Refueled XXXIII
  • Event Type: weekly

Refueled XXXIII

Event Date: July 18, 2020 at 10:00 pm

#33 RICK vs #30 Kostoff

Joe Hoffman: Time to kick off the action here tonight in this SOLD OUT Allstate Arena with yet another match for Chris Kostoff. And his opponent this week is no one to shake a stick, or a tree for that matter, at!

Benny Newell: Don’t make me start drinking already, Joe. Lee is flexing his genius for us all leading into No Remorse!

Joe Hoffman: It sure doesn’t seem like a coincidence that The Beast has been booked more than any other High Octane talent since War Games.

The crowd basks in the sea of yellow light engulfing them as the sound of a revving chainsaw fills the packed building.  “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John blares through the stadium’s speakers as the ramp lights up in white and the absolutely gigantic belonging to Rick Dickulous emerges from gorilla.

Joe Hoffman: And adding to the week to week gauntlet, here comes the newest eGG Bandit – The One Word Warrior himself!

Bryan McVay: Making his way to the ring… from Toronto, Ontario, Canada… weighing in at four hundred and twenty-five pounds… representing the eGG Bandits… he is… RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!

Rick waves to the crowd and throws two thumbs up as his goofy smile practically jumps off his face. As he makes his way down to the ring, Rick gladhands with the crowd, stops to take selfies, gestures to support signs in the audience, and even signs the occasional autograph.

Benny Newell: I hate to root for this overgrown oaf, but he better kick Kostoff’s ass!

Finally reaching the ring, Rick hops up onto the apron with a mighty two foot leap and lands firmly on the apron, holding the top rope.  He wipes his boots before stepping over the top rope and makes his way to the center of the ring. The big man releases a roar as he flexes his gigantic arms and chest.

Joe Hoffman: Gotta say, Rick looks as ready for The Beast as you can be!

As if beckoned, “Wolf Totem” opening’s chords scream across the speakers as the High Octane Hall of Famer, Chris Kostoff steps out onto the stage. Scanning the arena he’s called home for so long, the Behemoth of HOW slowly makes his way to the ring.

Bryan McVay: And his opponent… hailing from Tampa, Florida… weighing at two hundred and eighty-five pounds… a High Octane Hall of Famer.. he is THE BEAST! CHRIIIIIIISSSSSSS!! KOSTOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!

Benny Newell: Here he comes. DEAD MAN WALKIN’!

Joe Hoffman: Looks like he has a bit of a hitch in his step, too. Maybe the matches are already adding up for the man who turned forty-nine just last month.

Kostoff circles the ring before sliding in, wincing a bit as he pushes himself up and on his feet. The crowd cheers the legend on emphatically.

DING DING

The action starts off with Rick and Kostoff circling each other.

Benny Newell: Looks like the old buzzard IS limping a bit, huh! Oh this should be fun!

Rick suddenly stops and offers up a test of strength. The Beast sneers and steps forward to accept. The two grip hands. Rick starts off strong, bending Kostoff backward. As he leans over the Hall of Famer, Rick smiles.

Joe Hoffman: I wouldn’t have done that.

Kostoff turns red and pushes back. They even out, both standing upright, muscles twitching. The Beast slowly starts pushing Rick backward, unable to bend him. The Canadian audibles, dropping to the mat, and takes Chris down with his own momentum with a toe trip. Kostoff grimaces, then slaps the mat and pops up, just to get sent straight back down by Rick’s big boot stomping on his back.

Benny Newell: Don’t let up, you dumbass! Keep stomping!

The Beast turns over, holding his back. Rick stomps again, then bends over to pick him up –

PAOW!

Joe Hoffman: Holy, moly! The sound of that shot just echoed throughout Allstate Arena!

Rick stumbles back, trying to keep his balance. Kostoff jumps to his feet and charges. He lands another right! Rick stumbles back, then throws a right of his own which connects and sends Kostoff back a step.

Joe Hoffman: Look at these two monsters exchanging blows!

The Beast throws another haymaker, sending Rick two steps back upon impact. Rick shakes it off, steps back up, and responds with a big, meaty right-hand smashing into Kostoff’s face. The shot sends the Hall of Famer back and down to a knee. CK winces while cracking his neck, then leaps forward tackling Rick down by the legs.

Benny Newell: This idiot doesn’t know when he’s outmatched! If Rick was worth his weight, this would already be over!

Kostoff mounts the fallen tree named Rick and starts showering lefts and rights down on his opponent. Hortega tries warning The Beast, but to no avail. More rights and lefts rain down upon the enormous eGG Bandit. Hortega, more sternly warning Kostoff, starts trying to pry him off Rick.

Joe Hoffman: Looks like Joel’s finally getting Rick some relief.

The Beast eventually relents and steps off his opponent only to charge back and kick Rick in the ribs as he attempts to get to his feet. Rick rolls, clutching his side, and slowly gets up to his feet using the ropes.  He marches toward Kostoff, who greets him with a swift kick to the gut, doubling the Canadian over. CK raises a fist to the crowd, who roar.

Benny Newell: This crazy fuck’s delusional if he thinks he can lift Rick!

Kostoff sets Rick up for a powerbomb. He lifts-

Joe Hoffman: He can’t get Rick off his feet!

Rick roars and throws his back up, launching Kostoff into the air. The Hall of Famer flips over, in mid-air, and lands behind Rick on his back. Kostoff shouts in pain. The behemoth of a Bandit turns and picks Kostoff up. He whips him into the ropes –

Benny Newell: What the?! Kostoff tripped!

Joe Hoffman: He sure did. And with how he tried to catch himself against the ropes, it looks like he’s gotten tangled up!

A sinister smile grows across Rick’s face as he slides out of the ring and stalks the trapped Beast.

Benny Newell: Yes! That’s the killer instinct we need!

Rick starts sending shot after shot, hammering away at his worn-down opponent. Hortega shouts a warning at Rick, who pretends he doesn’t hear anything. The One Word Warrior sends an elbow to Kostoff’s head. A trace amount of blood trickles down the Hall of Famer’s forehead.

Joe Hoffman: Uh oh.

The Beast snaps, sending a swift kick into Rick’s midsection that propels him back, crashing into the barricade. Kostoff powers his way out of the rope trap, with a little assistance from Hortega, marches over and picks his opponent up. CK whips Rick back into the ring.

Benny Newell: I can’t believe this! The one time I root for these idiot Bandits!

Kostoff jumps into the ring with renewed life while Rick gets to his feet –  The Beast hits him with a running shoulder block! The Redwood Tree called Rick crashes down. Kostoff winces, then climbs the nearest turnbuckle.

Joe Hoffman: High risk move coming! Top rope elbow drop! Kostoff pins!

Uno…

Dos…

KICKOUT!

Kostoff shakes his head, then picks Rick up and whips him into the ropes. Rick reverses! Kostoff bounces off the ropes, runs back and ducks a pre-sold clothesline – he kicks Rick in the gut! The Beast grabs the doubled over Rick by his side and tries to lift the mountain of a man up!

Benny Newell: NO CHANCE!

Rick fights to get his feet back on the mat. Kostoff sends a knee into Rick’s side, then repositions and lifts again! Groaning to get Rick up a half a foot from the mat, the Canuck kicks his way back down again!

Benny Newell: Give it up, old fuck!

Kostoff sends two more knees into Rick’s side, repositions, and lets out a roar –

Joe Hoffman: THE BEAST GETS RICK UP ONTO HIS SHOULDERS! HE THROWS HIM DOWN LIKE A RAG DOLL! THE BEAST HITS THE DOMINATOR ON RICK! WHAT A SHOW OF RAW POWER!

Kostoff falls to the mat beside Rick, both lifeless. The Hall of Famer slowly rolls over for the pin –

Uno…

Dos…

KICKOUT!

Joe Hoffman: I can’t believe Rick kicked out!

The two slowly make their way to their feet and meet in the center of the ring – they start to exchange tired rights, not even sending each other back a step with each shot. Kostoff throws a desperate haymaker – Rick sidesteps it and wraps his arms around The Beast’s midsection. Rick heaves his opponent upward into the air and quicksteps forward. Transitioning to a kneel, he drives Kostoff’s tailbone right onto the upright knee. CK reels back in pain, clutching his lower back – Rick grabs him by the shoulders and spins the Beast around to face him – CLOTHESLINE!

Benny Newell: TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMBERRRRRRRRRRRRR!

The One Word Warrior with the pin – Hortega drops…

Uno…

Dos…

Tres!!!

 

DING DING DING!

 

Joe Hoffman: The newest Bandit continues the stable’s winning ways as of late! What a match!!

Bryan McVay:  AND YOUR WINNER IS… RIIIIIIIIIIICK!

Knowing full well the fate of recent victors over The Beast, Rick smartly slides out of the ring. He holds up an arm to a mixed reaction from the crowd as he makes his way up the ramp.

Joe Hoffman: Hey, Benny, what’s all the commotion over in the crowd-

Benny Newell: Hopefully someone’s come to finish Kostoff once and for all!

A bleached, blond-haired man with black facial hair is featured on the HOV making his way through the crowded, sold out stands.

Joe Hoffman: Can’t mistake that look! It’s Simon Loveless!

Before jumping the barricade, Loveless snags a chair out from behind a standing fan. Oblivious to the act, the fan falls flat on his ass after trying to sit in the now non-existent seat, spilling his fresh bought frappe all over his stupid Bruvs t-shit.

Kostoff, grimacing in pain, slowly pulls himself to his feet. A handful of loyal fans near ringside shout warnings to no avail. As The Beast finally stabilizes, he notices the commotion from the crowd and spins around to see nothing but silver –

CRACK!

The Beast stumbles backward, knocked out while somehow still standing.

Loveless reels back, then pounces forward swinging the chair with full force.

CRACK!

Joe Hoffman: Kostoff just got dropped like a bad habit!

Benny Newell: He IS a bad habit! Good riddance!

Back in the ring, Simon Loveless drops the chair and sprints toward the nearest turnbuckle. He jumps up to the middle rope and throws both arms into the air. Smiling from ear to ear, he soaks in the boos from the crowd, then jumps and runs for the opposite corner. He jumps up to the middle turnbuckle again, mimicking his same gesture for the other half of the stadium, and enjoying his shower of boos.

BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Joe Hoffman: THE BEAST IS UP!

Benny Newell: How the…

The crowd erupts in cheers and Simon’s smile vanishes as reality hits him.

He slowly turns.

And becomes face to face with The Beast.

Kostoff’s nose twitches as he snarls.

Kick to the gut!

The Hall of Famer pulls Simon’s head in between his legs – he grabs him by the midsection and lifts…

Joe Hoffman: NO REMORSE! THE BEAST JUST MADE LOVELESS PAY!!!

Kostoff, clearly in pain, rolls back and out of the ring and limps his way up the ramp as we cut away.

Putting the pieces together...

The feed jumps from the savagery inside the ring to the backstage area.

The eGG Basket.

There they are. Well, RICK is presumably on his way back. But outside of him, the rest of the pack is present. Of note, the rumors are true. Jiles’ hair has turned gray from the thorough beating he survived at the hands of Dan Ryan. 

It’s not being talked about.

Both the cause and effect.

Nor is anyone talking about the frumpy pelvis of Bobby Dean, or the fact that he now “swishes” every time he takes a step, with his new shuffling style gait.

Besides, now is a time of fulfillment. After the tireless effort from The Bandits’ crack team of surgeons, RICK and Zeb, The Cardboard Bandit has been pieced back together. A curtain is draped over him to hide his “re-reveal” to the world.

Jiles: Zeb, I can’t thank you and RICK enough. You guys have really gone above and beyond. I’m sure this past week was tough. I see a new fishing rod in your future.

Zeb Martin: Uh, yeah, uh. Been tryna tell y’all since Thirsdy it ain’t what you–

Jiles: Easy there, young upstart. I know you and RICK did the best you could. You don’t have to apologize. Ever. Besides, The Bruv’s will be taking care of that. If anything, I’m sorry to have put you in this position again.

Doozer: We all are. But really, Zeb, good work. Very proud. Very. More so than after we beat down Matthews and Hollywood. I imagine it couldn’t have been easy with all the pieces he was returned to us in.

Zeb Martin: Naw, naw. It ain’t—

Bobby Dean: We do understand, Zeb. We do.

The Beautiful Man from Honalee steps up to young Z sincerely. He places his hands on Zeb’s shoulders.

Bobby Dean: We love you, buddy.

Zeb shakes off the love and steps back.

Zeb Martin: No. Y’all don’t. It’s–

Bobby Dean: No. We do! You guys did an eggsellect job! 

Collective nodding, sans Zeb.

Bobby Dean: And to think, the two of you even managed to keep him under wraps this whole week so we could enjoy the surprise with the rest of the Octabandits! So thoughtful. Well, RICK was saying ‘egg’ in a frantic but funny way a bunch yesterday. I wish my RICK was better, but I think he was just excited, or having a heart attack. That said, I wouldn’t have been able to do what y’all did! I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it. Pick your head up buddy!

