A Lot To Process
No crowd signs, no rundown, nothing fancy.
Refueled XXXVI begins in the backstage area.
These hallways mostly all look the same. This particular plot of linoleum and plaster differentiates itself by being stuffed to the gills with t-shirted security types. These aren’t your average everyday shitty indy guys making a payday to play “security” on TV, either, these boys are a straight up Brute Squad.
That is to say, hosses of the highest order.
Somewhere deep behind the security wall is Cayle Murray, brother to The Other Murray, and Dan Ryan’s new opponent at No Remorse for Andy’s erstwhile ICON Championship. The younger of the Murrays has a slightly agitated smirk on his face, clearly unused to having to steer a pack of beefy bois through the labyrinth hallways at a nationally televised wrestling event such as Refueled. The HOW newcomer is simultaneously thumbing through something on his phone.
Cayle Murray: “#SayHisName”, that’s a block…
The cadre of them make their way down the hallway, around a corner or three, and find themselves emerging into a slightly wider, main hallway. It’s right there in that hallway where things begin to go sideways.
Eric Dane: Well shit the bed! Look what the squid drug in.
The squad of security goofs somewhat uniformly comes to a halt in front of The Only Star, arms simultaneously crossing over chests in a show of just how secure that their charge is. There are at least three goons standing between Cayle and Dane.
Cayle Murray: Is that…
He trails off and scrambles around the Wall of Beef.
Cayle Murray: It is! It’s my favorite wobbly-necked fossil! Eric Dane! How’s it going you silly old goose?
Do not be misled, those are not words of friendly salutation. Eric Dane and Cayle Murray had a three year long blood feud that started in Utah and ended in New Orleans with Eric Dane out of the sport for a year with a broken freakin’ neck. Needless to say, this is probably not going to end well.
Eric Dane: Oh, things were just dandy before you hopped along. Suppose it can’t rain all the time, though, and by my calculations you’ve got t-minus two weeks before Dan Ryan mangles you just like he did your gimmick stealing asshole of a brother.
Cayle Murray: Oh come on mate, it’s been three years… you can do better than that. Dan Ryan? You’re not still hiding behind him, are you? And here I was led to believe that Big Bloody Daniel was Mike Best’s little boo bear, and you were… what’s the word…
He is very animated in his trailing off and thinking real hard for the right words. To his credit, Eric Dane hasn’t so much as twitched a muscle in defiance. Yet.
Cayle Murray: Lee Best’s gimp of an errand boy.
Dane’s eyes narrow, his lip curls into a snarl.
Cayle Murray: But! Hold on a second before you get all fighty, I brought you something. Gustav!
The Scot clicks his fingers. One of the security beefers responds.
Gustav: My name’s Kevin–
Cayle turns his head towards the security guard, his face souring.
Cayle Murray: Just get the bloody gift, Fabien.
The poor, beleaguered meat shield (who probably only has an hour before Dan Ryan tries to murder him anyway) delves into one of the bags the team had been carrying for the would-be ICON Champion and starts rummaging around.
Cayle Murray: C’maaawn, chief. Pronto. Uncle Eric’s gonna love this!
More rummaging. After an excruciatingly long moment, he finally pulls something from the bag and brandishes it at The Only Star.
Eric Dane: The fuck is that supposed to be?
It’s a white, padded neck collar. There’s some text scrawled crudely across it: “Uncle Eric’s neck – 1971-2016.” The scowl on Dane’s face has reached critical mass and Cayle just keeps pressing every button he can find. There’s a reason that Eric tried to put him out of the business all those years ago, and that reason is because Cayle Murray is an absolute twat.
Cayle Murray: Don’t you recognize it? This is a big reunion, chief. I thought you’d be happier.
The grin widens.
Cayle Murray: It’s the same one they gave you after that Ganso Bomb heard round the world, I found it on eBay! You probably don’t remember though because aside from breaking your neck, I dropped you on that oversize nugget of yours and gave you a concussion. Plus – and I know this place loves old guy jokes – you’re basically a dinosaur. A fossil. An Alzheimer’s patient. Fuckin’ old. Basically a mummy.
