The screen flashes the HOTv logo, followed by the logo for High Octane Wrestling.
The hyped up Allstate Arena is on their feet as “Welcome To The Jungle” begins to play throughout Chicago’s historic stadium, and the REFUELED opening video sparks to life on the HOV. A slow camera pan highlights some of the signs that fans brought from home, some intricately handcrafted, some no more than boring sharpie on poster board.
RED TED REDEMPTION
NO BRUV NO LUV
MIKE BEST IS ONLY 5’6”
EFEDPODCAST DOT COM OR FUCK YOUR MOTHER
The camera finally falls to the announcer’s table, where the Hall of Fame announce team is waiting as usual at their desk for the beginning of tonight’s show. Joe Hoffman straightens his papers and goes over his notes as the camera falls to him, while Benny Newell is grouchily fiddling with the cast on his arm. He adjusts his sling, quietly pulling an airplane sized booze bottle out of the sleeve.
Joe Hoffman: Hello everyone and welcome to HOW Refueled! I’m Joe Hoffman, joined as always by “Big Buff” Benny Newell, and we’re coming to you LIVE from the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Tonight’s show features LBI group stage bouts from Narcotic and Embosser groups, as well as the official in-ring debut of The Hollywood Bruvs, who will be taking on Black Mamba and Scott Stevens in an exhibition contest. And to top it all off, we’ve got the eMpire taking on Red and Ted in tonight’s main event, in what will serve as not only a HOW Tag Team Title match, but a potential preview of what’s to come in the Knockout and Finals of the LBI!
Benny Newell: I hate to cheer for a guy with a man bun, Joe, but no one named Fred, Ned or Ed have ever BROKEN MY FUCKING ARM AND LEFT ME PHYSICALLY DISABLED, so tonight I’m pulling for Man Bun and The Chest Hair Kid.
Joe Hoffman: Red and Ted, Benny. I literally just said it. Alex Redding and Teddy Palmer, two of the fastest rising stars in HOW, with almost unstoppable momentum.
Benny Newell: Look, I don’t learn the names till I see how they react to losing a fucking match around here. Which they WILL eventually do.
Joe Hoffman: Anyway, our first matchup of the evening comes from the Embosser group, where HOW Hall of Famer Chris Kostoff will take on Deacon in their final matchup of the Gr–
Before Joe can continue, the opening clap-stomp beats of “Watch Me” by The Phantoms hit the speakers as the fans jump to their feet, cell phones out, flashbulbs popping. They roar their approval as the lyrics kick in, bringing out not only Lindsay Troy through the curtain, but Dan Ryan and Jack Harmen as well.
Joe Hoffman: Well, folks, it looks like our opening bout may have to wait just a few more moments. The Industry has arrived, with GOD Group winner Lindsay Troy at the head of the pack!
Benny Newell: Industry minus one, dickhead. I don’t see MJ Flair hanging out with her besties.
Joe Hoffman: There has definitely been some tension within The Industry since the formation of the Group of Death, Benny, there’s no doubt about that. But now that Lindsay Troy has secured the group, she remains The Industry’s sole hope to walk out of the Lee Best Invitational with the HOW World Championship. Whatever book they’re reading, they need to get on the same page.
Lindsay strides down the ramp, focused as ever, Dan following a couple steps behind, and Jack bringing up the rear, tossing devil-horn taunts to the fans. The in-laws hop up onto the apron in tandem, Troy through the ropes first with Ryan following. Harmen slips in under the bottom rope and rolls to his knees. After a quick, friendly chat with Brian McVay in the corner, the Conqueror of the GEE OH DEE has a microphone in her hand, and she makes her way back to center. McVay takes his leave and “Watch Me” softly tapers off.
Lindsay Troy: Last week’s Refueled was a cause for celebration, wasn’t it?
A big cheer from the High Octane Faithful.
Lindsay Troy: Not only did I secure my place in the Knockout Round of the Lee Best Invitational with a win in the main event, but the Narcotic, Embosser, and DeNucci groups were finalized as well. And those winners: Alexander Redding, Teddy Palmer, and Max Kael, all had their little triumphant moments and reveled in their victories. So hey, must be my turn, right?
Joe Hoffman: Well, it would certainly be deserved.
Benny Newell: She can gloat if she wants, technically she won but her group still isn’t over yet. She’s still gotta face the Lunatic Cringe.
Lindsay Troy: It must be my turn….except it’s not. That’s not why I’m out here. (Disappointed boos from the crowd). That’s not why we’re (motions to Dan and Jack) out here. We’re not even out here to talk about the debut of 24K two weeks ago, although, I gotta say, I expected to be read for filth once Mikey got on the mic last week, but like all of his, Kendrix’s, and Perfection’s matches, I was bored to tears. No, we’re out here because it’s high past time that we stage a little intervention.
Benny Newell: Oh shit, Hoffhole, here we go.
Joe Hoffman: There is only one person the Queen is speaking about right now, Benny, and it’s the one person who not only isn’t out there with them, but hasn’t been much of an Industry team member since ICONIC.
Lindsay Troy: It wasn’t just Mike’s intention to pit The Industry against each other so we’d devour ourselves from the inside. It wasn’t just his intention that only one of us had a chance to make it to the finals of the LBI. No, it was also his intention to beat us all and get to the finals himself. Well, he succeeded on the middle count. He failed on the last count. And I’m sick and tired of seeing all four of us prove him right on the first count. So MJ?
Big crowd pop!
Lindsay Troy: Put on your big girl pants and get your ass out here so we can settle our shit.
Dan Ryan, back and to Troy’s right, folds his arms over his chest and glowers up the entrance ramp. Harmen, to Troy’s left, takes a step closer and puts his hand on her shoulder. He nods to reassure her that she’s doing the right thing. The buzz of the crowd is palpable as they wait for MJ to maybe, hopefully, join her teammates.
Joe Hoffman: The Industry veterans have put the call out to their youngest, most impressionable member in hopes of talking some sense into her.
Benny Newell: MJ Flair came into HOW like a meteor and, once she hit the atmosphere of some real competition, fizzled out before crashing to earth. She’s arrogant, condescending, and egotis–
“Goodnight” by the Birthday Massacre cuts Benny off mid-word and MJ Flair appears on the stage. She glares down at her cohorts for just a moment before walking purposefully down the ramp. MJ stops at the timekeeper’s station to pick up an extra microphone, then walks up the steel stairs and enters the ring.
You can definitely cut the tension between the two women with a knife. It doesn’t help when MJ steps right up Lindsay; it’s clear she did not appreciate this call-out.
Lindsay Troy: You can get up in my space all you want, kiddo, and you can be as angry as you want with me about it, but this needed to happen and I think you know it.
MJ Flair: Yeah, LT… it did. But let’s really break it down, man, yeah?
She steps back, and holds her free hand out, away from herself.
MJ Flair: Bit of a stumble for me so far this year, yeah? I mean, it is what it is but I wasn’t booked in a match so I’m home, tryinna get my head on straight and I’m not asked – I’m summoned here ta air things out. Fair enough, man. I deserve that. But then I can’t find you’s all day, until I’m back by the monitors and hear ya call me out ta do this live in the ring?
MJ Flair: Really? Ya couldn’t give me a minute ta get myself ready?
Lindsay Troy: If we waited to do this on your time, MJ, my kids would be done with undergrad and halfway on to their Masters by the time you got around to it. And I’m tired of this ghosting game you’re playing with us, and all the passive-aggressive swipes. You are young, and you are very talented, but you’ve still got a lot to learn, especially when it comes to teamwork and showing up for – and respecting – your partners.
MJ frowns, not pleased with this dressing down from Lindsay.
MJ Flair: Ya ain’t wrong, LT… but let’s spin it around a bit. Yeah, I was harsh, yeah, I was outta line. I blamed him –
And she points at Jack Harmen.
MJ Flair: – for losin’ the LSD title on my behalf. He shut me right the hell down, yeah?
MJ gives a respectful nod towards Jack Harmen, who returns it – any hard feelings at least outwardly gone.
MJ Flair: That shut me all the way the hell down, man. Danno comes in with a curbstomp ta’ end all curbstomps and Mike Best manages ta’ one – up him one Refueled later.
She shakes her head and runs her free hand through her thick hair, still showing off the remnants of the lumps Mike Best left on her head.
MJ Flair: I walked back in at ICONIC with the big dick energy in the room, man… but at this point I ain’t feelin’ it, I ain’t lookin’ it, and I sure as shit ain’t it. So what happened next, LT?
And she steps right back into Lindsay Troy’s face.
MJ Flair: Did ya really need ta’ crack a woman that’s already cracked, or did ya just feel left out?
Lindsay peers down at MJ and imperceptibly nods. Her face softens, just a little.
Lindsay Troy: I know I said some shit last week in promos leading up to our match. It was harsh, and probably hard to hear. I want to move past that, because the Industry’s work isn’t done. Dan’s got to fight Mike next week, and the ICON title might be on the line. I still have to fight Jack next week too, but then I’ve got to fight Max in the Knockout round. You want another crack at his LSD title. The eMpire still has the tag belts, although that could change tonight. We’re a little shaky right now, MJ, but we’re stronger with you than we are without you. So, what do you say?
Joe Hoffman: An offer of peace and a plea for unity from the Queen here, and the crowd is a hundred percent behind the idea. Will MJ get on board?
Benny Newell: Ugggghhhhhhh I need more than a nip of Jack for this feel-good bullshit, Hofflepuff.
MJ’s still glaring at Lindsay, and still far too amped up to really let the words sink in. Lindsay waits patiently, Jack looks anxious, Dan looks unemotional per usual, and just when you thought the tension couldn’t mount any higher….
Voice: Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on now.
…the Son of GOD appears.
His words slow and full of vitriol, Michael Lee Best emerges from behind the curtain, wearing the mischievous smile of a cheshire cat. That is, if a cheshire cat had a trust fund and severe daddy issues. A microphone in his hand, the architect of the Group of Death steps out onto the stage, as HOW World Champion Cecilworth Farthington takes his right flank, and HOW LSD Champion Max Kael takes his left.
Mike Best: I know, I know, the whole world is waiting with baited breath to see if The Industry’s little teambuilding exercise made them HASHTAG BEE EFF EFFs again, but as the architect of the Group of Death… as the reason we’re all here tonight, really… I think it’s rude that you’d so brazenly barrel past the “celebration” portion of the evening. Damnit, I want to celebrate! THERE IS SO MUCH TO CELEBRATE!
Slowly, the eMpire saunters their way down the ramp, eyes locked on the ring as they pass by the buzzing HOW crowd. Lindsay Troy grits her teeth, and now she and MJF finally seem to agree on something tonight as they both stare daggers back at Michael Best. Harmen cracks his knuckles, preparing for a fight. Dan Ryan moves toward the ropes nearest the ramp right away, but LT stops him with an outstretched hand, warning him that it might be some kind of a trap.
Dan complies, but the fury in his expression is not inviting.
Joe Hoffman: Right. They’re here to celebrate. I hardly think this is going to be a celebration, folks.
Benny Newell: If that arm breaking cocknuckle Farthington gets within fifty feet of me, he’s going back to jail, Joe. I’m not fucking around here. I WILL PROSECUTE….or at least turn on that light at the top of the arena and…..ugh never mind….. that was a fucking horrible collection of words just then….horrible.
Joe is confused and looks puzzled at his partner as the camera cuts back to the Son of God.
