The fans ROAR in excitement as “All of the Lights” by Kanye West plays, bringing them to their feet. The trumpets of the song blare throughout the Epicenter as Rihanna’s voice kicks in.
Turn up the lights in here baby
Extra bright I want y’all to feel this
Turn up the lights in here baby
You know what I need
Want you to see everything
Want you to see
ALL OF THE LIGHTS
The fans cheer just a little bit more as DONOVAN KING steps out. He is wearing the KING hoodie, but the hood is draped around his shoulders. He is also wearing a new King shirt, with the SHOOT Project Helmet adorning the crown jewel in his insignia with blue jeans and black boots. On his waist is the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship belt. He looks down at the title for a moment before he marches down to the ring.
Eryk Masters: After nearly a month of silence, Donovan King is coming down to the ring with a purpose!
Other Guy: Dan Stein’s been scaring up competition like crazy ever since he laid King out after his faux retirement. He’s got that four way match later on, so we know he’s in the building!
King walks up the ring steps and walks across the ring apron, ascending the turnbuckle to stare out into the masses of fans cheering him on. He stands there for the briefest of moments before he unbuckles his World Championship belt and lets it dangle at his side until he finally, slowly, raises it for all to see. The cheers grow as he hoists the belt high. “All of the Lights” dies down as he drops down into the ring, taking Samantha Coil’s microphone.
Donovan King: I wanna tell you people a few things about me. Most uh y’all know me, you know my story. You know who I am, what I’ve done, where I’m from, everything.
He holds the World Championship at his side, pacing the ring as he talks to the silent crowd.
Donovan King: I was born angry. I grew up angry, I lived angry, an’ I always assumed I’d die…angry. Thought I’d never get the opportunities richer folk got or whiter folks got or older folks got or women got. All I ever saw when I decided to become a professional wrestler was the main event an’ how I wasn’t in it. I was trained by the best an’ I thought the best way fuh me to BE the best was to echo his career as closely as I could.
Sign with the company he worked wit’ an’ learn to hate the people he fought with.
He pauses for a moment, letting the words sink in.
Donovan King: So I came in to SHOOT hatin’ Cade Sydal or Diamond Del Carver or Jonny Johnson or wantin’ to tag with Real Deal because that was the way I always knew you’d get to the top. But I wasn’t given the right to do…any of that. An’ I got bitter. Main eventers weren’t like me. They didn’t talk like me, they didn’t look like me, they didn’t act like me.
The main eventers were all prettier or slicker. I was rough. When the spotlight shined down on the main eventers, it pissed me off because it never shined on me.
An’ I made it a habit uh sellin’ my soul to get to the top. I wanted to be prettier, shinier, slicker. I wanted the spotlight an’ I traded my soul for the chance.
He smiles a small, lonely smile.
Donovan King: I did that an’ the only reason I’m here now with this title ain’t because I took them shortcuts.
I’m here now with this title because I stopped takin’ shortcuts.
I stopped takin’ handouts.
I stopped takin’ the easy way out.
King slowly lifts the title up for all to see, and the cheering commences.
Donovan King: So…after all that…do you think I’m simply gonna just…lie down an’ let somebody like Dan Stein come in, prettier than me, slicker than me, shinier than me…an’ take some shortcuts along the way an’ just…fucking…take this from me?
Donovan King: Nah, see…because when I showed up behind Dan Stein at Dominion an’ I dropped him like the bad habit he is an’ I got in his face an’ I told him “I’m here” it wuttn’t no…
YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH!
“The Touch” by Stan Bush plays, and the fans are instantly bringing the serious boos. King turns and looks at the entrance as out from the back emerges DAN STEIN. He stands deathly still, glaring down at the ring, directly at King. He motions for his music to be cut off and he continues to stare in silence at King.
Dan Stein: “I’m here.”
Stein chuckles to himself, shaking his head as he looks at the ground. Stein rubs his forehead with the tip of his thumb before turning back to the cameras.
Dan Stein: Last Dominion, after you snuck up on me, after you assaulted and nearly concussed me, you said two words to me, King. (Holding up two fingers) Two words. ‘I’m Here’.
Stein paces across the stage, left hand under his right arm, right hand holding the microphone to his mouth.
Dan Stein: It’s funny you chose those two words, because, really, it’s redundant when you think about it. Every one of those fans knew you were there. The cameras didn’t catch Johnny Napalm being held back by Selena – he knew you were there. Everyone that could HEAR you knew you were there. It’s safe to say, everyone in this building knew you were there, King.
Stein stops pacing and looks out at the fans.
Dan Stein: Everyone but me.
Stein inhales through his nose.
Dan Stein: But then again, somewhere in this (Stein points to his head wiggling his hand around) perfectly formed skull of mine, I knew you were there, in that building. When the fans started cheering, I knew you were making your way through the crowd. And when I started to turn around... I knew you were standing behind me, waiting to strike. I knew that you were standing over me, gloating in your unwarranted, unnecessary and conveniently timed attack from behind. I knew that you were the one that dropped me to the mat, and I knew that you were the one that made a statement through me.
Stein grits his teeth, hands tightening around the microphone in white knuckle fashion.
Dan Stein: Because you’re there.
Dan’s grip weakens around the microphone.
Dan Stein: You’re always there. It’s what you’re best at; it’s what you’re known for. You. Are always. There. Even when you have no purpose to be there, you still are. Ever since you cashed in that Redemption Rumble chance and knocked out the champion, illegally. You’re there. You’re entrenched in SHOOT Project history.
Even before that, though, to me, you were always there.
Stein switches the microphone into his left hand, using his right to gesture with. King is still standing deathly still, watching Stein intently.
Dan Stein: ‘Pure Athlete. Heart. Drive. Always on the go. Always running, always attacking. Innovative.’ Those words echo in my head. Do you know who those scouting reports were referencing?
Stein pauses, allowing the fans to cut him off. Stein points at himself.
Dan Stein: Me… (Stein slowly points at the camera) and you. Our scouting reports were exactly the same, from top to bottom, WE were exactly the same. And yet, on September 9th, 2011, it was YOU who advanced to the Master of the Mat finals. It was YOU who moved on to take on Trey Willett. Not Dan Stein. Not me. Even though I was poised to do it.
Stein inhales through his nose once more, and turns on his heel to pace once again.
Dan Stein: You, Champ… YOU capitalized on that moment. YOU used that moment. YOU used it as the catalyst to THIS eventual reign… And a lot of people would say that’s a testament to YOUR will. To YOUR strength.
Stein stops, just in the middle of the ramp.
Dan Stein: I say it’s because I let you get away with it.
Dan smirks as the fans boo. King, however, doesn’t even flinch. He merely watches Stein, his eyes narrowed at the sight of his enemy.
Dan Stein: It’s funny, though. That moment could be seen as the catalyst for something else. Do you remember how you ended your tirade to the fans that night? I do. ”That’s how you make a statement,” you said. And the fans? They chanted your name. They didn’t care that I was laid out, they didn’t care that I was potentially, violently, concussed. They were just happy with YOU and the statement YOU made.
Stein looks out at the fans as they begin to chant for Donovan King.
Dan Stein: THAT was the night the fans turned their backs on me, King. You were the catalyst for that. So while you were sucked into the vacuum of suck that is the SHOOT Project fanbase, I saw the fans for the weakminded NERDS that each - and every - one of them... truly are.
You went on to get a spot in the Primus.
I went on to bag women and get invited to do radio shows.
You went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
I went into business for myself.
And while you were... I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but... (finger quotes)...’defending your title’ against Lunatikk Crippler at Redemption... I was putting the finishing touches on my assent to a title shot that I would’ve won if it were me against Trey Willett at Master of the Mat 2011.
Stein pauses. The camera again shifts to King, who is again unmoving.
Dan Stein: Do you know how much longer it took for me to get a title shot? FOUR (Stein holds up four fingers, back of his hand out, to the camera) months. Four months longer than you to earn that shot. And in that third of a year, people say you’ve outclassed me. That, somehow, in those four months, you’ve proven to be far and away my superior. That you DESERVE to be the most talked about man in SHOOT Project because you have EARNED that right.
Dan Stein: Do you realize how asinine that sounds? That somehow, in five, six, maybe seven matches, you can claim wrestling DOMINANCE over me? In those four, short months, while I was watching you parade around with the World Heavyweight Championship, I proved that I DESERVED the title shot. Not by WINNING the Redemption Rumble. Not by causing physical harm to my opponents.
But by continuing to press on. Continuing to attack. Like you.
Stein’s eyes grow wide as she shifts the microphone back into his right hand.
Dan Stein: I don’t believe it. (Eyes return to normal) I don’t believe that you are my superior.
Dan Stein: And now that I’ve turned my attention to your World Heavyweight Championship, now that you’ve gone ahead and signed the contract for Master of the Mat, now that you’ve gone ahead and allowed me the ONE ON ONE rematch of our Master of the Mat tournament match... Allowed me, so generously to get a shot at your World Heavyweight Championship...
It’s time for you to question that fact, too.
Donovan King: I think you’ve said just about enough, don’t you?
The fans pop as King FINALLY reacts.
Donovan King: I beat you. Once upon a time, I beat you. But you’ve treated this whole destiny’s child deal you’ve got goin’ on like ever since you were handed a World title shot against Roland Caldwell years ago that you’ve never left, never flaked, never disappeared, never lost your smile, never changed your personality to suit whatever trumped up necessities you thought the fans wanted outta you.
You’ve acted like you’ve put all this work in like the dumb mother fucker in the far left cubicle who thinks he oughtta be the regional manager because his sorry ass occupied space longer than other people.
The fans cheer as Stein grits his teeth, his jaw clenching as King continues to speak.
Donovan King: I know why you faked another retirement. I know because of the way the world reacted to it an’ to you. They all thought it was classic Dan Stein. He didn’t get his way so he’s quittin’ all over again. I know that’s the one thing you’ve hated your whole damn career because deep down…you’re scared it might be somehow…true.
King walks over to the ring ropes, staring Stein directly in the face.
Donovan King: So you took their expectations an’ you told all your critics they can go fuck themselves. On a level, I can respect that. But, see, when I told you I was here? When I told you I was here it wasn’t because I was tryna show the world I was over your knocked the fuck out body an’ I just got one over on you.
I said “I’m Here” because, guess what?
King lifts the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Championship high into the air.
Donovan King: HERE. I. AM.
The fans ERUPT as he stands there, letting the words sink into Stein’s mind.
Donovan King: When I got done playin’ my tricks, when I got done fuckin’ around, I realized I was never gonna be as pretty as Real Deal or Cade Sydal or Dan Stein. I realized I was never gonna be as talented as people like Dan Stein if I didn’t work my sorry ass off for it an’ stopped blamin’ others for my own setbacks.
I became SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion at RISE not because I cheated or I fooled somebody. I became SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion because it was time for me to man the fuck up an’ RISE.
King pauses again as the fans cheer him on.
Donovan King: An’ if you think this is your moment? If you think this is your time? I’m here to tell you there’s only one thing you got that’ll ever be able to beat me, Dan.
It ain’t your experience. Quantity ain’t quality.
It ain’t your talent. You might be the closest thing to my equal but you damn sure ain’t my superior.
It ain’t even gonna be your bullshit cronies or a cut corner. Didn’t work for anybody before you an’ it won’t work now.
King slaps his chest.
Donovan King: You only beat me if you got the heart for it. An’ if you think this shit you’re talkin’ is gonna shake me? After what I’ve done in my career an’ to my career? If you really think you’re gonna suddenly break me down after I’ve given my life over to this company, to these people, to this belt, an’ to this ideal?
Donovan King: Then you have no idea who…or what…Donovan King is.
An’ I can’t wait to show you.
ALL OF THE LIGHTS
King’s theme kicks in yet again as he rolls out of the ring and walks up the ramp. He gets face to face with Stein, who stands still for the briefest of moments before he smirks and turns his body to allow King to pass. King turns and walks backwards up the ramp, the two of them watching one another, both men ready for anything…especially from one another.
Eryk Masters: You do not need to wait long here in SHOOT Project to see some action as Tanya Black is about to take on “The Ghost of Ann Arbor” Conor Caden.
Other Guy: I for one am looking forward to seeing these two duke it out here tonight; I recently googled “Ghost of Ann Arbor” and found a lot of interesting history and mythology surrounding the area, which only goes to add to the mystique of Conor Caden.
Eryk Masters: You did? Glad to see you taking things seriously this week.
Other Guy: I also googled “Tanya Black Images.” For…Well…Erm.
Eryk Masters: I’ll let you off.
The lights dim down as "These Colours Don't Run" by Architects hits. As the drums kick in, we find Conor Caden at the top of the entranceway clad in black long tights with "GHOST" written down the right pants leg, a white mask, and a black shamrock on the left thigh with a a light blue glow around it. He dons a white “I Bury Icons” Tanya Black T-shirt, however... 'icons' is blacked out in sharpie and underneath it says "TANYA BLACK". He tosses up two C's, crossing his arms in front of him with his two hands making C's pointing outwards. As the song picks up, he begins to make his stride to the ring.
"These streets aren't paved with gold
Don't believe everything that you're told
Deception hides in all you see
Corruption hangs in the air that you breathe"
As he walks down the rampway, he slaps the hands of the fans... stopping at the front of the ring as he jumps in place, psyching himself up.
“Life time slave
Living in a suburban grave
If there was a god
Was a god
You would be the death of him”
He jumps onto the apron... grabbing onto the top rope and moonsaulting over the ropes. As he takes the centre of the ring... he throws his arms up to some cheers here and there from the fans.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, he is the GHOST OF ANN ARBOR and weighs in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and EIGHTY FIVE pounds…CONOR…CADEN!
As his music cuts, he yanks the "I Bury Tanya Black" shirt off and throws it into the crowd... awaiting his opponent.
Eryk Masters: Conor Caden, sending a message to Tanya Black with that T-Shirt.
Other Guy: What is it with the SHOOT roster and T-Shirts recently, first Jonny Johnson then Lionheart and now Conor Caden.
Your fear it moves me.
Your weakness I taste.
I breathe you, I hate you.
You course through my veins.
The lights dim down for a moment and an explosion of pyro signals the entrance of Tanya Black who stands on the stage looking mesmerized for a moment as she soaks in the boos of the fans.
You want me. You love me.
And I hate myself.
I need you, but I hate you.
'Cause I want nothing else.
And I bleed you since I've healed you.
Your pain escapes through me.
'Cause I breathe you, but I hate you.
'Cause they say we could never be.
