Event Date: March 13, 2022
- 1. Epic Arrival
- 2. Stronk Godson vs Xander Azula
- 3. Leave it to Stever
- 4. The Championship Returns
- 5. Steve Harrison vs Darin Zion
- 6. The Best Nostalgia
- 7. The Gold Standard
- 8. A Fighter's Challenge
- 9. Clay Byrd and Steve Solex vs The Devil’s Advocates
- 10. So much HATE
- 11. Respect(?)
- 12. Scott Stevens vs. Conor Fuse
- 13. Welcome to the Carnival
- 14. Smell the Roses
- 15. Pleasant Demeanor
- 16. The Best Alliance vs. Legion of Darkness
As the HOTv logo gives way we see the words “EARLIER TODAY” come across the screen as a video begins to play shortly after.
We see HOW hall of famer, the Queen of Epicness herself Bobbinette Carey walking around the arena. She’s wearing a pink and black skater dress with a Mandala pattern. She has on a pair of black leggings and a black denim jacket over it, as she walks through the halls with a determined look on her face. Seeing the AoA locker room, she pauses while wrinkling her nose and shaking her head before continuing on. Bobbinette stops in her tracks as she sees Eli Dresden. After a moment of hesitation the HOW legend sighs heavily before she decides to walk up to the young HOW up and coming star.
Bobbinette: I’ll be brief.
Bobbinette states as she takes a deep breath.
Bobbinette: I may have overstepped by attacking Scott’s two jerk pals. For that I apologize. And you are right you have refused and turned down my offers to align and I accept that. I respect your decision and hope for nothing but the best for your continued career here.
An uncomfortable silence reigns for a long moment as Eli glares at the HOW Hall of Famer, the blonde clearly weighing what she wants to say for once instead of just popping off… but ultimately?
Eli: Your poser ass ain’t worth the breath.
And with that, Dresden doesn’t give Carey the chance to respond, turning and walking away. Bobbinette nods her head, shrugs her shoulders and tries to change her facial expressions to a more positive one as she walks off, still looking for something or someone. She continues down the halls of the arena scanning through people.
The crowd cheers as #97MarioRed happens to wander into the picture. Dressed for his upcoming title defense, Fuse instantly realizes Bobbinette but catches on she hasn’t noticed him, so Conor is coy and starts looking around the hallways as if he was deep into thought.
Bobbinette: Hey gamer dude! Wanted to say congratulations on your win last week. I knew better to underestimate you. You lived up to the hype. Good luck tonight and at March to Glory.
Bobbinette says in a genuine tone. The World Champion turns his head and pretends he’s seeing Bobbi for the first time.
Conor Fuse: Bobbi, hey. Wow, thank you. Really appreciate it.
The gamer rubs the back of his head.
Conor Fuse: It was a good match, could’ve gone either way. I’ll be honest, I overlooked Darkwing and I paid for it. He cracked me open damn good. You’ve got a good teammate in him. As for David, maybe he’d say the same about our match. He’s not here tonight because sadly his father passed away. I’m gonna dedicate my upcoming #97 match to him.
Bobbinette: I have to admit I underestimated him. If he sticks around I’ll be looking out for his name. It is hard to impress me but you both did.
She says gritting her teeth with the admission.
Conor Fuse: I’ll pass that along to him, thanks Bobbi! You are pretty cool.
Before there could even be an attempt at silence, Conor keeps rolling.
Conor Fuse: If I don’t see you before, good luck in your March to Glory match against Scottywood. He’s a melonhead. I- I actually mean this. His head is soft and breakable. I fought him a few years back, smashed a bunch of shit over his skull. I was surprised how challenging it was for me to break all the weapons across him. Chairs, kendo sticks, glass… it didn’t matter. His head was squishy. Well… I guess that’s what happens when your typecast into the hardcore genre, all day every day lol. Poor guy.
Bobbinette laughs attempting to hold it back from his comment. Conor’s face turns serious.
Conor Fuse: No, seriously, fuck that guy. I saw what happened. Kidnapping? Dickwad’s been watching too many Batman movies. And I thought I’m the impressionable doofus. What a joke. He’s trying to find lost relevance by doing shit like this. I seriously hope you pound his skull in, end his life and may we never speak of his hArDcOrE again. It’s not vintage. It’s annoying.
Fuse nods in an intense manner.
Bobbinette: Well thank you, I appreciate it. Who would have thought Scottywood would have sympathy for me?
She laughs weakly.
Bobbinette: Hardcore means an excuse to be a bad wrestler..
Conor Fuse: And speaking of Scott’s who should be ended, I got the Stevens one later tonight. Man, let me tell you, that loser grinds my gears, too. Guy says in the same podcast interview maybe I ‘should’ve beat him in a more convincing way’ AND also when he’s ‘defeated, he admits it like a man and moves on’.
Fuse cracks his knuckles and laughs.
Conor Fuse: Yeah right, hard LOL. Gonna beat this fucker again and he’ll still be crying CONOR!! CONOOOOOOOORRRRRR! Bahahaha. Clown shoes I tell ya, clown shoes.
Bobbinette: Hey some Scotts are just whiney. You got his number, you’re going to be EPIC tonight.
She says pointing at him using her own word play with a jest.
Conor Fuse: Well at least Stevens didn’t go to the lengths Scottywood did. You have a great night, Bobbi or at least with everything considered… as good of a night as possible.
Bobbinette: Hey, thank you. I mean that. I got to go and watch out for Darkwing tonight… I have to make sure that Scott doesn’t mess that up for him. Oh and happy belated Mario day.
Bobbinette walks off, leaving Conor to contemplate further.
Conor Fuse: Yep. She is real nice.
-End of Transmission-
Stronk Godson vs Xander Azula
As the previously recorded video ends we see the Refueled logo come into focus for the 91st time of this era as we cut live inside the sold out Fiserv Forum here in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The crowd is on their feet cheering as cut to High Octane Wrestling Hall of Fame commentator Joe Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to Refueled LIVE here in the sold out Fiserv Forum in beautiful Chicago North as my long time partner used to say. Just wanted to start the show tonight with a quick update on Benny. He is doing better and has been released from the rehabilitation center he was staying in. He has a long way to go but the road to him one day returning to this seat next to me became a little clearer this morning with his release. We are sending you ALL the positive vibes Benny.
Joe pauses as he raises his #97Red Gatorade up to the camera as a toast to his longtime commentating partner.
Joe Hoffman: Ok moving…….We are set to open this show in a big way. Coming off an impressive debut against Jeffrey James Roberts is Stronk Godson. He took the HOTv Champion to the limit and while he did not pick up the title, he left everyone’s eyes open. Xander Azula himself has been no recent pushover. Although he and Darin Zion came up short in the semi finals of the Maurako Cup, winning their group stage was a major achievement.
The feed cuts to ringside where Hall of Fame Ring Announcer Bryan McVay is ready to kick off the action for tonight.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first… from Minneapolis, Minnesota… weighing two-hundred-ninety-eight pounds… STRONK GODSON!!!
“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. blares on the airwaves as the 5’9”, albeit physically fit specimen walks out from behind the curtain. The fans watch as he marches his way down the ramp and slides into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Stronk’s hands are massive. Azula better make sure he doesn’t get those.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent… from Long Beach, California… weighing two-hundred-thirty pounds… XANDER AZULA!
“Engel” by Remmstein takes over the airwaves as the crowd boos, seeing Xander Azula step onto the stage. He surveys his surroundings and then looks inside the ring. Stronk doesn’t seem to bother him. Azula makes his way to the squared circle.
Joe Hoffman: Both these men with recent battles against JJR. We’ll see how this fares. Perhaps the winner may find themselves back in line for a HOTv title shot one day.
Godson charges at Azula but the Multiverse member ducks and hits the ropes. Upon return-
He’s met with a shoulder block by Godson. Stronk hits the ropes himself… and as Azula pulls to his feet he’s immediately thrown down to the mat again thanks to a second running shoulder block. Godson drags Azula off the canvas but receives some midsection punches for his trouble. This allows Xander to break free, find the ropes again and dropkick the right knee of the powerlifter. Godson loses a leg for balance, Azula hits the ropes again… although this time Godson EXPLODES from the mat, spearing Azula practically out of his boots!
Joe Hoffman: Man what impact!
Godson deadlifts Azula and places him into a gorilla press slam. After Azula meets the mat, Godson takes two steps back and drops a knee across his neck.
Stronk considers a pinfall attempt but drags the Head Disciple to his feet instead. Once again, Azula throws punches into Godson’s chest and breaks free.
Joe Hoffman: You can see some solid skill in Godson but he’s certainly green. Pulling his opponent up like that, again, leaving himself exposed…
Godson catches Azula in the air and hits a thunderous powerslam!
Joe Hoffman: Okay, maybe it doesn’t matter.
Letting Hoffman eat his words, Godson crushes Azula with a backdrop driver.
Joe Hoffman: Xander dropped right on his head! I’ve been told this is a personal favorite move of Stronk’s.
Stronk connects with another backdrop driver, hits the ropes and then levels the boom across Azula’s face, turning the California native inside out in the process.
Joe Hoffman: Massive clothesline!
Azula has lost his bearings… although he’s certainly trying. Godson bounces off the ropes and knees Azula in the temple. Next, he lifts Azula and performs another backdrop driver. Xander lands on his head for a third time!
Xander is fighting but certainly struggling. He throws a left here, a right there but it’s thin air as Stronk Godson positions himself behind Azula and strikes when the time is right. He marches right up to Xander and hammers him with a headbutt, followed by wrapping both hands around the Eternal Circle’s face.
Joe Hoffman: Is he… trying to crush Azula’s head!?
Xander shouts, kicking his feet as he tries to break free. It almost looks like the newcomer is going to be able to lift The Head Disciple off his feet while having both hands wrapped around his skull!
But before Azula is taken off his tippy toes, he breaks away. He clubs Stronk in the jaw and takes a few steps back to measure the Minnesota native.
Joe Hoffman: Oh my! Godson turned around and plucked Xander out of thin air!
Godson throws Azula so far across the ring, the Multiverse star almost falls out of it if it wasn’t for the top and middle rope BARELY keeping him inside.
Running shoulder block. Hard back elbow. Headbutt into a full nelson slam. Godson has all the momentum working in his direction. Stronk looks for a high angle suplex… Azula is trying to wiggle his way out…
Joe Hoffman: Xander’s free!
Azula takes hold of Godson’s head and tries for a DDT but Godson slips away and clubs Azula in the side of the face. Xander gives his head a shake to quiet the bells from ringing in-between his ears. As he does this, Godson takes an arm and attempts a ripcord clothesline.
No. Azula ducks. Azula with a knee smash, another knee smash… a final knee smash. He hits the ropes and runs himself right into a powerslam.
Joe Hoffman: I thought Xander was taken out of this one but there’s still some fight left.
Godson knees away at Azula, a comeback for the received knee smashes he was hit with moments ago. Azula is reeling, it’s clear Godson is very powerful. Then the power striker snatches Azula by the head and starts squeezing it again!
This time Stronk Godson DOES lift Xander Azula into the air!
The crowd is amazed as Azula is attempting to break free. He is getting close but Godson catches on and discards the member of the Multiverse into a turnbuckle. Godson charges in… Azula moves but Godson stops in his tracks. He turns to see Xander…
Inside-out clothesline by Stronk.
Godson wastes little time. He drags Azula off the mat and wraps his tree trunk arms around him…
The grounded bearhug is applied when Godson falls to the canvas with his opponent in his grasp.
Joe Hoffman: I believe this is called Body Dysmorphia!
Xander is trying to fight but it’s clear Stronk Godson’s clutches are locked in too tightly. The Eternal Circle begins to fade as the referee slides into position. Referee Boettcher wants to give Azula the benefit of the doubt but it’s clear there is no one home. He calls for the bell.
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: The winner of this match in 10 minutes and 28 seconds…….STRONK GODSON!
Godson pushes off Azula as he raises his hands before Boettecher does it. The crowd watches on as Stronk celebrates by showing off his amazing physique.
Joe Hoffman: Solid victory tonight for Godson. He was too much for Azula. Will be interesting to see where both men go post March to Glory as the road to War Games begins.
With that the action cuts elsewhere…
Leave it to Stever
But instead of cutting to another part of the building, the lights in the arena dim as the High Octane Vision screen lights up as the words “Leave it to Stever” appear on the screen. The God-awful 1950’s television theme music plays throughout the arena as the crowd erupts in a chorus of boos. The letters quickly fade, and the scene on the HOV transitions to Steven Solex seated behind an old wooden desk. Steven is outfitted in his a “#1 Dad” ballcap, and a freshly ironed plain white t-shirt. Steven sits leaned over the desk, propping himself up with his elbows. As the music fades, Steven relaxes his posture and sits back into the 97red-leather chair. Steven kicks his feet up onto the desk, showing off his tan cargo shorts and his white New Balance shoes. A burlap sack to his left is filled to the top with hundreds, maybe thousands, of white envelopes.
Steven Solex: Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, back to Leave it to Stever!
The piped in crowd applause is barely able to drown out the live audience’s boo’s.
Steven Solex: Let’s not waste any time at all and let’s get right to it, let’s see what we have here today in Steven’s Sack!
Steven reaches into the burlap sack, pauses, looks into the camera and winks to a perfectly timed and piped in ding as the live audience continues to boo’s wildly.
Steven Solex: Would you look at that! Our first question is from Roland (wink) all the way up in Canada! Roland asks, “My woman continues to say I need to make her a priority. I feel like I’m doing this all the time but she tells me she just needs MOAR. How do I do this? I already stand by my phone for every text message. She sends frequent texts and I reply ASAP. Yet this doesn’t seem to be enough.”
Steven immediately crumples the letter and tosses it behind him, which triggers a glass breaking sound effect. Solex leans back in his chair and stares up at the ceiling for a moment laughing to himself.