Seemingly unintimidated, Michael climbs up the ring steps, dusting his feet off on the apron before ducking into the ring. He is immediately followed by his friends– his family— Max Kael and Cecilworth Farthington.
Mike Best: Relax, I come in peace. I really am here to congratulate you.
The Son of God gestures toward Lindsay Troy, the winner of the GOD Group and wrestler who will face Max Kael in the first round of the knockout stage. The fans cheer approvingly, but Lindsay isn’t buying the bullshit. She takes a step toward Michael Best, her fists tensing up.
Mike Best: I get that things are tense right now, but I truly want you to enjoy this moment. Because you beat me, guys. Because we have spent so much time and energy trying to destroy you, and we have been unsuccessful. We tried violence. We tried humiliation. We tried to sit back and let the LBI tear you all apart, limb from limb, and yet here you stand. Enjoy this moment. Seriously, pat yourselves on the backs. You survived.
He looks down at the mat, softly nodding his head as the crowd roars even louder now. Despite her own efforts not to, even LT cracks a smile– the pride seeps through her pores. But the cheering slowly begins to die away, as Michael looks back up at his nemesis– he’s smiling now, and it isn’t the insincere smile of congratulation on his face anymore.
Mike Best: I mean we really tried. We tried almost everything. Almost.
His eyes refocus, but it isn’t Lindsay Troy that he’s looking at; this time– it’s Mariella Jade Flair.
Mike Best: Emmmmmmmm Jay Eff.
He hasn’t even begun the spiel yet, and the crowd is already not having any of it. The boos begin to rain on the ring like a tsunami, but Michael is so used to this bullshit after a decade in HOW that he continues on, unabashed.
Mike Best: The Industry wants to call you down here and make you feel like the proverbial black sheep. They wanna tell you that you aren’t a team player. They wanna chastise you, because everything is on the rocks right now. And you know what? They’re right. Because you ARE the black sheep. You don’t belong in The Industry.
Michael wags a disapproving finger at Lindsay Troy, Dan Ryan and Jack Harmen. The stares that he receives in return convey the message that all three of them would love to grab a hold of that finger and break it into as many small pieces as possible.
Mike Best: You just wrestled the four hardest matches of your career, back to back. And sure, you didn’t win any of them. Sure, I left you out cold in the ring after eating so many elbows that you may now legally be considered a cannibal. Sure, your stock has perhaps bottomed out in High Octane Wrestling. But you know what? I like to gamble. I like to buy low, and sell high. And tonight, I want to buy stock in you, Mariella.
He smiles, like a used car salesman.
Mike Best: I can rebuild you. I have the technology. Look at us, MJ– the eMpire is the most dominant force in professional wrestling, and we built it from the fucking ground up. You’ve got the right name. You’ve got the right pedigree. And underneath all that green, I can see the gold that shines within you. The Industry is a sinking ship, and I’m here to offer you a lifeboat. This is a one time offer, and it expires very, very quickly. Come to the Dark Side. What do you say?
The excitement in the arena is reaching a peak. One way or another, shit is about to get very interesting before the first match of the evening has even begun. The one and only bastard child of GOD reaches out a hand, as the crowd violently and vehemently tells Mariella Jade Flair that she, under no circumstances, is to join The eMpire.
MJ Flair looks torn.
Joe Hoffman: I… I can’t believe this. Michael Best is offering MJ Flair a spot in the eMpire?!
Benny Newell: Yeah, and she’d better take it, too. I may only love 66.6% of them right now but this is a one way ticket to gold. One. Fucking. Way. ANSWER HIM, DUMMY!
She eyes Michael Lee Best with the distrust that she rightfully should, and yet she doesn’t immediately say no. The young, immensely talented wrestler turns and looks to The Industry, her eyes filled with doubt. In this moment, though, it would appear that an offer from the devil has produced a sense of clarity into the ring– despite whatever problems they’d had up to this point, The Industry suddenly stands as one.
MJ Flair: Mike… We’ve got problems that need ta be addressed.
She gestures at the rest of the Industry behind her, before pointing at him.
MJ Flair: You? You are a problem… that needs ta’ be fixed.
And with those words, the roof comes off the fucking building.
As the crowd explodes out of their seats, Lindsay Troy cracks a faintest hint of a “fuck you” smirk at her nemesis across the ring. Michael Lee Best, by all rights, should be absolutely simmering– losing to Lindsay Troy was hard. Losing his entire, self-created LBI group as a result was hard. But being publicly shunned by MJ Flair and embarrassed in front of millions watching world wide? You should see the steam coming out of his ears.
But the Son of God… is smiling.
He raises the microphone, a “signature smirk” plastered across his face.
Mike Best: Brave girl. Stupid, but brave. Let me teach you a free lesson, MJ. About business. About wrestling. About life, really. When your stock is down, always accept the buyout. That one was free. The next one is gonna cost you.
The smirk on his face changes. Warps, into a devilish sneer.
Mike Best: Always. Always. Hedge your bets.
MJ Flair’s head recoils from the whiplash, as she’s cracked across the skull— but her head doesn’t whip backward.
It whips forward.
Joe Hoffman: No. NO! WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
Benny Newell: HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
The meaty forearm of Dan Ryan smashes into the back of Flair’s head, knocking her face first into the mat like she’s been shot. The arena isn’t even loud, for a moment— there is stunned silence as Dan Ryan stands over his presumably former stablemate. And then, the silence ends.
And the booing begins.
Lindsay Troy and Jack Harmen are shocked. Horrified. They recoil backward from Dan Ryan, who slowly turns to face them next.
Joe Hoffman: I.. I can’t believe this. I actually can’t believe this! Dan Ryan has turned on the Industry! HE’S JOINED THE ENEMY!
Benny Newell: Oh my God, this is delicious. Its “drink all the tears from the twitter twats all at once” delicious…
Dan stalks toward the remaining members of the Industry— Jack Harmen is in a stunned fury, ready to dive in headlong and fight the traitor, but Lindsay tries desperately to keep him from essentially going to his death. Michael Best, Cecilworth Farthington, and a confused looking Max Kael step forward to join their new recruit, and the numbers game is against them.
Dan lets out a snarky sort of laughter, giving LT a sinister little wink as he lifts MJ Flair up from the mat, shoving her head between his massive legs. He’s about to lift her for the Humility Bomb, but Harmen shrugs off LT and sprints in to make the save! The crowd is roaring!
The feedback resonates throughout the arena, as a microphone smashes into the side of Jack Harmen’s face, jamming harshly against his already injured eye.
Not Mike Best’s microphone, though…but Lindsay Troy’s.
Joe Hoffman: WHAT IN THE NAME OF DAVID BLACK IS HAPPENING?
Benny Newell: Whoa, easy with the language…..David Black….really Joe?! Mike Best said– YOU GOTTA HEDGE THOSE BETS! Looks like the eMpire had enough hedges to start a fuckin’ landscaping company!
With Joe having used his one f-bomb of the year, the commentators can only watch as Jack Harmen is knocked staggered to the corner, holding the side of his head as the shell shock kicks in. The booing is perhaps louder than it’s been in all of this final HOW era, as a smiling Lindsay twirls the microphone around in her hand before tossing it to the mat. She chases High Flyer to the corner, sails into the air, and nails him with a near picture perfect Raynes of Castamere.
Maybe it’s the knees, or maybe it’s the shock of the betrayal, but Harmen slumps down into the corner, at least temporarily defeated. With the nuisance eliminated, Dan picks MJF high into the air, and drops her sharply on her head and neck, laid out in the center of the ring.
Michael Best stands firm with his microphone, sneering like the shitty bully he’s always been.
Mike Best: I told you that the Group of Death would be the death of the Industry. And we are the Group. Of. Death.
Unceremoniously, Michael drops the microphone to the canvas, letting it fall next to the head of Mariella Jade Flair. He gives her a bully-like kick to the stomach for good measure, laughing as the two newest members of the family embrace their brethren in the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen… I… I’m in absolute shock right now. What are we witnessing? What in the hell has Mike Best created?
Benny Newell: You’re witnessing the scariest fucking thing in HOW, Joe, and I for one am 80% totally in on it……sweet mother of God…..I think it moved…..seriously…..To the right. Almost like it was in italics.
Mike Best. Cecilworth Farthington. Max Kael. Dan Ryan. Lindsay Troy.
The Group of Death.
HOW Refueled cuts to commercial.
Chris Kostoff vs. Deacon
Back from commercial and the HOW Hall of Famer Chris Kostoff is already in the ring. His entrance no doubtedly cut from the HOTv live broadcast courtesy of once again majority owner Lee Best.
Suddenly darkness hits the arena as the Gregorian chant begins. Magdalena steps through the curtain, microphone in hand, and flanked by the robed Deacon. As she continues her way to the ring, she calls for the chants to stop & the plain truth to begin.
Magdalena: I don’t like to throw around the idea that I spoke some prophetic words but…
Magdalena looks around at the crowd as she makes her way down the ramp.
Magdalena: Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Magdalena gestures to the giant screen. The screen goes to fuzz & then shows Jack Dawson & Magdalena in the studio from Friday’s interview–
Jack Dawson: With tag teams and stables trying to establish a foothold for dominance do you think Deacon can call some old friends from The Industry up?
Magdalena: Deacon’s not calling them up. No chance of that.
Jack Dawson: Look, I’m not telling you how to do your job for Deacon, but everyone needs backup. Even Chris Kostoff, probably the toughest guy to ever compete in HOW needed backup from time to time.
Magdalena: Deacon had backup, or thought he had. It didn’t end well. He’s got his faith, a God that can move mountains. He’ll be fine, and the great thing about his belief – even if he’s not fine, he’ll be even better.
The screen cuts out as Magdalena & Deacon take their position in the center of the ring.
Magdalena: Footholds for dominance. Everyone needs backup. (Magdalena smirks.) I can’t help but find some irony here. Not to go all historical, but I also mentioned Deacon and Flyer main eventing the fWo’s Cyberslam. I didn’t say how Mr. Harmen assured his spot in that match. How’d that backup work for you, Flyer? Ms. Troy didn’t even bother to kiss you first. And not to talk about the sins of the father, but there was a Flair who did the same to a Deacon quite a few years ago. Except with Mr. Ryan, we don’t know if he got his 30 silver or not.
Magdalena makes her way to the Deacon’s corner, stepping through the ropes and walking down the stairs as she continues.
Magdalena: I suspect he did one way or another. But though it was a surprise, it wasn’t. You want to know why Deacon trusts in his God? Like I said to Dawson, even if he’s not fine, in the end, he’ll be even better.
Magdalena tosses the microphone to Bryan McVay as its time for our first match of the evening and the final match for these men in the LBI.
Bryan McVay: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL!
Crowd: One fall!!!
Bryan McVay: Making his way from Tampa, Florida….
Bryan McVay sees Kostoff charging towards him and rolls out of the way as Kostoff charges straight towards the Deacon in corner as Matt Boettcher rings the bell as the crowd roars as Kostoff just clobbers the shit out of The Deacon’s chest.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff’s gotten into the spirit of tonight’s Refueled Chaos. Clearly he’s pissed off at the Group of Death that just formed.
Benny Newell: That’s because he’s been dead thanks to their leader Mike Best before Hoff Hole! He knows it legitimately means death could come knocking on his door again!
Joe Hoffman: He isn’t fucking around with this shot as he’s taking his frustrations out on the Deacon’s chest and face. Kostoff’s got those hard fists landing everyone and….
