CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
The cameras survey a wave of signs rather rapidly before zoning in on a smiling Lucas Quinn, suited out in light brown tonight with a green and blue tie and a small GLOBAL logo in the center. He is flanked by The Mark, who looks like he’s got a job in an office, with a white shirt and black trousers, with Allie Reece to your left and Quinn’s right, wearing a pink frilly shirt to match her messy blonde/pink hair, and a denim jacket and jeans.
“Hello everyone, and welcome to GLOBAL Domination Nine.”
Quinn turns to talk to both his colleagues. “Fresh off our first trip overseas to Great Britain, we return to the United States and we’ve come full circle. Domination Six saw the homecoming of the GLOBAL Champion, Sean Darring, and we’re back in his home state of Florida just three weeks ahead of Gold Rush, but will Darring be the champion by then? He defends the title, here in Tampa tonight, against the dangerous Son of Malta in our main event.”
Reece shakes her head. “He doesn’t need to do it, but that’s what fighting champions do, and this surely benefits Aleczander The Great the most, no matter who wins tonight. Elsewhere, the second tournament semi-final sees the lethal Alex Reyn take on the confident king of crypto himself, EZ Rah, in what I personally think could be a classic.”
The Mark gets in on the action. “Tonight, there are also tag team matches everywhere, including an eight-person opener that could well steal the show, featuring The United Kingdom and Trouble United with serious implications for the lively tag team division and its champions, The Master Sisters, plus a whole load more. You can bet Jerry David will have something to say, expect a grand arrival by the Queen, Bianca Davis, John J. Truth, and Border Control, plus Aleczander The Great as we’ve already discussed.”
Quinn nods. “A whole lot to get through in the next couple of hours before we head back to California, specifically our home base of LA, for Gold Rush. Aleczander The Great is already there as the challenger, and Daniel Dream, awarded the Western Conference Championship for winning his side of the draw, awaits either Alex Reyn or EZ Rah. Besides that, we’re not sure who The Master Sisters will defend their titles against, and tonight, we hope, will give us a better indication of that. Prime Time Athletes, I have to believe, will goad The Rich Family, and we don’t even know if Declan, Todd, and Donny are here.”
The Mark butts in. “And Truth Control, the scourge of GLOBAL right now, will certainly have something to say to The Xiang Dynasty or El Principe, or someone else who isn’t American, during the course of this broadcast.”
Reece pulls a face. “You think?”
Quinn sensibly steps in. “Thanks for joining us, everyone, and enjoy.”
The scraping of a shovel. The frantic waving of a head torch breaking up the darkness. Dirt. Wet, dark dirt. And panting.
These are the sounds and sights as a chat screen scrolls on the screen.
Comments have been disabled.
Between panting, from behind the phone camera streaming the poorly lit stream, E Z Rah begins to speak. His voice is broken and dry.
“Yo what’s up, guys… It’s your boy… E Z Rah.”
More digging as the ‘viewing’ count steadily grows. 2,543 viewing, 3,194 viewing, 4,072 viewing…
“Still hustlin’, still goin’ man an’ ain’t nobody gon’ stop me. ‘specialy that mother FUCKER, Jerry David!”
E Z slams the shovel into the dirt again, the light flickering.
“Tell you what, Jerry. I’mma…”
Another shovel dig and the ground overhead opens up. Sunlight streams into the pit, and that light uncovers E Z’s dirty hands. He tosses the shovel down and turns the camera to face him. He has mud covering his face, he is so dirty he could be mistaken for a coal miner. The whites of his eyes stand out against the filth covering him.
“Tell you what, Jerry… I’mma come for ya, and I’mma show ya what I been workin’ on. Then you’ll know…
“Then you’ll know.”
‘The stream has ended.’
GLOBAL’s press officer, Alicia Fawkes, is seen talking to the iconic masked ladies’ man and GLOBAL newcomer Masked Maniac backstage in a hallway down the hall from catering and the right a little ways from the Alicia Fawkes office.
Alicia Fawkes is overheard saying. “We are excited to have you two aboard, but you do understand that times have changed. Wrestling is no longer a “good old boys” network. We have sponsors, ratings, and a board to keep happy.”
The iconic masked face of Masked Maniac looks on listening. Alicia Fawkes continues. “The last thing I would hate to see is you guys getting canceled. So perhaps – “
… but before Alicia Fawkes can continue, water comes spraying from the right onto the press officer as they are joined by the second half of the newly formed tag team Sweaty Bros, Tony Sweat. Tony looks excited as he notices Maniac talking to Alicia. He runs his right hand through his glistening wet, greasy hair as perspiration has formed well pretty much all over Tony’s body.
Tony Sweat excitedly speaks as his animated actions send more sweat around like a water sprinkler. “Maniac, you didn’t tell me you would have a guest tonight.”
Masked Maniac tries to speak, but his partner has now turned his full attention to the poor Alicia Fawkes, who desperately tries to stay professional but dodges the flying drops of sweat flying from Tony’s pores and hair.
Tony continues as he turns towards Alicia. “Hey, do you have a VIP pass or something? Is that why you are backstage? I hear those VIP passes are like a ticket to go on a ride..“
Tony Sweat Looks down at himself and then winks at her. “Are you ready to go on the ride?”
Alicia Fawkes turns to Masked Maniac and says. “This is what I am talking about. Talk with your friend.” She shakes her head and begins to walk off.
Tony Sweat looks confused, turns to his partner, and says. “Psshh… Can you believe that chick, man? Women… Pssh.”
Masked Maniac shakes his head and shrugs, saying, “Sweaty Bros before hoes.”
ON WEDNESDAYS, WE MAKE VIDEOS
The official Trouble Roxx YouTube channel is usually home to peppy, upbeat content, in line with the namesake duo’s colorful personalities, and mostly taken from their sundry Twitch livestreams; this week, however, subscribers and passersby alike are met with a rather more serious and somber video, simply titled ‘REAL TALK TIME‘. Those who click in expecting an insincere apology for a perceived faux-pas, however, may find themselves slightly disappointed when the video turns out to be about so-called ‘IRL‘ matters – specifically, the two girls’ current job. As usual, it falls to Teagan Trouble to do the honors, though her seemingly permanent smile is, in this instance, nowhere to be found, and her tone far less vibrant than might otherwise be expected.
“Hey guys, it’s Teagan and Izzy.” She points towards herself and her partner, who briefly waves at the camera. “And it’s gonna be a bit of a different type of video today. I know you guys prefer a more chilled-out kind of vibe, with like, jokes and stuff, but the thing is…we’re not chilled, and we’re DEFINITELY not in the mood for jokes.”
“Nuh-uh.” Beside her partner, Izzy Roxx corroborates Teagan’s words with a shake of the head.
“’Cause, see…when we were over in England last week, doing our thing…which, by the way, thanks, England, you guys ROCKED! And the shopping in Manchester was on. Point. The Trafford Center? Are you kidding me?!” A not-so-subtle nudge from Izzy tells the redhead she is getting carried away and sidetracked, helping her get back on topic. “Anyway, when we were over there rocking the UK crowd California-style, a bunch of BUTTHEADS who think they’re all that decided it would be a great idea to beat up our friends for calling them out on their crap. In front of their home crowd, too!” Izzy is once again seen shaking her head in disgust. “Then when we went to help – because hello, they’re our friends – they beat US up too. And as Sonic the Hedgehog would say…‘THAT…is NO GOOD!’”
“Nope.” Once again, Izzy serves only as the source of confirmation, leaving it to her friend to vent out their collective frustrations – which she does, in typically outspoken fashion.
“Nah, fam. That ain’t gonna fly with us. We’re not just gonna sit here and let you beat up our friends and make a joke out of the belts we came into this company to fight for. So, Worst of British, Master Sis-TURDS…right now, we’re calling you out. At Domination 9…you guys…” The redhead waves her finger in a circular motion which encompasses herself, Izzy, and two figures present in spirit, if not physically. “…against us guys. The so-called ‘United Kingdom‘…” Teagan air quotes to accentuate her sarcasm. “…against United Trouble. AKA, the real United team in GLOBAL.”
“Shots fired…” Izzy cannot suppress a grin, her first of the video. Teagan, however, remains every bit as serious as she has been thus far.
“Shots freaking FIRED. And they’re gonna keep on being fired until you douchenozzles are inside that ring with us, showing us your little group deserves those belts. ‘Cause right now, you’re just coming across as a bunch of mean girls. Even if some of you are dudes. So, until you stop fooling around and start acting like actual Champions and challengers…guess what? You can’t sit with us. ”
“Nope.” Izzy Roxx once again plays her self-assigned part in the video, smiling at the grin that finally appears on Teagan’s features as she slips comfortably back into her element.
“By the way?” A mixture of defiance, sarcasm, and just a dash of anger flashes in Teagan’s dark green eyes as she glares into the camera. “You better start working on change your wardrobe rules, too. ‘Cause after we’re done with you…you’re gonna need to start wearing purple on Wednesdays…to match the bruises on your faces.”
Izzy acts as a human embodiment of the Sick Burn meme, but her partner is not quite done just yet.
“Oh, and one last thing…” Teagan leans in closer to the camera, the look in her eyes intensifying even as her slightly wicked grin widens. “Guys…stop trying to make The United Kingdom happen. It’s NOT. Going. To happen.”
The redhead reaches in to turn off the camera, but not before one last parting shot.
“See you there, Plastics. Janis and Cady, over and out.”
It is on that final pop culture reference that the feed abruptly cuts off.
THE UNITED KINGDOM Vs. UNITED TROUBLE
Back at ringside, the classical strains of “Rule Britannia” immediately draw an overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fans in attendance, who seem intent on giving the oncoming team a piece of their mind following their title match shenanigans in their home country, two weeks prior. As per usual, however, Rupert Royston-Fellowes and Nigel Kensington III somehow maintain their smug expressions and demeanor as they make their way down to the ring, cavalierly ignoring the veritable downpour of jeers which nearly drowns out “Downtown” Brown’s introduction.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the following is an eight-person tag team match scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from London, England, at a combined weight of 450 pounds, and representing The United Kingdom…the team of Rupert Royston-Fellowes and Nigel Kensington III….the BEST! OF! BRITISH!”
“Here we have one half of The United Kingdom, who are set to do battle here tonight with a coalition of Trouble Roxx and Team United, after their altercation two weeks ago…”
“Altercation?!” Allie Reece scoffs indignantly. “You mean assault!”
“Whatever you want to call it, Allie, it is hopefully set to be avenged here tonight, as Trouble Roxx have taken it upon themselves to challenge the entirety of The United Kingdom to a match!”
“That’s right, Lucas…and the burden is now on the Tag Team Champions’ shoulders. If they don’t show up for this match, they’ll prove the girls right about being bad Champions. Though, honestly, I doubt if they’d care…”
“We shall see, Allie… So far, it’s only the men who are out here…”
“Well, Quinn…maybe the Champions want to make an entrance. They ARE the Champions, after all…”
“We’ll see, Mark. We’ll see.”
When a theme song next starts up on the arena speakers, however, it is not at all the Master Sisters’; rather, it is the driving riff to “Mission to Rock”, which instantly has the crowd on its feet, in anticipation of one of the flashiest and most spectacular entrances in all of GLOBAL Wrestling. Even “Downtown” Brown makes sure to muster up some extra excitement .
“And their opponents…from Beverly Hills, California…at a combined weight of 240 pounds…and representing United Trouble…the team of Teagan Trouble and Izzy Roxx…TROUBLEEEEEEE RRRROOOOXXXXX!”
Those expecting the usual catchphrase-laden fireworks display quickly meet with disappointment, however, as when the two members of Trouble Roxx do come out, they display none of their usual extroverted bubbliness; on the contrary, both Teagan Trouble’s and Izzy Roxx’s make their way through the curtain with none of the customary flair, pausing only for the customary “exploding” fist bump before resuming their unusually subdued trek down to ringside. Even Teagan’s obligatory drumstick toss into the crowd feels just that way, obligatory – as a motion to be gone through, rather than a pleasurable voluntary interaction with appreciative fans.
“Wait, Trouble Roxx are coming out?! Surely it would have been the Master Sisters’ turn now…?”
“I’m telling you, Quinn. The Champs want to make a proper Champion entrance!”
“Whatever is keeping the Sisters backstage, one thing’s for sure: they’re not going to be facing the usual happy-go-lucky Trouble Roxx. I watched the video these girls dropped on YouTube last week, and I can tell you, they are NOT going to be playing around here tonight.”
“I watched that too, Al…and I got one question for you.”
“…go on, Mark…?” Allie audibly braces herself for the worst, perhaps with good reason.
“Would you say that, with that video, Trouble Roxx turned into…Mean Girls?”
The prolonged, long-suffering groan from the female third of the commentary team is well earned, as, from the bottom of the ramp, Trouble Roxx engage in a silently defiant staredown with what could almost be considered the gender-swapped, Negaverse version of themselves. Predictably, the girls’ furious glares have nothing on the men’s well-honed looks of haughty disdain, but still Trouble Roxx give barely an inch, glowering at Ruper and Nigel in such a manner that it almost feels as though the presence of referee Aaron Powell is the only factor preventing things from escalating. Teagan Trouble, however, appears ready to live up to her name, as she requests, and is given, a microphone.
Before she can put it to use, however, another theme song starts up on the speakers, heralding the arrival of Trouble Roxx’s partners for the evening, and first real friends in GLOBAL – the duo known as Team United, who are promptly and dutifully introduced by the company’s charismatic ring announcer.
“And their partners…from Birmingham, England…at a combined weight of 363 pounds…and also representing United Trouble…the team of Ant Rushton and Ade Flowers…TEAAAAAMMM UNITEEEDDDD!”
The two men, who are still bearing visible signs from their attack two weeks previously, are met with an affable response from the fans as they come down the ramp to stand beside Trouble Roxx. The two girls exchange “low-fives” with either man, before Teagan finally gets to put the microphone in her hand to use.
“Where’s the rest of the Plastics?”
Never once dropping his smug grin, Rupert asks for a microphone of his own, the better to reply to his opponent’s query.
“What makes you think the Tag Team Champions have time to waste with the likes of you? You do realize you are little more than a blip on their radar…and ours?”
Teagan, however, is clearly not buying it – and, surprisingly, neither is Izzy, who speaks up before her partner can.
“Yeah…we’re soooo totally unimportant to you guys, that you went ahead and jumped us for…talking at you?” The smaller half of Trouble Roxx scoffs, shaking her head. “Yeah, bro…TOTALLY not a factor…”
The crowd cheers as an impressed Teagan gives her friend a congratulatory slap on the shoulder; Rupert, however, only becomes more snide as he dismisses his opponent’s observation.
“Oh, you silly child…we jumped you because it AMUSED us. Just like what is about to happen…”
The blond’s smug grin, together with the crowd’s sudden shift from cheers to boos, alerts the foursome, who whirl around…
…just in time to engage the onrushing Master Sisters, who have burst from behind the curtain with no music, or indeed, any sort of advance warning whatsoever!!
“They wanted to ‘make an entrance’, eh, Mark?” Lucas Quinn all but spits venom as he addresses his broadcast partner, who promptly defends himself.
“Well…you can’t say they HAVEN’T, Quinn…”
“Some Champions…” Allie’s tone, too, is laced with vitriol. “Relying on a distraction to gain an advantage! And here I thought Trouble Roxx and Team United were soooo beneath them that they didn’t even want to bother coming out…”
“Oh-ho! But it’s not going to stand! Not with Powell out there!”
Quinn’s gleeful exclamation almost gets drowned out by the crowd’s roar as, without a moment’s hesitation, GLOBAL’s largest referee jumps into the fray and begins pulling wrestlers apart. The initial element of surprise allows him to get Izzy and Teagan to safety, wrenching them away from the Master Sisters’ grasp, but his inability to be in two places at once means that, behind his back, the two Best of British are able to get in a few cheap shops on their Team United countrymen. Even despite this, Powell’s intervention proves crucial in restoring some semblance of order to the match, as he sends both Champions and challengers to their respective corners before turning to address the situation in the ring, which still has two more men than it should inside it. Once again, he promptly separates the four wrestlers, then tells either team to decide on a legal man, the Best of British begrudgingly opting for Rupert, while Team United ignore Teagan’s Scrappy-Doo like cries of “lemme at ’em!” and put forth Ant Rushton as their starter. Only after order is fully restored and the two teams’ legal men selected does Powell turn to the timekeeper’s table and call for the bell.
“Looks like we are finally getting under way here, at long last…though I wonder how long it will take for things to fall apart again…”
“I would say not too long, Lucas, but as you keep telling me, we’ll have to wait and see.”
And wait and see they do, as, in the ring, the two men finally begin a formal exchange. Unsurprisingly, there is very little preamble to it, the competitors promptly launching at one another, and also unsurprisingly, it is Rupert Royston-Fellowes who has the early advantage, his and his partner’s pre-match wear-down having worked its intended purpose. With his opponent still dazed, the blond half of Best of British is at leisure to hold his head down and connect with repeated knee smashes to the face, before lifting him upright to connect with a series of quick yet impactful elbows to his face. The dazed Rushton staggers back, and Fellowes runs him through with a clothesline, taking him down, and leaving him in prime position for a series of stomps; referee Powell is, however, quick to put an end to that, telling the United Kingdom member to back off from his downed opponent. Fellowes puts on a show of backing up, his arms raised as if pleading innocence – a pose he keeps all the way to his corner, where he tags in Nigel Kensington III, bringing him into the fray for the first time.
“These guys may be, as Teagan puts it, buttholes, but they know the fundamentals of wrestling, I’ll give them that…”
As Allie begrudgingly praises the two men’s tactics, Kensington picks up where his partner left off, connecting with a knee smash to the face of the kneeling Rushton, who promptly goes right back down again. Also like his partner, the second half of the Best of British begins to lay in the stomps the minute his opponent hits the floor; however, when Powell tells him to stop, he chooses, not to back off, but to lift his opponent to his feet, the better to connect with a series of stiff chops, before ramming through Rushton with a clothesline, sneaking in a couple more stomps before Powell can make it over to the ropes.
“Ant Rushton still has not found his way into this match, and the Best of British are in complete control here!”
“Yes…it seems Ant is taking a moment to regroup, and I can’t say I blame him…”
Indeed, Rushton slides under the top rope and to the floor, where he attempts to take a moment to collect himself; predictably, however, Kensington does not allow this, promptly following his opponent and grabbing him from behind for a German suplex onto the concrete, which just misses the steel steps!
“As bad as that was for Ant Rushton, it could have been even worse! A few inches further back and to the left, and he would have been thrown against the steel steps!”
“Even still, Mark…Rushton and his team-mates have to be wondering how they are ever going to come back into this match at this rate!”
Indeed, Kensington remains in complete control, as he smashes Rushton’s head against the barricade a few times, before throwing him against the steel steps, this time purposefully. He then smashes his fellow countryuan’s head against the apron, for good measure, before throwing him into the ring post! Rushton staggers back, dazed…straight into another suplex on the floor!
“ANOTHER ONE?! Rushton’s going to feel this in the morning…and probably for the rest of the month!”
Neither of Deltzer’s broadcast partners contradicts his statement, which appears by all accounts accurate, as Kensington leaves Rushton’s lifeless body on the outside and slides back into the ring to tag his partner back in.
When Rupert Royston-Fellowes slides to the outside to continue his methodical wearing-down of the Team United member, however, he is met with an uppercut from the revived Rushton, which sends him rocking backwards! The Team United member promptly seizes his chance, landing another uppercut, and then a third, until the Best of British member is well and truly woozy. He then slides into the ring, where he is presented with the chance to tag in his partner; he passes on it, however, in favor of slingshotting over the ropes and landing a missile dropkick to Fellowes, which takes him off his feet for the first time. Rushton then quickly climbs the ring steps, and then the turnbuckle, to launch off with a frogsplash to the outside, which lands flush! Bolstered by his spell of momentum, Rushton then hops onto the apron, from where he connects with a picture-perfect springboard lionsault, whipping the fans even further into a frenzy!
“Rushton finally getting some revenge on his tormentor, but one has to wonder if it is wise for that young man to be putting his body on the line like this, after the punishment he’s been getting…”
As if he had heard and acknowledged Lucas, Rushton gets up from his lionsault, not to connect with another move, but to roll back into the ring and finally take a breather. The grimace on his face and the way he clutches onto his sides indicate GLOBAL’s play-by-play announcer might have been onto something with his remark, and it is therefore with little surprise that fans witness a tag get made to Flowers, a moment later.
“That was a wise decision from Rushton…Flowers is totally fresh, and he will probably be able to keep the team’s momentum going better than his partner…”
Deltzer’s words prove true almost straight away, as the staggering Fellowes is met at the apron with a running dropkick through the ropes, which sends him hurtling back to the concrete below. Not willing to let his advantage go to waste, Flowers then springboards into a big crossbody…
…which is CAUGHT by the Best of British member, and reversed into a release suplex into the barricade!!
