Arthur Pleasant vs. Bobby Dean
The show opens up with a quick pan of a raucous Best Arena, and then cuts to ringside where High Octane’s Hall of Fame announce team waits.
Joe Hoffman: Hello and welcome! Tonight, we have four action packed matches on the docket and the first of those four is set to start right now!
Benny Newell: DRINK!
The wonderfully horrific screeching of violins cut through the arena like a knife through flesh as “Danse Macabre”, the classic orchestral piece written and composed by Camille Saint-Saëns and condensed into a much more frightening version for entrance theme’s sake, plays throughout the arena.
Joe Hoffman: Say hello to Arthur Pleasant, Benny. He’s making his debut with us tonight. Though his last name might lead you to believe he is a nice guy, my notes say he’s a practitioner of hardcore, and enjoys overall suffering. He also owns an 85 DeLorean. What else do you have on him?
Benny Newell: Guy is luckier than you know who.
Joe Hoffman: Oh, and why is that?
Benny Newell: He gets Bobby Dean in his debut match. Talk about a layup.
Soon thereafter enters Arthur Pleasant, The Provocateur himself, from the Gorilla position. Standing with his arms out and a smile as sick and evil as the day is long and the fans are fickle, Arthur Pleasant sniffs the air with his eyes closed. Taking in the snarky shouts and cynicism from the internet wrestling community, Arthur begins skipping down the ramp with utter delight plastered onto his face. Behind him, several steps away, is Yuri Reznikov, his contracted Russian “heavy”.
Joe Hoffman: That’s a large Russian man with Arthur, Benny.
Benny Newell: Sure is, Magic. I wonder if he has any vodka?
Ignoring the High Octanians, Yuri follows his Boss to the ring… but does not step inside it. Arthur runs the ropes a few times, making a mockery out of colleagues who like to warm up before a match. Retreating to the corner furthest from the ramp way, Arthur hunkers down with his arms holding onto the top ropes at his sides and sitting on the middle turnbuckle. A lustful look bearing the need for violence and mayhem, Arthur grins as widely as his jaw and skin will allow him to while he waits for his opponent.
Benny Newell: Quick, somebody go to catering and tell Bobby he’s supposed to be in the ring. HA. Skinny fatty pants. HA-HA. What’s the guy in the ring’s name again?
Joe Hoffman: Arthur Pleasant.
Benny Newell: I hope Art paints the canvas with Bob’s blood. There. I said it.
Joe Hoffman: And on that note here comes the Beautiful Brush, Bobby Dean!
Instead of the show feed switching to the entrance ramp and Bobby Dean occupying it, it COOL cuts to commercial.
[INSERT CANCER JILES CACKLING FROM THE TIPPY TOP OF HIS BLACKENED LUNGS WHILE COMFORTABLY LOUNGING ATOP A PLUSH 97RED THRONE. ON HIS LAP AND SNUGLY INSIDE A BOWL OF SALTY GRAPES IS THE HIGH OCTANE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP THAT BOBBY DEAN WILL NEVER AGAIN CHALLENGE FOR. And then a flash War Games advert.]
The show quickly comes back from the brief/abrupt/impromptu/staged commercial break. Much to the dismay of the at home audience they’ve missed out on the Honaleen’s entrance. All of it. The theme music, sensual disrobing, awful posing that follows, and the recently added standing front flip and ensuing cartwheel.
Such a shame.
It was a good cartwheel.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back? Didn’t know that was coming. Poor Bob.
Benny Newell: I hate that fucking cackle.
Joe Hoffman: Both men are in the ring and I must say, Bob’s looking pretty spry out there, Benny. Despite what you said earlier, I think he’s an awful draw for a debut match. He’s been around the block a few times here in High Octane, and he’s been inside that very ring against some of the Best this sport has to offer.
Benny Newell: Cool. I think you’re an awful person, too.
Hortega runs down the rules which neither men understand because they are in Spanish, and then calls for the bell.
Bobby and Arthur instantly lock up. They jockey for position before Arthur, the taller of the two uses his leverage to push Bob back into the corner. He breaks the hold after Hortega gets in between the two of them. Then, while Pleasant is stepping away, Dean reaches over the senior referee’s shoulder and smacks his foe clean across the face.
Most times people would get riled up after such a thing happens. Not Arthur though. He smiles wide, causing Bobby to duck his top half under the top rope and reconsider his approach.
Joe Hoffman: An early look of concern from the former Tag Team and LSD Champion? Or maybe he’s just toying around with Pleasant? What do you think?
Benny Newell: If it doesn’t come out of a deep fryer Bobby Dean doesn’t toy around with it. That’s what I know.
Pleasant takes a few steps back, stands near the center of the ring, and invites Bobby to come and join him. After some boisterous ribbing, Dean throws caution to the wind, springs forward from the corner, and carefully places a thumb directly in Arthur’s left eye.
Joe Hoffman: That’s a proper thumb to the eye.
Benny Newell: High Octane One oh One. Protect your eyes. Always. At least he didn’t learn the hard way.
Arthur screeches in pain, and grabs at his eye like there’s the tip of a needle stuck in it. Bobby carefully swoops in behind him, wraps his arms around Pleasant’s waist, and delivers a release German suplex that buckles the Alaskan native.
Joe Hoffman: Bobby Dean and a wrestling move. How about that?
The Provocateur rolls around on the canvas grabbing at his neck. Bobby stalks his way over and lands a few short kicks to keep him in place, and then drops his meaty leg across the back of Arthur’s neck. He then rolls him over on his back, and covers him with a lazy pin.
Do- kick out!
Dean lands a few stiff right hands to Pleasant’s face, and then tries for another cover. This time hooking the leg.
Agitated, Bobby stammers to his feet. He methodically reaches down and pulls Pleasant upright by the ear. Then, he sends The Provocateur bouncing off the ropes and tries to clothesline him on his way back. Pleasant ducks underneath, rebounds off the opposing ropes, and catches Bobby off guard with a high velocity single leg drop kick.
Otherwise known as Provocation!
Joe Hoffman: Bobby just took one on the chin! Both men are down!
Pleasant inches his way over, and drapes his arm over Dean. Hortega drops down for a cover.
Joe Hoffman: Almost had him with one move!
Benny Newell: Dean showing some mustard.
Both men struggle getting back to their feet, but alas they do. They begin to exchange rights and lefts, going back and forth against each other. Neither wants to budge, however, Pleasant takes the momentum and continues on with a Muia Tai flurry that would give Frank Dux a ponytail.
Joe Hoffman: Bob’s in trouble!
The Beautiful Man From Honalee falls to his knees after a precise kick to his abdomen knocks the wind out of his sails.
Benny Newell: Bet he wishes he had those extra pounds now! HAHAHAHA!!! Get him Arty!
The Provocateur looks down at the gasping Dean, a wide smile covering his face. He grabs Bob by the hair and helps him to his feet. Desperate, Dean stamps down on Arthur’s foot, breaks free of his clutches, and locks in a side headlock.
Benny Newell: What is this wrestling school?
The former Bandit wrenches down, and just as the newcomer’s eyes are about to pop, he somehow manages to wrangle Bobby into a modified Fireman’s Carry.
Joe Hoffman: Precarious spot for Bobby!
Bob’s holding/wrenching onto Pleasant’s head for dear life; his eyes wide with worry.
Arthur is standing upright, his face cherry red. He does have Bob hoisted across his shoulders. Then, before his knees can buckle, he pushes Bobby up and off of his six foot three frame; slipping free of the headlock in the process. He quickly drops down to the canvas, and destroys the free falling Dean with a double knee facebuster.
Joe Hoffman: Ouch! He calls that Calamity Pain.
Benny Newell: Wonder why? Ha.
Pleasant doesn’t waste a moment, and quickly covers Dean. He hooks the leg, and Hortega slides in to count the three.
Winner in twelve minutes and sixteen seconds: The Provocateur, Arthur Pleasant.
Joe Hoffman: Looked like Arthur might have grabbed a hold of the trunks just for added measure/pleasure. Regardless of whether he needed to or not, he picked up an impressive debut win over Bobby Dean tonight.
Benny Newell: Talk about an oxymoron.
Joe Hoffman: Back to the drawing board for Dean?
Benny Newell: The world needs ditch diggers, too.
