Refueled XIX
  • Event Type: weekly

Refueled XIX

Event Date: March 7, 2020 at 10:00 pm

Ordinary Opener

The HOTv logo gives way as a video begins to play to kick off tonight’s show….

The video starts above the Allstate Arena looking down in the parking lot.

BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM…

A banjo began to play the opening of Aaron Watson’s “Dark Horse”

Late Saturday afternoon.  The temperatures have inched over the 50 degree mark.  Roughly two to three hundred people crowd around an old school 1960 Chevrolet C10 Pickup with a short bed in the back with a state of the art grill inside tailgating in the sunny and mild day before tonight’s Refueled XIX show.

Yeah this one goes out to the dreamer always out there aiming high
Don’t you let ’em clip your wings or say that you can’t fly”

Cut to the bed of the truck.  A brunette works the grill and cooks up burgers, brats, steaks, pork chops and chicken.  She shares more than a passing resemblance to Joe but she’s a few years younger.

“This one goes out to the loser losing time and time again
And time again keeps on believing that someday they’re gonna win”

The brunette kicks out food left and right and hands it to Joe.

 “When nobody knows your name, nobody knows your face
Everybody counts you out long before you start that race”

Cut to the tailgate where Joe hands out the food.

 “You can let ’em place their bets, let ’em laugh and drink their wine
Let ’em eat their words when you’re first to the finish line”

Bergman also leans over the side of the truck and signs autographs for the people.

 “Today’s your day in the sun, you’re rolling like a young gun
Now it’s your time to ride, let your dark horse run”

He poses for pictures for the fans and spends time talking to them as the brunette continues to hold down the grilling duties behind him.

“They can’t measure your heart, they can’t tear you apart
You’re finally catching your stride, let your dark horse run
Through the fire and barbed wire – You’re a runaway train, there’s no turning back”

In the background, the camera focuses in on M.J. Flair and High Flyer arriving at the arena.  M.J. swings over to the tailgate party to check out what’s going on.  Flyer stays back, hiding his face in a hoodie.  After a couple seconds, she quickly rejoins Flyer and they move along into the arena.

 “This one goes out to the girls: go show the world you can
Never let ’em hold you back just because you aren’t a man”

Quick cut to a replay of Joe’s trainer/manager Dawn McGill pinning Tim Shipley at Thursday Night Turmoil, January 21st, 2010.

 “This one goes out to those underdogs who aren’t afraid to bite
Change the game, break the chain, get off that porch and fight”

Another quick cut to a replay of Halitosis (Joe Bergman) giving John Sektor the ‘breath of death’ and submitting him with the Dragon Sleeper at Friday Night Chaos on September 13th, 2019.

 “Today’s your day in the sun, you’re rolling like a young gun
Now it’s your time to ride, let your dark horse run”

Cut back to the bed of the truck.  The brunette flips a burger up in the air with her spatula and slings the cooked patty towards Joe . . .

 “They can’t measure your heart, they can’t tear you apart
You’re finally catching your stride, let your dark horse run”

. . . but Joe’s not watching and the burger smacks him in the chest.  Joe reflexively catches the hot, juicy burger on his plate but the grease leaves a circular pattern on his shirt . . .

“Through the fire and barbed wire – You’re a runaway train, there’s no turning back”

. . . the brunette smiles and laughs.  Joe mouths ‘my fault’ and tries to wipe off the grease with a paper towel.

The song fades and provides the background music when the video cuts to a little later on with Joe speaking through a megaphone from the back of the truck to everyone.

Joe Bergman (through a megaphone): You know, I came to HOW with a dream but no one thought I had a chance in hell of winning the world title tournament.  All that did was fuel my fire even more so I went and built my own destiny by winning the whole damn thing.  I became what they said I couldn’t be- a world champion.  I didn’t need to create a super faction of five of the best wrestlers in not just High Octane Wrestling but the entire wrestling industry to do it. I didn’t have to bring in a high priced 24 carat group to in order to reach my goal.  No, I used the chip on my shoulder and listened to it when it told me to get my ass back up every time I got knocked down.

He pauses as the crowd cheers.

Joe Bergman (through the megaphone): And I did it with you as my faction – ordinary folks who punch the clock every day and work like hell to scratch out and make a living each and every day.  You are the ones who had and continue to have my back and I promise you all that we’re going to keep on fighting.  This dark horse won it all before and this dark horse can win it all again.  We’re going to keep moving forward.  And hopefully, someday, we’re going to hold gold once again and if that happens, I promise you we’ll have a much bigger party than this.

The chorus of the song plays again as the HOTv comes back onto the screen once again as the video ends and its time to go live…..

Joe Bergman vs. Austin Reeves

We cut live inside the sold out All State Arena and the crowd is on their feet as its time for the final night of the group stage of the LBI to conclude.

As the hard camera pans across the crowd we see that the the Chicago fans are once again on their feet for another action of High Octane Wrestling.

The feed then cuts to the Hall of Fame announce team of Joe Hoffman and Big Buff Benny Newell:

Joe Hoffman: Well here we go Benny….the FINAL night of the Lee Best Invitational group stage. From here on out we are literally on the Road to the Coliseum for March to Glory.

Benny Newell: Yep. Awesome. Great. Grand. Amazing.

Joe Hoffman: Already? You are fickle Benny already?

Benny Newell: Do not mind me…….the arm is healing…..I have moved on with my life…..and I am here to do my job.

Joe Hoffman: Well……that is good to hear as tonight is a packed show. Not only do we have the final two LBI Group stage matches, we also will see the in ring debuts of Perfection and Andy Murray of the 24K stable, and of course tonight’s main event see’s The SON taking on The ICON Dan Ryan for the ICON Championship.

Benny Newell: Insert my Mike Best love here…..k thanks….

Joe Hoffman: BUT before we get to that it is time to see Ordinary Joe, a true man of the people, in the ring with the powerhouse Austin Reeves in the final match of the DeNucci Group, which was already won on a tiebreaker by the LSD and Tag Champion Max Kael.

Benny just gives a thumbs up to Joe as we cut to the ring to begin the match..

We cut to Bryan McVay and Joel Hortega standing in the ring, welcoming fans to tonight’s Refueled and hyping the opening match.

Bryan McVay: Our opening contest is scheduled for…..ONE FALL

Crowd:  ONE FALL!

The Call’s “Let the Day Begin” plays over the loudspeaker.

Joe Bergman walks out on the ramp. He pumps his first in the air and then starts down the ramp towards the ring.

Bryan McVay: Introducing first, hailing from St. Louis, Missouri and weighing in tonight at one hundred ninety-five pounds.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – ORDINARY JOE BERGMAN!

Here’s to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here’s to the workers in the fields
Here’s to the preachers of the sacred words
Here’s to the drivers at the wheel…”

He slap people’s hands along the way.

Here’s to you
My little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin…”

Joe continues on to greet the fans along the way.

“…Here’s to you
My little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
let the day begin
let the day…start!

He reaches the ring area and continues to greet people around the front row and then climbs up on the ring apron and leaps over the top rope into the ring.  He waits for Austin Reeves’ arrival. Suddenly:

For whom the bell tolls

Time marches on

For whom the bell tolls”

“From Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica blares on the PA System and Austin Reeves charges out from the back.  He rushes straight into the ring and immediately attacks Joe Bergman with a stiff spinebuster. He tosses him directly into the ropes and hits a dominating powerslam on Joe as Hortega calls for the bell to open the match.

Joe Hoffman:  Different approach from Austin Reeves tonight as we open up Refueled tonight.  He looks more determined than ever to pick up a win with his 1-4 record.

Benny Newell:  Reeves wants to win dumbass….you stupid mo…

Joe Hoffman:  What?

Benny Newell:  Nothing Joe…continue on Mr. Professional.

Reeves pulls Bergman’s limp body off the mat, picks it up, and chucks him over the top rope stiffly into the barricade.  Reeves slowly pulls himself to the outside and smashes Bergman’s face into the barricade right in front of the fans screaming “watch your fellow stablemate die, you worthless scum” much to the disgust of the fans in the front row.  Reeves picks up Bergman and slams his back into the ring post. Reeves lunges at Bergman with a stiff kick across Joe’s jaw as Reeves demands Hortega to count as he climbs back into the ring.

 

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

Benny Newell:  Joe Bergman’s going to want a drink after that kick.  Shit I could feel Reeves’ kick from here. I might need dental surgery after that one.

Joe Hoffman:  I don’t think there’s any way in hell Bergman is like you.  Reeves hasn’t let down the offense tonight. He’s looking heavily impressive.  But Bergman’s struggling back to his feet..

Joe struggles back into the ring as Hortega reaches seven.  But Reeves tackles him taking him down to the mat. Reeves gloats regarding his size advantage.  Joe struggles towards the ropes. Frustrated, Reeves grabs Bergman’s right leg. Joe pulls himself up, hopping in place.  Reeves tries to pull him in closer, but Bergman hits an enziguri straight to Reeves’ jaw, returning the favor. Dazed and confused, Reeves stumbles into the ropes where Bergman nails a standing drop kick sending Reeves to the outside.  Bergman jumps onto the apron and lands a crossbody sending Reeves and himself into the barricade. Adrenaline rushes through Bergman’s body. He charges again at the 6’ 8” Reeves, nailing a stiff drop kick on his chest. Bergman slowly drags Reeves into the steel stairs and stiffs a hard roundhouse kick into Reeves’ head, smashing it into the cold hard steel.  Bergman slides into the ring and Hortega begins counting.

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

Joe Hoffman:  Bergman’s charged offense quickly gained him the advantage in this match…

Benny Newell:  Everyone has a plan until…..well you know the rest.

Reeves stomps into the ring and glares a hole straight into Bergman’s soul.  Ever so defiant, Bergman motions for Reeves to charge. Reeves rushes at Bergman, but Bergman ducks and lands an elbow across Austin’s skull.  Nothing! Reeves still stands. Bergman tries nailing a roundhouse kick. Reeves stumbles. Joe now attempts a clothesline, but Reeves ducks, hoists Bergman up, and lands a massive powerbomb echoing through the arena.  Reeves motions for his brainbuster finish the GNA.

Joe Hoffman:  Holy crap!  Bergman’s reversed the momentum!  He’s back to his feet! Bergman’s self proclaimed stablemates:  the HOW fans; are leaping to their feet!!!

Reeves looks shocked as he turns around seeing Joe Bergman confidently standing behind him.  Reeves’ emotions explode as the veins in his forehead explode as he rushes at Joe. Bergman catches Reeves, sending him shoulder first straight into the turnbuckle.  Bergman pounds his chest pointing to the top rope. He runs, leaps, and quickly hits a High Angle Senton off the top rope, pressing all his nearly 200 pound body straight into Reeves’ diaphragm.  Without hesitation, Bergman gets grounded, wraps his legs and body around Reeves, and solidly locks in the Dragon Sleeper. Hortega grabs Reeves hand and lifting it up three times:

 

DROP!

 

DROP!

 

DROP!

 

DING DING DING DING!

Bryan McVay:  Here is your winner via submission:  ORDINARY JOE BERGMAN!

The crowd erupts and Bergman turns his attention to Section 214; saluting them before Hortega lifts his hand in victory.  As Bergman steps away, he turns his attention to Section 111; the 24K box; and flips it the bird as he and the fans celebrate the win.

Benny Newell:  A little edge to Mr. People Person……hmmmm

Joe Hoffman:  The Ordinary Faction carried him to the win…….he is clearly tired of seeing these groups continue to run things here in HOW.

Bergman climbs up to the top of the entrance ramp, ecstatic about his win as we fade into the next segment.

What is old is new again....

We cut backstage and we see Blaire Moise standing in front of a High Octane Wrestling backdrop, her light blue dress a stark contrast with the black background, the HOW logo checkerboarding the vinyil screen.  They are seen from the waist up, the shot framed in classic 80s style – everything dead centred.

Flanking her on are Rick Dickulous on the right, and Matt Klazzic to her left, both casually standing around, seemingly talking quietly back and forth.  They’re dressed in the most ridiculous matching tag team gear imaginable – a clear throwback to The Rockers – the yellow and black tight shirts accentuating their large frames.  Both men wear sets of yellow and black arm tassles which ruffle as their arms move.  Matt’s wears a black lucha style mask, the roughly trillium shaped, solid coloured trim a matching shade of yellow.

As Blaire clears her throat and smiles, both men turn their attention between her, and the camera directly in front of them.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming my guests at this time.  Rick Dickulous and a newcomer who was literally just signed to HOW today….. Matt Klazzic.  Now, Rick, you’re also a relative newcomer who’s been able to make an impact with your matches in a relatively short period of time. Now, you’re rejoined by your long time tag team partner in Matt Klazzic. What can the fans expect with both you and Matt here in HOW?”

Rick leans down slightly, bringing his mouth closer to the microphone.

