Event Date: February 5, 2023
- 1. HOTv Opening
- 2. Joe Bergman vs. Great Scott
- 3. Die Trying
- 4. Here's Your Headline
- 5. Steve Solex vs. Darin Zion
- 6. Totally Bros
- 7. Where the Big Boys Play
- 8. Clear Sailing
- 9. The Final Alliance vs. Carey and Stevens
- 10. We Wont Back Down
- 11. Artistic Violence
- 12. Sunny O'Stepstool
- 13. Clay Byrd vs. Conor Fuse
Joe Bergman vs. Great Scott
The new video for High Octane Television fades out along with the HOW and PWA logos and we immediately cut inside to a nearly sold out Mackey Arena here in West Lafayette Indiana.
The overhead shot captures that basically 97% of the arena is full. The ones in attendance are all on their feet as we cut to a hard shot of our announce team for tonight’s show……..High Octane Hall of Famers Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to another Chaos!! Another week and the machine keeps on rolling. Less than a week from now we will be in Cleveland for the Lottery and just over a month from being live inside Old Trafford for this years March to Glory PPV.
Benny Newell: It’s that time of year already Joe, its been a LONG TIME since we have held a Lottery and I cannot think of a better way for America to defend the Championship…..letting these poors think they are going to hit the Lottery.
Joe Hoffman: Didn’t he lose his last match?
Benny Newell: I didn’t see shit.
The opening piano played by Billy Powell followed by the iconic guitar licks from Gary Rossington’s slide guitar at the beginning of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s epic ‘Freebird’ blare out of the speakers.
Joe Hoffman: Our first match of the evening is for the HOTv championship. We see GREAT SCOTT, who has been on an impressive reign taking on Joe Bergman… Possibly his greatest challenge yet.
Benny Newell: Evil Empire, MVW garbage, hope Bergman breaks his neck climbing into the fucking ring.
Seconds later, taking the place of the lovely Sunny O’Callahan who’s home this weekend courtesy of Dan Ryan, Dawn McGill emerges from the back wearing a pair of top-of-the-line Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones and bopping her head to the sick beat that’s being dropped while she does a cool, little dance on the ramp.
McGill takes a swig from a bottle of Southern Comfort and totally disregards Ronnie Van Zant’s vocals as they come on over the sound system.
“If I leave here tomorrow… will you still remember me?”
Bryan McVay: Hailing from Plattin, Missouri and weighing in tonight at two hundred and fifteen pounds…
“For I must be traveling on now… ‘Cause there’s too many places I want to see…”
Joe Bergman comes out dressed as normal in a plain black robe over his wrestling trunks.
“But if I stayed here with you girl… Things just couldn’t be the same…”
“Cause I’m a free as a bird now… and this bird you cannot change…”
Bryan McVay: “ORDINARY!” JOE! BERGGGGGG-MAN!
The crowd roars. Joe pumps his first in the air.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
With McGill leading the way, she and Bergman start down the ramp towards the ring.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
Bergman slaps people’s hands along the way to the ring.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
Joe climbs up on the ring apron and opens a path for Dawn to climb into the ring. Then he leaps over the top rope and climbs up on the turnbuckle.
“Lord knows, I can’t change”
Looking out over the ropes with McGill right by his side, Joe raises his arms in the air and a can of PBR in tribute to the ‘ordinary people’ in attendance tonight and, of course, Section 214. “I’m The Greatest” by Ringo Starr interrupts Joe Bergman and GREAT SCOTT steps out onto the entrance ramp, flanked by his bear.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, the HOTv Champion! Hailing from The Greater Metro Area of Great Falls, Montana and weighing in tonight at two hundred and seventy-six pounds…
SCOTT and the bear make their way down the entrance ramp.
Bryan McVay: GRRRRRRRREEEEEAAAAAAT SCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: GREAT SCOTT has been on an incredible run here in HOW. He’s been damn near unstoppable.
Benny Newell: He has a bear. Of course he’s been unstoppable…
GREAT SCOTT and GREAT BEAR make their way into the ring, and while GREAT BEAR dances SCOTT holds the HOTv Championship in the air. Hortega finishes checking Joe Bergman and turns and checks over GREAT SCOTT.
Joe Hoffman: We have an incredible opener on our hands this week.
Benny Newell: Sure Joe, sure. At least this valet didn’t bring out liquor to taunt me with.
Joe Hoffman: That valet is former LSD Champion Dawn McGill. Come on Benny…
Hortega calls for the bell and we’re off.
SCOTT storms across the ring right at the bell, and Bergman tries to step away. SCOTT takes a mean swing with a right hand, but Bergman manages to duck under and trap SCOTT in the corner. The Ordinary Joe reaches back and smashes SCOTT across the chest with a vicious knife edge chop. SCOTT walks right through it and gets his hands on Bergman, who manages to lock the big man up in a collar and elbow. SCOTT drives Bergman all the way back across the ring into the far corner. He begins walloping Bergman with right hands.
Joe Hoffman: GREAT SCOTT is starting off this match quickly!
Benny Newell: That’s right! Show him MVW is the great evil!
Bergman covers up after the second right hand and the blows begin to land on his forearms. SCOTT gets frustrated and goes to kick Bergman in the corner, but Bergman catches the leg and manages to whip SCOTT over with a dragon screw. Bergman keeps a hold of the leg and tries to drop a leg drop on it, but SCOTT rolls out of the way.
Joe Hoffman: Scott and Bergman both back to their feet quickly.
Benny Newell: You better start saying his name correctly.
Joe Hoffman: His name is Scott.
Benny Newell: You have to say it with more emphasis. It’s SCOTT! And he’s GREAT!
Joe Hoffman: Jesus…
SCOTT is back to his feet as Bergman gets up holding his tailbone. SCOTT grabs Bergman from behind in a rear waistlock. Bergman, sensing the danger, immediately begins fighting SCOTT’s grip. SCOTT tries to lift Bergman anyway, one handed, but Bergman manages to slip out and get behind SCOTT. Bergman drops down and rolls GREAT SCOTT up.
Joe Hoffman: Roll up attempt from Bergman!
Joel Hortega: One!
SCOTT kicks out furiously and gives Joe Bergman the angriest glare in the history of angry glares.
Benny Newell: Now you pissed him off.
SCOTT roars forward and smashes Bergman with a short arm clothesline that sends him stumbling back into the corner. SCOTT follows it up, getting a head of steam and catapulting himself into the corner with a big splash. SCOTT runs back across the ring, colliding with the far ring post, before sprinting back at Joe Bergman as hard as he can and absolutely crushes Bergman with a huge big splash that shakes the ring.
Joe Hoffman: I think you’re right Benny…
Benny Newell: Thank LEE this is recorded. I’ll listen to that line for weeks. Can we get the production truck to replace everything you say with that?
SCOTT is irate, and drags a limp Bergman out of the corner. He grabs him around the waist, lifts, and slams Bergman down with a belly to belly suplex. SCOTT furiously picks Bergman up again, and slams him down with a second belly to belly suplex, crashing down on Bergman’s chest a second time.
Benny Newell: He doesn’t like any kind of roll ups, not even fruit roll ups.
SCOTT drags a limp Bergman to his feet and sends him crashing to the canvas with a third belly to belly suplex. SCOTT pushes down as hard as he can on Bergman’s chest as Hortega slides in for a count.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Benny Newell: What a way to watch an empire fall.
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Benny Newell: An avalanche of suplexes!
Bergman kicks out at two, and SCOTT is still very, very, angry. You could say he was BIG ANGRY SCOTT. But he’s still pretty GREAT. He picks Bergman up by his hair. Bergman throws a right hand to try to generate some separation from SCOTT, but SCOTT fires one back of his own that sends Bergman staggering away. SCOTT runs at Bergman with another clothesline attempt, but Bergman drops to the ground and SCOTT whiffs. Bergman kips up behind SCOTT and as SCOTT turns around, hits him with a dropkick to the chest sending him through the ropes.
Benny Newell: Typical coward Joe Bergman.
Joe Hoffman: Smart move from Bergman, he’s a ring general, a master technician.
Bergman gets up at the same time SCOTT does. SCOTT is on the apron, and Bergman on the inside of the ring. Bergman tries to grab SCOTT by the neck and bring him down over the top rope, but SCOTT stands his ground, letting Bergman hang onto the big man’s neck. SCOTT grabs Bergman, and lifts him up over the top rope, and in one fluid motion sends him crashing to the floor with another belly to belly suplex!
Joe Hoffman: DEAR GOD!
Benny Newell: Holy shit.
SCOTT is the first to stir on the arena floor as Hortega sticks his head through the ropes, yelling down to try to check on the two men. SCOTT grabs Bergman by the neck and brings him up to his feet, SCOTT grabs Bergman once again around the stomach and tries for an overhead suplex, but Bergman manages to flip all the way around, landing on his feet.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Benny Newell: How did Bergman do that… Has to be steroids.
Bergman stumbles over to the railing, still holding his chest as SCOTT realizes his opponent didn’t make a thud like he was supposed to. SCOTT gets to his feet, seeing the ailing Bergman and runs at him. Bergman manages to get out of the way as SCOTT crashes into the barricade.
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think that’s going to stop SCOTT.
Bergman stumbles further down the barricade, and then across the way to the ring post, still clutching at his chest. SCOTT furiously shakes the barricade, and marches towards Bergman.
Joel Hortega: THREE!
SCOTT pulls back and throws a big right hand, but Bergman once again moves out of the way and SCOTT connects his fist with the ring post.
Joe Hoffman: That one might stop him!
Benny Newell: Fucking ow!
Joe Hoffman: Would you say it’s a GREAT OW!?
Benny Newell: I fucking hate you.
Joel Hortega: FOUR!
SCOTT screams in pain, shaking his hand. Bergman scrambles his way onto the apron as SCOTT tries to follow suit. Bergman turns around and kicks SCOTT as hard as he can in the face. The big man stumbles backwards.
Joel Hortega: FIVE!
The Ordinary Joe laboriously sprints down the apron and kicks SCOTT right in the face. SCOTT wobbles and falls forward onto the ring apron. Bergman takes notice of SCOTT’s position and drops a leg drop to his head resting on the apron.
Joel Hortega: SIX!
Benny Newell: What good is that going to do Bergman if SCOTT gets counted out!?
Joe Hoffman: I think he’s just trying to slow that animal down Benny.
Benny Newell: The animal is plenty slow, he’s just hanging out listening to music on really nice headphones.
Joel Hortega: SEVEN!
Joe doesn’t even respond to Benny as Bergman rests himself up against the turnbuckle, still holding his chest and struggling to breath. SCOTT manages to pull himself up onto the apron just as Hortega calls out.
Joel Hortega: EIGHT!
SCOTT sticks his head through the middle rope to break the count and Bergman is immediately on him, falling to the ground and grabbing SCOTT by the head, yanking his neck off the middle rope. He rolls over, yanking the big man into the ring by his head.
Benny Newell: Dirty cheater Bergman.
Joe Hoffman: I see that as aggressive Joe Bergman.
Benny Newell: You would.
SCOTT holds his neck, as Bergman rolls to his feet. Joe delivers two vicious stomps to the bigman’s hands around his neck, and finally removing them, drops another leg drop across his neck.
Joe Hoffman: Bergman focusing the neck, starting to set up that Dragon Sleeper.
Bergman is back to his feet, as SCOTT begins to make his way up himself. Bergman kicks SCOTT in the stomach just as he turns around, he drops him to the canvas with a spike DDT!
Benny Newell: That move breaks people’s necks!
Bergman hooks a leg and Hortega slides in for a count.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
SCOTT once again furiously kicks out at one. Bergman gets to his feet, but SCOTT finally had a moment to take a breath. Bergman once again sends a chop into SCOTT’s chest, SCOTT goes to return fire, but thinks better of it, instead grabbing Bergman and pulling him in tight. Bergman’s eyes turn the size of saucers realizing another belly to belly is coming. Bergman grabs SCOTT by the ears and drives a headbutt into the big man’s skull. SCOTT loosens his grip as Bergman rears back with a second headbutt.
