Before the camera pans, before the signs, and even before the announcers, the cameras cold open backstage inside the Allstate Area, following newcomer Steve Harrison. The recently debuted Harrison is seen carrying a table, perhaps one that he’s stolen from somewhere else inside the arena. Rebecca Hines follows behind him, looking annoyed as always. She has a backpack strung around her right shoulder that is slowing her down. Steve stops next to the will call ticket counter and aggressively places the table down to the right of it. Rebecca catches up her hair out of place, a frown getting bigger and bigger stretching across her face. She throws the backpack at Steve.
Rebecca Hines: I am not your lackey, Steve. I am not here to carry stuff for you, help in your shenanigans, or carry this crap.
Steve smiles and begins removing items from the backpack.
Steve Harrison: Look, I don’t pay you to—
Rebecca’s face gets beat red and she unloads.
Rebecca Hines: YOU DON’T PAY ME!
Steve Harrison: Oh—that again. Can’t you at least compliment me on this brilliant endeavor.
Steve begins to tape a sign behind him that reads “Miracle Merch”. He is apparently extremely proud of this accomplishment, his smile beaming like an eGG Bandit going through Lindsay Troy’s laundry.
Rebecca Hines: I don’t care about any of this, but even I know you should be focusing on your match—
She looks at her watch
Rebecca Hines: –that starts in less than ten minutes.
Steve nods at the sign still amazed he can write English is all we can guess.
Steve Harrison: Do you see these Miracle Enterprise pamphlets, Rebecca? That is what you were carrying in that glorious backpack. Look at them. They are in color and have my beautiful picture on it. Amazing.
Rebecca Hines: What is on the inside of these… amazing… pamphlets?
Steve Harrison: Miracles!!
Rebecca rolls her eyes and a security guard suddenly appears looking confused at what is occurring.
Security Guard: You cannot put your… (he looks up at the sign)… uh… Miracle Enterprise crap here.
Steve Harrison: I am Steve Harrison, sir, I am sure HOW will have no issues with this.
Security Guard: Do you have a vendor permit?
Steve’s eyebrow rises and his mouth opens in total confusion his tongue hanging out like a dumb dog GIF for the man’s request.
Steve Harrison: I can say with all sincerity that I am not a pervert, sir.
The security guard takes the sign down and Steve looks on continually confused.
Security Guard: No permit, then. You are not allowed to pan handle, or sell whatever this shit is inside this area or outside the arena, so don’t even try it.
Steve gets all the pamphlets back together angrily and tosses them back inside the backpack.
Steve Harrison: Mr. Lee Best will hear of this! I am the future HOW World Champion, a role model for all ages, and the Miracle all in this god forsaken industry needs.
The Security Guard folds up the table and leans it against the wall and just shakes his head at Steve.
Security Guard: I don’t care if you are a wrestler, there are rules—especially for nobodies.
The Security Guard walks away and Steve hearing he is a nobody flips his lid and elbows the table putting a noticeable crack in it.
Steve Harrison: This is outrageous, nobody and I MEAN NOBODY calls me a nobody.
Rebecca takes a step back a little afraid of the angry outburst. This is something that rarely happens in public, but the Pee Wees Playhouse word of the day was said. A small smile comes to her face though as an angry Steve is better than whatever he was doing with that Merch table she thought.
Rebecca Hines: Are you finally ready to wrestle?
Before Steve can respond, a familiar face comes strolling by, noticing Steve– “Beautiful” Bobby Dean. Rebecca notices Bobby heading their way and looks at Steve, but Steve does not appear to notice at all. Bobby stops in front of them, tapping a forefinger to his chin, his pose for when he’s deep in thought.
Bobby Dean: Hmmmm, you look oddly familiar.
Steve looks at him and smiles and pats Bobby on the shoulder.
Steve Harrison: Look, Rebecca, a fan who is obviously interesting in Miracle Enterprise.
Steve hands Bobby a pamphlet. Bobby looks at Steve confused, looking at Steve then down at the pamphlet, then back to Steve. He finally looks over at Rebecca.
Bobby Dean: Fan? Uh, no—I am Bobby De—
Steve cuts him off with his hands looks around the corridors.
Steve Harrison: Are you saying you saw Bobby Dean? That fat-back motherfucker!
Bobby’s mouth curl into a sneer, his eyes draw to slits. He nods his head at Steve as if he’s approving the newcomer. Looking behind Steve, Bobby offers a wink to Rebecca, who shrugs uninterested before pointing for him to exit stage left. Bobby walks away leaving Rebecca to shake her head at Steve and heavily sigh.
Rebecca Hines: You do know that was Bobby Dean, right?
Steve nods completely ignoring Rebecca, as Steve only remember Bobby as a large fellow not his new Lean self.
Steve Harrison: I have many pamphlets left now—but, I have a BRILLIANT idea. It is time to get ready, Rebecca. I will show the HOW audience how their one true Miracle performs.
Harrison walks away towards his locker room, hopefully to finally get ready for his match, but who the hell knows.
Welcome to Refueled
The Refueled logo fades in, with the High Octane TV in the corner of the screen. Behind both logos, the oversized, over-exaggerated logo of HIGH OCTANE WRESTLING fills the rest of the black space.
CUE UP: “Back in Black” – AC/DC as the logos fade to the crazy, screaming, packed-to-the-gills Chicago crowd. As we continue scanning the crowd it’s clear nobody is sitting down. Between scanning and jump – cutting, we’re able to get a good look at some of the signs the fans brought to the show.
HIGH FLYER IS MY DAD 2
BEST BOYS > BASIC BRUVS
PERFECTION BEAT PERFECTION
TWO HUNDRED AND ONE DAYS BAYBEE
WAR GAMES MOTHERFUCKERS
I’D FUCK BOBBY DEAN LEGIT
…Enough of that. Finally we settle on the men of the hour, the party hosts, the pair that rock the air…waves. Hall of Fame announce team Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell, both of whom look appreciative of the fans’ enthusiasm before them.
Joe Hoffman: Good evening, HOW loyalists, and welcome to Refueled Twenty-Nine! My name is Joe Hoffman, and I’m joined as always by ‘Big Buff’ Benny Newell! Benny, this is the final stop, the last dance, the end of the line for High Octane Wrestling before we get to WAR GAMES! The stakes couldn’t be higher!
Benny Newell: One more cliche, Joe, and I was going to have to get you checked out for a stroke! Yes, we’re on the verge of War Games, and yes, the stakes are high, but Team Lee has this one in the bag!
Joe Hoffman: How do you figure?
Benny Newell: I don’t even know after all this time why you’d ask me that question. It’s very very obvious.
Joe Hoffman: It’ll certainly be an explosive War Games main event no matter what, Benny, but we’re on deck for a few sneak peeks tonight! The Group of Death’s Dan Ryan will take on 24K’s Perfection in a singles match that I think will be a good indicator of what we’ll see from each man’s respective teams at War Games!
Benny Newell: Perfection lost his Tag Team title without being pinned for it, and Dan Ryan is the only man in the Refueled era to actually take a championship from Cecilworth Farthington, I think they both feel like they’ve got something to prove!
Joe Hoffman: And from the intense to the intriguing, HOW’s number one dad, Steve Solex, will be taking on one half of MJFly, High Flyer!
Benny Newell: I like what High Flyer has done in another life, but he’s been way too mellow here! Flyer! Can we get some explosions up in Steve’s face?
Joe Hoffman: …Moving on, Hughie Freeman looking to build on his debut victory, he faces a crucial test against HOW lifer Chris Kostoff! If he can get past Kostoff, I think he’s got a bright future in this company, Benny!
Benny Newell: You’ve got that right, I haven’t seen a brighter bulb since the blackout of 2003.
Joe Hoffman: All of that is just the appetizer, of course, leading into our massive main event tonight, as the Hollywood Bruvs will take on Cecilworth Farthington and Mike Best of the Group of Death!
Benny Newell: You’ve got the top rated tag team in the company going up against the World and ICON Champions. I can’t WAIT to watch those two fucking TikToks get murdered by a REAL TAG TEAM, Joe.
Joe Hoffman: Well I hardly think–
Benny Newell: Don’t think, just DRINK!
Joe Hoffman: Starting things off, however, we’ll see newcomer Steve Harrison taking on former HOW World Champion Brian Hollywood! We’ll be bringing you all the action in just a minute!
#NR Steve Harrison vs. #9 Brian Hollywood
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed blares over the PA. Brian 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. 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 he awaits for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: Brian Hollywood continuing on his path to redemption here tonight, looking to pick up a win against a newcomer to HOW, Steve Harrison.
Benny Newell: Redeem these nuts, Joe. Steve Harrison is selling REAL redemption, so Brian can get in line and penguin waddle his way to salvation like everyone else. Fuck Brian Hollywood.
As Benny speaks of the devil, “Take the Money and Run” by The Steve Miller Man starts to play and with the grace and with the poise of a blind one legged leper, Steve Harrison emerges with his arms raised in confidence. On his left shoulder is the backpack from earlier, bursting with his Miracle Enterprise pamphlets. He is wearing Sky Blue Boots, Sky Blue Shorts that are covered by a Sky Blue and White Robe with ME etched across the back of it. Steve starts nodding his head to the song, grinning like a madman. He stops every few steps and begins tossing his pamphlets to the crowd and barely audibly is heard.
‘Yes my meager flock, join ME in ME.”
The pamphlets fly as he slowly meandering down to the ring, fans begin to grab them and open them up and many are seen shaking their heads or just laughing.
“I can help you all, send me checks after the show.”
‘Go on take the money and run,’ is said and Steve is singing to himself his favorite part of the song. Suddenly Steve is hit with crumpled up pamphlets.
Steve looks around and notices the crowd all looking ready to start throwing the pamphlets at him and he begins jogging down to the ring to get away. Balls of paper fly as he gets in the ring and shields himself with the backpack, his face getting redder by the second.
Steve leans against the left turnbuckle and begins to talking to himself, a cruel looking smirk beginning to form on his face as he removes his robe, awaiting the beginning of the match.
DING DING DING
The HOW stars circle the ring several times as they seemingly size up the competition. Once they engage in the center of the ring it is done by a meaty lock-up. They tussle around in the lock-by before Harrison strikes first with an arm-drag to Hollywood. Hollywood then clutches the ropes and smirks in a crouched position, almost like he can’t believe the audacity of The Miracle Man. Harrison simply fires him the same smirk back but showing his index finger in the process; indicating that that’s one.
Joe Hoffman: Well I wouldn’t have predicted that, Benny.
Benny Newell: Which ones the fucking novice?
The HOW competitors circle again. They attack the center of the ring with another thunderous lock-up. They tussle around on the ropes and work a simple lock-up back into the middle of the ring with reversing strength battles. That’s until Harrison hits yet another successful arm-drag. A locking of the eyes between the two competitors consumes as Hollywood has a look of disbelief on his face. Harrison merely taps his temple and shows two fingers this time; indicating that that’s two times he’s gotten the better of the former two-time HOW world champion.
Joe Hoffman: It’s Harrison giving the wrestling lesson here tonight.
Benny Newell: What’s two plus two, Joe?
Joe Hoffman: …Four?
Benny Newell: Well tell Brian that!
They begin to circle yet again and… lock-up! They tussle around and Hollywood gains control by a waist-lock. Harrison soon counters with his own waist-lock and Hollywood struggles within the hold. Harrison then delivers a big belly-to-back suplex. Harrison is rather pleased with himself as he stands up on the middle turnbuckles to make sure the fans appreciate his one-upmanship. Harrison holds three fingers up, indicating that that’s three times he’s bested the more seasoned Brian Hollywood. The fans show their displeasure by a chorus of boos.
Joe Hoffman: He’s a real show-boater.
Benny Newell: Let me know when something happens.
Harrison milks the reaction and finally jumps down off the turnbuckles. Once he turns back to the action, Hollywood with a flurry: arm-drag..! arm-drag.. ! Dropkick..! Dropkick..! Harrison feeds up, throws a clothesline, but Hollywood ducks under and… delivers his very own belly-to-back suplex!
Joe Hoffman: Whatever you can do, Hollywood can do better!
From what was once a dead atmosphere then suddenly springs to life as Harrison powders out of the ring. Harrison argues with the front-row, absolutely livid. Meanwhile, Hollywood gees up the crowd. Harrison turns his attention back to Hollywood but the HOW veteran meets him head first with a suicide-dive!
Joe Hoffman: Holy cow!
Benny Newell: Where?
The capacity crowd here in Chicago pop wildly with Brian Hollywood letting out a huge war cry. Hollywood then grabs the head of a dazed Steve Harrison and rolls him back into the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood teaching more than just your standard ABC’s, Benny.
