#NR Erin Gordon vs. #NR Conor Fuse
The High Octane Television logo fades away and we cut directly inside the ring where we see Bryan McVay ready to announce the wrestlers for our opening match of the 420th High Octane Wrestling™ show on the network.
Bryan McVay: Our opening contest is scheduled for ONE FALL….
The overhead lights slowly go dark as the first strummed chords of ‘Hurricane’ fill the air, the crowd’s cheers rising in response to the woman that is about to emerge. Gray lights flare into being around the curtain when the song starts proper, illuminating the outline of the Oncoming Storm as she stands with her shoulders square and her hands curled into fists at her sides. The wind machine is on behind her, blowing her hair around as her gaze moves over the assembled crowd and the surroundings alike… before it settles upon the ring. As ‘Hurricane’ cuts to the chorus, she makes her way down the aisle, not shying away from the hands that reach out for her. Erin’s focus never wavers, even as she grabs onto the ropes and hauls herself up onto the apron. Wiping her feet, she climbs into the ring between the top and middle ropes before she heads to her corner, turning to rest her back against the turnbuckles. Only then does she play a little to the crowd, a single fist thrusting itself skyward to earn more cheers as her music fades.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, from Blooming Valley, Pennslyvania, please welcome: EEEEEEEEEERRRRRIN GOOOOOOORDON!
The lights in the arena turn off before the big screen flickers on, like it has just been plugged in. There, a picture of Conor Fuse’s head is placed in the middle and numerous faces of various HOW talent are scattered around, resembling that of a Mega Man stage select screen. As the selection lands on the current match at hand, the lights come back on and a green strobe light shines in the center of the rampway. Emerging from the back is Conor Fuse, followed by his henchman, The Game Boy. Conor takes a moment to pose with his left fist in the air. He turns back to The Game Boy and smacks the hulking individual on the chest before marching his way down to the ring, sporting a smile and too much confidence. He stops at the front of the ring, takes one leap onto the apron and then with easy clears the ropes and somersaults into the squared circle while The Game Boy crosses his arms and waits on the outside.
Bryan McVay: And her opponent, being accompanied by The Game Boy; from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, please welcome COOOOOOOOOOONNNNOOOOOR FUUUUUUUUSE.
Erin Gordon walks over towards the corner and stares a giant hole straight into Connor Fuse who just continues to gloat and talk to the Game Boy in the corner. Matt Boettcher signals for the bell, but before Connor Fuse realizes it, Erin immediately hits a stiff as fuck clothesline causing Connor to spit high into the air. Much to the delight of the crowd, Erin unleashes massive amounts of strilkes to Connor’s face before he slides out of the ring into The Game Boy’s arms.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to the 420th show here on High Octane Television. I am Joe Hoffman and as always I am joined by the man to my left, and fellow Hall of Famer, Big Buff Benny Newell.
Benny Newell: Joe I feel like this is show 101 as we are starting it out with two brand new wrestlers. Usually one of these idiots will quit after they lose…..so I cannot WAIT to see who it is tonight!
Joe Hoffman: Times are a changing Benny. I’ve heard a lot about Erin Gordon’s career in outside of HOW. People have touted her for being one of the stiffest, toughest women in this business. We could have ourselves someone at the caliber at Tara Michaels-Davidson here in HOW.
Benny Newell: Don’t give a shit. You are 0-0 when you join HOW. Ask EVERYONE.
The Game Boy sets Connor down on the ground so he can rest and stands between both Erin and Fuse. Erin motions for The Game Boy to get in the ring and fight, but Boettcher continues the count. Sneakily without hesitation, Connor ducks behind the Game Boy and rolls into the ring. Gordon hears this, but Fuse slides out of the ring. Infuriated by his taunting, Gordon hits a massive baseball slide knocking Fuse into the barricade. She whips him straight into the corner and nails a stiff clothesline. The Game Boy saunters over towards the area. As Erin Gordon charges towards Connor, he sticks his foot out causing her to trip. As Gordon recovers, her face turns beet red. She’s going to kill The Game Boy. Gordon cracks her neck before Connor nails a stiff roundhouse kick right to her jaw. Connor doesn’t let up on the pace. He rushes towards her to nail a Rolling Thunder as Boettcher counts to 7. Fuse orders The Game Boy to hoist her and toss her into the ring, so both answer the count just in the nick of time.
Benny Newell: I like this Connor Fuse cat. He’s got a lot of moxie for a competitor here in HOW. He’s creative. Smart! Intelligent! Might have to take him out for some Jack Daniels.
Joe Hoffman: Are you blind, Benny? The Game Boy tripped Gordon and he took advantage of it. That’s clearly not a fair advantage! Boettcher needs to call this match right now.
Benny Newell: Cheating, creatively winning? What’s the difference, Hoffhole? You have to do what it takes here in HOW. Win by any means necessary. Stop sounding like a baby and man up like Connor Fuse did!
Fuse picks Gordon up for a series of fast German Suplexes, dropping her on the back of her head. As she continues to hold her head, Connor locks on a headlock deep. As the crowd cheers her on, Gordon gets back to her feet, but without hesitation, Fuse hits a backdrop suplex right back onto her head. Fuse whips her straight into the turnbuckle and locks her into a Tarantula looks submission on the side of the ring. As Boettcher gets up in Fuse’s face starting the 5 count, The Game Boy launches a vicious punch straight into Erin’s stomach.
Benny Newell: Attaboy, Game Boy! Keep hitting Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left Right….
Joe Hoffman: All that’s doing is pissing her off, Benny. Look at her face. The intensity grows with this mounted disadvantage. Thank goodness Boettcher is yelling at the Game Boy now in the middle of this count.
Fuse’s ego seeps through. He gloats about how he’s got the cheat codes for Gordon to the disdain of the crowd. He drops Gordon and taunts preparing for to race at her with a ground version of his devastating PWN’D DDT. As he rushes at her, she lunges at him with a clothesline right to his neck. As Connor springs back to his feet trying to get his fast offense going, Gordon lunges at him with the Lou Thesz press, just hammering rights and lefts straight across his face, bruising it. She tosses him into the corner and hits a stiff running knee right into his chest. She motions to finish the match. She charges straight at him nailing a her Windswept Sling Blade straight down on Fuse. Boettcher goes for the cover….
Joe Hoffman: NO! The Game Boy pulls Fuse right out of from under Erin’s reach. Erin’s pissed now.
Benny Newell: I don’t think she wants to get all that meat from the Game Boy. She will regret it.
As Game Boy is checking on Fuse, Gordon lands a springboard clothesline on the Game Boy leveling him out. She rushes towards him them plants him with the swinging neck breaker down on the mat. She takes Fuse and sends him back into the ring. She slaps her fist signaling for the Nor’Easter. Her eyes are widened, ready for the kill.
Joe Hoffman: Erin sees blood in the water. She’s got him right where she wants him.
Benny Newell: Come on Connor, you need to construct additional pylons!!!!! You’ve got to man!
Erin charges at him, but Connor immediately ducks under her fist, as she quickly catches the ropes. But Connor’s too fast for her to rebound! Connor wisely jumps on the ropes as she turns around, leaps at her, and plants her face first into the mat with his PWN’D DDT. Fuse races up to the top turnbuckle like his life depended on it. He leaps off the ropes to smash into her ribs with his 450 Splash taking all the air out of her. Boetther rushes to count the pin attempt….
DING! DING! DING! DING!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner via pinfall: CONNOR FUUUUUUUUUUUSE!
Benny Newell: YES! HE CONSTRUCTED THOSE PYLONS AND FOUND THE CHEATS!
Joe Hoffman: That’s right! You better run you weasel. You better not be in the ring when Gordon wakes up.
Boettcher tries to raise Fuse’s hand, but he rushes towards the stage meeting up with the Game Boy who raises his hand. Gordon gets back up to her feet and glares a hole straight into Fuse as the scene fades to black.
The following is a pre-recorded incident from earlier this afternoon.
In today’s economy, it’s heartwarming to know that a majority of the talent within High Octane Wrestling have a strong desire to make sure that they are supporting small businesses nationwide. Making sure that those hard-earned dollars go to the little guy or gal, whose lofty ambitions to be their own boss can come to fruition.
This was especially true for the Hollywood Bruvs.
Mikey Unlikely: Well, this is the place.
Kendrix: Whew. Thought for sure itta be a trap, but I guess they weren’t lyin’.
The two smiled and gave each other a triumphant gluefist. Turning their gaze upward, the white block lettering of the sign was not unlike a welcome beacon for a waterlogged sailor. It bellowed the true definition of tireless work ethic and good old fashioned family-owned entrepreneurship. Yes, Ron and Mildred Starbucks had certainly been the flag bearers of the American Dream, and while not necessarily a household name, their fine coffees had just a tiny hint of financial success in their grounds.
Only a few hours earlier, the duo received a very threatening telegram from their now blood-enemies-because-they-burned-a-cardboard-cutout asking them to meet at this very location. Of course, due to their typical methodology of adding a laugh track to a hostile situation, the eGG Bandits legitimately sent a telegram to the tag champs. Complete with the word “STOP” in lieu of a period.
Hey, SHIT HEADS STOP. We’re not going to wait for No Remorse STOP. If you have any guts whatsoever you’ll meet us at the Starbucks on Main Street and Oak Drive STOP. That’s right, we’ll take you guys out on your own turf STOP. OK, that’s the end of the message. Make sure that gets to Jesse Kendricks and oh wait, I’m supposed to hit the pound sign when the message is over. Why did we decide to do this over the phone and not just use the Internet?
That being said, what did the Bruvs have to fear? In their minds, if the Bandits were planning an ambush, it wasn’t exactly a brilliant move. A fist fight with Mikey and Kendrix in a Starbucks would be the equivalent of taking on a shark in a swimming pool, right?
The two make their way in, fully prepared to get their dopamine drip on and whip a little Bandit ass in the process. However, as soon as they step through the threshold, they come to realize that it is not the familiar homey atmosphere that they are normally accustomed to seeing in the Siren’s caffeine lair.
Kendrix: Listen, Yeah!?
Mikey Unlikely: What in the hell is this…
Things were not normal in this Starbucks, to say the least. First, instead of a pleasant, airy playlist filled with non-invasive indie rock, the sound system in the coffee shop reverberated what seemed to be a microphone held next to a sizzling frying pan. This would surprisingly be the most pleasant thing about the room.
The usual patterns of tables and couches were all rearranged in a semi-circle, with the patrons being seemingly forced to watch a man wearing a black turtleneck and matching beret. Grasping a tiny leatherbound pad in his left hand, he passionately reads through a bullhorn in order to amplify his voice above the “music.”
Slam Poet: AND YET, WHEN MY shell collides the COUNTER TOP, will I? Will I INDEED…crack down the middle?
Mikey and Kendrix both exchange confused looks.
Mikey Unlikely: This doesn’t seem right. Are you sure this is Starbucks?
Kendrix: Yeah. ‘Cept we may be in hell’s Starry B.
Mikey Unlikely: Well, can’t say I didn’t see something ‘zany’ and ‘wacky’ coming. Probably just a half-witted ruse. Let’s get our fix in before the eGGBois show up.
The two rudely walk right in the middle of the performance area, showing a complete lack of regard for the slam poet as they make their way around the nylon line barrier and up to the counter. However, another startled revelation occurs as the two realize that the Starbucks employee does not have the typical build of a regular barista. The two stand in awe as the coffee artist slowly turns to face them.
