The HOTv logo flashes over the HOV, bringing us live to The Best Arena in Chicago Illinois for Refueled 52.
We see an overhead shot of the arena and we notice that there has been a change to the layout for tonight’s action as we see the octagon for the four DeNucci Cup HOFC matches has been moved to the left side of the entrance ramp (if you were looking down the ramp towards the ring) and all the seats in that lower section have been taken away.
As was the cast last week, the octagon for the DeNucci Cup has been moved off to the left of the entrance ramp, with all the seats removed from this area. As the show begins, we head to the announce booth to meet up with Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to Refueled!! It’s time for the Final 8 of the DeNucci Cup, as we enter the quarter finals of what has so far been an exciting and unpredictable tournament!
Benny Newell: Please, Joe. Tonight is just about watching hicks take L’s. Johnny Dorn is gonna murder Dan “My Daughter, My Daughter” Ryan. Mike Best is gonna knee TEXAN HOSS SUPREME to actual murder death. And John Sektor is gonna slap the dropped consonants off of Zeb Martin!
Joe Hoffman: Well, the evening may not be that cut and dry, Benny, but tonight’s main event will certainly be interesting. If Zeb Martin is able to defeat Hall of Famer and Best Alliance member John Sektor in singles action, he will earn a shot at the HOW Tag Team Championships with a partner of his choosing! We’re getting ready to head to the octagon for our first match of the evening, though, as a tournament favorite Dan Ryan steps into the cage with newcomer Johnny Dorn, who has thus far impressed throughout the DeNucci Cup. It all ends for one man here tonight, and we’re heading… there… NOW!
With Dan Ryan and Johnny Dorn already entering the cage during the intro to tonight’s show, this one is ready to get underway.
Joe Hoffman: The winner of this HOFC bout will advance to take on the winner of Teddy Palmer and Steve Harrison in the semi-finals of the DeNucci cup, folks. This is high stakes competition, and it’s only gonna get more difficult with each passing week.
Benny Newell: I really don’t wanna watch Dan Ryan get slapped around by Mike Best again, Joe. I’m bored. LET’S GO J-DORNS!
Inside the cage, Johnny Dorn circles the behemoth Dan Ryan, sizing him up as the bell rings. He charges in for a tie-up, but Ryan shoves Dorn backward into the cage with relative ease, getting an OOOOH! from the crowd. Ryan charges the cage, methodically working elbows into the side of Dorn’s head and trying to clean this one up in the first round. Dorn absorbs the blows surprisingly well, however, and managed to hold his own well into the later seconds of a round that is mostly about surviving the offense. A flash superkick from Dorn takes Ryan off his feet as an armbar looks to be on the agenda, but the ringing of the bell ends the round at a close edge to Murder Daddy.
Between rounds, we see Dorn having a cut checked out in the corner, a little blood trickle from the eyebrow.
Round two begins with a shuddering right hand from Dan Ryan, but Dorn recoils and desperation gouges Dan’s eyes, rendering him unable to see. A fast double arm DDT allows Dorn to take this fight to the ground, trying to keep the big man on the canvas and away from the dangerous sides of the cage. A series of ground strikes and leverage holds give Johnny some time to recover, while Dan has to expend the energy to try and get up– it isn’t exciting, but it’s effective! Dorn finally tries for the armbar that he didn’t have time for in round one, and manages to lock it in! The crowd is torn on whether or not they want to see Dan Ryan tap out, but Dan literally begins dragging himself toward the cage to try and get some leverage. He drags Dorn’s body with him across the canvas, but Dorn clinches the hold down with just seconds to go– Dan Ryan either has to tap out or lose his fucking arm! The crowd is on their feet….
But the round is over.
Dan Ryan is nursing a damaged arm between rounds, but he’s looking beyond furious at the prospect of going the distance with Dorn.
Fresh into round three, and the crowd is now firmly behind Johnny Dorn, who is stealing the show. Both competitors charge in off the bell, but unfortunately Dan Ryan is ready for it with a running rolling elbow– THE HAMMER OF GOD! Johnny Dorn is on his back in a flash, and the referee checks for the knockout. Ten seconds later, this one is over.
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, via KNOCKOUT in the third round… DAN… RYYYYYAAAAANNNNN!
Joe Hoffman: WOW! What a strong showing for Johnny Dorn, who nearly had Dan Ryan dead to rights twice in this opening match.
Benny Newell: Fuck me, Joe. Someone needs to beat this Texas fuckhead before we get an ICONIC rematch.
Joe Hoffman: Well, our next match-up will determine who takes Dan Ryan on in the semi-finals, Benny. Maybe you’ll get your wish!
We go to the backstage area of the Best Arena and standing by is none other than Blaire Moise. Blaire’s got her microphone in hand as she aims it towards the mouth of none other than Simon Loveless. Simon’s still rocking that poor dyed blonde hair, but now he’s got one the sides shaved and allows for the rest to fall towards the other side of his head. Combined with his newly minted scruffy brown haired beard he’s allowed to spread across his face, he might be homeless. On top of that he’s wearing sunglasses indoors. Standing next to him is his manager, Missy Monet, who’s spilling out of the top of her dress… but that’s the point, right.
BLAIRE: “I’m standing here with Si–”
And that’s all that she’s going to get out before Simon yanks the microphone right out of her hand and Missy shoes her away out of the picture. As Blaire walks away from it all Simon hands the microphone over to Missy and has her hold it. Missy, ever the multitasker, holds the microphone in one hand limply while she is still able to check her phone. Simon remains yelling down the hallway where Blaire walked away to.