Joe Hoffman: Joe Bergman wants NOTHING to do with that belly to belly suplex.
GREAT SCOTT loses his grip and Bergman takes off, sprinting away from SCOTT. Bergman comes back off the ropes and SCOTT drills him with a shoulder block in the center of the ring. Bergman rolls back to his feet quickly and goes to the ropes again while SCOTT gets back to his feet.
Benny Newell: This is like watching the Titanic try to sink an iceberg.
Joe Hoffman: Or Lee trying to finish the Century Club with Stevens as timekeeper….
Benny Newell: Joe made a funny!!!??
Back in the ring, Bergman comes off the ropes and catches a mid-air SCOTT with a sling blade. SCOTT scrambles quickly back to his feet, but Bergman kips up behind him. SCOTT looks around the ring, but Bergman grabs SCOTT by the hair and pulls him down into the Dragon Sleeper!
Joe Hoffman: DRAGON SLEEPER! IT’S IN!
Benny Newell: NO! NO! SOMEONE HELP THE BIG GUY! GET THE BEAR IN THERE!
SCOTT immediately begins to flail his arms as Bergman sinches the sleeper tighter each time SCOTT struggles.
Benny Newell: HOW DO I GET THIS BEAR TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN VIBE TO LO-FI TUNES ON THOSE DAMN BEATS BY DRE HEADPHONES!?
Joe Hoffman: That’s just what he does Benny, SCOTT is in trouble here!
Bergman yanks back, but the big man won’t go to the ground. He pulls and pulls, but SCOTT manages to stay on his feet. Slowly his arms begin to waiver though, the swinging begins to slow.
Benny Newell: THE EVIL EMPIRE CANNOT WIN!
Joe Hoffman: This is bad, that dragon sleeper is in deep.
Finally, SCOTT’s arms stop flailing and Hortega raises it up and lets it drop.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Joe Hoffman: This is exactly what Bergman said he was going to do to SCOTT.
Benny Newell: You don’t have to tell me what Joe Bergman said Joe. I don’t listen to MVW propaganda and I’d like to keep it that way.
Hortega lifts SCOTT’s arm up again, and it drops.
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Benny Newell: Son of a bitch.
Hortega lifts it up into the air a third time, and the arm starts to drop, but just as Hortega is about to spin around and call it, SCOTT’s arm begins to vibrate like he was hooked to a massage bed at a cheap hotel.
Benny Newell: HE’S ALIVE!
SCOTT continues to vibrate as Hortega clarifies that he stopped his count at two to Bergman. Joe’s eyes are huge as the vibrating Scott manages to wrap one arm around Bergman. He manages to slip one leg under the other, and pop his hips, rotating Joe Bergman all the way over. SCOTT picks Bergman up out of complete desperation from the position, he stumbles bumping into Hortega sending him flying. He spins and falls forward sending Joe crashing to the mat on the top of his head with a Tombstone piledriver.
Benny Newell: YES! YES! YES!
Joe Hoffman: What a manuever from GREAT SCOTT! SCOTT falls over on top of Bergman for the pinfall.
Hortega, weakly crawls over and counts the pinfall.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Benny Newell: VIIIIIIIIIIIIIC
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Benny Newell: TOOOOOOOR
Just as Hortega’s hand is about to hit the mat, Joe Bergman kicks out, rolling GREAT SCOTT off of him in the process.
Benny Newell: LEE DAMNIT!
Joe Hoffman: That had to be 2.97 right there. That was so close.
Benny Newell: Slow counting Hortega, as always.
Joe Hoffman: He just got hit by like five hundred pounds of man.
Benny Newell: Do better Hortega.
GREAT SCOTT stumbles to his feet, still trying to catch his breath from the Dragon Sleeper, while Bergman pulls himself up to his feet using the ropes.
Benny Newell: Take a breath, deep breaths!
While Benny pleads with SCOTT to catch his breath, Joe Bergman still looks dazed and confused. SCOTT angrily glares across the ring at Bergman!
Benny Newell: A BEAR AND HIS GLARE! WHAT ELSE COULD A MAN NEED!
GREAT SCOTT storms across the ring and pulls Bergman up off the middle rope by his hair. Bergman weakly throws a right hand, but SCOTT ignores the blow and irish whips Bergman into the corner harder than he’s ever sent a man into the corner. Bergman hits with a THUD and starts to stumble back out, but SCOTT follows him into the corner with a short clothesline leaving Bergman on the middle rope.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go!
SCOTT lifts Bergman up onto the top rope, he climbs to the middle rope and glares at Bergman one last time.
Joe Hoffman: THE MIST! BERGMAN JUST MISTED SCOTT!
#97RED mist flies into SCOTT’s eyes from the seated Bergman. SCOTT falls backwards off the ropes holding his eyes. Hortega is still climbing to his feet in the corner, and didn’t see anything. Bergman leaps from the middle rope and catches SCOTT with a cutter!
Joe Hoffman: CUTTER! CUTTER!
SCOTT looks like he got hit with a stun gun on the mat as Bergman scrambles over, rolling the big man over and hooking both legs. Hortega stumbles down and counts.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Benny Newell: No… not like this…
Joe Hoffman: How do you want it to happen Benny?
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Benny Newell: I DON’T WANT IT TO HAPPEN AT ALL!
Joel Hortega: THR-
GREAT SCOTT kick’s out, sticking his arm straight up into the air. Bergman jumps to his feet, and kicks SCOTT in the neck before slipping through the ropes, and coming back across with a guillotine leg drop over the top rope.
Joe Hoffman: OH! Right on that neck!
Benny Newell: Joe Bergman is out here trying to end careers attacking necks.
Bergman is right back up, and goes to the top rope.
Joe Hoffman: Didn’t SCOTT drop him on his head a little bit ago?
Benny Newell: Shut up Joe.
Bergman lines him up, leaping as high as he possibly can off the top rope. SCOTT’s eyes shoot open at the last second…
Benny Newell: MOVE! MOVE!
But GREAT SCOTT cannot move, and Joe Bergman crashes down across SCOTT’s neck with a huge elbow drop from the top rope. Bergman hooks both legs so far that he’s almost bridging himself on SCOTT.
Joel Hortega: ONE!
Joe Hoffman: That elbow drop was picture perfect.
Joel Hortega: TWO!
Benny Newell: Only an MVW plant would say that.
Joel Hortega: THR-
Hortega’s hand comes down for the third time and connects with the mat.
Joel Hortega: THREE!
Hortega slowly drags himself to his feet as GREAT SCOTT kicks out just after his Hortega’s hand hits the mat. Hortega calls for the bell and points to Bergman.
Joe Hoffman: JOE BERGMAN DID IT!
Benny Newell: Well fuck. Starting out the night in the hole to the HOG…..FUCK YOU JOE.
Joe Hoffman: I just call the action like I see it Benny! And Joe Bergman is the new HOTv Champion!
Bryan McVay: The winner of the match and NNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWW HOTv Champion! JOOOOOOOOOEEE BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERGMAN!
McVay hands the belt to Bergman who raises it up into the air. Bergman looks back at the camera and smiles as McGill slides into the ring and holds up Bergman’s arm.
Benny Newell: The EVIL EMPIRE HAS BOTH HOTv TITLES! WE’RE THE PLUCKY UNDERDOGS JOE! NOT THEM!
Joe Hoffman: What a way to kickoff the show tonight…..that would have been the main event in most other companies.
The feed cuts to the hard camera as Bergman and McGill continue to celebrate in the ring as we fade out elsewhere..
The action cuts backstage with Christopher America in his locker room, made obvious by the bald eagle perched to his right and the American flags on either corner of the room.. He is seated in front of a large screen television, with his back to the camera. Catering, left untouched, is spread out on the table to his left.
He is watching a live feed of the ringside action but the audio is muted.
Christopher America: We have many challenges ahead. Next week is the Lottery. And then March To Glory.
The camera begins to zoom in towards America.
Christopher America: I know I failed you. But that will be the last time. I’m changing myself again for you. Into something else. Something worse. Something worthy of your higher expectations.
The camera passes America and slowly turns towards him. He’s clinging to the HOW World Championship.
Christopher America: Trust me, my love.
This tournament is futile.
The Lottery is futile.
I’ll protect you…
America then lowers his voice into a whisper.
Christopher America: Or die trying.
America stares stone faced at the television as the camera zooms in on the dead, emotionless eyes of the World Champion.
Here's Your Headline
As the image cuts to somewhere else in the Best Arena with Blaire Moise and the Demi-God of HOW, Scott Stevens.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time, the Demi-God of HOW, Scott Stevens.
The jeers grow loud in the Best Arena.
Scott Stevens: Blaire, I have an important question for you.
Stevens tells Blaire who seems puzzled.
Blaire Moise: Ok, what is this important question?
Blaire asks as the Texan looks around and leans in and says in almost a whisper.
Scott Stevens: Did you know that Dan Ryan is back?
Blaire shoots her fellow Hall of Famer a look.
Blaire Moise: Yeah.
Stevens looks rather perplexed by her response.
Scott Stevens: You sure?
He asks again.
Blaire Moise: Pretty sure.
She replies and Stevens nods.
Scott Stevens: Ok, but what about all the filth in the audience here tonight, did you know that Dan Ryan is back?
The fans become more rowdy and begin to chant that famous Stevens chant.
Crowd: FUCK YOU STEVENS! FUCK YOU STEVENS! FUCK YOU STEVENS!
Scott Stevens: Rude.
Stevens shakes his head in response.
Blaire Moise: I’m pretty sure everyone by now knows he’s back since you are facing him later tonight.
Blaire informs Stevens and the Texan nods in agreement.
Scott Stevens: I was just checking because I find it odd that someone of major importance like Dan Ryan would only need one introduction and what he did at ICONIC would’ve been enough. However, we all know that his buzz only lasted about ten minutes and then he was forgotten about.
Blaire Moise: I don’t think…..
Stevens interrupts Blaire.
Scott Stevens: Think about it Blaire, for three weeks he’s been spouting he’s back and if you have to keep telling people you are back that means people don’t give a fuck about you.
Stevens says as he looks towards the camera and points at it.
Scott Stevens: You flopped in your return at ICONIC, you had your little, “Daddy’s Home” segment which was one of the lowest rated segments in PWA and HOTv history. Hell, the following week you interfere in my match with Aceldama when I had him beat because you wanted to show people you were a tough guy by randomly beating up people. Then you’ve been preaching to everyone that will listen that HE has signed you to an exclusive contract and you’ve been chosen to be in his Final Alliance and he sent you to take me out. Blah. Blah. Fucking blah.
Stevens pauses for a moment before he chuckles to himself.
Blaire Moise: What’s so funny?
Blaire asks and Scott takes a second to compose himself.
Scott Stevens: Dan Ryan.
Blaire Moise: Why’s that?
Scott Stevens: It’s simple Blaire, if HE wanted to take me out HE wouldn’t send Dan Ryan to do it because the only person that can take me out currently sits behind a desk with three initials attached to his name. I mean Dan had his chance a long time ago, and just like everything he has done in HOW he failed at that.
The statement from the Demi-God causes Blaire to have an “oh shit” expression and the audience to “oooh” aloud.
Scott Stevens: And tonight, he will continue to fail as I and Bobbinette Carey will emerge victorious. How’s that for a Headline, Dan?
Stevens asks before leaving the scene as we slowly fade to commercial.
Steve Solex vs. Darin Zion
We come back from a commercial break to ringside here in the Mackey Arena. The fans are hot and ready to see more action as we get closer and closer to the first PPV of 2023. The camera pans the various signs and items being held up by the fans in attendance before shifting over toward the announcer’s table. Joe Hoffman sits ready to keep the show rolling.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to Chaos 021 ladies and gentlemen, live from the Mackey Arena here in Indiana. As you can see my broadcast partner has excused himself because we have a match featuring Darin Zion coming up next. I am, however, being joined for this match by the LSD Champion Jace Parker Davidson.