Dane’s eyes dart between Cayle and the front few of his goons, playing the odds mentally before deciding if it’s worth it to take another beating this close to No Remorse with nothing more to show for it than the one, maybe two shots he could get in before the dork squad caught him in a rush.
Eric Dane: I’ll make you eat that fucking thing.
Cayle Murray: Have a go then. Could be fun…
Cayle’s security tightens as the smirk widens on his face. The tension in the air is palpable, everybody in the hallway knows that something stupid is about to happen, but they all have differing ideas of what that’s gonna be.
And they’re all wrong.
Eric Dane: You and me, we’re gonna have words after No Remorse.
Cayle Murray: Looks like you’re about to have some words right now…
Eric’s brow furrows and Cayle nods over Dane’s shoulder just as the perfectly manicured fingers of Lindsay Troy’s hand grips the very same shoulder. Quickly and with much gusto she whips The Only Star around and plants a fist right upside his head.
Cayle’s security detail, meat shields though they may be, snap into action and once again surround the Starbreaker. Cayle allows himself to become enveloped into the safety of the Brute Squad as Lindsay Troy pounces onto her prey.
Cayle Murray: One of you orcs fetch me some popcorn! Linda’s going off.
Troy shoots eyes at the younger Murray, the momentary distraction giving Dane all of the opening needed to throw her off of him and scramble to his feet as quickly as two broken ribs and a severely tweaked neck will allow him. Lindsay is up quickly behind him and before Dane can catch his breath he finds himself trading hands with a very game Queen of the Ring.
Cayle Murray: That bird’s fuckin’ brutal, mate, have fun with that!
With that Cayle turns back in the direction from whence he’d come, his beef squad scrambling to keep up with him as he looks for an alternate route to wherever he was going in the first place. Meanwhile in the hallway Dane has taken the advantage. He charges Troy and spears her, the two of them go sprawling through a door and into what looks like the catering area. It’s the assorted meat and fruit trays that give it away. Also there are probably sammiches.
Benny Newell: I thought the Queen was with Mike Best.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t know that it’s every been explicitly defined, but… maybe?
Benny Newell: Yeah, well then why’s she out there fighting with Dane again like every other white trash meth head married couple from the trailer park?
Producers, extras, grips, and everyone else who had only just been occupying the catering area have now all scattered, leaving The Only Star and the Queen of the Ring to settle their differences amongst themselves! Dane whips Troy at the food-covered tables, she manages to avoid knocking over the chocolate fountain and turns around just in time to catch a thrown chair with the side of her head.
The Queen growls.
The Antagonist roars.
Once again they meet, standing toe to toe, neither getting the upper-hand as each one has miraculous stores of both stamina and hatred. Troy brings an end to all of this with a rising knee to Dane’s ribs that sends him to the floor in a coughing fit. Lindsay brushes a few loose curls out of her face as she grabs Dane by the hair and then launches him into the door on the opposite side of the room. He explodes through the door and finds himself rolling into the wall in yet another hallway.
His breath is ragged.
The Queen stalks him, maybe looking for the Double Knees, maybe just looking for the perfect angle of attack. Dane spits a wad of bloody phlegm to the floor and turns to face her with an unsettling red smile.
Eric Dane: Come on, then, take out all that “coke dick” frustration on me! We’ve all heard the rumors about Mike and his low hanging fruit, am I right?
The Only Star snickers as Lindsay predictably lunges in, her anger getting the better of her as it has so many times in the past. Ever the tactician, Eric had expected her to take the bait and was ready. He sidestepped the attack easily and sent the Queen face-first into yet another door. She bounced back and he caught her, transitioned, and rolled them both down to the linoleum, only when he came up he had her braced knee trapped in a modified single-leg crab.
Lindsay Troy cried out, half in angst, half in excruciating pain, as Dane applied every bit of torque that he could with his own injuries.
Joe Hoffman: Can we get some security back there?
Benny Newell: You mean more security? Cayle Murray just left with an entire brigade of them!
Joe Hoffman: I mean some real security! Before Lindsay Troy ends up hurt!