LOVELESS: “Exactly. You’re not standing by with me anymore! Nobody in this company is allowed to stand near me ever again. Spread the word Blaire, spread the word to everyone you come across with that even though I was eliminated from the DeNucci Cup they’re not going to get rid of me this time.
Speaking of which.”
A couple of deep breaths right into the microphone by Loveless.
LOVELESS: “My loss? My loss in the DeNucci Cup is visual evidence I needed to prove to the entire world that there has been a conspiracy against me since the day I signed my contract. Visual evidence, and you all saw it live on television. Round one? I dominated. Dominated Xander Azula. Then the referee allowed him to chop block me from behind when the second round was over.
That’s a DQ.
I won right then and there. But, from the lips of Joe Hoffman, the voice of HOW itself, he says that Lee Best does not want any DQs in twenty-twenty-one. Convenient.”
A couple more deep breaths, this time the heat from those breaths must have caught the hand of Missy as she looks up from her phone and gives Simon a ‘that was gross’ look. She hands him the microphone fully, which Simon actually prefers.
LOVELESS: “Convenient that Lee wants that when I’m the one in the match getting clipped after the bell. I’m sure the blind old bastard smiled when he heard about it on the broadcast. I know a conspiracy when I see one, and this is a conspiracy of the highest order. I don’t know if it’s an eternal order or some bullshit like that.
And how do you deal with a conspiracy? Well, that’s simple. You hunt down every single member of that conspiracy and you eliminate them. And those that deny they’re a part of it? Just twist their arms hard enough and they’ll break… and maybe they’ll admit to it afterwards.
From this moment on, I trust nobody. Get your popcorn ready, because a purge is coming.”
Simon drops the microphone and storms off leaving Missy standing there, she doesn’t seem to be paying too much attention. Slowly, her eyes peel themselves up from the phone in front of her and look up finally noticing that Simon has gone. She backs away slowly chewing her gum with each step. We fade to black.
The feed cuts to plain clothes wearing, still bumps and bruises showing, Bobby Dean. He is somewhere backstage sitting atop a steel folding chair with a sullen look covering his face. No one else is around, just him, his thoughts, and his ambition.
Then, a man dressed in a navy colored uniform with a purple stripe approaches. He’s holding a shoesized box that has the word “Fragile” stamped all over it.
Bobby Dean: Sorry man but you missed him by a week.
“Are you Bobby Dean?”
Bobby Dean: That depends.
The uniformed man hands Bob the box and scurries off into the night.
Bobby Dean: OH LOOK. It’s from Jiles. GEE. I wonder. What could possibly be in here? Maybe it’s a cadbury egg? Imitation of course. Maybe it’s Doozer’s bleeding heart? Better yet, maybe it is CBD’s once severed head?
Bob, albeit agitated, allows his curiosity to get the best of him. He pops open the top of the box and looks down to see what’s inside. His demeanor changes. His life changes. His eyes grow as large as an asshole after Korean BBQ night.
Then gasps again.
Bobby Dean: It can’t be…
With trembling hands he ever so gently pulls out a small, ornately decorated, wooden case with the word Skynet etched into the bottom of it.
Bobby Dean: …Delacoolis Pulapueblo?
Delicately, and while holding his breath to take extra precaution, Bob opens the home of Jiles’ precious, vaunted, prized, lauded, infamous and famous, Skynet certified, Terminator Skull Fucker, Big Mongoloid Hunter, One of One, jet black with the mirror tint, T-Shades.
Well, no shades anyway.
There is a note, though. Which Bob reads aloud in his most Jiles’ voice.
Bobby Dean: I’m sorry Bob. I wish you were holding my shades right now instead of reading this sloppily written note. Know that I love you and we will always be Bandits. Ha! I bet, jerk off. The nerve of this guy. You mean the world to me and I wish you nothing but success and good fortune. Cool jinx. I didn’t want it to end up like this, but here we are. You, sitting there reading this. Me, using this as a distraction to surprise terminally kick you in the fa–
OUT of nowhere, Jiles, desirable hair and all, plants every inch of his size 12 foot deep into Bob’s beautifully potted puss. The sudden and voracious impact sends the man from Honalee flying out of his chair and crashing headfirst into the wall behind him.
Jiles: Well. Go ahead Bob. I’m waiting.
Not satisfied with his work, a gassed up Maestro folds the chair that Bob was just sitting on and slams it across his prone friend’s back. He then ejects said chair into orbit, and crouches down in case his robe living pal is having auditory complications.
Jiles: You hear me, Dean? Now seems like as good of a time as any, doesn’t it? So go on and take them. Take my shades from off my face.
A desperate, defiant, but still very much facedown Bobby Dean manages to roll over from his belly, swing one arm out, and somehow grab hold of the sleeve on Jiles’ customary 97red jumpsuit.
Jiles: You fucking crumb. You don’t get to touch me.
Jiles unleashes his COOLYMPIAN YOLJK to break free of Bob’s perceived insolence. To no one’s surprise the overkill tactic works; causing the Honaleean to shriek out in pain as he feverishly tries to rub the burn from his eyes.
Jiles: Well, not yet.
A devious, yellow mouth dripping, pearly tooth smile flashes.
Jiles: Soon… you’ll get your chance. Though, I wouldn’t be looking forward to it if I were you.
The Maestro turns on a quick heel and marches off, but not before retrieving his sacred property and blowing the glory days a kiss goodbye.
Cut to commercial.
If you just got knocked the fuck out by Dan Ryan and need a stiff drink, don’t forget to add H.O.P.S!
