles as she clutches the bottom rope, Jester YANKS her off the ropes, and she slams face first into the mat and grabs hold of her nose! The relentless attack continued for some time, with Jester flat out bringing the pain as Sahara did everything in her power to escape the ring, at one point successfully rolling out only to be chased around the outskirts of the ring, where she’d slip and fall, allowing her opponent to once again pounce on her, slamming her off the barricade wall.
Jester continues to take out his growing frustration with HATE on the Crimson Queen. Trying to ward off his assault, Sahara scrambles back into the ring, where Jester sticks to her like glue, once again stomping down on the blonde! She finally gets close enough and attaches herself to Juan Cardillo’s leg out of desperation!
MM: Look at the coward! She’s wrapped around his leg like a bitch in heat!
VA: That’s real nice language, Malone. Sahara’s smartly doing what she has to do to quell this vicious and uncalled for attack, which she clearly wasn’t ready for. I once again call for the disqualification of Jester Smiles!
Tied up against the ropes while hugging Juan Cardillo’s leg with one arm, Jester and Juan both try to dislodge the Crimson Queen who holds on for dear life. Caught up in the ruckus and sensing an opportunity, Sahara reaches down and grabs hold of her tag-title resting on the ring apron and waylays Jester Smiles, who falls back and collides with the referee, sending him sprawling!
MM: Damnit! She got Jester pretty flush with that shot!
VA: And Jester elbowed Juan Cardillo right in the face, taking him out of the match! Once again, I call for an official review of this debacle and for the DISQUALIFICATION if not the suspension of Jester Smiles!
Seeing Juan Cardillo down and out, Sahara spins around and waylays Jester with the title a second time, knocking him onto his back. She immediately drops down with all of her weight and slams the title off his head. Straddling him, she brings the belt down on his head a number of times, and doesn’t stop until she sees blood fly! The fans boo as she tosses the tag title out of the ring, nearly collapsing onto the mat from the pounding she received just moments ago. Still catching her breath, she grabs Jester by the head and bounces the back of his head off the mat a few times for good measure. Getting up, she manhandles Juan Cardillo, attempting to stir him back into consciousness!
MM: And I take it she shouldn’t get disqualified using her title as a foreign object? She musta hit him with that damn belt eight or nine times!
VA: I’m not sure we’re watching the same match, I don’t see a title belt in the ring. I think this match should commence as scheduled.
MM: You’re unbelievable.
Grabbing Juan Cardillo by the arm, Sahara drags him over by Jester Smiles and smacks him back into consciousness before she underhooks both legs and rolls way back, pinning his shoulders flush.
Juan crawls toward the pin, slowly lifting an arm.
The crowd boos as Cardillo inches closer, lifting his arm a second time…
Lifting his arm in a groggy state, Sahara reaches over and slams his hand down a third time.
The crowd boos as she rolls off Jester and Cardillo weakly signals for the bell. Sahara quickly slides herself out of the ring and retrieves her tag title, stumbling as she backpedals up the rampway where she clutches her title and wipes her lip, still grimacing from the beating she received at the hands of Jester Smiles.
Grabbing his head, Jester looks at the blood on his hands and slams a fist off the mat as he recognizes what went down amidst the confusion. An angry and very displeased looking Smiles says something to Juan Cardillo who is also finally getting to his feet. Looking up the rampway, he locks eyes with the tag-team champions and angrily motions toward them before he turns back toward Juan Cardillo. Mimicking a shot to the head, which Cardillo never saw, Jester points up the rampway furiously as the duo disappear to the back, much to the dismay of the audience.
MM: And she’s gonna get away with another one when Jester CLEARLY had her beat.
VA: A win’s a win, Malone. Besides, I just witnessed Sahara’s stunning victory.
MM: Yeah, and all it took was about ten shots to the noggin with the EWA World Tag-Team Championship. I know Stacy is busy backstage running things and can’t catch everything that happens out here, but I’m sure when she hears about what just went down she’s gonna have something to say about it. Fans, I’m not sure if any of you have ever gotten to hold one of those belts, but they’re not light.
VA: That’s for sure, they weigh upwards of seven to ten pounds.
MM: I’m not even going to acknowledge that three count. I honestly cannot wait to see these … these members of HATE get what’s coming to them. An absolute legend like Jester Smiles deserves better than this, and I hope he doesn’t just let this go. I’m sick and tired of Sahara, that … horrible, horrible excuse for a human being.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: SAHARA (12:55)
(The video hard opens on a small crowd.
Villagers are gathered in a town square. Dead center of the square is an old gallows.
And it is occupied.
A well dressed man stands off to the side, a look of contempt on his face.
Next to him a simply dressed man, wearing a black hood with eye holes cut out. His hand casually rests upon a wooden lever.
Finally, a man in filthy rags and a dark, burlap hood stands center of the gallows, a rough looking noose tied expertly around his neck.
The well dressed man takes a few steps towards the condemned, raising his arms in the air. The motion is simple, and yet the point is clear: attention, please. And all eyes are upon him.)
Well Dressed Man: The condemned stands before you, guilty of many terrible crimes.
(The look on his face becomes even uglier as he steals a glimpse of the soon to be dead man.)
Well Dressed Man: As an official selected by your governing body, the responsibility to send this man to hell falls upon my shoulders.
(The crowd begins to shout, though the words are a jumble of noise, too much so to be able to make anything out clearly. But their feelings are clear: let him hang.)
Well Dressed Man: Does the condemned have any final words before the sentence is passed?
(The man reaches forward and slowly pulls the burlap from the hanged man’s head.
His face is clean, but bearded. Scarred.
His jaw juts grotesquely out on the left side, as his grin widens as the sunlight rests upon it.
And then he speaks:)
William West: Hey, can we hurry this up? I’m having a lot of fun here, but I’ve gotta get to Toronto.
Well Dressed Man: Executioner, do it.
William West: Wait!
(The executioner hesitates. The crowd falls silent.)
Well Dressed Man: Yes?
William West: Can I have the hood back, please? I’d hate for the last thing I see here to be your ugly face.
Well Dressed Man: HANG HIM!
(The executioner pulls the lever.
The view cuts to underneath the gallows, where the door opens at the bottom, and the legs of the Masochist drop down.
But there is no struggle. No writhing. No gasping for breath.
There is only laughter. The scene cuts to black, but the laughter can be heard still. Words appear on the black screen.
THE MASOCHIST IS ON HIS WAY
As the words fade, we hear West begin to sing.)
William West: O, Canada…….
CAL RAYNER VS NIKKI CALDWELL
MM: We’re being joined on commentary by the lovely Sahara for the Caldwell versus Rayner match, which I’m sure will be called down the middle…
VA: Be nice, Malone! Welcome the Queen of Crimson!
Sahara: Glad to be back out here, Ashe. I told ya I was gonna get a front row seat to witness this destruction. Check it out, the EWA World Tag-Team Championship.
Placing the title on the announcers booth in front of her, Sahara adjusts her headset as she takes a seat next to Vincent Ashe.
MM: Based on size alone, Nikki is gonna have to use speed and intelli–
Sahara: Just shut yer mouth right there, Malone. I’m getting real sick and tired of this place getting on it’s knees and sucking off the likes of Nikki Caldwell and Buck Dresden…
VA: Preach on, sister!
MM: (Inaudible whisper/sounds of his headset adjusting.)
Sahara: What’d ya say, Malone?!
VA: He said you’d know all about getting on yer knees!
Without hesitation, Sahara lunges from her seat and grabs Mike Malone by the collar but security posted by Stacy Vandervort pounce on the blonde, pulling her back. Standing between the two, Vincent Ashe holds his hands out as if it seperate them as Mike Malone fixes his headset.
MM: Ashe dammit! I never said that!
VA: Jesus, it was just a joke…calm down.
Sahara: Keep laughing, idiot.
MM: I’m not laughing, Sahara! I never said that.
Sahara: Just … call the damn match before you end up joining Sinn at Boston General in the Sahara wing. And as for what you said, Nikki can use whatever she wants. Speed. Craftiness. Doesn’t matter. It’s just a matter of time before my monster gets his hands on her and it’s over when he does. Then I can finally move on to more important matters…like defending my EWA Tag-Team Championship.
MM: You aren’t taking Nikki Caldwell the least bit seriously after she ran through both Moe and Josh Kaine?
Sahara: Moe? Don’t make me laugh … he let her win. And as for Josh Kaine, I have no comment. I made promises I’d be nice.
VA: I think it’s pretty clear what went on, and the Crimson Queen has no reason to respect Nikki Caldwell. What’s she done here in the EWA? Fake win the tag-team titles that Sahara now owns?! Besides, she’s got a serious match to get ready for after this against Jester Smiles.
MM: Not quite how I’d put it but, let’s get to the ring for the introductions…
Sahara: Yeah, whatever, Malone.
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, representing HATE — standing at an astounding 7 feet, two inches, weighing in at 420 pounds — The Titan, Cal Rayyyynerrr!
As the hard rocking beat of Disturbed’s ‘Monster’ hits the speakers. The Title of HATE steps out onto the rampway and lumbers his way toward the ring, his sheer size wowing the capacity crowd.
Sahara: Look at him. What a beast! This is gonna be so amazing to watch…
MM: Very intimidating to say the least. I was shocked Nikki accepted your terms for this match.
Sahara: Of course she did, Malone. Nikki’s an idiot. How do ya think I got her to agree to sleep with me after months of her ranting about how much of a terrible person I am?!
VA: Speaking of which, Sahara, I have to ask, because my Twitter feed has been bombarded with this question all week and the Twitterverse wanted me to ask — have you ever, you know — with Rayner?
Having just taken a sip of water, she nearly chokes.
Sahara: Ugh, God no! Ya see? This is why I can’t stand these fans. That’s the kinda crap I put up with on a daily basis…
As Cal Rayner steps over the top rope into the ring, he motions out toward Sahara, who mostly dismisses the gesture and Nikki Rogers moves toward the center of the ring to introduce his opponent.
MM: To be fair, you did just paper an arena with illicit photos of yourself and Nikki Caldwell, and you bring up things like you just brought up, so forgive me, but you bring questions like that upon yourself.
Sahara: Listen, no offense to Cal Rayner, but I have much higher standards…
VA: Which means half the locker room meets or exceeds–
An audible crack is heard prompting Mike Malone to laugh as Vincent’s headset is slapped off his head by the irate blonde to his right.
Sahara: I like you Vincent, but watch your tongue tonight … because I’ll rip it off and feed it to ya if you keep it up.
VA: (Adjusting his headset). So I’ve heard! I’m just saying. Hey, I’m just here to call the match … take it away Nikki Rogers!
NR: And his opponent, from Los Angeles, California, in the final leg of the Crimson Gauntlet — Nikki Caldwell!
A scream followed immediately by machine-gun percussion of Skylar Grey’s ‘Wreak Havoc’ hits the speakers as gold pyro erupts from the stage as the fans rise to their feet in excitement. Nikki Caldwell walks onto the stage under a burst of green and red lights.
I CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR, THE ONLY REASON THAT I’M HERE
IS TO WREAK HAVOC
EVERYBODY PRAYIN’ THAT I’LL CHANGE, YEAH
MAYBE ONE DAY, BUT TOMORROW I’LL BE BACK AT IT
Her face is streaked with black warpaint, the large scale-armor of Sinnocence’s heirloom black-and-red Doom Jacket juts from her shoulders. She pauses at the top of the ramp with her feet braced and her arms slightly spread at her sides, eyes flickering over the crowd and then focusing intensely on the ring. Moments later, Mojave joins his Cerberus partner on the rampway.
Sahara: Moe is so predictable, how did I know he’d be coming out with her?
‘CAUSE BAD HABITS, THEY DIE HARD
WE LIVE FAST, WE DIE HARD
GO AGAINST ME, YOU’LL DIE HARD
Nikki runs down to the ring and three quarters of the way around it, and stops in front of the announcer’s booth. Saying something to Sahara, who stands up, prompting the crowd to pop as mere inches seperate the two. Meanwhile, Moe slowly makes his way to ringside as to not detract from Nikki’s entrance.
Backing away from the announcer’s booth, Nikki slides into the ring and rolls to her feet in one motion, her eyes still locked on the Crimson Queen. She steps up on the bottom and center ropes, raising one fist and yelling 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.
MM: Tell us how you really feel.
Sahara: I think we all know how I feel. Can’t stand her self-righteous crap when she spends every waking moment of her life around the likes of Sinn, that whore from the nightclub and her moronic brother, and then has the audacity to prance around like some sorta innocent schoolgirl. And it makes me sick my own brother is out here cheering her on. Nice family I got.