Benny Newell: Holy hell! He’s busted the Deacon’s nose with that hard right fist. And our good friend of the Lord is about to murder him.
Deacon’s eyes light up as blood pours out of his nose. Magadelena keeps screaming for the Deacon to unleash all hell, fire and brimstone on Kostoff. Deacon picks Kostoff up and hits a stiff as nails duplex landing both men on the ground. Deacon then picks Kostoff off the mat and lifts him above his head and chucks him outside with a military press.
Benny Newell: By God Hoffhole! Look at that beef on the Lord’s chosen prophet: Thr Deacon! He’s taking this fight to Kostoff.
Joe Hoffman: That’s an understatement! Matt Boetcher has allowed this fight to devolve! He’s throwing his hands up letting both these men devolve into….
Benny Newell: Chaos! Absolute chaos! I love it, Joe! Let’s drink to the chaos!!
Deacon comes down from the apron but Kostoff pull out a barbed wire baseball bat and waffles Deacon straight in the mouth just cutting it up. He grates it against his head as Boettcher just shirks it off and let’s both men just hammer the hell out of each other with weapons.
Joe Hoffman: This is not a LSD rules match!
Benny Newell: Why don’t you step in there and tell them how to fight?
Joe Hoffman: Fair point I’m not as brave as you were! But this night’s tone has gone all sorts of crazy.
As Kostoff finishes grating the baseball bat against Deacon, crimson just pours all over him with Magadelena just looking on in horror. Kostoff rubs the Deacon’s blood all over himself. Kostoff throws the bat down, but suddenly with all fury, Deacon raises to his feet by the Power of Christ. He stands their emotionless, just letting the rage build. Deacon finally takes Kostoff and chucks him straight into the barricade of fans. He grabs Kostoff and throws him face first into the stairs. Deacon just grabs a chair and waffles Kostoff over the head a few times until he starts bleeding and baptizes himself in the blood.
Benny Newell: Dear God both men showing just how sinister they are right now.
Joe Hoffman: Where the fuck was that earlier Boettcher?
Boetcher’s has enough of the chaos and tries to regain control, but Deacon just rolls into the ring and flares at him. He rolls back out, picks Kostoff’s body up and hits a Powerslam into the Apron for stiff measure. Deacon turns around and gloats before turning back around hit with a kick and DDT by Kostoff. Kostoff picks Deacon up and hits a Dominator on him for a 2 count. Kostoff rushes towards the ring post and pulls down the four top buckle covers, before Deacon rides back to his feet. Deacon takes Kostoff’s head and bashes it into the exposed turnbuckle. However, Kostoff no sells and returns the favor to Deacon and both men repeat as the crowd cheers and boos for both men.
Joe Hoffman: Neither of these men are about to be home after this?
Benny Newell: What did you expect on a night where Troy and Ryan betrayed their stable mates?! Both Deacon and Kostoff have history with the newly formed group and they aren’t going to sit back and let their enemies grow stronger.
Joe Hoffman: i understand that, Benny! But dear God almighty! I’ve never seen both these men so bound and determined to kill their opponent so badly.
Benny Newell: That’s HOW for you! Now drink!
Kostoff has taken control over Deacon and tosses him outside near the announcer’s desk. He grabs Benny’s full bottle of Jack Daniel and lobs it across Deacon’s head. Kostoff starts clearing the table, but Magadelena runs over to smack Kostoff in the back. He glares at her taking focus off The Deacon as she looks on in horror. As she slowly paces away, Deacon chips Kostoff’s knees from under him. He picks Kostoff up and nails the Altar Call into the table; just kneeling and praising God as the massacre of the blood bath in front of him.
Joe Hoffman: Dear God! Kostoff’s made a mistake tonight! The blood has powered the Deacon up. Every time Kostoff hammered him with more, it’s like…
Benny Newell: Don’t sayit! Chthulu will bear you Benny! He will reign down hell on Earth!
Joe Hoffman: It’s like the Lord gave him more power! He’s picking Kostoff’s body off the ground and rolling it inside the ring!
As Deacon rolls Kostoff in the ring, he kneels to his feet and tries to struggle back to his feet. Deacon just grins sadistically. Kostoff gets back to his knees, spits blood into Deacon’s face defiantly. Deacon’s has enough of Kostoff’s resurrections. He levels him with a big boot, picks up Kostoff’s knocked out body and nails a second Altar Call to Kostoff in the center of the ring. Deacon takes his arms and crosses him over Kostoff’s body and lays him to rest as Boettcher counts:
DING DING DING!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner: the Deeeeeeeacon
Joe Hoffman: McVay ran their hell out of dodge and so did Boetcher!
Benny Newell: When God’s chosen and the Devil battle like that: you move the hell out of dodge, Hoff! Kostoff and Deacon opened up tonight’s action with an unscheduled blood bath.
Joe Hoffman: And Deacon stands tall! He laid a message to the changing tide of HOW that the Lords word will shine through the chaos.
Deacon kneels lifting his arms up to God just praying like he’s sacrificed HOW’s biggest monster. Magadelena comes in and both of them celebrate. They walk up the ramp, basking in their hard fought win as we cut to our next segment.
Let’s head over to 24K’s private suite by section 111 for a minute.
Perfection, Mikey Unlikely, Kendrix, Andy Murray: they’re all present and correct. So too is a cluster of security drones, presumably from the same group that accompanied the new stable to the ring last week, with three or four of the beefy human shields standing on the other side of the glass should any fans try any funny business.
We catch 24K mid-conversation.
Kendrix: … and that’s why Dan Ryan nonces dogs.
Mikey Unlikely: “Nonces dogs?”
London’s most obnoxious import leans in, explaining the lingo to his cohort, who smiles.
Mikey Unlikely: You’re right! Dan Ryan DOES nonce dogs! I’ve always said that.
Kendrix: Yeah but I said it first.
Mikey Unlikely: Gluefiist?
The Hollywood Bruvs look ready to lay waste to Black Mamba and Scott Stevens. They’ve got their ring gear on plus the new 24K-branded Bruvs shirts, and this week’s gluefist goes on for a stupidly long time. So stupid, in fact, that Kendrix stumbles backwards when they release, stopping himself from hitting the wall.
Kendrix: Whoa bruv, simmer down. Man can’t be throwing his back out before we beat up Scoot Stoovins and that idiot snake guy. Oi, Murrphus!
JFK calls over to Andy, who is stood in the corner pouring himself a glass of whiskey.
Kendrix: What are you getting up to tonight?
Murray turns to face his new allies. The greying veteran is dressed casually tonight, though there’s not a single garment on his body that isn’t black.
Mikey Unlikely: Yeah Murrfongo! What are you thinking?! Wanna join us at ringside, maybe?
Kendrix: Do an interview?
Mikey Unlikely: Beat up Lindsay Troy?
A pause falls over the group. Murray takes a silent sip of whiskey then looks down at the Bruvs, whose gazes dart back and forth. Arrogant they may be, but they don’t have the kind of self-assuredness that comes from 26 years in the game.
The silence lingers. A rat pisses on cotton behind one of the skirting boards.
Mikey Unlikely: Alright, great talk! Gluefist?!
The Hollywood Superstar extends his fist to the big man, who glares at it as if Mikey were offering him a nugget of shit.
Andy Murray: Absolutely not.
Perfection: Okay, gentlemen!
Perfection claps his hands together, grabbing the room’s attention.
Perfection: Tonight is the night! I want you to stand here with me and look out this window to our crowd…
Perfection pounds on the glass that he stands by grabbing the attention of a beefy security body on the small patio that is in partially blocking the group’s view. He then issues a hand motion for security to move out of their line of sight. All four stand in front of the window as the camera changes to a shot behind them.
Perfection: …OUR crowd. Look at all of them out there with no champagne, no top shelf whiskey provided, graciously might I add, by the very kind Village of Rosemont.
Andy raises his glass.
Perfection: And instead those poor saps out there are drinking that piss water Bud Light. It’s sad, really. To witness people so… disheveled, discontent, and disappointed.
Witherhold turns slightly. He reaches into his suit jacket pocket and pulls out a cigar, proceeding to use it to point out toward the window to the crowd outside.
Perfection: They’re disappointed because before today, Refueled XVIII, there was no Mikey Unlikely or Jesse Kendrix competing in High Octane Wrestling! There sure as hell wasn’t ANY equivalent to the Hollywood Bruvs! There was no legend of the likes of our Andy Murray and there certainly wasn’t any “Perfection” – that I can tell you.
We get the flash of Perfection lighting his cigar before he puffs it and holds between his front teeth as he talks.
Perfection: Tonight is where every single eye is focused on what we are!
James turns his head slightly towards Kendrix and then at Mikey before facing back out to the window.
Perfection: What YOU are! It’s where the Hollywood Bruvs make the first of MANY displays of greatness and stamp “24K” permanently into the history books of HOW. It’s where you take that incompetent bum Stevens and give him the honor of being one of the first to face the Bruvs right here in Rosemont, TO-NIGHT! It’s the night you two take “Black Mamba” and bury him like he had a daughter named Gianna!
Mikey shakes his head.
Mikey Unlikely: Whoa. Too soon.
Non-caring shrug by both Perfection and the veteran Andy Murray.
Perfection: My Bruvs, gentlemen, tonight… the only thought that will be leaving everyone’s minds is: “Why did it take Lee Best this long to sign THIS level of talent?” And the entire time Murray and ‘Yours Truly’ will be sitting in the best seats in the house watching the best tag team to ever join forces.
A brief puff of the cigar.
Perfection: The best goddamn tag team in the world! And we’ll be right here looking over your shoulders. I want you two to focus on your match and not on any potential distractions from the outside.
Perfection leans back and looks towards Murr.
Perfection: We will ensure that focus. Take it all in, boys.
As the other three do, Perfection turns to face the camera while walking towards it. He then takes the cigar out of his mouth. Murray also turning and walking a few steps behind James standing as almost a silhouette.
Perfection: And I want you to remember that Group of…
Eye roll and a whatever shrug.
Perfection: Right. Yeah, we’ll leave that there. Fact is, you got to love when two groups, so scared of the newly cemented powerhouse, merge in a feeble attempt to try and stop them. To try and stop us.
James shakes his head in an unapproving manner.
Perfection: Bless your dopey little hearts.
A nice pearly smile from James “Perfection” Witherhold.
Perfection: It’s not enough. We’ve put together the finest in the business. We’ve brought gold home to HOW. That’s right, we are HOME… and we will always be right…
Points down with the cigar.
Perfection: …here. We’ll always be watching over each other’s shoulders. Unlike, shall we say, the former and late Industry. And it’s all happening right out of the “Triple One” while being “24k, 24/7”!
He puts the cigar back in his mouth. A drag and a puff of smoke into the camera. James turns and pats Andy on the shoulder as they walk back together while we can still hear Perfection clearly.
Perfection: Pure. Fucking. Gold.
The action cuts away as we head elsewhere backstage..
We cut to a darkened area of the arena…..
Brian Hollywood: So many people have been coming up to me and giving me warm reception when it comes to my recent resurgence. I only have one thing to say to that though…
Hollywood is seen backstage before coming into the light from the dark part of the arena. It was something that Hollywood was reflecting a lot about when it came to his recent push back to relevancy again.
Brian Hollywood: The grind has only just started.
