The Best Opener
The HOTv logo passes over the HOV, followed by the newly refurbished logo for High Octane Wrestling.
There is a roar from the surprisingly live crowd, and the graphic on the screen changes quickly to the banner for March to Glory as “A Warrior’s Call” by Volbeat begins to pump over the speaker system.
Despite country wide quarantine, nearly every seat in the Roman Coliseum is full. Clips from the last six weeks cut across the screen, capturing some of the more shocking moments of this year’s Lee Best Invitational– the formation of the Group of Death, the debut of 24K, and finally the triumphant rise of unexpected underdog Teddy Palmer, as he taps Max Kael out in the middle of the ring in the LBI Final.
As the video package comes to an end, there is a triple explosion of pyro from the entrance way, officially kicking off March to Glory as the music fades away. We are left with only the screaming of the High Octane Faithful, who have literally signed health waivers and applied for special circumstance permits in order to attend this show tonight. The cameras pan across the crowd, who are all relegated to the original Roman Coliseum seating around the “fighting pit”. Many of them have brought signs to tonight’s show, and the cameramen take a moment to display some of them for the viewers at home.
EYE SUPPORT NORTH KAELREA
TEDDY MOTHERFUCKING PALMER, LBI WINNER
HE’S A LOSER BUT WE STILL LIKE HIM
LEE BEST’S BOOKIE BOUGHT ME THESE SEATS
I APPRECIATE MIKE BEST
KOSTOFF STA PER UCCIDERTI
I WAS PROMISED A LION
HE’S A LOSER BUT WE STILL LIKE HIM
SCOTTYWOOD HATES THIS SIGN
WASH YOUR FUCKING HANDS
WHAT’S A KING TO A G.O.D?
24K IS A HARD NAME TO PUN ABOUT
CECILWORTH STOPPED TWEETING FOR THIS
The camera finally comes to rest on two of the most recognizable faces in wrestling history— Hall of Fame announce team Joe Hoffman and “Big Buff” Benny Newell. Joe is attired professionally for tonight’s event, while Benny is clearly already belligerently drunk and wearing the helmet of a Roman General.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over and it’s finally here— welcome to HOW MARCH TO GLORY! I’m Joe Hoffman, accompanied as always by my broadcast partner Benny Newell. We’ve got an amazing show for you tonight, as we reach the culmination of the Lee Best Invi—
Benny Newell: I’m gonna need you to keep six feet of distance from me for the remainder of the show, Hoffman. Nothing personal.
Joe Hoffman: Come on, Benny. Really? Our lives are inundated with stress from COVID-19 at all turns. It’s all over our social media, it’s everywhere on television. For just one night, don’t you think we could have a little escapism from all of that? To just enjoy some good old fashioned pro wrestling, without the looming gloom and doom of a virus that—
Benny Newell: Coe-Vid what? What the fuck are you talking about, dickhead? The cologne you’re wearing could choke a fucking horse. I just want you away from me.
Joe Hoffman: Oh.
Benny Newell: Yeah.
Joe Hoffman …anyway. Folks, tonight will be a night to remember. As announced yesterday via HOWrestling.com, tonight’s Tag Team Title match will be contested under GAUNTLET RULES, a stipulation not seen in HOW since 2010. The reigning champions, the Group of Death, will face off against the eGG Bandits, HATE, and the four members of 24K.
Benny Newell: I didn’t see Turn It Up Express backstage. Are you sure they made their flights?
Joe Hoffman: No one would no-show their first HOW pay-per-view appearance without so much as a heads up to management, Benny. That would be flagrantly disrespectful. I think you’re mistaken.
Benny Newell: Yeah, you’re right. That would be pretty shitty.
Joe Hoffman: In singles action, Brian Hollywood takes on Scott Stevens, with the loser being banned from in-ring competition in HOW until after War Games.
Benny Newell: I have never wanted to see a match end in a draw so badly in my entire life.
Joe Hoffman: ….and the LSD Championship will be on the line tonight as Max Kael defends his title against three of the most dangerous men in HOW– Chris Kostoff, Alex Redding, and the man called Deacon. If that wasn’t enough, this one is taking place inside of a STEEL CAGE!
Benny Newell: Pretty sure those guys are fucked, Hoffman. Have you seen Max’s new eye? I’m pretty sure it fires lasers. Not like the lasers that make a cat lose his fucking mind, either. I mean like MOTHERFUCKING DEATH RAYS. Max Kael has a MOTHERFUCKING DEATH RAY, and you can’t suplex that.
Joe Hoffman: There’s no such thing as a– you know what? Yes. Yes, Benny. Max Kael has a death ray in his eye.
Benny Newell: GROUP OF DEATH… RAY!
Joe Hoffman: …..
Benny Newell: …….
Joe Hoffman: An exciting card, folks, but March to Glory has always been, and will always be, about the culmination of the LBI. Teddy Palmer will forever wear the crown as the man who won the 2020 Lee Best Invitational, but tonight he will take on the same challenge that so many winners before him have taken on– tonight, he cashes in his ticket for a shot at the HOW World Champion.
Benny Newell: I would drink my own fucking piss to see Teddy Palmer win the HOW World Championship tonight, Joe. I’m not exaggerating. Cecilworth M’Shitbag Farthington broke my fucking arm and I haven’t shut the fuck up about it for a month– do you know how hard it is for me to jerk off now, Joe? With one fucking arm? I gotta set my phone against the couch, press play, and go mastbidextrous with it. It’s like I’m getting a handjob from an angry drunk. And if the video ends before I’m done, I gotta pull my hand off Little Benny, pick a new video, and by the time I’ve got my hand back on my cock, I’m half fucking soft again! It takes me like twenty minutes to bust a–
Joe Hoffman: Could you focus, maybe? This is a lot of information.
Benny Newell: Oh, right. Look, all I’m saying is that I FUCKING HATE Farthington. He’s the Stepfather of HOW– I hate him, but I am forced to respect him. I’d blow four guys while five guys watched to see Teddy beat him, but he hasn’t lost a match in almost a fuckin’ year, Joe. LITERALLY a year, if he beats Teddy Palmer tonight. So hopefully I have a lot of piss drinking and dude blowing in my future, I don’t know. Thoughts and prayers.
Joe Hoffman: …also tonight is Mike Best Appreciation Night.
Benny Newell: You’re just gonna gloss over the SON OF GOD like that?
Joe Hoffman: Benny, I’m gonna level with you buddy, I’m thinking about social distancing myself away from you long after this whole Coronavirus thing clears up. Like maybe permanently. I kind of just want to start the show.
Benny Newell: Fuck you then, I’ll pay the man his PROPER homage. Ten years ago, almost to this very day, the man known at the time as Michael Po–
“Dad, how come nobody likes me?”
“Cause you’re a mothafuckaaaaaaaaaaaa…”
Before Benny can finish (seemingly a common problem for him lately, thehead bopping intro to “Motherfucker” by Hopsin begins to slap over the sound system, heralding the arrival of the SON OF GOD, Michael Lee Best.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like he didn’t want your homage, Benny.
Benny Newell: He’s a busy guy, Joe. It’s MIKE BEST APPRECIATION NIGHT!
Michael Best slowly makes his way out across the pit and toward the ring, attired in a swanky looking suit and a black surgical mask over his face with the Group of Death logo across the front. He holds the ICON Title into the air, looking out into the crowd as he bobs his head to the sweet jams of his own entrance music. As soon as he reaches the ring steps, he wipes the dust off his shoes onto the apron and ducks into the ring, where he borrows a microphone from Bryan McVay.
Benny Newell: See his mask, Joe? He can smell your fucking cologne from all the way out there! You’re stinking the whole fucking joint up!
Joe Hoffman: Do you even watch the news, Benny?
Benny Newell: I can barely watch porn right now, Joe. We went over this.
The screaming crowd hurl both cheers and boos at the Architect of the Group of Death, as he paces the middle of the ring with a presumed smug smile on his face, beneath the mask.
Mike Best: Boy, are you people stupid for being here tonight.
This gets a hearty boo from the multinational fans in attendance here tonight. There is a large expanse of empty put between them and the ring, for obvious reasons.
Mike Best: You can say what you want about High Octane Wrestling, but I’ll tell you this much— we fucking show up, and so do our fans. Thank you for making this a fun night of brutality and entertainment, instead of a fucking bummer like the rest of the world is right now. Sincerely, thank you.
There is a self-congratulatory roar from the crowd in Rome, as Michael nods his head in acknowledgement in the ring.
Mike Best: We talked about staying in Chicago and doing this in an empty arena, like so many other companies are doing, but that’s not how we fucking roll. Dad talked about moving it someplace closer, like Mexico or UTAH, but both were recently closed without notice. But do you know what I told him? I told him FUCK THAT, we’re going to Rome, because Rome is a place near and dear to my heart.
Another wild cheer from the crowd– a shameless cheap pop, as any good charismatic sociopath knows how to draw from a group of people by saying the name of the place that they’re in.
Mike Best: It was in this very arena, ten years ago, that I became the man that I am today. That I transformed from a man pretending to be Jesus into the true SON OF GOD. It was in this very arena that I had my very first HOW pay-per-view main event, and got powerbombed through THIS VERY FLOOR. It was in this very arena that the entire trajectory of my career changed forever, and it is an honor to be standing in this ring tonight after achieving the next great milestone of my career. My sixth HOW ICON Championship– I stand here tonight with more ICON Championship reigns, and more total days as champion, than any wrestler in HOW history.
Once again, applause and cheers from the crowd. The hellacious battle between Mike Best and Dan Ryan at least won the respect of the HOW fans, even if their adoration seems to ebb and flow from week to week. Mike Best will go back to being the most hated man in most arenas next week, but tonight is a very special night.
Mike Best Appreciation Night.
Mike Best: For all of you watching me from the back right now, I want you to look at the belt on my shoulder. I want you to understand what this championship means. For all of the records that I’ve set, and all of the championships that I’ve won, this white leather strap means more to me than fucking any of it. It means more to me than eight World Championships. It means more to me than the Hall of Fame ring on my finger. This ICON Championship– this record setting championship– is symbolic of everything that my career has been to this point. It’s the belt that sparked the never ending wars fought by Mike Best and Max Kael for the last decade. It’s the belt that helped to bring Dan Ryan, a man I fucking respect more than you can ever know, into the Group of Death. It’s the belt that ignited Cecilworth Farthington, and turned him rightfully into the household name that he always should have been. This belt is a fucking star maker. This belt is your ticket to the big time, kids. And if you want it?
He lowers his eyes, staring directly into the hard camera– the mask on his face distorts, as you can practically see him sneering beneath it.
Mike Best: You’re gonna have to go through me. So while you all watch me out here with this microphone in my hand, know that I’ll be watching you all night. I’ll be watching, and taking notes, because if you want to be standing here in this ring ten years from now? If you want to be shamelessly celebrating yourself, like I am here tonight? You’re going to have to pry this fucking belt from my cold, dead hands. You’re going to have to fucking kill me. Because I am Michael Lee Best. I am the Son of God, the Architect of the Group of Death, and the TRUE ICON OF HOW.
He takes a step back, his body language relaxing as his eyes lighten.
Mike Best: But hey, this is March to Glory. This is the place where I have struck down LBI Winners, and I have succumbed to them. The place where I have seen careers destroyed, and seen stars get made. I am proud and excited that the Group of Death is walking into this show with every single championship in HOW, and I am very, VERY much going to enjoy watching them bring those belts home with them all over again. Make no mistake– I bet my Dad’s money on Teddy Palmer, but the real cash? The BIG BEST BUCKS? Those are on Cecilworth Farthington tonight. Good luck buddy. I love you. I’m sorry.
He cackles beneath his mask, at a joke meant for basically no one.
Mike Best: Now if you’ll excuse me, the Son of God is going to take his rightful throne at the side of the FATHER… and we’re going to watch a MOTHER… FUCKING… WRESTLING… SHOW!
Raising an eyebrow, Michael literally “drops the mic”, listening to it feedback throughout the Roman Coliseum as he ducks out of the ring. He makes his way up toward the Emperor’s Box, where Lee Best is already seated, as HOW takes its first commercial break of the evening.
Turn-It-Up-Express vs. MJ Flair and High Flyer
Back from the quick advert and official kickstart to Mike Best Appreciate Night, we cut back to the announcers as its time for our first match of the evening.
Joe Hoffman: And with that, Benny, we’re ready for our first match!
Benny Newell: Maybe you are, Hoffman, but I’m ready to skip this one and get on to the second.
Joe Hoffman:With the GOD of HoW expressing his intent on putting the spotlight on the tag division in a post – Lee Best Invitational world, I think knowing the number one contenders is going to be just as important as knowing which team leaves here with the gold!
Benny Newell: Is it? Am I supposed to be impressed by a tag team match between a team that lost to the frickin’ Egg Bandits a week ago, and a team made up of two wrestlers that have lost literally everything in the ring going back a good six months? Only one thing I can say to that.
Joe Hoffman: Drink?
Benny Newell: Well, if you insist…
Joe Hoffman: … Let’s get to ringside.
In the middle of the ring, Bryan McVay looks appreciatively out into the crowd, noting their noise.
Bryan McVay: This opening contest is a tag team match scheduled for one fall with a thirty minute time limit! The winners will be named the number one contenders for the High Octane Wrestling World Tag Team Championship!
Joe Hoffman: The stakes are high, Benny!
Benny Newell: Sure. They clear the curb by at least an inch and a half.
CUE UP: “Turn Up the Radio” by Autograph. The fans in the Colosseum get up, enjoying the cheesy – yet – tasty riff of classic hair metal.
Bryan McVay: At a total combined weight of six hundred seventy two and one half pounds, Rick Dickulous… Matt Klazzic… TURN. IT. UP. EXPRESSSSSSS!