The camera pans outward to show Jace sitting beside Joe at the announcer’s table. The LSD Championship belt is displayed on the table alongside the ICON Championship belt.
Davidson: Not only am I the GREATEST LSD Champion of all time. I’m also the FOREVER ICON of High Octane Wrestling. I expect better from you, Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: As I said because of the perk in Benny’s contract he doesn’t have to commentate on any of Zion’s matches. I take it you decided to join me in his place to scout the competition?
Davidson: Competition is a stretch but yes. I also passed Benny on the way down here and he was saying something about making a healthy bet on Steve Solex winning here tonight.
Joe Hoffman: The winner of tonight’s final of the LSD tournament will be getting a one-on-one match against you at March 2 Glory. That is if you’re still LSD Champion after the Lethal Lottery next week in Cleveland.
Davidson: First off there is no one on this roster, Lethal Lottery or not, that is going to beat me for the LSD Championship before March 2 Glory. Secondly, I am still protesting having to wrestle again in Cleveland.
Joe Hoffman: What is wrong with Cleveland?
Davidson: The better question is what is right with Cleveland? Not only did that entire toilet of a state vomit up Bobbinette Carey into the world. It’s also the home of the Cleveland Browns. The last thing I want to do is to head into a massage parlor and be touched by every single woman that DeShaun Watson has squirted baby gravy all over.
Joe Hoffman: And on that disturbing note, let’s send it to the ring where Bryan McVay is ready to make the introductions.
The camera shifts to the center of the ring where Hall of Famer Bryan McVay is standing. He has his microphone in hand as senior referee Matt Boettcher stands behind him.
Bryan McVay: The following match is the finals of the LSD tournament and it’s scheduled for one fall!
The crowd pops and McVay waits for them to quiet down between speaking again.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first…
The opening chords of REO Speedwagon’s “KEEP ON LOVING YOU” hit over the PA system. On the HOV, a giant heart appears to beat to the song.
♫ You should have seen by the look in my eyes, baby
There was somethin’ missin’ ♫
Emerging from the locker room is REAL LOVE Darin Zion who isn’t in his normal robe and looks laser focused. Unphased by the fans heckling him, Zion marches his way down the ramp toward the ring. A cocky sneer is painted on his face as he gets down to the end of the entrance ramp.
Joe Hoffman: We’ve seen a different Darin Zion since he’s made his return to HOW. He’s been on a roll and tonight he seems to be changing even further. The LSD tournament is something he wants to win and getting a shot at the LSD Championship belt means everything to him. Could we see Darin Zion as the winner of his tournament and punch his ticket to a title match at March 2 Glory?
♫ And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do
I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you♫
Bryan McVay: From San Diego, California, weighing in tonight at 220 lbs. He is REAL LOVE DARIN! ZION!
Zion makes it to ringside and then does a lap around the ring before sliding under the bottom rope. He gets to his feet but instead of showing off for the fans, Darin makes his way over to a corner and begins stretching while waiting for his opponent.
Davidson: Everyone acts impressed by this “new” Darin Zion. Has everyone lost their minds? It’s still Zion, he goes around honking for fucks sake. This is the same guy that came into HOW and acted like he was an assassin. He same guy that thought he was a Ninja Turtle or some shit, at some point. He is the same exact person with just a different way of being annoying.
Matt Boettcher goes over and begins his pre-match check on Zion as McVay raises the microphone once again.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent…
The beginning of “THIS MEANS WAR” by Avenged Sevenfold thumps from the sound system as the crowd explodes into a fury of boos and hisses. A montage of Steve Solex plays on the HOV, flashing on and off in rhythm with the music.
Bryan McVay: From Huntington Beach, California, weighing in tonight at 252 lbs. He is a HOW Hall of Famer, here is The Last Man in Wrestling STEVE! SOLEX!
As the music stalls, the HOV goes black and the lights throughout the arena go dark. A bomb-like explosion blasts at the top of the entryway sending a plume of smoke up and in front of the HOV in the shape of a mushroom cloud. At that moment the music returns and Steve Solex makes his way out from behind the curtain.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex advanced to the finals of this tournament by first defeating Bobbinette Carey and then last week getting a very controversial victory over Brian Hollywood. Tonight, Solex needs one more win to punch his ticket to March 2 Glory and earn his shot at the LSD Championship belt.
The montage continues to play on the HOV as Solex stops atop the entrance ramp and pounds his chest twice with a white-knuckled fist before throwing his hands high up into the air. He soaks in the boos from the crowd before marching down to the ring.
Davidson: The Last Man in Wrestling my ass. Steve Solex can only live off of the fact that he served for only so long. If Brian Hollywood wasn’t a fucking idiot then there is no way that Solex is even in this match. Then again, I don’t think anyone wants to see a Brian Hollywood vs. Darin Zion final in this tournament either.
No glitz, no high fives, just a fast-paced march and the look of a cold-blooded killer. He slides under the bottom rope and stares down the referee before finding his corner and resting back into it. Matt Boettcher does his pre-match check on Solex as McVay exits the ring.
Joe Hoffman: You might possibly be facing one of these men at March 2 Glory. Who do you think it will be?
Davidson: Are you asking for my prediction? I pick the guy that wants to get their ass kicked by me at March 2 Glory the most.
Once the check on Solex is done, Boettcher calls for the bell to signal the start of the match.
Both Solex and Zion come out of their respective corners and meet in the center of the ring. Solex begins barking at Zion about how he is what is wrong with this country. Zion stands there defiantly until Solex reaches out and pie faces him. Zion staggers back a little bit as Solex continues talking trash. Zion charges forward and then uses a double-leg takedown to send Solex down to the canvas. Zion mounts himself on top of Solex and begins to hammer away with right hand’s to the face of MercDad. Solex manages to push Zion off of him and then scrambles back up to his feet. Zion scoops Solex up and hits him with a body slam back down to the canvas. Zion races towards the ropes as Solex pulls himself back up to his feet. Zion bounces off the ropes and then hits Solex with a spinning heel kick to the face that flattens him.
Joe Hoffman: Solex decided to go on a tirade right in Darin’s face but Zion wasn’t having any of it. He’s come out of the gate hot and has Solex reeling here.
Davidson: He’s doing alright if you like mediocre wrestling.
Zion gets to his feet and then grabs a hold of Solex before pulling him off of the canvas. Zion lifts Solex into the air and then hits him with a snap suplex. Zion keeps hold of Solex and then pulls him back up to his feet. Zion hits Solex with a second snap suplex down to the mat. Once again, Zion keeps his grip and then pulls Solex up to his feet. Zion hits Solex with a third snap suplex down to the canvas before getting back up to his feet. The crowd cheers wildly as Zion steps through the ropes and then begins to climb the turnbuckle. Zion makes it to the top rope as Solex pulls himself back up to a vertical base. Solex turns around but Zion leaps off the top rope and hits him with a high crossbody block. Solex crashed down to the canvas hard until Zion’s body weight. Zion hooks the leg as Boettcher slides in for the count.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Solex kicks at two.
Joe Hoffman: Three straight snap suplexes followed up by a crossbody block from the high-rent district by Zion. However, it only get him a two-count before Solex was able to power out of the cover.
Davidson: It was a half-decent little flurry of offense but he had to have known that he wasn’t going to beat Steve Solex with a fucking crossbody block. I swear Zion’s arsenal of moves is absolute garbage.
Zion gets back up to his feet and waits as Solex regains a vertical base. Zion begins to light up the chest of Solex with knife-edged chops. Solex recoils back towards the ropes as Zion grabs him. Zion goes to whip Solex into the ropes but Solex reverses the whip. Zion bounces off the ropes but Solex catches him and plants him with a spinebuster. Zion arches his back in pain as Solex takes a moment to recover. Zion gets back up to his feet but Solex grabs him by the hair. Solex runs Zion’s eyes along the top rope as he moves toward the corner. Solex slams Zion’s head into the top turnbuckle pad repeatedly. Solex transitions into lowering his shoulder before ramming it repeatedly into the midsection of Zion. Boettcher comes over and admonishes Solex and tells him to bring the action out of the corner.
Joe Hoffman: Solex turned the tide of this match with a spinebuster but now he’s being warned by referee Matt Boettcher to bring the action out of the corner.
Davidson: Solex is doing what anyone with any common sense would do. He’s got Zion trapped in a corner and now he’s systematically breaking him down piece by piece. Do you really think that Boettcher is going to be able to stop Solex from doing what he wants?
Solex pulls away from the corner briefly but only to flip off Boettcher before going back to work on Zion. Solex gives Zion a boot in the corner and then continues to kick at the man repeatedly like Zion was on fire and Solex was a forest ranger. Boettcher grabs Solex and literally has to pull him away from the corner to give Zion room to breathe. Solex shoves Boettcher out of the way and then mounts himself on top of Zion. Solex leans down and begins biting Zion on the forehead. Zion screams in pain as Boettcher starts a five count.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THREE
Matt Boettcher: FOUR
Matt Boettcher: FIVE
Boettcher once again has to physically pull Solex off of Zion. Boettcher gets in Solex’s face and reminds him that he is the authority in this match. Boettcher threatens to DQ Solex which means Zion would win the tournament and get the title shot at March 2 Glory. Solex begrudgingly decides not to deck Boettcher before focusing back on Zion. However, Zion pops to his feet and hits Solex with a running knee that stuns him. Solex staggers a bit but Zion grabs him and hits him with a belly-to-back suplex down to the canvas. Zion gets back up to his feet and stalks around Solex as he gets back up to his feet. Zion grabs a hold of Solex and then goes to finish him off.
Joe Hoffman: TOUGH LOVE!
Solex pushes off Zion before he can connect with the move. Zion staggers forward but when he turns around Solex gives him a stiff boot to the midsection.
Joe Hoffman: SOLEXECUTION!
Solex hits Zion with the stunner which snaps Zion back and down to the canvas hard. Solex hooks the leg and makes the cover on Zion as Boettcher slides in for the count.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THR–
NO! ZION SHOOTS A SHOULDER OFF THE CANVAS BEFORE THE THREE!!!
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex got all of that Solexecution but Zion shot his shoulder off the canvas just before Boettcher’s hand hit the mat for a third time. Zion is determined to win this tournament and refuses to stay down!
Davidson: Or more accurately… Solex isn’t as good as he thinks he is and even Darin Zion could kick out of that move. Either way, if it was me in the ring I know I wouldn’t have gotten hit with that move. I’ve had sneezes that had more of a damaging impact than the ‘Solexecution.’
Solex isn’t happy that Zion got his shoulder up and blames Boettcher for making a slow count. Solex grabs a hold of Zion again and makes a tighter cover as Boettcher slides in once again.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THREE!
NO!!!! ZION TRANSITIONS AND LOCKS SOLEX INTO THE LOVE HANDLE IN THE CENTER OF THE RING!!!!
Joe Hoffman: ZION WITH THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTER RIGHT INTO THE LOVE HANDLE AND STEVE SOLEX IS IN TROUBLE!
Davidson: If The Last Man in Wrestling ends up tapping out to Darin Zion I might just wet myself, Joe. You can’t buy comedy like that anymore.
Solex kicks his legs and squirms on the canvas. Boettcher drops down and asks Solex if he wants to give it up but Solex screams no. Zion continues to crank on the submission hold as Solex struggles to find an escape. Zion lets out a primal roar as he continues to tighten his grip on the hold as Solex starts to fade.
CROWD: TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP!
Solex howls in defiance before squirming his way to the ring apron then rolls outside sending himself and Zion to the arena floor.
Joe Hoffman: Very smart thinking by Steve Solex. A tap out on the arena floor doesn’t count.
Davidson: Seems like desperation to me, Joe. Solex was definitely going to tap out there.
Zion lets go of Solex and then gets to his feet on the outside. Zion pulls Solex to his feet and then runs him shoulder-first into the steel ring steps. Solex slams hard into the steps as Zion looks over at the announcer’s table. Darin is fixated on the LSD Champion on the table as Davidson pulls himself up to his feet. Davidson snatches the LSD Championship belt up and then lays it over his shoulder.