Was this a dream? Were people daydreaming, because Hollywood didn’t sound like the Hollywood everyone knew. It was a very….humble response and one that was definitely not expected as Hollywood continues to surprise everyone with his actions and words.
Brian Hollywood: This past week, I had another lesson at the Five Time. A lesson I really didn’t take into consideration before last week. It was not only a lesson in humility…but one of earning respect and being able to get better and better….week after week ,without necessarily boasting about it. Now I’m a talker…that much we already know. But how much can I really talk and not be able to back up my shit? That has gotten me into trouble more times than not most of my return run back in HOW. So now I turn the page and I focus on the basics. What? ALL the way back to the basics you say? Why go that far back? Well, it has everything to do with my newly found wrestling style and my deeper focus on wrestling itself, for starters. To me, those ARE returning to the basics because my heart hadn’t fully been in the wrestling industry. Now that my focus has been turned one hundred percent to my wrestling, you are not only seeing a different side of Brian Hollywood, but you are seeing a renewed career push for Brian Hollywood and after tonight..that’s only going to continue to get stronger!
Hollywood then shifts his attention and his focus to his opponent, Rick Dickulous tonight.
Brian Hollywood: Tonight, my attention now turns to Rick Dickulous. Tonight I continue my momentum resurgence in the hopes of continuing this renewed run when I get a chance to face Rick in an LBI matchup. Sure, this doesn’t really hold any implications for advancement opportunities…but I’ve looked much further than that now. This holds implications to how strong I end this LBI push from a numbers standpoint. If I beat Rick Dickulous tonight, I basically run a near perfect table in my group. My only loss came in week one against Alex Redding…the man who actually advanced in our group so that doesn’t make me look weak at all..in retrospect, it makes me look stronger as if I can take out Rick tonight, I actually end up finishing second in my group with only ONE loss.
Hollywood pauses for a moment as he lets those numbers sink in. Hollywood was surely a by the numbers stats guy as well, but he also brings out an interesting perspective by analyzing those numbers.
Brian Hollywood: Sure..a loss in my group doesn’t earn me a HOW World Championship like I was hoping…but there is a learning curve here and I’d like to think I’ve figured it out. No..even though I lost my group…it doesn’t mean the end for Hollywood in a push for the HOW World Championship…it just means that I’m taking a longer road to the HOW World Championship. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my nine year career here in HOW, it’s that you can earn a HOW World Championship multiple of ways…and that’s what’s so fascinating about this company but let me tell you what this does mean for Brian Hollywood. It means that I can still find a way to get to other HOW championship gold and if it doesn’t mean I start with the HOW World Championship then so be it. Everyone works their way back up and that’s what I intend on doing. I still intend on getting onto the March to Glory card…one way or another..and that push continues with getting a win over Rick Dickulous tonight.
Hollywood pauses once more as a slight smile comes across his face. He doesn’t let it get the best of him, however, as he mainly stays focused ahead of his match against Rick tonight.
Brian Hollywood: A win is a win…and I will continue winning tonight, because wins in High Octane Wrestling don’t go unnoticed. In fact, it sets you up for big time matches, which include championship matches…that’s how fast someone’s career can change and I’m learning that with my newly found style and focus. I’ve got to continue to want it and I’ve got to be patient and I will continue to do just that. As for tonight…as I go face to face with Rick, I will keep all my focus on getting better and better and just keep winning and winning. It’s all about one win at a time. Sure, looking ahead and forward may be great…but as I’ve learned recently, anything can happen along the way and it can be totally unpredictable. That’s why I’ve got to keep focused on one match at a time and EARN my rightful place at the top and in the conversation in the thick of the thin with the roster. I’ve just got to be patient and continue my focus on further perfecting my wrestling style and I intend on doing just that as I take on Rick Dickulous tonight. Now if you’ll all excuse me…I have another win to focus on as my re-rise continues because when all is said and done, in my march onto the March to Glory card, another win will just be another…..basic instinct!
Hollywood smiles once more before trekking down the hallway as his match looms closer as Refueled heads to commercial.
Hollywood Bruvs vs. Black Mamba and Scott Stevens
As we come back from commercial we see the Hall of Fame team ready for the next highly anticipated match up.
Joe Hoffman: Next up is a match up that has been highly talked about.
Benny Newell: More talked about than what just happened earlier?!?!?!?!? Fool’s Gold got bluff called by the Group of Death.
Joe Hoffman: This upcoming matchup features the debuting Hollywood Bruvs as they take on the returning Scott Stevens and Black Mamba.
Benny Newell: Fuck the Bruvs. Fuck Stevenspedia. Skull fuck Mamba in his eye hole. DRINK!
“Go to Hell!”
Screams throughout the arena before the opening riffs of “Fucking in the Bushes” by Oasis begins to play as the lights in the arena turn gold and the High Octane Vision has images of the Hollywood sign, 24 karat gold jewelry, Oreo frappes before a single spotlight shines down injunction with the video screen displaying, HOLLYWOOD. BRUVS.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, representing 24K and weighing in at a combined weight of 448 lbs….they are MIKEY! UNLIKEY! KENDRIX! THE HOLLYWOOOOOOOOOD BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUVVVVS!
The Bruvs make their way onto the stage with Frappes in hand and stop just before the entrance ramp. The Bruvs look out towards the crowd and Kendrix needs a better look as he lowers his shades down as his takes a sip as Mikey cracks that Hollywood smile.
Joe Hoffman: A rather warm reception for the Bruvs.
Benny Newell: These idiots at least know talent when they see it Joe.
Mikey holds up his fist and motions for his partner to do the same and once they glue their fists together there is a loud explosion and things begin to fall from the rafters of the arena.
Joe Hoffman: Is that money?
Benny Newell: Not just any money Joe…MIKEY MONEY!
The golden tickets continue to litter the arena as the Bruvs walk down the ramp and climb up the ring steps.
Benny Newell: Get me that Mikey Money on the floor there Hoffman. I’m going to use it on the hooker I have lined up tonight.
Joe Hoffman: Benny, you know that’s fake money right?
Benny Newell: How dare you speak that blasphemy.
Joe Hoffman: Any person with half a brain knows that money is green not gold.
Benny Newell: Well the bitch is blind so green, gold, it’s all the same when you just see black.
As the Bruvs continue to sip on their frappes and joke and laugh they await their opposition as “6:24” by Danger begins to play.
Benny Newell: That one-eyed bastard is trying to steal my Mikey Money! You can’t have it!
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 looks ready.
Benny Newell: He couldn’t look much worse after getting slapped around by Kostoff.
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.
Joe Hoffman: What the…..
Benny Newell: I know we paid the bill Hoffman and why is Stevens is his corporate clothes?
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 check 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
Benny Newell: This is awesome Hoffman!
Stevens just shakes his head before entering the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Some mind games being played with Stevens.
Once the announcer is out of the ring, Joel Hortega checks both individuals and calls for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here we go…..
The Bruvs play paper, rock, scissors to see who will start out the match and Mikey defeats Kendrix with rock beating scissors.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like Mikey Unlikey will start it out tonight for the Bruvs.
Stevens seeing who is starting the match motions for Black Mamba to exit the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Stevens starting it out for his team.
Benny Newell: Of course, he wants to win tonight Hoffman, and if Mamba starts off his projected to be flat on his back than the hooker I’m paying with Mikey Money.
Mikey and Stevens come out of their respective corners and slap hands as a sign of respect between one another as they circle each other.
Benny Newell: The fuck is that artsy, fartsy shit Hoffman?
Joe Hoffman: Stevens has history with the Bruvs from UTAH and DEFIANCE.
Benny Newell: FUCK DEFIANCE! DRINK!
Mikey and the Texan lock up, but Stevens with the clear power advantage throws Mikey to the canvas.
Joe Hoffman: Stevens is the strongest man in this match.
Benny Newell: Did you fact check that on Stevenspedia?
Mikey smirks and nods before getting back to his feet and the two go to lock up again but Mikey ducks under and slap’s the Texan in the stomach to double him over and locks in a side headlock.
Joe Hoffman: Mikey is going to have to wear Stevens down and avoid the power game to defeat Stevens.
Stevens begins to punch the side of Mikey causing the Bruv to loosen his grip and Stevens whips him into the ropes and send him down to the canvas with a shoulder block. Stevens goes on the attack as he tries to stomp Mikey, but he rolls to his corner to avoid the multiple stomps.
Benny Newell: Stevens misses the target like usual. Next time wipe the seat or sit to pee when in the restroom.
Stevens stops his attack when he sees Mikey in his corner tagging in Kendrix who blasts through the ropes like a runaway train as he drills Stevens with a jumping knee. Kendrix doubles him over with a boot to the gut and takes him to the canvas with a swinging neckbreaker.
Joe Hoffman: Kendrix has taken it to Stevens and isn’t letting up.
Benny Newell: Good. Send that fuck back to his cubicle to crunch some numbers.
Kendrix hits the ropes and drops an elbow drop. Kendrix jumps up and hits another. Kendrix gets up for a third but before he delivers the elbow he turns to Mamba and throws the “wanker” gesture causing his fellow Brit to go furious as he delivers the blow.
Joe Hoffman: Mamba not taking kindly….
Hortega tries to prevent James Ranger from getting in to the ring, and Mikey Unlikely takes advantage of the situation by coming in and the Bruvs deliver tandem stomps to the Texan.
Benny Newell: Stomp the piss out of him!
Mikey senses the referee and slithers back to the outside as Kendrix goes for a cover.
Stevens powers out at two and Kendrix drops a knee across the face of the former world champion before tagging in Mikey.
Joe Hoffman: First tag of the match and what will the Bruvs do?
The Bruvs so why they are a cohesive tandem as they pick up Stevens and hold him high into the air before bringing him down with a vertical suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Vertical suplex by the Bruvs and now a cover.
Stevens once again powers out before the count of three and Mikey locks the Texan in a reverse chinlock. Mikey tells Hortega to check him.
Mikey Unlikey: Asko the Tejano if he submito.
Hortega checks Stevens and the Texan responds with a colorful response.
Joe Hoffman: That’s nice.
Mikey puts added pressure as he fish hooks the mouth of Stevens causing Hortega to count to cinco.
Mikey lets go only to begin to drive elbows into the neck and shoulder area of Stevens. Mikey grabs Scott by his hair and begins to rain down right hands to the side of the head of the Texan.
Benny Newell: I don’t know how much damage that will actually do since his brain is the size of a peanut.
Mikey quickly tags in Kendrix who delivers a kick to the spine of Stevens that sends a shiver of pain throughout the entire body. Kendrix takes a few steps back and delivers a running snapmare to Stevens before going for a cover.
Kendrix pounces on Stevens and delivers his own set of right hands to the Texan.
Joe Hoffman: Kendrix known more for his technical prowess, but can’t get physical when necessary.
Kendrix yanks Stevens up to his feet and whips him to ropes…or so he thinks.
Joe Hoffman: Stevens with the reversal.
Or so he thinks.
Benny Newell: Don’t you mean Kendrix with the reversal Hoffman?
Kendrix reverses the reverse and as he hits the ropes Hortega slaps his hands together and as the Texan approaches Kendrix drives his knees into Scott’s face.
Joe Hoffman: BELLEND! KENDRIX HIT THE BELLEND!
Benny Newell: THAT’S THE FUCKING BLACKOUT HOFFHOLE! GET THAT SHIT RIGHT!
Kendrix goes for the cover, but Hortega isn’t counting.