There is a slight hesitance here from the Bruvs as the two exchange yet another confused look and brace themselves for a brawl. However, after a few moments, it becomes apparent that Rick is not looking to engage. He truly is looking to provide a tasty beverage to the rivals standing across from the counter, his usually bare upper body covered in a bright blue, egg patterned apron. Say what you want about the man, but “unprofessional” would not be an accurate adjective in this situation.
Mikey Unlikely: Venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Creme Frappe, extra halfsies on the whip, lighter on the ice. And make that a double on the whip for my main man here. He isn’t driving!
Mikey gives a chuckle, mostly to ease the tension. However, the animosity is still present. Rick gives a sigh and points to the chalkboard that crudely lists the “MENYEW.” Valiant effort, Rick. Of course he can’t spell the word properly. There’s also a little trouble with the spelling of the items on the “menyew,” which read as follows:
Mikey frowns, and Kendrix simply mutters an expletive under his breath, officially getting a little perturbed at the situation.
Kendrix: Oh for fuck sake, of COURSE you don’t have the goods. Pretty sure ‘egg coffee’ is gonna be something atrocious, innit? I guess give me an iced coffee.
Kendrix’s other half delivers his request as if his heart had been broken by his high school crush.
Mikey Unlikely: I’ll take the same. Make mine a grande though, I guess.
Rick, however, does not budge. He seems to be needing a little more insight to the order. Grabbing both a medium sized plastic cup and a large-sized plastic cup, he slams the two on the counter.
Mikey Unlikely: I said a GRANDE. Do we need to get a miracle worker in here?
Rick shakes his head. Pointing a finger down to the medium-sized cup…
And then, pointing a finger down to the large-sized cup…
Kendrix: Ugh. We’ll both take the RIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCK. And make it snappy, this was a complete waste of a Starry trip.
Rick manages his best attempt at a pleasant service industry smile and throws the two a thumbs up as he nods and lumbers off to prepare the beverages. Upon return, the Bruvs are of course disappointed as to the contents of the Rick-sized plastic cups.
Mikey Unlikely: RICKTista, we’re going to need ACTUAL Coffee… Please tell me this isn’t..
Peering down, the cup is about half-full with frozen-over squares made entirely of coffee grounds that were placed in an ice tray.
Kendrix starts to panic. He turns to Mikey wide eyed.
Kendrix: Bruv If I don’t get a double mocha half caf triple expresso latte in the next 24 seconds, I’m going to lose it! YOU DONT WANNA SEE ME WITHOUT MY COFFEE INNIT!
He shakes the shoulders of his Co-Tag Team Champion and Mikeys head bops back and forth. Reaching down Mikey untucks his shirt and pulls out two Starbucks canned Doubleshots that were apparently in his waistband.
Mikey Unlikely: CALM DOWN BRUV! Always have these in case of emergency, I don’t think I’ve ever had to crack one but there’s no time like the present!
Unlikely cracks the top of the two drinks and pours them over the sanka crystals and ice in each cup. JFK sticks his finger in his own to give it a little swirl. Then he starts to look around.
Kendrix: Uh… BaRicksta… we’re going to need some straws big man. Can’t be staining these Strippee lips ya know!
RICK looks around confused for a minute. He bends over and looks under the counter. Finally he finds the package of straws. He’s unable to find the pull tab to open them so he grabs the box by both ends and just pulls until the box explodes and straws go everywhere. RICK grabs two and reaches them out towards the Bruvs.
Kendrix: Oh no… Please tell me those aren’t… .MIKEY DON’T LOOK!
It’s too late. Unlikely takes the straw from RICK and peels the plastic off.
Mikey Unlikely: PAPER STRAWS! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Now Mikey has lost his shit. The entire room goes quiet. Everyone is looking at him. There’s about a two second gap where no one moves and then everything comes to a head. From one side of the counter Mikey takes two running steps and hops up. He slams the drink down on the chest of RICK and dives at him off the bar. Rick is knocked back into the coffee equipment behind him but he’s caught Mikey Unlikely as well. Once he regains balance he tosses him to the floor. From the back of the Starry B runs Doozer when he hears the commotion. He sees Rick standing up and Mikey on the ground. Now Kendrix has mounted the bar for a dive of his own.
Doozer: Got em!
As Kendrix jumps Doozer makes it just in time to spear him out of the air and down to the ground as well. Unlikely is now up and pulls Doozer off of JFK and now a brawl between the four has broken out. Caramel everywhere. While the Bruvs seemingly have the upper hand in the melee, it appeared as though the Bandits’ plan had backfired on them. That is, of course, until Kendrix was immediately taken aback from his mounted punching position on Rick.
Kendrix: Agh my FUCKIN’ face!
From out of thin air, a hook-filled lure had latched itself within the crevice of Jesse’s left nostril. Tracing it by the fishing line, its source came from outside next to the drive through window. Peering his head inside, the Watson Mill Kid smirked.
Zeb Martin: Reckon y’all got the telegram.
Zeb begins to jerk and reel, lodging the hook deeper into Jesse’s nose. This is enough of a distraction for Rick to escape and help out his compadre with the other Bruv. Several tandem shots to the gut and skull are enough to swing the momentum in favor of the Bandits.
Turning his attention back to Jesse, Rick releases the hook. However, that’s only a temporary reprieve, as Rick’s monstrous frame spins Kendrix around and lifts him sky high for an atomic drop. Upon impact, the Lumberjack fells the Bruv Oak with a devastating clothesline. Meanwhile, Doozer has hoisted up a winded Mikey on his haunches and finds the perfect spot to deliver an EggU for the Bruvs troubles. With a resounding thud onto the 50 pound bag of coffee grounds, Doozer chuckled as he then added insult to injury by ripping the bag open and smashing Mikey’s face inside.
Doozer: Enjoy your coffee, and enjoy yourself. Hope you like Sanka, Bruv!
A dazed Mikey Unlikely turns and begins to spit grounds out of his mouth. A defeated sigh escapes him as he slowly begins to fade, having heard the brand that Doozer had mentioned. It was the thing that Bruv nightmares were made of.
Mikey Unlikely: …decaf…
The decaffeinated segment cuts elsewhere…
Cut outside the All State Arena as the brand-new Miracle Whip rolls into the parking lot. Jack Marley is driving nodding his head to the music coming from the car. Steve Harrison is hard to notice. His head in his hands in embarrassment. Of course, a camera crew is here to catch him in all his glory.
“Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
The words of Bob Marley (of course) pours out of the car window, it is just ironic it is redemption song, has nothing to do with all these washed up wrestlers hoping for redemption. Jack parks the car and Steve jumps out quickly. Thankfully most fans have already made it into the arena, but a few can be heard.
“Nice car, asshole!” Is heard from a few directions.
Harrison stomps the pavement and looks around.
Steve Harrison: shut up, Shut Up, SHUT UP!
He looks at the camera and sighs.
Steve Harrison: Of course, a fucking camera crew is here to see this shit.
Jack finally turns the car out and get out of the car, an unlit joint hanging from his mouth.
Steve Harrison: Take that fucking joint, break it in half, and stick both halves into your defective ears you, dumbass.
Jack Marley: Huh?
Steve looks into Jack eyes and not like Bobby Dean looks at mayonnaise but more like how Eric Dane looks at Lee Best. He grabs his shoulders and begins shaking him.
Steve Harrison: WHY. CAN’T. YOU. DO. WHAT. I. SAY.
Jacks shakes back and forth, going from half closed to wide open. Steve stops shaking him and Jack nods to him with a smile.
Jack Marley: Hey, mon, sorry was feeling the Bob vibes. It was like I was driving The Miracle Whip right by the beach, boiiiii and grooving to that Kingston twelve, mon.
Harrison’s face begins to get red. The normal occurrence when Steve is angered which seems to be every time, he is HOW TV. This time it isn’t because the eGG Bandits were ruining democracy though, it was because of the past few days being straddled with a ruined classic car.
Steve Harrison: Get the bags.
Jack Marley: What about the coolers?
Steve Harrison: There has been a delay on the release of the new Miracle Enterprise product. But do not fret, HOW, the next release will have you throwing your cash at yours truly.
Jack nods and opens the door. He grabs the bags and begins walking behind the fast-moving Steve Harrison. Steve’s intention is to get away from the car as quickly as possible.
Jack Marley: Wait up, mon.
Steve Harrison: Hell no, you are lucky I don’t ask The Minister to steal your soul again.
Jack stops walking and begins to shudder as he remembers back to The Minister scaring him dead a few back at Refueled.
Jack Marley: Ok, sorry, I will try REALLLLLL hard to concentrate.
Steve Harrison: Ugh, this is spiraling out of control.
Steve lets Jack enter the arena before him and looks at the camera.
Steve Harrison: I want to make someone clear to everyone in this arena and watching from home. I am not happy with what was done to the car and when I am not happy, Miracles tend to disappear. Miracles become curses; curses become Plagues.
Steve chuckles to himself and rubs the stubble on his chin.
Steve Harrison: A plague upon the HOW house seems only fitting. I feel like Jack Harmen and I had some miscommunication. He seems to think I said I respected him but, I said I respected his longevity in the business. That is another way of saying it is time to retire from the ring and be a full-time stunt man–
Harrison shrugs with a chuckle.
Steve Harrison: For Mikey Unlikely movies, least that way we would never have to see you again.
The Suplex Saint points to the door he is about to walk through.
Steve Harrison: Inside, there is a wrestling ring. I am not a veteran, I am not a five trillion-time tag team champion, and I am not walking in that ring with more injuries then sex conquests. I am walking into that ring an angry, bitter motherfucker. No Miracle analogies today, the plague takes the weak…
Harrison checks his watch and his smile turns to a snarl.
Steve Harrison: And all I see is frail ghosts of yesterdays past. Say hello to Lindsay Troy when you see her in the ER, Jack. Maybe you guys can patch up your differences since you will both be DEAD to HOW going forward.
Scene fades as Steve enters the Arena and we cut to a commercial break.
Fall in Line
As we come back from commercial we see Blaire Moise standing with her guest, Scott Stevens, who is pacing back and forth.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time………
Stevens cuts off Blaire as he slowly raises his hand.
Scott Stevens: Before we get to the meat and potatoes of this interview there is something I need to address…..more like someone.
Stevens says as he turns directly towards the camera.
Scott Stevens: Andy Murray.
The crowd boos at the mention of the King of Wrestling’s name.
Scott Stevens: Andy, you and I both know that I had you beat in the middle of the ring last week and if you didn’t take your little shortcut I would be standing here as the new ICON champion.
The crowd gives a mixed reaction to the Texan claim.
Scott Stevens: Now, it can be next week, the week after, after No Remorse, I don’t care because I want you back in that ring and next time I’ll have what should be mine around my waist and that is the ICON championship.
Stevens motions his hands around his waist.
Blaire Moise: Stevens challenging Andy Murray for a future shot at the ICON championship. Will Murray accept? Will Lee Best make it possible? Only time will tell, but tonight isn’t about ICON championships is it Scott?
Stevens looks at Blaire and shakes his head.
Scott Stevens: No it’s not. Tonight is facing a man I am very familiar with and his partner I know a lot of, but have never faced. Tonight, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Stevens says knowing the importance of this match.
Blaire Moise: The stakes couldn’t be higher as you said and are you ready for the challenge?
Blaire asks and Stevens gives her a look.
Scott Stevens: Really Blaire? Of course I’m ready. Just because I have been in a funk as of late doesn’t mean I’m not ready to face the Group of Death.
Stevens boasts confidently.
Blaire Moise: Seems like your opponents aren’t taking you seriously and neither is your partner. What are your thoughts on that?
Blaire asks and Stevens just chuckles.