Benny Newell: Heh, again. ‘Sides, Dane did say that he has a job to do and no choice in the matter, right? It’s only fair, if you look at it from that point of view!
There is no security to be found. No EPU. No nothing.
There are only eggs.
Unbeknownst to either of them at the time, that door that Dane had bounced Troy’s head off of only seconds ago just so happened to be the door to, you guessed it, THE EGG BASKET! The door explodes outward and the Bandits are on the scene! Well, most of them, apparently Bobby and Zeb are occupied elsewhere, but Cancer Jiles, The Doozer, and RICK pile out of their dressing room/clubhouse to find out just exactly what all the commotion is about!
It takes The Maestro less than a nano-second to zero in on his former boss and all around pain in his egg-throwing ass Eric Dane trying to rip off the leg of the one and only Egg Queen herself. Jiles pounces into action, tackling Dane off of Troy and taking him to the ground. The Doozer immediately drops in to check on the Queen and RICK looms over Jiles and Dane as they both scramble to their feet.
Jiles: It’s over, Dane, take a walk.
Bleeding, holding his ribs, and gasping for breath, The Only Star snarls at Jiles. He throws a glance over toward The Doozer who has gingerly lifted Lindsay Troy up and allows her to use his much larger frame to balance now that Dane has attacked her injured leg two weeks in a row. The Maestro, T-Shades equipped and fully functional, calls back to his oldest friend.
Jiles: Get her to the trainers room, Dooze.
Dane takes a step forward, Rick steps into his path.
Jiles: You don’t want this fight, Dane, I’m tellin’ ya… Walk. Away.
With a grunt and a snort and another hacked up wad of muck, The Only Star does indeed decide that a tactical retreat is the best course of action he can take at this point. His fight wasn’t with the eGG Bandits, and they were clearly protective of Lindsay Troy. He backs away, not taking his eyes off of Jiles and RICK until he’s sufficiently around a corner and on his own way off in another direction.
HOW Refueled cuts to commercial, moments before the opening match is slated to begin.
World Championship Match
The Minister vs. Michael Lee Best©
ICON Championship Match
Dan Ryan vs. Cayle Murray
Tag Team Championship Match
The eGG Bandits vs. Hollywood Bruvs©
Eric Dane vs. Lindsay Troy
Chris Kostoff vs. Lee Best
Gilda Starr vs. Brian Hollywood
Bryan McVay: Our opening contest is scheduled for ONE FALL!
As the show returns from commercial, we’re met with the voice of Bryan McVay as the cameras head down to the ring for the official start of the Go Home edition of Refueled.
“Empty” by Garbage blares across the arena as Jatt Starr rolls out from behind the curtain. Behind him emerges Gilda Ockelman-Starr. She pays no attention to the crowd reaction. She looks focused and determined as she walks past Jatt Starr, who is basking in the adulation of the fans. Gilda rolls under the bottom rope and enters the ring as Jatt wheels his way down to ringside, already talking strategy. Whether or not Gilda is paying him any mind is anyone’s guess.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, being accompanied to the ring by Jatt Starr, from Havre, Montana… GILDA STAAAAAR!
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed blares over the PA. Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage as he stands there for a few brief moments, closing his eyes. He reigns in the boos from the crowd as he gets in final mental preparation for his upcoming match. As Hollywood opens up his eyes, pyro shoots off in opposite corners of the stage as it makes its way to center stage. As the pyro hits the center, the camera zooms in to see the reflection in Hollywood’s eyes as he finally makes his way down the ramp, quickly taking off his vest and throwing it down with intensity. Hollywood makes his final push as he charges the ring, rolling under the ropes. He gets back to his feet and looks about the entire arena glaring at the fans before he takes his place in the corner turnbuckle before turning his gaze intently in the ring as he awaits for the bell.
Bryan McVay: And her opponent, from Los Angeles, California…. BRIAN HOLLYWOOOOOOD!
Joe Hoffman: Both Gilda and Brian are coming off losses, and both of them are going to be looking to turn things around before No Remorse. Momentum means–
Benny Newell: Blah blah blah, your analysis doesn’t matter. What does is that Brian’s gonna beat some sanity into Gilda! …maybe.