Steven Solex: Oh Roland, you are the kind of man that I worry about. Women don’t want you to be available, they want you to be unavailable. Her anger is just passion that’s being let out in the wrong place, and the wrong time! Ignore her texts, no-show a date or two, and definitely stop replying to her texts. Then the next time she starts to scream and yell like the shrew she is, grab her by the hand and walk her to the bedroom. The rest will figure itself out.
The piped in applause from the crowd is turned way up as the live audience lets out a chorus of boos. Steven goes to reach back into the sack, but then pauses momentarily, and looks into the camera.
Steven Solex: Oh, one more thing Roland. Stop being Canadian…stop it right now. That will definitely help.
The piped in crowd reaction – this time laughter – has grown to an annoying level of loud as Steven goes back to rummaging through the sack. He grabs a hold of a letter, yanks it from the sack and tears the envelope open.
Steven Solex: Ohh, here’s a doozy! This ones from Mike in the great state of Nevada! Mike writes, “Hey, Steven. I am 100% your biggest fan!”
Steven winks to a perfectly timed ding.
Steven Solex: “I’ve been having a problem with my wife recently.” Ohh, another relationship problem! “She’s put on a few pounds recently, and I don’t know how to tell her about it without hurting her feelings. What can I do?”
Steven crumples the letter and tosses it behind him to the tune of the well-timed glass breaking sound effect. Steven leans forward in his chair, puts his elbows on the table and clasps his hands together. The expression on his face is clearly serious. He takes in a deep breath and lets out a giant sigh.
Steven Solex: Divorce.
His expression immediately changes and without skipping a beat he goes right back to the burlap sack. He goes through the motions of tearing, tossing, and opening the envelope.
Steven Solex: Last question!
The piped in crowd let out a collective “awe!” whilst the live audience cheers.
Steven Solex: This one’s from Sam in Philly. He writes, “Hey Steven, my wife and I are super active. We golf, bowl, and are even on a slow-pitch softball team together. The problem is that I suck at everything. She’s an amazing athlete, and I always end up losing to her or just looking flat-out bad. Last week, at our softball game she hit three dingers and I struck out. At slow-pitch softball! Tell me what to do Steven! And here’s a picture of her for reference.”
Solex eyes widen as he looks at the picture. He doesn’t show it to the camera however, and instead places it in the left cargo pocket of his dad-shorts. Solex crumples and tosses the paper, once again to a well-timed glass-breaking sound effect.
Steven Solex: Sounds like your wife needs to pay a visit to good ol’ number one.
He points to thumbs at himself and then goes full finger guns at the camera.
Steven Solex: I’ll teach her all about dingers. And you, Sam…you can take notes!
The boos from inside the arena are thunderous and this time drown out the piped in applause.
Steven Solex: Well folks, that’s all the time we have this week!
Solex tosses the final letter behind himself.
Piped in Crowd: See you soon!
More boos from the crowd in attendance drown out the laughter from the piped in crowd.
Steven Solex: Not if I see you first!
The piped in crowd laugh and applaud as the volume has clearly been turned way up, drowning out the jeers in the area as the scene fades and the HOV goes dark as we cut away.
The Championship Returns
Backstage at the Fiserv Forum, the door with the name “Darin Zion” emblazoned on it. Entering the frame is Simon Sparrow, sporting his 97Red and Black checkered suit and the UAD Championship around his waist. There’s an intensity in his eyes and an urgency in the way he carries himself. He goes to reach for the doorknob but thinks better of it. He reaches into his pocket with his left hand and is about to knock with his right when he suddenly disturbed by another figure entering the frame…..Brian BARE.
Brian BARE: Jatt…er…Simon Sparrow!
Simon Sparrow: AH!!!
Simon Sparrow jumps up and turns towards the interviewer.
Simon Sparrow: Don’t do that!
Brian BARE: Apologies.
Simon Sparrow: What the hell are you doing creeping up on the Ratings Juggernaut like that???
Brian BARE: Uh…Ratings?
Simon Sparrow: Good answer. What do you want?
Brian BARE: I was going to interview Darin Zion but since you’re here, what are you doing…..here?
Simon Sparrow: Darin and I have a little issue. He still hasn’t apologized for disrespecting me and my family and considering that tonight could very well be my last match in the HOW, now is the only opportunity I have left to rectify that situation.
Brian BARE: Wait! Are you retiring?
Simon Sparrow: By the gods, no! Tonight, Michael Best and I are taking on the Legion of Darkness….Darkwing and Kostoff. Kostoff, Brian! KOSTOFF!!!
Brian BARE: So, I take it that you are not confident in your chances of coming out victorious tonight?
Simon Sparrow: Oh no! We are absolutely going to win. One hundred percent. It’s Michael Best’s last match on Refueled. We are NOT closing the book on the in-ring career of a legend like Michael Best with a loss. But, we’re going to be in the ring with Kostoff. I fear that he will murder me and my lifeless corpse will fall on top of an unconscious Darkwing for the one-two-three, giving us a spectacular win. And yes, I will maintain my status and title of being Undefeated Against Darkwing, but…you know….I’ll be deader than Max Kael….which would suck. So, here I am.
Brian BARE: It looks like I am here to witness an HOW moment.
Simon Sparrow: Uh-huh. Back up.
Simon Sparrow reaches into his pocket and pulls something out. Simon proceeds to knock on the door.
Simon Sparrow: ZION! GET YOUR LICKSPITTLE ASS OUT HERE!!!
Simon Sparrow goes from knocking to banging on the door.
Simon Sparrow: ZION!!! GET OUT HERE!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The door opens and with weighted steel knuckles in his hand he lends a devastating blow…..POW!!!!….right in the face. A small spray of blood hits the door as the body collapses on the floor. The body of Meredith.
The Ratings Juggernaut looks at the incapacitated body on the floor. There is a sense of panic, that a mistake has been made.
Simon Sparrow: Oh….shit…..
Brian BARE: You just assaulted Meredith!
Simon Sparrow: No! No, I didn’t! It was self-defense! She came right at me! You saw it! She had a crazed look in her eyes when she opened the door!
Brian BARE: I didn’t see that.
Simon Sparrow crouches to the floor and begins talking Meredith, lightly slapping her to get her conscious.
Simon Sparrow: I’m sorry….Hello…Meredith….I’m sorry….
Simon Sparrow becomes more frantic.
Simon Sparrow: I didn’t know it was you….I mean, how could I know? I was screaming for Zion. You must have heard it. You had to have heard it! You aren’t Zion! So why would you open the door? I mean…what kind of crazy fucking whacknut are you, opening the door to someone who is clearly upset, raving like a lunatic, and has a vendetta against your paramour?! You stupid, ditzy asshole!
Simon Sparrow slaps Meredith, a slap so hard it would have scored a 90 on the Whack-o-Meter. He suddenly realizes what he just did and becomes even more apologetic and pets her head.
Simon Sparrow: I’m sorry! I’m sorry!!!! So very, very sorry….
Simon Sparrow gets up and looks around. He pockets the weighted knucks and brushes himself off and turns around. He jumps back, nearly tripping over Meredith, as he sees Brian BARE (whom he has forgotten was present) hovering near him.
Simon Sparrow: AH!
Brian BARE: Simon! How could you?! Darin Zion will not be happy to hear about this!
Simon Sparrow: Now…let me just say…in total fairness…and in my defense that….Say, isn’t that Shane Reynolds?
Simon Sparrow points to the right and both Brian BARE and the camera turn to where Simon Sparrow was pointing to find none other than…..a janitor with the nametag “Larry” leaning against the wall eating a hot dog. Some relish falls off the weiner and onto his coveralls.
Brian BARE: That’s not Shane—-
Brian BARE and the camera turn back to find Simon Sparrow gone. Disappeared like a puff of smoke. Brian BARE shrugs at the camera before looking down at Meredith who is groaning and moaning in pain as she starts to come to as the scene cuts to commercial.
Steve Harrison vs Darin Zion
Back live from commercial and we cut immediately to our ring announcer for the next match
Bryan McVay: This match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Fairfax, Virginia, weighing two-hundred-and-forty-five pounds… STEVE HARRISON!
“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!.” 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: Welcome back folks and one has to be really concerned about Zion’s mental state after what we just saw before our commercial break…Harrison could be in a world of hurt in this match between men looking to rebound from their teams losing out on the March to Glory Tag Team Championship match.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Crown Point, Indiana, weighing two-hundred-and-twenty pounds… DARIN ZION!
“Happy Song” by Bring Me The Horizon blasts over the PA System as Darin Zion, who is wearing a black leather jacket, emerges from the back… but Meredith isn’t with him. As Zion heads down the ramp he ignores the hands of the fans, his expression one of barely-contained fury. Zion climbs the turnbuckle and sticks his hands out as we reach the chorus of the song. He flips off the turnbuckle pad and hands the referee his jacket. Zion shakes his head, mentally preparing for his upcoming match.
Joe Hoffman: As expected, Darin Zion is more than a little hot under the collar. Will that be an advantage against Steve who made a point of saying how personal this match isn’t?
Harrison looks bemused at Zion’s angry expression which, of course, only serves to irritate the latter further. Sensing the tension in the air, Joel Hortega motions for the bell before anything can boil over.
DING DING DING!
Darin Zion surges forward, eager to vent some of the powerful emotions he’s feeling on his opponent. The crowd roars its support for that enthusiasm, but the reaction turns on a dime to thunderous jeers as Steve Harrison side-steps that attempted bum rush, the Miracle Man tapping the side of his own head as he mouths off to the crowd about how he’s too smart for that. Turning around, Harrison smirks at Zion, provoking him into charging the larger man again–and again, like a matador, Harrison steps out of the way at the last moment, letting Zion rush right past him again. Harrison laughs, thinking he’s proven his opponent’s lacking intelligence as he continues to taunt the crowd, drinking in their hatred like it’s fine wine.
Joe Hoffman: As much as he thinks otherwise, Harrison is playing a dangerous game by not taking Zion seriously as an opponent. Darin’s record might be far from flawless, but he’s got a long and storied history of catching his opponents unawares if given the opportunity.
Behind Harrison’s back, instead of stopping himself short like he did the first time, Zion turns to rebound off the ropes. Dropping down on the return trip, Zion uses all of that momentum to connect with a chop block to the back of Harrison’s surgically-repaired knee! Steve crumples to the mat with a curse, immediately checking on that joint as Zion pops back up to his feet, the fans in attendance cheering for the pinpoint-accurate strike that has turned the tides of the match in his favor.
Joe Hoffman: And just like that, Zion proves my point. He’s got to stay on Harrison, though, and not fall into the same trap that caught his opponent.
In stark contrast to his opponent, Darin doesn’t play to the crowd at all when he gets control of the match. Instead, Zion chooses to haul Harrison to his feet before sending the larger man into the ropes with as much gusto as he can manage. Already limping a little, Steve still manages to duck under the clothesline attempt made by Darin in spite of how he’s moving slower than normal. When Harrison tries to stop on the wrong step, he jolts his knee, leaving an opening for Zion to grab him for a Russian Leg Sweep from the other side. Zion hooks the good leg to try for a pin, and Hortega rushes into position.
Harrison kicks out before the second count, but he’s still on the defensive as he nurses the knee… something that Zion definitely takes notice of.
Joe Hoffman: While making Harrison put weight on his bad knee is a good idea, it’s become clear that Zion’s realized that he needs to really focus in on it. That’s bad news for Harrison.
Darin is keen to take advantage of the knee and grabs Steve’s leg. It looks like Zion wants to put Harrison into a submission hold, maybe the STF, but Harrison struggles like his life depends on it and keeps him from locking anything in. Even when Zion turns around to try the Inverted Cloverleaf set-up, Harrison leans up and grabs Zion by the seat of his tights to yank him backwards off his feet in an attempt to give himself an opening. The two men scramble to their feet and, while Zion gets there first, he gets overzealous, rushing to close the distance…and getting caught with a spinebuster instead for his trouble, the ring shaking from the impact! Rather than go for a cover, Harrison takes the respite to check the knee so he can stop worrying about it and focus on Zion instead.
Joe Hoffman: Ordinarily, I would disagree with giving your opponent a chance to breathe…but Harrison making sure that wheel’s not too bad is a wise move. He needs to be quick about it, though, or else Zion’s gonna have the chance to do more damage.
A couple more test-flexes of his knee and the Miracle Man nods to himself, his focus returning to Darin, though the arrogance that defined the beginning of the match on his part is now gone. Harrison is out for blood, a forearm shot drilled into the middle of Zion’s back as he tries to rise that knocks him back down to the canvas. Zion starts up again, careful to keep his eyes on Harrison, but all that means is he can watch Harrison come for him and throw him over his head in a Belly-to-Belly suplex! This time Harrison does go for a cover.
DOS–Zion kicks out at a quick two. He flips over onto his back to make himself unpinnable, so Harrison just tries to lock in the Crossface Chickenwing! Zion struggles just like Harrison had earlier, quickly scrambling to the ropes to break the hold before Harrison can get control.
Joe Hoffman: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, it seems–though it looks like Harrison’s out to punish Zion since he’s not letting go of the hold just yet.
Harrison does some jaw-jacking at Zion, but Hortega makes him back off so Zion can get out of the ropes. Steve gets impatient and tries to pursue, but Darin’s recovered enough to nail a back elbow to stagger Harrison back. Then Darin unloads with a knife edge chop, then a second chop, then a third, driving the Miracle Man back as the crowd ‘Woo!’s after every stinging blow connects. Harrison tries to clothesline Zion out of his boots, but Zion ducks it and wraps him up for a German suplex, rising high up onto his toes so he can the bridge for a pinfall attempt!
Harrison pops out just in time. Zion tries to grab Harrison but Harrison pulls his legs in close so he can just punch Zion right in the mush, staggering him enough to let Harrison start pulling himself up.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison’s frustrated at how resilient Zion is proving to be, and that frustration is reaching a boiling point… whereas Darin’s own frustration at what happened to Meredith is fueling his offensive. Steve might just be screwed here!
