AMERICAN HISTORY X
The crowd’s initial excitement is quickly dampened by the legendary and instantly recognizable riff to Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, which heralds the arrival of GLOBAL’s most controversial group. Boos immediately begin to rain down from all corners of the Seattle arena as John J. Truth and his two bodyguards begin to make their way down the entranceway and towards the ring. As per usual, the unfriendly reaction extends to the commentary desk, where the announcers are never shy about expressing their disgust.
“Tell me we’re NOT starting out with HIM…! It’s bad enough we have to put up with this guy in the Main Event AGAIN!”
“Right?! I’m not sure what GLOBAL are playing at, platforming this guy, but that’s a dangerous road to go down…”
Whatever the announcers might think about it, however, the fact remains: Truth is, indeed, here, and if the microphone in his hand is anything to go by, he is ready to do his favorite thing, namely talk. Predictably, however, when he tries to do so, he is drowned out by another hugely unfavorable reaction from the crowd, which causes his trademark scowl to turn into red-faced anger; never one to be daunted, however, he simply doubles the volume of his voice as he once again utters his increasingly familiar catchphrase.
“My name is John J. Truth, and I call bullshit!”
“When does he ever not?”
Lucas Quinn’s atypically snide comment is all but lost in the veritable sea of booing, which Truth angrily attempts to shout over.
“Do I even need to say what about? Week in, week out. Like goddamn clockwork. Every single goddamn week, me and my boys get attacked. And every single goddamn week, not one goddamn person in the back does a goddamn thing about any of it!”
“How many times is he going to say that word? Geez! This is a family audience, butthead!”
As even Mark becomes uncharacteristically incensed at Truth’s use of language, in the ring, The Man Who Fell to Earth soldiers on, heedless of the crowd’s vitriolic reaction.
“Take last time. What the hell did any of us do last time, other than come down here and try to have a match? Keyword: try. Because we never actually got to finish it. Do you know why? Because a bunch of your precious ‘heroes’…” Truth openly does air-quotes, causing the crowd to jeer even louder. “…came down and ATTACKED us. UNPROVOKED. And instead of the match restarting, or being made again for this week…WE get punished for getting our asses whupped…again…and everybody else gets rewarded for assaulting innocent American citizens…again.”
“’Innocent’, huh? Sure….let’s conveniently forget to mention the part where you bit Sean Darring during that match, and drew blood!” As is customary, Truth’s words are absolutely incensing Allie Reece, who can barely keep her professional composure. Regardless of anybody’s personal feelings, however, The Man Who Fell to Earth is hell-bent on finishing his address, and promptly talks over the deafening jeers once again, his tone becoming more incensed and expletive-laden the more he goes on.
“Now, I don’t know who’s behind this. I don’t know who wants us gone so bad they’re taking [BLEEP]ing hits out on us every goddamn week. But you know what? It doesn’t even [BLEEP]ing matter. Whoever’s pulling you bastards’ strings…the Illuminati, the Lizard People…those goddamn bastards in the Orion belt…my vindictive bitch of an ex…we don’t really give a [BLEEP]. I’ve said it before, and I’ll [BLEEP]ing say it again…Bring. It. On. Do your worst. Keep on punishing us for existing, and wanting to educate people, and caring about the fate of this company, and of our great and glorious nation. None of that is gonna make a lick of difference. You can’t stop us. You won’t stop us. This is a free country, all three of us are legally employed, and no matter what you do to run us off, it’s not gonna work. We ain’t going nowhere.” Truth pauses, his anger replaced with the usual cocky smirk, which is mirrored by his two acolytes. “So go on ahead and keep sic-ing your merry little band of freaks and illegals on us, day in and day out. Twice a day, for all we care. It’s not gonna work. You’re not gonna get rid of us. No matter how many times you send them after us, we will never stand down. We will never surrender. No matter how many stooges and ass-kissers you send after us, we’re gonna fight ’em off. A seven nation army couldn’t hold us back.”
As cries of “damn straight” and “you said it, boss!” emanate from the two men behind Truth – understandable only to the keenest of lip readers, given the nuclear levels of heat radiating from all around the Seattle arena – the commentators check with one another to make sure they heard Truth’s last few words correctly.
“…was that a White Stripes reference? From John Truth?”
“Hey, he’s about the right age to have been into them growing up. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if he pretends like his wife is his sister, either…”
“You’re assuming he has a wife, Mark…”
As #savage (but not #wrong) Allie strikes again, in the ring, Truth unwaveringly moves on to the next part of his spiel.
“You know what, though? At least this time, it won’t just be us against the World. At least this time, there’s somebody else who understands. At least this time, there’s somebody willing to stand by our side and help us fight for Truth, justice and the American way. Somebody who represents the American Dream. Somebody who deserves to fly the flag of this company far more than your ‘pwecious widdle Dawwing’ ever did!”
The fans predictably become even more incensed at the mockery towards their Champion, and popcorn packets and empty cups begin to litter the ring as chants of “DARRING! DARRING!” and “SHUT THE EFF UP! *CLAPCLAP CLAPCLAP CLAP*” duel for attention across the stands. Still Truth soldiers on, somehow blocking it all out as he speaks up once again.
“In fact, why don’t we bring that true American hero out right now? Daniel Dream, get on out here!”
This finally shifts the fans’ attention, as they begin to direct their boos towards the ramp, in anticipation of the arrival of the controversial Carnivore. When a theme song does hit, however, it is not the expected palm-muted power chords of Green Day, but a far more unexpected theme under the circumstances, which instantly switches the fans’ mood from anger back to joy.
The blast of feedback from At The Drive-In’s “Governed by Contagions” hits as the logo of Crusader X appears onscreen. The crowd cheers. It’s a bit muted and there are a few boos mixed in for the polarizing luchador, but most of the Seattle audience is clearly just glad that it’s someone who isn’t Truth or Dream.
Allie chimes in. “Never thought I’d be glad to hear that music.”
Forgoing his usual ostentatious entrance, X calmly walks out onto the stage holding a microphone as the first verse hits… and his choice of attire that immediately catches everyone’s eyes. A combination of cheers, laughter, and shock rolls over the crowd.
The Mark gasps. A bewildered laugh escapes his mouth. “Oh, man!”
“What.” Allie deadpans. You can almost hear the grin forming on her face.
Quinn describes what he sees. “Crusader X seems to have had enough of Truth’s deranged ramblings… and he appears to be… draped in the American flag?”
A smile creeps across Crusader X’s face as he pulls the flag he’s chosen to wear onto the stage tightly around himself. He looks down at the floor and then up at Truth before lifting the mic up to his mouth.
“You called?” The crowd laughs and cheers. Truth and Border Control stare a death glare at X in response.
The Mark laughs heartily. “Oh, this is brilliant!”
X surveys Truth and Border Control’s reaction and continues. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were looking for an American hero who stands for truth and justice.” X grins at his own pompous comment. “I didn’t realize that you wanted a spineless parasite with GLOBAL’s management in his pocket.”
This draws on ‘Ohhhhh’ from the crowd. “Uh-oh…” says The Mark. Lucas Quinn gives a nervous exhalation. Allie stifles a laugh.
X continues. “Though I guess it’s fitting. After all, Daniel Dream lies, cheats, and brokers deals with corporations to screw honest people out of what they deserve. He is a great representation of what racist pieces of shit like you really want America to be.”
“OHHHHHH” shouts the crowd. Louder this time.
Truth’s face is bright red. He screams into the microphone in response. “Wrong flag, border jumper…”
“BOOOOOOOOOOOOO.” The liberal, open minded crowd in Seattle is especially disgusted at that remark.
X gasps in mock rage. “Border jumper?!” X grabs his chest. “You wound me! Is that any way to speak to an American citizen by birth? I was-”
Truth looks puzzled. He cuts X off. “Nah, boy…you were never–”
“Shut your mouth, cabrón. I wasn’t finished.” The crowd cheers. X’s eyes bore directly into Tuth’s. There’s something different about the look he’s giving Truth compared to the looks he gives others. In his eyes… is hatred. A pure, burning hatred. Despite being flanked by two other men and having no reason to fear, something in that look makes Truth shiver with fear and paranoia. Truth lowers the microphone.
X’s gaze stays locked in as he continues. “I was born at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas… to a bright young woman beloved by her family and community. A young woman abandoned by the so-called “man” who fathered me when she needed him most. A young woman who I never knew. A young woman who died when I was barely one year old.”
“Oh my God.” whispers Allie under her breath. The crowd is stunned into silence at this revelation, not sure what to think and even less sure about where he’s going with this.
“A young woman… who was born in TUCSON, ARIZONA. I AM A SECOND GENERATION AMERICAN CITIZEN. THIS IS MY SOIL! THIS IS MY COUNTRY! THIS. IS. MY. FLAG!” X grabs and holds his American flag aloft. Cheers rain down from the rafters. X drapes the flag down around his shoulders and continues. “THE AMERICAN DREAM… IS MY DREAM!”
X paces back and forth on the stage, shaking his head as he starts to get fired up. “Truth… you talk a lot about your American Dream. What you dream about for America’s future. It’s time you hear about my American Dream. I dream of an America that opens its doors and its arms for the poor, the sick, the oppressed… no matter where they come from. I dream of an America where differences in color, appearance, and nationality are celebrated by all. I dream of an America where men like El Principe, despite our differences, can compete in the sport they love without being harassed by racist scumbags. An open, inclusive America. The kind of America that men from countries around the globe, like Alfie Button, will want to visit and work and live in. Most of all… I dream of an America free of disgusting bigots. Bigots like the kids who shoved my face in the dirt and called me a spic when I was seven. SEVEN! Bigots like the promoter who told me to my face that they refused to book Mexican wrestlers because they didn’t want the ‘illegals’ ‘stealing spots’ from ‘American wrestlers’ and laughed at me when I said I was born here. Bigots… like… YOU.” X points directly at Truth. Truth and Border Control are visibly seething with anger as the crowd chants “X! X! X! X!”
“And I’m going to fight for MY American Dream the best way I’ve learned how.” X pauses and bores holes into Truth with his eyes once again. “Staring bigots right in the face… and then kicking their FUCKING teeth down their throat!” The crowd EXPLODES at the F-bomb.
Lucas sighs. “I don’t know if that F-bomb was necessary, but…”
“YES! IT WAS!” The Mark and Allie both shout emphatically. Allie continues. “You know how I feel about X, but everything he’s said is totally justified here. I hope he kicks that piece of crap straight out of GLOBAL.”
“Point taken,” responds Lucas.
Truth laughs into the mic. “Kick my teeth down my throat, huh? Watch out, we got a badass over here!” All three men share a cackle as Truth turns back towards Crusader X with a sneering smirk. “You seem to be missing something here, anchor baby.” Truth wags his finger in a circular motion to indicate the men behind him. “There’s three of us, and only one of you…”
X smacks his head with his palm. “’Anchor baby‘? Seriously? I just said… nevermind. Well, I already mentioned the first two…”
The members of their crowd who weren’t already on their feet leap out of their chairs as Robbie Williams’s “Let Me Entertain You” hits. Out comes Alfie Button swirling around in his coat of many colors, posing and waving to the crowd, strutting like a peacock. He gives a quick fistbump and a respectful nod to X… before turning to Truth and flipping him the bird.
The Mark laughs. “A right propah English salute!” he says in a terrible mock British accent. Allie snorts in response.
As Alfie puts his arm down, “Let Me Entertain You” is cut off by the opening horns of “Los Consejos de Un Padre” by Gerardo Reyes. El Principe walks out as the crowd cheers the usually disliked luchador. He and X lock eyes. X gives a curt nod and Principe responds in kind.
Truth laughs. “Are you actually serious right now? These assholes?” He turns to his two acolytes, who also snort with laughter as Truth points to the ragtag group of misfits in front of them. “What do you losers call yourselves? The Geek Squad? Freaks and Geeks? The goddamn Goonies? Oh, wait, I know…you’re the Breakfast Club. Question is, which one of you pansies is Molly Ringwald?” He looks X square in the eye for the first time, all mirth gone from his expression. “Seriously, though…who else you got, boy?”
X laughs back. “You know who I’ve got, idiota.” Truth’s face falls as X continues. “I’ve got a man who I don’t see eye to eye with on many things… but we just so happen to believe in the same version of America. He knows that love and tolerance and racial diversity is a strength, not a weakness. He’s someone you’re very familiar with. Someone we’re all very familiar with. After all… he’s a Legend.”
As tension permeates the arena, Border Control stands ready, awaiting the signal to take action. However, the atmosphere suddenly shifts as the crowd of GLOBAL Nation erupts into thunderous cheers. Apologetically, “The Legend” Sean Darring enters, playfully acknowledging the interruption of John Truth and Crusader X’s “friendly” conversation. The GLOBAL Champion joins his partners on the stage, much to the discontent of Truth Control.
Lucas Quinn exclaims, “And look who’s making his way to the ring, the Global Champion himself! The tension is definitely building with all these competitors in one place.”
The Mark chimes in, “Absolutely, Lucas. We’re just missing Daniel Dream now. Might as well get him out here and get this match underway.”
“Forgive me, for I am not one to intrude on a seemingly friendly debate,” The Legend addresses the gathered individuals, casting a discerning gaze upon them. “However, in this instance, I have to side with Crusader X. It’s evident that you, John Truth, are nothing more than a despicable scum bag.”
The fans enthusiastically concur, their voices merging with chants of “Scum Bag” in unison, firmly aligning themselves with the “good guys” in the confrontation.
Allie enthusiastically joins in with the crowd, shouting “SCUM BAG” along with the rest of the audience, fully embracing the animosity towards Truth Control. Her voice blends in with the unified chant, adding to the electric atmosphere in the arena.
The Mark chuckles in response to Allie’s enthusiastic participation in the crowd’s chant, acknowledging her clear stance against the Truth Commission. He playfully adds, “We know where Allie stands!”
“Needless to say, we find ourselves with a match scheduled for later tonight, and I must admit, I quite like our chances,” The Legend asserts confidently. “I’ve had the honor of facing both Alfie Button and El Principe, and I must say, they embody qualities of respect, class, and, dare I say, true legends in their own right. As for Crusader X, he has earned the title of ‘the future’ from many individuals within our ranks, and I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly.
Lucas Quinn observes the displeasure on the faces of Truth and his sidekicks as they listen to the Global Champion’s remarks. He comments, “It seems that the Truth Commission isn’t too thrilled with the words coming from the Global Champion.”
The legend continues. “John. I feel like I can just call you John after last week. After all that time we spent in the ring together and how close you came to touching this.” pointing down to the GLOBAL championship wrapped around his waist.
Allie observes the situation with keen insight, “John Truth’s face says it all. Darring’s words do not amuse him.”
The legend smiles. “This pissing contest is a young man’s game. However, there just seems to be something missing.” Darring points, looking around the ring from the stage, looking for someone.
Lucas Quinn responds, his voice filled with anticipation, “Well, it seems like The Legend is looking for the number one contender, Daniel Dream.”
The legend wonders, asking John Truth. “Are you sure Benedict Beel Zebub will allow Daniel Dream even to come out to wrestle tonight?”
It’s almost like Daniel Dream was just waiting for Sean Darring to say his name because –
As the electric guitar riff of “American Idiot” roars through the speakers, Daniel Dream walks onto the stage. Holding a microphone in one hand, he lifts the microphone to his lips.
“Listen up, folks. Benedict Beel Zebub told me not to come out, but I can’t stand everyone having my name in their mouth. Crusader X may think he knows who I am, but he’s wrong. I don’t lie, cheat, or broker deals. Sure, I may be underhanded, getting my manager to pave an easy path to the top, but hey, that’s America, baby! It’s about seizing opportunities and making dreams come true. I couldn’t care less about some damn border wall or Crusader X’s dream of an America that opens its door to everyone. There’s only one door that matters to me- the door to opportunity! Ever since I was a child, that door was slammed and locked in my face. But let me tell you something! Every single time it happened, I kicked the door off its hinges and made my own path! Now, with a manager who smooths out the path, I don’t care about all these narratives or controversies. All I want to do is step in that ring and fight. I’m not here to be a hero or a villain- I’m here to prove myself, to show the world what I’m capable of. So let’s cut the talk and let the fists do the talking.”
Daniel climbs the steel steps and enters the ring over the middle rope, standing in between the group of fan-favorites and Truth Control, whose leader is glaring daggers at him, visibly spluttering with the shock of Dream’s words. At the announce desk, The Mark takes a little too much pleasure in saying what everyone is thinking.
“It seems you don’t have anybody in your corner after all, Johnny boy…how do you like THEM apples?”
“Daniel Dream played him like a fiddle! I love it!” Allie can similarly barely contain her glee.
“Watch him talk that into being an advantage…” Lucas’ eyeroll is almost audible, but his words may not be entirely accurate, as, just then, Truth seems to stunned to talk, let alone employ his usual rhetoric. As such, neither man speaks for a long moment, as all eight appear to size up each other with their gazes.
“We remind you, ladies and gentlemen, that this particular match is not scheduled to take place until later on this evening…though I don’t think any of these men would complain were it to start right now…”
“Absolutely, Lucas. And neither would we. But we’re going to have to wait, and so are they. Rules are rules.”