They can't see.
Die For You continues to play as the arena watches Tanya Black walk to the ring, every step seeming to awaken her more and more, her look going from vacant to determination. Sliding into the ring Tanya Black moves to the middle and holds her arms out to the sides as she leans her head back
It seems the pain's been traded,
Since I pulled you through.
And now my mind's been so jaded.
And I would kill myself for you.
I'd die for you.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, weighing in tonight at ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY FIVE pounds… she is “THE ALPHA FEMALE” TANYA BLACK!
Other Guy: Tanya looks ready to get this one underway.
Eryk Masters: That she does.
Scott Kamura approaches Tanya Black and then Conor Caden explaining the rules as he does every match, before making his way to the centre of the ring and calling for the bell. The two combatants quickly make their way towards eachother and Tanya Black is the first to act with a low kick that connects to the knee area of Caden.
She reaches is trying to take hold of “The Ghost of Ann Arbour” who ducks through and races past Tanya bouncing of the middle rope. Black turns as Caden flies towards her, she drops to the ground to avoid a crossbody attempt, but Conor lands on his feet and springs into action with a front flip Senton down across Tanya’s back.
Other Guy: Conor Caden moves faster than my cat.
Caden front rolls out of the Senton and races towards the ropes hitting them and firing back towards Tanya as she gets to her knees. Conor instantly springs towards her with a falling front drop kick aimed directly towards her face; but Tanya arches to the side causing Caden to miss and slam back first into the centre of the ring. Before Caden can spring back to action Tanya drives an elbow straight down into the solar plexus of “The Ghost of Ann Arbour.”
Eryk Masters: What a well-timed, well-placed elbow by Tanya.
Black then pushes her hands down across Conor’s chest and throws herself up as if to go into a handstand, but instead she swings back down with both knees slamming into Conor’s ribs. Caden rolls away from Tanya holding his ribs in pain, while she promptly stands and makes her approach.
Caden suddenly hops up to his feet and forward out of nowhere throwing a picture perfect Dropkick that takes Black down to the mat. Again Conor is quick to get the momentum going and so he races to the ropes as Black rises.
Eryk Masters: These two are both motion-driven competitors who thrive on connection one move to the other in quick succession.
Caden attempts a Crossbody block for the second time; again Tanya see’s it coming, only this time she leaps towards Caden with her knee raised in a striking motion. The knee connects to Caden’s stomach; however the crossbody still connects and both competitors crash to the mat and roll away from eachother.
Other Guy: Ouch. Tanya hit a nasty knee straight to the stomach of Caden, but in doing so was flattened by the crossbody.
Eryk Masters: I think she was hoping that the knee would have pushed her backwards so she could roll out, but instead Caden’s momentum flattened her. I guess the Twenty Pound weight advantage was enough to ground Black.
Other Guy: With that force from the ropes it would ground anyone.
Both begin to rise, the toll of the elbow and knee attacks to the torso have made Caden just that bit slower on getting back to a vertical base, Tanya not being one to waste an advantage grabs hold of Caden and lifts him up and over with a quick snap Suplex, she rolls still holding onto Caden and lifts him to his feet and back up into the air for a second Suplex. But Caden flips out behind Tanya pulling her straight down back first across his knees with a Back Cracker.
Black slumps forward into the ropes she turns holding onto her back and walks right into spinning wheel kick that drops her to the mat. Caden covers…
Eryk Masters: Too early to end this one.
Conor gets to his feet and backs off into the corner, he sizes Tanya up as she uses the opposing turnbuckle to get back to her feet, with a hop Conor charges as Black with a front splash; Tanya side steps and Conor flies straight towards the turnbuckle pads. But somehow Caden grips onto the top rope either side of the turnbuckle and lands his feet on the middle rope he looks over his shoulder ready to spring back but it’s too late, Black steams in hitting an flurry of forearm shots to the back of Caden’s head.
Eryk Masters: Tanya is taking this one seriously, she came here to fight.
Black turns Conor around, laying him against the turnbuckle where she unloads a burst of palm thrusts and knife edge chops to the chest and body of Conor Caden.
Other Guy: Who does she think she is; E. Honda?
The Alpha Female steps back and turns away from Caden hitting a harsh Mule Kick square to his already hurting mid-section. He slumps to a seated position in the corner of the ropes as Black takes a run up, She then taps down on her knees with a few slaps and points at the groggy Caden.
Other Guy: She’s not going to knee him in the head is she?
Eryk Masters: Why not? It would be the perfect set up to either Tough Love or her submission “Tap Out Bitch.”
Tanya then sprints towards Caden, she is indeed readying herself to knee Caden in the head; but “The Ghost of Ann Arbour” reaches up grabbing the top rope, throws his legs upwards and wrapping them around the head of the charged Miss Black and then swings out and round with a modified Hurricanranna flipping Tanya down onto her back. Caden then rolls to the side holding his rib area, the targeted attacks have more than taken their toll on his body.
Both, a little worse for wear clamber back to a vertical base. Instead of charge at eachother, they begin to circle the ring; clearly trying to figure out the next phase in offence after the quick paced start to the match. Tanya feels out with her hands and then steps in with a headlock on Caden, who pushes out of the hold sending Tanya into the ropes front first, on the rebound Caden hits a dropkick to the back which slumps Tanya across the middle ropes. Caden quickly takes Both of Tanya’s legs lifting them up in the air.
Other Guy: No! He is not going to kick her where I think he is, is he?
Eryk Masters: That would be a low blow OG.
Other Guy: Would it? But she doesn’t have a…Oh. I’ll shut up now.
Tanya kicks a leg free and then falls to the mat landing on her knees she turns and leaps up with a forearm to Caden’s head. He reels back and then throws a low kick to knee area, followed by another and another. Black Falls back down to one knee and then Caden aims a kick straight to her head. She ducks and gets back hastily only to be doubled over with a kick to the mid-section and dropped with a DDT.
Caden is not done there, he takes a hair-full of Tanya and lifts her back up setting up a Suplex, She kicks her legs causing Conor to take a step back towards the ropes, noticing his ring position Caden shifts and attempts to drop Tanya out of the ring, but she slips down over the ropes and lands on the ring apron.
Eryk Masters: Tanya just dodged getting dropped to the outside, that may have ended this match right there.
Caden turns when Tanya reaches forward taking hold of his head an throwing another forearm to the temple, she then smirks pulling Caden in close before dropping off the apron to the floor with a a jaw breaker across the top rope. Conor falls back and Tanya grabs hold of his legs and drags him towards the turnbuckle post, instantly slamming his knee into the post with a thud.
Other Guy: Going after his knees is a smart move.
Eryk Masters: First she targeted his chest, ribs and torso, then the head and now his legs. It looks like Tanya is trying to break down every part of Conor Caden.
Black shakes out the aches and pains from Conor’s chaotic attack styles and then reaches in to grab his legs again, only this time Caden kicks forward his heel hitting Tanya square in the jaw, she falls back into a seated position and clutches her face in pain as Cade begins to get back up.
Tanya pulls herself up by the barricade, but as she does this Caden hits the opposing ropes and runs straight towards her flipping over the top rope and slamming his feet into her face with a flipping senton. Tanya crashes back first into the barricade while Caden slams his back, he arches in pain as he stands, trying to work through it as “Holy Shit” chants fill the arena.
Other Guy: What a move. He just put his body on the line right there.
Eryk Masters: The man considers himself a “Ghost” so to speak, the recklessness comes along with that notion, and despite the landing Tanya came off a lot worse after that one.
Connor rolls Tanya into the ring and then climbs the apron looking down at his fallen opponent with a wild gleam in his eyes. He spring boards with a front flip over the top rope and crashes down across the back of Tanya’s neck and head with a leg drop.
Caden stands quickly, looking down at Tanya who appears to be out of it; he grabs her by the scruff of her neck and attempts to turn her over, maybe looking for a pin attempt or readying to set her up for another high risk manoeuvre.
He takes a hand full of hair when unexpectedly Tanya stands, taking in a second wind she drives a knee straight to his gut and then spins behind him hooking her hands around his waist she attempts a lift but Caden blocks by lowering himself. Being the pro that she is Tanya instantly changes the move and rolls Caden’s legs up into a pin attempt.
Caden rolls backwards and out of the pin attempt leaving both the Referee and the crowd dumbstruck by the kick out. Tanya attempts to rise when Conor flips backwards swinging his foot firmly into Tanya Black’s Jaw Knocking her clean onto her back.
Other Guy: The Haunting! Conor Caden just hit The Hunting!
Caden dives forward down onto Tanya and hooks the leg as Referee Scott Kumara counts the pin.
Samantha Coil: Here is your winner. THE GHOST OF ANN ARBOUR COOOOOOONOR CAAAAAAADEN!!!!!
Scott Kumara raises Conor Caden’s arm in the air as the fans cheer the reckless and exciting young fighter.
Other Guy: A big, big win there for Caden. What do you think is next for him?
Eryk Masters: To rack up a few more big wins like this. He would have caught the eye of the brass here tonight, now he needs to keep them watching him.
With both the expression of loss and agony etched into her face Tanya slowly pulls herself up as Caden gives a wave to the fans and readies to exit the ring. The Alpha Female then reaches out tapping Caden on the shoulder.
Other Guy: She is back up for more. No wonder they call her “The Alpha Female.”
Caden spins around, only to be greeted by an outstretched hand. Tanya nods at him and waves her hand out to him again, offering him a sign of respect and a handshake.
Eryk Masters: What a show of respect from Black.
Caden nods, knowing that Tanya brought it to him tonight and the two fighters shake hands in the middle of the ring as the fans shower them with cheers and adoration. Caden then exits the ring leaving Tanya to collect her thoughts and catch her breath after hard fought battle.
We open to the dim confines of the fire-damaged skybox that sits at the top of the Epicenter overlooking the stands below, and the first thing that dominates the frame is Entragian’s face. His teeth are gritted, his eyes practically DRIP with poison, and it seems that almost every fiber of his being is tensed with infernal anger. He stares out at the sea of fans and the ring far below…almost like he’s waiting for something.
Gaunt sniffles in the corner like a spoiled child with a nasty boo boo. She’s curled up on a tattered leather couch, and a black handkerchief has been carefully tied around a portion of her lower belly, obscuring the mark of Corazon from view.
Two figures enter through the doorway, one of them the gigantic form of Obsidian…and the other is Danny Evers with his Deviant mask held in one hand. Obsidian has one arm draped across Danny’s shoulders, and he gestures towards Isaac. Evers looks forward for a moment, steeling himself, and then he steps towards the center of the skybox. Obsidian remains in the shadows of the doorframe, leaning up against it with his arms crossed at his chest.
Entragian turns around slowly, white hair hanging about his features. He marks Evers with his gaze, the albino’s breathing harsh and dragon-like.
Entragian: Come closer, boy.
Danny’s grip on his mask tightens, but he follows Isaac’s instructions and steps closer to him.
Entragian: Obsidian tells me of your interest…in this family. He tells me you’re all alone…lost and forgotten…wandering the hallways of SHOOT Project with no particular destination in mind. And yet…your wanderings have lead you to me. That means something, does it not?
Evers looks about to speak, but Isaac presses a finger to his pallid lips.
Entragian: You’re a broken thing, Danny. I can see that much in your eyes. But you’re fixable. Through me…through SCAR…you have the means to repair yourself. Your engine needs an upgrade, that’s all. You need a GOAL and PURPOSE to pour yourself into with all of your heart and soul. I can give you that…
Evers cocks his head to the side, questioning. Isaac’s nostrils flare, and a hateful smile stretches across his mouth.
Entragian: You were a Vanguard man once…a long time ago. Much like Erick, you used to run alongside Adrian Corazon in that group. You know his strengths…and you know his weaknesses. Who better…to bring the Baddest Man Alive to his knees?
Evers drops his head for a moment as he thinks back to his days as Deviant in the Vanguard.
Entragian: I want you to HUNT him down, Evers. SNIFF him out…wherever he may be hiding. Track him through every shadowed hallway and every narrow passageway the Epicenter has to offer. FIND HIM…and make him suffer. You don’t stop…until the job is done. If you don’t find him tonight…you keep looking…keep hunting on Dominion too…DO NOT STOP…until you find him.
Isaac looms over Evers, inching closer and closer.
Entragian: See her? (Isaac points to the sniffling Gaunt in the corner) She’s to be your sister soon. You’ll need to do your part in AVENGING her. In this family called SCAR…we approach our problems collectively as a unit. We eradicate our problems as a family. We do what we must…to ensure the continued survival of our kindred.
Evers looks up…his eyes sparkling at the thought of a family of likeminded souls. The chance to not be alone…to rise above the level of a broken man. It…inspires something within him.
Entragian: You will be my instrument, Danny Evers. A weapon forged by my hand and aimed at the heart of my Brutal and Inhuman adversary. I will ABORT Corazon’s vengeance before it even takes shape…I will PULL it away from him like a half-formed fetus…I will toss it into the toilet…I will take a SHIT on it…and then I will flush it. This motherfucker will LEARN what it means to make a play against me…and YOU will teach him the error of his ways.
Isaac reaches out with a pale hand, and he grips the back of Danny’s neck firmly. He pulls the man close until their eyes are inches apart.
Entragian: This is your initiation into Project: SCAR, Evers. This is your cross to bear and your deed to accomplish. Bring Corazon to me…BLEEDING and HUMBLED…because that’s the way I like him. You’ll make him kneel before me. You’ll dig your claws into his scalp and hold his hair back just long enough for me to pull out my cock…and PISS on his smirking face.
The rage in Isaac’s voice practically THRUMS through his vocal cords, his eyes bulging from dark hollows. He looks over Danny’s shoulder for a moment, his gaze falling on Obsidian in the doorway.
Entragian: And when that’s done? We drive this fucking charbroiled SON OF A BITCH out into the Mojave; we dump him in the dirt…and leave him for dead. The vultures can peck off his balls, and rest assured, carrion birds don’t give a FLYING FUCK how BAD you think you are…because to them? You’re just meat.
That’s his future. That’s his fate. He gets the Jonas Coleman treatment.
Obsidian says nothing in the doorway, but he nods his head silently at these words.
Isaac’s eyes float downwards, and they alight on the metal mask held in Danny’s hand. Isaac holds his own hand outward…the pale fingers beckoning.
Entragian: May I?
Danny pauses for a moment…and then he places his Deviant mask into Isaac’s hand. The albino brings it up, and he examines the cold surface…his fingertips exploring the hard grooves and emotionless features.