Zion sets himself for a Buzzsaw kick, which Harrison ducks under, springing up before Zion can spin around to try and grab him in a Crossface Chickenwing! Darin locks his hands so Steve can’t cinch it in, so the Miracle Man switches grips to pull his opponent up into a Saito Suplex. He stomps Zion a bit, then starts stalking him as he gets up, signaling for the knee strike that he calls Enlightenment. Zion pushes himself up slowly, prompting Harrison to rush forward, but Zion was playing possum and whirls around to lift Harrison as he runs in! Darin gets Steve into a Fireman’s Carry, then swings his legs out to pull him down with The Ratings Spike! Zion pounces on Harrison, but Steve seems to know (maybe instinctively) what comes next, as he pulls his arms under himself so Zion has to work to dig them out, and by the time he has an arm out to try and lock in the Red Rings of Death? Harrison has enough wherewithal to scoot his legs under the ropes so Hortega has to pull Zion off of him.
Joe Hoffman: Darin’s got to be disappointed, but he’s got to swallow that down and keep on Steve!
Harrison clings to the ropes, and Darin spits some kind of insult, mirroring Harrison from earlier, before getting held off by Hortega, leaving Harrison to pull himself up slowly. As soon as Harrison is mostly upright, Zion pushes past Hortega, despite the protests, and grabs Harrison in a snapmare, but before he can heave him over in a suplex, Harrison snaps his arms through Darin’s to lock in the Chickenwing! He spins around and throws Darin overhead! It’s a Harricle! He quickly floats over, flipping a motionless Zion onto his back to go for the cover.
DING DING DING!
The Miracle Man removes himself from being atop Zion like the latter is beneath him, getting to his feet. Hortega raises Steve’s arm to a ringing chorus of boos.
Bryan McAvay: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner via pinfall… STEVE HARRISON!
Joe Hoffman: Zion came in with a head of steam, but ultimately Harrison’s cooler head prevailed and now one has to really wonder where Zion’s mental state is.
The action cuts away as we see a victorious Harrison smirking into the camera.
The Best Nostalgia
We go backstage, where HOW interviewer Brian Bare is standing with Michael Lee Best. The Son of God is already dressed to compete in tonight’s special main event, and looks focused not just on his match tonight, but on the pay-per-view ahead. For a man who seemed checked out just a few weeks ago and ready to retire, he certainly looks dialed in now.
He looks ready for war.
Brian Bare: Tonight is the night, Mike. Your last weekly show before retirement. How are you feeling?
The Son of Lee Best smiles wryly, putting a hand on Bare’s shoulder.
Mike Best: Nostalgic, Brian. No time tonight to get all emotional, but this is… it, you know? The next time I show up to a Refueled, I’ll do it as the CEO of High Octane Wrestling. As a suit. A civilian. No regrets, but I’m feeling that tonight.
Brian Bare: And to those who think it’s all another ruse? That you aren’t really retiring? The rumors are out there.
Michael laughs, putting his hands on his hips.
Mike Best: Can’t blame them. I’m the boy who cried retirement. It’s easy to walk away from the wear and tear, and the road schedule, and the bullshit. It’s harder to walk away from the rush. And from the money. Like I said, can’t say I’ll never, ever compete again but… my career is over. Anything after this is coming back for seconds, and I’m happy to say that after twelve years, I don’t think I’m as hungry as I used to be.
His face is… sincere. It’s not a work, folks. And while Michael Lee Best is happy to lie to you, The Narrator hasn’t lied to you in the dozen odd years he’s been here.
Brian Bare: You say you’re not hungry anymore, but you’re not quite excused from the table yet. Mike Best versus Clay Byrd at March to Glory promises to be one of the most brutal cage matches in HOW history, and of course tonight’s main event. You team up with Jatt Starr against the Legion themselves… Chris Kostoff and Darkwing.
The Hall of Famer smirks, holding back a chuckle.
Mike Best: Tonight’s main event is a love letter to a company who has done a lot for the four of us, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. Four of HOW’s absolute icons in one ring, in a match that has never happened before and will never happen again. Literally once in a lifetime. But don’t let my nostalgic waxing confuse you… I’ve got knees locked and loaded for the main event, and I’m planning to empty the clip. Kostoff… Darkwing… even Jatt, if he gets any smart ideas about making that eulogy he wrote a reality.
The Son of God stretches his neck, before reaching down and adjusting his knee pads.
Mike Best: As for Clay Byrd… look, I know it’s a Go Home show and it’s my job to sell tickets, but this match isn’t about the gate. It isn’t about the hype. It isn’t about the fans. I’m sick of talking about this motherfucker. I’m ready to fight. If Clay Byrd thinks I’m going out on my back, he hasn’t watched the last twelve years of HOW television– fuck around and find out, Clay. Say something cute. Maybe my career isn’t the only one that ends in Chicago.
For the first time in over a decade, Michael Lee Best extends his hand for Brian Bare to shake. Bare looks surprised at the gesture, but shakes hands with Michael Lee Best as the cameras roll.
Mike Best: I’ve got a main event to get ready for. It’s been a pleasure, Brian. I’ve been real shitty to you for twelve years… and I’m probably gonna be shitty to you for twelve more. But next time, I’m gonna do it as your boss.
He gives Brian a wink, patting him on the back as he walks out of frame. Brian Bare nods toward the camera, and the show moves on.
The Gold Standard
Backstage where the LSD Champion, John Sektor, and his young apprentice can be seen standing opposite the camera. The champion is dressed as such in a powder blue suit with an open collar white shirt. The LSD title is proudly slung over his shoulder as his partner, Ellis, stands next to him in a black shirt and pants.
John Sektor: First of all, we would like to congratulate the World champion Connor Fuse and his partner, David Noble, on joining us in the finals of the Maurako cup. What do they call themselves again?
He leans his head to his apprentice who seems a little embarrassed as he goes to answer.
Adam Ellis: …Vintage Gaming..
John Sektor: That’s it. Now, the four of us will undoubtedly have one of the most exciting tag team matches of this era, as we go to war to see who is crowned the new tag team champions. On paper? This match stacks up pretty close. You got the World champion on one team, the LSD champion on the other, representing the top tier of this business. Then you have my young rookie, improving with every match, and Noble..a rookie to HOW at least, by no means a stranger to championship matches.
Sektor is relaxed as he smiles confidently, looking genuinely excited by the prospect.
John Sektor: We cannot wait. You may be a wildcard team, thrown together for this tournament? But watching the way you two crawled back with the odds stacked against you has been truly impressive. We couldn’t think of a better team to face in the finals.
His expression slowly transitions from a smile into a stern and aggressive scowl.
John Sektor: But know this amigos. This is where the niceties end. On March 27th, in Chicago, we return to the Best arena. I have won many, many, championships in that arena and whilst I am billed from Miami? The Best Arena feels like home. So enjoy the moment, mi hermanos. Because we, are not leaving Chicago without those belts.
He pauses for a moment, allowing his stern words to ferment for a moment before softening his stance to move on.
John Sektor: Now, onto other business. Mr Pleasant..
A smirk crawls half way up his face as he mentions Pleasant’s name.
John Sektor: I got the letter from your little cunt of an attorney. All this shit talk of me ducking your challenge? Not giving you a rematch? Not living up to my name as a machine? What, you think I’m gonna bite at that cliche black-ball shit? You think I’m Marty Mc-fuckin-Fly and gonna knee-jerk at the mention of the word chicken?
Sektor shakes his head.
John Sektor: I heard ya. I heard every word you’ve said, but you know what mother-fucker? I’M, the champion, which means YOU WAIT, for me! Got it? I’m here..
He holds his hand high in the air with his palm facing down, giving a visual of his own status.
John Sektor: You’re here..
His arm then drops below his waistline, showing Pleasant where his sits.
John Sektor: That’s where you are in the food chain, Arthur. So you need to wait like a good little boy until I’m ready to respond because that’s my prerogative as the mother-fucking champion!
With that, he calms himself by grooming his infamous moustache with his thumb and forefinger.
John Sektor: You are correct. The result of our last match was not exactly how I wanted it to go. I stand here now, as the longest reigning LSD champion of all time, having beaten Jace Parker Davidsons previous record, yet I feel hollow. Hollow because one of those titles defences was successful on a technicality. I did not pin you and I did not make you tap. And so, YES. Yes you will get your rematch because this championship deserves a definitive result when it is being defended.
Sektor nods slowly, patting the title over his shoulder with respect.
John Sektor: Now you’re either crazy or incredibly stupid. Because you’ve gone and flopped your dick on the table by asking for this match to be a submissions match.
Sektor quietly chuckles to himself before turning very stern.
John Sektor: I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to insult me. You see maybe the one thing I’ve got in this place that no one else has is that my submission and technical ability is the best bar none! So you want to prove that you can beat me at my own game and out wrestle me. You want to make me tap and physically submit my LSD championship to you because you want to twist the knife in deep when you do it and make sure it really hurts. I’m sure the fact that my knee isn’t a hundred percent played into that idea also.
John Sektor: Fair enough. I respect it. I’m a sadistic fuck too. If you want a submissions match? Then you’ll fucking get it, because I personally can’t way to hear that smart-ass mouth of yours scream blood curdling screams as I take you to the house of a thousand holds and fold you up like a fucking accordion!
His eyes glare at the camera down the bridge of his nose as an intensity bubbles inside of him. Ellis just smiles as he listens to his mentor talk so passionately.
John Sektor: The only question is when. Do you really think I’m going to risk my championship by pulling double duty at March to Glory, knowing that I will have to go through a gauntlet with the World champion and David Noble?
He pauses with a look on his face that says ‘do you think I’m stupid?’ This soon transcends into a smile.
John Sektor: Well that’s the thing isn’t it? No guts no glory. So you bet your fucking ass I’ll defend this LSD championship at March to Glory. Because it’s risk vs reward and when I beat you and we..
He gestures between himself and Ellis.
John Sektor: ..win the Tag championship I will be walking out with the Tag and LSD championships, all accomplished in one GLORIOUS fucking night! And the cherry on the top? Making YOU..
He glares at the camera.
John Sektor: ..Tap the FUCK OUT!
The camera goes flying as Sektor smacks it with his hand before the scene cuts away and we head to a commercial break.
A Fighter's Challenge
We come back from commercial, finding ourselves backstage with Brian Bare standing by!
Brian Bare: Hello everyone, Brian Bare here with Xander Azula, still recovering from his bout against STRONK Godson in our opening contest!
This statement is visually verified by the sight of Xander holding an ice pack to his forehead, clearly peeved that his troubles from earlier tonight would be brought up again. Brian pays no mind to the plight of the Head Disciple, clearly in journalist mode at the moment.
Brian Bare: Xander, last week we saw the chase for the Maurako Cup come to an end for you and Darin Zion at the hands of Adam Ellis and John Sektor after you tapped o–
Xander has had enough at this point, grabbing the microphone from Bare with his free hand and a glare toward the backstage reporter.
Xander Azula: Listen here, Brian, I don’t like your attitude right now. Yes I passed out tonight. Yes, I tapped out last week. Yes, the journey is over for the Masters of the Multiverse…for now. And yes, Darin Zion is a man with divided attention right now. He’s had ambitions of gold for some time now, and you can see it in his eyes that he’s hungry…well, so am I.
Xander turns his attention toward the camera, the glare in his eyes never leaving as he continues on.
Xander Azula: There are those in the back that would make me out as some sort of laughing stock with my track record, and to those people I would offer a reminder: I can be very, very dangerous when pushed too far. I’ve been on edge a lot lately, worried about far greater things than the normal toils of professional wrestling…and it’s about time I find something to take that edge off, something to destress my distress if you will.
Xander takes a moment of pause, carefully considering his next words…and by the looks of the wicked smirk on his face as he turns back to Bare, he’s found those very words.
Xander Azula: I’m at something of a crossroads now, Brian. For the second year in a row, I find myself in the very real danger of not being at March to Glory. Some would say I’m wandering aimlessly through the wilderness, but I see this as an opportunity. A blank slate, even. Above all else, a chance to go back to my roots.
He stops himself there, noticing on the wall beside him a poster for March to Glory with the prominent presence of Michael Lee Best, the man retiring after the PPV event. Xander points to the poster, his smirk now a full grin.
Xander Azula: Here we have the only man to make me less than perfect in HOFC competition, the only HOFC Champion of the current age if you will. This man leaves active in-ring competition after March to Glory, leaving behind a legacy that people will try–and fail–to replicate. Everyone has their eyes set on glory this month, and whereas Mike’s career ends in a cage, I have decided to begin my renaissance there. When I negotiated my HOW contract for the year, there was an agreement for three HOFC matches…and since the Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab is on his way out, I will not be picky. I’ll gladly take on anyone inside that HOFC cage…not for championship gold, for that ship has already long sailed, but as a matter of pride.
Xander turns his attention to Bare once more.
Xander Azula: Anyone who thinks I’m a joke is welcome to come test me, but know this…if they push me hard enough, I will push back.
With that, Xander makes his exit, leaving us with a visibly confused and even worried Brian Bare before we cut away to ringside for the next match!
Clay Byrd and Steve Solex vs The Devil’s Advocates
We cut back to ringside and Joe Hoffman as it is time for our next match of the evening.
Joe Hoffman: All right welcome back everyone and Bryan McVay is in the ring to introduce the two teams for our next match.
Cut to McVay in the ring.
Bryan McVay: Our next match will be one fall and it is a #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH FOR THE HOW TAG TEAM TITLES!!
Guitar and harmonica begin to blare through the arena, the start of “Gunning For You” by Nick Nolan sends a silence across the crowd as Nick Nolan’s lyrics echo through the arena. Red letters slash across the screen as “BYRD” is spelled out.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first from Plainview, Texas… weighing in tonight at 295 pounds… CLAY! BYRD!
Clay appears through fog on the entrance ramp, cowboy hat low over his eyes, a long black duster on and a rope in his hand.