Zeb Martin: Y’all. Been tryna tell yuh—

Jiles: Relax. We get it. We do. He’s not a spring chicken anymore.

Doozer: Apparently, he’s not the only one.

The Maestro cracks a tooth gritting his teeth.

Bobby Dean: BURN. Got you good.

Doozer smirks and nods.

Silver Fox: Hey Bob. How’s your dick?!

Bobby sulks.

Zeb Martin: YOUS GUYS. Listen tuh me.  It ain’t what y’all thank. It ain’t hi–

Despite Zeb trying his best to catch everyone off guard by saying “you guys” instead of his traditional Southern contraction, it still does not seem to resonate.

Silver Fox: Zeb. Take a breath. You did your best, that’s all we can ask for. Now where the hell is the bacon?

From out in the hallway a bellow can be heard, along with the jiggle of the knob to the dressing room door.

RICK: RRRIIIIIIIIIICCCCCKKKKK!!!

The handle jiggles again, the metal door frantically slamming against the door jamb.

Silver Fox: What’s the password?

RICK: EEEEEGGGGGG!!

Silver Fox: Klazzic. You may enter!

Doozer: Remember, we’re locked IN?

Silver Fox: Oh. Right. Uh, RICK. Just kick it in, pal. We got our hands full in here.

The door explodes open, and in walks RICK.

Zeb Martin: Aw thank the good lord! Tell um RICK! Tell um what’s under that thar!

RICK shoots a worried glance at Zeb, then to the covered cardboard figure, and then to the rest of the Bandits.

RICK: Eeeeegggg.

Silver Fox: You don’t say?

Doozer: Enough of the suspense! We’re all here now. Remo–

Bobby Diaper: Remove the curtain! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Quick aside– still a hard no on the popcorn?

Doozer: Yes.

Bobby perks up.

Bobby Diaper: To popcorn?

Like an assuming jack rabbit, Beautiful Bob springs from his chair.

Doozer: To the hard no. What would CBD think if we pull the curtain and he sees you sitting here with a tub of Jiffy Pop? He doesn’t need that type of stress right now.

Again, Bobby sulks. He then gingerly takes his seat, wincing from the effort. 

Sweating like he’s trapped in a Georgia heatwave, Zeb sighs. He reaches out, wishing RICK knew more than two words, then pulls the curtain.

Bobby Diaper, Doozer, Silver Fox:

Zeb Martin: I tried telling yuh. It ain’t him. It was never him. They done tricked us.

Zeb is right. The cardboard cut out is not CBD, but rather it’s the Hollywood Bruvs. Frappe’s in hand, tag belts blinging, and shitgrins massively agape.

Bobby Diaper, Doozer, Silver Fox:

Zeb Martin: I know this sucks right now, but can I tell y’all how glad I am that y’all finally know?

Bobby Diaper, Doozer, Silver Fox(deadpan): No.

At the end of his rope, Jiles casually stands from his seat, disgustedly spits on CBHB, and walks out of the locker room without saying a word.

Bobby Diaper: I guess this means he’s back on the hook. Ya know, since Cardboard Dan was never returned, it’s back to being Jiles and CBD at No Remorse.

Doozer: Yup. Moron. Him, not you. 

Dean is relieved.

Bobby Diaper: Think we should go after him?

Doozer: Nope. I’ve seen that look before, and I feel bad for whoever he runs into next. They’re gonna get beaten like a drunk’s liver.

Fade to black.

Perfect Arrival

We are at the Alcatraz Wharf otherwise known as building 33 and looking out to the San Francisco Bay. A flutter of seagulls welcomes us, and with it, their well known squawk takes over the audio. The focus pulls back to show the birds flying off and revealing a line of five H.A.T.E guards facing out to the bay as well.

The quaint sound of the water splashing lightly against the wharf is almost calming. It gives us a sense of relaxation…

All of that is spoiled instantly with the long and loud sound of a ship horn blaring out of nowhere.

The horn is loud enough that all of the guards are forced to cover their ears and it’s not letting up. Almost as though the holding of the horn is intentional. Surely the captain isn’t the one doing this, but someone on the vessel is and it has viewers at home scrambling for the mute button.

From the right side of the shot we can see the forward of a white ship sail slowly across the frame. It’s not hard to figure out who this is. Especially with a Blohm+Voss Palladium yacht attempting to dock at Alcatraz.

Joe Hoffman: Well, if there’s one thing 24K and Perfection have nailed down perfectly, forgive the pun, it’s definitely presentation.

Benny Newell: I wonder if he’ll invite me on that thing!

Joe Hoffman: I’m going to go with no.

Benny Newell: Weak!

The yacht has now aligned with the dock and that allows the deck hands to drop down a gold plated boarding ramp. The first eye popping thing about this ramp is the platinum “24K” embedded and centered in the middle. Tacky ass shit but it serves its purpose.

Who walks out first from the yacht deck isn’t Perfection, yet Claude Baptiste Ranier.  The Canadian Star wears a pink shirt unbuttoned twice at the collar, a navy blue sports jacket hanging from his shoulders.  Cream chinos, a pair purple tinted sunglasses and a pair of two tone brown shoes complete the ensemble, his blonde hair tied back and platinum watch hanging from his wrist. Following closely behind is the ‘Man of the Match’- Perfection. James also is in a suit, rocking gold aviator sunglasses with a brown tint, and wheeling a small luggage bag behind him.

By the way, if you think he can’t change for his match in the time it takes to do a commercial break, well, then you don’t know Perfection.

The two take their jolly time walking the ramp with cigars in hand. In his free hand, CBR holds a scrunched up tourist booklet.  Both are shooting the shit like they’re on a short vacation and making a pit stop.

Benny Newell: Perfection is even wearing boat shoes! Boat shoes with a suit! I love this guy!

Joe Hoffman: You may be the only one outside of 24K who does.

The H.A.T.E guards waste no time in approaching the pair. One of them is brave enough, walks forward, and attempts to grab hold of Witherhold.

H.A.T.E Guard: We’re going to need to search…

A powerful bronzing hand immediately grips the guard’s wrist.  It clenches causing the man to attempt to jerk it back to no avail.  Claude’s hand pulls forcefully a few inches towards him.

CBR: No

An additional show of vocal force by Claude while he steps forward pointing his cigar at the guard, mouth scrunched in disgust and the creases on his forehead belying frustration becoming rage.

CBR: Touch him, your wife becomes a widow…

Perfection smiles in the background with his cigar clutched between his teeth and smoke billowing out.

CBR: I will search my client if it’s required.  Every grease laid fingerprint you leave on this suit will cost you a month’s pay.

Claude hands Perfection his tourist booklet and does a quick pat down of Perfection with one hand. The other is too busy tapping off ash from his cigar. He has even less of a care about the luggage- just a glance and a very gentle shake.

H.A.T.E Guard: That’s not the proper way to…

CBR: We’re good!

H.A.T.E Guard: But you…

CBR: I will not repeat myself.  Do your job chauffeur, take us where we are needed.  Aller Maintenant!

James takes the cigar from his mouth.

Perfection: See!

He now uses it to point at the penitentiary

Perfection: I told you! It’s a total goddamn shithole, man.

A brief look over of the facade leads to a quick nod of agreement from Ranier.  He removes his sunglasses in disgust.

CBR: You were not kidding.  Not even a welcome champagne off the ship and not a sommelier in sight!

Perfection: I’ll probably get tetanus in this place or something.

CBR: No one likes tetanus.

Perfection: I sure wouldn’t!

Ranier looks back at his friend and client James “Perfection” Witherhold.

CBR: This is brave, Jim.

Perfection: Probably the bravest, brother. I mean, tetanus for God’s sake!

CBR: No one likes tetanus…

A nod from Perfection and the two walk side by side again with Witherhold just behind Ranier’s shoulder by a half-step. The guards split into pairs and walk behind one another on both sides of 24K with one trailing in the rear.

CBR: When I agreed to come back to the business, I did not expect High Octane to be so… budget? I heard they were cheap but this? Sacre Bleu, my Workers Comp lawyer is going to have a field day.

One of the H.A.T.E Guards opens the main door and 24K steps through the entrance of ‘the Rock’. Into Hughie Freeman’s world.

Perfection: Wait… what do you mean there’s no catering?!

Action cuts to commercial as the live feed from Alcatraz fades out.

NO REMORSE

Opportunity Knocks

Back live and we cut backstage with Brian Bare standing in front of the Official No Remorse banner with Kostoff’s face plastered across the front and microphone in hand. Next to him is MJ Flair, fully dressed and ready for her LSD Title match tonight.

Brian Bare: MJ, you’ve had a difficult year here in High Octane Wrestling, and we’re now just a few minutes away from your LSD Title opportunity with an athlete that you’ve described as ‘the Final Boss’ of High Octane, Cecilworth Farthington. Do you think you have a chance to win tonight, and what do you think you need to do in order to secure the victory?

She looks at him with what appears to be disbelief. For just a moment.

MJF: Do I have… Yes. Of course I have a chance to win the LSD Title for the second time, Brian.

And her attention returns to the camera.

MJF: This is the professional wrestling industry, man. Literally every one of us has beaten opponents we had no business getting our hand raised against, and we’ve all faced off against athletes we shouldn’t have had any problems with, but we found ourselves down for the three. Anything can happen to anyone, any night.

She smirks.

MJF: That’s why we show up. Far as what I need to do to win? Simple. All I need to do, Brian, is step into that ring and be faster and smarter than the best wrestler in this company.

Brian Bare: You call that simple?

MJF: Simple? Yes. Easy?

And now she full on laughs.

MJF: Hell no. But!

She holds up her hand, pointing a finger at Brian.

MJF: Every single athlete who walks into High Octane is given a ticket to the Cecilworth Farthington sweepstakes, and the law of averages says that one of us is gonna punch his, eventually. Why not tonight?

Brian Bare: Any final thoughts?

MJF: The beauty of this sport is that everyone gets an opportunity. Mine’s tonight, and if I lose? Course I did. I was expected to. But if I win?

And she smiles again, looking straight into the camera.

MJF: If you can topple a god, everyone remembers your name.

MJ exits stage right, while Brian takes his position in the center of the shot.

Brain Bare: Joe? Benny? Back to you.

#11 Hughie Freeman vs #12 Perfection

Gen Pop Match in Alcatraz Prison

But instead of cutting directly to the Hall of Fame announce team we cut back to Alcatraz Prison where the hard camera focuses in on the old steel doors leading into the general population area of the infamous prison.

The doors open up and we see the guards standing to the side as Perfection enters the fray.

Benny Newell: Welcome to hell, Perfection!

Perfection takes a few steps inside and the doors promptly close behind him. Looking into the ring he sees Hughie Freeman getting the check-over from HOW referee, Matt Boetcher.

Hughie Freeman: Welcome to your worse nightmare, fuck-bag!

Hughie puts down his boot from the check and Perfection gets closer to the ring. As he stands on the apron he looks right at Hughie Freeman.

Perfection: Remind me before I leave to send you a care package when I get back to town you homeless fuck!

Hughie Freeman then pushes past Matt Boetcher and brings in Perfection the hard-way.

DING DING

Joe Hoffman: A lot of trash talk but we’ve finally officially begun.

Hughie is on Perfection: clothesline, clothesline, stiff back elbow and..

Joe Hoffman: Boooddyyysllammm.

Perfection feeds to a corner and Freeman charges in twisting his back into Perfection. This causes Perfection to stumble to the mat. Hughie goes for the cover..

Joe Hoffman: Boot by Perfection!

Hughie feeds around in a half-semi circle and straight into a headlock takeover.

Joe Hoffman: This is exactly the place Hughie Freeman doesn’t want to be.

Benny Newell: He has more of a chance escaping Alcatraz.

Hughie tries to elevate up but is sharply cranked back down to the canvas. Perfection is smiling.

Perfection: Hard work, pikey. Hard work.

Joe Hoffman: Perfection toying now.

Hughie rolls but Perfection keeps a hold with Freeman’s shoulders pinned..

ONE

Hughie Freeman rolls back.

Perfection: Too Easy.

Perfection’s grin gets wider. However, here comes Hughie powering up. He fires up to a vertical base and Perfection looks a tad worried. Hughie then escapes and hits the ropes and..

Joe Hoffman: Another headlock takeover!

Benny Newell: I’d normally fall asleep during this but this is GREAT!

Joe Hoffman: Perfection continuing to frustrate Hughie Freeman with his superior wrestling abilities here.

Hughie scrambles to the bottom rope whereby he manages to get a foot on the rope.

Benny Newell: The coward!

Joe Hoffman: Ring awareness from Hughie Freeman.

Referee Matt Boetcher stands them up.

Joe Hoffman: And this is where Hughie wants it.