Entragian: This…is your TRUE face, Danny. It’s the face of a man with a clear cut path in life. The face of a man worthy of SCAR’s embrace. This is the face I want Corazon to see when you break him. I want his own desperation…his own faults…to be reflected back into his eyes when he glares at this mask.
Isaac places the mask back into Evers hand, even going so far as to fold them overtop the surface of it.
Entragian: Find him, Evers. And return to me….as my brother.
This last line seems to embolden Evers even more…and quite slowly he brings the Deviant mask up to his face, placing it over his features so that only the impassive visage remains. He turns to the door, and Obsidian leads him out.
Isaac sighs through gritted teeth, and he goes to sit back down on the tattered couch. Gaunt crawls over to him and lays her head down in his lap, and the albino strokes her hair casually…petting her like an animal he’s especially fond of.
The shot goes backstage, where Chance Ryan can be seen walking the halls frantically. The fans let out a small cheer at seeing him on the tron.
Chance Ryan: Jay! Jay Sky!
Chance stops in the middle of the hall and throws a door open, looking in before slamming it closed.
Chance Ryan: This isn't funny, Jay!
Chance continues looking down the hall, and even stops a member of the crew.
Chance Ryan: Randy, have you seen Jay Sky?
Randy: Uhm, no man, sorry.
Chance Ryan: Maaaan, our match is coming up soon. Listen, if you see him will you tell him to hurry up?
Randy: Uhh, sure thing man.
Chance pats Randy on the shoulder and nods.
Chance Ryan: You're a good man.
With that, Chance turns and continues his search down the halls.
Chance Ryan: Jay! Jay Sky!
Eryk Masters: What's going on, OG? Why's Chance looking for Jay?
Other Guy: Maybe Jay got cold feet? I don't know, why are you asking me?
Eryk Masters: Next match we have features one of our newer signees going up against one of our favorite SHOOT journeymen.
Other Guy: Whoa whoa whoa… “features?”
Eryk Masters: This should be an interesting contest, with an old school Southern brawler in Hank Gordon facing the classic Greco-Roman technical wrestling ability of Logan Caine.
Other Guy: Caine hasn’t said a word since losing to Dapper Don Hollywood on Revolution 110. My money’s on him getting discouraged.
Eryk Masters: He could’ve been busy.
Other Guy: Of course he was busy. Busy crying.
“America is Not the World” by Morrissey plays over the Epicenter speakers. The 6’4” technician walks out onto the stage with the crowd quiet, but respectful.
Samantha Coil: The following match is one fall with a ten minute time limit! Entering first, from Pahrump, Nevada, weighing 243 pounds, Logan Caine!
Caine walks quickly to the ring, with no fanfare requested or given aside from a couple of old fans in the third row on the east-facing side of the ring.
Other Guy: Alright, say I’m Logan Caine. What do I have to do to win?
Eryk Masters: Hammerin’ Hank, of course, knows how to wrestle. He’s got the power advantage, by a wide margin, but his mat skills aren’t enough to contend with someone like Logan Caine. Caine has to get Gordon on the mat and keep him grounded
As Logan Caine enters the ring, Lynyrd Skynyrd takes over the audio with “Give Me Back My Bullets.”
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, from Harrisonburg, Virginia, weighing 337 pounds… Henry Gordon!
The crowd is more appreciative of Hank Gordon with the cheering. Hammerin’ Hank jumps out from behind the entrance curtains wearing his muscle shirt.
Other Guy: Please tell me why people like this man. Don’t people usually like winners?
Eryk Masters: He’s won two pay-per-view matches—
Other Guy: So when there’s more money on the line he tries hard? Is that the lesson he’s teaching children?
Eryk Masters: I’m not saying that Henry Gordon can’t do better. Hank knows that he’s got a lot to prove. He’s said that himself, he wants to prove it to himself. Gordon knows that he doesn’t have the same training or experience, but he wants to defeat a man like Logan Caine to show that his shortcomings aren’t written in stone.
Hank Gordon climbs into the ring and spins around, pointing out to the sides of the ring and the crowd. The muscle shirt has tears in the fabric at spots.
Other Guy: Is the tattered shirt coming back into style?
Gordon proceeds to tear off the shirt.
Other Guy: Ah.
The referee calls for the bell, with the match starting. Logan Caine approaches. Henry Gordon begins as a house on fire, charging in with a clothesline. Caine puts his arms up, catching much the impact on the forearms but the force driving him back into the corner. Gordon rushes in again and looses another clothesline, sandwiching Caine with his legs flopping into the air. Hammerin’ Hank grabs Logan’s right arm, pulling him out of the corner and into a shortarm clothesline. Gordon maintains a hold on the wrist and yanks Caine back to his feet, using a pushing clothesline to back Caine into the ropes before whipping him off and rebounding himself, catching Logan Caine with one more thunderous clothesline to the roar of the crowd!
Eryk Masters: Listen to this crowd! They’re really behind Hank Gordon here with that series of devastating clotheslines!
Other Guy: Now if Gordon could just find a way to incorporate that clothesline into his day-to-day life. He could run seminars.
Eryk Masters: “How I Solved All My Problems and Found Happiness with a Sweet Clothesline.”
Other Guy: Nah. Has to be catchier. “Henry Gordon’s Clothesline Your Life!”
Logan Caine rolls to the ropes, trying to get out of the ring, but Henry Gordon catches him and pulls him up, backing him into the corner with a strong series of punches. As he’s winding up for the heavy blow, Referee Willie Dean tells Gordon to back away with the DQ count. Caine uses the opening to throw a double-legged mule kick to separate the two. Henry Gordon falls backward, popping back up in time to duck a retaliatory lariat from Logan Caine. Caine turns around in time to catch the last moment of Henry Gordon spitting into his palm and unleashing a thunderous right hand!
Other Guy: Caine dropped like an old guy’s testicles on a hot day!
Eryk Masters: Why on earth would that seem like something that needed saying?
Hank Gordon brings Logan Caine back to his feet and locks his arms around the opponent, lifting and spinning with a side belly-to-belly suplex that sees Gordon falling onto Caine!
Eryk Masters: Wow! Caine just got splattered like a Rocky Road ice cream cone!
Other Guy: I TOLD you, I’d pay you back.
Eryk Masters: Still waiting.
Gordon makes the pinning cover.
Logan Caine somehow kicks out!
Other Guy: Caine’s hanging in there.
Eryk Masters: Against a very motivated Henry Gordon. This has been all Hammerin’ Hank from the bell.
Henry Gordon pulls the nearly unconscious Logan Caine to his feet and shoves him into the corner. Caine finds himself seated on the top turnbuckle, where Henry Gordon hooks him for a Muscle Buster and driven into the canvas with a running Master Blaster Busteroo!
Eryk Masters: There’s the finish! And Henry Gordon with an aggressively deep hook of the legs!
The three taps of the ring bell signals the successful pinfall by a very dominant Hank Gordon.
Samantha Coil: The winner of this match by pinfall… Henry Gordon!
Eryk Masters: The Hankster did it! Logan Caine just couldn’t get anything going for himself tonight.
Other Guy: And Gordon finally gets his arm raised on a regular show.
After the referee raises Gordo’s hand, Hank heads to the corner and steps up to the second rope, pounding his chest before raising the fist into the air again.
Eryk Masters: Gordon is happy with himself with the win, as well he should be.
Other Guy: Let’s not forget Logan Caine, who took that beating with poise and professionalism.
Eryk Masters: Sometimes it’s just not your night.
We’re backstage with Loco Martinez. He’s walking casually through the halls, but something, or more importantly someONE catches his eye. His gate quickens as he approaches Dan Stein, walking with Molly, his Assistant, and Maximus Clementine Fanjita III. He shouts out sarcastically.
Loco Martinez: THERE HE IS!
Stein turns to see Loco walking briskly his direction. He smirks cockily.
Dan Stein: Jay. Long time no see. Last time we met on Revolution well...
Loco Martinez: You were being “viciously attacked”. After I went out of my way to beg you to stick around SHOOT.
Dan Stein: Yeah. Thanks for that, by the way. Your words really touched me.
Loco Martinez: And thank YOU for coming to my birthday party. It meant a LOT.
The sarcasm hangs heavy in the air as Stein puts a closed fist to his heart, softly, then flashes a dickbaggy smirk. Loco shakes his head negatively.
Loco Martinez: I don’t know why I was surprised when you jumped Donovan the next night. I really should have seen that coming. And? I meant those words, and I’m STILL happy you’re not going anywhere. Its just NOW I’m happy to be one of the millions sitting back and watching King kick your ass sixteen ways to Sunday at Master of the Mat.
Dan Stein: Make sure that seat is real comfy, bro. Because in four weeks after I “do my thing”, I’m YOUR new SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion.
Loco Martinez: Who knows, Dan? I’m sure stranger things have happened. And you know? If you “do your thing”, and I “do my thing” in the Master of the Mat tourney? Maybe I won’t have to live vicariously through a Dan Stein ass kicking!
Loco Martinez: Oh, and as far as future Dan Stein ass kickings? Donovan King is NOT your only worry.
T.Rex hears this and smiles huge and slaps Stein on the shoulder like a long lost friend. Stein shrugs off the faux friendly gesture and turns with a vicious glare.
T.Rex: Fuggin’ A, right.
Dan Stein: Hey, please. By all means, make it easier on us than a crazy Flay and Kenji match. IF you two can manage to roll your fat asses past SCAR? At YOUR ages Sex and Violence comes with a strongly worded warning from our Surgeon General. Even if you two arm yourselves with a bottle of Viagra and a barbed wire wrapped AK-47? I can assure you Sex and Violence will be incredibly detrimental to your health.
Arch Angel: Gotta give you all the credit in the world, Danny. You’ve done a superb juggling act. You got and held those tag titles with Napalm all the while you’re running, full speed, chasing the World Championship. We’re fixin’ to get those tag championships back around the waist of a TEAM. Two men fighting with one another... FOR one another. No visions of the next big opportunity to chase. You two jumped on that opportunity and have done a helluva job... I tip my cap. Give the devils their due. You two made more of a random pairing than a lot of people would ever imagine possible, but it will be our pleasure to step into that ring with you two and free you of that burden. It will be OUR pleasure to free YOU so you can chase King’s Crown.
Stein pats the tag team championship belt on his shoulder.
Dan Stein: By all means, Sexy Re-
T.Rex growls as steps up, putting a finger in Stein’s face. Stein is taken aback and grimaces at the overweight man.
Dan Stein: You must be THE Sexy Rexy. Here’s a little “pro-tip” from your World Tag Team Champion and fitness guru: lay off the carbs, fat man.
Stein blows out his cheeks, immitating a chipmunk. He moves to pat the two men on the shoulder, but stops himself about half way, closing his hands and pulling them back.
Dan Stein: All that I’m trying to say, is if you two geriatrics want to step into the ring with The Golden Boy and The Violence Savior, we won’t say no. You’ll have won your shot fair and square. (Stein shrugs.) Plus, Johnny is always up for an ass whoopin’, and Dan Stein, well...Dan Stein can always enjoy another win to add to his record.
T.Rex: And if you’re so worried about weight? We’ll be fuggin’ glad to lighten you up, I hear that final 10 pounds is the hardest to lose. (T.Rex eyeballs Stein’s title, lustily) Pretty boy like you? I know how that extra weight can be a career killer. First your agencies stop calling ya, next thing ya know you’re working the pole.
Stein winces and points at T.Rex, lip curled in disgust at the thought of T.Rex working a pole.
Dan Stein: Terrifying.
Dan shakes his head and shudders at the thought, smirks at Arch Angel. He grips the belt on his shoulder tightly, scanning the faces of the men in front of him.
Dan Stein: Hey, look at this. All three of you (gestures at the trio), threatening me? When was the last time that happened for you? When was the last time someone came to you wanting what you had?
Loco unsubtley “adjusts himself”. The boys of Anarchy chuckle. Stein smirks at Loco.
Dan Stein: See you much, much later, geezers.
Stein fires a finger pistol at Loco, complete with mouthing the “pew” noise as he backs away leaving the trio. We cut away.
We find ourselves outside of the epicenter... there are plenty of people loitering outside... and as soon as the camera is spotted, they burst out in cheers. It isn't long before the camera stumbles upon two figures around the side of the arena. Conor Caden is wearing his black wrestling tights, ghost written down the pants leg. He wears a black hoodie, his white generic mask situated on top of his head. And the other figure is Art De Luca. Art is dressed in a black "GHOST OF ANN ARBOR" T-shirt and pink short shorts... his dark curly hair tucked behind his ears. In his hands he holds three signs...
Conor Caden: Got the signs ready?
Art De Luca pulls them up in front of his face... he drops his hands and laughs.
Art De Luca: Dude, I appreciate the ticket... like something serious. I haven't been in the Epicenter in... well since the last time I buried Jun Kenshin.
Conor Caden: You lost that match, Art.
Art De Luca: ...did I really? I really do need to stop smoking weed.
Conor just nods, smirking.
Conor Caden: You ready to whore me out, dude?
Art grins, shrugging.
Art De Luca: Whoring... kind of comes naturally for me.
Conor Caden: That's no surprise, Art.
Art grabs the signs, turning and facing the crowds of people towards the entrance of the arena.
Art De Luca: Well I'd love to talk and all, but I've got some promoting to do, broheim.
And in a flash, Art De Luca runs towards the courtyard outside of the arena... his pink short shorts garnering plenty of laughs. He holds a sign high that says "GIVE CONOR A PUSH, PLZ"... screaming incoherent sentences that are probably praising Conor... or atleast that's what he assumes.
He runs circle after circle around the crowd of people... screaming at the top of his lungs.
Art De Luca: GHOST GHOST GHOST GHOST GHOST!!!!!
Conor laughs as he watches from the corner, a permanent smirk etched on his face.
Conor Caden: Holy shit, I need new friends...
He slips through the back entrance of the arena and disappears from sight.
Samantha Coil: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall, with a 20 minute time limit!
The Epicenter begins to buzz with excitement when all of a sudden the SHOOT Tron shows a highly pixelated Buck Dresden in a fighting stance against Chance Ryan. Suddenly, he punches Chance before he is picked up by a pixelated Magnus and the two of them hit the ELE on Ryan while a smaller pixelated Jay Sky is shown crying in the background.
Then, “Street Fighter II Theme” begins to play, and the fans begin their booing as Buck Dresden appears, dressed in a green tank top and camo pants with Charles Brandon Magnus behind him, dressed in a red military uniform with a black cloak billowing behind him.