The fans groan right along with the commentators as the controversial team regains the lead – and Fellowes regains his cocky smirk. As for the Brit, after rolling into the ring to break the count, he continues his thorough dissection of Team United, as he brings Flowers to his feet, only to make him Assume the Position with his trademark double underhook facebuster onto the concrete!!
“Good God almighty, that man is broken in half!!”
The crowd gasps right along with Lucas as the fan-favorite smashes face-first against the concrete, but Flowers has very little time to get acquainted with the floor, as Rupert rolls him into the ring, before sliding in himself and promptly going for the cover. Powell slides in..
NO!!! FLOWERS’ FOOT IS UNDER THE ROPES!!
“Was that INCREDIBLE awareness from a barely conscious man, or a miscalculation from Fellowes?!”
“I’m not sure, Lucas, but I would probably go with the second option. Methinks Mr. Rich Boy got a little too cocky there, and cost himself a chance. And I can’t say I’m not glad about that…”
“Indeed, Allie, indeed.”
Fellowes, too, appears to realize this was his own mistake, as, after arguing with referee Powell (to no avail, of course) he suddenly goes pale as he turns back towards his opponent; still, to his credit, he takes it on the chin, immediately shaking off his moment of weakness and dropping down to set up a Boston crab.
“That’s intelligent wrestling there, Lucas. He’s making sure that little mistake doesn’t happen again by taking Flowers’ arms AND legs away from him. Great tactic.”
Deltzer’s begrudging admiration proves fruitless a moment later, however, as Flowers manages to prevent himself from getting trapped by mule-kicking, then desperately lunging for the ropes. Fellowes attempts to prise him loose, rules be damned, but referee Powell promptly rushes over to ensure he does nothing of the sort, and instead adheres to the stipulated obligation to back off and give his opponent some space.
“Speaking of intelligent tactics, Flowers may have single-handedly kept himself in this match with that dive!”
“Indeed, Mark. It’s nothing short of amazing what desperation can do sometimes…”
While the respite does allow Flowers to recover, however, Fellowes is still in control, as no sooner has the Team United member pulled himself to his feet than he is being pulled in and whipped across to the United Kingdom turnbuckle, where Fellowes connects with a running elbow to the guy before tagging in Kensington again. Before the darker-haired half of the team can come in, however, Aurora Master blind-tags herself off his back, prompting a displeased reaction from both men!
“Oho…trouble in Paradise. I was wondering when that would start happening…”
“So was I, Quinn. I guess the girls got tired of the boys making it all about themselves, and the two big strong men did not like that too well..”
Allie can barely disguise the sarcasm in her voice as, at the turnbuckle, Rupert, Nigel, Dawn and her two sisters continue to argue. Before any resolution can be reached, however, Flowers takes matters into his own hands, rolling up Kensington into a small package!
—Kickout from Kensington!
“That would have been pointless, anyway. That wasn’t the legal man…” Mark Deltzer sounds his usually sarcastic self as he surmises what just transpired, but his older and more experienced partner leaves a word of warning.
“Even still, Mark. Goes to show what could happen if those four people can’t get on the same page…”
“Frankly, I hope they don’t.” Allie, never too concerned with being impartial, openly flies the United Trouble flag.
Still, that incident appears to have made The United Kingdom reassess their priorities, as Dawn Master finally enters the ring – though not without pushing Kensington aside and snapping “see what happens? Get out of my way!” Then, as the Best of British member sulkily retreats behind his own ropes, the smallest Master Sister hops up on the turnbuckle, from where she introduces herself to Flowers by way of a big leg drop across his chest!
“Immediate impact from Carnival Dawn Master, but can she follow up here?”
Quinn’s question is answered in short order, when Dawn once again climbs the turnbuckle to connect with a moonsault! The move lands, and Carnival goes up again, advising her team-mates to “watch this”. She then launches off with a senton bomb…
…which finds nobody home, as Ade Flowers rolls out of the way!
“Flowers saves himself again, and can he capitalize THIS time?”
The answer to Lucas’s question is affirmative, as the Team United member pulls himself up to his feet just in time to connect with a dropkick, which catches the recovering Dawn off-guard and sends her hurtling into the post. Flowers wastes no time following this up with another dropkick, a running one this time, which pins one-half of the Tag Team Champions to the post.
“Flowers finally finds a way in, but he had better get out of there quick, if he knows what’s good for him…”
Indeed, Flowers seems to realize lingering around the United Kingdom corner is ill-advised, and quickly puts some distance between himself and his opponents, waiting for Carnival to come to him rather than the other way around. Fortunately, the smallest Master Sister is not one to wait around, almost immediately running in Flowers’ direction in search of a hurricanrana…
…only to get floored by a massive spinning wheel kick from her opponent!
“WHAT A COUNTER from Flowers!!!”
“Yes, Lucas. Things do finally appear to be looking up for these two…and, consequently, for their team as a whole.”
Indeed, Flowers finds himself – and his team – in control for the very first time, and quickly seeks to capitalize. He lands a European Uppercut on Carnival, then whips her across to the ropes looking for a crossbody. The Tag Team Champion reacts quickly, springboarding into an aerial move, but Flowers once again counters, this time with a dropsault, which sends Dr. Carnival hurtling back into the ropes and gives Flowers, who landed on his feet, the chance to connect with a running, jumping cross chop, which floors Carnival; from there, the Team United wrestler displays his agility by, without stopping, rolling through and leaping onto the top rope to connect with a springboard moonsault…
…which Dawn gets her knees up for!!
“Momentum successfully halted by Carnival Master, but she will be feeling the effects of that series of moves from Flowers…”
Indeed, as Lucas mentions this, Carnival is seen grimacing and rolling around for a moment, before eventually getting up – and not a moment too soon, as she is able to counter whatever Ade Flowers had in mind into a hurricanrana, which sends the fan-favourite sprawling over and gives her a chance to run to her corner and tag in her big little sister, Moonlight Master! This, however, has also given Ade an opening, and he just about beats the Champions’ blonde giant to his corner, where he tags the first hand he sees – which ends up being Izzy Roxx’s!
“Oh, come ON! HOW is that fair?!”
Lucas’ concerns appear to be shared by the shortest half of Trouble Roxx, who looks utterly terrified at the prospect of facing Moonlight; after a moment, however, words of encouragement from all three members of her team eventually bolster up her confidence, and she pulls a page out of Carnival Dawn’s book, greeting Moonlight with a missile dropkick!
The crowd cheers for this good start from the spunky, charismatic pnnk-rocker, but it is not to last; when Izzy looks to follow up with a headscissors, Moonlight grabs her and throws her down into a powerbomb! Izzy hits the mat back-first, but does not stay down there for very long, as the “Murderboss” quickly picks her up again to deliver a bodyslam! She then immediately reaches down and brings the smaller wrestler to her feet, before casually throwing her over with a one-hand suplex! Izzy flies into the corner, hits the ring-post back-first, and Moonlight promptly seizes her opportunity to run into her at full-force, in a not-quite-splash. She then positions her opponent across the base of the turnbuckle before ascending it and going for a leg drop…
…which Izzy rolls out of the way of, much to the delight of the crowd!
Despite scrambling to her feet and moving as fast as she can, however – and despite the encouragement from her very best friend at the turnbuckle – the fan-favorite does not make it too far before Moonlight catches up to her again, grabbing her from behind and throwing her over with a German suplex! She then pulls the brakes on her own momentum, turns around, and catches the recovering Izzy with a big boot!
“It’s been very one-sided here thus far, unsurprisingly…”
“Yes it has, Lucas. Izzy needs to make a tag, but to do that, she needs to be able to come back into this match first…which is looking increasingly unlikely just now.”
Indeed, Moonlight Master remains firmly in control, and almost suceeds in making Teagan Trouble cry in public as she throws Izzy around, first with a front suplex, and then with another German. She then picks up the smaller wrestler and drapes her over her shoulder, looking for a powerslam…
…only for Izzy to come alive, slip out of the hold, and reverse it into a rollup!! Aaron Powell slides in…
—Kickout by Moonlight Master!
“Finally an opening for Izzy Roxx, but it was not enough to win her team the match!”
“Of COURSE it wasn’t, Quinn. It was a ROLLUP. On a FRESH opponent. Gimme a break!”
“Are you sure there isn’t an S in your name somewhere, Mark?” Allie cannot help but tease her broadcast partner. “Because sometimes, you sure come across as…”
“…smart? That’s ’cause I AM smart, Al!”
“Watch Izzy Roxx here!!” Lucas Quinn brings focus back to the match as Izzy, finally presented with half an opening, finally lands a hit or two on Moonlight, hitting her with a leg lariat as she is kneeling, then following that up with a quick elbow drop. Moonlight angrily scrambles to her feet, but Izzy smartly puts some distance between herself and her opponent, shimmying up the far turnbuckle before launching off with a diving forearm smash, which rocks the Tag Team Champion! Not wasting a moment, Izzy forward-rolls to her feet and connects with a dropkick, which further succeeds in keeping Moonlight at bay, allowing the youngster to run in with a jumping crossbody, which sends both wrestlers into the corner! Back in her element, Izzy quickly scrambles up the buckle to catch the recovering Moonlight with a leg drop, which takes her down to the mat for good!
“Oh, how the turntables…!”
Allie’s reference, lost on the less pop-culture savvy, nevertheless continues to be validated as Izzy floors the recovering Moonlight with a bulldog, en route to tagging in her best friend! Before she does, however, Teagan calls for ‘Lift-Off’, and Izzy chooses instead to run up the turnbuckle so that her partner can throw her into a big-air crossbody…
…which gets caught by Moonlight and reversed into a fireman’s carry position, presumably setting up the Masterpiece cutter…
…which Izzy manages to avoid by slipping out again, and once again pulling Moonlight into a rollup!
—And another kickout!
“Third time was NOT the charm there, but this should still serve as a warning to The United Kingdom…it has happened several times during this match, and it could eventually end up costing them…”
As Lucas admonishes the controversial team, in the ring, their opponents have just managed to make a tag, bringing sole remaining fresh member Teagan Trouble into the fray – and, unlike Izzy, she does not seem intimidated by Moonlight Master’s size whatsoever. Proof of this is the spinning heel kick she lands on the bigger wrestler straight away, which then gets followed up with a big running tackle, taking advantage of Moonlight’s unstable stance to send her down to the mat! Teagan pulls herself up and raises a fist to the crowd, before dropping the other one on her opponent. She gets up again and drops an elbow on Moonlight, before rolling away and putting some distance between herself and her opponent.
“Good start from Teagan Trouble, but I’m not sure she should be giving her opponent space just now…”
“I don’t think it’s random, Lucas…look!”
Allie’s affirmation has some basis to it, as Teagan clearly appears to be tuning up the band – or rather, revving her engine straight into Overdr—OPPED BY MOONLIGHT WITH A BIG BOOT!
“Well, what do you know…Quinn was right, and you were wrong, Al. Who would’a thunk it?”
Despite this setback, however, Teagan refuses to back down, fighting Moonlight all the way to her feet, even despite her wooziness…and then catching her with an uppercut the minute she sees an opening! Moonlight is rocked, though only for a moment – but that is enough for Teagan, who shows off her jumping ability and leg span as she catches her opponent on the chin with a bicycle kick!
“TROUBLE CALLING! Anybody home?!”
The crowd shares Allie Reece’s delight as Moonlight Master goes down like a brick, and referee Aaron Powell drops down to count!
—Pinfall broken by Dawn Master!
As, on the outside, Aurora becomes increasingly vociferous in her berating of her two sisters, Dawn buys her big little sister some time by overtly clowning around in front of Powell, hopping from foot to foot as she pulls grimaces at him. Naturally, GLOBAL’s largest referee has no choice but to tell her to return to her corner, which she eventually does…but only after she has made sure Moonlight took advantage of the distraction to poke Teagan in the eye.
“Aaaand now the cheating starts. The MINUTE they’re not at an advantage…!”
Allie’s disgust is shared by the crowd, who begin to boo as Moonlight pulls Teagan Trouble to her feet and leans in to whisper something in her ear, before winding up a KO punch…
…which Teagan dodges, connecting with an elbow smash of her own to Moonlight’s jaw! She then takes a victory lap, for the crowd’s benefit…but the cheers end up being her downfall, as she is met, at the end of it, with another big boot from Moonlight, which sends her flying into The United Kingdom’s corner!
Moonlight steps in and picks her opponent back up just as Carnival Dawn holds out her hand and cries out “Moony!” Then, as Moonlight tags her in, she calls out “bearhug!”, prompting her sister to pull Teagan into just such a move, ahead of Dawn leaping off the turnbuckle for a top rope snap DDT! As she is launching off, however, the smallest of the Master Sisters gets blind-tagged out by a tap to her near hand from Rupert Royston-Fellowes, which / being mid-motion and dropping rapidly – she is powerless to prevent. As such, after the move connects flush, and as Moonlight rolls out of the ring to allow her sister to cover, Carnival is told in no uncertain terms by referee Aaron Powell that she is not the legal woman, and that the current pinning predicament is therefore not valid!
The tiny psychopath promptly leaps to her feet indignant, but Powell is adamant: she must get to her corner within the currently ongoing five-count, or her team will be disqualified. Carnival glowers around, looking for the culprit, and her gaze lands on the smirking Rupert Royston-Fellowes. Murder appears in the female wrestler’s eyes, and it takes all of Moonlight’s best efforts to prevent her from getting her team disqualified by jumping down her “fellow team-mate’s” throat. Rather than do that, however, she chooses to pay Rupert back in kind, promptly slapping his OWN hand against his will, while shouting “TAG! I’M IT! [BLEEP] YOU, ARSEHOLE!”. She then steps in, still ranting and raving at her supposed partner…
…and that ends up costing her, as she gets pulled down into a rollup by Teagan Trouble!! The crowd leaps to their feet as referee Powell slides in to count…
Moonlight Master rushes in to help her sister – but neither of her two team-mates seems interested in helping at all!
Izzy Roxx all but flies across the mat, leaping into a desperation crossbody which sends the two women hurtling over the ropes! NOW the two men make a show of coming in the ring and help…but it is too late. The crowd ROARS as Powell’s hand goes down one last time, for the…
Even “Downtown” Brown sounds chuffed as he booms out the official announcement.
“Ladies and gentlemen…the winners of this match…UNITEEEEED TROOOOUBLLEEEEEE!!”
At the announce table, reactions are no less ecstatic.
“THEY’VE DONE IT! TROUBLE ROXX HAVE JUST BEATEN THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!!”
“…and Team United, Allie. Although…yes, you’re right. A MASSIVE victory for these young women here tonight…”
“…even if it WAS off a rollup…”
“Don’t be a spoilsport, Mark. Let Allie enjoy the moment.”
A livid Aurora immediately begins to demand an explanation from the two men, who protest their innocence and claim that they “thought she had things under control” and that “it was all too quick”. Dawn and Moonlight, on the other hand, take their frustrations out another way, with Dawn dropping Teagan with a Masterplan cutter as the redhead celebrates with the crowd, while on the outside, Dawn floors Izzy with the Please Don’t Die KO punch. The two members of Team United loyally try to intervene in defence of their friends, but THIS time, Rupert and Nigel are quick to react, getting in front of them and – smirking just as smugly as ever – laying them out with stereo Assume the Position facebusters, before beginning the smorgasbord of stomps they call The Downtrodding. So it is that, as the match ends, the defeated team is the one left standing – even if they continue to argue all the way up the entranceway and to the back. For the winning foursome, on the other hand, this ends up being a bittersweet victory – even if, as she is carried out by EMTs, a barely conscious Teagan still requests a microphone to croak out the obligatory sign-off line.
“We’ve been Trouble…Roxx…from Beverly…Hills…California…and Team…United…from Birmingham…England…”
Seeing her struggle, her similarly dazed best friend nevertheless seeks to help out.
It is with the two girls smiling at each other and reaching out to hold hands, as the roar of the crowd envelops them and their equally battered but smiling male counterparts, that the feed transitions elsewhere.
A MAN OF FEW WORDS...
Backstage in the locker room sits a man of few words: the Maltese warrior, Son of Malta. Always dressed for battle, the veteran sits on a bench lacing his boots up slowly, looking towards the GLOBAL camera.
“I have been called a man of few words—a man of action.”
The thick accent of the Maltese-born veteran is heard as he continues.
“The simple truth is I prefer to talk inside the ring. There are plenty of silver tongues all across GLOBAL. Everyone has something to say. Me?”
The Son of Malta shrugs.
“I sit back, and I listen. I listen as everyone talks a good game. I listen while everyone makes demands. I listen while everyone claims to be tough.”
The Son of Malta laughs.
“Then inside that ring. When we come face to face. Every single one of you who made your demands. Talked your little smack. Made claims about just how tough you are. It becomes your turn to listen as these do all the talking.”
The Son of Malta raises his fists.
“So be careful when you ask the Son of Malta to speak. There isn’t anyone in this locker room who wants to listen to the Son of Malta.”
The tough-as-nails veteran goes back to lacing his boots.
PRELUDE TO AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT
“Didn’t see that coming, did you, you Rice-A-Roni sons of bitches? Welcome to ‘Murica!”
The tone of the sentence that opens the YouTube video simply labelled ‘UNTITLED.MP4‘, uploaded by user “adoseoftruth”, is as unpleasant as the content itself, and matches the expressions of both the speaker and the two other men standing behind him, all three of which wear almost impossibly smug grins. The grimy, grungy, hobo-looking man in front, who appears to be the ringleader, gives a mirthless chuckle as he continues.
“That’s right. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!” He scoffs. “Not that YOU’d know that…I doubt you bastards got GI Joe growing up. They’re American heroes, not commie heroes…”
This gets a dutiful guffaw from the two besuited, shades-wearing men at the back, as the speaker continues.
“Let that be a warning to all you illegals running ’round back there, though. All you bastards better watch your backs. Playtime is good and over. GLOBAL Wrestling has Border Control now, and things are about to change around here.”
The man sweeps a hand to indicate his two comrades, who respond in kind.
“That’s right, asshats. You better watch it!”
“We gon’ whup all y’all’s asses!”
The balding man nods, then turns to face the camera again.
“And if you or any of the goddamn suits got a problem with that…you can kiss. My. Dumplings.”
Another round of guffaws from the two men ensues, as their leader leans further forward.
“That’s right. I know those bastards at the top are just about blowing their loads right now just thinking about how they’re gonna ‘punish’ me again with another match against you two clowns. So I’m gonna make it easy for them, and for you. Just pick your poison, pal. One on one, two on one, two on two, three on two…any way you want it, buckaroo.”
“Heh…that rhymed, boss!”
This exclamation from the taller and thicker of the two men earns him a stiff blow to the ribs from his lankier partner, which momentarily takes the air out of him. Oblivious – or indifferent – to all this, the man in front continues.
“You heard me right, you little Panda Express piece of shit. We’re letting YOU choose. ‘Cause you know what? No matter what you choose, ol’ John J. and the boys are gonna show you what we do to goddamn illegals who try to come over here and infringe on the freedoms of innocent American citizens. No matter what you choose…at Domination 9…the TRUTH CONTROL is gonna get ya.”
Noises of agreement come from behind the man as he once again leans close to the camera.
“Ball’s in your court, bigshot. You think that Yao Ming-looking bastard is hot shit? How ’bout you put the People’s Money where your mouth is? That is…unless you’re Kung Pow Chicken…’
Another round of guffaws ensues, interspersed with mocking clucking, before something to the left of the camera – the men’s right – diverts the group’s attention away from the video, their smug expressions replaced with alert or, in the case of the lead speaker, even panicked expressions.
“Boys…get your pieces.” The disheveled man motions to his two companions, who are already on the move. “Let’s show these little green bastards what happens when you try and fuck with Americans.”
With that, and still looking at a point somewhere to his right, the group leader hastily reaches in to turn off the camera, cutting off the feed and effectively ending the video.
PAYING THE PIPER
“No, I don’t know EXACTLY why, but my guess is it is your fault.”
The voice of Chris Smith is heard as he and Gemini round the corner at Global headquarters. in the bottom, right corner of the screen, we see a small timestamp appear, “Monday, April 10.”
“My fault?” the masked enigma responds as they reach the door.
“Hey,” Smith stares toward Gemini as he puts his hand on the door handle, “You dropped an elbow on two kids.”
Chris opens the door and walks through as Gemini looks in a haze and right at the camera.
“It was a good elbow, though,” he says as he follows Smith through the door.
The door shuts, and we see a conference room on the other side with two men sitting at a table. We do not see their faces as the camera is set behind them, but we do see Smith and Gemini standing there staring toward the men.
“Sit down, boys,” a voice bellows.
As Gemini and the Big Kid grab chairs, we are given a view of the table for the meeting, and the man who spoke was none other than wrestling legend Hank Wright. Hank has a basic denim shirt on and is attempting to look as executive as a Texas man can look when he would rather be out at a bar or anywhere but a boardroom. Next to him is another wrestling legend, “Too Cool” Chris Hopper, who is in a gray pinstripe Armani suit and has his hair pulled back in a tail, looking sharp.
