Refueled XCVIII
  • Event Type: weekly

Refueled XCVIII

Event Date: May 15, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Brian Hollywood vs. Xander Azula

HOFC Match (3 RP limit -750 word max)

The High Octane Television logo gives way and we cut immediately to our Hall of Fame commentator as Refueled 98 is set to begin here in the Wells Fargo Center live in Philadelphia.

Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to another edition of Refueled! I am Joe Hoffman and do not let the somewhat empty arena fool ya….there is a ton of excitement regarding the road to War Games and tonight should be no different!

The camera cuts away from Hoffman to show a plethora of empty seats. A monkey in the truck plays a cricket noise effect as if it was recorded while doing an online podcast with someone ripping cigarettes somewhere in South Carolina.

The feed quickly cuts back to Joe however….

Joe Hoffman: Moving on…An interesting matchup tonight to kick us off, as Xander Azula takes on Brian Hollywood in a HOFC Rules match. Brian Hollywood was, as always, more than happy to accept a challenge to step into the cage, and now Xander begins to walk a seemingly… familiar… path as these men fight it out here on Refueled in a three round fight that can only end in submission or knockout. Let’s head to the cage.

We cut to near the entranceway, where a six sided HOFC cage has been constructed off to one side of the ramp. Inside, official HOFC referee Rick Stevens stands in the middle of the canvas, as both Hollywood and Xander are already waiting in their slightly modified gear.

Joe Hoffman: Neither of these men have the greatest winning record in the sport, but they’re two of the hardest working fighters in professional wrestling.This is going to be an absolute brawl, make no mistake.

Rick Stevens checks in with both men, as the stage lights around the cage come up and fully light the fight. The ref calls for the bell, and the first round begins.

DING DING DING

Brian Hollywood cracks his neck, hopping in place as he steps forward toward the middle of the cage. Azula joins him, and both men stare down in the center of the ring before bumping fists in a sign of at least formality level respect.

Xander and Hollywood circle the cage, starting slow in the first round to attempt to feel eachother out. A few right hands from Hollywood test the water, but Azula covers up quickly and throws a hard counter that sends Brian reeling. The crowd is getting a little anxious as both men continue to test each other with surface level blows, but that’s what this first round appears to be all about– feeling out the matchup, and looking for opportunities.

Hollywood rushes Azula amid a flurry of blows, jacking him up against the cage and throwing some blows to the body that get the crowd buzzing. Xander fights back against the grapple, trying to free himself from the cage, but Hollywood lands a solid punch directly to the sternum that appears to take the wind out of his opponent. With Xander gasping to get a breath, Hollywood grabs hold of his arm and throws on a legit looking armbar, but before he can probably get it locked into place, the bell rings to signify the end of the first round.

DING DING

Both men are able to reset between rounds, with Hollywood clearly looking frustrated that he wasn’t able to get that armbar in before the bell. They come out swinging again, though, and round two isn’t testing the waters anymore. Brian Hollywood charges in with the momentum of the last round behind him, loading up a right hand, Azula moves out of the way and counters, taking Hollywood CLEAN off his feet with one of the most dangerous looking uppercuts in the history of HOFC.

The crowd is stunned, almost rendered silent as Hollywood hits the canvas in seeming slow motion, staring up at the lights with a glassed over look in his eyes. Rick Stevens looks at Xander, who is still holding a clenched fist and an almost serene look on his face, before calling for the bell.

DING DING DING

Bryan McVay: Here is your winner in the second round, by KNOCKOUT…. Xander…. A…. ZUUUUUUULAAAAAA!

Calmly and quietly, Xander Azula makes his way to the door of the cage, stepping out to the side of the entrance ramp as he makes his way toward the back without a word. Hollywood is being helped to his feet by Rick Stevens and the standard HOFC medics at cageside, but this one ended out of absolutely nowhere and Hollywood is on dream street as we cut elsewhere.

Earlier Tonight Cause Carey is always late

The High Octane Vision screen comes to life high above the entrance ramp…

Earlier tonight flashes across the screen.

We see the locker room marked “Queen of Epicness.” The door is open as Inside the locker room we see queen of Epicness in the locker room setting her gear bag on the bench. She pulls her sunglasses off and puts them into her pocket. The door opens as Scottywood walks in. There’s an obvious tension between the two as there’s silence for what feels like an eternity.

Bobbinette: Hi.

Scottywood: “Hi” you’ve been avoiding me the whole week! And that’s all you say is hi? And where is the kid?

Bobbinette: Mine or yours? Wait, you aren’t mad at me are you?

Scottywood points behind him at Frankie.

Scottywood: All you sent me back was a text saying “got daughter with me will see you at Refueled.” So where is she?

Bobbinette: I don’t think she’s ready… plus with everyone it’s almost like take your child to work day. I’m not bringing her around these young men, no I’m protecting her.

Scottywood: Sure… you hate Philly and we didn’t even get drinks.

Bobbinette: I needed a minute to process you replacing me in War Games… and I figured it would make us even for what I did… and then I thought of what you said about scheming… and we know I have trust issues.

Scottywood: First off replace you? You know that’s bullshit. Second… it’s Lee fuckin’ Best, Carey. I have been scheming for our plans since you came back. You think I would take Lee’s side?

Bobbinette: I don’t know! You know how important War Games is to me… even if I was on that team it is the whole reason I came back.

Scottywood: You are really starting to spiral Carey… Plus, the only reason? Well fu…

Bobbinette: Okay! You and War Games. Both of you are the reasons.

She sighs.

Bobbinette: I am happy you got into War Games… and I heard your voice mail. If I get through Noble, I’ll be at War Games in an iron person match. Unless you wanna trade an LSD Title shot for your War Games spot…

She offers more seriously than she should.

Scottywood: Even if I wanted to… which I don’t… Lee wouldn’t let that fly.

Bobbinette sighs, running her hands through her hair. She opens her gear bag and drops her boots on the floor.

Bobbinette: What other ideas do you have?

Scottywood: You beat David Noble?

Bobbinette: and… back up plan in case I don’t?

Scottywood shrugs.

Scottywood: Just declare that your daughter has signed with HOW and she is going to debut at War Games… that worked for someone. Or maybe dress as a guest referee? That worked for… someone else… who I can’t mention cause of… well some bullshit I shouldn’t get into here….

Bobbinette: What?

She looks confused.

Scottywood: Nevermind.

Bobbinette: I got to get dressed. I’ll go out there alone…

Scottywood: I have no problem going out there with…

Bobbinette: I’ll go out there alone!

She snaps

Scottywood: Fine… if that’s what you want… you can go to the ring by yourself.

Bobbinette: This may be my only hope… I need to do this on my own.

Scottywood: No help me Scotty-won, I’m your only hope?…

Scotty realizes exactly what he just said as he face palms his own face….

Scottywood: That was forced….

Bobbinette: Ha, forced….

Scottywood: I’ve been watching too much Star Wars with Frankie.

Bobbinete: Speaking of… is he still showing up next week at MSG?

Scottywood: I hope so… still need to dot a few I’s and T’s… but it’s gonna happen. I got a few cases of Other Half beer set for the locker room already… gonna need it.

Bobbinette: Well one week at a time… wish me luck out there tonight.

Scottywood: You don’t need luck… just go beat the fuck out of Noble’s ass.

Scotty fist bumps Carey as he heads out of the locker room and she continues to lace up her boots as the video comes to an end.

A Clearly Focused Noble

We cut back live inside the Wells Fargo Center and the ones in attendance are buzzing as loudly as they can when the lights suddenly go out. There is a palatable buzz in the air that is replaced by the sounds of large drums, segueing into ‘Fighter’ by Jung Youth and Sam Tinnesz.

Brick and Mortar
Blood and Water
Goin Harder
Firestarter

Joe Hoffman: And David Noble is coming out to the ring, ahead of his match with Bobinette Carey! The fans here in Philadelphia are on their feet and cheering loudly for the former tag partner of Conor Fuse.

From the back emerges David Noble, dressed in blue jeans, wrestling boots, and a white t-shirt. He looks out at the fans, their cheers raining down upon him. The fans then spot a steel chair in his left hand and microphone in his right.

Joe Hoffman: Noble coming out here, looking like he’s ready to fight AND talk. It’s been weeks since he’s spoken a word after the terrible display from Conor Fuse during the HOW World Championship match. Fuse, as you might recall, cheated to win that match after kicking Noble in the balls.

There is no smile on David’s face as he storms down the ramp and slides under the bottom rope. He takes the steel chair as the music fades out and sets it up in the middle of the ring. He then sits in the chair and places the microphone to his lips.

David Noble: Yadda, yadda, I know I’ve got a match with Bobinette Carey. I know she’s in the back somewhere, griping about how she’s not in War Games, about how she should be handed a shot at the LSD Championship without facing me, all of the usual bullshit that comes out of that fucked up mouth of hers. That time is coming, trust me. Carey, you’ll be able to come out here, get your ass kicked, and go backstage wondering why you’re not in a match at War Games. It’s a vicious cycle, much like the cycle you always feel the need to overshare about.

NO-BLE! NO-BLE! NO-BLE!

Joe Hoffman: Fans firmly behind David Noble.

David Noble: No, you see right now, right here, it’s time for Conor and me to take care of our bullshit. And when I say take care of our bullshit, I mean, get your fucking ass out here right fucking now Conor because it’s time you take a chair to the face.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Joe Hoffman: Not quite positive that Conor Fuse is going to willingly come out to have his face bashed in by a chair.

David Noble: So let me tell you what’s going to happen Conor. I’m going to sit out here, in this chair, until you decide to waltz your stupid fucking ass out here. There will be no match against Bobinette Carey. There will be no HOTv championship match. I will lay every single person who comes out here and tries to stop me the fuck out.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

David Noble: So, let’s do this Conor. Walk on out here and finally face me like a man.

David then drops the microphone on the canvas and leans back in his chair, eyes focused squarely at the top of the ramp.

Joe Hoffman: David looks like he’s in no place to go anywhere and is settling in for a long night. Fuse, who will be teaming with Darin Zion later on tonight, is here in the building, but I imagine he’s not going to bite on this bait.

David continues to sit there, arms folded across his chest, and the anger rising with every single minute that goes by.