Scott Stevens: Blaire, they are titled to their opinion, but to me their opinion doesn’t mean shit. Mike Best is the most decorated wrestler in the history of HOW and he may be the greatest performer to step in-between those ropes but he can be beat, I know. Dan Ryan is a fucking beast and a hulking brute that can rip your arms off and beat you to death with them because he can, but he can be beat as well since his shell was cracked recently.
Stevens informs the audience of the dangers he faces, but also of the plausible reality that the Group of Death isn’t invincible.
Blaire Moise: Easier said than done.
Scott Stevens: It is, and the way they are nonchalantly going about this match makes them very beatable. Is Mike Best going to come out here coked up and claim he hasn’t been beaten since 2016?
Stevens leans into Blaire.
Scott Stevens: Totally a lie by the way, but just nod and smile when he says it.
Blaire shakes her head.
Blaire Moise: Ok.
Scott Stevens: Or are we going to get the fucking Machine? You know the one who beat Dan Ryan for his sixth ICON championship. The man who became a two time War Games champion and record breaking and setting World champion?
Scott Stevens: When it comes to his partner this is a toughie.
Blaire Moise: How so?
Scott Stevens: Dan Ryan is a complicated individual because he’s dangerous no matter what mood he is in, but is he going to brush off the loss from Cancer Jiles and bring the pain or is he going to mope around and take his ball home? When he couldn’t solve the puzzle that is Cecilworth Farthington he joined him. His Ryan going to join 24K because he can’t solve the riddle of Andy Murray?
Stevens shrugs again.
Scott Stevens: If one or both of those personas some up the Group of Death will be DOA after tonight.
Stevens remarks with an almost guarantee in his voice and he starts to leave.
Blaire Moise: Wait.
Blaire says as Stevens stops.
Scott Stevens: Yes?
Blaire Moise: Any words for Eric Dane.
Blaire asks and Stevens smirks as he turns towards the camera.
Scott Stevens: Eric, I know your good at following orders so shut your mouth, fall in line like a good little soldier and follow my lead.
Stevens replies as he turns and leaves as we cut back to ringside.
#30 Chris Kostoff vs. #NR Simon Loveless
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to ringside folks as we’re ready for our second match of the night.
Benny Newell: Match? This is gonna be a mercy killing of a senior citizen. Loveless is gonna finish the job this week.
Joe Hoffman: For those of you who didn’t catch it last week, Simon Loveless attacked Chris Kostoff after his match with RICK. It took two chair shots to knock the Hall of Famer down… but he didn’t stay down for long.
Benny Newell: Ya… about that. Has that fucker been tested recently? There has to be something in his prune juice.
Joe Hoffman: Regardless…. Kostoff ended up hitting the No Remorse on Loveless and that’s how we got to this match tonight Benny.
Benny Newell: Whatever, just drag the prehistoric relic out here and get this going.
Hit the lights of the arena and hit those ivory keys of the piano because “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon begins to play out over the PA system. The curtain parts as the theme from “The Spy who Loved Me” continues to play and out steps both Simon Loveless and his girlfriend slash manager Missy Monet. Loveless is wearing his yellow wrestling trunks, which have the initials ‘SL’ across the front in black and black t-shirt which reads ‘Summer of Loveless’ across the front. Missy is wearing an extremely tight fitting dress tonight which makes the crowd happy, but Simon is there to remind them to keep their hands and eyes to themselves. As the song continues, Simon pulls Missy behind him making sure none of the mutants in the aisle are able to touch his manager.
Bryan McVay: The following match is scheduled for one fall… first making his way to the ring, accompanied by Missy Monet, from Seattle, Washington and weighing in at 198 pounds… Simon Loveless!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Loveless making his in ring debut tonight… and we’ll see if it will be his in ring end when a really pissed off Chris Kostoff comes out.
Benny Newell: If he doesn’t break a hip walking to the ring.
The opening chords of “Wolf Totem” by The Hu screams across the speakers as he steps out onto the stage. Looking out he slowly makes his way to ringside. Kostoff circles the ring before sliding in.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent from Tampa, Florida and weighing in at 285 pounds… HOW Hall of Famer… Chris Kostoff!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Nearly a hundred advantage for….
Kostoff waits for nothing as he charges at Simon and tackles him to the ground as Hortega calls for the bell while Kostoff starts raining punches down on Loveless who tries his best to cover up. Kostoff lands a few punches before Loveless gets a knee up into the very lower stomach area of Kostoff that causes Kostoff to roll to his side in pain. Hortega warns Loveless to watch the shots below the belt as Loveless climbs to his feet and drills Kostoff with a kick to the side of the head as he goes for a quick cover…
Kostoff powers out and throws Loveless off him as he shakes off the kick and climbs back to his feet. Loveless springboards off the middle rope with a cross body but Kostoff catches him and turns it into a running powerslam that nearly puts Loveless through the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Minus a low blow, Loveless is getting a rough introduction to HOW thanks to Kostoff.
Benny Newell: Purely accidentally after Kostoff attacked him before the bell even rung.
Picking Loveless up off the mat, Kostoff irish whips him hard into the corner and nearly cuts him in half with a running shoulder to his gut. He then follows it up with some repeated knees to the gut before he pulls Loveless out and spinebusters him hard into the mat and goes for the cover.
Loveless just kicks his foot out to the rope and gets it on there before the final count as Kostoff shakes his head, pissed he didn’t pull him just a few more inches away. But Kostoff doesn’t let it get to him as he pulls Loveless and calls for the No Remorse as the crowd roars.
Joe Hoffman: Loveless about to get a second taste of No Remorse!
But as Kostoff is about to pick Loveless up, we see Missy Monet climb up onto the apron to try and do something to save her man.
Joe Hoffman: Oh come on!
Benny Newell: Oh yes! Come on!
Kostoff spots Missy and charges at her… and seeing her life flash before he eyes, Missy quickly retreats off the apron and some sort of safety. But the distraction does it’s job as Loveless comes across the ring with a running Yakuza kick straight to the temple of Kostoff.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff eating that kick… but he’s still on his feet.
Benny Newell: Again!
Maybe hearing Benny, or having the same idea, Loveless takes a few steps back and connects with a second running Yakuza kick that still doesn’t take Kostoff down. The crowd is roasting for Kostoff’s resilience, but it doesn’t last long as Loveless goes for a third running Yakuza kick and this time he connects and takes Kostoff down to one knee.
Joe Hoffman: Three huge kicks and Kostoff is still half standing.
Benny Newell: Just goes to show ya Kostoff has no brain in that fucking melon to damage.
With Kostoff chopped down, Loveless is able to pick him up onto his shoulders as the fans start to boo as Loveless plants Kostoff’s head between his legs and into the mat for a perfect psycho driver.
Benny Newell: Loveless Driver Joe! And Kostoff is dead… he fucking finnally dead!
Joe Hoffman: I doubt that, but Loveless is going for the cover that might be academic…
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: Your winner…. Simon Loveless!!!!
Loveless clutches his rib as he raises his other arm, before quickly rolling out of the ring, not wanting to be near Kostoff any longer than needed in case the Monster revives himself quickly again.
Joe Hoffman: Impressive victory by Loveless in his debut to HOW, beating a Hall of Famer… but it wasn’t easy to chop down the monster.
Benny Newell: Ya, ya, ya, it’s another loss though for Kostoff, admit it Joe, he nothing but a fucking loser.
Joe Hoffman: How about you let him know that Benny… I’m sure Kostoff would love to No Remorse you to 2022.
Kostoff starts to get up from the mat as Loveless celebrates up the rampway… and you can see some frustration from Kostoff as he just shakes his head as we cut away.
Back within the lonely confines of Alcatraz and the general mood screams: tired.
Tired are the cells and neglected furnishings, and so tired is Pikey Fuck himself, Hughie Freeman.
The battle scars from torture, and a thick and fast fighting scheldue in HOW taking its evidential toll.
H.A. T. E Guard: Freeman, mail
Freeman: You’re fucking ribbing me.
Hughie looks surprised as he stops pacing his stinking cell.
H.A. T. E Guard: Mail!
A sizable letter then gets fed through the bars of the cell into the possession of Hughie Freeman.
The Resident Gypsey immediately rushes over to his bed and sits on it. He is reluctant at first, but out of sheer boredom he completely rips the top of the envelope.
Freeman (V. O): Hughie,
Thanks for writing from Alcatraz!
Hughie Freeman’s face beams like all of his Christmases have come at once.
Freeman (V. O): To say it was unexpected is a bit of an understatement, but I appreciate you’re still keeping up with things around HOW.
Woodson got what was coming to him plain and simple.
Hughie Freeman sniggers.
Freeman (V. O): The Bandits are a great bunch of guys. I don’t know what Woodson had against them, and frankly, I don’t care either. You’re absolutely right, they don’t hate, they appreciate. Hey, maybe you should take up poetry! I bet some special cat or kitten on the outside would love that!
Anyways, keep up the good work! You can always reach out – we may have had a rocky start, but that’s in the past!
Hope to hear from you again soon,
RICK, aka Big Man
Hughie Freeman is gripped with emotion as he gleefully smiles.
Freeman (V. O): Countersigned, Bobby Dean.
Hughie then grasps the letter over his heart and falls back on the bed in a lying down position.
An overhead shot encapsulates Freeman looking so enriched with…… . LOVE?
Card Subject to Change
World Championship Match
The Minister vs. Michael Lee Best©
ICON Championship Match
Dan Ryan vs. Andy Murray©
Tag Team Championship Match
The eGG Bandits vs. Hollywood Bruvs©
Chris Kostoff vs. Lee Best
The shot picks up backstage.
Bobby the Bandit and Jiles the Jerkoff are going over some final match preparation. No longer within the sanctity of the eGG Basket, they converse while walking through the hallways on their way to the gorilla position.
Bobby Dean: Hey, you don’t think one of these guys is going to try and pull a Mike, do you?
The still very much gray haired Maestro comes to an abrupt stop, causing his baby blue bath robe wearing cohort to do the same.
Bobby Dean: I was just thinking, what if one of them, ya know, bites me down there?
Jiles: Don’t sweat it, you won’t be in the ring long enough for that to happen.
Bobby Dean: Oh.
Jiles: We want to win, Bob. Not only that, we want to humiliate, and spread our collective suffering to others. We don’t want to fall short because someone bit us in the dick.
Bobby Dean: Oh.
Jiles: You warm them up, I’ll COOL them down— just like we discussed. Besides, tonight is a Total Eggsecution night. You get to throw one of the Bosom Buds into the ropes.
Bobby Dean: Should have gone to Starbucks.
Jiles: What was that?
Bobby Dean: We’re gonna beat those confusing fucks.
Jiles: Come again?
Bobby Dean: We’re going to humiliate, eviscerate, and dominate those confusing fucks.
Bobby Dean: I get to throw one of them into the ropes for you.
Jiles: Good. Don’t forget, you get to lift them, too. No pressure.
The Maestro begins to march. Bobby is still standing there, a bit bewildered from the look of it.
Bobby Dean: Can I just say one thing?
Jiles: No. Now let’s go! The Octabandits are waiting to see you.
Cut to the announce team.
#13 The eGG Bandits vs. Hollywood and Matthews
Joe Hoffman: And we’re back to in-ring action! With a tag match I’ve been looking forward to; it’s always a good time with the eGG Bandits!
Benny Newell: Ugh, DRINK! Weren’t we tortured with this booking just a couple weeks ago?
Joe Hoffman: That was Doozer and Zeb Martin. Tonight we get Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean!