Joe Hoffman: They may have come up short against the Egg Bandits, but they’re not short any amount of energy tonight, Benny!
Benny Newell: You wanna pander to the crowd, fine – you pander to the crowd. But these idiots don’t even speak English, they’ve got no idea what they’re cheering.
If the Turn-It-Up Express is worried about their opponents, the potential tag team champions, or the fans’ reaction, they don’t show it at all. They play to the fans, doing their level best to get the crowd on their feet and, to their credit, they largely succeed.
Joe Hoffman: Losing last week certainly hasn’t dimmed their enthusiasm, Benny!
Benny Newell: It’s dimmed mine.
Bryan McVay: And their opponents…
After the initial declaration from Ozzy, CUE UP “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix.
Bryan McVay: At a total combined weight of three hundred, fifty nine pounds, and accompanied to the ring by the King of Extreme, Eli Flair… EMM JAY FLAIR… AND JACK… HAAAAARMEEEENNNNNN!!!
Joe Hoffman: Quite a different feel from the Express, Harmen and MJ come out without playing to the fans, but they’re still just as electric at the sight!
Benny Newell: Please. They’re begging for some recognition. Once they lose, we can get back to the actual wrestlers.
Joe Hoffman: So you’re rooting for the Turn it Up Express?
Benny Newell: I’m looking for a four way countout and a bomb threat.
Joe Hoffman: Remember fans, those comment cards can be sent to Benny Newell, care of High Octane Wrestling, PO Box–
Benny Newell: Oh, shut it! What I want to know is, who’s the old man and why’s he here?
Joe Hoffman: That’s MJ Flair’s father, Eli Flair, and my little cheat sheet here tells me that he’s a fifteen time former World Champion all over the world, and that he’s traded wins with Jack Harmen several times over!
Benny Newell: Please. If he was worth anything, why didn’t he have any of that success here?
Joe Hoffman: …I’ll let you ask him that.
The bell rings, and the four combatants are in the ring, hearing some final instructions from referee Matt Boetcher.
Joe Hoffman: It looks like we’re going to see Flair start off against Klazzic in this one!
Benny Newell: Mistake…
Joe Hoffman: Oh?
Benny Newell: Matt Klazzic might have the weight advantage against Flair or Harmen individually, but Dickulous outweighs both of them put together! Start off Rick, let the other two bounce off him for ten minutes, then just squash ‘em when they run out of energy.
Flair and Klazzic circle each other for a few seconds, and they lock up in the middle of the ring! Klazzic immediately presses the advantage and walks them to the corner where he’s asked to break it up! Cheap shot on the three count!
Joe Hoffman: Boetcher gives him a look, but that’s all!
Benny Newell: What’s he gonna do? He broke the hold!
MJ steps out again and they lock up one more time, and Klazzic powers her backwards again – though with noticeably more difficulty this time. It looks like MJ is actively fighting him this time. Klazzic maneuvers them around so that he’s backing her up into his own corner, and she’s trying her best to dig in her heels!
Benny Newell: If you were smart enough to cheat, now’s the time.
Joe Hoffman: Flair pulls his head in close to hers! SHE DROPS DOWN! MODIFIED JAWBREAKER!
Her knees hit the mat as Klazzic’s face bounces off her shoulder and he staggers back, holding his mouth in pain! Running clothesline drops him to the mat! Cover!
Benny Newell: Amateur move, trying for one that early!
Joe Hoffman: Flair had Klazzic off balance, you never know! Double axehandle to the small of the back as Klazzic rises to his feet, and an atomic drop! Klazzic staggers forward into a right hand from Jack Harmen! Belly to back suplex from Flair! She bridges!
Joe Hoffman: Flair kips up, and Klazzic scrambles to his corner, and he tags in his partner!
Dwarfing Flair, Harmen, and Klazzic in turn, Rick Dickulous steps over the top rope and slowly moves towards Flair. The fans buzz in anticipation as she looks left and right, and she fires a right hand!
Benny Newell: Really? We’re gonna try that?
Joe Hoffman: Another right hand from Flair! Rick Dickulous just letting her hit him!
Benny Newell: Of course he is. Look at him, those punches are like the buzzing of flies to him!
It’s true, his expression hasn’t even moved. Flair off the ropes, and she comes off with a shoulder block – Dickulous fires his arm out, and he catches her and drops her with a devastating uranage! Cover!
Joe Hoffman: Look at the power of Rick Dickulous, Benny! One hit and he nearly got the three!
Benny Newell: Imagine what he’ll do after two hits!
Dickulous pulls Flair up by the hair and shouts into the crowd, asking if they’re ready. They reply in the affirmative, as Dickulous picks her up in a fireman’s carry and drops backwards, sandwiching her between his body and the mat! Another cover!
Rick pulls Flair to her feet again and whips her hard into the ropes, and she ducks a big boot!
Joe Hoffman: Flair with the tag behind Rick’s back! I don’t think he saw!
It was more of a ‘hail mary’ tag, but Flair manages to catch Harmen’s outstretched hand on the rebound, and on the return, Rick gives her a huge backdrop, even as Harmen climbs to the top! Matt Klazzic trying to get his attention even as Rick Dickulous stays on Flair to try and finish her off.
JACK HARMEN WITH A MISSILE DROPKICK FROM THE TOP ROPE! Rick’s feet get tangled up in Flair’s legs and she makeshift drop toe holds him, stun gunning his neck on the top rope! Flair to the outside, and Harmen off the ropes, and he sends another dropkick, this time into Rick’s knee!
Benny Newell: Stay on that guy on the outside, please? Old man river shouldn’t touch anyone!
Joe Hoffman: Eli Flair on one knee, checking on MJ, but he hasn’t done anything to interfere, Benny!
Harmen stays on Rick, chopping and axe-handling him in the back and between the shoulder blades. Jack with a pulling/dragging belly to back suplex, and he manages to bridge!
Kickout by Rick! Dickulousrolls to a knee and tries to clear his head, while Jack heads outside the ropes, and a slingshot clothesline puts the big man down again! Tag to Flair!
Benny Newell: I can’t wait to see this blow up in their face.
Flair and Harmen get on either side of Rick, and they hook his head for a double suplex! Rick hits the mat hard! Flair with another tag, and a pair of closed fists to the face even as Rick climbs, dazed, back to his feet! A brief word with Harmen and the High Flyer sets himself up against the ropes, even as Flair climbs to the top! Harmen off the ropes! Missile dropkick catches Dickulous in the chest while a low roll block takes out his legs! Harmen with another cover!
Harmen with another tag, and he and Flair scoop Rick one more time, and a double irish whip! Double elbows – RICK WITH A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE!
Joe Hoffman: There’s that size advantage again, Benny!
Benny Newell: Only size advantage I’m concerned with is my super sized drink, Hoffman! Fill me back up!
Joe Hoffman: We got a long way to go before the finish line, partner! Pace yourself!
Harmen climbs to his feet, with Flair just a second behind – and Rick with a hand around each throat! Double chokeslam! Rick with a pin attempt on Flair, but referee Matt Boetcher says no, Jack Harmen is the legal man! Rick scoops Flair and sends her over the top rope down to the floor! Cover on Harmen!
Joe Hoffman: You have to wonder, would it have made a difference if he had gone for Harmen first?
Harmen’s hair in his hands, Rick drags him over to his corner and tags in Matt Klazzic to a pop! Powerbomb by Rick Dickulous! Klazzic with a cover!
Klazzic with a scoop, and he sends Harmen into the ropes! Rebound… Jumping knee drops him back to the mat! Harmen rolls to the far ropes to try and pull himself up, and Klazzic is right on him and he helps him up, and a belly to belly suplex! Another cover!
Joe Hoffman: So close for the Turn-it-up Express!
Benny Newell: Close doesn’t matter unless you’re lobbin’ bombs, Joe!
Joe Hoffman: That doesn’t sound right.
Klazzic with a tag to Rick, and he sends Harmen into the ropes again. Harmen rebounds, and Klazzic drops his head and lifts a high angle backdrop!
Joe Hoffman: RICK CATCHES HARMEN ON THE ASCENT! POWERBOMB! COVER!
Benny Newell: So did they just turn it up… to eleven?
THREE! KICKOUT! KICKOUT!
MJ Flair with a hand on the ring apron behind everyone, unnoticed.
Joe Hoffman: What do they need to do to put Jack Harmen down?
Benny Newell: An injection usually handles strays.
Rick with another tag to Klazzic, and they whip Harmen into the ropes again! Harmen leapfrogs Klazzic, however, and he runs into Rick’s fist! Boetcher at the four, and he cautions Rick to leave the ring! Dickulous with a scoop and a slam, however – FLAIR PULLS HIM OUT OF THE RING!
Benny Newell: Disqualify her!
Joe Hoffman: Neither of them are legal! Boetcher is keeping his attention on Harmen and Klazzic, where it should be!
Klazzic with another cover!
Foot on the ropes!
Outside the ring, Rick takes a swing at MJ, but she dodges him, steps backwards onto the ring stairs, and jumps on his back, arms locked around his neck!
Harmen stares, glassy-eyed, into the crowd, just in time for Klazzic to scoop him again and send him into the corner! Harmen pops out as Klazzic rushes him!
Joe Hoffman: LOCOMOTIVE! LOCOMOTIVE!
Klazzic’s head snaps back as Harmen’s foot makes contact, just as Rick runs backwards into the ringpost to try and dislodge MJ from her sleeper/choke!
Joe Hoffman: Cover!
DING DING DING!
Benny Newell: I can’t believe these two idiots won something!
Bryan McVay: Here are your winners, Jack Harmen and MJ Flair!
Flair lets go of Rick as she hears the bell, and he spins around with his fist cocked and ready, but he holds up as he sees the referee holding Harmen’s hand up in victory! Both of them slide into the ring to check on their partners while the camera briefly pans to Eli Flair, applauding from the outside.
Joe Hoffman: We’re off to an amazing start here at March to Glory as the remnants of the Industry have halted their skid! Can they keep the momentum going and topple the tag team champions, whomever they are after tonight?
Benny Newell: It really depends on who has the gold after the gauntlet, Hoffman!
Joe Hoffman: You’re not wrong-
Benny Newell: But the answer’s no.
Joe Hoffman: Would it kill you to say something nice?
Benny Newell: Probably not, but I don’t want to risk it.
Joe Hoffman: …Moving on.
The action cuts elsewhere…
We cut to backstage at The Coliseum where we see two of the competitors in tonight’s Tag Team Championship Gauntlet match. The newest tag team in High Octane stand ready in their ring gear and discussing strategy for the match. Damien Ryan stands next to Scott Woodson, the team we now know as HATE.
Joe Hoffman: There they are folks, one of five teams vying for the High Octane Tag Team Championships, here tonight at March To Glory! It’s going to be The Group of Death, The eGG Ban…
And then: chaos.
The shot judders as something barges past. Neither HATE member has time to react as a cricket bat blow catches Ryan across the back, sending him crashing to the floor. Woodson scurries. Looks up.
Andy Murray: Good evening dickhead.
The King of Wrestling nods at Woodson, slinging the battered old bat back over his shoulder.
Benny Newell: What the fuck?! It’s 24K!
Mikey Unlikely and Kendrix doubleteam Scott Woodson and drive him headfirst into the wall. He falls clutching his head and neck. Meanwhile Andy Murray and Perfection are putting the boots to a downed Damien Ryan.
Joe Hoffman: …What are they doing?! Can we get someone back there to break this up? The entire 24K group has attacked the two members of HATE!
Woodson may well be unconscious already, but that doesn’t stop Kendrix from driving fist after fist into his forehead. Ryan, meanwhile, gets dragged to his feet by Murray.
Andy Murray: Perk up, sunshine. You’re supposed to be wrestling later.
A mockingly soft slap follows before Andy shoves Damien towards Perfection, who damn near knocks his skull off his shoulders with an elbow. Perfection follows up by treating Ryan’s head like a bug under his boot.
Joe Hoffman: This is just brutal! Security! Security!
As they continue the assault, the Coliseum security finally make it to the scene dressed in classic Roman garb, the team of roughly 15 security guards pull the attacking 24K off their opponents for tonight. Perfection shouts above the commotion.
Perfection: You want to fuck with our odds, Lee?! Huh?! We just evened them back up!
The group is forced down the corridors by the group of security while medics rush to the aid of HATE. There are too many security guys to handle, and each looks big, beefy, and sturdy enough to fight. The four are then cornered in front of an old Coliseum jail cell.
One of the guards barks out.
Guard: Since you cannot contain yourselves prior to your match, maybe this cell will…
Benny Newell: Lock ’em up!
The guard slides the door open and all four members of 24K are forced inside before the door slams.
Mikey Unlikely: HEY YOU DON’T DO THAT!
Joe Hoffman: Thank god for that! They could’ve taken everyone in the tag match out had security not stepped in there!
As soon as the guards move away from the cell, Kendrix pulls on it with everything he has, it doesn’t budge.
Benny Newell: But what does this mean for HATE? They got taken all the way out!
Joe Hoffman: I’m no doctor, Benny, but it seems to me that those guys won’t be doing a whole lot of fighting tonight.
We fade out as the guards walk away leaving two by the door to keep watch.
Brian Hollywood vs. Scott Stevens
Joe Hoffman: We’re back from commercial and what an intense opening contest. Congratulations to MJ Flair and High Flyer on becoming the new number 1 contenders to the HOW Tag Team Championships. They put up one hell of an effort.
Benny Newell: Yes, Joe! While I don’t see eye to eye with those two! I can’t help but lift a glass to that intense action. Unlike our next match…
Joe Hoffman: Now, Benny, you used to idolize Brian Hollywood. You put him on a pedestal for years. He overcame the odds, conquered HOW from the competition.