Joe Hoffman: I do wonder if security will come down here, if Michael Lee Best might come down here, and try to talk some reason into Noble. Clearly, David is pissed off, and has every single right to be. There’s no telling if he would’ve beaten Fuse in a clean match, but losing a match in that manner, with someone who is supposed to be your friend, must’ve stung.

David continues to sit there, shaking his head in the process. He grabs the microphone off of the mat and takes the chair, flinging it out of the ring.

David Noble: Just what I thought, Conor. A big fucking pussy. You are looking at a very cold War Games, aren’t you? Your team consists of Clay Byrd. You know you can’t trust him. Your team consists of the likes of Darin Zion and Xander Azula. Just look at what you’ve done to yourself. Those grand plans of yours… fallen by the wayside. You’re walking into War Games emasculated and will be humiliated when you walk out. Why? Because you were so desperate to win. Desperation reeks and everyone out here, everyone in the back, smells it, and when it’s all said and done what will you have? Nothing.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

David Noble: I’m not saying you could’ve won War Games with the likes of myself. But I know for a fact that you can’t win with the team you have today. Especially not when you have the likes of JJR and Stronk Godson standing across from you. You made your bed, Conor, and now you have the lay in it. So, I’m going to give you one last chance. Because I’m going to make it through to face Steve Harrison tonight, I’m going to take his LSD Championship, and enter War Games, and I promise you this. I will be the one who takes you out and I don’t give two fucks if I’m on your team. I’m taking your World Championship and leave you a shell of a man.

David makes his way to the top of the ring, looking out at the top of the ramp once again.

David Noble: Walk out here and face me, man-to-man. Because after War Games, there will just be scraps of you left, and no one here will be able to look at the man that used to be Conor Fuse any longer. Because I don’t want beaten and battered Conor Fuse. I want a man who is still fresh, still able to walk, able to hold his head up high. That’s the man that I want to knock the fuck out.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

David Noble: Let’s go Conor, I don’t have all fucking night.

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

“Take the Money and Run,” By The Steve Miller Man begins to play.

A Loud mixture of BOOO and YAAAA are heard throughout the sold-out Wells Fargo Arena.

From the back, emerges Steve Harrison, the LSD Champion. The title belt is firmly on his shoulder as he stands at the top of the ring.

Joe Hoffman: Well, Harrison has decided to answer the call, especially after these two men seemed ready to come to blows last week.

A smile appears on David’s face as he motions for Harrison to come down to the ring. Harrison though stands there and pats his championship belt while shaking his head.

Joe Hoffman: And I’m being told that Steve Harrison will be joining me on commentary here for our next match! Let’s go to commercial break while we get ready for Bobbinette Carey versus David Noble!

We see David and Harrison, eyes locked upon each other, as Harrison shrugs his shoulders and makes his way to the announcer table before we cut to a commercial break.

 

#20 David Noble vs #17 Bobbinette Carey

LSD #1 Contenders Match

We come back from commercial break with Steve Harrison sitting next to Joe Hoffman.

Joe Hoffman: We are back from commercial for a big match between David Noble and Bobbinette Carey to see who will face you, Steve Harrison for the LSD Championship and as we just learned become part of Conor Fuse’s War Games Team.

Harrison rolls his eyes.

Steve Harrison: I hope my mic doesn’t get cut off I don’t really have The Boards…or is it Lee Bests permission but I am here to do some scouting, Joe. As for War Games it is no secret of my dislike of Connor but if I can help Clay and Solex I will do so.

David Noble begins pacing the ring as he awaits Bobbinette Carey, he doesn’t have to wait long though.

Arena lights go black.

“Tell you you’re the greatest

but once you turn they hate us!”

A magenta spotlight it’s entrance as the Queen of Epicness herself is already standing there waiting for the light. Bobbinette Carey makes her way down the ramp. Wearing a miss America style crown. She stands at the top of the ramp with her pink and black leopard gear.

“Oh the misery everybody wants to be my enemy!”

The HOV plays a black and white video package. (We see the clip of her smashing a photo over Mario Maurako; another clip of her hitting Mario with the defib pads, then the most striking image of Bobbinette standing over Scottywood and slapping him.)

She steps up the ring steps and wipes her feet on the apron before getting in the center of the ring.

“Spare the sympathy, everybody wants to be my enemy, but I’m ready”

She stands in the center as magenta pink and mauve pyrotechnics explode from the turnbuckle as she does a ballerina style exaggerated curtsy

Steve Harrison: Who in the hell approved this color scheme?

Joe Hoffman: It is a Bobbinette Carey staple, and she certainly has her fans. David Noble definitely has the height and weight advantage, but Carey has fought and defeated the like of Bobby Dean before, and he outweighs everyone.

Steve Harrison: I thought he was persona non grata?

Joe Hoffman: Anyway, this should be a very emotional contest. A title shot is on the line and David Noble has made this match personal between them.

Before anything else can be said Noble comes roaring from his corner and starts throwing big forearm shots to the head of Carey. Carey stumbles backwards into the corner and puts her hands up to block the shots. Hortega moves to get in between them since she is in the ropes and starts counting.

Uno…

Dos…

Tres…

Cuatro…

Noble puts his hands up and takes a step back. That doesn’t last long as he goes again to attack Carey, but Carey slips out of the way and trips Noble face first into the second turnbuckle. She points to her head.

Steve Harrison: Noble needs to stop taking this match so personally, emotions can cloud your judgement sometimes.

Joe Hoffman: One little second is it all it takes for someone with Bobbinettes experience to take advantage of a slip up and we know from just minutes ago that David despises Carey.

Carey starts dropping knees to the back and kidney of Noble in the same corner that Noble was bashing her face in. Before Hortega can stop her, she steps away from Noble. David turns and sees her telling him to bring it which infuriates him. He runs at her, and she ducks a clothesline attempt. David runs off the ropes and Carey drop kicks him in the knee and he falls flat on his face. She wastes no time and drops an elbow on the back of Nobles neck and then follows that up with kicking at David’s knee to try to soften him up.

Joe Hoffman: She is being smart in trying to take his legs from him. She has a few submissions she likes to use that injure the legs so she is playing the long game here it would seem.

Steve Harrison: Look Joe, if I were as old as Bobbinette I would be trying to finish this as soon as possible.

She goes to kick again but Noble grabs her leg and then stands up as he continues holding her leg. She puts her hands up trying to reason with Noble, but he ignores her and pulls her leg towards him which forces her to stumble forward, and he grabs her and hits a big spine buster. He pops up and screams to the ceiling getting himself psyched as the crowds starts to clap. Carey begins moving and Noble finally snaps out of it and grabs her by the hair and waits for her to slowly get up and he goes for a spinning elbow.

NOPE

Carey ducks the elbow and then hits clothesline to back of the neck of Noble using all her reach to hit him. He stumbles forward and grabs the ropes to steady himself, but Carey comes running over and hits a flying forearm to Noble and they both spill over outside the ring.

Joe Hoffman: That was a rough landing for both of them but Noble got the worse of it with part of Careys body falling on top of him.

Steve Harrison: Just say her ass landed on his face, Joe.

Carey rolls off Noble and tries to get him on his feet. After some encouragement from her attempts and then crowd David wobbles to his feet to just be whipped in the barricade back first. He slumps forward holding his back. Carey looks up at Hortega who seems to be giving them leeway but then begins the count.

Uno…

Dos…

Tres…

Cuatro…

Before it can go any further Carey rolls in the ring and leans over the ropes yelling at Noble being a nobody and not on Conor Fuses level. David looks up at Carey and flips her off as he gets to his feet.

Joe Hoffman: I am not sure that was a good strategy. David Noble looks like a man possessed now.

Steve Harrison: It got him to his feet but again he needs to forget about that video game moron and take the fight to Carey for himself and this shiny championship belt sitting in front of me.

Noble steps back in the ropes but before he can get all the way inside Carey looks on a guillotine choke and then DDTs him back inside the ring but holds on to the neck and continues trying to choke David out. Fans start looking at the entrance ramp as Scottywood appears and begins walking down to the ring clapping and cheering on his BFF.

Steve Harrison: It’s the Hardcore Cheerleader, everyone!

Joe does not have time to respond as Noble flips over and has Careys shoulders down Hortega down quickly.

Uno…

Dos…

NOPE!

Joe Hoffman: Smart move by Noble, but Carey still has the energy to slide out of that pin attempt.

Steve Harrison: Scotty’s appearance seems to have done the opposite on what he wanted but Carey is back up now as Scotty is yelling ideas to her.

Both are up now and Carey with the thumb go the eye of Noble. Noble shakes his head trying to shake it off, but Carey follows through with a thrust to Noble’s throat. Noble double overs and Carey grabs him and hits a small belly to belly suplex. Instead of going for the pin Carey gets up and points to the ropes.

Joe Hoffman: Looks like she wants the OK to hit EPIC Ending! Scottywood is on that side nodding his approval.

Carey attempts to run to the ropes but Noble grabs her ankle and trips her. He slowly gets to his feet as Carey does at the same time, Noble yells ‘WHO ARE YOU!’ at Carey. Carey squints angrily at him and attempts to hit Noble but he blocks the punch and grabs her arm. He drags her in and ducks down and hits a nasty looking northern lights suplex. Hortega gets down…

Uno…

Dos…

Tr…

NOT YET as Carey moves her shoulder off the mat.

Steve Harrison: Almost and it looks like Noble finally got in Careys head, but we will see how long that lasts.

Joe Hoffman: I think she is just starting to get mad that she keeps losing the momentum and Noble is doing a good job at firing up.

Noble rolls Carey over and grabs her hair to pick her up off the mat. He gives her a few forearms and then runs to the ropes and goes to hit a huge lariat but Carey ducks down and grabs his leg and rolls through and applies an ankle lock on Noble.

Hortega is asking him if he will submit.

Noble shakes his head NO! over and over.

Finally, David squirms and then uses all his strength to roll over and then starts kicking at Careys chest until she lets go and stumbles back to the ropes holding where she was just kicked. Noble continues to roll over and gets to the other side of the ropes and uses them to help him back up. He moves his ankle to get the blood rushing again. He looks over at the other side and they lock eyes, and both flip each other off.