VA: Based on those photos alone, we know she ain’t innocent!
Sahara: You got that right.
MM: I say this at the risk of getting smacked, but don’t get me started on some of the things you’ve done to both Nikki and your brother, not to mention others, Sahara, so please, it’s no wonder he’s in her corner tonight.
VA: Bold of you to say with her sitting right here.
Sahara: He’s bold because they got security watching to make sure I don’t touch you two, and Moe’s a traitor, and I’m glad the world is getting to see what I already know. But that’s okay, he got a surprise of his own comin’.
Back in the ring, Aria Moretti holds up a hand to the towering Cal Rayner as he approaches center ring and she calls for the bell.
Attempting a lockup, the lumbering Rayner is easily evaded by the much quicker Nikki Caldwell who fires off a few lighting quick strikes that appear to do no damage to the giant of a man.
In the early goings of the match, Nikki Caldwell attempts to start chopping down her much larger opponent to no avail, getting tossed like a ragdoll from one corner to the other. Having to escape the action and slow things down before they got out of hand, Nikki Caldwell smartly escapes the ring and uses referee Aria Moretti’s ten count to her advantage, easily evading any attempted advances from Cal Rayner.
Sahara: Well, Nikki’s not as dumb as she looks.
MM: Sahara, let me ask you a question … do you honestly think Nikki Caldwell isn’t attractive?
Sahara: (Sighing.) Of course she is, otherwise I wouldn’t have been caught dead with her.
VA: Well, in fairness you were caught with Michael Draven…
Unable to help herself, Sahara laughs quite loudly.
Sahara: Touché, pussycat.
MM: Her strategy is sound, you have to admit it. She knows the longer this match goes, the more Rayner is gonna wear himself down trying to catch her.
Finishing a brief conversation with Moe on the outside, Nikki slides back into the ring as Aria Moretti reaches the count of 8 and she quickly dances around the advance of Cal Rayner, who looks exasperated that he’s unable to cut off the ring against his much speedier opponent.
Moe pounds his fist on the ring apron, yelling up toward Nikki as she quickly strikes at the knee of Rayner. Moe never even notices when a gray-shrouded wraith leaps the guard rail and ambushes him from behind. A hand like pallid iron grips him, smothering a rag up against Moe’s mouth and nose.
Moe begins to cough and struggle violently, and the figure just LEANS back, crushing the chloroform-soaked cloth deeper up against his nostrils. The hooded shroud falls back, and the grinning face of Indrid Calder appears.
MM: What in the HELL business does that fiend Calder have out here? He’s utilizing some ether-smelling substance on that rag and choking Moe out with it!
VA: I sense the spinning of an intricate web, Malone! Moe is just the latest fly to fall into it…and I can’t wait to see the spider feast!
Sahara: I don’t know what you two are seeing, he’s clearly giving Maurice the Heimlich maneuver! He must be choking on Nikki’s failure in the ring!
Clear laughter can be heard from Vincent Ashe while Mike Malone audibly sighs.
The Stranger looks absolutely POSSESSED as he continues to hold the struggling Moe into a state of unconsciousness.
Rayner finally grabs hold of Nikki, smashing her up against the turnbuckles, pummeling her with body splashes, and The Amazon doesn’t even notice Calder’s presence outside of the ring due to the Titan’s body blocking her view. Collapsing to her knees in the ring, the lights suddenly flicker out, and when illumination returns, both The Stranger and Moe are gone, nothing but a discarded rag lying on the floor to prove that they were ever there.
In the midst of the momentary confusion, Nikki powers through the pain and seizes the moment and jumps onto Rayners back, wrapping her arms around his throat!
MM: I don’t think Nikki is even aware of what happened to Moe, but she’s got Rayner in a bit of a modified sleeper here!
VA: It seems like Moe has been abducted, but what awaits the third head of Cerberus? I can’t wait to find out…
Sahara: He’s my brother, guys, calm it down … do I look concerned?! Throw her off yer damn back, Cal! What the hell!
Struggling to reach behind him and grab Nikki, Rayner ends up with a fistful of her hair, only Aria Moretti reaches up and grabs Rayners hand to make him release her! Beginning a hard five count, Rayner lets go of her hair and stumbles briefly before charging backwards and tries to ram Nikki into the turnbuckles!
NIKKI LIFTS HER LEGS UP AND RAYNER SMASHES HIS OWN BACK INTO THE BUCKLES!
MM: Great awareness there by Caldwell!
Hanging on for dear life, Nikki let’s out a scream that brings Sahara to her feet as the Titan falls to a knee near the corner.
Sahara: Jesus, get the fuck up, Cal! You useless fuck…ah, he’s playin’ possum with the bitch! He’s gonna strike any second now!
Letting out a roar, Cal Rayner rises to his feet as Nikki’s eyes bulge from his strength to stand up despite the lack of oxygen. The big mans face is an eerie shade of crimson as he chokes for air, reaching back, he slams into the turnbuckles, nearly CRUSHING Nikki Caldwell in the middle.
Sahara: There it is!
MM: But she hung on! Don’t let go of that hold, Nikki! Cinch it on!
Sahara: Jesus, what the fuck is happening…
The sound of her headset dropping on the announcers booth can be heard as the crowd boos as Sahara approaches the corner of the ring where Caldwell and Rayner are caught up in a struggle. Stepping forward and nearly stumbling, Cal Rayner rams backwards into the buckles, Nikki nearly losing her grip and slipping off. Aria Moretti instantly leans through the ropes and points at Sahara who backs away with both hands in the air!
MM: There ya go, Aria, take control!
Stumbling forward again, Nikki jumps back up and locks the modified sleeper on even tighter as Cal Rayner reaches back, once again grasping a handful of her hair, yanking on it in desperation, causing Nikki to scream in pain as Sahara keeps Moretti’s attention at ringside.
MM: He’s got her by the hair!
VA: Yeah but the ref isn’t seeing it, she’s too distracted by Sahara!
MM: OH MY GOD HE RIPPED SOME OF HER DAMN HAIR OUT!
With a handful of the Amazon’s hair in his hand, Nikki lets out a painful scream but REFUSES to let go as Cal Rayner drops to a knee! Seeing this unfold, the fans begin to cheer louder and louder! Slamming her palms against the ring apron, the first look of worry crosses the Crimson Queen’s face as she grabs handfuls of her own hair, watching on in disbelief … as Rayner falls to both knees!
MM: He’s fading, he’s fading fast!
VA: Tell me this isn’t happening…
Nearly collapsing to the mat with Rayner, Nikki continues to hang on to the giant of a man, refusing to give him a breath of air. Aria Moretti grabs Rayner’s hand, but he yanks it back and suddenly stands up, the crowd going crazy! Rayner wobbles but drops straight back CRUSHING Nikki Caldwell beneath his massive frame!
MM: SHE HUNG ON!!!
VA: But her shoulders are still down!
MM: He almost stole that one!
Recognizing the situation, Nikki twists her body and powers one of her shoulders off the mat but somehow keeps the sleeper locked on!
With the pinfall attempt broken up, narrowly avoiding the loss, Aria Moretti move to check on Rayner — AND SHE CALLS FOR THE BELL!
MM: HE’S OUT! Look at the look on Sahara’s face!!!
NR: The winner of this match by submission, Nikki Caldwell!
MM: Sahara can’t believe it! She looks like she’s seen a ghost!
Storming around the outside of the ring as Aria Moretti and Caldwell struggle to get the unconscious Rayner off of her, Sahara snatches up the rag Calder left ringside earlier in the match as a look crosses her face. Her head snaps back to the ring before she slides in beneath the bottom rope, silently stalking Nikki Caldwell from behind.
MM: What, what’s Sahara doing now?!
Just as Nikki gets to her feet, Sahara comes up behind her and stuffs the chloroform soaked rag up against her mouth and nose, grabbing Nikki around the throat, she falls to her back and wraps both legs around the struggling Caldwell, who flails wildly. Sahara can be heard yelling, “Take a nap, bitch!”, as Aria Moretti steps forward to intervene, but Sahara lashes out at her, kicking violently to keep her away. Despite putting up a struggle, Nikki soon succumbs to the fumes, losing consciousness in Sahara’s arms. For good measure, Sahara continues holding the rag there to make sure Nikki is out cold as the fans rain down thunderous boos on the EWA Tag Team Champion.
VA: She’s taking care of business, Malone!
MM: And conveniently enough, both Moe and Josh are nowhere to be found, thanks to HATE!
VA: What can I say, they’re brilliant tacticians! Nikki’s on her own!
Pulling the dead weight of Nikki Caldwell’s body toward one of the corners, Sahara scales the ropes and looks out to the crowd, breathing in deeply as if absorbing the sheer hatred emanating from the fans. Leaping from the top, Sahara CRUSHES Nikki with her Valkyrie’s Descent!
MM: My God! She coulda killed her, she’s completely unconscious!
VA: That was all of Sahara coming down on the dead weight of Caldwell’s midsection, she could have squished her intestines there, and I don’t think she even cares! Sahara’s tryin’ to punch Caldwell’s ticket into the Sahara wing of Boston General!
MM: There’s something seriously wrong with that woman.
Stomping down on Nikki for good measure, Sahara turns her attention toward Cal Rayner, giving him a shove with her foot against his back. As the Titan begins to stir, Sahara SLAPS him back into consciousness and once again shoves him with her boot, motioning for him to get to his feet. When he finally stands upright, Sahara motions down at Nikki Caldwell and holds her hand out, slowly turning a thumb down, which prompts more boos from the crowd.
Moving back to the unconscious body of Nikki Caldwell, Sahara lifts her, struggling to get her dead weight frame upright, she shoves her stomach first up against the turnbuckles, draping Nikki’s arms over the top ropes on either side of the buckles to keep her upright. Throughout this, the crowd continues booing, even a few pieces of trash hitting the ring. Motioning ringside for a mic, Sahara turns back toward Rayner as she holds Nikki up against the buckles.
Sahara: Crush the bitch, Cal. Avalanche!
MM: He’s gonna crush her for real, Vincent! She’s not ready for the move!
Charging full speed ahead, Rayner CRUSHES Nikki into the corner as a sinister sneer comes across Sahara’s face. Nikki flatbacks from the impact as Sahara motions for Rayner as the Amazon finally begins to stir. The painful wince on her face says it all as blood seeps from from Nikki’s head where Rayner earlier yanked out a fistful of her hair, and now the unseen damage from Sahara’s assault.
Sahara: Get her ass back up. She ain’t making it to Toronto–
“Legs” by Kid Rock suddenly hits the speakers and Stacy Vandervort’s voice is heard, stopping Sahara dead in her tracks, as she turns her attention toward the entryway.
Stacy Vandervort: If either of you lay one more finger on Nikki Caldwell, I’ll strip you of that tag-title and you’ll never sniff live television again! I swear to God, Lauren … listen to my voice, this isn’t a game.
As Stacy emerges onto the rampway, she motions some EMT’s to tend to Nikki Caldwell as Sahara stands frozen in the ring, staring up the rampway. Sahara holds a hand up to Rayner to stop him from doing anything, knowing full well how dead serious Stacy sounds.
MM: Sahara knows this is for real, you can tell by the tone in Vandervort’s voice!
VA: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her this upset…
Sahara lifts her mic but Stacy cuts her off–
Stacy Vandervort: Shut her mic down. Now! Shut it down!
Tapping the dead mic, Sahara simply drops it, glaring up the rampway at Stacy.
Stacy Vandervort: I’m done with your bullshit, Sahara. Done. I’m done with the cowardly attacks. I’m done with the excuses you always seem to have. I’m done with you moving matches around, smothering talent before they ever get a chance to shine. I’ve made every fucking excuse in the book for you because you bring in money, and those at the top of the chain happen to like you for that. But my hypocrisy only goes so far for this business. I’m. DONE. So you WILL fight Nikki Caldwell at Live from Toronto–
The fans pop for the official announcement, but Vandervort holds up a finger, signaling there’s more.
MM: The match is official, but I get the idea Stacy’s just getting started!
Stacy Vandervort: Hang on, I ain’t done. In Toronto, if HATE, or anyone you know or don’t know, I don’t even care anymore, but if ANYONE helps you in that match, you’ll never sniff another televised event ever again, you platinum blonde, crimson thundercunt BITCH!
A resounding ‘Ohhhhhhhhh’ echoes over the arena as Stacy continues on.