Gilda and Hollywood circle each other slowly, the two technicians looking for an opening. Both seem conscious of the fact that Gilda is so much smaller than Hollywood, the latter appearing to feel cocky about such. That arrogance is quickly dashed when he moves in to lock up and Gilda quickly does a switch to a rear waistlock. Hollywood quickly reaches to break the waistlock but as he does, Gilda lets go first and does a leg sweep from behind, causing Hollywood to fall backwards to the mat. He slaps the canvas as he gets back to his feet. He moves to lock up again, but Gilda ducks behind him again. Hollywood whirls, not letting her get a waistlock again, but she’s leaping this time, nailing a dropkick to the chin! He staggers back into the ropes, but he uses the momentum to surge forward and blast Gilda with a big lariat just as she’s standing back up!
Joe Hoffman: Gilda was really putting together a solid offense there, but one well-placed clothesline was all it took for the veteran to assert himself.
Benny Newell: That’s all it’ll take for Hollywood to get back to his winning ways! If he picks his spots like that, then Jatt’s daughter doesn’t stand a chance!
With Gilda down after the clothesline from Hell, Hollywood sets to work, grabbing her leg as though to lock in a half crab. Jatt Starr is shouting, urging Gilda to work her way out, and she starts flailing, making it hard for Hollywood to nail it down. So instead he drops the leg and starts stomping the crap out of her. Jatt is still yelling, so Hollywood takes a break from mudhole stomping to lean on the ropes to jawjack at Jatt at ringside. This gives Gilda time to get back up, and as Jatt points smugly off to the side of Hollywood, confusing him, she takes advantage by charging in and springboarding off the ropes near the turnbuckle, leaping back and nailing Hollywood with a big enzuigiri as he turns around! As she gets up, she takes a moment to grind her foot against Hollywood’s forehead, despite chastising from the official, Joel Hortega. Hollywood shoves her foot off and starts to roll over. As he pushes himself up, Gilda grabs his arm, wrenching it, but as she twists, Hollywood is twisting his body as well, and the short dance ends in Hollywood yanking Gilda down to the mat with a big cutter! He floats over into a cover, and Hortega rushes in.
Gilda just gets her shoulder up!
Joe Hoffman: Both competitors know that a win here is very important–but I think a more important story is beginning to emerge here.
Benny Newell: What, that Darin Matthews is gonna fail in his bid to beat Michael Lee Best
Joe Hoffman: No, Benny–that for all that Brian Hollywood keeps pouring the punishment onto Gilda Starr, she’s giving it right back to him and then some!
Benny Newell: Does that really matter, though, if she can’t string together more than a move or two at a time?
Hollywood is feeling in control now, and he gives Gilda a quick toe kick to the forehead in retribution. He smirks, but the smirk falls away as he looks down at Gilda, looking up at him with fury in her eyes. He stomps her, but she just pushes herself up anyway, and when he backs into the ropes for extra momentum on his Thesz Press, she just reaches out and grabs him by the pecs, strong hands twisting around his second and third most sensitive points as he cries out in pain. Even from her back, she wrenches the Nipple Twist, and while Hortega makes it clear this is highly illegal, it’s enough to get Hollywood off of her. He rolls away, clutching his chest as Gilda pushes herself up, eyes wide and manic now. He gets up and dodges an attempted clothesline, getting his own rear waistlock in just long enough to nail a big German Suplex! Gilda is folded up, but comes to rest on her stomach, so Hollywood has to spend more time turning her over for another near fall.
No! Gilda with a shoulder up just in time! Hollywood is angry now, glaring at Hortega as though he’s lying.
Joe Hoffman: Brian had better watch his temper before it costs him–
Benny Newell: WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SOUND?!
Hollywood doesn’t wait for Gilda to get up, but lifts her himself. She’s a little wobbly, but she’s present enough to scream as Hollywood reaches for her, shoving him roughly. He bounces off the ropes and tries for a Termination kick, but Gilda dodges it, charging the ropes at the same moment and springboarding off again, able to blast Hollywood in the back of the head before he turns around! Gilda smirks, then struggles a bit lifting up the legs of the prone Hollywood, as he’s so much bigger. With a roar, she manages it, twists his legs into position, and gets her knee against his neck as she cinches in Cataclysm! It’s Hollywood’s turn to scream, and he’s so close to the ropes, but to try is to fold himself the wrong way more, and thrust that knee more into his neck. Hollywood is left with no choice but to tap!