Joe Hoffman: We are at a standstill right now. This match could go anyway but they both seem to be in a lot of pain.

Steve Harrison: They both need to show they can survive this because The Miracle Man is used to battles like these, just look at my bandaged head.

On cue they both run at each other, and each hit their own clothesline but Noble being the larger person connects to the top of Careys head and Bobbinette crumples to the mat. Noble smacks his chest with his fists and looks down at Carey and picks her back. He smiles as he starts talking shit to Carey and…

BAM!

He hits a gigantic Saito Suplex but Carey flies to the other side of the ring so Noble must crawl over to Carey.

Uno…

Dos…

NOOOOOO

Noble looks at Hortega showing him three fingers but he gets waved off.

Joe Hoffman: That was very close, and Carey has got to be feeling that. Noble has used his strength all match to harm Careys head and neck.

Steve Harrison: I cannot deny my enjoyment in seeing someone’s neck get destroyed but he needs to relax and follow through instead of arguing with the referee.

David Noble stops griping at Joel Hortega and stands up and walks over to the corner as he waits for Carey to get up. He smacks his thighs and bends down in a three-point stance. Bobbi slowly gets up and leans against the corner with her back to Noble. She catches her breath and then turns around and takes a few steps to towards the middle of the ring and Noble shoots out like a bullet and…

SPEAR!!!

To the opposite corner as Carey jumped over the spear in the nick of time. Noble hits his head through the ropes on the ring post busting him open in the process. Noble slithers off the turnbuckles and falls to the mat, holding his forehead which is now covered in his own blood. Carey is done playing games and runs off the ropes…

EPIC ENDING!

Hortega down as Bobbinete uses all the strength she has left to hook the leg.

UNO…

DOS…

TRES….

Bryan McVay: Ladies and gentlemen, your winner in seventeen minutes and new number one contender to the LSD Championship…Bobbinete Carey!

Joe Hoffman: She jumped just in time, Noble had her set up perfectly for the spear but instead he knocked himself out. He will have another chance but tonight was the Hall of Famer Bobbinette Carey’s night!

Steve Harrison: Noble let the emotions get to him there because he knows better then going for a spear towards the corner…you never know what is going to happen. I am certain Conor Fuse is grinning right now as Noble loses more than blood for his enjoyment. Locker room loser. But serious, Joe I have something else to say.

Steve Harrison grabs his title and place it on his shoulder. He grabs a mic and then stands up on top of the announcing table.

Steve Harrison: (claps) Congrats Bobbinette on the huge victory. It doesn’t matter to me which one of you won this match. I don’t care about you two obsessing over the friendship of some fraud locker room leader. This is why…

Harrison points to a bleeding Noble who has rolled out of the ring and leans against the barricade watching Carey and Harrison.

Steve Harrison: …You lost, Noble. You need to stop worrying about Conor Fuse when you have a chance at a title match and a shot at War Games. Unfortunately, Carey understands that even if she is just as phony as Fuse.

Carey starts jawing at Harrison for that comment.

Steve Harrison: All I hear is you blah blah blah, sorry I don’t need to WAKE UP and I certainly don’t think War Games is all about you and your little buddy over there.

Steve points to Scottywood who has now entered the ring to see how Carey is.

Steve Harrison: This is about ME retaining my title and getting into War Games. Nobody needs YOU there but Clay and Solex need me to watch their backs from not only The Board but that lovable scamp Conor Fuse. I have more to lose but I have more of a reason to be there, to fight the good fight, and to finish War Games with all the belts around the waists of The Highway Men. You only care about yourself and that will be your downfall because I have no issue dropping a woman, and I say that loosely about you, on their goddamn neck. Ask Lindsay Troy if I will hesitate to leave you sipping food from a straw while in traction in a hospital room.

Harrison jumps down from the table and begins walking towards the ring. Carey puts her hands up with Scottywood right behind her. Harrison stops as he grabs the ropes and then hops back down and points to his head.

Steve Harrison: Nah, I will see you at War Games where nobody will be backing you up.

Harrison turns his back and tosses the mic to Joe Hoffman and walks up the ramp as we cut to another commercial.

Pay the TAB

Back live and we cut somewhere backstage in the Wells Fargo Arena, where HOW interviewer Brian Bare is standing by a monitor, watching the show on the live feed. His arms crossed in front of him, he’s suddenly approached from behind by the Grandson of God himself, Tyler Adrian Best– the eighteen year old son of the CEO loudly clears his throat, with a shithead grins plastered across his face.

Tyler Best: Ayyyy, what’s up bitch? Interview me real quick.

Slowly, Bare turns to face the voice, already having a vague idea of who it is. His eyes practically roll out of his head as he sees Tyler standing there in front of him, and immediately he begins to turn back toward the monitor.

Tyler Best: Excuse you? Answer me when I fucking talk to you.

Brian doesn’t even look back, but instead just answers him. Flatly.

Brian Bare: Yeah, I’m not gonna interview you, Tyler.

Clearly taking after his father, the youngest Best seems to almost snap in an instant, as he grabs Brian by the shoulder, forcibly turning him back around. Bare looks flustered, but the look on his face isn’t fear. It’s equal, justified anger.

Brian Bare: Listen here, you little shit. For twelve years, I have been taking abuse from your father. Twelve years. Do you know how long I’ve worked here? A lot longer than he has. So I don’t care whose shitty kid you are, Tyler. I don’t.

Tyler bites the inside of his cheek, slowly nodding his head as he weighs his options.

Brain Bare: You’re not gonna walk in the door and treat me like a doormat just because your dad is the boss. Treat me with respect or go try to fingerbang Blaire, I don’t really give a fuck either way, choice is yours.

Again, Tyler only nods. There is an anger in his eyes, but it slowly… dissipates.

Tyler Best: Aight, bet. My bad, I apologize. Now you want the big scoops or what?

He reaches out a fist to bump, and while Brian hesitates for a moment, he does indeed return the knuckles. Immediately, Tyler’s face turns back to a cocky smile, as he raises an eyebrow toward the interviewer.

Brian acquiesces, pulling his microphone out and centering himself in the frame.

Brian Bare: Alright, well… I wasn’t really prepared, but what’s up, Tyler?

Tyler Best: Honestly, BryGuy, I’m glad you and I got good. Cause what I really wanted to do tonight was to apologize to someone else. Someone who is probably pretty angry at me tonight. I wanna apologize to Conor Fuse.

The Legend in Training rubs his hands together, in front of a black TEN-X t-shirt.

Brian Bare: For assaulting him at the end of Refueled 97.

Tyler Best: Fuck no, that shit was funny as hell. Bro if you listen back, you can hear his skull crack like a pinata full of boomer video game references. The fuck is a SNEZ? Look, dude, that shit is my wallpaper right now.

He pulls out his phone, showing the wallpaper on his iPhone both to Brian Bare and to the camera. It is literally a photo of him kneeing Conor Fuse in the skull last week at the end of Refueled, with a filter on it.

Tyler Best: Nah, but for real Conor, I want to apologize. I’m sorry, man. I’m sorry that you’re a fucking Gameboy boomer whose nipples sit weird on his chest and make me uncomfortable. I’m sorry you told your barber to give you the Super Saiyan but instead he gave you White Supremacist Karen. I’m sorry you’re a little broke bitch who makes twenty five grand a year less than me, even though I haven’t even had a match on TV yet. And I’m sorry that yet another Conor Fuse title reign is about to end because A WILD BEST APPEARED.

Brian Bare: This doesn’t really sound like much of an apology, Tyler.

Tyler Best: Look I’m just saying. Little broke ass Conor never beat my dad. He knows that. Everyone knows that. Talked all that good shit about being younger, and faster, and still only ended up champion again because Uncle Cecilworth had zero chill at ICONIC. Well, I’m younger. I’m faster. I’m better, Conor. And at War Games, where you’re coming out first? I’m coming out last.

He smirks at the camera, looking a hell of a lot like his father as he crosses his arms in front of his chest.

Brian Bare: Seems like a pretty cocky attitude for someone who, as you just said, hasn’t even had a match yet.

Tyler Best: Yet, BryGuy. Next week, Refueled 99… the HOW debut of the Legend in Training himself… Tyler Adrian Best. A lot of folks around here been drinking free since my dad retired from the ring, Brian. But starting next week? It’s time for HOW to pay the TAB.

He drops an imaginary microphone, making a soft “boom” sound with his mouth as he turns to walk away. He fistbumps Brian Bare again, who still looks a little confused by it as Refueled goes on.

The Rembrandt of Wrestling

The scene cuts back to ringside at the Wells Fargo Center. The lights dim. “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier blares across the arena and the fans show their appreciation with a healthy mixture of cheers and jeers as HOW Hall of Famer, the Professor of Sparrowdynamics emerges from the arena. The ramp is illuminated with yellow spotlights and Simon Sparrow makes his way down to the ring accompanied by the Wabid Wabbit.

Simon Sparrow takes a microphone, enters the ring, and stands in the center, a single golden spotlight shining upon him. He raises the microphone in the air for a moment before the music fades and the house lights come up. Simon Sparrow looks at the audience as Wabid Wabbit takes his place behind him.

Simon Sparrow: Last week, “Refueled Ninety-Seven” marked the ninety-seventh resurrection of Lee Best!

A little pop from the crowd.

Simon Sparrow: I know, I know…everyone here is probably saying that I am not one to judge with my own exits and returns over the years but, as a Hall of Famer, Tournament of Champions winner, the only person to successfully win a championship at Lethal Lottery, a former Tag Team Champion, Internet Champion, Inter-Translantic Champion…..

Simon Sparrow runs out of breath and inhales deeply before continuing.

Simon Sparrow: ….Stable Champion, HOFC Champion, LSD Champion, ICON Champion, HOW World Champion, and War Games Winner….I think I have earned the right to speak my mind when it comes to the owner of the HOW.

The HOW Classic pauses and looks around at the crowd before continuing.

Simon Sparrow: Lee Best is a petty, vindictive, psychopathic, bullying mean girl that gets his jollies by stabbing people in the eye with a pen. I’m no psychotherapist but I believe that the pen represents the wet noodle that is his penis and the eye socket a vagina which stems from some sort of sexual dysfunction probably stemming from trauma. Maybe Papa Best didn’t hug him enough, maybe he was dissatisfied with the ending of “Happy Days”, who knows?