Joe Hoffman: It’s time for the second match of the evening, where last year’s LBI Winner Teddy Palmer steps into the cage with the Miracle Man himself, Steve Harrison. Both of these men were question marks coming into the DeNucci Cup, but it is inarguable that these two have come to play and they have come to win. Tonight, however, only one can advance to the semi-finals against Dan Ryan.
Benny Newell: Gotta root for Harrison, here, Joe. I need a MIRACLE to keep Dan Ryan out of the goddamned final, and I already caught a quick Palmer in the bathroom before the show started.
Joe Hoffman: Gross.
Benny Newell: Gotta get the poison out, Joe.
Matt Boettcher calls for the bell in the cage, calling for the beginning of round one.
A big clothesline attempt from Palmer is a wild attempt for an early advantage, but it doesn’t pay off– Harrison ducks the swing, hooking under Teddy’s arms as he spins around and crushing it with a belly-to-back suplex that brings both men to the mat. Immediately, a struggle begins to bring the fight back to their feet, but Harrison is in control and once again takes it to the ground with a second belly-to-back suplex. More jockeying for position on the ground here, but as Teddy Palmer tries for a heel hook, Harrison realizes that he’s just as dangerous on the ground. Harrison manages to wriggle free of the hold, but walks right into the Dirty Dangle! Boettcher makes the count!
1! 2! 3! 4! 5! 6!
Harrison groggily answers the ten count as the final seconds of the round tick away, narrowly avoiding a first round knockout.
As the bell rings to begin round two, neither man feels so inclined to charge in– after feeling eachother out in round one, they circle in the center of the octagon, and eventually meet with a tie-up in the center. The tie-up quickly goes nowhere, though, as he devolves into a flurry of blows! Palmer backs Harrison up into the cage, laying in knee strikes to the body, but Harrison is no slouch either– he flips Teddy’s back into the metal, then uses the leverage of the bounce to springboard into a dragon suplex that rocks the whole cage! With Palmer prone in the ring, Harrison desperately tries to lock on a very sloppy looking STF while there is still time on the clock, but the bell rings before he can lock it in, ending the second round in yet another tight call for who is winning this match.
Both men take a moment to breath in the corner between the rounds, but soon the bell rings and we’re back in it.
A missed short-arm clothesline from Harrison to start round three seems to be all it takes– Teddy Palmer ducks, spinning behind his opponent and putting him into position for his UnscripTED pumphandle death valley driver… but Harrison nails him with a low blow, kicking his foot backward and railing Teddy directly in the sack! Palmer doubles over, and Harrison thinks quickly. He drags Palmer a few steps toward the cage, setting him up for a crossface chickenwing suplex, but nails It’s A Harricle directly into the cold steel of the cage! Matt Boettcher makes the count, but it’s a formality this time. Palmer is out cold, thanks to some last ditch ingenuity from Steve Harrison!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, via KNOCKOUT in the third round… STEVE… HAAAAAARRRRRISONNNNNN!
Joe Hoffman: Boy, that really could have gone either way, folks. Teddy Palmer held his own throughout that entire match, but it seems that Steve Harrison was able to pull out the win essentially just through use of smart in-ring creativity.
Benny Newell: Close fuckin’ match, holy shit. NOW BEAT DAN RYAN NEXT WEEK, YA SALTED MILKY FUCK!
Backstage, Blaire Moise stands beside a freshly-showered and freshly-victorious Zeb Martin. An infectious smile on both of their faces, the Watson Mill Kid’s long hair is flowing freely without his usual ball cap sitting atop his skull.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, you just witnessed him pull what many feel is a huge upset tonight over a legend in HOW. Now, my guest will have the opportunity to name his partner for a future title shot against Jatt Starr and the man he defeated only moments ago for a chance to capture the Tag Team titles. Please join me in welcoming North Georgia’s own Zeb Martin.
Clad in his non-wrestling Wranglers and a vintage aqua T-shirt depicting the likeness of Dolly Parton, it’s a stark contrast to Ms. Moise’s professional attire.
Zeb Martin: Thank ya, Blaire. Big night, I reckon.
Moise nods in return, gesturing with her hands in a perplexed nature. She asks him the only question that anyone would care to know the answer to.
Blaire Moise: It sure is, but that just leaves one thing up in the air: who are you recruiting for this opportunity against Starrsek Industries?
The Watson Mill Kid exhales and shakes his head.
Zeb Martin: I’on’t know, truth be told.
Blaire just blinks in response.
Blaire Moise: You…don’t know yet. Well, have you at least narrowed down your selections? There’s got to be some frontrunners, huh?
Zeb Martin: Naw. Not really.
Blaire Moise: Not…really…
The crack reporter who always wants to be the one to break the scoop is deflated. Zeb notices the change in demeanor and immediately feels guilty for letting her spirits drop.
Zeb Martin: Look, I shore do apologize, Ms. Moise. Ah know that’s why yuh wanted tuh talk to me. But with so many thangs kin happen ‘round here, ah knew I’s needin’ tuh focus on beatin’ Sektor ‘fore I got too far in that br’ar patch. But, I did have a lil’ time tuh mull it over the past few minutes, and I think ya might have some breakin’ news after all.
Blaire Moise: Oh? Such as?
Zeb Martin: Such as I ain’t rulin’ nobody out of the runnin’ tuh be my tag partner. Way I see it, ev’rbody inta the H-O-Dubya prolly dun assumed it’s between two ‘er three folks. This here piglet could always go with his Pooh Bear whose dun proved tuh share some chem’stry with me be’fo.