Benny Newell: But now he’s a tool just like…
“Dead Man Walking ” by Crucifix (feat. The Lacs) blares over the PA system as Scott Stevens charges out from the back with an angry scowl on his face as the crowd erupts into a chorus of boos. Stevens shoots right past the entrance ramp and charges straight into the ring as Bryan McVay announces the match.
Bryan McVay: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL!
Crowd: One fall!
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, from Houston, Texas….he is SCOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTT STEEEEEEEEEEEEEVENS!
Stevens shakes off the boos waiting for his opponent for the evening: Brian Hollywood to come down the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Stevens and Hollywood both have history between each other. They’ve fought over many different championships in HOW. Most recently, both men teamed up in the…
Benny Newell: We’re not to talk about THOSE times. Especially since I drank those memories away. Both Stevens and Hollywood are former World Champions. Both taking different paths.
Joe Hoffman: One has a successful wrestling facts website.
Benny Newell: If you call it that….and the other…pissed away his fortune to find himself. And he won’t shut up about it.
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed blares over the PA. Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage as he stands there for a few brief moments, closing his eyes. He reigns in the cheers from the crowd as he gets in final mental preparation for his upcoming match. As Hollywood opens up his eyes, pyro shoots off in opposite corners of the stage as it makes its way to center stage.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Los Angeles, California….he is….BRIIIIIIIIAN HOLLLLLLLLLLYWOOOD!
As the pyro hits the center, the camera zooms in to see the reflection in Hollywood’s eyes as he finally makes his way down the ramp, quickly taking off his vest and throwing it down with intensity. Hollywood makes his final push as he charges the ring, rolling under the ropes. He gets back to his feet and looks about the entire arena embracing the fans cheers before he takes his place in the corner turnbuckle before turning his gaze intently in the ring as he waits for the bell. Scott Stevens shoots him a dirty glare as Hollywood stands in the corner. Hortega frisks both men and he motions for the bell to start the match.
DING! DING! DING! DING!
Without hesitation, Stevens rushes towards Hollywood’s corner and dives for Hollywood’s knees, taking him down to the mat. Stevens stands up and stomps at Hollywood as he rolls under the ropes with Hortega making counting the rope break quickly.
Stevens throws his hands up and taunts the crowd, much to their disgust. Hollywood pulls himself up at the apron, but before he can even full collect himself, Stevens charges straight at him with a stiff dropkick to his chin, sending Hollywood flying out of the ring. Stevens rushes towards the outside of the ring and grabs Hollywood’s legs and immediately locks him into a Texas Cloverleaf. Stevens puts all his weight into damaging Hollywood’s legs as Hortega reaches “CINCO” again with Stevens breaking the hold. Stevens rushes back inside the ring, bolts out, grabs Hollywood, and tosses him straight into the ring post shoulder first.
Benny Newell: Fuck Stevenspedia! I give him credit. He’s kept focused on Hollywood’s leg, back, and shoulder problems from his years of wrestling hardcore in the indies. I need a drink for even agreeing with any strategy that Scott Stevens comes up with. Anyone got something stronger than Jack back there?
Joe Hoffman: Stevens has always taken an opportunity when he gets it. He wins by any means necessary, regardless if we like it or not. It’s why he’s a former HOW World Champion.
Benny Newell: Give me three bottles of Jack now. I fucking need to forget that Stevenspedia fact too.
Hollywood grabs onto the side of the ringpost, slowly pulling himself back to his feet. However, being the snake, he is, Stevens rushes towards Hollywood with a Stinger Splash. Hollywood catches it out of the corner of his eye and Stevens collides head first into the ring post. Hollywood grabs Scott Stevens and plants him head first with a DDT on the dirt ground in the arena. Hollywood tosses Stevens back into the ring. Frustration mounts in Hollywood he rolls into the ring. He stiffly kicks Stevens straight in the ribs. Stevens gets to his knees before Hollywood nails a Claymore straight into Stevens’ jaw. Hollywood makes the cover.
Stevens rolls through and covers Hollywood back:
Hollywood kicks up, kips up, and both Stevens and Hollywood glare at each other. They both haul off and straight knocking the ever-living piss out of each other. Hollywood locks Stevens into a headlock before Stevens irish whips Hollywood. Hollywood attempts a crossbody, but meets Stevens’s boots into the gut instead. Stevens tries to apply a Single Leg Boston Crab on Hollywood, but Hollywood thrusts Stevens backwards. Hollywood nails a stiff Clothesline from Hell taking Stevens down. Hollywood picks Stevens up and hits a massive German Suplex onto Stevens. Hollywood jumps up to the top rope going for an Elbow Drop, but Stevens rolls out of the way. Hollywood collides with the mat elbow first. Stevens charges towards the rope then connects with a Curb Stomp to Hollywood’s head. Stevens locks in The Venomous Wrath of the Goddess Selket. Hollywood motions towards the ropes before grabbing the bottom rope out of desperation. Stevens releases the lock at Hortega’s “Quatro” count. He grabs Hollywood’s legs, pulls him back into the center of the ring to apply the lock again, but Hollywood elbows him straight in the ear, discombobulating Stevens. Hollywood rushes and hits a Tornado DDT, as both men lay motionless on the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood hasn’t backed down. He’s showing more tenacity since training at Five Time Academy. He hasn’t let up on Stevens since the beginning of this match.
Benny Newell: He’s been too gutsy in this match. Going for the elbow drop early in the match? Please! High risk moves don’t pay off in the end, Joe. They only shorten your career. It won’t pay off in Hollywood’s favor. He might have the advantage on Stevens now, but it’s purely luck. Hollywood’s caught a few breaks in this match so far.
Hollywood gets to his feet and throw Stevens into the corner. He jumps on the second rope and nails Stevens with 10 stiff punches across the jaw. He sets Stevens on the ropes, going for the Superplex. Stevens picks Hollywood up for a Powerbomb, but Hollywood rolls through with a huricanarana. Hollywood whips Stevens into the turnbuckle before hitting a powerslam on Scott Stevens. Hollywood goes into the corner motioning for a spear. He charges towards Stevens, but before he knows it, Stevens picks Hollywood up and nails a stiff Double S Spinebuster planting Hollywood back first into the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Just like that, Stevens changes the momentum in this match. He nails a Texas Sized Spinebuster right on Hollywood.
Benny Newell: Stevens turned Hollywood into a pancake after that move. I’m going to need a stack of flapjacks to nurse my hangover if he wins here.
Stevens continues to capitalize with the momentum change by rushing towards Hollywood and hitting his Don’t Mess With Texas knee right across his face. Stevens gets into place and as Hollywood slowly comes back to his feet, Stevens connects with the Debbie Does Dallas right across Hollywood’s jaw. Stevens taunts the crowd as they chant for Hollywood. Stevens then climbs the top turnbuckle and motions for a Diving Headbutt. Like a second instinct, Hollywood barely misses his footing on a kip up, acting concussed, but he’s still able to react and grab Stevens before hitting a massive Superplex, taking Stevens down to the mat. Hortega counts for both men.
Joe Hoffman: Hortega’s checking on Stevens as Hollywood’s back on his feet. Hollywood can feel the intensity of this match growing. His eyes are widening, Benny! He’s going to go for another Claymore Kick on Stevens.
Benny Newell: These blood thirsty Italians are salivating at the chops to watch Stevens’ head go flying into the crowd. They know Hollywood wants to kill him. But fuck that, I’m grabbing another drink of Jack.
Hollywood rushes towards Stevens, but Stevens grabs Hortega and Hollywood comes to a complete stop before he connects the Claymore right across Hortega’s face. Hollywood grabs Hortega to check on him, making sure he’s alright. Hollywood turns straight into Stevens, who nails a Superkick, taunting Hollywood. Stevens then lays Hollywood out with a Scorpion Driver. Stevens eyes widen like a mad man as Hollywood lays motionless on the mat. Stevens’ isn’t done torturing Hollywood. He nails mudhole stomp after mudhole stomp after mudhole stomp right across Hollywood’s skull. Stevens once again locks in his Venomous Wrath Crossface straight on Hollywood. He cranks back on the hold, hoping Hollywood will pass out. Hortega grabs Hollywood’s hand and lifts it straight into the air.
Benny Newell: It’s almost over, Joe! It’s time for Stevens to prove to the world why Executive Brian Hollywood was so much better than this shitty version of Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: Lay off the Stevenspedia articles. You need to fact check them first man!
Joe Hoffman: It’s almost over! Hollywood’s faded! You can see his eyes rolling straight back into his head.
Benny Newell: He can shake it off! Just pour whiskey into the wound after he loses to Stevens…
NO! Hollywood’s hand shoots straight into the air. Stevens cranks the lock further in as Hollywood crawls to the ropes. His fingers inches away. The crowd comes to life and their feet as Hollywood continues to pull towards the ropes. Hollywood’s giving them all hope. But Stevens pulls Hollywood back into the ring and locks the hold back in for good measure. Hollywood’s scrambling to reach for the ropes. The crowd claps as Hollywood starts fading again. As the claps grow louder, Hollywood musters all his strength to pick Stevens up. Hollywood slams Stevens back first into the mat much to the delight of the Roman fans. Both men lie on the mat, sweat dripping from their faces. Hollywood grabs the ropes to pull himself back to his feet, but Stevens rushes at him with a drop kick. He pushes Hollywood into the ropes and nails a Discuss clotheline. Stevens pounds the mat with all the force in the world.
Joe Hoffman: Toxic Sting! Toxic Sting! Stevens is motioning for the end of this match.
Benny Newell: No, Joe. I am not intoxicated calling this match. I am fine.
Joe Hoffman: After all these years you fuck up Stevens’ finishing move?
Benny Newell: No! I know it. I just have drank enough to get me through the pain of wanting Stevens to win.
Stevens grabs Hollywood to hit the Toxic Sting, but Hollywood whips him around and nails the Basic Instinct from out of nowhere. Hollywood grabs Stevens and hooks his leg making the cover. Hortega makes the count.
DING! DING! DING!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner of the match: BRIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAN HOLLYWOOD!
Joe Hoffman: WOW! Brian Hollywood out of desperation picks up the win over Scott Stevens. That was a close match for comfort! That was insane.
Benny Newell: Another lucky win for Brian Hollywood tonight here in Rome, folks.
Joe Hoffman: That was a hard-fought match between two former HOW Champions, Benny, what do you mean luck? Both men needed a win tonight, and Hollywood training has paid off. Sure, he acted out of instinct, but Hollywood picked that win up fair and square.
Benny Newell: Not according to Stevenspedia in 24 hours time, Joe.
Hortega waits for Hollywood to get up off the mat and raises his hand in the air. Hollywood looks rather shocked, but pleased with the victory. He climbs up to the turnbuckle, and thanks the fans as the scene fades to black.
Hospitality Ain’t Nobody’s Thang
…….and we cut to a prerecorded video….
A homely elderly painted couple greets us by way of a square roadside sign. The woman’s disco perm and faux white rose collar decoration affixed to her dress only slightly predates the man’s balding back-head swoop part. Underneath the portrait in a Little League-style font reveals a clue behind the tacky wardrobe: “Zeb’s.” Block letters underscore and maintain grammatical rules as to what exactly belongs to the old man: his barbeque.
As a nod to the old Southern trope of being set in their ways, the permanent hours of the restaurant are written in white underneath. TUES. THRU SAT. 9 – 9. SUNDAY 11AM – 3PM. CLOSED MONDAY.
While he is not in view, we hear the Southern stank of the young man who shares the sign’s namesake pierce through the setting.
Zeb Martin: Ain’t no kinfolk uh mine. Jus’ where Momma and Daddy fell in love, so they figgred it good tuh name their only youngin’ by it. Best dern Bruns’rick stew in the South in there.
The lens begins to pan out to reveal the restaurant: a long, jaunty-angled white house with brick-red trim that sits dangerously close to the adjacent road. If it weren’t for the sign, most travelers passing by likely wouldn’t even infer that it was one of the most well-known monuments of Danielsville, Georgia. It must be Sunday, as the thin strip of parking lot is bare aside from a single truck.
Zeb (the wrestler, not the now-buried pulled porksmith) sits on the tailgate of a black Nissan hardbody. Once again, his Levi Garrett Racing hat is pulled down low to cover the entirety of his forehead and shield his eyes. An unbuttoned navy blue flannel reveals white long johns underneath, and he wears what appears to be the same tattered jeans from the last vignette. Poverty chic.
Zeb Martin: Hemmed and hawed a couple uh weeks ago about gettin’ out, but reckon y’all needed more of the grand tour.
He chuckles, half-heartedly spreading his arms to invite us to take in the not-so remarkable splendor of pastures and pavement.
Zeb Martin: Guess we puttin’ out the bait that I’m a man that ain’t come from nothin’, so I ain’t got much to lose ‘cept gettin’ my butt whupped and runnin’ back with my tail tucked between my legs. Maybe I take my shirt off out here ‘round quittin’ time and get that cute blond waitress tuh hop in the cab with me. Settle down, have a Zeb Junior, keep doin’ wirin’ durin’ the week and fishin’ on Saturdays.
Zeb sighs, gazing out into the distance as he continues to shy away from looking directly at the camera.
Zeb Martin: Shore wouldn’t be no march to glory, though. More like a crawl tuh the cemetery. I ain’t the type to pitch a hissy though if thangs ain’t goin’ my way. But I dang shore ain’t gon’ let that be fer a lack of tryin’. Not how it went in high school when I done won ‘rasslin championships on the gym mats, and not how it’s been goin’ runnin’ up against them ropes in Athens on Saturday nights.
Martin gives a slight grin, peering down now at the dirt as he continues his monologue.
Zeb Martin: Got me a new pair of big boy trunks for High Octane tuh pull over my ass in April. Ever’thang I done seen on TV done told me that ain’t gon’ be enough tuh make it count, though. Tougher talent than a Waffle House T-bone, and helluva lot more road wear tuh boot. But I reckon I’ll see if I got what it takes. Hopin’ one or two of y’all might wanna show this hick a thang or two out of the goodness of yer own hearts. Happy tuh return the favor and teach y’all how to right fry a catfish. But, if hospitality ain’t nobody’s thang, we can just fight. Pretty good at that, too.