Simon Sparrow looks dead on into one of the cameras.

Simon Sparrow: I know what you’re doing Lee. I’m no sucker. You are trying to screw me out of War Games. The facts are there! You completely blow up the War Games teams last week and you, in your twisted mind, stacked the deck against me…and Conor Fuse, of course….by saddling us with what you perceive to be the lower tiered wrestlers and squeeze your little mini-Best into the match. What is he, a “social media influencer”, do I have that right? Isn’t that code for “lazy media whore”? But that wasn’t enough, so you drove Noelle Rivers and JJ Starfire from HOW with your cheap, toxic behavior and yes, I am reasonably certain, that you put rat piss in their water bottles. AND you put Scottywood in War Games because he beat me in what was NOT classified as a Qualifying Match. Fuck you! He didn’t fucking qualify!

Simon Sparrow gets a little more animated and amped up.

Simon Sparrow: And you knew I would be somewhat peeved at that, so you put me in a match with Stronk, a legit Frankenstein’s Monster, all brawn and no brain, in hopes that he will squish me like a grape so I can’t compete at War Games. Newsflash! It won’t work! I’ll be at War Games, AND with all this talk about the Bottomline making a return….Well, Mister Magoo, you come near me with that pen, I will snatch it away from you, shove it up your ass, and autograph your forehead in your own blood and shit, got it?! And now onto Stronk…..

The crowd gets livened up at the mention of Stronk Daddy, some excited, some not-so-excited, but Simon continues.

Simon Sparrow: The HOTV Champion. Once I found out I was taking you on, I admit, I was having some feelings of inadequacy. I was unable to perform in the bedroom. Nothing worked….Blue Chew, Red Chew, Big League Chew….so, I’ve been feeling a little restless, a little angry about that….feeling pent up inside. You’re a monster of a man and you have laid waste to everyone you stepped inside this ring with, no doubt. Well guess what, Stronk Baby, I’m not just anyone.

The Simon Sparrow fans in the audience, the Students of Sparrowdynamics, perhaps? They start cheering him on.

Simon Sparrow: I’m the Rembrandt of Wrestling, dammit! And let me paint you a little picture, sport! In a few moments, all five foot nine of you will come lumbering down here, the HOTV title over your shoulder thinking you’ll put in your, what’s it called? “The Loop Hold”? I am going to unleash every ounce of anger and frustration I have out on you and I am going to make you as inadequate as I have been this past week by taking that title and dropping you to under three hundred pounds. I won’t just kill your title reign, but I’m going to kill the last brain cell you have in that head of yours and become the NEW HOTV….No, television is dying, why limit myself when there’s some much more out there….newspapers, magazines, radio, billboards, podcasts, STREAMING SERVICES….no, after I beat you, Brian McVey will raise my hand in victory and say “HERE IS YOUR WINNER…..AND THE NEEEEEEEEEWWWWWW HIGH OCTANE MEDIA CHAMPION…..THE REMBRANDT OF WRESTLING, THE MEDIA MAGNATE…..SIMON SPARRRRRROOOOOOOOW!!!!!

Simon Sparrow, looking as smug as ever drops the microphone and stands at the ready with the Wabid Wabbit next to him.

#7 Simon Sparrow vs. #1 Stronk Godson

High Octane Television Championship Match

With Simon Sparrow alongside Wabid Wabbit already inside the ring, the lights in the arena go down as “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G. begins to play. STRONK GODSON walks out onto the stage, with Shelley Greene following behind him. The fans pop for his arrival—promiscuous women and drunk and disorderly men, especially. STRONK walks to the ring, title over his arm and just before stomping up the ring steps, he grabs ahold of his ‘STRONK AF’ sleeveless tee shirt and rips it from his body with startling ease. STRONK enters the ring, while Greene stands out on the floor, hyping up his man and jawing with the ringside fans. His theme closes and the ring announcer begins the introductions.

Bryan McVay: This match is for the HOTv Championship! Introducing first, the challenger… SIMON SPARROW!

Sparrow waves to the fans in attendance.

Bryan McVay: And his opponent… the HOTv Champion… STRONK GODSON!!!

Referee Matt Boettcher takes the title and holds it up in the air. Then he hands it over to the time keeper and calls for the bell.

DING DING

Sparrow immediately runs into the ropes in an attempt to catch the HOTv Champion by surprise but the powerlifter is ready. His body isn’t penetrable, Simon is simply absorbed and knocked to the canvas in a flash. The Hall of Famer has a look on his face saying something along the lines of “oh, so that’s how you want to play it”. Sparrow gets to his feet as Godson tries to pick him up but the vet slithers away and into the ropes. Sparrow hurls his entire body forward this time, ramming his shoulder right into Godson’s midsection. It stuns the giant. He takes a step back. Sparrow thinks he’s onto something now. He hits the ropes and performs the same move…

Powerslam by Stronk!

Joe Hoffman: This man is a bulldozer! [Catching himself] Wait, that’s not body shaming, is it?

Godson’s on his feet, he hits the ropes and lands a ring shaking leg drop. Next, he takes hold of Sparrow’s head and begins to crush it between both of his palms! Shelley Greene loves what she’s seeing and Sparrow cries out, reaching forward… although he is nowhere near the ropes. He shouts at Wabid Wabbit to do something but Wabbit doesn’t have a clue. Godson continues to push his hands inwards… closer and closer to each other. Some fans may expect Simon’s head to go pop. Shelley certainly does.

However, Sparrow is crafty. He finds a way to kick his leg back and catch Stronk in the midsection.

Joe Hoffman: I’m not sure if that was a low blow… and if it was, if it was an intended low blow but it has worked. Godson drops the hold.

Sparrow needs a minute on the canvas. He lays there, holding his head… then patting it in different areas to make sure it’s all in one piece. With use of the ropes he gets to his feet. Simon sees Stronk coming and he drops the top rope on the big man.

The lumbering muscle tumbles over the ropes, onto the apron and then falls on the canvas. Sparrow gives a resounding thumbs up to himself before bouncing off the ropes on the far end and then making his way back to where Godson is. As the champion is on a knee, Sparrow baseball slides and clips Stronk under the chin. Now outside of the ring, Simon grabs Stronk’s head and throws him face-first into the steel stairs. Sparrow looks up at the referee and shrugs his shoulders, as if insinuating nothing else happened.

Joe Hoffman: There’s no way Sparrow’s going to be able to lift Godson into the ring.

Instead, Simon breaks a ten count by rolling into the ring himself and then rolling back out. He’s surprised by a wicked knife edge chop by the champion… followed by another. Sparrow dances away, waving his hands around as if this is a method to make the pain go away. Reality: it isn’t. Meanwhile, Godson rolls into the ring.

Sparrow joins, momentarily. Simon dodges a right hand from Godson and slips behind him. Referee Matt Boettcher is in a good position but not the position to see Sparrow kick Godson in the crotch while he moves to the big man’s backside. Greene is irate. Wabbit hops for joy!

Joe Hoffman: This time it was a blatant low blow!

Godson doubles over. Simon leaps onto the champion’s back and connects with a bulldog, using the rest of his body to crash onto Godson’s spine and drive him to the mat. The ring shakes upon both men crashing down.

There’s just one problem. Sparrow’s having a hard time trying to roll Stronk over so he can make a pinfall attempt!

Greene shouts, Wabbit dances… finally, the Hall of Famer is able to move Stronk. Simon tries to hook a leg as best as he can but there’s no way he’s able to get his arm around it. Nevertheless, Boettcher counts!

ONE.

TWO.

FORCEFUL KICKOUT!

Sparrow doesn’t become frustrated. Instead, he’s right back to his feet and knees Godson relentlessly in the temple. Over and over and over and over and over… you get the point.

Joe Hoffman: It seems to be working.

Sparrow finds the ropes and delivers another wicked knee into Stronk! He hooks a leg again…

…and puts BOTH of his own feet on the second rope for leverage!

Joe Hoffman: Boettcher, look up!

Greene screams for him to look up, too!

ONE.

TWO.

KICKOUT!

Boettcher glances up now. He sees the ropes are moving and calls Sparrow out. The crafty legend throws his hands in the air with a look expressing he is deeply offended. Simon would never cheat. Ever.

Stronk pulls to his own feet but since he’s so massive, it’s hard to do so. Sparrow goes back to kneeing Godson in the face but this time, he’s awoken the beast. Godson can take the punishment. He stands… and Sparrow’s knee can’t quite reach the 5’9” chiseled man’s head anymore.

Godson snatches the legend by the neck and throws him into a corner. Stronk charges in and knocks the spit right out of Sparrow’s mouth before clubbing him hard across the chest. Simon falls in a heap on the canvas.

Sparrow is resilient. He finds his footing…

And eats a shoulder block off the ropes from Godson.

Sparrow finds his footing again… this shoulder block sends Simon into the ropes.

Godson with a boot to the face and the challenger falls out of the ring. The champion is quick (for as quick as a man of his mass can move) to exit the ring, grab Sparrow by his pants and throw him back into the squared circle. Stronk reaches out for the ropes to pull him onto the apron…


Wham.

And Wabbit hits Stronk in the back!

The only issue here is Stronk didn’t feel shit. He just enters the ring as if nothing happened and Wabbit stands there. If you could see his face underneath the rabbit mask, he would likely look stunned. Shelley Greene just rolls her eyes at the pathetic attempt.

Godson enters the ring as Wabbit realizes he didn’t do shit to the giant. Wabbit jumps onto the apron, commanding Boettcher’s attention. Shelley shouts for the ref to focus on the match but it’s no use. Wabbit wants in the ring and Boettcher has to stop him.

…The challenger pops to his feet, ducking a right hand by Stronk and pops the champ in the face!

Joe Hoffman: HEY! Wait a second here!

Godson goes down like he’s shot!

Joe Hoffman: Simon Sparrow used brass knuckles!!

A quick replay shows Wabbit running up to Sparrow and handing him brass knuckles when Sparrow was knocked outside the ring a moment ago.