“Y’know somethin’, Blaire Moise…no, wait, that one’s already been done…” he strokes his beard gently in thought before continuing, “…sorry, guy!  Moving on.  Yes, Matty and I are finally back together!  Turn-It-Up Express has landed here at High Octane Wrestling, and we’re bringing the same thing to the table here that we have everywhere else we’ve been: heart, determination and hard hitting offense that’s gonna keep High Octane Wrestling’s tag division on high alert!”

“Thank you Rick.  Now Matt, you’re new to HOW with no matches under your belt.  As one of the few who wears a mask, what can we expect from you here in HOW?”

Matt strokes his chin as he extends his hand towards Blaire.

“Well, before we begin, Blaire, is it?  Please let me shake your hand as this is the first time we are meeting here.”

Matt says as he and Blaire shake hands. Matt puts his arm around her shoulder as Blaire dips under to get out of Matt’s arm.

“Sorry Blaire. Force of habit. Anyway, as for what the fans can expect from Matt Klazzic, well, they can expect nothing but 100% from me. The good people will never have to question my heart and my effort. I leave nothing out there and with the support of all you good people here in HOW, I can’t…no, I won’t let you nice people down!”

Matt gives an emphatic thumbs up to both Blaire and the camera. Blaire gives a small chuckle to herself as she backs away from Matt.

“Wow, Rick. You’ve been Matt’s partner for the past year or so, anything to add as to what we can expect from not only Matt, but also both you and Matt as the Turn-It-Up Express. Is there anything you and Matt want to say to the tag team division here in HOW?”

Rick holds up a finger, looking quizzically at Blaire.

“Hold up a second, let’s back this truck up a little bit…do you know why Matty wears a mask?”

Blaire stares blankly at Rick, shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head no.

“I don’t know what it is, but for some reason chicks dig masks…I can’t explain it!  But hey, seems like Blaire Moise is unphased!  Good job, Blaire!”

Rick holds up a hand for a high five, which Blaire, in the most professional way returns.

“To answer your question, Matt Klazzic is the only practitioner of King’s Road Wrestling in the current era.  He’s not only the best in the business at what he does, he’s also my best friend, and he’s the reason Turn-It-Up Express does what we do best….”

Rick looks over at Matt, pointing at him with both hands while flashing his huge, friendly grin at the camera as Matt inhales sharply.

“You got that right, buddy! Blaire?  When Rick and I get in that ring, we only know one thing, and that’s to push it to the max!  We will go all out to give you, the nice people in the crowd watching wherever they might be, our very best!  We take things in the ring and we turn it up to 11, baby!  And if the entire tag team division can’t handle that, they need to step aside, ’cause Rick and I, the Turn-It-Up Express, will take the tag team division and turn things on their head!  GET READY, KLAZZIC’S COMING AT YA!!!”

Rick claps his hand on Matt’s shoulder, giving it a friendly shake before simply patting it as he speaks.

“What we’re tryin’ ta say, Blaire, is Turn-It-Up Express WILL absolutely make our mark here in High Octane Wrestling.  You got your Red & Teds, you got your Hollywood Bruvs….hell, you got your legends in Perfectly Marvelouses, and you got your teams like the first ever HOW Tag Team Champs Kostoff and Overkill.  Turn-It-Up Express WILL one day be spoken of in the same breath as any one of those teams, and we’re ready to take on any two wrestlers in order to prove it – INCLUDING Max Kael and Cecilworth Farthington.”

Blaire smiles and turns to the camera as Rick Dickulous and Matt Klazzic high five.  Rick flexes his left arm; an obvious Macho Man impersonation, while Matt stands at the ready, his eyes full of fire.

“Thank you, Rick and Matt. There you have it fans, the Turn-It-Up Express is here in HOW, and they’re here to take the excitement to a whole other level. Guys, back to you!!!”

The action cuts back inside the arena as it is time for our next segment.

A Well Laid Plan

Dad, how come nobody likes me? 

Cause you’re a mothafuckaaaaaaaaaaaa… 

The head bopping intro to “Motherfucker” by Hopsin begins to slap over the sound system, as the new soon to be smash hit theme music of the SON OF GOD heralds his arrival to the ring here at the AllState Arena.

Dressed in a bold new suit jacket with a black “GOD” t-shirt beneath, Michael Lee Best saunters out onto the stage to a rousing mixed reaction from his hometown crowd. He carries a microphone in his right hand, and holds the jacket open with his left hand, making sure the camera can see his newest merchandising scheme.

Joe Hoffman: Here he comes, ladies and gentlemen, the Son of God himself. Last week on Refueled, we saw the presumptive death of The Industry and the eMpire alike– from their ashes rose the Group of Death, as Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy turned on long time allies MJ Flair and Jack Harmen to form an alliance that is, quite frankly, as terrifying to me as it is baffling.

Benny Newell: It makes sense to me, Joe. Four of the most baddest motherfuckers in the history of the sport, and Michael learned early on from the Father that there is power in numbers.

Joe Hoffman: No one can argue that. This is one dominant looking faction and one has to wonder how the new group will gel.

As he approaches the ring, Michael hops up one step at the time before ducking under the ropes. He stares out into the crowd, taking in the sea of boos and cheers alike, as he takes his place in the center of the ring. He bumps his head along to his own new theme music, waiting to speak until the song fades out.

Finally, he raises the microphone to his lips.

Mike Best: I tried to tell you.

Another large, mixed reaction. The Chicago crowd can’t quite decide what to make of the new supergroup, made up of some of their favorite and least favorite HOW wrestlers. They’ve spent the better part of a year cheering for Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy, and to see them on the same side with the men they’ve been battling since the day they entered HOW is… conflicting… to say the least.

Mike Best: I told you that the Group of Death would destroy the Industry. I told you that the Group of Death would change the face of HOW… forever. I told you that the Group of Death required a sacrifice. I told you. Time and time again, I told you. But you didn’t believe me.

A smirk comes over his face, as Michael Best gives a little shrug to the camera. Someone in the front row yells out “FUCK YOU”, loud enough to pick up on the microphone for those watching at home.

Mike Best: Last week was a warning shot. MJ Flair and Jack Harmen were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Necessary casualties of war— a sacrifice for our Greater Good. And I think that most of you understood that you were witnessing history. That the Wrath of GoD was upon you. Most of you. 

He paces around the ring as he speaks, definitely buying into his own brand right now. He looks more like a preacher in the ring than a Hall of Fame wrestler– his delivery is dramatic, to say the least.

Mike Best: James didn’t understand.

The Son of God shakes his head, somewhat disingenuously.

Mike Best: Poor James sat backstage in VIP, and I swear he must think he’s still in Utah, because I watched him cry a whole Salt Lake about how the Group of Death is afraid of his new band of brothers. And before I bring out tonight’s guest of honor, I feel the need to clarify something for all of you.

He stops in his tracks, looking directly into the camera now. He’s speaking to the monitor.

Mike Best: We ARE afraid.

While the words feel less than sincere, he isn’t smiling. His expression is deadly serious.

Mike Best: We’re afraid that the new kids on the block might be non-believers. That maybe James and his crew came here to sip champagne and talk shit, with no regard for the consequences. That maybe they’re sleeping on the Group of Death, because they come from a world where they are undisputed kings. But let me ask you something, James— what’s a King to a GoD?

He raises an eyebrow, a sinister little smirk growing over his face.

Mike Best: Don’t sleep on us, James. Because if you sleep on us, you’re never gonna fucking wake up. If you’re here to talk, go ahead and talk. But I’m here to fight, and if you keep running that mouth, you’re liable to catch one on the jaw. POP… goes Perfection.

And “pop” goes the crowd– a match between James Witherhold and Michael Lee Best has been the dream of many wrestling fans for over half a decade now. With tensions mounting over the last few weeks, the odds of it happening are becoming greater and greater.

Chicago wants to see it go down.

Mike Best: That goes for all of you. Whether you’re a Bruv or a Bandit, a Red or a Ted, an Average Joe or a Hollywood superstar. Wayward Fathers, Scorpions, snakes and anarchists. Those whose stocks plummeted when Industries fell. Shoot your shots. Tweet your Tweets and talk your shit, but do so with the knowledge that GoD is watching, and that GoD’s wrath is just. Repent, sinners– the end times have come to HOW.

There is sweat on his brow– he’s thirty seconds short of inviting members of the crowd to come and “be healed” by the glory of his new wrestling supergroup. There are Mega Churches getting ready to sue for gimmick infringement. But just as the spiel hits a fever pitch, he changes gears– the fire and brimstone in his eyes is replaced by an impish grin.

Mike Best: Boy, that got heavy for a minute, didn’t it?

A chuckle from the crowd. He rubs the back of his neck with his free hand, changing gears.

Mike Best: Dog and cats, living together… mass hysteria. But it’s not all doom and gloom tonight, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight is a night for celebration! A night for Jack Icarus to find out what happens High Flyers get too close to the sun, in a no disqualification match against the most dangerous woman in professional wrestling. A main event exhibition that will demonstrate exactly what the Group of Death is all about– where two brothers-in-arms will consecrate their friendship in blood, and one true ICON will rise from the ashes. A night to prove to all of you what happens when you put together a faction who eats, sleeps, and breathes this fucking business, and puts more thought into their fucking theme music than you’ve put into the future of your career.

The words are getting louder now. He’s changed over from violent preacher to unapologetic hype man, as he moves around the ring faster now. His blood is pumping, and he looks legitimately excited.

Mike Best: But as my father might say… I digress. And hey, I’m a proud father here tonight, myself. The Architect of the most dangerous group of humans walking, and I fucking built it. But I couldn’t build it alone. I needed… a Catalyst. 

At this, the crowd begins to buzz.

After several minutes of exposition and masturbation, it sounds like they’re finally going to get an explanation for the madness of last week.

They’re correct.

Mike Best: Allow me to bring out a woman who needs no introduction, but is getting one anyway. She is the assasination of the Archduke. The catalyst behind our Immaculate Conception. She is the undisputed, undefeated winner of the GOD GROUP of the Lee Best Invitational. She is the GoD Bearer. The Cause of Our Joy, and your sorrow. The Mother of No Mercy. The GOD QUEEN OF HOW… LINDSAY…. TROOOOOOY!

What used to be clap-stomp beats from “Watch Me” by the Phantoms is replaced with an ominous, horn-aided intro. “My World Now” by 7kingZ blasts through the speakers as a mixed reaction from the High Octane Faithful heralds the Queen of the Ring to the stage. Lindsay Troy strolls out amidst a shower of pyro and cannon blasts, the picture of confidence, not a single fuck to be had.

Joe Hoffman: Lindsay Troy hearing something she isn’t used to hearing in front of this Chicago crowd, Benny. Those are boos. Last week, Lindsay Troy brutally attacked Jack Harmen, just moments after Dan Ryan ALSO turned his back on The Industry. To call it a coup is almost an understatement. Maybe that’s a nickname Mike Best can add to the list for LT– The Betrayer.

Benny Newell: Fickle.

Joe Hoffman: You know what, Benny? Despite every instinct I have as a human, I’m going to have to agree with you this time…..

Lindsay is already dressed for her match against Jack Harmen in a black and silver ensemble, touched with #97Red trim, black and red arm tape up to her elbow. Lindsay takes a moment to bask in the ovation and the pyro, then makes her way down the ramp as spotlights follow her path. She keeps her eyes focused on the ring, waving her hand dismissively at any fans who hurl insults in her direction. At the bottom of the ramp, she hops flat-footed onto the apron, slips between the ropes, and saunters over to where Michael stands, slow-clapping and smirking.

The Architect presents his microphone with a flourish and leans back against the turnbuckles. Lindsay walks to center ring, her music dying out.

Lindsay Troy: I seem to have made quite a few people angry last week.

She pauses and smiles, but there’s no mirth there.

Lindsay Troy: After Dan and I cut the two balls and chains known as MJ Flair and Jack Harmen loose last week, and pledged our new allegiance to the Group of Death, I was treated to waves of criticism and wrath from HOW fans, both in-person and online. Videos of children crying. Grown adults burning my merchandise. And I gotta tell you…

Her smile grows wider.

Lindsay Troy: I loved every second of it.

The mixed reaction to this is a lot less mixed– the crowd lays it on thick with the booing, heckling, and other universally recognized symbols of disapproval. It does absolutely nothing to wipe the smile off of LT’s face, however– this is her moment, and there isn’t a single noise the crowd can make that will ruin it for her.

Joe Hoffman: This is gross. The definition of adding insult to injury. If it wasn’t bad enough that Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan attacked their partners– their friends– last week, now LT is going to come out here and rub their noses in it? Is this even necessary?

Benny Newell: Don’t you dare interrupt a supervillain when she’s monologuing, Joe.