Blaire Moise: Bobby Dean.
Zeb Martin: Yep. Or I could tap a new buddy uh mine and see if we kin mesh fer the chance tuh both call ourselves champions.
Blaire Moise: Teddy Palmer.
Zeb Martin: Or heck, mebbe the best chance uh me winnin’ is doin’ it with a former ment’er uh mine jus’ so he’s right at the corner tuh see me prove what I’s ultimately worth tuh the Bandits.
Blaire Moise: Cancer Jiles. Honestly, Zeb, those seem like frontrunners to me.
Martin gives a big shrug and a tooth-filled grin.
Zeb Martin: Could be. But them three and Lindsay Troy’s the ones purty obvious. What I been thankin’ from the time I stepped back in that sha’er tuh the time I stepped on camera with you is the ones that ain’t so front’n center. Far as I know, ol’ Bawsman Best hadn’t told me anybody’s excluded from who I kin choose tuh beat his boys. Ah’m not much of a hist’ry guy, but there’s one event I remember purty well when Joe Bergman and Andy Murray won ‘n held them belts fer a while. Shortly after that? Twenty-fo K ain’t nowhere tuh be seen ‘round here. Mebbe I oughta repeat some hist’ry and pick Solex. Put a lil’ crack in that mountain tuh eventually split ‘er apart.
Blaire Moise: Well, that would certainly be an unexpected choice. But do you think Steve Solex would even go along with that?
Zeb Martin: Not a doubt. No such thang as four cap’ns on a pirate ship. Could be wrong, though. Mebbe I don’t choose Solex. Mebbe I’m better off pickin’ someone who’s got a little more tag team ‘sperience than yer average bear. Why not Jesse Kendrix? ‘Er ol’ Mikey Unlikely?
Blaire grins, now finally getting the gist of what he’s doing: wanting to make sure he keeps laying on the suspense of his decision.
Blaire Moise: Again, I think you might be a little concerned with their willingness to cooperate. Sure, those two both want to regain the tag titles as much as anyone here in HOW, but with you?
Zeb playfully slaps his own forehead in response.
Zeb Martin: Glad yer here, Blaire. You talkin’ some sense inta me. My thought process’s all outta whack, I reckon. I’on’t know. I guess I ought tuh just go with Bob. ‘Er Lindz. ‘Er Ted. ‘Er Jiles. Seems safest.
But then, a grin spreads across his face.
Zeb Martin: But mebbe one more crazy idear. There’s a fella wrestlin’ later tonight that don’t sho’ nuff give a damn about what the opportunity is: he go’n take it and run. A man that might also like tuh hold a tag team title in uh’dition tuh, oh, I’on’t know…a belt that repr’sents the best singles rassler in the world. A man, who like me, might take real pleasure in gettin’ stuck in the craw of a blind feller. Even’f that blind feller happ’ns tuh be his daddy.
Blaire Moise: Wow. Are you seriously considering him?
Retrieving his Levi Garrett Racing hat from the back pocket of his jeans, Martin simply fits it atop his head and gives a wink to the camera. Then, he proceeds to walk off screen.
Blaire Moise: You heard it here! A big decision for the Watson Mill Kid, and it looks like virtually everyone is in the running to have a title shot alongside him.
When you’re about to kick Xander Azula, do it in the right shoes, dickhead!
Joe Hoffman: Third round competition continues, as we move into the next HOFC bout of the evening. Steve Solex has been on an absolute tear throughout the DeNucci Cup, but tonight an unstoppable force meets an immovable object as he takes on Xander Azula in the quarter finals. The winner of this match will go on to face the winner of Clay Byrd versus Mike Best in the semi-finals, guaranteeing a barnburner of a semi-final match no matter who wins here tonight.
Benny Newell: Boy, what a backward circle of hell it would be to watch Cthulu Barbie fight Texas Pete in the fucking DeNucci Cup semi-final. What a dark fucking timeline. I would actually drink bleach, Joe. Actual bleach.
Joe Hoffman: Please don’t do that, Benny.
Benny Newell: THEN GIMME SOLEX VERSUS BEST, GODDAMNIT.
With Xander Azula already in his corner, Steve Solex is just entering the cage and taking his corner. The referee goes over the rules with both men, and the crowd is hot for what could be a very competitive matchup.
DING DING DING
Two men who are well within their element inside of a cage get into the action right away, charging into one another with big blows in the middle of the ring. It’s raining right hands, with neither men looking to slow down after a vicious leadup to what will certainly be a violent fight here tonight. Solex eats some hard rights, but answers back with a kick to the chest that pushes Azula back toward the cage– Solex follows up with a diving tackle into the steel, slumping Xander to the ground! Solex begins a vicious looking ground and pounds, smashing fists into the face of his opponent as the crowd boos the Best Alliance member.
Both men roll on the ground exchanging blows, but eventually Solex grabs hold of the cage and pulls himself to his feet– he spits on his fallen opponent, holding the cage and laying in stomps until the bell rings to end the round. Steven can’t help himself, though, and throws a few extra stomps after the bell, cementing an edge leading into round two even after a scolding from the referee.
After separation, we’re ready to begin round two.
Solex is looking to keep the same energy into the second round, but a nasty snap suplex from Xander Azula starts the round out right for him as he changes pace from brawling in the center of the ring. Solex is back up to his feet, but eats another snap suplex. And another. Running off pure adrenaline, Solex is back up again with a clothesline attempt, but Azula avoids it and finishes a chain of nasty suplexes with a nasty looking German that finds Solex landing awkwardly on his neck.