It is on this statement from Allie Reece, and on a shot of the intense staredown between all eight men in the ring, that the broadcast cuts elsewhere.
DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Never go back to a place where you have been happy. Until you do it remains alive for you. If you go back it will be destroyed. – Agatha Christie
Suburbs of Seattle, Washington
June 14, 2023
The house stands roughly halfway down a typical suburban street, the kind with trimmed hedges and sprinklers and Neighborhood Watch posters on the lamp posts. As a building, it is every bit as unremarkable as its surroundings – the exact kind of long, low, bungalow-style family home somebody who lives on such a street might have been expected to have. The kind of family home…
…the kind of family home THEY had, before she took everything away from him.
John J. Truth feels a surge of barely suppressable anger coursing up his body all the way to his head, making the vein in his temple swell and pulse with the onset of a migraine. It takes all of his willpower to calm himself, steady his nerves, remind himself that, despite her best efforts, she has not managed to win; if she had, he would not be here right now, doing what he has wanted to do for the best part of the last eight years.
Truth be told, he had never expected that guy to actually deliver on what he had been paid for; in his experience, those kinds of people tended to promise the world to anyone foolish enough to hire them on, and then run away with their clients’ hard-earned money, leaving them no better than they had been at the start. This guy, on the other hand, had taken a while, but in the end, he had made good on his word, and pointed John in the right direction – towards this street, this house, and the two people hopefully living in it.
Still, Truth cannot prevent his heart from beating faster as he crosses the quiet street and walks towards the house. It is almost funny how, after so many dogfights with those green-skinned bastards across the Orion belt, after all he had gone through in the near-decade before that, after all he and his associates experience week on week at his local place of employment, this is what makes his heart race – the one instance in which he knows he has the upper hand is the one making sweat beads run down the back of his neck, the same way they used to do when he came back home from school with a bad report card.
(His mother’s reproachful tone suddenly echoes across the years: “ANOTHER D-Minus, Johnny?Do you want to end up on the streets? Or in jail?”
He cannot help but chuckle. “Joke’s on you, Mom. I ended up somewhere even worse.”)
As he approaches the house, doing his best to keep his breaths deep and steady, he sees it moving just beyond the low fence, cream-colored and woven in a tight pattern of progressively large concentric discs – the tip of a wide-brimmed straw hat, bobbing up and down as if swayed by the light breeze. Unhealthy thoughts of various sorts cross his mind for a moment, before the floppy shape pushes upward, as if animated, and a face emerges underneath it, peering curiously over the whittled white picket boards. HER face. Coarser and more tired than the last time he had seen it, with bags under the eyes, multiple lines and cracks criss-crossing the cheeks, nose and forehead, and more than just the occasional hint of white in the dark red hair jutting out from under the hat, but unmistakable nonetheless. His guy got it bang on the money; eight years after the last time he saw her, in that sterile corridor where his first life ended, he has found her again.
She knows this, too, judging by the way her neutrally curious and inquisitive expression resolves, after no more than a micro-second, into a mix of shock and horror, her breath catching in her throat and making her voice come out as a whispery husk.
“Hello, Evelyn.” He does not give her the satisfaction of using her nickname. That sailed on the same ship that took away his previous life. “Took me a while to find you.” He laughs his high, barking, mirthless chuckle.”You trying to hide from me or something?”
For a long moment, she hovers, gardening shears in one hand, the other held up halfway between her own face and his, her body leaned slightly away, as if she is unsure whether to reach out and touch him or run back into the house. Aware that this moment of indecision may be all he has, Truth once again smothers the primordial soup of feeling coursing inside him; the last thing he wants to do is scare her. At least for now.
“Made a pretty good little life for yourself, ain’t you?” He makes a show of looking around at the house and surrounding neighborhood, before jerking his head towards the 4×4 SUV parked in the driveway a few feet away. “Your sugar daddy buy you that?” He scoffs, a sarcastic smile on his features. “To think you used to tell me off for buying Lambo’s and Ferraris…” His tone drops to a low growl, his attempt at restraint quickly waning. “…you goddamn hypocrite.”
Still she says nothing, her free hand trembling slightly, her quick breath causing her chest to flutter inside her floral blouse. Truth finds his eyes drawn to that movement, his mind wondering whether what is beyond the silky fabric still looks as good as it used to, when she speaks again.
“How…? What…? When…?”
“A while back.” Despite his best efforts, Truth cannot keep the cutting, sarcastic edge off his voice. “They discharged me, don’t’cha know. Said I was ‘fit to re-enter life as a productive member of society‘.” He is similarly unable to prevent another dry, barking chuckle from escaping his throat as he takes in her stunned expression. “Can’t keep a good man down, honey. And you ought’a know nobody makes a fool out of old John J.”
Only now does the woman finally find her words. “You…you can’t be here…”
“Oh, really? Why not? Free country, sweetheart.” Then, deciding to get to the point, he leans in, their faces closer than they have been in almost eight years, his voice dropping to a menacing low tone. “Besides…I’ll disappear quick-fast, let you go on your perfect little suburban life…just as soon as I’ve seen him.” He makes a show of looking around the woman’s evidently empty front yard. “Now, where is he?”
“Where is wh—” Evelyn’s eyes suddenly widen to the size of golf balls, her lips parting slightly to draw in a breath as she realizes his intentions. “John, you can’t—-He’s not—”
“Like HELL I can’t!” Truth’s voice comes out a raspy growl, all attempts at self-control forgotten in the face of denial. “You don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t do. You lost your right to do that when you threw me in that dump and slammed the door shut behind that perky little ass of yours!” She recoils slightly in fear, but he barely even notices. “Now…I’m going to ask you again. Where. IS. He?”
Before she can reply, however, the increasingly tense situation is lent a touch of unexpected comedy as, as though on cue, the front door to the house opens, and a senior West Highlands White Terrier comes ambling out on short, unsteady legs. At the sight, Truth’s scowl immediately lightens into a grin, as he calls out to the animal.
“Heeey! Is that my boy Wes? Here, boy! C’mere! Come say hi to Daddy!”
The dog, however, does not quite have the desired reaction to the GLOBAL superstar’s intimations; much to the contrary, in fact, as it begins to bark and growl at Truth from his vantage position on the porch. Truth continues to call to it, telling it not to be scared and to come say hi to him, but the dog stands firm, its barking becoming increasingly agitated with every new attempt from Truth, until Evelyn has to intervene, snapping crossly at The Man Who Fell to Earth.
“John, would you stop? You’re getting him worked up!”
Truth, however, merely gives her a sneering smirk. “Which part of not telling me what to do did you not get? He’s MY dog, too, in case you’ve forgotten in the past EIGHT YEARS…” Truth glowers at the woman. “You know what, though? Whatever. He’s not who I’m here to see anyway. Though, good to see you didn’t throw him away too, at least…”
Before Evelyn can put another word in edgewise, the exchange is overpowered by the engine sound of a yellow school bus pulling into the street; a moment later, the expected stream of elementary-aged children spill out in every direction as the door “whooshes” shut behind them, a few of them waving over and calling out “Hey, Ms. Everhardt” before continuing on their way. One of them, however – a small boy of about eight or nine, with dark blond hair, glasses and a superhero-themed shirt and backpack – actually begins to head in the direction of the house, before stopping dead in his tracks a few feet from the gate and peering quizzically at the strange-looking man standing just outside it, his voice as uncertain as it is curious as he cautiously calls out to Evelyn.
“Mom, who’s that?”
Before his mother can reply, however, the man steps forward, a slightly manic grin on his features.
“Here he is! How you doing, Chris, old buddy?” He turns to Evelyn, his animosity apparently forgotten. “Boy, he looks just like his old Dad, doesn’t he?” Then, he once again pivots to face the kid, crouching and holding his arms out for him. “Come here, champ! Give your old man a hug!”
The boy’s response, however, is as prompt as it is matter-of-fact, and surprisingly calm. “Nuh-uh. You aren’t supposed to talk to strangers, or let them take you anywhere or give you anything without permission, and ‘specially not touch you if you don’t want to. And I don’t want to, ‘cuz I don’t know you.” His reasons having been counted on the fingers of his left hand, he turns to Evelyn, his eyes wide and his tone urgent as he points at the man outside their home. “Mom! Mom! Stranger danger!”
This later outburst has Truth staring at Evelyn in disbelief.
“You didn’t tell him…?”
“John, I…” That is as far as Evelyn gets before her interloper’s anger flares up again.
“Holy shit. You actually DIDN’T tell him, did you?!” Truth scoffs again. “I can’t believe this shit! The kid is nine years old, and he doesn’t know who his goddamn father is!?”
Somehow, Evelyn manages to maintain her composure, presumably for the sake of her son.
“John, please don’t cuss in front of the boy…”
Truth, however, is on a rapidly escalating spiral towards a full-blown outburst. “I’ll talk as I damn well please, and I’ll say whatever the hell I have to say! You had NO RIGHT not to tell that boy about me! NO GODDAMN RIGHT!! He’s MY boy! I’M his father! And you can lock me up in as many hellholes as you want, for however long you goddamn want – it’s not going to change that!”
Evelyn’s repeated pleas for The Man Who Fell to Earth to calm down all throughout this rant fall on deaf ears, and it takes a youthful, high-pitched scream to bring Truth’s outburst to a halt.
Both adults turn sharply towards the child beside them, to find him sitting down on the pavement, with his hands over his ears and his eyes screwed shut, slowly rocking back and forth as he hums to himself – an action which is met with concern by Evelyn, but merely causes Truth to frown.
“What’s the matter with him?”
Evelyn glares. “Now look what you’ve done! This is why…” She bites back the snappy retort, instead focusing on consoling the child, whom she envelops in her arms as she coos to him. “Shhh…it’s OK, honey…Mom and her…friend…aren’t yelling anymore.”
As the kid slowly comes back around, his body now shaking and sobbing, Evelyn once again turns toward her unwelcome visitor.
“He’s on the spectrum, John. This kind of thing sets him off. I was trying to tell you.”
“The spectrum?” Truth frowns. “What do you mean, the ‘spectrum‘? You mean like the computer? ‘Cause he’s not on any computer right now. He’s sitting on the floor crying like a LITTLE GIRLY WIMP!”
John’s emphasis on these words, for his son’s benefit, earn him another glower from the boy’s mother.
“The autism spectrum, John. His is a mild case, high-functioning…but he’s been diagnosed. A colleague of mine picked up on it when Chris started kindergarten and the other kids kept setting him off.”
It is doubtful, however, if John heard any part of the sentence beyond the second word, which he repeats a few times in absolute disbelief.
“…autism? AUTISM?! You mean…that boy ain’t right? MY boy ain’t right?”
“He’s perfectly fine, John. He’s just a little offbeat, is all…”
Once again, however, Truth does not appear to have heard his interloper at all. After another moment’s stunned silence, he lunges forward, causing both mother and child to flinch: however, when he does get up close, it is simply to jab a finger into his former partner’s chest, as he once again leans uncomfortably close, his voice a low, hate-filled snarl.
“You did this.”
Even in her terror, Evelyn cannot help but stare.
“You heard me, bitch. You, Did. This. You gave my boy autism, so you could take the last thing I had left away from me for good!” The rictus on The Man Who Fell to Earth’s face is terrifying to behold. “I know he was perfectly normal the last time I saw him. You know…before you took my life away. And you probably knew, sooner or later, I was going to be coming for him, so you went ahead and made sure I could never have all of him, ever again. You evil goddamn BITCH! Bet you and Sugar Daddy couldn’t WAIT to have him fucking vaccinated, huh?”
“John, autism’s not–”
“SHUT UP!!” The sudden roar causes Evelyn and little Chris to flinch again, but when John next speaks, his voice is back to a painstakingly contained growl. “You know…I was going to come here and be civil with you. Ask to see my boy…maybe drop him a couple of tickets to go see his Dad perform this weekend…but this? What you did to him? This told me everything I need to know about you.” Truth leans in close one last time. “Take a good look at my face, ’cause this is the last time you’re ever gonna see it. Rot in Hell, bitch.”
With that, Truth finally lets loose with a kick, which causes mother and son to flinch yet a third time…
…as the sound of wood breaking echoes across the quiet street, and splinters fly inches from their face.
“There you go, bitch. Something to remember me by.” John scorches his former partner with his glare one last time, jerking his head towards their son. “Get him fixed, make him normal, and tell him his real Dad will be waiting for him when he’s ready. See you never, Superbitch.”
With that, The Man Who Fell to Earth turns away from his one-time family and heads back across the road and to his car, leaving two holes in his wake – one in the white picket fence, and another, much deeper and darker and full of horrors, in his ex-wife’s heart.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
The first few seconds of the driving riff to “Mission to Rock”, and accompanying “Trouble Roxx” screen graphics, bring the Seattle arena to its feet–
–before the usual record scratch signals the transition into another song, one which causes the fans in attendance to erupt in even louder cheers!
“Trouble Roxx paying homage to the Seattle music scene here, as well as to the memory of its most prodigal son, one Kurt Donald Cobain!”
Indeed, it is none other than Nirvana’s greatest hit that has the crowd in such a frenzy as the GLOBAL Tag Team Champions emerge through the curtain. The cheers become, if possible, even louder as the fans take in the girls’ attire of checkered flannels, ripped thighs and Converse Chuck Taylors, as well as the face of the dearly departed singer in prominent display on Teagan’s t-shirt. As such, it is under a nearly cacophonous ovation that the two women make their way to the ring – an ovation which is still going as Teagan takes up a microphone and launches into her usual spiel, much to Allie Reece’s delight.
“Here we go…I love this part!”
The first few words of the now-familiar address are, however, lost to the ocean of sound currently engulfing the arena, causing an amused Teagan to switch things up a little.
“Well, Seattle…I guess I don’t need to tell you to MAKE SOME NOOOOOISEEEE!!!”
The challenge is duly accepted by the local crowd, and it therefore takes Teagan and Izzy another moment to be able to properly do the usual introduction.
“If you don’t know who we are…”
“…you should have been paying ATTENTION!”
“We are…GLOBAL’s ONLY officially sanctioned Twitch streamers…wrestling’s very own Team Rocket…THE hottest prospects in FIFTY-ONE STATES…the little girls in the middle of the ride…the foxes you’ve been waiting for…AND YOUR GLOBAL! WORLD! TAG! TEAM! CHAMPIONS…!” The usual pregnant pause precedes the increasingly familiar final stretch. “I’m Trouble…she Roxx…and together, we’re…TROUBLE ROXX!”
Another huge ovation rises and subsides before the redhead speaks again.
“Now, your girls are here, so you know what time it is…TITLE DEFENCE TIME, BABY!!”
Both women hold their titles aloft for a moment, to another huge cheer, before Teagan continues.
“And guess what? Seeing as some of you guys are complaining that we never stream anymore since we got these babies…” Teagan pats the title on her shoulder. “…we got you guys. Tonight’s match will be STREAMED LIVE to ALL of GLOBAL’s social media platforms, thanks to our very own AV Club. So give it up for those two Roxx Stars over there!”
The redhead points at a spot in the front row, where a large, dark-haired young man stands beside his polar opposite – a wiry blond teenager with aggressively spiked, 90s-style hair. The two grin goofily at the camera, the bigger man waving while the youngster throws a “hang loose” sign, as the crowd acknowledge them with another big pop. Teagan is similarly grinning as she continues.
“So, yeah…this one’s gonna be on Twitch, Insta Live, TikTok Live, YouTube Live…maybe even freaking Twitter! So no matter what platform you use, no matter if you’re a Zoomer or a Boomer…you can see ya girls Roxx’n’Roll in real time!”
“Wait…aren’t they doing that already? And if they’re not…isn’t that, like, piracy?”
“If the girls are doing this, GLOBAL must have signed off on it, Mark. Maybe it’s an initiative to attract more fans with a free match? Either way, I’m sure there’s a reason.”
As Allie jumps to “her” girls’ defence, as ever, in the ring, Trouble Roxx have moved on to the next point in their address – with, surprisingly, Izzy Roxx taking the lead, for once.
“Now, other than that, we’re gonna keep it short and sweet. We’re sure you guys had enough talking for one night with those guys before. Seriously, how long can you go on yakking for, am I right?”
Teagan’s hand mimick of a mouth opening and closing, and her accompanying sound of “yak-yak-yak-yak-yak” draw a chuckle from the crowd as Izzy continues.
“So we’re gonna spare you guys, and just do what we meant to do last week, before we got…interrupted.” Izzy has another meaningful pause before concluding. “Still, better late than never. So…Ant…Ade…Team United…get down here and come get ya title shot!”
For a long moment, after the crowd erupt with preemptive cheers for the presumably arriving fan-favorite wrestlers, it appears as though Roxx’s request will not be honored; a fraction of a second before the cheers turn to jeers, however, a familiar theme song hits, and Ade Flowers and Ant Rushton emerge through the curtain, GLOBAL head referee Barry Snider following not far behind.
“Team United are here, and it appears we are about to have another title defence for the GLOBAL World Tag Team Championships!”
“Of course, Lucas…the girls are good for their word, and those boys don’t tend to disappoint the fans, either.”