Davidson: You got a problem?!
Zion smirks and then makes a title motion around his waist.
Davidson: Please, not even in your wildest fucking dreams. Maybe you need to focus on beating Solex before you try to pull up your big boy pants in front of me.
Zion turns toward Solex and then pulls him up to his feet. Zion slides Solex back into the ring before sliding in himself. Solex pulls himself up to his feet but Zion rears back and gives Solex a stiff kick to the chest.
Zion backs up a few steps before unleashing a buzzsaw kick to the head that crumbles Solex down to the canvas. Zion paces around the ring with the adrenaline flowing through his veins as the crowd cheers. Solex begins to stagger back up to a vertical base but Zion grabs a hold of him and then hits him with a side Russian leg sweep down to the canvas hard. Zion kips back up to his feet then backs up to the corner. Zion crouches down and screams for Solex to get up as the former Highwayman fights his way up on unsteady legs. Zion comes out of the corner and then grips the headlock.
Joe Hoffman: TOUGH LOVE!
Zion spikes Solex face-first down to the canvas as the crowd pops. Zion rolls Solex onto his back and then hooks the leg as he makes the cover. Boettcher slides in for the count.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THREE!!!!
Joe Hoffman: ZION HAS WON THE LSD TOURNAMENT!
Boettcher shoots up to his feet and waves his arms wildly. Boettcher points down at the bottom rope and shows that Solex’s boot is placed upon it. Zion runs his fingers through his hair in sheer disbelief as the crowd goes nuts.
Davidson: Zion has been in High Octane Wrestling for how many years now? I wouldn’t have made such a rookie mistake. Then again, that’s why I’m the GREATEST LSD Champion ever.
Zion doesn’t let his frustrations get to him for long as he grabs Solex and drags him to the center of the ring. Zion drops down and locks Solex into an anaconda vice submission hold. Boettcher drops down and checks on Solex who screams in agony. Boettcher asks Solex once again if he wants to give up but Solex refuses. Zion continues to torque on the hold but Solex musters everything left in his body and then begins to slowly make it back up to his feet. Zion keeps the submission locked in as Solex continues to power his way to a vertical base. Solex muscles Zion up and over hitting him with his own belly-to-back suplex. Zion lands on the back of his neck hard which causes him to release the hold. Both men remain on the canvas as Boettcher begins a ten count.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THREE
Matt Boettcher: FOUR
Joe Hoffman: Neither Solex nor Zion is moving at this point. Could the finals of the LSD tournament really end in a double countout?!
Davidson: Fine by me. I can focus on something other than defending the LSD Championship belt against either one of these losers. Maybe I’ll find a decent partner and go get my HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts back.
Matt Boettcher: FIVE
Matt Boettcher: SIX
Slowly both Solex and Zion begin to stir. Solex reaches for the ropes to pull himself up as Zion tries to steady himself to get up.
Matt Boettcher: SEVEN
Matt Boettcher: EIGHT
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think they are going to make it.
Davidson: STAY DOWN!
Matt Boettcher: NINE
Matt Boettcher: TE–
Solex uses the top rope to pull himself up to beat the count. Solex pushes off and then races toward the other end of the ropes. Zion makes it to his feet as Solex bounces off the ropes. Solex winds up and takes a mighty swing.
Joe Hoffman: THE CLOTHESLINE FROM HECK!
But Zion ducks the clothesline making Solex whiff completely. Solex turns around as Zion grips the headlock.
Davidson: TOUGH LOVE!
But Solex got hit with it once but refuses to fall for it again. Solex pushes Zion off of him causing him to stagger forward. Zion turns around but eats a boot to the midsection from Solex.
Joe Hoffman: SOLEXECUTION!
Yet, Zion is smart enough to fall for the same trick twice and he too counters by pushing Solex away from him before he can hit the move. Solex turns around but Zion fires off a boot to the midsection.
Davidson: Way to telegraphic it, Zion.
Solex catches Zion’s boot which causes Darin to hop around on one foot. Zion leaps into the air going for an enzigiuri kick but Solex ducks that too and Zion hits the canvas. Solex quickly gathers up Zion and then shoves his head between his legs. Solex muscles him into the air then spikes him to the canvas with a hard piledriver.
Joe Hoffman: Zion’s body just went limp from that piledriver!
Davidson: Zion is going to look like Tua Tagovailoa after all of these concussions.
Solex gets up to his feet and then grabs a hold of Zion. Solex pulls Zion up to a vertical base even though Zion is out on his feet. Solex races toward the ropes and then bounces off making a beeline to his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: THE CLOTHESLINE FROM HECK CONNECTS!!!
Solex launches himself into the air and throws his whole body into the big lariat which absolutely obliterates Zion. Solex collapses down onto Zion to make the cover as Boettcher slides in.
Matt Boettcher: ONE
Matt Boettcher: TWO
Matt Boettcher: THREE!!!
Bryan McVay: The winner of the LSD tournament and the new #1 contender to the LSD Championship belt at March 2 Glory STEVEEEEEEEE SOLEXXXXXXX!!!
Davidson stands up out of his seat at the announcer’s table then gathers up the ICON Championship belt to go with the LSD Championship belt that he’s already holding.
Davidson: Okay, you wanted me, you son of a bitch? Fine, me and you, March 2 Glory for MY LSD Championship belt.
Joe Hoffman: You’re overlooking the fact that the Lethal Lottery is next week!
Davidson: You think that makes a difference, Hoffman? The beauty of the Lethal Lottery is that I might not know my opponent beforehand. But it also means that they can’t exactly prepare for me either. Everyone is going to walk in dumb as shit pining for the shot at Christopher America. Forgetting that I’ve made THIS Championship belt just as, if not more, important than 97red.
Solex staggers up to his feet as Boettcher raises his hand into the air in victory. Davidson climbs up onto the announcer’s table and then raises the LSD Championship belt high into the air. Solex turns and points at Davidson while talking trash. Davidson raises his free hand into a salute before flipping off Solex.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex with the hard-fought victory over a very game Darin Zion. We have our winner of the LSD tournament and one half of the LSD Championship match at March 2 Glory set. Will it be Solex vs. Jace Parker Davidson or will Jace overlook whoever he defends against next week at the Lethal Lottery because of Solex at March 2 Glory?
Solex and Davidson keep barking back and forth at each other as Joe tries to stay professional in the situation.
Joe Hoffman: We’ll have answers to those questions next week in Cleveland. We’re going to cut away from ringside and when we come back to live action Benny will be back beside me here at the announcer’s table.
We cut away from ringside to elsewhere…
The camera lights up at the backstage entrance of the arena as we see the Queen of Epicness walking into the arena. She’s wearing a magenta leather jacket over a white button up blouse. She’s got on a pair of black flare legged pants on and under that a pair of magenta flats. Behind her is her friends Leah and Michelle. Both wearing Bobbinette t-shirts and merchandise but with matching magenta jackets over it. The three women look like a real squad instead of a group of moms. Bobbinette heads towards her locker room.
Leah: This is way better than nose bleeds.
Michelle: We are like cheerleaders for you.
Michelle says as they all are side-by-side. Bobbinette gets to her locker room, flipping on the lights. Her eyes look at herself in her reflection. She points her index finger at the reflection with a threatening face, one of those looks like a mother gives a warning to their child to act right. Bobbinette turns around and looks at the mom squad as she sets her gear bag down.
Bobbinette: This is a one time thing ladies. So make yourselves at home.
They put their bags down looking around the locker room. They notice there are empty beer cans, broken hockey sticks and rolls of barbed wire in the corner.
Leah: So they just store Scooter’s old junk here?
Michelle: I’ll help clean up the trash while you get ready for your match.
Bobbinette sees her reflection, the reflection mouths “junk” with a pissed off look. Bobbinette’s nostrils flare as she turns her back out of the locker room. The two women walk out behind her as Bobbinette steps quickly down the halls. She points to craft services.
Bobbinette: While I’m in the ring you guys are safe to eat. Stronk will be in the ring so you guys should be fine. I’ll let Con-
As she says this, the group sees Conor Fuse walking past. Michelle stands there smiling like an idiot at him while Leah keeps looking around, now more cautious than excited.
Leah: Don’t you have more people that dislike you aside from just Stronk?
Bobbinette flags him down as Fuse comes to a stop. He turns and waves to Bobbie in a friendly manner.
Conor Fuse: Oh hey girl, good to see you. Look, Imma be pretty busy tonight, I have to take care of Clay Byrd. It’s a big match, a very important match. It’s my chance to get back to the last level, you see. Maybe we can debrief about our counselling sessions another time…
Conor’s voice trails, as he realizes this wasn’t Bobbinette’s intentions to begin with. She’s trying to introduce her friends. Carey takes a moment to let her friends walk into the picture.
Bobbinette: Formal introduction… you helped them a couple months ago. But this is Leah, and Michelle.
Fuse gives a Forrest Gump like wave.
Conor Fuse: Nice to meet the two of you.
Leah: Yeah thanks for the save.
Michelle: Thank you for the help and you’re such a doll for it. And also helping out Bobbie. Thank you so much young man.
Michelle seems to fawn like an elderly lady more than a woman in her late 30s.
…While Conor awkwardly doesn’t know what to do. He looks to his left, right, then at Bobbinette, then at her two friends, then to his right again, back to Bobbinette for a second time, and finally the friends.
Conor Fuse: Hey, yeah, swell. Just swell. Anytime at all. Sorry but if you’ll excuse me ladies, I have a giant I need to Head Stomp into oblivion! I have to win this match. I absolutely, positively, have to win. Clay is my nemesis but Christopher America is my EndGame. Gotta move up the !RANKS if you know what I’m saying. Which, uhhhh… maybe you don’t know what I’m saying. Anyway, you’re all welcome for the help. Bobbie’s helped me, too. We’re totally bros. Bobbie, hit me up later. Okay see ya!
Fuse gives a cheerful goodbye to Bobbinette and her crew as he rolls his left hand into a fist and starts smacking it with his right hand. Fuse wanders off down the hallway. Bobbinette watches Conor walk away she has a look of concern on her face as the camera fades out with her worried look as we cut elsewhere.
Where the Big Boys Play
We cut to the parking lot of the arena as Hall of Fame interviewer Blair Moise is standing by…
Blaire Moise: Welcome back everyone to Chaos. I’ve had a tipoff that a certain someone is headed our way. My source didn’t give a name, saying only that whoever it is, is a big deal.
Right on cue, a sleek black limousine rounds the corner.
Blaire Moise: This must be them!
She motions to the cameraman to follow. We’re treated to nauseating shaky cam as they jog after Blaire towards the vehicle.
Blaire Moise: They’re stopping. Here we go…
The limo slows to a stop. Tinted windows obscure its occupants. The driver door opens and a silver-haired chauffeur steps out. He walks round to the rear passenger door and holds it open.
Out steps a beguilingly beautiful, brunette Latina wearing a ruby-red dress and heels.
Blaire Moise: Wait, that can’t be—
Not acknowledging Blaire’s presence, the exotic woman walks round the back of the car to the opposite passenger door and dutifully opens it.
Two highly-polished, red wrestling boots touch down onto the pavement.
Blaire Moise: No – no way!
A flowing red cape cascades into view.
Blaire Moise: The gorgeous woman over my shoulder is Raquel, which means that this must be—
From behind the door steps a pair of chicken-legs, leading up to a red singlet sporting a red and yellow flag, then a red luchador mask with ‘#1’ emblazoned across the forehead.
Raquel: Marvolo Tres.
The pint-sized Marvolo 3, who comes to Raquel’s bust, chortles pompously.
Marvolo 3: Well, well, well… HOW. This is where the big boys play, huh? Look at the adjective: play. Marvolo isn’t here to play.
Marvolo notices Blaire.
Marvolo 3: What did Marvolo tell you, Raquel? Everywhere he goes, his adoring public await him.
Blaire eagerly engages him.
Blaire Moise: Raquel, Marvolo 3, it’s awesome to have you both here, but… What are you doing here!? Didn’t you just ink a deal with Con—
Marvolo 3: Shhh, shhh, shhh! Do you want Marvolo to be fired!?