Stacy Vandervort: You got that, Sahara? And if you do anything to have Nikki turn up injured or mess up her healing process before that match takes place? I’ll make sure the only matches you get booked in for the rest of your miserable fucking career take place in the smallest bingo hall house shows that exist. I swear, I’ll use every favor I’ve got coming. Every contact I’ve ever made in this business. I don’t care, but mark my words, I’ll blackball your sniveling ass from the big time.
The fans cheer Stacy putting Sahara in her place but the EWA Executive holds up a hand.
Stacy Vandervort: Hang on, I’m still not finished yet. All of this? I’ll take it from you, Lauren. Because I know what it means to you. I’m sick and tired of you, of HATE, and everything you arrogant pricks do to this place like it’s your personal playground, and I personally can’t wait to see Nikki Caldwell shove it straight up your ass!
Handing her mic off to someone on the rampway, Stacy gives a few final orders to the production staff as the EMT’s ringside retrieve Nikki from the ring, waving smelling salts beneath her nose as they hold her upright. Back in the ring an annoyed looking Sahara motions for Rayner to retrieve her tag-title as she retrieves the chloroform soaked rag and stuffs it down the leg of her tights.
MM: What an announcement by Stacy Vandervort! She didn’t even threaten to fire her, she’s brilliant! She knows what this means to Sahara and she said any foul play from Sahara, HATE or anyone else from here until Live from Toronto and she’d derail her career!
VA: And you know nothing means more to her than this.
MM: So long as Nikki is cleared to go, that is. She took some major moves at the end there in that cowardly attack by the Crimson Queen, and to make matters worse, she was unconscious during the attack. Nikki’s holding her midsection like somethings wrong, they … the EMT’s have just sat her down ringside.
VA: She might be hurt bad!
As Sahara exits the ring with Rayner, she slings the EWA World Tag-Team Title over her shoulder and arrogantly smirks down at Nikki as she walks past her, relishing in the obvious pain Nikki is in.
MM: I’ve seen a lot of people come and go in this business, heroes, villians, you name it. I’m talking the best of the best and the worst of the worst! And I’m not sure anyone is as callous as that woman is right there. What makes it worse is every so often she shows us that flash of goodness, and I’m starting to think it’s all premeditated.
VA: We just witnessed Nikki Caldwell do the impossible, Malone, and she beat the Titan of HATE in the middle of that ring. On her own. Sahara may be cold and calculating, unforgiving and uncaring, but she’s gonna have her work cut out for her at Live from Toronto, that much I can say for sure.
MM: Hopefully Nikki is ready to go by then…
As Nikki is helped to her feet ringside, she winces in pain and leans on one of the EMT’s as they begin making their way toward the back. The cheers rise with every step the Amazon takes, as a chant spreads over the arena causing her to pause.
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
*CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP*
MM: Well, would you listen to this?!
Giving the Amazon the standing ovation she so deserves, Nikki slowly raises a fist despite the painful wince on her face, sending the fans into a frenzy! Lifting her head upright, despite showing a bit of a limp, Nikki nods and pats the EMT’s on the shoulders, allowing her to finish the walk up the rampway under her own power!
VA: She’s putting on the same brave face she had when she accepted that match against Rayner, but you can see the pain in her eyes, Malone.
YOUR WINNER BY SUBMISSION: NIKKI CALDWELL (9:44)
(The video hard opens on a small crowd.
Villagers are gathered in a town square. Dead center of the square is an old gallows.
And it is occupied.
A well dressed man stands off to the side, a look of contempt on his face.
Next to him a simply dressed man, wearing a black hood with eye holes cut out. His hand casually rests upon a wooden lever.
It’s just then that the tape begins to rewind. And then stops, paused on the shot of the villagers.)
Joe Lemon: There! Right there I am!
(The screen is unfocused, but you can barely make out one of the villagers clutching a lemon in each hand.)
Serpent Man: Yessss. I can ssssee you.
Joe Lemon: And you said you didn’t believe me!
Serpent Man: I never sssssaid that.
Joe Lemon: What do you think? Next I could be starring in a straight to DVD motion picture! Or maybe a Netflix original series!
Serpent Man: You were an exxxxtra.
Joe Lemon: I was just telling Phil the other day that there aren’t enough lemon related shows on Netflix. Five, six tops.
Serpent Man: There’ssss that many?
Joe Lemon: I know right? I mean, c’mon! I’d be a natural for an action role!
(Joe Lemon picks up a lemon that happens to be sitting nearby, because of course it is. He points it at an imaginary villain.)
Joe Lemon: Hold it right there, you fruit hating punk! You’ve got to three seconds before you become freshly squeezed!
Serpent Man: Joe.
Joe Lemon: One!
Serpent Man: Joe, ssssstop.
Joe Lemon: Two three!
Serpent Man: Don’t!
(Lemon throws the yellow citrus fruit, and we hear it smack into something off screen. There’s a sound of something ceramic breaking, and an exasperated cry. Lemon looks over at the damage, and his jaw drops.)
Joe Lemon: Oh, crud!
(The camera shows a broken ceramic mug on the floor. Shards of it lay in a puddle of brown liquid that probably was the mug’s contents.
As the camera pans upward, we see the owner of the cup, holding a lemon accusingly at its thrower.)
Stacy Vandervort: Wild guess. This is yours?
(Lemon nods slowly, still open mouthed.)
Stacy Vandervort: And for fun, you decided to just chuck it at me?
Joe Lemon: No, ma’am, not at you! I was aiming for the bad guys!
(Vandervort lets out an exasperated sigh, and notices the video paused on the screen.)
Stacy Vandervort: Alright. Since you decided that my coffee mug had to die, I’m putting the two of you in a match at a Live From Toronto. You’ll be facing off..
(Vandervort picks up the remote and fast forwards through the tape. She pauses it on the sickened grin of the Masochist, William West.)
Stacy Vandervort: Against him.
Serpent Man: I didn’t even do anything!
Joe Lemon: That’s not fair! Two on one? Hardly even odds.
Stacy Vandervort: Really? You’re gonna stick with that? Fine. If West finds a partner, he can bring them along. Now clean up this mess!
(Vandervort storms off, leaving the Lemonheads to contemplate their upcoming match, as we fade back to ringside.)
V & BRYTAIN MONTGOMERY VS THE ERINYES
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.
MM: This could make for an interesting match, Vince. There’s no love lost between Brytain Montgomery and V. Do you think they’ll be able to operate as a team?
VA: I think we’ll be lucky if they make it to the bell before they’re at each other’s throats.
NR: This contest is a tag team match scheduled for one fall!
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 crash of a guitar joining the heavy bass beat and Brytain Rollins slips out onto the stage. 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 with the kind of impassivity that speaks to boredom but her body language refutes that notion. 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.
NR: Introducing first, from Seattle, WA, weighing in at 125 lbs, BRYTAIN MONTGOMERY!
VA: Gotta admit, there’s a special kind of allure to that woman.
MM: You do realize there’s a probability she’d destroy you, right?
VA: I can live with that.
MM: You literally– never mind.
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
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 house lights go black as “Phantom Limb” starts to play, and a single spotlight lands on the stage.
NR: And her partner, from Soho, NY, weighing in at 245 lbs, accompanied by Lilah Hurst, V!
V steps onto the stage, Lilah in tow, and the pair stare down Brytain in the ring. Brytain has a wry smile on her face, looking back at them. V slowly walks toward the ring, never taking his eyes off of her.
VA: With what I’ve seen of these two, if they could put aside their differences they’d likely be unstoppable. They’d certainly have no trouble running over those crazy b– ladies in the Erinyes.
MM: But their differences are pretty significant, Vince. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.
VA: Let me have my fantasy, Malone. I just really… really hate the Erinyes.
Lilah sticks to the outside of the ring as V gets onto the apron, still never taking his eyes off Brytain. V gets through the ropes, and Aria Moretti isn’t even done checking him before Brytain starts to circle around him!
MM: She knows they’re partners in this match, right?!
VA: Called it!
Brytain attacks V, stunning him with a solid enziguiri to the temple! Moretti tries to stop her, but then V throws a right over her head!
“Heaven Knows” starts up, but the former tag champs save the theatrics, as Minxy and Lágrima charge toward the ring! Nikki Rogers doesn’t even have time to introduce them as they slide into the ring, with Minxy going after V, and Lágrima pushing Brytain into the ropes!
MM: It’s madness already!
VA: But madness that benefits the Erinyes! Not OK!
The two teams brawl across the ring, with the Erinyes keeping the upper hand, until a commotion at ringside catches Ashe’s attention.
VA: A fan just jumped the guardrail, Malone!
MM: Two fans– no! That’s–
VA: Holy crap, Malone!! Yes! KHARRION IS BACK!
Johann Dietrich and KC Rockefeller slide into the ring, the larger Dietrich grabbing Lágrima by the waist and tossing her overhead with a massive release German suplex that sends her flying! Minxy turns around, eating a Cold Barrel Zero from KC! Minxy and Lágrima roll out of the ring as the bell rings, Moretti throwing the match out entirely!
Dietrich grabs a beer out of his pocket, stepping over to V, who looks confused and a little put out. KC offers a hand to Brytain, who glares at him, ignoring the gesture. Dietrich offers the beer to V, the crowd cheering!
VA: Do it! Can you imagine, Malone?!
MM: Dietrich and V together?! That would– OH!
V lands a huge punch to Dietrich’s nose, and blood starts to pour! Dietrich smiles, immediately diving into a brawl!
Brytain sees the fight, and goes into a rage! She charges Dietrich, but Rockefeller gets to her first, dropping her with a corkscrew lariat! She springs back up, and the pair are trading blows as well!
MM: It’s absolute chaos, Vince!
VA: Kharrion has returned, Malone! Remember when they shaved Lágrima’s head? Good times!
MM: Don’t celebrate too hard, they’re getting back up!
The house lights go dark suddenly, and when they come back on, Santa Muerte stands in the center of the ring, the fighting swirling around her! Lágrima and Minxy slide into the ring, taking the opportunity to try for the upper hand again! Lágrima goes after KC and Brytain, while Santa Muerte and Minxy try to separate V and Dietrich! The bell rings several more times as security spills from the back, rushing toward the ring!
MM: I think it’s fair to call this one a no-contest, Vince!
VA: Yeah, Kharrion wins, no contest! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see them beat the crap out of those women!
MM: You have to realize how horrible you sound right now.
VA: You sound like my ex-wife.
THIS MATCH ENDS IN A NO-CONTEST (0:00)
(Mojave awakens groggy and nauseous, his limbs numb from lack of blood flow. He attempts to rise, but something sharp bites into his wrists and ankles, drawing a little moan from low in his throat. The moan never fully articulates though, because a black rubber ball-gag has been shoved deeply into his mouth and latched across the back of the skull. His cry of pain turns to little more than a muffled groan with frustrated spittle dripping down his chin…
Suddenly light FLOODS the gloom, the harsh fluorescents shining down on something that resembles a forgotten abattoir deep in the bowels of the Combat Zone. Moe squints against the brightness, and he sees Indrid Calder near a rusted wall of chainlink fencing. Calder’s back is to him, The Stranger adjusting the needle on an antique phonograph. Moe becomes aware that music has been playing ever since he awoke here, and he dimly registers the dismal sounds of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”…
Moe is able to bend his head downward, and he sees that he is tethered to a metal chair that has been bolted into the floor. There’s a drain right beneath his chair, and the sight of this frays Moe’s nerves even more.
He looks up, wild-eyed, and tries desperately to take in his surroundings. There are old barrels down here, dusty wooden crates, and bits of tattered pink insulation hanging down from the rafters. He sees very old blood stains on one section of the pitted concrete floor, the maroon markings in the vague shape of a man left to lie on the floor. Moe starts to tremble, shaking his head from side to side, and his head tilts back, eyes rolling upward to gaze at the chainlink fencing. There is a pair of handcuffs attached higher up, one wrist unlocked. They look like they’ve been there a long time.
But even more horrible to behold are the hunks of long brown hair twisted up into the fencing, almost like it was torn right from the victim’s scalp. It’s clear that this place hasn’t been cleaned in ages…)
Indrid Calder: Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly…and please don’t mind the bloodstains on the concrete. That plasma dripped out of Martin Robertson once upon a time, and blood is notoriously hard to scrub clean. It wasn’t one of The Youth King’s finest moments, but perhaps it will give you comfort to know that he lived. Ahem…after a long battle in a medically induced coma…he lived…
(Indrid looks over his shoulder, a thin smile blooming across his mouth. He’s unfurling a leather roll across a table that glistens and jingles with cutlery. Moe catches sight of serrated blades, thick cleavers, scalpels, and needles with hollow points.