Lindsay Troy: Do you know how difficult it is to keep a secret for four months? All the clandestine sneaking around, plots and plans made in confidence… this wasn’t going to be so simple as to say, ‘This ain’t working for me any more, time to bail,’ walk away all nice-nice like Jack may have wanted me to. When has anything I’ve ever done been that easy? No, I had a part to play to keep the deceit intact.

She looks over at Mike.

Lindsay Troy: We both did.

A nod and a smile from the Son of GOD, and Lindsay looks back out to the crowd.

Lindsay Troy: Ever since Alcatraz, Mike and I have been waiting for the right moment, the right time, to unveil this monstrosity. The real, true, Group of Death. More than just a clever name for an LBI group, it was our next steps to ensuring complete dominance over everyone who crossed our paths. And all I had to do to reassure the Architect that this wasn’t a game, or a double-cross, on my part was to make a sacrifice or two. Help Cecilworth Farthington secure his longest, consecutive ICON title reign for the HOW history books, and give Mike a run for his money, and a controversial little victory at ICONIC.

Joe Hoffman: Oh, so we’re rewriting history now? Lindsay Troy has never lost a big match, ladies and gentlemen. She’s been playing ball. 

Benny Newell: Uh, yeah, Joe. That’s basically what she just said. What, you think that douchebag arm-breaking piece of shit Cecilworth Farthington was gonna beat her without a little help from the Queen of the Ring? THEY PLAYED BALL, JOSEPH.

Joe Hoffman: And what about her match against Mike Best at ICONIC, Benny? Your hero needed help beating Lindsay Troy?

Benny Newell: Jesus had twelve apostles, Joe. TWELVE. Sometimes even the Son of God needs a little help from his friends.

The crowd can barely even fathom what the Queen has said, their anger swelling to a fever pitch.

Lindsay Troy: And for my sacrifices, I’ve been repaid in kind. The prestige of winning the GOD Group, hand-picked by Mike. A place in the semi-finals of the LBI. Sure, I had to eat a chairshot to get there, but as I sacrificed, so did he. Dan and I have suffered greatly to get to this point: weeks of MJ’s passive-aggressive attitude and cockiness; Jack’s continued shitting the bed for months on end. I have never suffered fools gladly, and now, the biggest one of them all will have the final nail driven into his coffin tonight. I will be walking out of Chicago tonight undefeated in the LBI. I will be ready to do battle with my GoD-brother Max next week. And I will see to it that High Flyer not only falls back to earth, but that his career from here on out is dead and buried.

Lindsay tosses the microphone furiously across the mat, where it rolls to the edge of the apron. Mike ambles over to her side and she acknowledges his presence with a confident grin.

Joe Hoffman: Whether I like it or not— whether ANYONE likes it or not— the Group of Death is here, and they are DANGEROUS.

Benny Newell: GoD is dangerous….I’ll fucking drink to that.

Joe Hoffman: We have to take our first commercial break, but we have more matches in store tonight, including the showdown between Lindsay Troy and Jack Harmen. Stick with us. You don’t wanna miss it.

We cut away to a commercial for March to Glory….

World Championship Match
LBI Winner vs. Cecilworth Farthington©

Presumably

After a March to Glory commercial break, the High Octane feed picks back up from inside the locker room.

Pictured are all three eGG Bandits.

One of them, the exceptionally large one, dons powder-blue athletic gear while running for his life atop a treadmill.

Another, the old one, intently watches the big running one as he plods along in pure agony.

The last one, the COOL one with the Skynet shades and the classic 97red jumper on, is staring into your mind’s soul.

Presumably.

Cancer Jiles: Hello once again, High Octane. More importantly, hello again, my precious Octabandits. It’s been too long, and I apologize for that. I want you to know, you were never far from my heart.

A dust ball randomly rolls through the scene.

Cancer Jiles: As you can see, we’ve been working hard– getting back into peak physical form. Bobby has been running like he’s got hot coals in his double wide shoes. Doozer has been texting Ponce De Leon. And me, well, not one split end. Not. One.

The Crown Prince of COOL confidently lowers his head to show off his impeccable, oil slicked golden hair that’s sure to make his newly signed, and recently escaped organ harvester jealous.

A manmade beeping noise can be heard coming from the treadmill area.

Bobby Dean: Finally! Done! TEN MILES! Can you believe it, guys! TEN MILES! I feel so thin again!

The High Chief of COOL, THC for short, turns his attention towards Bobby.

Cancer Jiles: Sadly, you don’t look it.

Doozer: ’Cause he didn’t. No way. Deano, you just started running like five minutes ago. And your running is more like exaggerated walking, mind you. AND you only picked up the pace to a pathetic jog when the camera started to roll.

Cancer Jiles: Brisk walk. With arm flapping. I think it was arm flapping anyway.

The Beautiful Boy who lost his way frowns. He looks up to his friends with the eyes of a begging dog. Poor pup just wants to eat.

Doozer: Get ‘er done, Bobby. You know what’s on the line, bub.

A loud, obnoxious, obtrusive, Olympic Torch putting out, ssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is heard.

Cancer Jiles: Don’t go spoiling it already! Mighty Zeus! I told you he was going to let the cat out of the bag, “unintentionally.”

Bobby Dean: You did.

Dean turns from Cancer to the old man.

Bobby Dean: He did, Dooze. Sorry.

Acting as if he won his freedom from the treadmill, Bobby takes a step towards a much needed rest.

Doozer: Nope. Not happening. Besides, the floor is still hot lava. Remember, Bob? Unless you got on my super sneakers, or Jiles primal ancient loafers of COOL, the only safe place for you is the treadmill. Sworn oath. Bandit honor.

Oxymoron?

Cancer Jiles: Bandit code on our brothers lost souls, if I’m not mistaken.

A defeated sigh escapes from Bobby’s bones.

Bobby Dean: Fine! For the fallen! For Cardboard Dan!

With renewed focus, Bobby picks up the pace in honor of his fallen brethren. Doozer snorts in disbelief. Jiles smiles wide, and turns his attention back to the viewing audience.

Cancer Jiles: God bless his soul. He won’t be forgotten, my Octabandits. Rest assured! I can promise you that much! Oh NO, he will not! Just like that time an egg flew through the air and went splat on his brother’s face! HA. HA. Sorry, NOT SORRY, Danny Boy! The pipes!!

Group chuckle.

Cancer Jiles: Let’s walk a mile in your shoes and go behind the scenes for a bit, Bloated Seacrest. We, the eGG Bandits, the egg throwing righteous arm of High Octane Wrestling, were sitting in the back after doing the diligence last show. There we were, getting ready to watch Refueled as private guests and then, poof. GoD happened. Phew. Wow. Luckily, like I said, we were sitting down for it. After your heavenly circle jerk concluded, us Bandits started talking about how CBD would have taken your treachery. And, well, we decided that he would’ve agreed it wasn’t a good look for you. That, if you were going to be a coward, then it should be a yellow lens in which the world saw you through. And, then it was so. Granted, I was aiming for your back so I could yolk a proper stripe down it.

A disappointing snap of the fingers.

Cancer Jiles: Always next time I suppose.

Slight pause for shit grinning.

Cancer Jiles: Good luck tonight, Champ.

Wink.

Presumably.

The scene fades out as we cut away as it is time for High Flyer versus Lindsay Troy

High Flyer vs. Lindsay Troy

No DQ Falls Count Anywhere Match

Joe Hoffman: Welcome back folks as we prepare for a match that nobody would expect this much drama in when the LBI schedule was set.

Benny Newell: Fucking GOD wannabes!

Joe Hoffman: Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan splitting The Industry in half as they joined the eMpire to form the Group of Death.

Benny Newell: There is only one GOD of HOW… and it’s Lee fucking Best.

Joe Hoffman: Either way… High Flyer is going to look to take a piece out of LT tonight… and he will have that chance with this being a falls count anywhere match.

Benny Newell: Maybe he’ll break her arm….

Joe Hoffman: … Wonder why ya hope that…

Benny Newell: Fuck the false GoDs Joe.

All Aboard! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…

A light fog rises up from the entrance way as the opening guitar rift kicks in. Parting the smoke is High Flyer, who stands confidently at the top of the entrance ramp. He tosses one hand up in a devil horn taunt, but has no smile on his face to the camera as he seems all business tonight. He stomps his way to the ring, paying very little attention to the crowd.

Bryan McVay: The following is a falls count anywhere match!  First making his way to the ring from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and weighing in at 224 pounds… High Flyer!!!!

High Flyer reaches ringside, he slips in under the bottom rope as he climbs to his feet, skipping his usual snow angels and instead heads to the corner as he stares back at the entrance way waiting on Lindsay Troy to make her entrance..

Joe Hoffman: Flyer in no mood to play tonight… he’s ready to dissect Lindsay Troy piece by piece.

Benny Newell: Bloodbath Joe!

The ominous opening to “My World Now” by 7kingZ blasts through the speakers as a mixed reaction from the High Octane Faithful heralds the GOD Queen of HOW to the stage. Lindsay Troy strolls out amidst a shower of pyro and cannon blasts, the picture of confidence, not a single fuck to be had. She takes a moment to bask in the ovation and the pyro, then makes her way down the ramp as spotlights follow her path.

Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Tampa, Florida and weighing in at 195 pounds…. Lindsay Troy!!!!

Troy keeps her eyes focused on the ring, waving her hand dismissively at any fans who hurl insults in her direction. At the bottom of the ramp, she hops flat-footed onto the apron, slips between the ropes, and saunters over to a corner to scale the turnbuckles and pose a bit before the match begins.

Joe Hoffman: This could be a bloodbath… but I feel LT is ready for that tonight.  She would be a fool to think…

Benny Newell: Yes… fool indeed Joe!  Glad we can agree.

Hortega calls for the bells as Harmen looks to extend a hand to LT… but he pulls it back and coughs in it before fully extending it to Troy.

Benny Newell: Fucking Corona!!

LT looks disgusted back at Flyer before she retorts with spitting in the face of Harmen and knees her former stablemate in the gut.  She immediately grabs Flyer by his hair and throws him right between the turnbuckle and into the ring post. Troy slides out of the ring and digs under the ring for a kendo stick as she swings at Flyers head and connects with it.

Joe Hoffman: Sandwich shot with Flyer’s head still next to that ring post!

LT connects with a second shot as Flyer crumbles out of the corner and to the mat as LT slides back into the ring, stick in hand as she laminates it across the back of Flyer as he rolls to the ropes in pain as LT connects again with a shot to the stomach before Flyer can roll under the bottom rope and falls to the floor.

Joe Hoffman: LT vicious on the start, using that kendo stick to her advantage.

Troy rolls out of the ring after Flyer who staggers ro his fet and over to the announce table as Troy ditch the stick and slams Flyer off the announce table as Benny grabs his bottle of Jack and clutches it like a mom protecting her baby.

Benny Newell: Fucking Cu….

Joe Hoffman: Troy keeping the pressure on!

Flyer staggers away again as he stumbles over to the guard rail as he clutches it for a moment as Troy dumps him over it and into the crowd.  Flyer pulls himself to his feet as Troy jumps onto the guardrail and leaps off as she connects with a big hurricanrana on Flyer that sends him into a couple of fans in the fourth row.  Troy pops up and grabs one of the steel chairs from the displaced fans as FLyer stumbles up and catches the chair straight in his back as he tries to retreat in pain. Troy though stays on him as she hammers Flyer again and body checks him straight into the covered up boards of the AllState Arena.

Benny Newell: Boarding!!! That’s gotta be two minutes!

Joe Hoffman: No call by the ref Hortega… and this isn’t hockey Benny.

Troy drops the chair as Flyer picks himself back up to a kick in the gut as Troy nails a DDT onto the steel chair that sits on the exposed floor.

Joe Hoffman: Cover by Troy!

UNO….

DOS……

Flyer kicks out as Troy hammers him in the forehead as she pulls him to his feet and throws him over the boards as Flyer starts to stagger up the stairs, trying to put space between himself and LT.  But with chair in hand, LT tracks Flyer down and cracks him across the back again.

Joe Hoffman: All LT in this match as she is taking it to Flyer and not letting him use this match stip to his advantage.

Benny Newell: I hope she plans on paying that fan for the chair she just stole from them.  Those aren’t cheap fuckign seats…

Making his way to the top of the lower bowl, Flyer turns back to Troy who swings the chair again but Flyer spears her into a couple of fans at the top of the section.  Troy loses the chair as a fan grabs it as a souvenir while Flyer pulls Tory out of the fans and suplexs her across the asile and into the fans across from them.

Joe Hoffman: The Chicago faithful are getting their money’s worth in 113.

Benny Newell: Hope they don’t get over to 111…

Harmen throws LT onto the landing for the lower section as she stumbles up to her feet and towards the concourse.  The fans are going wild as security tries to keep them away. FLyer nails Troy with a big forearm to the back of the head as he is laid out in the middle of the concourse.  Grabbing a nearby trash can, Flyer slams it down across the back of LT as garbage scatters across LT and the concourse.

Benny Newell: Trash for the trashy LT!