Byrd pauses on the stage as the beginning of “Dad Vibes” by Limp Bizkit thumps from the sound system as the crowd explodes into a fury of boos and hisses. A montage of Steve Solex plays on the HOV, flashing on and off in rhythm with the music.
As the music stalls, the HOV goes black as the lights throughout the arena go dark.
Bryan McVay: And his partner… hailing from Huntington Beach, California… weighing in at 252 pounds… The World’s #1 Dad… STEVE! SOOOOO-LEX!
A bomb like explosion blasts at the top of the entry way sending a plume of smoke up and in front of the HOV in the shape of a mushroom cloud, and at that moment the music returns and Steve Solex makes his way out from behind the curtain and joins Byrd on stage.
Byrd and Solex make their way down the ramp towards the ring.
Bryan McVay: And their opponents…
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.
Bryan McVay: From under the midnight sun of Utqiagvik, Alaska and weighing in tonight at 220 pounds. The Provocateur… ARTHUR PLEASANT!
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.
Arthur runs the ropes a few times, making a mockery out of the mat-wrestling master race that like to warm up before a match. Retreating to the corner furthest away from the ramp, Arthur hunkers down with both arms holding onto the top rope at his sides as he sits on the middle turnbuckle. A lustful look bearing the need for violence and calamity, Arthur grins as widely as his jaw and skin will allow him to while he waits for his doomed opponent.
“Goldberg Variations” by Johann Sebastian Bach plays over the speakers as four security guards step out onto the stage.
Bryan McVay: And his tag team partner, from Gainesville, Florida. Weighing in at 230 pounds. He is the HOTv CHAMPION! JEFFREY! JAMES! ROBERTS!
They form a square as Jeffrey James Roberts steps out and stands in the middle. His hands are out front, tied with plastic ziptie cuffs, and he walks toward the ring, keeping his eyes focused on it.
Bryan McVay: They are the… DEVIL’S ADVOCATES!
The guards keep a perimeter to make sure he can’t reach any fans and they walk with him all the way to ringside.
The guard in front unlocks the cuffs, then steps back to allow Roberts to climb into the ring. He does so, then leans back against one corner, his eyes closed, head back, swaying slightly to the music.
Joe Hoffman: All right, The Devil’s Advocates defeated Brian Hollywood and Eli Dresden last week while Solex and Byrd knocked off Mario Maurako and Simon Sparrow to set up tonight’s #1 contender’s match. The winner faces the new Tag Team Champions who will be crowned in two weeks at March To Glory- either Conor Fuse and David Noble or the team of John Sektor and Adam Ellis.
Referee Matt Boettcher checks both teams. Satisfied, he turns to the timekeeper and motions for the bell.
Solex and Roberts start and they tie up right away. Roberts whips Solex in the corner. Solex falls to a seated position and Roberts stomps away. Boettcher starts a five count. Roberts lets off at four and has a couple words for the referee, allowing Arthur Pleasant to pull Solex’s hair.
Joe Hoffman: The Devil’s Advocates know what they’re doing. JJR and Pleasant have really developed into a really good tag team here in HOW.
Roberts stands Solex up- CHOP! A second chop causes Solex to wince. Roberts takes Solex over to the corner and tags in Pleasant. Solex fights back with forearms. Chop to Roberts. Chop to Pleasant. LOW BLOW BY ROBERTS puts an end to that. Roberts and Pleasant whips Solex to the ropes- Solex hooks his arms under the top rope and holds up there. Roberts gets kicked out of the ring by Boettcher. Solex moves forward and shoves Pleasant into the ropes. Pleasant off the ropes- Solex dropkicks him down. He drags Pleasant over to their corner and tags in Clay Byrd for the first time. They double whip Pleasant to the ropes- DOUBLE KNIFE-EDGED CHOPS cut him down. Byrd drags Pleasant up, puts him in the corner and rocks Pleasant with a right hand. He spins Arthur around and chokes him over the top rope. Boettcher again starts a five count. Byrd breaks at four. He glares across the ring at Roberts and backs away.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd has his eye on Roberts but he’s going to bring Solex back in.
Tag to Solex. He climbs up on the top turnbuckle. Byrd scoop slams Pleasant- Elbow drop from the top by Solex. He hooks the leg.
Tw- Pleasant kicks out.
Solex keeps pressing. Chop to Pleasant. Solex runs the ropes- Roberts trips him up. Solex jumps back up and pops Roberts. Pleasant clobbers him from behind. Roberts with a forearm shot to the face. Byrd sticks a foot through the ropes and Boettcher immediately goes over to stop him. Side headlock by Pleasant and Roberts tags in. While Byrd engages with the referee, Roberts and Pleasant mug Solex in their corner.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd’s letting his emotions get the better of him there. The Devil’s Advocates are going to bend the rules as much as possible to get the advantage.
Solex falls to the mat. Roberts and Pleasant stomp the hell out of him. Roberts moves Solex to the corner and sticks his boot on Solex’s throat. Boettcher immediately starts a five count. Byrd finally has enough and brushes by Boettcher. Roberts immediately lets off and ducks under the ropes. Boettcher gets in between the two. Roberts with a calm smile to Byrd- Byrd’s mouth curls into a snarl. He reluctantly returns to their corner. Roberts back in and he drives the boot to Solex again. Pleasant holds out his hand and Roberts tags him back in.
Joe Hoffman: Roberts and Pleasant are doing a great job of isolating Steve Solex. Clay Byrd has only been in the ring a couple minutes and Solex is getting worn out.
Roberts and Pleasant lift Solex up… double suplex. Boettcher chases Roberts out. Pleasant covers…
TWO… Solex kicks out.
He tries to crawl to his corner but Pleasant clamps on a chinlock and grinds Solex down to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd is screaming at Solex to get over to him.
Solex fights his way up. Pleasant tries to rake the eyes. Solex blocks and throws body shots. He tries to get to the corner- Pleasant grabs him- spins him- and nails Solex with a BIG back elbow.
Joe Hoffman: Pleasant and Roberts are keeping Byrd out of the match and Solex is getting ground down.
Pleasant lifts Solex- BUCKLE BOMB! Cover.
NO! Solex grabs the rope in the nick of time.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex has got to get tagged out.
Pleasant tags in Roberts. He captures the legs and pulls Solex off the mat upside down. Step over and squat
Joe Hoffman: ROBERTS HAS HIM IN THE CLOVERLEAF!
Roberts tries to sit down as far as possible to put the maximum pressure on Solex’s back.
Joe Hoffman: Solex is in a heap of trouble now!
Solex screams out as a calm and collected JJR squats down more and puts further pressure on his back.
Joe Hoffman: He may tap! HERE COMES BYRD!
Byrd over the ropes. He runs over and tackles Roberts from behind. Pleasant in the ring. He drives a forearm to the back of Byrd. Roberts rolls out of the ring. Boettcher gets in between Pleasant and Byrd and he tells both men to get out of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: This has just been a mugging. Arthur Pleasant and Jeffrey James Roberts have negated Clay Byrd by keeping him out of the match and focusing on keeping Steve Solex in the ring as long as they can.
Order restored. Roberts rolls under the ropes and promptly tags Pleasant back in. Roberts and Pleasant slam Solex head first into the turnbuckle. And again… three times… Boettcher with another five count. Four times. Roberts steps back and climbs through the ropes to the outside. Boettcher gives him an earful while Pleasant slams Solex into the turnbuckle for a fifth time. He hooks the leg- Rolling Fisherman’s Buster. Two Rolling Fisherman’s Busters by Pleasant. Three Rolling Fisherman’s Busters. Pleasant crawls over and covers.
Joe Hoffman: CLAY BYRD MAKES THE SAVE!
Byrd launched himself through the ropes and shoved Pleasant off Solex at the last possible second. Byrd stomps away at Pleasant. Roberts comes in- Byrd smacks him with a right hand sending him right back out. Boettcher starts a five count and Byrd goes right back to his corner.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd so desperately wants to get in there but, again, The Devil’s Advocates have pulled off a great game plan and they are executing it to the hilt. Steve Solex is exhausted and he still can’t get to his corner.
Roberts tags in. Pleasant gives Solex a back elbow. Roberts adds a knee. He feeds Solex to Pleasant for a POWERSLAM. Roberts sucker punches Solex and Roberts covers.
THR-NO! Solex somehow gets a shoulder up.
Joe Hoffman: As much punishment as he’s taken, Steve Solex still got the shoulder up.
Byrd again yells at Solex to get to the corner and tag him. Roberts drags Solex up… SNAP POWERBOMB! He hooks the leg.
Solex gets the shoulder up again.
Joe Hoffman: I can’t believe Steve Solex kicked out!
Roberts dispassionately reacts. Pleasant slams his hands on the turnbuckle.
Joe Hoffman: And neither can Pleasant and Roberts… in his own way.
Roberts tags Pleasant back in. Pleasant goes to grab Solex’s legs- SOLEX KICKS HIM AWAY! He crawls over to his corner- HOT TAG TO CLAY BYRD!
The crowd rises up as the Texan FINALLY gets back into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go!
Byrd comes in on fire. Big boot to the midsection for Pleasant. Back elbow in the corner for Roberts. Back elbow for Pleasant! Back elbow again for Roberts. Pleasant ducks under another elbow. Roberts back in the ring- Clay charges in- DOUBLE LARIATS!
Joe Hoffman: The crowd’s on their feet and they are getting fired up!
Right hand to Pleasant. Byrd takes Roberts and heaves him through the ropes to the floor. Pleasant up and tries for a clothesline- Byrd swats his arm away and sends Pleasant out of the ring,
Joe Hoffman: SOLEX UP TOP!
Getting his second or third wind, Steve Solex races across, jumps on the top turnbuckle and flies taking out both Pleasant and Roberts on the floor. Byrd out of the ring. Solex gets Roberts up and feeds him to Byrd- waistlock- lift- SPINEBUSTER. He grabs Pleasant… lift- SPINEBUSTER! Boettcher starts a ten count. Solex and Byrd pull Pleasant up and throw him back into the ring. Byrd rolls in under the ropes. He goes for a cover.
THR-NO! ROBERTS BREAKS IT UP.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t believe it! Jeffrey James Roberts somehow drug himself off the floor and got back into the ring to break up the three count.
Byrd launches himself at Roberts- SPEAR. The force of impact sends Roberts through the ropes to the floor.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd is a man possessed right now!
Byrd rolls up Pleasant again.
Two…Pleasant kicks out.
Joe Hoffman: Arthur Pleasant survives.
Solex calls out to Byrd and the Texan walks over and tags him in.
Joe Hoffman: Solex got a rest and he says he’s ready to go.
Solex rolls Pleasant up.
Two- Pleasant again kicks out.
Solex goes to pull Pleasant up- LOW BLOW BY PLEASANT! Solex bent over. Pleasant tags Roberts back in and he drags Solex up. Lock up. Solex fights out with elbows. Roberts fires off a flurry. He steps back… SUPERKICK! Solex collapses. Pleasant covers…
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex has taken a tremendous amount of punishment in this match but yet he keeps kicking out.
Pleasant tags in Roberts. Roberts lifts Solex up… MASK OF SANITY!
Joe Hoffman: That’s gotta do it. JJR just spiked Solex with that Brainbuster Driver.
THR- BYRD MAKES THE SAVE!
Again the crowd roars. Roberts throws Byrd through the ropes to the floor. Pleasant joins him in the ring and they pull Solex up… Pleasant roars forward… PROVOCATION!
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex’s head snapped back at that high velocity single-leg dropkick!
Roberts on the top rope. Roberts lands with his knee right across Solex’s throat.
Joe Hoffman: HE GOT IT! SHOOTING STAR GUILLOTINE BY ROBERTS AND HE COVERS.
Joe Hoffman: Roberts and Pleasant get the win.
Bryan McVay delivers the official result at ringside while at the same time, several members of the EPU go right over to Roberts and place the restraints back on him.
Bryan McVay: Your winner at sixteen minutes and fourteen seconds. Jeffrey James Roberts and Arthur Pleasant… AND NEW NUMBER ONE CONTENDER’S FOR THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS……….THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATES!
Joe Hoffman: And they get a title shot whomever the tag team champions are after March to Glory. Scott Stevens challenges Conor Fuse for the World Title in just a few minutes and don’t forget, Michael Lee Best wrestling for the final time on Refueled is our main event later on tonight. For now? I hear we need to cut backstage.
So much HATE
Cutting backstage, we see The Hardcore Artist and High Octane Hall of Famer, Scottywood, sitting behind a large table where he is flanked by Chet and Tanner. Scotty looks over at the cameraman as he cracks open a can of some Other Half IPA.
Scottywood: Make sure you get this good. This will be the final weekly show where the #97Red maggots can see Bobbinette Carey with two eyes. She’ll look like a fucking freak after March to Glory is done and over with.
Chet: Doesn’t your son also have one eye bro?
Tanner: Yeah, and where is the little dude? I thought he was shooting this today.
Scottywood: He’s been a freak from the first day he joined HOW with me. Losing his eye just made you a bit more freaky. And I got no idea where he ran off to today… I’ve given up trying to keep track of him most days.
Chet: One eyed Frankie!
Tanner: Nobody tug on him too hard.
Chet: Bet he shoots Legos….
Scottywood: Ok, Zip it you fucks. You got your asses handed to you by Bobbinette last week… and despite having one eye, Frankie is a HOW Hall of Famer… while you two have yet to even win a match here in HOW.
Chet: Ok, so do you really think Bobbinette will show up today for this?
Tanner: You like kidnapped her crush… and exposed him to be a fraud.
Scottywood: She’ll show up… she won’t pass up a chance to try and get the upper hand back after I embarrassed her ass this week. Though maybe… just maybe this is what finally breaks her. Sends her into some shitty spiral and she just buries herself in the basement of her house, never wanting to see another person ever again…
Chet: Like no people ever?
Tanner: Like never sniping any snipes again?