Calder pauses to slip a tanned butcher’s apron over his neck, smoothing out the material across his immaculate gray suit with practiced hands. He notices Moe’s gaze lingering on the handcuffs and the strands of hair caught in the fence.)
Indrid Calder: 2016 seems so long ago now, but what a nostalgic thing to see those strands again. Those came from the scalp of the mastermind himself, Alexander Haven. We were a bit rough with him, and I think repeatedly smashing his head into that fencing led to a small amount of hair loss. That might have been after Rayner choked him…or before I sank my teeth into his shoulder and tasted the rawness of his fear…I can’t quite recall.
(Indrid sighs wistfully, and he takes his time affixing the plastic surgical gloves over his hands.)
Indrid Calder: This is a nexus of memories for me, Mister Mojave. I feel wholeheartedly myself in a place like this. The walls speak to me. The murk in that drain seems almost to sing. And the sweat on your skin…the piss in your full bladder…the sweet iron of your blood…all if it mingles together into an aroma that damn near makes me swoon.
(Calder walks over to a tripod with a handheld camera attached, and he clicks a button, bringing the feed to life.)
Indrid Calder: I intend to make some new memories with you down here tonight, Mister Mojave. And Little Joshua is encouraged to watch…
(Soft footsteps approach from the darkness, and Sahara swings herself into view, using a jutting boiler pipe from the floor almost like a stripper pole to twirl herself front and center.)
Indrid Calder: There you are, darling. Just in time for the show.
(Moe’s sister hops up onto the table, seating herself there with her legs crossed in anticipation. She smiles wickedly while licking her lips and staring her own brother down.)
Sahara: I wouldn’t miss this for the world…
(As “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent starts to play through the speakers, out through the curtain struts Coca-Cola Rua, as per usual with a huge grin on his face. As he passes some of the ladies in the crowd, he slows down and flexes his pectoral muscles which are almost completely in view, the straps on his custom singlet are almost just suspenders.)
(He continues his strut all the way around the ring, smiling at some of the ladies along the way, ignoring the guys who yell out at him, regardless of whether their message is fueled by positive or negative vibes. After getting a microphone, he hops up onto the ring apron and then ducks underneath the top rope. After his song fades under, he starts.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Heck of a song from a heck of a guy. Ted Nugent’s THE MAN!!
(There’s a mixed response from the crowd.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Why am I out here tonight? Not just to excite the ladies, oh no, Coca-Cola’s got a big announcement to make! It’s not going to take me long to make my impact here in EWA… I’m going to be in the main event coming up in Toronto!!
(A bit of confusion runs through the crowd.)
Coca-Cola Rua: All I need to make it official is for someone from the EWA power structure to come out here and make it legit official. I don’t need no paperwork, we’ll just let this video recording make it legally binding, so come on down!!!
(After quite a few moments, Stacy Vandervoort walks out from the back, a microphone in hand, looking quite confused.)
Stacy Vandervort: Uh, I don’t know who you think you are, but you can’t just walk out here and change up the World Championship match for Toronto just because you want to.
(After a chuckle, Rua responds while Stacy continues walking towards the ring.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Firstly, I’m the spokesperson for the greatest soft drink company in the world, globally, Coca-Cola… And secondly, who said anything about the World Championship?
Stacy Vandervort: My hearing is just fine, you said you want to be in the main event in Toronto, and I’m here to tell you that’s not going to happen!
(The annoyed look still on her face, Stacy enters the ring.)
Coca-Cola Rua: I’m not talking about THAT main event, I’m talking about the co-main event that you can have once you sign the match I’m proposing… because any match with Coca-Cola Rua in it is a main event! So how about we get down to making this thing happen and you can get credit for adding a Global Brand ICON to the show?!
(Stacy flashes a bit of a smirk, clearly “going with it” now.)
Stacy Vandervort: Alright, I’ll hear you out… who would your opponent be for this… “main event”?
Coca-Cola Rua: Well, because the World Wide Bushido Buntai – the greatest international wrestling conglomorate in the WORLD – made a big mistake in signing Melissa McCoy before they could take the time to finish negotiations with me and get my opinion on how bad she sucks in the ring, I’m going to do them the favor of showing them on the grand stage in the nation’s capital of our neighbor to the North!
Stacy Vandervort: First of all, I’m pretty sure their capital is Ottawa… Secondly, I’m not sure what makes you think that either you OR McCoy, Developmental Center Trainees, are going to get a coveted spot on a pay per view.
(Rua almost laughs.)
Coca-Cola Rua: You realize how big the Coca-Cola brand is, right?
Stacy Vandervort: And…?
Coca-Cola Rua: Do you even DRINK soda? Because it seems like maybe you don’t. I mean, you realize that Coca-Cola is the company that makes Diet Coke, right?!
Stacy Vandervort: Listen! The answer’s NO, you’re not getting a spot on the Toronto show!
(There’s a smattering of booing, but Rua ignores it.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Then how about right here… right now?!
Stacy Vandervort: I mean… is Melissa McCoy even here tonight? I think that’s maybe an important thing in all of this… McCoy! If you’re back there, get on out here so we can get this guy out of the ring!
(After a moment’s delay, Melissa McCoy walks out from the back, no theme music accompanying her. She’s dressed in what looks like a wet-suit, black spandex covering the upper half of her arms, the upper half of her legs, and everything in between. On the hip is the World Wide Bushido Buntai logo. Her hair is tightly braided against her head, she walks to the ring with a determined look on her face.)
Coca-Cola Rua: Looks like she agrees.. Can we get this match or what?!
Stacy Vandervort: You know what? Whatever… get a referee out here…
(Stacy rolls her eyes and exits the ring just as McCoy is entering it. When she gets to the arena floor, she motions towards the back. When the camera switches back to the inside of the ring, we see Coca-Cola Rua RUSH IN and COMPLETELY blindside McCoy with a clothesline that almost amounts to a full body attack.)
(The fans start booing a bit, but Rua is completely unphased. He stomps down on her shoulder, then easily picks her up off the mat and swiftly executes a German Release Suplex, which results in Melissa folded in half, her weight resting on her shoulders and her knees almost touching her chin. She starts to stir, but Rua lifts her up again, and again he throws her across the ring with a huge German Release Suplex, this time she lands at the feet of a referee, who just got to the ring.)
(At this point, the fans are booing rather loudly, and Rua looks completely proud of himself. He walks over to McCoy and puts his foot on top of her. The referee unsure what to do, he looks at Stacy Vandervort who is standing halfway up the ramp, and she just shrugs her shoulders and points towards the ring attendant. The opening bell rings, and the confused referee looks at Rua, then drops to the mat.)
(He calls for the bell, and the booing’s intensity increases, but Coca-Cola Rua looks proud of himself. Raising his own hands into the air, he completely dismisses the referee as he struts over and exits the ring, then proudly walks back up the ramp.)
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL: COCA-COLA RULA (0:06)
(The camera cuts backstage to one of the general locker room areas. Sitting on one side of the locker room are a few of the EWA staff from the Performance Center, hanging out and dining on the provided catering. In the middle of the room are a couple of the EWA referees, conversing with each other about some topic that’s making each man laugh.
But in the far corner, back near the bathrooms and the showers is someone that hasn’t been seen in quite some time: Alyssa Marie Haven. Dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a black leather jacket, she’s sitting on a chair, away from everyone else, looking blankly out towards the rest of the room. The emotion on her face shows joy and happiness… but the tapping of her feet and hands convey a completely different set of emotions. Anxiousness. Nervousness.
Alyssa pops out of the chair a few seconds later as, emerging from the back bathroom area is Martin. Changed out of his wrestling gear, dressed in a pair of jeans and a black “Youth King” t-shirt, Martin runs the white towel through his hair a couple of more times before tossing it out into the room, towards the young staffers on the other side of the room. Alyssa walks up to Martin and tightly wraps her arms around him as he gives her a hug back, kissing her on top of the head. She releases for a moment to look up at Martin, kissing him on the lips before returning back to her hug…)
Alyssa Marie Haven: I’ve missed you.
Martin Robertson: I missed you, too. I didn’t think I’d see you tonight.
Alyssa lets go of the hug as Martin takes a seat on the chair Alyssa was sitting in earlier. She sits on his lap, resting her head on his shoulders.
Alyssa Marie Haven: I wasn’t sure if I was going to come.
Martin Robertson: I’m glad you did. How are you doing?
Alyssa Marie Haven: Better. I think I managed to get everything figured out.
Martin Robertson: I hope so. I’m ready to get focused on moving past all of this, regardless of what happens outside of here.
Alyssa Marie Haven: Me…
???: Is there a… Alyssa… Marie Haven… in here?
Alyssa Marie Haven: … too…
(In the doorway on the far side of the room, a delivery person is standing there, holding onto a hand cart with a large box resting on it. Martin looks at Alyssa for a moment with a puzzled look on her face. Alyssa, clueless as to what’s going on, simply shakes her head towards Martin. Martin picks Alyssa up off his lap before standing up, walking over towards the delivery person…)
Martin Robertson: I can sign for Alyssa.
Delivery Guy: Sorry, sir, but I have specific instructions that only Alyssa can sign for the package.
(Martin looks back towards Alyssa, who extends her arms and hands out as she walks towards Martin and the delivery person.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: How would anyone know I was here to deliver a package to?
(Martin shrugs as Alyssa walks up to the delivery person, taking the clipboard out of his hands and signing on the line next to her name. She hands the clipboard back as he carefully slides the box off the hand truck and leaves just as quickly as he arrived.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: This is freaky, Marty. That’s huge…
Martin Robertson: Not the first time I’ve heard you say that.
(Martin smirks as Alyssa slaps him on the arm…)
Alyssa Marie Haven: Not funny! What should I do?
Martin Robertson: Well, open the box.
(Alyssa, biting on her bottom lip and her fingernails, taps Martin.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: You open it.
Staffer: What’s in the box, Alyssa?
Alyssa Marie Haven: SHUT YOUR FAT FUCKING FACE!
Martin Robertson: Hey Joey, take that towel I gave you and smother yourself with it.
(Martin looks at the box for a moment before finding a piece of loose tape on the box and pulls it off the seam of the cardboard, allowing him to open the box. He looks down inside the box as Alyssa nervously looks on in the background.)
Alyssa Marie Haven: What is it?
(Martin pulls the item out of the box.)
Martin Robertson: Flowers?
Alyssa Marie Haven: Flowers? Who the fuck sent me flowers? Especially when nobody knew I was going to be here tonight, myself included?
Martin Robertson: I dunno, but this is a huge set of flowers. Oh, here’s a note…
Alyssa Marie Haven: Gimme that.
(Alyssa snatches the note out of Martin’s hands before he can even look at it. She rips open the envelope to read the card inside it. Martin watches her intently as suddenly, Alyssa’s jaw drops to the floor.)
Martin Robertson: What is it?
(Alyssa hands Martin the card as she walks back over to the chair, sitting down, placing her elbows on her legs and her head inside her hands.)
Martin Robertson: My Dearest Alyssa… You win. I’ll play your game. See you soon. Signed… no way! Alyssa…
(Martin looks over at Alyssa, who is back to an almost emotionless state.)
Martin Robertson: Alyssa… this is great… Right?
Alyssa Marie Haven: I… I don’t know what to say. I mean… for six months… but… why… .why now?
Martin Robertson: Who knows. Maybe he’s run out of money. Maybe he just wants it to finally be over, too. I don’t know. But the fact that he’s finally come around… that has to be good, right?
Alyssa Marie Haven: Yes… No…. I don’t know. Do you mind going and grabbing my water bottle for me? I… I just need a moment here.
Martin Robertson: Yeah, sure.
(Alyssa, holding the note in her hands, is focused on those last few words of the note… “See you soon. Alex.” She looks as the gigantic vase of flowers standing in front of her as she watches Martin step out of the locker room.
On the outside of the hallway, Martin steps through the door, taking a step to the right before leaning against the wall, taking a deep breath and thinking about the news they just found out about Alex. Initially, he thought this was nothing but great news. But seeing and hearing the trepidation in Alyssa’s voice, now he was having second thoughts about it as well. He takes a second deep breath, letting the stress of everything slide off of him.
When he opens his eyes, he sees the youngest member of Cerberus come rushing towards him.)
(Josh Kaine stops just a few feet from Martin. They’ve both seen Calder take Mojave from the ringside during Nikki Caldwell’s match with Cal Rayner. They both heard the horrific words of where Calder said he had taken Moe. The same place they took Martin and Alexander Haven two years ago. Seeing Josh standing there made him forget about the news from Alyssa.)
Josh Kaine: Martin…look, you gotta tell me where that room is. Please, he’s gonna hurt Moe.