Benny Newell: Why isn’t that fucking beaner counting?!?!?!? I bet if La Mistro was coming he’d be counting.
Kendrix looks around and sees Hortega isn’t counting and gets up and into the face of the official.
Joe Hoffman: Kendrix better be careful. He doesn’t want to risk a disqualification.
As Hortega moves to the side, Kendrix focus turns to a boot colliding with his face.
Benny Newell: CHEAP SHOT!
Joe Hoffman: Mamba connects with a spinning tornado kick to the face of Kendrix.
Mamba sees Mikey trying to come into the ring and he kicks the middle rope to crouch the Hollywood star before sending him to the outside with a side kick.
Benny Newell: DQ! He kicked him in the balls!
Joe Hoffman: Technically the ropes did it.
Benny Newell: Don’t give me that shit Hoffman
James Ranger hooks Kendrix and lifts him to deliver a backbreaker.
Joe Hoffman: Double arm backbreaker to Kendrix and now the cover.
Kendrix gets the shoulder up, but Mamba continues the assault as he stomps away on Kendrix. Mamba stuns the London Bruv with a superkick to the seated Kendrix.
Joe Hoffman: The sickening sound of that kick.
Kendrix’s eyes roll into the back of his head as Mamba picks up Kendrix and lifts him up for a vertical suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Mamba may be looking for that suplex in a piledriver.
That’s exactly what he was going for and Kendrix is able to counter as he was coming down into a roll up.
Mamba kicks out.
Benny Newell: Bullshit!
Mamba rolls backwards and gets in a crouching position waiting for Kendrix to get to his feet and turn around.
Joe Hoffman: Mamba looking ready to hit a spear.
Once Kendrix turns around Mamba slithers across the ring, but Kendrix sidesteps him like a matador does to a raging bull and Mamba collides with Stevens who had pulled himself onto the apron sending the Texan stumbling back to the outside.
Benny Newell: HAHAHAHAHAHA! FUCK YOU! DRINK!
Mamba sees the mistake he made and looks down to see his partner on the floor and Kendrix takes advantage of the miscommunication.
Joe Hoffman: Mamba just got stab in the back!
Kendrix lays out Mamba with the Backstabber and the Bruv tags in Mikey. Mikey hits the ropes as Kendrix lifts Mamba onto his shoulder and deliver a Dominator/Running Cutter combination.
Joe Hoffman: The A-List!
Mikey quickly scrambles into a cover and Kendrix leans over him keeping watch.
Benny Newell: YES! MIKEY MONEY UP IN THIS BITCH! JACK FRAPPS FOR EVERYONE!
Hortega signals for the bell.
Bryan McVay: And your winners by pinfall, they are MIKEY! UNLIKEY! KENDRIX! THE HOLLYWOOOOOOOOOD BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUVVVVS!
The Bruvs get to their feet and begin jumping up and down celebrating before giving each other a Bruv hug.
Joe Hoffman: Congrats to the Hollywood Bruvs in their victory over Black Mamba and Scott Stevens.
Benny Newell: Congrats to them, but they need to watch their backs because the Group of Death lurks in the shadows Hoffman.
The action cuts away as the cameras fade off the victorious tag team.
We got plans...
The live feed transitions outside the Allstate Arena, to the loading dock to be exact. Gusts of wind rip loose snow off the ground, tossing it about. Teddy Palmer stands to the left of loading dock six, wearing pre match gear composed of loose tracks and a hoodie, while a cigarette dangles from his lips. The man Blaire Moise hankers for is guiding an eighteen wheeler into position.
Teddy Palmer: Bit more…bit more…plenty of room…
The trailer plows into the concrete base of the loader, rattling the steel rolling door. The parking lights are quick to illuminate, followed by a large release of air from the transport, and it’s driver door slamming shut. The driver comes whipping around the passenger side, staring at Ted, then the dock. Ted, then the dock. Ted.
Teddy Palmer: Only a scratch, wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.
The driver is unamused, but really, it’s his fault anyways. He walks over to Ted, clipboard clasped with documents in hand. He extends the clipboard towards Ted, who in turn is confused.
Teddy Palmer: What’s this?
Driver: Shipping documents. Can you sign them?
Teddy Palmer: Why?
Driver: To acknowledge receipt of delivery?
Teddy Palmer: I guess so…
Ted grabs the clipboard and pen, chicken scratching his signature on the bottom right. Handing it back to the driver, an awkward silence briefly sits between them before the driver breaks it.
Driver: So I’m just going to sit in my cabin…just…let me know when she’s unloaded…
Teddy Palmer: That’s a hard no bro, unload it yourself.
Driver: Uhm…I only do the deliveries…employees do the unloads…
Teddy Palmer: Wait, do you think I work here?
Driver: Don’t you?
Ted lets out a giggle, slapping the driver on the shoulder.
Teddy Palmer: Not at all.
The driver is all sorts of flustered, but his fifteen seconds of television fame have come to an end.
OSV: TED! MY GOD YOU’RE OKAY!
The camera darts to a man door showing Grady Patrick standing outside it, gasping for air. He skips down the three steps, and runs into Ted’s arm.
Grady Patrick: I thought they got you!
Teddy Palmer: Who?
Grady Patrick: GoD!
Ted, astonished, shoves Grady out of the man hug.
Teddy Palmer: God’s after me!?!
Grady Patrick: No! Group of Death!
Teddy Palmer: Pardon me?
Grady Patrick: Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan joined eMpire!
Ted’s jaw drops, but not for the reason you’re thinking.
Teddy Palmer: So you’re telling me…Lindsay…is a bad girl…
Grady Patrick: What? Yeah?
Teddy Palmer: I’ve always had a thing for bad girls…that eight by ten I was promised… naughty…
Ted winks at Grady who in turn has his draw drop. And yes for the reason you’re thinking…Ted’s stupidity.
OSV: How many of those death sticks you plan on smoking, Ted?
Standing, leaning against the doorframe was the Red half of Red & Ted. He was dressed in his ring gear already, with the addition of a Alien Ant Farm full-zip hoodie to keep warm.
Ted shrugs, and takes a deep drag.
Our big rig driver lifts his head and has a brief flash of content in his face, before he looks down to the fight shorts and wrestling boots. Dejected, he pushes past Alex, assumedly on the look out for someone to unload him and let him get the fuck away from this scene.
Alexander Redding: You know those things cause impotency, right?
Ted looks down at his nether region with a brief hint of concern. He then looks up at Red, pointing and nodding to the thought of ‘almost had me there’ without actually verbalizing the words.
Grady Patrick: Red, you saw that right? Troy and Ryan joining up with the eMpire!?
Weary of the animation out of his usually calm, collected agent/manager, Redding takes a step forward and looks sideways in a kind of pity.
Alexander Redding: Yeah, what of it?
A stiff breeze could have knocked over Grady in this moment.
Grady Patrick: So what? So what?
Alexander Redding: Relax Grady. You’re going to hyperventilate over there. Yeah, so what. They’re all would-be kings that want to think themselves as gods. Count me as a nonbeliever, heh.
Teddy Palmer: Yeah, me too. This development in no way alters the outcome of us two walking out with those Tag Titles tonight. This New World O…
Grady Patrick: Don’t finish that…
Teddy Palmer: Fine. This “collective of numbers” pose about as much of a threat as Global Warming does.
Grady Patrick: Global Warming is a very real threat!
Teddy Palmer: Sure it is. And I suppose you believe in this “Coronavirus” too.
Ted air quotes Coronavirus to emphasize his belief that the very much so real virus is actually fake. Grady’s palm meets his face, knowing that he has entered an endless loop if he continues. He turns his attention to Red.
Grady Patrick: Your plan. It’s effectively on its head now due to these developments.
Alexander Redding: The plan doesn’t change at all. Besides, do you really think an asshole with the ego the size of his precious little long-horn state, Dan Ryan, was going to all of a sudden drop to his knees and start slobbering over the dicks of the guys he’s been getting his ass handed to him by for the past six months? It’s all part of some Trojan horse shit, mark my words.
Swatting at Redding with the stiff felt of the bowler cap, Grady Patrick only looks more upset.
Grady Patrick: So, this is how Cassandra felt. Good thinking Red, but you ever consider they’d have no problem screwing you guys over if it meant getting deeper in for whatever fuckery they had planned?
That single-sided grin pulled at Redding’s cheek as his face spelt mischief.
Alexander Redding: The plan stays the same, but I may have forgotten to list one thing in our list of assets.
Ted has been looking through his phone in the midst of Red and Grady’s back and forth. He has a look of worry on his face.
Teddy Palmer: Guys…I think Coronavirus is real.
Alexander Redding: As is the Global Climate Change, Ted.
The worry dissipates. Finger point, nod and wink.
Teddy Palmer: Sure, Red. Sure…
Action cuts to commercial as we fade off the challengers for Tag Team Championships.
Brian Hollywood vs. Rick Dickulous
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back as we’re ready for Brian Hollywood vs Rick Dickulous in what is literally the last match of the Narcotic Group here in this years LBI.
Benny Newell: No witty comment here Joe. Narcotic is a first ballot Hall of Famer and created the land of High Octane with Lee. Nope….not saying shit on that one.
The crowd is bathed in red as the sound of a revving chainsaw fills the auditorium. As the curtain ruffles, the ramp lights up in white and the giant form of Rick Dickulous emerges onto the ramp. He both waves to the crowd, and shows two thumbs up as his poster child smile practically jumps off his face.
Bryan McVay: The following match is scheduled for one fall, first making his way to the ring from Toronto, Canada and weighing in at 425.5 pounds… Rick Dickulous!!!!
As he makes his way down to the ring, Rick gladhands with the crowd, stopping to take selfies with lucky fans, gesturing to support signs in the audience, and signing the occasional autograph. Upon reaching the ring, Rick hops up onto the apron with a mighty two foot leap, planting his feet firmly on the apron and holding the top rope. He wipes his boots before stepping over the top rope and makes his way to the centre of the ring, letting out a roar as he flexes his gigantic arms and chest.
Joe Hoffman: Tall task in front of Dickulous tonight as he faces the former HOW World Champion.
Benny Newell: Hollywood? Come one Joe. Maybe after 5 years of training under Mike.
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed blares over the PA. Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage as he stands there for a few brief moments, closing his eyes. He reigns in the boos from the crowd as he gets in final mental preparation for his upcoming match. As Hollywood opens up his eyes, pyro shoots off in opposite corners of the stage as it makes its way to center stage. As the pyro hits the center, the camera zooms in to see the reflection in Hollywood’s eyes as he finally makes his way down the ramp, quickly taking off his vest and throwing it down with intensity.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Los Angeles, weighing in at 225 pounds… Brian Hollywood!!!
Hollywood makes his final push as he charges the ring, rolling under the ropes. He gets back to his feet and looks about the entire arena glaring at the fans before he takes his place in the corner turnbuckle before turning his gaze intently in the ring as Boettcher rings the bell.
The two lock up as Rick uses his sizes to throw Hollywood back.. Hollywood charges back at Rick and catches an elbow that sends Hollywood into the corner as Rick charges and crushes Hollywood in the turnbuckles. Pull Hollywood out he hits him with a big belly to belly suplex nearly squashing the former World champion as he goes for a cover.
Hollywood powers out as elbows Rick in the side of the head to try and gain some space as he pulls himself back to his feet. He boots Rick in the head as Rick is trying to pull himself back up, but Holywood keeps booting Rick in the head as he drops an elbow on the back of Rick head, keeping the big man on the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Sound strategy by Hollywood to keep Rick ground.