Joe Hoffman: Wow, ok Benny… LT to her her feet as Flyer slams her into the beer stand.

Troy flies over the counter as Flyer kicks the door in near it as he enters and starts hammering rights on LT as he looks over at the beer stand and grabs a large cup before pouring himself a Budwieser.

Benny Newell: Hashtag sponsors Joe!

Flyer fills the cup and takes a quick before he dumps it all ontop of LT who yells out from the cold beer running down her hair and back as Flyer knees her in the face and goes for a cover in the beer stand.

UNO…..

DOS…….

TRE…….

Troy kicks out as she wipes the beer out of her eyes and boots Flyers in the face and makes her way out of the beer stand and back to the concourse.

Benny Newell: Troy a bit sour after getting the Bud Light dumped on her… wonder if she can check that in on Untappd now?

Joe Hoffman: Un what?

Benny Newell: Go ask Woodson… well Scottywood… well back when he used to fucking drink.

Troy stumbling back into the concourse looks around as she sees a security guard sitting on a chair as she pushes him off of it and arms herself with it as she stares back at the doorway.  But Flyer climbs up onto the counter for the beer stand and launches off as he nails LT with clotheslines that wipes both out as the fans around roar. Troy rolls away to a security checkpoint to enter the arena as she pulls herself up on one of the tables near the metal detectors.  Flyer has grabbed the chair and slams it across the back of Flyer as Troy is laid out across the table.

Joe Hoffman: What does Flyer have in mind here….

Benny Newell: He’s gonna squash the bit….

Joe Hoffman: He is climbing the metal detector….

Flyer uses the table to pull himself atop the metal detector as the fans on the concourse are going crazy as Troy is laid out face first on the table and not moving.  Troy stands up atop the metal detetcor as he looks around for a quick moment and laucnehs himself off with a big frog splash.

Joe Hoffman: Flyer connects!!!!  Troy crushed through that table!!!

Wood splinters as Flyer rolls away in pain too while Hortega checks on Troy while Flyer pulls himself back and drapes an arm across his former stablemate.

UNO……..

 

DOS…………………..

 

TRES…………………………….

 

Benny Newell: Dunzo…..

Joe Hoffman: Troy with the shoulder….

Benny Newell: CUNT FUCK!!!!

Troy does indeed get the shoulder up as Flyer rolls on his back in despair, wonderinf what he needs to do to put Troy away as LT quickly rolls over onto Flyer and tries to steal a cover…

UNO…..

 

DOS…….

 

TR……

 

ES……………….

 

Joe Hoffman: Flyer kicks out just before….

Benny Newell: HE KICKS OUT!!!

Joe Shakes his head at Benny’s slow reaction as Benny takes another drink and Troy pops up and grabs her steel chair again as Flyer rolls back to his feet and straight into a chair shot between the eyes.  He stays on his feet but staggers back towards another table by security as he tries to escape but Troy catches him with another chair shot that this time splits Flyer open and sends him back onto the table.

Joe Hoffman: Took awhile… but we got some blood in this match.

Troy drops the chair on the concrete floor as he pulls Flyer off the table… but Flyer grabs Troy by her hair and slams her head into the nearby metal detector as she goes through it as sirens go off from it.  Troy stumbles back to her feet as Flyer picks her up for a FlyerDriver through the table… but Troy escapes as he now pushes the bloody Flyer faces first into the metal detector.

Joe Hoffman: Flyer almost had it with the Flyer Driver!

Benny Newell: Come on Flyer…. Kill her!!!!

Troy leaps up onto the table and off at Flyer, locking in a front face lock as she uses the momentum to spin them around 360 degrees and plants the tornado DDT into the table as the two crash through it to the concrete.

Joe Hoffman: Tornado DDT through the table!!!!

Benny Newell: Come on Flyer!!!!

Joe Hoffman: Cover by Troy!

UNO………………..

 

DOS……………………………………….

 

TRES…………………………………………………….

 

Joe Hoffman: Shoulder….

Benny Newell: HAHAHAHAHA…..

Joe Hoffman: Up by Flyer!!!!

Troy now rolls onto her back… shocked that Flyer was able to kickout as she slams her hand on the concrete.  Flyer rolls over and goes to pull himself back up to his feet but Troy pops up and stomps Flyers faces into the concrete as once, twice, three times as we can see a blood spot on the concrete as she hooks the leg and locks in her chicken wing muya lock on Flyer.

Joe Hoffman: Key to the Kingdom!!!!

Benny Newell: Flyer with a shard of table in his hand!

Flyer twists his arm back and stabs LT with the shard of table as we can see the blood starts to pour down Troy’s arm… but she will not let go over the hold as she wrenches it back more and Flyer drops the shard of wood as he starts to pass out from the hold.

Joe Hoffman: Will Flyer tap?

Benny Newell:  Never!

Hortega checks on Flyer and…. There is no response!!!!

DING DING DING

Bryan McVay: The winner of the match due to High Flyer not being able to respond……. Lindsay Troy!!!!!

Troy lets go of the hold as she pulls herself to her feet where Hortega raises her arm for a moment before she pulls it away and turns back to the unconscious High Flyer whom she starts to lay the boots to Flyer’s head again, increasing the already large pool of blood on the concrete floor.

Joe Hoffman: Lindsay Troy with another boot to the head! Come on, this match is over!

Benny Newell: And she said she would end Harmen’s career! She’s a woman of her word, Joe!

Troy grabs a handful of Harmen’s hair and pulls him up, scooping him over her shoulder while ignoring the boos of the fans.

Joe Hoffman: Troy looking like she’s going to be a woman of her word, she’s looking for the perfect place to spike the Lunatic!

Out of nowhere, the boos turn to cheers as the fans part ways as Troy simply drops Harmen down and steps back.

Joe Hoffman: MJ FLAIR IS HERE! MJ FLAIR IS HERE!

The cameras pan in on LT’s face as she is smiling at the damage she just caused.

Joe Hoffman: Lindsay Troy really showing an edge that quite frankly I had no idea she had.

Troy, confidently, turns her back to MJ and walks off, leaving her damage behind.

MJ does not pursue Troy; instead, she helps Harmen up as the fans cheer all around them.

Joe Hoffman: Great accomplishment by Troy to go undefeated in the LBI…..but man was those extra boots really necessary?

Benny Newell: I am not going to say that my head is coming around to LT…..especially with those extra kicks….but it is.

Joe Hoffman: Why??

Benny Newell: It moved Joe……IT moved.

Triple B nods towards his groin and we cut to commercial as we see Joe’s disgusted face.

#FEEDTHEHOG DEBUTS FOR REFUELED XX!!

Good Talk

Back live and we cut to our announce team…

Joe Hoffman: Folks, we’ve got something for you as we gear up for 24K vs. Scott Stevens and Black Mamba here. Our very own Blaire Moise was as busy as ever earlier on tonight and happened upon something of a coup: words from a man we’ve all been looking for answers from since he crash-landed in High Octane Wrestling, Andy Murray.

Benny Newell: That big bastard’s finally gonna form a sentence?! I don’t think we’ve heard four syllables from him yet!

Joe Hoffman: I guess we’ll find out! Let’s roll the footage…

Your little “EARLIER TONIGHT” gimmick appears towards the bottom of the screen as we head to the wrestlers’ parking lot. Blaire Moise scurries across the tarmac as if she’s been waiting a while and doesn’t want to miss her opportunity to strike, the cameraman cantering along just behind her.

Blaire Moise: Excuse me! Andy!

Andy Murray has just arrived at the building, alone. His rental car’s door has barely slammed shut by the time the backstage reporter gets close.

Blaire Moise: A few minutes of your time? 

Predictably, the HOW newcomer doesn’t look too thrilled at this prospect. He accepts Moise’s presence with a resigned grunt, adjusting the holdall slung over his shoulder.

Blaire Moise: I’ll keep it brief.

Andy Murray: Yes you will.

Murray’s demeanour tells you he wasn’t ready to have a microphone thrust in his face as soon as he got to the building. Decked out in his gameday attire of a black track top (with a golden “24K” stitched into the right breast, natch) and matching pants, he’s got a holdall full of his gear slung over his shoulder and looks like the only thing he wants to do is fight. 

Ever the professional, Moise isn’t rattled by Andy’s grumpiness.

Blaire Moise: Let’s talk your return to American wrestling after so long away. Three years ago, you were warring with Mikey Unlikely, Perfection, and Kendrix; fast-forward to 2020 and you not only arrive in HOW at the same time as them, but alongside them. 

It’s straight into the big boy questions for Blaire, who’s clearly eager to make the most of her limited time.

Blaire Moise: These three men, who once appeared to be your diametric opposites, are now your allies. What’s going on, and why are you back in wrestling?

Murray takes a moment. He isn’t rattled but there’s a palpable air of “fuck this” about the guy.

Andy Murray: The list of people I owe an explanation to starts with my doctor and ends with my physiotherapist. That’s it. Are you one of those things?

Blaire Moise: Uh, no.

Andy Murray: Then kindly piss off.

A couple of seconds pass. Moise fails to kindly piss off and her persistence pulls Murray’s brow into a scowl. Unperturbed, Blaire continues.

Blaire Moise: But why here, and why with 24K? A lot of people are questioning why a guy who used to be all about doing the right thing is has aligned himself with three of the most obnoxious personalities in the game.

Andy Murray: Okay listen, as far as I’m concerned, there are only two things that aren’t bullshit in this business: the money and the headlines. A month ago, I wasn’t making either. Understand?

Blaire Moise: Well sure, bu–…

‘The King of Wrestling’ waves his hand. His tone stays firm but calm.

Andy Murray: No, no. No buts. Just pay attention for a second. Night one, we kicked in the door, took out every name wrestler in this company, and planted our flag right in the chest of HOW’s yappiest little dog. I’m 42 years old, I’ve been in this game for 26, and my right knee’s held together by safety pins and old chewing gum. You think I can afford to sit around and wait? You think I’ve got the luxury of time? 

Murray shakes his head.

Andy Murray: Nah. That old white meat shit doesn’t pay the bills anymore and if that makes me a son of a bitch, then screw it. I am that goddamn son of a bitch. And if you want to know what’s next, replay the clip of Scoot Stoovins and Black Mamba picking their teeth off the mat once me and Perfection are finished with them.

He doesn’t even give Moise a chance to step in.

Andy Murray: Okay? Good talk.

The big Scot grabs his bag’s strap, takes his first step, then swings back around to the microphone.

Andy Murray: Oh, and fuck Lindsay Troy.

That’s his goodbye. Blaire watches him go, making sure Murray is out of earshot before mumbling under her breath.

Blaire Moise: Yeah, “good talk.”

She sighs, and we’re off to commercial break.

High Octane Wrestling’s Number One Dad returns to HOTv next week!

Focus

Back from commercial, and backstage in the bowels of the Allstate Arena. The sea of grey concrete floors and rough-edged concrete walls gets broken up by a grey felt fortification, as much a castle as it is a cubicle.

SKNNIPPPT!

As the camera pans its way back around to the double-wide opening, one half of the LBI semi finals are hard at.. play? Alex Redding was sat at the poker table, shuffling a red-backed deck of Bicycle cards. From over the table, and over the cards, we can make out that he’s in the red-ringed ‘20 Willing Villain tee, and the 59Fifty worn backwards is of a matching cardinal red. His eyebrow is tinged in curiosity to look over at his best friend, pulling up a semi-clear zip tie and taking the scissors to it.

SKNNIPPPT!

Following the halves of zip tie to the ground, it’s evidenced by the scattered pile, Ted’s been at this for some time. Seated, Ted is shirtless and sporting noticeable battle wounds from last week’s encounter. The most notable one the camera can’t seem to take its eye off being the thick purple bruise around his wrist, skin broken in different spots.

Alexander Redding: We doing alright there, good buddy?

Palmer doesn’t even register the question, halfway to halfing another zip tie.
Alex begins to move his lips and jaw, with no sound coming.

Alexander Redding: Palmer-san… your… ladder-fu… leaves much… to be desired.

This elicits a chuckle, but doesn’t take Ted from his mission of doing away with what seemed like an extra large bag of industrial grade, OSHA certified cable tie, only to be interrupted when agent/manager/bowler cap aficionado Grady Patrick enters, his usual halfway dapper self. His slick smile slipped away as he almost slipped to his ass on the debris of plastic ribbons.

Grady Patrick: Goddamn! What the Hell is wrong with you, Ted?

Teddy Palmer: Fuckin’ zip ties is what. Defeated by a strip of plastic…

Thinking it best that Ted not have any sharp objects, Grady struggles, and eventually, removes the scissors from Palmer’s grip, opens up a filing cabinet and deposits the shears. Turning back to the disappointed duo, condemnation is shot out from beneath the brim of his bowler.

Grady Patrick: So you boys lost one match. One match.

Setting down the Coke & rum he’d been sipping, Red let’s loose a dry chuckle.