(Martin just scoffs, standing up from the wall, bringing his arms to cross over his chest.)
Martin Robertson: That’s my problem, how?
(The teenager snarls, shoving the older Warrior back to the wall. Martin takes it in his stride, remaining calm and regaining his footing from the shove. He’s got the height and weight advantage and Josh doesn’t make another move towards him.)
Josh Kaine: Just fuckin’ tell me where it is! Calder’s got him. He’s gonna hurt him just like he hurt you.
(Martin just shakes his head.)
Martin Robertson: Not. My. Problem.
Josh Kaine: What the fuck is your problem? You know exactly what Moe is going through right now, and you’re just going to let Calder do the same thing over again? I’m not asking you to show me where it is… just tell me.
(Martin leans in to Josh.)
Martin Robertson: I don’t have time to bring back old problems, Joshie. I’ve done my dance with the devil, and I won. Because that’s what I do, I win. And based on what’s happened so far tonight with your boyfriend, I don’t think he’s winning right now. So run along and good luck finding him, before there’s nothing left to find.
(Martin straightens up, no longer hovering over Josh. Josh shakes his head, yelling his frustration before shoving past the son of Grady Smith, desperate to find his lover before it’s too late. The transgression would not be forgotten, that was for sure. Martin just shrugs his shoulders, continuing on his way with a little smile, as we fade back to ringside.)
LOU VS BUCK DRESDEN
EWA COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
(We cut to the back, where we see the EWA Combat Champion, the Bluegrass Bad Ass, the People’s Bad Ass, BUCK DRESDEN. Buck is pacing in the locker room, the EWA Combat Championship on his shoulder. He is wearing his BUCK SHOT t-shirt and an old BAB baseball cap, tilted slightly sideways. It is obvious he isn’t dressed for battle yet, although when it comes to Buck he’s kinda always dressed for battle. He stops and turns to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Y’all got a microphone with y’all?
(There is some rummaging and finally a hand appears, extending a microphone to Buck. He stands still for a moment, composes himself, and looks to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Y’all hear me out there?
(The crowd responds with thunderous applause and raucous cheering. It’s enough to put a smile on Buck’s face.)
Buck Dresden: Later on tonight y’all are gonna get to see NOTHING defend his title against Josh Kaine an’…
Buck Dresden: Naw, I can’t do this here.
(Buck starts marching out of the locker room as the camera follows him. He storms past several Warriors in the hall way as the fans get louder and louder.)
Buck Dresden: As per usual, HATE’s all over this show. But I’mma let the dipshits up top suckle that damn teat fer only so long. Here’s what y’all need to know, y’all.
(Buck steps up to the curtain. He turns to the camera and smirks.)
Buck Dresden: Watch this.
(“Man of Constant Sorrow” kicks in and Buck opens the curtain, revealing himself to the audience. They rip into cheers as the camera pans around him from the back to the front. He stands there, microphone in hand, arms outstretched.)
Buck Dresden: BOOOOOOOOOOSTOOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!
(“Man of Constant Sorrow” dies down as the fans respond, cheering Buck heavily. He marches to the ring.)
Buck Dresden: I do not, I repeat, I do NOT…fuck around when it comes to my title, my company, an’ my PEOPLE.
(The fans cheer as Buck leans against a kid, putting the EWA Combat Championship on the kid’s shoulder, taking the kid’s phone and taking a selfie. He takes the Combat Championship back and slides it back onto his shoulder.)
Buck Dresden: I’m gon’ take on Lou in a few minutes, but there are some things on my mind that I gotta talk about. Y’all cool with that?
(The fans cheer once again as Buck walks up the ring steps and into the ring. He walks over to Danny Smith, the referee, and hands him the Combat Championship.)
Buck Dresden: Lou, listen…I know yer back there an’ I know yer comin’ out here in a few, but I want you to hear what I have to say. An’ I mean this with about as much respect as I can muster. Talent like you don’t need to be sittin’ on yer ass at the end of the bench waitin’ to get put in the game. An’ in a little bit, when you get yer ass out here, d’you know what’s gonna happen?
(Buck shakes his head, his frustration starting to clearly show.)
Buck Dresden: I’m about to beat yer ass, defend that title, an’ be on my way. An’ you know why I’m doin’ that? Because those sorry sons o’ bitches in the back offices don’t want people like you’n me fightin’ their loudmouth, run-of-the-mill, flavor-of-the-year HATE.
(The boos rain down. Buck chuckles as he rolls his eyes, leaning against the top rope, staring at the camera.)
Buck Dresden: I’m about to beat yer ass, defend my title, an’ the fact of the matter is…HATE’s still in hidin’. Indrid Calder an’ Sahara done ran to the tag division, Cal Rayner’s off tryna bully Nikki Caldwell, an’ NOTHING? Hell, at least that stupid sumbitch has a date with the Buck Shot come Toronto.
(The fans cheer yet again as Buck flexes his arm, prepping the Buck Shot. This is also the first time we see the underside of the Buck Shot sleeve, where there is a crosshairs printed on the bicep. Buck grins as he looks at his bicep and then back to the camera.)
Buck Dresden: Y’all can bully, y’all can intimidate, y’all can choke up all the TV time ya want, but as people roll their eyes at ya…just know you ain’t gonna be able to run things forever. Naw, see, the time’ll come an’ it’s comin’ up real soon when yer esteemed World champ pillar loses his smile once an’ fer all. The time’ll come when the Spider done used up all his webbin’ all over Sahara’s purty face an’ throws her out. The time’ll come ol’ Cal’s gonna…do…somethin’. Truthfully, I don’t know or give a damn about Cal Rayner besides him bein’ a big, dumb, sumbitch what looks like he raided a Scarecrow’s closet.
(Some of the fans in the audience laugh as Buck continues.)
Buck Dresden: You pick on what you think are the weaker options here. Jester’s got his demons, so you dig into those. Nikki…even Mike an’ Maggie. You aim at people ya think you can intimidate, scare, or run off. Nikki Caldwell don’t run. Jester Smiles don’t run. An’ Buck Dresden fer damn sure don’t run. Lou, get out here so we can put on a show.
Buck hands the microphone to Nikki Rogers as all of a sudden, “After Midnight” kicks in.
OH, 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. Lou steps out onto the entrance stage, and she can’t help but smirk as she stares at Buck in the ring. The camera shifts back to Buck, who is smirking right back at her.
MM: Strong words from Buck Dresden tonight and now Lou is on her way to the ring to possibly pick up the Combat title right after losing the Network title!
VA: Say what you will Malone, and believe me I have a lot to say, but Lou and Buck are looking at each other like we might get to see a live sex celebration instead of a title defense!
MM: That’s…I don’t think they’re looking at one another like that at all, Vince.
VA: Bullshit. I know the signs. I know body language.
MM: That why you go home to an empty house on a regular basis?
VA: …too mean, Malone. Too mean.
Lou slaps hands with a few fans before she finally slides into the ring, raising her hands in a diamond shape. She sways her hips as she walks sashays over to her corner, knowing full well that Buck is staring at her ample…talent.
NR: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and is for the COMBAT CHAMPIONSHIP!
“After Midnight” dies down.
NR: Introducing first, the challenger. She hails from Forest Park, Alabama…she is the Deathmatch Debutante…LOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!
Lou throws her hands up in her diamond formation, nodding to the fans and then looking back to Buck before going back to her corner.
NR: And her opponent. He hails from the Great American South…he is the COMBAT CHAMPION…the BLUEGRASS BAD ASS…BUCK…DRESDEEEEEEN!
Buck nods his head, throwing his baseball cap into the audience and then removing his shirt, throwing that to the audience as well. He flexes his Buck Shot arm and smirks as he looks to Lou. Danny Smith calls for the bell and the match is on!
MM: Combat Championship on the line as Buck Dresden is defending against former Network and Tag Champion Lou!
VA: Buck’s defended against some serious contenders and he’s beaten some legit Warriors, but Lou’s got some serious credentials. I have to think that Buck’s up against the toughest competition he’s had since he got his ass dumped over the top rope by the Kings!
Lou extends her hand to Buck, who takes it and bows his head as he does so. They unclasp their hands and lock up, Buck quickly whipping her to the ropes and Lou quick to take control with her breakneck speed, catching Buck with a flying knee to the chest, causing Dixie’s Favorite Son to collapse, losing his breath. Lou has a grin on her face, and she is ready to be fully in control of the situation. Buck is on his hands and knees and Lou quickly rolls Buck for a pinning attempt, which Buck easily gets out of.
MM: Lou wants to keep her control of this match because the moment the brawler Buck Dresden gets his hands on her, I can only imagine how fast the tide will turn!
And turn it does, when Lou rushes for a flying crossbody, but Buck catches her, hits her with a backbreaker, then a second backbreaker, then slams her down to the mat with a powerslam. He picks her back up and hits her with a fall away slam, taking control of the match. Buck slows down the pace quickly, slamming her down to the mat and the turnbuckles repeatedly. Buck pulls her up after a series of power attacks and it is obvious Lou is slowly deteriorating from the sheer strength of the Bluegrass Bad Ass.
Lou, however, launches one last attempt to fight back, rally with hard kicks and punches to Buck sending him to the corner. She rallies the fans to her side and she hits him with a running dropkick, putting Buck on his backside in the corner. She realizes this is the time for her to hit the Bronco Buster, and she charges the Combat Champion, only for Buck to power himself to his feet and swiftly destroys Lou with a modified Buck Shot that spins the Deathmatch Debutante in the air, crash landing her on her shoulder and upper back. Buck rolls her over and hooks her far leg for the pinfall.
NR: Here is your winner and STILL Combat Champion…BUCK…DRESDEEEEEEEEEEN!!!!!
(Before Nikki can say anything else, Buck motions to her to hand him the microphone. Buck sits back on his knees, holding the microphone to his lips.)
Buck Dresden: AND…STILL.
(The fans pop.)
Buck Dresden: Fer like 3 months this Combat division has belonged to all of us. I’ve defended this title more times’n pretty much everybody what held this belt in its entire existence. I walk into Toronto with this here belt an’…
(He looks down at the Combat Championship.)
Buck Dresden: …an’ I’m walkin’ outta Toronto with this here belt.
Buck Dresden: An’ maybe this here Combat title deserves a friend. Another belt to keep it company.
(He rolls to the outside of the ring, holding the Combat Championship high above his head.)
Buck Dresden: This is our Combat Division, EWA Faithful. This is our title, this is our division, by God…this is OUR TIME.
(The fans cheer as Buck continues his walk up the entrance ramp.)
Buck Dresden: Ain’t no goddamn body gonna stop what’s comin’, y’all. Toronto, here comes Dixie’s Favorite Son, the People’s Bad Ass, the Combat Champion, AND…NEEEEEEEEEEEEEW…
(He nods his head as he holds the Combat Championship above his head one final time before he disappears into the locker room area.)
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA COMBAT CHAMPION: BUCK DRESDEN (13:01)
(Indrid picks up a custom-made chainmail glove, and he slides his right hand inside, flexing the fingers for just a moment to make sure it’s a perfect fit. He turns to the camera with a goading twinkle in his eye.)
Indrid Calder: I debated about which one to take, Joshua. Nikki or Moe? What it all comes down to…is who you love more. There’s a certain glimmer in your eyes when you look at Mojave. It’s like I can see how strongly your heart beats for him. This is a person who means EVERYTHING to you. So in essence, the way you look at Moe…made my choice for me.
(The Stranger walks in a slowly circle around Moe, the Cerberus warrior struggling hard against the ropes and barbwire that binds his wrists and ankles.)
Indrid Calder: You showed me something last week. You can hold your own. That’s a positive trait. But a true canine…must be able to kill for those he is loyal to. He must let the blood stain his incisors and think nothing of it. Do you have that in you, Joshua? Can you ever really become the hellish hound that Rayner thinks you can be? Let’s find out together.
(Indrid rears back and CRUSHES a chainmail-covered hook punch into the side of Mojave’s jaw. The impact is BRUTAL, Moe’s teeth mashing up against his lips and a gusher of blood spraying awkwardly from the side of his mouth. One side of his jaw seems entirely numb, plasma flowing out of it in a small river.
For the first time, Sahara’s mask of indifference seems to falter. There is the briefest flash of Lauren in her eyes, and the concern for her brother shines through the cruel mask of Sahara.
Calder takes up Moe by the hair, his chainmail fingers digging in deep and bringing his bleeding face front and center in front of the camera lens.)