Xander signals that it’s time to finish the fight, setting Solex up for the Chaos Theory… but Solex somehow finds the athletic prowess to flip out of position and land shakily on his feet! He boots Azula directly in the solar plexus, pulling him down with the Solexecution just as the bell rings to end the second round!
XANDER IS LAID OUT!
Solex begins berating the referee, telling him to make the count, but Boettcher is shaking his head– the bell had already rung! The round is over! Immediately, HOW’s angriest Dad shoves the referee, arguing with him, but the damage is already done. There won’t be a count! Cornermen help Azula to his feet, and now both men take their corners to prepare for the final round.
Both competitors are worse for the wear now, as the bell rings to begin the third round. They go chest to chest in the center of the ring, bickering back and forth, before finally Solex throws out a slap that forces Azula to recoil. The slap is met back with a big right hand, but both of these men are winded from going full tilt for two full rounds. Solex attempts a belly-to-belly suplex, but he’s sandbagged by Xander and stopped in his tracks– Azula tries to lift Solex with a counter suplex of his own, but Solex wriggles free, and both men are seemingly back to square one!
With a boot to the stomach, Solex is fucking done here tonight. He hooks Zula’s arm and knee, ready to heave him up with the SolexPlex, but Xander jumps desperately and jams that hooked knee into the jaw of Solex. With his opponent dazed, Xander heaves Solex into the air with a wheelbarrow life, dropping him with an elevated neckbreaker in the center of the octagon– THE FAITHBREAKER! Boettcher makes the count, and the crowd counts along for the knockout.
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, via KNOCKOUT in the third round… XAAAAANDER… AAAAAAAZZZZUUUUUUUULLLLAAAAA!
Joe Hoffman: A bitter brawl here tonight folks, but it’s the newcomer Xander Azula who is headed to the semi-finals to face the winner of our next match here tonight. Absolutely brutal, that really could have gone either way, but Xander Azula is certainly impressing here in HOW!
Benny Newell: This is a fucking disaster. What the fuck, Solex? YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!
He doesn’t notice the slight sway of the curtain rustling, and something sleek and black slipping between the fabric.
As soon as Steve hits the top of the stage, a #97red ball flies through the air and hits the #1 Dad-Soldier square in the chest. Solex is caught off-guard by the impact, and he staggers back a few steps, wiping his hand against the paint splatter that marks his skin.
Benny Newell: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT, JOE?!
Joe Hoffman: It..It looks like paintballs?!
HOW’s most respected announcer is correct, as two more come hissing through the air and collide with Solex’s abdomen and thigh. He yells in pain, as more whizz toward him.
One on the knee.
One on the elbow.
One on the shoulder.
The barrel of the gun advances forward, and with it the person responsible for the target practice. The HOW fans react with a resounding cheer as a smirking Lindsay Troy fires another round that just misses Solex’s ear and splats against the ramp.
Benny Newell: THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! EGREGIOUS! THIS IS ASSAULT!
Joe Hoffman: Wait, you know the word “egregious?”
Benny Newell: Shut the fuck up, Joe, Lindsay Troy should be ARRESTED!
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex literally set her car on fire last week, which is property damage and a felony.
Benny Newell: Pffft, that’s not an arrestable offense.
Joe Hoffman: I…I wonder if you ever hear yourself sometimes.
Benny Newell: Nope, I have selective hearing, DRINK!
Solex is hobbled, but he’s not down for the count. He bum-rushes Lindsay and tackles her to the ground, and the two begin a struggle over the paintball gun. He lands a couple shots to her face and ribs, but she doesn’t let go of the weapon, instead bringing her knee up and driving it between his legs. The crowd groans at the nutshot, and Solex rolls off her, gasping for air. Troy gets back to her feet and fires another round, right into the #1 Dad-Soldier’s ass, adding further insult to injury.
Steve Solex: Ohhhh shit. You motherfucker.
Lindsay Troy: The next one will kill you.
Steve Solex: Son of a bitch, you shot me in the ass!
Solex scrambles vertical, and Troy throws the paintball gun to the ground. She knees him in the breadbasket, then hooks him up in a chancery.
Joe Hoffman: Oh no, what’s she gonna do here?
Benny Newell: Somebody get out here and stop this, where’s the EPU?!
Troy tries to lift Solex up for a vertical suplex, but he blocks it. She tries again, another block. Solex stomps on her foot, then quickly heaves her up and over his head, but the Queen lands on her feet. When Solex turns around, he eats a spinning heel kick to the mouth that sends him flying off the stage into a table full of electrical equipment below!
Lindsay looks down at her handiwork with a smile as security and referees rush to check on Solex, and Refueled goes elsewhere.
Joe Hoffman: Coming off the shocking events between Mike Best and Conor Fuse, I was able to have a sitdown interview with The Vintage last night to get his thoughts on what transpired.
Benny Newell: You mean he’s not dead yet? Or broken hearted because Jack Harmen, his hero fucked him up good? Christ, I hope you conducted the interview from his mom’s basement!
Joe Hoffman: Um, no, we didn’t…
The scene switches to two chairs in front of a black backdrop. There’s nothing overly complicated with the set piece, just like there’s nothing cheery about the mood. Joe Hoffman sits on the left hand side and across the way is Conor Fuse, dressed in a purple t-shirt and black jeans. There’s a large off-white coloured sack that sits beside Conor, looking like something Santa Claus would carry with him and is filled to the brim with… ???.
Joe Hoffman: Conor, thank you for joining me here. Wow, I’ve got to say, I did not see the events of last week coming when-
The Vintage raises a polite hand towards Hoffman, cutting him off.