Blaire Moise: No, of course not! It’s just that we thought you were exclusive to CW—
Marvolo flaps his arms for Blaire to hush, looking around in alarm.
Marvolo 3: Ixnay on the clusive-ex… Nay… Stay?
Blaire Moise: What?
Marvolo 3: Gesundheit. Marvolo is a hot commodity, Ms. Bel-Air. He’s in massive demand, but short supply—
Blaire laughs. Marvolo frowns.
Blaire Moise: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were making a joke.
Marvolo 3: About what?
Blaire Moise: Well, you said short supply, and you’re, uh…
Blaire catches Raquel staring daggers at her.
Blaire Moise: Forget it. It’s Blaire, by the way. Blaire Moise.
Marvolo 3: Marvolo apologises, Ms. Moist.
Blaire Moise: No, it’s—
Marvolo 3: Marvolo isn’t the only hot commodity. Whether it’s energy, fuel, or groceries, everything is in demand. There simply isn’t enough to go round. As a result, prices are sky-high. Times are hard, Ms. Moist, and we’re all struggling. That’s why Marvolo is having to work twice as hard, taking on two jobs.
Marvolo holds up three fingers.
Marvolo 3: Marvolo is here to sign his High Octane Television contract in-person. That means under the PWA banner, he’ll be able to work for HOW, MVW, PRIME, SHOOT, and sVo. With all those potential bookings, maybe Marvolo will be able to keep the lights on at home.
He sighs. Raquel rubs his shoulders, carrying the weight of the world.
Marvolo 3: Marvolo may have signed an exclusivity clause elsewhere, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them. If we could all please just keep shtum, we won’t need to deal with pesky lawyers.
Blaire Moise: Your secret is safe with me, Marvolo.
Blaire mimes zipping her lips and then swallowing the key. Uh…
Marvolo 3: Thank you. Raquel, give Ms. Moist a t-shirt, would you?
Raquel produces a black t-shirt from who-knows-where. Blaire holds up a manicured hand.
Blaire Moise: That’s very kind of you, but it’s not nec—
Marvolo 3: Nonsense! Marvolo has stacks of these things. The trick is to sign one shirt, then keep printing that one. You can’t develop carpal tunnel without repetitive motion.
He taps his temple.
Marvolo 3: Besides, it’s a bit nippy in here.
Raquel thrusts the t-shirt at Blaire, who relents and pulls it over her head. As she tugs it down, though, Marvolo recoils.
Marvolo 3: Oh, bugger!
Blaire Moise: What is it!?
A panicky Blaire looks down at her chest, which sports a logo consisting of three letters. C-W—
Marvolo 3: BLUR IT, BLUR IT!
Marvolo frantically waves through the camera to the production truck. The logo suddenly pixelates before we can discern the final letter. He mops his brow.
Marvolo 3: Raquel, when Marvolo told you to grab a shirt before leaving, did you take one from the pile on the left, or the pile on the right!?
Marvolo runs his hands over his head in exasperation.
Marvolo 3: Oh, no! Marvolo’s piles are in disarray. He must have sent his HOW shirts to bleeeeep, and brought his bleeeeep shirts to HOW!
Marvolo looks into the camera, impressed at the timely live censoring.
Marvolo 3: Nice work, lads.
Marvolo checks his bare wrist.
Marvolo 3: Blimey, you’re right! Ms. Moist, it’s been a pleasure making your acquaintance. Marvolo must go, for he has a contract to sign!
Blaire Moise: Of course. Thanks for your time, Marvolo, and remember: my lips are sealed.
Marvolo nods, smiling.
Marvolo 3: Nun’s the word.
Marvolo 3: And you remember, High Octane: Marvolo is number one!
Raquel: Marvolo es numbehr wahn.
Marvolo and the near-mute Raquel hurry off-camera, leaving a perplexed Blaire with her genuine, photocopied, autographed, pixellated t-shirt as we head to our next commercial break.
We head backstage after the commercial break to find HOW Hall of Famer and current LSD Champion Jace Parker Davidson marching down the hallway. He is holding both the LSD and ICON Championship belts but doesn’t look too happy at all. Jace is still fuming over watching Steve Solex win the LSD tournament earlier which secures his spot for an LSD Championship match at March 2 Glory. He mumbles under his breath but then suddenly stops in his tracks. Jace’s eyes widen as he glares at the person standing in front of him.
Davidson: Holy shit, you still work here?!?!
Brian Bare: Of course, I still work here!!! Just because that bitch Blaire got into the Hall of Fame it seems as if everyone has completely forgotten about me!!!
Bare seems to be frothing at the mouth a bit. Jace takes a step back and holds his hand in the air.
Davidson: Okay, simmah down, Crackie Chan. Glad to see you’re still alive, I guess. Anyway, I’m a busy man, so if you’ll just move out of my way…
Brian Bare: NO!
Brian says in a demanding tone that makes Jace raise an eyebrow.
Brian Bare: I work just as hard as Blaire does…
Doubt is written all over Jace’s face.
Brian Bare: And I’m going to show her and everyone else that I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame too! That means I’m getting an interview from you right here, right now!
Bare produces a microphone from the pocket of his blazer as Jace lowers his head and sighs.
Davidson: Fucks sake, Bare. If I spot you a $50 will that make you go around long enough and help you get your fix?
Brian Bare: Drugs won’t get me inducted into the Hall!
Bare raises the microphone up to his lips and turns to the camera.
Brian Bare: What are your thoughts on the LSD tournament final earlier tonight?
Davidson: Oh, we’re doing this? No introduction or anything? Jesus Christ…
Jace clears his throat and adjusts his title belts on his shoulder.
Davidson: If you paid any amount of attention then you’d KNOW I was out there doing commentary for that match and already gave my thoughts about it. But for the sake of getting your tweaking ass out of my face, I think it doesn’t matter who won the LSD tournament. Darin Zion would have done something stupid if he won and now that he lost? He’ll come back in a week or two talking about how the HOTv belt has always been his dream, or maybe the HOTv Tag Team belts then again could be the World title all over again. Who knows but that’s just what Zion does.
Jace waves his hand dismissively.
Davidson: Solex made it to the finals but the skin of his teeth and now he’s won the entire thing. Congratulations. You get another Championship match at a HOW PPV. A fresh new chance here in 2023 to fucking disappoint not only yourself but everyone else when you ultimately fail to win the belt. You can rant and rave about how horrible the world is and how you hate modern culture or how the microchips in credit cards are the Democrats’ way of turning your future grandchildren into members of the LGBTQ community.
Bare nods his head like he understands any of that.
Davidson: None of that horseshit matters. What matters is that you are a born failure Steve Solex. You lost the HOTv Championship belt… to me. You lost the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts to the fucking eGG Bandits and oh… to me. You failed to win 97red twice and now you think this time is going to be different?
Jace leans his head back and scoffs.
Davidson: You’re a space filler, a warm body to tide me over until War Games when a real challenge awaits me. You might think you’re The Last Man in Wrestling but really you’re just a walking, talking, rectal cavity. And come March 2 Glory, Solex… I’m going to show you what a real man is like. I’m going to fucking bang you so goddamn hard in the middle of that ring, we’ll need to exchange insurance information.
Brian Bare: Before you get to face Solex, you have to defend the LSD Championship belt next week in the Lethal Lottery.
Jace snaps his head toward Bare with a disgusted look on his face.
Davidson: Why does everyone keep bringing up the Lethal Lottery to me like I’m some fucking rookie?
Bare goes to respond but Jace cuts him off.
Davidson: Rhetorical question, dipshit. I know all about the Lethal Lottery, I’ve been in them before. The last time we had a Lethal Lottery? I won a battle royal to earn a shot at 97red. That is until Scott fucking Stevens slithered in behind me like the coward he is and stole that victory from me. Then of course did his best Steve Solex impression and failed miserably in the title match. There is no battle royal this week. There will be no secret entrants sliding into the ring behind me. It’ll just be me and whoever is unlucky enough to draw a shot at the LSD Championship belt.
Jace fixes his posture.
Davidson: Let’s be honest, though. There’s what? Like two people that entered the Lethal Lottery that would even make me break a sweat. So, unless I drew Aceldama or Dan Ryan, I think it’s safe to say this will be a cakewalk for me. Scott Stevens, Xander Azula, Jatt Starr, and Brian Hollywood just to name a few. Not exactly striking fear into the hearts of anyone. Maybe Zion comes back next week for another try. Maybe Stronk steps up to the plate. Unless Mike Best is coming out of retirement, then it’s clear sailing for YOUR LSD Champion.
Jace, satisfied with what he’s said, turns to Bare.
Davidson: There, you got your interview. Now go away, oh, and good luck with that Hall of Fame induction. I’ll totally vote for you.
Jace walks past Bare laughing sarcastically as we head back to ringside for more action.
The Final Alliance vs. Carey and Stevens
We come back to ringside, where Joel Hortega and Brian McVay are standing by in the ring before Joe Hoffman speaks from commentary!
Joe Hoffman: It’s been a wild night so far but we’re rolling on with tag team action as the Final Alliance pairing of Dan Ryan and Stronk…
Benny Newell: It’s stronk, Joe, I can hear that capitalization from here and I’m not havin’ it!
Joe Hoffman: Right, Dan Ryan teams with…stronk godson…to take on Bobbinette Carey and Scott Stevens, two HOW Hall of Famers who have had their share of issues with each other must now team up to contend with the in-ring return of Dan Ryan as he looks to assist stronk in his road to recovery.
Benny Newell: A win for the Alliance here is about as easy as…
Joe Hoffman: As what, Benny?
Benny Newell: …cut me some slack Joe, thinking about this match has my mind wandering!
With that, we cut to the ring for the introductions by Brian McVay.
Brian McVay: The following tag team contest is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first…
Arena lights go black.
“Tell you you’re the greatest
but once you turn they hate us!”
A magenta spot lights its entrance as the Queen of Epicness herself is already standing there waiting for the light. Bobbinette Carey makes her way down the ramp. Wearing a Miss America style crown. She stands at the top of the ramp with her pink and black leopard gear.
Brian McVay: Coming to the ring from Parma Heights, Ohio, she is a HOW Hall of Famer and the Queen of Epicness…Bobbinette Carey!
“Oh the misery everybody wants to be my enemy!”
The HOV plays a black and white video package. (We see the clip of her smashing a photo over Mario Maurako; another clip of her hitting Mario with the defib pads, then the most striking image of Bobbinette standing over Scottywood and slapping him.)
She steps up the ring steps and wipes her feet on the apron before getting in the center of the ring, a mix of frustration and anger on her face.
“Spare the sympathy, everybody wants to be my enemy, but I’m ready”
She stands in the center as magenta pink and mauve pyrotechnics explode from the turnbuckle…but her usual curtsy is noticeably absent, as she fixes her gaze upon the entrance waiting for the man she’s forced to team with tonight.
Joe Hoffman: Bobbinette not having any of her pleasantries tonight, which is understandable considering she has to team with the man she believes murdered her best friend!
Benny Newell: First of all, allegations are just that…second, I’ve got a newsflash for ya. This just in, in this business you occasionally have to work with people you don’t like. Just look at me, I…
Joe shoots a glare in Benny’s direction, but Benny presses on.
Benny Newell: …have to occasionally watch people I don’t like, and call the action in their matches. That is my damn job, just like it’s yours, Joe!
Brian McVay: And her tag team partner…
The lights in the arena go black as a synthesized hymn begins to play as the High Octane Vision comes to life as an angelic voice begins to sing.
“Born from pain, inside my veins.
Bred for war, begging for more.
None shall mourn, I am reborn.
Live in sin. The House always wins.”
The hymn continues as the screen begins to show the Best Arena transformed into a style of a church and the screen slowly flashes the words…..
Lee Best’s infamous blood shot eyes hover above the top. The lights in the arena begin to come on in a shade of #97RED as smoke and fog begin to fill the stage area as well. The sound of glass breaking is heard as the screen shows a crack over the mural of the Best Arena and Lee Best’s eyes as “O Fortuna Excalibur Remix” by Apotheosis begins.