Alexander Redding: Oh, it gets worse than that. Boss Daddy Lee won’t even let us go into the business of revenge tonight. And after that cocktease of making Troy’s match No DQ, to boot. We got penned in by those riot geared, roid-raging EPU as some sort of pre-emptive measure.

Teddy Palmer: Betcha had those EPU fellas been ringside last week, doing their job, one would of had scissors or a knife or something. Fuckin’ zip ties…

Grady Patrick: Troy wasn’t even the one that knocked you off that ladder, Red; that was Ryan.

Rubbing a free hand over the perma-stubble of his chin, his left cheek pulls his face into a wry grin.

Alexander Redding: Like I’d need a reason to drop Troy on her head. But, now that you mention it, I do owe that chucklehead Ryan a concussion, or two. But as sure as God has sandals, no way Best is letting us near that tonight, either.

Grady’s seen this look on the two before. Red sitting at the precipice of war with the world itself, Ted about to jump down the rabbit hole towards one vice or another. Neither direction would be a particularly successful one, and Grady knows he needs to refocus the duo.

Grady Patrick: You only need to focus on the LBI at this point. You boys still have a chance to take the top prize. You want stroke around this place? Take that damned shiny red strap from Farthington’s waist.

Alex and Teddy broke their thousand mile stares to share a glance, and both smile. Ted for the first time in however long wasn’t focused on the tie cables, dropping the handful on the poker table.

Teddy Palmer: Whichever one of us moves onto that main event better fuckin’ kill it. I don’t care if all five of them are out there, one of us is winning this thing. And at March to Glory…

Rising out of his chair, Red extends his hand to shake on it.

Alexander Redding: That’s the plan. Fuck the Group of Derp.

Elsewhere…

Trust

Cut backstage, where Blaire Moise stands head on in front of a March to Glory banner.

Blaire Moise: I’m standing here with former LSD Champion MJ Flair, and earlier tonight we witnessed her stepping in on behalf of her former Industry partner Jack Harmen against the Group of Death’s Lindsay Troy! MJ, how are you feeling?

The view shifts a bit left, where MJ stands, still in her civvies, with a guardedly – confident look on her face.

MJF: Man, I’m here – and that’s a victory in and of itself.

Blaire Moise: You had a difficult journey through the LBI this year, MJ – losing all of your matches, taking some incredibly violent shots against Mike Best, and then last week you were betrayed by Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan. We honestly weren’t sure when we’d see you next, but here you are.

As she holds the microphone towards MJ, she laughs quietly, and she drops her head for a few seconds.

MJF: Yeah, it hasn’t been the best year. I mean, best fuckin’ understatement of the year so far, but what are my choices? I can go home and go oh – for – twenty twenty. Or I can keep on comin’ to work and if I still go oh – for – twenty twenty? Least I can say I was here. Ya know? Winning and losing, that’s about you, and your opponent, and your situation. Ya can’t control all of it. But the one thing we can all get behind is being here. If we’re here, we can affect change. We’re not here……..we’re not here. I don’t care if I lose every match I’m in for the rest’a my contract – if I’m booked, I’m showing up.

She looks down the lens of the camera.

MJF: Cause the only thing worse than losin’ a match is losin’ a match ya didn’t bother ta show up for.

Blaire pulls the microphone back to her, but stops her wrap up before it even begins due to the camera shifting right and Jack Harmen in the scene. His head tilts stiffly to the side.

Jack Harmen: MJ, I’m sorry we’re here, but I’m glad you had my back.

MJF: All good, man. We both got screwed last week and we need ta’ watch each other’s for the next while.

Harmen nods, though skeptically.

Jack Harmen: Yeahhhh… Sure. I… trust that? But you’ve been…

He takes a deep inhale.

Jack Harmen: Can we say, emotional?

Pause. MJ shrugs as well as if to agree with his assessment.

Jack Harmen: I just wanna say, it’ll be a long time ‘fore I trust anyway, even if they’re you. Prolly better you just stayed away. At least then it’d only be me in the crosshairs.

He hasn’t even stopped when MJ holds up a hand, chuckling at his comments.

MJF: I hear ya, man? But I’m here for the long haul. Mostly cause I don’t want this ta be my legacy here in High Octane… and partly cause he’ll kick my ass otherwise.

Harmen’s eyes shift from MJ’s… up. The camera shifts back left to show a large man – easily a foot or more taller than MJ Flair standing behind her, with long black – and – gray hair and a black leather trench coat, staring at Harmen.

Jack Harmen: Eli. Good to see you.

The man – Eli – extends his hand for Harmen to shake.

Eli Flair: Same, sir.

MJF: Dude, I got a taskmaster. And he’s scary as hell. And he’s gonna get us to the promised land.

Blaire Moise: Joe, Benny? Back to you!

24k vs. Scott Stevens and Black Mamba

Joe Hoffman: Thank you once again Blaire……you know I am curious to how many steps she gets on her Apple Watch every week…….

Benny Newell: I would like to know her heart rate whenever she is…

Joe Hoffman: OK MOVING ON….Next up is a match up that has two highly anticipated in-ring debuts as the legendary Andy Murray steps into the ring for the very first time.

Benny Newell: Blah. Blah. Fucking Blah. Andy Murray better deliver or is million world title reigns and his billion Hall of Fames won’t mean shit because all of that is Fisher Price when it comes to High Octane Wrestling..

Joe Hoffman: OK…..ONCE AGAIN……..Also making his highly anticipated debut is multiple time world champion, Perfection.

Benny Newell: I like this Perfection guy Hoffman. He’s a douchebag and an asshole and I can relate. So cheers, DRINK!

“Gold” by Sir Sly begins to play over the loudspeakers and the lights in the arena turn to gold. A single spotlight hits the stage as the fans realize who’s coming out begin to give a mixed reaction.

Joe Hoffman: The crowd seems divided just like last week when the Hollywood Bruvs made their debut.

Benny Newell: How fans appreaciate talent but if you can’t deliver in our ring they’ll will turn on you.

A red carpet rolls down the ramp ending near the ring as Perfection and Andy Murray make their way from behind the curtain.

 Bryan McVay: Introducing first, representing 24K and weighing in at a combined weight of 510 lbs….they are PER-FEC-TION! ANDY! MURRRRRRRRAYYYYYY! 24K!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The big man strides out from the back with a loose swagger ss Perfection raises his arms accepting the crowd’s reaction to his wonderfulness. Murray has got a leather jacket on, the battered cricket bat slung over his shoulder, and a whole lot of bile in his body as he walks down, mouthing off at anyone dumb enough to hurl an insult in his direction. Perfection makes his way towards the ring taking his time to jaw-jack with fans near the rails.

Joe Hoffman: The fans better be careful because Murray is looking for any excuse to hit someone with that bat.

Benny Newell: I love it. Maybe Stevens’ inbred cousins need to suck the fuck up or get some splinters cracked into that five head of theirs.

Joe Hoffman: Five head trademark of Darkwing.

Benny Newell: Legal reasons.

Halfway down Murray switches to casually dragging the bat behind his back before finally making it down to the ring, rolling under the bottom rope, and readying himself to hurt somebody. Perfection walks up the stairs to enter the ring. He poses for all to see flexing and smiling those pearly whites.

Joe Hoffman: Murray and Perfection look ready to go.

Benny Newell: Look at those pearly whites Hoffman. I’m going to have to ask him who’s his dentist after the match.

As Murray and Perfection get ready for their opponents “6:24” by Danger begins to play.

Joe Hoffman: Last show Black Mamba looked pretty good against the Bruvs.

Benny Newell: But yet they lost.

James Ranger comes out, slowly eyeing the fans to the left and right to him.

Bryan McVay: And their opponents, first, hailing from London, England and weighing in at 200 lbs…..he is JAMES RANGER! BLAAAAAAACK! MAAAAAAAMBAAAAAAA!

A slow smile creeps on to his face, as he stops short of the ramp, the lights focus upon just James Ranger, his sunglasses reflecting the light as it transitions from white to an eerie green.

Joe Hoffman: Mamba made one crucial mistake in a match when he came in he dominated both Bruvs.

Benny Newell: But he lost.

He takes off his sunglasses, smirking as he squats briefly, surveying the arena and the ring before slowly rising to his feet and walking slowly and purposely towards the ring, the smirk now gone.

Benny Newell: Thought he was going to check his fake, pretend watch and yell it’s clobbering time there for a minute.

“Dead Man Walking” by Crucifix ft. The Lacs

The video screen lights up and flashes across the screen a Texas flag, with the words, “Texas Born. Texas Bred.” “Texas Forever.“ branded into the flag. The cheers that had once filled the arena quickly turn into jeers. The crowd knows who is about to walk out and they are letting him know it by chanting his favorite chant as the final image that is displayed across the screen is a giant hand that slowly closes into a FIST as letters slowly appear and form a message and that message reads in bold, capitalized letters… SCOTT STEVENS.

Bryan McVay: And his partner, representing the Great State of Texas, from Houston, Texas and weighing in at 256lbs, he is….CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER. SCOTTTTTTTTTTTTT STEEEEEEEEEEEVENSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

Stevens comes out, and makes his way to the ring as well. The fans in the arena waste no time sharing their feelings in a chorus of boos, and as Stevens makes his way down the ramp the HOV and music turn off.

Benny Newell: Are we going to hear it again?!?!?!?

Joe Hoffman: Guess so.

Benny Newell: Fucking awesome. DRINK!

The Texan looks back towards the ramp and the HOV comes to life with a Stevenspedia graphic that has Stevens stumped before a familiar tune plays as well.

“Have you heard about Stevenspedia?
Having to have his facts checked every time.
Have you heard about Stevenspedia?
He’s a loser but we still love him.”

“Lonesome Loser (Stevenspedia) remix” by #97Red Band ft. DJ Bottomline

Stevens just shakes his head before entering the ring.

Joe Hoffman: Two weeks in a row Stevens getting music he doesn’t like.

Benny Newell: Boo-fucking-hoo Hoffman. If he Stevenspedia himself everyone knows that that is his theme song.

Once the announcer is out of the ring, Matt Boettcher checks both individuals and calls for the bell.

Ding. Ding.

Joe Hoffman: And here we go…..

Andy Murray steps into the ring and Scott Stevens seeing this steps inside and the two men proceed to trade insults with one another.

Joe Hoffman: Once this match was announced all the bad laundry spilled out between these two men and Stevens let it be known he hates the Murray brothers.

Benny Newell: Fuck Stevens. I wouldn’t want to work with his ass either.

As Stevens and Murray continue to talk trash to one another, James Ranger grabs Stevens by the arm and motions for him to get out.

Joe Hoffman: What’s this?

Benny Newell: Stevens going to beat up his own partner if Mamba isn’t careful. I love it.

Mamba and the Texan begin arguing and the camera picks up on some of the conversation.

James Ranger: Look man, you’re going to cause us to get disqualified with how you’re acting right now. Step onto the apron and chill for a bit.

James tells Stevens as he pats him on the back.

James Ranger: I got this.

Mamba tells his partner as Stevens reluctantly steps onto the apron and watches as Murray immediately takes down Mamba with a Thesz press and begins to unleash a flurry of right hands. Murray stops the attack long enough to look at Stevens and give him the European fuck you before lowering his index finger and giving him the finger as well before deliver one final right to Mamba’s face.

Joe Hoffman: No love lost between those two.

Benny Newell: Do you think Murray will sign my I hate Stevens poster?

The King of Scot Style picks up Mamba and unravels his wrist tape and begins to choke Ranger with it.

Benny Newell: Choke that Snake!

Boettcher yells at Murray to stop before administering his count.

 

One.

 

Two.

 

Three.

 

Four.

 

Fi…..

 

Murray lets go off the choke.

Joe Hoffman: Murray talking almost that entire five count.

Benny Newell: Perhaps Bitcher didn’t get the memo but 24K has permission to choke the shit out of Mamba. Hell, if they had a pin Lee would be fine if they Bottomlined his other eye.

Stevens reaches out for the tag as Murray sees Mamba inching towards the Texan and spits in Stevens’ face causing the former World champion to see red and bull rush into the ring cause Boettcher to stop him and force him back giving Perfection and Murray to deliver stomps to Ranger.

Joe Hoffman: Murray is getting under the skin of Stevens.

Benny Newell: Good. I like to see that inbred fucker squirm.

Murray drags Mamba to their corner and tags in Perfection and immediately draws boos from the audience.

Benny Newell: Fuck these idiots. Let’s go Perfection!

Benny shouts as Perfection picks up James Ranger and tosses him with a beautiful German suplex. Perfection goes to pick up James, but Mamba kicks him in the face that disorientates Perfection momentarily.

Joe Hoffman: This could be Mamba’s opportunity to get Stevens in.