Hughie Freeman comes out ducking and diving right at Perfection. But Perfection sees what’s coming and gets in between the ropes on his side of the ring.

Perfection: Get this limey loser off me!

Matt Boetcher gets in between the attack. This then allows Perfection to slowly peel away and..

Joe Hoffman: Oh come on!

Perfection totally blind-sides Hughie and takes him out with a clubbing blow. Perfection now reverts to street fight and pummels Hughie on the bottom.

Benny Newell: Be careful what you wish for Hughie!

Boetcher intervenes and pulls Perfection off as it’s too near the ropes. Perfection argues his case and this allows Hughie to clamber up the ropes. Perfection then pushes past Boetcher and..

Joe Hoffman: Hughie Freeman with a big-time back-body drop..! Over the ropes..!

Benny Newell: A-HA caught by Claude!

Claude double checks that Perfection is okay and Perfection reassures..

Joe Hoffman: Flying Freeman!

Hughie Freeman hits a suicide dive without hesitation onto The Perfect Pair. However, a H.A.T.E guard gets up on the opposite side of the ring.

Joe Hoffman: What does he want?

Boetcher’s back is turned away from the action and Hughie Freeman is ambushed by another H.A.T.E guard on the outside. His back is driven straight into the ring post. Matt Boetcher turns around back to action but seems confused.

Benny Newell: Nothing to see here.

Perfection gingelly rolls back into the ring. As Boetcher starts his count.

Benny Newell: Who’s the bitch now?!

Perfection: You’re finished Freeman!

Hughie flops back into the ring in severe pain. Perfection goes to claim his head and picks him up. Though, this is broken and Freeman throws a big haymaker out of desperation. Perfection is too skilled and it gets telegraphed..

Joe Hoffman: Nice waist-lock takedown by Perfection.

Perfection works the back as Hughie scrambles to a seated position. Hughie then elevates up to a vertical base and charges directly at the turnbuckle with Perfection clutching on. Hughie uses the middle rope to push off and roll Perfection and..

Joe Hoffman: Freeman escapes!

Hughie then charges at Perfection but it is scouted. Perfection ducks under and Hughie gets caught with a swinging neckbreaker. Perfection covers..

ONE

TWO

Joe Hoffman: Kick-out by Freeman.

Perfect takes the head again.

Joe Hoffman: This is turning into a classic Perfection match here, Benny.

Benny Newell: Wrestling master-class.

Perfection: Yeah-buddy!

Hughie slowly starts his climb back up. He manages to do so with desperate hits to the bread basket. On his final last hit, Perfection’s grip loosens and Hughie bounces the ropes. On his way back Perfection boots him in the gut..

Joe Hoffman: Photo Finish..!

Hughie twists out of it and hits a pin-point drop-kick. In the ascendancy, Hughie then follows up with another and: arm-drag, arm-drag.. huggggee spinning sidewalk slam!

Joe Hoffman: He’s signalling for Liquorice Laces.. Hughie is somehow gunna pull this out of the bag!

Benny Newell: It’s not over until I start singing.

Hughie jeers up the move but..

Joe Hoffman: Not again!

Claude Baptiste Ranier makes his presence felt on the ring apron as Boetcher initiates in argument.. then Hughie Freeman.

Joe Hoffman: What is this?!

Perfection delves into his tights and retrieves some brass-knucks.

Benny Newell: Violence in a fist, Joe!

Once Perfection applies the knucks on his fist, Ranier conveniently hops down off the apron.

Hughie turns… Perfection swings..

Joe Hoffman: Hughie ducked!

BANG!

Joe Hoffman: Fatality Punch! Fatality Punch!

ONE

TWO

Benny Newell: Claude-baby!

THREE

Claude just misses the target.

DING DING

Claude is putting the boots to Hughie Freeman as Perfection starts to slowly come round. The H.A.T.E guards on the outside cheering on the onslaught.

DING DING

Joe Hoffman: What is this proving?

Benny Newell: That these boys can bring the violence anytime they want!

DING DING

Claude holds up a fragile Hughie Freeman..

Benny Newell: Goodnight!

Perfection levels Hughie with the brass-knucks. Hughie is out cold and dropped to the canvas. Perfection shakes off his knockout as he fully comes around. Meanwhile, Claude pushes Freeman out of the ring with his boot. On hand are the H.A.T.E. guards to carry the fallen Gypsy Fighter with considerably more than reasonable force as we fade out from the live feed from Alcatraz and back to inside the Allstate Arena back in Chicago.

Tits McGee

Let’s cut to the backstage area where there seems to be a lot of commotion going on right now, to catch you up to speed there is a stretcher being wheeled through the back with a couple of paramedics attending to the person on the gurney and a number of members of the HOW staff following close by as the stretcher rolls at a quick pace until it finally comes to the back of a waiting ambulance with its doors already open.  Once the stretcher comes to a complete stop the camera focuses on the face of the man in the stretcher, and that of course is the face of Simon Loveless.

Loveless is still wearing his ring gear, or at least what he was wearing when he got into the ring earlier tonight, as the paramedics begin to stabilize his neck with one of those plastic braces.  Loveless doesn’t seem to be at all with what is happening to him right now as his eyes are just fixated on the ceiling here in the underground parking area.  Just then the one paramedic begins to use a penlight to see what is going on with Loveless’ pupils which gets Simon talking.

LOVELESS: Wha.. wha… what happened?  Did we make it to Disneyland already?

While the one paramedic continues to check for an ocular response with his penlight, the other paramedic leans over and begins to explain to Simon what exactly is going on right now.  Getting the wrestler’s attention the paramedic begins to speak to him.

MEDIC: Mister Loveless you have a possible head injury or maybe a concussion, we’re going to be taking you to the hospital to do some more tests.  But first, could you tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?

The paramedic holds up a single finger.  Just one.  His index finger to be exact and holds it just a few feet away from Simon’s eyes. Loveless tries to do his best to focus, and after a couple of confused moments by him he shouts out his response to the question.

LOVELESS: Teddy Roosevelt.

The three paramedics look at each other.

MEDICS: That’s not good.  Let’s load him up.

LOVELESS: Missy, was that a big enough impact tonight for you?

It is at this moment that the camera backs up and standing next to the ambulance and off to the side is none other than Simon Loveless’ manager and maybe girlfriend, Missy Monet.  Missy is checking something on the internet on her phone while chewing her gum.  Oh yeah, and she is wearing a t-shirt that is a bit too tight for her in the upper chest region and the fabric of said shirt is doing its best to hold on for dear life.  It doesn’t appear that Missy heard what Simon asked her as she continues to swipe her finger across the screen of her phone.  Without looking up from her phone towards her client, she responds.

MISSY: Can you believe Kanye is no longer running for President?  Now it’s just old people, gross.  Oh yeah, big impact tonight it’s all over Twitter.  So congrats you’re trending, sweetie.

Loveless has a smile on his face and gives the thumbs up as the paramedics lift the stretcher up into the ambulance and place Simon into the back ready to head off to the hospital.  Missy, who is still completely oblivious to what is going on, stands behind the ambulance and continues to check what is going on her phone.  The paramedics stop and look at her and what she is exactly doing, however, they might have looked a little bit too long because Simon has noticed.

LOVELESS: Hey, you need to stop looking at my manager!  Stop it!  Stop looking!  Stop!

Both of the doors of the ambulance close as Loveless continues to yell at the paramedics and anyone else who happens to be standing by to stop looking at Missy.  Just then, Simon switches topics and begins to start randomly screaming something else as the ambulance begins to pull off.

LOVELESS: Next week!  Next week!

MISSY: Take care, babe!

Missy never breaks the view of the screen of her phone as the ambulance drives off, she gives a half-hearted wave towards.  We fade to a commercial break.

Boys and their Toys

Choices

Back live and we are outside the All State Arena….

The parking lot, to be precise.

A moderately sized tent stands like a monolith, a beacon to the few seedy types milling about outside of the Allstate Arena as Refueled grinds on inside. The tent itself is full, stuffed to the gills with ninjas, homeless types, and former EPU guards, all dressed uniformly in white robes and masks with the #97red cross printed on the front.

At the front of the makeshift congregation, looming over his acolytes in pristine white with rings gleaming across both hands is The Minister. That red eye glows like a star gone supernova a trillion miles deep into its socket.

The Minister: Patience is the key to victory, friends, patience and a vindictive soul.

Gold rings clink together as the Minister’s hands come together, a smile painted on his waxen face. His blue eye narrows as he spots something in the background that causes his smile to falter. His Congregation seems to shift and turn as a commotion can be heard from the back.

The Minister: ..heh-he..

The snicker croaks from his throat as the Minister’s eyes settle on the source of the commotion. Eric Dane is doing his level best to crash the party. The Only Star presses through the mass of flesh, shouldering his way past a handful of the less aware of the Ministers’ followers on his way to confront the man in white.

The Minister: Mister Dane.

Dane tries to inch closer to the Minister as the rabble of the indoctrinated turn hostile and begin closing in on him. Things are about to escalate as the Minister slinks from behind his podium, his gaze locking with the man thrashing his way through his hodge podge of followers.

Eric Dane: You and me. We’re gonna have words. Now.

The Minister: This couldn’t wait for our match later? Maybe you’re here to thank me, wouldn’t that be a nice surprise!

Eric Dane: Cut the bullshi-

The Only Star is stopped mid-sentence as one of the larger of the demented devotees steps into his path. Dane snarls, in a split-second he explodes into action, crashing his forehead into the face of the opposition. The disciple goes sprawling backward as a plume of blood soaks through the mask where his nose would be. The Antagonist doesn’t have a chance to make another move as the congregation swarms around him, smothering him into the concrete below as the Minister makes a clicking sound with his tongue, his fingers tapping together as Dane struggles against the wall of devoted flesh.

The Minister: Pick him up, friends, Eric Dane is an ally despite his best efforts to prove otherwise.

Dane is lifted bodily up from the ground. He’s noticeably bleeding, it looks like the cross cut into his forehead last week has opened up, either from the headbutt he’d just thrown or the mass of flesh that had nearly crushed him. The disciples are fluid, moving as one to bring Dane to his feet and present him to their good shepherd. Eric strains but the might of the Ministers’ minions holds fast, he can barely move an inch as dozens of hands have him held fast. A grin cuts through the trickle of blood running down his face.

Eric Dane: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned…

Minister’s face curls into a scowl, his brow rising as his tongue flickers between his chapped lips.

The Minister: Do I look like Lee? Why’re you here?

Eric Dane: I didn’t come for a fight.

Minister blinks or perhaps winks his one good eye, it’s hard to tell. His head turns toward the masked man with blood pouring from his stained white mask, the gurgling breaths indicative of a broken nose audible. Smacking his lips the Minister returns his attention to Dane, an unconvinced expression on his face.

The Minister: I’m convinced.

Eric Dane: Look. I’m not any more happy about having a babysitter than you are about having to tolerate my continued existence. Am I right?

The Minister: An astute observation.

With a snap of the Ministers’ fingers the Congregation releases Dane before stepping back giving both men plenty of space as they continue.

Eric Dane: *ahem* As far as I’m concerned, we’re facing a common enemy here, and I’m not talking about the Hollywood Bruvs.

The Minister’s eye narrows as he reaches into his pocket to retrieve a cigarette, staring at it for a moment before speaking.

The Minister: You are an endless font of misunderstanding, do you know that?

The Only Star sneers at the Minister causing the burning #97red eye to flicker in intensity for a moment.

Eric Dane: What are you trying to say?

The Minister: That you’re not going to convince me to join you in some ill conceived attempt at overthrowing Lee Best. I’m not any more pleased to be a servant of Lee but the alternative is less desirable. Besides, you’re in no position to be doing anything else except exactly what you’re told.

A moment passes as Eric considers his next words.

Eric Dane: Fine. What would you have me do, then?

The Minister: Only your job, Mister Dane. And then as quickly as is possible find yourself out of my hair and more importantly out of my sight.

Another moment passes.

Eric Dane: Fair enough. I’ll play along for now, guess I’ve got no choice, right?

The Minister: We’ve all got choices, Mister Dane, but I’d like to imagine you’ll make the smart choice..

Eric Dane: You and me, we’re gonna revisit this one day.

He winks at the Minister who scowls at the words.

The Minister: I’m sure we will.

Another tense moment slips by between the two men before Dane takes a step back, careful to keep his eyes on the ring of men around them. Near the exit the Only Star notices the bleeding masked man giving him a glance before looking back at the Minister. Realization crosses the Minister’s face but it’s far too late to stop Dane from reaching out and pulling the man close. A knee connects with the masked man’s groin, driving the air out of his lungs as he crumbles to the floor. The Congregation is hesitant, turning to look at their Minister, however before any orders can be issued Dane is well away leaving his scowling partner to stew.

Know thy opponent..