Chet: Women are so fucking fragile bro.
Tanner: I think I broke one’s hip while throwing some heavy hip one night.
Scottywood: Fucking eh… ok, just stay on your fucking toes. She is likely gonna try something… and I don’t need this to devolve into some shit show where one of us gets put through this table. I’m in her fucking head and I want to keep that mental advantage heading into March to Glory.
The screen splits as we see Bobbinette Carey in what appears to be a limo. She is laughing loud and obnoxiously.
Bobbinette: Scott, Scott, Scott…you are anything but not predictable.
She golf claps as she continues to laugh.
Bobbinette: You kidnap people. You play mind games. I know the Scottywood playbook. We’ve been best friends for 15 years!
She says in a matter of fact tone while making a fake shocked face.
Scottywood: Best? I don’t know about…
Carey cuts him off though, ignoring his attempted dig.
Bobbinette: Oh no you kidnapped some guy I was seeing…
She rolls her eyes.
Bobbinette: And you let him show he was just like every other dude out there. Thanks for doing the work for me!
She says with a chuckle wiping tears from her eyes.
Bobbinette: No, he was just the low hanging fruit. The art of misdirection. Anyone knows the most important thing to me is my legacy… my children. Oh my daughters, are far removed from anywhere you would be able to find them.
She says in a matter of fact tone.
Bobbinette: But your child… your son…
Scottywood: I don’t have a…
She laughs as the camera pans over to Frankie sitting in the limo excited.
Frankie: Hey Scotty! Carey said you two were all cool with this. She even got me a new camera and some new LEGO sets to play with!
Bobbinette: Yeah Frankie is going to hang out with the Carey’s for the next two weeks. He needs a mother’s love and deserves a break from your abuse and neglect.
She says with a large smile on her face.
Scottywood: You mean that grown man I use as a tax write off? Great, sounds like I’ll save some money this week.
Comments back Scotty as he jabs Chet in the side to get him and Tanner to get up and try to find Frankie before Carey takes off with him. The two quickly scramble, grabbing their hockey sticks and running out of the room.
Bobbinette: Oh we are almost to the airport. Don’t worry he will be safe and have fun, he is even going to go see Livie.
She surprised Frankie with that announcement.
Bobbinette: I guess I took a page out of your play book. See you at March to Glory Scott.
The feed cuts out on Bobbinette’s end leaving Scotty alone in the room, fuming as he slams his fist on the table, spilling the remainder of his beer.
Scottywood: I’m going to murder that fucking cunt! Gonna stab her in both her fucking eyes an then strangle her with her own fucking uterus. How about that for a fucking legacy.
The scene cuts out as Scotty reaches into his pocket and pulls out his infamous NGW, blood encrusted pen and grips in his right hand. Ready to finally stab Bobbinette Carey and end this, once and for all.
Back live and we cut backstage to the medical area, where Meredith’s getting aid. She’s lying on the table in the background. Medical professionals are sitting her nose back into place. In the meantime, a battered and worn-out Darin Zion walks into the picture. Gone is the usual smile plastered all over his face. A more stoic look replaces it. He’s glancing off into the distance, keeping his thoughts to himself.
Darin Zion: Simon, I’m not going to prance up and down the backstage area for weeks demanding an apology. On the contrary, this situation escalated more than it had to since the beginning. I might have egged you on that first week. But if you want to know why I did? I needed to see a shred of personal emotion. Outside of the usual words, I wanted to SEE how much this situation bugged you. That’s why I typically like handling these unfortunate circumstances off camera. Most professional wrestlers don’t like to dive into their deep-rooted emotions in front of a live audience.
Zion rubs his forehead with his index finger and thumb, shaking his head. He exhales a large amount of air before continuing.
Darin Zion: Let’s face it, we live in a sport where we run around acting like a bunch of macho fighters. Everyone expects us NOT to get lost in our emotions. It’s why I asked you for weeks after our encounters to give me space. I’m trying my best not to clobber your face in Mr. Sparrow. I needed time to process my emotional past with Hall of Famers jumping all over my fucking business.
Throwing his hands up into the air, Zion throw a string of nonchalant words out into the universe. His look tells it all; he doesn’t give two shits about Simon’s feelings.
Darin Zion: Guess we couldn’t wait any longer. Oh, the fuck well! I blame myself for being an indecisive little prick. I hoped I could see the better side of Sir Simon Sparrow. Apparently, if Conor Fuse can see the best in an overindulgent, selfish, wind bag like you; maybe I could do the same. Life happens sometimes! Sometimes a worm hole sweeps you off your feet and you lose yourself down a multiverse rabbit hole. You can’t take back your actions and can only move forward.
Zion’s eyes dart straight to the ground. Something’s weighing heavy on his heart. Gone is the over-jovial excitement from his tone. It’s a melancholy response, devoid of excitement.
Darin Zion: Trust me, this isn’t about revenge, Sparrow. I respect Conor too much to hold a grudge with a Hall of Fame talent like yourself. You manned up and finally came to my locker room. Regardless rather you came when I was preparing for my match with Steve Harrison, you manned up. You came in ready to pop me square in the nose. You did what you set out to do. Hell, had I caught that punch; I’d hold a helluva lot of respect. Takes a man to batter someone who wronged his family right in the damn kisser.
Zion’s eyes move back to the camera. He’s glaring a hole straight into Simon Sparrow’s soul. Cracking his knuckles, Darin puts emphasis on his next statement.
Darin Zion: But see our issues don’t stem from how much I respect you. They don’t stem from how much you respect Meredith. They come from how much you RESPECT ME.
Zion’s fist comes sailing down on the medical table in front of him.
Darin Zion: You’ve spent more time slandering my name than handling this like men. You crawled up into my mind and cost one of my only friends his shot at HOW Gold. You’ve broken my love’s nose which in turn got my so mentally on tilt that it cost me my match with Harrison earlier tonight. You’ve insulted my damn family name every chance you got. And Conor, I’m sorry. I didn’t want everything to get to this point. I didn’t want to hurt, Jatt. But I have no other choice…I have NO…OTHER…CHOICE…
A sinister smile fills Zion’s face while his tone changes.
Darin Zion: You’ll get my apology….AFTER March 2 Glory; Jatt….we’re facing off in a No Holds Barred match. I’m not asking for this match from HOW officials. I’m not playing nice. Rather if it’s officially booked or not; we’re gonna fight at March 2 Glory, Jatt. Sanctioned or not! I’m going to leave a trail of your blood lining the Best Arena. Like you said, Jatt. If there’s no Lee; then I’ll make damn sure there’s no Jatt walking out of Chicago.
Zion;s arms fold across his chest.
Darin Zion: You made this a self-fulfilling prophecy, Simon. I will not rest until I knock your damn ass out in front of the world to see.
Zion storms off as the scene fades to black.
Scott Stevens vs. Conor Fuse
We cut back inside the arena where there is a palpable energy in the air as fans stand as one in the Fiserv Forum. The people in Milwaukee are ready for the conclusion that will see two matches that would main event any PPV on the HOW schedule. Instead, they get to see it on Refueled 91.
Bryan McVay: The following match is ONE FALL and for the HIGH OCTANE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!
Joe Hoffman: Needless to say that the fans here in Milwaukee are ready for this match, a match that would close out any other Refueled or PPV. Conor Fuse will defend his HOW World Championship, a title he has held for 65 days, since capturing it at the One Night World Title Tournament at ICONIC. His one defense comes against the man he is facing tonight, Scott Stevens.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, hailing from Houston, Texas and standing at six feet and six inches tall, SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOTT! STEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENS!
‘A Country Boy Can Survive’ by Hank Williams Jr. rips through the Fiserv Forum as the challenger to the HOW World Championship emerges from backstage. There is a demeanor to Stevens face, one that belies just how focused and locked in he is for his second title shot in the new year.
Joe Hoffman: Weeks of Stevens continuing to call Fuse out has led us to this match tonight. Even though he hasn’t captured a victory since the start of the new year, Fuse is going to need to be every bit ready for the fiery tornado that is Scott Stevens.
Stevens confidently walks down to the ring, rolling under the bottom rope. He makes his way past Joel Hortega and to the opponents corner. He squats in the corner, rocking on the balls of his feet, as he stares at the ramp, waiting for the man who is carrying the strap he wants more than just about anything right now.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent!
Joe Hoffman: The crowd here in Milwaukee are excited to see the holder of #97red himself.
The arena goes dark.
At first, anyway.
!RANK !RANK !RANK, the fans begin. A #97MarioRed spotlight shines on the entrance way as the original Legend of Zelda theme song cues. Plastic rupees fall from the rafters into the crowd, all of them in the shade of 97. The music cuts, the spotlight flashes on and off. The original dungeon theme in Legend of Zelda surfaces over the airwaves.
Bryan McVay: Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing in at two-hundred-ten pounds… he is the High Octane World Champion and for tonight, he is… “CALAMITY” CONOR FUUUUUUUSSSSSSE!
Finally, “The Calamity Ganon Theme” from Breath of the Wild plays. The Ultimate Gamer rises from a lift underneath the middle of the stage. He wears an SNES inspired trench coat, looking something out of a mix between a Link tunic and a jacket Simon Belmont from Castlevania would wear. The crowd cheers as The Power-Up King, head down, arms crossed, only raises his head after the lift reaches the top of the stage. Red pyro goes off beside him.
Joe Hoffman: “Calamity” Conor. He’s used this moniker once before, much more “unofficially”. It was when Fuse battled Sutler Reynolds-Kael at Bottomline and won his first World Title.
Conor’s hair isn’t as messy as normal. One may assume this isn’t a “calamity look” and yet, he would tell you otherwise. Fuse marches down the rampway with a purpose, rupees continuing to fall into the crowd. Once Conor reaches the apron, he drops his trench coat, revealing new #97MarioRed wrestling tights, with what looks to be Mortal Kombat inspired images of blood designed throughout. The words “CODE #97 RED” run down the right side of Conor’s leg and the nickname “VINTAGE” written in a blood font across his bottom. He also wears a red basketball “shooting sleeve” on his left arm.
Conor leaps onto the apron and then leaps over the top rope, landing perfectly on his feet as more pyro explodes. He takes the World Title off his waist and hands it to the referee.
Joe Hoffman: The fans here in Milwaukee have come out here to support their champion. Fuse, who has teamed with David Noble in an unlikely pairing, will be competing in the Maurako Cup Finals at March to Glory in two weeks time, live from Chicago! The only remaining question for Fuse is if he will be walking into the Best Arena with the World Championship wrapped around his waist or not.
Joel then hoists the title high into the air before walking it over to the timekeeper. He then looks at both competitors, the electricity at an all time high.
Joe Hoffman: A match that would close our evening shares the co-main event status with a tag match of a lifetime in the making as Mike Best will wrestle in his final weekly show here in HOW before his retirement match at March to Glory. But, for now, this match is here and it is time to get it started!
At the sound of the bell, both men… remain in their corners. There seems to be a confidence and calm to each one of them as they slowly emerge from their corners. Both men meet in the middle of the ring, not exchanging words, just staring one another down. The tension is palpable until Fuse drills Stevens in the jaw with a stiff punch that sends Stevens crashing to the mat. Scott rolls out under the bottom rope, grabbing his jaw while his eyes remain focused upon Fuse.
Joe Hoffman: And what a shot from Conor! My goodness, the ferocity with that shot. Clearly Fuse is not pleased with how Stevens has called him out every single week since their last meeting, and the look in his eyes shows that he intends to put an end to their feud tonight.
Stevens walks around the ring while Hortega counting him out and ordering him back into the ring. Scott rolls in under the bottom ring as Fuse gives him the space to enter the ring safely. Stevens paces back and forth along the ropes before he rushes at Fuse. Conor goes for a clothesline, but Stevens ducks underneath it, slips behind Fuse, wraps his arms around his waist and lifts him up before slamming him to the mat. Fuse rolls onto his back as Stevens blasts him in the face with a stiff elbow show.
Fuse covers up as another comes flying at his face and then Conor manages to get his hips above Stevens and kicks him away. Both men scramble to their feet with Stevens rushing at Fuse only for Conor to connect with a hip toss into an arm bar. He drills his knee into the shoulder blade of his opponent and wrenches on the wrist as Stevens grimaces in pain. Stevens moves his through his motions and gets up to a standing position before arm dragging Fuse onto the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Wrestling has taken the stage front and center for both of these men. You would expect more brawling, more high-flying moves, but both of these men have come out looking to out-wrestle one another and it’s a sight to see. The fans around me are taken aback by the contrast in both of these wrestlers style considering what you usually see from both of them. It’s clear these two understand the stakes that come with tonight.
Fuse sits against the ropes as Stevens smiles at him from across the ring. The HOW World Champion grabs the top rope and pulls himself back up to his feet. Both men circle the ring before meeting up in the center of the ring with a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Stevens proceeds to put Fuse into a side headlock only for Fuse to hoist him up for a side suplex. Stevens manages to land on his feet though, bounces off the ropes with Fuse dropping on the mat, Stevens steps over him, and as he comes off the ropes again, Fuse connects with a dropkick that plants Stevens on the mat.
Stevens rushes to his feet and is met with a spinning back kick from Fuse. With his opponent doubled over, Fuse bounces off the ropes, and connects with a chop block to Scott, who collapses to the mat. Conor wastes no time as he grabs the feet of Stevens and turns him over into a Boston Crab. Fuse yanks back on Stevens, who grimaces from the pressure being applied to his lower back.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse attempting to get Stevens to submit in the early part of this match, a surprise considering who Fuse normally is. The words of Stevens has gotten to Fuse over the weeks, clearly, and he’s unleashing his frustration out on him right now.
Stevens manages to crawl to the bottom rope, forcing Fuse to break the hold. Fuse though grabs Stevens by his ankles and yanks him away from the bottom rope before dropping a knee across the lower back of his opponent. Fuse yanks Stevens off of the mat and whips him into the ropes before connecting with a spinning back elbow. Scott drops to one knee from the shot as Fuse bounces off the ropes and goes for a boot to the side of the face only for Stevens to move out of the way and wraps his arms around the waist of Fuse and German Suplexes him to the mat.