Eryk Masters: Oh…oh no.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first, the team of Buck Dresden and Charles Brandon Magnus! They are the BAD! ASS! BROOOOOOOOTHERHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!
CBM and Buck make their way down the ramp and uniformly shake their heads at their introduction and point at Samantha Coil, with CBM shouting for her to "do it again, and better this time!"
Samantha Coil: I...
Samantha sighs and looks over at the broadcast booth for a little back up.
Other Guy: Don't look at me.
Samantha sighs again and shakes her head before raising the microphone.
Samantha Coil: Introducing first! The team of "the Bluegrass Bad Ass" BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK DREEEEEEEEEEESDENNNNNNNNNNNNNN! And CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLES! BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANDONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGNUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUS!
The Bad Ass Brotherhood nod their heads in approval as the fans boo louder. They step into the ring as their music fades out, being replaced by Shinedown's "Bully," eliciting a fair amount of cheers from the crowd. Chance Ryan steps out from the back with a microphone in his hand, looking over his shoulder every other step in hopes that Jay Sky will suddenly appear.
Samantha Coil: And their opponents, fir--
Suddenly, the microphone is ripped out of Samantha Coil's hands by CBM, and the music is suddenly cut off. Chance Ryan starts storming down the ramp, shouting about them disrespecting Samantha.
Charles Brandon Magnus: That won't be necessary, Coil. Hey. Hey Chance! Look behiiiiiiiind yoooooooou!
Chance stops in the middle of the ramp to look over his shoulder and up at the SHOOT-Tron, as a shaky video begins to play, with Buck Dresden's voice immediately behind it.
Buck Dresden: Stay at home and be a family man stay at home and be a family man stay at home and be a family man…
Charles Brandon Magnus: Relax, Buck. Just follow my lead.
CBM is seen stepping in front of the video feed, possibly done on an iPhone, as it appears they're walking through the halls of the Epicenter.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Okay. Here goes!
CBM stops in front of the catering door and turns to smile for the camera. He opens the door and turns again, revealing a huge grin before he steps in, Buck and iPhone right behind him, the feed showing right over CBM's shoulder is Jay Sky, sitting with his back turned and eating. Completely unaware of the imminent danger lurking behind him, that is until CBM grabs Jay by the back of his hair and yanks it back, forcing him to look up at him
Charles Brandon Magnus: Hello Jay! A new fighter has entered the arena!
Buck Dresden: I think that's the wrong game, Chuck!
Jay suddenly grabs his plate and throws it up into CBM's face in an attempt to fight back, causing a cheer from the live crowd, but that is quickly snuffed out with jeers as Buck's foot can be seen rising into the action to drive into the back of Jay's head! Jay's foot smashes down onto the table from the force of the kick and food flies everywhere.
Eryk Masters: Those sons of bitches!
Chance Ryan turns around on the ramp and starts storming down the ramp, but Buck quickly raises his hand and points at the Tron, as it shows CBM pulling Jay off of the table, flipping the table up to lean against the wall. Magnus throws Jay into the table and SPEARS him through the table!
Buck Dresden: PSYCHO DRIVER! Chuck Chuck Chuck! My turn!
The screen is jostled as Buck hands the phone to Magnus, who shows Buck picking Jay up from the ground and throwing him against the wall. Jay, dazed, can't fight back as Buck grabs two metal eating trays and lines up in front of Jay and…
Buck Dresden: SOOOOOONIIIIIIIIIIIC BOOOOOOOM!!!!
Guile Dresden SLAMS both trays into both sides of Jay's head! Jay Sky lies crumbled in a heap as CBM turns back to the iPhone with a grin on his face, despite a little bit of mashed potatoes on his cheek. The feed on the Tron dies, as CBM raises the microphone to his mouth once more in the ring.
Charles Brandon Magnus: Looks like we finally found Jay, Chance.
Buck Dresden: GO HOME AND BE A FAMILY MAN!
Buck and CBM start to laugh as Chance looks Dennis Heflin in the eyes, lifting his own microphone.
Chance Ryan: I was going to use this to call for Jay, but now...now I can use it to say this. Ring the bell.
Chance drops the microphone as the Epicenter cheers! Chance sprints down the ramp and slides into the ring as the bell sounds! Buck Dresden and Charles Brandon Magnus move to meet Chance as he pushes to his feet and catches Buck with a right jab before weaving under CBM's own attempt at a cross and responds with a left hook to CBM's cheek!
Other Guy: Looks like Chance isn't going to just give up!
Eryk Masters: He seems pretty determined to even the score with the Bad Ass Brotherhood, I'll give him that, but how long can he hold up with these numbers?
Despite the well-placed blows, neither member of BAB goes down from it and CBM ducks under Chance's next punch and quickly grabs both of his legs, entangling them so that Buck can catch Chance with a hard big boot to the side of the head, sending him to the canvas! Heflin shouts for one member of BAB to get out of the ring as CBM gets to his feet and both he and Buck begin to stomp down on Chance's body.
Eryk Masters: The official needs to restore order if Chance is going to even have a chance of surviving this!
Other Guy: Who're you telling?
Buck finally puts his hands up and lets Dennis Heflin guide him to a corner, albeit slowly so that CBM can drop to the canvas and place both hands on Chance's neck, choking him furiously! As soon as Buck is out of the ring and Heflin turns around, CBM stops choking and turns his body to cover Chance for a pin attempt with the fans booing loudly at them!
Chance kicks out, shoving CBM off of him, and the fans cheer loudly!
Other Guy: That was a defiant kick out from Chance Ryan!
Eryk Masters: He's not done yet!
CBM looks down at Chance with bewilderment before reaching to pull him up, but Chance slaps CBM's hands out of the way and comes up to scoop CBM into the air and turns, driving CBM down into the canvas with a hard spinebuster!
Chance with a sudden offensive explosion!
Chance pushes to his feet explosively as the fans cheer loudly, getting behind him! CBM slowly pushes to his own feet, clutching his lower back as he turns around and swings as soon as he spots Chance, but Chance ducks under the wild swing and hooks CBM in a waistlock, snapping back with a German suplex, and bridges!
Other Guy: I didn't see that coming, and I'm guessing neither did Charles Brandon Magnus!
CBM doesn't get a chance to try and kick out as Buck Dresden runs into the ring and drops an elbow on Chance's exposed chest, roughly breaking the bridge! Chance coughs as CBM gets to his feet and tags in Buck, who happily steps back into the ring, legally this time.
Other Guy: Chance hasn't recovered from that elbow drop yet, this could be bad!
Eryk Masters: That look in Buck's eyes says it's going to be!
Buck looks down at Chance with a menacing smirk before pulling Chance up by what little hair he has on the top of his head before drilling him with a right elbow smash to the side of the head! Chance rocks back and Buck quickly grabs his left wrist, twisting under the arm he pulls Chance into a short arm clothesline and follows Chance down into a lateral press, hooking the outside leg!
Eryk Masters: Chance could be in big trouble here!
Chance kicks out, shoving Buck's body off of his, though not as hard as before.
Other Guy: They're starting to wear Chance down, I can see it!
Buck paintbrushes the back of Chance's head as he starts to try to get to his feet before grabbing his wrist and helping him up the rest of the way. Buck twists under Chance's arm and whips him off the ropes, but Chance reverses the whip and sends Buck off the ropes instead! Chance rushes in to catch him on the rebound with a clothesline, but Buck ducks under it and continues running! CBM tags Buck's back as Buck rebounds off again, this time running right into a roaring Polish Hammer!
Eryk Masters: Hammer of Justice!
Other Guy: But it doesn't matter! Look out!
Chance starts to go for a cover, unaware that the tag was made, and CBM takes full advantage of it as he runs into the ring and kicks Chance right in the temple! Chance collapses in a heap as CBM pulls him to his feet forcefully, the fans booing loudly! CBM shouts for Buck to get up before lifting Chance up and hitting him with an inverted atomic drop, holding on for a sort of bearhug to keep Chance in place as Buck stumbles to his feet and shakes the cobwebs off. Buck spots CBM holding Chance and rushes in, swinging his right arm right over CBM's ducking head for a massive Lariat that drives Chance into the canvas with a thud!
Other Guy: That Lariat just took Chance's head off!
Eryk Masters: He's out of it!
Dennis Heflin forces Buck out of the ring, as CBM covers Chance, shouting for Heflin to get back to his "real job!" Heflin turns and slides into position to make the count!
Chance kicks out, receiving a huge ovation of cheers for staying in the fight!
Eryk Masters: Chance Ryan continues to earn the respect of the SHOOT Project faithful!
Other Guy: If only he can find a way to use that energy and mount some meaningful offense!
CBM pulls Chance to his feet and pulls him right into position for a suplex, hoisting him up he suddenly drops the big man with a thunderous brainbuster and once again covers him, hooking both legs!
Chance kicks out again, pushing CBM's body away roughly but just barely! The fans cheer louder!
Other Guy: How much more can he take?!
Eryk Masters: That's a valid question! One can only be dropped on his head so many times before it begins taking a very real toll!
CBM slaps the canvas angrily, shouting at Heflin to pick up the pace of his count before pulling Chance to his feet again and pulling him right into a standing head scissors. CBM shouts down at him.
Charles Brandon Magnus: YOU WANNA BE LIKE JAY, IS THAT IT?
CBM starts to pull Chance up for a powerbomb, but struggles with the deadweight as Chance falls to both of his knees limply. CBM chuckles and pulls Chance up forcefully back in proper position and this time starts to lift him into the air before Chance kicks his legs and puts his feet back down on the mat! Chance suddenly lurches upward, sending CBM over his back with a back body drop, and Chance falls back to the canvas cradling his head!
Eryk Masters: There's still something left in the tank!
Other Guy: But how much?!
Chance starts slapping the canvas with his hands as CBM turns and starts crawling to his corner! Chance starts to push to his feet as the fans cheer, rallying him on! CBM crawls closer to his corner! CBM slaps Buck's outstretched hand, and Buck steps into the ring, rushing right at Chance, who turns to meet Buck with an uplifted elbow, sending Buck stumbling backwards instead!
Eryk Masters: Perhaps enough!
Chance shakes his head and rushes at Buck, driving him down to the canvas with a clothesline just as CBM starts to rush at him! Chance catches CBM with a clothesline as well, sending him back to the canvas! Buck is back to his feet and he catches Chance from behind with a waistlock, but as CBM starts to get to his feet Chance quickly reverses the waistlock into one of his own and shoves Buck forward to collide with CBM, the two of them bumping heads!
Other Guy: I'm not sure how, but Chance somehow found a way to have a shot at winning this!
Buck stumbles backwards as CBM falls through the ropes! Chance rolls Buck up form behind with a schoolboy!
Buck kicks out! Chance pushes to his feet and turns to help Buck as CBM starts to get back into the ring. Dennis Heflin moves to intercept CBM, and Buck thrusts his arm straight up into Chance's groin with a fierce low blow, doubling him over! Buck grabs Chance by the head and quickly drills him with the BUCK SHOT!
Eryk Masters: Oh come on! Not like that!
The fans boo loudly as CBM stops fighting Heflin and gets out of the ring, with Buck pinning Chance with just one foot.
Other Guy: Just like that, and with such clear disrespect, pinning the man with one foot on his chest!
Dennis Heflin calls for the bell, as Buck Dresden raises his hands in the air! Charles Brandon Magnus gets in the ring with him, as "Voodoo Child” by Kenny Wayne Shepard starts up, together they raise their hands in victory!
Samantha Coil: And your winners, at a time of 15 Minutes and 17 seconds! The Bad! Ass! BROTHERHOOD!
Buck and CBM both look down at Chance, saying something that can't be heard before CBM reaches down and smacks Chance across the face and the two laugh before starting to get out of the ring, being showered with jeers and even some litter.
Backstage Loco Martinez is sitting on a training table. A familiar looking blonde female trainer is staring at Loco's hastily taped ankle.
Trainer: I know I've told you before...
Loco looks down guiltily.
Loco Martinez: I shouldn't tape myself up.
Trainer: No. Just your ankles. You can tape your wrists and fists, but especially your right ankle that can be equal parts surgical steel, arthritis, and actual ankle? Yeah let US do that one.
Loco Martinez: But it hasn't felt so good in forever. PLUS, its feels extra Game of Thrones-y to be like *Puts on a royal affectation* ... YOU! GIRL! TAPE MY ANKLES! Chop-chop.
The trainer chuckles as she begins cutting off his tape job.
Trainer: Sure its not the "I'm a MAN! I know best! I do it my OWN Self".
Loco Martinez: Ha. Ha. Ha. As an admitted momma's boy? I can assure you she would NOT stand for me to be THAT chauvinistic.
The door to the training room opens and we hear a familiar voice.
"What's up Tag Team Guy?"
Although the remark is a bit backhanded, the tone is friendly. JONNY JOHNSON, dressed in street clothes. (You know, skinny jeans, hip T-shirt from a band no one's heard of and red converse) beams as he approaches long time friend, and on-again-off-again nemesis.
Jonny: Big night, man. You feelin' good or what?
He looks at the trainer, who has stopped doing her job after the interuption.
Jonny: What are his chances? We talkin' leukemia bad or what?
She smiles and shakes her head.
Trainer: I'll let you guys catch up. (To Loco) Don't TOUCH the ankle.
Loco smirks and throws his hands up innocently, clearly getting the message.
Loco Martinez: Just trying to make sure all my limbs stay attached tonight, Mr. Big Shot Record Executive!
Jonny chuckles and walks up to Loco, the two men doing a quick handshake-into-hug move. The SHOOT Project hall-of-famer follows with a pat on the shoulder, backs a step away and shakes his head in disbelief.
Jonny: Two-Thousand, Thirteen and Loco Martinez and Jonny Johnson are still doing this horseshit, man. Heh.
Loco Martinez: Yeah.... who'da thunk it? Hell, maybe you and me ride a wave of nostalgia all the way to the finals? We can have ourselves that big time one on one Pay Per View clash that always seemed to evade us.
Jonny seems fond of that idea as he nods enthusiastically.
Jonny: I could definitely dig that, man. (Having another idea, shrugging) Orr... maybe we both lose out like a couple of idiots, stop this singles nonsense and teach some of these tag-team goons they have here how the FUCK it's done. Beautiful Insanity? Stellar People? Hahaha... Stellar People, dude. I will totally be in that tag team with you.
Loco Martinez: Well I lack the last name for us to be "Stellar" anything. So We could be Insane People... Insanely Beautiful.... Beautiful Insanity... or the least popular according to a Harris Interactive Poll, "Insanity People".