“First and foremost,” Chris begins in the most corporate tone you can imagine, “From a Global perspective, you realize that you cannot go running around attacking kids. This is regardless to the humor it may bring to yourselves or anyone who was watching.”
“It was funny,” Hank adds.
“It was,” Hopper responds, almost bereft of any emotion.
“Why are you acting all hard ass on this one?” Wright queries. “You were sitting next to me at the bar laughing your ass off when you saw it. You know you were. And now, you are sitting here acting like you are gonna take their heads off? C’mon off it already.”
The Count of Monte Fisto turns his head to his long-time friend. “That was then, and this is what we have been asked to do because of these, remember?”
Hopper smacks his hand down on a file folder with about an inch of paper in it.
“Every single one of these pages has a complaint to the company about what these two did,” Too Cool continues. “The calls, emails, social media bitch fests came in from all over the entire world, and you know that! And since somebody has to deal with this…”
“Guys,” The Big Kid interrupts, “Do we need to be here for this?”
Hopper, who isn’t used to being cut off, turns his glare to the duo. “Alright then.”
At this point, it is obvious that Hank is finding all of this funny as his face his hidden behind his large hand, while his eyes definitely show he is hiding laughter in this move.
“What we believe needs to happen,” the legend continues, “is for the two of you to stop trolling around the sidelines and actually get in the ring.”
Gemini suddenly circles his mouth in an “oh snap” sort of way and reaches out to grab the forearm of his partner in crime.
“What we haven’t decided is just which team will be against you at Gold Rush,” the Governor adds. “In all honesty, we have plenty of choices.”
“Indeed, we do,” Hopper piles on, “There is Metal Militia.”
Gemini’s looks stricken even with a mask on, and he seems to overreact to every name that gets mentioned.
“Oh, Border Control is back around,” Wright suggests.
At this point, even Smith is starting to look a little unnerved.
“There is even The Law,” the King of Cool tosses out.
“OH! That’s a good idea,” Wright teasingly agrees.
“Listen,” Smith finally interrupts the match-making brainstorm, “I don’t think you all need to go too overboard with the choices you have here. My friend here hasn’t really done much since he had to face that Reyn character and I’m fresh off my trip to aid the poor, impoverished youths of the Lower East Side of Manchester.”
The two legends look at each other and then look back at the two across from them. They literally speak in unison.
“But…” Smith is cut off by both Hank and Hopper slamming their fists on the table.
“Nope, we are done here.” Wright announces.
“Boys, prepare for a match at Gold Rush.” Too Cool adds. “Against whom? We’ll let you know that night. Have a good day, and thanks for stopping by.”
The dynamic duo slowly gets to their feet and exit the room, looking scared and defeated at the same time. The moment the door closes behind them, the legends share a loud explosion of laughter. Hank reaches down and grabs a couple of cans of beer, handing one to his friend.
“We should take that spot,” Hank says as he pops the can open.
“Oh my, can you imagine how they would piss their pants if we did?” Chris says as he pops his can.
And as the legends continue laughing and drinking their beers, the screen fades to black.
FIGHT IN THE FAMILY
“What was that?” Cries Aurora to her younger sisters.
Dawn stops sipping her apple juice and looks at her.
“It’s been half an hour, you’ve been bottling it up till now?” She asks.
“Yes. Now, what was that?” She asks her sisters again.
“Ask your associates. Ten years of tag team matches and I never had a tag team partner trying to disrupt my flow!”
“Wow, you never tagged with Aurora?” Asked Moonlight with a smirk.
“Arh, arh, very funny.” Interrupted Aurora.
“We’re the champs, the big bads, we’re not supposed to lose!”
“How’s that my fault?” asked Dawn.
“How is it not?! Who got pinned? You did!”
“Because of those two bums that YOU wanted to team up with!”
“I didn’t want anything, they won a match against us!”
“I don’t remember that!”
“What the fuck do you mean you don’t remember that? You were there!”
“I have short term memory, there’s a lot I don’t remember!”
“You’ll remember this punch!”
Moonlight stops this idiotic back and forth by putting herself between her older sisters.
“Let’s take a deep breath, okay? None of us enjoyed this loss, but we can’t let it ruin us.” She tries to pep talk to her family the best she can.
“Yes we can!” Says Dawn, trying to climb over Moonlight to reach her other sister.
“No! We can’t! We’re The Master Sisters! Remember who was always there for us.”
“Aunt Pink?” Asks Dawn.
“My secretary Katherine?” Asks Aurora.
“I guess… but also each other… right?” Moonlight asks.
“God, you’re bad at this… but I guess you have a point. Let’s make sure Trouble Roxx and Team United lose their next matches!” Aurora says, trying to keep things under control.
“Even if we have to break their knees completely!” shouts Dawn.“Now we’re talking!” laughs Aurora.
As Moonlight lets her two sisters finally face each other, they seem to finally be on good terms. For over ten years this has been their relationship, fight after resolution after fight after resolution… but one has to wonder if the straw will eventually break. Is this foreshadowing? I don’t know, only time will tell.
RESPECT THE GAME
The atmosphere of the GLOBAL Meet and Greet is electric, with fans of all ages eagerly crowding around their favorite wrestlers, hoping to get a glimpse of their heroes. Daniel Dream sits at a table, signing autographs, the Western Conference Championship belt gleaming beside him. That’s when a frail, old lady approaches him, clutching a piece of paper and a pen.
“Excuse me, Mr. Dream,” the old lady says, her voice soft and trembling. “My grandson Cooper is your biggest fan. Could you please sign this photo for him?”
A little boy with brown hair, wearing a blue and white horizontal striped short-sleeve shirt, steps in front of his grandmother. “Wow, mister, you’re so cool! I loved how you reversed The Food Coma into a double knee facebreaker! Can I have your autograph too, please?” The little boy exclaims with a bit of a lisp, his mouth open in awe and his blue eyes shining with admiration as he gazes up at Daniel.
Daniel chuckles softly, nodding in agreement. “The Konami Codebreaker, I had to reach deep in my playbook for that.” Daniel smiles warmly and takes the pen from the old lady, signing the photo before writing, ‘To my biggest fan, Cooper’
The old lady and Cooper take the photo before thanking Daniel and walking over to the table of The Players.
“Hey, can I have an autograph for my grandson, Cooper? He’s a big fan of yours, and thinks you’re the next Tag Team Champions.”
Paul smiles, and scribbles away before handing it over to Kid Chameleon, who admits. “We have a LOT of work before we get there, but thanks, buddy.”
Sanders rolls his eyes at Kid’s remark. Cooper whispers to his grandmother, and she takes a look down at the photo. “The Players? Wait a minute.”
She walks back, signed photo in hand, and points at Kid Chameleon. “You’re not The Prime Time Players?”
Sanders laughs as Chameleon shakes his head. “So, you’re not Jimmy Classic?”
Again, a firm shake of the head greets her question.
“In that case,” she moans, throwing the signed photos back on the desk in front of her, making Sanders laugh out loud.
“Can you believe that?”
“Who are The Prime Time Players?”
Sanders, hands on hips, chuckles. “Well, we’re The Players and Classic and Larkin are The Prime Time Athletes.”
Daniel gets a microphone and addresses the fans at the GLOBAL Meet and Greet, “I know we all have our favorites in this business, but let’s not forget to ‘respect the game’, and the men and women who step in the ring every night.”
Daniel gestures to Paul Sanders and Kid Chameleon as he continues.
“From The Players to the main eventers, every wrestler deserves respect for what they do in that ring. So let’s show them love and the appreciation they deserve.”
Daniel puts down the mic and strides over to The Players with a grin.
Sanders smiles and extends his hand to Daniel. “Thanks for that, man. It means a lot, especially coming from someone like you.”
Chameleon tips his sunglasses to Dream as a sign of respect.
Daniel wraps an arm around the shoulder of Paul Sanders and Kid Chameleon, the grin still on his face, as he says quietly, “And I have an idea on how to get you the respect you deserve…”
VICTORY AND DEFEAT
The sounds of howling winds are heard as the camera crackles to life. The view from this personal camera shows a high-angle shot of a metallic ship. Once a proud battleship, that fought in World War 2, the Korean War, and yes… even Vietnam, the SS American Victory has become a museum in the docks of Tampa. A monument to its old glory.
Down below, the people on the docks look like ants from high up in the crow’s nest of the old ship.
“Fitting, wouldn’t you say? A symbol of past accomplishments… and an eternal reminder of the enemies this civilization COULDN’T conquer.”
The camera turns to show Alex Reyn.
“Greetings, Daniel. It’s been a while since we talked. Longer still, since I spoke to you directly. I apologize for ignoring you for so long. Until recently, I wasn’t sure if it would be you, or August I would be facing in the finals”
He places the camera down and steps back. Spreading his arms wide in a grandiose gesture.
“I chose this for our… one-sided conversation. Consider it my congratulations on your victory. Appropriate, yes? For a man who prides himself as a symbol of this young civilization. I thought you would appreciate a relic of its past.”
He smiles. Taking a seat on the railing.
“Then again. You’ve taken on something of a new identity, haven’t you? Despite what the posters say. “The Carnivore”, It’s an amusing masquerade, and you’ve certainly done well for yourself since I first met you. Malta, The Wall, Alfie, and of course your recent victory. These are some impressive conquests.”
He gives a melodramatic sigh.
“But… much like this history of your beloved America… it is its failures that eat at one the most.”
His eyes lock with the camera.
“Just as the nation you love has its own scars of failure and shame, you and I BOTH carry the shame of losing to the man they call champion. We both seek atonement. We are BOTH carnivores. The difference?”
His lips curl into a smile.
“You have sought to redeem your losses for months, while I… I have wanted to strangle Darring for YEARS. Do not think your hunger can compare to mine. You and I are talented, we are cunning, swift, prodigies of violence… but unlike you, I have not needed charity in this tournament. I was never given an easy path by a sponsor that lacks faith in me. You may be their chosen symbol, Daniel… but this company doesn’t truly believe in you. It doesn’t trust that you have what it takes. So, my friend… Do YOU believe in Daniel Dream? The idol of a country? The Carnivore, or whatever you wish to call yourself next? Or is this constant search for a new identity because you don’t really believe in the face you HAVE?”
He moves closer, picking up the camera.
“As for myself… I am what I have always been. The First Predator, The East Wind, He Who Divides The Weak From The Strong, and more relative to you… Come our match at Gold Rush, I am going to be your greatest shame… Much like the country you wear the flag of, you will face humiliating defeat when you fly into MY jungle. Like the soldiers in that war, you will be hunted, you will be scared, and you will be tormented.”
Again, the smile of a predator.
“Do try to make it entertaining.”
He releases the camera, and the view of the East Wind shrinks smaller and smaller into a dark silhouette as the camera falls from the old mast.
A LESSON IN RESPECT
Suddenly, the collective chatter amongst Floridians is interrupted by nudges and whispers that Declan Rich, flanked by Todd and Donny, has emerged from backstage. Todd is wearing a green t-shirt and blue jeans with black boots, Donny has a blue Nike t-shirt with the world-famous white tick and dark denim jeans, while Declan looks like the only one who has bothered to dress up for wrestling purposes, his leather ring jacket with a picture of a diamond on the back to emphasize his nickname. An excellent reception greets the famous family’s arrival. Declan takes the long route, requesting a microphone, while Todd applauds the heartfelt reception from the middle of the ring, and Donny poses on the middle rope, seeking and getting some accolades, though whether they’re for him or the faction is a debate for another day.
Declan walks around, nodding his head in appreciation while Todd folds his arms, playing the role of enforcer, one that has often been used to describe his position in the ranks. With Freddie away, Todd should be the leader, but Declan seems to be settling into the role.
“Thank you, Florida. The three of us are thrilled to be here, but we know what you want to know from us is about our leader, mine and Donny’s big brother, Todd’s cousin, the one and only Freddie Rich.”
The name sparks a response from the jam-packed crowd in Tampa, which is Declan’s intention. He whispers to Todd, who mouths, ‘Are you sure?’ Todd gets a round of applause as he takes the microphone from Declan, who insists he takes center stage.
“Hi, guys, and thanks, Declan. Well, Freddie’s not good, we’re not gonna lie, but those rumors of him retiring? Not true. He’ll be back.”
Applause rains from all sides as Todd visibly choked and contemplates fighting through the tears and against the warmth of the crowd but sensibly elects not to. Declan and Donny join him in a huddle. Todd composes himself, removing his left hand from his mouth. “He WILL be back, guys. Count on it. He’s not gonna let anyone, let alone Alex Reyn, run him out of wrestling. That’s a promise.”
Another set of cheers go up. Todd passes the microphone back to Declan as Todd hugs Donny, who looks as emotional as his older cousin does. Declan stares down the barrel, defiant. “And, just like those rumors, the speculation of us splitting up? Me going solo? That’s fake news. Do I love wrestling singles matches, and have I had a blast against Son of Malta and Alfie Button? I sure have, and it was a privilege to wrestle both men, who I have an awful lot of respect for. But I respect my brothers, cousin, and father more, and we’re not your regular team. We’re a family. And family sticks together.”
Seeing that Todd is ready to resume, Declan defers to his cousin. “Okay, tears aside, let’s get our game faces back on. Let’s talk about the elephant, make that two elephants in the room – Jimmy Classic. Trae Larkin. The Prime Time Athletes.”
Donny coughs. “Are you sure they’re not the Prime Time Players?”
At first, Todd can’t tell if the baby of The Rich Family is joking or not, but the laughs stemming from the audience, who’ve read the rumors online, back Todd’s hunch up for him. He affords himself a wry smile, shakes his head, and then gets serious again. “Prime Time Athletes, Prime Time Players, PTA, PTP; PTSD, PMS; whatever your names are – you’re arrogant. You’re disrespectful, and quite frankly, I think you’re a couple of bastards who need an ass-kicking and a lesson in manners.”
The volume goes up considerably, and The Mark butts in. “Wow, I’ve never heard Todd Rich react like that, and I don’t know if this has anything to do with what has happened to Freddie or not. We wondered if The Rich Family had heard what Classic and Larkin had to say. I guess we now have their answer. Those are fighting words.”
Fans are chanting BA-STARDS, BA-STARDS, and Quinn breaks the uneasy silence on commentary. “We apologize if anyone is offended by the language, but we have a passionate set of wrestlers and fans.”
Reece interrupts. “Plus, The Part-Time Athletes have that effect on people.”
The Mark does a double take. “Did you say Part-Time Athletes?”
“If the shoe fits,” Reece responds.
… cue Legacy by Dirty Palm & Benix. You can’t say these two’s names without them wanting to come out and soak up the spotlight. Jimmy Classic is the first one to step out from the back. His partner, “The Suplex Ninja” Trae Larkin, quickly joins him. Both men are wearing the – RIP RICH FAMILY t-shirt they had made.
Global Nation begins jeering, letting the new disrespectful “punks” know exactly what they think of them. This just further motivates the young duo as they smile as they point inside the ring at the Rich Family, mocking a throat injury and continuing to be disrespectful towards Freddie Rich.
Lucas Quinn says. “Just when you think these two can’t sink any lower, they always find a way.”
Allie adds. “Freddie Rich is wrestling royalty. I hope the Rich Family finally gives these two punks what they deserve.”
The Mark says. “It’s been a long time coming.”
The Prime Time Athletes have done something rarely done. They brought Lucas Quinn, Allie, and The Mark on the same page. The two men join the Rich Family inside the ring and proudly point to their shirts, which gets no reaction from the Rich Family.
Jimmy Classic calls for a microphone and looks towards the Rich Family, responding. “It’s finally nice to be inside the ring with real wrestling royalty.”
Jimmy looks at his partner Trae Larkin, and they nod will they continue to laugh.
Jimmy Classic continues. “Now, I know you have had a lot going on. You have had celebrations for your brother. You have lost some matches. And you are on the brink of irrelevancy.”
The fans boo in disagreement as the Rich Family looks on unamused.
“We called you the GLOBAL tag team measuring stick on the first night. Since then, we have mentioned you no less than twenty times. The only problem is times have changed. The Prime Time Athletes are now GLOBAL’s tag team measuring stick.”
The Mark says. “As much as we dislike these guys, I can’t say they are wrong.”
Allie refuses to agree. “They have only had one “official” GLOBAL match. They have spent this whole time running their mouth.”
Todd still has the microphone in his hand. “Go on, I dare you to say something to our faces, make one of your high school jokes, or heck, even challenge us. Do it. Make my day, you punks.”
Declan waves The Prime Time Athletes to come down and join them in the ring, while Donny goes a step further by holding the ropes open.
The fans agree with the Rich Family. Trae Larkin doesn’t look happy as he takes the microphone from his partner.
“You think that is funny, huh? Do you want to know what I think is funny? The thought of finishing the job that Alex Reyn started. We have an obvious Rich problem around here, and it’s about time somebody did something about it!”
The hot head of the duo steams as he glares at the Rich Family.
“You can’t ignore us any longer. How about the past meets the present? Let’s give these fans what they want. The Rich Family versus Prime Time Athletes. I called the ER, and they have a pair of hospital beds next to Freddie waiting for you three.”
GLOBAL Nation continues to boo at the disrespect the Prime Time Athletes show the Rich Family and their fallen brother.
Todd whispers something in Declan’s ear. Declan can’t keep the smile off his face, conferring with Donny, and Declan nods his head. Todd waits for confirmation from Donny, who imitates Declan’s response, and Todd holds his hand up. “I’ve just had an idea, and the boys agree. We’ve been disrespected long enough, and we want to teach you boys something you’ve never had for anyone or anything in your miserable lives, and that’s respect. The best way for us to do that, we figure? Beat it into you. So, at Gold Rush, how about a match that is based on respect and beating that into someone you have beef with? A STRAP MATCH!”
The fans are buzzing now. Jimmy Classic and Trae Larkin huddle up to discuss the Rich Family’s challenge. Jimmy Classic slowly turns and answers.
“A respect match? You haven’t respected us since the day we entered this company. It’s time for the Rich Family to discover what Prime Time is. You want a chance at relevance again? You want to make your brother proud? We accept.”
The words – accept pops the arena as the Prime Time Athletes have finally given Global Nation something to cheer about.
Lucas Quinn says. “Whoa! A respect match … otherwise known in our industry as a vicious strap match! I can’t wait to see the Rich Family slap those straps across these disrespectful punks’ backs!”
Allie agrees. “It’s going to be a thing of beauty, guys. The Rich Family was patient, and they picked their shot. What a way to bring some respect back to their name and make their brother proud.”
The Mark warns. “While we are all rooting for the Rich Family to slap some respect into the Prime Time Athletes. Let’s not forget how talented these two are. It won’t be a walk in the park for the Rich Family.”
The Rich Family nods, smiling as the Prime Time Athletes leave the ring. Both teams got what they wanted, a match at Gold Rush. The fans cheer on the Rich Family as the Prime Time Athletes point to their shirts one final time, sending the message – RIP Rich Family.
THE PLAYERS Vs. ???
“Up next, The Mark’s favorite tag team, The Players, go in search of their first victory in GLOBAL,” Quinn commences.
“Individually or collectively,” Allie adds smugly.
“Tonight’s the night,” The Mark boldly predicts.
“Are you sure? You don’t even know who they’re facing? What if it’s The Master Sisters, Trouble Roxx, PTA, or Joe Public and Plain Jane?”
The Mark shakes his head. “It doesn’t matter, Allie. They can beat ALL of them. It just depends on what state Paul shows up in.”
Allie scoffs. “It only depends on that, huh?”
Air’s ‘Sexy Boy’ blares out before turning into Mr. Bungle’s version of the Super Mario Bros theme, and The Players step out with Paul Sanders in all-yellow shorts, kneepads, and boots, showing off a well-crafted near 240-pound frame. Kid Chameleon is sporting his usual get-up of a leather jacket, white t-shirt, ripped jeans, and trainers, complete with sunglasses, which he sometimes chooses to remove.
“They look confident,” Allie admits.
“Then again, they always do,” Reece contradicts herself.
Before they walk down, they turn around and bring out…
“DANIEL DREAM.” Yes, that’s Lucas Quinn.
“Wait, WHAT?! Mark, did you know about this?”
The Mark covers his head with his hands. “No, I bloody did not.”
“You ARE British, after all,” Reece insists, pointing the finger at him.
“No, I’m not, but what is the former American Patriot and Carnivore, complete with the mask, doing out here with Paul Sanders and Kid Chameleon? I. DO. NOT. KNOW.”
Downtown Brown, take it away. “From Portland, Oregon at a combined weight of four hundred and thirty pounds, accompanied by Western Conference Champion, Carnivore, PAUL SAAAAAAANDEEEERRRRRRRS AND KIIIIIIIIIID CHAAAAAAMEEEEELLLEEEOOOOON….THE PLAYERS!”
Carnivore claps and shakes hands with The Players before they all head towards the squared circle, seemingly as a new unit.
“Will Daniel Dream help change the fortunes of The Players? I keep calling him Daniel Dream, and he’s really Carnivore now, though he’s still Dream, as well,” Quinn fawns.
“You’re still a fanboy, we know that” Reece complains.