As we shift to another part of the arena we see HOW’s hardest working employee, Blaire Moise, standing by.

Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time is one of the participants in the ICON Championship match later tonight……Scott Stevens.

The crowd gives the Texan a mixed reaction when he appears.

Blaire Moise: Scott, how does it feel to officially return from the ring and walking into a championship opportunity after your benching by Lee Best?

Stevens nods as he hears Blaire’s question and counters with one of his own.

Scott Stevens: Blaire, am I Mike Best?

Stevens’ question seems to puzzle her.

Blaire Moise: Excuse me?

Stevens turns and looks at her and asks her again.

Scott Stevens: Am I Mike Best?

Blaire Moise: No.

Scott Stevens: Are you sure?

Blaire Moise: Pretty sure.

Blaire responds and Stevens nods in agreement.

Scott Stevens: Thought so. Now Blaire, I’m from Texas, but do I look like I’m that Neanderthal brute, Dan Ryan?

Blaire shakes her head no.

Scott Stevens: The reason for these questions is Blaire is that why my opponent is more concerned with the guy who beat him at War Games and the guy he is facing at No Remorse than the individual that will be standing across from him later tonight?

Blaire Moise: Maybe he doesn’t take you seriously?

Blaire says with a shrug.

Scott Stevens: And that would be a mistake on his part because you know me very well and you know that my career has it ups and downs.

Blaire Moise: It certainly has.

Scott Stevens: When I have my ups I’m on top of the world and when I have my downs I can’t buy a win.

Stevens says with a chuckle.

Scott Stevens: But I never gave up.

Stevens informs as his expression turns serious.

Scott Stevens: Andy Murray, let me re-introduce myself to you.

Stevens clears his throat.

Scott Stevens: I’m Scott Stevens and I’m your opponent for tonight.

Stevens motions for the camera to get closer.

Scott Stevens: I’m the guy who’s going to take that ICON championship away from you tonight.

Stevens proclaims before motioning for Blaire to give him the microphone.

Scott Stevens: So from the Lonesome Loser to HOW’s Luckiest Man, enjoy your last moments with the ICON championship because you’re luck is about to run out.

Stevens states as he hands Blaire the microphone and slowly phrases four fingers before fading to commercial.

Remember....

#NR Eric Dane and The Minister vs #1 Hollywood Bruvs

Non Title Match

The show returns from commercial break, picking up with the HOF announce team.

Joe Hoffman: This is going to be good. Up next we have the High Octane Tag Team Champions, The Hollywood Bruvs, going up against The Minister and the recently returned Eric Dane. Who do you like in this one, Benny?

Benny Newell: I don’t care if all of 24k we’re out here. The boss issued an order. Max will make sure that it gets done. Easy. 

A spotlight falls onto the stage, as “Fucking In The Bushes” by Oasis begins to blast over the speakers, getting the hateful energy level up in the arena.

Booo!!!!!

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. The World Tag Team Championship Titles are proudly strapped around their waists for all to see. 

Joe Hoffman: There they are! The Champs! Boy are they unliked by yet another sell out crowd known as the High Octane faithful.

Benny Newell: Blame the Bandits for that. Those cretins.

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.

Brian McVay: Making their way to the ring, at a combined weight of four hundred and forty-eight pounds, the High Octane Tag Team Champions of the World, Mikey Unlikely, Jess Kendrix, The Hollllllllllllllywoooooooodddddddddd Bruuuuuuuuvvvvvvvvvvssssssss!

BOOOOOOO!!!!!

Joe Hoffman: Even with CBR touring Hughie Island, and the hostile crowd, the Champs still ooze confidence, Benny

Benny Newell: That won’t be for long.

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: I wonder who is going to come out first for these two?

“THE ONE YOU LOVE TO HATE” by HALFORD hits, and out from the back walk both Eric Dane and The Minister.

Brian McVay: And their opponents, coming down the aisle at a combined weight of four hundred and sixty-six pounds, Eric Dane and The Minister, Maximum Daneger!

The Bruvs chuckle a bit in the ring, obviously having a hand in McVay’s gaffe.

Joe Hoffman: Maximum Daneger?

Benny Newell: Sounds like the movie Mikey Unlikely is about to star in.

The two make their way down the ramp. Dane is out in front looking like he’s ready to tear a phonebook in half.

Joe Hoffman: Is he… bleeding? 

Benny Newell: I think the blessing The Minister bestowed upon him is reacting to the close proximity. That and the earlier backstage headbut. But yes, he’s bleeding. Not a lot, but the wound is fresh again.

Joe Hoffman: Hard to really tell anything with the size of that forehead.

Benny Newell: What was that?

Joe Hoffman: Oh look it’s Max.

Digression.

The Minister trails behind Dane, acting as if he has somewhere else to be– constantly checking an imaginary watch on his wrist. He even stops to confirm the correct time with a ringside fan. The confirming fan, wearing one of the three hundred and twenty four Mike Best t-shirts available at The Hoax, shits himself following the brief encounter.

Benny Newell: Look at him, Joe. What a guy, interacting ringside with his congregation.

A blood thirsty Dane reaches the ring, shouts some unpleasantries, and stalks up the steps. Before he can step between the ropes, Max quickly slides under the bottom rope, and graciously sits on the second rope making it easier for Dane to enter. 

Joe Hoffman: Max being the bigger man here, can’t say I saw that coming.

Benny Newell: He’s been tasked with one thing. Get Eric Dane the win. I see this and the entrance music as him taking early steps in that direction.

The Onlystar shakes his head at the condescending act, causing Max to wave his arm like time’s a wastin.

Joe Hoffman: Max got a hot date tonight?

Benny Newell: With Anywhere But Here it would seem. I’ll add she’s a nice girl. I know her well.

All four men are now in the ring. Hortega magically gets everybody to their designated corner after going over the rules of engagement that no one ever listens to. He collects the tag team titles and passes them off to McVay. 

Joe Hoffman: I like to point out tonight’s contest is a non-title match.

Dane and Mikey Unlikely stay inside the ring, as The Minister and JFK step through the ropes and take refuge in their respective corners.

Ding~!

Dane charges in like a rabid beast, his hands held out in front of him. Mikey quickly ducks the attempted grab, causing The Onlystar to whip around. The C-Lister peppers his opponent with a flurry of fists, all of which seem to be ineffective.

Joe Hoffman: Dane taking early punishment here and showing no signs of it bothering him.

Benny Newell: He has a bleeding cross carved into his head for fucks sake. It’s going to take–

Still unfazed, The Onlystar catches Mikey’s fist in mid air, causing The C-Lister’s eyes to pop open. Dane twists the arm, to leverage Unlikely. However, the tag team champion is able to  thumb Dane in the eye, and quickly follows up the gouge with a European Uppercut. He then charges in, and drives the staggered Dane back into the Bruvs’ corner.

Mikey tags JFK in, and keeps Dane trapped in the corner. The two of them begin to viciously  double team him, punching, kicking, jabbing until finally they get him on the ground. Hortega moves in, and forces Unlikely out of the ring by the count of four.

Joe Hoffman: Little two on one there, Benny. Not looking good for The Onlystar 

Benny Newell: He needs a tag. Now. 

With all his might, Kendrix winds up and slaps the inscription on Dane’s forehead; sending The Onlystar’s head crashing awkwardly into the bottom turnbuckle. Jesse then blesses himself with his recently bloodied hand, mocking The Minister whose sinister laugh can be heard from across the ring. JFK starts to work on Dane’s wheels, dropping precise attacks targeting the knees. He then grabs Dane by the legs, flips over him while holding on, and attempts a bridge pin.

Uno..

 

Dos…

 

Kickout!

 

JFK springs to his feet and quickly tags back in Mikey, who follows up with the same pin attempt!

 

Uno..

 

Dos…

 

Kickout!

 

Joe Hoffman: Champs are moving in and out of the ring at will tonight! Dane better be careful!

 

Mikey slams the mat in frustration. He then tries to lift Dane to his feet, but The Onlystar is able to fend off the attempt somewhat with a kick to Unlikely’s shin. He starts to work his way towards the middle of the ring. Mikey recovers quickly from the attack, and carefully begins to stalk, laughing at and taunting The Onlystar as he desperately tries to make it back to his corner. Mikey moves in for the kill, attempting to drop his fist into the back of Dane’s head.

Benny Newell: Dane with eyes in the back of his head!

Joe Hoffman: But can he make the tag?

Dane reaches out, and tags in an impatient Minister who wastes no time going on the offensive. He pounces on Unlikely, who is still laying with his belly on the mat, shaking the numb out of his arm from the missed maneuver. Max grabs the numb arm, and then Mikey’s other arm, and pins them both behind his own elbows. Then, he sits on Mikey’s back, reaches out and grabs him by the chin, yanks back and locks in a Camel Clutch.

Joe Hoffman: Hortega’s there! He’s asking if Mikey has had enough!

Mikey shakes his head no, fighting through the pain. Max wrenches back the clutch, causing JFK to leave his corner. Hortega stops him midway, allowing Dane to enter the ring and land a few shots on Unlikely while he’s in the precarious position. Dane stops, and yells at Hortega to get Kendrix out of the ring before continuing the assault.

Benny Newell: Donkey Punch time!

Suddenly, Max slams Mikey’s head face first into the canvas. With an elongated grin, he then winds up and punches him in the side of his face. Hortega gets JFK back to his corner, and turns around to see Dane and The Minister in the ring. He shouts at Dane to exit, but The Onlystar pleads his case as the legal man.

Dane is convincing enough, and Max exits the ring. The Minister barks at Dane to hurry up with it. Eric reaches down and pulls Mikey to his feet. Mikey wildly swings, and The Onlystar ducks. Mikey is spun around, and Dane delivers a Tiger Suplex! He holds it for the cover!

Uno…

 

Dos..

 

JFK runs in and breaks up the count. Hortega struggles to get him out of the ring, yet again. Dane, none too pleased, charges after JFK. The two get tangled up in the corner, and then go tumbling to the outside of the ring. Mikey takes the moment to regain his composure, although it is short lived because The Minister sneaks in while Hortega is busy with the action on the outside, and lands The Arkham Elbow to the back of Mikey’s skull.

Joe Hoffman: Ouch.

Max slides out of the ring, and yells at Dane to reenter. Dane turns his attention from JFK, and goes to slide back into the ring. Jesse reaches out, rakes Dane’s eyes, and hits a swinging neck breaker on the outside of the ring.

Joe Hoffman: JFK out of nowhere! Dane is down on the outside! 

Hortega gets JFK back to his corner. Mikey is prone on the mat grabbing at the back of his head. Dane is laying down on the outside. The Minister is also on the outside, helping Dane to his feet.

Hortega starts to count. Max rolls Dane in at three. Both Dane and Mikey, the legal men, are down on the mat. Slowly, both start to stir, and finally meet each other in the middle of the ring. The two start to exchange fists. Back and forth they go, until Mikey blocks a punch, and Irish Whips Dane into his own corner. The Minister tags himself in unbeknownst to the competition.

Joe Hoffman: That was a tag! Max is now legal!

Benny Newell: This is it. Kill him!

Mikey rushes the corner, but Dane is able to get his foot up which Unlikely unfortunately runs right in to. Mikey staggers back grabbing at his jaw. Dane moves in for the kill, but winds up  blowing right by him and instead knocks JFK off of the mat. The Onlystar follows Kendrix out of the ring, with thoughts of repaying him for the earlier neckbreaker. Hortega yells, but decides to stay with the two legal men in the ring, Mikey and Max.

Benny Newell: Finish him!

Dane and JFK scrum on the outside. Max is in the ring, fresh, and can smell the blood in the air. He grabs Unlikely, and wrenches his head tightly. Mikey digs down, lifts the large man up, and lands a back suplex on Kael!

Joe Hoffman: It didn’t break the hold!

Benny Newell: Of course it didn’t!

The Minister wrechens the side head lock in even tighter. Both men are back on their feet, Unlikely struggling to break the hold. His face is flush red, his eyes ready to close, but somehow Mikey is able to wiggle free!

Joe Hoffman: Look out, Benny! Mikey’s in Max’s blindspot.  

Mikey moves in for another back suplex, but Max quickly turns and greets Unlikely with a stiff  headbut! More specifically, Max stuns Unlikely using the titanium ocular bone in his head.

Benny Newell: W.M.D.!!!!!!! That’s it. No one gets up after that.

The Minister lands his patented spinning shoulder jawbreaker, and quickly covers Unlikely. He hooks the leg for good measure.

Hortega drops down for the count.

Uno…

 

Dos…

 

Tres..

 

Brian McVay: And here are your winners, The Minister and Eric Dane!

Max quickly slides out of the ring, and hastily heads up the ramp. He doesn’t wait for his hand to be raised, or for his tag partner to stop scrumming with JFK. Mikey lays in the middle of the ring, clutching his jaw. JFK, now realizing what has happened, pushes off from Dane, and enters the ring to check in on his bruvvy. Dane, bloody forehead and all, stalks back up the ramp, after just getting warmed up.