The smiles continue, though Jonny changes pace a little bit, realizing Loco probably wants to finish getting ready.
Jonny: Well, look... There's uh... There's nothing special about me being here. "Creative" didn't have anything for me, so... hopefully you don't mind the segment crash. (Turning toward the camera, giving a quick two finger salute) Dorks at home! (Back to Loco) But, in all earnest, man... Good luck tonight and uhhh... See ya in the finals, okay?
Loco Martinez: You know it! Hey, don't be a stranger... oh and don't be stingy with free demos and CDs and stuff. As a fellow audiophile who enjoys him some indie rock? I'm not above having you hook me up with Coachella's "next big thing"!
He points at Martinez and nods.
Jonny: Dude, of course. My boys in Lindsay are gonna be doing a shit ton of shows in the next month. Killed it at a small show in Planet Hollywood and we got lucky... Some bookers caught wind and, yeah. West Coast tour man. If you're down for a quick trip, they're in San Diego for three shows this weekend.
Loco Martinez: Yeah man. Let me know. Sounds good.
It's a very rare sight in the SHOOT Project that two men would shake hands, say hey, wish goodluck, and leave without any controversy. But this is one of those times. A moment in between wars, while the fires of hell are kept at bay beneath the surface.
Jonny gives a final wave and a nod of his own.
Jonny: Awesome. I guess then... heh... see ya in about a month.
He turns around and pushes through the training-room door, leaving Loco to his own pre-match devices.
A moment in between wars...
...Is ONLY a moment.
Not even a second passes after the door closes behind Jonny before he is BLASTED WITH AN ALL OUT ASSAULT!!! HE FALLS TO THE TILED FLOOR and takes a very ERRANT, brutal KICK to the side of the head!!! Jonny spits out a mouthful of blood and groans, only half conscious.
Kneeling next to him, entering the shot.
Decked to the nines in a black Savile Road suit with a deep purple skinny tie, Lionheart removes his sunglasses and checks to make sure his Rolex is still in order. Satisifed, he turns his attention to Jonny, while a chorus of shocked BOOS can be heard from the crowd watching live at the Epicenter.
Valentine: I've heard good things, Jonny. Glowing reviews, even. I merely thought I would take this time to introduce myself; and here we are, face to face. My name is Valentine Lionheart and I will be your next opponent.
He puts his hand out in an attempt to shake Jonny's but then quickly pulls back.
Valentine: Silly me. It seems you are not the handshaking type.
He clears his throat.
Valentine: Anyway, I figured I'd take the initiative and make sure we got acquainted. So we could avoid all the tape-watching nonsense and really focus on Master of the Mat. I'm very focused, Jonny. And hopefully, when you wake up from this unfortunate nap...
You are too.
Lionheart stands up and leaves Jonny alone with only the echo of his footsteps.
Eryk Masters: Well, next up we’re going back to the most basic of instincts for our SHOOT Project Soldiers, folks.
Other Guy: I love that movie!
Eryk Masters: What?
Other Guy: Basic Instinct. Awesome flick.
Eryk Masters: Yea. I guess. Anyway, folks, next up, we’ve got a four way match. There’s no title on the line. It’s not for any number one contendership. It’s a simple concept. Shut up and fight.
Other Guy: And with the four Soldiers involved in this one, it’s going to be interesting, to say the least.
Ohhh, oh-oh-oh-ohhhhh, o-o-o-o-o-ohhh
I'll get him hot; show him what I've got...
As raucous booing fills the arena, a burst of dark pink fireworks light up the top of the ramp while the chorus to Lady Gaga's Poker Face plays.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is a fatal four way Shut Up and Fight match! Introducing first, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, she is “Twenty Minutes of Terror” LAURA SEEETOOON!!!
Laura appears through the smoke and stands amidst it.
... Can't read my poker face...
She's got me like nobody.
As the smoke clears, we see a shiver of intensity run through her head and neck before she steps out of the smoke and towards the ring. Her wrestling gear is a tight black, shiny leather top to go with an even tighter set of shiny, dark pink leather pants and black almost knee-high boots.
Other Guy: Have I mentioned how much I really hate this woman?
Eryk Masters: Once or twice. But, whether anyone loves or hates her, Laura Seton can get the job done in that ring. She’s a former multiple-time Sin City Champion and was the Iron Woman in last year’s Redemption Rumble.
Other Guy: Oh, there’s no question that Laura Seton has outstanding in-ring abilities, Masters. But, she’s just so… cunty.
Eryk Masters: I won’t argue with you there, OG. But, eh, I wouldn’t say that within earshot of her.
She gets to the ring and poses towards the camera, crossing her arms across her chest with a stern expression. Fans continue yelling insults but they are ignored as she dives under the bottom rope into the ring.
Eryk Masters: Laura Seton is prepared tonight. She feels as though this is her time and we are apparently going to see why that is in this match.
Other Guy: I hope someone shuts her up tonight.
Eryk Masters: Way to be objective, OG.
Other Guy: I am objective. I objectively hate this woman.
The crowd continues to voice their displeasure with Laura as Poker Face dies down. The haunting chords of If I Was Your Vampire (Instrumental) by Marilyn Manson begin to play over the speakers of The Epicenter eliciting another chorus of boos from the crowd.
Samantha Coil: Introducing next, hailing from New York City, New York. He stands 6’4 and weighs in at 250 pounds, here is the NUMBER ONE CONTENDER to the IRON FIST CHAMPIONSHIP, KIIINCAAIID!!!
Kincaid steps onto the entrance stage, a blank expression on his face. He is noticeably by himself and wearing a pair of blue jeans and boots. He begins a slow walk down the ramp, his eyes focused on Laura Seton in the ring.
Eryk Masters: Kincaid is on his way to the ring and, I’ve got to say, he looks a bit out of place tonight.
Other Guy: We’ve heard what Kincaid had to say coming into this match and if his words were any indicator, this man is going to be as deadly as a wounded animal when it’s cornered.
Eryk Masters: Been watching the Discovery Channel again, OG?
Other Guy: That’s none of your business, Masters.
Kincaid stops about half way down the ramp and stares at a few of the fans in the front row who are screaming at him. The blank look on his face turns to a scowl and he stares at the fans without saying a word for what seems like a moment too long. He turns his attention back to the ring as he continues his walk. Kincaid approaches the ring and stares up at Laura Seton, a scowl etched on his face. He slides in under the bottom rope and goes to a neutral corner, never taking his eyes off her as his music fades.
Eryk Masters: As out of place as Kincaid appears in those jeans and boots, he sure seems focused. But, you’ve got to wonder what is going through his head tonight.
Other Guy: Well, the guy burned his ring attire. Clearly he’s looking to start fresh tonight. That or he doesn’t believe in doing laundry.
Eryk Masters: I’m pretty sure it’s the fresh start answer. The number one contender for the Iron Fist Championship clearly feels he has something to prove tonight.
The crowd continues to rain down boos on the two competitors in the ring until Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull begins to play over the speakers. The crowd switches gears from boos to cheers in anticipation.
Samantha Coil: Introducing next, standing at 6’9 and weighing in at 320 pounds, here is SOLLLOMON RIIIICHAAARDS!!!
The music continues to play and the crowd continues to cheer as Solomon steps out onto the entrance stage. He makes his walk down the ramp, tagging the outstretched hands of the fans as he goes.
Eryk Masters: Now, here is a young man with a lot of promise coming into this one. After his loss at Dominion 6 in that Sin City Championship match, let’s see how he bounces back.
Other Guy: Solomon knows how to make a point even in defeat, Masters. This is a chance to really establish himself tonight. God’s Care Bear can put really put himself on the map with a win in this one.
Eryk Masters: Really? God’s Care Bear?
Other Guy: Hey, if the shoe fits.
Solomon makes his way to the ring, using the ring steps to get to the apron and stepping over the top rope. He looks from Kincaid to Laura slowly before he goes to a neutral corner and his music fades.
Eryk Masters: And now, there’s only one competitor left to arrive.
Other Guy: Are you ready for the #AgeofEnlightenment?
Eryk Masters: Did you just actually SAY hashtag?
Other Guy: Well… yea.
The lights cut quickly, sending the fans into a hushed frenzy. After a few moments of silence, Stein’s voice booms out, “YOU’VE GOT THE TOUCH!”.
The stage lights up baby blue on the left side of the stage as the opening bridge of The Touch by Stan Bush picks up, causing the fans in the arena to EXPLODE with a chorus of boos. As the second wave of instruments pick up, the right hand of the stage lights up, and when the beat drops, Dan Stein walks out from the backstage area, shadow boxing with a towel over his head and Molly rubbing his shoulders like a prized fighter. Stein jumps up a few times to limber up his legs, and then starts walking towards the ring.
Samantha Coil: And introducing last, hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada. He stands at 6’1 and weighs in at 215 pounds. Ladies and gentlemen, here is the NUMBER ONE CONTENDER to the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP, “The Golden Boy” DAN STEEEIIIN!!!
Pausing incessantly, Stein turns to a group of fans, strafing over and shadow boxing near them. As he continues down towards his ring, Molly walks up the stairs to hold the middle rope down for him. Stein prim and properly ducks into the ring, shadow boxing around the perimeter, before acting like he’s going to throw his towel out to the crowd and instead tosses it to Molly on the outside of his ring. Stein raises his hands in defiant victory.
Eryk Masters: This man may be the most self-absorbed human being I have ever laid my eyes on, OG.
Other Guy: I’m sure he’d take that as a compliment, Masters. Dan Stein is the number one contender to Donovan King’s World Heavyweight Championship. Those two will meet at Master of the Mat. But, right now, it’s time to Shut Up and Fight!
Eryk Masters: Yea. I don’t think Dan Stein knows how to shut up.
The music fades out and all four competitors look at one another awaiting the opening bell.
Scott Kamura calls for the bell and there is absolute CHAOS in the ring as Dan Stein practically dives out of the ring through the ropes and Kincaid and Solomon RUSH Laura Seton! Stein stands on the outside as the fans at ringside hurl insults and jeers his way. He soaks them in and smiles.
In the ring, Kincaid and Solomon take turns delivering forearm shots to the jaw of Seton, rocking her back into the corner she started in. She slumps into the corner and Solomon advances forward, only to get CLUBBED in the back by an axehandle smash from Kincaid, sending him lurching into the corner and inadvertently splashing Seton!
Eryk Masters: Well, this one has started off interesting. Solomon and Kincaid seemed to be gelling for a moment, but, Kincaid shows that this is truly every person from themselves.
Other Guy: Meanwhile. Dan Stein shows his great ring generalship and lets the others do all the heavy lifting.
Eryk Masters: Yea. That’s called cowardice, OG.
Kincaid pulls Solomon back out of the corner and turns him around, but Solomon begins delivering HEAVY forearms to Kincaid, staggering him backwards! Solomon grabs Kincaid by the wrists and WHIPS him into the corner, but SETON DROPS TO THE MAT and rolls out of the ring. Kincaid hits the buckle HARD and staggers back out into the waiting arms of Solomon. Solomon pops his hips and takes Kincaid over with a BIG belly to belly suplex!
Seton shouts out at the fans jeering at her as she gets to her feet on the outside. Stein continues to mock the ringside fans until he notices that Solomon has made his way to the outside and is standing right behind him!
Solomon SPINS Stein around and CLOBBERS Stein with a big time clothesline, sending him to the floor. He picks Stein up and rolls him into the ring, stalking closer to him as “The Golden Boy” sits up and begins to backpedal his way into a corner.
Eryk Masters: And now Stein is involved in this match! Solomon Richards made sure that Dan Stein wasn’t going to sit back and enjoy this fight!
Other Guy: Solomon is making a mistake, though, Masters. He should’ve stayed on Kincaid. He might’ve been able to pin him with that big belly to belly of his.
Solomon grabs Stein by his leg and begins to pull him back towards the center of the ring, but Stein hooks the ropes, grabbing on for dear life! Solomon continues to try and pull Stein away from the ropes, but is suddenly NAILED by the High Hurdle enziguri kick from Laura Seton out of NOWHERE! Solomon drops to the canvas HARD as Stein frees his leg and escapes the ring again. Laura covers Solomon and Scott Kamura is in position!
NO! Kincaid breaks up the cover.
Seton rolls off Solomon and quickly gets to her feet, but Kincaid is right there! Kincaid swings with a European uppercut, but Laura backs away quickly, moves back in, and catches Kincaid with a NASTY modified jawbreaker, dropping down into a split instead of to her knees. Kincaid SNAPS backward and falls to the canvas. Laura quickly dives forward and covers Kincaid, hooking the leg!
NO!! Dan Stein pulls Laura off of Kincaid. She glares up at him as Stein smirks down at her.
Eryk Masters: A lot of action so far. Laura Seton just gets TWO near falls broken up. And look at how pleased Dan Stein is with himself.
Other Guy: What can I say, Masters? The guy knows what he is doing in that ring. But, Laura doesn’t look happy, and Stein may want to get out of there quick!
Laura has gotten to her feet and Stein is backing up with his hands in the air. Seton stalks forward and the smirk slowly vanishes from “The Golden Boy’s” lips. Seton lunges forward for an attack, but Stein quickly rakes her eyes! Stein follows up with a QUICK dropkick to the knees, sending Laura face first into the canvas!
Stein begins to stomp away on Laura Seton. After a few stomps, he drops an elbow to her back for good measure. He runs and hits the ropes, but gets CAUGHT with a HUGE clothesline from a recovered Solomon Richards! Stein hits the mat HARD, but before Solomon can capitalize, he rolls out of the ring holding his jaw and throat!
Solomon goes to follow him out of the ring, but is spun around and kicked square in the stomach by Kincaid! Kincaid begins to club Solomon repeatedly across the back, dropping him to one knee. Kincaid backs up and LAUNCHES himself forward with a VICIOUS running knee to the temple! However, Kincaid also drops to the mat clutching his knee!
Other Guy: Ouch! It looks like Kincaid may have reinjured that knee on that one, Masters. The action is this one is so fast pace that Kincaid may have done that without thinking.
Eryk Masters: For once, I agree with you. It wasn’t the smartest move on Kincaid’s part, but Solomon is down so it seemed to do its job! Now, can Kincaid capitalize?
Kincaid crawls forward trying to make a cover, but gets caught with a low dropkick to the ribs from Laura Seton! Seton dives on top of Solomon for the cover!
Solomon gets a shoulder up! Laura isn’t happy and shouts at Scott Kamura.
Laura Seton: DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO COUNT TO THREE?