Keen to change the subject and seeing The Players now in the ring, Lucas puts a question to Deltzer. “Mark, you’re the expert on most things, but especially when it comes to The Players. How will they prepare for the…”
Call on Me.
“Health Fanatics,” Quinn completes his own question.
“We haven’t seen these guys since Magnum Opus,” Allie recalls.
Damon Somner appears. Indeed, he hasn’t been seen for the best part of two months, and he’s alone, prompting the three-pronged commentary team to speculate where “The Powerhouse” Greg Matthews is, presumably still on the shelf following the Prime Time Athletes’ assault up to – and ultimately including – the PPV collision between the two rival units.
Somner, decked out in his usual black jacket, red tank top, blue shorts, and red boots has a microphone in hand. “My partner and friend, Greg Matthews, will be back REAL soon. We’ve both been training hard in the gym, but while we were there, we found a familiar face and a gym buddy. Ladies and gentlemen, and Paul Sanders and Kid Chameleon, allow me to introduce you to the newest recruit to Health Fanatics.
Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi gets some of the fans bobbing, and one or two of them know what that means, including Sanders and Chameleon, by the looks of it.
“The new and improved…GORDON ‘BIG’ GAINES.”
In fact, Gordon, a former SCW competitor and partner to a certain Son of Malta, has cleaned his scruffy appearance somewhat. He is slightly tanned and has changed his attire to match Damon Somner. Gordon is a decent-looking guy, but his brown hair and brown eyes are not emphasized by his attire.
“OH MY GOD, GORDON IS HUGE NOW – JUST LOOK AT HIM,” The Mark yells, standing up to get a better look at Gaines.
“That guy is huge, you say,” Reece chimes in, unimpressed. In fact, Gordon weighs 245 pounds, just four pounds up since he was last seen, but The Mark can apparently see something in Gordon that no one else can, and given that Quinn and Reece are unfamiliar with Gordon, they start to ponder what Gordon used to look like.
“Mark, can you break this down for us?”
“Sure, Quinn, “Good” Gordon Gaines wants to clean wrestling up, and return it to its former glory. Or, at least, he used to. Triple G has instead, by the looks of it, cleaned up his act and hit the gym instead, though judging by the size of him, I reckon he might be on stero…I can’t say that on national and international television, can I? Okay, my bad.”
As Gaines high-fives Somner, Quinn questions The Mark on what’s different between Matthews and Gaines in terms of teaming up with Somner. “Very different, I mean up to now. Greg Matthews is almost always the strongest guy in the ring, but Gordon’s a good, sound, technical wrestler. But now, I think he may throw Paul and even Kid around the ring, given how hard he looks to have been working out since I last saw him,” Deltzer insists, falsely.
Reece looks over at Quinn, and rotates her index finger near her head, hinting that The Mark has officially ‘lost it’ to put it politely, and Quinn holds his hands up as the new-look Health Fanatics hit the ring, Damon expertly having announced Gaines, rendering Downtown Brown useless for the time being, though they’ll be hoping to hear their names read out by him in the end.
“Mark, a final prediction here?”
Deltzer seems transfixed. “I’ll go with The Players as always, I just hope they can isolate Somner and Gaines has no real power behind those pecs, because he looks the bomb.”
Gordon Gaines and Paul Sanders are set to start things off for their teams. The bell sounds and they circle one another, poised to come together and negotiate a collar-and-elbow, as per usual, though Gordon pulls out at the last minute, and shocks Sanders with a sharp knee to the gut and a vicious-looking elbow to the back of the neck which doesn’t force Sanders to ground, but he at least gets Paul to keel over.
“Gordon used to want to clean professional wrestling up. That wasn’t very clean, if I say so myself, though he does look good,” The Mark confesses.
“NO, HE DOESN’T,” Allie explodes.
“Better than anything you’ve ever dated,” Deltzer retorts.
Reece tuts. Quinn steps in. “Now, children…”
Allie points at Deltzer. “He started it.”
She folds her arms, clearly huffed by the exchange while Quinn shakes his head like a disapproving dad. Meanwhile, Gaines takes Sanders by the hand and sends him to the buckles, or he would have, however, Sanders reverses it and arrows Gaines towards The Players’ corner. Kid doesn’t indulge in any chicanery or funny business, although he may wish he had, as Sanders storms in, only to cop a boot to the face and a lariat that puts Paul flat on his back.
“WHAT POWER BY GAINES,” The Mark exclaims.
“Please, Quinn, can we get him removed, just for this match? As if it wasn’t bad enough that Kid Chameleon’s here, he’s now, yes, MARKING OUT for this guy who only he knows, and okay he’s in shape, but this is wrestling – everyone is. He’s hardly Arnold,” Allie complains.
Plus, Paul is straight up, though in fairness, not for long as a slam puts Sanders back on the ground and Gordon gives everyone free tickets to the gun show by posing. “Good grief, Gordon ‘BIG’ Gains is RIPPED, Reece.”
“Never ever call me Reece, for as long as you live,” Allie warns The Mark.
Gaines has a brainbuster in mind next, but Paul negotiates a short return to earth and then reverses it with a suplex, giving Sanders a footing in the fight, at long last, being seemingly blindsided by Gordon’s grand start to life in GLOBAL, teaming up with Damon Somner and taking Greg’s place, which is tough shoes to fill given Greg’s remarkable strength, something that Gaines doesn’t possess, no matter how much The Mark protests to the contrary.
But Gordon has got good powers of recovery, at least in this instance, and is soon up on his feet. Paul ensures it’s not for long, ready and waiting, encouraged by Daniel Dream to strike, and he does just that with a terrific knee lift. Paul then plants Gaines with a scoop slam, showcasing his own strength, but he misses with an elbow drop. “Come on, Paul! What are you doing,” The Mark says, banging (and subsequently) hurting his hand on the commentary table.
Gordon doesn’t offer Paul much respite, grabbing Paul by the scruff of the neck and sticking it to Sanders with an inverted atomic drop, which paves the way for the much bigger and more impactful belly-to-belly suplex that rocks the ring.
“Oh my Gordon! What an ENORMOUS belly-to-belly suplex, and look at the sweat, the muscles.”
“Will you STOP? PLEASE. I’m getting a headache, Lucas,” Allie laments.
More importantly, Gaines scoops Sanders up and brings him over to HF HQ, where a waiting Somner accepts the tag. He swivels Sanders around and gets Paul’s attention with a chop. However, Paul walks through the second edition and Damon quickly backs off, intimidated by Paul’s defiance. Instead, Sanders catches up with Somner in the center of the ring, extending a long left leg to catch Somner with a boot to the midriff, not too dissimilar to the one that Gaines got Sanders with out of the gate. Paul follows it up with a slam, no he doesn’t, as Damon goes up, over, and out via the back door.
“Low blow,” The Mark calls.
Sadly for Sanders, and many of his female admirers, the referee knows precisely what has gone down. Nevertheless, you can’t call what you don’t see, and Gabrielle Harris is left in that unfortunate position. She shrugs her shoulders, which infuriates Daniel Dream/Carnivore on the outside, and he yells obscenities I won’t share because we’ve got children reading this.
A hangman’s neckbreaker by Somner compounds Paul’s recent misery. Rather than going for a cover, Somner scurries over to tag a grateful Gaines.
“He’s back, and this spells bad news for Paul Sanders, who might be critically injured or worse if BIG GAINES drops him on his head,” The Mark reckons.
Lucas asks. “Like that?”
“EXACTLY LIKE THAT,” The Mark enthusiastically yells.
Reece shakes her head, holding it at the same time like she has a hangover. “Please Lucas, don’t encourage him.”
Gaines has the gall to question the count, or the confidence in his ‘newfound power,’ at least. Gordon rapidly lets go of the disappointment and frustration in not securing a debut victory there and then and looks for a reconstruction of the fantastic German suplex he pulled off. However, Paul escapes with a standing switch and scores with a German of his own, leaving Gordon with a headache in more ways than one, and Allie can’t believe what she’s saying. “Mark, you’ve made me support The Players tonight, I hope you’re happy with yourself. I have decided, and it’s not his fault at all, I hate Gordon Gaines. Well done,” she applauds.
Gabrielle’s count is up to five. Gaines seeks refuge in the form of a tag to Somner, and indeed, gets it. Damon rushes in, a spring in his step, and a clear mission to stop Sanders from bringing the fresh ‘kid’ in, but alas, it’s foiled…
Damon is undeterred; however, his right hand is blocked and Chameleon unloads with a right hand, then a left. Chameleon suddenly falls to his knee to unload with another right, albeit to the body, and a final left to the body, Damon’s body twitching through pain, suffering, and uncertainty. Chameleon rises to his feet and nearly takes Damon off his, a la Foreman v Frazier, okay that’s a bit of an OVERSTATEMENT. Anyway, a right, then a left, and another right sends Damon face-first to the canvas, lights out and if this were a real boxing bout, or even Punch-Out for the Wii, it would be stopped right now.
“Why is he not going for the cover,” Lucas wonders.
“He’s making a statement,” The Mark gushes, like a proud parent (in some ways, he is, and that’s Mel B.)
Indeed, Kid has got something bigger in store for Damon, and these two are well-acquainted, having wrestled in no fewer than FOUR promotions following tonight’s tussle, spanning a decade. Is that enough wrestling historian for you, eh?
Kid sets Somner up with a pedigree, no wait, he reverses it (Kid, that is) into an unprettier…
Yes, Mark, we’ll take your word for it, pal.
Gaines comes in to break things up, and when Kid gives him a death stare, Gordon is quick to beg off, only for Kid to go to town with another combo. Let’s break it down, Teddy Atlas: Four slaps, starting with a left and finishing with a right, and just as Gordon is anticipating another left, Kid cocks his hand back and lets rip with a cracking right cross that lays Gordon out, again, sending him to the canvas face-first.
Notwithstanding, and SEGA’s Ambassador soon isn’t, Damon catches Kid off guard with a quick inside cradle.
…and a half.
Somner’s up on his toes, having recovered remarkably well, and capitalizes on the mini breakthrough with a snap mare and a short-range enzui lariat to the back of the head, really laying it in, threatening to behead Kid. Somner sets Chameleon’s head, so Damon can dash to the right set of ropes and return interest with a brilliant basement dropkick to the temple. Now, let’s try that again, shall we?
Inroads have been made. Speedy tags have served this new-look Health Fanatics well, and Damon tags Gordon back in. A lazy standing elbow drop to the forehead and an arrogant cover isn’t worthy of even typing the numbers out, barely extracting a 2 and attracting criticism from Deltzer as a result.
“He’ll have to do a lot more than that,” The Mark brags defiantly, though telling the John J. in the process.
“WHOAH,” The Mark mentions in the next breath for he has just seen Gordon wipe Kid out with a Juvi Driver, which is reminiscent of Kid’s finisher, and Dream instructs Sanders to get in there, and he does as he’s told, breaking the predicament up just as Gabrielle’s hand strikes the mat for the first time.
“Kid would’ve kicked out anyway, but thank you, Paul – and Daniel,” The Mark confidently claims.
“I don’t think he would have,” Reece remarks, winding Deltzer up.
“Oh no, he may not kick out of this,” Deltzer says with dread.
THE CLEAN UP…Sister Abigail to most of you, though, Paul is active again, and clotheslines ‘Triple G’ before it can do down, and Paul holds his hands up as Gabrielle ejects him and issues a warning. Damon avenges his brand-new partner by running in and assaulting Kid with half-a-dozen blows ton the back, softening a hapless Chameleon up, and slipping out of the squared circle via the bottom rope in the nick of time. Again, Gabrielle, seeing Somner standing on the outside of the ring, knows Damon was up to no good, but can’t prove it. Where’s VAR when you need it?
Damon denies any wrongdoing when Gabrielle points the finger. Gordon doesn’t dwell on how he finds himself with the upper hand and drags Chameleon up just like my parents did with me during my childhood, just kidding EC, and HAMMERING him with a superb short-arm lariat that turns Chameleon outside.
“Don’t you dare, Mark,” Reece warns him.
“LOOK AT THE POWER BY GORDON ‘BIG’ GAINES,” The Mark reacts defiantly, even if he is also concerned at Chameleon’s current state.
“LAST WARNING,” Reece shouts, standing up, she’s that pissed off.
Gaines bows out, at least momentarily, and tags Damon in. Somner leaps onto the middle rope and comes off with a leg drop hitting the canvas, as Kid moves, and not only that…Chameleon’s up on his feet.
“IT’S ALL IN THE GAME,” The Mark exclaims, making A LOUD NOISE.
The Soccerball Kick knocks Somner’s block off…
THE CLEAN UP!!!
Sanders, in spite of the warning by Gabrielle earlier, wants to get back at Gordon and save the match. He does so, sending Gordon up, over and out with a size 13 boot that Gaines cannot cope with, at all.
“It has descended into chaos,” Quinn comments.
“Wait, what is Daniel Dream doing?”
Allie’s observation draws GLOBAL cameras to what’s going on elsewhere. Carnivore/Dream is loosening The Players’ top turnbuckle, with no one at home, bodies everywhere, and the inexperienced Miss Harris trying to keep track of it all, one of GLOBAL’S biggest stars keeps his calm to swing the pendulum, potentially, back in The Players’ favor. Let’s see how that plays out.
“Who’s legal?” We’re in trouble if The Mark is querying that.
Sanders rams Gordon’s head into the guard rail on the outside. As he returns to the ring, he makes a detour upon seeing Dream beckoning him over. Dream whispers some words, and pats Sanders, who has a sly glance at the top turnbuckle, and nods his head before returning to his station on the apron in The Players’ part of town.
While woozy, Somner has enough about him to whip Chameleon, both unbeknownst to Dream’s deployed tactics, towards The Players’ corner. However, Kid also has the presence of mind to reverse the whip, at least instinctively, and Somner hits the EXPOSED TOP TURNBUCKLE HARD!
“Good one, Allie, and yes, I think it could well be,” Lucas resignedly says.
If that isn’t bad enough in of itself, Daniel Dream unstraps his prestigious Western Conference Championship belt and in the blink of an eye NAILS Somner to the back of the head. Damon was desperately clinging to his chest, finding it difficult to breathe, but now he has been rendered unconscious and is out like a light.
“What a cheap shot by Dream,” Allie reacts.
“Carnivore and you’re right on the other thing, Allie,” The Mark says correcting and yet agreeing with Reece at the same time.
“Not too bothered, as your guys are going to win, huh?”
Deltzer denies this. “Never said I was. Do I sound happy? Knowing Kid the way I do, he wouldn’t condone this, and I don’t, either. Paul may take this, though.”
Chameleon, who has fallen to the floor himself, doesn’t realize what has happened. Instead, he crawls over and tags an eager Sanders. Suddenly, it dawns on Kid when he rests his hand where the top turnbuckle should be…
Sanders hooks the leg, and Gabrielle goes to ground…
“Just as I said, Allie,” The Mark reminds her.
Cue Sexy Boy by Air, and that official word. “The winners of this match…Paul Sanders and Kid Chameleon…THE PLAYERS!”
“Kid doesn’t look happy at all,” The Mark, stating the blindingly obvious to anyone watching.
“Was that you?”
Carnivore replies. “You won.”
Daniel rolls in to raise Paul’s hand, and it has been a long time that Sanders has experienced that feeling of elation, and while Kid would usually be happy to see his best friend happy, he joins them in the ring, skulking, in spite of the pats on the back.
“Respect the game, huh?”
Chameleon storms off, leaving Carnivore and Sanders bewildered, but they’re still all smiles given it’s The Players’ first success here in GLOBAL.
The orange glow fills the view and suddenly spits out the man in the loin cloth that we have come to simply know as The Naked Man. He is in a dark room and takes a few steps before running into a stack of cardboard boxes. The familiar deep voice is heard as he narrates what is seen.
“In another new, strange area. Still unsure of his purpose or surroundings…”
He takes a step back and hits another stack of boxes, the top ones fall over behind him and making a loud crashing noise. The man takes off running and looks for some form of light, and he sees one small square of light in the distance past many more stacks of boxes. He heads that way as fast as he can.
“Searching for a form of reality or even understanding, he sees a shaft of light…”
He hits under the square of light and pushes a door open, walking through the opening of brightness.
“Wait awaits our traveler through this new portal?”
He is standing in a grocery store. It is unmistakable, with the meat freezers on each side of the door he just walked through. There are stacks of food placed just so far apart to allow for walking between them. There is a din of noise from one of them, and our hero takes off to investigate the commotion.
“Hearing cries for help and an uncertain point of safety, he takes off to see if he can help. Perhaps this is why he was sent here…”
He rounds the corner and there are several people crowded around something. He pushes through and sees an elderly lady lying on the floor and seemingly dead. Her granddaughter crying loudly as the people try to console her and get her away from the scene.
“A death. Could this have been another traveler cut down? Questions abound…”
He notices a faint orange hue in spots on the floor. He looks up and sees another hue. This hue was black in color. He jumps to his feet and rushes toward both colored hues.
“Could he finally know why he is in this situation? Is this the moment he learns whom he is chasing?”
He rounds the corner and sees the scythe, held by bony fingers with arms and a body covered by a shroud of black. He rushes up and no words are spoken. Just a simple slow rise of the free hand and the bony finger pointing outside the store.
“Directions from death itself. Surely this could not become more absurd…”
The man takes off running to the door and sees the orange hues again. He exits the store as the familiar ding sounds and enters the alley next to the outside wall of the building. There he sees a familiar orange portal. he steps close and the portal fills the view and then suddenly leaves everything black.
THE FINAL STRAW
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
The sound of waves crashing against the shore is all that can be heard as a simple group of three sit along the sand, all of them holding sub sandwiches and just having a bit of a fun time. Valorie, wearing a black bikini top and jeans and holding her black cowboy hat, smiles as she watches Angel practically devour her sandwich that she had bought for the two. Saul however, isn’t even taking a bite, seeming a bit deep in thought at the moment. Valorie does take notice of it and after a minute, reaches over and gently rests a hand on his shoulder.
“I’m kinda sure I know what’s goin’ through your mind, hun. I’ve been thinkin’ about it too.” Valorie says, gaining Saul’s attention even as she completely ignores the sarcastic-yet-hopeful “oooooohhhh” sound emanating from the group’s third wheel. “These jerks have been gettin’ away with quite a lot of shenanigans and what not, and have been very consistent with, ya know, botherin’ US. Next chance I see ‘em, they may not be able to perform at the dang show.”
A disappointed groan is heard from Saul’s other side as he just stares at Valorie before looking back down at his sandwich, finally taking a bite and smiling slightly.
“Damn, yo! I was just ‘bout to go live on TikTok for this!”
“Ange …a few months ago, you didn’t even know what TikTok WAS.”
“Like hell I didn’t! I just didn’t have no account, ‘cause I didn’t have no phone yet!”
Saul ignores his frustrated partner as he turns his attention back to Valorie.
“I have a feeling that they think they have the better advantage. Striking when we’re so far at a disadvantage. When you show up, WE get the advantage back and those guys back off finally. That being said… If we wanna try and officially beat those guys, we need to team up.”
Valorie looks at him and blinks a few times, a smile starting to bloom on her features as she says, “Saul, that’s one mighty fine idea. Let’s nip this in the bud and put an end to those pains in the asses.”
“Hey hey hey!!! I KNOW y’all ain’t leaving me out of no petty revenge shit!” Angel suddenly shouts, earning a quiet laugh from Valorie just from the sheer surprise of it.
Valorie reaches behind Saul to give Angel a friendly and sweet pat on the head before ruffling her hair, causing Angel to let out a few grumbling swears in Spanish.
“You do know, if you were anybody else, you’d have gotten your hand bitten off just then?” Saul’s tone and body language remain collected even as he talks about his partner’s potential for bodily harm – which the subject herself promptly confirms.
“Damn straight! You don’t mess with the hair!”
As the tension and mood lightens little by little, the sound of very familiar masculine laughter
pierces through, all three of them turning to see Jed Johnson with Brady and Strauss on either side. Angel starts to get up, but Saul simply extends a hand out to stop her, seeing Valorie get up instead and stretch before making her way closer to them. Jed is the first one to see her coming, as expected, and simply stops, turning to face her as does the Law.
“Jed…” Valorie simply mutters, resting her hands on her hips.
“Valorie…” Jed replies.
The two men glance at Valorie and nod, to which she returns silently before focusing back on Jed once again. At this point, Saul and Angel make their way over as well, though Saul has his hand covering Angel’s mouth, lest she make a sudden outburst that isn’t entirely needed at this time. Still, the teenager’s glare speaks almost as loud as her words might have – and, arguably, more effectively as well; as Saul would have put it, if he were anybody else, he would have gotten his hand bitten just then.
“Let’s cut to the chase shall we…? You don’t like me or my wrestling style. That’s fine and dandy, sug’… But I don’t take kindly to the fact that you had these boys here jump me at Magnum Opus when the fight was just between us. Then when my friends get involved and have my back, they start to gang up on them. THEN when they’re actually trying to have a match with them, YOU rear your head in and overpower them. You messin’ with my fellow military brother now… All three of y’all are. That is where I draw the line.”