Wabbit drops from the apron asd the referee slides into position. Of course Boettcher didn’t see it. Once again, Sparrow attempts to hook whatever he can of Godson’s tree trunk legs! For the first time in the match, Shelley Green seems concerned!

ONE.

TWO.

KICKOUT!

Shock and awe crosses Sparrow’s face. He’s in disbelief. Wabbit hops around the outside, also unable to understand the outcome or lack thereof.

Eventually, however, Simon comes to his senses. He reaches into his tights to take the brass knuckles back…

And then his face turns sour.

Joe Hoffman: I believe Sparrow threw the knuckles out of the ring!

On all fours, Simon scurries to the edge of the ring where he tossed the weapon away. He slides under the bottom rope and sees the brass laying on the floor. He leans down to grab them… when he can’t lean down anymore.

Stronk Godson has Sparrow by his foot. He pulls Simon into the ring… the vet pleads with Stronk he didn’t mean to do anything. Godson drags Sparrow upright, throws him into the ropes and lands a crazy sidewalk slam!

Joe Hoffman: The Loop Hold!

The choke sleeper is applied. Wabbit hops around in madness. He jumps back onto the apron but it’s too late. Simon Sparrow is out. (And Shelley Greene knocks Wabbit off, anyway.)

Matt Boettcher calls for the bell.

DING DING DING

Bryan McVay: The winner of this match and STILL HOTv Champion… STRONK GODSON!!!

Godson releases the hold as Sparrow lays still on the mat. He’s handed the title by Boettcher. Matt tries to raise Stronk’s massive arm but he’s unable to grasp it so Godson does it himself.

Joe Hoffman: A great effort by Sparrow but Godson retains. A huge win for Stronk over the Hall of Famer.

The action cuts away from ringside as we see STRONK holding the HOTv title as high in the air as his 5’9″ 307lb will allow him to.

Beat up but not defeated

We cut backstage where the hardest working woman in the business, Blaire Moise, has Adam Ellis with her.

Ellis has a black eye and sports some bandages on his face.

Blaire Moise: Adam Ellis.  Are you okay to wrestle tonight?

Adam Ellis: Of course I am.

Blaire Moise: What exactly happened Friday night?

Ellis shrugs.

Adam Ellis: I really don’t know, Blaire.  I was in the dressing room in Council Bluffs, Iowa getting ready for a match.  The next thing I know, I’m in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Blaire Moise: There are reports circulating that you are romantically involved with one of the valets at MVW and that’s the reason for the attack.

Adam Ellis: It doesn’t matter who did what and I’m not going to talk about who I’m allegedly seeing or not seeing, Blaire.  What really matters is- I’m here.  Despite having to spend a night in the hospital… I’m here.  I’m fine.  I am ready to take on Conor Fuse and Darin Zion and hopefully make our case tonight to get a title shot against whomever wins tonight between The Devil’s Advocates and the Highwaymen.

Blaire Moise: Thanks Adam and good luck.

Adam Ellis: Thank you Blaire.

Blaire moves on to her next interview leaving Adam standing there looking at his phone.

Adam Ellis: Dammit John, where are you?

He doesn’t see someone come up to him.

Finally Adam looks up… it’s…

David. Noble.

The two men lock eyes with one another. No words are exchanged. Just a moment that passes between them, intensity in their postures and looks at one another.

Noble just shakes his head with his arms crossed. Then he walks away.

Ellis calls out to him.

Adam Ellis: I know, I know, David.

Defeat.  Conor Fuse.

Ellis glances back down at his phone.  He shakes his head.

Adam Ellis: Come on John!

With that we cut to another commercial break…

EPIC BOTF

We see Bobbinette Carey after her match, her hair still matted down to the sides of her face and she is beaming as she walks backstage, taking a few breaths. Her eyes look like she’s in shock. Bobbinette spots the HOW World Champion Conor Fuse and approaches him with her hand opened.

Bobbinette Carey: Gamer dude!

She shoots air guns at him.

Conor Fuse: Bobbie, hey what’s up? Sorry I didn’t see you there initially. It’s been a rough week, let’s be honest. All the BOTS are chiming in, you know, the ones who won’t or can’t play this game. And then there’s the old man, finding another life somewhere in his save file. Thought the fucker was dead to be honest, LOL. Guess I still have shit to learn in the High Octane Game. Well, anyway, what’s up?

Bobbie was patiently waiting out the gamer’s rambling before going straight into her initial thoughts.

Bobbinette Carey: So… I don’t know if you saw that. But I am going to War Games!

She says, taking a victorious pose.

Bobbinette Carey: I beat your former partner to secure my plans and my dreams… and I wanted you to know I’m not mad you picked Zion.

Fuse grins, albeit weakly.

Conor Fuse: Like, technically, I didn’t take Zion. Or maybe I did. Yeah, right, I did. But you and Noble were in a match and I was told the winner of this goes to Thumbs Down Harrison and the winner of that is on my team.

Ultimately, Conor seems rattled. He’s in a much different state than last week.

Conor Fuse: Look, Imma take you or Noble over Harrison any day of the week. It’s no surprise Clay hates my guts and his stupid ‘team’ can’t stand me. Woman, they’re so dumb. I’m over it. Everyone for themselves. I think.

The champion gives Bobbie a thumbs up.

Conor Fuse: Don’t get me wrong, it’s great you won. And I hope you beat Harrison. I’d be in your corner if I could…

Bobbinette pauses and looks over him.

Bobbinette Carey: Let me press pause on my game.

She says trying to speak video game lingo.

Bobbinette Carey: Are you ok kid? This isn’t the normal gamer dude. That me, and everyone at home is used to. Look old Best is like Koopa, little minions in the lvl boss fights till the main fight. And so your team wasn’t who you wanted but you can still beat the game with the players you have.

She says, nodding along.

Conor Fuse: I like what you’re throwing down. It’s decent gamer speak. And you’ve always told it to me straight.

Bobbie smiles.

Bobbinette Carey: I found a way into War Games. The odds and decks have been against me but it’s never stopped me before. I have won War Games, so now I am your fairy God auntie, going to help you be the Conor I know you are and seeing how I need friends… I will get along with Simon and Zion for it.

She says, sounding encouraging and benevolent at the same time.

Conor Fuse: All good with me. Listen, I rip on Clay and he clearly has mailed in the past few months… but I’m willing to work with him. I’ll work with anyone. Let’s take down the bEsT tEaM. Naaa sis, naaa. The ‘best team’ is us.

Carey likes these comments, just continuing to nod along.

Bobbinette Carey: It doesn’t matter who hates you as long as they fall in line. You’re the leader, you’re the champ, you’re the boss of this team. They aren’t. Remember that.

And now Fuse nods along.

Conor Fuse: Hmmmm. You know, I’ll let you in on a little secret. That whole Locker Room Leader stuff… I was being rather obnoxious. But maybe you’re right…

The Ultimate War Gamer gives another thumbs up before walking away.

Conor Fuse: I gotta go get ready for my match, Bobbie. Zion and I are in tough, all mapped out by Lee no doubt. But I hope you beat Harrison. I’ll be cheering you on, 100%.

He walks off as Carey watches.

Bobbinette Carey: Thanks gamer dude.

And the scene fades.

Leave it to Stever

We cut back inside the arena and the lights begin to dim as the HOV 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.

SSSSSSCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEECCCHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Solex’s bald eagle, named Valor, flies into view and lands on the perch to Solex’s right. Solex leans over, pets the bald eagle, and then winks into the camera with a perfectly timed ding.

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.

Steve Solex: Our first question comes from Mark, right here in Philadelphia! Chris asks, “Hey Steven, Why is it that Chrisopher America is such a great American?”

The live crowd in attendance cheers, and for the first time on Leave it to Stever the piped in crowd boos over the cheers. Solex looks past the camera in front of, assumedly to the producers behind the camera.

Steve Solex: What the hell…excuse me…heck is this?

There’s a muffled response from behind the camera. Solex rolls his eyes and shakes his eye before ripping the letter in half and throwing it behind him.

Steve Solex: Sorry folks, there seems to be a glaring amount of ineptitude oozing from my producers this evening. Let’s get to the next question.

Solex resumes the Leave it to Stever act, cheesy grin and all, as he reaches into the sack, pulls out another envelope and tears it open.

Steve Solex: This one comes from Steve…(laughs) great name! This one comes from Steve in Los Angeles, California. Steve asks, “Hello Steven, I was just wondering how inspiring a hero like Chrisopher America is for you?”

Solex immediately rips the letter into two pieces and throws it behind him. Again he looks past the camera in front of him, but this time he seethes. With his jaw clenched tightly and slams a hammer fist into the desk and then points at someone off camera.

Steve Solex: Seriously?

The Philly crowd is cheering wildly as Solex begins to grow more and more frustrated. Solex reluctantly reaches into the sack and pulls out another envelope. He stares off camera as he tears the envelope open and begins to read the next letter.

Steve Solex: This one comes from Michael in Chicago, Illinois. Michael writes, “Hey Steven, How quickly do you think Christopher America will beat you at War Gam….” Alright, what the fuck is going on here!

A piped in ‘ooooooo’ comes over the PA.

Steve Solex: Turn that shit off! You! (points off camera) Get your ass over here!

A man with a clipboard and a headset walks into view from behind the camera. Solex stands up and grabs him by the tie around his neck.

SSSSSSCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEECCCHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Valor lets out an eardrum bursting screech before flying off camera.

Steve Solex: Who put these questions in here? Huh?!

The man, who appears to be the producer that Steve was yelling at off camera, shakes his head and shrugs nervously as Solex wrenches him around by his necktie.

SLAM!

Solex slams the man headfirst into the solid oak desk and then puts the burlap sack over his head, spilling hundreds of envelopes all over and then shoves the man out of view. Solex regains his composure and looks back into the camera.

Steven Solex: (gritting his teeth) Well folks, that’s all the time we have this week!…

Solex just stares intensely into the camera.

Piped in Crowd: See you soon!

The crowd in attendance boos ferociously.

Steven Solex: (gritting his teeth) Not if I see you first…

The 1950’s theme song plays over piped in applause, both not loud enough to drown out the boos in the arena as the scene fades and the HOV goes dark.