As the announcers discuss the goings-on, in the ring, Teagan is smiling at the presence of Snider alongside the friendly duo.
“Awwww…you guys brought a referee and everything! That’s so sweet!”
As Izzy affects a swoon, making both the crowd and Team United laugh, her partner calls the two men forward into the ring – a beckoning to which both are more than happy to oblige, sliding under the bottom rope and joining the Champions in the center of the ring. With all elements in place (and trading high-fives), Barry Snider does not hesitate – he asks Trouble and Roxx to hand over the belts, holds them up momentarily, then calls for the bell, officially getting the peppy duo’s second match as Tag Team Champions underway!
TROUBLE ROXX Vs. TEAM UNITED
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The match begins with all four athletes exchanging fistbumps, to the delight of the Seattle crowd, before Teagan Trouble and Ade Rushton retreat behind their respective turnbuckles, leaving their partners to start the dance. And, after an initial feeling-out process, that is exactly what they do, with Izzy Roxx making the first move by way of a leaping clothesline, which Ade Flowers counters with an uppercut, flooring his opponent! Izzy scrambles to her feet, but instantly gets sent reeling back with a picture-perfect dropsault from Flowers! Once again, she is quick to recover, this time managing to evade her opponent’s attempt at a flying cross chop, then capitalizing with a quick elbow drop when Flowers crashes to the mat! She follows this up with a leg drop, before putting some distance between her and her opponent, as she plans her next move. As such, when Flowers pulls himself back to his feet, he almost immediately gets sent back down again with a running dropkick!
“Both wrestlers showcasing their usual fast-paced style here, in what is an even contest so far.”
“Yes, Lucas, but they have to be careful not to run out of gas early on. Whoever gets tired first is at a disadvantage…”
As Deltzer puts in his weekly contribution to actually constructive commentary, in the ring, Izzy continues to have the upper hand, as she sends Flowers tumbling over with a crisp arm drag. The Team United member is quick to his feet once again, but Izzy is right there once more to connect with another flying clothesline, which actually lands this time! Flowers goes down, and Roxx quickly rolls through to her feet and pivots towards the ropes to her right, from where she connects with a springboard moonsault! The move does not quite land flush, hitting Flowers across the upper leg area, but Izzy moves in for a cover regardless. Barry Snider slides in…
“Slight miscalculation there from my girl Izzy, but kudos to her from following through with her plan anyway, and trying to capitalize on that spell of offence.”
“Indeed, Allie. Izzy Roxx has had a great start here. These two girls are looking more and more like Champions with each passing match.”
“Well, Quinn, they’d better keep going that way, because they have some formidable contenders to reckon with: The Prime Time Athletes, the Rich Family, Alfie Button and Crusader X…even the Master Sisters, once they recover from that attack from the Best of British…”
“That’s right, Mark. And let’s not forget the Metal Militia, who were the ONLY team in GLOBAL to beat Trouble Roxx up until now, even if it was in an eight-person tag team match…”
“I WASN’T forgetting them, Quinn. Though, you don’t really see much of them anymore, do you?”
“Your point still stands: Trouble Roxx need to keep their wits about them AND LOOK AT IZZY ROXX HERE!”
Indeed, while the commentators have been discussing Roxx’s immediate future, in the ring, one half of that team has continued to trade blows with Ade Flowers, following up on the pinfall attempt with a couple of elbow smashes before getting rocked with as many uppercuts from her opponent. Flowers then rushes in, potentially looking for a body press, but Izzy leaps up to reverse it into a hurricanrana, eliciting the exclamation from Lucas – and a round of applause from the fans. Quite clearly feeling herself, Roxx then dashes across the ring, to pin the kneeling Flowers to the far post with a basement dropkick! The Team United member slumps into a seated position, and Roxx follows up with a knee strike, smashing him across the face!
“The Tag Team Champions still on top in this match, but you have to wonder when the tables will turn…”
“Indeed, Mark. Team United are just as quick and agile as Trouble Roxx, and they have the experience advantage. This one could go either way at any given moment…”
As the two male announcers discuss the participants involved, in the ring, Izzy has rushed in for another basement dropkick, only for Rushton to dive out of the way! The Team United member slides briefly out of the ring, to catch his footing, but slides back in again before his opponent can even begin to think about some sort of high-risk manoeuvre to the outside.
“You were mentioning experience, Lucas, and that just became apparent right there…Rushton knew what would happen if he stayed outside the ring, so he just got right back in there!”
“That’s right, Allie, and just those few seconds seemed to have been the game-changer we were also talking about!”
Indeed, Rushton has finally found a way back into this match, and manages to connect with a couple of uppercuts to Izzy Roxx before she has time to respond with any kind of defined manouevre. He then takes advantage of Izzy’s stumbling, uncertain footing to connect with a body press, taking his opponent down into a pinning predicament!
–Izzy kicks out.
“That was more of a warning than an actual attempt from Rushton. Telling Izzy she had better be careful if she doesn’t want to get caught…”
Indeed, the Team United member is seen directing a few words at his opponent, before whipping her across onto the ropes and, when she bounces off, connecting with another spinning heel kick! Izzy goes down like a sack of potatoes, but rather than go for a pin, the clearly exhausted Rushton takes this opportunity to move over to his corner and tag in Ade Flowers.
“Tag made by Team United, and they now have a fresh man in Ade Flowers.”
“That could make all the difference for them, Allie. Izzy Roxx has been in there since the beginning of what has been a high-speed, high-intensity contest so far. She has to be getting tired – and that’s something Rushton can exploit to his advantage.”
As the announcers analyze the current situation, in the ring, Flowers has wasted no time leaving his mark on the match, by way of a picture-perfect frog splash which, despite the distance, manages to connect, giving the Team United member the confidence boost to go for an immediate pin attempt!
“WHAT ELEVATION from Ade Flowers, and now, here’s the cover!”
—Kickout by Izzy Roxx!
“Was that a little cocky on Flowers’ part…?”
“I dunno, Al. Worth a try, if you ask me…”
“Really? I thought you were Mr. ‘Not-From-A-Basic-Move’…”
“Yeah, but that wasn’t a basic move. That was AMAZING!”
As even Allie can find no argument against her colleague’s assessment, in the ring, Ade Flowers has managed to follow up his frogsplash attempt with a quick standing moonsault, leading to another cover.
“OK, so that’s his actual strategy. Got it.”
“Yes, and why not, Mark? I’ve seen worse…”
“Oh, definitely, Lucas…”
As a rare moment of agreement transpires between the announcers, Flowers once again starts over, this time leaping into a springboard moonsault, and another cover!
“The tables have definitely turned here, and Izzy needs to find a way out of this…”
“Hey, me and Quinn called it! We’re prophets! Prophet high-five!”
As Lucas presumably indulges his younger counterpart, Flowers once again seeks to inflict some high-flying damage on Izzy Roxx, this time moving to the near turnbuckle and quickly scaling it, before launching off with a somersault senton. Somehow, however, Izzy senses it coming and dodges out of the way, causing her Team United counterpart to crash and burn. This gives her the opening she was looking for, and, as Ade Flowers gets his bearings after the crash landing, she fights through her exhaustion to get back to her feet and limp across the ring to her corner! Flowers is up and running a moment later…but just too late, as Izzy manages to tag in her partner!
“Uh-oh! Here comes Trouble!”
Indeed, Teagan wastes no time in reclaiming the upper hand for her team, as she connects with a running tackle, which catches Ade Flowers mid-run! The Team United member goes down, and Teagan quickly capitalizes with an elbow drop and a fist drop, in quick succession. She rolls back through to her feet, hits the nearby set of ropes, and leaps off into a springboard moonsault, which connects flush and motivates her to go for a cover!
—Kickout by Flowers!
“Predictably fast and impactful start from Teagan Trouble, and the question now is, can Ade Flowers get back into this one?”
At first, as Teagan rolls her friend through to his feet, the answer appears to be “yes”, as Flowers manages to rock the redhead with an uppercut! His attempt to follow up with a second is, however, blocked, as Teagan drops down and pulls Ade into an armdrag! The Team United member goes sprawling over into the corner, and the Trouble Roxx member stops only long enough to throw an arm into the air before launching into a handspring, which brings her close to Flowers just as he is getting back up, allowing her to pin him against the post with a back elbow, before immediately pulling him out of the corner with another armdrag! Despite the tumble, Flowers is once again quick to get back to his feet…only to get taken right back down with a leg lariat from Teagan!
“Teagan Trouble continues to dominate, and she has another chance to cover here!”
Rather than take said chance, however, Teagan instead backs up into her corner, signalling for Izzy to take a position up top. Understanding her partner’s intent, the smaller half of Trouble Roxx quickly scales the turnbuckle, in time for Teagan to tag her in, pick her up, and throw her onto a recovering Flowers! Lift Off takes the Team United member back down, and Izzy covers!
The minute Flowers kicks out, Roxx rolls off the top of him, and heads towards her corner, to once again tag in Teagan Trouble. Having achieved this, however, she lingers around for a few seconds, waiting for Flowers to recover before rushing with her partner to the center of the ring, to connect with stereo superkicks to the Team United member. Teagan is then seen earnestly telling Ant Rushton “sorry”, as Izzy steps out of the ring, allowin her partner to drop down for a cover.
Rushton dashes out of his corner, but Izzy does not hesitate, slingshotting onto the ropes to connect with a timely missile dropkick! The Team United member goes tumbling out of the ring, and Izzy herself rolls out after him, clearing the ring for…
…and another successful defence for her team!
“Trouble Roxx do it again, and I’ll tell you what, these girls are proving more than up to the task of carrying those GLOBAL World Tag Team Championships!”
“As if there was ever any doubt, Lucas…”
“Well, Allie, I can see how some people might think they were not quite ready, but they have certainly been proving them wrong…”
“Yeah…people who had never seen them wrestle, maybe…”
As the announcers comment on Roxx’s public perception, in the ring, the girls are having their arms raised by referee Barry Snider, after making sure their Team United friends are being looked after by EMTs. Then, once Rushton and Flowers are up on their feet once more, they go over to share high-fives and hugs with their amicable opponents, raising their hands right alongside theirs as Teagan procures a mic for the usual send-off.
“We’ve been Trouble Roxx, from Beverly Hills, California, and Team United, from Birmingham, England. Thank you, and goodnight!”
With that, and under a round of applause from the crowd, the four wrestlers make their way back up the entranceway and to the back together, stopping just before crossing the curtain to once again reinforce their unity and friendship to the fans, before disappearing through the velvet and out of sight.
FACING REYN (I)
Time: 7:45pm Date June 7th
“Who does that no-good son-of-a-damn-freakshow Reyn think he is?! He really thinks he knows me an’ my skills? He don’t know a damn thing about me! He ’bout to face the damn horns!” Valorie shouts mid-rant as she paces back and forth in the hotel room.
Saul just sat there on the hotel bed, unsure of what to say that could potentially calm the raging Texan woman before him. He was a bit thankful that the two of them had sent Angel down to the main lobby to buy them some snacks and drinks, giving the two of them, or rather, Valorie, some peace to vent out some anger.
“Val, I get you’re upset at all he said about you and the military and all, but you still have to be a little careful. This is REYN we are talking about. He’s… ruthless. You saw what he did to Freddie… VIP… this guy has a damn track-record. And I’m pretty sure he won’t hold back just cause you’re a woman either.” Saul says, wincing slightly in preparation just in case Valorie goes off on him instead.
“Sug’ I KNOW who we’re talkin’ about, but that still don’t excuse his high-and-mighty attitude! Back home we don’t take kindly to people like that!” She retorts, clenching her hands into tight fists as her face keeps reddening with anger.
Taking a bit of a leap of faith, Saul walks over to Valorie and rests his hands on her shoulders, causing her to look up at him. There was a deafening silence between the two as Saul scrambled to find the words to say before taking a deep breath and speaking.
“I’m worried about you, Val. I was just as insulted as you were when he made the digs at the Corps. But still… this anger could cause you to get hurt, especially if you go in with blind rage at Alex. He’s calculating, he’s wily, and he can take control just like THAT.” The former Marine snaps his fingers. “You make one wrong move, and he could KILL you.”
This seemed to snap Valorie out of her mindset, knowing that Saul was right. If she let this anger dwell in her and wrestled Reyn like this, the match would be over within seconds. She took a deep breath and nodded slowly, letting Saul take a step back and release her shoulders.
“… Valid points, sug’… I just really want to teach him a damn lesson, show him that everything he said about me was wrong.” She mutters.
“Oh, you will! You just gotta have a more collected mind instead of going in guns blazing. We already did that in Afghanistan.” Saul says with a small grin, hoping she would get the joke.
With a small smile, she would simply nod and casually sit down on the bed, scratching the back of her head. Saul just sat beside her, grateful that she had calmed down finally after a few days full of anger and frustration.
“You got this, Val. Trust me. And you know you have me and Ang to back you up. No soldier left behind in this Angel Corps, right?” He says, holding out his left hand.
“Yeah. No soldier left behind.” She replies, taking his hand with her own.
With a loud and proud “HOORAH”, the two came together in a friendly embrace, just in time for Angel to get back and see. Val couldn’t help but just start laughing as Angel holds up her smartphone, only to immediately have it snatched out of her hand by Saul, with a cry of “Nope!” A small, good-natured tussle for the device ensues, letting all the remaining tension in the room dissipate at last.
DRAW YOUR OWN DISGUSTING CONCLUSION
The Orange hue of the now, well-known portal fills our view and suddenly the man runs through it and into what looks like a hall way. He stands there, covered only in a loin cloth, seemingly unnerved by the fast travel. He begins walking down the hall with lockers on each side. The low-voiced narrator is heard over what we see.
“Our traveler again finds himself in strange surroundings…”
A loud orgasmic moan is heard not far off, and the Naked Man quickly turns his head to the source direction and takes off running.
“Noises not unfamiliar to him, make him seek for answers yet again…”
He gets to a door and begins trying to open it, and it will not give way. He bangs on it as the sounds intensify and get louder. Finally he manages to break through the door and find a woman, partially nude with her arms covering her breasts giving him a nasty look. There is a faint reddish orange hue on her body in different areas and then leading away. He surveys the situation.
“An angry women found in mid-coitus begins cursing at him for stopping her ecstasy, but it does not stop our hero…”
He walks away from her as she throws her high heel shoe at him and misses badly. He opens the locker door where the glow he is following ends and finds a little boy. He yanks him out, reddish orange glow all over his body, and the boy is crying uncontrollably.
“There is great disgust with what is found, giving our avenger more eagerness to finally put an end to this chase…”
The orange hue returns from inside the locker and Naked Man slides inside. In that moment, the orange hue fills the screen and the screen goes suddenly black.
BACK TO DOING PRIME-TIME THINGS
Jimmy Classic and Trae Larkin recline on massage tables, indulging in a well-deserved pampering session at the renowned Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in sunny San Diego, California. As two controversial figures and self-proclaimed supreme athletes of Global, they take this moment of respite to reflect on their critics and future adversaries.
“Trae, it’s time for us to rejuvenate our bodies and clear our minds,” Jimmy asserts to his tag team partner.
Trae grumbles in response, expressing his preference for being in Seattle at Domination, taking care of business in the traditional way. “Rumor has it the Rich Family has emerged from hiding and will be at the arena tonight,” he adds.
Jimmy chuckles, recognizing the underlying issue. “That’s exactly why we need to be here. We’ve become so fixated on the Rich Family that we’ve lost sight of what truly matters. They managed to steer us into a battle that played to their strengths, not ours. But once we leave here, it’s back to focusing on the Prime Time Athletes. It’s about pursuing our mission and ascending to the pinnacle of GLOBAL.”
Curious, Trae asks, “But how can we move forward when we have unfinished business with the Rich Family?”
Determined, Jimmy responds, “The Rich Family is our first priority, Trae. We’ll settle things on our terms.”
Trae, though not entirely convinced, eases up slightly upon hearing this. He then remarks, “You know who could use a session here? Freddy Rich.”
Jimmy bursts into laughter, retorting, “The only problem is, places like this don’t admit people like the Rich Family.”
The atmosphere lightens up as Trae Larkin chimes in, using humor to alleviate the lingering tension. “The welts may have faded, but the memory of the Rich Family’s victory still stings. Every day, I’m reminded of that defeat. Until we set things right, no massage or mental retreat can ease the burning desire for revenge.”
As the spa staff returns, Jimmy Classic acknowledges their presence. “Patience, my friend. The time for retribution will come. But for now, let’s unwind and envision the glory and success that await us when we return to Domination, reclaiming our rightful place in the Prime Time spotlight.”
Both men settle back onto the massage tables, surrendering themselves to the skilled hands of the spa staff. The gentle touch and soothing atmosphere work their magic, rejuvenating the tired bodies of the Prime Time Athletes and restoring their spirits. As the staff continues their work, Jimmy Classic and Trae Larkin find solace in the healing process, knowing that their time at the spa is essential in their journey toward tag team dominance.
NEARLY MOB FODDER
The Naked Man almost falls through the orange portal into what seems to be a dark and dreary place. It is a street for sure as he feels the dirt under his feet and looks at the wooden buildings on each side of where he stands. There is a large fire ball and some noise at the end of thE street and he takes off running toward it.