Mamba crawls towards his corner for Stevens who is beating on the top turnbuckle to get the crowd behind him to motivate Mamba to crawl faster. As Mamba his millimeters away, Stevens is pulled from the apron by Andy Murray giving Perfection enough time to deliver an elbow to the back and drag James Ranger back towards their corner.

Benny Newell: I’m starting to like this Murray fellow. DRINK!

Perfection tags Murray back in and Mamba gets a lucky break as he shoves Perfection into Murray causing the two men to fall down giving him enough time to make it to his corner and as he reaches out to tag his partner, Scott Stevens…..hops off of the apron.

Joe Hoffman: What the heck?!?!?!?

Benny Newell: HAHAHAHAHAHA!

James Ranger: What are you doing?!?!?

Mamba asks confused.

Scott Stevens: You said you got it so go handle it.

Stevens says as he backs away from the ring.

Mamba turns around and gets decapitated by a Scottish Lariat. Murray looks at Stevens as he drags Ranger to his feet and delivers the Emerald Flowsion.

Joe Hoffman: Highland Hangover and Murray with the cover.

 

One.

 

Two.

 

Three.

 

Boettcher signals for the bell.

Bryan McVay: And your winners by pinfall, they are PER-FEC-TION! ANDY! MURRRRRRAYYYYYYYY! 24K!

Murray slowly rises to his feet not taking his eyes off of Stevens as Perfection runs into the ring and demands Boettcher raise his arm in victory. Stevens takes one last look before turning around and heading up the ramp.

Joe Hoffman: What has gotten into Stevens? Why did he leave Mamba high and dry?

Benny Newell: I don’t know, but I like it.

Eight syllables, Three names

Joe Hoffman: Well moving on from what Benny likes……We take you backstage life to Blaire Moise standing by with Max Kael, maybe she’ll be able to coax some answers out of him this week?

Benny Newell: Maximillian Wilhelm Kael, Hoffman, do you even bother to read the notes before the show!?

Joe Hoffman: Do you?!

Benny holds up a half empty bottle of Sangria from beneath the commentary desk, waving it in Hoffman’s face.

Benny Newell: I got halfway through them this week, Hoffman, and they told me his name is Maximillian Wilhelm Kael! Eight syllables, three names!

Joe Hoffman: Maximillian Wilhelm Kael?

Benny Newell: Maximillian Wilhelm Kael. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to finish off my notes for the Main Event. Fucking DRINK!

Hall of Famer Joe Hoffman shakes his head as he turns to stare at the screen while Benny Newell throws his head back with the bottle of sangria between his lips. The shot cuts backstage just as Benny’s legs start to kick in the air, a panicked expression on his face as the chair begins to fall backward.

Blaire Moise stands once again next to the Lord Supreme Dictator, Maximillian Wilhelm Kael, High Octane Wrestling Hall of Famer, Tag Team and LSD Champion. Dressed in his wrestling gear Max’s expression remains mostly hidden by his breathing mask.

Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen I am here once again with multiple championship holding Maximillian Wilhelm Kael!

An audible sigh escape’s Max’s mask as he lets his hands fall to his hips.

Max Kael: I never thought I’d say I miss the Herald.. But I miss the Herald.

Moise looks shocked for a moment that Max has actually said something. Her surprise is quickly wrestled back down to professionalism as she jumps at the chance to potentially get her questions answered.

Blaire Moise: Max, tonight Dan Ryan and Mike Best are facing each other for the ICON Championship, a title that both you and your adopted brother have held five times apiece.. What are your thoughts on that?

Max’s blue eye narrows as he glares down at Blaire, his steady mechanical breathing filling the void between the two of them again. With a suddenness Max snatches the microphone out of her hand before he takes several steps toward her with a menacing look on his face.

Max Kael: Michael is my brother, I love him dearly so why do you have to mention he’s adopted?

Blaire Moise: No.. no I mean you’re the adopted one.. I..

As Blaire stammers in her response Max’s blue eye widens as the visible flesh flashes bright red. Max roars angrily directly into her face, the sound twisted and changed into disturbing fluxuations of pitch and base, the voice box on the mask unable to modulate the sound he was making. Regardless of the distorted quality of Max’s bellow it is still very loud causing the surprised and frightened Blaire Moise to flee!

Max Kael: Now to the question about the ICON Championship.. If you have never held the Pale Strap you don’t understand.. If you’ve never experienced the intoxicating power and prestige associated with the ICON Belt then you wouldn’t, couldn’t understand. It gets into your skin, into the marrow of your bones, it saturates your soul.. There is a reason Michael and I both have held that title Five Times when there’s a perfectly good World Championship to go after. There is a reason that almost a year ago Cecilworth Farthington made a real case that the ICON Championship means more than the World in High Octane Wrestling..

His blue eye fixes forward as he speaks, his back arching as he took a few steps forward.

Max Kael: Do I have an issue with my brother, Michael Lee Best, walking out to that ring to face another guy in the Group of Death for the ICON Championship? Of course not! I can’t blame him, I’d do the exact same thing because Michael and I? We have the same taste in Titles, big plate, white strap.. Mmmhmmm..

Max reaches down and pulls his LSD Championship up, pulling it over his shoulder as he stares at it.

Max Kael: I do, however, have an issue with if he wins it.. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I’ve got more pressing issues to speak about. Now Michael advised against what I’m about to do, he said I needed to worry about the Perception. He said it would look bad, like maybe the Group of Death isn’t as cohesive as 24mkay or the Egg Bandits. Actually that last bit is a lie, he didn’t mention the Egg Bandits, I just felt like they could use the rub, I want them to have one or two fond memories before they quit next month. ANYWAY..

Reaching down again Max retrieved a vintage 2019 eMpire shirt, putting it on before continuing to speak, the LSD Championship still over his shoulder. He then retrieves a speech, unfolding a crumpled up paper as his eye darted back and forth over the surface. Satisfied he looked back up.

Max Kael: Next week I’m facing Lindsay Troy, the Mother of GoD.. fucking gag me. I love my brother dearly but you aren’t fooling me! I care more for the snails I stomp on then I do about your traitor ass and your XXL sized oompa loompa Dan Ryan. I wrote most of this two weeks ago and I’m not going to toss out the material so.. Just.. fucking deal with it.

He cleared his throat which made a sort of twangy mechanical rumble filtered through his mask.

Max Kael: I’M GOING TO FUCK LINDSAY TROY’S FA-

Before Max can continue Mike Best bursts into the shot, his face a look badly masked panic and exasperation.

Mike Best: MAX! What the FUCK!?

The LSD Champion stands frozen in place like a kid who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, guilt written in Max’s eye. Flustered Mike turns and approaches the camera, yelling something before the truck sends us to commercial.

Straight Gold, Obvs

Back live and  we cut to the back we find Mikey Unlikely standing in a breezeway near the 24K Suite. He’s on his cell phone and clearly in a good mood. He swings his arms while he speaks. 

Mikey Unlikely: Yea Bruv, can you believe that? Stevens just hopped right off the apron and left Mamba hanging! It was CLASSSSSSSIC! Murray made short work of him after that and here we are 2-0 in High Octane between 24K! Everything is going as we talked about. 

Mikey takes a beat to let the other person talk. Unlikely removes the gold sunglasses from his face. He nods, liking what he’s hearing on the other end. Suddenly from around the corner we see Jesse F Kendrix at the end of the hall walking towards his tag partner. JFK is talking into his cell phone in one hand, holding a couple hot dogs in the other. As he gets within ear shot we can hear what he’s saying. 

Kendrix: That’s perfect, I knew that they were going to pull it off. It’s just like you described over dinner. Listen,Yeah… Speaking of dinner, I got those “Chicago Dogs” you asked for, extra mustard right? 

They are only a few feet from one another now. 

Mikey Unlikely: YASS! You got it, extra mustard! 

It becomes clear the tag team called each other while JFK was running for Hot dogs. Unlikely grabs one of the dogs, the team turns their backs to one another but remain on the phone…

Mikey Unlikely: So we’re all set for tonight! Did you know UberEats allows you to get a Frapp delivered anytime anywhere in Chicago? I got a few on the way! I can’t wait till they get those drones going… then I won’t have to talk to some dirty deliveryer! I really need a new assistant…Obvs! 

JFK laughs and leans his phone onto his shoulder. 

Kendrix: Totally Obvs! I’ve always said that!

Mikey Unlikely: Yea but I said it first! 

JFK takes his first bite of the Chicago Dog, careful not to get anything on his clothes. His eyes get wide. 

Kendrix: OH Bullocks Mikey! You didn’t tell me this was spicy! 

Mikey laughs into his phone.

Mikey Unlikely: Oh man, I wish I could see the look on your face right now! 

JFK swallows the bite and then sees a female walking towards him with a microphone in hand.

Kendrix: Oi, don’t look now bruv, but here comes another fan looking for a Hollywood Bruvs exclusive for their Youtube or something! 

Mikey turns around and peeks over JFKs shoulder. 

Mikey Unlikely: Alright, let’s hop off.

The pair both pull their phones down and go to end the call. Suddenly they stand together, facing HOW backstage interviewer Blaire Moise who comes up with a cameraman of her own. 

Blaire Moise: Hollywood Bruvs! I’m Blaire…

JFK shushes her. 

Kendrix: … We know! You want a night alone with the Hollywood Bruvs, well forget it lady! The Bruvs are on a strictly 4:2 ratio with the ladies of the non strippee veriety. Unless you have three friends, and I DO NOT mean this sloppy camera jerk here…  

Blaire looks very offended, then angry. 

Blaire Moise: Listen here! I’m High Octane Wrestling’s backstage interviewer, I won’t be disrespected! I’ve been sent here to try to grab a word with the two of you. We’ve seen 24K have kept yourself locked away in your suite with private security, is that because you’re afra…

The Hollywood C lister cuts her off. 

Mikey Unlikely: HEY YOU DON’T SAY THAT! Listen, 24K is solid gold! We have private security because we’ve seen what happens to those around here who don’t. We came to High Octane for 3 things. ONE! We came here to make fans, and market our new line of merchandise over at 24kbaybay.com where RIGHT NOW, you can use the promo code “GroupOfPoop” for 5% off your order…

The backstage interviewer rolls her eyes at the Bruv. Kendrix holds up two fingers for the next point.

Mikey Unlikely: TWO! Lee Best, the REAL G.O.D. around here, gave us a job to complete. That was to break things up between the Industry and The eMpire. CHECK! Half our work was done for us! Thanks go out to our old friends, Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy! We really appreciate that we now have to only handle one group. THREE! It’s in the name. 24K, we’re here for the same reason as everyone else, we’re here for the GOLD! It just happens when you look at the title holders in High Octane, they all are within the Group of Death. Two birds, one stone. 

Blaire Moise: What does that do for 24K? 

Mikey Unlikely: Listen lady, every single member of Group of Death knew who we were the second we got here. Our legacy proceeds us. Andy Murray, has achieved nearly every accolade possible in this sport! Perfection is known worldwide as one of the greatest minds to ever grace the mat. Then the world’s greatest tag team… in the world! The Hollywood Bruvs! We’re here for tag gold! Why? Because once you’ve broken the record of being the best, the next thing you do is you distance yourself from the field. High Octane Tag Championships will only put the Bruvs on an entirely different level than everyone else. 

Jesse slaps Mikey on the back. 

Kendrix: OBVS! 

Blaire Moise: We recently saw The Industry implode from within. Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan joined the eMpire to form the Group of Death. Now that you stand outnumbered, do you plan on considering adding numbers to 24K? What about MJ Flair, and Jack Harmen? 

The Bruvs look at each other and then explode into laughter. 

Mikey Unlikely: That’s a good one! 24K was carefully calculated. We formed a group that we felt was enough to go up against two different groups, it turns out, we only have one target now. Sure we will still deal with Harmen and MJF. We have extensive history with each of them. What we’re not going to do, is make some kind of panic move and bring in people we can’t trust. 

Blaire Moise: Speaking of trust… Rumor has it that Andy Murray isn’t very thrilled about being a part of 24K, and only stands by the group due to contractual obligation to you… your comments? 

Stopping for a moment, Mikey squints his eyes at Blaire. He puts his sunglasses back on. 

Mikey Unlikely: End. Of. Interview. 

The pair laugh and walk back towards their private suite. When they get to the doorway, one of their private security members opens the door for them.

Action fades out as we cut back inside the arena.

Timelines

Joe Hoffman: Welcome back folks, as you all know some of our LBI matches got canceled along the way for various reasons.

Benny Newell: Cause they….

Joe Hoffman: Various reasons Benny… we’re gonna just leave it at that.  One of the competitors scheduled to fight this week and who got an auto win and three points was Brenton Cross.

Benny Newell: Can we call bullshit on that.  We have no idea what he did in the future to make this happen… or in the past… fuck…

Joe Hoffman: Just drink… you’re gonna pull another brain muscle thinking about time loops involved with Cross.  But we have word that Cross will be out here tonight to discuss his elimination from the LBI tournament.