Fuse grabs the back of his head, ginger from the slam, while Stevens bounces back up and pulls Fuse up with him. He pushes him into the corner and begins to drill him with knee striker after knee strike to the abdomen. Fuse doubles over from the shots only for Stevens to connect with a gutwrench slam. He then goes for the cover on the #97red holder.
Joe Hoffman: And Stevens goes for the first pinfall of the match, but comes up short! Both men going back and forth, methodical with their actions, and not letting anything to chance. The intensity from both men has been through the roof thus far and it is only going to ratchet up from here. Stevens dragging Fuse back up to his feet, whips him into the ropes, and misses on a clothesline. Fuse launches himself off the middle rope, twists in the air, and connects with a flying crossbody on Stevens!
Both men make their way back up to their feet with Fuse catching Stevens with a cracking knife-edge chop. Stevens steps backwards into the ropes, using the momentum to launch himself at Fuse with a clothesline that sends both men to the mat. Stevens is to his feet first and cracks Fuse with a stiff jab to the face before kneeing him in the mid-section, and connecting with high-impact snap suplex, Fuse landing on his lower back. Fuse sits up from the pain and Stevens comes up behind him, putting him into a Dragon Sleeper.
Fuse claws at the forearms of his opponent, desperate to loosen the hold Stevens has on him. Stevens drags Fuse to the middle of the ring as Hortega checks on Fuse, who refuses to submit. Fuse uses the fact his feet are accessible to him to kick off the mat and bring both men to a standing position. Fuse fights with Stevens, dragging him to the ropes before catapulting himself off the ropes, both men falling backwards, and Fuse rolling over onto the pinned shoulders of Stevens.
Joe Hoffman: Close one there for Fuse as he almost gets the pinfall on Stevens! Stevens clearly surprised by that as he makes his way up to his feet while Fuse is rubbing his throat on a kneeled position. Stevens yanks Fuse off of the mat and cracks him with a forearm across the face. He then goes for a Northern Lights Suplex, but Fuse manages to block it with a forearm strike to the lower back of Stevens. Stevens drops to one knee, grabbing at his back while Fuse bounces off the ropes and connects with a dropkick to the same spot!
Fuse rolls back onto his feet as he bounces off the ropes and connects with a swanton on the lower back once again. Fuse hops back up to his feet, fire in his eyes as he drags Stevens along with him and pushes him into the corner before Irish whipping him across the ring. Stevens collides hard into the opposite corner and falls face first onto the mat, his back giving out on him in the process. Fuse sees the opening as he runs to the corner he just whipped Stevens into and hops onto the top turnbuckle before connecting with a top rope swanton onto the prone Stevens! Fuse then rolls Stevens over and goes for the cover.
Joe Hoffman: And Fuse getting on a bit of a roll here and Stevens better be careful before he finds himself out of the match for good. Fuse now bringing Scott up to his feet and Stevens just connected with a stiff shoulder lunge to the clavicle of the World Champion! Conor is clearly dazed after the shot, dropping to one knee. Stevens now bounces off the ropes and connects with a flying knee straight to the face! Conor is down and seeing stars as Stevens goes for the cover.
Joe Hoffman: The action and intensity are increasing between these two men with the top belt in HOW on the line right now. Stevens making his way up to his feet, he’s still favoring his lower back though, and gingerly brings Fuse up. Stevens with strike after strike to a dazed Fuse and he whips him into the ropes before connecting with a spine buster that shakes the entirety of the ring. Fuse is in a world of pain after that one.
Stevens walks around the ring, focused and intense, as he waits for Fuse to start to move. He makes his way to a corner and watches as Fuse uses the ropes to bring himself up to a standing position. As Fuse turns towards Stevens, Scott fires off a superkick. Fuse ducks underneath it though and moves out of Stevens way with a front roll. He then rushes at a recovering Stevens and goes for a spinning sling blade only for Stevens to duck underneath it as well. Fuse scrambles to his feet only to be blasted in the face with a superkick from his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: REMEMBER THE ALAMO! STEVENS MIGHT HAVE THIS ONE IN THE BAG!
Stevens then goes for the cover.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse JUST got his right shoulder up in the nick of time. We almost had a new HOW World Champion! #97red was about to go home to someone else! Stevens is now sitting up and you can see the disbelief in his eyes before he makes his way up to his feet. He is now dragging Fuse to the middle of the ring and has grabbed both of Fuse’s legs. Is he going for the Arachnophobia?!
Sure enough, Stevens steps through and begins to cross Fuse’s legs over only for Conor to connect with a stiff kick to the face that momentarily stuns Stevens. This is all the opening Fuse needs as he scurries to his feet, looks at Stevens, and then at the fans.
Fuse them slaps Stevens in the chest and ‘downloads’ Stevens finisher.
Joe Hoffman: Weapon Get from Fuse there and Stevens still looks dazed. Fuse steps back and just blasted Stevens with a superkick of his own, laying Stevens out right then and there. Except, that’s not Stevens’ finisher. What is Fuse doing?
With Stevens on the floor, lights out, Fuse grabs both of Stevens legs, steps through, folds Stevens legs on top of each other, and then turns over into a sharpshooter.
Joe Hoffman: FUSE DOWNLOADED ARACHNOPHOBIA! Fuse has done a number to Stevens lower back this entire match and this could be it for Stevens!
Stevens yells out in pain as Hortega checks on him, looking to see if Scott is ready to submit. He shakes his head though even as he feels his lower back screaming at him for some kind of relief, to give up and fight for another day. He slams his left forearm into the mat and begins to crawl to the bottom rope closest to him. He does the same with his right forearm, inching closer and closer to the bottom rope.
Stevens reaches out for the bottom rope, but he is still inches short. Stevens tries to muscle up, but feels the spasming in his lower back. He tries again, forcing himself, willing himself up, but then collapses.
He is stuck. Unable to move. And inches away from salvation. Salvation that he desperately needs now. And he is left with only one other option.
He closes his eyes in frustration before he slams his left hand repeatedly into the mat.
DING DING DING
Joe Hoffman: Just like that, it is ALL OVER! Conor Fuse has retained the title here tonight against a worthy adversary in Scott Stevens! Stevens almost was to the bottom rope, but just didn’t have anything left to close that gap.
Bryan McVay: Your winner at the twenty minute and nineteen second mark via submission, and STILL HOW WORLD CHAMPION….CONNNNOR FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE!
Joe Hoffman: And the fans inside of the Fiserv Forum are cheering on their champion in a brutal, intense match. Fuse is making his way up to his feet and you can see the exhaustion in his face as he had to wrestle a different style than he normally does.
He is handed the HOW World Championship and holds it high above his head before scaling the nearby turnbuckle and yelling out at the fans.
He then looks at the camera, holding up his title, and points at the camera.
Joe Hoffman: Earlier tonight, Fuse dedicated this match to his tag team partner Noble, who is at home after the passing of his father. Fuse managed to come through, but now Fuse has to turn his attention towards March to Glory as he will team up with Noble and square off against Adam Ellis and John Sektor in the finals of the Maurako Cup! Can Fuse add more gold around his waist? We have heard rumors about a potential World Championship Match as well. We will have to wait and see.
Fuse exits the ring, celebrating with the fans, as we cut to a commercial.
Maurako Cup Finals for the Tag Team Championships
John Sektor and Adam Ellis vs. Noble Gaming
Submission Match for the LSD Championship
Arthur Pleasant vs. John Sektor©
Interfed HOTv Championship Match
PW:A GenoSyde vs. HOW: Jeffrey James Roberts©
Steel Cage Match
Clay Byrd vs. Michael Lee Best
2 out of 3 Falls Match
Bobbinette Carey vs. Scottywood
No Holds Barred Match
Darin Zion vs. Sir Simon Sparrow
Welcome to the Carnival
Back live from commercial and the HOV comes to life…..
Voice: The HOTv Championship.
The words are spoken into darkness, but the voice has become all too familiar to the HOW faithful. The light slowly comes up in the studio background backstage, as PWA owner, booker and sole proprietor James Cornfield sits on his usual stool. He’s without a cigar tonight, but his hands are still occupied by something… it’s a large golden key, something that looks like a skeleton key.
James Cornfield: A network Championship created to showcase the best of the best. To unify wrestling companies around the country. Boy, what an absolute crock that turned out to be, huh?
A crack of that car salesman smile, but his eyes are filled with condescension. With a mild boiling of anger, despite the relaxed tone in his voice.
James Cornfield: Two or three times, that belt showed up in Missouri Valley. Otherwise, it’s become what everything becomes in H O Dubya… a vehicle to show everyone how God danged great H O Dubya is. Jace Parker Davidson… Brian Hollywood… Jeffrey James Roberts. H O Dubya folks fighting H O Dubya folks, week after week. But you know what ol’ Jimmy thinks? I think it’s time for a change.
He takes a puff off his cigar, blowing the smoke toward the camera. It leaves a haze in front of his face. He twirls the key in his offhand, glancing down at it with reverence.
James Cornfield: Jeffrey James Roberts… at March to Glory, GenoSyde and Pro Wrestling Assault are gonna bring war to H O Dubya, and the HOTv Championship is the beach we’re storming at Normandy. The glory we march to begins with that shiny title belt around your waist, and ends with the complete and total capitulation of High Octane Wrestling. But a man like you, Jeffrey… a criminal like you… oughta understand. Taking something you want, no matter who you gotta hurt to get it.
He pauses a moment, before his voice turns a little more grim. A little more serious. It’s all business, sure, but there’s something personal to all of this, deep down.
From the shadows, GenoSyde steps out under the spotlight. Standing at the right of Cornfield, the veritable monster wearing a heavy pair of chains across his arms. He is bound within the cuffs, his arms hanging in front of him as he stares into the camera.
The hair covers his eyes, but his expression is seemingly blank.
James Cornfield: You have known death, Mr. Roberts, but I assure you that you have never known GenoSyde. This tag title tournament… these exhibition matches… much like yourself, Jeffrey, GenoSyde has been shackled inside of that wrestling ring. Shackled to a partner who failed him. Shackled to a match type that doesn’t suit his particular… talents. Shackled to the rules. But at March to Glory, when the EPU removes those shackles around your ankles, GenoSyde shall too become… unchained. Because at March to Glory, Mr. Roberts,… you will defend the HOTv Championship in a CORNFIELD’S CARNIVAL match.
An evil smile from the promoter.
James Cornfield: Pinfalls only. No count outs. No disqualifications. No rules, Mr. Roberts.
The promoter stands to his feet, still towered over by the monster next to him. He reaches for the shackles, ready to unlock them with the key.
James Cornfield: I’m as carny as they come, Jeff. Welcome to the carnival…..and Thank You Michael Oliver Best for helping make this official.
Before he can unlock the cuffs, GenoSyde snarls, ripping his arms to each side and shattering the chain between them. His arms are freed, metal bits scattering the floor as even Cornfield recoils in surprise.
GenoSyde leans in toward the camera, an evil smile spreading across his lips as the frame zooms in on his face. We fade to black, as Refueled continues.
Smell the Roses
We cut away from the video playing on the HOV to Clay Byrd sitting in a dim locker room. The enormous man is soaked in his own sweat, and wipes his brow with a #97RED towel. His breathing is still shallow from his match with JJR and Pleasant.
Clay Byrd: I’m the Judas?
The Behemoth smirks.
Clay Byrd: Up until the Refueled after Rumble At The Rock, I did exactly what I was told by the Best family. I was asked to eliminate Teddy Palmer, done, he wears McKenna blue on some Vegas show now. You wanted me to help destroy Cancer Jiles? Done. He’s wearing traitor blue. I helped chop the 214 down just like GOD asked me.
Clay pauses for a moment to adjust his hands.
Clay Byrd: And Kneesus walked out on Refueled and broke my arm for my troubles. Broke my arm so he didn’t have to fight me. And you fuckin’ went along with it you no good son of a bitch.
Clay sits up straight in the chair and looks further into the camera.
Clay Byrd: And still, I went along with your bullshit, ‘cause truth be told, I always have bled 97RED. I’ve been here fer a year now, bleedin’ fer this fuckin’ brand. Bleedin’ in that fuckin’ ring. And tonight ya tried ta fuckin’ finish me off before I fight yer nephew. All while panderin’ and pamperin’ yer nephew. Ya put me in the ring with two fuckin’ killers knowin’ I have the boogie man on the horizon.
Clay smirks through his beard.
Clay Byrd: Mike comes out here in a few moments, and this fuckin’ arena is gonna explode with those travelin’ Chicago fans. It’s gonna look like Michael Jordan is walkin’ away fer the last time. I was listenin’ ta ya talk Michael, ya waxed on poetically about your nephew’s career. You told us all ‘bout how Mike Best would be taking over as CEO of High Octane the moment his match at March To Glory ends. I’m glad y’all are plannin’ the party, I’m glad ya bought the champagne, and I’m glad ya gave yer nephew this incredible hall of fame tag team match he’s ‘bout ta go inta, so he has somethin’ ta remember.
The smirk is gone, and it’s just The Monster from Plainview staring into the camera.
Clay Byrd: ‘Cause he ain’t takin’ over as CEO, there will be no comeback tour like Jordan, there will be no ridin’ off inta the sunset ta run some shitty other organization. No, March To Glory is the definitive end. Enjoy tonight Mike, smell the flowers, remember this moment with all these fans chantin’ fer ya, ‘cause ya aren’t gonna be able ta walk out of March To Glory.
The scene fades to elsewhere.
We transition to another area of the Fiserv Forum, where the camera focuses on a cement wall. Nothing fancy. No parlor tricks or theatrics on the go-home show before March To Glory.