DING! DING! DING!
As the bell rings, Gilda triumphantly drops Hollywood back to the canvas, standing up to her feet.
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner via submission… GILDA STAAAAAAAAAARR!
Joe Hoffman: Gilda Starr has pulled off the upset, making Brian Hollywood tap out!
Benny Newell: I don’t know what happened at the end there, but she hulked out like whoa. It was kind of terrifying, to be honest!
Joe Hoffman: I have to agree with you there. If she can consistently tap into whatever that was, Gilda Starr is gonna go far here in HOW!
Gilda reconvenes with her father outside of the ring, as a disappointed looking Brian Hollywood tries to pull himself together in the ring. Refueled’s first match of the evening has come to an end, as we head backstage on the HOV.
The Highest Calling
We cut backstage where Jack Marley is seen walking two coolers on wheels. Steve Harrison is on his cell phone walking in front of him. Steve looks back at Jack who is struggling mightily with having to lug seemingly full coolers by himself.
Jack Marley: Hey, mon, this is heavy.
Steve shrugs and hangs up his phone.
Steve Harrison: Shut up, moron.
Steve rubs his face.
Steve Harrison: You know damn well that my face still hurts from Lee’s behemoth of a bodyguard smacking me as hard as Cancer Jiles “team builds” with Doozer.
Jack stops walking and begins to huff and puff.
Jack Marley: But you only need to use your—
Steve cuts off Jack with an annoyed look on his face.
Steve Harrison: MY ARMS? Were you going to say my arms? Pffffffft, don’t you know that one of my nerves in my face goes to my arms which means my arms are weakened at this moment?
Oh wow, that is quite the lie. Of course, Jacks mouth gets big in surprise.
Jack Marley: Oh mon, I am soooo sorry.
Steve Harrison: (Nods) Well knowing Darin Matthews is hard for Mike Best is half the battle. The other half of the battle is realizing the Miracle Man never lies. You see, Jack, I have learned through my numerous ventures in life that being honest is something I am excellent at. I am here to help, and you are here to help me. Can you think of any higher calling?
Jack picks the coolers back up and starts wheeling them behind Steve with a newfound energy.
Jack Marley: Amazing. So, the blunterific products inside the coolers will help people too?
Steve slows down and walks next to Jack as they head towards his locker room. Steve nods and pats Jack on the shoulder with a smirk on his face which is then followed with a painful look, he was not kidding about his face hurting.
Steve Harrison: Oh—yes. We have something truly miraculous, something truly divine, and something truly blessed. Those inside HOW will be feeling the touch of life within them and not the type Bobby Dean feels when watching teenagers (male or female, not judging gender just their age) play volleyball.
The two finally get to the locker room and Steve opens the door. Jack walks in and looks back for a second.
Jack Marley: Uh, one last thing, what do you mean by team builds?
Steve shakes his head.
Steve Harrison: The eGG Bandits are soulless heathens, Jack, just remember that. Now, give me a drink from the cooler, I need to test the merchandise before the shill—I mean amazing Miracle Enterprise helping begins.
Jack tosses Steve a bottle, as the cameras cut elsewhere into the AllState Arena.
No Tag Backs
Backstage against a High Octane backdrop we see the Tag Team Champions standing poised and ready to be interviewed. They are joined by Blaire Moise who’s smiling professionally despite her obvious distaste for the men she’s about to talk to.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we’re joined by the High Octane Wrestling Tag Team Champions, Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix, The Hollywood Bruvs!
Mikey is caught looking at Blaire’s butt and JFK smacks him in the chest to get his attention back on the interview.
Mikey Unlikely: Ouch! I’m sorry, it’s just she’s got a nice big a…
He holds his hands out to show Jesse how big. Blaire rolls her eyes and shoots Mikey an incredibly nasty look. After a lifetime of being hit on by wrestlers, she’s used to this kind of treatment.