Benny Newell: Keep the Dick down Hollywood!
Hollywood pulls Rick back up to his feet as he throws him into the corner and starts booting Rick in the mid section as Hollywood runs back to the far corner and runs back at Rick for a big splash but Rick catches Hollywood and connects with a big sidewalk slam. Hollywood rolls over to the ropes to avoid another cover as Rick gets up and stalks Hollywood and drives his boot into the chest of Hollywood as he reaches for the ropes.
Benny Newell: Crush him Dick!
Rick pulls Hollywood up to his feet and throws Hollywood into the corner where he starts just hammering away at the chest of Hollywood with huge shots that nearly put Hollywood through the turnbuckle. Boettcher tries to break it up, but he doesn’t want to catch one of the shots himself.
Joe Hoffman: Rick is about to cave in the chest of Hollywood!
Throwing Hollywood out of the corner as Hollywood staggers into the center of the ring and turn into a big boot from Rick… But Hollywood ducks it as Rick turns back around into a kick to the jaw.
Joe Hoffman: Executive Promise! Cover by Hollywood!
Powering out, Hollywood is launched a bit by Rick who starts to pull himself back to his feet but Hollywood is determined to keep the big man down on the mat as he rushes back and goes for the DDT…. but a big right cross from Rick staggers Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood looking for Basic Instinct…. But Rick’s instinct was better there.
Benny Newell: Horrible fucking pun….
Rick grabs Hollywood and goes for the Misery Whip but Hollywood drives his shoulder into Rick’s gut and drives him back into the turnbuckle. Hollywood boots Rick hard in the gut and locks in the front face lock and plants Rick square into the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Basic Instinct connects!
Benny Newell: I think I saw the ring move….
Joe Hoffman: Cover by Hollywood.
Rick powers out again but it is too late as Boettcher calls for the bell and Rick pounds the mat as he just misses beating the three count.
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner…. Brian Hollywood!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Three points for Hollywood and a hard fought match by Rick as he has a real solid showing here.
Benny Newell: Dick really rose to the occasion… but then came a bit short…. As is your life Joe….
Joe Hoffman: What are you talking about?
Benny Newell: Dicks Joe… your disappointing di….
Joe Hoffman: Someone cut us backstage or commerical… away from benny and…
Benny Newell: DICK Joe! DICK!
Joe Hoffman: Why…. just why?
Hollywood celebrates on the ramp, far from Rick as we cut away.
Cut to Blaire Moise in the upper reaches of the arena.
The camera pulls back to bring Joe Bergman into the shot. He’s again sitting in seat C1 in Section 214.
Blaire Moise: Blaire Moise up here in Section 214 of the Allstate Arena with Joe Bergman to get his thoughts on what happened earlier tonight. Joe?
Bergman lifts a can of Budweiser and leans back, finishing off what’s left in the red, white, and blue colored can.
He burps audibly – the sound lasts two full seconds before fading out. Blaire waves her hand in front of her face to keep any residual smell at bay.
Joe glances back at Blaire.
Joe Bergman: Yes Blaire?
Blaire Moise: I wanted to see what you thought about what happened at the start of the show and the new faction that formed.
Joe Bergman: I don’t have much to say about it.
Blaire Moise: You don’t?
Joe Bergman: No. Big corporations merge together every day. The losers usually are the little guys on the lower end of the spectrum while the big shots at the top make out like bandits. In this case, the merger of the eMpire and the Industry is the same. The rich get richer. The redundant get cast off. No concern of mine.
Blaire Moise: Can I ask why?
Joe Bergman: Yeah, one second.
A man, probably a factory worker type, ambles up the steps carrying six cans of beer in a paper tray with him. He stops at Joe and hands him one of them.
Joe gets out his wallet to pay him.
Man: No no. I’ve got it.
Joe Bergman: Are you sure?
Joe stands and shakes the man’s hand.
Joe Bergman: Thank you.
Man: No. Thank you.
The man continues on. Joe pops the top on the beer and returns to his conversation with Blaire.
Joe Bergman: Sorry about that. Blaire, last night I went to a concert in Grand Rapids, Michigan with Laura and some friends to see Aaron Watson – Texas country singer-songwriter –independent, not signed to one of the big money country labels in Nashville. The man’s made one hell of a living doing it himself for twenty years now and last night he said he’d never, ever sign with a big Nashville label- not when he’s had the success he’s had doing it himself. Why? Because they’d try to turn him into something he’s not even though as an independent artist he’s had a number one CD, two other top five CD’s, and he’s done it without compromising his ideals or his artistic integrity.
Joe takes a swig from his beer.
Joe Bergman: Well, I feel the same way. I won the HOW World twice and did it all by myself. I did it the old-fashioned way- by outworking my more talented opponents, maximizing my limited talent, and feeding off the energy of the fans who got behind me from day one. I’ve been told by a few people that to capitalize on my early success here, I needed to get in with one of the big HOW factions.
Blaire Moise: And what was your answer to that?
Joe Bergman: Hell no. Ain’t doing it.
Blaire Moise: Why not?
Joe Bergman: I have a faction. It’s not an eMpire, an Industry, a Group of Death, and sure as hell not 24K.
Blaire Moise: I have an idea who. . .
Joe Bergman: These people. . .
Joe makes a big sweeping motion with his arm.
Joe Bergman: These people are my faction. These are the people I wrestle for. Each and every person here in Section 214, in 215, everyone in this building, and everyone who’s supported me since March- that’s my faction.
Blaire Moise: Why is it so important for you to stay independent?
Joe Bergman: Principle. I may never win the World title or any other HOW title ever again and if I don’t that’s fine. I’m never going to compromise my ideals, everything I’ve stood for since I arrived here in HOW, to take the easy road back. If I ever win another title, I will do it my way or I won’t do it at all. I will not back down from that principle.
Blaire Moise: Last question. There’s been some rumors floating around about you being a part of a new tag team. Can you comment on that?
Joe Bergman: Not now Blaire. Right now, I want to sit back and enjoy the rest of the show and then turn my attention to next week’s match against Austin Reeves.
And with that, Joe sits back down in his seat.
Blaire Moise: Thank you Joe.
Blaire faces the camera.
Blaire Moise: That’s all from Section 214.
Action cuts to a commercial break.
Silence is Golden
We return from our commercial break to see Hall of Fame commentators Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell. Joe smiles toward the camera while Benny looks occupied with his flask.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to High Octane Wrestling’s Refueled!
Benny Newell: Fuuuuuck I need a drink.
Joe Hoffman: You’ve been drinking all night, Benny.
Benny Newell: Yes but at some point I stopped and I can’t remember why!
The Big Buff Benny Newell tilts his flask back only for the #97red container to run bone dry. The expression of the famed color commentator waxes depressed as Joe pushes on.
Joe Hoffman: We once again have Blaire Moise standing by for another interview, this time with High Octane Hall of Famer, LSD Champion and winner of the DeNucci Group of the Lee Best Invitational, Maximillian Wilhelm Kael!
As Benny procures a brand new bottle of whiskey, which he begins to pour into his flask, we are taken backstage where Blaire Moise standing in front of a large High Octane Wrestling graphic with Max Kael standing next to her. The LSD champion seems distracted, his blue eye glaring off into the distance, his arms folded defensively across his chest. His raspy mechanical breath is steadily hisses from his mask while Blaire does her best not to appear uncomfortable.
Blaire Moise: I’m here with LSD and Tag Team Champion Max Kael who is set to defend his Tag Team Championship Title with High Octane Wrestling World Champion Cecilworth Farthington next in a Ladder Match. Max, what are your thoughts on facing one of HOW’s hottest new tag team, one of which you might actually face in a few weeks should you defeat Lindsay Troy?
The cold blue eye of the Lord Supreme Dictator rolls toward Blaire as his arms slowly lower from his chest before parking his hands on his hips. His rhythmic, grating breathing only seems to get loud as he glares down at her. A few painful moments pass as Blaire stumbles toward the next question.
Blaire Moise: Okay, no comment.. Alright. Max, next week it is assumed Mike Best will face Dan Ryan for the ICON Championship, a title both you and Mike famously have held five times. If Mike wins he will technically have broken the ICON truce between the two of you as well as becoming a six time ICON Champion.. Any thoughts on that?
She held the microphone up toward Max whose eye seemed to ignite with a flush of bitterness. Once again Max does not answer though he does take a single step closer to Blaire towering over her. Her face drops slightly as her smile wavers in the presence of an uncharacteristically quiet Max Kael.
Blaire Moise: Uh.. okay um.. Maybe just a last question, the one everybody has been wondering since Refueled started earlier this evening.. Can you tell us anything about the Group of Death?
As soon as she manages to stammer through the question Max takes another step forward backing Blaire into the wall behind her. Fear causes her to wince and look away as Maximillian Kael leans in close with little concern for her personal space, his face coming within a few inches of Blaire’s, his hissing mechanical breath causing a shiver to run down her spine.
Then he was gone. The LSD Champion and defending High Octane Wrestling Tag Team Champion turned away and left, heading toward the ring area as Blaire Moise lets out a breath of relief as we cut away.
We cut backstage where a camera crew literally is catching up to Lee Best who is about to enter his office.Seeing the crew hustling towards him, Lee just holds up his hands and motions for them to stop.
Lee Best: Look…..it is fucking show night. I am busy. I got motherfuckers TRYING to get me to engage and all I want to do is get these two new contracts officially signed and sit back and see how this Main Event plays out.
Suddenly Brian Bare makes his way into the picture, out of breath, and sticks a microphone in Lee’s face.
Brian Bare: Are the rumors true that you are looking to….
Lee opens his office door, we briefly catch a glimpse of two figures in his office, and promptly slams it shut behind him.
Brian Bare: That went well. Ok….see you guys next week…easy fucking money!!
Bare flips the microphone over his shoulder and can be heard laughing as he heads off to God knows where as we cut to our final commercial break.
Red and Ted vs. The eMpire
As the screen fades from the match graphic displayed on HOTv, the camera cuts to the HOW Tag Team Championships, which are being hung on the rigging equipment in the middle of the ring. The crowd is already in a frenzy for one of the most anticipated Refueled main events of this era, and the buzz of the crowd rises as the belts are slowly raised up to their maximum height.
Once the belts reach their designated peak, “My Reward” by Hail the Villain begins to blast over the speakers. Alex Redding and Teddy Palmer make their way out through the curtain, yielding a pretty positive reaction from the Chicago crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Maybe it’s the momentum they’ve built through the group stage of the LBI, or maybe it’s the fact that they’re facing the eM– Group of Death here tonight, but the HOW fans seem to be in full support of Red and Ted here tonight.
Benny Newell: It’s a crowd full of Benny fans, Joe. And they know what that bastard did to my arm. They know! THEY FUCKING KNOW! Man Bun and The Chest Hair Kid are here tonight to avenge me, and take the HOW Tag Team Championships!
Red and Ted’s manager, Grady, walks just behind the duo as they make their way to the ring. His toolish, signature bowler cap plastered down to his head, Grady tips it toward a woman along the guardrail, who looks back at him with general disinterest. He finishes rolling up his sleeves, going over the gameplan with Red and Ted as they make their way down the ramp.