Benny Newell: I swear if that gray, squirrelly motherfucker throws another egg at me…
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed reverberates throughout the Allstate arena. Brian Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage, standing at the top of the ramp for a few brief moments, closing his eyes.
Bryan McVay: Making his way to the ring… from Los Angeles, California… weighing in at 225 pounds… BRIIIIIIAN HOLLYWOOOOOOOOD!
More boos rain down from the crowd As Hollywood opens up his eyes and pyrotechnics shoot off in opposite corners of the platform atop the ramp. As the pyros approach center stage, the camera zooms in to see the reflection in Hollywood’s eyes. As he begins to rip off his vest, bustling from behind him catches Hollywood’s attention.
Benny Newell: If it’s the egg tossers, I swear-
Cutting Benny off mid-threat is a stumbling backward Darin Matthews.
He throws his arms up defiantly and charges back toward and into the curtains. As soon as he hits them, he gets thrown back onto the top of the stage. Emerging, with a menacing glare, right after him is Mario Maurako. He points at Matthews, shouting angrily, then down at the ring. Darin hangs his head and waves off Mario in disgust. As the High Octane Hall of Famer returns backstage, the Tyrant of the Territories trudges down the ramp alongside a less than enthused Brian Hollywood.
McVay clears his throat before his unexpected announcement-
Bryan McVay: And, uh, his teammate… hailing from the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri… also weighing 225 pounds… DAAAARRRRRIIIIINNNN! MATTHEEEWWWWWWS!!!
The two, keeping a cold distance from each other, march up to the ring and slide in. They both move to their own corners on the side of the ring opposite the entrance ramp
Joe Hoffman: You could cut the tension with a knife between these two, huh Benny?
Benny Newell: Oh fuck off, Joe.
The lights go out. The sound of an egg cracking quickly follows to a big pop from the crowd. Yellow strobe lights scan different quadrants of the crowd as “Banditstruck” – a remix of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” fills the stadium.
Joe Hoffman: Here come the Bandits!
Benny Newell: (mockingly) And here comes the booze!
Out from behind the curtain, without the typical moments of pause for suspense, out marches Cancer Jiles. He’s shortly followed by fellow Bandit, Beautiful Bobby Dean. The Meastro has his eyes dead set on Darin Matthews. Bob raises a hand to wave to the fans, but Cancer shoots out a hand and grabs Dean by the wrist so fast it shocks him. Graybush Jiles nods toward their opponents in the ring, Dean replaces his smile with a stern face, and the two march down the ramp.
Bryan McVay: And their opponents… weighing a combined four hundred and fifty-nine pounds… they are Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean, representing the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeGG! Baaandiiiiiiiiits!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Looks like their swing toward the more serious continues, Benny.
Benny Newell: They use eggs as weapons and worship a burnt cardboard likeness of a guy who’s never given a shit about them, Joe. What’d you say again?
As Hoffman pretends he didn’t hear the question, the wrestlers in the ring sort themselves out. Brian Hollywood and Darin Matthews hold a mini-standoff in their corner for who would start the match out. Hollywood, knowing how stubborn his partner can be, relents and slips through the ropes onto the apron. Bobby Dean holds up his hands for the ceremonial rock, paper, scissors… but instead of playing, Cancer Jiles steps out and onto the apron. Boettcher checks in with Darin and Dean, then signals for the bell-
Joe Hoffman: Both teams with very interesting ways deciding who to start tonight.
Benny Newell: They’re all hopeless. I’m just rooting for the less hopeless.
Joe Hoffman: …
Benny Newell: The Darin Matthews Band. Seems you understand stupid, so there.
Joe Hoffman: So we’ve got Darin Matthews starting off the action against Bobby Dean. The two circle each other, Matthews smirking as the Beautiful Man from Honalee scowls. They charge each other simultaneously and lock up!
Darin leans into Dean, showing unexpected power. Cancer barks at his teammate causing Bobby to grit his teeth and push back.
Joe Hoffman: Dean showing strength getting back over Matthews!
But Darin breaks the test of strength with a toe stomp!
Benny Newell: There it is, Darin! Keep that shit up!
Bobby releases his lock, grabs his raised boot and hops around on one foot in pain. Jiles shakes his head. Matthews stalks the bouncing Bobby, then pounces –
Benny Newell: What a clothesline by Matthews!
Darin pops up, looking jazzed. Dean slowly gets to his feet, shaking off the big hit. He lunges at Matthews, who dodges out of the way last second.
Joe Hoffman: Matthews continues to circle Bobby Dean like a boxer bouncing around trying to wear his opponent down. Another missed grab – and another!
Benny Newell: That flappy son of a bitch might’ve lost a few pounds, but he’s still out of shape and slow as hell! I can’t believe he even lasted a minute against Mike Best!
Joe Hoffman: He plays to the level of his competition!
Dean desperately dives forward trying to catch the more athletic Matthews one last time, but Darin drops to a snappy baseball slide through Bob’s legs. He pops to his feet and grabs Dean by the midsection.
Joe Hoffman: Matthews, with all his might, lifts Dean up and tosses him backward for a good looking GERMAN SUPLEX! Darin’s really bringing the heat here early!
Matthews jumps up and throws his arms to the crowd –
Joe Hoffman: Looks like Hollywood wants a tag, but Darin doesn’t seem to be in any hurry. Oh my, Matthews just spit at his tag partner!
Benny Newell: Please, no. You two dumb shits need to work together so you can- watch out!
During the Matthews / Hollywood exchange, Bobby got back on his feet.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think Darin’s gonna like what he sees when he turns… Bobby Dean with a swift kick to the midsection! He grabs Matthews by the head! SNAP SUPLEX! The Beautiful Bandit floats over into a pin!
Benny Newell: What a dumb ass pin attempt!
Dean gets up on his feet and moves toward Darin, who already jumped up to his a bit reinvigorated after the quick kickout- but unbeknownst to the both of them, Jiles reaches over as far as he can while keeping a foot on the apron and cold tags himself into the match.
Joe Hoffman: The gray-haired Cancer Jiles looking like Stretch Armstrong to pat his buddy’s back and get into the action!
Bobby jumps, startled by the unexpected shoulder tap, then quickly refocuses and grabs Matthews as he approaches. Bob shows signs of agility with a quick shuffle around to the backside of Darin, holding his arms behind him.
Joe Hoffman: Jiles puckers up! You know what this could mean!
Benny Newell: And fucking Boettcher is gonna do nothing? More like Bitcher!
Darin closes his eyes. Cancer smiles, then moves his mouth like he said, “BOO” and suckerpunches Matthews in the gut. Bbb releases the hold and Darin doubles over. Jiles learns forward to get under Matthews arms and lifts him up by his midsection.
Joe Hoffman: The Maestro has Matthews in the air, and kneels while bringing him down cracking Darin’s family jewels on his knee for a nasty, inverted atomic drop!
Cancer retreats to a corner and starts stomping!
Joe Hoffman: The Nail of the Bandits is calling for Terminal Cancer! What a quick turn for the worse here for the Tyrant of the Territories!
Benny Newell: I fucking can’t anymore.
Benny puts his hands over his eyes.
Holding his groin in pain, Matthews slowly turns toward his opponent…
Joe Hoffman: TERMINAL CANCE – NO!!!
Benny Newell: DARIN DUCKED UNDER THE SHIT KICK! HE’S GOT KING SHITHEAD ON HIS SHOULDERS! HAHAHAHA YES! SIXTH STAR! SIXTH STAR!!!
Bobby’s eyes pop.
Darin Matthews jumps up, throws his arms to his sides, and shouts to the crowd –
Joe Hoffman: HOLLYWOOD COLD TAGS MATTHEWS!
Benny Newell: NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Joe Hoffman: Brian Hollywood leaps over the ropes and scurries over to cover Cancer!
Joe Hoffman: NO COUNT! Darin Matthews just pulled his own teammate off The Maestro! I don’t know if I’ve ever-
Benny Newell: DRINK!
Hollywood jumps to his feet, shouting at Matthews so hard and so close another centimeter would lead to Darin’s nose getting bit off. Jiles army-crawls to the nearest ropes and pulls himself up to his feet.
Joe Hoffman: The Tyrant of the Territories turns around! He’s not hearing a word of it – OH MY! MATTHEWS JUST SPUN AROUND AND CLOCKED HOLLYWOOD!
Boettcher, attempting to control the situation, moves toward Darin and urges him to step out onto the apron. Matthews waves him off, rolls out of the ring, and starts heading up the ramp.
Joe Hoffman: Darin Matthews is abandoning his teammate! Cancer Jiles is puckering up again! This doesn’t bode well for Holly- COOLYMPIAN YOLJK! HE HIT IT!
Brian covers his face with his hands and frantically tries to wipe the yellow mist out of his eyes.
Benny starts drinking heavily.
Joe Hoffman: Cancer grabs an arm and whips Hollywood into the Bandits’ corner. He tags Bobby Dean back into the match!
The two whip Hollywood into the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Bobby Dean catches Hollywood on the return off the ropes and hoists him into the air! The Maestro is primed up! Gravity brings Brian down into a TERMINAL CANCER! They call that the TOTAL EGGSECUTION!!!
Dean jumps to his feet with Jiles. The two raise their arms to a huge pop from the crowd. Bob turns toward Jiles for a high-five….
Joe Hoffman: The Meastro swiftly jumps outside the ropes onto the apron, twists, and slaps Bobby’s hand for the high five. BUT that makes Jiles the legal man!
Bobby initially has a WTF reaction, but shakes it off and steps out onto the apron. Cancer leaps up to the top rope.
Joe Hoffman: Jiles is on the top rope! WHAT A SPLASH! And there’s the pin!
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: Your winners… Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean… the eeeeeeeeeeeeGG! Baaandiiiiiiiiits!!!
Joe Hoffman: A very interesting match! I wonder if Matthews and Hollywood can recover from their continuing downward spiral. I don’t think Mario’s going to be happy about this!
Benny Newell: Oh, it’s finally over? THANK GAWD!
Action cuts backstage as Benny is seen refilling his 97red cup.
Formatting a Storm
The HOV comes to life as we cut as a video begins to play…
We see a hotel lobby that is busy. That’s not the right word. The hotel lobby is packed. The flight from Japan to New York was one of many that were delayed due to a storm covering much of the eastern United States. It’s late, connections were missed. Everyone is tired, everyone wants a hotel room.
JASON STORM stands near the end of the long lineup. In his right hand, he clutches half a dozen pieces of paper held together with two paperclips at the top. In his left hand, he clutches a backpack that’s draped over his shoulder. It’s not full and doesn’t seem particular heavy, but would have enough clothing to last a few days. The backpack shows signs of wear and tear, probably about 10 years old.
Surveying the hustle and bustle, Jason studies his surroundings. He has trained his brain to memorize items, people, landmarks and more. He estimates having stood in line for 8 minutes 39 seconds. He glances up at the clock; it’s been 9 minutes. Of the 18 people in front of him, 11 were on his flight from Tokyo, 3 male and 8 female. Two of them are sisters, another two are brother and sister. One mom is with her two children, approximately 4-6 years old in age. The rest appear to be unrelated. The line moves up.
The slow beat of the latest rap hit isolates itself in Jason’s mind. His eyes scan the room and he locates it. It’s coming from a cell phone held by a teen, splayed on a couch to the far right of the room. No earphones. He’s playing it to the annoyance of everyone. Jason’s smile disappears. The line moves up.
At the front desk, a would-be customer is upset that there are no suites available. The hotel is packed. She’s dressed to the nines; mid-length skirt, white button up blouse, sharp suit jacket and every strand of hair perfectly in place. Her makeup is overdone though, and her voice is enough to cut right through someone’s skull. The volume of her voice gradually rises. That rap song disappears from Jason’s head. His eyebrows furrow. The line moves up.