Jed and the others simply stand there listening, taking in what Valorie is saying before they all just smirk and start snickering and laughing, brushing off everything. Saul’s grip on Angel tightens as he can feel the feisty teen about to lunge and attack the others. Despite the laugh and such, Valorie continues.
“So I propose we settle this lil’ issue once and for all. Loser leaves the winners alone, losers ALSO leave GLOBAL and never look back. And this time, it won’t be just me and Jed, or you two against my friends… All three of you, against all three of us. No man left behind.” Valorie says, regaining the pure undivided attention of the men and now Saul and Angel.
“… If it can guarantee I don’t have to see the likes of YOU again in GLOBAL, and I can show just what it really means to wrestle and not be an acrobat in the ring, then you have yourself a deal.” Jed says, extending a hand toward Valorie, only to have it grabbed by Brady.
“Are you sure about this, Jed? You don’t entirely have the best track record against her from what I’ve seen and heard…” he mutters into Jed’s ear
“You guys are supposed to have my back right? We’ve known each other for years. Hell I called you guys to help DEAL with Valorie at the end of Magnum Opus. The three of us against them? They won’t know what hit ‘em!” Jed growls back to his friend.
Valorie, Saul, and Angel, now with her mouth uncovered, look amongst each other. Finally free to speak, the teenager seizes her chance.
“You keep tellin’ yourself that, homeboy. ‘Cause in two weeks…you an’ ya bottom boys ‘bout to learn what happens when you fuck with THE ANGEL CORPS!”
Another look passes between the three friends, grins dawning on their features. Then, both Saul and Valorie place a hand on each of Angel’s shoulders, nodding at their rival trio. Unsurprisingly, it is Angel’s brother figure and guardian who then voices their collective thoughts.
“What she said. See you in two weeks, buddies.”
With that, the three turn on their heels and begin to walk back along the beach, even as Jed’s group collectively shrugs their shoulders and walks off in the opposite direction. As both groups drift progressively further apart, Angel’s excited voice lingers behind in the late afternoon air.
“Yo, can that be the actual team name?! ‘Cause that is a DOPE team name! …for real it’s gonna be the name?! YAAAAAASSSSS BITCHEEEESSSS!”
“Angel, you keep shoutin’ like that, even the dead are gonna file a noise complaint,~” Valorie retorts with a playful smile, putting her cowboy hat back on.
“Man, let ’em!” Angel does, however, switch to a two-step dance, waving her arms in a sideways rowing motion to either side as she chants “I picked the teeeeam name, I picked the teeeeeam name!”
The infectious chant soon has both Valorie and Sault joining in, and before long, the trio’s laughter is all that can be heard in the still early-evening air, first disturbing and then blending in with the peaceful seaside atmosphere.
JERRY DAVID Vs. 'QUEEN' BIANCA DAVIS
“Bad Bitch” by Bebe Rexha blasts through the O2 Apollo’s P.A. system. The Queen has arrived.
‘Queen’ Bianca Davis steps through the curtain, surrounded by 4 men in dark suits. The entourage.
She waves at the peasants who are split. Half booing, half cheering.
“Downtown” Jason Brown does what he is paid for, saying “Ladies and gentlemen, this match is scheduled for one fall!”
“ONE FALL!” drunken Mancunians yell back, their hands in the air.
“Making her way to the ring, ‘Queen’ Bianca Davis!”
Bianca walks the short distance from curtain to ramp. The four men of the entourage pair-off. One of each of the pair crouches down, lifting the other of the pair onto their shoulders. The top two men lift Bianca by her armpits up onto the apron. The entourage then turn and the two men sat on their colleagues shoulders hop onto the apron and sit on the middle rope, opening the ropes for Bianca, who steps through the middle rope.
Her music dies down and is replaced by live music from a band off to the side of the stage. A drummer, a guitarist and a trumpeter play light music to introduce the nights act, Jerry David.
Jerry steps through the curtain waving at the audience. He has white tights on, white knee pads and white boots. He smiles at the audience and waves like any comedian entering any late night show through the curtain would.
“Aaaaaaand her opponent,” Jason Brown announces, “Jerry David!”
Jerry makes his way to the ring and enters via the steep steps, climbing through the ropes.
The bell sounds and the two lock up, Jerry quickly taking the upper hand as the much stronger of the two. He twists his body and hits a hip toss, sending Bianca to the ground. She quickly rolls to her feet.
Bianca jogs towards Jerry who quickly drops and trips her with a drop toe hold. He pounces on her back and aims for a crossface but Bianca quickly gets over to the ropes and slides out of the ring as Jerry lets the move slip without much of a fight.
Jerry gets back to his feet and wiggles his fingers, indicating he wants Bianca back in the ring.
Bianca looks at her henchmen and rubs her nose. She slides back into the ring but is quickly stomped on.
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
Jerry then runs across the ring, aiming for a baseball slide to the face of Bianca, but she rolls to the side.
They each kipup to their feet.
Bianca swings a right, but Jerry ducks. He smashes her with a solid right straight jab. Bianca stumbles back against the ropes.
“Hey,” someone says.
Bianca swings wildly, Jerry ducks, he charges across the ring, bounces off the ropes and flies through the air.
PUNCHLINE! (Superman Punch!)
Bianca collapses. She is OUT!
“Hey. Jerr-ee-Dee,” the voice continues.
Jerry rolls to his feet and looks up the ramp.
From the ramp appears a microphone-wielding E Z Rah who takes a stand next to Jerry’s band.
“You think you funny huh man? Making me lose to that big oaf last show? AGAIN? Well I might not be able to touch you, but I can damn sure touch these guys.”
With that, E Z launches himself at the band with reckless abandon.
He dives across the small makeshift staging area, hitting a flying forearm to the face of the guitarist who collapses backwards, taking out the bass drum of the drum kit, a snare drum and a cymbal. E Z takes the opportunity of landing a hard right fist to the drummer before he can escape, trapped behind the collapsing drumkit. The drummer falls backwards from his chair, unconscious. E Z smiles, raises his palms indicating he is finished before turning and punting the band’s trumpeter in the groin! The trumpet, which was sat frozen in the mouth of the terrified trumpeter makes a noise, Brrrrrrumph, before his legs fold in on one another, and he collapses to the floor.
The rest of the members flee as E Z picks up the guitar, yanking it from its cable and raising it high above his head. He walks over to the slowly recovering guitarist, who is now kneeling on both knees, holding his bloodied nose. E Z drives the guitar down, smashing it over the head of the guitarist. Blood sprays up from the broken nose of the guitarist, who collapses in a heap on the floor, completely unconscious, covered in his own blood. E Z stares intently down, smiling at himself.
He now turns his attention to the drummer, who has fought his way back to his feet, dazed, unsure on where he is or what has happened to him, and dragged himself from the drumkit. E Z picks the snare drum up from the ground and smashed it over his head, leaving it hanging on the head of the drummer, who stands swaying. E Z takes a few steps back and launches himself at the drummer.
SUPER KICK TO THE DRUM!
The drummer falls backwards, back into the dismantled drum kit, the snare drum still snugly sat on his head. From there E Z grabs the side of the drum, pulling the drummer to his feet and slowly walks him across the makeshift stage, which stands on top of the main staging area. E Z looks downwards. A fall of ten, maybe twelve feet stand between him, the drummer, and a few tables sitting on top of the arenas concrete floor. E Z looks down the ramp, into the ring, and directly into the eyes of Jerry David, who is gripping the top rope, snarling, his knuckles white with rage. He knows he can do nothing to stop this.
“Dis gonna be you.” E Z grins as he spins the drummer around and heaves him off the stage, through a table below!
E Z ought to be done. He has to be…
He makes his way to the trumpeter, still shielding his groin after the huge kick. E Z lets out a guttural roar and jumps on top of the trumpeter, pummelling the helpless musician, right and left shots, a headbutt for good measure. The man isn’t moving, but E Z isn’t finished yet. He lifts up the man high above his head, before dropping him hard with an E Z P Z (a Vertical Suplex into Piledriver) right into the trumpet! The trumpeter slumps onto his back, grabbing his neck as blood slowly trickles down his face.
E Z breathes heavily, blood splattered on his clothing and face as he stands and removes a small device from his pocket.
An evil grin creeps over his face as he presses the button and starts to laugh. The button activates the large screen above the ramp which starts to show some video footage of E Z’s home. It moves along the grounds of his many acre garden before spotting a large metal hatch in the ground, locked and held tightly in place by some strong metal bars.
The camera fades to all black for a few moments before we here the large:
The sound of a switch being thrown. Then the entire corridor becomes illuminated. One light, then another, then another, showing more and more of what was once dark.
Finally it is clear what E Z Rah has been working on all of these weeks: A massive stretch of underground tunnel, around 15 feet high and just as wide, pushing back into the far distance.
E Z speaks.
“I told ya a crash was comin’, man! Didn’t I say?! This right here, Jerry? Welcome to Crypto Crash. A little sometin’ I been working on just for you! You want to beat me? It’s real simple. Get to the end of the tunnel, up the ladder then press the big red button. Collapsing the tunnel on whoever is left inside.”
E Z stops for a moment to laugh and catch his breath.
“I tols ya I wanted you buried and outa my life man! I ain’t dealin’ wit’chu no more after this! This match right here is gunna take care of that!”
The camera starts to make its way down the dimly lit tunnel until it reaches a large glass wall, adorned with a few tacky stickers of E Z’s NFT range.
“Oh yeah and one more thing, Bro. Between the entrance and the exit are three walls of solid glass. So for me to get to the end I’mma be throwin’ your ass through each an’ every one of ‘em.”
There is a moment of stunned silence in the arena. Is this legal? Who on Earth would create, or even agree to a match like this?
E Z has stopped laughing now, scanning Jerry’s face in the hope of getting the horrified reaction he was looking for, however, Jerry remains stone faced and steady, taking in everything he is witnessing, his knuckles still white, his teeth still clenched, but otherwise unphased. So E Z just reminds him what is to come.
“Crash. A crash is coming Jerry, can you feel it too?”
E Z drops the microphone on the crotch of the trumpeter, who twitches a little. Then from his back pocket he pulls a fountain pen. He picks up a clipboard that was, until now, unseen on the floor of the stage. He kneels down next to the trumpeter and DRIVES the fountain pen into the trumpeters forehead. His legs kick around and he yelps in pain for a few seconds. When E Z sits back up, he has blood on his hands. He puts the clipboard on the chest of the trumpeter and signs his name.
He holds the clipboard up in the air as he stands up, showing the audience a contract for the match at Gold Rush.
He tosses the clipboard down onto the chest of the trumpeter, turns, and leaves. Meanwhile all Jerry can do is stand and glare at the back of his head.
Jerry turns to Bianca, who has taken all of this time to recover and is crouched down, ready for Jerry to turn around.
She charges towards him, looking to hit her patented finisher, CORONATION! (A Shining Wizard). She flies through the air and…
Every single light in the arena goes out.
A few moments pass, the only noise around the arena is the muttering of the audience.
A spotlight clunks, illuminating the entry point at the top of the stage.
Kneeling there, The Jester, his head down, a microphone held to his lips.
“My queen,” he says, his voice deep, and cut by razor blades.
When he looks up, the paint on his face has run down his face, where long rivers of tears have streamed.
“I’m sorry that it has come to this.”
The Jester lets the microphone drop to the ground as one of the four members of Bianca’s entourage enters the spotlight. The Jester hurls the man over his shoulder, hitting a textbook back drop, sending the man flying out of the spotlight. A second enters, and is met with a thunderous clothesline, sending him crashing to the stage and rolling out of the spotlight. A third enters, SLAP! Superkick! He collapses backwards from the spotlight. The fourth charges in, arms flailing in the air, screaming, but The Jester picks him off easily, scooping him upwards and slapping him down with a swift powerbomb to the stage. The Jester rolls the final member of the entourage out of the spotlight where he stands alone, crying, looking down at the ring where Bianca stands in darkness. He gives her his jazz hands, but his heart isn’t in it.
Then the darkness comes once more as the spotlight clicks out. A few seconds later a larger spotlight illuminates only the ring. In the turnbuckle behind Bianca, an arrow has been shot, holding a note.
She turns, yanks the arrow from the turnbuckle and pulls the note from the tip of the arrow.
The note appears to be written in blood. It reads:
THE CASTLE OF MY LIEGE, HENRY VIII.
PREPARE TO DIE.”
The light shuts off as Bianca scrumples the note in her fist.
YOU AND ME, ONE ON ONE
“Greetings, GLOBAL fans!” We get a fade-in shot of The Informer. He’s sitting at the center of a slightly long table in a darkened room. “We are backstage at the Hard Rock Event Center in Tampa, Florida, and today, I have the privilege to mediate an exclusive sit down between two of GLOBAL’s brightest rising stars.”
The Informer nods to either side of himself. “Amber Lee. Crusader X.” The camera cuts to them, seated on either side of him at the ends of the table, as he says their names. “Great to have you here.”
X speaks first! “Great to be here!” He’s sitting back in his chair comfortably, smiling his typical cordial smile.
“Thank you,” says Amber at the same time. She’s sitting up straight and looking uncharacteristically downcast.
“Right! Let’s get down to business.” The Informer cracks his knuckles.
“Ugh!” Amber winces.
X laughs a bit. The Informer casts his gaze downward a bit. “Sorry.” After a quick “It’s fine,” from Amber, he continues.
“So. Crusader X. You requested this sit down in an… interesting self-recorded video. Both Amber and I would like to know: what were your intentions with that request?”
X tilts his head to the side. “Simple. Amber takes issue with my association with her… mentor, Alfie Button. She’s stood up to me on multiple occasions. I think it’s time we settle those differences.”
The Informer nods. “Interesting. Now, Amber, you agreed to X’s terms, but beforehand, you indicated both to me and X some degree of reluctance. Why is that?”
Amber shakes her head. “I don’t like… conflict. Well, I mean, conflict in the ring is fine, but not this kind of conflict. I know how these sit-down interviews go. Lots of shouting, lots of insults, lots of bruised egos. It’s pointless.”
X shakes his head this time, quickly and emphatically. “That’s not how I do things. We’ll keep it civil.”
“Civil?” Amber laughs a bit. She smiles, a slightly colder and more bitter smile than most are used to seeing on her face. “Right.”
The Informer raises his eyebrow.
X’s smile fades. He looks directly into her eyes. A fire keep. “You don’t think I can stay civil here? Why? I have been nothing but kind to you, even after you’ve put your hands on me outside of a match… twice. What reason do you have to-“
“‘Civil’.” Amber cuts him off, repeating herself. “That’s what you want everyone to think you are. Outside of the ring, of course. You walk around here being all polite and respectful, but then when someone challenges you? Whether it’s inside the ring or out of it? You show who you really are. The real you.”
X’s mouth falls open. “Ha!” X sits back with a cocky expression on his face. “So, who am I then? Who am I really?”
Amber leans forward. “You are one of the most vicious people I have ever met. You will walk all over anyone to get what you want, even the people you don’t think are ‘parasites’. I think you’re TRYING to be a good person… but I think you ENJOY hurting people.”
X’s cocky smile fades a bit. “You can’t get anywhere in this rotten sport without stepping on a few toes. Or hands. But if I can purge this sickness-“
Amber rolls her eyes. “‘Parasites’. ‘Rot’. ‘Sickness’. These are people you’re talking about, X! They lie and cheat, but they’re still human beings! I think you take away their humanity in your mind so it makes it easier to hurt them.”
X leans forward. “That is ridiculous. And you know it.” A harsh fire flares up in his eyes. Is he… wounded?
Amber continues. “And I think you get some sick enjoyment out of toying with good people like Alfie, too.”
X sighs and puts his face in his hand. “You really don’t get it.” He looks up. “You of all people should understand what I’m doing and why I’m working with Alfie. Why he wants to team up with me. Why I want to mend fences with Darren… and with you.”
X continues. “You’ve dealt with some serious scumbags in this sport. You should know by now that I’m not your enemy, Amber. I can help you, just like Alfie has. But you’re so damn protective of him that-“
“Ugh.” Amber cuts him off, flustered. “Look. I’m done with this. I came here for one reason. And it’s not to stop you from teaming up with Alfie. It’s his decision. But I don’t like it. I don’t know if I’m going to start liking it anytime soon. So, I’m not here to ‘civilly’ settle my differences with you, either. I came to challenge you to a match at Gold Rush.”
A grin creeps across X’s face.
Amber continues. “No stipulations. No stupid crap. Just you and me, one on one.”
X folds his arms and leans back, tilting his head up. “I accept. It’s an honor to face someone with your talent.”
X offers his hand. Amber leaves him hanging. She stares him in the eyes. “Good. I’m going to finish what I started in that tag match. I’m going to get the biggest win of my career. And I’m going to prove to Alfie that he’s great on his own. I’m going to show him that he doesn’t need you… and show you that WE don’t need you.”
The Informer is furiously taking notes, his presence a mere formality at this point.
X nods. “You’re right. Alfie doesn’t need me. You don’t need me… but you don’t need Alfie, either.”
Amber looks confused.
X stands up and leans in. “And Alfie doesn’t need you.”
Silence. Stunned silence.
X continues. “And at Gold Rush? I-“
Amber’s voice echoes throughout the room as she BOLTS out of her seat. She leans down and gets right in X’s face with barely any space between them.
“Security!” The Informer shouts. Immediately, four GLOBAL security workers burst in through the door of the darkened room and separate the two of them.
Amber shouts. “It’s over for you at Gold Rush! 5-1!”
X laughs as he steps out the door.
“GLOBAL TRYOUTS APRIL 15TH @ 4 PM”
The sign is large and obvious on the door and there are dozens of people lined up down the hall, all in different forms of costume and each showing different levels of flamboyance and creativity it would seem. The door opens and we enter the room and there is a large area for the perspective superstars to give their tryout and a simple table at the other end.
Sitting behind the table are the legendary duo and Global Consultants, Hank Wright and “Too Cool” Chris Hopper. The two men are dressed in their normal day-to-day attire and not fancy at all. They each have multiple beer cans on the table near them, each of them is open, which means these tryouts have been going on for a while now.
“NEXT!” Wright bellows.
The door opens and a tall, muscular, red-headed beast of a man walks into the room. This Caucasian man has a full beard to match the red hair on his head, and he flexes a little before standing at attention in front of the veteran advisors.
“What’s your name?” Hopper asks.
“Gendry.” He replies.
“No, son,” the Texan counters, “Your ring name. What do you want to be called in the ring.”
“Oh,” the potential grappler replies, “Gendry the Great! The muscled man from the other side of the tracks.”
“Uhm, alright,” Chris continues, “So how would you describe your gimmick?”
“That’s easy!” the recruit excitedly announces. “The scene opens and we see Gendry the Great. Gendry went to the far reaches of the earth and scoured the seven kingdoms for evil. Everywhere he went, great victories and success followed. The people loved him far and wide because he was their champion.”
“For fuck’s sake!” Hank yells as he throws an empty beer can at the lad.
“You realize you were talking in past tense, right?” Hopper asks.
“What?” Gendry replies stupidly.
“You were talking out of your ass like you had already done something, shithead!” Wright again blurts out and admittedly the buzz he has may be getting the best of him at this point. “I won’t deal with anybody who talks in past tense. Learn to fuckin’ talk, and perhaps you can have a better chance.”
“But…” He is cut off by the governor again.
“I said fuck off!” Hank throws another beer can at the kid as he walks out the door. After the young man has exited, he turns to Chris and says, “It’s not getting better with the talent, is it?”
“They all seem like entitled kids,” Chris replies. “Wanting everybody to cover their shortcomings at every turn.”
“Ain’t my job!” Hank states resolutely before emitting a loud belch.
The door opens and a strikingly beautiful, African-American lady walks into the room. She is more than beautiful looking, but her body might be the perfect body for a wrestling female. She is 6’3″ and probably 200-210 pounds of sculpted muscle and just the right percentage of body fat. Enough curves to check off the male demographic and enough muscle to make her believable in the ring. Her entire look is punctuated by an amazing smile that has Hank smitten almost immediately.
“I’ll be damned!” He states. “So what’s your name in the ring?”
“I’m Ebony Diamond,” She says.
“Yes, you are,” Hank responds.
“Tell us about who Ebony Diamond is,” Hopper breaks in to try and keep things professional.
“I’m the H-B-I-C, and nobody dares disrespect me or I will feed them they ass!” She replies with a great attitude.
“I’m pretty sure I know, but what do those letters stand for?” Chris requests.
“Motherfucker you know what they mean!” She responds. “I shouldn’t got to tell you everything, shit!”
“And?” Too Cool impatiently repeats a requesting tone.
“Head Bitch In charge!” She loudly touts.
At this point, Abony begins to rant and rave in words that are not well heard and understood by the consultants. She starts walking around waving her finger and stomping her feet. Chris turns to Hank and they share a grin.
“She looks good, but I can’t understand her.” Hank admits.
“I’m afraid to tell her to leave,” Chris jokingly states.