Lights above the ring shine down to create a #97RED HOB. The stage flashes with alternating red and white lights as Scott Stevens makes his way out onto the stage as Bobbinette looks on with a murderous glare from the ring.
Brian McVay: From the Great State of Texas, and representing the HOUSE OF BEST…he is the self-proclaimed Demi-God of HOW…SCOTT! STEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEENS!
Stevens’ #97RED circular sunglasses glisten in the light and his devilish grin plasters his face. Scott drinks in his own hype as he lifts his right arm and points to the heavens before he begins to slowly walk toward the ring, seemingly ignoring the emotional response of his tag partner.
As he does so he carries the Book of Best front and center of his chest while he sticks as close to the center of the ramp as possible to avoid being touched by the heathens that line the barricade. As Scott climbs up onto the mat, the massive Cross of Best hangs around his neck like jewelry. Scott wipes his feet off on the edge of the ring, his smile never leaving his face despite the visibly angry Carey continuing to stare him down, her arms crossed in impatience.
Joe Hoffman: Scott Stevens bringing most of his usual…swagger…to the proceedings tonight, even with the obvious issues between himself and Bobbinette Carey complicating an already heated situation with Dan Ryan from last week!
Benny Newell: Scott seems to remain firm in his faith in the GOD of HOW, and to be honest Joe…I’m with him on this. I think GOD is testing his faith here tonight!
Moving towards the center of the ring, Scott bathed in the red lettering, drops to a knee before looking up with his eyes closed towards the heavens mouthing something as he is bathed in the sinister glow of #97RED.
Once his prayer is done he slowly lowers the hood of his jacket and lifts his arm high into the air as the music dies and the house lights return signaling Scott to take off the Cross of Best and kiss it before making his way to his corner to prepare for his match…only to be confronted by Carey as Bryan McVay continues the introductions.
Brian McVay: And their opponents…
The lights in the arena go down as “STRONKER” by FLAV RILLE begins to play. We see stronk godson stepping out to the stage, but we don’t get much more of him before the camera pans over the Best Arena. There’s a buzz in the air as the High Octane faithful wait. Slowly, the lights in the arena start to dim, almost to black, but not quite.
A lightning effect flashes in the arena, followed by a thundering sound, and music begins to play.
“Daddy’s Home” by JT Music.
Somewhere beyond the sea
Something slumbers underneath
When she wakes up from her dreams
We’ll be reborn from the deep
The strobe lightning effect continues, and as the opening lines of the first verse start to play, a large figure steps out onto the stage. His appearance is met with another thundering sound, this time the sound of boos from all over the building.
Brian McVay: Representing the Final Alliance, they are the team of…stronk godson and DAAAAAN RYAAAAAAAAAN!
Dan Ryan stands center stage, soaking it in. He’s been booed most of his career. This time, for a unique reason. But he soaks it all in as stronk stands by his side, and the pair start to walk down the ramp.
Hold your noses cuz we’re going for another long dive
Some call me Father, others call me Johnny Topside
Long forgotten, I was swept up by the wrong tide
Thought my bed was made but I just woke up on the wrong side
Halfway down the ramp, someone throws something in their direction, but Dan sidesteps it, and glances over as EPU rush in to subdue the fan responsible. Ryan and stronk make it to the ring, and Dan stops and looks out into the crowd once again, soaking in the reaction with no expression.
Joe Hoffman: What a moment for Dan Ryan as he steps back into a HOW ring for the first time in nearly two years.
Benny Newell: Dan Ryan carries the burden of great sin, Joe, and tonight begins his atonement.
I’m the heavyweight champ, you won’t even last a round
Too long you brutes abused the juice, now you get smacked around
Delta’s held the belt so many years here in Rapture now
Baddest motherfucker in the building, who’s your daddy now?
I’ll ask you nicely, would you kindly put your weapon down?
And cut the cameras cuz I’d rather not be ratted out
I’m on the path to power, I would’ve made Atlas proud
Hit you with the one two punch, zap and whack you out
Ryan cracks his neck, then climbs up onto the apron and climbs through the ropes. He dashes into the ropes, bounces off and sprints to a turnbuckle, step-climbing up and then roaring into the crowd and settling into a snarling stare out at the masses as stronk looks on, almost confused by the undisputed hatred this crowd has for Dan Ryan.
Ryan hops down, then circles the ring for a moment, letting the boos continue to rain down all over him, then finally backs into a corner. With both teams now in the ring, Stevens is seen telling Carey to go in first, leading to a bit of arguing between the two before Carey finally relents as Hortega calls for the bell!
As the match gets underway, we start to assume that Dan Ryan is stepping into the ring to face Carey…but, with a chuckle, he motions for stronk to enter and “handle his business,” as the Texan so eloquently puts it. This garners a look of confusion, almost worry, from godson as he shifts his gaze from Dan to Bobbinette, and back again…before charging at the Queen!
What stronk fails to realize, however, is that he is NOT the big beefy boi he once was, and his attempt at a shoulder tackle is met with a confused look by the still-standing Bobbinette, who sends stronk to the ropes before hitting a clothesline on the rebound!
Joe Hoffman: Oof, what a clothesline by Carey!
Benny Newell: That seems entirely unnecessary Bobbi, stronky baby wasn’t ready!
Getting back to his feet, stronk looks frustrated that his shoulder tackle didn’t take…but Carey stays on the attack with some lefts and rights, sending the former HOTv Champion reeling toward the corner…but just narrowly avoids a running corner splash from the Queen of Epicness, who crashes into the turnbuckle instead!
This gives stronk the opening he needs as he goes for a sleeper hold…but he can’t get the leverage necessary to lock it in, before Bobbinette counters it into a belly to back suplex that drops stronk hard to the canvas! Carey senses a chance to end this quickly, as she goes for the cover…but before Hortega can make the count, Dan Ryan rushes in with a boot to her back to break up the pin!
Joe Hoffman: Dan Ryan making sure his partner stronk doesn’t take a pinfall here after that suplex by Bobbinette!
Benny Newell: It’s just not what the GOD wants from the newest member of his Alliance!
Carey rushes up to her feet, standing up to the much taller Ryan…who just chuckles as he returns to the apron. Carey glares at him before turning her attention back to stronk, bringing the formerly big boy up to his feet. Carey slaps a hand across the chest of stronk, leading to a series of chops that wears him down before sending him to the ropes once again…only stronk manages to duck under the clothesline attempt, slamming a forearm against the Queen that rocks her slightly off her feet!
This gives stronk a chance to build momentum as he locks in a waistlock, trying to lift Carey up for a body slam…but given his recent downgrade in, well, STRONKness, the Queen manages to break the waistlock quickly! Backing away from Carey, stronk is visibly confused and somewhat upset as he shakes his head…only to feel a slight sting from a slap on the shoulder by Dan Ryan, indicating a blind tag as he steps into the ring!
Joe Hoffman: Oh boy, do we have a tense situation here!
Benny Newell: Tense? You think that’s the word for it? Dan Ryan is the last man on earth Bobbinette wants to deal with right now, Joe!
This second staredown doesn’t last long however, as Carey rushes at Dan with a flurry of offense, laying in some quick strikes to wear the big man down. After a moment, this burst of energy is shut down as Ryan shoves the Queen away before connecting with a boot to the gut followed by a snap suplex!
Stevens, who largely has kept quiet and to himself up to this point, finally realizes the sense of danger looming as he starts shouting at Dan Ryan…who simply turns his attention to the fellow Texan, an angry glare that could possibly make GREAT SCOTT jealous. Ryan motions for the so-called Demigod to step in and back his words up with action, but to his amusement Stevens eventually backs down.
You’d be surprised at what a moment like this does to distract someone of Dan Ryan’s ilk, however, as the time wasted on this exchange gives Carey a chance to get back to a vertical base…only to come crashing down on the back of Ryan’s knee with a chop block, sending the big man down hard to the canvas!
Joe Hoffman: Well here we go, then! Bobbinette Carey not looking to waste any time bringing Dan Ryan down to size!
Benny Newell: Oh Bobbi, I think you’re just gonna piss Dan off…not a good idea!
Carey stays on the attack with some kicks to the back of Ryan, who slowly gets back to his feet…and just pummels the Queen with a big right hand! Carey is sent reeling from this, but Dan doesn’t relent as he swings away with lefts and rights before sending the Hall of Famer to the ropes and connects with a big boot on the rebound!
Ryan lays the offense in even heavier as he drops to the canvas, laying in some hard elbow strikes to the neck of the Queen…all the while staring down Stevens in his corner, who has refused to step in and intercede, just shaking his head at what’s happening instead.
Joe Hoffman: Come on, Stevens! Tell me you’re gonna do something about this, and not just stand there and watch!
Benny Newell: You know that’s not the Scott Stevens way, Joe! He knows GOD is testing him right now, and he cannot waver…even if that means letting Bobbi be a sacrifice to the Alliance!
Satisfied with the damage done, Ryan brings Carey back to her feet, sending the Queen to her corner…but as Ryan comes rushing at Carey for a corner clothesline, the Hall of Famer manages to get out of harm’s way at the last possible second, which sends Ryan colliding into the turnbuckle himself…but not before getting a big forearm to the head of Stevens, knocking him clear off the ring apron and to the floor!
Carey sees her opening and makes the best of it, kicking Ryan’s leg out from under him before focusing on the big man’s back, laying those strikes in thick until Dan is able to finally get back to his feet…and he is indeed an angry man by the look on his face.
Benny Newell: See? I told you! The fun and games are over now, Joe!
Dan rushes the Queen with some hard forearm strikes, followed by a series of punches that wears Carey down…all culminating in an overhead belly to belly suplex that drops the Queen down hard! Ryan is seemingly in the zone now as he goes to work on the arm of the Queen, looking to wear it down enough to lock in an armbar…only for Carey to roll away, leaving the ring to take a breather on the outside!
This doesn’t seem to faze Ryan, who remains focused as he steps through the ropes to head out of the ring…only to be blindsided with a forearm by Stevens, followed by some lefts and rights as retaliation for earlier by the Hall of Famer!
We see stronk heading around the outside, torn between stopping Stevens and checking on Carey, who is slowly getting back on her feet as Stevens sends Ryan back into the ring. He yells at Carey to finish the job against the big man…and this doesn’t go well with Carey, who shoves Stevens away before rolling back into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: The communication between Stevens and Carey was already looking uneasy, but we’re witnessing an absolute breakdown here and now!
Benny Newell: That’s the kinda thing that ruins any chance of success, especially when you’re dealing with someone like Dan Ryan!
As stronk returns to his corner and walks up the steps to the apron, we see Ryan already standing back up as Carey takes to the ropes, looking for the lariat she calls Royal Pain…but is met with a clothesline by the big man instead, nearly flipping her head over heels before she collides with the canvas!
This puts a worried look on the face of stronk, but Ryan pays it no mind as he brings the Queen back to her feet…motioning to Stevens to get into the ring and try his luck. This gets nothing more than a stern look from the so-called Demigod, as Ryan sends Carey to the corner with an Irish whip…and Stevens smacks Carey on the shoulder for a blind tag!
Joe Hoffman: Oh boy, Stevens may be looking for trouble here!
Benny Newell: Scott knows what he’s doing, Joe! This is the leap of faith he needs to take, so that GOD himself will be pleased with his work!
Stevens steps into the ring as Carey rolls under the bottom rope to the outside, and the two tall boys of the bout stare each other down before laying into each other with lefts and rights, eventually trading forearms before Stevens looks to take Ryan down with a kick to the gut followed by a DDT!
With the former Ego Buster down, Stevens stomps away at Ryan…only letting up so that he can set himself up in the corner, waiting to change the momentum in his favor as he starts stomping the canvas, egging Ryan on to get back to his feet!
Dan eventually obliges, turning toward Stevens who rushes him with a superkick! REMEMBER THE–NO! Ryan manages to narrowly avoid disaster, sprinting toward the Hall of Famer before connecting with a rolling elbow smash instead! HAMMER OF GOD!