“As if sensing that he is close to the one he is seeking, he takes off to where danger seems apparent…”
He reaches the building and enters, as the group of people are attempting to put out the fire that had engulfed a man. They have covered him with their outer clothing layers and now only smoke seems to remain. Our hero looks intently around and sees that trail of reddish orange he seems to find at every stop on this crazy journey and before he can move away, a man grabs him by the arm.
“Who are you!” The man inquired loudly, getting the attention of the entire group of people.
The Narrator continues, “There was nothing positive in their glares, and he said nothing to the question proposed to him…”
“He’s another one of the devil’s crew!” A woman shouted.
“He just walked in here with no clothes on!” Bellowed a “karen” type from this age.
“Let’s get him!” many of them shouted.
The Naked men breaks free of the grasp and takes off out of the room and through the door. he rounds a corner and seems to have a nice lead on the gaggle of crazy people. Up ahead, he can see a small figure next to a reddish portal.
“‘It’s…..HIM’ our adventurer thinks to himself…”
He stares down at the portal almost in shock that he is this close and his brow furrows with resolution to end this once and for all. He takes off running to the portal. Th emoment he jumps to the portal, it disappears and he smacks right into a wooden wall. He lays on the ground a second and rubs his head, seeing the torch-bearing group of angry folk coming his way.
“Knowing how close he is, he can’t get caught by this band of fear mongers. He must finish the adventure and find this thing…”
The moment he stands, the orange portal shows and he jumps quickly into it. In that moment the screen glows bright orange and then suddenly goes black.
FACING REYN (II)
Time: 5:04pm Date: June 14th
A soft sigh leaves Valorie’s lips as she walks along the entrance of the arena within Seattle, glancing up at it and knowing that in a few days, she will be having to step inside here and deal with Reyn. Her nerves are slightly on edge as she had been reaching out and talking to a few of the other wrestlers in the business, all of them giving their opinions on Reyn but all essentially saying the same thing: He’s a monster. Taking a deep breath, she would shake those thoughts out of her head and continue walking, tipping the front of her black cowboy hat to shield her face a bit.
‘He can’t be that bad. Sure he has… a track record… and has sent many people to the hospital, but I’m sure he can’t be as bad as everyone makes him out to be.’ she thinks to herself, continuing her walk as she tucks a lock of hair behind her ear.
After a while, she would find herself at a small restaurant, deciding to pause here to get something to eat, and it seemed that she wasn’t alone. Glancing over from her table, she sees Declan Rich also enjoying a small meal. Once she orders her food, she makes her way over and clears her throat before speaking, gaining Rich’s attention easily.
“Mr. Rich? I apologize for being rude and interrupting your meal, but I was wanting to… ask a few questions if I may.” she says.
There is a moment’s pause and Valorie blinks, wondering if she made a smart move to ask him this NOW, instead of in a more private setting.
“Valorie, right?” He questioned, to which she nodded and gave a small salute.
“Yes sir.” She replies.
Declan smiles slightly before motioning for her to take a seat. The waiter who had previously taken Valorie’s order finds her now at her new seat and delivers her drink before mentioning the food is on the way shortly. Nodding, Valorie turns her attention back to Declan and speaks up.
“So… I’m sure you’ve watched the last show, and so I’m sure you’re aware that I have a match against Reyn coming up. And I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous about this. I’ve been hearing from so many that he ain’t one to take lightly at all. That he could very well land me on a stretcher.” Valorie starts, Declan listening and nodding along to agree with everything that she’s saying.
He then holds his hand up to pause her, grabbing his phone and after tapping on the screen a few times, sets it down with the screen facing up, the soft ringing sound of the phone now trying to connect with a caller coming through. Valorie looks up quizzically before a click is heard and the sound of Freddie comes through.
“Hello?” he greets.
“Hey Freddie. Hope you’ve been doin okay. I got Valorie Vitality here in front of me. She’s going up against Reyn in a few days. Was wondering if you could give her at least some advice?” Declan answers.
There is a brief pause before a quiet sigh is heard, followed by an “Alright”. Valorie then looks down at the phone and after a second, speaks up.
“Howdy Mr. Rich. Thanks for taking the call. What do I do that can possibly guarantee a victory against Reyn?” she says quietly.
There is another pause for a second or two before Freddie just groans quietly, Declan and Valorie looking at each other before looking back down at the phone.
“Listen. Valorie, was it? I’m sorry to say this but your chances of WINNING are as good as dead. I’m sure you’re aware of those who beat him right? They are THE TOP of GLOBAL’s list of fighters. They’ve worked their way to the top and thus THEY have a bigger shot of winning against Reyn. No offense, Valorie, but unless you somehow manage to become the best like them, there’s no way in hell you’re going to win.” Freddie finally answers, sounding quite firm in his speaking.
Valorie blinks a few times, gripping her fists tightly on the table as the waiter finally comes back with her food, a small plate of fries and a grilled chicken sandwich. Picking up a french fry, she stares at the phone.
“I know you were in the ring with Reyn… What’s a good way to go about at least getting a good edge? What’s a weak-point ‘a his?” she inquires next.
“Honestly Valorie… I went in with more rage than a sound mind. I can’t tell you what to do. You’re your own person, your own wrestler. All I can say though is best of luck. And don’t let him get to your head. While I doubt you’ll be able to WIN, I can at least say from what I’ve seen, you’re going to definitely give him quite a work-out.” Freddie finishes.
A small smile forms on Valorie’s face as she bites her lip out of a twinge of fear and nerves, but the encouraging words she just received from Freddie swayed her a bit. She nods as she gives a two-fingered salute to him despite him not being able to see it.
“Kindly appreciate ya, sug’! Thanks for talkin’ to me and at least giving me some friendly… warnin’s.”
“Oh. Before I go. I’m going to warn you about this too. Once Reyn has his sights set on a target, he doesn’t LEAVE said target until he SAYS or SHOWS that he’s done with you. ALWAYS be on guard.” Freddie adds, Declan nodding furiously to this to show how serious he is.
That nervousness and anxiety that was washed away a second ago comes rushing back as she gulps quietly. Declan takes the phone back and after talking to Freddie himself for a moment, hangs up the call, looking at Valorie with a bit of concern. He then smiles and gently pats her on the shoulder, encouraging her not to get too nervous.
“ANYTHING can happen in that ring, Valorie. Don’t count yourself out yet. Just be careful” he says before standing from his seat.
He then walks to the waitress and speaks to her for a moment before leaving, letting Valorie finish her meal. By the time she finishes and is ready to pay for her meal, a waiter lets her know that someone already paid for it. She puts two and two together and just smiles before nodding and leaving herself, wanting to walk around a bit more before hitting the gym tonight and preparing herself for battle.
SWEATY BROS Vs. THE SALAMANDERS
The upbeat tune of “Boats ‘N Hoes” by Prestige Worldwide fills the arena, eliciting a mix of laughter and excitement from the fans. As the crowd anticipates the arrival of the fun-loving tag team, Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat make their grand entrance. Clad in the popular #FTK Global merchandise, the atmosphere shifts from amusement to a lively party vibe.
Lucas Quinn comments, “And here we have the highly anticipated debut of Sweaty Bros, accompanied by quite an interesting choice of entrance music.”
The Mark adds, “Looks like Allie is getting her groove on next to us. Watch out, she’s bumping into everyone!”
Allie exclaims, “Come on, guys! Who doesn’t love ‘Boats ‘N Hoes’?”
Masked Maniac halts his stride to dance with an attractive lady near the ringside, captivating the audience. At the same time, Tony Sweat attempts to join in, accidentally spraying perspiration all over the unfortunate lady, much to her disgust.
Lucas Quinn observes, “Seems like Tony Sweat still has some challenges when it comes to charming the ladies.”
The Mark sarcastically remarks, “Well, he’s definitely succeeding in making them wet, Lucas!”
In a heartwarming gesture, the Masked Maniac takes off his #FTK shirt and presents it as a gift to an enthusiastic young fan at ringside. Similarly, Tony Sweat follows suit, offering his sweat-soaked shirt to a hesitant fan.
Lucas Quinn remarks, “That’s a nice gesture, but I can already hear the washing machines working overtime after this!”
The Masked Maniac climbs into the ring, his partner joining him. Tony Sweat appears like he’s already run a marathon, drenched in sweat. They stand side by side, anticipation building as they await the announcement of their highly anticipated opponents.
A quiet, palm-muted guitar riff ignites a burst of energetic rock music as Ellegarden’s “Salamander” echoes throughout the arena. The Global Nation crowd appears perplexed, unsure of what to expect.
Lucas Quinn raises an eyebrow and asks, “Who…?”
Introducing, hailing from the enigmatic Dark Forests of Eastern Canada, we present to you… THE SALAMANDERS!
The Salamanders make their entrance, clad in body suits, masks, and capes adorned with the striking colors of mighty salamanders. Their presence is mysterious and captivating.
Lucas Quinn, momentarily caught off guard, quickly scrambles through his notes and announces, “I don’t have much information on the Salamanders, but I’m receiving some real-time updates and notes through my headset. Apparently, they’re a well-known masked tag team with a devoted following on the internet.”
The Mark interjects, “I just checked Reddit on my phone, and rumors are circulating about their supposed magical powers. Some even claim they can regenerate lost limbs as salamanders do.”
Allie raises a skeptical eyebrow and asks, “Has there been any actual evidence of this? You know you can’t always trust what you read on Reddit.”
The Mark responds, “According to this thread from 2018, it supposedly happened.”
The enigmatic Salamanders swiftly descend the aisle, gracefully sliding into the ring with synchronized movements. Masked Maniac stands inside the ring, visibly entertained and applauding, seemingly eager to “meet” his opponents.
Lucas Quinn comments, “It appears that the Masked Maniac is quite the ‘fan’ of his opponents, the Salamanders.”
The Mark chuckles and replies, “Who wouldn’t be? If these guys can truly regenerate limbs, count me in, Lucas! I’m ready for some superpowers!”
Allie rolls her eyes and sighs, muttering, “Oh, brother.”
Masked Maniac approaches the enigmatic Salamanders, showing his respect by respectfully bowing before them. Their chests puffed out with pride, the Salamanders bask in the admiration.
Lucas Quinn remarks, “It’s no surprise that Masked Maniac, with his deep appreciation for lucha culture and masked wrestling, holds such reverence for the Salamanders. After all, he coined the saying ‘Masked Bros before hoes’ to emphasize the importance of the masked wrestling tradition.”
Tony Sweat, still perplexed by the situation, turns to Masked Maniac and asks, “What’s the big deal?” However, unbeknownst to him, the opportunistic Salamanders seize the moment and launch a surprise attack on the unsuspecting Tony Sweat. Referee Barry Snyder signals for the match to begin, ringing the bell.
Lucas Quinn observes, “The match is officially underway, and the experienced Salamanders have wasted no time in capitalizing on the distraction and chaos surrounding their highly anticipated GLOBAL debut. They are relentlessly targeting Tony Sweat.”
The Mark adds, “Even Masked Maniac, showing his respect for their legendary status, has taken a step back, positioning himself at the apron’s edge. Meanwhile, the Salamanders send Tony Sweat into the ropes and execute a devastating double Salamander Kick!”
Allie interjects, “Which is essentially just two powerful spinning heel kicks, but boy, do they pack a punch!”
The Salamanders show no mercy as they stomp on Tony Sweat mercilessly, eliciting boos from the disappointed fans.
Lucas Quinn comments, “The Salamanders are relentless in their assault on Tony Sweat, and Masked Maniac is rightfully questioning the legality of this two-on-one attack to the referee.”
The Mark adds with a touch of humor, “It seems like they’re stomping the sweat right out of poor Tony, using the forming puddle as their target.”
Masked Maniac, having moved past his initial admiration for the Salamanders, attempts to intervene and even the odds, but the referee promptly intervenes to prevent his interference.
Allie remarks, “While the referee is allowing the Salamanders some leeway due to the chaotic start of the match, he’s not willing to permit Masked Maniac to re-enter the match without an official tag.”
As the Salamanders attempt to execute a double Russian leg sweep on Tony Sweat, one of them slips on the wet mat from Tony’s drenched body. Seizing the opportunity, Tony Sweat swiftly retaliates by delivering a powerful back elbow to the head of the other Salamander. With momentum on his side, Tony turns and catches the first Salamander in his arms, launching him with flawless execution into a belly-to-belly suplex.
The crowd erupts with excitement as Lucas Quinn exclaims, “What a reversal by Tony Sweat! He’s turned the tables on the Salamanders with that impressive belly-to-belly suplex!”
The Mark adds, “That slip from the Salamander gave Tony Sweat the opening he needed, and he’s making the most of it! The Salamanders are feeling the impact of Tony’s counterattack!”
Allie chimes in, “Tony’s unfortunate sweating problem might just be his secret weapon in this match. It gives him a unique advantage that is nearly impossible for his opponents to game plan for.”
Lucas Quinn agrees, saying, “That’s right, Allie! Tony’s excessive sweating can make him slippery and hard to grip, giving him an unexpected advantage in the ring. It’s a unique attribute that sets him apart from other competitors.”
The Mark adds, “You have to give credit to Tony Sweat for turning his supposed weakness into a strength. It’s a testament to his resourcefulness and adaptability as a wrestler.”
As Tony Sweat stands tall after his impressive counterattack, the Salamanders regroup, realizing they underestimated their opponent. The referee steps in, enforcing the rules and instructing the Salamanders to designate one of them as the legal competitor.
Lucas Quinn announces, “It seems that Salamander 2 is stepping onto the ring apron, indicating that Salamander 1 is now the legal man in this match.”
The two men cautiously circle each other, anticipating their next move. Salamander 1 takes the initiative and locks Tony Sweat into a side headlock. Still, to everyone’s surprise, Tony’s drenched hair acts as a slippery advantage, enabling him to slide out of the hold effortlessly.
Lucas Quinn remarks, “Tony Sweat’s excessive perspiration is proving to be quite advantageous for him. It’s like his hair has become a natural lubricant, allowing him to escape from Salamander 1’s grasp.”
The Mark adds, “That’s some incredible agility and adaptability from Tony Sweat. His unique condition is definitely throwing off his opponents’ game plans.”
Lucas Quinn observes with intrigue as Salamander 1 looks down at his arm, which is drenched with Tony’s sweat. To everyone’s surprise, the Salamander shakes his limb vigorously as if something extraordinary is happening.
Lucas Quinn exclaims, “What’s happening here? It looks like Tony’s sweat is peculiarly affecting the Salamander!”
The Mark excitedly interjects, “Oh no! Tony’s sweat has damaged the Salamander’s limb, but instead of being incapacitated, it’s triggering a regeneration process! The Salamander is regrowing his limb right before our eyes!”
The crowd gasps in amazement as the Salamander sheds a portion of his sweat-soaked costume, tossing it aside.
Allie remarks with a mix of disbelief and amusement, “Well, I guess we can officially say we’ve witnessed it all, guys.”
While Masked Maniac appears to be genuinely impressed by the mystical abilities displayed by The Salamander, Tony Sweat seizes the opportunity and tags his partner, urging him to take charge. The Masked Maniac graciously steps through the ropes, extending his hand as a gesture of sportsmanship. However, the cunning Salamander capitalizes on the distraction, delivering a well-placed low kick, catching the Masked Maniac off guard.
The Mark comments with a hint of amusement, “It’s just like dealing with a Salamander. They always strike when you least expect it, especially when you’re trying to show them kindness.”
Lucas Quinn provides the play-by-play, “Salamander 1, who has regrouped after shedding part of his outfit, makes the tag, and now Salamander 2 enters the ring, ready to continue the assault.”
The two masked Salamanders charge forward, launching a powerful double clothesline that knocks Masked Maniac off his feet. Salamander 2 seizes the opportunity and quickly goes for the pin.
But Masked Maniac manages to kick out, refusing to stay down.
Meanwhile, Salamander 2 swiftly gets back on his feet, targeting Tony Sweat on the ring apron with a surprise dropkick, sending him crashing to the floor. With the crowd in awe, Salamander 2 climbs the turnbuckles, preparing for a high-risk move.
Allie exclaims, “I didn’t know Salamanders could fly!”
Just as Salamander 2 leaps off the top ropes, aiming for a spectacular attack, Masked Maniac rolls out of harm’s way. The crowd erupts in cheers as Salamander 2 crashes hard onto the canvas.
The Mark remarks, “Well, apparently, they do land hard. That’s the risk of high-flying maneuvers.”
As the dazed Salamander tries to regain his composure, Masked Maniac swiftly takes him down, delivering a punishing blow. However, the second Salamander seizes the opportunity and launches a surprise attack from behind, catching Masked Maniac off guard. The referee rushes in, attempting to restore order, but the second Salamander joins forces with his partner, intensifying the assault.
Lucas Quinn observes, “Officiating a Salamander match is no easy task, considering both competitors look identical. It’s challenging to keep track of who’s who.”
The chaotic scene unfolds as the Salamanders continue their relentless assault, taking advantage of the confusion.
Amidst the chaos, Allie voices her concern, “It’s a complete two-on-one assault now!”