Jason is pushed slightly out of the lineup. Behind him, a man squeezed his way through aggressively. Jason tries to catch his eyesight, but he’s too busy speaking on his cell phone. Work, some kind of crisis. The man never looks back. No apology, no acknowledgement. Jason’s shoulders tense up. The line moves up.
Jason’s focus fails him. Suddenly his senses are overloaded. He can see everything, hear everything. The dog barking just outside the hotel doors; the vacuum cleaner running above them on the stairs; the children throwing tantrums, clearly over-tired from the long day of travel. Jason’s fist clenches, the blood escapes the limbs.
“Excuse me sir.”
Jason snaps back out of his head. He makes eye contact with the desk clerk. His body releases its tension, and his smile returns.
“Sir? May I help you?”
Jason Storm: You may, in fact…..I need a room. Anything will do, really. I’ve been travelling all day and I just need a place to rest.
His tone was pleasant, as if everything that had bothered him had escaped his body.
“Well let’s see what we can do for you,” the clerk said. “Where are you coming in from?”
He showed the tag on his backpack.
Jason Storm: Tokyo. Great place, lots to see and do.
“Maybe I’ll go there someday and see that for myself.”
She had a calm soothing voice. Jason appreciated it, being used to angry promoters, jealous wrestlers and wild fans. It helped him relax. He was in need of relaxing.
“Well, here you go darling. Room 709. Single bed, cable TV, mini fridge if you need it.”
Jason Storm: That sounds… perfect…..
He looked at her name tag.
Jason Storm: Thank you so much… Darlene.
“My pleasure. Let us know if you need anything during your stay.”
Jason placed his paperwork on the desk.
Jason Storm: I will. actually…would you mind doing me a big favour? I have this contract that I’ve needed to send over to my new employer but I don’t have a way of sending it. It’s overdue… and there’s a fax number on the sticky note at the top. If you could…
“Absolutely,” Darlene said, smiling at the handsome stranger. “Won’t be but a minute.” She takes the contract and brings it over to the fax machine behind the desk against the far wall. She removes the paperclips, exposing the High Octane Wrestling logo on the top corner. Each page runs through the machine, one after the other until a message appears confirming its successful submission.
Darlene hands the paper back to Jason, and they wish each other a good night. Jason carries his belongings to the elevator and presses the button for the 7th floor. As the elevator doors close, his smile fades and his body again tenses as the video ends and we head to commercial.
#20 High Flyer vs. #18 Steve Harrison
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone back from the commercial break. Our sub-main event is next, Benny, and this is one I’ve been looking forward to. The fast-rising, but very polarizing, “Miracle Man” Steve Harrison squares off against Jack Harmen, who has his sights set on a career turnaround in HOW.
Benny Newell: Yeah? Big fucking deal. Last I checked, we aren’t broadcast on the goddamn Hallmark Channel. We don’t do feel-good, fuzzy shit here.
Joe Hoffman: You act like this is the first time someone’s tried to turn things around, Benny.
Benny Newell: You act like this is the first time I should give a fuck. Newsflash: don’t care. And Harrison’s not selling MIRACLE WHISKEY so I don’t give a fuck about him either. DRINK!
As if on cue, “Take the Money and Run,” by the Steve Miller Band starts to play and the curtain flies open. Steve Harrison walks out with his arms in the air, a smirk across his face. He begins walking towards the ring and waves at that crowd who return his waves with boos and indifference.
Steve’s smirk begins to fade after hearing the response so the Miracle Man begins jawing back at some of the audience and pointing to himself yelling over and over “ME, ME, ME!.” Steve walks faster to the ring, his smirk now a scowl. He enters the rings and leans against one of the turnbuckles and begins talking to himself, his face becoming red in anger.
Joe Hoffman: Steve’s beaten Brian Hollywood and Chris Kostoff in his first two matches here in HOW…
Benny Newell: Correction, he SURVIVED Kostoff, that old fuck. He got lucky.
Joe Hoffman: That may be true, but he’ll have to rely on all his skills and wiles to make it past the man about to come out next.
“All Aboard! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA…”
A light fog rises up from the entrance way as the opening guitar riff to “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne kicks in. Parting the smoke is Jack Harmen, who stands confidently at the top of the entrance ramp. He tosses one hand up in a devil horn taunt, and smiles slyly to the camera.
Joe Hoffman: After a rough few months, Jack Harmen’s stock is on the rise. A win here over the undefeated “Miracle Man” will help propel him up the rankings further.
Benny Newell: Or maybe he’ll go the way of his lil’ tag partner. I’d drink to that!
Harmen stomps his way to the ring, paying very little attention to the crowd. Once he reaches ringside, he slips in under the bottom rope then sprawls on his back, making snow angels while looking up at the lights before recovering to his feet.
Joel Hortega calls for the bell, and we’re underway
DING DING DING!
Jack Harmen immediately goes on the offensive, throwing a left that Steve Harrison blocks before returning one of his own. Harmen takes it on the chin and pushes forward with a right that Harrison once again deflects, but as he throws a counter right, Harmen ducks and spins around to connect with a kick to the back of the legs that staggers the Miracle Man.
As he falls back, Harrison uses the momentum to carry himself into the ropes, returning with a forearm smash that sends Harmen stumbling backwards and falling to the mat. Harrison spins around after the forearm and connects with a clothesline that drops the former HOW tag team champion. The crowd boos the Miracle Man as he puts the boots to Harmen, who rolls out of the ring and shakes himself loose.
Joe Hoffman: Both men equally aggressive in the early stages of this one.
Benny Newell: Bah, stay in there and take that beating like a man, Harmen.
As Harrison steps backwards past Joel Hortega, Harmen bolts back into the ring and springs to his feet. He drives a dropkick into the sternum of Harrison, who falls to the mat, then rolls backwards and pops back to his feet to re-engage in a fistfight. The crowd go nuts as Harmen connects with a spinning back elbow that knocks Harrison off kilter, capitalizing with a knee kick that doubles him over.
Harmen holds both hands to his face as Harrison rolls off and gets to his feet, pulling Harmen to his after another kick to the ribs and whipping him off the ropes. On the return he executes a tilt-a-whirl, unable to plant Harmen with neither a slam nor a driver or even a backbreaker as the wily veteran counters in mid-air and locks his arm around Harrison’s head, driving him to the mat with a DDT reversal! Harmen goes for the cover.
Harrison gets the shoulder up!
Joe Hoffman: Harmen showing off his veteran tendencies there, able to counter Harrison’s attempt there with a DDT.
Benny Newell: Yeah well, it’s gonna take more than that to finish that slick fuck Harrison off.
Both men get back to their feet and Harrison rocks Harmen with a fist to the temple, then grabs him by his hair and slings him back to the canvas. Taking a moment to glance around the crowd of booing fans, Harrison smiles, then stomps on Harmen’s hand!
Joe Hoffman: That was despicable.
Benny Newell: That was old school!
Flopping back to the mat and clutching his hand now, Harmen roars out in agony while Harrison’s shit-eating grin grows larger. He grabs Harmen by the head, pulling the Lunatic to his feet and connecting with a forearm followed by an Irish whip across the ring. On the rebound, Harrison attempts a clothesline that Harmen ducks under, bouncing off the ropes behind the Miracle Man and returning with a neckbreaker, driving him into the canvas!
With a flick of the wrist, Harmen clenches his fist and calls to the crowd, running off the ropes as they cheer him on and coming off with a springboard on the second rope, flying through the air and connecting with a frog splash! Another cover…
Another kickout by Harrison!
Joe Hoffman: Jack Harmen’s hitting him with whatever he can think of but Harrison refuses to stay down.
Benny Newell: Ha, would you look at that!
Harrison wraps an arm around Harmen’s head and rolls away from him, causing the Lunatic to bowl over the Miracle Man’s body and land on his back on the other side of him. Harrison moves right over him and applies a blatant choke, which Joel Hortega immediately starts a five count for. He’s nearly to Cinco when Harrison lets go and rests his hands on his knees, looking smugly at Hortega.
Pulling Harmen to his feet, Harrison hooks the neck and grabs Harmen by the waist. He hoists him up into a vertical lock, holding him in pre-suplex for a moment………and then drills him to the mat with a brainbuster!
Harrison quickly goes for the cover, nodding his head along with Hortega!
Tre-NOOO, Harmen gets the shoulder up!
Joe Hoffman: Jack Harmen showing tremendous resiliency after being dropped by Harrison; I thought that might’ve been it.
Benny Newell: The hell did he kick out of that, Hoffhole, the existence of Jack Harmen’s brain is absolutely questionable!
The Miracle Man hauls the Lunatic to his feet and flings him into the corner, following up with a clothesline. He kicks him in the stomach once, twice, then hooks him around the waist and throws him up and over his head with a release belly to belly suplex. Hortega has to jump out of the way to avoid getting clocked.
Harmen crashes to the canvas and Harrison sizes him up, waiting to strike. He’s impatient, lifting his arm in the air, tapping his foot. When Harmen finally does get to his feet, Harrison explodes out of the corner, and leaps into the air!
Joe Hoffman: The Enlightenment!
Benny Newell: Crash and Burn!
The knee trigger to the back of the neck was not to be, as Harmen has the presence of mind to turn around and, wide-eyed, dive out of the way. Harrison lands on his feet and rolls through to the opposite corner, and as he’s doing so, Harmen’s off the ropes and comes back at him.
Joe Hoffman: Harmen’s looking for the Locomo–
But Harrison avoids the contact!
Benny Newell: Trainwreckkkkkkk!
Unfortunately for Harmen, he gets painfully caught up in the corner, his lead leg having gone through the space between the top and middle rope. The fans groan at the Locomotive’s miss, but Steve Harrison couldn’t be more thrilled.
He smells blood.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison sprinting over and I’m not liking what I’m seeing here, Benny.
Benny Newell: It’s about to be all over but the crying, Hoffhole!
Harrison traps Harmen’s arm behind his back in a chickenwing, and brings him up and over his head, planting him right on his neck with the Harricle! Hortega’s in position!
DING DING DING!
Brian McVay: Here is your winner, “The Miracle Man” Steve Harrison!
The Virginia native shoots to his feet, arms raised, pointing to himself in victory as we cut away.
The action cuts elsewhere…..
Andy Murray: Good evening bell-ends.
That rough Scottish accent could only belong to one High Octane wrestler. The cameras cut to section 111, where the ICON Champion stands outside 24K’s Manly Man Cave, a microphone in his hand and the belt over his shoulder.
Andy Murray: Welcome to my ivory tower.
The King of Wrestling runs his hand across his kingdom. Though Mikey Unlikely and Kendrix are absent, and 24K’s numbers are now severely depleted, he is safer up there than he would be anywhere else in the building. None of the private security force members are out there with him but several can be seen milling around in the Manly Man Cave itself.
And of course, as well as being inhumanly manly, 24K are also smart, so they’ve bought-out the two suites either side of their weekly hangout, preventing any dirty, filthy Ungratefuls from getting too close.
Murray waits for the crowd’s entirely negative reaction to die down.
Andy Murray: Right, now that you’ve shut your dribble-holes, a couple of things…
Dressed immaculately in an off-white button-up and a pair of deep blue dress pants, The King holds a finger up.
Andy Murray: Number one: my deepest, most sincere condolences to my old friend Eric Dane for being sentenced to a fate worse than death this evening… teaming with The Goober With The Dragon Tattoo tonight.