Stevens is reeling, but he’s not down just yet…no, that comes later as Ryan hoists the fellow Texan onto his shoulders, sending Stevens down hard with a Burning Hammer! HEADLINER CONNECTS!
With the Queen still down on the outside, Ryan goes for the cover as Hortega makes the count!
DING DING DING
Brian McVay: Here are your winners, in fifteen minutes via pinfall…Dan Ryan and stronk godson of the Final Alliance!
At the instruction of Ryan, we see stronk step into the ring as Hortega raises both men’s arms in victory before cutting to the commentary desk!
Joe Hoffman: Bobbinette and Stevens gave it their best tonight, but were no match for a very game Dan Ryan, making the most of his in-ring return as he and stronk pick up the win!
Benny Newell: Dan shows he’s not got much in the way of ring rust, stronky baby takes another step on his road to recovery…everyone comes out a winner in the end! Ya love to see it, Joe!
We Wont Back Down
Joe Hoffman: Earlier tonight, The Alabama Gang defended the HOTv Tag Team titles in Las Vegas at Sanctioned Violence Organization’s Showdown 145 show. How would they fare?
(sVo’s Showdown 145- Earlier Today: The Alabama Gang (R.G. Jenkins and Mark Hendry) © vs. The Canadian Connection (Jake Hughes and Scott Cole)- HOTv Tag Team Title
…Hendry lifts Cole into a Fireman’s Carry position… and slams him to the mat. Hendry back up. He runs the ropes… Cole gets back to his feet… RUNNING LARIAT BY HENDRY!
Hendry rolls him up… 1… 2… THREE!
Joe Hoffman: They would win over sVo’s Canadian Connection and now will face a yet-to-be-determined tag team next Saturday at HOW’s Lethal Lottery. Let’s go to Las Vegas and see what the champions have to say.
Dressing Room After the Match
Goodfellas Casino Arena
Las Vegas, Nevada
Following their successful HOTv Tag Team Title defense, both Jenkins and Hendry sit on a bench in their dressing. Jenkins has a white towel around his neck. Hendry roots through the Yeti Roadie 24 Hard cooler for some post-match drinks.
Hendry pulls out a Coors and tosses it to Jenkins. Then he pulls out a can of Budweiser for himself.
R.G. Jenkins: Mission accomplished. The Alabama Gang took on the challenge of former sVo tag team champions The Canadian Connection… Jake Hughes and Scott Cole… and passed the test with flying colors.
Jenkins opens up his can of Coors and takes a drink.
Hendry cracks open a can of Budweiser.
R.G. Jenkins: Took us over twenty-four minutes to do it. But we hung with ‘em. They’re a good team and challenged us. Hendry tagged in late and hit the Fireman’s Carry slam… took down Cole with the lariat… and got us the pinfall.
Hendry takes a healthy drink from his can of Budweiser and chimes in.
Mark Hendry: YEAH!
R.G. Jenkins: That one’s for you Sunny. Hope you’re feeling better and we’ll see you in two nights when we’re gonna get our hands on The Stevens Dynasty for those Missouri Valley Wrestling Men’s Tag Team title belts in Normal, Illinois.
Mark Hendry: YEAH!
R.G. Jenkins: Who’s going to be next?
Jenkins grins and tilts his head back.
R.G. Jenkins: Don’t know. But when we find out, we’ll be there.
Mark Hendry: YEAH!
Jenkins guzzles down his can of Coors as Chaos cuts to a commercial break.
We are back from commercial, greeted with a single word on the screen:
The word fades away before we find ourselves inside an art gallery, walls adorned with paintings as a quiet piece of classical music plays in the background…before giving way to the voice of Xander Azula.
XANDER AZULA: Art is defined by the expression of human creative skill and imagination. Such skill and imagination can come in the form of a painting…
We cut to another corner of the art gallery, focused on elaborate stone statues being ogled by those in attendance as Xander continues.
XANDER AZULA: …sculptures…
And now, we come to the heart of the matter, as we cut to footage of a wrestling match in progress somewhere far away from the gallery.
XANDER AZULA: …and combat.
Seconds later, we cut to Xander himself, standing alone inside a structure that resembles the HOFC cage he became very familiar with last year. He seems to be reflective of days gone by as he begins to speak, a gruff tone in his voice.
XANDER AZULA: I spent my entire 2022 stripping everything down to the bare essentials. Gone was my involvement in things beyond my own understanding…and all that was left was The Fighter. All I had was my technique, and the cage from which I could perform that technique…and I was damn good at it.
His face is intercut with footage from ICONIC, reminding us of the fate that awaited him against Mike Best as the Fighter continues to speak, this time a sense of anger building up behind each and every word.
XANDER AZULA: But not good enough, it seems. All that work setting up a new foundation, and the whole thing came crumbling down at the worst possible time.
The footage stops, leaving us with just the face of Azula…which begins to soften, just slightly.
XANDER AZULA: But therein lies the beauty of it. Like a painter in need of a new canvas, I have come to see this as an opportunity to start over…to begin my career anew. And with the late Scott Woodson departing this mortal soil, I’ve come to recognize the gap that can be filled by a new artist…a true master of his craft.
With that, Xander cracks a wicked smirk before continuing.
XANDER AZULA: Next week, someone will find themselves lucky at the Lethal Lottery…lucky enough to be the first piece in my collection. Every artist has their niche, and mine is violence.
Xander’s smirk widens to a grin as the classical music comes back on before we fade to black.
The scene cuts to the parking lot where a successful Joe Bergman, new HOTv Champion, exits the Mackey Arena, the home of the Purdue Boilermakers, and starts towards his waiting vehicle and a celebration, whatever that would be for him. However, Joe Bergman takes his eyes off the world in front of him and glances at the HOTv championship over his shoulder.
It is a split second.
Oftentimes, lives change within a split second. Someone takes their eyes off the road to change the radio station, a construction worker tries reaching for a hammer without looking and it slips from his grasp and falls several stories….tragedies occur.
Dan Ryan emerges from behind a column as Bergman walks by and cracks him in the back with a piece of rebar. Bergman yells in pain and drops to his knees. Dan Ryan connects with a shot to the back of Bergman’s neck. Dan Ryan stands over Bergman, who is groaning in agony, a twisted smile on his face. Dan Ryan pulls Bergman up, lifts him up, and delivers a Headliner on the concrete, asphalt ground. A voice from the shadows is heard…..
THE SHADOW: I think that’s enough….for now.
Dan Ryan looks over at his cohort, a bit disappointed. The shadowy figure whose voice is unmistakable begins clapping.
THE SHADOW: CONGRATULATIONS, JOE! Bravissimo!
The Shadowy Man motions towards Dan Ryan.
THE SHADOW: Pick him up.
Dan Ryan smirks but ultimately obliges, holding Joe Bergman up, locking his arms into Bergman’s. The HOTv Champion holding onto consciousness. The Shadow figure picks up the rebar from the ground. The Thane of Starrkarth’s lip twitches, a look of absolute disgust on his face. The Mayor of ManJattan slaps Joe Bergman in the face.
JATT STARR: Do you know what’s worse than you screwing the Rembrandt of Wrestling out of advancing in the HOW Championship tournament? The fact that I was forced to watch you become the HOTv Champion. You’re a fraud. You might have these people fooled, but not me. We both know that you are one crooked piece of trash scum.
The Mayor of ManJattan begins twirling the rebar in his hand before looking around.
JATT STARR: Say, where’s that little strumpet that tags along with you? What’s her name? Honey O’Callawhore? Maybe Lee’s breaking her in as his new step stool, huh? Sunny O’Stepstool!
The Marquis of MadagaStarr laughs and slaps Dan Ryan on the shoulder. Dan Ryan, however, remains stonefaced as he keeps Joe Bergman up.
JATT STARR: It would be a better fate than hanging around you, I bet. The Ruler of Jattlantis wants you to know two things, sport. Before, I was hoping I would draw Christopher America in the Lethal Lottery and maybe I still will, if not, and I get you? Nothing will make me happier than to relieve you of the burden of the HOTv Championship. Either way, you aren’t walking out of that craphole Cleveland the HOTv Champ.
The Sultan of SeaJattle brings his face within an inch of Joe Bergman’s.
JATT STARR: You didn’t think you could just fuck me over and not expect there would consequences, did you?
Jatt Starr jabs Joe Bergman in the crotch with the end of the rebar before taking an Aaron Judge baseball bat swing and connecting with Joe Bergman’s gut. Bergman begins coughing and wheezing. The Duke of Jattmandu flips the rebar to the ground almost flippantly and pulls out a black Sharpie.
JATT STARR: Just to remind you that I am the Rembrandt of Wrestling…..
The Baron of Boca Jatton pulls the cap off with his teeth and spits it into Joe Bergman’s face. Jatt Starr then proceeds to write on Joe Bergman’s forehead. It reads “JATT STARR’S BITCH”. Jatt Starr raises up his thumb as if to check the proportions and lines of his work. He goes in and puts a little happy face on Bergman’s cheek.
JATT STARR: FRANK VIOLA!
The Grand Overlord of Jatturn gives Dan Ryan a nod. Dan Ryan releases Joe Bergman and Jatt Starr grabs Bergman and delivers a Falling Star onto the ground. Jatt Starr gets up, reaches down to pick up the HOTv Championship. He takes a moment to admire it before carefully placing it on Bergman’s back. Jatt Starr spits on the back of Joe Bergman’s head before he and Dan Ryan walk out, ending the scene as we cut to our final commercial break of the evening.
Clay Byrd vs. Conor Fuse
Back live from our last commercial break and the graphic for the match appears on the HOV and the crowd stands as one.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back everyone…we do NOT have an update at this time regarding the status of our new HOTv Champion Joe Bergman but it is clear…..The Final Alliance…namely Dan Ryan and Jatt Starr have chosen violence heading towards their match at March to Glory
Benny Newell: Jatt and Ryan are doing only what is necessary and Bergman got his receipt tonight for CHEATING last week. You cannot deny that.
Joe Hoffman: Well that is one perspective that is for sure….but now……It’s time for the tournament finals, Clay Byrd against Conor Fuse. The winner will face whoever is the World Champion after the Lottery for the World Title. Both Clay and Conor are no strangers to each other, having a number of wars in High Octane. Conor defeated Clay at ICONIC 2021, while also later that night capturing the World Title. Clay and Conor had another battle for Conor’s #97 during the summer but The Board were heavily involved and although Conor won, it wasn’t a “clean” victory by any means. Additionally, these two butted heads having to coexist on the same WarGames team while believing in different philosophies.
The scene switches to ringside and Bryan McVay.
Bryan McVay: This is the tournament finals! Introducing first… from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing in at two-hundred-eight pounds… he is The Vintage… CONOR FUSE!
“Bloody Tears (Epic Version)” from CastleVania plays on the PA as Conor emerges from underneath the rampway in an oversized SNES inspired trench coat. The crowd cheers as the normally happy-go-lucky looking wrestler instead sports a stone cold glare walking down to ringside.
Joe Hoffman: Again, there is NO love lost here between Conor and Clay.
Benny Newell: Conor is happy hanging out with the likes of Carey and Zion and Byrd is sad. I honestly could give two fucks who advances to lose to America at March to Glory. Make that zero fucks.
Fuse reaches the end of the rampway. He drops his trench coat and leaps onto the apron, before clearing the top rope with another jump and standing in the center of the ring. Mini red and green Legend of Zelda inspired rupees fall from the rafters.
Conor’s theme song closes.
“Gunning for You” by Nick Nolan takes over.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent… from Plainview, Texas… weighing in at two-hundred-ninety-five pounds… CLAY BYRD!
The giant walks out from behind the curtain. He, too, is stoic and his eyes are locked on the ring. Clay wears his own black trench coat as he moves methodically down the rampway, hands in balls of fists, ready to take Conor down.