Without any prodding from the consultants, the young lady keeps ranting as she throws the door open and walks out.
“Alrighty then,” Hopper says with a laugh.
“Next!” Hank yells out.
The next contestant to enter is a short, round man. He stands 5’6″ if he is lucky and easily pushes 350+ pounds. His belly sticks out from under his stained white t-shirt and past the belt holding up his blue jeans. His hair is balding and there is an obvious and disgusting snot bubble on the left nostril of his nose.
“Good God!” Hank exclaims.
“Uh, so what is your name?” Chris asks as calmly as he can.
“My name is Vernest Brown,” states the man in a shockingly solid, baritone voice.
“Tell us your ring name and gimmick, if you can,” Hopper pushes on.
“My idea is one of a Jewish man in a Christian world,” He states. “I believe it is best understood if I were to quote the Merchant of Venice.”
He clears his throat.
“I am a Jew,” he begins. “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrongs a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”
The snot bubble, unfortunately, pops as he finishes his big speech, and both Hank and Hopper look at each other.
“That was perfect English,” Chris notes.
“We have to consider him, then,” Hank adds.
As they turn back to face the man, the screen fades to black.
TRUTH CONTROL Vs. THE XIANG DYNASTY
Back at ringside, the first few chords of the Xiang Dynasty’s entrance music bring a mixed reaction from the crowd, who still has not forgotten Wall’s “repayment” for Darring’s help two weeks prior. Still, as the wrestling giant and his manager walk down to the ring, the jeers are not quite as pronounced as usual, almost as if the crowd had been saving themselves for the duo’s opponents. As usual, “Downtown” Brown does the honors.
“The following contest is a handicap tag team match scheduled for ONE FALL! Introducing first, from the People’s Republic of China, at a combined weight of 582 pounds…THE XIANG DYNASTY!!”
“The Xiang Dynasty are performing here tonight as a tag team after they were challenged by John J. Truth and his new allies to pick any stipulation they wanted. Xiang chose a three-on-two handicap match, and so he and The Great Wall are set to take on all three members of that group…”
“Ugh!” Allie Reece scrunches her face in disgust. “Please don’t remind me of that sleazeball, Lucas! It’s bad enough when he’s out here and I’m FORCED to look at his disgusting face!”
“Apologies, Allie.” Lucas tactfully steers the conversation in a different direction, turning towards his other broadcasting partner. “What do you reckon, Mark? Have these two men bitten off more than they can chew?!”
“Are you kidding me, Quinn?!” Deltzer is all but spluttering. “Look at the SIZE of that guy! Somebody THAT BIG is NEVER at a disadvantage, regardless of how many people he’s facing!”
“Fair point, I guess. Truth and his goons are probably not going to be shy about cheating, though…”
By the time Xiang and Wall make it to ringside, however, neither of their three opponents has yet to show their face, either legally or otherwise; so much so that a somewhat surprised Xiang requests a microphone from a ringside technician, then – once he has it in his hand – turns towards the entranceway, addressing the empty, unmoving curtain leading to the backstage area.
“Well, friends…we are here, present and in time for our supposed ‘lesson’. The question being…where are YOU?”
Another moment of absolute stillness elapses, bringing about boos from the increasingly impatient crowd; then, just as Xiang is about to consider his point proven, the first few bars of “Stars and Stripes Forever” echo through the arena, before quickly becoming distorted and turning into the iconic riff to Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. A sigh is heard as “Downtown” Brown realizes he has to actually introduce this team, as well – which, much like last time, he does in the most perfunctory manner possible, audibly muttering under his breath all the while.
“And their opponents…from the Land of the Free…(are you kidding me?)…at a combined weight of 750 pounds…the team of the Truth Control…(are. You. KIDDING. Me?)”
A moment later, the three men who are quickly becoming some of the most hated faces in GLOBAL Wrestling emerge through the curtain, instantly being showered with boos from the crowd; Xiang and Wall, however, look almost impressed to discover their opponents are, contrary to their predictions, not entirely made up of mouths. Allie, however, is most definitely NOT impressed and is quick to make her displeasure heard as soon as she spots the men.
“UUUUUGGGGHHHH! I was hoping they would no-show!”
“Well, looks like you’re [BLEEP] outta luck, Al…”
“Yes…for better or worse, at least they’re here…they aren’t COMPLETE cowards after all…”
“Well, Quinn…they still have to actually go down to the ring…”
Deltzer’s observation is entirely correct, as the three men seem perfectly content to taunt their opponents from the safety of the curtain area, as opposed to engaging them in the ring. As such, only when Xiang instructs The Great Wall to “go and fetch them” do they suddenly feel the need to move, rushing down to meet the giant halfway up the entranceway, Truth’s two acolytes engaging the colossus while the man himself runs past them and into the ring to take on Xiang. The moment the grungy, greasy leader of Truth Control slides into the ring, Aaron Powell calls for the bell, getting the contest underway, even despite the fact neither team is yet in place in their respective corners.
“Looks like Powell’s had it, too, and wants to get this over with as quickly as possible…”
“Let’s hope that’s the case, Lucas…”
While Allie and Lucas once again voice their explicit desire to see this match over and done as quickly as possible, in the ring, Truth attempts to see to it that that is the case, as well. Despite being forced to adhere to the rules – meaning he is unable to use his beloved steel chairs – he nonetheless attempts to sneak as many shortcuts as possible past Powell, taking advantage of the fact that he also has to keep tabs on what is going on outside. This allows Truth to poke and rake Xiang’s eyes, before connecting with a kick to the gut, which doubles the Chinese national over, allowing his opponent to follow up with a face breaker.
“Oh, look…Truth has some actual wrestling moves in his arsenal…I was starting to wonder…”
As Allie continues to almost spit out every word regarding John J. Truth, in the ring, the man himself drops a quick elbow on Xiang, further wearing him down, before pushing himself to his feet to ponder his next move. He looks around to see his acolytes still keeping The Great Wall at bay outside the ring (mostly by way of wear-down strikes, of which the giant seems capable of absorbing an incredibly large quantity), realizes Aaron Powell is once again distracted and takes the opportunity to connect with a few stomps to Xiang’s head and torso. Only then does he bring the Xiang Dynasty namesake to his feet, connecting with a headbutt before rushing in with a clothesline…
…which Xiang counters with a simple yet effective push kick, achieving some separation between himself and Truth. An angered Truth runs in a second time, but this is exactly what Xiang wants, as he catches his opponent with a jawbreaker, taking Truth down for the first time.
“Xiang displaying his intelligence…which could well be his best asset against Truth.”
“Right, Lucas…because goodness knows that creep has NONE of that!”
As Allie gets complimented by Deltzer for once for being “savage”, in the ring, Xiang has Truth dead to rights; in spite of this, he cannot resist taking a shortcut of his own, raking his opponent’s back, the better to gain some extra advantage. Still keeping tabs on the brawl on the outside, Powell misses this, allowing Xiang to capitalize by stepping in and grabbing Truth in a neck crank. The leader of Truth Control fights out of this with a couple of well-aimed elbows, but gets hit with a spinning heel kick for his troubles! As he crumples to the mat, lights temporarily out, Xiang slides to the outside to even his tag team partner’s odds – not that Wall needs it, of course. Even still, Xiang’s temporary distraction of the smallest of the two men allows his partner to come off the defensive back foot – if only for a few moments, as Truth literally jumps back into the fray mere instants later, dropping down onto Xiang with a double axe handle off the apron!
“Oh, dear…things are devolving into a brawl again…and here I thought we were about to have an actual wrestling match…”
Despite Lucas’ fears, however, Truth does seem keen on rolling Xiang back into the ring – if only to allow his partner to resume his wearing down of The Great Wall, which he is directed to by Truth himself. The man promptly complies, pausing only to give his boss a two-fingered salute, but when he once again engages the giant, the power dynamic has shifted; while the concerted two-on-one attack does still prove effective, the Wall is also having more opportunities to fight back, and Truth’s two associates begin to get thrown about considerably more than before, even being subjected to a couple of suplexes onto concrete. Even still, big though the Wall is (and he has half a foot on the biggest of the two men) this is still not an easy two-on-one battle for him, and he manages no more than to even the odds.
As that battle rages on, Truth rolls Xiang back into the ring, connecting with a couple of sneaky stomps before stepping through himself. The Chinese national is, however, no less sneaky, and doubles John over with an elbow shot to a particularly sensitive part – which, to Powell, registers as simply a shot to the gut. This, in turn, allows the manager to begin looking for a figure-four leg lock, which Truth shakes out of irritably, landing a kick to Xiang’s face for good measure. The Xiang Dynasty member reels back in surprise and agony, and Truth takes this time to scramble to his feet, remaining one step ahead of The Great Wall’s crafty associate. He puts some distance between himself and Xiang, waits for the latter to get fully up to his feet, then runs in with a big boot, taking him back down again!
“The Boot of Truth just came down on Xiang!”
“VERY funny, Mark…you do realize that CREEPER may be about to actually WIN this match off of that?!”
Allie’s utter, venomous disdain once again has the effect of shutting up Mark as, in the ring, Truth drops down for the cover. Powell almost begrudgingly slides in to count…
TH—Kickout by Xiang!
“Oh, thank goodness! I have never been so happy to see somebody kick out…or cheat to win, for that matter…”
“Yes, it appears Truth has that effect on people, doesn’t it?”
Surprisingly, Truth does not seem too put out by his failure to win the match off of his signature move, instead simply bending down to pick up the dazed Xiang. Ever cunning, the manager attempts to once again gauge and rake John’s eyes, but Truth reacts faster this time, countering with a poke between the eyes of his own, which once again has Xiang reeling back in surprise.
“The Sting of Truth!”
“How…WHY…do you know the names of his moves, Deltzer?”
“Because, REECE, I am an unbiased professional, who does his homework in an unbiased manner!”
Allie can be heard scoffing as Truth leans in to pull Xiang closer and begins the complicated set-up to his ultimate move – which Deltzer once again helpfully names.
“In a minute here, Xiang will learn that Truth Hurts!”
Halfway through the preamble, however, Truth catches sight of his men in dire straits and is distracted from the match at hand for a moment. Xiang, of course, profits from this, connecting with an elbow smash to the face, then a jawbreaker. He then stands up and lays the stomps to Truth, giving him a receipt from earlier, before picking him up, lest Powell becomes aware of what he is doing. Here, however, Truth suddenly comes alive, rocking the Chinese national with a headbutt before connecting with another Boot of Truth!
“That has to be it!”
Deltzer’s prediction falls flat, however, as rather than cover, Truth is seen sliding to the outside of the ring, where he has no qualms reaching in and grabbing not one, but two fans’ seats from underneath them, mouthing off when he inevitably gets confronted, and receiving a cupful of soda to the face for his troubles. While the wrestler’s expression clearly indicates that he would like nothing better than to verbally duke it out, however, the sight of his associates being lifted into a double chokeslam does manage to get his priorities in line, and merely flips off the young couple as he takes off running in the direction of the hulking Great Wall, sliding one of the chairs along the floor as he brings the other crashing down on the giant’s back! Seeing this, referee Aaron Powell does not hesitate to call for the bell, effectively disqualifying not only John but his entire team.
“Awwww, man! The one time they were actually getting their butts handed to them!”
Allie’s lament is in vain, however, as the match has now officially ended; still, John’s tactic appears to have paid off, as the chair shot does succeed in making The Wall release Truth’s acolytes, who – after a moment of shaking off cobwebs and regaining bearings – promptly lunge for the second chair, which they take turns jabbing into The Wall’s stomach, as their leader continues to hammer the back. In this manner, they manage to slow the colossus down and stun him long enough for the entire group to make for the safety of the entrance curtain, which they reach unimpeded moments later – just as a vociferous Great Wall hurls abuse at them in rapid Cantonese – while, surprisingly, not giving chase.
The reasons for this become apparent a moment later when Wall steps into the ring to join his now-recovered manager and appears to relay a message to him. Xiang nods and promptly requests a microphone, the better to comply with his associate’s wishes.
“Friends…my associate has a message he wishes me to relay to you.”
The Xiang Dynasty member’s first few words are barely acknowledged by the three men by the entrance, who continue pulling at the sides of their face to distort their eyes while making offensive noises; his next few words, however, force them to pay attention.
“He says, at the upcoming event in two weeks, he wishes to engage you…” Xiang points at Truth directly. “…in one-on-one combat, in an environment where no one can interfere…” The Dynasty member now gestures to Truth’s two acolytes on either side of him, before pointing at himself. “…not them…not even me.”
The Chinese national can barely suppress a grin as he makes John J. go pale in the face with his final statement.
“Friend…in two weeks…The Great Wall wishes to square off against you…inside a steel cage.”
The crowd ROARS at the prospect of this, and even the commentators can barely disguise their glee.
“YES!! RIP John the Creeper!”
“A hefty challenge laid down by The Great Wall…and listen to this crowd! I never thought I’d hear THIS reaction for the Xiang Dynasty!”
“Well, it’s like you said yourself, Lucas…ol’ John J. has that effect on people…”
It is on a shot of three suddenly very worried men conferring amongst themselves, as two other men smirk smugly at them from ringside, that the feed cuts elsewhere.
The flashing of red lights fill the lower ground floor car park of the arena as a convoy of ambulances house each of the Jerry David Band members. Each member is being tended to by a pair of EMTs, their wounds being dressed, their vitals being taken.
Jerry sits in the back of one ambulance, in which lies his trumpeter. As he looks down at his injured colleague and friend The Informer approaches.
“Mister David,” he says, drawing the attention of the stand-up comic turned wrestler, “The contract. Will you sign it?”
The Informer holds a clipboard aloft.
Jerry snatches it from his hand, unclipping a pen and signing it without hesitation.
“Don’t ask me another fucking question. I’ve done enough talking.”
He tosses the clipboard out of the back of the ambulance and down to the ground. As he does, the EMTs close the ambulance doors, head around to the front of the vehicle and start the engine. The convoy head off towards the hospital
A MESSAGE FROM THE LEGEND
Backstage, GLOBAL trainers are checking over the GLOBAL Champion, Sean Darring, to ensure his ribs are cleared to wrestle after the brutal assault on the last Domination by The Great Wall and Aleczander The Great.
The trainer continues to look the legend over. Sean Darring asks, “Are we good?”
The Global trainer ponders for a moment and responds. “Sean, your ribs are still pretty bruised. I know you brought in a note from some doctor clearing you to compete tonight, but you must understand you could cause further damage that could keep you out even longer.”
The legend laughs. “So, we are good then. Shoot me up and do whatever you feel you need to do. I have been cleared, and you are throwing around maybe’s. I don’t have that many matches left. I will not let something like this rob me of a title defense.”
The trainer shakes his head. “I will have to get approval as long as you understand the risks.”
Sean Darring nods. “Go get the approval. It will be risky whenever I step inside that ring with the dangerous Son of Malta. 100%, 75%, or 50%, it’s a risk. He is as tough as they come. He is as deserving of a shot at the Global championship as anyone. I am not going to rob him of his chance. No, he is going to have a chance to earn it.”
The trainer gets out some tape and says. “I will be back to tape those ribs up.”
As the trainer leaves seeking final approval, the legend turns to the camera. “I know they are looking out for us, but I can’t tell anyone the last time I was truly 100%. Son of Malta, you have been awarded the Global Challenge. A true warrior’s spirit. The master of the Maltese Cross. The most feared move in all of Global. Sounds like a worthy challenge to me.”
The legend smiles. “You know, I have a little move that has done some damage around here too. It’s time to find out if the Maltese Cross can stand up to the Legend’s Lock. The stakes don’t get much higher. At the same time, you have earned my respect. It’s my mission to finish what Aleczander The Great started.”
The tone in the legend’s voice changes. “Aleczander, I knew you were a coward. I knew you were an opportunist snake waiting for your chance to strike and get the upper hand. I didn’t account for that you would show everyone in your hometown and country just how fake you are.”
Sean Darring glares into the camera, talking directly to the Hall of Famer. “Message received. If you wanted to make it personal, all you had to do was ask. I have been around for a long time. I understand the business. A champion is a hunted man. Everyone wants to be the champ.”
The legend points to his bruised, purple ribs. “This will heal. You didn’t get the job done. Eventually, you and I will find ourselves across from one another inside the ring. Hall of Famer versus Legend. The number one contender versus champion. Aleczander The Great versus Sean Darring. The excuses will stop. You will have nowhere else to hide. It will be time for the snake to come out of the grass. Me?”
That legendary smile forms. “I will be waiting with open arms and a legend lock.”
The trainer returns as Sean Darring turns back with a look of – you better have good news.
The trainer says. “Let’s tape those ribs up.”
THE ENDGAME APPROACHETH
The sounds are that of a hospital room. The camera pans to the left and there is the open door that gives way to a view of a hospital bed. We see Christian Pierson in the same state as before – hooked up to machines to check his basic numbers and an oxygen tube curled around the ears and under his nose.
As the nurse in the room continues documenting the levels she sees on the screens, the camera begins to zoom in closer and closer to Pierson’s face and right to his forehead before the screen goes black for a second and we are back in the pink room. Pierson stands there in his hospital gown and his hands locked in handcuffs and connected to a heavy chain that keeps him in one spot. No words are spoken, but we can hear Christian’s voice giving his thoughts.
“How is he actually doing this?”
He looks down at his chains.
“I know he only has the power I have given him. So how did I allow myself to get in this position.”
He turns his head to the right and on the pink wall, we see a vision of what seems to be a young Christian being punched by a larger boy then stomped by the group surrounding him. We are able to hear the shrieks and cries from the protagonist as the blows hit over and over. The vision disappears and a sullen-looking Pierson drops his head.
“Desperate times called for desperate measures, I guess. Now I’m a slave to the very devil I allowed in to protect me.”
His brow furrows.
“And he really IS the devil incarnate! Fighting him seems to be my only option, but how do I do that?”
He looks around the room he is trapped in again.
“I really am a prisoner in my own head, aren’t I?”
His eyes grow wide for a second and then a resolute scowl presides over his countenance.
“In the end, I have to fight. I either fight to survive and die, or he kills me from the inside out anyway. I refuse to be a victim anymore.”
The moment those words are heard the chains disappear. Pierson looks down and a sly grin comes across his face. He stands straight up for what seems to be the first time in weeks. His face almost resembling the same diabolical looks Manny would give as he looks up at the area his frenemy usually enters.
“MANNY!” He yells out loudly
The camera begins to pull back and goes black for a second before we see his face and continue back, showing him in the hospital bed. The beeps of the equipment the only sound as the screen fades to black with the following words appearing in red…
TO BE CONTINUED
ALEX REYN Vs. EZ RAH
NUMBER ONE CONTENDERS TOURNAMENT: SEMI-FINAL
“The following contest is set for one fall, and is a semi-final match in the Gold Rush GLOBAL tournament! Introducing first, hailing from London, England, and weighing in at two hundred and thirty pounds, here is EZ RAH!”
EZ psyches himself up and makes his way down the ramp, looking to high-five some audience members, some of whom (honoring a dead man’s last wish), ACTUALLY reciprocate.
“He’s doomed,” Quinn says.
Instead of being put off by this, however, EZ actually seems elated and starts trying to slap hands SO enthusiastically, that the fans’ pity soon turns to annoyance.
“I’m not writing him off so quickly.” The Mark says stubbornly. “You say Reyn’s not chaotic, well EZ IS! We’ve seen it in the tag match, in his fights with Jerry! EZ may be one of the wildest and most unpredictable people on the ROSTER! You talk about Reyn creating chaos in his opponent, how exactly is he going to create chaos in a man who SWIMS in chaos?”
“That may be true,” Quinn says thoughtfully. “If he can throw Alex Reyn off his rhythm, he might have a chance. We know he’s an exceptional athlete.”
EZ has entered the ring. Now they’re just waiting on Rey-
“Spare me the ceremony and start the match.”
“WHERE THE **** DID HE COME FROM!!!”
The commentary team has jumped back in shock. Mark is the first to compose himself
“Knowing Reyn, he probably slid in the ring while we were watching EZ’s entrance.”
An equally shocked Jason Brown clears his throat to make the announcement.
“And his oppo-”
“Save it.” Alex growls and the announcement falls silent.
“Wow… Alex wants to get this over with as fast as possible,” Quinn says
“It tracks with what we saw earlier.” Allie says, “We all heard him in that video he recorded, he didn’t even MENTION EZ. I’ve noticed Reyn doesn’t make an entrance unless he feels the match deserves one. He’s treating EZ like an ant he steps on on the way to the finals.”
“And that could backfire.” The Mark says. “He’s looking past his opponent. EZ just needs to play this smart, and-”
…And EZ Rah places his arm around Alex Reyn like a college frat boy.
“…He’s dead.” The Mark says, face falling in despair.
“Alex! My buddy, my old partner! You look bored! I know what we can do! I know you like the hardcore style, heck you’re ALMOST as good at it as me! So why don’t we make this more comfortable for us and more fun for my fans? I challenge you to an anything goes match!”
Quinn is in shock.