Joe Hoffman: That “goober” came within a hair of taking Murray’s ICON Title last week.
Benny Newell: Shut it, Hoffhole! Your King is speaking.
Andy Murray: Now I know ol’ Salt and Pepper – I can say that, the cunt’s older than me – hasn’t quite been the same since my little brother turned his neck into a tube of crushed Pringles in Eric’s own house four years ago, but christ. Good luck with Stoovy! I’m sure he’ll be a lot of use against Danny Dickhead and Mike Bests’s one surviving nostril.
Andy raises another finger.
Andy Murray: Number two: Daniel, hello.
The King waves down the television camera, hoping that his No Remorse opponent is watching.
Andy Murray: Did you have a good time last week buddy? I sure hope you did, because that was a quaint little stunt. Heading to ringside, bumping a little old lady off her seat, throwing paws of popcorn down your throat, all to watch the ICON Champion in action. You should have asked, mate. I’d have had a whole section taped off for you down there. Lee and I have a good relationship…
Murray shakes his head, then switches gears.
Andy Murray: Listen though, you big, cooked ham, I know exactly what you’re doing – and let me tell you, that shit doesn’t work with me. The only head games I play involve a titanium knee brace hitting your big, dense skull and you going to la-la land, alright? See: Martin, Zeb, or Farthington, Cecilworth. You’re not going to freak me out, you’re not going to unsettle me, and you’re not going to make me take my eye off the ball, understand?
Joe Hoffman: Recent events suggest otherwise.
Benny Newell: How many times do I have to say it?
Joe Hoffman: Say what?
Benny Newell: SHUT UP!
Andy Murray: So you almost bashed little Blaire Moise’s brains out with that cyborg bullshit you’ve got wrapped around your elbow. That’s cute. You put a few of my human shields through the meatgrinder. Mmhmm. Christ, I even heard you tried to beat up a tree this week and–
The King stops himself. The tone of his delivery isn’t as confident as his word choice.
Andy Murray: You know what? Forget it. We’re going to have a wrestling match next month. That’s it. I’m not going to fanny around pretending to be Patrick Bateman, I’m not gonna be a pervert and watch from ringside, and I’m certainly not going to get involved. What I’m going to do, Daniel, is sit all the way up here, drink a few beers, and watch you and Danniella Bestbrook fight Dane and Stoovins, because the only fight I’m interested in having with you goes down at No Remorse.
He takes a pause.
Andy Murray: Show me something, bell-end. Entertain me. Peace.
Murray switches off the microphone and sits down, folding his arms across his chest.
Joe Hoffman: Typically strong words from the ICON Champion there, but I get the impression that perhaps something else is at play here. Dan Ryan is en route to becoming a scary, scary individual again. I’ve never been as chilled by The Ego Buster since the day he first walked through our doors, and you’ve got to wonder if the bluster is a response to that…
Benny Newell: As if Andy Murray is spooked by a guy he has defeated three times since he got here. Come on!
Joe Hoffman: Well, actually, I’m not sure you can coun–
Benny Newell: Yup! Three times! Anyway, let’s go somewhere else…
Everybody Wants You
The lights in the arena go out and a few long seconds later “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier blares across the arena and the fans in attendance come to life as yellow spotlight illuminates in front of the curtain.
Emerging from the darkness, rolling into the center of the spotlight in his wheelchair is none other than a clean shaven Jatt Starr. An older Jatt Starr. A balder Jatt Starr (as indicated by the black toupee which does not match his dirty blonde hair). He is wearing one of his vintage (because they can no longer be sold nor produced due to the allegations that the manufacturer used child labor to make them) baseball jersey. This one is black with yellow lettering which says “Jatt Starr” on the front and “Ruler of Jattlantis” on the back.
He takes the microphone from his lap as he enjoys the adulation of the HOW fans. After a moment, he signals for the music to stop and he brings up the mic.
JATT STARR: It’s been awhile.
The crowd cheers and chant: WELCOME BACK…..WELCOME BACK
JATT STARR: Calm down. Calm down. A lot has happened since the Sultan of SeaJattle has been in HOW arena. The Washington Redskins are changing their name. Did you hear that they’re temporarily calling themselves “The Washington Football Team”? Until they get a new name, the lamest team in the NFL is going by the lamest name they could have thought of. Seriously, it’s like Scott Stevens calling himself “Scott Wrestler Person”. Actually, he might get more fans if he did that…..
The Champion of Jattanooga ponders that statement for a moment before shaking his head.
JATT STARR: NAH! He’ll never gain any more fans than the three he already has. But I digress, I think Washington’s name should reflect their fanbase and their team. Years of hoping this is IT, this will be the year, Haskins is the next Joe Montana only disappointed by their sheer sucktitude and the realization that at best, Haskins is the next Mitch Trubisky, overdrafted and underwhelming!
The cheap, unwarranted dig at Chicago’s quarterback gets a bit of a mixed reaction.
JATT STARR: I’m not lying. Anyhoo, that being said, in my humble opinion, considering the craptacular state the “Washington Football Team” is in and the sheer disappointment their fans suffer through whenever they watch them, the Washington Darkwings seems like the most appropriate team name.
The King of Grapple from the Big Apple smirks as some fans in the audience laugh and applaud while others who still hold a soft spot for the HOW Hall of Famer Darkwing……boo……and LOUD.
JATT STARR: It wouldn’t be the same without a dig at Darkwing. A lot of new faces in the HOW. A few familiar faces. Cecilworth Farthington….too easy, he has “Fart” in his last name. Ah, what the hell, when Cecilworth Farthington speaks, he doesn’t blow smoke, he breaks wind. Mike Best and Max Kael are still around, shockingly. The two biggest turds in the HOW toilet that just won’t get flushed without a heavy duty plunger.
The Jattlantic City Icon surveys the crowd. Taking a beat.
JATT STARR: Look, the Hero of Starrgentina could spend hours insulting the roster but there’s just not enough time in the day. No, I am out here for a reason. Last week, a contract was signed. Now, unless you are blind, you can see that the Ruler of Jattlantis is in no condition to enter the squared circle. Years of putting my body on the line has caught up with me. War Games. Rumble at the Rock. Hell in a Cell matches. Being thrown off of cages. Getting brutalized in the middle of the ring, in the parking lot, backstage. My body has said “No more”. So have my doctors.
The crowd lets out their disappointment and some in the audience let out a chant of “One More Match”. The frustration is apparent on the Mayor of ManJatthan’s face.
JATT STARR: I am in a freaking wheelchair people! How the hell am I supposed to get in the ring?! It would take an hour! Unless I am carried into the ring like some baby or ninety year incontinent invalid! And that’s just not dignified for a Hall of Famer such as myself! Besides, what do I have to prove? I have won the HOW Championship, the ICON Championship, and Tag Team Championships on multiple occasions. I am a former HOFC Champion. I have beaten everyone there is to beat —- Sektor, Darkwing, Graystone, Darkwing, Brian Hollywood, Aceldama, Darkwing, Kostoff, Shane Reynolds, Darkwing, Max Kael, Ryan Faze, Darkwing, and the list goes on and on. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. I am retired from wrestling.
The crowd lets out their disappointment with a chorus of boos.
JATT STARR: But I have noticed a problem in the HOW. There seems to be a lack of loyalty and a little bit of whining when it comes to Mister Lee Best. There is not one person here who truly has Lee’s back. Not like back in the day. We have Eric Dane, the so-called “only star” in the HOW….from where I’m sitting that’s debatable….complaining and whining about how Lee Best doesn’t give him anything to do. Boo-Flipping-Hoo! Dane, change your diaper and get it through your brain that when Lee Best wants you to do something, if you’re worth it, he’ll tell you. You don’t get to ask Lee for anything. You wait for him.
The Jattsylvanian Count looks disgusted as if someone just threw up next to him in an elevator.
JATT STARR: And then there’s Mike Best and Max Kael or the Minister,if you will. Creepy and Creepier. They don’t have Lee’s best interest in mind. They tolerate each other, sure…but Lee’s not stupid. He knows darn well those two dingleberries are just waiting for opportunity to slit his throat and take over thereby taking the HOW from a monarchy to an anarchy. This does not sit well with me.
The Monarch of Jattlanta cocks his eyebrow up a little bit and smugly smiles a Cheshire Cat smile.
JATT STARR: So, what’s the point of me even coming out here then? Well, there is someone….someone in this building….someone waiting in the wings. Someone who will carry on the tradition that was once a cornerstone to the Best Alliance. The apple of my eye, the newest addition of the HOW family, my daughter……HEDY LA STARR!!!
Confusion, gasps from the audience as, from behind the curtain emerges a young woman in her early twenties with very long golden hair. She has her head down, the blonde hair covering her face. Her looks back towards the curtain, hesitating to come forward. She is wearing a tattered, long cream colored dress, devoid of any personality or style, it’s clearly handmade and the creator of the dress had one goal in mind “Bland, Bland, Bland”. The dress has been through a lot from the patches and impossible to was stains which may or may not be dirt….or blood.
JATT STARR: Um, that’s not the outfit—-
WOMAN (to JATT barely audible through the microphone): I’m sorry. I didn’t feel comfortable wearing that.
JATT STARR: It’s okay. It’s fine. We had a whole character mapped out, but it’s okay. This is about you. I think the fans want to hear from you.
Hedy La Starr takes the microphone from Jatt Starr. She is clearly uncomfortable. The Ruler of Jattlantis urges her on, real supportive-like.
HEDY LA STARR: It’s nice to see everyone.
Through her long hair, she smiles, sheepishly. The Ruler of Jattlantis looks at her as if he is witnessing a train wreck. Hedy takes a breath.
HEDY LA STARR: I’m sorry. My father had this whole, I don’t know, speech planned for me. A lot of “Like’s” and “O-M-G’s” and talking about how mediocre someone named “Perfection” is. I don’t want to be someone I’m not….
Hedy La Starr takes off the long blonde wig revealing very short strawberry blonde hair. She drops the blonde wig into Jatt Starr’s lap.
HEDY LA STARR: I’m sorry….I have spent most of my life being what other people want me to be, conforming to what they thought I should be. I am no one’s doll, I am no one’s plaything. That would be disrespectful to mother.
Hedy La Starr looks down at the dress she is wearing. Her face gets flush.
HEDY LA STARR: I am here because I do know a thing or two about loyalty. I know all about providing blind loyalty to the wrong person. The person who gave me this ratty, filthy dress…..forcing us to wear these rags…..
Hedy La Starr pauses for a moment, getting wrapped up in her thoughts, she shakes her head as if she were shaking the thoughts from her mind.
HEDY LA STARR: Unlike those in my past, Mister Best won’t limit me. He and my father, they will empower me. They will allow me to be who I am. They won’t lead me into the clearing during the harvest moon to perform the ritual because that is the expectation of me and the others who were born on—-
JATT STARR: Ahem.
HEDY LA STARR: Right. My name is NOT Hedy La Starr.
JATT STARR: HEY! I picked that name! It’s great name!
NOT HEDY LA STARR: It’s not me. I am me. I am no one else. I am not “them”. I am not “we”. I am not “us”. I am Gilda Ockelman….Daughter of Simon Sparrow, a.k.a. Jatt Starr. And….mother….
Gilda’s face becomes flush, her eyes become red, welling up with tears. She is fighting back tears, not of sadness, but months, perhaps years, of repressed rage and emotion.
Gilda, clearly feeling overwhelmed, drops the microphone and exits through the curtain. Jatt Starr retrieves the microphone. Looking a bit uncomfortable at the unexpected emotion shown by his daughter.