Indrid Calder: He’s hurting so badly, Little Joshua. All the love that he feels for you…is leaking out of him. It’s pooling on the floor and swirling down the drain. Will you lap it up like a castrated PUPPY when he’s gone…or will you summon something in yourself…will you SAVE HIM? Because no one else can…
(Calder stalks to the side of the room and retrieves a small jar, and he goes back to the barely conscious Moe. He forces the young man’s hands open, and he places some kind of wriggling critter into each of his palms before bending the fingers closed into loose fists.)
Indrid Calder: Atrax robustus, Mister Mojave. Also commonly known as the Sydney funnel-web spider. They are the most venomous spiders in the known world, and you now hold one in each fist. Don’t close the fingers too tightly or one of them is sure to protract the fangs and indulge in a nibble. Don’t drop them either, or a bite is sure to come. If they bite, your hands will plump up like black sausages. They’ll swell and they’ll ooze, and you’ll smell the stink of pus and rot. There’s a good chance the surgeons will be forced to amputate…
(This seems to wake Moe up, and he literally MEWLS with terror from behind his ball-gag, his feet beginning to pound out hysterical stomps against the floor.
Sahara has risen to her feet, and she takes a wary step forward, almost as if she’s seeing Indrid Calder in an entirely new light. He has been her salvation, but in this moment, she sees the abhorrent truth of the monster that she shares a bed with. She sees in The Stranger … pure evil at its most debased.
Calder turns back to his tools, and he chooses a thin boning knife from his roll, the blade glinting in the unflattering light. He kneels before Mojave and takes up a bottle of rubbing alcohol, splashing it along a length of the man’s thigh. He lightly drags the tip of the blade across Moe’s flesh, making sure not to break the skin, instead just kissing and teasing with the knife, and Moe’s eyes look to his sister in pleading terror.)
Indrid Calder: It’s important to clean the flesh, Joshua. We want it sterilized. It’s imperative that we do that, because when I begin to flay your lover, the wounds must be precise. I’ll make the strips as thin as possible, just small fillets, because I don’t want him to struggle too much when he’s chewing. I’m not uncivilized. I’ll send Mojave back to you a cannibal, Little Joshua…but the only flesh he will be eating…is his OWN.
(Sahara lets out a nervous laugh from somewhere behind Calder, as if trying to de-escalate the situation.)
Sahara: That’s right, babe. Scare the little shit. I think we roughed him up pretty good, didn’t we? Look at him. Look at his eyes. I think he’s good and scared now—
(Calder seems not to hear. He simply looks into the camera, his gaze wholly soulless, and he pierces the meat of Mojave’s thigh, about to dig the boning knife in deeper to start the flaying process. The scream that exits Mojave’s muffled lips is almost soul-rending. Sahara gasps, her sapphire eyes growing wide with shock as she takes a step forward, reaching out for Calder–)
Sahara: Babe, you got him! You ain’t really gonna cut into him, are you? Come on. He’s still my brother, ya know? I…I…look at him, Indrid, he’s as pale as a ghost…
(The Stranger freezes in place as he listened to the Crimson Queen’s words. He very calmly rests the knife on Mojave’s thigh, leaving it there momentarily. And then he is up to his feet, storming across the room like an unrecognizable snarling demon, causing Sahara to backpedal. He pauses only to shed the glove from his hand before he GOOZLES Sahara by the throat, pressing his thumb deeply against her carotid artery. He watches as it pulses with each fateful breath…)
Indrid Calder: Would his loving sister prefer to take his place?
(The Stranger’s grip is iron on her throat, and Sahara realizes the danger she’s in now that she has interrupted this madness.)
Indrid Calder: It’s him or…it’s the hive, Sahara. Which family MATTERS to you?
(Without even realizing it was going to happen, an even deeper choice has been thrust into Sahara’s mind. She realizes that this moment is pivotal. A crossroads to seal her fate, or to escape it. Indrid’s thumb leaves her throat, brushing up to press against her soft lips, and self-preservation takes over in The Crimson Queen.
The survivor in her surfaces, and she lets those lips part and she takes Calder’s thumb into her mouth, suckling on it like her favorite pacifier before giving it a playful bite, while letting a sensual glaze burn in her eyes.)
Sahara: It’ll always be you, Indrid. The only family I need…is HATE.
(She looks over his shoulder, her eyes burning into Mojave for a moment. The mercy she was feeling a few moments ago seems to have vanished.)
Sahara: Carve him down to the bone.
(The Stranger answers with a smile, and a cold kiss that he plants against her forehead.)
Indrid Calder: Good girl.
(Indrid stalks back to his quarry, taking up the blade in his hand once again, and he grins directly at the camera while lifting the blade up and letting it shine.)
Indrid Calder: You can gather what is LEFT of him up when I’m done, Josh. All the meaty ribbons and pieces. You’ll want to get his stomach pumped, though, because most of those pieces will be inside of it. And after you see that? I want YOU at Live From Toronto. I want to see for myself what scraping up the blubbering remnants of your lover will do to you. I want to see if it’ll FINALLY make those sharp teeth push up from the gums…
(Indrid rises up and brings his arm high, but a blood-curdling HOWL from somewhere down the hall stops him in motion. It sounds like a vengeful animal that is intent on ripping something apart.
Calder tosses the blade to the side and sweeps Sahara up into his embrace, motioning with his head to the hidden door near the back of the room.)
Indrid Calder: Shame I won’t get to finish, but it sounds like I’ve woken up a sleeping doggie. See you soon, Little Joshua…
(Calder and Sahara make a quick escape through the door, vanishing like thieves in the night…and a few minutes pass before Josh Kaine BURSTS into the sub-basement room, his hands tearing at the bindings around Moe’s wrists and ankles, literally just RIPPING the knots free with nothing but adrenaline in his veins.
He collapses to his knees in front of his sobbing lover, and he pulls the ball-gag from Mojave’s bleeding mouth.
Mojave is so deeply in shock that he has forgotten about the venomous spiders in his hands, and he accidentally crushes his fingers inward, squishing something inside.
His breath catches in his throat as he realizes he just sealed his own fate.
He opens trembling hands…and he finds only two squiggling mealworms in each palm.
Just a ploy.
A final mind game…from the nefarious Stranger.
The Amazon, Nikki Caldwell, appears in the doorway then, the two of them having split up to try and find their lover. She rushes to their side, wrapping arms around the both of them. We fade on Josh and Mojave pressing their foreheads together, the lovers sharing a desperate kiss, two survivors brought together in a moment of absolute darkness.)
The Amazon, Nikki Caldwell, appears in the doorway then, the two of them having split up to try and find their lover. She rushes to their side, wrapping arms around the both of them. We fade on Josh and Mojave pressing their foreheads together, the lovers sharing a desperate kiss, two survivors brought together in a moment of absolute darkness.
Fade to ringside.)
STERLING VS PHILIP DONOVAN
PATH OF THE WARRIOR II FIRST ROUND MATCH
MM: We have just been informed that our next match is not only a first round Path of the Warrior tournament match, but it’s now also a #1 Contender’s Match for Katsuro Yoshida’s Network Championship at Live From Toronto!
VA: Sterling’s got this. Anyone who associates with Joe Lemon is a loser, especially this vapid, self-indulgent man-child.
The house lights dim as Carpenter Brut’s “Le Perv” hits.
A graphic wipes across the EWAtron with a VHS tracking visual effect:
At (0:16) on the track, neon green laser beams scatter and strobe across along the entrance ramp, as a singular black light spotlight shines on PhD, arms outstretched welcoming the audience. The most distinct feature of his outfit are his glowing neon pink and baby blue shutter shades. The rest of his ring attire consists of long tights that are deep azure with gold and white piping on the sides (identical to the UCLA color scheme) and a random pair of Nike Air Jordans.
VA: Who still wears Jordans?
VA: Stop trying to be hip, Malone.
PhD takes a few steps forward out of the dimming spotlight, then stops to survey the crowd. He turns his palms upward making a subtle beckoning gesture before crossing his forearms at his chest and making a two-handed “OC” gesture (an homage to his hometown area) to the cameraman.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL! Introducing first, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and TWELVE POUNDS…HAILING FROM NEWPORT BEACH, CA…P…H…D!
Walking down the aisle/ramp, he’ll acknowledge the fans with hand slaps and will occasionally grab a phone from a fan for a selfie op (a telltale sign he feels very confident about an upcoming match). He walks up the ring steps and enters the ring hopping over the top rope with a scissor kick. He walks over to a ring corner and ascends to the top turnbuckle to survey the crowd one last time. After doing the Birdman hand rub, he jumps down onto the apron and runs the ropes three times.
Kill the lasers and up go the standard lights.
VA: Well, at least our next entrance won’t be super long.
As “Grind 2 Halt” by Static X cuts in, pale blue lights strobe around and Sterling steps out onto the ramp, one trained directly down on him. Sleeveless black hoodie pulled up and sunglasses covering his eyes, he looks all about into the stands and he slowly and methodically paces down toward the ring, unhurried.
NR: And his opponent, weighing in tonight at TWO HUNDRED and TWENTY FIVE POUNDS…HAILING FROM GREENWICH, LONDON…STERLING!
He flicks his arms out, stretching his shoulders and cracking his neck as he reaches the ring, nodding to himself and looking up high into the rafters as he peels away his hoodie and sunglasses, taking a deep breath before leaping up onto the ring apron and leaping again over the top rope to take his place in the ring.
MM: Sterling has a slight size advantage here tonight, but he’s still a little on the green side. We’ll see if PhD can use his superior technique to overcome the size advantage.
VA: No way PhD wins this. I don’t even want to imagine a world where PhD is close to holding a title.
The first few minutes of the match see PhD take an early lead. Sterling is a bit thrown off by PhD’s high flying abilities, and the technical aspects of PhD’s offense make his motions fluid and hard to predict. After a series of flying elbows and forearm strikes, PhD is able to hit the Cradle of Love on Sterling. He pins!
Sterling is able to kick out. PhD goes for a baseball slide dropkick, but Sterling is able to get out of the way! Sterling is quick to take advantage, lunging for PhD and placing well timed shots! Sterling takes a hold of the advantage and spends the next couple of minutes beating on PhD and wearing him down with throws and suplexes. At one point, Sterling gets PhD to the ground and has a tight kimura locked in. PhD struggles, and Sterling is able to crank on the hold for awhile, but eventually PhD gets himself to the ropes. Sterling doesn’t immediately break the hold and takes things to the referees 4 count before releasing.
VA: See, that flippy crap sorta took Sterling by surprise, but now Sterling has the advantage, and he is going to put this joker away real soon.
Sterling places a few kicks to PhD before lifting him back up. Sterling locks in, looking for his signature Brain buster, but PhD falls back, gets behind Sterling, and leaps onto Sterling’s shoulders, looking for his reverse hurricanrana! Sterling, however, reacts quickly, grabbing PhD and spinning him around. PhD throws punches, and Sterling stumbles. PhD goes back and looks for a hurricanrana, but he is too near the ropes. PhD and Sterling tumble over the ropes, both falling HARD to the outside! Juan Cardillo begins his count.
Neither man stirs. Both are reeling from their bump to the outside.
VA: Come on Sterling, get up!
Both men starting rolling a little, but neither man seems full conscious.
MM: Wait…what happens if neither man gets up…
MM: …neither guy is moving…
VA: …oh boy…
Cardillo signals for the bell. The crowd seems upset at the outcome, but both men are completely out.
NR: Ladies and gentlemen, this match has been declared a NO CONTEST due to DOUBLE COUNTOUT!
A few trainers from the back, as well as Juan Cardillo, have come out to check on both men.
MM: What…what does this mean for the number one contendership? Who’s going to be facing Katsuro Yoshida at Live From Toronto?
VA: And what does it mean for the Path of the Warrior tournament?
THIS MATCH HAS BEEN DECLARED A NO CONTEST (7:43)
(A huge ice pack wrapped partially in a towel and taped to her upper shoulder and neck area, Melissa McCoy does not appear to have come through her impromptu match earlier tonight unscathed. She is walking next to Katsuro Yoshida, who is dressed in a suit and has the Network Championship over his shoulder. Kevin Oppenheimer is on the other side of Katsuro.)
(Standing in the hallway ahead of them, talking to a man with a clipboard, is Stacy Vandervort. Once the trio gets within several feet of her, Stacy realizes they’re there to speak with her, and she sighs and turns her attention towards them.)
Stacy Vandervort: What do you want? Didn’t she and your other Developmental Center guy take up too much of my time already tonight with that little fiasco earlier?!
(A slight nod of the head from Katsuro, and then he speaks.)
Katsuro Yoshida: All I ask is for two minutes, and your consideration.