Benny Newell: It’s his D-E-and fucking-F’s!
Hollywood slides into the ring and before he can get to his feet Harrison is already charging at him. Harrison brings up his elbow to rearrange Hollywood’s face but it’s scouted early on and he ducks it. Hollywood then fires an array of different kicks and fists in quick succession to Harrison. The Miracle Man attempts to block with a guard but gets backed up into a corner.
Benny Newell: Who pissed in his cornflakes?
Hollywood wastes no time to send Harrison into the opposite corner but it gets reversed; Hollywood gets sent in instead. Harrison takes the charge behind him but Hollywood is too clever and does an up-and-over on the ropes. Harrison is now in no man’s land with Hollywood ready to pounce just off centre of the ring. Harrison turns but shows quick reflexes to duck a cunning superkick. Hollywood then feeds back into a.. Harrison plants him with a spinebuster!
Joe Hoffman: Spinebuster!
Benny Newell: It’s 9.15.. I can see!
Sharp kick-out by Brian Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: It’ll take more than that.
Harrison then quickly takes a side-headlock on the canvas and begins to crank Hollywood’s neck. Hollywood tries to roll it but it immediately gets cranked harder. The fans then start to come up for Hollywood. This gives Hollywood fire as he fights up to a vertical base. He sends Harrison off the ropes and as he comes back to meet him, Harrison ducks under a monstrous big boot…. crossface chickenwing from Steve Harrison!
Joe Hoffman: It’s a Harricle!
Hollywood wants no part of Harrison’s finishing manoeuvre and sharply twists out of it. This gives Hollywood the momentum to throw a clothesline but totally misses the target. Harrison sees the opening and lands an explosive belly-to-belly suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Nice belly-to-belly.
Benny Newell: Pervert!
Hollywood feeds to the ropes and Harrison is on him like a rash. Harrison then sends him off the opposite ropes and misses with a back-elbow. When Hollywood bounces back off the ropes Harrison is in the middle; Hollywood vaults. When they collide again… Harrison lifts Hollywood and stun guns his neck on the top rope behind him.
Joe Hoffman: Right on the windpipe!
Benny Newell: Tic-Tac, Brian?
Hollywood clutches his neck in pain and Harrison goes for a crafty schoolboy pin.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood kicks out.
Harrison reverts back to the neck and gets Hollywood in another side-headlock. In Hollywood’s plight, he tries geeing up the crowd by banging his trailing leg off the canvas for fan support. The HOW fans slowly start to come up as Hollywood fights to a vertical base. Hollywood then sends Harrison off the ropes and sleeps down on the canvas; Harrison quickly hops over him. When they meet in the middle of the ring, Brian Hollywood vaults Steve Harrison. On their next coming-together Hollywood hip tosses his opponent and rubber-stamps it with a huge springboard DDT! Hollywood still clutches his battered neck from previous trauma caused by Harrison.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood needs to pin.
Hollywood eventually goes over to his opponent. Hollywood looks to pin but gets a stiff kick to the already battered neck. Hollywood clutches it in more pain and delays his next attack. This allows Harrison to get to his feet and Hollywood charges toward him. Rather unconventionally, Harrison cuts-off the fan favorite by simply dropkicking his.. shin.
Joe Hoffman: Did he really just drop kick Brian Hollywood in the shin?
Benny Newell: More like the pinky.
This causes Hollywood to fall and hang on the middle rope in a slouched position. Harrison immediately takes the opportunity to bounce off of the opposite ropes and in momentum puts his full body weight through the ropes and on top of the neck of Brian Hollywood… rope-slice!
Joe Hoffman: He’s clearly targeting the neck here
Harrison then quickly slides back into the ring with Hollywood agonizing in a corner. The Miracle Man soon grabs Hollywood’s head and starts to grind the jaw and neck along the top rope. Referee Matt Boettcher is on hand to count and break. The slick operator Steve Harrison reverts back to the same mistreatment of Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: How much can the human body take? This can’t be a one hundred percent Brian Hollywood.
Benny Newell: Gold stars all around.
This breakup in action gives Hollywood the chance to get his bearings. Meanwhile, Harrison by-passes the referee to only eat a boot from Hollywood on his way back into the corner. Hollywood charges at Harrison with a clothesline but The Miracle Man ducks it and finds himself on the end of a side-suplex. Harrison darts for a cover.
Joe Hoffman: Kickout Hollywood.
Harrison looks slightly despondent as he grips his own hair. He then decides to pull Hollywood up and set him for a possible suplex. Hollywood goes up and is dangled high in the air for a few seconds; blood rushing to his head. But Hollywood drops down the back.
Joe Hoffman: Hollywood reverses.
He quickly goes for the Paper Cut but it gets fended off with a push to the back. Hollywood then turns back around and… clothesline…! Clothesline..! The crowd are all for the on fire Brian Hollywood.
Joe Hoffman: The beaten and battered, Brian Hollywood!
Harrison feeds back up… Bodyslam! Hollywood releases another war cry and the crowd are on their feet. Harrison clambers on the ropes to help him lift himself and Hollywood nails…
Joe Hoffman: The Termination! That’s it!
Benny Newell: Schools out!
Joe Hoffman: Harrison kicksout!
Hollywood can’t quite believe it but signals that the end is near. Hollywood methodically pulls up a limp Steve Harrison and locks him in for The Dirty Deeds.
Joe Hoffman: Dirty Deeds!
But Steve Harrison from out of nowhere and out of complete desperation… inside cradle!
Joe Hoffman: Small package!
Benny Newell: It’s fucking cold in here!
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner by pinfall…. STEVE… HAAARRRRRIISSSSSON!
Joe Hoffman: Steve Harrison has just beaten Hollywood!
Benny Newell: It’s a miracle!
As If He Were A Fucking Wizard
Following the conclusion of the match, Hollywood is still in shock by the quick cradle pin that cost him the match. He is cheered on by the crowd as they show their support for him even though he lost. Hollywood gets back to his feet but his eyes widen as he can’t believe he lost the match. It was almost as if it was the last straw concerning Hollywood’s latest string of luck. Hollywood is overtaken by a shadow from within him that is starting to drown out the cheers he no longer hears…the shadow from within is revealed to be hate and anger as he finally can’t take it anymore. Hollywood rolls out of the ring and proceeds to kick the steel ring steps before picking them up in a heap of anger and tossing them across the ringside area.
Joe Hoffman: Oh boy…we’ve seen this before…
Benny Newell: YES!! Maybe he’ll finally wake the fuck up and stop this bullshit facade! It does not suit Hollywood at all…
Hollywood continues in his anger soaked skin as he starts hitting the barricade with his fists and actually leaves a dent in one of them before proceeding towards the ring announcers table. Hollywood takes one look at Benny and Joe as he literally stares a hole in both of them.
Joe Hoffman: Oh boy…this is definitely not good! Now come on Hollywood…don’t do this! I know you’re better than this!
Hollywood then looks directly at Benny as if he’s waiting for him to say something stupid.
Brian Hollywood: COME ON BENNY!!!! FUCKING SAY SOMETHING YOU SORRY DRUNKEN SON OF A BITCH!!!
Benny just looks at him and puts his hands up in the air recognizing the anger and hatred within Hollywood. He knows what that is all about and he wants no part of it as Hollywood sneads at him and turns his attention back up towards the ring before walking off and back up the ramp. This, of course, leaves Benny the perfect opportunity to get in a smart word.
Benny Newell: That’s what I thought, motherfucker! Walk off! You don’t want any piece of th–
And Benny stops cold turkey as Hollywood turns back and around and darts a glare straight towards Benny as if Hollywood knew Benny was gonna open up his mouth. Hollywood points straight at him and Benny nearly shits his pants as if Hollywood were a fucking wizard. Benny once again puts his hands up in the air as if to surrender. Hollywood snipes a middle finger his way before his actions suggest a threat directly at Benny. Hollywood turns around and heads backstage where his bottled up hatred marathon continues to unfold right before our very eyes. Hollywood pushes over a few tables and props backstage as he continues to let loose with no one stopping him from doing so. Just then, Blaire Moise is seen and she is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hollywood immediately sees her and walks over to her, hovering over her not letting her speak.
Brian Hollywood: And I fucking suppose you have something you would like to get off your chest as well, don’t ya Blaire?!
Blaire tries to talk but is quickly cut off by Hollywood again.
Brian Hollywood: Well don’t FUCKING bother!! I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired around here!! Everyone can call this progress or even small amounts of “hard work” being put in but I don’t see it that way!!! Nobody truly understands just how hard I’ve tried…and quite frankly, I’m fucking sick and tired of it!! It never seems to matter when Brian Fucking Hollywood tries to do better..nobody cares to bat a fucking eye! But everyone else gets a free pass…well I’m fucking tired of it Blaire! I’ve had ENOUGH OF IT!!!!
Hollywood breathes heavily as the fire continues to burn red in his eyes before he darts looks all over the backstage area.
Brian Hollywood: Besides…where’s everyone at now?! Huh? HUH?! I can’t seem to fucking find Darin Zion around here anywhere!! The man seemingly had no problem getting in my fucking business a few weeks ago and now he’s cowering like a little fucking bitch! He’s always fucking cowered and quite frankly that’s all he will ever be known for being anymore! Well, if you want to prove me wrong Zion than I give you your PERFECT OPPORTUNITY to do just that! I don’t care what Lee has to say on the matter…I intend to get my hands on you…one way or another….this WILL end and it will end on my fucking terms! Well my terms are WAR GAMES!! So Zion, if you have the fucking gall, and want to prove to me and everyone else you are “different,” then you’ll meet me at War Games and accept my fucking challenge that I’m laying out for you!
Hollywood shakes his head as Blaire just stands there actually fearing for her life. Hollywood sees this and actually takes a step back before nodding his head towards Blaire.
Brian Hollywood: No I get it, Blaire. You’re scared…and you’ve got the right emotions to feel the way you’re feeling right now. But me? I’m just getting started…seems like I’ve got the answer that I needed to get out there in that ring moments ago. I get it now…I fucking get it now…if that’s the way it’s gotta be?…then that’s the way it’s fucking going to be!
And just like that, Hollywood completely backs off of Blaire before shaking his head in further frustration as he storms off down the backstage hallway disappearing quickly into the darkened area backstage as the camera cuts away…
WAR GAMES MAIN EVENT FOR THE WORLD, ICON & LSD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Captain Michael Lee Best©, Farthington©, Dan Ryan, Lindsay Troy vs. Max Kael©, Andy Murray©, Perfection, MJ Flair
WAR GAMES MATCH FOR THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
The eGG Bandits vs. The Hollywood Bruvs vs. HATE vs Joe Bergman and Andy Murray©
The Other R-Word
The word LIVE in bold white letters on an eye-catching red background appears in the top right corner of the screen, the shaky camerawork confirming it true. A massive, shirtless, male back fills the majority of the screen, muscles flexing and rolling just under the skin as he walks forward through a crowd with his hands outstretched in front of him. The cameraman backs up a few steps, widening the shot to show RICK pushing people aside as a commotion starts, people raise voices and begin to complain until RICK looks back at the lineup with a low snarl. The voices stop, and the commotion calms as a trepidatious worker waves the large man forward a wince crossing her young face. As he steps forward, the cameraman advances to the counter as well, positioned to the right of the giant Canadian.
Worker: “Hello, sir….uhhh…what can I get for you today?”
Worker: “Sorry, Rick…what can I get for you today? Don’t you have catering in the back?”
RICK extends his hand, pointing at one of the signs behind her. She cautiously turns her head to follow his gesture, nodding as she turns back around to face him with a well polished smile.
Worker: “You want a hot dog? Do you want it on a white or whole wheat bun?”
RICK bangs his fist on the concession counter in frustration, which startles the employee momentarily. She almost instantly regains her composure before continuing:
Worker: “Ok, I’m gonna say a white bun…make it easy. Now, how abo–y’know what? I’m just gonna give you some onions and horseradish on the side. Now, it comes with a drink…”
Again she winces, knowing what’s coming next:
Worker: “…do you want it large sized? I have to ask that.”
As RICK inhales sharply and raises his fist to again bang it on the counter, the quick thinking worker waved a hand at him and began speaking. Her smile was unbreakable – clearly well rehearsed in dealing with drunk and boisterous customers in the past.
Worker: “How about we just skip that one and I’ll give you Coke. And let’s skip the fries question t–“
RICK again bangs the counter, harder this time.
The customer at the next register flinched, but not our resolute concession worker – oh no, her smile remained intact, tapping the screen on her register.
Worker: “Large fries it is, Rick! Anything else?”
He glares at her menacingly before slowly holding up four fingers with a low growl, while gesturing in a circle with the other hand.