Joe Hoffman: Clay is all power here, folks. Conor is quick and nimble. Fuse can take a beating no doubt and Clay can deliver a beating. But with everything being on the line in this one, I would think neither man is going to be able to withstand a lot because both will bring their a-game.
Clay enters the ring by stepping over the top rope and taking off his jacket.
Matt Boettecher lets both men know the rules and then calls for the bell.
With the crowd on their feet, Conor Fuse walks to the middle of the ring and tells Clay Byrd to join him. The Monster from Plainview doesn’t need an invitation, however. He cocks both fists upright and takes a hard step towards the center of the ring.
Conor Fuse charges the giant but Clay is ready and moves out of the way at the last second. Fuse flies into the turnbuckle padding but spins around, making another attempt at the Highwayman with a flying forearm… although Clay catches Conor by the neck and connects with a chokeslam!
It could be over right here, yet Clay realizes he’s not going to waste energy on a pinfall just yet. He peels Fuse off the canvas and places Conor onto his shoulder… hitting a hard, ring shaking, running powerslam.
Byrd isn’t done. He begins clubbing Fuse wildly in the side of the gamer’s temple. Over and over again, to the point referee Boettcher has to intervene because Conor has rolled himself into the ropes for a five count.
Clay only stops at the count of four-point-ninety-seven. He backs away and sees Conor is pulling himself upright with the ropes. Clay screams and lunges forward. He runs RIGHT into Conor with a shoulder block. This sends The Ultimate Gamer FLYING over the top rope and crashing to the floor below. The crowd is shocked at the impact, how Conor was rocketed out of the ring like he was shot from a cannon.
Fuse is woozy on the outside. He tries to collect himself on a knee, having a clueless expression on his face like he has no idea what’s going on. Conor looks up and sees Clay exiting the ring. Byrd stands on the apron and drops a furious axe handle smash against Fuse’s back.
Clay runs Conor straight into the guardrail.
And then into the apron.
And then back to the guardrail.
Joe Hoffman: Clay is a man possessed! Conor couldn’t weather the size advantage in the early stages and now he’s paying for it.
Benny Newell: Big bad sad cowboy hits hard…but will he hit last?
Back and forth it goes as Clay is whipping Conor around like a ragdoll before throwing Fuse back into the ring. Conor ends up standing on all fours, wobbling about the canvas floor throwing punches into midair before spinning around completely and falling back down to the mat on his back.
Joe Hoffman: Oh my, look at what Clay’s doing. This is certainly a little out of character.
Clay is perched on the second rope. It’s clear he won’t go anywhere to the top. He measures Fuse and then jumps…
Clay covers Conor.
Joe Hoffman: If I’m Clay, you can’t get rattled about that kickout. He’s most certainly in control of the match.
Benny Newell: Which we ALL know by know that just means Byrd is going to turn into a fucking mental midget and choke here at the end of this match.
But….. Clay isn’t rattled. He pulls Fuse to an upright position and Irish whips the gamer into the ropes. Byrd raises his boot and Conor Fuse meets it square on.
The Power-Up King isn’t knocked down, though. Instead he stumbles around the canvas again, trying to find his whereabouts before succumbing to the dizziness he’s feeling and collapsing on the mat.
Byrd hits the ropes again.
He drops a knee across Fuse’s throat.
Joe Hoffman: It’s all Clay here and if Conor doesn’t find some sort of counter soon-
Clay tries for a double underhook powerbomb but just as Hoffman speaks these words, Fuse slips out of the move! He’s behind Clay now and bounces off the ropes. Clay turns towards Conor and Fuse ducks a forearm attempt, bouncing off the next set of ropes. The behemoth is slow to turn again, seeing Conor Fuse at the last possible second. This time it’s too late for Clay to do anything as Conor comes across with a crossbody block.
…Or is it?
Joe Hoffman: Clay catches Conor! Fall away slam!
But Fuse spins in midair and bounces off the ropes before standing on his feet! With Clay down, Conor collects his surroundings and hits Byrd with a shotgun dropkick!
Joe Hoffman: And that’s the counter Conor needed to get back into this one!
It’s clear Fuse is in pain. He’s recovering on the mat and Clay, ultimately, is the first one on his feet.
Byrd lets out another cry and brings an elbow down on the crown of Conor’s head. He shouts again… another elbow. A third. Fourth. Dare for a fifth… yes, he hits it. Byrd hurls Fuse into a corner but then Conor bounces off the padding immediately and flies across the ring, whacking Clay across the neck with a clothesline of his own!
Joe Hoffman: That move is not going to get Clay off his feet… but it certainly staggers him!
Fuse screams in his opponent’s direction this time as he leaps on the second rope and comes flying across onto Clay, hitting the crossbody block and sending them both to the mat.
Conor is running off fumes. He kips to his feet but it’s clear he needs a second to find where he is. The Vintage sees Clay on his knees so he cranks the giant with a superkick. Then another for good measure. Fuse runs up the turnbuckle padding and flies off as quickly as possible, connecting with a spinning forearm smash to the side of Clay’s temple.
Joe Hoffman: What’s Conor doing?
Benny Newell: I think he needs to put a few more 45’s on the bar before he goes for this move…
Fuse is trying to suplex Clay off his feet… but can’t seem to do it. Clay follows with a clubbing blow to Conor’s back.
Joe Hoffman: Conor had the momentum going but then he tried to play Clay’s gameplan and that’s just not going to work. I understand these two men don’t like each other, but you have to stick within your skills and abilities. Conor should know that by now.
Clay hammers Conor with additional right forearm blows, working Fuse into a corner. Clay Irish whips Conor to the corner across the way and then follows Fuse over there. However, Conor stops himself before hitting the buckle. Instead, the former World Champion places his hands forward, pushes up and out of the ring as it’s Clay who eats the turnbuckle padding. With Fuse on the apron, the gamer sling shoots himself over the top rope and connects with a bulldog to Clay!
Fuse kips up again. He starts shaking his hands as the crowd !RANK chants along.
Conor races over to another corner of the ring and smacks the top pad.
Conor Fuse: Power up.
Then he races to a second corner and smacks the pad.
Conor Fuse: Power up!
A third corner.
Conor Fuse: POWER UP.
And then the fourth.
Conor Fuse: POWER UPPPPP!!
Conor charges at Clay-
And the gamer is decapitated with a last second big boot by Clay!
The Texan looks down at Conor and scoffs. He slowly drags The Vintage to his feet. It’s clear almost everything has been knocked out of Fuse and now, Clay wants the final blow. Byrd hits the ropes, he’s looking for the spear-
Conor leaps over top at the last second but then falls to the mat!
Joe Hoffman: I’m not sure Fuse has much left…
Benny Newell: Better hope his boy HONKS some damn extra health his way….
Byrd furiously slams his hands against the mat as he gets back on his feet. He marches over to Conor and snatches him by the neck, looking for a chokeslam.
Conor slips free, hits the ropes but runs into a spinebuster slam by Clay! The ring shakes on impact and Byrd slams the mat with his fists again.
The Texan collects himself. He chucks Fuse into a corner and Conor collapses across the top of it. Clay comes charging in again- but this time it’s Conor who gets his own boot up, in the form of a superkick!
It catches Clay right under the chin. Clearing running off reserves, Fuse pushes himself onto the second rope and flies off with a dropkick to Clay’s right leg. It knocks the giant on his knees as Fuse crashes through Clay with a spinning corkscrew plancha.
Conor stands, although barely. He’s holding onto the back of his head as he leaps onto the ropes and flies off them with a lionsault!
Fuse hooks a leg.
Joe Hoffman: That was an authoritative kickout by Clay!
The Monster from Plainview and Conor are both working to a vertical base at the same speed. Finally, with Clay up he delivers an elbow to the back of Conor’s head. Conor returns the shot with a jumping knee to the chest. Clay connects with another elbow and Conor lands a second jumping knee to the chest. The two rivals go back and forth, working the crowd into a frenzy when it’s clear Clay’s brute power is taking over… it’s no longer shot for shot. It’s all Clay Byrd. He whips Fuse into the ropes and follows Conor towards them.
Joe Hoffman: SPEAR!
Clay spears Conor so hard, however, Fuse falls out of the ring between the middle and bottom rope!
There’s a sigh in the crowd, believing that could’ve been the end right there but Conor survives since he’s not in the ring. Clay hammers the mat, rises and then makes his exit, even though the referee is telling Clay he was going to start the ten count.
Byrd finds Fuse laying on the outside. He tosses Conor under the bottom rope and into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Clay wants to PIN Conor. I can certainly respect this.
Benny Newell: No one has ever said Byrd was an idiot….just a mental midget
Byrd enters the ring over the top rope, his eyes locked on Conor Fuse. It’s clear he’s warming up the arm for the dreaded Texas Lariat.
Clay goes for it when Conor’s on his feet-
But Conor crumples to the mat and Clay misses the clothesline!
Byrd looks down at Fuse, about to make a move when Conor trips the giant and then leaps to his feet, taking hold of Clay’s head and hitting a desperation DDT!
Fuse kips up again but he merely stumbles and collapses into a corner instead.
Joe Hoffman: It’s still anyone’s game!
Clay starts moving on the mat and by now, Conor is well aware. Fuse props himself up on the second turnbuckle corner and leaps off- landing a perfectly placed missile dropkick square into Clay’s head!
The shot staggers the giant. Even though Conor is reeling, he knows his opening is now. The second Clay is on all fours, Conor jumps into the air and connects with the Head Stomp!
Clay’s motionless. He’s likely knocked out.
Fuse drops to his knees and with all of his might, he rolls Byrd onto his back.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse with the cover!
SHOULDER UP AT THE VERY LAST SECOND!
The crowd is shocked as Conor looks at the referee but he’s told it is, indeed, only a two count.
Conor hammers the mat. He shouts into Clay’s ear before the gamer finds a second wind and hits another shotgun dropkick into Clay’s head. Fuse covers again.
The Vintage shakes his head. He realizes he has to take his game to the next level so he races towards the ropes and hops onto the top buckle. He measures Byrd and leaps off with an aerial maneuver he doesn’t perform often.
The Dark Phoenix Splash.
Clay gets his legs up!
Fuse falls to the mat as the crowd goes wild for the action and counters they are seeing. The Monster from Plainview is on his feet as he pulls Conor Fuse by his hair into the center of the ring. Clay connects with a powerbomb and pinning combination!
Fuse rolls backwards and then onto his feet a little faster than Clay. Fuse tries for a superkick but Clay moves out of the way. Byrd looks for a short-arm clothesline but Conor takes a step to the side instead. The Ultimate Gamer loads up for a roundhouse kick but Clay catches Fuse’s leg and throws Conor in the air. Byrd attempts a European uppercut with Conor in mid-air but it narrowly misses the former HOW World Champion as he dodges it to the right, hits the ropes and connects with another Head Stomp!
The crowd roars as Fuse stumbles into the corner of the ring. He sucks back the pain and leaps directly onto the top rope. He doesn’t even take the time to measure Clay, he knows every moment is vital.
Conor hooks both legs as Boettcher counts.
DING DING DING
“Bloody Tears (Epic Version)” from CastleVania resurfaces on the speakers.
Bryan McVay: The winner of this match and NEWWWW number one contender… CONOR FUSE!
Conor lays motionless beside his nemesis before lightly tapping Clay Byrd on the shoulder and fumbling to a knee.
Joe Hoffman: Hell of an effort by Clay but it’s settled, Conor Fuse will challenge for the World Championship at March to Glory versus the whoever survives Lee’s Lethal Lottery on Saturday! It will be Conor’s first chance at the title since losing it to America last year at War Games.
Benny Newell: We KNOW it will be America no doubt…..Fuse versus America at March to Glory……which just means America has punched his ticket once again to War Games. Time to go all in on the HOG on that!!!
Back in the ring Boettcher raises Conor’s hand but the gamer is barely able to celebrate as once the ref lets go of it, Conor leans forwards with his hands on his knees, attempting to catch his breath.
Chaos comes to a close as the crowd !RANK chants along and a winded Conor Fuse acknowledges Clay Byrd with a nod as we fade out.