Conor Fuse and Darin Zion vs. John Sektor and Adam Ellis

Tag Team Match

As the latest edition of Leave it to Stever ends we cut back to the ringside area here in the Wells Fargo Center. The crowd in Philly waves their signs around trying to get on camera. We head down to the announcer’s table where Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Hoffman is ready to call our 4th match of the evening.

Joe Hoffman: It’s time for tag team action here tonight in Philadelphia. We will be seeing both the HOW World Champion along with the newly crowned MVW World Champion squaring off alongside their respective partners this evening. And I’m also joined here at the announcer’s table by HOW Hall of Famer and Board member Jace Parker Davidson. It appears its an open season for guest commentators. I CANNOT wait for Benny to return at War Games.

Jace smiles for the camera and raises his HOW Hall of Fame ring into the air.

JPD: I heard that Joe……..It’s a shame we have to be here in Philly but nonetheless it’s a pleasure to be here seated next to you Joe…..no matter that little snide remark you just made.

Joe Hoffman: I hate to ask this but why exactly are you here? You’re not planning on interfering in this match or causing any problems are you?

JPD: I’m only here as an announcer and I’m just going to sit back and scout some of the competition for War Games. I’m dressed in an expensive suit and I’m not looking for a fight, I promise.

Joe Hoffman: Well let’s hope that you are true to your word. However, it’s time for more action so let’s go to Bryan McVay for tonight’s introductions.

The camera shifts from the announcer’s table to the ring where Bryan McVay is standing with his microphone in hand.

Bryan McVay: The following is a tag team match and it’s scheduled for one fall!

The crowd cheers wildly as suddenly “Happy Song” by Bring Me The Horizon plays throughout the arena. The crowd gives a mixed reaction as Darin Zion makes his way out on stage wearing a leather jacket.

Bryan McVay: Introducing first from Crown Point, Indiana, weighing in at 220 lbs. He is the owner of the 4Z Network, here is DARINNNN ZIONNNNN!!!

Zion marches down the ramp confidently soaking in the moment. Zion gets to the ring apron then climbs the turnbuckle. Zion reaches his hands out as the chorus of his entrance music plays. Zion flips off the turnbuckle then hands his jacket to referee Joel Hortega.

Joe Hoffman: Zion is riding high on the fact that after the three releases a few days ago that he has been made a member of the War Games match in the Ukraine. Add that to the fact that tonight he gets to team with his best friend? Things are looking up for the HOW veteran.

JPD: You make it sound like Darin Zion being a member of the War Games match is a good thing. Remember last year when absolutely no one wanted him in the match? It’s the same this year, it’s just that our World Champion is desperate.

Joe Hoffman frowns but doesn’t respond to Jace’s comment.

Bryan McVay: And his partner…

Zion looks towards the rampway and claps his hands together as “Bloody Tears Epic Version” from Castlevania II begins. A purple mist floods the entrance way as “The Vintage” Conor Fuse emerges from behind the curtain 23 seconds into the song. He stands at the top of the rampway, head down, sporting a dark purple jacket with its high-collar raised. The jacket is open, showing off his SNES tights and the HOW World Championship belt as he slowly raises his head. The fog continues to pump from the stage as Fuse methodically makes his way down the ramp.

Bryan McVay: From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, weighing in at 210 lbs. He is the HOW World Champion. Here is The Vintage CONORRRR FUSEEEEE!!!

The crowd starts an “!RANK” chant, pointing in Conor’s direction as he marches towards ringside. Once in front of the squared circle, The Vintage leaps to the ring apron and then with ease clears the ropes by jumping over them and somersaulting into the middle of the ring. Fuse tilts his head back and zen cries into the rafters while the fans in attendance continue to cheer him on. Fuse removes his trench coat, revealing his trademarked light purple arm sleeve on his left arm.

Joe Hoffman: It seems like since confronting the returning Lee Best last week that The Vintage seems to have had a change of heart. You could say he’s gone back to his roots and wants to right his wrongs. You’re a former friend of Conor’s, what do you think?

JPD: What do you mean former? Nothing has been made official yet. However, he got rid of the pretentious entrance and people are happy about him again. Big whoop, a snake can shed its skin but it’s still a snake. War Games brings out the best and the worst in people. Soon enough the world will see Conor’s true colors.

Jace leans back in this seat as both Fuse and Zion huddle together in the corner.

Bryan McVay: And their opponents…

SUPERHUMAN” by Modern Day Zero blasts throughout the arena as Fuse and Zion turn their attention towards the entrance ramp. The crowd cheers as Adam Ellis walks out on stage with the MVW World Championship belt around his waist. Ellis looks out at the crowd proudly but he’s looking worse for wear with a black eye and bandages on his head.

Bryan McVay: From St. Louis, Missouri, weighing 230 lbs. He is the MVW World Champion, here is ADAMMMM ELLISSSS!!!

Adam clenches his fist then marches down the ramp towards the ring. Ellis stops at the ringside arena then reaches behind him and unhooks the MVW World Championship belt from around his waist. Adam lifts the title belt high into the air and lets out a roar much to the approval of the Philly crowd.

Joe Hoffman: Adam Ellis is a former HOW World Tag Team Champion but when he and Sektor lost the belts, Sektor announced his retirement and Ellis decided to go back to MVW. He won the Championship but was unfortunately attacked by a mystery person which is why he looks like he’s not exactly 100%.

JPD: So basically, he rode Sektor to an HOW title then immediately lost it. So, he crawled with his tail between his legs to the minor leagues. He wins their title but he can’t even protect himself from someone who isn’t good enough to be in HOW. There is a reason this guy doesn’t have an HOW contract or is in the War Games match.

Adam nods his head and lowers his title before turning towards the entrance ramp. Zion starts to become impatient and wants to go after Ellis but Conor holds him back.

Bryan McVay: And his partner…

 

DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP” by AC/DC blasts throughout the arena. The crowd stands on their feet as The Machine John Sektor makes his way out on stage. Sektor stands there with a stern look on his face as the crowd begins to chant “You Still Got It” towards the man who has retirement looming around the corner. Sektor nods his head to the ovation the crowd is pouring out towards him.

Bryan McVay: From Miami, Florida, weighing in at 245 lbs. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. Here is The Gold Standard JOHNNNNN SEKTORRRRR!!!

 

Sektor marches down the ramp towards the ring where his partner Adam Ellis is waiting. Adam nods at his mentor as Sektor places his hands on Ellis’ shoulder. Sektor whispers some encouragement into Adam’s ear before both men enter the ring. Sektor takes to a corner and begins pulling on the top rope to stretch out a bit as Adam walks to the center of the ring and raises the MVW World Champion belt into the air again.

Joe Hoffman: Everyone thought this man’s career was over and that we’d never see John Sektor and Adam Ellis as a team again. However, The Gold Standard had a change of heart and wanted to go out on his terms. He came back as strong as ever getting the win against former LSD Champion Arthur Pleasant to qualify for War Games.

 

JPD: Myself and John Sektor have never really seen eye to eye but as a fellow Miami native I’m glad he didn’t go out on that wet fart of a tag team match. Now he’s going to enter War Games as a member of the winning team as we take down those losers Conor Fuse and Clay Byrd along with their replacement players.

Bryan McVay exits the ring as Joel Hortega signals for the bell to ring to start this match.

DING DING DING

 

After some brief discussion it’ll be Zion that starts the match for his team and Ellis will start for his team. Both men walk to the center of the ring with intense looks on their faces. Zion smirks then begins taunting Ellis who is having none of it. Ellis fires off forearm shots to the face of Zion that backs him up towards the ropes. Ellis grabs a hold of Zion and whips him across the ring but Zion reverses the whip. Ellis rebounds off the ropes as Zion goes for a big clothesline but Ellis ducks under it. Ellis rebounds off the other side of the ropes as Zion turns around. Ellis leaps into the air and takes down Zion with a Lou Thesz press. Ellis begins unleashing more forearm shots to the face of Zion who does his best to cover up. Ellis is back to his feet as Zion slowly regains a vertical base. Ellis wraps his arms around Zion but 4Z manages to free an arm and swing at Ellis. However, Ellis ducks under and transitions into waist lock from behind. In one fluid motion Ellis muscles Zion off of the ground and hits him with a German suplex. Zion holds his head in pain as Adam Ellis stalks his prey. Zion is back up to his feet and that’s when Ellis pounces looking to connect with the Goodnight Kiss but Zion quickly slides his upper body out between the top and middle ropes. This causes Hortega to step in and stop Ellis from attacking.

Joe Hoffman: Adam Ellis was looking to end this one early with the Goodnight Kiss but Zion just managed to get his upper half outside of the ring before the move could connect. You can just see the confidence radiating from this young man. Winning the HOW World Tag Team Championship belts then the MVW World Championship has done wonders.

JPD: So we’re just going to gloss over the fact that he literally stole the name the Goodnight Kiss from Tara Davidson’s finisher? Whatever, Ellis is still as green as grass but I have to admit him going for that big move was something I enjoyed. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to punch Darin Zion in the face?

Ellis backs away at the command of Hortega as Zion moves his whole body back into the ring. Ellis gestures with his fingers that he was this close to putting Zion down much to the disproval of the HOW veteran. Zion fires off a boot to the midsection of Ellis then grabs a hold of him. Zion attempts a snap suplex but Ellis lands on his feet behind Zion. Wary of another German suplex Zion turns quickly but eats a boot to the midsection from Ellis. The MVW Champion underhooks Zion’s arms and then snaps off a butterfly suplex down to the canvas. Zion staggers back to a vertical base and falls back against the turnbuckle. Ellis unleashes a set of knife edged chops to the chest of Zion that echo throughout the building. Zion holds his chest in pain as Ellis grabs a hold of him by the head. Ellis walks up the turnbuckle pads then plants Zion with a tornado DDT down to the canvas. Ellis hooks the leg and makes the cover on Zion as Hortega slides in.

UNO!

DOS!

NO!

Joe Hoffman: Adam Ellis spiked Zion on his head with that tornado DDT but lucky for Zion his partner Conor Fuse stepped in and broke up the count before Hortega could reach three.

JPD: This is exactly what I mean. Fuse had to step in and make sure that Zion didn’t lose yet another match but this is the man he wanted on his War Games team? Pathetic, absolutely pathetic but that’s our Champ for you.