Worker: “Ok, so 4 hot dogs, 4 large fries, and 4 Cokes…I think I got it…”
She looks up at him sweetly, in complete juxtaposition to his HATEful demeanor.
Worker: “That’ll be thirty seven dollars and fifty two cents…how would you like to pay?”
A small glint of mischief crosses RICK’s face as he reaches into the back pocket of his jeans and produces none other than the 97RED HOW corporate credit card and hands it to her across the counter. She admires it for a moment before ringing the purchase through. She ripped the receipt tape that spat from a printer beside the register and set it on the counter along with a pen, gesturing to it.
Worker: “I just need a signature.”
RICK awkwardly picks the pen up and writes his name – in block letters that would easily be put to shame by a primary school child; to his credit, they were all written the correct way. He slid the pen and receipt across the counter, the camera focusing in on his handwriting as the scene fades to black.
#22 Hughie Freeman vs. #23 Chris Kostoff
Cutting back to ringside we see Hughie Freeman already in the ring as he is shaking his head at Bryan McVay who can only shrug back at him and point to his earpiece.
Bryan McVay: The following match is scheduled for one fall, currently in the ring from Wherever He Parks His Crappy Caravan… and weighing in at 215 pounds… HUGHIE FREEMAN!!!!
Again McVay turns to Hugie and points to his earpiece in a hope that Freeman won’t knock him out cold on the spot.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back folks, as it seems that someone in the back is messing with Freeman….
Benny Newell: Ya, Scott Woodyfuck… that’s pretty fucking obvious.
Joe Hoffman: Seems like Scott Woodson made Freeman come out while our cameras were backstage with The Bandits and now is messing with his introduction.
Benny Newell: Well what would people rather see? A Bandit promo… or a pikey walk to the ring?
Joe Hoffman: I imagine that everyone should get a fair shake here in HOW… but we’re obviously gonna disagree on that.
Benny Newell: I’ll DRINK to that shit Joe. I’ve never agreed with you once in my life.
The opening chords of “Wolf Totem” by The Hu scream across the speakers as Kostoff steps out onto the stage. Looking out he slowly makes his way to ringside.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Tampa, Florida and weighing in at 285 pounds… HOW Hall of Famer…. CHRIS KOSTOFF!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff with a seventy pound weight advantage here tonight… will that be enough to offset Freeman’s striking power?
Benny Newell: Those Pikeys are dirty and crafty… and dirty… did I say dirty?
Joe Hoffman: One also has to wonder how much the threat of Alcatraz by Scott Woodson is sitting in the back of Freeman’s mind. As reported earlier this week on HOWrestling.com, Woodson has ordered Freeman to Alctraz after this match if he wants to stay in HOW.
Benny Newell: Ok, he’s a dirty Pikey… but ya burn one carnival freak and people get all up in arms? Where the fuck have our rights gone Joe? Isn’t that what Benjamin Washington and Bob Dole fought so hard for when breaking free from the United British?
Joe Hoffman: Your poor history teacher in High School….
Kostoff climbs into the ring and charges right at Freeman as Hortega calls for the bell not wanting to get between these two brawlers. Kostoff eats a kick from Freeman as he drives his shoulder into Freeman’s gut, lifting him off his feet and slamming him into the corner turnbuckles. Kostoff rampages with elbows and knees onto Freeman who tries to cover up and fight off the early onslaught from the monster.
Joe Hioffman: Kostoff taking out his frustration from last week on the man that stole his chance at payback on Lucian. Freeman better be careful or…
Benny Newell: KOSTOFF’S GONNA KILL YOU!!!
Joe Hoffman: Can’t wait to see Lee’s reaction to that….
Benny Newell: I’m not having a drink with the fucker Joe, just wanna see him kill a Pikey tonight.
Kostoff nails Freeman with a headbutt in the corner as Hortega tries to admonish the Hall of Famer, but Kostoff just pulls him out of the corner and hits a nasty spinebuster hard on the mat. Freeman staggers back up to his feet as Kostoff stalks him and connects with a vicious clothesline that turns Freeman inside out.
Benny Newell: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!
Joe Hoffman: Cover by Kostoff!
Freeman kicks out at an early two as Kostoff drives a couple elbows back into the face of Freeman as he picks him back up to his feet. Kostoff hoes for an Irish whip but Freeman is able to plant his feet and stop as he unloads with a combo of shots to Kostoff’s face before the big man can get his hands up to block.
Joe Hoffman: Freeman with life here as he’s found an opening after weathering a strong attack from Kostoff.
Kostoff shakes off the shots as he gets his hands up, but Freeman drops down to quick body shots before drilling a boot into the knee. Dropping to one knee, Kostoff braces for the fall, opening his face up for another combo shot to the jaw that puts him in his back.
Benny Newell: What the fuck Kostoff, fucking kill him! Just fucking kill him!
Joe Hoffman: Cover now by Freeman with Kostoff down for the first time tonight!
It’s now Kostoff powering out, throwing Freeman off him as Freeman leaps back up to his feet as he sets up for the Fatality Punch as Kostoff starts to climb back to his feet.
Joe Hoffman: Freeman looking for that Fatality Punch… if he lands it we could have a big upset here…
Kostoff is up to his feet as Freeman is set to launch at Kostoff….
HATE BY DESIGN!!!!!
The theme song of Freeman’s now former stable plays as we see Scott Woodson walk out onto the stage armed with his barbed wire hockey stick and flanked by five security guards on each side.
Joe Hoffman: What in the world is he doing out here now?
Benny Newell: He’s here to send the dead body of Freeman to rot at Alcatraz.
Freeman, distracted by Woodson has turned his attention from Kostoff, giving the big man enough time to grab Freeman to turn him around and plant a boot in his gut. With Freeman doubled over, Kostoff lifts him up onto his shoulders as the Chicago crowd roars knowing what is coming next.
Joe Hoffman: No Remorse time!
Benny Newell: Break his fucking neck! Break it now!
With Freeman up on his shoulder, Hugie leans in and bites Kostoff on the top of his head, drawing blood as Kostoff just lets go of Freeman who falls to the mat. Bracing for the fall, Freeman quickly pops up and nails Kostoff with a thunderous punch under the jaw that drops Kostoff straight down to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Fatality Punch! Cover by Freeman…
Benny Newell: Here comes Woodson’s security! Break up the cover and kill Freeman!
The security guards circle the ring, but stay outside as Hortega goes for his final count.
Benny Newell: What the fuck are you fuckers doing?!?
DING DING DING
Joe Hoffman: Huge upset by Hughie!!!!
Hortega calls for the bell and knows to smartly get out of the ring, not even raising Hughie’s arm as the security guards climb up onto the ring apron as Freeman tries to find a way out of the ring.
Bryan McVay: Here is your….
Scott Woodson: I got this McVay. Here is your winner… of a one way trip to Alcatraz Island… where he will rot for all of fucking enternity…. Hughie Un-Freeman!!!!!
Freeman is yelling back at Woodson, but without a microphone we can’t hear it.
Scott Woodson: You wanna turn on me with Lucian… You then turned on Lucian… and lit the fucker on fire. Now believe me… I found that shit fucking funny. But even here in HOW there needs to be repercussions for actions. Especially those done by people who try to fuck a Owner of this company over. Now Lucian may still be alive… although extra crispy now… but you still need to pay… and I’m here to collect Hughie. Time to see just how fucked up The Corporate Artist is!
Hughie keeps yelling at Woodson and has not realizes that Kostoff has made his way back up to his feet in the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Freeman’s made a big mistake… turned his back on Kostoff.
One of the security guards has slide a steel chair into the ring as Kostoff picks the weapon up.
Scott Woodson: But first… I’m gonna let Kostoff say his goodbyes to you…
It now clicks that Kostoff is still in the ring as Freeman quickly turns around in hopes the Hall of Famer isn’t back up to his feet… but of course he is as Kostoff drills Freeman between the eyes with the steel chair, busting him wide open as Kostoff drills the chair into Freeman’s gut. Slamming it down on the mat, Kostoff lifts Freeman up onto his shoulders and without hesitation drills Freeman down onto the steel chair.
Joe Hoffman: NO REMORSE!!!!! On the steel chair!
Benny Newell: I heard his spine snap Joe! I Heard it fucking snap!
Kostoff rolls out of the ring as he starts marching back up the ramp, not even looking back at Freeman as the monster is content with the carnage he has caused. Meanwhile, Woodson’s security guards start to enter the ring as they start to pick Freeman up by his limbs.
Scott Woodson: With the goodbyes all set, let me introduce you to a few new friends of mine… H.A.T.E. Not to be confused with HATE… no, H.A.T.E. are my new guards that will be torturing you at Alcatraz. Hired Anarchist Tactical Enforcement.
H.A.T.E. has Freeman out of the ring as they start to carry him up the entrance way.
Scott Woodson: Let this be a fucking lesson to everyone in HOW. I might have ten less percent of ownership… but I am still COO, still the Chief of Operations you fucking numbnuts…. and that right there is what I can still fucking do. So please….. PLEASE try to question my fucking authority… or my business dealings. Because I would just love to show you first hand what I can still do here in HOW.
Slamming the microphone down on the ground, Woodson follows his H.A.T.E. guards up the ramp for what will be Hughie’s last trip anywhere, a trip to Alcatraz.
The number one shoe for number one dads.
Earning Your Yolk
The show comes back from commercial break and picks up with Joe and Benny.
Joe Hoffman: Up next we have a “HUGE” announcement from the eGG Bandits.
Benny Newell: Apparently the announcement is so big it couldn’t fit in the backstage area. That’s eggstra funny because it’s also what they used to say about Bobby Dean.
Out from the back, the Brothers of the Yolk and Shell emerge.
What’s left of them, anyways.
A ravenous, electrified, Beautiful Bobby Dean is out first, ensuring the just prior pippity pop takes place. Following a few feet in his wake are Doozer and Zeb. Both of them have their arms raised, gladly accepting and encouraging the adoration from the growing number of Octabandits in attendance. Lastly, The Maestro lags behind the group, oddly docile while processing the raucous reaction.
Benny Newell: Maybe they are all announcing that they are retiring?
Joe Hoffman: I’m sure you would like that.
Benny Newell: Well, hopefully not Bobby. Who doesn’t love that flabby fuck? And, I guess it’d be a shame since the fishing POLE kid has some promise– somebody is gonna have to lose to Stevens when he makes his grand return. As for the fossil, he should have hung them up months ago. And that insolent, pig faced, shit haired, fuck twit who egged me should have a retirement stroke right now.
Unfortunately for Benny, Jiles doesn’t stroke out on command. Instead of death, he rolls under the bottom rope, joining the rest of the Bandits who have already made their way into the ring. Bobby riles the crowd, really working them into a frenzy. Doozer is posted up in the corner, calmly talking into Zeb’s ear amongst the uproar.
Joe Hoffman: You’re right, sure does seem like everybody loves Beautiful Bobby Dean to me, Benny.
Bobby, along with all the Octabandits, settle down. Then, The Maestro calls for, and receives a microphone despite Benny’s off air protesting. COOL, calm, collected, he proceeds with genuine sincerity.
Jiles: Hello, Octabandits. Tonight, the live trial by egg against P.E. #1 will have to wait. Same goes for updates on CBD, Max Shell, and the further recruitment of our Queen in the fight against HATE.
Some Octabandit in the stands shouts out, “eGG Queen,” and you can bet Lindsay Troy will have his balls in a cute purse when Monday morning rolls around.
Jiles: Frankly, the time has come to cut the shit. The games of war are upon us. Normandy awaits, and so does our chance to once again become High Octane Tag Team Champions of the World.
Elongated pause for the drama club.
Jiles: Ya know, those two plates of gold us Bandits starve for more than most. Yet, since March 2 Glory, aka our last chance to reclaim them, a lot of things have happened which prevented us from being able to get our fill. Blame. Dissension. Dishonor. Coma. HATE. Murder. Opportunity– I could keep going, but in the interest of time constraints, I’ll skip to the worst preventer of them all… defeat.
Jiles: It’s no secret we’ve stumbled along the way. It’s documented. We are DEAD last. However, during the seemingly eternal struggle to regain our egg cracking form, and more importantly, the High Octane Tag Team Championships, one of us was fortunate enough to open the right chocolate bar.
A shameless, self gratifying smile stretches across Jiles’ face.
Jiles: Cause we got a golden ticket, us Bandits made a pact. We agreed that no matter the struggle, no matter how tough it got or how beaten we were… if it didn’t kill us, which was a big IF all things considered, it would make us younger, cooler, skinnier, and more experienced. We would take our lumps as we tried to find our way back, and not only would we be better off because of it, we would also be better prepared when the time came.