“Is… Is EZ ACTUALLY challenging Reyn to an anything-goes match?? Does he remember what Reyn did to VIP?!
The Mark has buried his face in his hands
“When I said “be unpredictable” this isn’t what I meant!!” he groans.
“Ladies and gentlemen, by gentlemen’s agreement, this match is set for one fall and there will be no-count outs and no disqualification! May God have mercy on EZ’s soul.”
DING! DING! DING!
Alex doesn’t waste a second! He attacks with a bicycle knee, but EZ evades with a dropdown! Reyn hits the ropes, trying to blindside EZ with a spear, but EZ handsprings OVER the East Wind!
“What presence of mind and agility by EZ Rah there, that was mightily impressive,” Quinn muses.
There’s some applause from the crowd at EZ’s athleticism, and the streamer is milking the attention for all it’s worth. Playing to the crowd as Reyn gives him an annoyed glare.
Allie ponders aloud. “As impressive as it was, though, is it worth it to get a look like that from a man like that?”
The Man shoots a half-question back at his beloved colleague. “A man? Who says he’s even human?”
As EZ turns back to face Reyn, he enthusiastically gestures for Alex to bring it!
Alex, however, just rolls his eyes, turns his back on a now befuddled EZ, and rolls out the ring to grab a microphone.
“Official, I grow bored of this clown. Perhaps you can find something more entertaining? Drying paint, for example.”
“Oh… I see.” Mark says, his experience coming out. “This is an old trick of Reyn’s. He’s baiting EZ in, insulting his ego to get him to make a mistake.”
EZ looks stunned.
“He… he doesn’t want to fight me? He thinks I’m… bor…
Then his face lights up.
But not with rage.
“That’s a forfeit! He forfeits! YES!!”
EZ is now doing laps around the ring in celebration, practically jumping for joy, as an incredulous Reyn just stares open-mouthed.
“I DID IT! I DID IT!! I BEAT ALEX REYN!!! LOOK, EVERYONE!! LOOK, EVERYONE!! I BEAT REYN!!”
…In a scenario about as unlikely as The Simpsons ending, the commentary team finds themselves SYMPATHISING with a dumbfounded Reyn.
“… He was being coy, you imbecile,” Allie mutters with her face in her palm.
“Well said, Allie,” Quinn backs her up.
“I wouldn’t say that as loud next time, Allie,” Deltzer advises her.
Reece nods her head. “Good point.”
A spear from Reyn ends the celebration early! Reyn immediately into a dragon sleeper! He wants this nonsense OVER! But in the reverse of a death roll, EZ rolls both himself and Reyn out of the ring! Using the fall to cause separation! Rising up before Reyn can, EZ starts violently and angrily stomping down on Reyn, furious about being “tricked”
An overhead kick from the floor hits EZ on the bridge of his nose! He reels back, eyes watering, and Alex kips up! He goes for another bicycle knee, but EZ evades it with a matrix dodge! EZ goes for his own knee, but it’s blocked by Alex Reyn, who stuns EZ with a headbutt!
“Just like that, Reyn exhibits his own quickness and the simplest of moves puts him back in control,” The Mark offers.
He tries to ram the crown of EZ’s head into the edge of the ring apron, but EZ slips out of his grasp and slides under the ring!
“EZ Rah is a slippery customer,” Quinn states.
“I don’t think he’d appreciate being called a customer, but for the purposes of this match, you’re right, and he is frustrating Reyn. Ultimately, I can’t tell whether that’s a good or a bad thing,” The Mark ponders.
A few seconds later, the fans see him coming out the other side. Trying to pull a ladder out with him. Alex slides into the ring, deciding to take the most DIRECT path to his target.
ASCENDANT’S WRATH (Running Springboard Suicide Crossbod)!
-EZ Throws the ladder in Reyn’s face!
“That was definitely a good thing for EZ Rah, a great thing in fact, and he has to capitalize,” Reece beams.
The East Wind is caught as he leaps onto the top rope! Falling back into the ring! With Reyn now stunned, EZ sets up the ladder on the outside before he climbs up to the top. Now on top of the ladder outside the ring, he waits as inside the ring, Alex manages to get to his feet…
Crossbody from the ladd-REYN DROPKICKS EZ OUT OF THE AIR!!!
“Talk about getting revenge,” Quinn comments.
Deltzer doesn’t miss a beat. “Reyn? He’s the master of that.”
Alex grabs EZ from the mat. Not even wasting a second. Going for the East Wind Cutter (Lifting Rolling Cutter)
“HERE IT IS,” Lucas exclaims.
EZ Rah counters with a victory roll!!
“How on EARTH did EZ recover that quickly?!” A shocked Quinn asks.
Reyn is up, but he ALSO looks shocked by EZ’s recovery! He narrowly avoids the NFT (Shining Wizard), as EZ slides past him and out onto the apron!
Springboard dragonrana from EZ is avoided by Reyn! EZ hits the ropes, going for a spinning headscissors takedown, but Reyn parries the impact with a handspring!
Quinn meanwhile is still trying to process everything.
“How can he have this much energy after that dropkick?!”
“… We should have seen it coming,” Mark says, and his two partners look at him for an explanation.
“Only two weeks ago, he went flying ribs first into the barricade and kept fighting like it was nothing. He and Jerry have been fighting like Peter Griffin and The Chicken for MONTHS now and no matter how brutal it gets… they just get back up and keep fighting. … I think we’ve all been underestimating EZ’s resilience.”
It can be seen on Reyn’s face. His eyes have narrowed, his expression calculating.
He’s just realized he’s in for a FIGHT.
Roundhouse ducked by EZ! Reyn goes low for a legsweep, but EZ jumps over his leg like it’s a skipping rope! Grabbing Reyn, EZ tries to get him up for EZPZ (Screwdriver), but Reyn is able to counter into a guillotine choke!
Struggling in the hold, EZ presses his palms into the mat, rolling the hold into a pinning predicament on the East Wind!
Reyn grabs EZ’s head! Rocking it with violent knees! Targeting the temple for maximum effect, only for EZ to surge forward and strike Reyn with a headbutt! The impact stuns Reyn and now EZ is on top of him! Hammering down with wild fists and-
REYN TRIES TO BITE EZ’S THROAT!!
“Just when you think EZ Rah is in control, Reyn goes and does something that is so typically Reyn, but beyond what most wrestlers, people period, would do,” Allie says in a blend of praise and criticism, mostly leaning towards the latter.
“Alex Reyn could never be accused of being normal,” The Mark weighs in.
EZ struggles to keep Reyn’s snapping jaws at bay, managing to monkey flip the East Wind who rolls out of the ring!
EZ hits the ropes on the far side of the ring! Then the opposite! Then back! He’s running the ropes to build up momentum for a sucide-
REYN CATCHES HIM WITH A KNEE!!
“Again, Rah looks to be building up momentum, and he has used his speed and athletic ability to devastating use, but Reyn has the answer,” Reece laments.
EZ is hanging limply between the ropes, and Reyn pulls him out onto the apron with him.
NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX OFF THE APRON INTO THE LADDER!!
“OH MY GOD,” Quinn yells, representing the thoughts of his broadcast colleagues and the capacity crowd, many of whom stand up, thrilled and horrified at what they’ve just seen.
The ladder goes tumbling over, and EZ with it! Reyn moves closer, he shoves EZ’s head between the ladder, trying to push it closed around EZ’s NECK, but EZ pushes against him! Trying to hold him back until Reyn STOMPS the ladder closed around his hands and neck!
“As if that wasn’t enough,” Allie says in disbelief, throwing her hands up and having a hard time understanding Reyn’s mentality.
“Not even close,” The Mark responds knowingly.
As EZ is violently coughing, Alex grabs a steel chair and brings it down on him. Over and over, he cracks the metal over EZ’s head!
“Referee, make a judgment call,” Quinn suggests.
Blood is flowing down EZ’s face now, he’s on his knees, and his eyes are dazed and unfocused. But his lips twist into a deranged, bloody smile, and he raises two middle fingers in Reyn’s direction.
“That’s defiance for you,” Allie says innocuously.
“Allie, I’m not sure if you should mention THEM on TV. Anyway, that tactic didn’t work out well for the last person I saw do it, flipping Reyn off,” The Mark states cryptically, ahem, and Alex’s reaction lends weight to that assumption.
Reyn snarls and raises the chair again! But EZ bursts to life and clumsily and dizzily THROWS himself at Reyn with a Flying, Corkscrew What The Fork Was THAT??? That ACTUALLY manages to take Reyn off-guard with how chaotic and unpredictably uncoordinated it is, knocking the East Wind on his ass!
EZ is on top of him, attacking with wild, almost DRUNK-looking punches, but what he lacks in precision, he makes up for in enthusiasm! That lack of coordination is what allows Reyn to catch his wrist on a punch though! Reversing the mount, Reyn starts striking down on EZ with much more efficiently targeted blows!
EZ rocks Reyn with a headbutt!
“Good on him,” Reece remarks, almost cheering.
Reyn responds in kind!
EZ tries to return the fav- REYN CATCHES HIM IN A GUILLOTINE!!
“Reyn with the Guillotine!” Quinn calls “But falls don’t count unless they’re inside the ring!”
“Yeah, but if he knocks EZ out with it…” Allie offers.
“Both are exceptionally quick, but this is a smart move by Reyn, slowing the pace down and draining the energy from EZ,” The Mark lauds the tactic.
Indeed, EZ quickly falls limp in the hold, lying motionless in Reyn’s grasp.
“That was fast.” The Mark says, blinking.
“…Too fast” is Allie’s reply
Reyn tilts his head as he looks down at the now unmoving EZ. He sets the internet celebrity against the ring post. RINGPOST SUPERKI-!
Reyn pulls his shot at the LAST second, just as a possum playing EZ moves his head out of the way of what WOULD have been Reyn’s attack.
“Reyn called EZ’s bluff there,” Quinn says.
Reyn now with a legsweep on EZ, EZ breaks his fall and immediately kips up, but his insistence on using the flashiest movement possible has consequences as the sudden motion sends a wave of pain and vertigo through his head that makes him stumble around like a drunkard
Superkick from Reyn!
EZ is caught before he falls. Alex rolls him into the ring.
EZ KICKS OU-REYN INSTANTLY INTO DRAGON SLEEPER!!
It’s clear that Reyn isn’t trying to give Rah a SECOND to breathe, and that may be necessary, because, like the energizer bunny, EZ is already fighting back! Slipping out of the hold, he tries to stomp down on Reyn, who avoids the attack!
NFT from EZ Rah! Reyn blocks! Calf Slicer! Center of the ring!
“What is EZ going to do here?!” Quinn questions, “There are no rope breaks in this match!”
But EZ wasn’t trying to get a rope break, instead, he shows a surprising amount of technique by actually navigating OUT of Reyn’s hold!
“Wow! EZ is outwrestling Reyn here!” Quin remarks “Reyn may not be the most technical person on the roster, but EZ is REALLY showing how well he’s picked up this sport in such a short amount of time!”
There’s some separation, Reyn backs into the corner, waiting for EZ to get up, his gaze practically boring a hole through him.
He charges in, going for a flipping DDT- EZ COUNTERS INTO A POP-UP CUTTER!!!
“WHAT A COUNTER!!” The Mark yells.
EZ lets out a cheer of elation! Immediately, he rolls out of the ring, taking a huge drink from Quinn’s water bottle (“Son of a-!”), washing some of his blood off, and stealing Reece’s headset!
“What an amazing move, Ladies and Gentlemen!” EZ calls as The Mark has to restrain his two partners from STRANGLING him. “EZ with the counter of a lifetime! Did you all see that? What an unbelievable display of intelligence and athleticism! And now EZ has his eyes on the ladder, could he be thinking what I think he’s thinking…?”
Yes indeed, EZ is now calling his own match as he grabs the ladder and slides it into the ring.
“He sets the ladder up in the corner! What could be going through EZ Rah’s Mi-AARRGH!!!
“Reyn’s feet.” Allie deadpans.
“And the ladder,” Quinn adds, as EZ slumps against the ladder Alex Reyn dropkicked him into. Reyn grabs EZ, whipping him to the other side of the ring!
Spear by Reyn!
EZ slips out onto the apron, and Reyn has to swing his legs between the ropes, 619-style to avoid crashing shoulder-first into the ring post!
Reyn and EZ are now on opposite sides of the corner on the ring apron! Reyn attacks with a springboard triangle tornado DDT!
EZ BLOCKS THE IMPACT WITH A HANDSPRING!!
As Reyn falls off the apron, EZ collapses against the barricade. Laughing madly as blood flows down his face!
“What another amazing counter from EZ Rah!” EZ laughs, “Ladies and gentlemen, this kid has IT! And he’s single, ladies!”
EZ tries to kiss a woman in the front row who recoils in disgust, both from EZ’s attitude, AND the fact that his face is still covered in a mask of blood!
Reyn meanwhile, is glaring at EZ like a raptor with a particularly annoying mouse.
Running knee tries to crush EZ against the barricade, but EZ springs up onto the Barricade to avoid it! Leaping off with a Fosbury flop, EZ has landed behind the East Wind!
SPEAR BY EZ RAH!!
“That’s Reyn’s move!” A shocked Quinn calls!
Yes, the spear is almost identical to the one Alex Reyn uses! EZ rolls the East Wind into the ring! Calling his own match all the way!
“And EZ with the best spear in the business! And now he’s going up top! Could it be? Is it? The most spectacular move in pro-wrestling history?? Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for the Shooting! Mega! Star! Pre…”
EZ trails off as Reyn rolls out the ring to get away from his opponent’s LOUDLY TELEGRAPHED finishing move.
SUICIDE SHOOTING MEGASTAR PRE-!
ALEX REYN SUPERKICKS EZ OUT OF THE AIR!!!!
Every fan is on their feet!!! It’s a cacophony of noises and screams! EZ is lying unmoving on the outside floor, while Reyn is clutching his leg with an expression of absolute agony! He tries to stand, but his leg buckles when he tries to put weight on it! He has to use the barricade for support. Simply put, He HAS to get EZ into the ring, FAST! There are no rope breaks in this match, but Reyn knows. He KNOWS that the longer he waits, the more time EZ might have to wake up!
He has to use the rope for support as he deadlifts up his opponent and BARELY slides him into the ring. The leg that took the superkick impact almost buckles again, but Reyn slides into the ring himself and goes for the cover!
EZ’S HAND IS UNDER THE BOTTOM ROPE!!!
The referee sees it right before the last fall! Immediately, he’s waving off the pin!
“Wait, I thought it was no DQ?” The Mark asks.
“That just means you can’t be disqualified for ignoring a rope break,” Quinn comments. “The pin still won’t count if they’re out of bounds.”
Alex has mounted EZ now. He doesn’t have the strength to stand, so instead he starts punching EZ in the back of his head!
And yet… even under the pain of those punches, EZ is STILL managing to stand! Carrying his opponent on his back as he rises to his feet!
… But adrenaline and defiance can only do so much. EZ is mentally unstoppable. But his body has its limits. A wave of pain through his skull makes the world spin. The East Wind drops behind him, going straight for the kill.
EAST WIND CUTTER!!
Reyn’s leg gives out! He drops, clutching it, and EZ seizes the opportunity!
“COME ON, EZ. Sorry,” The Mark shouts before apologizing.
No! Reyn drops low, and the knee goes over his head! The East Wind has rolled out the ring, but EZ is STILL coming after him! He doesn’t know HOW to slow down, how to stop. He only knows how to keep moving forward! Bigger! BOLDER!!
CORKSCREW PLANCHA…REYN DODGES AND EZ GOES CRASHING THROUGH THE ANNOUNCER’S TABLE!!!
Quinn, who is used to situations like this far more than his younger co-workers, keeps his composure while standing up and clinging to his headset, making sure it’s still on and working. “What an UNBELIEVABLE exchange there, and unfortunately for EZ, his tournament might be over here and now. Reyn isn’t in a position to take advantage, but surely, The East Wind recovers first here.”
Both men lie on the floor. Utterly spent. EZ’s insane stunt had cost him again, but AGAIN Reyn is struggling to capitalize. He doesn’t have the strength. He can’t get EZ up for East Wind, trying to get him into the ring would just give him time to recover… He needs a way to make SURE EZ stays down.
Reyn limps over to the ring, grabs a steel chair, and places EZ’s inside the folded chair…
“This looks ominous,” The Mark predicts.
One stomp. And he will snap the metal shut around his opponent’s neck.
Not even EZ can survive THAT.
The East Wind stomps down!
And EZ catches the boot!
“Thank God,” Allie whispers.
The fans scream in shock! A wordless yell that slowly turns to cheers as EZ starts pushing against Reyn’s boot, start’s STANDING UP!! As annoying as EZ’s ego is, he will. Not. DI-
ENZUIGIRI FROM THE EAST WIND!!!
The move stuns EZ, and Reyn grabs the chair and starts pulling, WRENCHING on the legs of the chair! Not to lift EZ up, no. Reyn is STRANGLING EZ Rah with the folding chair around his neck!
EZ tries to fight back! Tries to throw Alex Reyn off! …but he doesn’t have the strength.
“What fight, what resilience, what heart shown by EZ here,” Reece raves.
He’d burnt himself out like a blazing candle, taking one big hit too many. Superkicked out of midair, crashing through the announcer’s table, all while bleeding heavily, and now…
Now with his oxygen being cut off by the chair, EZ can barely move, let alone shake his opponent. He tries in vain to stand, but Reyn leans more weight on him, applying a bodyscissors and the rip of the chair allows for better leverage. The fans are roaring, yelling, trying to will a miracle rally from EZ Rah! Blood is leaking from EZ’s mouth as his hand fumbles to grab the chair…
Until that, too, falls limp.
The referee doesn’t need to see more.
DING! DING! DING!
“Here is your winner by Technical Knockout! The East Wind! ALEX! REYN!!”
“EZ couldn’t continue, he wanted to, but he just didn’t have anything left, and the referee did the right thing. Wrestlers need to be protected from themselves at times,” Quinn informs everyone from a first-hand perspective.
It’s not clear if Reyn releases his grip by choice… Or because he just doesn’t have the strength to hold on anymore. Mercifully, air bubbles are shown in EZ’s blood and split the second The East Wind releases, as EMTs rush to EZ Rah’s aid.
Alex Reyn doesn’t stop them. He has his own wounds to lick. Even now, he can only limp away.
He underestimated EZ Rah.
That will not happen again.
Los Angeles, California
Friday, 3rd May, 1968
Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a God, look straight at me and you see yourself,” Charles Manson tells a small group of dirty looking teenagers who sit before him on a mound of grass at the bottom of a slim dirt track. He is standing, waving his arms around, a crucifix painted between his eyebrows, pale, and looking as though he too had misplaced his soap.
His eyes wild, his mouth foaming at the cracks, he continues his rant under the baking hot L.A. sun.
“I’m nobody, I’m a tramp, a bum, a hobo, I’m a boxcar and a jug of wine and a straight razor… if you get too close to me.”
The bushes rustle gently in the breeze.
Except there is no breeze, and old Charlie Manson is quick to notice.
“You there!” he howls into a bush, “Come out here, man, don’t be shy.”
The bush rustles again and a man wearing a dirty white vest, Bermuda shorts and flip-flops steps from behind them. His body is as filthy as the supertramps sitting between him and the famous Charles Manson.
Not that Charles Manson yet knows he is to become famous, of course.
His filthy body is nothing out of the ordinary here, but one thing about him does stand out, and it is that on top of his head is an upturned bag of Doritos Flamas.
“You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays, everybody’s crazy,” the cult leader laughs.
This would prove to be a mistake.
Doritos Man runs laps around the tramps on the grass, dirt kicking up in the air as his speed picks up to such a pace that he is no longer visible to the naked eye. Suddenly, Doritos Man is standing perfectly still, nose to nose with Charles Manson. In his hand, he holds a coconut with a straw sticking out of the top. He leans in to whisper into the ear of Old Charlie.
“Sanity is a small box; insanity is everything,” Doritos whispers before stepping back.
Manson is paler now. And quiet, for once. His mouth and eyes are equally wide as each other, his arms outstretched, his fingers each stretching to the point that they whiten at the sides. He looks down.
Where his zipper once was there is now a large hole, blood gushing from a wide open wound where his penis and testicles had lived until a few seconds ago.
Then the dust settles, and the tramps start to scream, rushing over to Manson just in time for him to fall forward into their arms.
“I guess it’s true what you say, Charlie… We ain’t in Wonderland anymore, Esa.”
SON OF MALTA Vs. "THE LEGEND" SEAN DARRING
GLOBAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The “Maltese National Anthem” hits the PA system as the Global Warrior emerges from the curtain, Son of Malta. He stands at the entrance way soaking up the moment.
Lucas Quinn says. “Son of Malta has been in a lot of big battles. He has wrestled some of GLOBAL’s best, but tonight is the biggest fight of his career.”
The dangerous Son of Malta strolls down the aisle, ignoring everything around him and focusing solely on the GLOBAL ring where Duncan Sullivan stands in his GLOBAL striped shirt and Marcus Anthony Newman, who waits to introduce the match.