Benny Newell: All hail Max Kael….

Joe Hoffman: Yes, Max will be the winner of the DeNucci Group even though he tied Cross with nine points because Max holds the tiebreaker head to head win over Cross and Bergman.  So Max will advance to the semi-finals to face off against Lindsay Troy.

Benny Newell: So what the fucks does the loser Brenton Cross have to say?  Twice he tried to take the LSD Title from Max and failed. His timeline is shattered worse than my arm.  Maybe he’ll finally admit this whole thing was a fucking scam… like Utah and climate change.

Joe Hoffman: Wow… ok… judgy a bit tonight… how about we see what Mr. Cross has to say before we roast him as a climate denier…

Smoke appears at the entrance as “COCHISE” by Audioslave hits the arena. Brenton Cross walks through the smoke.  Acknowledging nobody, he walks down the ramp, focused on the ring. He slides in, standing up in the center ring as he picks up the microphone while his music fades out.

Crowd: MAX!, MAX!, MAX!

Cross hangs his head for a moment as he shakes… he has no response to the fans who obviously point out the man that just barely advanced out of his group.

Brenton Cross: Yes… Max Kael moves on… even if by a tiebreaker.  But we all knew this is how things would end. None of you needed a look into the future to predict Max Kael advancing in the LBI.  Some things are just locked in history and nothing you can do will ever change them…

Joe Hoffman: I wish I had the stats of Max’s record in all the LBIs… but I’m sure it is impressive.

Benny Newell: Someone get Stoovins ass on that shit.

Brenton Cross: But while Max may have won two matches against me… it is not stopping me from my goal of taking that LSD Title off of him.  My timeline depends on it. That title belongs to me Max… and nobody is going to stop me from taking it from you….

Gunter glieben glauten globen

Boos start to flood the Allstate Arena as “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” by The Offspring plays over the speakers and Scott Woodson makes his way out onto the ramp.

Joe Hoffman: If there is anyone to question that statement… it is the five time LSD champion.

Benny Newell: And the man that beat Brenton Cross at ICONIC…

Scotty’s music fades out as Cross just stares down Woodson who just smirks back at Cross and adjusts his #97Red tie in front of his #RangersBlue dress shirt.

Brenton Cross: Mister Woodson… I’m sure you’re out here to award me the LSD Title shot I deserve since I tied Max Kael in points during the LBI group stage.

Taking a moment to look out at the HOW crowd he has luckily missed over the past few weeks, Woodson just shakes his head no.

Scott Woodson: Title shots?  You’re lucky to have a job Mister Cross.  Yes, you beat a former World champion in Bergman… but you got some easy points against the shell of Austin Reeves and by default tonight against a man our legal department has advised me not to ever mention again.  So I wouldn’t be bragging too much there.

Brenton Cross: How about I come up there and beat up a Hall of Famer and former World champion right now and force you to give me that match against Max?

Scott Woodson: We all saw how that went at ICONIC… it’s not in your spiraling timeline to beat me.  Plus… you think I wouldn’t come out here without backup? You think I’ve learned nothing from Lee Best over all these years….

Benny Newell: STFU?  Scotty’s Thug Fuckyaup Unit?

Cross starts to look around as he sees no one approach him and just smiles back at Scotty.

Brenton Cross: You’re bluffing… you have no one…

WHACK!!!!

From the crowd a man with a barbed wire hockey stick has slid into the ring wearing a hoodie and attacked Brenton Cross from behind, dropping him to the mat with the first shot.  The crowd starts to boo as the man starts with repeated shots to the back of Cross as the blood starts to pool as Woodson slowly starts to make his way down to the ring.

Scott Woodson: Ye of little faith… or atleast a poor sight line into the future.  I mean come on… how do you… the time traveler not see this coming.

The mystery man plants the stick on the mat as he pulls Cross up to his feet as Woodson enters the ring.

Scott Woodson: I gave you a chance at ICONIC to make a name for yourself… and you failed.  We gave you another LSD Title shot during the LBI… and you failed… again. I’m done with you Cross and it’s time to bury you… and your timeline in the history books of HOW.

Cross’s near limp body is thrown at Woodson who picks him up onto his shoulders and connects with a Game Misconduct in the middle of the ring onto the barbed wire hockey stick.

Joe Hoffman: I think your point is made Woodson…

Woodson can hear Joe’s criticism from ringside and shakes his head as he point to his mystery freind.

Scott Woodson: My far is far from made Joe…. because my friend here is not done.  Damien…. Shows everyone here in HOW just a taste of what they are in store for.

The man removes his hoodie and reveals himself as someone HOW has not seen in quite some time…

Joe Hoffman: It’s… It’s Damien Ryan!  He’s back… and teaming with Scottyw… with Woodson?!

Rolling Cross over onto his back, Woodson starts to drag him to the corner which Ryan starts to scale.  Woodson picks up the hockey stick and for good measure… as if it was needed… slash the hockey stick down across the chest off Cross once… twice… three times for the hat trick as Ryan leaps off with a big frog splash and comes down square on Cross.

Joe Hoffman: The Publicity Stunt!

Picking back up the microphone, Woodson helps Ryan up as they both stare down at Cross who is clutching his stomach and barely moving in the middle of the ring.

Scott Woodson: Oh and don’t worry about the paperwork Cross… cause before you even came out here tonight… your HOW contract was terminated and given to this man… Damien Ryan!  Security… get this trespasser out my ring!

Security obliges with the orders of the 49% Owner of HOW as the drag Cross’ lifeless body of the ring to the joy of Woodson who is all smiles as he hands his hockey stick off to Ryan.

Scott Woodson: Now as March to Glory approaches…. I’d HATE to be the team that has to go up against the most formidable alliance HOW has ever seen… but next week we will see two in action that might just get that chance.  When The Egg Bandits take on Rick Dickulous and Matt Klazzic, Turn It Up Express…. with myself and Damien Ryan at ringside….

Joe Hoffman: Bandits back in action against the 80’s flashback… with a big powder cake at ringside with us…

Benny Newell: Coke? Oh Cake…same…

Ryan raises the hockey stick in the air as Woodson drops the mic and smirks as “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” hits while we see one last shot of Cross being dragged out of the arena as we take our final commercial break.

Michael Best vs. Dan Ryan

ICON Championship Match

Back live and the crowd is buzzing as we near the end of the show…

Hoffman: Folks, we are back for the final time this evening as we have reached the Main Event of tonight’s programming…

Newell: It’s G.o.D vs. G.o.D and I like their odds…obvs..

Hoffman: Please do not do that every again…..My informed partner is correct as we wrap up the entire Lee Best Invitational Group Stage with Mike Best against Dan Ryan. Dan Ryan stunned the world with Lindsay Troy last week, their sudden and surprise betrayal of their Industry compatriots High Flyer and MJF to join up with the eMpire

Dad, how come nobody likes me?  Cause you’re a mothafuckaaaaaaaaaaaa… The head bopping intro to “Motherfucker” by Hopsin begins to slap over the sound system, heralding the arrival of the SON OF GOD, Michael Lee Best. Proudly strutting out from the back with his sweet new jam, the Architect of the Group of Death has a hint of deadly seriousity hiding behind his trademark smirk.

Hoffman: Despite being allies, tonight Mike Best and Dan Ryan are expected to go to war for the ICON Championship, the title that has arguably been the most saught after during HOW’s Refueled era. The World Championship may give you the right to the top of the mountain but the ICON could certainly allow you to lay claim to being the best wrestler in HOW and tonight Mike Best looks to do it for a sixth time…

McVay: Ladies and gentlemen… the following contest is the final match of the Lee Best Invitational group stage and is for the ICON CHAMPIONSHIP!

There’s air of excitement and buzz around the arena, the fans quite uncertain of whether what they will see is a real contest or some Group of Death bullshit.

McVay: Introducing first, the challenger, making his way down to the ring at this time, he weighs in tonight at two hundred and thirty three pounds and stands at a height of six foot one…

An over excitable drunk in the crowd yells FIVE FOOT SIX at the top of his lungs, gaining a death glare for the G.o.D member as he continues his way to the ring.

McVay: MIKE BEEEEEEEESSSST!

Newell: I just don’t know who to cheer for. Can Cecilfuck Fuckington come out so I have someone to yell at? Saying that, I already pre-ordered some SixTime Academy merch, gotta back the right horse. It’s like playing the markets…

Hoffman: How’d those “it’s just the flu, bro” investments go for you?

Newell: Drink!

As the headset picks up Benny’s one handed attempt to crack open another bottle with the awful clinks and clanks that come along with it, Mike Best proudly informs the crowd that he is number one, showing off his Hall of Fame ring, almost through procedure rather than pride. He is clear in his performance of his pre-match antics but his eyes do not break the intent and careful, caring stare towards the ring. Thoughts of the mountain that he must climb tonight dance vision in his head as he slowly rolls under the bottom rope.

Hoffman: Some contests tonight have clearly been about pride, with the LBI group stage being locked in two weeks ago and this is STILL part of that contest but everyone watching at home knows group points are the furthest thing from either man’s mind tonight. Tonight is about the ICON title.

Newell: If the Group of Death falls apart after one week, I’m blaming Farthington.

Hoffman: Shockingly that tracks.

Mike’s pre-match in ring stretching is interrupted by “Zero” of Smashing Pumpkins fame playing loudly over the speaker system. A few fireworks set off from the side of the stage as the HOW ICON Champion Dan Ryan finds himself standing at the top of the entrance way, proudly wearing his sunglasses at night.

McVay: And introducing the HOW ICON CHAMPIONNNN… weighing in at THREE HUNDRED AND SIX POUNDS… standing at SIX FOOT SEVEN… HE IS THE EGOBUSTER… DANNNN RYANNNNNNNN!

Newell: Tonight either Mike Best gets a new best friend through repeated punches to face or Dan Ryan gets a shit ton of fruit baskets!

Hoffman: I believe my partner is referring to Mike Best’s confession earlier this week that Dan Ryan was something of a childhood hero of his and he hopes that a healthy dose of Vitamin C will cure any difficulties in the newly formed alliance should he be victorious here tonight.

Newell: And Dan Ryan believes punching Mike in the face will have similar results.

If you could see through the very dark sunglasses, you would see Dan Ryan marching towards the ring with the appearance of confidence but a reality of determination. Clearly looking to walk out of this battle of allies remaining the champion, he pays no attention to outside distractions as he begins a brisk stroll down to the ring. Ryan too opts to enter the ring through the bottom rope and backs into his corner, handing off his sunglasses to a ring attendant. With the unnecessary but fashionable item out of the way, we can see the steely focus on his eyes, they lock with Mike’s determination.

Hoffman: You have to wonder how fellow Group of Death members Cecilworth Farthington and Max Kael feel about this match. Max, seeing Mike break their long standing “Cold War” over the ICON championship, Cecilworth seeing the man who managed to “steal” his ICON championship away at ICONIC defending what he has called “his belt” many times…

Newell: Max doesn’t even know he’s in the fucking group and fuck Cecilworth.

Hoffman: Another example of why he’s paid the big bucks.

Matt Boettcher ensures that both men are backed into the corners as he signals for the bell and after a few simple dings, the contest is underway. Mike starts the match by stretching up against the turnbuckles as Dan Ryan hands off the ICON Championship to Boettcher. Mike walks over to the middle of the ring, satisfied he is fully warmed up and catches Ryan’s eye. He cracks a wide smile and tells The ICON Champion that the fruit baskets are already waiting for him in the locker room and…

CRACK

That would be the sound of Mike Best’s jaw being smashed by the flying first of Dan Ryan punching him straight in the face. The punch takes Mike so far off guard he crumbles down to the mat. Ryan cracks a small smile and goes down for the cover.

Hoffman: Well, it’s how Dan Ryan says he makes friends but Mike Best did not see that flying fist coming!

Newell: I normally have to pay extra to use a fist….let alone a flying fist….

 

ONE!

 

TWO!

 

KICKOUT!

 

Hoffman: Mike Best may have been suckered by the punch but there is still plenty of fight in him, he wants this ICON Championship. He wants to prove to his childhood hero that he can beat him.

Newell: And Dan Ryan just wants to keep punching people in the face.

Ryan picks up Best from the mat, kneeing him right in the gut as he holds on to the back of the challenger’s head. He does this again, and again and a fourth time for good measure. He launches the SON of GOD into the ropes and dips down, aiming for a high angle back body drop of sorts. This plan is interrupted by the fact that he instead is kneed in the skull with a vicious knee trembler from Mike Best. The ICON Champion staggers back fully upright as Best follows up with a picture perfect dropkick.

Newell: THAT DAMN DROPKICK!

Hoffman: It seems that punch in the face has sparked the adrenaline in the challenger. If anyone was going into this match expecting any gaga, I think it’s quite obvious from this opening that it will be anything but. Two stable mates who both want to prove something to the other and they have wasted no time in doing so.