Benny Newell: Tell that to CBD, cowards.
Jiles: So, with our heads down and a beach to swim towards, we pressed forward. Yes, we had more downs than ups along the way, but it never deterred us. In fact, as we had hoped, our shell hardened because of it. And now, having not only survived the Chocolate Factory, but becoming stronger for it, here we are. The eGG Bandits. Untied. Fearless. Starving. On the precipice of War, ready to cash in our golden ticket and do the unthinkable yet again.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like the Bandits will be the fan favorites in the Tag Title match from these reactions.
Benny Newell: They won’t be the odds on favorites, that’s for sure.
Confident, the only man to ever descend from COOLYMPUS nods in righteous agreement with the crowd.
Jiles: One year ago, the Bandits called their shot. We pointed our bat towards the inside of the cage, and said it didn’t matter who we were going to war against. We were going to win, because we had a plan. A plan, might I add, that was executed flawlessly.
The Maestro turns to Bobby, and the two share a brief, smug laugh.
Joe Hoffman: He’s talking about when Bobby Dean rejoined the Bandits, turning on his partner in the multiteam, double ladder, double ring, double cage, tag title match from last year’s War Games.
Benny Newell: Turned? He was fucking plant.
Jiles: I’m sorry to inform the Bruvs and the HATEs and the MurrBergs of the world, but history has a funny way of repeating itself. You see, fear not, Octabandits, we have a plan, yet again. And while this plan is different from last year, the result will remain the same. Also, the best part about this plan, unlike the last one, I can tell you all about it… right… now.
Jiles: The plan, this year, for when the eGG Bandits reclaim our greatest desire, is simple. The two Bandits that give us the best chance of winning will enter the cage. They will do what needs to be done, and when it’s over, WE will once again enjoy the spoils of war.
Realizing the crowd hangs on his every word, Jiles waits before spilling the beans. During this break is when the Octabandits start voicing their opinion.
Jiles: So without further ado…
Message received, The Maestro defeatedly walks over to Bobby Dean. He comes to a stop just close enough for the Beautiful one to see his own reflection in the mirror tint.
Bob’s bulging eyes stare back at him with unbridled anticipation.
After milking the cow for every drop, Jiles slowly reaches out and hands Bobby the microphone.
The building comes to a sudden hush.
Bobby Dean: WAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
The visceral roar from the bowels of Bobby’s soul sends the state of affairs into absolute, thunderous, building shaking, pandemonium.
Joe Hoffman: Been awhile since I’ve heard it like this in here! This place is a madhouse!
Bobby finds the center of the ring, raises his free arm high in the air, and addresses his crowd amongst the frenzy.
Bobby Dean: GAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!
And there goes the roof.
Good thing War Games is in Germany. (Ron Howard: It was in France.)
Sucks about the rest of the matches tonight, though.
Hopefully it doesn’t rain.
Joe Hoffman: Bobby Dean is going to War Games!
Jiles joins Doozer in the corner, as the two have a fun exchange at Zeb’s expense. The Beautiful man from Honalee quickly calms his flapping nerve. Literally, his skin flaps were shaking from excitement. They aren’t anymore.
Bobby Dean: Maestro, Doozer, it’s been a long road, from driving the chariot on our behalf, to entering the cage on our behalf– I will die in there before succumbing to defeat.
Bob pauses, his attention now completely focused on the young upstart.
Bobby Dean: Zeb, you gem of a man. You stepped right in when I was down, and have been earning your yolk ever since. The Bandit of the future, we call you that when you’re not around. That said, as a reward for your tireless and devoted efforts to the yolk and shell, your future starts right now. What do you say we kick some fucking ass, make history for the second straight year, and bring the gold back home to the Bandits!?!
Cat shit craziness ensues.
The Fisher King, Zebulon Marten, confidently steps forward. Him and Bob bump fists, and share a previously unseen swagger.
Joe Hoffman: Dean and Martin will represent the eGG Bandits at War Games! I didn’t see that one coming.
Benny Newell: I thought that guy was dead?
The shot ends with Bobby and Zeb, standing on opposing turnbuckles, being showered with rabid fandom.
Cut to backstage.
World War, Too
We cut to Section 214 where Joe Bergman is standing along the rail with the people going crazy behind him.
Joe pops open a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Joe Bergman: Folks, as I stand before you tonight, it’s not lost on me what happened on this day seventy-six years ago. On June 6th, 1944, the Allies crossed the English Channel to launch a massive amphibious invasion of Normandy, the largest seaborne invasion in history, with troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, and New Zealand led by Generals Eisenhower, Montgomery, Bradley, Dempsey, Leigh-Mallory, Tedder, and Ramsey. D-Day turned out to be a pivotal moment in World War II. The Allies would soon liberate France, sweep across Western Germany and within less a year the Germans would surrender.
Section 214, usually raucous, is silent along with the rest of the arena.
Joe Bergman: I would like to raise this beer tonight to the greatest generation who fought in Europe and the Pacific to pay homage to their bravery and to their sacrifice. Here’s to you.
Joe raises his beer can and then takes a drink. Many others do the same throughout the arena.
Joe Bergman: All right. I’d also like to raise a beer to current and former military servicemen who are here with us tonight. So if you are an active or former member of our military, would you please stand up right now so we can recognize and thank you?
Joe pauses as a fair number of people, sprinkled throughout the arena, do exactly that. It takes several seconds for everyone to stand up to be recognized. Then Joe continues.
Joe Bergman: Thank you. And thank you for your service. Here’s to you.
He raises his can of beer and again drinks. Then Joe begins to clap his hands. Section 214 follows and soon the applause steadily cascades from section to section until the sound fills up the arena.
Soon people begin to stand up and the entire arena gives the current and former military personal on hand tonight a standing ovation.
This goes on for a couple more minutes before the applause finally dies down.
Joe Bergman: I guess we should probably talk a little about War Games too.
Joe Bergman: War Games. Normandy. Four teams. One tag team title belt. HATE. The eGG Bandits. The Hollywood Bruvs.
Bergman holds up his Tag Team Title belt and Section 214 cheers.
Joe Bergman: The defending tag team champions Joe Bergman…
Joe points to himself. Section 214 erupts and so does much of the Allstate Arena.
Joe Bergman: …and Andy Murray.
Then he points to the 24K suite. Section 214 boos and there’s a mixed reaction from the rest of the arena.
Joe Bergman: Four of the best tag teams High Octane Wrestling has to offer will battle it out in Normandy for this- the HOW Tag Team Title belt.
Joe pats the belt and then puts it back over his shoulder.
Joe Bergman: I’m not going to stand here and tell you how we’re going to kick everyone’s asses at War Games because, well, that’s not my style. All I’m going to say to HATE, the Bandits, and the Bruvs is this, if you all want this belt then come on and bring it at War Games just like Zeb Martin brought it last week. You’d better bring your best stuff to the ring. You’d better bring your A-game. No. You’d better bring your A-plus, plus, plus game to Normandy because at War Games that’s what it’s going to take to win this belt from us.
Bergman pauses and nods.
Joe Bergman: But I’ll ask one thing of the Hollywood Bruvs. Please go ahead and keep listening to your little friend Little Jimmy Imperfection and go on and underestimate me. I’ve made a nice living in HOW over the past year from people like you underestimating me.
Joe stops but then remembers one more thing he wanted to add.
Joe Bergman: Oh and Little Jimmy, I might be a simp but I’m a simp who has something you don’t have- a title.
Again Joe pauses as a “LITTLE JIMMY (clap clap clap-clap-clap)” chant fires up from Section 214.
Joe Bergman: At War Games, Joe Bergman isn’t there to play nice. At War Games, Joe Bergman is there with one purpose and one purpose only, to defend this title with everything I’ve got and return home STILL one half of the HOW Tag Team Champions.
Joe finishes off his PBR as Section 214 whoops it up again.
Joe Bergman: Now that I’ve said my peace, it’s time to sit down and root on PBR’s Steven Solex as he takes on High Flyer, NEXT!
#27 High Flyer vs. #15 Steve Solex
As we come back from to ringside we see the Hall of Fame team ready for the next highly anticipated match up.
Joe Hoffman: Next up is a battle of two dads…..
Benny Newell: Get it right Hoffhole as it is the battle of HOW’s #1 Dad and The World’s #1 Deadbeat Dad.
Joe Hoffman: That’s a little harsh Benny.
Benny Newell: Not my fault he blew his entire child support money on Crystal Meth.
“AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…”
The cackle from Ozzy Osbourne is heard throughout the arena as “Crazy Train” by Ozzy starts to play and a light fog rises up from the entrance way as the opening guitar rift kicks in.
Bryan McVay: The following contest is scheduled for one fall and with a twenty minute time limit. Introducing first, hailing from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and weighing in at 224 lbs….he is HIGH! FLLLLYYYYYYYEEEEEEEER!
Parting the smoke is High Flyer, who stands confidently at the top of the entrance ramp. He tosses one hand up in a devil horn taunt, and smiles slyly to the camera.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer said that tonight against Steven Solex is his War Games match.
Benny Newell: Of course he would say that. Anyone who was left off of the card would say that Hoffman.
He stomps his way to the ring, paying very little attention to the crowd. Once he reaches ringside, he slips in under the bottom rope, and then sprawls on his back. He begins to make snow angels while residing on his back, looking up at the lights before recovering to his feet. High Flyer then leaps onto the second ropes and looks out to the crowd as “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin begins to play through the sound system as the words “#1 Dad” display on the HOV.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, hailing from Huntington Beach, California and weighing in at 252 lbs…..he is HOW’s #1 Dad! Steven! SOOOOOLLLLEEEEX!
The words dissolve and a montage of Steven Solex is shown playing on the HOV as Steven Solex steps out from behind the curtain and onto the entrance ramp.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Solex has total reinvented himself since coming back to HOW last year.
Benny Newell: Exactly Hoffman, he went from being Noah Hanson’s rejected body double in Sons of Anarchy to HOW’s #1 Dad.
The crowd boos unceremoniously as Solex begins to make his way down the ramp and toward the ring. With his right hand, Steven holds a number one high up in the air, with the biggest, cheesiest of smiles on his face.
Joe Hoffman: Solex reminding everyone he is number one.
Benny Newell: And why wouldn’t he be Hoffman? I mean he is a father you would love to have. I mean didn’t you see he took his boy on a fishing trip before his match this week? He put his family before himself and that is why he is a role model for dad’s everywhere. Kind of want to take my son fishing sometime.
Joe Hoffman: You have a kid?!?!?!? Since when?
Benny Newell: It’s a figure of speech Hoffhole! I’ve beaten all paternity tests before and I’ll beat the one that bitch Karen wants me to take now! DRINK!
Solex rolls under the bottom rope and into the ring as the crowd continues to boo. Solex goes camera side and again hoists a number one high in the air, but this time shouts out “#1 Dad!.” Solex goes to the corner, and double knots his all white New Balance shoes as he awaits the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here we go…..
Solex and Harmen come out of their respective corners and towards the center of the ring. Solex being the Patriarch of Manners extends a hand to High Flyer who simply looks down and swats it away. Solex throws up his index figure and shouts #1 Dad, but gets slapped for his trouble.
Joe Hoffman: Guess Flyer didn’t like Solex screaming in his face.
Benny Newell: Solex was just reminding him off the hundreds of thousands of dollars he owes in child support.
Before Solex knows what hit him, Harmen sends two feet into the chest of Solex sending him into the corner.
Joe Hoffman: Flyer dropping some salt on Solex with that dropsault.
Benny Newell: I’m about to break this glass over your head when empty.
Harmen sprints at Solex and leaps but Solex rolls out of the way and Flyer anticipated it as he grabs the ropes and waits for Solex to begin to turn around before jumping to the tope rope and flipping back.
Joe Hoffman: Moonsault!
As Harmen hits Solex he wraps up his legs on the downfall.
Benny Newell: No alimony check bouncer will beat the #1 Dad with flippy shit!
Harmen kips up and drives Solex back down to the mat with a single leg drop kick before hitting the ropes and doing a forward somersault.
Joe Hoffman: Rolling Thunder!
Benny Newell: Never heard of that but pass me some of that White Lightning Hoffman.
Solex gets the shoulder up.
Harmen brings Solex to his feet but Steven connects with a forearm to the face. Harmen stops his staggering and rushes at Solex, but the greatest dad in the history of dads counters.
Joe Hoffman: Spinebuster!
Benny Newell: He needs to call it the Dad Slam.
Both men lay on their backs and Steven can’t capitalize on his move and Boettcher has no choice but to start counting.
Solex stirs and rolls to his stomach.
Crawls to Harmen.
Drapes an arm over him.