Then, “THE SWAN ( LE CYGNE ) – CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS” BY SAINT-SAENS begins playing over the sound system. Arthur Pleasant rolls out of the ring, still selling the release German Suplex from the match. He, with the help of his Russian boulderguard, makes his way back up the ramp and through the curtain while his victor’s tune fills the air as we cut away.
Three Morons and a Cup
Cut to The Best Arena corridors where beers and hotdogs and T-Shirts are being sold. Brian Bare is seen walking as fast as he can towards the extravagant Miracle Enterprise Kiosk where from one hundred feet away you can see a line of fans getting their favorite Best Alliance merch. Suddenly someone steps in front of him. He looks up to see the smug grin of Steve Harrison looking down at him.
Brian Bare: Oh…hey Steve!
Steve Harrison: Brian, if you wanted some Best Alliance merch so badly you could have just texted me.
Brian Bare: I don’t have your phone number.
Steve Harrison: Email.
Brian Bare: Again…I don’t have that either.
Steve Harrison: Good to hear it. So, Brian, why are you attempting to hurt my sales when you should be asking me about what damage I plan to do to Lindzae Troy’s neck tonight.
Brian nods back towards Steve.
Brian Bare: Of course, what are your thoughts on Troy?
Harrison puts his hand up and quizzically looks back at Brian.
Steve Harrison: You aren’t going to ask me about Bobby Deans drinking problem?
Brian Bare: Well, you just said…um…did you see Bobby’s match?
Harrison starts laughing.
Steve Harrison: Did anyone?
Brian Bare: Is that a no?
Steve looks around the corridors with fans walking everywhere. If you want to know why they are not bothering their new favorite wrestler, it is because Best Alliance Security have encircled them away from the pests.
Steve Harrison: By the looks of things nobody watched that exhibition match. I mean if you want to watch a match to see what not to do or what it looks like to wrestle under the influence of ice cream and alcohol I am sure that you were interested in that train wreck. You see Brian people would rather get a piece of clothing or ugh…corn holders then witness that bitch tit motherfucker wrestle again. What does it say about HOW where our current champion is obsessed with Bobby Dean?
Brian Bare: Lot of competition, right?
The Miracle Man sighs and balls his hands into fists.
Steve Harrison: No, Brian that is not competition that is just what pathetic cowards do. Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean deserve each other, and they deserve to be opening the card up for The Best Alliance to carry the card afterwards. I mean that is what we do anyway especially with the addition of yours truly.
Harrison smirks and literally pats himself on the back like the arrogant asshole he is.
Brian Bare: How are you fitting in with your new allies?
Steve rolls his eyes.
Steve Harrison: Don’t worry about the inner workings of The Best Alliance. Worry yourself with that trio of malcontents who spread misinformation and complain all the time.
Brian Bare: Uh…
Steve Harrison: I am talking about Three Morons and a Cup, Brian.
Brian Bare: Wait…
Steve Harrison: The Two Stooges and their Mom.
Brian Bare: Oh…
Harrison pats Brian on the back.
Steve Harrison: There you go, you get it now? Good. LT has a fascination with me that is bordering on creepy, Brian. I have let her do her thing since ICONIC, but she seems to fancy herself a bully or maybe a failed comedian because she is not would you describe as an amusing person. Her personality is as flat as that sagging ass of hers. Therefore, we see her running around with a redneck and a guy who watches himself masturbate in the mirror. They have large personalities even if they are more cringy then Darin Zion demanding an LSD title shot.
Brian Bare: Do you at all feel this group threatens The Best Alliance?
Harrison stares a hole through Brian and then rubs his head as he thinks on how to answer this question.
Steve Harrison: I take every opponent seriously, Brian. I don’t believe they have a shot at taking us down but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. If you were a betting man, I would tell you to throw your life savings on them failing. Tonight, I show that I am not all talk. Hopefully LT asked Teddy how it feels to be picked apart by me but knowing them they will just be shown doing wacky bullshit because they are so individually stupid. Put them all together and you get two high school dropouts and their new mentor who will take credit for any success they might have.
Harrison points at the camera.
Steve Harrison: You couldn’t run for long, Lindz and tonight I lay claim to being not only the future but the only one who has a shot at taking down Dan Ryan or Mike Best. 2020 ended with me being third in the standings but 2021 will end with me being number one with my foot on the throat of Cancer Jiles.
Harrison smiles and walks away being flanked by Security.
The scene shifts to the back halls of the Arena, where a slump-shouldered Bobby Dean stands in front of a closed door. His vision is locked forward as he sighs, not for the first time either. The camera focuses on the plaque next to the door as it reads…
“Here In Resides:
The SON of GOD
The Hall of Famer
The HOFC Champion
The Star Maker
The DeNucci Cup Winner
The Actual Murderer of Kaels
THE MIKE BEST!”
With one final sigh, Bobby Dean steps forward and ever so softly, knocks on the door. Once, twice, thrice. He waits, probably hoping that he won’t get a response and he can go back to the unopened bottle he left sitting in his locker. But alas, there is a muffled response, though whether it was call of admission, or whoever inside telling him to fuck off, Bobby doesn’t know. Regardless he reaches down and turns the knob, gently swinging the door open.
Mike Best is shown inside his allotted office, sitting behind the second largest desk in the history of High Octane desks, his father of course owning the first. With his feet kicked up on the desktop, and with him leaning as far back as the chair will allow, Mike simply sits there, watching with amusement in his eyes, as a reluctant Bobby Dean enters the room. He carefully closes the door behind him, giving the cameras one last look of utter defeat, before shutting the ever intrusive cameras out once and for all as we head to our first commercial break.
Darin Matthews vs. Hughie Freeman
Back from commercial and we cut back to the Hall of Fame announce team as its time for our second match of the evening.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back everyone. Already in the ring we have Darin Matthews who is waiting patiently for his opponent tonight….Best Alliance member Hughie Freeman.
Benny Newell: Let’s be honest…….Darin is lucky to even have a fucking contract in the company right now. His little tirade last week against the Best Alliance is the reason he has the match tonight and why he got the local talent entrance.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think Darin really cares at this point Benny.
Benny Newell: Oh he cares. He took his Chat Darin persona from the company discord and turned his finisher into a play off of the daily bans he gets.
Joe Hoffman: Even if that is TRUE…..the only thing that matters is the fact that Darin called out the whole Best Alliance and is willing to fight them all on his own. That’s courage folks.
Benny Newell: That is something alright……
Suddenly Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond hits the Best Arena’s PA system and the crowd stands as one as they wait to sing along to the chorus.
Joe Hoffman: And here comes the Best Alliance’s tax collector……and a man that took out the trash last week with Simon Loveless…Hughie Freeman!
Hughie emerges from the back and slowly walks down to the ring with his arms stretched out wide; touching the fingertips of the fans. Once Freeman hoists himself up on the apron (crowd side) the voice of Neil is overpowered by the fans reaction as they prepare for the chorus.
Freeman quickly enters the ring, heads for the furthest turnbuckle and climbs it. The chorus blasts with a real party atmosphere; everyone singing, with your man Hughie Freeman placing up a solid fist in acknowledgement. He jumps off the turnbuckle and loosens off and turns towards Darin and smirks as the music slowly fades out with the crowd still singing.
Back inside the ring and Matt Boettcher motions to both wrestlers and asks that they are ready…..after a nod from both….he signals for the bell and our second match of the evening is underway.
DING DING DING
The sound of the bell barely subsides before Darin charges across the ring and nails a surprised Hughie with clothesline. Hughie pops right back up and is met with another clothesline.
Again Hughie pops up and Darin hits him with a third clothesline and this time Hughie smartly rolls to the outside.
Joe Hoffman: What a start by Darin!!!
Benny Newell: He who starts fast…. flames out first…..pro wrestling 101.
Back to the action and we see Darin slide out of the ring after Hughie and begins chasing the man around the ring. Hughie slides into the ring and as Darin follows the Best Alliance member drops an elbow but there is no one home as Darin feigned going into the ring and quickly backed up as Hughie tried to take advantage.
Joe Hoffman: Smart move there by Darin…he is on it tonight!!!
NOW Darin slides into the ring and be pulls Freeman up to his feet…..irish whips him to the far ropes and proceeds to meet him in the middle of the ring with a running spinning wheel kick.
Joe Hoffman: Quick cover by Matthews…..
Benny Newell: And a quicker kickout by Freeman. Not going to pin Freeman with a couple clotheslines and kicks. This dude survived Alcatraz for fucks sake.