Allie says. “Son of Malta is a worthy challenger for anyone. It’s good to see him rewarded for all the wars he has been involved with.”
The Mark adds. “Anyone who has survived Alex Reyn and lived to tell should get rewarded.”
Son of Malta enters the ring and begins losing up, throwing a punching combination in the corner as he awaits his opponent.
The Final Countdown by Europe blares over the PA system as the fans go wild.
Lucas Quinn shouts. “There it is, the Final Countdown. That only means one thing, guys!”
Allie adds. “Here comes the Champion!”
… Out steps “The Legend” Sean Darring. He is dressed in his legendary purple and gold robe. Darring stands soaking up the appreciation, respect, and admiration from Global Nation. He looks around the arena smiling and returning a respectful thank you nod.
Lucas Quinn says. “The fans love Sean Darring, and he loves them back!”
Darring walks down the aisle, slapping the fans’ hands and fist-bumping the youngsters along the way. He approaches the ring steps, walks up, and joins the party ring.
The Mark says. “Such a different vibe between the two men. Son of Malta is all business with little show. Sean Darring comes down with fire, fans, and glamour.”
The Legend shakes the hand of referee Duncan Sullivan and big-time ring announcer Marcus Anthony Newman.
Allie says. “A big sign of respect by Sean Darring to two important men in Global.”
Marcus Anthony Newman raises the microphone, ready to announce the two competitors for the match.
“Ladies and gentlemen… It’s time for the Main Event!”
“This match is scheduled for one fall.”
Sean Darring has now handed the GLOBAL Championship title to the assigned referee Duncan Sullivan, who holds the golden prize over his head.
“… For the GLOBAL Championship!”
The title has caught the attention of the laser-focused Son of Malta, who has stopped shadowboxing and set his sights on the golden prize.
“Introducing first the challenger. Wrestling out of the great country of Malta and weighing in at two hundred and forty-two pounds. The SON OF MALTA!”
The Son of Malta focuses on the task at hand, ignoring his introduction and the jeers from the fans.
The Mark asks. “When was the last time the Son of Malta showed true emotion? Do you think he even cries when watching those dog rescue commercials?”
Allie says. “Everyone cries at those!”
Lucas Quinn says. “This is true. I bet even Alex Reyn cries when watching those.”
Marcus Anthony Newman continues. “Now, introducing the CHAMPION!”
“Wrestling out of Miami, Florida, and weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds –
THE GLOBAL CHAMPION …
The fans roar to support the champion as he removes his robe and respectfully raises his arm. The legend’s ribs are tightly taped after the brutal attack last Domination.
Lucas Quinn says. “We couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural champion, guys. Sean Darring represents GLOBAL in and out of the ring like a legend, no pun intended.”
The Son of Malta turns, storms to the center of the ring, and Sean Darring joins him with referee Duncan Sullivan raises the GLOBAL Championship title one final time. He then turns and hands the golden prize to the outside as both men slowly back away, and Duncan Sullivan calls for the bell.
Allie says. “There is the bell, and another Global Challenge has started. The dangerous Son of Malta looks to play spoiler tonight.”
The Mark adds. “Darring and Malta have two of the top submission moves. Both men are respected ring generals, and this will be a strategic battle with two of the top minds in Global.”
The bell has been sounded, and the fans are cheering, ready for the Global Championship match. The two respected veterans circle, locking eyes. The champion reaches out, and the Son of Malta slaps his hand, showing a mutual sign of respect.
Lucas Quinn says. “Both men know the challenge ahead. One wrong move and Darring can find himself locked in the Maltese Cross.”
The Mark adds. “If that happens, it’s simple—new champion, guys.”
Allie says. “The same goes for the Legend Lock, though.”
The two technicians tie up with an elbow-collar tie-up. The Son of Malta pushes Sean Darring back into the corner. Referee Duncan Sullivan is there to break up the two technicians forcing his way between the two men, who struggled to let go of the tie-up.
Lucas Quinn says. “Neither man wants to give an inch. They know the stakes, and to a lesser extent, the winner leaves with a big victory over one another with bragging rights of the top technical ring general in Global.”
… The two men break the tie-up as the Son of Malta backs away. The legend flashes a smile giving a respectful nod toward his opponent. More circling ensues, and this time a quick tie-up, but Son of Malta transitions the champion into a side headlock. Malta uses his hip and brings him over and to the ground transitioning to a headlock on the ground.
The Mark says. “Son of Malta strikes first. A simple hold and transition, but these two men make every move with the next move in mind. The Son of Malta holds the champion close in that headlock and is looking for an opening to damage further.”
The Son of Malta continues to tighten his grip on the legend. Sean Darring uses his forearm to try and push Malta backward, trying to create some space. The Son of Malta rolls forward, pushing the champion’s shoulders on the mat for a pinfall attempt.
… Sean Darring easily transitions, getting his shoulders up.
Lucas Quinn says. “A sneaky pinfall attempt by Son of Malta. For those of you who like technical battles and wrestling chess matches. This is going to be one of those. Maybe, not the most exciting impact moves. However, every arm, head, and leg lock can lead to something else.”
The Son of Malta squeezes the legend’s head and reaches back, and tosses an elbow into the open taped ribs of Sean Darring, keeping him in a vulnerable state.
Allie says. “The Son of Malta is already attacking those taped ribs. It will be interesting to see how much that plays tonight.”
The Son of Malta rolls again, forcing the legend’s shoulders to the mat, and referee Duncan Sullivan is on top of things and counts.
… Sean Darring quickly raises his shoulder, breaking out of the pin. The Son of Malta keeps the side headlock on as Sean Darring raises to his feet. As the champion goes to break out, the Son of Malta is one step ahead and spins around, locking Darring’s arm behind his back.
The Mark says. “And there is that arm. The Son of Malta is going to that arm early, starting the long process of setting things up for that deadly Maltese Cross.”
The champion uses his experience to counter and spin under and locks the Son of Malta’s arm behind his back! Sean Darring pulls Malta’s arm up, applying pressure on the veteran as he grits his teeth, shaking his head as referee Duncan Sullivan checks in on the warrior.
Allie says. “Sean Darring isn’t going to be outdone. Not in a technical war. Not in the global challenge and not on his way to getting revenge on Aleczander The Great.”
The legend continues to yank that arm behind the Son of Malta’s back as Malta refuses to quit. The two men work their way around the ring, and the Son of Malta can reach forward and grab the top rope, forcing a rope break. The legend holds onto the hold for an extra second and a half for good measure to remind the Son of Malta who the champion is but breaks the hold at the request of Duncan Sullivan.
Lucas Quinn says. “A forced break, and look at the Son of Malta. I don’t think he liked the legend beating him at his own game there.”
The Mark adds. “Sean Darring may be the first to do so. But, can he keep it up?”
The Son of Malta shakes his arm, regaining feeling as the two veterans begin to circle a third time. This time they waste no time and lock up again. The Son of Malta marches, Darring backward again in the corner, but this time the two men ignore the orders of the referee to break, and they both fight for the upper hand in the tie-up.
Allie says. “Neither man wants to give a little. There is a title on the line, but also pride.”
… The Legend is backed up in the corner, uses the ropes as he climbs up to the bottom rope, and uses it for leverage. The referee tries to force his way again between the two men, and Sean Darring gets a hold of Son of Malta’s arm again and begins to work it over as he comes out of the corner and yanking it down and throwing it punches.
The fan’s reaction begins to pick up as the match transitions. The Son of Malta counters and tries to back Darring back into the corner, but a stalemate happens yet again as both men stand across from one another yet again.
Lucas Quinn says. “Both men are finding it hard to find that opening to attack. Three times the match started and fizzled out. With each man’s respect for one another, they are being overly careful not to make a mistake.”
This time the champion reaches his hand out, challenging the Son of Malta, who reaches back, but instead responds with a kick to the midsection. He grabs that hand of Darring and slings him back first into the corner. The Son of Malta zooms in on the taped ribs of the champion and begins drilling them with stiff right hands like a boxer going for body shots.
The Mark says. “Massive body shots by the Son of Malta. With those bruised ribs that somehow got cleared to compete tonight, you have to wonder how many of those shots Sean Darring can take.”
The Son of Malta stands tall, grabs the champion’s arm, and slings him across with a big Irish whip into the opposite corner back again as those bruised ribs feel the jolt.
Allie sympathizes. “With every move Sean Darring makes, he feels it in those ribs, especially when Son of Malta does things like that. Each impacting move takes the wind out of the champion’s sail.”
The legend drops down on the mat, rolling and holding his ribs. The Son of Malta methodically approaches the fallen champion. and pulls him right back up and goes to lock him into a vertical suplex, knowing that would further rattle those ribs, but the legend blocks it with his boot. The Son of Malta goes to lift a second time, but desperately the champion blocks it again. Instead of trying a third time, Sean Darring counters lifting the Son of Malta and over-dropping him with a vertical suplex.
Lucas Quinn says. “A much-needed counter by Sean Darring! You could see the pain as he rolled on the mat holding those ribs.”
The legend quickly pushes Son of Malta down for the cover, looking to end things.
… Kick out by the Son of Malta. Both men return to their feet, and the champion is now on the attack backing Son of Malta into the corner. He lands a right hand. The champion sends Son of Malta out of the corner and across with another big Irish whip. The Son of Malta bounces out and is sent up and over with a back body drop.
Allie says. “Things are starting to pick up!”
The champion grabs Son of Malta’s legs as the fans cheer. Sean Darring slams his boot down as he softens the veteran up for the legend lock!
Lucas Quinn says. “Sean Darring is now taking Son of Malta to school as he begins to soften him up for a potential future legend lock.”
The Son of Malta rolls in pain to the outside of the ring as the champion reaches down and favors his taped ribs area. Duncan Sullivan stands between the two ring generals and begins his count as Son of Malta walks around the outside, rethinking his strategy and shaking the cobwebs.
The Mark says. “The Son of Malta has met his match. Usually, Malta can outthink and out-strategize his opponents, but tonight he is meeting his match, and you can see him trying to readjust his game plan on the fly.”
… Duncan Sullivan continues to count as Sean Darring stays inside the ring, resting his ribs and making sure he doesn’t miscalculate outside the ring. The Son of Malta finally rejoins the champion inside the ring. The two men lock up again, and this time Sean Darring is the one to quickly place the Son of Malta into a standing side headlock, but it’s short-lived as Malta drives his fist into the exposed rib cage of the legend.
Allie says. “Those ribs continue to plague the champion. The Son of Malta now seems focused on them instead of the arm.”
Another fierce shot in the ribs has Sean Darring reeling. The Son of Malta fires off one of his shoot-style kicks, but instead of landing it on the legs, he aims higher, drilling the legend right in the ribs.
The Son of Malta now sees his opening; he drives another fist into the back and rib area. He lands a spinning heel kick, taking the champion off his feet and down to the mat.
Lucas Quinn says. “The Son of Malta’s adjustment has worked. The best technicians can make adjustments on the fly. Focusing in on the legend’s chink in his armor has finally given the Son of Malta the clear upper hand.”
The Son of Malta shifts from his usual submission style to impact by dropping knees now on the taped ribs of Sean Darring.
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
… Sean Darring’s face tells the fans everything they need to know as the Son of Malta uses his weight to step on the rib area and off as the fans boo.
The Mark says. “The elephant in the room was Sean Darring’s ribs. Aleczander gave the Son of Malta a gift, and he is taking full advantage of it.”
Lucas Quinn adds. “It’s hard to watch, but why wouldn’t he? Sean Darring had his chance to back out and take the night off, but being the fighting champion, he found a way to be cleared and wrestle despite his injury.”
The Son of Malta helps the legend back to his feet and has him in the corner. Malta bends forward, placing his shoulder in Darring’s midsection and rib area, and begins ramming his shoulder forward with all two hundred and forty-plus pounds.
The Son of Malta transitions to a high knee into the rib area, grabs Darring’s head, and slams it forward into the mat with a bulldog.
The Son of Malta hooks a leg.
… Sean Darring throws his shoulder up, breaking the count.
Allie says. “The Son of Malta has silenced this crowd. You can see the worry on Global Nation’s face. They are sympathizing with the champion as he favors those ribs.”
The Son of Malta pulls the champion up with ease. Malta sets the champion up and sends him over with a snap belly-to-belly overhead suplex!
Lucas Quinn shouts. “My goodness! The Son of Malta just tossed the champion with ease. He is just taking full advantage of Sean Darring’s weakness now. This is not looking good for the champion.”
The Mark adds. “It’s not. But beating a champion is our industry’s most challenging thing to accomplish in our industry.”
The Son of Malta, deciding not to go for the pin, reaches down and turns the champion over, locking him in his Nuclear Warhead submission, a modified camel clutch.
Allie says. “The Son of Malta has Sean Darring exposed in that deadly hold. He is torching the back and rib area, and the champion is in dire trouble, guys!”
The fans roar to support the champion, trying to fire him up and motivate him to hang out. Referee Duncan Sullivan checks in on Sean Darring, who refuses to give up. The Son of Malta continues to use his strength to pull back, trying to wear Sean Darring down and force him to submit.
Lucas Quinn says. “Sean Darring seems desperate to hang out. The landscape of GLOBAL could change in seconds if Sean Darring does not hang out.”
The fans begin to chant – L S D – L S D – L S D !!! This further encourages the champion to hang on as he transitions, forcing the Son of Malta to hop up and down on top of Darring’s back, but it breaks the submission hold.
The Mark says. “Sean Darring hangs on, but at what expense?”
Lucas Quinn agrees. “If Sean Darring can hang on, what kind of condition will he be in for Gold Rush?”
The Son of Malta looks in on the slowly recovering champion. He drops down and starts to lock on the undercut as the fans gasp.
Allie shouts. “Son of Malta is looking for that Maltese Cross! If he locks it on, even our noble champion won’t even be able to survive.”
The Legend is able to dive into the ropes just as the Son of Malta locked on the deadly Maltese Cross on. Referee Duncan Sullivan quickly demands Son of Malta break the hold. Sullivan’s orders fall on deaf ears as he begins his count.
The Mark says. “The Son of Malta held the Maltese Cross on as long as he could, and the damage may have been enough as we haven’t seen the champion in this much danger since Magnum Opus.”
The fans jeer as The Son of Malta is back on his feet. He steps back at the orders of the referee. Thanks to the ropes, the GLOBAL champion slowly returns to his feet. He grabs hold of his rib area and turns towards the awaiting challenger.
Lucas Quinn says. “You have to give the champion credit. He isn’t backing down even with the deck fully stacked against him.”
The Son of Malta drives another kick to the ribs of Sean Darring and goes for a northern lights suplex, but the champion blocks it, lifts the Son of Malta, and lands a northern lights suplex of his own!
Allie says. “Much-needed counter by the champion!”
The Champion raises to his feet, stumbling around holding his ribs as the Son of Malta fires back up, only for Sean Darring to drop him with a DDT.
Lucas Quinn says. “DDT! And you can see the pain in the champion’s face with each move on the Son of Malta.”
The fans roar in support as the legend calls for the veteran to get back to his feet. The Son of Malta is back up, seeing some stars, and he tries to swing at Darring but misses, and Sean Darring lands a crushing European Uppercut. The Son of Malta stumbles back and off the ropes, and Sean Darring takes him down with a double under-hook suplex.
… The Son of Malta fires a shoulder up.
The Mark says. “You think it was hard to beat Sean Darring and take the title from him? It’s almost as hard to crush the Son of Malta’s dreams.”
The Legend is back up and pulls the challenger up. He unloads with a knife-edge chop that echoes throughout the arena.
He reaches back and fires off another one, which wakes the veteran, turns the tide, and unloads with a series of knife-edge chops.
Both men stumble away from one another, holding their bright red chests. They then turn and charge toward each other, and with the same idea in mind, they take each other down with a clothesline.
Allie says. “Both veterans are down! The champion has survived a Maltese Cross by making it to the ropes. A Nuclear Warhead and punishment to those severely bruised ribs. The Son of Malta has survived the comeback by the legend, and now both men are lying down after attempting a clothesline at the same time!”
The Son of Malta is the first to stir. The veteran is up and grabs the right leg of the champion. He starts to turn it into the figure four leg lock, but Sean Darring uses his free boot to use it to shove him off and face-first into the turnbuckle! Sean Darring rolls the Global Warrior up for the cover!
Lucas Quinn says. “NO! The Son of Malta kicked out of the small package!”
The Mark adds. “That was so close. The fans thought it was over!”
Allie says. “So did I!”
The Son of Malta fires up angrily and headbutts the legend in his taped ribs as both men get up. The pain shoots through the champion, slowing him down. He drives a high knee into the exposed rib area and another one. The Son of Malta backs off the ropes going for the kill shot, but the legend ducks under and goes low with a desperation chop block!
Lucas Quinn says. “There is that chopping block by the champion. He looks to start to wear the leg down of the Son of Malta as he begins to eye the Legend Lock!”
The champion grabs his ribs, favoring the onslaught throughout the match. The Son of Malta slowly pushes himself up, snarling as the fans are on their feet. He throws a desperate kick, but Darring catches it, uses his leg to trip him down, and quickly takes advantage of the opening and surprise attack and locks on the Legend Lock!
Allie says. “THE CHAMPION HAS THE LEGEND LOCK ON THE SON OF MALTA!”
The Mark says. “The Son of Malta had this move well scouted, but Sean Darring still locked it on the center of the ring.”
The Son of Malta tries to hang on, but with nowhere to go, the veteran taps the mat choosing to live to fight another day.
Lucas Quinn says. “It’s over! Sean Darring retains. Fighting through the rib injury and facing one of the most deadly men on the GLOBAL roster. The champion, the legend, was able to dig deep, fight through, and pick up a HUGE win here tonight and send a message right to Aleczander The Great.”
The booming voice of Marcus Anthony Newman is heard.
“The winner of the match. AND STILL GLOBAL CHAMPION … “The Legend” Sean Darring!”
The Mark says. “Impressive performance by both men. In the end, the legend was just a little more experienced and could lock that legend lock.”
Allie agrees. “Sean Darring, in his final run, has proved that in his final chapter, he is not going down without a fight, guys.”
Lucas Quinn says. “He has been through Darren Best, Alfie Button, Alex Reyn, The Great Wall, Daniel Dream twice, and now The Son of Malta. Will Aleczander The Great be next?”
“The Legend” Sean Darring is handed the GLOBAL Championship title, and he thrusts it in the air as Global Nation cheers in appreciation for their champion. He grabs hold of his ribs, favoring the battle, but that legendary smile tells it all. He survived another night and is going home with the golden prize.
THE LEGEND VERSUS THE HALL OF FAMER
“Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. will.i.am.
The piano intro plays, and the crowd begins to jeer as the legend with the GLOBAL championship in hand turns, looking for his rival ready to fight another war.
Lucas Quinn says. “We all know what that means!”
Allie asks. “The question is, where is he?”
The Mark says. “The Hall of Famer goes where the Hall of Famer wants to.”
After a good eighty seconds of playing his music, the Hall of Famer and number one contender, Aleczander The Great, finally steps out onto the entrance ramp. No Hall of Fame plaque or red carpet this time. He struts out with only a microphone in hand, ready to give the champion one final message.
“Congratulations, mate. You survived the global challenge.”
The Legend looks on unamused, listening to the Manchester native. Aleczander smiles a big grin as he continues.
“You almost ruined the biggest match ever in professional wrestling with your global challenge charades.”
Aleczander The Great shakes his head, mocking the legend as he grabs hold of his ribs in “pain.”
Lucas Quinn says. “Oh, come on, Aleczander The Great is fully responsible for Sean Darring’s ribs!”
The Legend calls for the number one contender to walk down that aisle and join him, but Aleczander continues. “You survived The Great Wall. You survived The Son of Malta.”
Allie adds. “And he survived your cowardly attack!”
Global Nation begins to chant – L S D! The Legend stands in the center of the ring, soaking up the support as the Hall of Famer holds up a finger, asking them to wait.
“Cheer your champion because this will be the last show he finishes as champion. At Gold Rush!”
Aleczander pauses, looking right at the champion inside the ring.
“GLOBAL LEGEND SEAN DARRING takes on GLOBAL HALL OF FAMER ALECZANDER THE GREAT!”
The fans cheer!
For that right there, mate.”
Aleczander The Great points as “The Legend” Sean Darring holds the biggest prize in the industry, the Global Championship.”
“THE BIGGEST MATCH IN GLOBAL HISTORY!”
Both men lock eyes as the Global Nation is going rabid around them. Aleczander raises the microphone one last time.
“I will see you at Gold Rush, mate.”
“The Legend” Sean Darring nods with that legendary smile with the Global Championship high in the air, trading stares with the number one contender, Aleczander The Great, who has taken a few steps down the aisle way close enough to send a message. A message that he is indeed the end game, the biggest challenge that Sean Darring can ever face.
The voice of Lucas Quinn is heard. “There it is, folks! The Legend versus The Hall of Famer, and we will see it at GOLD RUSH!