Conor Fuse: You know what it’s like to work extremely hard at something and get it taken away from you? You make it to 8-4 Boss, The Last Level Lowlife, in a Street Fighter tournament of all things and then the power cuts out or your older brother walks by and turns off the system?
Conor’s getting angrier as he speaks.
Conor Fuse: You know what, screw the metaphors right now. I worked my ass off training for that Mike Best match. Ya, you can say I’m fun and games but when push comes to shove, I bring it. Did I bring it against Scotty or did I tuck my tail between my legs? Na man, na. He tucked HIS tail between HIS legs and I embarrassed him on the biggest stage possible at his own game. And that’s no pushover, that’s a Hall of Famer. I punked Brian Hollywood. I punked him hard; I punked him good. Mr. Hollywood is no pushover, despite what my silver paint power-up made me believe. The guy is a former World Champion. He knows his stuff.
Fuse takes a deep breath in and out.
Conor Fuse: I don’t know what I did to High Flyer to make him come at me like this and to cost me everything I had hoped for, which was a fair fight against The Boss. I don’t think that was a hard ask. Mike beats me clean in the middle of the ring, Joe, it’s all good. Beats me in round one, or round two, or round three… or we go into extra innings, whatever. He crushes me with his cheat code knee CLEAN and right off the bat, Game Over, that’s cool. I getcha. EA Mike strikes again and this special gaming kid moves on.
Fuse leans in towards the announcer.
Conor Fuse: But now… [laughs] The Lunatic’s opened up a whole new World. I wanted a chance to have people say “SHIT THAT KID HAS GAME” or “DAMN, CONOR’S NAILS”. I would say it sucks for Mike Best too because he obviously works hard at what he’s great at… then again, Best in Show looked like he was enjoying the attack.
Joe Hoffman: None of that was fair to you-
Conor Fuse: If you’ve followed my path in HOW you’ll know High Flyer was my hero. I followed him on the independence, I watched him on the big stages. He was wrestling. Half my moveset is based off HIM. If it wasn’t for The Lunatic, maybe I am that virgin dumbass living in his mom’s basement but as a keyboard warrior instead, giggling behind a screen consistently, never doing anything about it. But because of JACK HARMEN I am more than that. Because of Jack Harmen I’m a wrestler who is passionate about A LOT of things beyond a controller.
Fuse trails off. Hoffman interjects.
Joe Hoffman: Did you have any idea whatsoever this was coming?
Conor Fuse: Me? I’ve barely interacted with the guy! I’ve barely interacted with many of you. It’s not easy for a kid like me to just walk up to his hero and say something. You know what… we wrestled a few months ago. I asked Jack to “bring The Lunatic” because I needed a dark place to fight Scottywood. He kinda did that, I dunno. And then Jack did his thing… struggled to find traction in HOW. I wanted to help. My goal was to fight Mike and circle back to High Flyer, my hero, to see if I could help him. He’s had a hard go here, that’s clear. But we have common enemies. We can do well together. Suddenly NOW The Lunatic appears!? Um. Okay. A little late.
The Vintage continues to show fury. By now, his face is going red. Conor leans back in his seat.
Conor Fuse: You know what? I’m not going to convert. I’m not going to be like them. I’m different. I’m above these angry, disgruntled BOTS who bitch and complain when things don’t go their way. I’m outta round two, kneed to the head, that game is finished. One day, maybe I’ll get a fair fight against EA Mike. Not today; not for a while. And I’m no hypocrite. It was nowhere near the perfect conditions but I still told the moderator to ring the bell… and I still took that shot. I lost a Life. It’s time to move on…
Joe Hoffman: Conor, can I ask what’s in that bag you have with you?
Fuse shakes his head no.
Conor Fuse: No, sorry Joe. We’re done here. Thank you for the interview, I really appreciate you going to bat for me on commentary compared to that other guy you work with who likes to berate me. You can throw him into the ongoing, juvenile scum that work in this company. A dime a dozen. I just want you to know… no one in this system is going to end me that easily. I get it, High Flyer, I do. You WERE my hero. Now, maybe I need a new hero.
Fuse smiles at the thought of this.
Conor Fuse: We’re just getting started.
The scene goes back to ringside. Newell raises an eyebrow, caught up on a previous comment Fuse made.
Benny Newell: Was that fuckhead talking about me when he said “other guy you work with”?
Hoffman rolls his eyes as the show goes to commercial.
Since the HOW graphics guy got fired from his day job, look for this to actually start happening again!
Joe Hoffman: The next match is a pretty highly anticipated one, folks– Michael Lee Best and Clay Byrd have been firing on all cylinders this week, verbally eviscerating one another in preparation for what could be tonight’s most brutal HOFC bout. The winner of this match will face Xander Azula in the semi-finals of the DeNucci Cup, leaving the possibility that we could see two technical HOW outsiders competing for a place in the finals!
Benny Newell: KNEES, JOE. Fucking knees. Knees against Kostoff. Knees against Conor. Knees against RAHHHH. Knees all the fucking way down. This is not a prediction, it is a SPOILER– this match ends with a knee-based fucking knockout, same story every week.
Joe Hoffman: You seem confident, Benny. Clay Byrd has been on an absolute tear, ripping through Hall of Famers and bringing a brand of pure brawling prowess to HOW not since since Kostoff’s younger days.
Benny Newell: Fucking. Knees. You don’t set every World Title record by losing to Texas hicks, Joe. SPOILERS.