Back in the ring Matthews pulls Freeman up to his feet and begins working over the Best Alliance member with various suplexs as he tries to weaken the man.
Matthews goes for a belly to belly suplex but Hughie counters with a headbutt….followed by another one….which forces Matthews to release the hold. Freeman follows that up with a quick spinning backfist strike and now its Darin who is down on the canvas.
Freeman leans up against the ropes and catches his breath as he knows its fruitless to try and pin Matthews.
Joe Hoffman: Smart move here by Freeman as he has been on the defensive since the bell rang to start this match. One has to wonder if Matthews has missed his chance with that quick start now that Hughie is getting his second wind here.
Benny Newell: Duh.
Joe Hoffman: That you for that quick and in-depth analysis there Benny.
Benny just toasts Joe with his glass and continues to watch the action in the ring as we see Matthews slowly get up to his feet only to be met with a running dropkick from Freeman that sends Matthews to the far corner.
Hughie quickly gets back up to his feet and begins using Darin as a punching bag in the corner. His right hands finally drive Matthews down to the canvas and Hughie takes a few quick steps backwards and then rushes forward and nails his signature punt to the face of Matthews.
Joe Hoffman: Liquorice Laces by Freeman sends Matthews to the outside.
Freeman smiles down at Matthews who has lying face down on the arena floor. The Best Alliance member walks over to the middle of the ring ropes on the side of the ring facing Matthews and waits for the man to slowly start getting to his feet. He then turns and runs towards the far ropes, bounces off, and dives thru the middle ropes towards the outside with a beautiful looking suicide dive.
But he misses.
Freeman’s own momentum sends him crashing to the arena floor and the wind leaving his lungs can be heard throughout the arena.
Joe Hoffman: Now is the time for Matthews to regain control here after losing the momentum from his fast start!!
Boettcher gets to a six count before Matthews rolls back into the ring and Freeman is back in the right at second later.
Both men get to their feet and begin exchanging right hands.
Joe Hoffman: Not sure if this is a good idea here for Matthews, a technician, to be brawling with the Freeman.
And on cue we see Freeman duck a right hand by Matthews and explodes towards Matthews and delivers an uppercut that literally takes Matthews off his feet and to his back.
Benny Newell: FATALITY PUNCH!!!!!
Matthews is out as Freeman falls on top of the man and makes the cover.
Bryan McVay: Winner of the match via pinfall after 11 minutes and 16 seconds….HUGHIE FREEEEEMAAAANNNNNN!!!
Joe Hoffman: Matthews had a game plan and fought with some serious heart tonight but that might have been the issue. He should have tried to out wrestle the man and not brawled with the brawler. It was his ultimate downfall.
Benny Newell: Darin got knocked the fuck out. Hughie collects again on a motherfucker running their mouth about Lee and The Best Alliance. Who the fuck is next??
Joe Hoffman: Well for now we gotta cut away and from what I am hearing we are cutting to someone that might be the answer to that very question.
The action cuts backstage…
8 BIT BADASS
The scene opens backstage as Conor Fuse enters the Best Arena, purple duffle bag in hand. Fuse sports an “8-BIT BADASS” t-shirt under a half-zipped black jacket and purple Adidas track pants. With a pleasant smile on his face, The Vintage hums the original Legend of Zelda theme song as he wanders down the hallway, not a care in the world.
Joe Hoffman: Only a few weeks ago did Conor Fuse, arguably, win his biggest HOW match to date, defeating hero Jack Harmen aka High Flyer at March to Glory.
Benny Newell: Don’t care.
Conor waves to a crew member.
Conor Fuse: Hey, Thomas, that was some pretty siiick Fortnite battle yesterday! We really showed those stupid kids who the real players are, huh? So much fun!
Fuse continues down the hall while Benny Newell tries to hold back blowing a gasket. As Conor turns a corner, however, he comes to a hard stop. Since the camera has not caught up yet, the only image is Conor Fuse standing in front of two looming floor shadows. Likely, these individuals are blocking the gamer’s path.
Conor Fuse: Oh, hey there, what’s up? Did you want to get in on the Fortnite fun, too? Listen, I’m a little busy tonight, I have to figure out how to navigate Big Boss’ own upcoming Fortnite tournament… or War Games, whatever it’s called. But I’m likely free on Sunday and I could definitely do Monday. I don’t have much planned other than my Game Boy and I were going to play some, well, Game Boy together. “You can’t forget the old systems”, that’s what I say. Vintage by name but vintage by behaviour, too!
There’s a long pause as the camera finally turns the corner to reveal Lindsay Troy and Zeb Martin waiting for Conor outside his locker room. The Queen of the Ring has her arms crossed and her eyebrow raised, while the Watson Mill Kid seems like his interest is piqued at the invitation.
Lindsay Troy: I saw your tweet; that’s gonna be a hard no to Fortnite. We’re here for other reasons.
Conor nods like he’s totally on the same wavelength.
Conor Fuse: Bahaha, yeah I hear ya! Fortnite is just run amuck with dumb kids! (He turns around to shout for no reason) Get off my lawn! (And back to LT and Zeb) Okay, well, if you two want to hit up the new Snyder Cut Justice League movie, I’m game for that! Like-
Conor’s voice trails off. Clearly, he’s not on the same page.
The standoff continues… until the light above Fuse’s head clicks.
Conor Fuse: This isn’t about Fortnite.
Troy and Martin shake their heads no.
Conor Fuse: Or stupid reboot movies.
Once again, a head shake of no.
Conor Fuse: This is about business, isn’t it?
The two wrestlers in front of The Vintage don’t have to give him anymore hints. Conor’s face grows more serious.
Conor Fuse: I… like business too, you know.
Zeb Martin: I mean, mebbe after we talk shop, ya might talk me inta seein’ the new Tom’n Jerry. Not much fer comic books, man.
Lindsay Troy: Can we focus here, please? Look, Conor: Zeb, Teddy and I are in the thick of it with the Best Alliance. I know you’ve had your issues with Jatt Starr, to put it lightly, and after the war you just went through with Jack, we all get the impression that you’re looking for something – and someone – new to believe in.
Conor raises an eyebrow.
Conor Fuse: You’re right. I am looking for friends! And not just online friends, either. In fact, I’ve been tweeting at you profusely for a while, Lindsay, about everything you just talked about.
Lindsay Troy: Oh, trust me…I know.
Conor Fuse: People think I’m some virgin gaming clown in mom’s basement. Well, okay, let’s call a spade a spade here but I’d also like to think if you press my buttons a little toooo much… I can knock you TF out. Ask Scottywood. Ask Flyer.
Breaking another pause in discussion, The Watson Mill Kid extends a paw to Conor who does not hesitate to shake it. They both exchange a smile, and Martin uses his free hand to retrieve something out of the back pocket of his jeans.
Zeb Martin: Brought yew a lil’ sumptin’, Conor. Know yuh ‘preciate the classics.
He presents Fuse with a handheld LCD fishing game that appears to have seen better days. Fashioned to look like a rod and reel, he hands Conor the vintage 1997 Bass Buster.
Conor Fuse: Dude… I knew you played! And whoa! You must have paid a fortune to find one of these! Complete with vibrating action to let you know you’ve got a bite!
Zeb Martin: Nah bo. Ain’t paid nothin’ fer it, but had it ever since I’s a youngin’. Hadn’t played it in uh while but still works like new. Thought you might like tuh have it.
Conor appears touched by the gesture, but still has his reservations. He raises an eyebrow toward Zeb.
Conor Fuse: Thanks, man.
His eyes dart from side-to-side, growing skeptical
Conor Fuse: But what’s the catch?
Zeb Martin: Hopefully a six-pounder. Cain’t eat what yew land on there, though.
The Queen of the Ring looks up at the ceiling, slightly exasperated.
Lindsay Troy: (muttering) Jesus, what’s next, Duck Hunt?
Zeb Martin: Heck naw. I hate that mangy mutt.
Troy looks at Zeb, shakes her head, then casts her gaze back at the young Fuse Bro.
Lindsay Troy: What Zeb and I are getting at is: we, and Teddy, think you’d be a great fit for Grapplers Local 214. You’ve got the passion, drive and skills to be a force in HOW, and we could use that in our war against Lee and the BA. What do you think?
The Vintage thinks about this for a mere three seconds. He pops his head up with a smile.