Flyer pops the shoulder up.
Benny Newell: Bitcher with another slow count!
Solex and Flyer slowly get to their feet and they are throwing hands.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer is notorious for throwing hands with the best of them.
Benny Newell: And next I’m sure you’ll be telling me his haircut is all the rage outside of soccer moms to.
Solex goes to throw a right, but Harmen evades the attack and throws a knee to the stomach of Solex doubling him over allowing High Flyer to whip Solex into the corner and he follows it up with running double knees to the chest and you can visibly see the breath being forcefully removed from his lungs.
Benny Newell: Come on Steven!
As Solex is still reeling from the Harmen assault, High Flyer grabs Solex around his neck and begins to run forward.
Joe Hoffman: Running bulldog….wait a minute.
Solex is able to stop the momentum.
Steven Solex: NUMBER ONE DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Solex yells as he throws High flyer behind him with a release German Suplex.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer got folded up like an accordion.
Benny Newell: Well my dick pops out like slinky.
Joe Hoffman: Why do I need to know that?
Benny Newell: Just saying.
Solex begins to stomp a mudhole in High Flyer before building up some steam of his own and delivering a New Balance to Flyer’s face.
Benny Newell: The Mini Van Express! Choo! Choo!
Joe Hoffman: O……k……….
Benny Newell: DRINK!
Solex pulls Flyer from the corner and goes for a cover driving his forearm into Harmen’s face.
Flyer gets the shoulder up.
Solex looks at Boettcher, but the official says two.
Joe Hoffman: Both of these men have thrown everything at each other and they still keep coming.
Solex reaches down to pick up Flyer, but he get a thumb to the eye.
Benny Newell: DQ! DQ!
Flyer gets to his feet and picks up Solex but Steven is able to slide down the back of Harmen and as Flyer turns to a poke to the eye.
Joe Hoffman: Where’s the DQ there Benny?
Benny Newell: The fuck you talking about Hoffhole?!?!?!? Solex was clearing trying to put High Flyer’s contact in his eye.
The Finger Poke of Dad has High Flyer stunned allowing Solex to built a head full of steam as he hits the ropes and delivers a running shoulder blocks. Harmen pops up and Solex drives him back down with another shoulder block.
Benny Newell: By Gosh! By Golly Miss fucking Molly! Here comes the Clothesline from Heck and suck my giant balls High Flyer!
As Solex goes for his clothesline from hell, High Flyer avoids it by rolling it underneath and as he completes his somersault he leaps and springboards off of the middle ropes looking for a shoulder tackle of his own but Solex is able to counter with a stunner.
Joe Hoffman: SOLEXECUTION!
Benny Newell: Flyer flopping around like the stinky fish he is.
Solex quickly goes for a cover hooking both legs.
Boettcher signals for the bell
Bryan McVay: And your winner by pinfall, HOW’s #1 Dad! Steven! SOOOOOLLLLEEEEX!
As Solex gets to his feet Boettcher raises his arm high in victory as the number one dad shouts his catchphrase to the masses as we cut to the backstage area.
On The Dotted Line
The scene opens up in an office with Darin Matthews sitting at a desk. Matthews is impatiently looking behind him, twiddling his thumbs. Slowly a piece of paper is pushed right in front of him and his eyes light up with excitement. It’s just what he’s wanted for all these weeks: an HOW contract, fully restored with all his previous benefits. He rushes to grab the clip board and immediately places his signature on the dotted line.
Darin Matthews: Thank you! Thank you! I knew you recognized talent when you saw it. You’ve always had a knack for seeing the future! You’ve known my history. You’ve seen my work ethic. You know I will not let you down.
The camera pans directly towards 10% HOW Owner and HOW’s Tag Team Godfather Mario Maurako. He looks at Matthews with an emotionless look on his face.
Mario Maurako: I recognized your talents, Darin. When I last had power in HOW, you never let me down. You’re a hot commodity that shows future promise. It’s quite an investment. HOW will undertake to restore your contract. What can you give HOW in return?
Darin Matthews: Don’t you remember, Mario? Under your regime back in 2015; I won the ICON Championship, my first singles championship in HOW. I know when a business man like you sees opportunity. I won’t let you down. Especially with this level of investment.
As Matthews continues to yammer on Mario strokes his chin, looking intently at a manilla envelope sitting on his desk. He picks it up and slides it in front of Matthews. He looks Darin straight in the eyes with fierce intensity.
Mario Maurako: Excellent, Matthews! Just the words I want to hear. I’ve fulfilled my end of the deal Matthews. With that contract you signed you are back in HOW. Then there is this envelope, the second part of the deal. Upon signing that, the match with Hollywood at War Games becomes official. I just want to make sure you UNDERSTAND the offer. You come to me with favors, and now I’ve granted them. Now I’m the future if I need you to do something…
Darin Matthews: Mario, you don’t have to worry about my commitment to you. We have history. Unlike Lee Best or Scott Woodson who treat me like some untrained puppy, you respect me and I respect you. Of course I’m here to do anything you ask of me.
As Mario’s hands fold in with the envelope, Matthews pulls it and looks in it with eyes widened. His smile grows from ear to ear as he keeps reading intently. After he finishes the contents, he perks right up and signs the document. He is committed to helping his old friend Mario out. Mario sneers as Matthews starts to leave his office.
Mario Maurako: Good, so now at War Games it will be Matthews vs Hollywood. Now don’t disappoint me, otherwise you might regret it.
Mario walks Matthews out with his contracts in hand as the scene fades to black.
Carded At The Door
Cutting backstage into the Office of the COO of HOW we see Scott Woodson staring across his desk at his tag team partner for War Games. The only remaining member of HATE, RICK. On the desk sits Woodson’s barbed wire hockey stick, which is now covered in blood from what we can only imagine is multiple shots he took at Hughie before he was loaded into a van and shipped off to O’Hare airport for a long flight in the cargo hold of an plane set for San Francisco.
Scott Woodson: Some people say I gave up too much to get us into the War Games Tag Team Title match. Those people are fucking stupid. Those people are uniformed. They don’t have a fucking clue what they are talking about…
Woodson nods his head as he continues to stare back at RICK who has littered his desk with hotdog wrappers, french fry containers and soda cups… without using coasters.
Scott Woodson: You know we have catering back here…
RICK nods at Woodson taking a massive bite out of a hotdog covered in bits of onion and sauerkraut, mustard yellow and ketchup red globs sticking to the hair on his upper lip.
Scott Woodson: So I need to know that you have my back. That you… unlike Lucian and Hughie aren’t gonna try and fuck me over. That I can trust you as we go to fucking war against three of the best tag teams that HOW has ever seen since… well maybe Perfectly Marvelous… or The Maurako Family or Ascended Supremacy or The Sons of Best or Ground Zero… or the BJs, Brothers of the Beast, The Axis Powers, Sex and Money, Alpha Beta Slam or Bobbinette Carey and Kirsta Lewis…
RICK shoves the remainder of his last hot dog in his mouth as he nods his head back at Woodson.
His voice, muffled by the mouthful of hot dog, still boomed throughout the office as he slammed his fist on Woodson’s desk which sent empty fry containers to the floor.
Scott Woodson: Whoever the Bandits choose to fight for them, we know that behind the egg jokes, the red neck fishing and the cardboard fucking army, they are going to bring it. That the Hollywood Bruvs will have no idea who the fuck we are, but know for some unknown fucking reason they are better than us… and then the Odd Couple, Tag Team Champion team of the former two time HOW World Champion Joe Bergman and the homeless shit fuck Andy Murray. Two men who despite hating the holy fuck out of each other, will still be the toughest fucking challenge we have to face…
Scott Woodson: Damn right. We know there is a reason why Lee picked Murray for his War Games team… what the fuck that is… I still don’t know. But will he be focused fully on this match? No. Hell. Fuck. No. He can lie all the fuck he wants… or maybe just admit it. But he won’t care as much about this match as he’ll care about winning one of the other three titles later in the night. But despite all that, the man will be a hell of a fucking threat. So that is why I need you RICK… I need you to focus on Andy Murray… to destroy him in that fucking ring and make sure he can’t help Bergman retain the HOW Tag Team Titles… and that he can’t help Lee Best win fucking War Games.
RICK: RICK!!!! RIIIICCCCKKKK!!!!!!
Scott Woodson: There are so many moving pieces here… so much that no one else understands. Yes, these Tag team Titles are important… damn fucking important. But they are just one piece, one cog in the giant machine that is HOW. A machine that control of… real fucking control of… is a way bigger prize. Enough of fucking ranting though… time for some food, all these wrappers are making me fucking hungry.
RICK pats his belly and leans back in his seat. He reaches for one of the cardboard cups of Coke, brings the straw to his lips and draws in a mouthful of the sweet liquid. Swallowing with a sigh, he sets the cup back onto Woodson’s desk – still without a coaster, much to Woodson’s chagrin. Just as he was about to say something about it, a massive belch erupted from RICK’s mouth, and again he patted his belly.
Scott Woodson: Of course you could use more food… ok, let me order us something. I do agree the food Lee sets out for catering is fucking dog shit.
Opening his desk drawer, Woodson starts to search for something, but after a few moments it seems that he can’t find whatever he is looking for.
Scott Woodson: Shit… seems I must have left my credit card in my car. Hang on a moment RICK, let me run out to my car, it must be there.
Getting up from his desk, Woodson makes an exit from his office as RICK watches the COO of HOW leave. When the door closes behind him, RICK reaches into his pocket and pulls out a #97Red HOW credit card. Leaning over the desk, RICK slips the card back into Woodson’s drawer as he looks around the room for a second and nods his head with a smile, believing he is completely invisible… even to the camera pointing right at him.
WAR GAMES MAIN EVENT FOR THE WORLD, ICON & LSD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Captain Michael Lee Best©, Farthington©, Dan Ryan, Lindsay Troy vs. Max Kael©, Andy Murray©, Perfection, ??
WAR GAMES MATCH FOR THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
The eGG Bandits vs. The Hollywood Bruvs vs. HATE vs Joe Bergman and Andy Murray©
Brian Hollywood vs Darin Matthews
#11 Dan Ryan vs. #7 Perfection
As Refueled returns from break, we find ourselves at ringside once more, anticipating the next contest of the evening. There’s a small buzz of excitement in the crowd over being witness to another clash between 24K and the Group of Death, a Cold War of sorts that has been brewing over the past few months.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back everyone and boy do we have a match for you.
Benny Newell: We do?
Joe Hoffman: Of course we do! The second draft pick for Mike Best’s War Games team, the legendary Dan Ryan is about to stand in the ring against Lee Best’s third draft pick, Perfection.
Benny Newell: Perfection has spent the last few weeks putting the lime in the coconut and drinking it all up, he’s clearly ready to take down decrepit Dan after his rest and relaxation!
The chitter chatter between the Hall of Fame announce team is cut short by “Perfect Gentleman” by Helloween booming over the arena’s sound system, marking the soon to be arrival of 24K’s Perfection. Perfection exits from behind the curtain. He raises his arms accepting the crowd’s reaction to his wonderfulness. Perfection makes his way towards the ring taking his time to jaw-jack with fans near the rails.
Joe Hoffman: And there he is, the man who came up just short in his challenge for the ICON Championship against Mike Best mere weeks ago. You have to know he’ll be seeking to prove that Lee Best made the right pick
Benny Newell: Of course Lee made the right pick! This man was hardly beaten by Mike Best, he was beaten by himself! No one can beat a man who oozes perfectosity other, he can only fail himself.
Joe Hoffman: A HOW Hall of Famer and multi-time World Champion had NOTHING to do with the loss?
Benny Newell: Of course not, dumbass. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia! DRINK!
Perfection walks up the stairs to enter the ring. He poses for all to see flexing and smiling those pearly whites before wiping the bottom of his boots on the apron.
Bryan McVay: The following contest is scheduled for one fall…
Joe Hoffman: ONE..fa…
The camera cuts to the sight of Benny Newell smacking Joe Hoffman’s microphone away from his headset and giving him the silent stink eye.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, representing 24K, standing at six feet tall and weighing in at two-hundred thirty-pounds… PERFECTIONNNNNNN!
Perfection grabs the middle rope leaning over it and yells at fans in the front row as “Perfect Gentleman” fades away and is instead replaced with “Zero” by the Smashing Pumpkins, eliciting the same mixed response from the crowd as Perfection had mere moments earlier. Dan Ryan steps out onto the entrance way, surveying the crowd from his rather high perch.
Joe Hoffman: Dan Ryan teamed up with Mike Best to crack a few of the Egg Bandits last week in competition…
Benny Newell: Hardly, Mike Best done all the heavy lifting for the old man. He doesn’t stand a chance out there against a young, energetic and exciting talent like Perfection!