Laura turns her attention to Kincaid, who is reaching for the middle rope in order to pull himself up, BUT DAN STEIN PULLS THE ROPE BACK AWAY FROM KINCAID from the outside with a wicked smile on his face. Kincaid misses the rope and falls back to the mat! Stein releases the rope and Laura quickly goes on the attack, snatching Kincaid’s leg up into a single leg crab!
Eryk Masters: Dan Stein is despicable! If he’s going to get involved in the match, he should at least get in the ring!
Other Guy: He’s been in the ring, Masters! Didn’t you see how he handled Laura “Cunt Face” Seton earlier?
Eryk Masters: You really hate her don’t you?
Other Guy: So much.
Kincaid is screaming in agony as Laura wrenches back on the hold. Scott Kamura is right there asking Kincaid if he wants to give it up, but he shakes his head no violently! Out of nowhere, Laura is YANKED off Kincaid by Dan Stein! Seton spins around, LIVID and gets caught with a SNAPPING arm drag, sending her nearly across the ring. Seton gets to her feet quickly and rushes forward! BUT STEIN AND SETON ARE BOTH DROPPED by a running double clothesline from Solomon! Stein crawls his way to the apron slowly and drops onto the floor outside the ring. Solomon approaches Seton, who backs away quickly!
Kincaid spins Solomon around and swings wildly, but Solomon ducks under and CLAMPS ON THE COBRA CLUTCH!! Laura Seton rushes forward, to break it up, but Solomon quickly drops Kincaid and CATCHES Seton, throwing her over with a BIG Greco Roman throw! Solomon gets to his feet quickly, and snatches Kincaid back up, locking in the Cobra Clutch again!
Eryk Masters: GREAT ring presence being shown by Solomon Richards there! And now he’s got that clutch locked in! This could be all!
Other Guy: Did you SEE how quick Solomon reacted there when Laura charged in to break that up? It was like he baited her!
Kincaid is fading and Solomon is clamping down as hard as he can! BUT LAURA SETON CRACKS Solomon right in the side of the head with a superkick, sending him crashing to the mat! Laura quickly drops down and attempts to lock in an STF, but Kincaid has made it to his feet. Laura has Solomon’s leg locked up and is reaching for the head as Kincaid slowly gets his bearings. Seton locks in the STF as Solomon is trying to shake the cobwebs out. He immediately begins to claw at the mat, shouting out in pain! Kincaid STOMPS down on Laura, causing her to break her hold. Kincaid quickly brings her to her feet and kicks her in the stomach! Kincaid hooks her up and, with a grunt of pain and determination, brings her over with a HUGE gutwrench suplex! Kincaid moves forward to capitalize, but SOLOMON IS BACK UP AND CLAMPS ON THE COBRA CLUTCH FROM BEHIND! Solomon WHIPS Kincaid back and forth a few times before shouting out and lifting Kincaid up!
COBRA CLUTCH SLAM!
Solomon moves forward for the cover, BUT DAN STEIN LEAPS INTO THE RING and pulls Solomon into a schoolboy by the tights!
Solomon gets the shoulder up! Stein quickly bails from the ring, but Solomon is hot on his trail! Stein doesn’t realize he’s been followed until it’s too late! He turns and is caught with a HUGE belly to belly on the outside! Solomon gets to his feet and begins to pull Stein up, but Stein catches Solomon with a low blow uppercut the Scott Kamura doesn’t see because he’s checking on Kincaid in the ring! Stein rolls into the ring as it seems to be the safest place at the moment.
Eryk Masters: This is turning into chaos out here, OG!
Other Guy: Hey, you’ve got to survive any way you can, Masters!
Kincaid has made it to his feet in the ring, as has Laura Seton. Kincaid begins to FIRE forearm shots to the face of Seton, backing her into the corner. He CHOPS her in the chest twice, but Laura delivers a quick kick to Kincaid’s knee, hobbling him for a moment. She drops down and rolls out of the ring, but Kincaid recovers and is right after her! Seton RUNS away from Kincaid, who is slightly hobbled and can’t keep up, but as Laura rounds the corner she is LEVELED by a clothesline from Solomon, and the crowd explodes with cheers!
Solomon brings Laura to her feet and rolls her back into the ring, where Kincaid is waiting! Solomon pulls himself onto the apron, but Kincaid LAUNCHES himself forward, knocking Solomon off the apron with a European uppercut! Stein gets to his feet and comes face to face with Kincaid, who smirks before planting a boot in his stomach and bringing him over with that BIG gutwrench suplex! Kincaid gets to his feet only to be greeted by Laura Seton’s foot coming towards him in a superkick! Kincaid rolls forward, avoiding the kick and gets to his feet! Laura turns around, rushes forward, but KINCAID BACKDROPS HER OVER THE TOP ROPE to the outside! Solomon manages to roll under the bottom rope and brings himself to his feet in the corner. Kincaid sees Solomon, and charges forward with a HUGE running knee!
BUT SOLOMON MOVES out of the way! Kincaid’s bad knee collides with the turnbuckle and he drops to the mat clutching it in pain. Solomon moves forward and clamps on the COBRA CLUTCH again! Solomon brings Kincaid to the middle of the ring and lifts!
COBRA CLUTCH SLAM!
Eryk Masters: Solomon hit it again!
Other Guy: That should be it!
Solomon gets to his feet and moves in to make a cover, BUT GETS DRILLED BY A SPRINGBOARD ENZIGURI FROM DAN STEIN TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!
Other Guy: #GOLDENSHOWERS!!
Eryk Masters: He hit all of… wait. Did you just say hashtag Golden Showers?
Other Guy: Yep. That’s what that move is called, Masters.
Eryk Masters: I don’t. I… screw it. Either way, Stein got all of that enziguri!
Stein rolls Solomon over and covers him, hooking the leg. Scott Kamura is there!
Kamura calls for the bell and You’ve Got the Touch begins to play again. Laura Seton is furious, while Kincaid is slowly getting to his feet with a disgusted look on his face. Solomon is very slowly coming to on the mat inside the ring. Scott Kamura raises Stein’s arm in victory and he allows it to soak in for a moment as the crowd boos viciously.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, DAN STEEEIIIN!!!
Eryk Masters: It was a heck of a match, but Stein stole one here!
Other Guy: He’s a master in that ring, E! Dan Stein had a strategy and he followed it to a tee.
Eryk Masters: He barely involved himself in the match, OG! And Solomon had it won!
Other Guy: It ain’t over until the three-count or a submission, Masters. You know that.
Solomon Richards slowly makes his way back up the entrance ramp while Kincaid limps back up behind him. Laura Seton is on the outside fuming. Stein raises both arms in victory, celebrating with Molly before dropping down and rolling out of the ring. He saunters back up the entrance ramp, jaw jacking with the fans as he goes. He turns back to the ring, where Laura is extremely angry and smiles as he raises his arms in victory and the music continues to play.
Seton storms over to the timekeeper area and grabs one of the mics and slides back into the ring. As she starts talking, boos come hailing in.
Laura: I give all my effort but yet get screwed over again! Solomon Richards obviously doesn't have enough experience to avoid a move like that. Kincaid is too much of a sissy boy...
She puts a hand towards a knee and speaks overly sarcastically for the next sentence before going back to full anger.
Laura: Ooooh, my knee! You seriously couldn't move enough to break up a three count!? I'm trying to recover on the outside; I can't do this all myself. For something that wasn't my fault, I now find myself in a hole. This is where a double-standard exists here. I have to win about a zillion matches again before I can just get another chance to get to the spotlight. Yet, if my name was Lunatikk Crippler, this would be brushed aside. For the effort, I would probably be guaranteed two more years of main events. Two more years of boredom! Snoozers of matches because newsflash, Crippler isn't beating King! He's had chances and he proved he's a hack against King; but nope. You donkeys LOVE HIM, so he—
Laura is cut off by a familiar guitar riff. The fans stand up, and begin ROARING.
Yeah I get it
You're an outcast
Always under attack
Always coming in last
Bringing up the past
No one owes you anything
You need a shotgun blast
A kick in the ass
WATCH YOUR BACK
"Sound of Madness" continues to play, and Lunatikk Crippler himself makes his appearance at the top of the ramp. He's got a sly grin on his face as he stares down to the ring at Laura Seton, who is wearing a look of anger mixed with a dash of confusion.
Eryk Masters: Well, speak of the devil!
Crippler begins his walk down the ramp, absent-mindedly reaching out to slap a few hands of the fans at large. He walks around the ring, keeping his eyes locked on Seton, who keeps a watchful eye on Crippler as he makes his way to the time keeper's table. He motions to Samantha Coil, who surrenders a microphone. Crippler twirls the mic in his hands, grinning back up at Laura, who isn't backing down an ounce.
Other Guy: Looks like Mr. I'm Gonna Hurt You has a few things to say.
Crippler walks up the ring stairs, and into the ring over the middle rope. He raises his arms straight out, screaming out to the crowd, who responds in kind. He turns back as he steps towards the middle of the ring, and Seton is right there, in his face. The grin remains on the face of Crippler as the Shinedown song shuts off. He's nearly laughing. Laura isn't laughing one bit. She looks completely irate.
Laura Seton: Do you want something?
Crippler wipes his mouth, and raises the mic to his lips.
But as quick as anything, he drops the microphone, and then drops Laura Seton with the Lunatikk Sweet! The former Miss Milk and Cookies hits the mat face first, motionless to a berserk cheering from the crowd!
Eryk Masters: Laura gets spiked by the man she was just trash talking! Justice!
Other Guy: She got under his skin one too many times!
Crippler kneels down at Laura's head. Her eyes are shut, and she's still not moving. Crippler slowly picks up the mic he dropped, bringing it back to his lips.
Lunatikk Crippler: I want you... to shut up.
Crippler drops the mic, causing a blast of static, and "Sound of Madness" kicks on again, as Crippler smiles down at his fallen prey, before rolling underneath the bottom rope, on his way back to the locker room.
Eryk Masters: I believe Miss Seton got her first lesson in what can happen when you bad mouth people!
Other Guy: She got what she deserved, but I'm positive she's going to hand out retribution sooner than later!
Crippler disappears behind the curtain as a couple of referees tend to a very groggy Laura Seton in the center of the ring. She's beginning to realize what happened, and the look on her face shows she is slowly reaching the point past completely livid.
We find ourselves at ringside as a fan sitting RIGHT at the barricade is screaming incoherent babble... yelling at the top of his lungs.
Other Guy: Please tell me that isn't Art De Luca...
Eryk Masters: Definitely a face I don't miss... wasn't he... like... canned? A LONG time ago?!
Other Guy: Unfortunately, he got a ticket from Conor... so I suppose we can't do much about it.
The camera zooms in on the crazy fan... former SHOOT Project Soldier and close friend of Conor's, Art De Luca. He holds up a sign that says "LF1 MIDCARDER TO ATTACK THAT GHOST GUY AND START A FEUD".
Eryk Masters: I'm going to say that since Conor's been back, I've been enjoying his work. I just can't understand why he associates with people like Art De Luca.
With the camera zoomed in... Art grabs the camera, screaming into it.
Art De Luca: SOMEONE ATTACK CONOR CADEN! START A FEUD!! CONOR CADEN NEEDS A PUSH! (He turns around to the crowd behind him, his arms pumping into the air) GHOST!! GHOST!! GHOST!! GHOST!!
A few people in the crowd actually start picking up the chant, but most people just laugh at his stupidity. As the crowd starts to get into it, Art JUMPS over the barricade and stands at ringside!!
Eryk Masters: Is he serious?!
He now holds up a sign that says "CONOR CADEN R RATINGS" high above his head, running around ringside like a mad man. It's at this time that the security staff, clad in all black with a "SHOOT Project" helmet embroidered on their polos start to make their way down the ramp.
Other Guy: Conor Caden might want to take his sign and pink shorts the hell out of here... and fast.
As the 4 men get down to ringside, their pair off in twos... approaching from both sides.
Eryk Masters: He's cornered now. I'm guessing this'll be the last we see of him tonight...
And then they sprint towards him! Art De Luca slides into the ring... jumping up and down in his pink short shorts, the fans absolutely losing it in laughter. And from behind him, the largest of the four men has now slid under the bottom rope himself.
Other Guy: I have a feeling this is about to end bad for Art here...
As the crowd all pointat him, yelling... he spins around and is FLATTENED BY A SPEAR!!!
Other Guy: OH MY GOD!!
And his pants are halfway down his legs... his pale white ass exposed!
Eryk Masters: Those are tan lines the world didn't need to see, OG.
Other Guy: AHAHA, I almost feel bad for the guy, Eryk!
The fans erupt into laughter as Art De Luca is taken up the ramp... two men carrying him by his arms with the other two carrying his legs. And he doesn't stop chanting "GHOST GHOST GHOST GHOST", not for a single second.
As they disappear behind the curtain, the SHOOT Tron lights up. it shows Conor backstage in his locker room... his face hidden behind his white, generic 'ghost' mask. He's shaking his head... burying his face in his palm.
And the picture fades out.
Other Guy: And we are now onto our next match up, and this one folks is going to be…interesting.
Eryk Masters: Maya Nakashima had a hard fought match against Tanya Black in the Master of the Mat tournament and was eliminated. He now has a chance to redeem himself in the Sin City Chamionship series, but…
Other Guy: But it’s against Sammy Rochester…
The lights in the Epicenter die down as the start of “HORIZON” by D'espairsRay fills the arena. Spotlights search through the seats as the fans rise up from their seats in boisterous anticipation. The words “CAN YOU FEEL THE NEW WORLD?” scribble across the video tron in elaborate silver script for a moment, the searchlights converge on the ramp, on Maya with his head bowed downward. The script on the video tron fades slowly into light particles, the moment Maya lifts his head the word “HOPE” etches its way across the video screen, and the spotlights SHOOT out in all direction as the lights in the Epicenter surge on to their most brilliant and brightest.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall and is a part of the Sin City Championship series. Introducing first, by way of Nagasaki, Japan. Standing at FIVE feet and SEVEN inches... weighing in at ONE HUNDRED and THIRTY FIVE pounds… He is a former RULES OF SURRENDER and SIN CITY CHAMPION…MAYA… NAKASHIIIIIIIMAAAAAAAAA!!!
The music fades away and Maya stands in his corner, determination etched on his face. The crowd cheers the “HOPE” of SHOOT Project, but Maya simply watches the top of the ramp.
Eryk Masters: The crowd definitely behind Maya Nakashima.
Other Guy: Yeah, but they aren’t in the ring with him.