Conor Fuse: Grapplers Loco… 360 you say?
Before Troy or Martin can correct Conor on the name, he pipes up again.
Conor Fuse: Listen, I’m in. I don’t like Jatt. Mortal Kombat Sektor is a Second Player, at best. I don’t even like that other Mortal Kombat guy with the punch… Hughie Lewis and The News? Whatever his name is; I’m not good with names. And let’s be honest, I could use some real friends around here, ones that won’t stab me in the back and are actually decent human beings. I know I can be a little much at times but if you’re in on me, I’m in on all of you. Let’s go to war.
A smile graces the Queen’s face and she places her hand on Conor’s shoulder.
Lindsay Troy: That’s what I like to hear. We’re posted up down the hall a ways and around the corner. Stop by after you get settled.
Conor Fuse: Oh boy, this co-op is gonna be fun! Sounds good, I’ll see ya in a bit!
On that note, Refueled heads into another commercial break.
Everyone has a plan...
Coming out of commercial break, the scene opens backstage with Blaire Moise filling the frame. The brunette reporter wears a professional smile, and holds her HOW microphone just below her mouth.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, joining me now, Teddy Palmer.
The scene pans out to reveal Palmer standing to her left. His hands are clasped together as he stares down at the ground. He nods at the mention of his name, biting the inside of his lip.
Blaire Moise: Refueled 56 was a huge night for you on multiple fronts. First, the High Octane faithful witnessed the formation of Grapplers Local 214, immediately drawing the ire of Lee Best.
Teddy Palmer: What doesn’t piss that guy off…
Blaire Boise: Later, you and John Sektor squared off in the evenings Main Event where you picked up a massive victory over the HOW Hall of Famer.
Teddy Palmer: Massive ain’t an oversell Blaire Bear. Let’s briefly put aside the fact that Sek is a piece of shit, hermanos is talented as fuck and a Hall of Famer for a reason. I proudly put that win up there with my LBI Finals victory over Max Kael. Now that being said, I didn’t feel like much of a winner come nights end.
Teddy phantom swings an imaginary steel chair, a call back to Jatt’s sneak attack, winking at the backstage interviewer.
Teddy Palmer: But whatcha gonna do?
Blaire Boise: Well that’s exactly it. What are you and The 214 going to do? The numbers game is heavily tilted in The Best Alliances favour, and knowing Lee, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to see them continue to multiply.
Teddy sheds the slightest smile while shrugging his shoulders.
Teddy Palmer: It is what it is. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Maybe we do, maybe we don’t. Call it a gut feeling, but something tells me there’s more than just the three of us on this roster who have issues with Lee and his Alliance.
Teddy places one hand on his chin, snapping his fingers with his other hand.
Teddy Palmer: What’s that saying again? The enemy of my enemy is my friend? I’m sure shit will work itself out. While it does, I’m choosing to press forward and focus my time and energy on Jatt Starr and the LSD Championship.
Blaire Moise: What the…
Suddenly, a large pastel blue bunny “hops” into frame carrying an Easter basket. Both Blaire and Teddy look at the costumed monstrosity in front them and exchange a confused glance. The Bunny tilts its head.
Teddy Palmer: Did you get me a BunnyGram? Blaire, you had your chance…
Teddy turns back to the bunny who is now brandishing pepper spray and fires a stinging stream into Teddy’s eyes. He stumbles backwards into the concrete wall, blinded, pained and angry.
Teddy Palmer: …the fuck…
He begins swinging wildly at the bunny with his right while his other hand wipes away at his eyes. The Bunny hops up and down gleefully, easily dodging Teddy’s rapid fire before he finally connects with the oversized mask’s chin. The Bunny drops to a knee and dick punches Teddy, who staggers back, now one hand on his eyes, the other on his nuts.
The Bunny removes his mask revealing it to be……
The gloriously moustached Sektor. Sektor immediately headbutts Palmer, opening a gash across the bridge of his nose, blood beginning to gush from his nostrils. As Sektor begins removing the costume, Jatt Starr saunters in, the LSD Championship around his waist, as if he hasn’t a care in the world, wielding a baseball bat. He immediately swings the bat like Babe Ruth in the World Series and connects with the gut of Palmer. The LSD Champion follows up with a shot to the back of Palmer, dropping him to his knees.
Sektor has finally removed the costume and the StarrSek Industries duo begin kicking the blinded, bloodied Palmer while he’s down. The Jattinum Standard hands the Gold Standard his Louisville Slugger and proceeds to pull Palmer up and locks in an inverted headlock, he nods to Sektor who brings the bat down across Teddy Palmer’s chest and as he drops Jatt Starr connects with a knee to the back of his head in a twisted tag team version of his Morning Star finisher.
The Sultan of SeaJattle and Sektor both look down at Palmer. Jatt, satisfied, walks to Blaire Moise, who has been silently watching the onslaught in disbelief.
Jatt Starr: Ask me a question.
Blaire Moise: …Why?
Jatt Starr: The short answer? To prove a point. Just because you win a match against four third rate wrestlers and eek out a victory against a legend like Sektor, does not make you LSD material.
The Sovereign of Starrgentina looks over at Teddy, laying on the ground, Sektor looming over him. The Jattlantic City Idol scoffs at the LSD Challenger.
Jatt Starr: Where’s your Union now, Teddy?
Squatting down, Sektor runs his fingers down the sides of his moustache as he begins to talk to Teddy in a low voice.
Sektor: This, is just so that you know, that the LSD title is going nowhere. Not only that, but you and I? We ain’t done. So lick your wounds, pappa. And take this message back to the union, signed and sealed..
At this point he stands back up and raises his chine, smirking as he looks down his nose at the fallen Teddy Palmer.
Sektor: ..by the Best Alliance!
The King of Grapple from the Big Apple smiles and he and Sektor walk off, brimming with pride at the carnage they left, like a painter whose vision has been successfully translated onto canvas. The image of Teddy, once confident challenger, now a barely conscious victim of StarrSek Industries as we cut back to ringside.
Brian Hollywood vs. Dan Ryan
As we come back from the backstage area, the Hall of Fame duo is ready for the next match.
Joe Hoffman: Up next ladies and gentlemen is Brian Hollywood taking on Dan Ryan.
Benny Newell: Time to call Morty the Mortician Hoffman because someone is about to be killed.
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed
blares over the PA as Brian Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage as he stands there for a few brief moments, closing his eyes.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, from Los Angeles, California and weighing in at 225 lbs, he is…. BRRRRRIAAAN! HOLLLLLLLLLLYYYYWWWWOOOOOOD!!!!!!
He reigns in the boos 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. 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.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood looking confident tonight as he heads towards the ring.
Benny Newell: Hoffman, I don’t know if you sniffed some of my white powder before coming out here, but Zion, Sr. has won one match this year so far and his career is about to be ended. He’s not confident he’s delusional.
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 glaring at the fans before he takes his place in the corner turnbuckle before turning his gaze intently in the ring as he waits for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood stretches out as he awaits…..
The lights go out and a dual-spotlight makes an encircling pattern on the entrance area as the opening riff of the song plays.
“Daddy’s Home” by JT Music
When the riff audio kicks it up a notch, Dan Ryan steps out and pauses, looking into the audience before heading down the aisle as pyro blasts behind him.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Houston, Texas and weighing in at 305lbs, he is…. DAN! RYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!
The video shows clips from his career: power bombing Bobby Dean, super kicking Andy Murray, taking MJ Flair’s head off with a clothesline, hitting Perfection with the Headliner, countering a Jack Harmen dive into a vicious power slam, smirking as he pins Doozer, standing on a balcony looking down at Andy Murray with a sinister grin on his face.
Benny Newell: There he is Hoffhole! The second best wrestler in HOW!
Joe Hoffman: Second best? How do you figure that?
Benny Newell: He’s beaten everyone expect Mike, so he’s the second best because Mike is the best, duh!
Ryan walks directly to the ring, rolls in under the bottom rope, and climbs the nearest turnbuckle, keeping his arms down and smirking into the crowd as the music plays.
Hortega signals for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here we go…..
Dan Ryan slowly makes his way from his corner, but Brian Hollywood has other ideas as he sprints out of his and connects with a running dropkick on the unsuspecting Texan.
Joe Hoffman: The force of that dropkick sent Dan back into his corner.
Hollywood springs to his feet and runs and launches himself at Dan Ryan as he hits the corner.