JATT STARR: We’re…uh….still working on a few things. She was supposed to roll me backstage. We had a whole thing planned….The speech would have been amazing…..Yep….there was cue where my music would play and leave….which would be really great right about——
“Everybody Wants You” plays as a relieved Jatt Starr wheels towards the back to catch up with his daughter as the scene ends and we cut to a commercial break.
#3 Group of Death vs. #NR Eric Dane and Scott Stevens
Back live from commercial and its time for our main event.
Benny Newell: God, can we get this show on the road already?
Joe Hoffman: Well, the Champ is already in the ring-
Benny Newell: Blah, blah, blah. Less talky, more fightey!
The opening riff to “Zero” by the Smashing Pumpkins cuts through the speakers like a hot knife through butter. This can only mean one man.
Bryan McVay: Hailing from Houston, Texas, and weighing in at 305 pounds!! He… is… The HAMMER of GoD! DAAAAANNNN… RYYYYYYAAAANNNNN!!!
The lights go out and a dual-spotlight makes an encircling pattern on the entrance area as the opening riff of the song plays. When the riff audio kicks it up a notch, Dan Ryan steps out and pauses, looking into the audience, then heads down the aisle as pyro blasts behind him. The video shows clips from his career: power bombing Bobby Dean, super kicking Andy Murray, taking MJ Flair’s head off with a clothesline, hitting Perfection with the Headliner, countering a Jack Harmen dive into a vicious power slam, smirking as he pins Doozer. Ryan walks directly to the ring, rolls in under the bottom rope, and shares a glance with Mike Best before he climbs the nearest turnbuckle, keeping his arms down and smirking into the crowd as the music fades.
Joe Hoffman: That right there is a scary, scary human being.
Benny Newell: He’s a goddamn psychopath is what he is, a danger to his coworkers and a menace to society!
Joe Hoffman: Jeez, tell us what you really think.
“Dead Man Walking” plays. The mood in the arena changes. The HOW fans may be off-put by Mike Best, and they may be too scared of Dan Ryan to boo him, but they can’t goddamn motherfucking stand Scott Stevens…
Benny Newell: Ugh, this is where I check out.
You can hear Benny rumbling around under the desk for a bottle of Jack Daniels. Stevens emerges from the curtain and the fans do indeed let him have it.
Joe Hoffman: Scott Stevens is a former multiple time Champion here in HOW, Benny, as well as a former DEF-
Benny Newell: DON’T YOU SAY IT!
Stevens starts to make his way down toward the ring when Eric Dane pops out behind him with a salty look etched across his face. The HOW fans have no love for The Only Star, but at this point anything is better than Stoovins, even a guy who made a career as an HOW antagonist from the outside. Dane power-walks his way down the ramp, shoulders past Stevens without even acknowledging him and slides quickly into the ring. Dan Ryan eyeballs the former defiant boss, and Mike Best does what Mike Best does, he immediately starts running his mouth.
Joe Hoffman: This is gonna get ugly in a hurry.
Benny Newell: Can you see Scott Stevens? It’s already ugly out there. And get a load of Dane’s five-head will ya? You could sell ad space on that thing…
Stevens rolls in and before Matt Boettcher can call for the bell Eric Dane is pushing up against the World Champion, the two grapplers both mouthing words of ill intent at each other as their respective partners get into a stare-down right beside them. Dane, the most vitriolic of the foursome inside the ring, shoves Mike hard in the chest and throws a middle finger up directly into Dan Ryan’s face. Ryan’s attention turns immediately to his former partner and things are about to explode when Boettcher somehow manages to wedge himself between Dane and certain death and push him back into the corner.
Joe Hoffman: This is about to escalate. Quickly.
Benny Newell: We can only be so lucky.
On the other side of the ring Mike has recovered quickly, nothing hurt but perhaps his ego. Dan Ryan is completely unphased, as is his way. A quick strategy session later and the Champ has Dan Ryan step through the ropes to the apron and he turns and points at Dane and Stevens, demanding that one of either of them come and get embarrassed real quick. Boettcher gives them the “one in, one out” the speech and Dane steps out quickly. Stevens tries to have something to say but Dane very audibly cuts him off with the purest logic there could ever be.
Eric Dane: Go on, big boy, you wanted to bring the Group of Death down a peg or two right? Now’s your chance!
The bell rings.
The Only Star grabs the tag rope and makes a very big deal of shooing Stevens away. Stevens turns around and almost trips over the World Champion. Mike Best, in typical Mike Best fashion, has one hand behind his back and the other pointing at his jaw. He offers Stevens a free shot to start the match. Stevens smirks, Mike puts both hands behind his back and keeps talking shit. Stevens winds up and takes a big ol’ Texas swing at the World Champion that is easily dodged by the smaller, quicker Best. Pleased as punch with himself Mike steps right back in, daring Stevens to take another shot. He does.
Benny Newell: Swing and a miss! Steeee-rike TWO!
Dan Ryan watches on without much of an expression past bored anticipation. Across the ring Eric Dane slaps the turnbuckle pad and yells a few choice expletives with no particular target in mind. Stevens winds up one more time, Mike makes the same move to duck out of the way but Stevens anticipates it this time. The Big Texan grabs the World Champion by the shoulders and bodily lifts and tosses him across the ring into the neutral corner.
Joe Hoffman: Things are about to turn around for the World Champion!
Stevens rushes into the corner for a big splash but Mike, quick as a cat and twice as catty, acrobatically slips out to the apron and then hops up and catches Stevens upside the head with an Enzuigiri that staggers him. Eager to follow up Mike grabs the top rope and pulls himself up, coiling like a spring and launching himself off at Stevens with what looks like a Springboard Super Knee but Stevens has the wherewithal to catch the Champ, pivot, and drop him hard on the mat with the Double S Spinebuster! Stevens pops up to his feet and turns to his partner in the corner and starts jawing back and telling Dane to mind his business as he’s got Mike under control. Dane shrugs at him as he grabs Mike off the mat and pushes him back into the corner again, this time lighting him up with an overhand chop that leaves a handprint on Mike’s chest and follows up immediately with a knife-edge chop to the same exact spot.
Joe Hoffman: Yikes! Stevens is lighting Mike Best up with those chops!
Benny Newell: Give him time, he’ll fuck it up.
Stevens lights the champ up again, and again, and he keeps on going, ramping up into a flurry of nasty chop after chop to Mike’s chest! The champ can’t do a thing about it either as Stevens chops his chest into actual hamburger meat. On the apron Dan Ryan raises an eyebrow, it’s the most emotion he’s shown yet tonight. Dane’s face scrunches up, glad to not be on the receiving end of any of that. Boettcher finally steps in and yells for Stevens to get him out of the corner before starting a count. Somewhere between three and four Stevens hits the last and the loudest of the chops before stepping back, spinning, and slamming into Mike, crushing him into the corner with a Texas Lariat!
Joe Hoffman: He squashed him like a bug!
Stevens lets Mike stumble out of the corner then shoves him again, this time hard into his own corner. Stevens gives Dan Ryan a smirk and tells him to come get some. Mike Best is happy to oblige Stevens and reaches up for a tag, the Ego Buster obliges him and steps over the top rope and into the ring. The bigger Texan approaches Scott Stevens with what amounts to a smirk curling onto his lips.
Benny Newell: Well, this is gonna be a thing!
Stevens meets Dan Ryan with a forearm shiver, Dan replies in kind, the next thing anybody knows the two big Texans are standing toe-to-toe in the center of the ring, throwing forearms, chops, and dirty punches back and forth. Neither man backs down an inch, and as the time goes on the strikes get harder and faster, the crowd is into it and even Dane and Best look impressed in their respective corners as the big beef-slappin’ party continues on in the ring! Finally Dan Ryan takes the advantage with nasty elbow to the face that crosses Stevens’ eyes! Another one staggers Stevens back a bit and then Dan backs him into the corner.
Joe Hoffman: The Hammer of GoD is just relentless!
Benny Newell: Scort Stovers has better be glad that Ryan hit him with his left arm, and not that bionically-braced right one! Talk about dropping the hammer…
Joe Hoffman: Well, it’s pretty common knowledge that Ryan’s been perfecting his new Hammer of GoD finisher, and that it does in fact involve that right elbow and that contraption he calls a brace! So yeah, I guess you’re right about Stevens being lucky here so far…
Ryan grabs Stevens by the arm and sends him hard across the ring and into the opposite turnbuckle where he follows him in with a jaw-shattering big boot to the face. Dan finally cracks a smile as he then grabs Stevens and plants him hard with a full nelson slam! He drops down into an easy lateral press.
Ryan pulls him up.
Benny Newell: So much for that luck…
Eric Dane has had enough. He’s in the ring pretty quickly but Boettcher is quicker and he cuts Dane off before he can get in and interfere and pushes him back into his own corner. Meanwhile Dan Ryan pulls Stevens up and tosses him into the GoD corner where he and Mike Best both get a couple of good licks in. Mike wraps the tag rope around his neck and squeezes while Dan just unloads on Stevens. Dane, meanwhile, makes a big show of arguing with Boettcher and pointing and gesturing across the ring. When Boettcher finally does turn Mike walks out of the corner, his hands raised in a neutral gesture and Ryan pulls him out of the corner and into a particularly nasty looking Belly-to-Belly Suplex! He holds on for another pinfall.
Joe Hoffman: NO! ERIC DANE IS IN TO BREAK IT UP WITH A STOMP TO RYAN’S HEAD!
Ryan snarls, Boettcher is up quickly, he tries pushing Dane back into his corner but Dane spins out like a linebacker! Dane doesn’t go after Ryan though, rather he grabs Stevens by the head and arms and drags him back into their corner where he dumps him, hops out onto the apron, and then tags himself into the match for the first time. Stevens manages to roll his way out onto the apron to recuperate. At The Only Star’s approach, Dan Ryan cracks a full on smile. Seven people in the audience have big boy heart attacks right then and there, it’s that goddamn scary.
Benny Newell: Well I’ll be fucked, this might actually get interesting!
Joe Hoffman: Is Dane… calling for a Test of Strength?
Benny Newell: HA! He sure as fuck is!
And so it is, Dane throws his right hand up, challenging the biggest, strongest, and outright scariest motherfucker this side of Frederick F. Kruger to an honest to goodness Test of Strength. Ryan reaches “up” to grab Dane’s hand in a knuckle-lock but The Only Star quickly backs away. On his face is a look that says there’s no way he’s ever gonna actually go through with that. Dan Ryan rolls his eyes. Dane smirks and steps back in, this time raising his left hand. Ryan hesitates a moment before reaching up. Dane steps back again, tapping the side of his head as he smirks at the much larger man in front of him.
Benny Newell: Bah. I spoke too soon.
Dane steps in one more time, this time with both arms up. Dan Ryan snarls and before Dane can back out the Ego Buster grabs both of his hands and squeezes Dane into the most vicious Greco-Roman Knuckle Lock this side of Greece and Rome.
Eric Dane: AAAHHHHHHHHHH FUCK!
Dane kicks Dan Ryan in the dick, causing him to release Dane’s now freshly mangled fingers from his vice like grip.
Joe Hoffman: LOW BLOW!
Benny Newell: The referee didn’t see it!
He did, though, and he chastises Dane about it. The Only Star blows him off and presses the attack, driving a hard elbow into the side of Ryan’s head that he follows up with a Million Dollar Knee Lift that straightens the Ego Buster up. It doesn’t appear to have hurt them though, as he simply smiles at Dane and presses back in himself.
Benny Newell: Look! Dane’s scared of Dan Ryan!