Hoisting himself up from the bed of the truck, Zeb puts his boots to the ground and places his hands on his hips to stretch his back.
Zeb Martin: We’ll see y’all in April, I reckon.
We cut away to another advert as the video ends….
Chris Kostoff vs. Deacon vs. Alex Redding vs. Max Kael
The HOV fires up to show the following . . .
(VIDEO MONTAGE: Refueled XX)
*Teddy Palmer vs. Max Kael- Finals of the LBI*
Kael’s eyes begin to widen in agony in a skull-popping capacity. Out of options he goes dead weight and throws himself backwards. Hoping this will break him out of Palmer’s vice, it has very much the opposite effect, increasing the pressure in the choke. Kael starts to feel his body fading as Boettcher checks for the submission again.
Hoffman: Teddy Palmer could be seconds away from winning the Lee Best Invitational. He has Max Kael dead to rights.
Farthington: You are delusional at this point, Joe. Teddy Palmer is moments away from never darkening the doors of the Group of Death again and let me tell you something…
Kael, feeling his eyes rolling into the back of his skull does one last pass of his ring positioning. Accepting his fate and having no other option, he gives Matt Boettcher the signal.
DING DING DING
Hoffman: MAX KAEL TAPS!
*The HOW World Champion’s reaction*
Farthington remains speechless, mouth agape as the camera cuts back to the ring. Teddy Palmer breaks the triangle choke and the LSD Champion crumbles to the mat. Matt Boettcher helps Teddy up and raises his hand up high for the entire crowd to see. The crowd roars their approval at the results.
McVay: Here is your winner of the TWENTY TWENTY LEE BEST INVITATIONAL… TEDDY PALMERRRRRRRRR.
Matt Boettcher tosses Palmer’s arm up in the air once again and Palmer can’t help but break out into a smile. The enormity of the moment is almost too much as he soaks in the crowd’s delight of the result.
The camera quickly cuts back to a dejected HOW World Champion, biting his bottom lip and shaking his head furiously.
Farthington: He’s ruined EVERYTHING!
Cecilworth screeches his last words into the headset and slams it down on the table. He grabs his World Championship and storms from the announce table, not even making eye contact with Teddy Palmer.
*Lee Best’s Reaction*
Lee Best himself sits in his 97Red leather chair. The camera is still extremely zoomed in on his face, not showing the office around him.
Lee Best: All in on Max fucking Kael.
The God of HOW shakes his head in disgust, as he glares into the camera. The spikes on his eyepatch shine in the overhead lights.
Lee Best: I went ALL FUCKING IN on Max Kael. Teddy Palmer, Max? REALLY? TAG TEAM TED wins the fucking ME Invitational? Disgusted. I am actually disgusted, you fucking Darth John Wick manrobot dickhead. Congratulations. We’re fucking bankrupt. You finally killed HOW, dickhead.
Lee gives a shitty, mean smile to the camera as he leans back down onto his elbows and looks back at the camera.
Lee Best: …Booking 101 was always to put the ICON Championship on the line at March to Glory against the runner up in the Lee Best Invitational, but if you think I’m rewarding Max Kael for nearly fucking bankrupting this company, then let me dust off an old classic for you: NOT HAPPENING.
Cut back to Joe and Benny at the broadcast desk.
Joe Hoffman: Instead of facing Michael Lee Best for the ICON title tonight, Max Kael is defending his LSD title here at March to Glory against not one but three men: The Deacon, Alex Redding, and fellow HOW Hall of Famer Chris Kostoff.
Benny Newell: I still can’t believe Lee bet the whole fucking company on Max.
Joe Hoffman: Let’s go to Bryan McVay in the ring
McVay is there and ready to go.
Bryan McVay: Our next match is one fall steel cage match and it is for the High Octane Wrestling LSD Title! The winner can prevail by pinning his opponent, submitting his opponent, or by escaping from the cage.
The crowd roars as the lights suddenly go out.
A Gregorian chants begins as the twin gates to the Colosseum open up.
Seconds later, Magdalena steps out very slowly. She scans around the Roman Colosseum and takes in the moment.
Then the Deacon walks out. His giant robed frame creates quite the backdrop and he joins her by the open gates.
Bryan McVay: Accompanied by Magdalena, challenger number one weighs in tonight at three hundred and twenty pounds from Alexandria, Egypt . . .
Magdalena leads him across the surface to the ring.
Bryan McVay: . . .the DEACON!
Deacon’s eyes stare blankly as he reaches the ring and climbs up the stair onto the apron. The cage door is open. He steps inside and steps over the top rope into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon is an impressive seven foot tall and three hundred-twenty pound behemoth.
Benny Newell: I feel safer now he’s in the cage. DRINK!
Benny downs a shot of Jack Daniels as Deacon walks over to his corner.
*”Wolf Totem”- The Hu*
The music change heralds the entrance of HOW Hall of Famer Chris Kostoff. The opening chords scream across the speakers as Kostoff, scraggly beard and massive tattoo covering his chest, emerges onto the Colosseum grounds.
Bryan McVay: Our next challenger weighs in tonight at two hundred and eighty-five pounds. From Tampa, Florida, CHRIS. KOS-TOFFFFFFFF!
Looking out and around the Colosseum, Kostoff slowly makes his way towards the ring in the middle of the ancient structure.
Joe Hoffman: The last time Kostoff and the Deacon were in the same ring, Kostoff immediately attacked him.
Kostoff keeps a wary eye on the Deacon circling the ring. He finally enters the cage and goes to the opposite corner from the Deacon and waits.
Benny Newell: Okay. I feel safer that Kostoff is in the cage now too.
*”Love Spreads”- Stone Roses*
The slick and sleazy opening riff of ‘Love Spreads’ by the Stone Roses sounds that much sleazier in the open air of the Colosseum as it hits the PA
Joe Hoffman: And here comes Alex Redding.
The HOW faithful who’ve flown across the Atlantic to be in attendance could be more charitably called the zealots of HOW, and leave no room to guess how they feel about anyone or anything. That said, it’s only a louder mix of jeers and cheers as the camera pans to signs reading:
“Nobody Cares What the Wolf Says!”
The program hasn’t changed too much, as we’re still well into the open, and damn near the lyrics before an excited and confident Grady Patrick, dressed impeccably and under his trademark bowler’s cap, strides forth. He’s breathing in the environment, and gets caught laughing to himself. He walks forward a-ways before pointing to the entrance. Alexander Redding breaks forward, stopping to look out over a snapping wolf’s mouth bandana covering what you could bet was a calm grin, happy to glance out to the paying public. The garish grin of the Joker splashed on the left leg of his MMA long shorts remains before panning up to the ‘Alexisonfire’ tee. With a subtle nod, he strides towards the ring.
Bryan McVay: Introducing the next challenger, from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada… Weighing in tonight at 237 pounds!… ALEXANDER! REDDIIIINGG!
Reaching ringside, Red takes a brief second to bow his head and cross himself, before ripping away the bandana to show his grin slipping into grimace. He starts a lap around the ring, looking at Deacon and Kostoff, shaking the sides of the steel to test it, and in a few spots, pulling up the apron to check beneath. Completing the lap, he stops as the door to the cage is held open for him.
Red wipes the back of his hand across his maw and sprints into the cage. The tension is building as the mass of humanity keeps filling the ring, and Red getting close enough to smell their aftershave isn’t helping.
And then . . .
*“Shit Just got Real (FEAT. Sen Dog)” by Die Antwoord *
The fans jump to their feet when the beat thumps out over the speakers. The entrance to the arena is lit up with green and red flashing lights.
Strutting out through the open gates into the main arena, Maximillian Kael wears the LSD Championship over one shoulder and sports a new look that elicits an audible gasp from the crowd.
Even the HOW Hall of Fame commentators are taken aback.
Joe Hoffman: That’s Max?
Benny Newell: Jesus, I must be drunk already.
Joe Hoffman: Why?
Benny Newell: I swear Max looks at least ten years younger.
Joe Hoffman: No, you’re absolutely right. No breathing mask. No brace. No metal at all. He looks rejuvenated. Restored?
Benny Newell: Thank Lee! DRINK!
Joe Hoffman: This is NOT the Max Kael who lost to Teddy Palmer in the finals of the LBI.
The crowd roars as the flag of North Kaelrea appears on the High Octane Vision.
Max makes his way up the steps onto the apron and is the final contestant to climb into the cage.
The champion’s eye does not leave his opponents as he stomps his way to the center before standing at attention.
Bryan McVay: Hailing from The Glorious Nation of North Kaelrea,..Weighing in at 230 pounds and at a height of 6’4’’ . . . he is the LSD Champion . . . the Lord of Kaelsalvania, the Prime Minister of Maxopotamia, the Lord Supreme Dictator of High Octane Wrestling, the General of North Kaelrea, High Octane Hall of Famer, First of his Name . . .
Crowd: LONG MAY HE MAIM!
Bryan McVay: . . . the Worthiest, the Great and Glorious MAXI-MILLIAN WIL-HELMMMMM KAEL!
Kael unfastens his title before thrusting it high into the air as he does the North Kaelrean salute. Then he hands the belt to McVay who in turn gives the LSD Championship over to the referee for the LSD title match- Joel Hortega.
Joe Hoffman: And this is what they are wrestling for. Remember, the LSD title can be won here tonight by pinfall, submission, or by just escaping from the cage.
Hortega holds the LSD belt up in the air.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff. Redding. Deacon. Or the ‘new and improved’ Max Kael. Which one of these four men will leave the steel cage as the LSD champion? We are about to find out.
Hortega calls for the bell.
Kostoff takes off across the ring. He feints the right and drives a knee to Deacon’s stomach. Kostoff veers over to Redding – Redding tears off his t-shirt and chucks in the face of the oncoming freight train. Redding throws a right – Kostoff avoids and uncorks a right of his own that connects. A second right sends Redding reeling into the ropes. Kostoff stomps away at Redding and drives him down to the mat.
Benny Newell: Oh shit. Kostoff is going full Kostoff and you never want to go up against full Kostoff!
Kostoff looks over at Max. Max tries to get away – Kostoff runs him down. Lift – spins Kael and kneels slamming Max’s brand new body back first over his extended knee.
Joe Hoffman: Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Kostoff nearly breaks the LSD champion in half.
Benny Newell: Shit, I must be drunk. Kostoff fucking looks ten years younger too. DRINK!
Kostoff goes to stomp the champ – Max rolls under the ropes to avoid the big boot coming down on him. Redding back up – Kostoff immediately turns and decks him with a running clothesline. He charges at Deacon again and hurls himself at full speed at the big man.
Immovable force. Meet immovable object.
Joe Hoffman: What a collision on the running shoulder block by Kostoff!
Benny Newell: Fuck me, he just knocked the Deacon back into 2010. DRINK!
Joe Hoffman: You’re drunk Benny. He only moved him back a couple steps.
Kostoff whips the Deacon into the side of the cage – the cage bulges out at impact and contracts right back. Redding back up – Kostoff steamrolls him with a shoulder block. He looks for Kael – the LSD champion still waits under the ropes.
Kostoff sees a golden opportunity. He runs to the cage and starts pulling himself up.
The crowd rises.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff is rolling the dice and going for the win!
Kostoff scrambles up the cage.
Benny Newell: He’s going all in.
Joe Hoffman: This would be a huge upset!
Kael jumps to his feet and takes off towards Kostoff. The Deacon comes in and body checks Kael off his feet.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon just knocked the champion out of the way. Can he get to Kostoff before he goes over the cage or can Kostoff get over?
Benny Newell: Kostoff is fucking over as hell Hoffhole. But if he gets over the cage, he’s going to be the new LSD Champion.
Deacon grabs the cage and starts shaking the holy hell out of it. Kostoff, nearly at the top, loses the grip of one hand and hangs off the cage, one hand grasping the top bar, leg dangling in the air.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon climbs on the top turnbuckle now.
He grabs Kostoff’s leg.
Benny Newell: Oh oh.
Kostoff tries to kick back but he can’t shake the leg loose. The Deacon leaps down and yanks Kostoff off the cage with him, whipsawing him to the mat with great force, enough that Kostoff bounces up in the air from the impact.
Joe Hoffman: What power by the Deacon!
Benny Newell: I felt that all the way up here! DRINK!
While the Deacon stares down at his handiwork, Redding slips in and hooks Kostoff’s leg. Hortega there for the count.
Do- The Deacon tears Redding off Kostoff and whips him towards the ropes. Redding hits the cage and bounces right back towards him. Deacon pulls him up and puts his head between his legs.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon is about to make an early Alter Call.
The Deacon lifts Redding over his shoulder holding both arms in a cross position. But then the seven foot giant suddenly doubles over in excruciating pain thanks to a well-placed boot by Max Kael and dumps Kostoff to the mat.
Benny Newell: Nope. No he’s not.
Joe Hoffman: Kael stops the Deacon cold with a deliberate low blow.
Max spins around and drives a forearm to the back of the Deacons’ head.
Joe Hoffman: The Gaslighter!
Immediate cover by the champion.
Tw- The Deacon kicks out. Kostoff crawls over and he covers.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff again!
T- kickout by the Deacon.
Benny Newell: He almost did it!
Rising to his feet, the Deacon grabs Kostoff’s arm and whips him into the ropes and the side of the steel cage. Kostoff staggers back – Deacon whips him again and sends Kostoff head first into the steel. Kostoff flips over the top rope and gets hung up between the ropes and the cage.
Redding races towards Max. Max steps in – waistlock – lift and turn – and plants Redding with a spinebuster. Max covers.
Dos- Redding shoots a shoulder up.