The Salamanders prepare to execute their devastating Salamander Strike on Masked Maniac. One of them raises their leg for a high superkick while the other aims low with a sweeping kick. However, just as they are about to unleash their deadly attack, the crowd erupts in cheers as Tony Sweat, soaked from head to toe, makes a heroic return to the ring. With a burst of energy, he takes out the first Salamander from behind with a powerful short-arm clothesline, saving his partner from the impending danger.
Lucas Quinn exclaims, “And Tony Sweat comes to the rescue! He’s not leaving his partner alone in there!”
The remaining Salamander attempts to grab Tony Sweat, but Tony’s drenched body allows him to slip free from their grip easily.
The Mark adds, “One of Tony Sweat’s remarkable strengths is his ability to slip free from his opponents easily, thanks to his excessive sweating. It’s a unique advantage that sets him apart in the ring.”
Tony Sweat delivers a devastating powerbomb to the unsuspecting Salamander, slamming him down with incredible force.
Lucas Quinn exclaims, “Tony Sweat just unleashed a thunderous powerbomb on the Salamander!”
The Mark inquires, “Is that the legal Salamander?”
Allie responds, “I don’t think anyone knows for sure, but Masked Maniac is crawling over to make the cover, and the referee is sliding down for the count.”
The crowd erupts in cheers as the referee’s hand hits the mat for the final count. Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat celebrate their hard-fought victory.
Lucas Quinn enthusiastically announces, “The Sweaty Bros secure an impressive victory in their debut match against the Salamanders!”
The Mark adds, “This match had it all, Lucas. It will be remembered for a long time.”
The Masked Maniac embraces his drenched partner, sharing the joy of their hard-fought win, while the crowd chants “FOR THE KIDS” to show their support for the new tag team.
Allie expresses her enthusiasm, saying, “I’m all in for the ‘For the Kids’ movement. It’s a much better focus than what FTK typically stands for. However, we can’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead. Gemini and Chris Smith are formidable opponents, and tensions are bound to escalate between the two tag teams.”
THE HELL WITH PATIENCE
The reigning Global Champion, “The Legend” Sean Darring, stands tall, exuding confidence as he prepares for his highly anticipated match later tonight. Dressed in a striking purple and gold singlet that perfectly complements his athletic physique, he proudly wears the coveted GLOBAL championship title around his waist, its golden gleam catching the light.
With his chiseled features and a determined gaze, Sean Darring embodies the essence of a true champion. The weight of his success and the responsibility to defend his title only fuels his determination to prove himself again in the squared circle.
As he adjusts his gear and mentally prepares for the challenge, the aura of greatness surrounds Sean Darring, demanding respect.
“Daniel Dream, this is where our patience has brought us,” the Legend states firmly, his expression conveying his disagreement with the plan.
He continues, “All the cards are on the table. Tonight, the loudmouth John Truth finally gets his wish. He wanted a seat at the big boys’ table, and now he’s got his invitation. Of course, it seems he’s brought a few of his lackeys along for the ride.”
The Legend shrugs as if accepting the circumstances. “Crusader X, Alfie Button, and El Principe will join me in doing everyone a favor and shutting that big mouth of his once and for all.”
He chuckles at the thought of Truth getting what he deserves. “Speaking of deserving, Daniel Dream, what happened to you, my friend?”
The Legend pauses, allowing his question to linger in the air. “When the board dubbed you the ‘chosen one,’ none of us doubted it. We saw your talent. You pushed Alex Reyn and me to our limits and came close to claiming this,” he says, pointing proudly to the GLOBAL Championship adorning his waist.
“I don’t know if it was the toll of too many matches with Alex Reyn. You know, it’s a real condition,” the Legend jokes, his smile unmistakable.
“Or perhaps we should be concerned about the influence Beel Zebub has over you. Blink twice if you need help, Daniel. There are people genuinely worried about you.”
The Legend blinks twice, showing his genuine concern for his fellow competitor.
“But tonight, you have a chance to remind us all who the chosen one truly is. You have an opportunity to break free from the puppet status. Heck, I know you can’t stand John Truth. I mean, nobody does,” he states emphatically, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Tonight is your moment to be your own man. Embrace your destiny as the chosen one. Forget about Beel Zebub. Forget about John Truth. Be Daniel Dream,” the Legend urges, his voice filled with conviction.
He allows his words to sink in before delivering one final thought. “To hell with patience.”
ALEX REYN Vs. VALORIE VITALITY
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we advise anyone with children to turn away from this ma-” The Mark begins, but Reese cuts him off.
“Don’t you DARE Mark! This isn’t going to be some one-sided slaughter! Valorie is a fighter. We’ve all seen it.”
“And that’s exactly WHY I’m giving that warning!” Deltzer cuts her off. “You saw what Dream had to do to put that thing down. Win or lose for Valorie… this is going to be gruesome.
And on THAT ominous note…
“Blow Me Away” by Breaking Benjamin.
“The following contest is scheduled for one-fall! From San Antonio, Texas! Weighing in at 127 lbs! Valorie! Vitality!”
Her eyes are locked onto the ring. She’s breathing deeply to centre herself for what may be the biggest fight of her life.
“She looks focused. She knows what this match could mean.” Reese says.
“But she also looks nervous.” Quinn adds. “This isn’t just one of the most important matches of her career, it’s a match against one of the most dangerous men on the roster. The pressure to not only win, but SURVIVE could be getting to her.”
“She can handle it. She’s a former marine.” Reese says firmly.
Valorie is in the ring now. An eerie silence has fallen. Is Reyn going to make an entrance… or simply start the fight?
“Time to see how seriously Reyn is taking this…” The Mark says
A soft chant begins to spread throughout the arena, interrupting Quinn’s soliloquy, or so it feels like, and the buzz around The Globe is palpable. Starting as a whisper but growing into a chorus as the lights darken while images begin to flicker on the viewers screens. Images of violence, war, and a solitary figure watching it all.
The chanting has grown louder now and the drumbeats of Nightwish’s “Seven Days to the Wolves” rise in volume as mist spreads throughout the stadium, ghostly images of great heroes and villains forming two parallel lines along the ramp.
The rock part of the song kicks in and thunder roared while fire erupts on the stage, revealing the cowled form of the East Wind Alex Reyn, his hands outstretched over the flames. He’s shirtless, save for an open black cloak with a wolf skull mask. His body covered in ancient symbols and markings that seemed almost to glow and move in the firelight.
“And her opponent!! From Seattle, Washington! Weighing in at two hundred pounds! The First Predator! The East Wind! Alex REYN!!
The flames spread down the aisle in a flash! Igniting the signature Red Carpet and turning it ash black as Reyn begins to walk forward, and the ghostly figures kneel as he approaches them, only to rise up as he passes them as if more energized, turning to watch as he walks, Reyn himself never breaking eye contact with the ring. In contrast to the NORMAL reaction to their hometown being mentioned, the Seattle audience BOOS loudly. This monster is NOT one of them!
“Well, looks like Reyn IS taking this seriously.” The Mark says.
“As he should.” Reese replies.
“But that could be bad for Valorie.” Quinn notes, “E.Z was able to take him off-guard partially BECAUSE Reyn was looking past him, Valorie might not get the same opportunity.”
“She won’t need it.”
“Howl! Seven days to the wolves
Where will we be when they come?
Seven days to the poison
And a place in heaven
Time drawing near us
They come to take us.”
Reyn climbs atop the top rope and stares down at the crowd for a few seconds. Thereafter, coldly, Reyn steps down removing the cowl and placing it on the ring post before turning to stare down his opponent.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
Valorie isn’t waiting around! She’s seen how Reyn likes to take people off guard! She’s going to give him a taste of his medicine!
Big boot! No! Reyn blocks it, but Valorie follows up with a roundhouse kick. Reyn ducks under, trying to trip her up with a leg sweep, but Valorie jumps over the sweeping leg, coming down with a double foot stomp!
No, missed! Reyn has rolled out the way!
They’re both up! Valorie on the atta- wait, no! It’s a feint! A page out of Reyn’s playbook as she slips past him! Handstand on the top ropes, Reyn turns to attack Valorie, but she falls back, twisting into a huricanrana to take the East Wind down!
First blood to Valorie, and she’s not wasting time! She’s calling, beckoning for the Sweet Chin Remix!
The roundhouse fires!
…And stops dead as Reyn catches the leg.
The East Wind slowly raises his head to look at her. An amused smile and cold eyes zero in on her.
Dragon scre- Valorie with a modified monkey flip to toss him overhead! She’s got wrist control. Trying to get him over onto his stomach for a surfboard curbstomp, but Reyn suddenly grapevines his leg around hers to catch her into a rolling knee bar-
Valorie is having NONE of that! She pulls her leg free with an almost panicked look! Backing off fast!
“Like I mentioned earlier, I think the very reputation of Alex Reyn might have gotten into Miss Vitality’s head. We all know how Reyn can dissect you and I think she’s worried about that too!”
The amused look is back. Reyn tilts his head curiously, slowly, without any urgency, the East Wind begins walking closer to his opponent.
Valorie is up ! She tries the same flank into springboard trick that took Reyn down before, but Alex has already slipped out of the ring and her moonsault hits nothing but canvas!
Gritting her teeth in pain, Valorie looks out the ring, and her eyes lock with the East Wind. That same pitiless, inhuman look. The same unhurried, eerily graceful movements as he slides, snakelike back into the ring. Rising to stand above her. Never breaking eye contact…Valorie kips up and smashes Reyn in the jaw with her forearm! She REFUSES to be intimidated!
A smile spreads on Reyn’s face… he slowly turns to-
Spinning back elbow catches him in the jaw! Roundhouse to the gut! Spinning back kick smacks him across the face!!
“YES!! THAT’S IT! STAY ON HIM!! DON’T GET DISTRACTED BY THE SMACK TALK!!”
To the surprise of his colleagues, it’s QUINN cheering, not Allie.
“…What, I appreciate good wrestling.”
One kick combo has done an excellent job.
…Time for another.
Sweet! Chin! RE-
Reyn cuts her down with a spear!
There’s a wince from the fan as the running strike knocks the wind from Valorie’s lungs! Her ruthless opponent has grabbed her by her wrist, dragging her to the corner so he head is resting against the ringpost as he slips out the ring.
No! Valorie has it scouted! She slips out behind Reyn! German Sup- No! Reyn flips out on his feet, but Valorie has already leapt onto the ring steps and taken him down with a moonsault!
She dashes back into the ring, hitting the ropes and coming flying out the ring with a Sasuke Special into Suicide Spiral Tap!!!
“Holy Shit! Holy Shit! Holy Shit!”
Valorie has Reyn rolled into the ring! Adrenaline is running high as she climbs to the top rope!
It connects, but now she has to go up top AGAIN for the second one. She’s clutching her ribs. Still winded from the impact of her own move. The sequence of high impact, high energy moves are having a cost on her stamina, and her movements are slower than normal. Her climbing less steady.
Diving Moonsault # 2!
Reyn gets the knees up!
She crashes down HARD on the sharp points of his knees and the ruthless Reyn doesn’t waste a second to strike, trapping her neck in a sudden guillotine! Cutting off oxygen to her brain as he wraps his legs around her waist to trap her in place.Immediately the audience sees her hand hailing, desperately reaching out to the ropes, as she tries to break free of his submission hold!
Reaches out… Got the ropes!
It’s a clean break from the East Wind, but Valorie isn’t out of danger. As she rolls onto her hands and knees, coughing violently, a boot STAMPS down on the back of her neck, driving her face into the mat!
He grabs her leg again. Looking for a dragon screw, but once again, Valorie is VERY wary of a limb being made Reyn’s target and Yanks it out of his grip! Actually pulling Reyn face first into the top turnbuckle! She slips behind him! Grabbing a waist-lock on her stunned opponent.
O-Connor roll into German Suplex!
Valorie knows she needs to stay on the offence! She grabs HIS legs now! Trying to get him over for Soldier’s Last Hoorah (STF Camel Clutch), but he shoves her off! She uses that momentum to her advantage though, hitting the ropes that are only a few feet away, rebounding off them with a basement dropkick that NARROWLY misses Reyn’s face! Valorie IMMEDIATELY moves out the way! Instinctually knowing a counterattack is comin and indeed, a vicious punt kick strikes the air where Val’s head had been a second ago!
She’s on her feet and her eyes once more lock on her opponent’s! Fierce defiance meeting calculating cruelty even as the fans cheer the sequence!
A heartbeat of tension.
Then it’s Reyn that moves! Slipping past Valorie for a flanking strike of his own! A chop block to her knees, that Valorie BACKFLIPS OVER!!!
She’s behind the East Wind now! Grabbing a waistlock on Reyn for a DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX!!
No! Reyn flips out! He lands behind her! East Wind Cutter!
He gets her up, but Valorie braces her feet against the middle rope and pushes off to counter into a Shiranui, but Reyn reverses grip to turn the Shiranui into an inverted brainbu-
VALORIE COUNTERS WITH AN INVERTED POISON RANA TO SPIKE HIM ON HIS HEAD!!!!
This might be it! A chance to put away the East Wind! She moves to the corner. The fans clap along as she begins the classic stomps made famous by former World Champion and wrestling legend “Champagne” Shane Watkins. Beckoning, DARING Reyn to get up as he slowly makes his way to his feet, still recovering from the move just before! She calls for it…
As she swings the kick, Reyn drops low, and a dropkick strikes the knee that is supporting all her weight.
She’s on the mat. Unable to stop the cry of agony. Pain is shooting through her knee, and fear is evident on her face. This is her worst case scenario. She got cocky. She gave Reyn a target.
She tries to crawl to the ropes. Maybe get out the ring. She knows her rana driver did some damage, maybe it bought her enough time to…
Reyn grabs her ankle and stomps down on the inside of her knee.
Another cry of pain. He keeps a hold of her ankle. Dragging her to the corner so that the ringpost is between her legs.
Slingshot Swinging Dropkick crushes her knee against the post!
Valorie’s face has gone pale, but the torture won’t stop as Reyn swings her leg into the unforgiving metal.
He climbs up top. Valorie’s leg is still hanging of the apron.
Diving stomp to the leg… JUST misses as Valorie pulls it out the firing line! She tries to scramble away! To get some distance!
…Not fast enough.
SPRINGBOARD METEORA CRUSHES HER SKULL AGAINST THE MAT!!
VALORIE STILL HAS FIGHT!!
Despite her defiance though, she had to kick out with her injured knee, and the calculated East Wind has grabbed it in an inverted half crab. Bending the knee torturously in the centre of the-
VALORIE COUNTERS WITH A WHEELBARROW FACEBUSTER!!
It’s a moment of respite, but Valorie’s leg is in utter agony. She crawls away, trying to put weight on it, but instead collapses. Another attempt to pick herself up, and again she falls to her knees.
Meanwhile, like the killer in a slasher movie, The East Wind has risen to its feet. Slowly making his way to his fallen opponent. The same eerie, patient walk.
Gritting her teeth, FORCING herself to stand despite the agony in her legs, Valorie tries to adopt a fighting stance.
But Reyn is quicker, healthier, he takes advantage of his opponent’s wounded state.
A palm strike to her nose causes her eyes to water.
A straight right strikes her orbital bone.
A left hook is fired at her temp-ONLY TO GET CAUGHT WITH A CROSS ARMBREAKER!!
Her resilience had let Valorie counter out of nowhere! This could be her chance to turn this around!
Reyn places his foot on the bottom rope.
(Commentary note. That positioning was no accident. He had purposefully herded her to the ropes in case she tried some kind of counter.)
There’s conflict on Valorie’s face… should she keep the hold illegally, or…?
With a look of deep reluctance, she lets the East Wind free.
He looks down at her as he rises to his feet, but instead of angered, he looks impressed. He gives a small incline of his head. A nod of appreciation to her spirit.
She’s holding onto the top rope for support, She tries to surprise him again with a superkick, but her leg just doesn’t have the strength, and a leg sweep has the back of her head smacking violently against the canvas!
Lights flash behind her vision, her ears are ringing.
Then blood flies as Reyn kicks her across the face. Boot like a whip crack that breaks her nose.
She’s rolled onto her stomach now and Reyn is on top of her. Cruelly precise palmstrikes striking the back of her head.
She tries to stand. To maybe get Reyn up for an electric chair or backpack stunner. To try and fight back against her torturer. But the weight is too much for her injured knee and she collapses back on the mat.
The East Wind has switched his grip.
A grounded dragon screw forces a scream of pain.
A second dragon screw. The crowd is booing loudly.
A third, looking like it’s tearing her leg from its socket.
He doesn’t stop. He won’t stop. Like he has done with so many before him, he’s tearing her apart.
The ringpost is between her legs again. He rolls out the ring.
Valorie can’t even cry out at this point. Her face has gone ash white as Reyn rolls back in the ring. He doesn’t attack though. Instead he watches, watches as the referee runs to check on her. With her leg in its current state, she might not be able to continue. She’s having to use the ropes to support her weight. Not able to stand under her own power.
The referee tries to reason with her, but she waves him off. He ties again, more insistent, but this time she angrily shoves him back! She will NOT go out without a fight!
Watching from his corner, the East Wind smiles.
He walks closer, hands clasped behind his back, a look of respect on his face even as Valorie glares daggers at him.