Joe Hoffman: …you’ve seen a Perfection match before right? No one can argue his technical credentials but I don’t know if our fans in the AllState Arena would agree that he’s exciting in the ring.
Ryan walks directly to the ring, rolls in under the bottom rope and climbs the nearest turnbuckle, keeping his arms down and smirking into the crowd as the music plays.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, representing the Group of Death… he weighs in tonight at three hundred pounds even and stands at six foot, seven inches in height he is The Egobuster… DANNNNN RYANNNNNNN!
Ryan casually makes his way to his corner, not breaking eye contact with Perfection for a single second. Perfection for his part gives Ryan a cheeky wave, not wiping the smug smile of satisfaction off his face for a second.
Joe Hoffman: I’ve got to question strategy wise if it’s smart to rile up your much larger opponent seconds before the bell.
Referee Joel Hortega signals to both men to check if they are ready for battle, a small head nod from Ryan and a bouncing smile from Perfection are good enough for HOW’s long time ref as he calls for the bell.
Ding ding ding
Perfection immediately walks to the center of the ring and begins to jaw at Ryan, who remains stoic in his corner, studying the situation for a few moments. Perfection quickly turns his attention to Hortega, demanding that he make Ryan get out of the corner and fight him. The small window of distraction proves costly for the 24K member though, as Ryan rushes in, spins and drills him upside the head with a rolling elbow. Perfection tries to stabilize himself for a few seconds as he feels his legs weaken but eventually human biology gets the best of him and he crumbles down to the mat. Ryan drops down to hook the leg.
Benny Newell: Cheap shot by Dan Ryan! Those are the kind of disgusting tactics that the Group of Death are known for. It’s no wonder that Lee Best didn’t want a single one of them on his War Games’ team.
Joe Hoffman: Max Kael?
Benny Newell: No wonder Lee Best didn’t want two of them on his War Games team!
Joe Hoffman: I think we just witnessed the response to Perfection’s shot at Dan Ryan’s manhood and you have to wonder if Perfection regrets winding the giant up.
The wide eyes of Perfection tell the story of the sense he may have entered the contest overly confident. Ryan looks over to Hortega, more frustrated in himself than he does the referee. Perfection rolls out of the ring and to the outside mat, trying to shake the cobwebs free as Hortega does his best mime to explain the kickout to Ryan. Ryan walks over to yell at Perfection and the 24K member rushes over to sweep the bottom of Ryan’s leg under the bottom rope. He doesn’t floor Dan Ryan but rather staggers him. Perfection uses his smaller frame to his advantage, leaping up on the apron, grabbing Ryan’s head and dropping him throat first across the top rope.
Benny Newell: Look at that man! Such excellent ring awareness shown by Perfection.
Joe Hoffman: Out of ring, certainly. The domain of the underhanded.
Benny Newell: A win’s a win any way you paint it.
Hortega walks over to admonish Perfection for using the ring ropes in dastardly fashion but it does not seem to bother him much. He quickly flashes his pearly whites to Hortega and shrugs his shoulders as he rolls back into the ring, Ryan gasping for air. Perfection places himself behind the much larger Ryan, bounces himself back against the ring ropes and clips the back of Ryan’s knee with extra force of the rebound. It’s still not quite enough to stagger the big man, who is starting to show signs of pain in his scrunched up expression. Perfection takes a second step back and clips the knee once more. This gets Ryan down to one knee and Perfection tries to grab Ryan by the foot. He hoists Ryan’s leg up into his possession looking for a Dragon Screw Leg Whip but as he tries to spin, Ryan remains in place. Ryan hops up and down with clear rage in his rage, slapping Perfection right across the cheek. Perfection drops Ryan’s leg and staggers backwards into the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Perfection thought those two clips would do the job but it takes a lot more than that to stagger a man of Dan Ryan’s proportions.
Benny Newell: If I was in a ring with Dan Ryan, the clips I would use wouldn’t be leg ones.
Joe Hoffman: Are you saying you would shoot Dan Ryan in the ring?
Benny Newell: It’s legal if it’s in a ring, baybee.
An audible exasperated sigh from Joe Hoffman is heard over his microphone as Ryan attempts to follow Perfection to the ropes. Perfection locks himself between the top and middle rope, causing Hortega to rush in and back Ryan away for the clean break. Perfection looks quite pleased with himself as Ryan slowly backs away at the beckoning of the HOW official. Perfection moves with speed, grabbing Ryan by the neck and snapping him over his shoulder. The damage from the knee clips means Ryan can quite hold base and Perfection flips him over. Perfection is quick to shimmy behind Ryan and lock the larger man in a sleeper hold, trying to apply all the force he can muster to keep it locked in nice and snug.
Joe Hoffman: The younger and quicker Perfection used the ropes to his advantage to create some space and rushed right in to take control of the match.
Benny Newell: He’s showing up that lumbering grandad Ryan!
Joe Hoffman: Dan Ryan is 41 years old…
Benny Newell: He could still be a grandpappy!
Ryan struggles, rolling his neck backwards and forwards in an attempt to shake free of the hold, gasping out for air as he does so. Perfection is quite satisfied that the hold is doing its work Ryan reaches his long arm out, batting for a nearby rope but he doesn’t quite have the reach as Perfection wrenches it in ever tighter. Joel Hortega checks on Ryan, lifting the arm and letting it drop once. Perfection doesn’t wait to see if it hits twice as he lets go of the hold, keeping Ryan in a seated position. He bounds off the ropes and drills a dropkick straight into the chest of Ryan who is already choking for air. He rolls over on top of Ryan, hooking the leg…
A powerful kickout by Ryan at two sends Perfection up in the air but he manages to scramble and land on his feet.
Joe Hoffman: Perfection knows he can’t go for any impact in this match, he has to wear Ryan down and he’s showing that now.
Benny Newell: Ring smarts like that is exactly why Lee Best drafted him for his War Games team. Best doesn’t need a bunch of arrogant brawlers and shitty little arm snappers, he needs thinking grapplers and Perfection is exactly that.
Joe Hoffman: You don’t think Lee’s worried about Mike having his number?
Benny Newell: HE BEAT HIMSELF!
Perfection sees a groggy Ryan slowly getting back up to an even base, not wanting for his opponent to get a fresh batch of air in his lungs, Perfection drills a couple of stiff knees into the gut of Ryan. He hooks Ryan by the arm and twists him around.
Benny Newell: PICTURE PERFECT! THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHY HE’S WAS ONE OF LEE’S PICKS.
Joe Hoffman: It looks like Dan Ryan is squirming though!
Ryan begins to roll his elbow, feeling the grip of Perfection starting to loosen. He manages to get one arm to break free and uses the free arm to drill a forearm right upside the skull of Perfection. Perfection goes quite loose legged but tries to bat backwards and relock in Ryan’s arm. A second forearm shot fully frees Ryan from the grips of Perfection and The Egobuster spots his moment. Not allowing Perfection to get back into the action, he wraps his big meaty Texan paw around the throat of Perfection and hoists the dizzy opponent up on his shoulders. So dizzy in fact, I’d say his head was spinning.
Joe Hoffman: It looks like Dan Ryan is looking to lock Perfection in a modified Torture Rack here, locking his arm under his opponents throat.
Benny Newell: Oh no. OH JESUS.
Joe Hoffman: THAT’S NOT A TORTURE RACK!
Ryan shifts Perfection’s weight around his shoulder until he is satisfied that the man of golden mane is in position. What happens next is Perfection’s neck crashing hard against the mat with the full force of Ryan behind it, Ryan drilling Perfection into the mat with a picture perfect Burning Hammer.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think we’ve seen it’s appearance in HOW to date but he calls that The Headliner!
Benny Newell: HE’S FUCKING DECAPITATED PERFECTION! ILLEGAL! CALL FOR THE BELL HORTEGA!
Joe Hoffman: A Burning Hammer is a perfectly acceptable wrestling move and it looks like Ryan brought out the big guns on Perfection in perhaps the hopes of getting an edge heading into War Games.
Perfection looks out cold from the sheer force of the drop. Ryan presses down on his opponent for the cover.
Ding ding ding
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner of the bout… DAN RYAN!
Ryan looks down at Perfection, clearly pondering whether he should take advantage of the moment and up the attack. He shakes off his demon, allowing the angel to take over as Joel Hortega raises his arm up high and “Zero” booms over the speaker system once more. Ryan takes one last look at his handiwork, satisfied with his day’s work he rolls out of the ring.
Benny Newell: Dan Ryan will be looking to answer for that heinous crime at War Games. Perfection will remember this!
Joe Hoffman: With the force of that drop, I’m not sure if Perfection will remember his own name.
Benny Newell: All Dan Ryan has done is make HOW’s greatest technical wrestler in history angry. He’s playing possum right now and will strike in the cage!
We fade away from the segment as Joel Hortega attempts to rouse the defeated Perfection back to his senses.
Bobbinette Carey walks into Mario’s office. She is wearing a black t-shirt that says “I can’t breathe.” In big white words. The black baggy t shirt hangs over a pair of black leggings. Her gray hair pulled into a sloppy bun. She’s got a giant bruise above her eyebrow.
Bobbinette: Protests are now more violent than wrestling.
She laughs lightly.
Bobbinette: I don’t hear from you for years then twice in one month? I’m starting to think you really missed me.
Mario Maurako: Carey, I’m so glad you could make it again. Would you like to sit, stand, maybe strike a yoga pose?
Bobbinette: You know if you did a little yoga you might not be so… tense… You look like this job has already aged you more than the past few years have.
She laughs lightly pointing at his age lines.
Bobbinette: So what do you want?
She raises the Curious bride looking suspiciously over at him.
Mario Maurako: You know you keep making these wise cracks about my age, did you even hear I had a heart attack and almost died? You’re looking old as shit too for what it’s worth. Did you get that contract offer I had sent over to your people?
Bobbinette: I dyed my hair gray on purpose. Wait you had a heart attack? I guess that’s proof there is one in there after all.
She laughs. She clears her throat.
Mario Maurako: Ha. Someone has jokes tonight. So did you get that contract or not?
She nods her head.
Bobbinette: I did, and I will admit I was intrigued. It is you, of all people offering me a contract… this is the gift horse to look in the mouth.
She crosses her arms in front of her.
Mario Maurako: Well I’ll be honest with you. Initially when I received my 10% ownership of HOW I started to think about what I should do first. The first thing that came to my mind was to fire you. But there was one problem with that. You’re not under contract. So the contract was drafted with that in mind. However, I’ve since completely changed my mind.
Mario stands up from his desk and walks over to Bobbinette and gives her a firm hug. He then breaks the hug but continues holding Carey by the arms.
Mario Maurako: Now, I just want to thank you.
Bobbinette: Thank me?
Mario Maurako: Yes. Thank you. Because without Bobbinette Carey all those years ago nobody would even know my name. I’d just be the guy whose wife was kidnapped by Crow. So thank you for giving me an opportunity to be so much more than that.
She breaks the hug and looks back and is confused.
Bobbinette: Is this where you bring out the whack-o-meter?
She looks so confused.
Bobbinette: You’re dying is that it?
Mario Maurako: Well I mean technically aging is dying so I am. But hopefully not anytime soon. And no, there’s no Whack-o-Meter. Just honest appreciation, because if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even be in a position to be in the Hall of Fame. You’re a legend, and you deserve my respect. So this is me, extending a real olive branch to you for you to do with it as you please. By signing it you’re free to come and go as you please, wrestle, don’t wrestle, pole dance, I don’t care.
Bobbinette: You know what, recently I have learned people can change and having a heart attack can change people too.
She looks over the contract.
Bobbinette: You’re a father. I’m a mother. Maybe we could finally put an end to Carey vs Maurako. I will give you my answer after War Games. You know I won a War Games?
Mario Maurako: Yes Carey, everyone knows Shane Reynolds won a War Games and you crowned yourself cham-
Mario stops and takes a deep breath.
Mario Maurako: I mean, yes, everyone knows you won a War Games.
No "M" In Team?
Far from the ring.
Not too far. Upper deck. Front row. High Octane athlete MJ Flair is leaning forward, her hands on the rail and her chin on her hands, studying the aftermath of the match. To her right on the aisle, her father Eli Flair leans back, his long legs stretched into the aisle.
He leans to the left and claps his daughter on the back, momentarily startling her.
Eli Flair: Nothin’, just surprised you’re still here.
She leans back and puts her foot up on the barricade in front of her.
MJF: Not this time. Clappin’ back on LT was one thing but this isn’t the time ta’ get Dan Ryan.
Eli Flair: Oh?
MJ turns and looks him dead in the eye.