Dan Ryan leans back against the ring ropes, shaken for a brief moment by Mike pushing the attack and looking to gain back some precious air. Mike sees this moment as an opportunity and rushes in at Ryan lifting his knees up high. Ryan for his part is still enough “with it” that he ducks under and supports Mike Best going flying over the top rope. Mike is quick enough to grab hold of the top rope, slowing his momentum slightly. He manages to place himself on firm footing on the apron and looks quite proud of his own acrobatics. This pride is short lived as a short clothesline sends him crumbling down on top of the apron.

Hoffman: Ryan saw Mike coming with those deadly knees of his and was able to act quick enough to dodge!

Newell: Made all the more impressive by how wide the man is, there’s a lot of Dan Ryan and Mike missed it all.

Ryan keeps up the attack, using the top rope in assisting him in drilling Mike over and over in the gut with a series of stiff kicks. Best does the only smart move he can think of and rolls free from the Ryan onslaught, rolling off of the apron and the mats below. He looks up to the ceiling and tries to catch his breath back for a few moments. Ryan looks down at Best and considers performing the first suicide dive of his career. Deciding that it’s probably not the right time to become a high flying lucha superstar, he rolls out of the ring and stomps a boot into the skull of Best instead.

Hoffman: It looks like he’s trying to clean the nose right off Mike Best’s face with

Newell: That’s Texas Justice BAYBEE!

Hoffman: Have you even been to Texas?

Newell: Only for contractually obligated purposes. Too hot, makes me thirsty. Speaking of…

Picking Mike Best up, he slams him against the ring apron, inflicting a lot of damage to the upper back of The Group of Death’s Architect. This is followed by a series of shoulders being slammed into the Best guy as he remains pressed against the ring apron. A fan at ringside tosses their cup of beer at Ryan but he’s able to swat it away. He takes a brief moment to turn away from Mike and see who had enough of a death wish to try some shit with Dan Ryan. The momentary distraction gives Mike just enough time to yank Ryan by the head and send him slipping backwards, he muscular Texan skull crashing against the ring apron.

Newell: Some get that fan away into witness protection! The entire state of Texas will be after him. I’ve heard you aren’t supposed to mess with them.

Hoffman: Ryan’s momentary distraction has given Mike Best a small window of opportunity. He’s managed to hit a big blow on Ryan but can he capitalize?

Finally deciding to do his job, Matt Boettcher begins to count both men out, as Ryan lays flat on the padding outside the ring and Mike is slumped up against the apron doing his best to knock himself back to his senses.

 

ONE!

 

TWO!

 

THREE!

 

FOUR!

 

The memories of his very first ICON Championship opportunity quickly flash back into the mind of Ryan. Ryan very much not looking to seek a repeat of this moment begins to scramble back up to his feet. Best, for his part, wanting to win the belt and not the LBI points pulls himself back up onto the ring apron.

 

FIVE!

 

SIX!

 

Dan Ryan slides into the ring at the same time Mike Best rolls under the ropes, both men breaking the count at roughly the same time.

Hoffman: It looks like both men are not seeking an easy way out tonight. They want to be the victor outright. Mike wants to show his hero how far he’s come… Dan Ryan just enjoys murdering people. It’s a combination of strong wills.

Newell: You know who I wish Dan Ryan would murder?

Hoffman: Yes Benny, everyone knows.

Both men manage to find themselves slowly but surely back in the middle of the ring. They stand a few centimetres away from one another and lock eyes for the first time since the ring introductions. Dan Ryan does a simple “bring it” hand motion and Mike Best decides “oh it will be brought, my friend” and drills an elbow to the side of Ryan’s skull.

And another one.

 

And another one.

 

And another one.

 

And another one.

 

After ten straight elbow to the skull, Mike looks slightly terrified at the big man hardly moving an inch. Dan Ryan chuckles and the camera can pick up him saying “my turn” as he forearms Mike right in the face, sending Mike flying backwards, right into the mat. Ryan tries to shake the cobwebs free as Mike looks at Ryan, stunned.

Newell: Don’t bring an elbow to a forearm fight.

Hoffman: That’s not a saying, that will never be a saying. A furious exchange from Mike Best there but none of those elbows were enough to do long term damage to the ICON Champion.

Newell: Texans have thicker skulls, I saw a documentary on this once….plus Stevens.

Mike Best is leaning up at Ryan and Ryan down at Best. This “Creation of Adam” moment is short lived as Ryan drills Mike Best right in the skull with a big boot. This sends the challenger flat on the mat. Ryan remains on the offense, dropping some very precise fist drops to the fallen Best’s skull. He slowly walks to the upper chest of Mike and falls down with all his weight, drilling an elbow right to the probably non-existent heart of Best.

Hoffman: The champion is on the offense now

Newell: But can he go much longer? Mike Best saw this man defend a title in nineteen dickety two against the Stinging Hornet or whatever, surely his old man body will give out soon!

Hoffman: He wrestled a ninety seven minute long Iron Man match recently, I’m sure he’ll be fine.

A tired looking Dan Ryan seems to be finally satisfied with the damage done to his new friend Mike and lifts him up from the mat with ease. He grabs Mike by the head and looks to put him away with the Humility Bomb. He hoists Mike between his legs…

Newell: DICK KICK!

Hoffman: Did Boettcher not see that?

Newell: Boettcher stopped caring or is watching TNT on Wednesdays…….for the drama of course…TNT does drama.

Indeed, Mike manages to break free from the grasps of Dan Ryan and in a moment of sheer desperation boots the ICON Champion as hard as he can muster in the balls.. For a moment there is absolutely no interaction at all, perhaps even a small smile from the Egobuster but this moment of strength is ended as the pain fully shoots through his system. Ryan tries to fight the pain, finding himself wobbling on one knee. He tries to push through the pain and get back up to an even base…

Hoffman: I KNEED A HERO!

The excitable commentary of Hall of Famer Joe Hoffman is quite correct, seeing this small gap as the only opportunity he has, Mike Best rushes towards The ICON Champion and drills him upside the skull with his patented shining wizard. Ryan collides with the mat and Mike follows through, keeping his knees on Ryan’s shoulders.

 

ONE!

 

Mike leans back, keeping Ryan’s shoulders pinned to the mat with his knees. He tries to grab the legs of Ryan but Ryan’s larger frame proves this to be difficult.

 

TWO!

 

Ryan begins to show signs of life, trying to shove Mike’s knees upwards and off his body. Mike manages to get hold of one of Ryan’s legs and leans forward.

 

THREE!

 

KICKOUT!

 

Hoffman: Dan Ryan manages to break free of the pinning predicament just as Mike Best fully locks the leg…

 

 

 

 

DING DING DING

 

 

 

 

 

Newell: But it’s too late Hoffhole! SIX TIME ACADEMY HERE WE COME! SORRY ABOUT YOUR SHITTY ENDLESS SUPPLY OF FRUITBASKETS, RYAN!

Hoffman: That looked like a clear kickout to me. Did Boettcher call for the disqualification from the dick kick?

Newell: After starting the pin count? What a prick!

Hoffman: With the amount of “fun” the eMpire has had at his expense, maybe it was time for a little revenge.

The stunned crowd isn’t quite clear what just happened as Matt Boettcher confers with McVay for an official announcement. A slow motion replay begins on the big screen in the area for the sake of the fans. It catches Mike managing to pull both of Dan Ryan’s legs in as Boettcher’s hand hits the mat a third time. The slow motion shows Dan Ryan managing to break free from the hold but milliseconds after the hand hits the ground.

Hoffman: …I stand corrected.

McVay: Here is your winner and… NEWWWWWWWWWWW ICON CHAMPION…

The arena erupts at this announcement, more caught up in the moment of seeing a new champion crowned live than the fact that it was Mike Best who managed to be the one to do so.

McVay: MIKE BEST!

Mike Best slinks back up to his feet, almost in disbelief himself. He goes over to collect the ICON Championship from Matt Boettcher but as he leans to pick it up a meaty paw spins him around.

Hoffman: A PUNCH RIGHT TO THE FACE!

Newell: Hard. So hard.

You would expect the man who punched Mike in the face to be a rather irate Dan Ryan, who just lost his ICON Championship through some devious and underhanded tactics. Instead the man who punched Mike in the face was…

 

 

 

A smiling Dan Ryan! The punch knocks Mike Best right into Matt Boettcher and leaves him crushing the referee against the ropes. A dazed and confused Mike Best gives Ryan a glass-eyed look of confusion.

Hoffman: A post match punch from Dan Ryan, is the Group of Death crumbling already?

Newell: Oh we’re not like other stables, they cried. Doesn’t much seem like family right now, does it?

Ryan goes after Best again, his arm flying in Best’s direction as he…

Hoffman: A handshake?

Newell: Disregard my previous comment, this is very much like my family.

Satisfied that he has fully completed his friendship ritual, Dan Ryan extends his hand to the new ICON Champion Mike Best. The industry-wide renowned smirk of Mike Best begins to creep across the new champ’s face as he offers his hand too. Ryan pulls Mike in with a firm shake of the hands and snatches the ICON Championship off of Boettcher. Ryan places the ICON championship on Mike’s shoulders and raises his arm up high as confetti begins to drop from the ceiling.

Newell: We kept confetti up there IN CASE Mike won?

Hoffman: I think Cecilworth’s contract demands there be confetti above the arena every week. Regardless, we have just seen a battle of ICONs and Mike Best just managed to snatch it. Next week, we see if the Group of Death still manage to hold it together as two members battle in the semi-finals of the LBI – Max Kael and Lindsay Troy. On the other side of the bracket we see the battle of Red and Ted and it’s all for that ultimate prize of facing Cecilworth Farthington at March to Glory in next week’s main event!

The cameras begin to fade as Ryan holds Mike’s arm up high as the rest of the Group of Death filter their way out onto the entrance ramp to applaud Mike’s victory. Cecilworth Farthington is almost oblivious to the fact that the two next to him could very well challenge for his title at March to Glory. Max Kael keeps a bit of a distance from Troy though, giving her a side-eyed stare from his one good eye. The final shot returns to the ring and the victor, as the camera catches the rest of the group in the background.

Hoffman: Mike Best has now officially won the ICON championship more than anyone else in company history. The stunning legacy of the man continues to grow. For Benny Newell, I’ve been Joe Hoffman and we will see you next week for the END OF THE EL BEE EYE!

Fade to Black.

Bonus Seg

Back in the parking lot of the AllState Arena we see Austin Reeves walking himself out to his car towing a rolling suitcase behind him.  It’s quiet and Reeves looks around as that seems to never be a good sign in the parking lot….

But he doesn’t see anyone so he makes his way to his car that is parked by the valet and ready to go.  He cautiously pops the trunk… and sees nothing as he pops his bag into it and closes it. Making his way to the driver’s side door he opens it up and….

PSSSSSSSTTTT

Something sprays out of the door as we can see Damien Ryan exit the car with a can of spray paint in his hand while Reeves stumbles blindly backwards.  From the other door of the car we see Scott Woodson exit with the blood of Cross soaked barbed wire hockey stick in hand.

Reeves takes a couple of wild swings at the thin air since he can’t see as Woodson just shakes his head as he walks up to Reeves.

Scott Woodson: Zero points… the returning monster of HOW scored zero points in the LBI.  You know the kind of negative hole that leaves on the HOW payroll to the investors?

Reeves again wildly swings at Woodson’s voice but gets nothing as Woodson is careful to keep his distance.

Scott Woodson: But don’t you worry Reevesy… I’ve rectified that error and along with Cross’ contract… I’ve terminated your underperforming butt from the payroll.  So since you’re also trespassing on HOW property…

WHACK!!!  WHACK!!! WHACK!!! WHACK!!!

Woodson drills Reeves between the eyes with the hockey stick not once, twice, thrice… but four times, splitting the monster wide open as he stumbles backwards somehow still on his feet towards Ryan who turns Reeves and boots him in the gut.  Ryan locks in the front face lock and connects with a nasty DDT straight onto the cement. Woodson looks down at his watch and checks the time…. stamp.

Scott Woodson: Twelve fifteen… I guess Lee isn’t the only one who can have a bloody Sunday around here….

Picking up the #97Red spray paint can, Woodson shakes it a few times before he starts to add a little Hardcore Art to the back of Reeves.  After a few swipes with the can, it’s clear what Woodson is painting on Reeves…. an anarchy symbol.

Scott Woodson: I’d HATE for anyone to forget who still owns 49% of this place.  It’s obviously not enough for a majority these days… but father and son aren’t going to marginalize me that easily.   Whether it’s a GOD or The GoD… there will be at least one team who won’t bow down to them. Love it… or likely HATE it… I’m still here in HOW and we’re not gonna go away anytime soon.

Woodson tosses the can down at Reeves as he admires his lovely art one last time before he and Ryan make their way out of the parking lot as the bonus feed cuts away.