A right hook, directly at her temp.
…Goes over head as Valorie falls back, holding onto the top rope to swing her body like a pendulum and KICK REYN IN THE KNEE WITH HER GOOD LEG!!
A cheer from the fans! The East Wind is down! And suddenly his vertical advantage isn’t as overwhelming! Especially now that Valorie has grabbed his leg to lock in the Last Hoorah!!
They’re too close to the ropes though, Reyn can easily reach out and get a break! Valorie tries to roll them into the centre of the ring, but in doing so, she can’t keep her grip as well and Reyn is able to slip out, but for the first time in several minutes, Valorie Vitality has the initiative and catches the East Wind by surprise with a small package!
REYN KICKS OUT!!
He’s got her up, East Wind… Valorie lifts herself up so she’s on his shoulders in a powerslam position! SWINGING DDT!!
Reyn’s head is spiked! She tries to pull herself to her feet. She tries to stand. The fans are willing her on. She just has to bear through the pain. Just has to fight through it to deliver the one move she KNOWS could put this monster away.
She’s waiting for the East Wind to stand. Eyes laser focused on him!
SWEET CHIN RE-
The injured leg buckles. Not able to support her weight.
The kick goes wide, and the opportunistic Alex is all too quick to capitalise.
East! Wind! Cutter (Lifting rolling cutter)!!
Ding! Ding! Ding!
“Here is your winner! The East Wind, Alex Reyn!
“A losing effort for Valorie, but a valiant one.” Quinn praises “She should hold her head high.”
“…Yeah, but what does Reyn have to say about it?” The Mark adds nervously.
Indeed, Reyn is standing up now. Blood is flowing from a cut above his eye from where Valorie’s last DDT re-opened his Gold Rush wound. He goes outside the ring, grabbing a steel chair.
“Oh, come on, ENOUGH!!” Reese screams.
But of course, it’s never enough for Reyn as Valorie is dragged into the corner. Chair placed on the bottom rope so the edge is against her throat. A gruesome mirror to Freddie Rich’s fate.
The East Wind backs into the corner. Waiting until Valorie is awake enough to see it coming.
Then he charges. Several fans turn away in horror!
But instead of a scream, they hear a gasp of shock.
Instead of kicking the chair into her throat, Reyn has leaped onto the second rope above her head and is now looking down at Valorie though a crimson mask while her eyes are pin pricks.
She knows that the only reason her throat isn’t caved in right now is because he CHOSE not to do so,
The East Wind steps back. Smiling beneath his crimson mask.
And he bows to his opponent before slipping out the ring.
AN INTERRUPTED CELEBRATION
Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat revel in their victorious GLOBAL match, their spirits are high and adrenaline pumping. Tony Sweat, completely drenched in his own sweat, grabs a nearby #FTK shirt to wipe the perspiration from his face. Turning to his masked partner, he poses a question with a mischievous grin.
“You know what truly makes kids special, Maniac?”
The masked partner turns towards Tony, playing along with a playful shrug as if setting up the perfect opportunity for a punchline.
Tony Sweat exclaims with enthusiasm, “Their hot moms! Especially if they happen to be single.”
The Masked Maniac chuckles and nods in agreement, sharing Tony’s lighthearted sentiment. He responds, “Indeed, it was a great victory against a legendary team tonight! Who would have thought the Salamanders would make a special appearance in GLOBAL, and we had the privilege of facing them? This win marks the beginning of our journey toward gold, Tony. If we stay focused on our goal, the sky’s the limit.”
While the Masked Maniac talks about the path to success, Tony Sweat’s mind drifts elsewhere, fueled by his enthusiasm. He interrupts, “You know, Maniac, victories attract attention from the ladies. Let’s go celebrate our triumph with an epic after-party.”
At that exact moment, Gemini rounds the corner as if he had been there the entire time, watching and waiting for his best moment.
“There’s more to this life than after parties,” The masked enigma says, “there is hard work, preparation, and teamwork.”
When he says the word teamwork, Chris Smith shows up behind the Bros, flanking them.
“But the most important is trust,” Smith begins. “You all have started taking from us, and using our shirts was never approved by us.”
“Not to mention messing with what I say about things,” Gemini chimes in as the Bros rubber neck almost comically.
Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat extend a friendly welcome to their #FTK “friends,” with Tony Sweat admiring their shirts and exclaiming, “Nice shirts.”
As Tony is captivated by the popular Global merchandise, Masked Maniac’s attention is drawn to Gemini’s face cover, his mask. He playfully remarks, “Ooooh, nice dome cover, my friend. Who is your tailor, I must get in touch?”
At this point, Gemini and Chris Smith quickly realize that they are dealing with a couple of mental kids in Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat. Just when Maniac seems to reach out and try to touch the mask, Gemini smacks his hand away.
“You don’t get to touch, kid,” He bellows. “You don’t get to go stealing things from people and make it something it’s not. I won’t let you do it anymore.”
Masked Maniac and Tony Sweat look at each other as if shocked by the reactions.
“Getting people to think that this shirt stands for anything other than what it stands for,” Gemini explains.
The Bros respond in unison, “For thee…”
“FUCK THEM KIDS!” Gemini cuts them off to correct them. “And if you keep taking what I have created, then we are going to treat you like the kids you are and royally fuck you up!”
Again the innocent routine from the Bros.
“And this is far from a joke,” Smith adds and leans in, making his nearly 400 pounds even more imposing.
The Masked Maniac turns his attention to his sweaty friend, noticing the mix of confusion and brewing anger on his face. Sensing the tension in the room, the Masked Maniac steps forward, attempting to diffuse the situation.
“Look, you have a mask. I have a mask. We obviously just got off on the wrong foot. We are here for the kids.” he says, emphasizing their shared purpose.
Before the Masked Maniac can finish his sentence, Tony Sweat interjects with enthusiasm, sweat flying from his animated response, hitting both Gemini and Chris Smith as they snarl and dodge.
Tony Sweat interrupts, saying – sweat flies from his animated response nailing both Gemini and Chris Smith as they snarl and dodge.
“And the ladies!” Tony Sweat exclaims, his voice filled with a mix of determination and a mischievous charm.
The Masked Maniac raises an eyebrow but quickly regains his composure, realizing that his partner’s exuberance might have taken over. He continues, attempting to smooth things over.
Masked Maniac continues. “Let’s just cough this up as a simple misunderstanding and continue to do this FOR THE KIDS!”
“I told you they would keep doing this,” Smith says as Gemini steps closer to him, and they watch the Bros get further away.
“They better mind they business,” Big G states.
Smith chides his partner, “Or?”
“You know what,” Gemini replies.
“Come on, G,” Smith grins a little. “You have to say it now.”
Gemini shakes his head then suddenly blurts, “Fuck them kids”
“Now we’re talking!” Smith chuckles as he reacts.
As the duo departs, the Masked Maniac and the drenched Tony Sweat are left behind, basking in the glory of their triumphant debut. They continue to revel in their hard-fought victory, savoring the moment and relishing their well-deserved celebration.
“And the other muffin screams ‘AHHH! A talking muffin!’”
The audience laughs at Jerry’s punchline.
He is standing beneath the spotlight inside a dingy comedy club, but his mind is elsewhere.
For the last two weeks he has sat in his apartment thinking about the offer The Jester had made in the mirror. Could he really make more money by teaming with this other-worldly creature who stands at the side of Kings and Queens? Could he trust the words of the man that had crept in on him at his weakest of moments?
Jerry is telling another joke but even he isn’t listening to it. He is just going through the motions.
Someone in the crowd is BOOING Jerry David. Booing!
Jerry squints, looking out into the darkness beyond the spotlight, but it is useless, he can’t pick anyone out from the crowd.
“I said boo, Jerry.”
The voice is familiar; gravelly and British.
“I told you not to keep me waiting. Yet here I am, Jerry… Waiting.”
A second spotlight switches on, illuminating The Jester, who is perched on the end of one of the clubs round tables.
Jerry notices now that the reason he can’t pick out any audience members is because there aren’t any. He is alone, with the exception of The Jester.
How long has he been standing on this stage?
His throat is sore.
Has he been speaking for a long time? It is hard to say. He realises that he can’t remember the start of this gig. He can’t remember the green room, or the name or face of the promoter.
Where is he, exactly?
What day is it?
“Will you join me, Jerry? I need your answer. I…” The Jester drags his hand up his ribs and rubs his nipple, pinching it, “I NEED it.”
The last two weeks have been long and quiet. Two weeks of self-reflection in a small apartment can go one of two ways; it can drive a man insane, or give him crystal clear clarity.
Fortunately for Jerry, the latter was the case. He had realised that a man sneaking around in the shadows is not the kind of man you put your faith into. He had also seen footage of a bizarre incident on a rooftop, and that for him had been the final straw.
The Jester cackles.
“No? NO? Who are you to tell me no? You spend your evenings skulking around basements telling jokes about your COCK, barely making rent every month, and you have the GAUL to say no to ME, a loyal subject to the King of England?”
Jerry readjusts his feet, standing firm.
“Jerry David, you have made your bed. Now ye shall lie in it.”
The Jester clicks his fingers and the lights cut out, plunging Jerry into darkness.
Thursday, 12th January 1984.
Bright pink T-shirts flood the streets of Chicago on a cold winter’s morning. The weather channel had forecast rain, but so far none has fallen. Thick grey clouds look ominously overhead as runners plod along the dim streets of downtown Chicago.
The year is 1984 and the AIDS epidemic has been sweeping the globe for several years. Prominent AIDS activists have succumb to the disease, and many hundreds of other homosexual men have also fallen to the feet of Death, who now stands in his Chicago apartment window, looking down at the runners passing him by.
“It is a futile endeavour, to run,” Death says.
Over his shoulder, inside his small apartment, a party has broken out. He didn’t intend it to be a party, but in hindsight inviting the Universe’s most evil and malevolent beings into one small apartment, and providing a buffet, was probably asking for trouble.
“Running never helped anybody in my experience,” Adolf Hitler shouts back as he skips and dances around Pol Pot like he is a human Maypole.
“No,” Death agrees, “it certainly did not.”
Death turns his attention back to the stream of runners passing by below.
“These people run to raise funds. But no amount of money can fend off the inevitable,” Death continues, shaking his bony head.
“And what’s the inevitable?” Shouts Mr. Rogers, whose cardigan is completely unbuttoned, showing off his pale shirtless torso and hairy nipples. He slams back a shot of vodka and tosses the shot glass over his shoulder before slipping his tongue into Amy Winehouse’s wide open, waiting mouth, tipping her back so far that a small army of head lice escape her disgusting greasy mat of hair.
Death spits over the balcony, hitting one of the runners who collapses immediately as if he has been struck by sniper fire.
“I am, I suppose,” Death muses.
“There’s two things that are inevitable, are there not, old friend?”
Of all the people in the apartment; Hitler, Pol Pot, Amy Winehouse, Mr. Rogers, Chris Benoit’s wife, Robin Williams… This was by far the most evil. And what’s worse, the son of a bitch didn’t have the good grace to die.
Wearing his trademark pinstripe suit and Nacho Cheese bag of Doritos upturned on his head, he stands at the side of Death and slaps him on the back.
By all accounts Doritos should have dropped dead there and then, but Death had become resigned to the fact that he had no effect on Doritos Man. He wasn’t particularly happy about it, but then, he wasn’t happy about much these days.
“Death and taxis.”
“Taxes,” Death corrects him.
Doritos shakes his head.
He points his finger as a yellow taxi ploughs through the crowd, sending runners flying through the air. Those lucky enough to be missed by the taxi cab run in all directions, screaming.
“Like I said, man. Death… and taxis.”
Doritos looks Death in the eyes. Or rather, where his eyes ought to be.
“Are you okay? You look like shit.”
“I’m not sure.”
“What’s the matter, kid?”
Death gestures broadly at the crowd below, the blood and litter of bodies lying strewn across the street.
“I may have slipped and fell inside one of these… people,” Death admits.
“You don’t say?”
Doritos looks at the crotch of Death.
“Twice,” he admits, holding up two skeletal fingers.
Doritos scratches his head, rustling the bag.
“It was quite easy. He was dead at the time.”
The two men watch in silence as the police drag a black man from the taxi cab and beat him relentlessly. The runners quickly disperse from the street and the fun run comes to a premature end.
Meanwhile, inside the apartment, Kurt Cobain lifts his head from the dining table, powder smeared across his nose, half of his skull missing and his brains leaking out, dripping down his plaid shirt.
“Wooooo! Yeah! This shit will blow your fuckin’ brains out!”
TRUTH CONTROL & DANIEL DREAM
CRUSADER X, ALFIE BUTTON, EL PRINCIPE & 'LEGEND' SEAN DARRING
Back at ringside, the atmosphere is electric ahead of the night’s (quite literally) big Main Event, which pits four of the most notable talents in GLOBAL Wrestling against four of its most reviled. When the camera pans to the announce table, it becomes clear that even the announcers are struggling to maintain their professional composure.
“And ladies and gentlemen, still to come is tonight’s Main Event, an absolutely huge eight-man tag team match between Truth Control with Daniel Dream, and the team of Alfie Button, Crusader X, El Principe and the GLOBAL World Champion, ‘Legend’ Sean Darring.” Mark Deltzer, taking over Lucas’ function for once, turns towards his two broadcast partners. “Now, I don’t know about you guys, but the way I see it, this one’s either going to be the single greatest match in GLOBAL Wrestling history, or a gigantic fustercluck. There’s really no middle ground here.”
“I agree, actually, Mark.” Lucas Quinn nods in acknowledgment of his partner’s valid opinion. “These four men had a tense – and INTENSE – confrontation earlier tonight, and it became clear that not only is there no love loss between the two sides, but the sides THEMSELVES are in-fighting!”
“You mean Truth is driving everybody away…” Allie cannot hide her displeasure as she is forced to bring up GLOBAL’s single most controversial superstar. “Honestly? I don’t blame Daniel Dream. I wouldn’t want anything to do with that man, either.”
“Still, Al, that brings up the question of whether those guys are going to be able to coexist, or if their alliance is going to implode before it even begins…”
“You’re assuming there IS an alliance, Mark. What I heard was Daniel Dream say he was only out for himself. Doesn’t sound very allegiant, if you ask me…”
“…good point, Al.” Mark’s unwavering acceptance of his co-host’s viewpoint causes both Allie and Lucas to gawp, but the younger of the two male commentators simply goes on, seemingly unaware of the reaction he has caused. “Well, that makes it even more of an uphill battle for Truth, doesn’t it?”
“Good. He SHOULD fight uphill battles. Preferably away from GLOBAL.”
As Allie’s vitriol towards Truth once again leaves her colleagues speechless, the appearance of the first of the two teams involved brings the Seattle fans to their feet. Unsurprisingly, Darring’s contingent presents a united front, highlighted by their choice of Judas Priest’s song of the same name as their entrance theme, and by the fact that all four men come out together, each clad in the colors of their respective country: El Principe in the red, white and green of his native Mexico, Alfie sporting Union Jack tights under the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and both Sean Darring and Crusader X in Stars and Stripes-themed attire, including a custom mask for the luchador.
“It’s not every day you see Crusader X out of the black and white, but I guess the situation called for it..”
“That’s right, Mark. He wants to make a point, and so do the rest of these men. Truth and his posse HAVE to be taken down a peg. No ifs, buts or maybes.”
Unfortunately, while Allie’s point is as valid as it is accurate, the four men’s desire to make a statement by combining entrances leaves them prone to the all-but-expected attack from behind from Truth Control, who come rushing out from behind the curtain, to a chorus of boos, to catch their opponents by surprise.
“Oh, for the love of—! Absolutely freaking typical!”
“…don’t tell me you weren’t expecting it, Al. Like these guys would ever give up an advantage against any of these men…”
“Oh, I WAS, Mark! But, you know…at Gold Rush, against The Great Wall, these guys actually came out without attacking anyone, for once. So I thought maybe…”
“Well, clearly, you thought wrong.”
Before anybody on the fan-favorite team can do anything, John J. Truth has clattered Principe with a big lariat from behind, while his two goons have each grabbed hold of one half of the Alfie Button-Crusader X tag team, whom they immediately begin to punish with vicious knee strikes to the stomach and groin, alongside clobbering blows to the back of the head. This leaves Sean Darring with the task of attempting to turn the tide for his side – a task made all the more difficult by the presence of John Truth, who almost immediately engages the GLOBAL Champion, poking him in the eyes before rocking him with a headbutt. As Darring reels back a couple of steps and Truth rushes in with a big boot to the midsection, The Man Who Fell to Earth can be heard irritably yelling out “WHERE THE HELL’S DREAM?!”, indicating this initiative is not going entirely according to plan. Still, he and his Truth Control acolytes valiantly soldier on by themselves, actually managing to inflict some damage on their respective targets.
“Looks like you were right about this alliance between Truth and Dream, Al…”
“To be fair, Mark, a pre-schooler could have seen that coming…”
As a chastised Deltzer offers no follow-up to his partner’s typically #savage comment, in the ring, the tide begins to turn, as Darring is able to counter Truth’s relentless barrage of offence with a simple eye gouge, giving The Man Who Fell to Earth his receipt from earlier before connecting with a similarly simple, yet effective elbow to the head, which rocks the controversial superstar and allows Darring to throw him under the ropes and into the ring, allowing referee Aaron Powell to finally get the match under way.