MJF: If I’d gone down there and interfered in the match, and if I’d managed to injure Dan Ryan in the process to the point where he couldn’t even make it to War Games, and if it was too late in the game for Mike Best to choose another partner so we were guaranteed a four – on – three advantage…
She shakes her head.
MJF: Even if all that came ta’ pass, it wouldn’t be worth it ta’ me to help little Jimmy Witherhold.
Eli Flair: Wow. And I thought it was personal with Andy Murray.
MJF: Little Jimmy is a shit sucking hemorrhoid who knows how ta be a douche. Andy made it personal with me, but how he’s talking, how Knox and Cally talk about him, he looks like someone who just recently memorized how ta’ be a douche.
She puts her foot down and crosses her legs, leaning back in her seat.
MJF: And Max, it was always business with him. I can respect that.
Eli Flair: You’re forgettin’ part’a that.
MJF: What’s that?
Eli Flair: You wanna win War Games, you’re gonna need t’learn t’work with all three of ‘em.
Her attention returns to the ring as her face grows serious.
MJF: Yeah… I know. First up, I need ta’ see this next one. Champ hasn’t wrestled in over a month, if the Bruvs find any weaknesses that they’d obviously share with the others I don’t wanna have to rely on their sportsmanship ta’ share.
Eli Flair: …Good answer.
Team Lee Best looks to walk out of War Games with all the singles championships. Will they succeed?
Safe & Sound
A blue mechanical eye flickers to life as Maximillian Wilhelm Kael’s face springs to life, a look of shock and surprise. His face is pale, the half beard on his face shaggy and damp. His strange blue eye stares forward with recognition.
Sighing, Max stands, his body covered in a dirty, bloodstained High Octane Wrestling prison uniform. It looks like the uniform has been burnt, ripped and desecrated in unspeakable ways, the results of countless battles at Rumble at the Rock. Casting a glance around the room he lets a low, empty chuckle escape his lips.
Max Kael: You think this is new for me? You think you’re going to break me with this? You can’t lock me away.. Mike will come, or I’ll break out..
Shambling forward Max’s thin fingers reach out and curl around metal bars of what looks to be a small window set into an isolation cell, a frown weighing down his lip. His brow furrowed as sorrow slowly melts into indignation and hatred.
Max Kael: You hear me?! YOU CAN’T KEEP ME HERE FOREV-
The small barred window he stares out is suddenly slammed shut, his face vanishing behind a dirty white metal door as well as Max’s screaming which now sounds like little more than distant, incomprehensible gibberish. Two EPU guards stand on either side of the door in full riot gear, their faces hidden behind mirrored face masks.
Sweeping into the frame is the masked man dressed in his pristine white suit, his face covered by a rubber mask of Max Kael’s face. He flicks away what looks to be a half smoked cigarette before speaking, his voice still distorted and warped making it impossible to recognize it.
Masked Man: As you can see, Michael, Max is safe and sound. Of course, as you can also see he won’t be able to compete at War Games so instead Lee Best has decided to let me fill in for him. We’ll get to that later, I just wanted you to see that I am a man of my word. Now it’s your turn to keep your word and meet me later tonight.
With a dismissive wave of his hand before wandering back off screen as we return ringside.
#1 Hollywood Bruvs vs. #8 GoD
A spotlight falls onto the stage, as “Fucking In The Bushes” by Oasis begins to blast over the speakers, getting the energy level up in the arena. Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix make their way out from behind the curtain, wearing two very-much-on-sale Hollywood Bruvs t-shirts, each just different enough to ensure that you’ll want to buy both.
Pyro rips across the stage, as both Mikey and Kendrix strike a pose at the top of the ramp. Mikey points at the back of Kendrix’s t-shirt, but the hokey smiles on the faces of the Bruvs look somewhat more menacing tonight as they end the impromptu commercial and begin bounding down the ramp toward the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Here they are, folks— the NUMBER ONE ranked tag team in HOW. The Hollywood Bruvs already hold one victory over the Group of Death, and tonight they’re hoping to make it a clean sweep.
Benny Newell: The only reason the Bruvs haven’t already beaten Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington is that they’ve never FACED Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington. Forget WINNING.. the Goobers of Death will be lucky to make it to War Games alive after tonight.
The Bruvs hop onto the apron at the same time, ducking under the ropes in unison for good measure. After posing in the ring and engaging in their patented form of pageantry, the two meet in the center of the ring for a powerful Gluefist before their opponents arrive.
Joe Hoffman: Despite your crippling bias, Benny, there’s a good point to be made in it. While Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington might hold the advantage in a singles match environment, they aren’t facing Mikey or Jesse one on one. This is tag team competition, and tonight is the first time that Best and Farthington have EVER competed as a tag team.
Benny Newell: The Hollywood Bruvs are the Coca Cola of tag teams. Top of their league, everyone knows them, and like them or not, you know you’re gonna buy their shit every time. And do you know what goes with Coke, Joe?
Joe Hoffman: Is it rum, Benny?
Benny Newell: RUM! Celebratory drink!
YOU WANNA SEE A DEAD BODY?
As the slow opening beats of “Slow Your Roll” by Everlast begin to pump over the sound system, the AllState Arena comes alive with a very loud, but very mixed reaction for the arrival of Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington. The Group of Death’s patron saints of murder step out onto the stage with the HOW World and ICON Championships slung over their shoulders, looking out into the crowd and then down at the Hollywood Bruvs in the ring. Talking amongst themselves, the pair of bee eff effs saunter down the ramp, making their way to ringside.
Joe Hoffman: It’s hard to identify two men more dangerous than Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington, folks. Two men known not only for their championship runs, but for their fondness for hurting their opponents far beyond what is needed to win a match.
Benny Newell: Two months ago you’d have called them shitty bullies, but you know… you’re a hypocrite.
Joe Hoffman: Says the man who was dry humping the Group of Death until Lee Best announced the Era of Tough Love.
Benny Newell: CECILWORTH BROKE MY GODDAMNED ARM AND MIKE BEST IS A VERY NAUGHTY BOY.
Handing their championships off to Bryan McVay at ringside, the duo slowly approach the ring. Cecilworth climbs the steps, ducking through the ropes, as Mike Best rolls directly into the ring beside him. After a brief discussion with the two, Mike Best agrees to take the first shift in the ring, and Farthington steps out onto the apron to await his turn like a good lad.
Referee Matt Boettcher checks with both Mike Best and then Mikey Unlikely, who will be starting the match for the Bruvs. Once all the competitors are squared away, he rings the bell to begin the match.
DING DING DING
In the GoD corner, Mike Best stretches out his rotator cuff and limbers up his elbow, throwing a few phantom strikes in preparation for the contest. The move appears to be an attempt to intimidate the Bruvs, and immediately Mikey goes back to his corner to quickly discuss the match at hand with his partner.
Immediately seeing opportunity, Mike Best charges the Bruv’s corner, but Mikey is ready for him! He sidesteps, tangling Best into a drop toe hold, and Kendrix follows up with a European uppercut from the apron as the ICON champion falls!
Joe Hoffman: Devastating teamwork from the Hollywood Bruvs literally off the opening bell. This could be an uphill climb for Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington.
Benny Newell: No shit, Dick Tracy. I told you.
The ICON Champions slumps over, but Mikey Unlikely stuffs him into the Bruv’s corner, wailing back with a hard knife edge chop. And then another. And then another. Harsh red welts form on the chest of Michael Best, as Mikey feigns wiping sweat from his brow, mocking the Group of Death.
Mikey reaches out and tags in Kendrix, before reeling back and nailing another knife edged chop in the corner. Kendrix ducks in through the ropes, and now the double team is on as Mike Best finds himself eating chops from both members of the Hollywood Bruvs.
In the opposing corner, Farthington ducks into the ring and makes a beeline to save his friend and partner, but Matt Boettcher stops him midway and begins telling him to get back out of the ring. This only slows down the beginning of the five count, giving the Bruvs even more time to beat down on the HOW ICON Champion.
Joe Hoffman: Not only are the Hollywood Bruvs quick and dangerous, but they’re whip smart in the ring. They are completely in control early in this match.
Benny Newell: Look at this fucking idiot, Joe. He literally just bought them more time.
Joe Hoffman: Tag team wrestling is its own art form, Benny. It’s almost like a dance, and the Bruvs are facing two men who haven’t had a lot of time to learn to tango.
Benny Newell: I really fucking hate that analogy. Holy shit.
Farthington retreats back to the apron, as Boettcher finally counts off to five, forcing Mikey Unlikely to duck out as well. This leaves Kendrix alone in the ring with Mike Best, and he immediately tosses Mike to the ropes with an Irish whip.
On the rebound, Mike Best ducks a clothesline attempt from Jesse Kendrix, and then bounces off the opposite ropes. He’s stumbled, though, as Mikey Unlikely sucker punches the ICON Champ directly in the back of the skull! Best staggers forward, and walks directly into a belly-to-belly suplex from Kendrix!
With a sneer on his face, Kendrix drops a hard elbow onto his opponent, immediately standing to his feet and dropping another. Finally, he makes a little “wanker” gesture to the crowd, who boo accordingly as he drops the third and final elbow…
But Mike Best rolls away!
Joe Hoffman: NOBODY HOME! He might have hit that, if he didn’t take time to antagonize the crowd.
Benny Newell: The first piece of offense they’ve faced tonight is from the RING, Joe. I think they’ll be fucking fine.
With no pads to break his fall, Kendrix is left holding his elbow and wincing in pain as he collides with the canvas. Michael Best keeps rolling, realizing he could be in bad shape as he makes his way to the turnbuckle and tags out. Kendrix does the same, heading for his corner and bringing Mikey Unlikely back into the match, keeping the Hollywood Bruvs consistently fresh throughout this matchup.
Cecilworth Farthington is amped to go as he climbs into the ring, beelining for Mikey Unlikely and barraging him with blows in the corner. The reigning HOW World Champion immediately throws a punch at Jesse Kendrix as well, staggering him on the apron and giving himself from room to fight as the new legal man in the match.
Farthington throws Mikey to the ropes, catching him with a kitchen sink knee strike on the rebound that keels him over at the stomach. Following up, Farthington throws Mikey’s head in between his thighs, and drops him in the center of the ring with a Gotch-style piledriver! Farthington makes the cover, as Mikey is shuddered by the impact!
Jesse Kendrix throws a wild kick, nailing Farthington directly in the head and breaking up the pinfall attempt. He points at his own head, taunting the Group of Death as Farthington is knocked off of his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: Close call there for the Hollywood Bruvs, after a devastating piledriver.
Benny Newell: THERE ARE TWO OF THEM, CECILWORTH! You fucking idiot! How do those boots taste?
Mikey Unlikely is still holding his neck, after being spiked on his neck just seconds ago. He crawls his way over toward the ropes, ready to make the tag, but Farthington is already back up on his feet! He answers Kendrix’s kick to the head with one of his own, knocking Mikey back down to the canvas before he can reach Jesse Kendrix, who has returned to his corner. Farthington gathers up the fallen Unlikely, dragging him back toward the middle of the ring and repeatedly slapping him in the face, mocking the King of the Frapp for his terrible choice in beverages and generally attempting to make light of him. Mikey struggles back and pulls free, throwing an open palmed slap of his own, and catching Farthington directly across the mouth!
There is a tremendous “OOH” from the crowd as Farthington slowly recoils from the strike, and his eyes fill with that glossed over murder stare that generally only comes out at pay-per-view shows. He takes a step toward Mikey Unlikely, asking him to do it again.
Mikey obliges, and this time strikes the HOW World Champion even harder. Farthington recoils, and this time he responds with a vicious European uppercut that takes Mikey right off his feet. Unlikely stumbles backward, rebounding off the ropes to get some momentum, but Farthington catches him flat footed and locks him up for a Fisherman’s buster, in the middle of the ring!
Joe Hoffman: WORTHLESS!
Benny Newell: You’re fuckin’ right he is.
Joe Hoffman: No, it’s the name of the–
Benny Newell: I KNOW, I’M BEING FACETIOUS.
Mikey Unlikely collides with the canvas, but Farthington doesn’t hold on for the pin. Instead, with his murder-meter now bordering on “overload”, he grabs hold of the arm of Mikey Unlikely, and now the crowd begins to buzz. Farthington cries out into the arena, and it gets even louder.
CMF: MEH… SHADDUP!
The crowd is confused, but still excited, as Cecilworth wrenches at Mikey‘s arm, preparing for LITERAL ARM MURDER. Unfortunately, this time there’s someone here to stop him— Jesse Kendrix collides with the back of Farthington’s head, blasting him with a forearm that shakes Mikey free from perhaps the deadliest move in HOW.