Stacy Vandervort: Fine, clock’s ticking, what is it?!
Katsuro Yoshida: We seek the opportunity for a rematch, Melissa McCoy against Coca-Cola Rua, in Toronto.
(Her mouth drops open a bit, and Stacy can’t believe what she’s hearing.)
Stacy Vandervort: Seriously? Seriously?! (she looks at McCoy, the ice pack on her neck, and then back at Katsuro) Seriously…
Katsuro Yoshida: Yes, because as you described it a moment ago, tonight was a fiasco. A farce.
Kevin Oppenheimer: Suga’, while you were walkin’ back up that ramp to get back ‘ere and attend to other thin’s, ‘Lissa, ‘ere, got blindsided by Rua. It wasn’t a match, even though you let the referee count it as one… that was a mauling, and McCoy deserves betta!!!
Stacy Vandervort: Oh really? Does she? You think she honestly deserves a match on a pay per view, this girl…
(Melissa isn’t pleased with the term, so she quickly speaks up, some heat in her tone.)
Melissa McCoy: I think the word you’re lookin’ for is “woman”, or “competitor”, because “girl” is the wrong choice.
Stacy Vandervort: Fine… Whatever… My point is that pay per view matches? They’re hard to come by, even for main roster folks, so I really don’t think there’s room to get you a match on the broadcast, honey.
(Again Stacy has said something that Melissa doesn’t appreciate, but Katsuro is the one to speak up this time.)
Katsuro Yoshida: Yes, this I understand, so I am asking that the match take place before the start of the event, after the fans start getting to their seats. The Canadian fans love wrestling, so they will appreciate an appetizer of sorts, especially one which has some strong reason for happening.
Stacy Vandervort: Fine… Whatever… I’ll make the little pre-show “dark match” appetizer thing. Will you leave me alone now?
(Without another word, Katsuro bows slightly, and the trio walks off. Annoyed, Stacy goes back to what she was doing before their arrival.)
Main EventJOSH KAINE VS NOTHING
EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MM: It’s main event time, folks, and it’s another chapter in the EWA World Heavyweight Title Open Challenge!
VA: And it’ll be another cakewalk, Malone! NOTHING handily defeated three foes last week, and this week he’s going to do the same with a Josh Kaine who is teetering on the edge!
MM: How can you revel in what we’ve seen here tonight?! Indrid Calder and the rest of HATE are sick, depraved individuals and the things they’re doing to Josh and his loved ones are just… just…
VA: Just beautiful! Agreed!
MM: Ugh, you are impossible to deal with. Let’s just head up to the ring and get this one underway!
NR: The following contest is your main event of the evening and is for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship!
(The crowd pops at Nikki’s announcement and their roars grow as the enigmatic voice of Layne Staley and the beginnings of “Them Bones” begin to trickle over the loudspeakers. Suddenly, from behind the curtain bursts Josh Kaine who has a look evenly mixed of anger, frustration, and despair written all over his face. He foregoes the usual fanfare of his entrance and is storming wildly down the ramp, his eyes laser-focused on the ring, as he neglects the outstretched arms of fans along the aisle. He quickly rolls into the ring and stomps toward Danny Smith and Nikki Rogers; he isn’t miked but you can clearly read his lips as he growls, “Get his ass out here!” before backing into a far corner with a perfect view of the entrance.)
VA: Look at him, Malone! He’s cracked!
MM: Cracked or determined, Vincent – this could be NOTHING’s greatest wish or worst nightmare!
VA: Oh, come on – this little pipsqueak doesn’t have it in him to beat NOTHING on his best night. You think he’s going to be able to hold it together long enough to do it on a night like this?
MM: Only time will tell, Vincent. Only time will tell…
(As Josh awaits his opponent, the lights cut out and the crowd begins to voice their disapproval. The crackling begins to break over the speakers as we hear those fateful words…)
it seems strange that my life should end
in such a terrible place…
(“Without You I’m Nothing” begins to play over the speakers as a lone spotlight bursts to life on the stage. Standing in the shining light, the EWA World Heavyweight Title strapped firmly around his waist, is “The Purveyor” NOTHING. He wears his regular entrance gear and has his head bowed slightly. As the crowd rains down boos and jeers toward the champion he slowly tilts his head up to make direct eye contact with Josh as a grin spreads across his face. Much the opposite of Josh, NOTHING takes his time on his way to the ring which seems to only infuriate Josh further. With each slow step down the ramp Josh seethes more, now pacing back and forth in the ring as NOTHING continues to grin at him. The champion hops onto the apron and Josh attempts to charge, only to be held back by Danny Smith, which elicits a chuckle from The Purveyor. He backs into the opposite corner of Josh, still being held back by the official, and looks to be enjoying the scene.)
VA: This is the big difference, Malone – Kaine is off his rocker and NOTHING is still calm, cool, and collected!
MM: He better hope that anger in Kaine doesn’t take over, otherwise we might see The Heir to Valhalla collect the EWA World Heavyweight Title.
VA: I love it when you talk about your fantasies, Malone. It makes mine feel way more possible!
MM: Like that one you were talking about before the show about Sahara and Dixie…
VA: I TOLD YOU THAT IN CONFIDENCE!
MM: Alright, tough guy – dump some cold water on it and let’s get to the ring!
NR: The following contest is scheduled for one fall (ONE FALL!) and is for the EWA World Heavyweight Championship! Introducing first, the challenger… from Lenoir, North Carolina… weighing in at one-hundred and ninety pounds… JOOOOSSSHHHHH KAAAAAIIIINNNNEEEEE!
(Josh continues to attempt to break free of Danny Smith but is unsuccessful. His gaze burns a hole in the champion standing across the ring for him and, finally, he puts his hands up and backs into the corner to let the official know he can control himself… for now.)
NR: And his opponent… from Albany, New York… weighing in at two-hundred and fifty-five pounds… the EWA World Heavyweight Champion NOOOTTTTHHHHIIIIINNNNGGGGG!
(NOTHING steps forward and raises the EWA World Heavyweight Title high over his head before handing it to Danny Smith to a chorus of boos. He takes off his vest and drops it over the top rope to the floor as he backs into his corner.)
MM: Smith calls for the bell and–
VA: HEY, HOLD ON!
MM: HERE COMES JOSH!
Just as Smith calls for the bell, Kaine is off with a start and charges NOTHING in the corner! The champion is caught off guard as the challenger drives his shoulder into his stomach, knocking the wind out of The Purveyor and pushing him against the turnbuckles. Josh is wild – rights and lefts swinging over head as he connects with blow after blow to the head and neck of NOTHING!
VA: Come on, get him outta there! He’s in the ropes!
MM: Danny Smith is going to give this one some leeway, Vincent – and if ever there was a match that deserved it, it’s this one!
VA: Nonsense! I’m sick of the favoritism!
Josh continues to wail away as NOTHING covers up to prevent all of the blows from fully connecting. The official finally steps in between the two men and pushes Josh back as NOTHING lifts his head, a look of surprise written all over his face. Josh shoves Danny Smith to the side and charges back in!
VA: SUCKERED RIGHT IN!
MM: NOTHING with a kick to the… well… I’m not sure if it was the stomach or if it was low, but Josh is doubled over in pain!
VA: He should be disqualified for putting his hands on such a fine, upstanding referee like Danny Smith!
NOTHING grabs a handful of Josh’s mohawk and whips him around, the young challenger landing back-first in the corner. NOTHING takes a step back and hauls off with a huge forearm blast to the jaw of Kaine. The youngster is rocked back and NOTHING grabs a hold of his chin pushing his head back before connecting with another huge forearm to the jaw.
VA: He’s out on his feet already, Malone – call this one!
MM: Oh, give me a break! This kid has more fight in him than you’re giving him credit for!
NOTHING grabs another handful of the mohawk and drags Josh to the center of the ring as Smith admonishes him for the hair pull. The champion brushes it off and continues to hold the hair as he holds Josh up, turning him to show the crowd the weary challenger.
MM: He’s just toying with him here. What’s the point of this?
VA: He’s showing off the sacrifice before he dumps his innards all over the ring, Malone!
Suddenly, Josh fires away with a right hand to the gut of NOTHING! The champion is stunned briefly but before he can react, Josh nails another shot to the stomach! And another! Right hand to the jaw, and NOTHING stumbles back into the ropes!
MM: If he can keep this up, Vincent, NOTHING is in trouble!
Josh hits the opposite ropes and charges toward NOTHING – BAAAAACK BODY DROP!
VA: ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR!
MM: Oh, that could be it! It could be all over!
VA: He flew too hard and too fast, Malone, and NOTHING was waiting for him!
MM: That is an astute observation, Vincent. Josh Kaine is full of rage right now and needs to slow it down if he’s going to capitalize on an advantage and have control in this one at all.
VA: That is, if he can actually get back to his feet.
Indeed, Josh is writhing on the hard arena floor after being back body dropped from the inside of the ring all the way down. NOTHING shakes the cobwebs away and steps through the ropes much to the chagrin of the official. The Purveyor pulls Kaine to his feet and pushes him back against the guardrail. He grips the top of the railing next to Josh to balance himself and begins laying in kick after kick into the chest and stomach of his opponent.
MM: Last week NOTHING made it his goal to break the jaw of his opponent, and this week… I don’t know, Vincent. He’s just stomping away at the heart of Josh Kaine.
VA: That’s right, dummy – the Pillars are here to break the mind, body, and soul of this pipsqueak!
MM: Pipsque– you’re unbelievable!
MM: God damn it…
Danny Smith continues his slow count from the inside as he attempts to encourage the action to move back inside. NOTHING grabs Josh by the back of the neck and hurls him into the apron, the challenger’s face connecting with the hardest part of the ring. With a handful of tights he heaves Josh up onto the apron and rolls him back into the ring.
MM: They’re back in, and NOTHING with a cover!
Thr–Josh kicks out!
MM: I think NOTHING knew he wouldn’t get the win there, but he still forces Josh to expend the energy to kick out.
VA: Plus, it’s the mental game. Even if you know you’re not beaten enough to be pinned, you still know you’re being pinned and are on the losing side of the game, Malone.
MM: Twice in one match you’ve had great observations, Vincent – why can’t you just do this all of the time?
VA: It’s not as fun if I’m not making you regret every decision you’ve made in your life by being here, Malone.
MM: Of course…
NOTHING pulls Kaine to a seated position and locks in a chinlock as he begins to run his mouth to Josh and the crowd, who is serving vitriol straight back at him. The champion looks pleased, another grin spreading across his face as he dominates the headstrong challenger. The official checks to make sure Josh is still with us, and he begins to swing his arms around to attempt to reposition himself.
MM: Josh trying to fight out of the position and get himself back to a vertical base.
VA: NOTHING has about sixty pounds on him – we’ll see if he can manage to fight out from underneath.
WIth a little bit of body movement, Josh is able to twist to the side and get an arm behind NOTHING before planting a knee on the canvas and pushing himself to his feet. NOTHING transitions into a side headlock and Josh backs them both into the ropes.
VA: He’s up, but still locked in…
MM: Not for long – Josh shoots NOTHING off and into the far ropes!
VA: The bad thing about that, Malone – is that he’s got to come right back!
NOTHING hits the ropes and charges back at Josh, but the challenger leapfrogs over him! Josh hits the mat and immediately charges toward the far ropes. He leaps toward them, NOTHING hitting the opposite ropes and charging across the ring–
MM: What’s he got in mind here??
VA: He’s trying to jump out of the ring and get the hell out of here!
MM: Not a chance!
Kaine springs off of the second rope, flies back and twists – springboard DDT! He just caught NOTHING running and spiked him HARD with a vicious DDT!
VA: AHH! Where the hell did that come from?!
MM: It came from a young man who isn’t going to be broken by Indrid Calder, Vincent!
VA: But he still can’t capitalize! The toll has already been taken!
To Vincent’s point, both men are down in the center of the ring – NOTHING as an effect of that DDT and Josh as an effect of the culmination of the match thus far. The crowd is solidly behind Josh, cheering him on as he begins to roll to his side and drag himself toward the champion.
MM: NOTHING hasn’t moved a muscle and… and… Josh throws an arm over his chest!
VA: NOTHING gets the shoulder up!
MM: That was a close one, Vincent!
VA: Close but no cigar!
NOTHING remains on his back after the kickout while Josh rolls to his side and begins to push himself to his feet to begin his retaliation.
MM: This could be his moment!
VA: It’s a temporary reprieve from a night filled with anguish, Malone – don’t start writing the Cinderella story just yet!