Slowly, both competitors step toward the center of the octagon, each of them wearing an arrogant, condescending smirk. The tension in the arena is so thick you could cut it with a knife, as Clay Byrd and Mike Best aggressively touch fists and prepare for the bell.
DING DING DING
Mike Best takes a moment to limber up in his corner, making Clay shake his head and tell the Son of God to quit stalling and come fight. Michael obliges, and now both men go nose to nose in the ring, jaw jacking and trying to get the final edge before one of them finally strikes. Michael palm slaps Clay across the mouth, and Clay recoils— he slowly touches a hand to his lip, then nods his head.
And then he swings back. Hard.
Walloping the HOW World Champion in the jaw, he sends Mike skittering to the canvas as the crowd roars! Like an animal, Clay Byrd pounces on the champion, smashing meat fists into the champion’s vanity-cursed face, just beating the fucking shit out of him in the first round of this quarter final match. Mike Best scrambles toward the cage, trying to get away, but the brick-shithouse Byrd literally grabs him by the legs and drags him back to the center of the canvas, just punching the fuck out of him. Yes, that’s the technical term. The literal monster Clay is having his way with the champion, and it isn’t looking good for Michael Lee Best.
Clay grabs a chinlock, trying to make good on his promise to literally tear the Son of God’s head off his shoulders, but a desperate Mike Best manages to wriggle free. He slips behind the behemoth, using his MMA advantage to trip up the legs of Clay Byrd and take him to the ground. On top of the monster from behind, he begins smashing elbows down onto the back of Clay’s skull, finally getting some offense in as the first round comes to a close and he’s pulled off of his opponent.
Round two begins, and now the champion is pissed and ready to fight. He ducks a clothesline from the near seven foot Texan, using his speed to slip behind and throw a hard boot to the back of Clay’s knee. It takes him down to a stumble, and now the HOW World Champion kicks off the cage from behind Byrd and smashes into the side of his head with a full weight lariat that takes them both to the canvas. Best scrambles back to his feet, throwing hard kicks to the side of Clay’s head and trying to keep him down, but slowly the big man climbs back up to one knee.
And that’s when the champion strikes.
Pushing off the cage from the opposite side, the HOW World Champion springs forward with the most dangerous knee in pro wrestling, leaping into the air… but CLAY FUCKING CATCHES HIM! The giant literally throws Best into the air, turning his shining wizard knee into a FUCKING POWERBOMB and smashing him directly into the cage! There are only eleven seconds left in the round, as Hortega begins the count!
He’s not fucking moving.
Michael Lee Best begins to stir…
THE CHAMPION IS ALIVE!
Barely answering the ten count, Mike Best makes it to a standing position just in time for the bell to ring, ending the round. We’re heading into round three, ladies and gentlemen!
In their corners, Clay Byrd is visibly fucking angry that he didn’t lock up the win just yet. But Michael Lee Best looks hurt. He’s seeing stars, and it’s possible that the champion has sustained a concussion at the hands of maybe his most dangerous opponent of 2021.
And now, we’re on to round three.
Michael Best is hurt, and Clay knows it. He stalks the champion up against the cage, as Best realizes that he has nowhere to go. Mike throws a right hand, but Clay literally grabs it and smashes it against the cage. Best throws a left hand, but Clay bats it aside. He grabs hold of both of Best’s shoulders, but the champion throws a wild headbutt that cracks Clay on the bridge of the nose. His eyes watering up, as as a trickle of blood leaves his nostril, Clay stumbles back into the ring as Mike Best charges forward and steps up literally the highest he’s ever climbed for the shining wizard…
I KNEED A HERO!
Clay Byrd hits the mat, and the air leaves the Best Arena as Hortega begins the count.
He reaches ten, and the bell rings.
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, via KNOCKOUT in the third round… Michael… Leeeeee…. BEEEEEEESTTTTTT!
Joe Hoffman: Holy shit.
Benny Newell: HE FUCKING DID IT! ALL HAIL THE CHAMPION! HE KNEEDS A FUCKING MEDAL! SUCK MY DICK, TEXAS!
Joe Hoffman: A shocking win for the HOW World Champion, who looked just about dead out there, folks. The match may be over, but he isn’t out of hot water yet… the champion looks injured, and next week, he’s set to defend the HOW World Championship.
Benny Newell: KNEEEEEEEES!
“Believer” by Solence roars out over the P.A. system at the Best Arena as Sutler Reynolds-Kael hobbles out with a crutch under one arm while he still sports head bandages and a neckbrace. Dancing out onto the stage behind him is Little Lady Sutler aka Chloe Sektor, daughter of John Sektor and an unknown, unnamed trollope, or so Max had often reminded Chloe while he was alive.
The crowd generally reacts negatively to Sutler though there are a few random pops for the Son of Scions and the grandson of Lee Best. With a smug look on his face Sutler carefully made his way to the ring while Chloe waves cheerfully at people oblivious to any concept of what a heel or a face is. As they reach the ring Sutler carefully climbs into the ring, wincing in pain as he slips between the ropes before helping Chloe up and in.
The music dies down as Sutler retrieves a repurposed Maxopotamian microphone from the bowels of his leather jacket.
SRK: I was in the back and I saw what tonight’s Main Event is. John Sektor versus “Cool” Cancer Jiles and I sai-
Chloe tugs on his arm whispers something to Sutler who seems confused.
SRK: Oh.. not Jiles? My bad, John Sektor versus Bobby Dean?
He looks at Chloe who shakes her head to the negative.
SRK:..John Sektor versus.. Zeb.. Martin? The fishing kid?