Alex Redding slides into the ring, as Teddy Palmer walks around the long way, fishing a ladder out from under the ring and leaving it leaned against the apron for later use. He pulls a second ladder out as well, leaving it laying at ringside, before joining his partner inside of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Solid preparation by Red and Ted here tonight. You don’t get a lot of chances against a team like Max Kael and Cecilworth Farthington, and they want to be prepared. This isn’t just a Tag Team Title match, folks– this is a scouting job for the potential finals of the Lee Best Invitational, and that fact has not been lost on either of these men.
Benny Newell: So which one is which, Joe? Man Bun and the Chest Hair Kid. I can’t tell them apart.
Joe Hoffman: Are you serious? Man Bun is the one with the Man Bun.
Benny Newell: HAAAAAAA! I know, moron, I just wanted to see if I could get you to call him Man Bun. HIS NAME IS ALEX REACHER, DUMBASS.
Joe Hoffman: Redding. But sure.
The music is abruptly cut off, as an explosion resonates over the speakers of the Allstate Arena, drawing the attention of the fans in the crowd as the lights drop to a low, dark red hue. The sounds of the explosion fade away into the distance, replaced by the distinct voice of Admiral Ackbar.
IT’S A TRAP!
For perhaps the last time, the eMpire Trap Remix of “The Imperial March” by John Williams begins to blast over the sound system, thudding bass and orchestral arrangements intertwined.The arena is washed over in loud, obnoxious boos as the Maximilian Kael and Cecilworth M. J. Farthington make their way out onto the stage, sauntering onto the ramp with The HOW World and LSD Championships firmly in hand as they make their way toward the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Unbeatable. These are the words associated with the former eMpire, now Group of Death, members Max Kael and Cecilworth Farthington. They are conniving, they are underhanded, and they are now perhaps more dangerous than ever– we don’t know why Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan have teamed up with these men, but in a no disqualification match, the numbers don’t look good for newcomers to HOW without many allies.
Benny Newell: Just say what you mean, Joe. They’re shitty bullies. Some of them are shitty bullies I like, and one of them– NOT NAMING NAMES– is a shitty bully I hate. But they’re shitty bullies, and it works for them.
Joe Hoffman: Well, bullying alone won’t be enough tonight, Benny. Alex Redding and Teddy Palmer are perhaps two of the most talented roster members of this era, if not all eras, of High Octane Wrestling. Both undefeated. Both made it through the LBI with a fearsome ease. This is a match of the year candidate, folks.
Max slithers menacingly into the ring, as Cecilworth climbs the steps and ducks through the ropes. Referee Joel Hortega hands the singles championships off to Bryan McVay at ringside, as they take their corner and await the beginning of the match.
DING DING DING
As soon as the bell has rung, Red and Ted act in unison, executing what was clearly a plan before the match. They each sprint forward in a rush, knowing that their opponents like to start slow— but Max and Cecilworth are ready for it! In equal unison, Kael and Farthington meet their opponents with stiff kicks to the groin, immediately earning the ire of the crowd as Red and Ted fall to the mat, clutching their nether regions.
Joe Hoffman: Oh come on! It’s been less than five seconds!
Benny Newell: Okay, I’m gonna shit on him for the rest of the match still, but that’s fucking funny right there.
Joe Hoffman: It’s cheap, it’s disgusting, and it’s blatantly unsportsmanlike.
Benny Newell: Don’t forget “legal”, Joe. Cause it’s fuckin’ legal. Now FUCK YOU RICH BOY, I HOPE THEY LITERALLY MURDER YOU.
Cecilworth Farthington lays stomps into Teddy Palmer, who is still trying to recover from the immediate cheap shot. Max, though, immediately bails out of the ring and grabs the ladder that Teddy Palmer pulled out from beneath the ring. He slides it under the ropes, chasing after it and climbing back into the ring.
Farthington picks Teddy Palmer up off the canvas, slamming a forearm down onto the back of his head and throwing him into the turnbuckle with an Irish whip– but Teddy counters! Reversing the throw, Farthington crashes into the corner and stumbles forward immediately. Teddy sails in with a series of elbow strikes, backing the HOW World Champion into the turnbuckle once more, but Max Kael punches him DIRECTLY in the back of the head, stopping the assault!
Benny Newell: DONKEY PUNCH!
Teddy drops to a knee, and Max punches him again, this time hardly and more squarely in the rear of the skull.
Benny Newell: DONKEY PUNCH!
Max rears back one more time, and connects with one more punch!
Benny Newell: DONKEY MOTHERFUCKING PUNCH!
Joe Hoffman: Old school Max Kael here, folks. This used to be a regular part of the arsenal.
This one puts Teddy firmly on the canvas, taking shots to the most unprotected part of the head. Max wants to continue the assault, but Alex Redding is back to his feet, and he spins the LSD Champion around, booting him in the stomach! Max tries to struggle free, but eats a stun gun from Alex Redding that sends him careening back into the corner! Max collides with Farthington, and now both men slump downward from the impact!
Redding helps Palmer up to his feet, making sure that he’s alright. Max stumbles out of the corner, and walks directly into a double suplex from Red and Ted! Farthington runs out of the corner as a follow up, but both men pop up, and hit ANOTHER double suplex! After making sure both of the Tag Champs are down, both men go about setting the ladder up in the middle of the ring. Max and Cecilworth aren’t incapacitated for long, though, and soon both men climb to their feet and make their way back to the center of the ring. Red & Ted wisely forgo setting up the ladder for now, and start an all out brawl with their opponents in the center of the canvas!
Joe Hoffman: This assuredly isn’t going to be a clinic in technical wrestling, folks. A ladder match is all out war, and these men are here tonight for nothing short of championship gold.
Benny Newell: The HOW Tag Team Titles are back in a big way. Someone might become a cripple here tonight. And I think it should be–
Joe Hoffman: WE KNOW, BENNY.
Alex Redding catches Farthington with an open hand across the side of his face, which seems to equally stumble and piss off the World Champion. The two continue to exchange blows, as Max Kael backs Teddy Palmer into the ropes, trying to choke him on the barely padded steel cord. Palmer grabs the ropes, though, and pulls down, thrusting his weight and sending Max Kael barreling to the concrete floor below! The crowd explodes into cheers, but Teddy Palmer isn’t done yet. He takes a couple of steps for momentum, and then in rather uncharacteristic fashion, begins to climb up onto the third rope! The crowd is buzzing!
Max Kael starts to climb to his feet, looking up just in time to see Teddy Palmer about to take off in flight! Before he can jump, though, Farthington shoots Redding into the ropes– the jarring against them is enough to knock Palmer off balance, and he goes tumbling to the outside of the ring!
Joe Hoffman: OH NO! Teddy Palmer stepped out of his comfort zone there, and it looks like it has cost him, folks. That was a nasty fall he just took!
Benny Newell: Why wouldn’t you just do what you know works? Jesus, that failed… hard.
Grady runs to Teddy’s side, checking on the LBI group winner and making sure that he isn’t injured. Max Kael limps his way over to Grady, ordering him to get the fuck out of the way, but Grady gets into Max’s face, telling him to back off! There is an audible “OOH” from the crowd, as Max fights back a mean smile. He shoves Grady backward onto his ass, before picking Palmer up from the concrete and slamming his head against the guardrail.
Inside the ring, Farthington grabs the ropes, laying kicks into Alex Redding in the corner. Normally this would be against the rules, but in a ladder match, anything goes! Joel Hortega, who is mostly just here as set dressing, tries to convince Farthington to stop, but he can’t do much more than ask nicely… in Espanol. Farthington bats the referee away like a Spanish fly, turning and giving him a shove. He warns the referee to stay out of this, but as he turns back to Redding, Farthington takes a kick directly to the face!
Red pops out of the corner, kicking Farthington in the gut as a follow up. He hooks the arm, and lifts Farthington with a snap suplex directly onto the ladder that is laying in the ring! The crunch of skin on metal reverberates through the Allstate Arena, and Farthington shoots back up off the ladder out of sheer adrenaline shock. He spins around, but Redding is back up to, and now the HOW World Champion eats a SECOND suplex onto the ladder!
Joe Hoffman: What an impact! The World Champion is going to be very familiar with Alex Redding’s work by the end of this match– this is one of his potential March to Glory opponents, and he’s getting a crash course right now on how dangerous Alex Redding can be.
Benny Newell: Yeah, that’s if he’s not in FUCKING PRISON by March to Glory. He’s gonna be wrestling some guy named Bubba over the last cigarette if it’s up to me, Joe. FULL PROSECUTION.
Max Kael and Teddy Palmer battle back and forth at ringside, exchanging furious blows as the crowd gets more and more behind each one. Max seems to be getting the upper hand, but now Grady comes running with a steel chair! He swings for the back of Max Kael’s head, but Max sees it in his peripheral, and moves out of the way! The chair narrowly misses hitting Teddy Palmer directly in the face, but Max turns and knocks Grady to the ground with a horrifying looking elbow!
Joe Hoffman: A close call there for Teddy Palmer! Grady was trying to help, but he almost made things a hell of a lot worse for Red and Ted!
Benny Newell: Never trust a man with only one in the front, because he’s probably got two in the back of his head. That’s what my mother always told me, Joe!
Joe Hoffman: A lot of one-eyed people in your life growing up, Benny?
Benny Newell: My mother dated a lot of pirates. I think that’s why I love HOW so much.
Turning toward Teddy, Max snarls at the misguided trap he narrowly avoided. Max blasts Teddy Palmer in the face with a vicious headbutt, busting his opponent right above the bridge of the nose and breaking the skin. A slow trickle of blood begins to run down the nose of Teddy Palmer, as Max reaches into his gear and produces a secret weapon– a zip tie!
He roughly grabs the arm of Teddy Palmer, brutally slamming it over and over against the guardrail, as the front row fans grimace in secondhand pain, but as he attempts to rip his arm away… he can’t! Max Kael has zip tied Teddy Palmer’s wrist to the guardrail! He’s trapped!
Joe Hoffman: Unorthodox, but effective. That’s the Max Kael guarantee. I don’t approve of the tactic, but hey, it’s a ladder match– it’s legal!
Benny Newell: Like my mother always said, Joe… if you gave your arm to a one-eyed man, he’ll break it right along with your heart.
Teddy desperately tries to yank his arm free, but he’s completely trapped by the industrial grade, OSHA certified cable tie. Max lets out a bitter, guttural laugh– almost like an evil clown, which only seems to trigger Teddy further. Max continues to go to work with right hands, but now Teddy only has one hand with which to fight back!
Back in the ring, Alex Redding has finally set up the ladder, and now begins to ascend.
Farthington climbs to his feet, still feeling the effects of that suplex. He clubs Red in the back with a meaty forearm, but Redding shrugs it off and keeps climbing. Cecilworth realizes he needs to combat this a different way, and he quickly circles around to the other side of the ladder. Gripping it tightly, Farthington begins to shake the ladder, trying to knock Alex Redding free! Redding is stilted for a moment, but he keeps climbing! Now, with a snarl, Farthington grabs the ladder, ascending himself and climbing up the other side. The crowd begins to buzz, as both men near the top!
Joe Hoffman: Here we go, folks! It’s a ladder match, you KNOW you’re gonna see some brawling on the ladder!
Benny Newell: OH THE SUSPENSE, JOSEPH.
Outside, Teddy Palmer throws a kick to the gut of Max Kael, who realizes that this fight still isn’t one sided enough. He grabs the fallen chair from the concrete next to him, picking it up and cocking it back to clock Teddy across the skull. But Grady is up, and he grabs the back of the chair! He desperately tried to yank it away from Max Kael, and now Max has had e-fucking-nough of Grady’s ringside shenanigans. He relinquishes the chair, letting Grady have it, and then dares the man to hit him with it.