Kael stomps away on Redding. Knee drop to the midsection. The Deacon yanks Kael back and belly to back suplexes him across the ring.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon just picked Kael up like a ragdoll and suplexed him to the other side of the ring.
Benny Newell: Yes. I’m glad they’re inside the cage.
Deacon turns and charges towards Kostoff, still hung up along the cage. He drives a knee right into Kostoff’s skull – Kostoff’s head crashes against the steel cage – the Hall of Famer slumps to the mat and checks out.
Joe Hoffman: That was brutal. He just may have killed Kostoff there.
Benny Newell: Not in a Graystone kind of way but yes.
Joe Hoffman: Benny!
Benny Newell (sing-song): The best part of waking up is Graystone in your cup!
Joe Hoffman: BENNY!
Kael jumps on The Deacon’s back – wraps his right arm around his neck – presses against the side of the neck.
Joe Hoffman: SLEEPER HOLD!
Benny Newell: MAX MAY HAVE HIM! DRINK!
Spinning wildly around, the Deacon tries to dislodge Max from his back.
Benny Newell: What the fuck is Redding doing?
Up on the top turnbuckle, Redding looks back and eyes his target. He propels himself into the air and corkscrew moonsaults down onto both Kael and The Deacon.
Joe Hoffman: REDDING HITS THE EVERYDAY OKTOBERFEST!
Seizing his moment, Redding attacks the Deacon who’s on his knees. Redding grabs and pulls the seven footer towards him and drives both knees into his back.
Joe Hoffman: Improvised lungblower from Redding.
Benny Newell: That’s the name of a hooker from . . . Redding.
Redding hooks a leg and holds on for dear life.
D-again the Deacon kicks out.
Max slaps on a sleeper hold to the Deacon- who’s up to a sitting position.
Benny Newell: Max is being smart here. Kostoff is fucked. He’s trying to neutralize the other big man in the match by using the sleeper hold to suck all the energy out of him.
The Deacon fights and tries to get back on his feet. Max cinches the sleeper in and tries to hold on as the Deacon slowly arises but stumbles and lands on a knee.
Joe Hoffman: Can Max hold on?
Benny Newell: Now what’s Redding fucking doing?
Redding’s back on the top turnbuckle and flies again with a missile dropkick – Deacon moves his head – Kael catches it flush and his head snaps back. The Deacon moves forward and gets to all fours.
Joe Hoffman: Alex Redding goes high risk again and may have done the Deacon a huge favor there.
Redding rolls over and makes the cover on Max.
Benny Newell: It’s not going to be that easy, Alex.
Do- just as Max kicks out, The Deacon plucks Redding from the air and rams him face first into the steel cage.
Joe Hoffman: Redding gets a steel cage facial from the Deacon . . . and he’s bleeding now.
Redding’s forehead turns a bright red as blood flows from a cut. Outside the cage, Redding’s manager Grady Patrick screams at him, trying to get his attention.
The Deacon pulls Redding to him and puts Red’s increasingly red head between his legs – lifts him over his shoulder holding both arms in a cross position. The Deacon takes two steps forward . . .
Joe Hoffman: Deacon going for another Alter Call . . .
. . . and about to toss Redding when Kael swings in and connects with a running punt kick to the balls.
Joe Hoffman: Max takes the shortcut.
Benny Newell: You call it a shortcut. I call it strategy.
Redding goes flying through the air anyways and lands roughly in the corner. Deacon doubles over. Kael to the top turnbuckle – leaps – flying elbow drop impacts with the back of The Deacon’s neck driving him face first to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Kael connects with the Arkham Hellbow and rolls him over.
Hortega there for the count.
Do- The Deacon kicks out again and gets back to all fours.
Benny Newell: Max just needs to incapacitate him and get the fuck out of the ring.
Max headbutts the Deacon but his forehead collides with the steel mask and he falls to the mat holding his head.
Joe Hoffman: And there’s your strategy.
Benny Newell: Huh?
Joe Hoffman: Never mind.
Grady Patrick continues to yell at Redding in the corner- desperate to get his attention.
Deacon back to his feet. Redding suddenly springs up and spins him around. Redding lifts and gets the big man off the ground enough to fall back and bounces Deacon’s neck off the top rope.
Joe Hoffman: Redding somehow gets a Stun Gun off the top rope . . .
Redding hops on the Deacon’s back and locks in a sleeper hold.
Benny Newell: He’s copying Max’s strategy. Copycat.
Max comes over and claws at the Deacon’s mask.
Joe Hoffman: Max is trying to rip that mask off.
Benny Newell: That’s really good strategy.
With Max still working on the mask, Deacon walks back and slams Redding into the corner turnbuckle.
Joe Hoffman: Redding might need a chiropractor after that.
Benny Newell: That’s really good strategy too.
Joe Hoffman: The chiropractor?
Benny Newell: No.
Deacon steps forward and then crunches Redding a second time. Max’s hand still works on the mask. He thinks it’s getting loose. Then the Deacon shoves Redding, still dripping blood from his forehead, aside and climbs up the turnbuckle dragging Max, hand stuck in the mask, with him.
Joe Hoffman: Oh oh.
Benny Newell: MAX! NO! GOOD STRATEGY . . . BUT BAD! DRINK!
At the middle rope, the Deacon looks down at Max. Then he leaps off the turnbuckle and lands on top of Kael. The good news, Max’s hand is free. The bad news, his fingers were wrenched awkwardly at landing.
Joe Hoffman: That was good strategy by the Deacon!
Benny Newell: I hate you.
Joe Hoffman: Hortega making a count!
Max’s shoulders are down.
Benny Newell: Come on Max!
Max rolls up. Redding jumps on The Deacon’s back and wraps his right arm around his neck, squeezing as hard as he can.
Joe Hoffman: Redding again with the sleeper hold!
Kael kicks at the Deacon’s arms and legs as he tries to get back to his feet. Redding holds the sleeper.
Joe Hoffman: Can he hold on?
As the Deacon fades, Grady Patrick finally gets Redding’s attention and slides a pair of handcuffs into the ring. Kael tells Redding to move him closer to the ropes.
Benny Newell: Max and Redding working together?
Joe Hoffman: It’s not unheard of Benny.
They do and Redding cuffs the Deacon to the bottom rope.
Joe Hoffman: The Deacon has been handcuffed to the bottom rope. Kostoff hasn’t moved in minutes. And now-
Redding grabs Kael’s head and drives his forehead into Max’s.
Joe Hoffman: Redding headbutts Kael!
Benny Newell: That’s a dirty trick!
Joe Hoffman: Like Max wouldn’t do something like that.
Benny Newell: That’s different.
Redding shoves Max down and takes off for the side of the cage.
Benny Newell: That’s a really dirty trick!
Joe Hoffman: Max would do the same thing.
Redding climbs up the ropes and onto the cage. Max sprints over and grabs the cage. He’s a couple steps behind Redding who nears the top of the cage.
Joe Hoffman: Who will make it down first?
Benny Newell: Come on Max!
Max noticeably closes in on Redding.
Joe Hoffman: Max’s ‘new’ body has allowed him to make up the distance. They’re going to make to the top at the same time.
Indeed, Redding reaches the top and he swings his leg over the bar just as Max arrives.
Both men stop and eye each other warily. Blood continues to flow from the cut on Redding’s forehead.
Joe Hoffman: Now what?
Benny Newell: First one to the ground wins-
A flash suddenly emits from Max’s non-organic eye and envelopes Redding’s face.
Benny Newell: . . . HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?
Blinded by the bright flash, Redding sways on the top of the cage.
Joe Hoffman: A . . . a light came out of Max’s cybernetic eye and . . .
Benny Newell: WAIT. MAX NOW HAS A FUCKING LASER IN HIS EYE?
Sitting precariously on top of the cage, Redding desperately tries to clear his vision.
Joe Hoffman: Um. Yes. It’s apparently called the EYEMax and-
Max shoves Redding off the cage.
Joe Hoffman: . . . MAX JUST PUSHED HIM OFF THE CAGE!
Benny Newell: DOWN GOES REDDING! DOWN GOES REDDING . . . really good strategy by the way . . . DOWN GOES REDDING!
Kael grins as he watches Redding fall helplessly, crash landing hard in the ring.
Benny Newell: You know what they say, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.
Redding lays in a heap along the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Benny, Redding hasn’t moved yet.
Benny Newell: Oh. Sucks to be him. DRINK!
Max laughs and climbs down the outside of the cage to his waiting LSD title.
Favoring his injured fingers, Max slowly makes his way down.
Benny Newell: He’s going to do it!
About halfway down, Max hops to the ground. Hortega points to the timekeeper.
Joe Hoffman: MAX KAEL WINS!
Benny Newell: YEEESSSSS!
Hortega opens up the cage door and lets Bryan McVay in.
Joe Hoffman: Max Kael outlasts Alex Redding, The Deacon, and Chris Kostoff and is still the HOW LSD Champion.
Hortega hops down and goes over to Max to raise his hand.
Bryan McVay: Your winner at twenty-one minutes and fifty-four seconds and STILL the High Octane Wrestling LSD Champion . . . the Lord of Kaelsalvania, the Prime Minister of Maxopotamia, the Lord Supreme Dictator of High Octane Wrestling, the General of North Kaelrea, High Octane Hall of Famer, First of his Name . . .
Crowd: LONG MAY HE MAIM!
Bryan McVay: . . . the Worthiest, the Great and Glorious MAXI-MILLIAN WIL-HELMMMMM KAEL!
Max takes the LSD title belt and raises it up in the air.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff came out red hot. The Deacon had his moments. Alex Redding really gave it a good shot and nearly made it over. But it’s Max Kael who rises to the occasion and retains the LSD title.
Benny Newell: Max had it in the bag all along.
Joe Hoffman: Oh he did, did he?
Benny Newell: Fuck off Hoffhole! I wasn’t worried. Not one bit. Not at all. No chance. (mumbles) Now where’s my fucking bottle of Jack?
While Max parades around the Colosseum with the LSD title belt, medical personnel rush out from the back and climb into the cage to check on Chris Kostoff and Alex Redding as neither man is moving as we cut to a quick advert.
Back live and we cut to a makeshift Section 214 high up in the Roman Colosseum as the crew below begin to disassemble the cage from the LSD Championship match.
Blaire Moise is there with a very familiar face- ‘Ordinary’ Joe Bergman.
Blaire Moise: Joe. You’re sitting way up here and taking in the action tonight at March to Glory with your faction- The People.
Joe Bergman: That’s right Blaire. We’re all catching our breath after that LSD cage match, right guys?
The people in the section stand and make some noise.
Blaire Moise: So Joe. You showed up at an independent show last week at another tailgate party.
Joe Bergman: Yes. I was there with my sister.
Bergman motions to the seat next to him. The camera pulls back to bring Joe’s sister into the frame. She’s a bleach blonde wearing a tight cropped t-shirt showing her midriff with ‘Barbie Q’ written on the front and a pair of torn Daisy Duke shorts. The blonde is also chewing gum.
The seat next to her is empty.
Blaire Moise: Barbie Q?
Joe Bergman: My sister used to wrestle in the independents as C.J. Lewis. She was ready for a change. So here she is.
Barbie Q nods and flits her head back and forth while she smacks her gum.
Blaire Moise: Can I get your thoughts on the upcoming match?
Joe Bergman: The big tag team title match?
Blaire Moise: Yes.
Joe Bergman: I think it’s going to be great match but don’t ask just me. Let’s ask everyone else?
Joe Bergman: So, what do you guys think of the Hollywood Bruvs- Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix?
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The section gives the Hollywood Bruvs a thumbs down.
Joe Bergman: Okay. What do you think of 24K- Andy Murray and Perfection?
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! More thumbs down from the people.
Joe Bergman: All right. What about HATE? Scottywood and Damien Ryan.
Joe Bergman: Okay. The eGG Bandits? Cancer Jiles and The Doozer.
RAHHHHH/BOOOOO. Some clapping. Some ehhhh. Some thumbs down.
Random Person in the Section: They’re funny.
Joe Bergman: Yes they are. Okay. Last, but not least- Group of Death?
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! More thumbs down.
Blaire Moise: Okay. Is there any tag team that you, The People, would support?
Man Off Camera: Yes!
The camera pans over and zooms in on the man in the “#1 Dad” t-shirt and knee length shorts walking towards into the shot.
Blaire Moise: Steve Solex?
Steve Solex: That’s right. The World’s Number One Dad is here . . .
Steve comes with cans of beers.
Steve Solex: . . . and he’s got beers.
Solex hands one to Barbie Q. Then he hands a beer to Joe.
Steve Solex: Sorry Blaire. Didn’t bring you one.
Blaire Moise: That’s okay. So. Does this mean?
Joe Bergman: Yes Blaire. The World’s Number One Dad and I are teaming up.
Bergman and Solex shake hands.
Blaire Moise: What’s the name of your tag team going to be?
Bergman wasn’t expecting the question. He glances at Solex.
Solex whistles and shrugs.
Joe Bergman: Well?
Bergman looks down at his beer can.
The camera zooms in – it has the classic Pabst Blue Ribbon label in the front.
Bergman nods his head.
Joe Bergman: P . . . ah . . .
Joe studies the beer can closer.
Joe Bergman: . . . P-B-R.
Bergman looks over at Solex. He quickly agrees.
Steve Solex: Yeah. PBR.
Blaire Moise: Okay. And what does PBR stand for?
Bergman and Solex turn to each other.
They’ve got nothing.
Joe Bergman: Yeah, we’ll have to get back to you on that.
Bergman turns to the crowd.
Joe Bergman: PBR!
Blaire Moise: There you have it. We’ve got another new tag team in HOW. PBR!
Bergman and Solex raise their beer cans in the air- both with the Pabst Blue Ribbon label facing front.
Bergman and Solex: PBR!