Joe Hoffman: Dane is successful in his return to the ring. Him and The Minister take down The Bruv’s in a toughly contested matchup.

Benny Newell: Max got it done. It wasn’t pretty. But then again, this is High Octane. Nothing ever is.

Cut to backstage.

Fuck Scott Stevens

We cut backstage where we see, ready to stick his microphone in the face of whatever High Octane wrestler he has been roped into service by at this stage in the show.

Brian Bare: Ladies and gentlemen, ahead of his first official title defence this evening I am pleased to be joined by none other than the ICON Champion himself, Andy Murray.

The focus shifts enough to bring The King of Wrestling into the frame. Murray is ready for combat with his black-and-gold tights and wrestling boots, with the white towel on his shoulders tucked into the top of his brand new 24K track jacket. The Just for Men is clearly doing its job on his newly-black beard and hair as he still looks five years younger than he did pre-War Games.

The ICON Title? He’s holding it down by his waist. Just like your dad’s favourite wrestlers, again.

Brian Bare: Andy, it’s Scott Stevens for you tonight and while this is the first the time two of you have gone one-on-one in a HOW ring, there has been no love lost during the build-up this week…

Andy Murray: Of course. Nobody loves Scott Stevens. Not his mother, not Lee Best… is Scott Stevens married? I hope whatever catalogue he used has a returns service because that cretin is capable of sparking only three responses in another human being: ridicule, depression – because fucking hell, look at the state of him – and complete and utter disdain.

The King pauses.

Andy Murray: Brian, I fucking hate Scott Stevens. I shouldn’t give a shit, given there’s currently so much daylight between our respective positions that we might as well be in different timezones, but I do. We have history. I’m not going to bore High Octane viewers with lore from another company, just know that it wasn’t me whose hand was raised, as unbelievable as that might sound.

Smiling, Murray shakes his head before regaining his focus.

Andy Murray: So tonight, Brian, I am going to treat that human fidget spinner as I would a clump of dogshit on the bottom of my boot. I’m going to kick his arse so hard that if he had a spine, he’d turn into a Pez dispenser, spitting out vertebrae one by one. Fuck Scott Stevens. No longer will a guy who looks like he eats the buttons off dress shirts and sucks shoelaces thinking they’re spaghetti have a thing on me. In fact, I don’t want to hear that motherhuhyucker’s name mentioned in the same sentence as mine after we’re done, alright?

Andy looks down at Bare, glaring just long enough for the interviewer to start feeling uncomfortable.

Andy Murray: Alright.

Bare re-adjusts himself.

Brian Bare: Is this the kind of defence you had in mind when you said you wanted to be a prestigious ICON Champion, not a fighting one, and that anyone who wanted a shot would have to earn it?

Andy Murray: Absolutely not, but nonetheless I am grateful to the GOD of HOW for giving me the opportunity to expel the Goober with the Dragon Tattoo from the conversation once and for all. Besides, look at this thing, what do you see? Smell? Taste?

Though clearly unsure of himself, Bare looks down at the ICON Title when prompted, then moves his face a little closer to it, bizarrely. Andy pulls it away suddenly.

Andy Murray: Figuratively, dickhead! Jesus.

Murray sighs, then shakes his head.

Andy Murray: Mike Best, is the answer. This is literally a consolation prize for being the last loser in the biggest match of the year. Until I get my first defence on the board, none of any of this means a damn thing. For now, Stoovins will do. I could use a tune-up fight before Dan Ryan and No Remorse anyway, something to tighten the old nuts and bolts, make sure the engine’s still running smoothly. 

Brian Bare: Speaking of The Ego Buster, the last time you guys were in the same place at the same time, he pretty much murdered a bunch of 24K’s private security team in front of your very eyes, then passed it off as therapy. Are you concerned about the change in his behavior?

It takes Andy a few seconds to ponder his answer here. His facial muscles tighten a little, as if there is more going on behind the eyes than he could let on, before he eventually finds what he was looking for.

But he doesn’t. No words come out when The King parts his lips. Instead, he reaches out and pats Bare on the shoulder.

Andy Murray: Have a good night, Brian.

And with that, Murray is gone, off to defend the ICON Title. Brain momentarily holds his hands out to his side, helpless.

Joe Hoffman: Did I detect a little… uneasiness, there, when Brian brought Dan Ryan’s hospitalisation of Murray’s security force up?

Benny Newell: What?! Nonsense, Hoffhole! As if the motherfucking KING is unnerved! The guy’s been a god-tier pro-wrestler for longer than at least one person on the HOW roster has been alive!

Joe Hoffman: Strong words for Scott Stevens nonetheless! This one’s gonna be ugly. Let’s head to commercial….we will be right back folks.

22

Brace for impact

Back from commercial and Blaire Moise is standing just outside the Group of Death dressing room, microphone in hand. Standing next to her, towering over the diminutive interviewer, Dan Ryan stands, looking straight down at her, left side toward the camera, completely still.

Blaire Moise: I’m just outside the Group of Death dressing with Dan Ryan, who last week suffered what some are calling a surprising loss to Cancer Jiles.

Moise nervously looks up at Ryan, who is holding completely still, looking down at her with thinly veiled contempt in his eyes, and a sneering expression.

Blaire Moise:  Now uh… Mr…. Ryan, word has been going around backstage about some of the things that happened in your match last week. It certainly seemed like you had the match under control, but at the same time, some of your higher impact moves didn’t have the same…. shall we say… oomph… as they’ve had in the past.

Moise holds the microphone up to his face, but he doesn’t react, and his eyes actually narrow further, as he looks from her eyes, then to the microphone and back up at her eyes again.

Moise’s eyes flinch a bit and she glances at the camera, then looks back up at Ryan, then down slightly, the intimidation in her posture obvious.

Blaire Moise: I uhm… have been told that you may have sustained an elbow injury sometime in the past few weeks and that you’ve been working through it, refusing any medical attention. Is that true?

Nothing from Ryan. But Blaire gets increasingly nervous as he seems to be slowly inching toward her a bit.

Blaire Moise: Is… is that why… the Headliner… a move that has broken necks in the past… didn’t quite have the same impact… is that….why… you seemed to have difficulty hooking the legs of Cancer Jiles even though he was seemingly completely unconscious?

The left side of Ryan’s lip curls upward, and he snorts derisively, then pulls his arms up into a folded position across his chest. On his right arm, up until now unseen, is a form-fitting brace covering his upper forearm, connected to an articulated metal joint that goes over his elbow to his upper arm.

Blaire Moise:  Wait… what… what’s that? Is that a brace of some sort?

She doesn’t put the microphone in his face this time, but he grabs her hand roughly, and her attention goes fully to his eyes, as his grip over her closed fist pulls the microphone up to his mouth and he leans in, far too close to be comfortable, and spits his words in her direction.

Dan Ryan:  The elbow… is fine.

Moise looks at the brace, then back up, her mouth still agape, and having no control of the situation.

Moise: But you’re wearing…. you could seriously hurt someone with that…

Holding the grip tightly, and before Blaire Moise can even react, Ryan swings his right arm back and throws the braced elbow right at her face. The terrified interviewer braces for the impact, but he stops just short of her left cheek, then smiles a toothy, disturbing grin.

She has absolutely nowhere to go, and she shudders, shaken to her core. Ryan uses the hard metal-plated forearm section of the brace to lightly tap her cheek, then relaxes, and loosens his grip on her arm.

Ashen and now slightly disheveled, and mostly relieved that she has retained control of her bowels, Moise is able to gather herself a bit but is taken aback further as Dan Ryan reaches down and straightens the shoulders of her smart business casual outfit, and sets her posture just slightly to be facing him as he raises back up to his full height.

He points at the microphone, and nervously, she raises it to his face.

Dan Ryan: The elbow’s fine.

Moise drops the microphone to her side and watches as Ryan turns and walks back through the dressing room door, and she closes her eyes, trying to gather herself.

Ready Player One

The scene changes to a blank screen before the word VINTAGE written in neon green lettering slowly descends from the top, making a “ding” sound as it stops in the center. The screen fades away to a dim lit room, with nothing more than an off-gray bean bag chair sitting in the middle of darkness and a small black and white coffee table beside it. There is one glass cup with red liquid resting on the table before a man enters the room and sits down across from the camera. The man looks to be around 6-feet, slim but muscular and approximately 210 pounds. He has messy dirty blonde hair, light green eyes, a neon green bandana and a mischievous looking smile. He sports the same green coloured wrestling tights with a white stripe running down the left side of his leg, through his knee pad and into his boot. He has a green shooting sleeve covering his left arm, too.

???: Hello and welcome to the ultimate gaming experience.

A silhouette begins to hover over top of this green man, before the camera focuses better and reveals a second man standing behind. This man looks to be around 6’6”, 300+ pounds of hulking muscle with veins popping out from all over his body. He wears a gray coloured mask, there are two red dots for eyes and a d-pad for a mouth, resembling that of an NES controller. He has beige polka dot suspenders holding up what looks to be beige polka dot pants but this can’t really be made out from behind the man who sits in front. The man in green speaks.

???: My name is Conor Fuse. I’m sure many of you know me.

Conor pauses before turning to the coffee table and taking a sip of the red liquid.

Conor Fuse: Mmm, Kool-Aid, my favourite.

He places the drink back on the table and looks into the camera again.

Conor Fuse: I have played games from far and wide. I have game-jumped through so many wrestling worlds before making it here… to High Octane Wrestling.

The hulking man places his hand on Conor’s shoulder, as if offering him some kind of protection. It can now be seen the hulking man has black wires coming from the back of his mask and they go directly into his NES power gloves. Conor nods at him before continuing.

Conor Fuse: But I have to say, I am greatly disappointed in all the BOT’s I see around here. I thought things would be better than this.

Conor takes a moment and adjusts his bandana.

Conor Fuse: I digress, we can talk about that later. For now, let me be clear. “Vintage” Conor Fuse is coming to HOW. And I would like to play.

“VCF” takes another sip of the Kool-Aid, stands up and pats the man behind him on the chest.

Conor Fuse: Mmm, now that’s good stuff.

They exit the scene.

#29 Scott Stevens vs #8 Andy Murray

ICON Championship Match

We return to Benny Newell and Joe Hoffman seated ringside. Benny appears to be counting out small red pills with care while Joe stares at him.

Joe Hoffman: Benny, what are those?

Benny Newell: Skittles, Hoffman, Skittles! Prescription Skittles from Mexico, I got them, you know, to celebrate our ICON Champion Andy Murray in his big ICON Title Defense against.. Against…

Benny seems to trail off as he attempts to recall who Andy Murray is supposed to face. Joe shakes his head before grabbing a bottle of water. As Benny continues to wrack his brain to figure out who the ICON Champion is facing Joe uncaps the bottle of water before nonchalantly pouring the water over the pills much to Benny’s horror.

Benny Newell: ..WHAT THE FUCK, HOFFMAN!?

Shamelessly Benny jumps out of his chair, shoving it away as he lines his mouth up with the edge of the table, sweeping the slowly disintegrating pill mash toward his open maw. Joe looks disgusted but carries on like a consummate professional.

Joe Hoffman: The opponent my colleague was referring to is Scott Stevens, High Octane Wrestling veteran and former ICON Champion himself. That match up next!

We shift to the ring where Bryan McVay is standing by, the crowd excited for the ICON Championship match.

Bryan McVay: The following bout is for the High Octane Wrestling ICON Championship!..Introducing the challenger..

“Dead Man Walking feat. the Lacs” by Crucifix cranks on as the lights dim and the stage lights up. Scott Stevens soon appears on the stage, his eyes on the ring, a serious, focused expression on his face. The crowd, loyal, long term fans that they are, give Stevens a welcoming cheer.

Bryan McVay: Hailing from Houston, Texas.. Standing at six foot, six inches and weighing two hundred and fifty six pounds.. SCOTT STEEEEEEEEEEVENS!

Stevens lifts his arms Stevens enjoys a sharp pop which seems to breathe a little confidence into the Texan. Remaining focused he makes his way to ring, climbing in before moving to the far turnbuckle, his arms raised in the air once again as he poses for the crowd.

The music fades out as Stevens drops from the turnbuckle and moves to his corner, referee Joel Hortega giving him a pat down as Bryan McVay lifts the microphone to his lips once again.

Bryan McVay: ..introducing the Champion..

“The Facts” by Trap Them roars onto the P.A. system as the guitar solo heralds the arrival of the ICON Champion. Swaggering onto the stage with an overabundance of confidence is Andy Murray, a leather jacket covering his muscular frame while a well loved cricket bat slung over one shoulder.

Bryan McVay: Hailing from Aberdeen, Scotland.. Standing at six foot seven inches and weighing two hundred and eighty pounds.. ANDY MUUUURRRRRRRRAY!