Hortega gets back up to his feet and warns Conor about coming into the ring without a tag. Conor holds his arms up into the air in surrender and makes his way back to his corner. Ellis gets back up to his feet then grabs Zion by the hair and pulls him up to a vertical base. Ellis hits Zion with a European uppercut then whips him into the ropes. Zion rebounds off the ropes and before Ellis can capitalize Zion hits him with a running knee to the face that takes both men down to the canvas. With both men down and barely moving, Hortega has no choice other than to start a ten count. Slowly Zion begins to crawl towards his corner as Conor tries to get the crowd behind Zion. Ellis begins to stir and make it back to a vertical base but Zion leaps up and…

Joe Hoffman: Tag! The HOW World Champion is in this match for the first time!

JPD: I can see why Benny drank so much when he was sitting here next to you.

Conor leaps over the top rope to enter the ring. Ellis has no idea Zion has made the tag. As Ellis turns around Fuse hits him with a dropkick that sends him right back down to the canvas. Ellis reaches for the ropes to pull himself back up to his feet. Fuse charges and hits Ellis with a clothesline that sends him over the top rope and down to the arena floor below. Conor begins pumping his fist as the crowd cheers wildly. Fuse races towards the ropes building momentum as Ellis begins to get to his feet on the outside. Fuse leaps through the ropes with a suicide dive but Ellis sees it coming and unleashes a superkick that lands right on the button while Conor is in mid-air.

Joe Hoffman: What a kick by Ellis! Conor took to the air but Ellis was able to counter the midair attack and the MVW Champion now has the advantage over the HOW Champion.

JPD: Ellis just kicked all of the Super Mario Bros. knowledge out of Conor’s head. That was a car crash and now we can retire Fuse’s soul to section 214.

Ellis keeps up on the attack by grabbing the fallen Fuse and runs him spine first into the ringside apron. Conor yells out in pain but Ellis grabs him and rolls him back into the ring under the bottom rope. Ellis slides into the ring after as Conor begins to fight his way back to his feet. Ellis grabs a hold of Conor and hits him with a side Russian leg sweep that sends him back down to the canvas. Ellis quickly transitions and locks Fuse into a modified STF submission. Hortega drops down and asks Fuse if he wants to submit but the HOW Champion shakes his head no while screaming in pain. Conor tries to fight his way out of the move but it’s futile because he’s in the center of the ring. Conor raises his hand into the air like he’s going to tap out as the crowd is dead silent but Zion rushes into the ring and breaks up the hold before his best friend submits.

Joe Hoffman: Conor was in serious trouble there but Zion returned the favor from earlier and saved his match for his team. For a man that was released from the hospital just days before it seems that Adam Ellis has come prepared for this match.

JPD: That’s just proper teaching from The Gold Standard. You can credit him for anything good that Adam Ellis has ever done. And I hate to say it but thank God for Zion. We almost had the HOW World Champion tap out to an MVW nobody.

Hortega gets up and warns Zion that if he team does that again he’ll call for a disqualification. Zion exits back to his corner as Ellis gets to his feet and stalks around Fuse. As Conor gets to his feet Ellis leaps into the air going for another Goodnight Kiss but Conor leaps into the air and connects with the Standing Double Foot Stomp to the chest of Ellis crashing towards the canvas. Ellis is in pain and Conor is on the canvas still trying to recover. The crowd cheers wildly knowing this match could swing in either direction depending on which man is able to make the first move. Hortega begins another ten count as both Ellis and Conor begin to crawl towards their corners. Ellis is the slower of the two because of his already injured head bouncing off the canvas. Conor makes it to his corner and tags in Zion.

Joe Hoffman: Tag by Conor! Now Zion is the legal man in this match and Ellis is in trouble.

JPD: Come on you carny wrestling, waste of oxygen. Tag in Sektor so he can win this match!

Zion races into the ring and goes after Ellis before he can make it to his corner. However, Ellis leaps towards the corner and makes the hot tag into Sektor. The HOW Hall of Famer enters the ring as Zion begins to back away a little bit. Sektor fires off right hands to the face of Zion. Zion counters with a knee to the midsection then goes to whip Sektor into the ropes. Sektor reverses and clutches Zion before hitting an overhead belly to belly suplex. Sektor gets to his feet and waits for Zion to regain his vertical base. Sektor gives Zion a boot to the midsection then underhooks both of his arms. Sektor goes for the C-Sektion but Zion manages to free his arms and counters with a big back body drop that sends Sektor crashing down to the canvas. Zion gets a wild look in his eyes as Sektor gets back to his feet. Zion grabs a hold of the Gold Standard and…

Joe Hoffman: Ratings Spike!

JPD: Come on Sektor!

Zion gets back up to his feet but on the ring apron Conor reaches over the top rope and begs Zion to tag him in. Zion happily obliges his best friend and tags Fuse into the match. Zion races to the other side of the ring and hits a clubbing blow to the head of Adam Ellis knocking him off of the apron and down to the arena floor. Zion exits the ring after Ellis as Conor leaps to the top rope in one fluid motion.

Joe Hoffman: If Conor hits this it could be all over!

JPD: What the hell is going on?!

Conor leaps off the top rope and connects with the Super Splash 450 down onto Sektor. Conor hooks the leg and makes the cover as Hortega slides in for the count.

UNO!

DOS!

TRES!!!

 

DING DING DING!!!

Joe Hoffman: Darin Zion and Conor Fuse just defeated the former HOW World Tag Team Champions! Your teammate for War Games just lost to the Leader of the Locker room!

JPD: It’s okay, it’s fine! Clearly Sektor is saving his best effort for the War Games match. This win means nothing in the grand scheme of things!

Jace throws off his headset in frustration as Bryan McVay makes the official announcement.

Bryan McVay: The winners of the match in 9 minutes and 33 seconds, the team of DARIN ZIONNNN CONOR FUSEEE!!!

Zion slides back into the ring and celebrates with his best friend in the center of the ring. Jace stands at ringside and begins to sarcastically golf clap the performance from both Zion and Fuse as we head to commercial break.

 

Let's Talk

Back from commercial and a video begins playing on the HOV to welcome everyone back.

On the HOV we see a small black converted van rolls up to the backstage arena entrance in the back of the Wells Fargo Center. As it comes to a stop, several members of EPU jump out and make their way toward the back. Reaching the back, they are joined by the driver from the other side. They meet at the door to the back of the van, and with a head gesture from who we can assume is the one in charge, they open the door.

Sitting inside, hands cuffed in front of him is Jeffrey James Roberts. He looks at them, squinting his eyes in the late afternoon sun.

One of the guards reaches in and grabs a small plastic pull string attached to the plastic cuffs and gently pulls it in the direction of the exit. Robert complies without any resistance, scooting forward until he’s able to dangle his feet off the edge of the bumper and raise to his feet on the parking lot pavement.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen.” Roberts looks from one guard to the other, getting no response, and smirks slightly. They start to guide him toward the arena entrance, then open the door and usher him inside. Roberts squints again at the change in brightness from the outdoors to the inside of the arena and walks forward.

“Going inside, are we? Don’t I get to wait in my little parking lot trailer until match time?”

The main security guard looks at him side-eyed, then forward again as he focuses on his steps. “No. We have instructions. You’ve got a meeting before the show.”

Roberts seems amused.

“A meeting? How nice. Will there be coffee and donuts? I should have worn a tie…”

The group turns a corner finally and comes to a stop in front of a double-wide door. Roberts looks at it, sees no markings, then looks at his captors again. “So my friends, is this the place?”

They don’t respond for a moment, and he just stands there staring at them. Finally, the guard in charge speaks up.

“They’re waiting for you inside. When you’re done, we’ll take you back to your trailer for the evening until your match.”

With that, the guard grabs hold of the door and pushes it open. Straight ahead of him, in the middle of the room in front of a large desk, stands High Octane CEO Michael Lee Best. He has a serious look on his face, and he keeps his eyes on Roberts as he steps to the side slightly… to reveal Lee Best sitting at the desk behind the Son, high-backed leather chair creaking as he leans forward, his elbows on the surface in front of him.

Roberts stands in front of them, his hands still shackled. The Son speaks up.

“Have a seat. We have a job for you.”

Roberts smiles at this, then turns around and looks at the guards through the still-open door. One of them pulls the door shut, locking them inside out of view.

One outta Three

We cut away from the video that just aired and we cut to where Brian Bare is standing by with Xander Azula.

Brian Bare: Hello, High Octane fans, it’s your man backstage Brian Bare with the hot, hot, HOTTEST scoops in town! I’m here with Xander Azula, coming off a hotly-contested HOFC match against Brian Hollywood. Xander, with the first of your three fights of the year now in the books—which, to be clear, means that it has concluded—what’s your mindset going into War Games this year? What’s the story, pal?

Despite his usually-stoic manner, Xander responds to the question with a smile.

Xander Azula: Well, Brian, I want to make something clear at the jump. I told Hollywood that I wanted a fight, and he damn sure gave me one tonight…I can respect that. As you so eloquently pointed out, though, it’s done and dusted now, and all eyes are on War Games…so let’s have a heart-to-heart. Last year, I was a lone wolf joining a squad set on shutting up Lee Best. This year, I am…a lone wolf joining a squad set on shutting up Lee Best.

Xander stops, letting that sink in as he scratches his head before continuing.

Xander Azula: Man, the more things change the more they stay the same. Last year, I was in way over my head, and didn’t really take into consideration just how important that match was. After everything that’s happened to me since, though? I’m going into War Games with a different attitude this year. Gone is the man wandering through the wilderness…in its place is a man who has found the path he must walk. The path of a winner…and I know just where to begin.

With that, Xander’s smile grows into a grin as he walks away, leaving us with a visibly confused Brian Bare before we cut away!

Bergman's Barn

Back inside the arena and the HOV fires up and it’s once again a video vignette.

Black screen.

Announcer: The following is brought to you by… The Highwaymen

Narrator: The Highwaymen give back.

Cut to the interior of Joe Bergman’s Barn.