Blaire Moise: Whatever that means. We will be right back folks…
Hollywood Bruvs vs. eGG Bandits vs. 24K vs. GoD
As we come back from commercial we see the Hall of Fame team ready for the next highly anticipated match up.
Joe Hoffman: Next up is the gauntlet match for the Tag Team championships and Lee Best threw a curve ball into the mix as he said all members of 24K would start the match.
Benny Newell: And their response to that was attacking everyone in sight!
Joe Hoffman: That may have been their plan Benny as we saw 24K brutally assault Scottywood and Damien Ryan costing them the opportunity at the tag titles tonight.
Benny Newell: Look Hoffman, I enjoy a good beatdown of Scottywood as the next guy but we can’t have these fuckers taking everyone out before the match. We have a reputation to maintain as putting on great matches if not people will think we are UTAH.
Joe Hoffman: As a result of the attack by 24K they have been locked inside the gladiator’s waiting pit.
Benny Newell: Good! They should be locked up like the dogs they are!
Bryan McVay: This match is scheduled for ONE! FAAAAAALLLLLL! IT IS FOR THE HOW TAAAAAAAGGGGG TEEEEEAM CHAMPIIIIIOOOOONSSSSSHIIIIIPSSSSSS!
“Gold” by Sir Sly begins to play over the loudspeakers and the image shifts backstage where we see multiple EPU guards dressed as Roman Guards armed with spears.
Benny Newell: I wonder if those spears are real Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: Well last time a spear was used in HOW, Shane Reynolds killed a lion with it.
Benny Newell: RIP Bestivus. DRINK!
EPU Guard: Stand away from the door!
The guard shouts as he stares into the door and nods for the other guard to unlock the door and as the door slowly opens all four members of 24K walk out and the fans give a mixed reaction.
Joe Hoffman: The crowd seems divided here tonight.
Benny Newell: Do you blame them Hoffman? They want 24K to back it up in the ring not sneak attacking people.
The EPU guards point towards the direction that 24K needs to go and each member watch closely as they head toward the ring entrance.
As the door slowly opens, a red carpet is slowly rolled out and each member of 24K steps through.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, representing 24K and weighing in at a combined weight of 958lbs….they are PER-FEC-TION! ANDY! MURRRRRRRRAYYYYYY! KENDRIX! MIIIIIKEYYYYY! UNNNNNLIIIIIKEEELLLLYYYY! 24K!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mikey and Kendrix are the first ones out wearing matching Hollywood Bruvs merchandise as The King of Wrestling strides out from the back with a loose swagger and Perfection raises his arms accepting the crowd’s reaction to his wonderfulness. Murray has got a leather jacket on, the battered cricket bat slung over his shoulder, and a whole lot of bile in his body as he walks down, mouthing off at anyone dumb enough to hurl an insult in his direction. Perfection makes his way towards the ring taking his time to jaw-jack with fans throwing stuff at them.
Benny Newell: Murray still has that damn cricket bat Hoffman. Why?!?!?!?
Joe Hoffman: Well the security guards never took it.
Benny Newell: Fucking eh. Drink.
Murray rolls under the bottom rope, and tightens his grip upon the cricket bat as Perfection walks up the stairs to enter the ring. He poses for all to see flexing and smiling those pearly whites. The Hollywood Bruvs take to the center of the ring and give each other an exploding fist bump.
Joe Hoffman: How will this match affect these four individuals because one is going to be eliminated by the other here tonight?
Benny Newell: I don’t think it will Hoffman because each of these four men have said they are here to win gold and help the others succeed and if that means getting beat than so be it.
Senior Official, Matt Boettcher, checks all four individuals before signaling for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here we go…..
All four members of 24K shake hands as they here the bell and Perfection says something to Andy Murray while Kendrix’s rock beats Mikey’s scissors.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like Kendrix and Perfection will start for their respective teams.
The two men come out of their respective corners and slowly circle one another in the center of the ring before locking horns.
Benny Newell: (In his worst Shang Tsung voice) It has begun!
Perfection grabs the arm and tries to wring it out, but Kendrix sweeps the leg and goes for a quick pin, but Perfection kicks out before the count of one and sweeps the leg of Kendrix and goes for a pin himself. However, Kendrix is able to kickout before the count of one and both men kip up to ready position and the crowd praises them.
Joe Hoffman: The crowd showering both teams with adulation tonight.
Benny Newell: Whoopty-fucking-do Hoffman! I want to see blood! Not flippy shit! FIGHT LEE DAMMIT!
Kendrix and Perfection give each other a nod and the two go to lock up one again, but the man knows as Perfection sends the wind out of Kendrix’s sails with a questionable low kick and brings him down to the canvas with a snapmare as he locks in a reverse chinlock.
Joe Hoffman: Perfection and Kendrix are brilliant technicians in the ring and you are seeing a small sample of it right now.
Perfection yells at Boettcher to ask Kendrix if he quit, but the Englishman shakes his head no. Kendrix tries to reach up towards the face of Perfection, but his attempt is blocked with a crossface to the side of the head.
Benny Newell: Keeping their heads ringing since 1995. Drink!
Mikey begins pacing back and forth on the ring apron getting the fans involved and the roar of the crowd begins to stir something in Kendrix as he shifts his body weight so he can deliver an elbow to the gut of Perfection. However, it wasn’t enough as he still maintains the hold.
Joe Hoffman: Kendrix needs to tag Mikey in.
Benny Newell: No shit.
Kendrix delivers another elbow to the stomach of Perfection and this blow causes Perfection to loosen his grip. Perfection tries to hold his ground but a third strike to the gut is enough to free Kendrix of his bonds as he tries to go to tag Mikey, Perfection grabs a hand full of hair and throws Kendrix to the mat before delivering boots to his stablemates’ body.
Joe Hoffman: I was wondering how long it would take before the short-hand tactics came into effect.
Benny Newell: All fair in love and tag team championships Hoffman.
Perfection picks up JFK and goes to whip him, but yanks him back towards him and goes for a clothesline.
Joe Hoffman: Short arm clothesline missed!
Perfection tries a spinning back fist but Kendrix saw it coming and grabs Perfection and deliver a picture perfect suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Kendrix with a beautiful German suplex…..but he hasn’t released his grip.
Kendrix uses every ounce of strength he has to drag Perfection to his feet before delivering another suplex.
Benny Newell: That’s shot number two! DRINK!
Perfection tries to fight it but Kendrix delivers stiff, clubbing blows to the back of Perfection’s head and delivers a final German suplex this time a release one.
Joe Hoffman: A third and final German suplex sends Perfection flying and both men are down.
Matt Boettcher sees both men down and begins his cadence.
Both men begin to stir.
Both men on all fours and begin making their way to their corners.
Kendrix tags Mikey.
Perfection tags Murray and Murray is slingshotted into the ring by Mikey Unlikely.
Benny Newell: Get him Mikey!
Mikey begins to put the boots to the King of Wrestling.
Joe Hoffman: Mikey doing the smart thing and staying on Murray.
Benny Newell: He’s Mikey Money baybay! Of course he knows what he’s doing!
Mikey goes for a leg drop but Murray rolls out of the way and delivers a vicious kick to the spine of Mikey. As Mikey winces in pain, Murray delivers another kick this time to the chest of Mikey and before Mikey knows what hit him, Murray delivers a running clothesline to a seated Mikey. Cover.
Joe Hoffman: These four men are beating the hell out of each other and they are friends.
Murray goes to pick up his opponent and Mikey delivers a quick kick to the face staggering Andy. Mikey shakes the cobwebs out and sees Murray heading towards him. Murray goes for a haymaker blow and Mikey ducks under and comes up behind the King and locks in a submission hold.
Joe Hoffman: COBRA CLUTCH! MIKEY HAS IT LOCKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING!
Benny Newell: The King is about to forfeit his kingdom. DRINK!
Murray tries grabbing at Mikey, but he shifts his body to avoid it. Murray tries to go for the eyes, but Mikey pulls his head back.
Joe Hoffman: You have to wonder how much longer he can withstand this.
As Murray continues to struggle he slowly moves Mikey and they inch their way towards the corner and when they are near with his last bit of strength Andy Murray walks up the turnbuckle and tries to flip over to break the hold.
Benny Newell: HAHAHAHAHAHA! You didn’t break the hold!
Joe Hoffman: Yeah but he landed on top of him.
Benny Newell: WHAT?!?!?
Murray may not have broken the hold but his momentum caused him to land on top of Mikey who still had the submission locked in.
Benny Newell: LET GO OVER THE DAMN HOLD!
Benny Newell: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Bryan McVay: THE HOLLYWOOD BRUVS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED!
Mikey realizes his error and can’t believe it as both Kendrix and Perfection come to check on their partners.
Joe Hoffman: Are we gonna see an implosion here?
Mikey and Kendrix fist bump their stablemates as they exit the ring.
Benny Newell: I wonder whose next?
A rumbling can be heard.
It’s not Bobby Dean’s stomach, either. It is, however, Bobby Dean related.
The rumbling is the galloping of horse hooves. All told, there are six pure white, battle-ready, armored stallions of doom. They are, all joined together, towing a mighty, half cracked, egg-shaped chariot behind them.
The gladiator doors swing open.
The ground begins to shake with anticipation.
Inside the chariot, and charging towards becoming whole again, stand all three of the eGG Bandits.
Bobby Dean has got the reigns. He’s wearing what looks to be two chest armor pieces that have been welded together atop a toga/king size bed sheet. He also has a golden, Roman wreath atop his beautiful head.
The two men standing behind him look ready for the front lines.
Doozer, wearing a white Trojan helmet with a yellow feather, holds an egg shaped shield in his grasp. His wrestling singlet matches that of the popular Fenix Legion. He will have his vengeance.
Jiles, hair not moving a millimeter despite the steady breeze, wears a yolk-yellow, white fur collared cape that whisks in the wind behind him. He’s also wielding a spear. His wrestling tights have the faces of the opposition on them. Said faces appear to be in agony. Crying like tortured souls of the underworld. Sans the two bits of gold.
Bobby takes the chariot for a lap around the ring.
About half way around, dirt begins to kick up from grounds, creating a dust cloud that almost hides the Bandits amongst it. Doozer lets out a primal roar that echoes throughout the arena. Then, Jiles, half cousin of Achilles, hurls the spear in his grasp through speed and sound at the Mike Best appreciation box.
It sticks flush into the Son of God’s balcony wall, stabbing a giant picture of Mike Best’s happy face in the process.
Doozer bangs on his shield twice to show his appreciation. The noise the act makes sounds like thunder from the heavens above.
The chariot comes to a stop a few feet from the ring. Like the nimble blob he is, Bobby springs from the ride and unrolls a red carpet leading to the ring steps. He then takes a strenuous step up the ring steps, and turns to face his brothers of the yolk.
Bobby Dean: He is, Danielius Octorus Ozarian Zebra Erin Roxyersoxoff, Commander of the Cracken, Tolerator of COOL. Mentor to an obese manchild, business associates with a masochistic asshole. He will Dooze and Abuse any who attempt to thwart.
Doozer steps down from the chariot. He removes his helmet, and hands it to Bob along with the shield. The two exchange a few words of encouragement before Doozer walks up the steps and enters the ring.
Bobby clears his throat, and turns his attention back to the other Bandit.
Bobby Dean: He is, Cancerous Tropicanaus Jilleous. The Maestro of Egg, and only descendent of COOLYMPUS. Carer of the geriatric, slayer of Mongoloids, he has returned to Rome to right the wrongs from a decade prior. He will reclaim what was once his.
Jiles with arms out and his chin up, soaks up the moment like a sponge. He then jumps down from the chariot and walks over to an awaiting Bobby Dean. The Maestro removes and hands over the sure to be endangered cape, kisses Bobby on the forehead, and slides into the ring under the bottom rope.Bobby returns to the chariot, waves an ominous goodbye as if we weren’t going to see him again, and charges out through the gate. “And he is Fat Bobby Dean, and he’ll be damned if he misses out on something like this again.”
Benny Newell: O……K……
Doozer and Murray start of the next round of the gauntlet match and Murray goes for a quick roll up, but Doozer pops the shoulder up and using his feet to grab a hold of Murray’s right arm used in the roll up attempt to lock in an arm bar.
Joe Hoffman: Murray with the failed quick roll got his arm caught in the process.
Benny Newell: Thank you Captain Obvious.
Murray isn’t trapped in the submission long as Perfection asks Doozer how his boot tastes after he feeds it to him.
Joe Hoffman: Perfection was smart to break it up.
Boettcher tells Perfection to get back into his corner and this momentary distraction allows Jiles to come into the ring and help his partner drag Murray to their corner.
Benny Newell: Bitcher blind to everything. Drink!
When Boettcher turns around Doozer tags in Jiles and the eGG Bandits deliver stomps to the King of Wrestling. They pick up Murray and deliver and double snap suplex before Jiles goes for the cover.
Murray pops the shoulder up.
Jiles makes the quick tag to Doozer who slingshots himself in and delivers a leg drop. Cover.
Doozer tags Jiles and the two quickly pick up Murray and whip him against the ropes. As Murray slingshots back towards them, Doozer doubles over Murray with a clothesline to the stomach and Jiles sends him to the canvas with a running, spinning neckbreaker.
Perfection breaks up the pin attempt.
Joe Hoffman: Perfection thought the end may be near there.
Jiles and Perfection exchange words and as Jiles turns his attention back to Murray he gets rocked by a European uppercut.
Joe Hoffman: The shuttheheckup uppercut!
Benny Newell: That’s not what that is called Hoffhole!
Joe Hoffman: It is to me.
Murray is gasping for air and Jiles is stunned and as both men lay staring at the lights, Boettcher begins his count.
Both men begin to stir.
Both men get to all fours and begin to crawl towards their corner.
Joe Hoffman: Both men are inches……what the!