Unlike Stevens who enjoyed some love from the crowd Andy Murray is met with a sizable wall of boos though it seems the music is drowning most of it out. Unzipping the leather jacket the ICON Championship becomes visible, it’s pale white leather and gold littering in the bright lights of the stage. He smiles proudly before swaggering to the ring, letting the cricket bat drag behind him around the halfway point. He rolls beneath the bottom rope before climbing to his feet. He pulls the ICON Championship from his waist and lifts it up before moving to his own corner, the music fading away.

Joe Hoffman: Both of these men have a history together a-

Benny Newell: And it’s mostly just Andy Murray clowning this Lonesome Loser!

Joe Hoffman: Why do people call him that anymore, Benny?

Benny Newell: I just ate, like, 7 diet pills, Hoffman, I don’t remember five hours into the future, what makes you think Reagan did this?

McVay leaves the ring as the bell rings.

Murray and Stevens circle each other as the crowd is tentatively behind Scott. Both men tie up in the center of the ring but it’s Murray’s increased size and power that wins out, shoving Stevens into the nearby turnbuckle before flexing in the center of the ring with a smug expression on his face. Stevens looks flustered but he stays focused, circling Murray again as the two men size each other up.

There is a disturbance in the crowd as Dan Ryan can be seen making his way down toward the ring through the audience. He apparently tosses someone out of their chair and takes a seat in the front row, his braced arm resting on the barricade wall as he glares up into the ring at Andy Murray.

Joe Hoffman: Looks like Dan Ryan has decided to take in this match from ringside.

Benny Newell: ..you know they were kind of right, these diet pills do kind feel like cocaine..

Joe Hoffman: Do you need me to call anyone, Benny?

Back in the ring Murray’s confidence seems to waver as his attention is divided between two men. Another tie up exchange however the younger, healthier Stevens is able to sneak a quick kick to Murray’s knee before shoving the ICON champion into the corner, repaying Murray’s earlier kindness. Keeping the offensive momentum going the Texan charges in hitting a lariat across the wide chest of Andy Murray. Staggered, Murray stumbles out of the corner as Stevens takes to the ropes, charging forward with another lariat that nearly takes Murray off his legs!

Stevens takes the ropes a second time and once again collides with an off balance Murray though he still does not go down. The crowd is solidly behind Stevens’ as he looks close to taking the ICON Champion off his feet! For the third time Stevens takes to the ropes, spinning as he throws a Discuss Clothesline directly toward Murray’s chest!

SHUTTHEFUCKUPPERCUT!

Joe Hoffman: A brutal counter by Andy Murray!

Benny Newell: I DON’T FEEL LIKE EATING FOOD!

The Texan’s teeth get rattled as Murray connects with the wicked uppercut that takes Stevens off his feet and down hard to the mat. Murray drops for the cover as Hortega moves into position!

 

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

Kickout!

 

Stevens turns his body and throws his shoulder up, quickly rolling to the ropes. Murray argues with Hortega while Dan Ryan can be seen once again glaring at the Scotsman. Ryan turns to glare at the man sitting next to him who has a large popcorn in his hands. Maintaining eye contact Ryan slowly grabs the carton of popcorn, pulling it to his lap before looking back toward the ring. When the man tries to speak Ryan smashes his braced arm on the barricade making a loud clanging noise. He proceeds to smash popcorn angrily into his mouth.

Joe Hoffman: I think Dan Ryan just stole someone’s popcorn Benny..

Benny Newell: Popcorn, that is definitely something I have no desire to eat! These pills are incredible, and I feel so full of energy, Hoffman!

Back in the ring Murray has reasserted himself by slapping Stevens about the shoulders and back of the head, stinging, painful slaps that were likely more harmful to Scott’s pride than his body. Stevens is dragged to his feet before measuring him up..

 

CRACK!

 

A skin sizzling chop is fired across Scott Stevens’ chest causing a red welt to immediately begin to form. Stevens’ face turns a bright red as he pulls himself back up to his full height glaring up at Murray who invites him to chop him back..

 

CRACK!

 

Murray’s smugness dissipates as pain registers across his chest where he was chopped by Stevens. He takes a step back doing his best to pretend it didn’t hurt though his arched brows betray him.

 

CRACK!

 

Before anyone can pay too much attention he fires another brutal chop across the Texan’s chest leaving another long welt to begin forming. Stevens stumbles back but shakes it off, stepping right back up to the plate.

 

CRACK!

 

Murray’s breath is sucked out as he seems to call for a time out, stepping away for a moment. Once his back is turned his stoic expression gives away to pain as he holds his chest where Stevens’ hand has left a bright red mark. Composing himself he steps back toward Stevens with his smug smirk back in place.

 

EYE POKE!

 

Joe Hoffman: The ICON Champion with a damn dirty eye poke instead of continuing to go toe to toe with Stevens!

Benny Newell: Well maybe if Stevens had done that first he’d be the one in control of the match right now!..uuugh.. My stomach doesn’t feel good, Hoffman.. It feels like.. A raisin wrapped in whiskey.. uuugh.

As Stevens’ hands instinctively move to his eyes Murray slaps his unprotected face with a loud crack followed by two slaps across the chest and another two across the rips. As Stevens doubles over Murray slaps him hard across the back before one final chop across the chest that sends Stevens down hard to the mat!

The ICON Champion drops down for a lazy pin attempt..

 

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

Kickout!

 

Joe Hoffman: Some people might call Stevens a joke but you’re not going to pick up a win against anyone in High Octane Wrestlng with a pin like that.

Benny Newell: Ooouugh.. FUck are we talking about pinfalls right now? Is that where we are in this match I.. I.. UIUUGHGHg

The challenger is easily able to kick out with Murray barely even making the effort as the sound of Benny vomiting fills the audio void. Outside the ring Dan Ryan has confiscated a large drink from someone and is hatefully drinking it in the direction of Andy Murray.

The ICON Champion continues to reign down a series of punches and kicks to Stevens treating him more like a sparring partner than an actual opponent. Stevens frustration is noticeable as none of Murray’s offensive seems designed around winning, more around embarrassing the Chief Information Officer.

SPINEBUSTER!

Joe Hoffman: Stevens just took the Champion off his feet and put his back down hard on the pine! Could this be it!?

Benny Newell: uuuggh.. dd..drin..k..

An unexpected burst of offense from Stevens catches Murray completely off guard! His body covered in scarlet marks courtesy of an offensive that would make a Slap Chop blush, Stevens hears the crowd rally behind. He rises and takes to the rops before smashing his knee into the side of Murray’s head! He grabs both legs and pulls him into the cover!

 

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

Kickout!

 

Joe Hoffman: He was so close! Stevens was an inch away from being the new ICON Champion!

Benny Newell: ..b..bull.s..shit.

Murray is able to power out, his face wild with confusion as he scrambles up to his feet. Out in the crowd Dan Ryan has stood up, murder fucking the ring with both of his eyes. The cup in one hand has been crushed, it’s contents pouring onto the ground while the popcorn has been thrown high into the air.

Stevens doesn’t argue with Hortega but rather keeps pushing forward swinging both arms down across Murray’s wide back trying to wear the larger man down. Sensing that he might have weakened the ICON Champion he continues to throw fists and knees which Murray does his best to defend against though it is clear the offensive is taking its toll.

Signaling for the Toxic Sting grabs Andy’s head!

The ICON Champion holds fast, spinning Stevens around knees him directly in the groin, body blocking Hortega from seeing the cheap shot. He quickly scoops up Stevens and delivers the HIGHLAND HANGOVER!

Hooking the leg, Murray smugly locks eyes with Ryan as Hortega drops down for the count.

 

UNO!

 

DOS!

 

TRES!

 

Bryan McVay: Your winner in 11 minutes, 23 seconds and still ICON Champion.. ANDY MUUUUUUUUURRRRRAY!

In the ring Murray stands, a bit gingerly, as his ICON Championship is brought to him. Outside the ring Dan Ryan claps slowly as he stares up at the Champion. The two share at each other before Murray makes his way toward the back.

Joe Hoffman: A spirited challenge by Stevens nearly pulling one over Murray who I think might have just underestimated Stevens a little. Obviously he still won the match but it could be argued that if he hadn’t connected with an illegal move the Texan might have walked out of here with the ICON Championship.

The sound of something being snorted could be heard before Benny Newell’s voice rises.

Benny Newell: Ugh.. UUUAAaahh. Okay, OKAY! Back to normal! Stevens sucks, Andy Murray is the ICON Champion we deserve, he did nothing wrong, his hands are like well aged kitchen gloves that Stevens couldn’t stop catching! AMAZING MATCH, FIVE STARS!

Joe Hoffman:.. Do you remember any of it?

Benny Newell: Not a fuckin bit of it, DRINK!

With that we cut to our next commercial break.

THE MACHINE

BBQ CBD

Back live and backstage…actually behind the AllState Arena we see the Hollywood Bruvs. Battered and broken from their match earlier in the night, their sweat shines off the lights that sit on the outside of the building. 

Beside them is a large steel barrel and a small red gas container. Mikey moves the barrel into position as Kendrix starts to pour some gasoline in it. 

Mikey Unlikely: eGG Bandits we’re not going to play hide and seek with you. We’re not going to run all over the AllState ducking and diving each other. No, you see we’re the High Octane Wrestling Tag Team Champions. We don’t run from anyone!…They’re not coming right!? 

He asks JFK the question just to make sure no one knows where they are. 

Kendrix: Nah Bruv, even big MurrrFection doesn’t know what we’re doin. 

Mikey Unlikely: This started as a joke, but then we realized that’s exactly what the eGG Bandits are… a bunch of jokes. So we’re not going to play this game anymore, in fact we’re going to end it right here tonight and get wrestlings laughable losers off our backs once and for all. 

JFk reaches off screen and  brings in Cardboard Dan. The fans in the arena can be heard cheering for his appearance. The cheers turn to boos as Kendrix dumps CBD into the barrel. He’s standing straight up. 

Kendrix hands Mikey a set of matches. He pulls one off the pack and goes to light it. The match doesn’t work on the first try. The hazards of live television. On the second attempt the match ignites. Mikey holds it to the rest of the pack which quickly catches as well.

Kendrix: Half dozen of you and you couldn’t get the cardboardboi back? Ooof.

Unlikely tosses the match pack into the barrel. The flames reach the top of the barrel quickly as the match hits the gasoline. It isn’t long before the flames reach CBD and start to curl the cardboard.

Kendrix: Oi, I think you burnt the eggs Bruv.

The pair walk away laughing. Holding their HOW Tag Team Championships over their shoulders as we cut away.

Cruel Glee

A grainy image comes over the HOTv as we see the ruined and weather damaged front of a disused building. The glass doors in the front appear to all be shattered, their rusted, metal framework being the only remaining indicator that anything had been there before. Dead leaves and detritus cover the ground. The deep, unpleasant voice of the Minister bleeds out over the scene.

“He that walks the land leaving behind not but suffering, pain and desolation..”

We move through the entrance to the building to see the faded words FIVE TIME ACADEMY written on the lobby floor in faded red letters. The walls were stained by time, rotten pictures of Five Time Academy trainers and alumni line the floors. Bugs flutter through the air while rodents scurry across the dirty floor. Sprouts and vines break free of the floors or drop down from a broken skylight as nature slowly reclaims what was once hers.

“His interests are only self serving, his mind bent only one his desire. In his wake you shall find only waste and ruin.”

A line of Congregation devotees carrying the Perfection mannequin begin to make their way through the lobby and toward the gym. Though they are an odd collection of North Kaelrean Guards, Ninjas, EPU Security and assorted homeless they all wear the White Masks with the red cross drawn on them. They slowly march into the gym which is covered in dusty, rusted gym equipment. Beams of light cut through the dusty air from dirty, vine covered skylights giving the large space a sort of cave feeling.

“..I have made my home in such a place and I have given my suffering a name. Mike Best is the end of all things, he is the antichrist, the ultimate personification of selfishness and pride.. A God as much as anyone else ever was and before the end, before I blink out of his existence he will know a simple, beautiful truth..”

The Congregation slowly circle the dirty, grim covered ring in the center of a gym where they place the effigy of Perfection. They slip out and begin to appear to lift their hands into the air, a low rumbling heard as they stamp their feet.

Not even GoDs can escape their past…heh-heh…”

He holds his hands out as his followers begin to chant the word Praise. The Minister’s laughing continues to build as we sweep back out of the gym, back out into the desolate lobby and into the abandoned parking lot. We now travel upward seeing the streets of Tampa shrink away into a dot on the mainland of Florida before it expands into the United States and then the World.

It pauses for a moment before we rush forward once again, this time over Chicago then the AllState Arena, it’s crammed parking lot where a tent is set up filled with more followers of the Congregation. On the stage, dressed in white and sporting a cruel, silver toothed grin is the Minister, his ringed hands clasped together, a look of cruel glee soaked into every crease and wrinkle upon his scarred face.