Josh is back to his feet as NOTHING finally begins to stir, but Josh wastes no time! He rushes the champion and begins laying in stomp after stomp to his prone body! NOTHING attempts to cover up, but every time he does Josh lays a stomp into another part of his body! NOTHING is attempting to roll toward the ropes but Josh is with him the entire way!
MM: This is the determination he needs to tap into, Vincent! Josh needs to string a few moves together and stay focused if he’s going to have a shot here!
NOTHING reaches the bottom rope and grasps it with both arms as the official pushes Josh away from him. Josh isn’t done, though! He hits the opposite ropes and charges back – baseball slide dropkick to the side of NOTHING, and The Purveyor lands with a sickening thud on the arena floor!
MM: Turnabout is fair play here as Josh sends NOTHING to the arena floor!
VA: Disqualify him again! The man was in the ropes! Does nobody have any regard for the rules?!
MM: You’re picking now to become a rules fanatic?? You’ve cheered on some of the most heinous acts in this sport, you idiot!
VA: HEY, UNCALLED FOR! No personal attacks!
Keeping with tradition, Josh rolls out of the ring himself to follow his opponent to the floor. He swiftly pulls the disoriented champion to his feet and locks him up – Russian legsweep into the guardrail!
MM: OH! It looks like the back of NOTHING’s head may have cracked right off of the railing!
VA: Alright, that’s enough! Now he’s using a weapon!? HAS HE NO SHAME??
Josh is feeling the adrenaline as he pops back up to his feet while the crowd cheers him on. Still yet to acknowledge the crowd, Josh peers down at NOTHING who is gripping the back of his head on the arena floor. He pauses for only a second to revel in his work before pulling his opponent to his feet and connecting with a brutal European uppercut! And another! A third, and NOTHING is sent back against the railing! Josh quickly turns and leaps onto the apron, running to the opposite end of it.
MM: Now what’s he got in mind?
VA: I don’t know, but I don’t like the looks of it!
Josh turns and charges back in the direction of NOTHING… leaping off of the apron…!
MM: MISSILE DROPKICK!
MM: NOTHING gets rocked and flies over the railing and into the crowd!
VA: I don’t like this, Malone! Not one bit!
The crowd is going wild as Josh connects with the missile dropkick, his feet crashing into the face and chest of NOTHING, who files over the railing backwards. Josh lands hard on the ground himself but is back up quickly… and hops the railing into the crowd!
MM: This one has broken down, Vincent!
VA: Count out! Count ‘em out! How hard is it to count to ten!?
MM: Danny Smith is letting this one go, Vincent – he knows what’s at stake!
NOTHING is crawling on his hands and knees away from the guardrail as Josh follows in hot pursuit. The crowd around them is forming a circle and cheering wildly as Josh lifts NOTHING to his feet. He grabs a hold of his jaw and reels back – big right forearm blast to the jaw! And another!
MM: Josh is getting some payback from earlier in the back when NOTHING had him stuck in the corner!
VA: Oh, big guy – getting payback for a fair, totally legal part of the match by deviating into a street fight! Real cool guy, Malone! Real cool guy!
NOTHING is staggered and Josh pushes him back hard with both hands into the chest. NOTHING stumbles backwards, off-balance, and Josh rushes him… quick go-behind…
MM: GERMAN SUPLEX!
VA: INTO THE CHAIRS!!
MM: That could be a match-ender… hell, a career ender! Josh Kaine just German suplexed the EWA World Heavyweight Champion onto the chairs in the second row!
VA: This has gone too far! The kid’s unhinged!
MM: They can stop this one at anytime, Vincent–
VA: Yeah, do that!
MM: –and award the EWA World Heavyweight Title to Josh Kaine!
VA: No, don’t do that!
NOTHING is trying to collect himself as he rolls around on a mess of chairs, some still setup and others collapsed or completely broken, while Josh pulls himself to his feet and lets out a primal scream into the air! He begins whipping chairs to the left and right to clear a path to the champion and as he reaches him, he grabs NOTHING by the head and neck and forces him to his feet.
MM: Josh Kaine has been pursued and tormented by HATE for the past several weeks and he’s finally getting to unleash everything that has been building inside of him!
Kaine turns quickly and whips NOTHING hard over the railing and back into the ringside area before hopping the railing himself to join him. Again, the champion is attempting to get some distance between himself and the challenger by crawling toward the announcer’s table.
MM: The World Champion is being stalked now by Josh Kaine who, I think it’s safe to say, he clearly underestimated!
VA: Underestimated undershmestimated – NOTHING knows exactly what he’s doing. This is all part of the plan!
MM: Some plan getting German suplexed in the second row!
NOTHING places his hands on the edge of the desk as he starts to pull himself to his feet but Josh is right there with a swift kick to the ribs. The champion is lifted to his feet and spins, the small of his back resting against the edge of the table.
MM: And now… we may need to get out of here, Vincent! Josh Kaine is getting on top of the announce table!
VA: Security! SECURITY! Get this mad man outta here!
MM: He’s got evil intentions for sure, Vincent!
The commentators scurry away from the table as far as their tethers will allow and Kaine reaches down to NOTHING. He grabs him around the head and twists him around, starting to pull him onto the table… no! NOTHING puts the brakes on and nails a hard jumping uppercut to the jaw of Kaine from the arena floor! The challenger is rocked and NOTHING acts quickly.
MM: He’s got a hold of Kaine and… what’s he going to do here?
VA: He’s going to powerslam him right off of the damn table, that’s what!
MM: NOTHING has him cinched up and… OH MY GOD!
VA: OH, HE’S DEAD! It’s over! Do you think they’ll be able to get a frequent members’ discount at the hospital his poor old mother was shacked up in??
WIth one snapping motion, NOTHING grabs Josh and hurls him off of the table with an overhead powerslam, Josh hitting awkwardly against the ringpost with his lower back and side. Once again, Josh hits the arena floor hard and NOTHING wastes no time in capitalizing!
MM: NOTHING is recognizing that he’s got Josh on the ropes now and he’s going to make sure it counts!
VA: Like I said, Malone – all a part of the plan. He wanted Josh on that table so he could break his spine on that steel post!
NOTHING quickly pulls Josh to his feet and rolls him into the ring, following suit himself right after. The champion grabs the challenger by the mohawk once more and is backing into the corner, jumping up to sit on the top turnbuckle.
MM: He just rocked that jaw of Josh Kaine and he’s about to do it again if he delivers what it looks like he’s setting up for!
VA: He’s got him hooked, Malone – it’s about to be lights out for Josh Kaine!
MM: DARKNESS FALLS!
NOTHING leaps from the corner with his version of Diamond Dust but… he over-rotates and Josh is able to catch him on his feet right in front of him!
MM: No, Josh avoids the impact!
VA: What’s he–
MM: SCORPION DEATH DROP! Josh just laid the champion out on the back of his skull!
VA: GET UP!
MM: NOTHING is out near the corner and Josh is rolling back to the outside and… and up to the top rope!
The crowd is on their feet as NOTHING is laid out in the corner of the ring. Josh quickly, but on spaghetti legs, makes his way to the top rope. He balances himself and leaps…
MM: SHOOTING STAR PRESS!
VA: THE KNEES!
NOTHING gets the knees up! Josh howls in pain, clearly feeling the effects of the impact on the ring post moments ago combined with these knees to the ribs and chest! He rolls off of NOTHING, who pulls himself to his feet and careens toward the opposite corner. He bounces against the turnbuckles and turns, charging back at Josh–
VA: PURE HATE!
MM: And Josh has nowhere to go! NOTHING connects with Pure Hate right in the corner, and Josh up against the turnbuckles!
VA: NOTHING isn’t done!
NOTHING connects with a HUGE Pure Hate in the corner, but Kaine is still technically up – being supported by the middle turnbuckle in the corner. NOTHING, rage burning in his eyes, runs to the opposite corner and returns once more… A SECOND PURE HATE!
VA: He nails him again! Right in the mush!
MM: NOTHING has snapped! He’s four days from crossing another milestone off of his list, and he’s going to make sure he gets to 138!
VA: Damn straight! Do what must be done!
After the second crushing Pure Hate, Kaine collapses forward into the ring. NOTHING drags him away from the corner and drops into the cover, hooking both legs deeply as Danny Smith goes down for the count…
THREE! It’s over!
The bell rings and NOTHING rolls off of Kaine, his eyes wide as he stares up at the ceiling of The Combat Zone.
NR: Here is your winner… and STILL EWA World Heavyweight Champion, NOOOOTTTTHHHIIIINNNNNGGGGG!
The crowd rains down a chorus of boos as Danny Smith presents NOTHING with the EWA World Heavyweight Title, raising his hand as he catches his breath on the canvas. NOTHING clutches the belt close to his chest with both hands as he breathes heavily.
MM: NOTHING comes out on top but, Vincent, I don’t think this was the match he expected to have at all!
VA: Oh, come on – he had this thing under control the whole time! Are you kidding me?!
MM: Are you… you can’t be serious! Kaine almost became the new EWA World Heavyweight Champion! If he had connected with the shooting star press, this one would have been all over!
VA: If, if, if – I don’t deal in “if’s”, Malone. I deal in facts, and the fact is NOTHING is STILL the EWA World Heavyweight Champion!
MM: If we’re talking facts, we also need to talk about the fact that Josh Kaine has proven himself to NOTHING, to Indrid Calder, hell… to himself! If ever there was a question on whether or not this dog has teeth, he answered all of thee doubters tonight!
NOTHING rolls out of the ring, his EWA World Heavyweight Title held close to his chest, as he looks toward the ring and Josh Kaine writhing on the mat. As Kaine begins to come to and attempt to roll to his feet, a small grin appears on the face of The Purveyor before he disappears behind the curtain.
MM: What was that look? Is that… respect from NOTHING??
VA: I think he’s just reveling in his handiwork, Malone. A job well done for NOTHING and the hive on this grand evening!
MM: If you say so, Vincent… with that, folks, we are out of time! NOTHING has made it through the Open Challenge and in two weeks he will clash TWICE with Buck Dresden, Jester Smiles, and Martin Robertson for the EWA Combat Championship and the EWA World Heavyweight Championship, plus so much more – we’ll see you on April 18… LIVE—
???: Hold up! Hold up!
The voice over the loudspeaker comes from out of nowhere, interrupting Mike Malone.
Buck Dresden appears at the top of the ramp after NOTHING disappears behind the curtain with a microphone in hand. An expression of disappointment and frustration written over his features. Josh uses the ropes to pull himself back to his feet, glaring up at the Bluegrass Bad Ass as he breathes heavily.
Buck Dresden: Josh…
Buck shakes his head in disbelief at what this evening has brought to the younger Kaine.
Buck Dresden: …what the hell? Are you alright?
Josh looks to the side, seeing one of the ringside attendants handing him a microphone. He brings it up, a snarl coming from somewhere no one could have predicted.
Josh Kaine: Do I fuckin’ look all right? Did Moe fuckin’ look all right?
Buck looks Josh up and down, his eyes wide with anger.
Buck Dresden: Boy, I know yer hurtin’, but I came out here to see to you like…
Buck rolls his eyes.
Buck Dresden: Ya know what, man? Obviously y’all got it all figured out. Definitely not at war. Definitely not in need of help. Definitely.
Josh Kaine: Don’t need no fuckin’ cowboy’s help. Don’t need no one but my own. Don’t want no one but my own people.
The teenager’s anger coming forward perhaps at the wrong person, but he’s obviously not keen on being berated after a loss and the horror of having seen his lover in the hands of Indrid Calder. He bares his teeth at the older man, the growl in his voice coming through loud and clear.
Josh Kaine: They’ll get what’s comin’ to ‘em. All of ‘em. Just stay the fuck outta my way.
And with that, Josh Kaine spikes the mic to the mat, exiting the ring and storming up the ramp angrily past Buck Dresden. We fade on the concerned expression of the EWA Combat Champion – and possible future World Heavyweight Champion, as one fourth of the main event at Live From Toronto – as he clearly is worried about Josh Kaine’s mental state at this time.
Fade to black.
YOUR WINNER BY PINFALL, AND STILL EWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: NOTHING (17:13)
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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Martin Robertson vs Indrid Calder – Chris F.
Jester Smiles vs Sahara – Harlan H.
Cal Rayner vs Nikki Caldwell – Harlan H.
V & Brytain Montgomery vs The Erinyes – Sean B.
Coca-Cola Rua vs Melissa McCoy – Rob B.
Lou vs Buck Dresden – Brandon H.
Sterling vs Philip Donovan – Eric M.
Josh Kaine vs NOTHING – Corey C.