The crowd dies down. “The March of Mephisto” hits over the PA, which causes the crowd to erupt in a chorus of boos. Sammy Rochester emerges from the back, dressed in the same ring attire he wore at Reckoning Day, minus the face paint. Jester Smiles is right behind him, glaring. Sammy stops at the top of the ramp, staring out at the mass of SHOOT Project fans booing him fervently. He simply pops his neck and turns his attention to the ring, narrowing his eyes on Maya.
Other Guy: Wanna play a game? It’s called who Other Guy would not want to be right now.
Eryk Masters: Is it Maya Nakashima?
Other Guy: Give the man a prize!
Sammy stalks to the ring, moving slowly. Jester remains a few paces behind, focusing in on the ring as much as Sammy. Maya Nakashima bounces in the ring, locking eyes with Sammy Rochester. Sammy ignores the boos and insults being hurled at him by the crowd. He simply walks up the steel steps and stands on the apron, directly across from Maya. He stops at the apron, staring directly at Maya, the full size difference really being illustrated. To his credit, Maya stands his ground, continuing to stretch out, his eyes never leaving Sammys’.
Samantha Coil: And now, his opponent, weighing in tonight at FOUR HUNDRED and SEVENTY FIVE pounds, he is also former SIN CITY CHAMPION. Being accompanied to the ring by JESTER SMILES…SAMMY…ROCHESTER!
Eryk Masters: Intense stare down right now. Sammy Rochester apologized to Maya Nakashima this week, saying he’s realized himself to be a monster, and he’s sorry for what he has to do to Maya this week.
Other Guy: There is no one on this roster braver or more pure hearted than Maya Nakashima, and Maya told Sammy that, in his eyes, Sammy is not a monster. I would not be inclined to agree with Maya.
Sammy steps over the ropes, moving very slowly. Austin Linam stands between the two, but Sammy does not move any closer to Maya. Maya also stands his ground, both men keeping their eyes locked on the other. Maya then moves forward a step and extends his hand to Sammy. Sammy looks down at the hand and simply shakes his head no. Maya nods and lowers his hand.
Eryk Masters: Wow. That said a lot.
Other Guy: Sammy’s here for blood.
Austin Linam signals for the bell. Sammy lets out a primal yell and charges Maya, but Maya is quick to roll out of the way. Maya hits the ropes and comes flying with a dropkick that catches Sammy in between the shoulder blades. Sammy looks more irritated than hurt by the maneuver and turns, again rushing Maya. Maya is again to quick, getting out the Sammy’s way. He plants a couple of quick kicks to Sammy’s leg, but Sammy simply turns with a wild back hand. Maya is able to dodge it and grabs hold of the arm, bringing himself up and around, catching Sammy by the head, looking for a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, but Sammy does not move an inch! He simply tosses Maya away. Maya lands hard, but is up quickly. Sammy stops, standing straight up, emphasizing his size. Maya simply pops his neck and begins to circle.
Other Guy: Maya is a quick dude, there is no doubt about that, but how does he really expect to do any damage to Sammy Rochester in this contest?
Eryk Masters: I’m not really sure, OG. It took Jacob Mephisto, a man who is six foot six and weighs two hundred and seventy pounds about six or seven running boots to the face to keep Sammy down. Maya isn’t near that big.
Sammy is again the first to attack, lashing out in an attempt to grab hold of Maya. Maya, however, is again able to dodge easily. Maya grabs hold of the top rope and leaps onto the bottom rope, bouncing high in the air. As Sammy turns around, Maya throws his legs out and hits a donkey kick straight in the face of Sammy, staggering Sammy backwards. Maya then leaps up again, springboarding off the top rope and turning, slamming Sammy in the face, again, with a flying forearm smash! The crowd pops, but quickly dies down, as they see Sammy Rochester stands tall, slightly phased, but more angry than harmed. Maya is up quickly, just in time to dodge a wild haymaker from Sammy Rochester.
Other Guy: That could have taken Maya’s head off.
Maya again rolls out of the way, getting behind Sammy and hitting a low dropkick to the back of Sammy’s leg! Sammy goes down, and Maya leaps up and hits an enziguiri to the side of Sammy’s head! Sammy doesn’t fall, but he seems staggered. Maya runs from behind and attempts a bulldog takedown, but Sammy suddenly rises to his feet and lifts Maya high in the air before throwing him straight up and letting Maya crash to the mat, back first!
Eryk Masters: Maya may have just fallen about eight feet to the canvas!
Maya rolls on the ground, clutching his back. Sammy stalks over and grabs Maya’s head, lifting Maya high in the air and throttling him with a two handed choke. Maya hits Sammy’s arms and kicks his legs at Sammy, but Sammy seems unfazed. Austin Linam warns Sammy that he’s performing an illegal choke, but Sammy completely ignores Maya, lifting him even higher in the air. Austin Linam begins his five count!
FIV-Sammy SLAMS Maya to the ground with a two handed chokeslam. Maya arches his back as the thud resonates through the epicenter.
Other Guy: DAMN that was loud!
Maya rolls onto his stomach, clutching his back. Sammy comes from behind Maya and grabs him by the back of the neck, lifting him to his feet.
Eryk Masters: Sammy is looking for the reverse chokeslam!
Maya, however, sees this coming and is able to flip around in mid air, coming down and grabbing Sammy’s head, attempting to lock in a front headlock choke. However, Maya is unable to wrap his legs around Sammy’s waist or get the hold locked in, and Sammy simply rushes forward, slamming Maya, back first, into the turnbuckle. Maya crumbles in the corner, clutching his back and grimacing in pain. Jester slaps the mat in joy, screaming at Sammy to finish Maya off. Sammy, however, completely ignores Jester and places his boot against Maya’s face, sandwiching Maya’s head between his foot and the bottom turnbuckle. Austin Linam again warns Sammy, and again Sammy ignores!
Other Guy: Come on Austin Linam! Stop him!
Jester Smiles: SAMMY STOP!
FIV-Sammy releases the hold. Maya clutches his face, rolling away from the bottom turnbuckle. Sammy glares at Austin Linam, but Austin Linam stands his ground and warns Sammy not to push his luck. Sammy turns his attention from the referee and focuses back in on Maya. Maya uses the middle rope to get back to his feet. He sees Sammy coming and lashes out, kicking Sammy in the knee. Sammy stops, flinching, but quickly moves forward again. Maya kicks Sammy again in the leg, right as Sammy grabs hold of his shoulders. Sammy again stops, and Maya just throws a wicked palm strike straight into the face of Sammy. Sammy is staggered and he releases his hold on Maya. Maya again throws a kick to the knee of Sammy. Sammy leans down enough for Maya to reach up, grab him by the head, and lift himself up, placing his knee in the face of Sammy! The crowd begins to cheer!
Other Guy: Maya looking for the O.D.S!
Eryk Masters: Come on man, hit it!
Maya attempts to drag Sammy down, but Sammy stands his ground! Sammy just hoists Maya up in the air, knee still against his face, and falls forward, obliterating Maya, but subsequently causing himself to get hit by the O.D.S! Jester gasps, shocked that Maya just hit his finishing move, and he screams for Sammy to get up. Both me lie on the ground, unmoving. Austin Linam checks both men, seeing if either of them seem conscious, before beginning his count!
THREE! Maya begins to stir, but it’s clear that both his back and his knee are in a bad way.
FOUR! Sammy rolls over on his back, revealing that his nose is bleeding pretty badly.
Eryk Masters: Rochester’s nose might be broken.
SIX! Both men roll onto their stomachs. Maya looks ahead and sees the ropes. He grabs hold of the middle rope and tries to help himself stand up, but it’s also clear his knee is in pretty bad shape.
SEVEN! Rochester is on his hands and knees, trying to shake the cobwebs.
EIGHT! Rochester gets to his knees and plants on foot on the canvas. Maya, meanwhile, fights to get to his feet!
NINE! Rochester pushes himself up while Maya pulls himself with the assistance of the ropes.
TE-NO! Both men are on their feet, and the crowd cheers!
Other Guy: That was really close, Eryk. Though, I’m not really sure I want this match to continue. You know, for Maya’s sake.
Maya limps slightly on his leg, but as Sammy rushes forward to continue his assault, Maya shows he is still quicker than Sammy. He dodges Sammy, again, and plants a stiff kick to Sammy’s thigh, but he kicks with his bad leg, so the kick seems to harm Maya as much as it does Sammy. Sammy turns and throws another wild punch, and again, Maya is able to dodge, but Sammy has learned. He turns around and quickly snatches Maya by the back of the neck. He again lifts up, looking for another reverse chokeslam, but Maya throws both legs out, catching Sammy in the gut. Sammy releases Maya, who lands awkwardly on his bad leg, slowing him down. However, Maya still reacts fast enough to turn around and again throw his knee, but, again, looking for the O.D.S, but has he does so, Sammy stands up straight, causing Maya to miss, and then he crushes Maya, in mid-air, with a clothesline! Maya is down on the mat, and Sammy drops down for the cover!
THREE! NO! Maya gets the shoulder up at the last second!
Eryk Masters: Maya Nakashima might have the biggest heart of all the SHOOT Project soldiers!
Other Guy: Yeah, but I got to think that, at this point, Maya is running on heart alone.
Sammy stands up and lifts Maya up with him. At this point, the crowd begins a “MA-YA!” chant. Sammy glares at the crowd, headbutting Maya. Maya crumbles, but Sammy keeps him standing. Sammy looks down at the helpless and seemingly unconscious Maya. A look of sadness crosses his face for a moment.
Eryk Masters: The monster…hesitates?
Sammy looks down at Maya, looking legitimately considered, but he then turns his head when he hears Jester Smiles yelling at him. Sammy nods at Jester and the sadness is gone. Sammy now looks back at Maya, completely cold.
Other Guy: He can only be a human for a moment, Eryk.
Eryk Masters: This doesn’t look good.
Sammy THROWS Maya straight up in the air. The crowd gasps as Sammy steps away, allowing Maya to come crashing down to the mat with a big thud. Maya bounces a few inches off the ground and lies motionless. Jester cheers wildly, as if the victory is a foregone conclusion. Sammy just turns, cold dead eyes falling on Maya. He drops down to his knees, rolls Maya over, and gets the cover.
Sammy stands up as the crowd boos. Jester Smiles darts into the ring, holding Sammy’s hand up. Jester is all smiles, patting Sammy on the back and congratulating him. Sammy, however, does not respond at all.
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner, at a time of TWELVE minutes and FORTY FIVE seconds and advancing in the Sin City Championship Series…SAMMY ROCHESTER!
The crowd continues to boo as Jester continues to cheer. Sammy looks down at Maya, who Austin Linam is checking on. Maya seems to be awake. He stares up at Sammy, and Sammy stares down at Maya. Before anyone can wonder what will happen, Sammy simply turns to the ropes and exits the ring. Jester spits at the ring near Maya before following suit.
Eryk Masters: Well, of course Jester has to be classless and trashy, but none the less, Sammy put down a very competent and game opponent in Maya Nakashima tonight.
Other Guy: Maya is getting up and seems to be able to get out of here on his own, and that’s good to see. That’s a tough kid, but we already knew that when this match started. Good to see Sammy didn’t kill him.
Eryk Masters: Definitely, OG. Stay tuned folks, main event is up next!
It was obvious he had a lot on his mind. From his recent advancement in the Master of the Mat tournament to the uncertain future that holds, the last thing Lionheart needed was this. A single nagging question that wouldn’t stop surfacing. It shouldn’t have been important, but for some unknown reason, it was. And he needed answers.
Valentine stops in his tracks, visibly exasperated by this recurring thought.
Valentine: Call it my need to know.
Dressed in common street clothes, Mirage sits with his back against the wall, lost in thought. Valentine approaches him, and much to Mirage’s surprise, he sits down beside him, as if some long awaited friend had finally arrived.
Valentine: Settle yourself down Marcus, there really is no need to rehash what we’ve been through the past few months. At this point, it’s not even a challenge.
Mirage sits silently, his elbows propped up on his knees with his head hanging slightly, staring at the ground.
Valentine: ...And there it is.
Valentine flicks his wrist in an expression of discontent while looking at Mirage; who continues staring at the ground.
Valentine: The last time I saw you, I sent a very clear message. A final message if you will. I want to focus on The Master of the Mat and in order to do so I needed to wipe you from off of my boot. But yet there you are, nagging away at me in the darkness; posing the same question over and over. I will be frank here. Your inability to even lift a finger against me is renting far too much space in my mind.
Lionheart shakes his head, disgusted with himself for allowing Mirage to become a second thought.
Valentine: So here it is. The ever irksome question. Before my arrival in SHOOT Project, I did a bit of asking around knowing in advance who my opponents were going to be. The short answer was they’re unpredictable. I like unpredictable, but I have to tell you, what I found did not live up to the hype. I came here expecting an unstable element to, well…THIS!
He points downward to highlight his point, while Mirage blankly stares at the ground in a world of his own.
Valentine: I thought that perhaps I was missing something. As doubtful as it is; I wondered if I had failed to see what so many others saw in you. So I took it upon myself to delve into the SHOOT archives…It is here that I noticed something, something completely unstable. A version of you that wasn’t, how do I put it, that wasn’t this frail man I see before me. A version of you that put me on the edge of my seat as I sat there and watched a summarized tape someone tossed together for me of Donovan King versus 3M. Tell me, Marcus, whatever happened to 3M, where is this uncontrollable and brutal competitor now?
Mirage snorts through a bit of laughter and shakes his head, but Valentine doesn’t skip a beat.
Valentine: We can do this the easy way or the hard way.
Mirage: I don’t know where he is. Last time I came into SHOOT Project, I was given a mission. Donovan King. And there he was. Driven by anger...hate, maybe both, I don’t know. It was only meant to deceive, but it took on a life of it’s own and became something else. That was another life. Look, I don’t hate you, Valentine, I never have. This time around I came back for money. Nothing more.
Lionheart spits on the ground beside him with disgust.
Valentine: Surely the best way to make money would be to put arses in seats?
Mirage shakes his head, wringing his hands together as his voice lowers, nearly faltering.
Mirage: My wife is sick.
The news, or perhaps Mirage’s honesty, catches Valentine by surprise.