Joe Hoffman: Splash in the corner and Hollywood is cooking.
Benny Newell: Lee dammit!
Hollywood begins to unleash a flurry of boots to the mid-section of the former ICON champion. Each kick has the Texan sliding and sliding down the corner until he’s in a seated position and Hollywood hits the ropes and delivers a running boot to the face of Dan Ryan. Hollywood pulls Dan away from the corner and quickly hooks a leg.
Joe Hoffman: Dan Ryan showing Hollywood he has a lot left in the tank as he just pressed him off of him.
Benny Newell: Hollywood is about to realize he’s never been in the ring with anyone the caliber of a Dan Ryan.
As Dan Ryan gets to a seated position, Hollywood sends a shiver down the Texan’s spine with a sickening kick to the back.
Joe Hoffman: Did you hear that shot?
Benny Newell: No, but you’ll hear this one. DRINK!
Ryan is momentarily stunned allowing Hollywood to lock in a reverse chinlock. However, Dan uses his massive wingspan to start throwing elbows from side to side and every time he does he drills Hollywood in his ribs. Ryan increases his speed and force hitting Hollywood in rapid session causing the former world champion to relinquish the submission and double over holding his ribs.
Joe Hoffman: With the strength of Dan Ryan, Hollywood may have some cracked ribs.
Benny Newell: Ribs?!?!?!? Where?!?!?
Ryan gets to his feet and sees Hollywood still doubled over and clutching his ribs and like a shark smelling blood in the water attacks with a running punt to the side of Hollywood sending all of the air out of his lungs. Dan uses his strength to jerk the winded Hollywood to his feet and tosses him overhead. Dan gets to his feet and makes his way over to Hollywood and repeats.
Joe Hoffman: Consecutive belly to belly suplexes by Dan Ryan.
Dan picks up Hollywood, but the former tag champion shoves Dan away. Dan shakes his head as the inevitable is approaching, but Hollywood changes his destiny with as he staggers the Texan with a Superman punch.
Joe Hoffman: Superman punch stuns Dan Ryan! Is this the opening for Hollywood?
Hollywood runs at Dan, but the former ICON champion grabs him and spins him.
Benny Newell: POWERSLAM BITCH!
The ring shakes as Ryan hooks a leg.
Hollywood pops the shoulder up and Dan immediately begins to squeeze the life out of Hollywood.
Dan lets go of the choke.
Joe Hoffman: Dan flirting with a disqualification.
Benny Newell: He’s flirting whether he wants to keep Hollywood alive or dead Hoffman.
Dan starts putting the boots to the former world champion, mainly focusing on the ribs. Dan reaches down and lifts Hollywood up and drives his knee into the gut of Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: Gut buster.
Benny Newell: I’ll be getting in Synnomin’s guts tonight Hoffman.
Dan still has Hollywood and uses his super strength to lift Hollywood up again and drive his knee into the back of Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: Back breaker.
Dan just busted Hollywood’s gut and broke his back, and the Texan hasn’t released his grip. Dan gets to his feet and takes a few steps forward before tossing Hollywood behind him.
Joe Hoffman: Fallaway slam by Dan Ryan.
Dan sits up and dusts his hands before making his way back to Hollywood.
Benny Newell: Say goodbye….say goodbye to Hollywood!
Dan reaches down to pick up Hollywood, but gets driven down face first.
Joe Hoffman: PAPER CUT! PAPER CUT! HOLLYWOOD JUST GAVE DAN RYAN A PAPER CUT!
Benny Newell: THAT BASTARD!
However, Hollywood can’t capitalize on the attack as both men lay on the canvas and Hortega begins his ten count.
Both men begin to stir.
Both men are on all fours.
Both men start to pull themselves up.
The count is broken with a right hand from Hollywood.
Dan staggers a little before unleashing a right of his own.
Joe Hoffman: Dan Ryan and Brian Hollywood trading shots in the middle of the ring. Who will give first?
Hollywood rakes the eyes of the Texan and goes to whip him into the corner, but Dan uses his strength to stop the attempt before propelling Hollywood into the opposite corner chest first. Dan spins around and gets set before sprinting towards Hollywood. Hollywood leaps up and rolls down the back of Ryan as he hits the steel ring post shoulder first.
Benny Newell: FUCK!
Hollywood pulls Ryan out of the corner and tosses him to the canvas before springboarding off of the nearest middle rope and driving his head into the face of the Texan.
Joe Hoffman: Springboard headbutt by Hollywood.
Hollywood winces in pain as he holds his back momentarily before covering Dan.
Benny Newell: You can’t defeat the Terminator, Hollywood!
Hollywood goes to pick up Dan, but the Texan shoves him away and Hollywood uses the momentum to hit the ropes, but Dan, the opportunist, sees an opening and strikes….
Joe Hoffman: HAMMER OF GOD MISSES!
Benny Newell: LEE DAMMIT!
Hollywood barely escapes getting his head taken off and plants his back leg and as Dan turns Brian launches the other forward.
Joe Hoffman: DAN RYAN JUST CAUGHT THE SUPERKICK!
Benny Newell: Now that is an Executive Promise!
A sadistic smirk forms on Dan’s face as he jerks Hollywood forward to toss him high into the air so he can catch him and drive him into the canvas with an ring shaking powerbomb.
Joe Hoffman: Humility Bomb by Dan Ryan and that has to be it.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Bryan McVay: And your winner by pinfall, he is…. DAN! RYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!
Dan pushes himself off of Hollywood and demands Hortega raise his hand.
Joe Hoffman: A hard fought victory for Dan Ryan as it could have gone either way.
Benny Newell: Yawn. NEXT….
And with that we cut away…
We transition from the ring to the backstage area where none other than Arthur Pleasant is standing by. With a microphone in hand and a cheesy smirk plastered onto his face. Think a weatherman, faux-friendly type of disposition.
Joe Hoffman: Okay. Uhhh what is Arthur Pleasant doing back back there?
Benny Newell: You know about as much as I do, Joe. I’m just getting word now from the brass that Arthur has a moment to speak.
Still caked in sweat from his earlier affair with Beautiful Bobby Dean, Arthur waves into the camera lens.
Arthur Pleasant: Hello, Chicago! How are all of you deep dish eatin’, elitist douchebags doing tonight?! Enjoying the show, are we? Hm?
Initially trickling in, the booing begins to escalate rather quickly.
Arthur Pleasant: Yeah? Terrific. GREAT, even! I’m just… SO happy you all could take the time out of your busy schedules from shooting one another dead in the fucking streets and watching your start of the season Cubs or White Sox games and join us all here for some High Octane Wrestling! WOOOO!! YEAH!!!! Chicagoans are just the fucking BEST, right?!
Unsure of where Arthur is going with this after insulting the entire city, the booing continues to escalate. Laughing obnoxiously into the camera, he continues.
Arthur Pleasant: Listen, I didn’t reserve precious camera time this late in the show to dogpile on the already shitty reputation that this overrated, overly self-indulgent city has. Well, I did but… that’s not the only reason. No, no, NO! I’m here in your living rooms right now to let you in on a little secret. Can… can you keep a secret, folks?
He shushes everyone with a long “SHHHHH” into the mic.
Arthur Pleasant: I just wanted to let you know that… well, like the great Bob Dylan said? The times are a changin’. I know, I know. New guy appearing in a backstage promo after already having a match earlier in the show, spewing the same nonsensical bullshit that other new guys have been saying for millennia, is about as cliche as it can get. Right? Hahaha. Sure. Though I agree… it doesn’t mean I’m wrong, and it certainly doesn’t mean you stupid marks out there won’t take heed to my fucking words like the perennial bootlickers you are.
He chuckles, pausing as the crowd continues to grow uncomfortable in their seats listening to this jerk drone on and on from the arena’s massive High Octane Vision display.
Arthur Pleasant: Look, I can feel you wanting to punch me in the face already so I’ll give you a ”for instance”. For instance, I just spoke with the Best Family backstage and it looks like I’m going to be inducted into the HOW Hall of Fame! Go me! Because… well, let’s be honest here. When the bar is set so low that a guy wearing a golf shirt who could be mistaken for a referee is in the Hall of Fame, a guy as talented as me, who inspires change across the board, doesn’t have to do a whole fucking lot to get in.
Benny Newell: Oh dear God.
Joe Hoffman: Hall.. of Fame? Did someone slip this guy some peyote in his breakfast croissant?