Doozer runs around the ring and pulls Perfection off the apron before running back towards his corner and Murray doesn’t notice until he reaches out for the tag.
Benny Newell: He’s not there dumbass!
As Murray sees Perfection on the ground he doesn’t see the tag made to Doozer who rushes into the ring and begins to lay rights and lefts to Murray. Doozer doesn’t waste any time getting to his feet as he pulls Murray up with him and whips him towards their corner.
Joe Hoffman: Murray with the reverse!
Jiles pulled down the rope and instead of Murray flying to the outside it’s Doozer. Murray tries to go after him, but Jiles prevents it by spraying mist into his eyes.
Benny Newell: WHAT THE FUCK BITCHER?!?!?!?!?!? WHERE’S THE DQ!
Joe Hoffman: He didn’t see it Benny.
Benny Newell: How could he not see it?!?!?!?!? Murray has fucking yellow shit on his face and body.
Murray stumbles backwards trying to clean his eyes as Jiles drops to the floor and rolls in Doozer so he can tag himself in.
Joe Hoffman: Jiles tags himself in and he’s looking to finish off Murray.
Perfection has made it back onto the apron as Jiles primes his Superkick.
Joe Hoffman: Terminal Cancer!
Jiles dug deep with that kick as the momentum sent him to his feet and Andy Murray to the outside of the ring as the referee slaps his hands together. Jiles goes over to the ropes where Murray fell through and as he goes through the middle ropes Perfection delivers a massive kick to the side of Jiles face before flipping in.
Joe Hoffman: SUNSET FLIP!
Bryan McVay: The eGG Bandits have been eliminated!
Joe Hoffman: Murray and Perfection continue on as they just outsmarted the eGG Bandits!
Perfection rolls to the outside to check on his partner when……
“Kicking and Screaming” by Blues Saraceno
Begins to play as the doors swing open and out step Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy.
Benny Newell: That’s no Dan Ryan cardboard cutout Hoffman. That’s the real McCoy.
Bryan McVay: And their opponents, representing the GROUP OF DEATH! They are the REIGNING AND DEFENDING, UNDISPUTED TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOOOOOOORLD! LINDSAY TROY! AND DAN! RYAAAAAAN!
Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan don’t waste any time as they rush to the ring and Dan Ryan delivers a massive big boot to the side of Perfection’s face while Murray is introduced to a running knee trembler by Troy.
Joe Hoffman: Ryan and Troy ain’t wasting time.
Benny Newell: They aren’t the eGG Bandits Joe.
Ryan picks up Perfection with his massive meat hooks and tosses him inside and once inside, Dan Ryan places Perfection between his legs and before you know it…..
Joe Hoffman: HUMILITY BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Boettcher is waiving it off! Perfection’s foot was under the bottom rope.
Benny Newell: Talk about a lucky break.
Dan makes the tag to Troy and he holds Perfection across his while Lindsay climbs to the second turnbuckle and delivers an elbow drop. Troy doesn’t go for the cover as she places her fingers in Perfection’s mouth and fish hooks him.
Lindsay breaks the count before five and tags Dan back in.
Joe Hoffman: Quick tags by the champions.
Dan Ryan comes in and picks up Perfection and tosses him with ease.
Joe Hoffman: Fall away slam.
Dan Ryan picks up Perfection and holds him up high into the air for a delayed vertical suplex.
He holds him.
He holds him.
Ryan checks his imaginary watch and decides he hasn’t held him up long enough.
He holds him.
He holds him.
Benny Newell: Wake me up when he drops him Hoffman.
He drops him.
Joe Hoffman: Talk about a delayed vertical.
Dan Ryan walks over to Perfection and reaches down to pick him up when he gets pulled down.
Joe Hoffman: Small package!
Benny Newell: No such thing with me Hoffman.
Ryan goes for a clothesline, but Perfection ducks and brings him down.
Joe Hoffman: School boy!
Dan goes for a boot, but Perfection moves and sweeps the leg and grabs both legs before rolling on top.
Joe Hoffman: Jackknife cover!
Joe Hoffman: Perfection trying to end this match quickly as he and Murray are both exhausted.
Perfection is slow to his feet and doesn’t see Lindsay Troy running towards him to deliver a headscissors. However, Troy doesn’t let go and when they land she does her best Sonya Blade impression as she begins to choke out Perfection with her strong thighs.
Benny Newell: Oowie! I like my dark skinned ladies thick in all the right places Hoffman and Lindz is just giving me another reason why once you go black you don’t go black.
Joe Hoffman: For the last time she’s Italian.
Benny Newell: Black Italian.
Murray breaks up the submission with a kick to the face. As Troy is momentarily stunned Perfection is able to tag Murray in who immediately grabs Lindz and whips her towards the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Murray looks fully recovered.
Benny Newell: Looks can be deceiving.
Lindz hops on the ropes and at the same time Dan Ryan tags himself in as Lindsay delivers a Disaster Kick to Murray which is followed up with a ring shaking spear from Dan Ryan.
Joe Hoffman: OH MY! WHAT A SPEAR!
Benny Newell: WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?
Dan Ryan can’t believe as he gets in the face of Boettcher who says it was a count of two.
Benny Newell: Slow count Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: Maybe, but Dan Ryan smells blood and is looking to end it right now.
Ryan picks up Murray and places him across his shoulders.
Benny Newell: He’s not going for what I think he is….
Joe Hoffman: He is Benny. Ryan is looking for the Headliner.
However, before Dan can deliver his finisher Perfection pulls Murray off of Dan Ryan’s shoulder causing the former ICON champion to turn around and get doubled over with a boot to mid-section followed by an impaler DDT.
Joe Hoffman: Beau Ideal!
As Ryan hits the mat, Lindsay quickly tags herself in and disposes Perfection with a step up enzuigiri that sends him through the ropes as Andy Murray begins to stir. Lindsay looks at Murray and looks at the ropes and then back at Murray and steps onto the apron and waits for Murray to fully get up before going for it.
Benny Newell: JESUS COMPLEX MOTHER FUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: She calls it the Royal Decree Benny…….WHAT THE HECK!
However, Murray isn’t pulled down to be pinned and he’s able to hold onto her and use the momentum to sling her over onto his shoulder before he spikes her head first into the mat.
Joe Hoffman: HIGHLAND HANGOVER!
Benny Newell: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Boettcher signals for the bell.
Bryan McVay: And your winners by pinfall, AND NEW! HOW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! THEY ARE….. PER-FEC-TION! ANDY! MURRRRRRAYYYYYYYY! 24K!
Joe Hoffman: We have new champions! Andy Murray and Perfection did it! They lasted the entire gauntlet!
Benny Newell: Mike isn’t going to like this!
Andy Murray and Perfection hold up their champions as Kendrix and Mikey Unlikely head towards the ring to celebrate with their stablemates as we cut away.
Teddy Palmer vs. Cecilworth Farthington
Joe Hoffman: It’s time for the main event of the evening, and what a show it’s been so far. The Group of Death has gone fifty fifty tonight– Max Kael successfully defended the HOW LSD Championship earlier tonight in a steel cage, but Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy weren’t so fortunate– in a hard fought battle, Andy Murray and Perfection of 24K survived the impossible– a tag team gauntlet– and for their efforts, managed to take two championships from the Group of Death. Cecilworth Farthing is the man who will determine whether or not they had a winning night, and that match is about to begin.
Benny Newell: I said it before, unless it was edited out of our broadcast, and I’ll say it again now– I would literally blow four men to watch Cecilworth lose the championship here tonight. I’ve hated a lot of people in HOW, Joe. I hated Tim Shipley. I hated Bishop Steele. I hated fucking Brad Jackson. But none of them ever injured me, Joe. None of them ever broke my fucking arm on live television.
Joe Hoffman: I think we’re all well acquainted with the who, why, and how of your hatred, Benny. But fewer people may be familiar with the road taken by Teddy Palmer to get where he is tonight. A tag team wrestler by trade, Teddy Palmer went undefeated in the group stage of the LBI, and then obviously undefeated again in the knockout stage. He took out his own tag team partner, Alex Redding, and Hall of Famer Max Kael on the road to this match. They’re calling him the underdog, but he may be just as good as the reigning HOW World Champion… if not better.
Benny Newell: Remember that fucking tag team ladder match? Cause I sure as fuck hope that Palmer does. I need him angry tonight. I need him seeking some revenge here. I need to see him hold that big red belt up in the air at the end of the night and celebrate like it’s his fucking birthday.
Joe Hoffman: March to Glory is traditionally a hard title defense for the reigning champion, folks. You haven’t had a lot of matches since ICONIC, and the motivation can be hard to find. Teddy Palmer is coming into this match full steam ahead, and he’ll be looking to catch Farthington on his back foot right out of the gate. This match is slated to begin, but we’re told that we have a special guest ring announcer for tonight’s match– we’re cutting to the Emperor’s Box now, with HOW ICON Champion Michael Best.
As the camera cuts away, we see Mike Best standing in the box alongside his father. The ICON Championship rests on his shoulder, with a microphone in his hand as he prepares to open the main event festivities officially. He toasts a shitty Corona with lime toward the camera, which is quickly cut away from as the camera cuts back to the entranceway at the pit.
Mike Best: The following contest is scheduled for one fall. Following the entrance of both combatants, the entrances to the arena will be BARRED, to avoid interference of any kind in tonight’s main event.
“Welcome to the Party” by Diplo, French Montana & Lil Pump begins to blast over the speakers, and the monstrous doors of the arena pit open wide for the incumbent Teddy Palmer. He steps out into the dirt, staring out into the Roman Coliseum almost in awe.
Mike Best: Introducing first… standing at the same height as me despite everyone thinking I’m five foot six, and weighing in ten pounds lighter… hailing from a place I didn’t bother to research before doing his ring introduction, he is the OFFICIAL WINNER OF THE 2020 LEE BEST INVITATIONAL… TEDDY… PAAAAAALMER!
Teddy slowly strides down the “ramp”, which is essentially the straightest path of dirt directly to the ring. He seems almost overwhelmed by the number of cheers as he takes the long walk.
Joe Hoffman: It would appear that the “underdog” of the LBI has captured the hearts and minds of the fans here in Rome tonight.
Benny Newell: Or maybe they just fucking hate Farthington because they’re smart, and he’s the alternative.
Joe Hoffman: It’s probably a little bit of both, Benny.
Teddy slides into the ring, wiping the dust off his boots as he takes his corner in the ring. Referee Matt Boettcher checks him over for contraband, and the calm before the storm can barely set in before his music fades and is suddenly replaced.
“Mr. Finish Line” by Vulfpeck sure sounds out of place in the Roman Coliseum, but it doesn’t seem to bother the reigning HOW World Champion as he steps through the giant entrance doors of the arena. He steps out onto the dirt stage, the HOW Title around his waist as he stares into the ring at his opponent.
Mike Best: …and introducing his opponent… standing at six foot even and weighing in at a staggering 187 pounds of lean, mean, armbreaking machine… from Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom… he puts the “M” in Megastar. Breaking arms, breaking hearts, breaking records and breaking spirits. He is the undefeated king of THE TWITTER MACHINE. He is the longest reigning ICON Champion of all time. He is a hero to many, and the object of jealousy to the rest of them. He is the man who after tonight, will have been unbeaten for an ENTIRE FUCKING YEAR… the HOW World Champion and my literal BEE EFF EFF, Cecilworth…. Emmm… FAAAARRRRTHINGTONNNNNNN!
A smile accidentally breaks out on the face of Cecilworth Farthington, which he quickly wipes away as he makes his way down the worn, dirt path to the ring. His expression is replaced with cold, violent intent– he doesn’t look out at the fans, and instead keeps his eyes locked on Teddy Palmer’s as he makes his way to the ring.
Joe Hoffman: That introduction may have been vomit inducing, but a lot of it is unfortunately a fact. Cecilworth Farthington has had perhaps the single greatest year in High Octane History. He won the ICON Championship. He won the Tag Team Championships. He won the HOW World Championship. And while he technically “lost” the ICON and Tag Belts, this man has not been defeated in a match in nearly one 365 day period.
Benny Newell: Fuck, I hate that he’s so fucking good. It’s annoying. Why can’t he just be shitty and lose so that I can get this chip off my shoulder? I just need to see him lose ONE FUCKING MATCH, and then we can call it even. Maybe tonight will be the lucky night that Farthington gets to be friends with Benny Newell again. He should hope so, anyway.
Farthington climbs up the ring steps, ducking into the ring as he reluctantly hands the HOW World Championship off to referee Matt Boettcher. The referee hands the title off to Bryan McVay, who is still ringside despite the guest announcer, and McVay takes it to its proper place at the timekeeper.
With both men in the ring, Matt Boettcher takes a moment to remind everyone of the rules. As he’s going over the regulations with both opponents, EPU guards swarm all the arena exits at the four corners of the Coliseum, swinging the mighty doors closed and locking them tight. The HOW wrestlers are now trapped backstage, and no interference will be happening in tonight’s main event. Fucking zero.
The doors lock into place.
The bell rings.
The match begins.
DING DING DING
The bell echoes throughout the arena, and the crowd is on their feet despite being very tired at this portion of an action packed event. A few fans begin trying to jump over the stands of the Coliseum, wanting to get down to ring level to watch the match from close up— the EPU rushes in to stop them, but there is a sudden stirring from the Emperor’s Box.
Mike Best stands from his seat, looking absolutely giddy as Lee gives him the nod to make one of his dreams come true. Michael holds his hand sideways with his thumb outstretched… and turns it upward! The fans in the crowd lose their fucking minds, and immediately fans begin to pour from the stands down onto the dirt floor of the arena!
Joe Hoffman: The seats literally can’t contain these fans, folks! They wanna see this one up close and personal!
Benny Newell: The FATHER AND SON are benevolent Gods, Joe. They give the people what they fucking want.