The Minister: .. At No Remorse, Mike, you’ll have to find a way to escape your past in a Savior Soul match. No Dan Ryan. No Cecilworth Farthing. No Lee Best. Just you. Me.. and Five Time Academy. First man to make it outside wins.. Have a Blessed Day..

Darkness washed over the HOTv as the low, unpleasant giggling of the Minister took over once again before fading into nothingness.

Same Page

Backstage in the Allstate Arena, a man stands in a locker room. Not just any man, mind you, and not just any locker room. He is staring down at a championship belt, but not just any championship belt. He is wearing a t-shirt, but not just any t-shirt– this is an onyx colored, 100% supima cotton blend crew style t-shirt, embossed with white stenciled lettering that spells out exactly two words: LOYALTY & SACRIFICE. 

Available now on the HOAX. 

The man is Cecilworth Farthington, the locker room is the Group of Death’s, the championship belt is the LSD Championship, and if you do not show him the respect that he is due, I will continue to describe his clothes in very painful amounts of detail. 

Cecilworth feels the weight of the championship in his hands. It isn’t anything beautiful to behold– the nearly unstoppable reign of Max Kael as the LSD Champion had certainly taken its toll on the belt, which was nearly falling apart at the seams. Even still, Farthington had balked at the idea of replacing it with a new one. This belt was a legacy. This belt had meaning. This belt was– 

Mike Best: Why are you just staring at it? 

Snapping out of his trance, Farthington breaks his eyes away from the belt, looking up at the CMFBFFGODHOFMLB (or Cecilworth M. Farthington Best Friend Forever Group of Death Hall of Famer Michael Lee Best) in surprise. He hadn’t realized he wasn’t in here alone, and feels moderately embarrassed to be caught so deep in his own narration. 

Cecilworth Farthington: Oh. Hi, hello, I am a person who is listening. Sorry, I was just thinking about this belt is a legacy, and this belt has meaning, and this belt is–

Mike Best: I get it, man. Same page. 

Cecilworth Farthington: We always are. Phew. 

After a moment of shared silence, Michael Lee Best holds up a finger, setting the HOW World Championship down on the VERY EXPENSIVE REFURBISHED COUCH in the Group of Death locker room, grabbing his gear bag from the floor beneath. You know where floors are. He rummages around in the bag, finally producing the item which he’s been searching for. 

A saxophone. 

Cecilworth Farthington: I notice that you’re holding a saxophone. 

Mike Best: I AM holding a saxophone. 

Cecilworth Farthington: But WHY are you holding a saxophone? 

Michael flips an eyebrow up at Farthington, giving him a look that says “you KNOW why I’m holding a saxophone, Cecilworth”. Farthington shakes his head, totally understanding the look and immediately realizing that he DOES already know why Michael Lee Best is holding a saxophone.

Cecilworth Farthington: You’re sentencing her to jazz. 

Mike Best: I’m sentencing her to jazz. 

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach where you KNOW that you’re about to vomit? When there is nothing in the universe that can possibly stop it, so you just have to go with it because it is 100% happening? That’s the feeling that both of them get in an instant, except that instead of vomiting, it’s the feeling that a high five is about to happen. 

And high five they do. 

Except that Farthington’s half of the high five doesn’t seem entirely wholehearted this time. It’s perhaps the first high five they’ve ever shared that was maybe a four and a half at best. 

Mike Best: Can’t help but notice that high five was closer to a four and a half, buddy. 

Cecilworth Farthington: No you’re right. Four and a half at best. Maybe a four point two five. 

Mike Best: Not jazzed for the high five? 

Cecilworth Farthington: Always jazzed about the high five, buddy. Just maybe… and don’t be upset with me…

Farthington pauses. He doesn’t want to upset his best friend. 

Mike Best: You think I should stay away from ringside tonight. 

Cecilworth Farthington: I do think you should stay away from ringside tonight. 

Mike Best: Even from commentary? 

Cecilworth Farthington: Even from commentary. Look, bud. You’ve proven your loyalty to me. Over and over again, for six years now. But I guess I just feel a little… guilty. 

Now, the silence that hangs in the room is somewhat awkward. For the first time in a long time, Michael Best doesn’t know what his best friend is thinking. 

Farthington eyes the LSD Title again, letting out a heavy sigh. 

Cecilworth Farthington: It’s just… it’s not fair, you know? 

Mike Best: Buddy, it’s literally never fair. That’s kind of our whole thing. You get a shot at Cecilworth Farthington at Refueled, and it’s gonna be some kind of a shit show. We literally called it “the eMpire finish”. 

Cecilworth Farthington: No, no, it’s not that. Love that “eMpire finish”. It’s just that… well, Mariella was meant to get a proper pay-per-view match. I feel she’s being cheated out of her proper due by facing me on a regular Refueled. 

Mike Best: Oh, you wanna give her the old Teddy Palmer. 

Cecilworth Farthington: I do. 

Mike Best: The ol’ Halitosis. 

Cecilworth Farthington: You are correct. 

Mike Best: The old… Dan Ryan? 

Cecilworth Farthington: We don’t talk about the Dan Ryan anymore. 

Both men stop their conversation, as they simultaneously look to the doorway of the locker room. Dan Ryan must have returned to the locker room at some point during their pep talk, and is standing in the doorway.

He lets out a sigh. 

Dan Ryan: Give her the old Dan Ryan, Fartypants. 

All three men share knowingly glances, for a few seconds longer than is really necessary. 

Mike Best: I get it, man. Trust me. She weighs nine pounds. She’s an empty weightlifting bar. But I put my foot on the ropes ONE TIME instead of throwing her zero fucking body weight off of me, and to listen to Mary Sue, you’d have thought she’d beaten me in a deathmatch. You don’t wanna leave her with an excuse. I respect that. I respect you. I love you, buddy. 

Cecilworth Farthington: I know. 

There is a brief silence, as Cecilworth feels very proud of saying the thing that Han Solo said, but also tremendous guilt. 

Cecilworth Farthington: I’m sorry, I love you too buddy. 

Both men look to Dan Ryan, who shakes his head and disappears from the doorway. After a few seconds, he yells back a hushed “I ENJOY YOUR COMPANY ALSO.” 

This seems to be enough for the bee eff eff squad. 

Cecilworth Farthington: Well then it’s settled. To make sure she never makes it to No Remorse… tonight, Mariella Jade Flair gets the pay-per-view match she deserves. 

The camera cuts to the final commercial break of the evening, as a disappointed looking Michael Lee Best places his now useless saxophone back into his gear bag. What a waste of an instrument rental. 

The Oncoming Storm

Back live and the camera cuts out to what has been a seemingly busy parking lot outside of the arena. Amidst all the fancy sports cars and tractor trailers, a beat-up black Ford F-150 sticks out like a sore thumb–and not just because of how dirty it is. A blond, dressed simply in a heather gray t-shirt and well-worn jeans, sits on the built-in toolbox in the truck bed, an open bottle of beer in one hand and her cell phone in the other, watching the show unfold from a spot that nobody’s gonna bother her in.

…upon realizing that the camera’s pointed at her, she looks up, gray eyes meeting the camera’s lens before she speaks in a low, borderline monotonous tone.

???: Hey, y’ins. The name’s Erin Gordon… and I don’t belong here.

Wait, what? A swig of beer and she continues, matter-of-fact.

Erin Gordon: Lookin’ at myself from the outside, I reckon I understand why a lot of folks’d think that. I’m on the wrong side of thirty, I’m still pretty green, and I’m about as flashy as a mud fence post. I ain’t the kind to strut around like a peacock, braggin’ about myself ‘til I’m blue in the face, and I ain’t liable to go on a coke-fueled bender anytime soon. Hell, while I shared roster space with a coupla’ guys, it ain’t like they’re gonna remember me… I don’t think anyone does, so I’m not bringin’ extra eyes to the company or anything like that. Which brings us to that sixty-four thousand dollar question; just why am I here?

The silence that lingers after that next swig is longer, almost too much so–long enough for her gaze to flicker skyward and for a deep breath to be taken in before she answers that question, the storm of her gaze an intense thing as they meet the lens anew.

Erin Gordon: I’m here to fight.

A firm nod.

Erin Gordon: I’m here to tape up my fists, lace up my boots, walk down that ramp, and get into the ring with some of the toughest competition that this business has got to offer. I’m here to punch my opponents in the mush until they go down–and when I’m the one that hits the mat, I’m here to drag my redneck ass back to my feet and ask for more with a smile on my face. I’m here to hone my craft and claw my way up to the top of the mountain… and above all else?  I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to follow your dreams and make’em a reality, and anyone that gets in the ring with me better get their souls right with God cuz their asses…well.

One more swig and the empty bottle is shoved into a black trash bag for later disposal.

Erin Gordon: Their asses are gonna belong to me. There’s a reason I’m called the Oncoming Storm, after all.

A hand begins to move upward, as if to adjust the brim of a hat–but she’s not wearing one, so it falls back into her lap with a soft huff of a sound that might be the beginnings of a laugh.

Erin Gordon: Enjoy the rest of the show.

And with that, her attention returns to the device in her hand as the camera as we cut away.

#36 MJ Flair vs # 3 Cecilworth Farthington

LSD Championship Match

The scene cuts back to the announcers as its time for our main event.

Joe Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen, as though a Refueled with TWO singles title matches on it wasn’t exciting enough, the surprises keep coming– per Lee Best, tonight’s main event LSD Championship match will be no ordinary match. Number one contender MJ Flair was slated to face champion Cecilworth Farthington at No Remorse, but for reasons that remain known only to Lee himself, it would appear that the number one contendership is being cashed in early. Tonight, MJ Flair competes against the man who hasn’t been defeated in over a year, Cecilworth Farthington… and she’ll do it in a ladder match!

Benny Newell: Oh, great. Now when MJ Flair snaps that fucking pencil neck Farthington’s streak like a broken toothpick tonight, he can make a bunch of excuses about how he didn’t really “lose” lose, his belt was stolen. Must be fuckin’ nice to be friends with Mike Best.

Joe Hoffman: Uh, Mike Best didn’t book this stipulation, Benny. Lee Best did. Mike Best hasn’t had an ownership stake in HOW since shortly before March to Glory. In fact, the HOW World Champion will have absolutely nothing to do with this match– Cecilworth Farthington asked him just a few short moments ago to sit this one out, so it looks like your commentary seat is safe for the night, Big Buff.

Benny Newell: Idiot, I know that Lee made this a ladder match. It’s such a good idea! MJ Flair is one hundred forty pounds on her fucking period, folks, she’s getting up that ladder before you can say “STREAK OVER, BAYBEE!” And fucking GOOD– for the last two weeks, I’ve had to sit back and listen to bullshit one note commentary from the Group of Douchebags… we need some fair and fucking balanced reporting.

The lights dim as the beginning of “Mary Mary (STIGMATIC MIX)” by CHUMBAWAMBA begins to build. MJ Flair walks out with purpose, stopping right at the top of the ramp for just a moment before she heads to the ring. A few outstretched hands are slapped, but for the most part, she remains focused. MJ takes a lap around the ring to greet another handful of fans.

Joe Hoffman: People like to point out how rough a year 2020 has been for MJ Flair, but at only 20 years of age, it’s very difficult to say she’s hit anywhere near her peak. As the youngest HOW LSD Champion of all time, Ms. Flair has certainly struggled since losing the belt to Maximilian Kael at Rumble at the Rock 2019, but tonight’s chance at redemption may be just the shot in the arm that she needs to get back on track.

Benny Newell: People need to cut her some slack, Joe. She goes out there, week after week, and gives her absolute all to the HOW fans. She wrestles at independent shows to keep on top of her game. She fucking plays jazz bass like a machine. MJ Flair is a role model, an inspiration, and a hero, and I won’t have anyone say anything otherwise from now on.

Joe Hoffman: …you’re awfully supportive of her all of the sudden, Benny. While I of course agree with you, I’m rightfully suspicious.

Benny Newell: What’s not to support, Joe? She called Lindsay Troy a cunt. She came up with Fartypants. She threatened to quit if she lost the main event this week. This girl is literally everything that I admire in a wrestler. LET’S GO MJ!

After meeting with the fans, MJ stops closest to the far ringpost. In one fluid motion, she climbs from the floor to the top turnbuckle on the outside of the ring, raising her hands while encouraging as much noise from the fans as possible. As she climbs down from the turnbuckle, her music gradually fades away, and she takes her corner.

As her music fades away, “Mr. Finish Line” begins to echo some smooth bass riffs throughout the arena, heralding the arrival of the LSD Champion to tonight’s main event. Cecilworth Farthington steps out onto the stage, looking out into the sea of Chicago fans and hoisting the LSD Championship high over his head. He yells those two words, and a surprising number of people in the crowd yell them along with him:

CMF: LOYALTY. AND. SACRIFICE.