The walls are adorned with a black and #97 red High Octane Wrestling banner that’s strung up prominently.  There’s also a plain white and black Missouri Valley Wrestling banner situated on the other side.  Sprinkled in are various photos from Joe’s sixteen-year wrestling career from his early days at PCW to his two-year run at MVW and his HOW career adorning the bright white and freshly painted walls of the barn.

Panning down.  There’s thirty aspiring, up and coming wrestlers who are getting put through their paces inside Joe’s barn by Clay Byrd, Steve Solex, Steve Harrison, and Joe Bergman.

Narrator: While the board are consumed by their own arrogance, greed, and corruption, the Highwaymen… working with the ‘Boys…

MONTAGE OF QUICK VIDEO SNIPPETS:
-While sparring with a young wrestler, Clay Byrd actually kind of smiles.
-Steve Harrison hawks Miracle Enterprises’ brand-new Joe Bergman/Halitosis “Extra Industrial Strength Mouthwash”.
-Steve Solex grills burgers, brats, steaks on the grill outside the barn while drinking a PBR and talking with the students.
-Sunny O’Callahan walks around in the yard with she comes bearing gifts – a platter filled with burgers, brats, strips of barbeque beef and steaks – the sweet smell of grilled food permeates the air and the wrestlers are very appreciative.
-No, seriously.  Clay Byrd may have smiled, we need independent verification.
-Joe Bergman works with one of the students in the ring.

Narrator: …take time out of their busy schedule and War Games preparation to give back to the industry that’s made them the successful wrestlers they are.

Cut to all four Highwaymen in the ring sitting on stools in the middle of the ring surrounded by and answering questions from the young wrestlers and sharing their experiences in the wrestling industry.

MONTAGE OF QUICK VIDEO SNIPPETS:
-Steve Harrison responds to a question… and then hawks another Miracle Enterprise products.
-Solex answers a wrestler’s inquiry while an American eagle flies in and lands on his arm.  Blood begins to flow from where the eagle’s talons have penetrated Solex’s skin but- Solex being Solex- the American hero does not flinch.
-Clay Byrd smiles… just a little bit… maybe… for real.

The final question is posed to Joe Bergman.

Young Wrestler: So Joe.  It’s been well-documented that you didn’t get the result in your match with Christopher America you thought you would… plus… it cost you a War Games slot. So, my question is as a wrestler, what do you do when things don’t go the way you thought they would?

Bergman nods and thinks for a couple seconds.

Joe Bergman: That’s a really good question.  I guess I could have simply sat back and accepted what happened when Rick Stevens watched Christopher America hit me with a blatant low blow and ended up defeating me.  But…

Sitting at the end, Joe glances down at Byrd, Harrison, and Solex.

Joe Bergman: …I think we can all agree that’s not what Joe Bergman is all about.  And I know that’s not what Joe Bergman stands for.  Sometimes you have fight back to stand up for what you think is right.  It was clear that the Board did not want Joe Bergman in the War Games match.  CEO Michael Lee Best said on the radio that he would do anything to help Christopher America defeat me so he could be in the War Games match.

Bergman smiles.

Joe Bergman: So that’s what happened.  BUT.  Instead of lying down and letting it go… instead of rage quitting because I didn’t get the result I thought I’d deserved… instead of bitching about the toxic atmosphere… whatever the hell that means… I did something about it. I decided to let Rick Stevens know exactly what I thought about the way he handled that particular point in our match and that’s what I did last week.  Basically, I took the stench, the putrid noxious air from Stevens blatantly screwing me out of a win against Christopher America and gave it right back to him.

Bergman glances at the other three again.  They all nod and agree.

Joe Bergman: I suppose I could also be angry because Conor Fuse didn’t pick me for War Games either given the controversial manner of my defeat to America.  But that’s fine.  Working and teaching the next generation of up-and-coming wrestlers like you all out here today… well… that’s more important in the larger scheme of things.  We may not have the resources here that Ten-X has but I think we do a real good job of teaching our students the building blocks of what it takes to become a professional wrestler.

Quick cut to a picture of an eighteen-year-old Adam Ellis on the wall very early on in his wrestling career.

Joe Bergman: I think… we all think… that it’s important to teach the next generation of up-and-coming wrestlers the right way of doing things and after thinking about it, I may not be able to wrestle at War Games but that doesn’t mean I can’t play my part to help The Boys defeat The Board.  So tonight, I am announcing that for the next three weeks, I will be training Xander Azula right here at Bergman’s Barn for War Games.

Quick cut to the young wrestler’s reactions.

Joe Bergman: Xander’s done real well in the HOFC matches but he hasn’t fared so well on the wrestling side.  So Xander is going to train here and I’m going to do my best to make sure he’s ready for War Games.

Joe pauses.

Joe Bergman: I’m looking forward in helping Xander write his War Games story.

Joe winks at the camera.

Joe Bergman: So Xander, anything you need.  Whatever it takes.  I will…

Joe points to Byrd, Harrison, and Solex.

Joe Bergman: WE will help you get ready to put your best foot forward and more importantly… help the Highwaymen… and help The Boys… win at War Games.

Fade to black.

 

The Devil’s Advocates vs. The Highwaymen

Tag Team Championship Match

Back live, and backstage, Arthur Pleasant is standing with Blaire Moise, who is about to conduct a pre-match interview. The video is broadcast on the screen inside the arena, so as to allow the fans to listen in.

Blaire Moise:  I’m here with Arthur Pleasant, who in a matter of minutes has a match alongside his tag team partner Jeffrey James Roberts, defending their HOW World Tag Team Titles against the Highwaymen duo of Clay Byrd and Steve Solex. How do you feel about… OH MY GOD!!

Blaire darts out of frame as we see a large heavy metal chair come crashing straight down on the head of Arthur Pleasant. He crumples to the floor, having taken a direct unprotected shot to the back of his head, and his eyes roll back. Finally, the camera pans toward the attacker, standing there, chair in hand, maniacal grin on his face…

JEFFREY JAMES ROBERTS.

Roberts looks down at his tag team partner, and his eyes grow wider as he starts to shake in anger. With a scream, he brings the chair down again across the prone form of Arthur Pleasant, then again, then again, and again and again. Finally, he flings the chair away and reaches down into his trunks for something, but we can’t yet see what it is.

He leaps onto the back of Pleasant putting a knee firmly in the man’s back and opens up his hand to reveal a small metal spike. He stretches Arthur’s arm out and with another scream, he jabs it right through the bicep on Arthur’s right arm. Arthur screams in pain again, but can’t escape from under Roberts’ knee. Roberts pulls the spike out, then slams it down into and through Arthur’s outstretched hand. Pleasant is screaming bloody murder, but there’s no way out.

Roberts grabs Arthur by the back of his head and growling in anger, he slams him face-first into the concrete floor. Blood splatters and Roberts gets even more animated, screaming as he slams Arthur Pleasant’s face into the concrete over and over, until Roberts starts to tire, leaving his ‘former’ tag team partner’s face a bloody unrecognizable mess.

Blood is pooling around his face, several teeth are sitting in the 97Red liquid, and Roberts pauses, taking a deep breath and smiling as he closes his eyes and breathes everything in. Something occurs to him, and he flips Arthur over onto his face, his face a mangled mess and blood caking in his hair.

Roberts picks up the metal spike again, puts his hand over Arthur Pleasant’s throat, and laughs at him.

He looks down at Pleasant’s smiley-face tattoo and begins digging the spike into Arthur’s chest around the edge of the image. Arthur has no more fight to give and is in all likelihood not even conscious, so he stays still.

“Your tattoo… is… STUPID…”

After digging the spike around the edges of the tattoo, Roberts peels the skin off, holding the inked flesh in his palm like a smiley-faced pepperoni. Looking at it, he holds it up to the light, then tosses it into his own mouth, chewing it up and swallowing. He growls again and leans over to viciously bite Arthur on the forehead. Arthur tries to move but has no energy left, and appears to be functioning only on an instinctive level.

Roberts leaps to his feet, yanking Arthur Pleasant up by his hair, and lifts him into a fireman’s carry position.

“Time… to go… Arthur… We have… a match… to win…”

Roberts marches past stunned staffers and production workers and heads toward the curtain where four members of the EPU are standing. Roberts approaches, and they hold the line, but then they part and allow him to go through.

Jeffrey emerges onto the stage, met there by a crowd in absolute shock at what they’ve been witnessing on the screen. In the ring, Clay Byrd and Steve Solex are similarly in shock, standing against the ropes and staring up the ramp. Roberts makes his way down the aisle with a quick pace, and reaching the ring, he unceremoniously flops Arthur Pleasant onto the apron and shoves his disfigured former ‘friend’ into the waiting arms of the Highwaymen.

With the back of his hand, Roberts wipes Arthur’s blood from his mouth and then looks up at Byrd and Solex.

“Have a great day, fellas, or should I say… Pleasant.”

The arena is dead quiet, in utter shock, watching as Roberts turns and walks back up the aisle. As he reaches the top, the guards step out and reapply plastic cuffs to his wrists. Roberts turns his head, glancing over his shoulder one last time, and smiling like a crazy person, then he’s led through the curtain.

Back in the ring, Byrd and Solex stand over Arthur Pleasant not knowing what to do.

Finally, the referee slides into the ring, indicating to the competitors that the match will continue as scheduled.

Byrd seems surprised at this, and Solex just stares down at the bloody mess.

The bell rings, and Clay Byrd cautiously approaches Arthur Pleasant, kneels down, and places a finger on his lacerated chest, trying to avoid blood as much as he can.

The referee drops to the mat and quickly counts to three.

The bell rings, and Joe Hoffman finally summons the will to speak, breaking the dead silence.

Joe Hoffman: I… I just… I don’t even know what to say here, folks. This is an unbelievable scene in the ring right now. I can’t even tell that it IS Arthur Pleasant. His face is battered to the point that it’s sickening to look at.

Brian McVay: Ladies and gentlemen, your winners… in ten seconds… and NEW HOW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!!… Clay Byrd and Steve Solex, THE HIGHWAYMEN!!!!!

Medical personnel finally come rushing out and climb into the ring to attend to the not-moving Arthur Pleasant. The camera pulls back to a hushed crowd, buzzing with shock, and the scene fades to the High Octane logo and War Games advert.