Arthur Pleasant: To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even really have to wrestle to get in. Simply uploading a promotional video to the HOW servers was about the only prerequisite needed. Imagine that! But since I DID wrestle, and I even WON… or did I?! To be honest, it’s all a fog at this point. Regardless, it turns out that, for going above and beyond the call of duty… I’M GETTING MY OWN WING!!
At this point, as the HOW faithful look up at the HOV screen, they begin chanting something in unison.
“PLEASE SHUT UP!”
“PLEASE SHUT UP!”
“PLEASE SHUT UP!”
“PLEASE SHUT UP!”
Arthur holds the mic into the air from his backstage “pocket”, clearly proud of getting under the audience’s skin so easily. Waiting until the mouth breathing fat asses get winded enough to give room for an interjection, Arthur speaks again.
Arthur Pleasant: Wow, you fucking pigeon farts get winded FAST! I guess that’s why they call this the WINDY CITY, amiright?! Are-Oh-Eff-Ell-Copter! Anyway. So, change and shit. I just gave you all a for instance, so now please allow me to drop a bombshell on all of you: I am not alone in this “crusade” of mine. Far from it, in fact!
Benny Newell: Huh? Is he saying what I think he’s saying?
Joe Hoffman: Wait. There are… OTHERS?!
The Provocateur grins in the direction of the announcers. Almost as if he is telepathically in tune with Benny and Joe’s thoughts, he continues.
Arthur Pleasant: You see… we look around here and can’t help but notice a great rot eating away at the prestige that this once great promotion held near and dear to its heart. And, like a great and powerful malignancy inevitably does, it has spread to its roster.
He shakes his head, sucks his teeth, and paces back and forth in front of the camera.
Arthur Pleasant: So that’s where we come in, fucksticks and fucklicks. We are here… to carve the rot from the infected flesh of this once great landscape. So set aside all your hopes and dreams that your heroes and villains will save you from having to endure the pathetic, auto-piloted motions of HOW. We are here as… guardians of REAL entertainment!
Joe Hoffman: Well at least he didn’t say “Of The Galaxy”.
The fans grow restless as Arthur just continues to spew his propaganda like an enlightened prophet with an army in his back pocket.
Arthur Pleasant: Sure, there will be those who resist. There will be those who scoff at the notion of anyone coming into HOW and making a difference in the overall landscape. Right off the bat, no less. There will absolutely be those who are sick and tired of other groups of dead heat and roll their eyes at the prospect of little ole me coming in and creating change. To these people… I say thank you! Because without you? Without your doubts? Without your mockery? Pssshhht. The blade that cuts the skin of HOW would be oh… so… dull.
Joe Hoffman: I… I don’t know what to think of this right now.
Benny Newell: Me either. Part of me is expecting Lee to cut his mic off. No way would he sign off on something like this!
Joe Hoffman: Then again, maybe he did and you’re letting your own allegiances blur your vision.
Benny Newell: I doubt that, thank you very much.
Arthur takes a few steps forward. His head is suddenly monstrous as the HOV screen relays his close-up to all of the Chicagoans.
Arthur Pleasant: We… are the goRe that you so desperately need. We… are the goRe that cleanses the rot. We… are the goRe that will finally quench your thirst for unyielding violence and human butchery.
And it will be at the expense of anyone, and everyone, who dares to stand in our path.
Arthur smiles wide, much to the chagrin of everyone watching and witnessing his fucked up teeth.
Arthur Pleasant: Consider us the fucking Octane Booster you just couldn’t find at AutoZone.
Arthur drops the microphone and breathes long and deeply into the camera lens so that a great fog takes up the entirety of it. With the tip of his finger, he draws a circle. Then two X’s for eyes. And finally, a smile.
Joe Hoffman: Okay. Is this guy nuts or legit?
Benny Newell: I think he’s batshit, personally. But I mean, who knows? I will have to talk to my sources and find out.
Joe Hoffman: By “sources” I’m assuming you mean Lee Best?
Benny Newell: No comment!
The action cuts away as Joe can only shake his head for the billionth time at his announcing partner.
The Ultimate Gamer of the Universe
The HOTv crackles to life as the lights in the Best Arena die out. The cheerful tone of retro synthetic music begins to crank out as the screen flickers between the three primary colors before settling into the HOW logo though it looks to have been reimagined as though it were the 80ies; chrome silver words stood within #97red flames while two scantily clad women in hot pink jazzercise tights are splayed out on either side.
The scene fades into darkness again as the sound of a wild cat roaring is paired with the sound of a cracking whip.
“..They said it wasn’t possible..”
The image of a large kitchen table is seen covered in various different games, from BattleShip to Settlers of Catan to Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill to Candyland. Several chairs are pulled away from the table welcoming those to sit.
“..They said even if it was possible, it wasn’t probably..”
We are next treated to the scene of a large entertainment cabinet complete with three separate screens and every console that has ever been made including a few Asian knock off variants. Video games from across time are seen tucked into the nooks of the entertainment cabinet while stacks of soda and snacks surround the temple to electronic entertainment.
“..and even if it was probably, nobody had the strength to do it..”
The image goes static for a moment before crumbling away to darkness. There is the buzzing crackle of electricity before light pours down from above illuminating a closet full of different costumes and LARP gear. Live Action Role Playing books are stacked on a nearby chair while foam maces, swords and spears are stacked on a weapons rack.
“..but you’re not High Octane unless you’re willing to take on the ultimate challenges..”
Darkness washed over the screen once again as the synth music began to pick up the pace. Matching the increasing baseline light begins to flash over a figure, only brief flashes illuminating their appearance before we get a hard zoom in on a pair of brown eyes set below a furrowed brow.
“..My name is Sulter Reynolds-Kael.. And I Have Become..”
Smash zoom out as we see that Sutler is wearing an all white karate Gi with a #97red headband and matching belt. A wolf begins to howl as Sutler’s lips part into an arrogant smirk.
“..The Ultimate Gamer of the Universe..”
The screen fills with fire once again before the chrome HOW logo appears once again. In the background the sound of Sutler Reynolds-Kael laughing, but in a very manly, over the top way, can be heard. The HOW logo vanishes as #ConorFuseSucks flashes up on the HOTv as we head to a commercial break.
We’re back from commercial and we’re immediately taken back to the locker room where Brian Hollywood can be seen sitting…alone. There is no one else around and instead of Hollywood looking defeated and upset like he usually does, he looks…..surprisingly content. Hollywood slowly looks up as he shakes off his loss to Dan Ryan not long ago.
Brian Hollywood: I get it….I really do. You know, I know what you’re going to say…but I’m not going to let you relish in your preconceived thoughts…not tonight.
Hollywood nods his head and you can still tell it’s hard for Hollywood to swallow as he just lets it all out.
Brian Hollywood: I lost tonight. There’s no denying that. The better man won tonight. That’s probably no spoiler to the rest of you hypocrites…but I hold no shame to that loss. I had a formula and I was on the right track with that formula. However, it’s just missing something.
Hollywood pauses for a brief moment as he strokes his grizzly beard. It doesn’t stop him from thinking about the future, though.
Brian Hollywood: You know I’m just tired…I’m tired of the whole trying to figure it all out thing. What I mean about that is I’m just tired of the whole losing and restarting thing. I’m absolutely fucking DONE with that bullshit! It’s gotten me fucking NOWHERE! So instead of looking back, I’m going to look forward…but I also recognize that I need to change just one thing. In this business it’s all about figuring it all out. Sometimes it takes an extra loss to do just that…but if you can apply that and change your outlook, even slightly, it’s PROGRESS! So that’s what I’m going to do.
Hollywood slides his hand through his hair as he brushes it back behind his ears. It still looks like there’s something that’s eating away at him. However, he knows what he has to do.
Brian Hollywood: I’m alone in this business. I stand alone right now and I’m completely fine with that. I’ve been fine on my own. However, I also know that my formula the first time in getting to the top required…a lot of shuffling and I recognize that I’m at the bottom right now. I absolutely fucking HATE to admit that about myself….but let’s call it as it is…that’s exactly where the fuck I’m at right now and it’s about high time I change the fucking game around here! No gimmicks, no nonsense….just absolute fucking truth!
Hollywood pauses one more time. This time he takes a few more moments pondering what’s on his mind as he realizes that he has to do some shuffling in order to get his way back to the top.