He throws the belt over his shoulder, as he marches toward the ramp.

Benny Newell: Just look at his smug little face, Joe. To think that he sat in this chair last week makes me want to burn it.

Joe Hoffman: If anyone has a right to be smug in HOW, it’s unfortunately Cecilworth Farthington. Undefeated for well over a year now, he is perhaps the most dangerous man on the High Octane roster. MJ Flair has her work cut out for her here tonight.

Benny Newell: Don’t forget that it was MJ motherfucking Flair who pinned Farthington to become the LSD Champion at War Games in 2019, dick. Not to mention that pin on Mike Best at THIS year’s War Games– if Mr. Foot On The Ropes had been over two more feet and couldn’t kick out, Andy Murray would have won War Games and Farthington wouldn’t even be undefeated anymore! THE GROUP OF TECHNICALITIES!

Cecilworth climbs up the ring steps, handing the LSD Championship off to Senor Referee Joel Hortega before taking his corner. MJ Flair stretches in her opposite corner, staring at the champion as Hortega secures the title to a length of cord that hangs from the rafters… slowly, it is raised up out of reach of both combatants, and the ladder match is set to begin.

DING DING DING

Though the bell has rung, neither competitor is quick to leave their corner and start the match. MJ Flair narrows her eyes, grabbing the ropes and leaning toward him like she’s at the starting line of a race– in the meantime, Farthington beckons her to come fight, gritting his teeth.

Joe Hoffman: There is a special look in the eyes of the LSD Champion tonight, folks– I don’t think we’re going to see your average Cecilworth Farthington out there tonight.

Benny Newell: We knooooow, Joe. He’s going all murder mode or whatever. Fucking shorthand for “Farthington is usually just lazy on regular TV”. Nothing to see here.

Slowly stalking forward, Farthington steps to the middle of the ring, once again beckoning MJ Flair to step out and fight. He taunts the young, brash Flair, trying to goad her temper into taking over. His smile widens into a grin of a shark, and the crowd begins to cheer, wanting to see Flair go full tilt right out of the gate.

And then, she does.

In a flash, MJ uses her speed, recoiling off the turnbuckle pads and pushing off with her feet for extra momentum. She barrels into the LSD Champion with a barrage of forearms, setting the crowd into a frenzy as she backs him up toward the ropes. Farthington, however, isn’t having any of it– the five extra inches and fifty extra pounds he carries with him allow him to grab hold of her outstretched forearm, holding her firmly in place, as he uses his dominant arm to crack her directly across the mouth.

Benny Newell: OH SHIT.

The crowd collectively gasps, as Flair stumbles down to a knee. There is blood on her lip, but Farthington doesn’t let go of her forearm– he follows up with a stiff kick, directly to the side of the face, and this time it plants MJ Flair down on the canvas, having been forcibly assaulted by a grown ass man with malintention.

Joe Hoffman: As hard as that was to watch, folks, it’s also legal– Cecilworth Farthington’s seat at the throne of the LSD Division is a dangerous place for him to be. This Division is exactly his style, and it’s a style that no one has managed to overcome.

Benny Newell: LSD Division? What do you think the D stands for, Joe?

Joe Hoffman: ….well I can’t just call it the LS Division.

Benny Newell: ……

MJ Flair rolls to her side, holding her face as Farthington gets right down to business. He climbs out of the ring, heading for a ladder at ringside and sliding one in under the ropes. He skids across the canvas, and he quickly follows it back into the ring.

The champion climbs to his feet and grabs hold of the ladder, wanting to set it up and put this one away early. Flair is back to her feet, though, and as Farthington opens the ladder, he eats a superkick to the side of the face that sends him careening back into the ropes! He recoils, only to be met with an armdrag takedown, and then another! Farthington climbs back to his feet a little slower this time, but MJF is ready– he comes off the opposite ropes, throwing a running dropkick to the ladder and sending it face first into Cecilworth Farthington!

Benny Newell: ATTAGIRL! GET THAT MOTHERFUCKER!

Joe Hoffman: MJ Flair looks downright pissed off in there, and she has a lot to prove– that showing of dominance early in this match seems to have lit a fire underneath her.

Benny Newell: YEAH! USE THAT FIREPUSSY YOU LITTLE BADASS!

Farthington leans against the ropes, head down and trying to get his bearings. The ladder has knocked him loopy, and now MJ Flair is in control. She bails out of the ring through the middle rope, quickly scanning the outside of the ring and finding something useful in a match with no rules– a steel chair. She brings it back into the ring with her, as Farthington shakes the last of the cobwebs out.

He charges for the challenger, but she ducks the clothesline attempt and nails him in the gut with the chair, keeling CMF over where he stands! The crowd is in a frenzy now, as MJ lets the chair drop to the canvas and tees her opponent up for a suplex– she manages to carry him overhead with a snap suplex, and drops Farthington’s back directly onto the steel! Almost by pure shock of impact, the champion shoots right back up to his feet, but MJ doesn’t mind being repetitive– she lifts him again, slamming his back down against the chair for a second time!

Joe Hoffman: The challenger is having her way with the champion, folks– this could be the return of the MJ Flair that HOW fans have so desperately been clamoring for!

Benny Newell: No way, Joe. This is something NEW! I fucking HATED that pandering little twat. This MJ Flair is one I can get behind. Figuratively and–

Joe Hoffman: We know, Benny. We always know.

The crowd is firmly behind MJ Flair as she takes the initiative this time, not waiting for the champion to get to his feet. She lifts him up off the canvas, shooting him off to the ropes with an Irish whip– Farthington reverses, but MJ Flair counters with a leaping clothesline! She’s setting up for the Morningstar!

But Farthington counters!

He grabs hold of the clotheslining arm, latching onto it as he struggles through to turn it into an Article 50. The crowd get on their feet, waiting to see if he locks it in, but with a burst of energy, MJ manages to pull free! With two close counters in a row, both competitors charge into one another, and this time Farthington throws a right hand that staggers his smaller opponent. Her head snaps back on a swivel, but she throws one back of her own, colliding with Cecilworth’s jaw!

Joe Hoffman: Oof! The jaw is becoming a literal sore spot for Farthington, after being devastated by Rick with a knockout-like punch just two weeks ago.

Benny Newell: OL’ GLASS JAW FARTYPANTS, JOE! And he’d have lost the fuckin’ belt then, too, if his shithead best friend hadn’t shown up to slam a cage door.

Farthington lets out a snarl, ripping forward with a standing clothesline that nearly takes Flair out of her boots. She hits the canvas flat, as the champion rubs at his chin– clearly the strike rattled him, as he makes his way toward the ladder and plots his next move.

CMF hoists the ladder up, turning toward the center of the ring to set it back up again, but MJ Flair hobbles back to her feet. She lifts the chair up off the canvas and swings, this time blasting the ladder at full filt, and sending the ladder smashing back into the face of the champion! The ladder falls lifelessly away, hanging against the ropes, as Farthington falls into a heap near the corner– he’s taken the steel directly to the face this time, and he’s looking worse for the wear.

Flair eyes the ladder laying against the ropes, debating about whether or not to risk an attempt at the belt. Instead, she gets a better idea– MJF puts all of her weight into moving Farthington into the corner, setting his head up against the turnbuckle. She sets the chair up against his chest and face, and the fans begin to buzz, as she makes her way to the cross corner.

Joe Hoffman: Ohhhh what’s she doing?!

Benny Newell: I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO CALL THIS IN HOW BUT HOLY SHIT, JOE!

MJ Flair climbs up onto the opposite turnbuckle, holding her arms into the air and getting the crowd fully behind her as she gets her bearings. Once her feet are planted, she pushes off with the full strength of her quads, and the crowd is in a frenzy!

…but she took too long.

In her showboating at the top, she didn’t notice that Farthington had seemingly come back to life. As soon as she’s committed to the leap, he scrambles to his feet and swings the chair about as hard as another human being can. It collides with her outstretched legs, smashing against her kneecaps and flipping her awkwardly onto her neck in the ring– the crowd doesn’t even cheer for the violence, they simply stop making any noise at all outside of the initial gasp of horror.

Joe Hoffman: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!

Benny Newell: Farthington you fucking monster! First my arm, and now this?! SHE NEEDS HER LEGS YOU HUMAN FUCK PUPPET A PERSON IS SEVERELY DISADVANTAGED WITHOUT LEGS!

The hands of the champion do not shake, as he lets the chair hang loosely at his side. He stands over MJ Flair with contempt in his eyes, muttering “there’s your sacrifice” as he drops the chair completely and makes his way to the ladder.

Slowly, he props it up in the center of the ring, as his opponent lays in a heap. He steadies the steel, looking up at the LSD Championship and preparing to make the climb. He puts his foot up onto the ladder, and takes a step– and then another.

He looks down one more time, ensuring that his victory isn’t about to be interrupted by some last ditch effort, before reaching up and grabbing the LSD Championship from the clasped cord at the top. He secures the championship, and the bell rings to signify that this one is over.

DING DING DING

Cecilworth Farthington holds the LSD Championship aloft at the top of the ladder, and once again bellows the words that have become synonymous with his championship reign: LOYALTY AND SACRIFICE.

Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, and STILL HOW LSD Chaaaaaaaampion…. CECILWORTH…. EMMMM…. FAAAAAARTHINGTONNNNN!

The production credits appear on the screen, along with the HOTv logo, as Farthington continues to hold his belt high in the air. The cameras pan one last time to MJ Flair, struggling to recover in the ring as Refueled suddenly cuts backstage before we go off the air…

BONUS SEG

BONUS SEGMENT

The scene cuts backstage on a nameless door.  What is it?  Where does it go?  Is it merely a maintenance closet filled with various cleaning supplies?  Or could it be a doorway to a world of golden showers and porcelain throne or as the layperson calls it, the bathroom?

The answer is no.

Behind this door lies opportunity.   Behind this door, dreams can become reality or reality crushes the dreams of the hopeful.   This is the door to one of the many conference rooms in the arena where deals are made.   In fact, behind this door, at this very moment, a deal is being finalized.

The door knob turns, the door opens partially to…..

VOICE:  Damn doors!

The frustrated yet familiar voice is followed by a BANG!  As the paraplegic man strikes his wheelchair with door.

VOICE:  Do NOT help me!  I can do it on my own!

The door opens wide revealing a middle aged man in a wheelchair.   While his face is hidden behind a golden quarantine beard, his eyes are familiar yet partially obscured by an obvious black toupee on his receding, naturally dirty blonde hair.   His face is flush as attempts to leave the room only to run his wheelchair into the side of the door.

MAN IN THE WHEELCHAIR:  We should have asked for wider doors in this place.

As if he has materialized from thin air, HOW interviewer extraordinaire, Chet Lapinski appears, microphone in hand.  He is shaking, clearly excited at the prospect of interviewing the newest signee of High Octane Wrestling.

CHET LAPINSKI:  This is Chet Lapinski and am I stoked to meet you!  Wow!  Ladies and gentlemen!

MAN IN THE WHEELCHAIR:   Um, yes——

CHET LAPINSKI:   I am in the presence of a future HOW champion!  Who are you?  And what are your pla—— OOOOOOOOOF!

His eighteen year old exuberance could be considered infectious, if it weren’t so annoying.  That, and the fact that he is not really an HOW interviewer.  Which is evident by the three security guards that tackle him to the ground.   It turns out that Chet Lapinski is merely a delusional fan of Brian Bare and had stolen a microphone from the production truck by posing as a security guard.

The irony.

The security guards subdue the intruder, zip tie his wrists behind his back, and drag him off.  The would be interviewer does not go quietly.

CHET LAPINSKI:   I BELONG HERE!   I BELONG WITH BRIAN!   WE’RE THE NEXT JOE AND BENNY!

SECURITY GUARD:   SHUT UP!

The faint sound of metal striking flesh and bone echoes down the hallway.  Meanwhile, the paraplegic has exited the conference room.  The stolen microphone lays on the ground.  The man wheels over the mike and picks it up.  A slight smile appears, it’s crooked and smug.   He stares at it, deep in thought and nostalgia.  Remembering the good times.  He stops and cocks his head.   He waits….

He waits for the cheer of the crowd.

There is none.  No cheers.  No boos.  He is met with indifference and confusion.  Or perhaps they did not see him.   Is he even on the big screen?   With a sigh, he places the microphone in his lap.

MAN IN THE WHEELCHAIR:  It’s almost time.

The man turns towards the empty doorway., waiting.  With sound of a click, the lights go out in the conference room.

MAN IN THE WHEELCHAIR:   Everything is going to be fine.

The tone of his voice lacks conviction in his words.   He begins to roll down the corridor.   Trepidation sets in as he slows.  Obscurity breeds indifference.  Maybe they have forgotten him.

Maybe Jattlantis has fallen…..

 

…..but this isn’t about him

FADE TO BLACK