Fans are still filing in, surrounding the ring as the EPU struggles to keep them back far enough to avoid injury if the action spills outside. Teddy Palmer looks absolutely in awe— he hasn’t been in HOW long enough to know that shit gets a lot crazier than this at a HOW pay per view.
As the fans crowd in for a better look, Farthington and Palmer go to work— they begin to circle in the center of the ring, sizing each other up as they prepare to lock up.
Except that they don’t lock up.
Cecilworth Farthington quickly and aggressively kicks Teddy directly in the penis, about as hard as a man can. Teddy drops to his knees, and Farthington throws his arms in the air, screaming:
CMF: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED, POORS?
It’s perhaps the most mixed reaction to a thing in the whole history of HOW, and we spiked a baby once.
The joke is on Farthington, though, because as he’s celebrating, Teddy rolls him up into a small package!
The champion kicks out by a good margin, but it’s enough to spook him into refocusing his energies— CMF rolls up off the mat, picking Teddy up along with him. The challenger is still reeling from a nut shot, after all.
Joe Hoffman: WHOA! Teddy Palmer almost stealing an early victory there!
Benny Newell: Ugh, this match is gonna be bad for my heartburn. GET HIM, BATMAN!
Farthington drops a quick elbow onto the back of Palmer’s head, trying to keep him down to a knee as he goes for a shoulder lock. Obviously the champion wants to weaken the arm early in the match.
Teddy has been watching tapes— he knows the strategy, and he manages to reverse the shoulder lock, spinning around behind the champion and applying a hammerlock instead. Cecilworth is quick to wriggle free, but that was part of the plan! As soon as he turns around, Teddy throws a fast clothesline that drops Farthington to the canvas!
Farthington is back up in a flash, but he eats another clothesline! Once again, Cecilworth goes down, and this time he’s a little bit slower to climb up to his feet. Teddy Palmer begins laying MMA style elbow strikes to the champion, who is trying to power through them and get up off the canvas– the elbows are proving to be a huge hindrance, though, and Teddy now seems to be in control.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think that Cecilworth Farthington would underestimate an opponent, Benny, but truth be told, I really don’t think he saw Teddy Palmer coming. None of us did. This kid is an absolute talent, and it’s showing here early in this match.
Benny Newell: Tonight’s the night, Joe. I can feel it. That dickhead is gonna be waiting at the back of the line for a fucking ICON Title shot like everyone else, while Teddy Palmer walks around with the BIG RED BELT, BAYBEE!
Farthington is finally able to break the elbows and climb to his feet, but Teddy backs into the ropes– he comes hurling back at the champion, leaping into the air and hitting him with a tornado DDT! The fans at ringside are losing their fucking minds, and Farthington almost looks outclassed here tonight. He can’t get his bearings, and Teddy is a lot faster than the World Champion had anticipated– after all, the last time they faced off, Teddy spent most of the match zip-tied to a guardrail.
The HOW World Champion crawls over to the ropes, using them for leverage as he pulls himself to his feet. Teddy comes charging from behind yet again, but this time Farthington pushes a foot off the bottom rope, leaping into the air and connecting with a knee smash to the face! In the background, his BEE EFF EFF can be seen jumping up and down, screaming out something about having taught Cecilworth that move.
With Teddy down in the ring, it would appear that the champion has had about enough– he rolls out of the ring, angrily pushing through HOW fans and accosting Bryan McVay to give him the HOW World Championship from ringside. He snatches up the belt, before bringing it back to the ring with him. He slides it in under the bottom rope, following it back in as he rolls back into the ring and picks it up in his hands.
Joe Hoffman: Uh oh. It looks like we’re done playing by the rules.
Benny Newell: A disqualification doesn’t work for me, Farthington. I’m gonna need you to lose the fucking title, so put the belt away and play nice.
Teddy Palmer climbs back up to his feet, just in time to see Farthington lining up for a running shot with the belt. He comes charging in, but Teddy ducks and gives the champion a boot to the stomach! The crowd roars as Farthington drops the belt to the mat, and now Teddy fires up, driving a knee to the midsection of his opponent. He backs Farthington into the ropes, laying in the strikes, as Matt Boettcher removes the World Title from the ring and gives it back to the ring announcer.
The LBI Winner shoots the champion into the opposite ropes, but Farthington reverses! He sends Teddy running the ropes, and as he returns, CMF rails his right leg with a vicious looking penalty kick! Teddy’s leg buckles underneath him, and he goes down like he’s been shot as the crowd boos along, doing their part to let Cecilworth know that he’s a bad man and he should feel bad for it.
Joe Hoffman: A near-DQ experience there for the champion– he may have left with his title, but you have to imagine he’d regret a loss on his record, so close to a huge milestone.
Benny Newell: You know what? Changing my mind. Who gives a FUCK if he keeps the belt? I just wanna see him lose his precious little unbeaten in a year bullshit blue ribbon. Fuck yourself, you limey cunt.
Leaning over the ropes, Cecilworth yells for McVay to give him back “his fucking belt”. Bryan shrugs his shoulders, telling Farthington there’s nothing he can do– but CMF shouldn’t have had his back turned. Teddy grabs him around the waist from behind, launching the champion overhead with a sloppy but effective German suplex! The crowd lets out a roar, and Teddy holds the suplex into a pin attempt on the champion!
Joe Hoffman: He almost had him! We almost had a new champion!
Benny Newell: Almost only counts in horseshoes and putting on condoms. Get your shit together, Palmer! I’ve got a bookie on the hook for six fucking figures right now!
Farthington is able to get a shoulder up and wriggle out of a well leveraged pin, but just barely. Teddy rolls off of him, as the HOW Champion gets to his feet, looking more than a little bit annoyed. He charges at Teddy with a European uppercut, staggering Palmer backward and stopping his momentum right in its tracks.
Not letting up, Farthington catches Teddy Palmer across the mouth with an open palmed slap, which resonates through the huge expanse of the arena. An audible “OOOH!” comes from the crowd, and Teddy holds the side of his face, which is instantly red and stinging. But he doesn’t scowl at the champion– he smiles. Teddy Palmer rears back, but the swing he takes it’s an open hand, it’s a straight up punch! CMF hits the ground like a sack of meat, as Palmer’s closed fist connects just above his jaw, cracking the champion directly in the mouth! The crowd ROARS!
Joe Hoffman: WOW! What a shot from Teddy Palmer! I think he drew blood!
Benny Newell: HA! You’re a real woman now, Farting-ton, you’re getting your fucking period on live television!
Joe Hoffman: Ewww.
Benny Newell: Menstruation is beautiful, Joe. Don’t be a misogynist.
Farthington sits up, holding his mouth and eyeing the blood on his hands as he pulls them away from his face. He must have bit his tongue on impact, because as he opens his mouth wider, more blood spills out down his chin.
His eyes fill with absolute rage.
The champion pulls himself to his feet, looking eye to eye with Teddy Palmer, as both men go forehead to forehead and start jawing off, trying to get in one another’s heads. The referee tries to separate the combatants and get back to the regular action, but it’s Teddy who literally shoves the referee away, and the fans go berserk! In the time it takes Teddy to take action, though, Farthington capitalizes on the distraction– he gives Teddy a boot to the midsection, and drops Teddy to the mat with a textbook DDT!
Joe Hoffman: Flatlined! Teddy Palmer might be dreaming after that one, folks. That’s a hard shot to take this deep into a match like this.
Benny Newell: God fucking damnit, Teddy! He would have told Boettcher to fuck off! You just had to be patient, you stupid shit!
Farthington considers making the pin attempt, but this isn’t his first rodeo– he knows he’s not putting Teddy Palmer away via DDT. He throws a snarling kick to the side of Palmer’s head, which draws a warning from Boettcher, but Farthington is in a rage now. He confronts Boettcher, daring him to end one of HOW’s quarterly PPVs after the biggest tournament of the year with a disqualification– Matt doesn’t want to back down, but unfortunately, the point is solid.
The HOW World Champion turns toward the crowd, signaling to them that it’s time for Article 50. He mimics breaking an arm, to a rousing mixture of cheers and boos from the HOW fans. But as he turns around, in what can only be described as a desperation move, Teddy Palmer launches to his feet! He blindly charges forward, colliding with the champion and spearing him backward into the turnbuckle! Palmer begins flailing away with strikes! It defies all possible expectations, but somehow Teddy has found his second wind!
Joe Hoffman: Teddy Palmer is alive and kicking!
Benny Newell: He’s throwing forearms, actually. But I’ll take it. I’LL FUCKING TAKE IT!
Farthington is reeling, as Teddy drives forearms into the side of his head, beating the World Champion in the corner. He grabs the ropes, switching to throwing heavy boots, as the crowd is once again fully behind him! Teddy pulls Farthington up to the top of the turnbuckle, hooking his arm, and both men go sailing from the top rope with a superplex! They collide with the canvas as the impact rocks the arena, and now both men are laid out in the center of the ring! Teddy desperately throws an arm over Farthington, and Boettcher drops to make the count.
Farthington is just barely able to get a shoulder up, even if he’s solely running on desperation to hold on to his championship at this point. The champion rolls away after the pin attempt, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Joe Hoffman: This is a war of attrition, ladies and gentlemen. Make no mistake about it. You are seeing two of the greatest wrestlers on the planet right now, in a battle that can only end well for one man. This is the true LBI final. This is March to Glory. This is… this is FUCKING HOW, FOLKS!
Benny Newell: Congrats, you said your one fuck for the year. Good for you. WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, TEDDY? FINISH HIM THE FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING PRICK!
Both men are physically exhausted, but Teddy knows that it’s time to put this one away. He slowly climbs to his feet, seeing Farthington laying down near the corner. This might be his only shot.
He thinks about the entire LBI behind him, and the odds of getting here today. He has one shot, and a regular old curbstomp isn’t going to put Farthington away. Teddy walks to the corner and steps up onto the second rope, saying a little prayer to himself and taking a deep breath. He launches into the air, thrusting his foot down toward the head of the HOW World Champion…
Joe Hoffman: SECOND ROPE THEODORPEDO! OH MY GOD!
Benny Newell: HOLY FUCK NEW CHAMP NEW CHAMP SUCK MY DICK ARMBREAKER, NEW CHAMP!
And Farthington rolls out of the fucking way.
Palmer’s ankle twists as it hammers down onto the canvas, and even the referee winces as he howls out in pain. Farthington quickly rolls back up to his feet, looking like he’s finally caught his second wind– he looks as though he could have gotten up thirty seconds ago, but was wisely playing possum and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake.
And the mistake has been made.
Cecilworth shoves Boettcher away, as the referee tries to check on Teddy Palmer and make sure that he isn’t injured. The champion smashes an elbow into the back of Palmer’s head, staggering him forward on his weakened ankle, and follows up with a series of vicious slaps to the side of the head. The crowd is booing now, but at this point Farthington couldn’t give a fuck if a single fuck was the price of admission to the factory where the fucks are made. Teddy drops to a knee, but Farthington isn’t done– he grabs Teddy by the scruff of his hair in the back, slamming his face down into the ring. Hard.
And then he does it again.
Joe Hoffman: Jesus… somebody stop this. Someone get out there and make this stop!
Benny Newell: Fuck. FUCK. Come on Teddy… FUUUUCK!
Like a man possessed, there are shades of Rumble at the Rock as Farthington bounces Teddy’s defenseless skull against the canvas, over and over. Boettcher tries to break it up, but technically, it isn’t even illegal. Teddy ragdolls to the canvas, where finally Farthington lets go of him– the red in his eyes metaphorically fades, his expression turning cold and calculated as he knows what he has to do next.
With Teddy Palmer laid out in the middle of the ring, Cecilworth Farthington grabs a hold of his shoulder, locking in the cross-breaker on his right side.
The crowd is mostly quiet now, as Farthington cinches up on the Article 50, and in a moment, Boettcher is forced to call for the bell after Teddy is unable to answer.
It is a war of attrition indeed.
And the war is over.
DING DING DING
The match is over, but Farthington leaves the hold on for just a moment longer, trying to prove a point. It’s only once Boettcher steps in to break it up that the retaining HOW World Champion finally releases the hold.
Benny Newell: NOOOOO! FUCK! FUUUUUCK! This can’t be happening! I said I would blow FOUR FUCKING GUYS! There aren’t four guys in the fucking world who would break this motherfucker’s kneecaps for a blowjob from Big Buff? GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!
Joe Hoffman: Honestly, I can’t believe it. I should believe it– I don’t think anyone believed that Teddy Palmer would make it this far, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t give the HOW World Champion one of the most competitive matches of his career tonight. I really thought we’d see a new champion here in Rome.
Bryan McVay hands the HOW World Championship to the referee, and the title is presented to Cecilworth Farthington as he stands to his feet, thrusting it into the air to the mostly stunned silence of the HOW crowd.
From the Emperor’s Box, the official announcement comes from the Son of God himself.
Mike Best: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner by submission…. And STILL HOW WORLD MOTHERFUCKING CHAMPION…. MY BEST FUCKING FRIEND… THE MAN WHO HAS NOW NOT BEEN BEATEN IN A CALENDAR FUCKING YEAR…. CECILWORTH… EMMMM…..JAYYY…. FAAAAAARRRRTHINGTONNNNNNNN!!!
Cecilworth clutches the HOW World Championship closely to his chest, his eyes welling up with emotion as he makes perhaps the second most difficult title defense there is in HOW. Teddy Palmer is holding his shoulder on the mat, his eyes filled with disappointment. It’s been a long journey for the ultimate underdog, and he looks devastated that it has ended here tonight.
The still reigning HOW World Champion ascends the second turnbuckle, still clutching the HOW World Championship before once again thrusting it into the air. HOW March To Glory leaves the air, as the production credits show up at the bottom of the screen.
We’ll see you on the next Refueled….as we head to War Games