“The GLOBAL Champion fighting fire with fire there, to counter Truth’s offence…AND NOW LOOK AT THIS!!”
The fans erupt as Crusader X and Alfie each manage to escape their own predicament with tandem poisoned frankensteiners, which send each of the two members of Truth Control sprawling across the concrete floor!
“WHAT AGILITY from Alfie Button and Crusader X!”
“And what STRENGTH! Those aren’t small guys to be tossing over like that!”
The commentators’ impressed demeanor is echoed by the fans, who all but erupt at the tandem move by the two rivals-cum-allies. Knowing there is no time to waste, the two then rush over to where Principe lies prone and, working together, manage to lift him up and carry him over to their team’s corner, where Alfie sets about reviving him, while Crusader calls out to Darring that they are available to help.
“Darring’s team is in place in the corner…and still no sign of Daniel Dream…”
“With Dream MIA and his two goons laid out, it looks like Truth could ACTUALLY be up against the world, for once…”
“Oooh, I hope so! I’m not usually in favor of unfair advantages, but Truth fighting by himself against these four men? Can you imagine that?”
Allie’s undisguised glee is short-lived, as, not a moment later, a figure appears atop the ramp, hands hooked in his tights, the yellow mask contrasting with his American flag attire as he begins to casually saunter down to ringside, under the boos of the fans. All of a sudden, every eye in the Seattle arena is trained on the Number One Contender, rather than on the action inside the ring, where Darring and Truth continue to have a visceral brawl. Unlike their initially respectful encounter for the World Title in Vancouver, both men’s gloves appear to be off here, as they punch, kick, headbutt, low-blow and especially chop one another all around the canvas.
“John Truth and Sean Darring are really going at each other right now, but the real story here at the moment is the arrival of Number One Contender Daniel Dream, who was not here for the start of the scheduled match, and who has only now come to ringside, and without his manager, Benedict Beel Zebub, by his side.”
“I wonder what’s going through his head right now, Lucas. What’s driving him?”
“Well, if you ask me, Mark – and I know you didn’t – I’d say he’s trying to rattle BOTH sides, so he can gain a mindgames advantage over both Truth and Darring. I may not like Dream, but he’s been pretty upfront about being in this for himself, and himself only, so it makes sense that he’d want to throw both of his main opponents off-balance…”
“That’s actually a great analysis, Allie. Makes perfect sense to me…”
As Lucas compliments his colleague on her inferences, at ringside, Daniel Dream has reached in to pull John Truth out of the ring, causing the two Truth Control acolytes to immediately shoot around the ring to confront the Number One Contender. Darring, however, is not about to let Dream just have his own way, either, and promptly steps in, telling his future opponent, in no uncertain terms, to back off, and let him finish his business with Truth. As for The Man Who Fell to Earth, he is reduced to snarling incoherence, merely repeating “YOU BASTARD” over and over as he attempts to lunge at Dream over Darring’s back, his two acolytes having to struggle to bring him back into focus, and make him reassess his priorities.
“This is SUCH a trainwreck! I LOVE it!”
Allie’s sentiment appears to be mirrored by most of the Seattle crowd, who is at absolute fever pitch over these events. Their excitement, however, quickly turns sour once more as Truth, his composure forcibly reestablished by his two bodyguards, takes advantage of Darring’s distraction with Dream to spin the Champion around, nail him with a knee to the gut, then throw him down with an almost insolent facebuster. As he picks Darring up, smashes his head against the turnbuckle, then rolls him into the ring, however, his gaze remains fixed on Dream, whom he admonishes to the effect that they are “not [BLEEP]ing done.”
“It definitely does NOT smell like team spirit between these four men and TRIPLE SUICIDE DIVE ONTO DREAM AND TRUTH CONTROL!!!!”
Indeed, while the controversial team was arguing amongst themselves, the three smaller members of the fan-favorite ensemble have taken it upon themselves to create an advantage for their team by vaulting over the ropes together and crashing onto their opponents, Principe landing square on John Truth whilst Alfie dives onto Daniel Dream and Crusader X takes both members of Border Control for a tumble. All seven men crumple onto the cement floor, as the fans explode in chants of “HO-LY-[BLEEP]!” Amidst all the chaos, referee Aaron Powell somehow continues his inexorable count.
Before the biggest referee in GLOBAL can go any further, however, the only fully conscious person in the immediate vicinity – the same man who had been in trouble from a sneak attack not long before – slides out of the ring to retrieve one of his opponents and bring them in himself. Despite having the pick of all the bodies at ringside, however, he naturally goes for the legal man for the opposing team, one John J. Truth, which he rolls under the bottom rope before re-entering the ring himself.
“Darring showing leadership befitting a World Champion, and putting a stop to all this madness. Personal as it is, the Champ wants to settle it where it should be settled, in the ring.”
“What, you’re not going to be the cheering section for Dream today, Quinn?”
“Well…as much as I appreciate his talent, I can’t in good conscience support anybody who aligns even slightly with…people like THAT.”
Who the “people like THAT” are is inferred from the announcer’s disgusted tone as, in the ring, Darring has finally managed to bring some wrestling into this wrestling match. With Truth still dazed from the collision with the flying body of El Principe, the Champion has no trouble putting him in a double underhook position, ahead of delivering a suplex. He rolls through to his feet, picks Truth up again, and connects with another suplex, a belly-to-back this time. He picks his opponent up again, and delivers a snap suplex. Each ‘thud’ of the mat is met with a roar from the fans in attendance.
“Calm and collected…Sean Darring showing us why he has the respect of virtually the entire GLOBAL locker room!”
“Well…aside from those four men on the outside…”
As his team regain their positions in the turnbuckle and let him know that they are there if he needs them, Darring once again floors John with a belly-to-belly suplex, before picking himself up and acknowledging his team-mates with a nod. Then, to the delight of the Seattle crowd, he backs up onto his corner and tags in El Principe!
“SEAN DARRING JUST TAGGED IN EL PRINCIPE!! TIME TO GET SOME SWEET REVENGE, BABY!!”
As Deltzer’s volume rises in tandem with that of the crowd, El Principe picks up right where Darring left off, taking advantage of Truth’s dazed state to connect with…
Once, twice, three times does Truth hit the mat as the sequence of three suplexes is performed to completion, further sending the fans in attendance into a frenzy. Principe, however, is far from done, and promptly picks his opponent up again for an Aztec suplex. Truth comes alive and tries to block the move, but gets thrown over regardless. As he gets up, however, The Man Who Fell to Earth is swinging for the fences, rushing towards Principe with a big boot; the luchador, however, leapfrogs it, landing behind Truth and promptly going for an ankle lock. The fans cheer, but only for a moment, as Truth mule-kicks his opponent away, then turns over and, from a prone position, thrusts both feet into Principe’s chest, sending him reeling backwards! This gives the controversial superstar time to pull himself to his feet, but no sooner has he done so than he gets sent back down again by a seated senton from Principe!
“Fast-paced offence here by Principe, and Truth is struggling to keep up…”
“That’s right, Lucas. See, that’s what happens when you force the man to ACTUALLY wrestle. Anyone can cheat his way out of a cage, or beat up a manager. But hanging in there with actual athletes…that’s just a little bit trickier.”
#Savage Allie has a point, as, following the senton, Principe continues to frustrate Truth by using his quickness and reflexes to dodge his attempts at offence, and land blows of his own, including his trademark Dolores Bell clap, harking back to the two men’s first encounter, and a leg sweep which drops Truth flat on his behind, to the raucous amusement of the crowd. Predictably, Truth is not exactly best pleased with being laughed at, and his next attack doubles in intensity – but also in recklessness, causing his wild clothesline attempt to get caught and reversed into an arm wringer and a back rake.
“A taste of his own medicine for John Truth just there, and…OUCH! That had to hurt for Principe!”
Indeed, a fed-up Truth has just stomped on his opponent’s foot, releasing his hold and throwing him off long enough for Truth to finally connect with a big boot!
“The Boot of Truth strikes Principe…and it looks like Truth is not done yet!”
Indeed, now that he has an outlet for his frustration, The Man Who Fell to Earth is quick to use it, unleashing a barrage of stomps on Principe until referee Aaron Powell forcibly puts an end to it under threat of disqualification. Truth appears more than happy to mouth off at GLOBAL’s largest ref, despite his size, but eventually (counselled by his own acolytes, now in place behind the turnbuckle) chooses to let the matter go, instead walking over to the corner to tag in the larger of the two men.
“Truth sending his goons in to do the dirty work…typical.”
Wishing to distract Allie from her relentless streak of hate towards Truth, Quinn engages her in a conversation he knows will stimulate her.
“Actually, as this is the first time we have the opportunity to see these men wrestle…Allie, what can you tell us about them?”
Allie’s tone audibly peps up as a rustle of notes indicates she is in her element.
“Well, Lucas…apparently, the larger one is named…” She pauses, her tone becoming incredulous when she once again speaks. “…A. Lincoln? Are you serious? And the other one is down as G. Washington?”
“Ha! We should start referring to them as the Dead Presidents!”
“It’s not funny, Mark! This is disrespectful!”
“BIG powerslam from…did you say this was Lincoln, Allie?”
“Apparently. I think their previous company had their names mixed up, though…they referred to Weasel Face there as Lincoln, and the other one as Washington…”
“Maybe they did that on purpose. You know, to confuse people so they don’t find out who’s who?”
“Actually…I can’t believe I’m saying this, Mark, but you’ve been pretty much on the ball tonight.”
“I thank you.”
As the announcers banter, in the ring, Lincoln (or is it Washington?) has been methodically destroying Principe, not just with the powerslam, as called by Lucas, but also a veritable array of other power moves, befitting of his size advantage over the luchador. In just the span of a few moments, the luchador gets dropped with a scoop slam, a tilt-a-whirl powerslam backbreaker, a sidewalk slam, and finally, a fallaway slam, which sends him flying into Truth Control’s corner. Not missing a beat, Lincoln promptly rushes in with a corner big boot, before backing up a few steps, only to connect with a running splash. A sadistic grin is visible on the big man’s features as he tags in his more slender partner, sticking around long enough to connect with a double lariat on Principe, which sends the luchador sliding down the ring post. The two men then set about stomping a mudhole into their opponent, but Aaron Powell puts an end to that, forcing Lincoln to retreat behind the tag rope. A lot of mouthing off from the big man ensues – as well as from his partner and John Truth – but he does eventually comply, giving his partner the floor.
“Tag made to the other half of Truth Control, and Principe has still yet to find his bearings after getting caught by Truth earlier…”
“Did you SEE what he just went through, Quinn? I’m surprised he’s even still alive!”
Softened by Lincoln’s impressive streak of power-based offence, Principe continues to be easy pickings for Washington, who drops a few elbows and knees on the prone luchador before staying down, and beginning to set up an armbar. Principe, however, shows enough presence of mind to reach for the ropes before Truth’s acolyte even has time to lock the hold in properly, bringing Aaron Powell over to force him to break the hold. Surprisingly, Washington does not seem too fussed by this, simply pulling Principe a few inches further away from the ropes and starting over anew. This time, however, the luchador actively fights to prevent the hold from being locked in, rolling over just enough that it makes it difficult for Washington to lock it in. Not best pleased by this, the Truth Control agent stands up and connects with a brutal curb stomp to the back of Principe’s head, which draws a gasp from the crowd, before pulling the luchador up into a sleeper hold. Principe, however, throws repeat elbows to his opponent’s stomach, once again averting his fate while also managing to break free from the hold attempt. He promptly turns around…
…straight into a headbutt from Washington, which sends him reeling backwards! Himself feeling the urgency, the agent promptly dives into a double-leg takedown…
…which Principe leapfrogs, leaving Washington grasping at air!!
“A lifeline for Principe, and he knows there is no time to waste here!”
Indeed, after coming down with a two-footed stomp on Washington’s back, the luchador books it to his corner, to tag in the first available team-mate; as such, when Washington gets to his feet, he has to contend with a fresh and VERY up-for-it Crusader X!
The Seattle crowd explode as the divisive superstar nails the Truth Control agent with a superkick, knocking him flat on his back. Displaying the fast pace he is known for, X then baseball-slides the Truth Control agent to the outside, before springboarding onto the ropes, dropping down onto the apron, then springboarding back onto the ropes for a picture-perfect Asai moonsault!
“Fantastic agility from Crusader X, but he won’t want to keep the match on the outside for too long. You never know what could happen…”
Indeed, as if proving Deltzer’s words correct, Agent Lincoln is seen coming around the side of the ring to the aid of his partner, which causes X to slide back into the ring; that status quo lasts no more than a moment, however, as the luchador is soon vaulting over the ropes again with a tope con hilo which takes down both men!
“TOPE CON HILO from Crusader X onto BOTH members of Truth Control…and look at Daniel Dream here!”
Indeed, as the dive connects, the Number One Contender makes absolutely no effort to intervene on his team’s behalf, instead simply watching with his hands hooked in his tights…before walking over to the announce table and picking up one of the spare pairs of headsets!!
“Oh, it appears Dream will be joining us for commentary here…hey, Daniel, shouldn’t you be out there?”
“Yeah. I should. But like I said…I don’t care one way or another. I’ll go in there when I go in there. Until then, these bozos can have their little catfight all on their own.”
“Doesn’t that leave your team at a disadvantage, though?” Allie does not bother hiding the reproach in her tone, but Dream simply laughs.
“Honey, what part of ‘I don’t care’ did you not understand? Until Sean Darring is back in that ring as the legal man, the American Dream is sitting pretty right here next to you guys. Either way, I’m getting paid, so…”
As the announcers are left speechless at Dream’s brazenness, Crusader X has managed to recover, sliding back into the ring and waiting for his two quarries to regain their own bearings, only to hit them with yet another suicide dive, taking them right back down again!
“Crusader X killing two birds with one stone there, but you have to wonder what that is doing to his own physical integrity…”
“I don’t think he cares, Lucas. Unlike SOME PEOPLE, X actually has a WORK ETHIC…”
As Dream openly stonewalls the veiled criticism towards his attitude, X rolls through to his feet and slides the legal man of Truth Control into the ring, just as the referee’s count moves past the halfway point. Then, after laying Washington in the exact right position for what he intends to do, he takes to the nearest turnbuckle, connecting with a diving tornillo which makes the Seattle crowd explode once again!
“WHAT AGILITY from Crusader X! And now here’s the cover!”
—Kickout by Washington!
“Close call there for the Crusader, but this match continues!”
Still clearly with the upper hand, X now picks up Washington for a Fosbury flop onto the corner; his upper body strength falters, however, and he stumbles and almost trips, being forced to release his opponent and change tack – which, to his credit, he does within no more than a moment, instead going for a Tequila Sunrise attempt. A somewhat revived Washington kicks him away, however, profiting from the opportunity to lunge towards the ropes and pull himself upright. X patiently waits for this process to come to a conclusion, then just as coolly runs in, leaping onto the ropes to look for the Parasite’s End DDT..
…only to get pulled off the ropes by Lincoln, from the outside!
The crowd boo as their favorite’s momentum is cut short, and Washington is able to regain control, plucking X off the top rope and throwing him into the center of the ring with a big back body drop! X is quick to pull himself to a kneeling position, but Washington is quicker, running in and sliding down to pull his opponent into a Kimura attempt! X fights back by way of punches, and the following few moments devolve into an all-out fight between the two men, as they roll around on the mat, each attempting to inflict the most damage with their own punches and headbutts. This comes to an end when Crusader suddenly jolts, clearly in pain, which causes him to stop his barrage of offence, and allows Washington to pull him down once again; a moment later, however, it is the agent’s turn to yelp in pain, as X rolls off the top of him, leaving him on the ground clutching at his right ear.
“I think somebody just got a receipt for being a sneaky bastard…”
“I wish that would have been on Truth, though. Then it would have been REALLY cathartic!”
As Allie voices her innermost desire, a few feet away, Crusader X – clearly still feeling the sting of what was very possibly a literal low blow – decides to take a respite, limping over to his corner to tag in his would-be tag team partner, Alfie Button. The crowd roar as the Londoner enters the fray, and makes a beeline straight for Agent Washington, who is still recovering from X’s desperation tactics.
“Alfie Button enters the fray, and let’s see if he can bring the momentum back around to his own team!”
The Brit certainly appears keen to try, as he introduces himself to Washington by way of his trademark shooting star press, instantly pleasing the fans!
“Heeeere’s….Alfie! And he’s going for the cover!”
Aaron Powell slides in…
The kickout does not seem to rattle Alfie overmuch, however, as he quickly performs a frogpump motion before connecting with an elbow, then just as swiftly kips up to a vertical position.
“Come On Down, folks!”
As Deltzer amuses himself in very much the same way he does when calling Kid Chameleon matches, Alfie considers the nearby ropes as a vehicle for one of his many springboard and slingshot moves; looking behind the prone Washington, however, he instantly spots the problem with that strategy, the same obstacle which had foiled his tag team partner moments earlier. Unlike X, however, Alfie has a solution for this issue, and promptly vaults through the middle rope to catch Lincoln completely unaware with a rolling thunder DDT!