Chloe nods her head enthusiastically as a big grin stretches over her face. Sutler shrugs and pats Chloe on the head before his smug attitude washes back down over his sad boi face.
SRK: Well at least it’s nice to see one of the younger guys getting a chance, just a shame it has to be Zeb Martin, he’s greenier then the water he takes a bath in. But hey, even with Zeb Martin in this match with a dinosaur like John Sektor in it, pee-yew am I right Chloe?
The former daughter of John Sektor enthusiastically answers with a giggle, her head moving from side to side as she pinches her nose.
SRK: Thank Grand-dad I’m here to give you a REAL main event unlike what is likely to happen next. Yes, give all you knuckle-draggers who pay my bills something to enjoy before you all quickly slip out during the next match to beat the traffic. I know, I understand, I get you. Honestly I’d rather not be out here but I’m just that generous of a guy. You’re all very welcome.
Sutler pauses for a moment as he waits for the applause that is never coming. Well, save for Chloe who cheers with all her heart while the rest of the arena boos loudly.
SRK: Now while I am out here I am want to remind you all that I have declared WAR on anyone on the roster that was born before 1980. I’m here to clean the slate and tear away anyone who is too old to be in this company taking up precious time from young talent, such as myself! You will not STEAL from the FUTURE.. Which is right now, right here, I am challenging Brian Hollywood to a LOSER LEAVES HOW MATCH!.. That’s right, I’m tossing that used, old, burlap sack and his raisins OUT!
Once again Chloe tugs on Sutler’s arm and whispers something to him.
SRK: Wait.. Brian Hollywood is under 40? GOD DAMN IT!.. uh.. Darin Matthews?
Another shake of the head from Chloe.
SRK: ..fuck. Rah?
Chloe stares at Sulter before she shrugs with a perplexed look on her face.
SRK: Okay, RAH! Listen up! I don’t know when you were born but your gimmick is stale as fuck and reminds me of that 2000 year old Mummy that tries to fuck Tom Cruise so YOU’RE ON NOTICE! I ain’t Lady Gaga so I don’t Rah Rah, Oh La-La, you Nah-Nah, Fucking Faux Pas. Once I’m feeling back at 100% you’re a marked man! .. probably not a Loser Leaves HOW Match cause I spent all my political points on trying to kick Hollywood out so LUCKY YOU!.. But just you wait..
Sutler narrows his eyes at the camera, two fingers pointed at his peepers before he thrust them thusly back in the direction of the viewer.
SRK: Sutler… OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooUUT!
His scowl breaks as he looks down at Chloe who hops around the ring around him, smiling. He jumps once then winces, holding his neck as he gives Chloe the microphone. The two of them make their way out of the ring as we cut to commercial break.
As we head to the ring for the main event, we find that Sutler has joined Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell at the announcers table, Chloe appears to be seated next to Sutler but without headphones on.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and Gentlemen welcome back, I’m Joe Hoffman here with my broadcast partner Benny Newell and joined most recently by Sutler Reynolds-Kael and his sister, Chloe.
SRK: Great to be here Joe but first I have to say.. Something smells weird over here.
Benny Newell: Joe shit his pants.
Joe Hoffman: Wh- No. I did not mess myself.
SRK: No, no it doesn’t smell like shit.. It smells like old cheese..
Sutler looks to sniff the air more closely, a disgusted expression coming over his face while Joe stares at Benny with an intense, accusing glare.
Benny Newell: I’m going to let you in on a big fucking secret kid, I keep a Tyson Grill beneath the desk and make myself grill cheeses between commercial breaks.
Joe shakes his head and stares forward as Sutler immediately checks beneath the desk. Benny slowly pulls a half eaten grill cheese up from the desk, shoving it in his mouth as we cut back up to Bryan McVay.
Bryan McVay: The following match is your MAAAAAAAAIN EVENT!
We are treated to Zeb Martin’s entrance as he makes his way to the ring to a moderate pop. People generally seem to favor Zeb while Joe comments on his bright future in the company. Sutler enjoys that he is young but feels he needs more class. Benny comments that he needs to get some moonshine from Zeb.
Next out is John Sektor who receives a mix of cheers and boos from the crowd. He doesn’t really seem to have his head in the game as he makes his way to the ring. He seems less interested in Zeb and more focused on on Sutler and Chloe on the outside. Joe mentions Sektor’s long history including multiple title reigns in HOW. Sutler mentions that whenever Sektor gets a title he suddenly loses. Benny mentions that Sektor is going to murder Zeb in the ring in the name fo the Best Alliance.
It is mentioned that if Sektor loses then Zeb and a partner of his choice may challenge for the Tag Team Championships.
As soon as the match starts John Sektor still appears distracted by the presence of Chloe and Sutler. This distraction proves instrumental as Zeb is able to school boy him up.
Bryan McVay: YOUR WINNER..ZEEEEEEEEEB MAAAAAAARTIN!
WINNER: ZEB MARTIN VIA PINFALL IN 5 SECONDS.
Zeb quickly slides out of the ring as Sektor climbs to his feet, his face red with anger and embarrassment. Sektor stands incensed in the center of the ring glaring down at Zeb Martin when suddenly he is blind sided by the Hollywood Bruvs!
The Bruvs utterly destroy John Sektor leaving him in a pile in the center of the ring. Mikey grabs Sektor’s Tag Title and prepares to blast Sektor with it when Jatt Starr finally arrives in the ring with a chair ready to defend his fellow BA member. The Bruvs retreat grinning as they call their shot. Refueled comes to an end.