Kendrix throws a kick to the back of Farthington’s knee, taking him down to a kneel before Boettcher intervenes and forces him back out of the ring. It buys enough time for Mikey, though, who climbs to his feet and heads for the corner, nursing his shoulder that admittedly is already in some pain.
Mikey tags out, and Kendrix tags in.
In the GoD corner, Mike Best is begging for the tag, wanting to get back into the ring and get in on the action. Farthington heads for the corner, but he’s caught by Kendrix, who is once again legal. Kendrix takes advantage of his positioning, managing to rake at the eyes of the World Champion without the referee seeing it– Farthington is blinded, holding his face as Kendrix takes a step back, launching forward with a superkick that takes CMF off his feet!
Joe Hoffman: A sincerely impressive effort from the Hollywood Bruvs tonight, who are acting so fluidly together that you could swear they were one man. They’ve been watching the Group of Death since the day they arrived, and they have stopped every opportunity so far. I can’t say I appreciate the eye rake, but it’s an ugly step in an otherwise perfect ballet.
Benny Newell: What the fuck is up with the dancing bullshit tonight, Joe? We’re watching the Group of Death get dissected like frogs in fucking science class and you’re talking about ballet. Jesus fucking Christ, I want that weird French Canadian guy back.
Kendrix makes a cover, staring at Mike Best on the apron as it’s counted.
Mike Best isn’t quick enough to make the save, but Farthington powers out at the last second, avoiding a hard loss just in the nick of time. Mike Best tries to help his partner up, but there appears to be the slightest amount of bickering between them as he does it. Boettcher forces Mike back into the corner, but the argument appears to be continuing– Farthington follows him to the corner, and the frustration appears to be mounting between Mike Best and his alleged best friend!
Joe Hoffman: This is new. The pressure is getting to them, folks. I’ve literally never seen these two argue before– this isn’t a good look headed into the biggest team event of the year.
Benny Newell: This is what 24K wants, Joe. This match isn’t even about winning or losing. It’s about getting into their fucking heads, and taking them off the same page. And it’s WORKING.
Mike Best yells at Farthington, demanding that he tag him in, but Cecilworth balks. He turns to walk back toward the match, but Mike Best slaps him on the shoulder, blind tagging in against Farthington’s will! The crowd isn’t sure how to react, but definitely cheers for the luke-warm tag as a confused Farthington looks absolutely disgusted.
Jesse Kendrix heads for the corner to keep up the fight, but stops himself– Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington are still arguing! He crosses his arms in front of him, looking back at Mikey with a snicker, as the two admire their handiwork. Farthington shoves Mike Best, and this gets a big “OOH!” from the crowd. An even bigger “OOH!” comes next, as Mike shoves his best friend right back! Kendrix couldn’t be smiling bigger, as Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington nearly go nose to nose, talking shit to one another and–
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound a human head makes, when it hits the canvas after being simultaneously clotheslined by two grown men.
Joe Hoffman: You gotta be kidding me!
Benny Newell: WHAT! WHAAAAT?! BULLSHIT! CHICANERY! ILLEGAL!
The ruse of the argument immediately melts away, as Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington smile and high five in their own corner. Kendrix rolls to his side, winded from the impact, as Farthington picks him up off the canvas– he whips Kendrix toward his tag team partner, and Mike catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex! Kendrix is back up almost immediately, but as fast as he’s up, he’s taken over with another! This time, he’s slower to get up– he climbs to a knee, trying to shake off the cobwebs.
Mikey Unlikely has had enough, as he ducks into the ring to come save his partner. Matt Boettcher tries desperately to keep both illegal men from interfering in the active matchup, but Farthington grabs Mikey by the head and tosses him directly over the ropes, to the outside! He follows Mikey to the floor, keeping him occupied, as Mike Best runs behind him to the ropes. He rebounds to the center of the ring, stepping off of Jesse Kendrix’s kneel and kneeing him directly in the skull!
Joe Hoffman: I KNEED A HERO! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!
Benny Newell: This is fucking bullshit. Farthington isn’t legal! They should be disqualified!
Joe Hoffman: …Mikey wasn’t legal either.
Benny Newell: STOP BEING A RACIST.
Mike Best drops for the cover, hooking the leg as Boettcher counts.
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: Here are your winners… Cecilworth Farthington and Michael Lee Best… the GROUP… OF… DEAAAAAAATH!
Cecilworth and Mikey Unlikely hardly hear the bell, still battling outside of the ring as they throw punches along the guardrail. Mike Best throws an arm in the air, sore but triumphant after a hard fought victory against perhaps the greatest tag team in HOW this era. The celebration is short lived, though, as from the top of the ramp, the rest of 24K is on the way!
Joe Hoffman: Here we go, folks… War Games preview time!
Benny Newell: What’s a go home show without the brawl? KILL ‘EM ALL, TEAM LEE!
Andy Murray and Perfection, looking incensed, begin running down the ramp toward the ring. As if on cue, though, Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy jump the guardrail at ringside, already waiting in the wings! Mike Best goes nose to nose with Andy Murray, jawwing off and talking shit back and forth with the King of Wrestling, as Mikey and Farthington rejoin them in the ring– both sides look ready to blow, and the fans are on their feet! They’re just waiting for someone to throw the first–
It’s hard to say who exactly hits who, but the brawl is on in the middle of the ring– 24K and the Group of Death begin throwing hands, brawling it out as referees storm the ring to try to break up the fray!
Joe Hoffman: This is anarchy, ladies and gentlemen! I don’t think there’s anything we can do, they may just tear the roof off of this building here and now! They aren’t waiting for War Games!
Benny Newell: EVERYBODY FUCKING KILL EVERYBODY! DOGS AND CATS, LIVING TOGETHER, MASS HYSTERIA! DRINK! DRINK IT ALL BEFORE WE DIE!
Suddenly, from the entranceway… and from the crowd… and from the emergency exits… and from fucking everywhere… the invasion begins. Dressed in white suits and rubber masks, ever-growing posse of mysterious masked men begin to storm the ring, grabbing hold of the War Games participants and dragging them away from one another. The masks are all different this time, bearing the faces of different members of the HOW Hall of Fame. Graystone, Jatt Starr, Chris Kostoff, Shane Reynolds. Silent Witness, Rhys Townsend, Omar Rasheem, and the like.
An army of faux-Hall of Famers.
Both 24K and the Group of Death fight against the current, but the numbers game is too much– three or four men grasp hold of Dan Ryan, yanking him free and dragging him out of the ring. Lindsay Troy is subdued, and then Andy Murray. Perfection is pulled, kicking and screaming, from the ring, right next to the Hollywood Bruvs. Even the HOW World Champion, Cecilworth Farthington, is slung over the shoulder of a gigantic man in a white suit and a rubber mask.
Only Michael Lee Best remains, and he’s staring at the final man in a mask.
The original man in the mask.
And he’s wearing a very familiar face.
HOW cuts to its final commercial break of the evening.
Team Mike vs. Team Lee battle one last time on June 20th.
Behind The Mask
As HOW Refueled comes back from commercial, we return in the same way that we left.
Michael Lee Best stands in the center of the ring, standing just feet from the Masked Man that has hunted and haunted him since shortly after March to Glory. The eyes of the HOW ICON Champion are cold and angry, as he finally stares face to face with his attacker for the first time.
Or at least he thinks he does.
The sickening sound of steel meeting skull rock the otherwise quiet AllState Arena, as a chair collided directly with the back of Michael’s head. The impersonator who was standing before him bails obediently out of the ring, and now the real assassin shows himself.
He is dressed like all the rest, save for a red flower in the label of his jacket. And the mask he wears is particularly wicked, considering the plight of the Group of Death at this year’s War Games.
He wears the rubber face of Michael’s own brother.
He wears the face of Max Kael.
The man in the white suit sends a stiff kick into Mike’s unprotected ribs that echoes around the area. The crowd on hand is stunned into silence as the masked man rolls Mike onto his back before opening the steel chair across his neck and chest pinning the ICON Champion down. The Masked Man moves in a languid manner, slow and methodical as he takes a seat, retrieving a microphone from his pocket.
The Masked Man: Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. That’s Luke 6:26, are you familiar with it Mike.. may I call you Mike? Do you have a college degree Mike? I don’t so don’t you’ll have to excuse my ignorance,
The voice is distorted in a way, both familiar and unfamiliar, a hissing sharpness that carried a sardonic tone. As he continues he begins removing his black wingtip shoes, his attention focused purely on Mike who begins to struggle against the chair. The Max faced Man leans the chair forward, the lowest bar pressing down hard across Mike’s neck choking him as his face turns red.
The Masked Man: Careful, friend, careful. Believe it or not I don’t want to hurt you. I want to set you free. I’m about to use a parable, I know, I know. It’s cliche’, I can’t can’t help myself..mmhe-hmm. Do you know the Gospel of Luke, Mike? You should, you and your father love to reference it, the story of Jesus Christ, his birth, his death. His resurrection. It is the cornerstone of Christianity, a sacred story to inspire peace and love. You use it as a punchline ‘cause your dad and his brother Eiffel Towered your mother. Lee Best is many things but a God he is not. Nor his son, even if he does desperately try to achieve it..
Having removed his shoes the Max faced Man removes and folds his socks in a meticulous, measured manner, his eyes never leaving Mike. Next to be removed was his coat which he folded and set on the ground next to the chair.
The Masked Man: I’m not looking for a Savior, Mike. I’m not in this game for Jesus Christ. My soul isn’t here to be saved, nobody is. Rapture happened, friend, don’t you see? It’s over out there. The End has happened, rapture came and went and we’re all that’s left. We’re rats left to feed off each other as the world dies.. We don’t need a Savior, Mike. We don’t need a Lamb, Mike. We’re beyond that, friend, we’re in uncharted territory!
He took a moment to slowly remove his white tie from around his neck, folding in several times before he laid it on the coat near Mike’s head. Next, button by button he slowly removed his vest as he continued to speak.
The Masked Man: I’ve been watching you most of your life, Mike, in one way or another. I’ve watched you since you joined High Octane Wrestling under a different name. Watch you struggle, watched you scrape, watched you take up the mantle of Christ and then throw it away eagerly for the name of Best. I’ve watched you attack Lee’s enemies and I’ve watched you become his enemy. Seen you walk away from High Octane Wrestling then watched you simper back.. All of this and yet, we’ve never formally met until now.
Having finished removing his vest the Not-Max Kael reaches up and grabs the button of the rubber mask yanking up on it as the crowd flutters with excitement that immediately turns to a shower of boos as the face of ACTUAL Maximillian Wilhelm Kael is revealed. One strange blue eye glares down at Mike while the mechanical one seems unlit and dark. Suddenly it flickers to life though instead of a bright blue it burns with a malignant red glow. From the live mic in Max’s hand you can hear Mike screaming Max’s name in a mix of anger and betrayal.
The Minister: Max? No, but I don’t blame you for the mistake. Max is gone, baby, I sent him away. You can call me.. mmm..Minister.
His words crack with a vindictive joy, his voice strange, deeper and smoother than the one the world was used to. As he speaks his face stretches into a hateful sneer, metal teeth and rotten gums on full display. Reaching into his pocket the Minister retrieved a butterfly knife, flipping it open between his fingers with ease. The crowd increases the volume of their booing upon recognition of the name as well as the appearance of the blade.
The Minister: I’ve been here for months now, trying to figure it all out. I’ve watched you create the Group of Death, seen you manipulate its members to best serve your own goals. Look Lindsay Troy in the eye and tell her she is just as good as you. Look Dan Ryan in the eye and tell him he’s not just there to round things out. Look me in the eye and tell me you actually care if something happens to Max? I’d be willing to bet you could do all those things, you’re a magnificent liar and you are certainly not Christ, Mike. But I did say I wasn’t looking for one of those right now..
The sneer stretched as he leaned the chair forward once again against Mike’s neck, choking him. With surprising speed the Minister slashed the blade upward across his forehead before dragging it again horizontally. At first what he has done is hard to see, two small red lines creating a cross in the center of his brow. Mike’s horrified reaction grows as the lines become rivers of blood that run down the Minister’s face, dripping from his nose and chin across Mike’s own unprotected face.
The Minister: ..I’m looking for an Anti-Christ.
The lights around the arena begin to shut off one at a time as the fans react to the blood scene in the ring, the low, guttural laugh washing over the darkness. With only a single pillar of light shining down over the ring the crimson blood stands in sharp contrast to the virgin white clothing the Minister wears. Then, just as with the rest of the arena, the light shuts off and darkness washes over the arena.
All at once the lights come back alive, Mike Best left alone in the ring covered in the blood of the Minister.
HOW Refueled comes to an end.