“There’s Trouble in Paradise for Truth Control…”
“Goodnight, Lincoln. Or whichever one of the two you are…”
The crowd explodes as Alfie single-handedly takes out the much larger agent Lincoln, but the Brit’s risk-taking move has the unfortunate effect of causing him some damage as well, leading to him staying down for a long beat after performing it. This, in turn, gives Washington a chance to recover and come after his quarry, whom he brings roughly to his feet and shoves into the ring, not without smashing his head on the apron beforehand. Once inside the squared circle himself, he then applies a grounded headscissors submission, wrapping his legs around Alfie’s neck to cut off his oxygen.
“Uh-oh…Alfie Button is in deep trouble here, and you have to wonder how he will get out of this one…”
Unlike Lucas Quinn, however, the fans have no doubt regarding Alfie’s ability to evade, and put all of their faith behind the undersized British fan-favorite. A chant of “LET’S GO AL-FIE!” spreads across the Seattle arena as the Brit flails and reaches for the nearby ropes in desperation.
“Go on, Alfie!”
“Make like Teagan Trouble and Feel the Energy!”
That, incidentally, seems to be precisely what Alfie is doing, as his hands begin to vibrate more and more as the chants intensify: then, as the support from the stands reaches fever pitch, he finally, gloriously manages to grip the bottom rope, bringing referee Powell over to make Washington release the hold.
“HE DID IT!! Alfie escapes what could have been a VERY dicey situation for him!”
“Of course he does. He’s Alfie Button! That’s what Alfie Button does!”
As he gets to his feet, however, the Brit is still feeling the impact of the submission, allowing Washington to easily take control again, picking up the much smaller Brit and throwing him onto the center of the ring with a big back body drop! He then retrieves Alfie once again and tosses him onto his corner, ahead of tagging in his own boss. Then, as Truth comes in, he worriedly makes his way around the ring to check on his fallen partner, leaving the Truth Control corner temporarily empty, and prompting a loaded question from Mark Deltzer to the self-appointed fourth member of the broadcast team.
“Daniel…? Not going to go up there?”
“Do you see Darring in the ring? I thought I’d made myself clear…”
An exasperated sigh from Deltzer cuts that particular exchange short as, in the ring, Truth has managed to trap Alfie in the corner, where he is punishing him with a barrage of headbutts, knee lifts, chops, punches and the occasional eye gouge or eye rake, far from the prying eye of Aaron Powell. He then takes a moment to remove the turnbuckle padding, before grabbing Alfie’s head and driving it towards the exposed steel…
…only for the Brit to come alive and reverse it, feeding Truth a faceful of turnbuckle!
As Allie all but fistpumps along with the fans, Alfie decides to Roll the Credits, throwing Truth backwards into a bridging suplex. Powell slides in…
T—oo soon for Alfie!
“Ugh! So close!”
As Allie groans her disappointment, the two men start over, with Alfie still in control – though not for long, as one of Truth’s patented eye gouges helps The Man Who Fell to Earth turn the tables and regain, well, Truth Control, under a chorus of boos from the stands. The controversial superstar is quick to capitalize on this, as he whips Button to the ropes and connects with his running big Boot of Truth! Alfie goes down like a sack of bricks, and the arena all but melts down as Truth covers!
—CRUSADER X TO THE RESCUE, as he literally dives in to break the pin!
The crowd roar as Crusader pulls himself upright right along with Truth, the two men glaring daggers at one another, and goes nuclear when X audibly calls out “see you soon, cabrón” towards The Man Who Fell to Earth. Truth looks ready to jump down the luchador’s throat right there and then, results be damned, but before he can do anything else, he gets pulled down into a rollup by Alfie Button!
“ALFIE’S GOT HIM! Here’s the cover!”
T—oo bad, not yet!
Another groan emerges from the Seattle stands as Truth kicks out yet again, but Crusader X’s intervention has had the desired effect of turning the tables back in the Brit’s favor – a situation he exploits as soon as he is on his feet, putting some distance between himself and Truth so he can springboard off the ropes into a diving elbow…
…which Truth catches and promptly reverses into a powerbomb attempt…
…only for Alfie to reverse it into a falling DDT of his own!
“Yup…that’s what happens when Truth is in the ring…a huge Ratings Slump!”
As the crowd erupt once again in chants of “ALFIE, ALFIE!”, the Brit crawls over for yet another cover. Powell slides in…
T—hird time’s not the charm for Alfie!
This time, as he rolls to his feet, the Brit appears to think better of it, and – perhaps feeling worse for wear from the damage sustained at the hands of Washington and Truth – elects to go to his corner, where three hands await. After a moment’s pause, Alfie leans over to confer with Crusader X for a moment; then, when the luchador nods his head in agreement, he reaches over and brings Sean Darring back into the match!
“Did…did Alfie just ask Crusader X PERMISSION to tag in Darring?”
“Looks like it, Allie. Either way, the Champion is back in this match, and we’re right back to the two men that started us off–”
Lucas trails off as, the moment Darring enters the fray, Daniel Dream stands up and makes a beeline for Truth Control’s corner, taking the folding chair he had been sitting on with him. Predictably, he is accosted halfway by both members of Truth Control, now fully recovered and swinging stereo lariats at him. Thinking quickly, Dream holds the chair up in front of his face, causing both men to connect with steel; then, as both reel back a few steps, their arms smarting from the impact, he drives the chair into Lincoln’s gut, doubling him over, then whacks Washington over the head with it. Then, when Lincoln makes a valiant effort to stand up straight and avenge his partner, he, too, gets blasted, slumping onto the concrete floor. The fans give a mixed reaction as Daniel Dream stands over the two prone men for a moment, admiring his handiwork, before vaulting onto his corner.
“Daniel Dream just attacked his two team-mates for this evening!”
“More importantly, Lucas, he just removed Truth’s two main escape routes out of his current situation. As it stands, right now, he is Truth’s only hope. You have to admit, that’s smart. That man is crazy like a fox!”
Correct as it is, Deltzer’s observation goes unchallenged, as, unaware of the commotion on the outside, Darring and Truth continue to tussle inside the ring. Predictably, the Champion has the upper hand, having connected with a couple of European uppercuts to Truth, then followed up with a series of chops. The Man Who Fell To Earth attempts to counter by way of a headbutt, which connects, but the ensuing big boot attempt is dodged and reversed into a belly-to-back suplex, which sends the controversial superstar flying overhead into the distant set of ropes. As he is attempting to pull himself up, Truth is hit with a series of elbow shots to the head, then Irish whipped across, bouncing off the ropes into a snapmare from Darring – all of which sends the crowd into a progressive frenzy!
“Great spell of offence from Darring here…and what is the Champ going for now?”
The Seattle crowd hold their breaths as Darring scales the turnbuckle, hauling Truth along, before hooking his opponent into a suplex position, and lifting him up for a superplex…
…only for Truth to somehow land on the turnbuckle, reversing the move and pushing Darring off onto the mat below!
“Superplex attempt missed by the Champion, and now LOOK AT THIS!”
“Flying elbow smash by Truth, and we have never seen THAT before from him…”
As the crowd gasp at the unexpected turn of events, as well as the never-before-seen move from Truth, The Man Who Fell to Earth crawls over into a cover!
“Pfff…keep trying, Johnny boy. You’re not taking Darring down THAT easily…”
Despite the failed cover, however, Truth has managed to give himself the upper hand, and promptly seeks to capitalize. He rolls off the top of Darring, allowing him to stand up, then hits him between the eyes with The Sting of Truth, which is enough to throw the Champion off and cause him to stagger. Seizing on this, Truth whips the Legend across, then catches him coming off the ropes with The Boot of Truth! The move connects, and he covers!
Crusader, Alfie and Principe all begin to shoot out of their corner!
The trio scramble to make it to the ring before…
TH—NO!!! TRUTH IS PULLED OFF BY….DANIEL DREAM?!?!?
“Daniel Dream just cost his own team the match, by breaking up that pin from Truth!!”
“He was not kidding when he said he was only in it for himself!!”
Predictably, his supposed team-mate’s actions incense John, who promptly gets in Dream’s face, demanding an explanation. The Number One Contender, however, simply shrugs, smirking as he states that no one beats Darring but him. This does not at all please Truth, who looks ready to jump down his would-be team-mate’s throat; before he can do so, however, he gets pulled into a bridging Northern Lights suplex by the recovered Darring!
“Darring has Truth dead to rights…but referee Aaron Powell is distracted!”
Indeed, Daniel Dream’s presence inside the ring is taking up Powell’s full attention, preventing him from counting the pin; as such, Darring is eventually forced to let go, after Truth kicks out. The Champ rolls through to his feet and prepares to start over…only for Truth to connect with an eye-rake and a blatant low blow, which has the Seattle crowd ready to commit acts of violence.
“Not like this…please, not like this!”
Once again, all three of Darring’s team-mates seem ready to bend the rules themselves, and come to the ‘Legend’s’ rescue; this, however, turns out not to be necessary, as Truth has completely lost focus, and is now interested only in Daniel Dream.
“Truth going after the Number One Contender there…and look at this!”
Lucas’s exclamation refers to Dream’s crafty tactic of, when Truth lifts up a hand to hurt him, tag himself in, right in front of Powell, who makes it official. This further incenses Truth, who promptly tags himself right back in, glowering at Dream’s audacity. Dream, however, responds in kind, setting off a battle for legal man status which keeps Powell with his hands full for several moments. This, in turn, allows Darring to regain his bearings, and stumble towards the corner, where his three teammates eagerly wait to help out. Still dazed, the Champion slaps the first hand he feels in his way, which just so happens to belong to El Principe! The fans explode as the luchador once again comes in, looking for revenge!
Before Principe can move in on either of his quarries, however, Daniel Dream suddenly appears to stumble off the apron, cutting an almost comical figure with flailing arms before hitting the cement below – at which point it becomes clear what has happened, as the recovered Border Control exact their own form of revenge on the Number One Contender, each delivering a stiff chair shot with the very same chair Dream had previously attempted to use on them – which is but the prelude to a stomp-based beatdown to the grounded Champion on the part of the two men!
“Daniel Dream getting the receipt from Border Control, and Principe now has a clear path to victory!”
Indeed, the luchador appears to have lucked out with regards to timing, as Daniel Dream’s tumble has Truth distracted, pointing and laughing at his rival’s fate…and thus in perfect position for a Dolores Bell clap, which catches him completely by surprise and throws him off balance, allowing Principe to follow up with a quick back rake – taking advantage of Powell’s current, slightly befuddled state – and then a fully legitimate hammerlock backbreaker! Truth goes down, but rather than cover, Principe begins to set up a heel hook – which Truth denies with a forceful mule kick! Principe quickly attempts to go back to the hold, but John lunges for the ropes, taunting Principe about the fact that the luchador has to let go of the hold now, as he points at his own head to indicate his intelligence. A rather begrudging Principe is, therefore, forced to back off and allow his opponent to regain a vertical base, much to the displeasure of the crowd.
“Truth showing his craftiness once again…as much as we personally don’t like it…”
“Yes, Lucas, but just you wait. Principe is about to end him.”
Indeed, the luchador appears ready to end proceedings, as evidenced by the way he points at Truth before giving two thumbs down. He then reaches in, looking for the first of the three belly-to-belly suplexes that make up El Tricolor. Truth attempts to throw him off with the Sting of Truth, but the luchador is quicker, and, for the second time in the match, The Man Who Fell to Earth gets thrown onto the mat three times, to the delight of the fans.
Principe, however, is not done yet; much to the contrary, in fact, for no sooner has the third belly-to-belly connected than he is picking Truth up once again and setting him up for his Crowning Moment!
“Could we see a Crowning Moment here?! It has been a while since Principe has used that move, but this could well be the time it makes its—”
The words die in Lucas’s throat as Truth – displaying his deceptive speed – floats right over the driver attempt, landing behind Principe and instead trapping the luchador’s own arms behind his back, so that Principe’s head is against the back of his neck; from there, he then performs an inverted double underhook facebuster, planting Principe! The crowd immediately becomes nuclear as Truth gets on top for the cover, yelling “TRUTH HURTS, AMIGO!” at the unconscious luchador. Powell appears almost reluctant to perform the count, and appears, at first, to be considering a slow count; eventually, however, professional brio prevails – which does not stop GLOBAL’s largest referee from wincing in disgust as he counts.
Realizing what is going on, Border Control leave Dream’s prone body where it lies to jump up on the apron, as Principe’s entire team shoot out of the corner!
The two teams clash in the middle of the ring, Border Control winning out as Washington drops Sean Darring with a lariat, while Lincoln spears both of the smaller men at once, leaving his boss free to pick up the…
NUCLEAR LEVELS of heat descend from the Seattle crowd as Truth gets to his feet and waits to have his hand raised. He is kept waiting, however, as referee Powell refuses to do his due diligence, a stance in which he is joined by “Downtown” Brown, who has actively turned his back on the ring.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…if there’s ever an excuse to be unprofessional, this man is it.”
Allie’s vitriolic remarks are only corroborated by the endless stream of hatred emanating from the stands as Truth’s two acolytes take it upon themselves to raise their boss’s hand. Then, after Truth has gloated, preened and posed for another long moment, the three begin to make their way backstage, all while being used as target practice by the incensed fans.
“Well, it feels like a week’s worth of emotions has just transpired in the last half-hour or so, and the result has not necessarily been what the fans wanted or expected. In fact, this match has raised more questions than answers. Such as: did Daniel Dream just put a target on his own back with his actions tonight? Can El Principe ever get revenge on John Truth for his actions a few months back? Will Crusader X be gunning for John Truth and Border Control? Will Alfie Button agree to it? And what of Sean Darring, who now has two opponents to watch out for? All this and more will no doubt unfold in upcoming weeks. Unfortunately, for now, this is all the time we have, so ladies and gentlemen, until next time, I have been Lucas Quinn, alongside Allie Reece and Mark Deltzer. We will see you then.”
It is on this long outro from GLOBAL’s head announcer that the feed officially ends.
TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES
Twenty minutes after the end of Domination
The police cruisers take up several of the unoccupied parking spots in front of the artists’ entrance to the arena where GLOBAL Wrestling Domination has been taking place for the past few hours, attracting the attention of early-bird talent and technicians looking to beat the after-show rush. None of the officers stationed inside either car so much as motion to intercept any of the men and women steadily trickling out of the service entrance, however, simply leaning against their cars chatting and sipping coffee, as if on their break.
All this changes, however, when one particular figure emerges from within the arena, flanked, as ever, by two other, somewhat larger men. No sooner has he appeared than the officers on call shoot upright, two of them approaching the somewhat wary group, who are giving them the widest possible berth.
“Excuse me, sir?”
“Piss off.” The smallest of the three men shoots the officers a double bird as he picks up the pace, an action soon mimicked by his two companions.
“No…sir? We need to talk to you. Could you please turn around to face us?”
“I ain’t got anything to say to you pigs!” The statement is thrown over the man’s shoulder, as his sidekicks clearly begin to assess their odds against the group of officers. The lead cop continues to maintain his polite composure and be entirely non-threatening, however, as he speaks up again.
“I think you do, Mr. Schmidt.”
This causes the man in front to freeze for a moment, before turning to finally face the law enforcers, his expression a mixture of unbridled fury and wide-eyed shock.
“WHAT did you just call me?” There is a hint of a choke to the low snarl, the obvious rage of which is, however, not enough to faze the unfailingly polite officer.
“I’m sorry…did we get the wrong name? Aren’t you Mr. Schmidt? John Jacob…”
“–TRUTH!” The interruption is as hasty as it is loud and pointed. “It’s John Jacob TRUTH. That’s my legal name. So that’s what you’re gonna call me. You got that, kid?”
“Sir, there is no need to be aggressive. We—”
“Like HELL there isn’t!” Truth continues to practically foam at the mouth, spittle flying every which way as he splutters with fury. “I want to know where you got that name from. You’re gonna tell me, and you’re gonna tell me right NOW.”
To the wrestler’s surprise, however, the officer simply shrugs. “Sure. We got it from the lady whose fence you broke two days ago.”
Truth suddenly blanches, the cogs beginning to turn in his head. When he next speaks, the hint of a choke from before has turned into a full-on case of a dry throat.
“How did you bastards find me?”
“The lady said you were a professional wrestler. Only one show of that kind in town.” The officer shrugs again, a hint of a smirk on his features, as he drops his professional demeanor for the first time . “If you want to go around engaging in destruction of property, you better find yourself a less conspicuous job, buddy.”
He then motions for his team to move in and handcuff Truth and his two flabbergasted, speechless acolytes, who find their hands shackled before they have even had time to process what happened. Truth, however, does not at any point stop bucking and hissing like a rabid alleycat, ranting about “that evil [BLEEP]ing bitch!” and continuously the boys in blue if “those little green bastards” are paying them, all while assuring them that they cannot keep him down, arrest him, or even book him. None of this prevents him and his acolytes from being pushed onto the back of the two cruisers, where they will no doubt have plenty of time to reflect on the fact that, even when they win, they somehow always end up losing.