Mirage: Nobody really knows about it, well, until now anyway. And if I wasn’t such a fuck up, it wouldn’t matter. But when you gamble and drink away a fortune, well...it starts to matter a little when hard times arrive. I know the feeling, that ‘it’ll never happen to me’ attitude. And then it does. So, when Cronos called, it meant a job, it meant money, and most of all it meant health insurance, it’d solve our problems. And all I’d have to do is phone it in. They didn’t want me back anyway, they only did it for Cronos, so it was a win/win, or a lose/lose depending on how you look at it. Anyway, it turns out shes ineligible for the list because of other mitigating factors, so the insurance is a non-factor because we have to go overseas to get it done. Which means cash. A lot of it. And of all the places SHOOT Project ends up for a gambling addict, Las fuckin’ Vegas. So forgive me if we couldn’t tell an adequate story in the ring, I got a lot on my mind.
Without a word, Valentine suddenly pushes himself to his feet and walks away. Possibly in disgust, but Mirage couldn’t know for sure.
Mirage: That’s it? That’s what you wanted to hear?
Without looking back, his voice trailing in the distance, Valentine leaves Mirage with nothing. Well, almost nothing.
Valentine: No, that’s not it...
Eryk Masters: We’re about to have our Main Event here, folks; and it is going to be an outstanding contest. Loco Martinez steps back in a SHOOT Project ring for competition for the first time since Reckoning Day.
Other Guy: Ja Gi Kyung-Moon is his opponent and THAT guy is coming off a huge victory over Thomas Manchester Black for the Iron Fist Championship. But, none of that matters tonight, Masters.
Eryk Masters: You’re right, OG. Because right now, it’s time to see who is going to advance in the Master of the Mat Tournament!
Samantha Coil: The Following contest is our Main Event of the Evening, and is a match for the Master of the Mat. Introducing first...
Jap the Ripper by B’z begins to begins to boom over the speakers and the crowd continues to cheer wildly.
Samantha Coil: And his opponent, from San Diego, California, weighing in at 188 pounds, here is the current Iron Fist Champion, JA GI KYUUUNNNG MOOOON!!!
Ja Gi BURSTS through the curtains and onto the stage full of energy. The Iron Fist Championship is securely fastened around his waist. He bounces on his toes for a few seconds as he looks out over the cheering crowd before heading down the entrance ramp. He moves at a brisk and energetic pace, tagging the outstretched hands of the fans as he goes.
Eryk Masters: Ja Gi is displaying that energy he’s becoming known for tonight. It’s very interesting that we’ve got two guys out here in our Main Event that are so full of energy and are also a couple of fan favorites. But, make no mistake, this is a Master of the Mat tournament match and it WILL be competitive.
Other Guy: Moon is coming off a BIG win against Thomas Manchester Black. He’s the new Iron Fist Champion and now he’s going up against a man who has refocused himself and is really looking to win this whole thing. It makes me wonder how clean this match is going to be.
Eryk Masters: I think we’re going to see a fantastic match, OG. I think these guys are great sportsmen and we’re going to see a pure contest of skill. I can’t wait for that bell to ring.
Ja Gi jogs around the outside of the ring, tagging hands with as many fans as possible before sliding under the bottom rope. He goes to a neutral corner, hands his title off to the referee, and bounces lightly on his toes waiting for the bell to ring.
Tony Lorenzo calls for the bell and we are underway! Loco and Ja Gi cautiously begin to circle one another but both men stop for a moment. Loco extends a hand and Ja Gi takes it as the two shake hands in a show of mutual respect. They back away and begin to circle once again.
The two men lock up in a collar and elbow tie-up and jockey for position. Loco, being the bigger man, is able to push Ja Gi back into the corner. Tony Lorenzo calls for a break and Loco backs out of the corner with a clean break. Ja Gi nods at Loco and moves out of the corner.
The two men begin to circle each other again. Loco moves in to tie up again, but Ja Gi begins to send a flurry of STINGING kicks to Loco’s legs, backing him up quickly. Moon backs off as Loco reaches the corner and this time, Loco nods at Moon while he shakes his legs out.
Eryk Masters: Both men starting with a bit of a feeling out process here. Loco is clearly the stronger of the two, but Moon seems to have the edge in the speed department.
Other Guy: That’s right, Masters. Any and all joking aside, neither of these two wants to be the one to make that first costly mistake.
Loco and Ja Gi move back in toward each other and this time Loco is the one who unleashes a quick kick to Moon’s leg. Moon returns the favor! Both men trade off with SNAPPING kicks to each other’s legs! Loco goes for another kick, but Moon shows his athleticism and JUMPS over Loco’s kick and connects with a picture perfect dropkick to Loco’s face, sending him down to the canvas!
Loco is up quickly, but Ja Gi is right there and snaps Loco’s head back with a quick forearm smash. Moon drives a quick knee into Loco’s midsection. He hooks the head and runs forward, PLANTING Loco with a BEAUTIFUL running bulldog! Ja Gi rolls Loco over and makes the cover. Tony Lorenzo is in position!
Loco kicks out!
Ja Gi wastes no time and quickly transitions, grabbing Loco’s arm. Loco tries to fight off the hold, but Moon repositions himself and hooks on the fujiwara armbar! Moon wrenches back as Loco grimaces in pain. Loco remains composed as Tony Lorenzo checks on him. The referee asks Loco if he wants to give it up, but he calmly says no. Loco reaches out with his leg and hooks the ropes. Tony Lorenzo is on top of things and orders Ja Gi to release the hold. Ja Gi complies and quickly gets to his feet.
Eryk Masters: A VERY nice exchange between Loco and Ja Gi there. And so far, it’s been a clean contest.
Other Guy: Give it some time, Masters. Sooner or later things are gonna blow up in this one. Just wait.
Loco gets to his feet, shaking out his arm, but Ja Gi is right on him, sending STINGING kicks to his legs. Moon backs Loco up against the ropes and Irish whips Loco across the ring. Loco hits the ropes and comes off only to catch an armdrag, sending him to the other side of the ring. Loco pops back up and gets caught with another armdrag. Loco pops up again and Moon sends a boot to the stomach and SNAPS Loco down with a QUICK DDT! Moon covers!
NO! Loco kicks out!
Ja Gi brings Loco back to his feet and starts SNAPPING off chops to Loco’s chest, backing him up. But, LOCO FIRES BACK with a pair of HARD forearm shots! Loco SNAPS off a STIFF pair of quick leg kicks and finishes off the flurry by pulling Moon in and WHIPPING him over with a FAST snap suplex! Loco floats over with a lateral press and Tony Lorenzo is there!
KICKOUT! Moon gets his shoulder up!
Loco rolls off Ja Gi and quickly grapevines Ja Gi’s leg, wrenching back. Ja Gi shouts out in pain and Tony Lorenzo is right there asking if he wants to give it up. Moon defiantly shakes his head no! Loco releases the hold and comes to a standing position, still holding on to the leg. Loco LEAPS to the side with the leg, SNAPPING it down to the mat as Ja Gi shouts out in pain again!
Eryk Masters: Look’s like Loco’s trying to keep Ja Gi grounded here. Not a bad strategy.
Loco goes back to the leg, but Ja Gi SPRINGS up! Loco has one leg, but Ja Gi is hopping around on the other. Moon jumps up and attempts an enziguri, BUT LOCO DUCKS IT! Moon lands on his foot and bounds back up, kicking Loco square in the jaw! Loco drops Moon’s leg and hits the canvas hard, clutching his jaw!
Ja Gi gets to his feet, limping slightly. He hits the ropes and comes off with a head of steam and sends a front dropkick to Loco’s ribs as he is trying to get to his feet, sending him rolling towards the opposite ropes. Moon is quick to capitalize, getting back to his feet and bringing Loco up as well. Ja Gi Irish whips Loco across the ring. Loco hits the ropes and rolls forward, avoiding a spinning heel kick attempt from Moon. Loco pops back to his feet just as Ja Gi does. Both men turn to face one another and take a stance in a stalemate, eliciting a large cheer from the crowd!
Eryk Masters: We’re getting some great action from these two guys tonight and the crowd is loving it, OG!
Other Guy: This is the kind of competition you like to see in the Master of the Mat. But, who wants it more, Masters?
Loco and Ja Gi move forward at each other again. Loco goes for another tie up, but Moon slides forward and takes him down with a QUICK drop toehold. Moon pops back to his feet and runs to the ropes, springboarding off the top rope with a Moonsault, BUT LOCO IS UP and Moon misses, BUT LANDS ON HIS FEET. Loco turns around and eats a few STIFF chops from Ja Gi. Moon LEAPS up onto Loco’s shoulders and WHIPS him around with a hurrancanrana, hooking the legs as he lands!
Loco JUST breaks out of it! Moon brings Loco to his feet, BUT LOCO SURPRISES MOON by quickly delivering a boot to the stomach and hoisting him up and over with a vertical suplex! Loco brings Moon to his feet. He scoops him up, and steps forward bending his knee and driving Moon over his right knee. A section of the Epicenter crowd even gives a nice "TCHA!" Loco hears it and smiles, but doesn't let go of the backbreaker position. He stands back up. Again steps forward and drives another backbreaker into Moon. More of the crowd lets loose a "TCHA!" Loco smiles bigger and stands back up, but instead of a third back breaker launches Moon back over his head in a fall away slam!
Loco drops an elbow onto Moon’s back for good measure before bringing him back to his feet. Loco grabs Moon's wrist and Irish whips him HARD, chest first into the turnbuckles. Loco follows up with a running splash.
Loco rolls over for the cover, hooking the leg and Tony Lorenzo is right there for the count!
Ja Gi just BARELY gets the shoulder up and the crowd cheers as the match continues! Loco brings Moon back to his feet slowly and scoops him up over his shoulder. He walks to one of the corners and turns around.
Eryk Masters: A possible running powerslam coming up here!
Loco runs forward, BUT MOON slips out the back, shoving Loco forward. Loco’s momentum sends him chest first into the turnbuckles across the ring! Moon clutches his back, but grits his teeth and charges forward and NAILS Loco with a dropkick right between the shoulderblades! Moon is a little slow getting to his feet, still clutching his back, but continues to push forward. He pulls Loco out of the corner and hops up onto the second turnbuckle. Moon hooks Loco’s head and JUMPS out, spinning around and PLANTING Loco with a tornado DDT! Both men are down, but Ja Gi crawls forward and makes the cover, hooking the leg with all his might!
Loco gets the shoulder up and the fans let out another big cheer! It’s Ja Gi’s turn to show a little frustration and he gets to his feet, measuring Loco. Loco slowly rolls over and pushes himself up to his feet. Moon levels Loco with a dropkick. Both men slowly get back to their feet. Moon drops Loco with a nasty spinning heel kick. Loco is up slowly and as soon as he gets to his feet he is leveled with high cross body! Moon stays on top for the count.
Eryk Masters: That's ... a ... awful.
Loco slowly begins to get to his knees while Moon has rolled to his stomach and his crawling towards the ropes.
Moon grabs the middle rope and pulls himself to his knees, clutching his back in pain while Loco has managed to get to his feet, stopping the count, though he’s a bit wobbly.
Loco moves forward and scoops up Moon for a bodyslam, BUT MOON COUNTERS into a small package!
Loco breaks out! Loco quick dives forward with an axehandle smash on Moon before he can recover! The crowd is amped up and begins to chant for BOTH Soldiers!
LET’S GO LO-CO! (LET’S GO MOON!)
LET’S GO LO-CO! (LET’S GO MOON!)
Loco brings Ja Gi to his feet and fires off a series of European uppercuts to his jaw. Loco Irish whips Moon into the ropes, BUT MOON SPRINGBOARDS off the top rope, connecting with an in-ring Asai Moonsault! Moon doesn’t quite land flush, preventing a pin attempt, but he quickly rolls away and gets to his feet.
Eryk Masters: Back and forth action in this one and these fans are all on their feet!
Other Guy: I’ve got to admit, Masters, this is one hell of a match! These guys are laying it all on the line! THIS is what Master of the Mat is all about!
Loco has slowly gotten back to his feet, he turns around only to catch a series of chops from Ja Gi. Ja Gi grabs Loco’s wrist and whips him into the ropes, bending down for a back bodydrop, BUT LOCO STOPS SHORT ON THE REBOUND and hook Ja Gi’s head between his legs, hoisting him up for a PILEDRIVER!
Eryk Masters: OH MY GOD! Did you SEE the way Moon’s head just BOUNCED off the canvas?!
Other Guy: That has to be it, man!
Loco covers Moon, hooking the leg!
Moon gets his shoulder up at the LAST possible fraction of a second! Loco rolls off Moon in frustration! He even looks at Tony Lorenzo just to make sure it wasn’t three and the referee confirms that Moon JUST got his shoulder up.
Loco looks down as Moon is starting to stir and roll to his stomach. Loco goes to the corner and ascends to the top turnbuckle as Moon slowly starts to push himself up and get to his feet.
Other Guy: What’s Loco going for here? We’re gonna see the Freakshow fly!
Moon gets to his feet and Loco LEAPS from the top turnbuckle. Cameras flash in the crowd as Loco is in mid-air and he CRASHES into Ja Gi’s temple with a HUGE flying knee off the top rope!
Eryk Masters: ZOMBIE KILL OF THE WEEK!
Other Guy: I’m the one with the good jokes, Masters! Stop that!
Eryk Masters: No, no. That’s the name of that big flying knee, OG.
Other Guy: Oh, in that case, Loco caught that flush on Ja Gi’s temple. This might be it!
Loco covers Moon, hooking the leg and Tony Lorenzo is there for the count!
Lorenzo calls for the bell and Ke$ha’s We R Who We R begins to play throughout the Epicenter again. The referee goes over to Loco and raises his arm in victory as the crowd goes crazy!
Samantha Coil: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, advancing to the quarter finals of Master of the Mat, LLLLLLLOCO. MMMMMMAAAAAAAAAR. TIIIIIIIIII. NEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZ!!!!!
Eryk Masters: What a fantastic Main Event! Loco Martinez comes out on top, but Ja Gi gave him a real run for his money!
Other Guy: Masters, this is a match I would certainly not mind seeing again.
Loco celebrates in the ring as Ja Gi is just coming to and pulling himself to his feet. Moon leans against the ropes and Loco spots him out of the corner of his eye. Loco steps forward, offering his hand in sportsmanship. Moon looks sullen, but steps forward and shakes his hand as the crowd continues to cheer!
Moon drops to the mat and rolls out of the ring, making his way back to the dressing room. Loco hops out of the ring and celebrates with the ring side crowd for a few moments before walking back up the entrance ramp. He slaps hands with the fans as he goes, that huge Cheshire cat-like smile on his face the whole time. Loco gets to the entrance stage and raises his arms in victory one last time before going back behind the curtain.