Back in the ring, Farthington and Redding battle it out at the top of the ladder, exchanging punches. A big right hand from Farthington wobbles Alex Redding, but Redding comes back with an elbow that staggers the HOW World Champion! Finally, Red realizes that this is going nowhere, and he decides to take it high risk– he slingshots over his side of the ladder, grabbing Farthington by the head and bringing them both down to the ring!!!
Joe Hoffman: SLINGSHOT DDT FROM THE TOP OF THE LADDER!
Benny Newell: That’s right you piece of shit! You broke my arm, and Man Bun broke your FUCKING NECK! My mother always said, Joe–
Joe Hoffman: Something about pirates, I’m guessing?
Benny Newell: No, but now I don’t wanna tell you. Asshole.
The impact in the ring is colossal, as Red and Farthington lay out, arms spread in the ring. Farthington has clearly taken more damage from the fall than Alex, though, having had his head driven into the mat. Neither man is moving.
Outside the ring, Grady is still holding the steel chair, as Max stalks him around the ringside. Kael takes a juke stutter step forward, and Grady nearly jumps out of his skin as he jumps backward– Max laughs, enjoying the power of his own freakish intimidation, but suddenly…
The chair collides with the side of Max’s face, staggering him backward as his metal eye patch absorbs a good deal of the impact. The amusement on his face fades and turns to anger, as Grady realizes that he’s just fucked up. He drops the chair immediately, turning and running away from ringside! Kael rolls his eye, and makes chase! He’s sprinting after Grady, who disappears into the crowd and continues hightailing it away from the match!
And now Max disappears into the crowd too! He’s not giving up!
With Teddy Palmer incapacitated and Max Kael seemingly abandoning this match, Alex Redding and Cecilworth Farthington are all that is holding this match together. Inside the ring, Alex Redding desperately throws his arms over the bottom rungs of the ladder, pulling himself up slowly but surely. Farthington lies motionless at his feet, and the crowd is getting amped as Alex Redding grabs the next rung– he’s the only man standing now, and he’s heading right for the titles! He gets his footing on the bottom run, and then takes the next step up.
Benny Newell: GET IT, MAN BUN! GRAB THOSE BELTS! Show him what happens when you fuck with Benny FUCKING NEWELL, BABY!
Joe Hoffman: He’s moving slowly, but Max Kael is nowhere to be found… and Cecilworth Farthington still isn’t moving!
Alex Redding looks up, and the titles are within his sight. He swallows hard, pulling himself up another rung, and then another. He’s nearly halfway up the ladder now, and we’re just seconds from seeing new HOW Tag Team Champions!
A hard haymaker rails into the side of his head, immediately knocking Alex Redding off of the ladder and to the canvas below. The perpetrator of the attack, the ever monstrous Dan Ryan, grabs him sharply by the top knot of his hair, running him into the ropes and throwing him over to the outside! The fans are on their feet, littering the ring with actual garbage as Lindsay Troy rolls into the ring from the other side, having also entered through the crowd. Lindsay and Dan begin helping Farthington to his feet, trying to help him up the ladder and to victory!
Joe Hoffman: Oh come on, not like this. Not after the blood and sweat we’ve seen so far. This isn’t fair!
Benny Newell: This is HOW, Joe. There is no “fair”. I didn’t see you pissing and moaning when Grady was swing fucking chair’s at Max Kael. Talk about FAIR? I fucking hate Cecilworth Farthington, but THIS is fair.
Outside of the ring, Teddy Palmer is still zip tied to the guard rail, but he’s almost gotten himself free! The bonds are weakening, but right now, there’s nothing stopping Farthington as Dan and Lindz get him into position on the ladder, and he starts to climb! The fans are in a booing frenzy as Farthington gets his footing, with the help of a boost from his stablemates. It seems that there is nothing that can stop the Group of Death from retaining the HOW Tag Team Championships!
Suddenly, there is a stirring from the entrance way, and then a giant pop from the crowd, as a couple of familiar faces to the HOW roster make their way out onto the stage… and they’re carrying cartons of eggs!
Joe Hoffman: It’s the eGG Bandits! Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean are here, and they’re packing! This is chaos! Where in the hell is security?!
Benny Newell: Oh great… they brought eggs. Only these doofuses would come back to HOW and bring eggs to a ladder fight. Oh well, come join the party, dickheads!
The eGG Bandits pick up their pace as they hit mid ramp, and they waste no time at all! Reaching into their egg cartons, Dean and Jiles let the eggs fly without discrimination– an egg sails directly into the ring, nailing Dan Ryan directly in the side of the head! Dan and Lindz make sure that Farthington is okay to climb, and immediately the newest members of the Group of Death bail out of the ring, chasing the two egg-throwing distractions!
Cecilworth is nearly to the top of the ladder now, but Alex Redding slides into the ring with a desperation rush of adrenaline! He sprints for the ladder, sailing onto the middle rung and climbing as fast as he can, trying to meet Farthington at the top! Outside, Jiles and Dean keep throwing eggs, forcing LT and Dan Ryan to dodge left and right as they chase the Bandits back up the ramp! They don’t see Redding climbing the ladder!
Joe Hoffman: ALEX REDDING IS BACK IN IT! IT’S A RACE FOR THE TITLES! I don’t know what Bobby Dean and Cancer Jiles were trying to accomplish, but they may have just evened the odds in this match!
Benny Newell: Uh… Joe? I think they were the… bait.
Benny frantically gestures toward the guard rail that Teddy Palmer has been ziptied too, as a man climbs over the guardrail in a zipped up hoodie and a flat brimmed baseball hat. It’s emblazoned with a slick looking “cracked egg” logo on the front, and the man isn’t looking smiling or mischievous like his fellow eGG brethren. A scowl on his face, the hooded figure slides into the ring, where Cecilworth Farthington’s hands are now touching the belts– and so are Alex Redding’s!
While both men fight at the top of the ladder for control of the belts, there is a collective gasp from the crowd as the hooded figure throws the hood down off of his head, staring up war on the ladder.
Joe Hoffman: That’s… that’s DOOZER!
Benny Newell: THE FUCK?! Are you shitting me?!
Joe Hoffman: …I shit you not, Benny Newell. DOOZER IS BACK!
With a mighty heave, Doozer gives the ladder a shove, sending Cecilworth Farthington and Alex Redding sailing over the ropes and to the outside! The ladder flips over the ropes, falling on top of the men, with Teddy Palmer at the bottom of the fucking pile! It’s an absolute train wreck outside of the ring, and no one is moving!
Joe Hoffman: OH MY GOD HE KILLED THEM!
Benny Newell: EVERYONE IS DEAD JOE! HOW’S LIABILITY INSURANCE HAS JUST BEEN CANCELED FOREVER! FUCK YOU FARTHINGTON! FUCK YOU!
Doozer cracks a smile now, rolling back out of the ring. He reaches into the pocket of his sweatshirt, staring down at Cecilworth Farthington in the human wreckage that has literally twisted up the guardrail.
From the pocket, he pulls a single egg, and let’s it fall.
Joe Hoffman: What in the hell is he doing? Adding insult to injury? Come on, Doozer, you’ve already injured these men beyond measure! Why the egg?!
Benny Newell: This is some Godfather type shit, Joe. I seen this in the movies. He’s waking up with the head of an omelette in his bed tomorrow. At least I hope so.
The egg hits Farthington in the face, cracking and oozing down his face as Doozer quickly hightails it back over the guardrail. He escapes through the crowd, leaving a serene emptiness in the middle of the ring– only the tag titles sway above the canvas, as everyone left in this match is laid the fuck out.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
Joe Hoffman: What. The.
Benny Newell: Fuck.
Nearly in unison, the announcers, the staff, and the fans alike turn toward the wings of the entrance way, where a giant white truck is pulling in along the side of the ramp. It barrels toward the ring, raising it’s giant ladder-like basket into the air.
Security rushes to clear fans out of the way, as the man driving the truck doesn’t appear to give a fuck if he runs anyone down in the process. The truck jams to a halt near the ringside area, as Maximilian Kael bursts out of the passenger seat, a #97Red hard hat on his head with a bright yellow safety vest blinding everyone in the front row. Michael Lee Best is in the driver’s seat, and he continues to inch toward the ring as Max eyes the belts, trying to gauge the distance!
Joe Hoffman: Max Kael is back, folks! He’s back, and he has the ULTIMATE LADDER!
Benny Newell: OSHA IS CUMMING IN THEIR PANTS RIGHT NOW, HOFFMAN! HE IS BEING SO MOTHERFUCKING SAFE RIGHT NOW!
At ringside, there is still a twisted mass of humanity as Cecilworth Farthington, Teddy Palmer and Alex Redding try to untangle themselves and find their bearings. Palmer lies at the bottom of the heap, having taken the biggest brunt of the fall, and he’s not quick to get back up. Redding is the first to his feet, though, gripping the guard rail and staggering toward the ring, as Max Kael stomps toward the back of the truck. Kael is climbing onto the steps, and now he’s running up the stairs! He’s head for the basket of the truck!
Mike Best slowly inches the truck forward, as Max Kael is now standing literally three feet from the HOW Tag Team Championships. He reaches out his hands, yelling for Mike to pull the truck up further, but the truck has reached the edge of the ring! It isn’t going any further! Max’s fingertips don’t quite reach the belts, and now Alex Redding is sliding a ladder back into the ring, and setting it up in the center of the canvas!
Joe Hoffman: The face is on, ladies and gentlemen! Max Kael can’t quite reach those belts, and Alex Redding is back in this match! This is absolutely anarchy!
Benny Newell: Everyone is dead, Max Kael is in a fucking apple basket trying to harvest the titles like a fucking farmer, and Alex Redding has used up six of his nine lives trying to win the belts. This is the greatest match I have seen in the last twenty minutes!
Max screams one more time for Mike to pull the truck up, but Mike yells back that he physically can’t. Alex Redding begins to slowly climb the ladder, one rung at a time, using everything he has left in him to try and reach the titles. Max is reaching… and reaching… but there is no way the basket is going to reach the belts! He’s fucked!
Redding’s fingertips graze the belts, but he’s just one step short of pulling them down. With a final push, Alex thrusts himself upward, but at the same moment, Max Kael closes his eyes and says fuck it! He leaps off the basket, reaching out his arms for the belts, and takes Redding down with him in the process! The belts unhook from the ceiling, and the whole crowd gasps as both men sail to the canvas below! The impact can practically be heard around the arena….
BUT MAX KAEL IS HOLDING THE HOW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS!
DING DING DING
Alex Redding is out cold next to the ladder, which has now tipped and is leaning against the ropes. It is absolute carnage both in the ring and out, as all of the participants in this match look damned near death. Max Kael, though, sits up in the ring. He looks at the #97Red hard hat lying next to him in the ring, dented from the fall, and he realizes that he’s mostly okay.
Bryan McVay: Here are your winners…. And STILL HOW Tag Team Chaaaampions… the Emmmmm–erm… THE GROUP… OF…. DEAAAAATHHHHH!
Kael stands to his feet, slowly and with great pain in his barely functioning joints. And then, to a choir of boos from the Chicago crowd, he thrusts the HOW Tag Team Championships high over his head! The Group of Death has retained!
Fade to the darkest of blacks.