Instead, Arthur Pleasant quietly, calmly, and happily walks into the camera’s view. Still a bit sweaty from his match with Solex and Byrd earlier on, Pleasant slicks his hair back and tosses the perspiration at the camera. A golf clap and a smirk soon follow.
Arthur Pleasant: Congratulations on finally showing the world you have the, shall we say… cojones… to accept my challenge for a rematch at March To Glory, John! No, it can’t be because I requested it to be a submission match… can it?! It couldn’t be because you’re only comfortable fighting me again because I allowed it to be in your wheelhouse of all wheelhouses, could it?!
Pleasant waves his hand at the camera.
Arthur Pleasant: Hahaha. What-the-fuck-ever, asshole. I don’t really care why you agreed to it. I just care that the legendary John Sektor finally did. Because now? Now I can prepare– or continue preparing, to be more precise– to end the legendary John Sektor’s legendary LSD Championship reign in the legendary city of Chicago.
He chuckles at his own overuse of the word “legendary”.
Arthur Pleasant: So go do your mini-squats, your polar-bear laps around Lake Michigan, and your fucking cryotherapy bullshit that you love doing so much, John. Make sure your damaged knee is nice and ready to take on some more punishment, ye old timer. Your back, too, after I all but broke it during our last encounter. Because when I’m through torturing you with the sadistic, violent side of me that has YET to be unveiled inside a High Octane Wrestling ring? I wouldn’t want to see such a Hall of Famer like yourself have to dry your eyes with a cloth and have an excuse at the ready.
Arthur Pleasant: Go get your shine box, bitch. I want to see your reflection over the shoulder of mine on the faceplate of that title once I fucking take it from you.
Shrugging ostentatiously, Pleasant tip toes out of the camera’s view before leaving a goodbye kiss blown in the direction of… well, John Sektor’s LSD title reign, of course as we cut to our final commercial break.
The Best Alliance vs. Legion of Darkness
Back live from our final commercial break and we cut for the final time to Joe Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back everyone. It is time for our main event and when this match was announced last week it hit quite a few of us hard just how impossible this match actually happening in 2022 was. Four High Octane Wrestling Hall of Famers. Three of them part of the original class in 2005. Two of them representing the best years of The Best Alliance. One final match on the weekly show for the SON.
Joe pauses as he shakes his head emotionally.
Joe Hoffman: I personally have been here since day one and have called almost all the matches these four men have wrestled in. I have seen it all. Literally. These past twenty years have been nothing but extraordinary and these four men represent all that is High Octane Wrestling. The good. The bad. The ugly and of course everything that is the High Octane Radio shows.
Joe stops talking as the arena goes pitch black.
The crowd begins buzzing and cheer loudly as a video begins to play on the HOV.
The video begins by highlighting the date of October 20th 2002 as we see Jatt Starr defeating Smokey on the first ever HOW PPV to win his first singles title. It then transitions to where we see Kostoff leading his tag team partner Overkill in becoming the first ever HOW Tag Team Champions on that very same show.
The next several seconds of the video then highlights the debut of Darkwing and his ICONIC feud with Jatt Starr.
From there we see the Legion of Darkness stable led by Kostoff and Darkwing feuding for years with the Best Alliance led in ring by Jatt Starr and eventually Michael Lee Best, who’s PPV debut at March to Glory receives a huge pop from the Milwaukee crowd.
We then see a continuation of the Best Family feud with Kostoff and the eventual on-air death of Kostoff at the hands of the Son of GOD.
Kostoff’s eventual return to the company receives a huge pop from the crowd as the video continues to play highlights for all four men.
Finally, we see the return of Darkwing to the company he helped build and his alignment with Bobbinette Carey. The video transitions to where we see Starr and Darkwing standing nose to nose while we see Kostoff and Best in the same pose.
The crowd begins chanting “HOLY SHIT” at the sight of the graphic and as the video comes to an end there is only one man shown to the sold out arena and masses watching live on High Octane Television….
Michael Lee Best.
We see a collage of images as we see the physical appearance of Mike change over the years….finally ending in his current form.
The crowd is standing and applauding as one as the sun is about to set on the Son of God’s in ring career as his penultimate match is set to occur.
For the final time…..The Best Alliance vs. The Legion of Darkness.
The HOV screen goes dark once again and as the arena lights remain off, the crowd begins cheering madly. Thousands of fans begin to hold up their cell phones with the flash lights on.
Joe Hoffman: What a sight to behold right now folks. This arena is pitch black minus for these cell phones being held up by all 16,500 fans……and staff!!
Joe is referring to Bryan McVay who can be seen holding up his phone in the middle of the ring.
Suddenly “I Stand Alone” by Godsmack hits the PA system and as the original Legion of Darkness theme song hits the PA system the crowd erupts.
Spotlights hit the top of the entrance ramp just as the vocals hit and Chris Kostoff slowly makes his way out from the back. The Hall of Famer is beyond amped up as he lets out a primal scream at the camera.
As the camera moves to the side we see Darkwing emerge from the back and he pats Kostoff on the shoulder as they stand at the top of the ramp and take in the cheers of the crowd.
As the two original Hall of Famers make their way down the ramp the arena lights remain off and only a pair of spotlights follow them down to the ring.
Both men climb into the ring and once again the crowd goes ballistic.
Joe Hoffman: What a sight to see folks. Kostoff and Darkwing entering to the original theme song Kostoff used to win the Tag Titles in 2002 with his old partner Overkill. Darkwing, who has not been the most confident of wrestlers since his return, is obviously trying to remain in the background here it appears. He once was one of the most confident wrestlers ever known to man…….and as much as he and Carey have had some success since his return…..you can just see that the man is just not quite there yet mentally.
Back in the ring Kostoff and Darkwing share a quick embrace and then both men begin pacing in the ring as the spotlights turn off and the arena once again goes black.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go folks……the final entrance for Michael Lee Best as a wrestler here on a weekly show. I have seen him on Mayhems, Chaos’, Refueled’s and every other show in-between…..but tonight it is different. Tonight is not about March to Glory or his match with Clay Byrd. Tonight is about this match…..and the moments that will come with it. Tonight we pay our respects to the career of Michael Lee Best. LETS GO!!!!
Suddenly the arena’s PA system once again turns on as “Superstar” by Saliva begins to play.
A single yellow star spotlight hits the top of the ramp and the crowd immediately hits another level as they remember exactly what this entrance is from.
Joe Hoffman: Well it looks like for one more night, and one night only, Sir Simon Sparrow is going back to his roots for this match. Folks this is the exact song and entrance that Jatt Starr used when he faced off against Darkwing at the Genesis PPV in January of 2003 where he defeated Darkwing in an Iron Man match.
To back up Joe’s commentary the HOV comes to life and the reply of Jatt defeating Darkwing is shown on the HOV as we see Starr nail a Falling Starr on Darkwing off the top rope and landing on the steel steps in the corner.
On cue, Jatt Starr, slowly emerges from the back with his UAD championship across his waist. He pats the championship while he motions to HOV and then towards Darkwing. Both men can be seen smiling.
Joe Hoffman: Feels like old times here folks and we are just here in the darn introductions.
As the HOV replays a video package highlighting the career of Jatt Starr, he begins to make his way down to the ring, as the yellow star shaped spotlight follows him down to the ring.
Joe Hoffman: What a moment here folks. Going all the way back to the roots of High Octane Wrestling with these entrances.
Suddenly the lights above the ring turn on while the arena lights remain off.
We can clearly now see Jatt Starr, black baseball jersey with STARR in yellow across his chest, standing across from his longtime rivals.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff looks like he is over these introductions but you can clearly see that Starr and Darkwing are loving every minute of this.
The crowd is still buzzing as the arena goes black once again.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go folks…..it is time for the Best entrance of the night….
There is complete and utter silence as every eye in the building is focused on the entrance ramp. The lighting from the cell phones has even diminished as fans are now standing and focused on the moment that is about to happen.
Suddenly there is pure burst of white light from the wrestlers entrance. The light is so strong that it lights up the entire entrance ramp, the ring and even fans on the other side of the ring. Fans over their eyes from just how bright the light is.
HALLLLLELUJAH……. HALLLLLELUJAH….. HALLLLLELUJAH is slowly chanted over the PA system as slowly a silhouette appears in front of the light and the fans that can see, immediately begin cheering.
As the silhouette exits the backstage area the piercing white light suddenly is shut off and we once again have darkness.
The crowd is buzzing as there is a pause for the cause.
An overhead spotlight suddenly turns on and we see the owner of the silhouette.
Michael Lee Best in full ChristPlow form with white robe and walking stick to boot.
He holds his arms out to the side and looks up to the sky. The crowd goes crazy as the man holds the pose and continues to look skyward.
As he holds the pose we see another figure slowly make its way out from the back.
Joe Hoffman: HOLY……..SHIT!!!!!????
The sight of this figure causes the reserved Joe Hoffman to swear…and on a weekly show no less.
ChristPlow lowers his hands as the figure makes it to his side. He looks to his side and drops down to one knee and reaches out his hand.
Joe Hoffman: THERE IS A LION HERE IN MILWAUKEE….A LION!!!!???
ChristPlow pets the lion and the lion purrs in agreement. After a moment ChristPlow stands back up and once again raises his arms up in the air and as he does the arena goes black once again.
Joe Hoffman: I am all up in my emotions right now folks…..what next??
What’s next is the PA system comes to life once again and this time the crowd is caught off guard as the opening drums of You’re The Best by Joe Esposito begins playing.
As the vocals hit the lyrics “History repeats itself” the entrance ramp lights up and we see that ChristPlow is no more as Michael Lee Best as tossed the robe and walking stick to the side and he is standing in his Best form.
The crowd begins singing the lyrics to the song as the arena completely lights up as he begins slowly making his way down to the ring.
Half the crowd scream out the “FIGHT” lyric as the other half continues to sing the song as Michael Lee Best takes it all in as he makes his way down to the ramp and slowly begins walking around the ring, high fiving every fan in attendance.
Mike stops at the commentary table and shakes Joe’s hand. He then pauses as he sees the bottle of Jack Daniels sitting where Benny normally sits. Mike slowly picks it up and pours himself a shot.
Joe Hoffman: Ever since Benny has been in rehab we have made sure this bottle and his shot glass where he each week in a show of support and now Michael Lee Best is showing respect to the man that no matter what….always has had the Best Family in his heart.
Michael steps up on the announce table and raises the shot glass to the crowd as they continue to sing.
He then takes the shot down and screams out to the crowd.
The crowd is in a maddeningly frantic state as Mike makes his way around the rest of the ring and then hops up onto the apron and joins his tag team partner to stare down the opposition.
Joe Hoffman: BEST ALLIANCE VERSUS THE LEGION OF DARKNESS IS NOW!!!!!
As the crowd continues to cheer all attention turns to Bryan McVay who steps between the two teams and begins his introductions.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first at a combined weight of 534 pounds…….High Octane Wrestling Hall of Famers…….CHRIS KOSTOFF AND DARKWING……THE LEGION OF DARKNEEESSSSSS!!!!
The crowd cheers for the two original Hall of Famers as the play to the crowd.
But their cheering hits another level as all attention now turns to the other team.
Bryan McVay: Now introducing at a combined weight of 455 pounds…..High Octane Wrestling Hall of Famers…….The Undefeated Against Darkwing Champion JATT STARRRRRR and the future CEO of High Octane Wrestling….MICHAEL LEEEEEEE BEEEESSSTTTTT………THE BEST ALLLLLLLLLIIIANNNNNCCCEEE!!!!
The crowd begins snapping pictures with their phones as the two teams square off in the middle of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Wait hold on…….where is the referee? Where is Boettcher? Where is Hortega? Is Rick Stevens coming in for this match?
As Joe asks the question that no one else seems to be asking, back in the ring the four men continue to stare each other down.
Suddenly the PA system comes to life once again and the everyone turns towards the entrance ramp as “Change the Game” by Jay Z begins to play.
The HOV comes to life and the words NARCOTIC in green appear and the man makes his way out from the back……..sporting a referee shirt.
Joe Hoffman: Narcotic!!?? The man that literally started High Octane Wrestling with Lee Best has returned to referee this match? I cannot believe what I am seeing here. Full complete circle.
Back in the ring everyone is shocked to see the original No.1 making his way down to the ring.
Narcotic slides into the ring and immediately goes over and shakes Kostoff and Darkwing’s hands and then turns towards Jatt and gives him a big hug.
Joe Hoffman: Narcotic and Jatt were original members of the Best Alliance…..connecting all the dots here tonight folks.
Narcotic then turns towards Michael and shakes the man’s hand and brings him in close and begins whispering into the man’s ear.
Whatever Nark is saying to Mike is clearly affecting the Son of God as he nods his head slowly and pats Narcotic on the back.
With a final pat on the chest of Best, Narcotic turns towards McVay and motions for him to get out of his ring.
As Narcotic’s theme slowly fades out, he motions to both teams and asks them if they are ready?
Kostoff motions to Darkwing that he wants to start the match and on the other side Jatt motions for Michael that he wants to start.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go folks…Kostoff and Starr will start the match and NARCOTIC is our referee!!!!
Satisfied everyone is ready, Narcotic motions for the bell to ring……
Joe Hoffman: FINALLY…..LETS GO!!
Kostoff, who has literally no patience left after the twenty minutes of entrances, charges at Starr but Jatt is able to easily duck under a clothesline attempt. Kostoff bounces off the far ropes and comes back at Jatt and once again Starr is able to avoid an attack as he drops to his stomach as Kostoff jumps over him and bounces off the ropes again.
This time as he turns he sees Jatt begin to jump into the air to execute a drop kick and the big man is able to hold onto the top ropes and Jatt falls to the canvas helplessly. Once again Kostoff charges at Jatt and Starr quickly begins rolling towards the far side of the ring and rolls himself all the way out of the ring and to the arena floor. He sits up against the ring barrier as Kostoff smiles down at him from the ring.