Brian Hollywood: It’s a long way back to the top. I realize that. I also realize that there’s no one better at the long game around here than me. Those around here that weren’t around here the first time may not know how I accomplished that…but that’s the beauty of it all. I’ll be fucking damned if I don’t do SOMETHING to improve my odds around here! I’m quite aware of the warfare going on in HOW right now. I’m also aware that certain sides must take place. It’s either Best Alliance or against them. No one is debating that. You know…either side could benefit from my knowledge of burning out the psychological side of things. There’s no one more methodical than me when it comes to that so instead of sitting here and boasting about it for a fucking half hour I’ll just leave it at this…
The camera zooms into Hollywood as it looks like he’s about to get himself involved in the warfare straight out. Hollywood sighs instead, though. It appears he knows something the rest of HOW doesn’t know. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before opening his eyes which is followed by a methodical smile.
Brian Hollywood: I’ll play ball. I told you all that I’m fucking DONE sitting on the sidelines and if there’s a side to take in all of this I’ll tell you what side I’m going to choose…
Hollywood cracks his head from side to side apparently already evaluating things in his head, he realizes he has a long ladder to climb…but that has never stopped him from accepting such a challenge. It’s in this moment that we get that all too familiar look from him when he’s up to something. The wheels are already rolling as Hollywood stares coldly into the camera as we get an extreme close up of him.
Brian Hollywood: Heh…what you thought it was going to be that easy did you? I’ve already chosen my side….and I’m going to tell you why you should never and will never forget my name! All you have to do, though, is just…..ask!
Hollywood smiles methodically and just points to his head however his smile slowly dissipates as he filled with preconceived thoughts before he stands up and leaves the locker room area alone like always and ever so cryptic as Refueled heads back to Joe and Benny.
Lindsay Troy vs. Steve Harrison
Joe Hoffman: We’ll we’re ready for the main event tonight and it’s going to be quite the collision between Lindsay Troy and Steve Harrison here tonight Benny.
Benny Newell: Cut the crap Hoffy…the only thing that’s going to happen here is the Best Alliance is going to show that they are the be all end all of HOW.
Joe Hoffman: Lindsay has made it her mission to dismantle the Best Alliance.
Benny Newell: Bo hoo. Cry me a fucking river of cunt tears, Lindsay is signing her death warrant, that’s all that is. It’s actually quite ironic really…she goes from the Group of Death to asking for it.
Joe Hoffman: I guess we’ll see won’t we, Benny?
The ominous, opening chords to “Put ‘Em in the Grave” by Jedi Mind Tricks blasts through the speakers as a raucous ovation from the High Octane Faithful heralds the Queen of the Ring to the stage. Once the first verse kicks in, Lindsay Troy strolls out amidst a shower of pyro and cannon blasts, but doesn’t pause to preen or rile up the crowd. Instead, she marches down the ramp to the ring, blowing right by the camera in the aisle, looking focused. Spotlights follow her path as she makes her way up the steps, foregoing her usual jump to the apron and flip into the ring.
Bryan McVay: And making her way to the ring…weighing 195 pounds…from Tampa, Florida, she is LIIIINDSAY TROOOOOOOOOOOOOY!!
She slips between the ropes, and saunters over to a corner to scale the turnbuckles and pose a bit before the match begins.
Joe Hoffman: She looks pretty ready for a fight to me, Benny.
Benny Newell: Just wait..I’m sure we’ll see she’ll need help before the end from the gaping grappling 204 life support club before this match ends.
“Take the Money and Run,” By The Steve Miller Man starts to play and the curtain flies open. Steve Harrison walks out with his arms in the air, a smirk across his face. He begins walking towards the rings and begins waving at that crowd who return his waves with boos and indifference. The smirk begins to fade after hearing the response so the Miracle Man begins jawing back at some of the audience and pointing to himself yelling over and over “ME, ME, ME!.”
Bryan McVay: And her opponent, from Fairfax, Virginia..he weighs in at 245 pounds he is…..STEVE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARISON!!
Steve walks faster to the ring his smirk now a scowl, he enters the rings and leans against one of the turnbuckles and begins talking to himself, his face becoming red in anger.
Joe Hoffman: Steve has a lot to say about the Best Alliance and how they are the be all end all of this company…I guess we’ll see if he’s up to proving that task true.
Benny Newell: Come on hoffhole, you can’t deny what Steve preaches! He embodies everything that the Best Alliance should be! Steve is gonna use that miracle of his and hopefully will shut that cunt bitch Lindsay up for good! DRINK!
Lindsay stares a hole straight into Steven, but it’s clear that he’s completely unphased by it. Boettcher looks at both of them before signaling the bell.
Lindsay doesn’t wait for the ending of the second bell before she launches herself towards Steve. She strikes Steve with a drop kick that sends him lunging into the corner turnbuckle as Steve’s back hits hard, he grabs it momentarily allowing Lindsay to hop on the top rope quickly. Steve turns around and is able to dive off with the All hail the Queen as she hits a hurricanrona on Steve and goes for a pinfall straight up.
Benny Newell: Kickout bitch! You can’t honestly expect that to end Steve that easily, come on!
Joe Hoffman: Perhaps not, but that was quick thinking from Lindsay there.
Lindsay sends some stiff punches into the face of Harrison, obviously fueled by her spite of everything Harrison stands for. Steve punts her off him, though, as he’s able to get to his feet. Lindsay doesn’t let up her offensive flurry, though, as she continues her fast paced assault on Harrison by charging him again. She rushes straight towards Harrison, but he grabs her and hits a belly to belly suplex, but catches a little stiff strike to the face for his troubles. Steve gets back to his feet and spits down towards the mat in defiance of Troy.
Joe Hoffman: Well obviously Harrison didn’t take too kindly to Lindsay’s offensive continuations there, Benny.
Benny Newell: Of course he didn’t! Harrison didn’t come here tonight to play games with Troy…he came he to make a fucking point! Lindsay wanted to make this personal..and she’s going to pay for her transgressions!
Harrison turns around as Lindsay gets back to her feet and powers straight at her with a clothesline back to the mat. Harrison follows this up a couple more times as Lindsay just keeps coming at him. Harrison finally pulls the hair of Troy and slams her into the mat. Harrison mounts her before pounding her with repeated forearm strikes to the temple of Lindsay enough to get Boettcher involved in breaking up the assault.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison almost got himself DQ’d there.
Benny Newell: Harrison doesn’t care. You think a DQ finish is going to taint his domination here in HOW? Lindsay wanted to make this thing personal with the Best Alliance and that’s exactly what the cunt fucker is getting here tonight!
Harrison paces back and forth before he goes back to work on Troy. He grabs her by the hair again as he drags her back to her feet..but this doesn’t sit well with Lindsay as she starts fighting back with a few knife chops to the chest of Steve. Steve loosens his hold as Lindsay breaks free of Harrison’s hold, finally. She ricochets off the ropes and comes back at Steve, but Steve meets her with a chop of his own followed by a side suplex into the mat. Steve goes for the cover.
Joe Hoffman: Lindsay continues to show her own prowess in this match and she’s not going to give up!
Benny Newell: Fine by me! That just means more of a punishment from the miracle man himself!
Steve grabs Lindsay and throws her into the turnbuckle. He’s able to get a couple stiff shots on her but by the third one, she moves out of the way and continues with strikes of her own. She’s able to get a few stiff shots to the face before grabbing him and delivering a front lock DDT straight into the mat. Troy follows it up with a front flip leg drop straight into Steve before going for a cover.
Joe Hoffman: Lindsay out trying to prove that the Alliance can be taken out one person at a time, but Steve is proving to be tough to keep down.
Benny Newell: Steve is a marvelous man! Perhaps I just need to add a bit of his miracle milk to my jack and I’d be feeling like a million fucking bucks!
Lindsay is beside herself as Harrison just keeps powering out. She shakes her head as she heads to the top rope. She taunts Harrison from the top rope as Harrison gets back to his feet. He turns around before Lindsay dives off but Harrison drop kicks her in mid air which causes her to roll out of the ring. Harrison takes a few moments to catch his breath before he surveys and realizes that Lindsay isn’t even in the ring anymore. Harrison rolls out of the ring as Lindsay is crawling to the steel ring steps. He grabs her but she releases a stiff shot to the side of his head and she grabs Harrison and bashes him head first into the steel ring steps. Harrison is dazed at this point, but Lindsay grabs him and launches him into the barricade back first.