Joe Hoffman: Well. I mean. He did pretty much exactly say that in the leadup to the match this week, sooooo…
If it weren’t for quick thinking Dane would probably be dead by now. Dan Ryan certainly is trying to get his hands on him, but Dane stops him in his tracks with a particularly brutal eye-rake. Ryan growls, the rage growing, but he finds himself back near enough to his corner and Mike Best extends a hand. Ryan looks at the World Champion then back to Dane who feigns fear, waggling his fingers in front of him and shrugging his shoulders as he taunts them both. Ryan tags the extended hand and steps out, allowing the World Champion to step in.
Benny Newell: Here we go, Joe, ten years in the making we’ve got Eric Dane and Mike Best squaring off for the first time in an HOW ring! If I didn’t think they were both regurgitated hooker spit I might be on the edge of my seat!
It’s not to be, though, as Dane backs away, tagging the barely recovered Scott Stevens on the chest and immediately stepping out, motioning for Stevens to get in there and take care of his light work. Annoyed, but unable to do anything about it Stevens turns around to once again be met by the World Champion with both hands behind his back and a goofy smirk across his face. Stevens, buttons officially pressed, reaches in and instead of punching at the champ he grabs him by the head and arms and sends him up and over, sprawling into the corner with a Head and Arm Suplex. He rushes in to press the attack, grabs Mike and lines him up for another blistering chop!
Joe Hoffman: Stevens is about to punish the cham-
Benny Hoffman: Too soon.
But Mike ducks the chop, rolls out, resets, and connects hard with a running knee strike that sends Stevens stumbling into the corner. The champ backs up, takes measure, takes a couple of steps to pick up some steam before stepping up on the middle rope and absolutely clobbering Stevens with a Corner Knee that crosses his eyes.
Benny Newell: Look at him, he’s dreamin’!
Joe Hoffman: Stevens certainly does appear out on his feet!
Mike gives Stevens some space, and on spaghetti legs he stumbles out of the corner. He’s pretty much out on his feet, but somewhere in the back of his brain he knows his only hope is to reach the corner and tag Eric Dane back in! The Only Star reaches in as far as he can without letting go of the tag rope, and with the World Champion and the Hammer of GoD watching on Stevens take another step toward his corner before weeble-wobbling into an almost face-plant except he manages to extend a hand for the tag!
Benny Newell: Here we go again!
Joe Hoffman: Dane with the hot tag-
Benny Newell: HA! No he didn’t!
At the last possible second Eric pulls back, letting Stevens flop face-first down to the mat. The Only Star drops off the apron, and much to the chagrin of Mike Best he backs away, once again tapping a finger at his head, denoting just exactly how smart that he’s quite sure that he is.
Joe Hoffman: Surprise, surprise, Eric Dane’s not there when somebody needs him.
Benny Newell: I know, ain’t it great?!
Dane makes his way around ringside. It looks for a moment like Dan Ryan might drop down to the floor and give chase, but in the end he turns his attention back into the ring where Mike Best has already decided to put this one to sleep as he lines up, waits, and just as Stevens pulls himself up to one knee Mike launches at him, steps off of Stevens’ exposed knee, and collides his own knee with Steven’s face, crossing his eyes and loosening a few teeth in the process.
Joe Hoffman: I KNEED A HERO! IT’S ALL ACADEMIC FROM HERE!
Benny Newell: About damn time! My whiskey ran dry four minutes ago and I’m gonna get real pissy if it hits six.
The champ drops down and makes a lateral press, hooking the far leg. Matt Boettcher is as always right in position and he slides in to count the pin.
Boettcher calls for the bell, it rings once again.
Bryan McVay: Your winners of the match… Dan Ryan and Mike Best… THE GROOOOOUP OF DEEEAAAAAAAAAAATHHHH!!!
Eric Dane saunters toward the ramp, ignoring the fans’ vitriol for leaving Scott Stevens out to dry, and turns to admire his handiwork while slowly backing up the incline. The Texas Scorpion is sprawled out on the canvas, Mike Best is making the cover, and Eric’s leaving Chicago feeling like a winner despite a notch in the L column.
For as smart as he thinks himself to be, and as cocky as everyone knows he is, he forgets the cardinal rule of keeping your head on a swivel. If he hadn’t, he might have noticed movement through the crowd, a rising swell of cheers, and two knees – one braced – being aimed directly at his face.
Benny Newell: No no no no no, this isn’t fucking happening….
Eric flies off the ramp and into the side barricade as Lindsay Troy sticks the landing and immediately scrambles back to where Dane is, raining down relentless fists onto his head, red hot and full of fury. When he tries to cover up, that’s when the kicks to the ribs starts.
Joe Hoffman: Lindsay Troy! From the crowd! The flying double knees find their mark and Eric Dane is in a world of trouble!
Benny Newell: Godfuckingdammit, she should be dead! DANE, YOU HAD ONE JOB, YOU PIECE OF SHIT.
Joe Hoffman: It’s almost one month to the day since Eric attacked Lindsay with a pipe and injured her knee, and she is back with a vengeance! Kicks to the ribs! Dane falls to the side, oh! Stomps to the kidneys! She’s not giving him any quarter!
Benny Newell: He’s gonna need whatever quarters he can get after Lee pulls his fucking contract and kicks him back to that New Orleans sweatbox.
Eventually, Lindsay grabs two fistfuls of Eric’s dirty blonde hair, wrangles him to his feet, drags him back toward ringside and heaves him back-first against the heavy ringsteps. Eric crumples against them, breathing heavy, holding the back of his head. Troy’s foot comes flying toward his face and he manages to dive out of the way while the steps dislodge the rest of the way from the ringpost and tumble onto the protective mats around the ring. This only forces her to change tactics and kick him in the ribs again, driving the air out of his body.
If he doesn’t have multiple broken ribs by now, it might be a miracle.
Don’t tell Steve Harrison.
Joe Hoffman: I have never seen Lindsay Troy like this, Benny, she’s merciless. A woman possessed.
Benny Newell: This is outright assault and savagery; you think she’d never gotten hit with a pipe before. She’s fucking Mike Best, anyway; with the way he talks, he lays down pipe all the—
Joe Hoffman: BENJAMIN NEWELL!
Benny Newell: WHAT?!?!
Scott Stevens has managed to roll out under the bottom rope and make his way to the locker room, steering clear of Lindsay Troy’s wrath. Matt Boettcher has climbed out as well to maybe – bless his heart – try and stop the Queen of the Ring from further dismantling the Only Star, but one glare is enough for him to know that there’s no appealing to her sense of reason, and he smartly backs off. In the ring, a surprised Michael Lee Best and Dan Ryan watch their stablemate take her pound of flesh.
Lindsay keeps one eye on Eric, who is beginning to cough up blood while stumbling to his feet, and lifts the ring skirt up. She looks around for a weapon of choice and finally yanks a chair from underneath. Sparing no hesitation, Lindsay cracks a homerun right to his ribcage and then another one to the back of his head before dropping the chair, hooking him in a chancery, and capturing his leg
Joe Hoffman: Oh this doesn’t look good. Whatever Lindsay’s planning to do, she could break his neck.
Benny Newell: Would serve him right, then; he should have finished the job he was hired to do.
With a heave and a roar, the Lady of the Hour spikes the Antagonist onto the chair with a small package driver. If any electricity was still on in Dane’s head before this, it’s fully out now.
Lindsay takes a moment to sit and glower at a prone, bloody-mouthed, bloody-headed Eric Dane. It doesn’t register right away that the crowd is cheering, hands are pounding the barricade in front of her, phones are out and recording. But when it does, the Queen seems to come back to herself, looking around at the High Octane Faithful, and a tiny smile forms at the corners of her mouth.
Troy rises to a knee, then up to her feet, and vaults herself up to a sitting position on the barricade. For the first time, she looks up to the ring, to Michael and Dan, to their startled faces, and that tiny smile grows into that Lindsay Troy smirk.
With a wink to the boys, she disappears again through the crowd.
Refueled comes to a close.
All Hail the Queen.
The last streams of fans are siphoning out of the Allstate Arena as we head to section 111. Security teams are shepherding the last few groups up the stairs and through doors as cleaners emerge from various backstage doors, ready to start scouring the filth left behind by dozens of sweaty wrestling fans.
Andy Murray is alone. Kendrix, Mikey Unlikely, and the security team are nowhere to be found, with the ICON Champion sitting exactly where we caught him earlier on in the night – the small, cordoned-off seating area separated from 24K’s Manly Man Cave by a sheet of soundproof glass.
Andy Murray: Fucking thing…
The King of Wrestling grumbles as he struggles with the elaborate fastening mechanism that keeps his over-the-top titanium knee brace from slipping. Murray keeps the thing on even when he isn’t booked to fight, knowing trouble is only ever a second away on a High Octane Wrestling show, but his night (and everybody else’s) was over. It was time to unwind.
One last heave finally has the knee brace down his leg and past his shoe, with the King slipping it off to a relieved sigh.
Andy Murray: Finally.
The King rolls down his trouser leg, takes one last swig of lukewarm beer, and stands up. He re-enters the private suite without really looking where he’s going, tossing the knee brace on the couch. Murray shambles over towards the fridge, pulling the door open, grabbing one of the last remaining bottles of lager. The cap gets twisted off and he takes a long, cooling swig, knocking it back before finally taking in the world around him,
The first thing he notices is the pair of black-clad legs on the floor, the rest of the body obscured by a table.
Andy Murray: Huh?
Another decked security guard catches his eye, slumped down by the soundproof glass. Then another: groaning, crawling helplessly towards the door.
It soon dawns on him that the entire force has been neutralised.
A panic overcomes the ICON Champion, who drops his beer and grabs his belt.
Something clocks him. It comes too fast and hits too hard for Andy to take stock and he collapses as if his bones were made of jelly, falling onto all fours. A spurt of blood explodes from his mouth and splatters the cream wall as a boot lands flush on his jaw, the punt sending him rolling onto his back.
Bloodied and halfway to concussed, the dazed, groaning King can scarcely make out the assailant standing over him. Cold and stoic, the brute observes his prey long enough for Murray’s haze to clear and for his eyes to widen in shock, accompanied by a sharp intake of breath.
Andy’s world goes black and cold as The Ego Buster leaps downward, sending the ICON Champion to the shadow realm with an elbow strike to the skull, courtesy of his elbow brace. Ryan’s face is that of a killer. He gets up with minimal fuss, showing no emotion as he grabs one of Murray’s feet and stomps down hard on his unprotected, vulnerable knee.
Sinews snap and ligaments twist with every blow. Helpless, the King is taken over to the door leading outside. Ryan throws it open brute-force style, grabs the leg again, brutally pulling the knee back against itself with the doorframe for leverage.
If Murray were conscious, he’d be roaring.
Particularly when Ryan slams it in the door, then straight-up rips one of the chairs from its mooring, folding the folding mechanism around the knee.
STOMP. STOMP. STOMP.
A few gathered cleaners look up at the commotion, though there’s nothing for them to do as a possessed Dan Ryan takes Andy Murray and ragdolls him over the small balcony, sending him thudding down on the concrete ten-or-so feet below. Still, his facial expression shows nothing.
He doesn’t even pause to look at his rival’s broken body before turning back inside, catching a glimpse of the HOW ICON Title as he does.
Pausing, a smile starts to creep across The Ego Buster’s face.
Dan Ryan: Cooked, am I?
Voice: Help! We need some help over here!
It widens when he hears the voices from the arena floor through the open door.
Dan Ryan: Interesting.
And Refueled goes off the air as we see a final horrific close up of the body of the ICON Champion.