Mike motions for Jatt to get up and Starr slowly nods and makes his way back to his feet. He starts to walk around the ring but as he does he sees that Darkwing has jumped off the apron and has half the ring cut off. Starr motions for Darkwing to go back to his corner and Jatt turns and walks back towards Mike and his corner. He slowly makes his way up the ring steps and slowly enters the ring.
Joe Hoffman: I am not even sure if Narcotic made it to three on the count there folks. In fact I don’t think he even counted….and let’s be honest…..if this match ends in anything other than a pinfall we ALL will feel cheated.
Kostoff, standing in the middle of the ring, motions for Starr to hit him.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff giving Starr a free shot here?
Jatt, not buying it, motions for Kostoff to back up but the big man refuses and instead steps towards Jatt.
Again Kostoff screams at Jatt to punch him and again Starr refuses. Finally Kostoff SCREAMS at Jatt and the pure force of the scream causes Jatt to punch Kostoff in the face as a reaction.
Kostoff does not budge and only smiles.
Starr, rears back and nails Kostoff again with a right hand, and this time the big man takes a half step backwards but screams at him to hit him again. Starr obliges and this time just as his fist is about to make contact, he is met with a thunderous right hand from Kostoff.
Joe Hoffman: Starr did not even see that fist coming……..
Jatt crumples to the canvas and is holding his jaw in pain as Kostoff begins to stalk him. Kostoff reaches down and pulls Starr up to his feet by the hair and as he does Starr pokes the big man in the eyes and Kostoff staggers backwards as Starr quickly turns and tags himself out.
Realizing what just happened, the crowd erupts as Mike Best slowly nods and enters the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Well that was not the hot tag I was expecting but here we are nonetheless. Best versus Kostoff. I wonder how many times I have said that over the last 20 years??
Back in the ring Kostoff has regained his full vision and he begins to circle Michael. The two men cannot help but smile as they stare each other down as they continue to circle each other in the middle of the ring.
The crowd is for ALL of this as the two men finally lock up and Kostoff quickly pushes Mike back towards his corner. Kostoff piefaces Mike and then steps back and motions for Best to come back to the center of the ring. As Mike starts towards Kostoff he falls to his knees as Darkwing nails Best in the back of the head with a right hand.
Darkwing quickly enters the ring and begins putting boots to Mike’s face as we see Jatt jump into the ring to help but he quickly stops as Kostoff turns and BEGS him to.
Instead, Narcotic hustles over to the corner and motions for Darkwing to exit the ring. With a final boot to the head of Mike, Darkwing puts his hands up and slowly exits the ring.
Kostoff does not waste anytime however and rushes towards Mike and pulls the man up easily by the waste and delivers a belly to back suplex that sends Mike flying across the ring and back into his own corner.
Joe Hoffman: Power on full display there by Kostoff and one has to wonder if Darkwing just could not wait any longer to get his hands on Mike considering all the back and forth Mike and Carey have done this year already.
Back in the ring Jatt reaches down and tags himself back in and then does the sign of the cross before starting towards Kostoff.
Joe Hoffman: SPEAR BY STARR!!!
The HOV comes to life and shows a replay of Starr literally diving with his eyes closed at Kostoff and nailing the big man with a running spear. Both men fall down to the canvas and Starr quickly covers.
Narcotic gets into position and makes the count….
Joe Hoffman: Well well well. A quick count by Narcotic there. It is clear as all day now which side the former Best Alliance member and right hand of Lee Best stands…….he is Best Alliance for life.
The force of the kickout by Kostoff sends Starr flying several feet to the other side of the ring. Kostoff then slowly backs up towards his corner where Darkwing quickly tags himself in and immediately rushes towards Jatt and nails the man with a spinning heel kick that sends Jatt flying out of the ring.
Darkwing does not pause as he quickly rolls out of the ring and delivers a running leg drop on the back of Starr’s head.
Darkwing then turns as he hears Narcotic counting…….and fast.
Joe Hoffman: It appears Narcotic remembered how to count all of a sudden!
Narcotic is up to 8, the whole time smiling, before Darkwing rolls back into the ring and stops the count. Darkwing gets into the face of Narcotic and begins going back and forth with his fellow Hall of Famer.
Joe Hoffman: These two are no strangers to each other that is for darn sure…
Suddenly Darkwing is nailed from behind as Jatt nails him with a clothesline from behind.
Jatt gives Narcotic a high five and then drops an elbow on the back of the head of Darkwing and makes a cover but even a quick count is unable to get the pinfall victory as Darkwing quickly kicks out.
Jatt stands up and pulls Darkwing to his feet and drags him to the corner and he tags in Michael. Best enters the ring and the two men execute a perfect double suplex to Darkwing that sends him crashing into the middle of the ring.
Jatt and Mike continue to work together, as Narcotic forgets to count to five, as they execute another double suplex that sends Darkwing back towards their corner. Mike helps Jatt up to his feet and motions for him to do….something.
Joe Hoffman: Complete and utter domination now by The Best Alliance here as they are executing some tag team moves brilliantly……and wait…..are they…..yes they are…
Mike helps pull Darkwing up to his feet and Jatt puts Darkwing on his shoulders while Mike quickly rushes to the corner and hops to the top rope.
Mike yells out the letters L-O-D before jumping off and nailing Darkwing with the famed Chicago born doomsday clothesline.
Joe Hoffman: Chicago’s own executing another famous Chicago move…..
The HOV shows a replay of Darkwing sitting on Jatt’s shoulders and then being violently clotheslined off them by the jumping Mike.
Joe Hoffman: What a time to be alive folks….
Mike makes the cover on Darkwing and Narcotic is able to get to 2 before Kostoff dives into the ring and kicks back in the side of the head to break up the pinfall attempt.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff has had enough…..I cannot blame him here. I should have known that it being a Best Alliance match that there would be some shenanigans ……but come on…in this match??
Narcotic screams at Kostoff to get back to his corner. Kostoff slowly backs up and as he does Mike hustles over towards his corner and he passes Jatt, who has entered the ring, and the two men clap their hands in an obvious illegal tag.
Kostoff motions for Narcotic to turn around and as the referee does he motions that it was a clean tag.
Kostoff flips off Narcotic as he just leans on the top turnbuckle in clear frustration as he watches Starr pull Darkwing up to his feet and then slowly and awkwardly positions the man for his finisher and then proceeds to execute it.
Joe Hoffman: Starrlite Express from Starr!! Darkwing is out clean in the middle of the ring!!
Starr, smiling ear to ear, slowly turns and rolls Darkwing over and then covers him.
1…..2…..KICK TO THE HEAD!!
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff with the break up once again!!
Starr rolls over on his back holding his head as Narcotic and now Mike Best rush towards Kostoff.
Mike and Kostoff begin exchanging right hands in the corner and they literally punch each other until both men fall thru the middle ropes and down to the arena floor. The crowd is going crazy as Best and Kostoff continue to lay into each other.
Joe Hoffman: Oh no…….what is he doing here!!!!!
The crowd erupts as we see that Jatt has rolled out of the ring and is standing up on the arena floor, using the ring for stability….but that doesn’t last long.
Jatt looks up just in time to see the arm coming for his head.
The force of the move literally turns Jatt inside out and he crumples to the arena floor.
The crowd is not sure how to react as the HOV shows a replay of the man jumping the guard rail and nailing Jatt with his powerful clothesline.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd is here folks…and Mike has no clue.
Clay picks up Jatt and rolls him into the ring and he slides in and pulls Darkwing by the arm and places it on the chest of Jatt.
Narcotic, who was watching Kostoff and Best brawl on the other side of the ring, turns and sees Darkwing pinning Jatt. He is in shock as he turns and begins walking towards the men.
Joe Hoffman: Narcotic has no clue! Byrd is literally ducking behind the ring and Narcotic cannot see him!!
The fans in the front row are pointing down at the arena floor and Narcotic is all sorts of confused as he begins the count……albeit very slowly….
But Narcotic’s hand is about to hit the canvas a third time Mike Best dives and breaks up the count.
Joe Hoffman: BEST WITH THE SAVE!!!
As Mike’s momentum carries him past Darkwing and Jatt he lands under the bottom rope with his head over the edge of the canvas and that is when his eyes grow wide and he sees none other than Clay Byrd staring back up at him.
Byrd reacts quickly and nails Mike with a short rabbit punch to his nose and Mike falls backwards as his eyes begin to water from the blow.
Clay then stands up and Narcotic sees what is going on. Nark is about to signal for a DQ but as he does he stops and pushes in the earpiece in his ear so he can hear clearly and then he smiles as the crowd nearest to the action begin reacting loudly.
Clay starts to climb into the ring and as he does he is suddenly pulled backwards.
Joe Hoffman: OMAR RASHSEEM!!!!! SPLINTER!!!!!!!
The two old school Best Alliance members pull Byrd back from the ring and begin laying into the big Texan.
Once again the HOV comes to life and we see a replay of the two men running down from the crowd and jumping into the action and attacking Byrd from behind.
As Omar and Splinter continue to beat down Byrd we see back in the ring that Mike is back up to his feet, eyes watering still from the punch from Byrd, and he rushes towards a now standing Darkwing.
Mike jumps and nails his I KNEED A HERO finisher and he pulls Jatt ontop of Darkwing and motions for Narcotic, who is down on the canvas to count…..but he doesn’t.
Because he cant.
Joe Hoffman: OH MY JESUS! MIKE JUST KNOCKED NARCOTIC OUT WITH THAT KNEE!!!!! HE THOUGHT IT WAS DARKWING!!!!???
As Mike staggers back to the middle of the ring his vision finally comes back fully and he sees what he has done.
Jatt is clearly pinning Narcotic and Darkwing is laid out still.
Mike puts his hands on his head in disbelief but that does not last long. He is quickly spun around and a massive boot hits him in the stomach and he is quickly lifted high in the air and after what seems like a nonstop flight to UTAh, Mike comes crashing down to the canvas.
Joe Hoffman: NO REMORSE FROM KOSTOFF!!!!
Kostoff, seeing EVERYONE laid out, turns his attention to outside the ring where he sees his old enemies in Omar and Splinter and he quickly rolls out of the ring. He rushes the two men and delivers a double clothesline to both men and they go crashing hard to the arena floor.
Kostoff then helps Byrd up to his feet and the big Texan and Kostoff stand shoulder to shoulder as they stare down at the former Best Alliance members. The two men nod and they each pick up a man and drag them towards the announce table.
Kostoff, with Omar in tow, positions himself on one end of the announce table while Byrd positions Splinter on the other end.
The two big men then lift the Best Alliance members high in the air and deliver two No Remorse powerbombs in unison and the announce table explodes as we see Joe Hoffman had vacated the premises and is now sitting in the front row.
As the two men stand over the carnage they slowly turn towards the ring where we see Darkwing and Jatt slowly getting to their feet as both Narcotic and Mike are still unmoving.
Back in the ring Darkwing and Jatt get to their feet at the same time and both men slowly begin delivering right hands to each other.
The blows slowly increase in speed and finally both Jatt and Darkwing are going blow for blow at a furious place.
Suddenly Jatt drops to a knee and nails Darkwing square in the groin and then quickly spins the man around and nails him with yet another Starrlite Express.
Starr covers….as Narcotic slowly begins counting
Kostoff and Byrd start towards the ring but both crumble to the ground
The crowd erupts at the sight of not one but TWO broken Jack Daniel bottles
Bryan McVay: WINNER OF THE MATCH VIA PINFALL…….THE BEST ALLIANCE!!!!!!!!
The result was never in doubt but now all attention is on a laid out Kostoff and Byrd….and the man standing over them with a broken Jack Daniels bottle neck in each hand.
The crowd erupts in a BENNY chant as the man continues to stand over the two men. Benny is slowly spun around as Joe hops the guardrail and the two men look at each other for a moment before they quickly embrace in a big hug. The crowd pops huge as the two men reunite.
Back in the ring, we see Jatt pulling Mike up to his feet. As Mike comes to he realizes that the match is over and he is none too happy as he asks….no demands…..Jatt tell him what happened.
When Jatt motions towards Narcotic, who is propped up in the corner, and tells Mike that he kneed Narcotic and NOT Darkwing….Mike pushes Jatt away in frustration.
Jatt holds his hands up in the air as he turns and goes over and shakes Narcotics hand. He then leans thru the ropes and grabs his UAD championship from a HOW crewmen and as he turns to get back into the ring he is promptly met with a knee to the temple.
The crowd erupts as Mike’s flying knee sends Starr to the arena floor below.
Mike turns towards Narcotic and then quickly pivots to Darkwing who is slowly pulling himself up and he never has a chance to make it all the way to his feet as Mike rushes towards him and delivers a violent knee to Darkwing that sends the man crashing to the arena floor.
Mike slaps the top rope in frustration of what his final Refueled Match turned out to be.
He then quickly rolls out of the ring and pulls Darkwing up to his feet and rolls him into the ring. He stomps over to the other side of the ring and does the same to Jatt.
He then looks over at the carnage at the announce table and at Kostoff and Byrd who are still laid out, both bleeding in the back of the head from the blows from the bottles, and decides to leave the two be.
Mike climbs into the ring and screams out to the crowd who are now chanting BEST BEST BEST.
Mike pulls Darkwing and Jatt into the center of the ring and he drops down and puts one hand on each man and screams at Narcotic to count.
Narcotic refuses at first but then drops down and as he counts, a fair and evenly spread out count, the sold out arena counts always with him.
Bryan McVay: WINNER OF THE MATCH OVER THE BEST ALLIANCE AND THE LEGION OF DARKNESS……MICHAEL LEE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Michael stands up in the middle of the ring and motions for Narcotic to raise his hand……..which the former right hand of Lee does.
The two men spin around as Mike takes in all the cheers.
With one final turn Mike’s demeanor suddenly changes.
With a final move of the night Mike drops Narcotic with his TCD finisher….the Ace Crusher…another Chicagoland staple.
The camera zooms in for the final time as Michael Lee Best sits in the middle of the ring here in North Chicago with a smirk on his face.