Benny Newell: This bitch is starting to piss me off!
Joe Hoffman: You can’t just dismiss the Queen of the Ring like that Benny. When Lindsay puts her mind to it, there’s no taking no for an answer. Steve Harrison is in real trouble here!
Lindsay grabs Harrison again and launches him back first into the steel ring steps. Harrison grabs his back and holds onto it, but Lindsay doesn’t give him a chance to think about it before rolling him back into the ring. Lindsay hops to the top rope and again taunts Steve Harrison as Harrison turns around and Lindsay dives off and hits a knee straight to the face of Harrison. She goes to cover Harrison again.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison just gets the shoulder up!
Benny Newell: Harrison’s still got a lot of fight left in him!
Lindsay rolls off of Harrison and starts screaming at him. She backs up towards the corner turnbuckle as it appears she’s going to go for the Queen’s Gambit. Harrison is slow to get back to his feet, however, but he is able to do just that. Harrison slowly turns around and Lindsay already is flying towards him. He grabs her mid-flight, though, and sends her head first into the corner turnbuckle. The impact dazes her a bit and Harrison takes his shot out of desperation and hits the Enlightenment straight to the back of her neck as Lindsay falls to the mat. Harrison stumbles down and goes for the cover.
Benny Newell: YES!!! That’s what you call a TRUE fucking gambit right there!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, in ten minutes and eleven seconds…..STEVE HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARISON!
Steve quickly rolls out of the ring and holds the back of his head but taunts the Queen as she still is trying to figure out what happened so quickly.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think Lindsay was quite prepared for that one.
Benny Newell: Of course she wasn’t! That’s the Best Alliance showing that they can win in out of nowhere at any moments chance! Lee Best doesn’t bank on taking chances on people like Lindsay Troy! That’s why the Best Alliance continues to roll towards War Games with little resistance!
Lindsay stares a hole in Steve as he pulls off the quick victory but is smart to pull back when he needs to. Lindsay, despite her getting dazed by just a few seconds, shouts towards Steve..indicating that this isn’t over.
Joe Hoffman: You’ve got to give it to Lindsay though, Benny, a loss here isn’t going to deter her from continuing her quest to destroy the Best Alliance and I think it’s only going to culminate to a bigger showdown come War Games!
Benny Newell: Oh please hoffhole, the Best Alliance are never in any danger! What’s left of the roster to challenge them? Is this seriously the best the resistance has in Lindsay Troy?! I’m feeling pretty good if that’s a yes, hoffy.
Suddenly there is a commotion and a wave of boos as the imposing figure of Clay Byrd hits the ring and makes a beeline for Lindsay Troy. The Queen of the Ring is dropped to the canvas by a stiff kick and he and Harrison continue the assault that they started the week before.
The Miracle Man yanks the Lady of the Hour off the mat and yells at Clay to take her head off. The big man from Plainview bounds off the ropes, looking to waylay Troy with the Texas Lariat…
…but he’s stopped in his tracks by a vicious chairshot across the back by Zeb Martin!
Joe Hoffman: Zeb Martin! Zeb Martin with a homerun swing!
Benny Newell: What the fuck, where did that little shitstain come from?!
Byrd yells out as he arches his back in pain, and Zeb follows that up with another chairshot! And another! Harrison tosses Troy to the mat just as Clay hits the deck, and bum-rushes the Watson Mill Kid. The two trade punches, with Zeb getting the upper hand, but that’s short-lived as Steve Solex books it down the ramp and helps Harrison get the 2 on 1 advantage.
Benny Newell: YES! YES! HOW’S GREATEST MILITARY HERO IS HERE, PRAISE LEE!
Joe Hoffman: The Steves are doing a number on Zeb Martin but, oh, watch out!
Lindsay Troy recovers, grabs the chair that Zeb discarded, and introduces it to Steve Harrison!
Then finds her mark on the #1 Dad-Soldier!
Benny Newell: This is assault! This is a crime against America! Lock her up!
Joe Hoffman: Ugh, and here comes the rest of the hit squad…
The Tag Team Champions and the Taxman, Hughie Freeman, storm the ring just as Byrd recovers and spears Lindsay to the mat. He hammers her with hard right hands while Jatt Starr kicks her in the ribs, and Hughie and Sektor go to work on Zeb Martin. Both members of Grapplers Local 214 try to fend off their attackers, but the numbers aren’t in their favor, until….
Joe Hoffman: Here comes Teddy Palmer!
Benny Newell: No, I thought he was dead!
Joe Hoffman: And Conor Fuse!
Benny Newell: No, I wish he was dead!
Joe Hoffman: And they’re wielding some hardware!
Benny Newell: No no no, somebody fucking stop this, get the EPU out here now!!!
The HOW fans roar in delight as Palmer, with ribs and torso bandages from the Starrsek attack earlier in the night, and the newest member of Grapplers Local 214, Conor Fuse, slide under the bottom rope and get right to work!
Teddy with a chairshot to Sektor!
Conor with a chairshot to Hughie, then one to Jatt!
Double chairshot to Clay Byrd!
Joe Hoffman: Grapplers Local 214 is turning the tide! Listen to these fans!
Benny Newell: Not for long, Hoffhole!
A recovered Steve Solex clubs Conor Fuse between the shoulderblades and tosses him out of the ring, then motions for Harrison to follow him. They drop to the mats and start stalking Fuse, but don’t account for Zeb Martin getting his bearings and heading them off at the pass.
Joe Hoffman: Flying shoulder tackle through the ropes by Martin!
Benny Newell: That fucker’s supposed to fish, not fly!
Zeb takes Solex and Conor takes Harrison and it’s a brawl around the ring! Back inside the ropes, Hughie’s got Teddy reeling, and looks to be setting him up for a spinning back-fist, but Lindsay Troy snaps off a hard Muay-Thai kick to the Pikey’s ribs and drops him with a roaring elbow! Sektor steps up to the plate and levels Troy with a forearm that puts the Queen back a couple paces, but she shakes the cobwebs out and rebounds with a forearm shot of her own to the Hall of Famer!
Joe Hoffman: Troy and Sektor! Jatt and Palmer!
Benny Newell: And here comes Clay Byrd!
The Texan kicks Palmer in the ribs and sends him down to a knee. Zeb Martin and Steve Solex have started brawling up the ramp, Solex having to duck full beer cups being hurled at him, while Conor is shown leaping off the ring steps and double-stomping onto the chest of a downed Miracle Man!
Troy throws a knee into Sektor’s breadbasket, hooks his arms, and DDTs him onto a chair! As quick as she can, she then darts over to help out Teddy with Jatt and Clay, and starts throwing hands with Byrd.
Joe Hoffman: Folks we’re about out of time!
Benny Newell: Like hell we are!
LT dropkicks Byrd out of the ring. The Texan lands on his feet and stumbles into the barricade.
Joe Hoffman: We’ll see you next time, from the road!
Benny Newell: No, stay on this, Jatt’s about to make a comeback!
Teddy had been teeing off on Jatt in the corner with stiff punches, but the Jattagonian Giant thumbs the LSD #1 contender in the eye and gets himself out of the jam.
Joe Hoffman: Until next week…goodnight everybody!
Refueled ends with an overhead shot of all the action between the two factions….. Lindsay Troy corkscrew plancha-ing onto Clay Byrd….. the LSD Champion Jatt Starr going blow for blow with the number one contender Teddy Palmer…..and the rest literally trying to destroy each other as we fade to black and the HOTv logo.
**Hours after the show**
“Look you saw what just happened to end the show tonight…..I need you to make up your mind and choose a fucking side. You belong……no…..you DESERVE to finally take what is…”
Lee stops talking as we hear an audible sigh from the person sitting across from him.
Lee Best: What? Am I boring you? Get the fuck outta here then….
The person sitting across from Lee does not move. Instead he leans in but not far enough for us to see his face.
We hear the car door open and the man exits into the Chicago night.
Lee Best: Did that motherfucker just use my own shit against me??
Lee smiles from ear to ear as he leans back in his seat……confident that all is going according to plan.
Lee Best: Redrum…..Take me to O’Hare. I want to get to Saint Louis ahead of schedule. NOTHING can go wrong next week. NOTHING.
With that the engine of the limo turns on and we fade to black as Refueled officially comes to an end and the road to War Games officially begins next week live in Saint Louis.