Kendrix: Oi, you can’t say that Mikey, she’s a LADY! Be classy!
Mikey Unlikely: Fine! She’s got a Venti one!
JFK nods approvingly.
Kendrix: That’s more like it! Very classy!
Moving past the obvious juvenile behavior of the Bruvs she cuts to the chase.
Blaire Moise: Boys…
Jesse holds his hand out flat in front of HOW’s resident interviewer, cutting her off.
Kendrix: Boys? Nah nah nah, sweetheart. That’s Bruvs…
Blaire Moise: Boys…
Jesse and Mikey look at each other confused as to a) why Blaire isn’t impressed by their obvious charm and b) why they don’t have any frappes right now.
Blaire Moise: Last week you viciously attacked Bobby Dean with those Tag Team Championships, going as far as to hospitalize him.
Now a roll of the eyes from the American Bruv.
Mikey Unlikely: Hospitalize!? Bobby Dean would go to the hospital if he stubbed his toe. The man loves to be waited on hand and foot. He looks at that place like a hotel. Always ready to check in. We weren’t even going for Bobo, we were trying for the big egg boi RICK. Bobby stepped in the way, and … oh well!
He shrugs not caring one way or the other who they hit.
Kendrix: That’s right Blaire! Listen the eGG Bandits are gunning for OUR Tag Team Championships, and who could blame them? They are very nice belts. We just wanted to help them get a closer look at these bad boys!
The pair laugh out loud. Jesse wipes an imaginary tear away from his eye, it was that funny!
Mikey Unlikely: At the end of the day all we’re doing is evening the odds Ms Moise. Look we aren’t trying to go into No Remorse with this match being a 5 on 2. They have SO MANY eGGs over there. It’s a half dozen or so! We don’t like those long odds, so we decided to take the odds into our own hands.
Mikey holds up his manly man hands in front of Blaire, making his point but also waving them in front of Blaire as nothing is more impressive to a woman than manly man hands, right? Blaire’s facial expression makes it clear that the last statement is incorrect.
Kendrix: We like these odds Blaire. You know why we like them so much? That’s because you’re looking at the best damn tag team on the face of this planet. The guys who are going to dominate this division for as long as we damn well please. Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Fredericks Kendrix, the Hollywood Bru…
Before Kendrix can finish an egg splatters a few inches from his feet.
Jiles: Well lookie here….
Jesse and Mikey readjust the Tag Titles draped over their shoulders. They look past a smartly retreating Blaire, and set their focus on the three Bandits who have decided to crack their interview.
Doozer: If it isn’t my old pals…
Doozer: Not yet. We’ve come this far… no need to give them an excuse to forfeit now.
Mikey Unlikely: Uh? Hello? Champions here. Quick question. Isn’t there usually more of you? Seems like you guys are missing a few people.
In a blur, the Maestro gets right up in Mikey’s DM’s, almost going nose to nose with him.
Jiles: You garbage rat. I’m going to bury you. Both of you. At the same time. We both are
Confident as ever, The Maestro points back and jabs RICK in the chest.
Jiles: What? No. Not you. Get out of the way.
The massive mountain of flesh takes his limited vocabulary to the back on the line.
The Bruvs chuckle. Maybe at the Dooze, maybe at the prior ineptness of the Bandits, or maybe they mistranslated RICK.
Doozer: Good. You two certainly have had your fun at our expense.
Kendrix tries to interrupt with a funny quip, but Dooze isn’t done talking. The elder Bandit steps up, emotionless, glaring at the two title belts.
Doozer: I’d hate for it to stop just before we get to the moral of the story at No Remorse.
Kendrix: Why wait? We are the best tag team of all time. EVER. The CHAMPIONS. Better than you two. Better than Bobby and Zeb. Better than whatever combination you could throw at us.
Mikey Unlikely: You. Don’t. Have. The. Whip!
It’s about to happen.
It’s way too quiet.
Jiles has his shades off.
The belts have been dropped to the ground.
Dooze looks younger.
Too much gasoline.
Too many matches.
The Champions and challengers could fit inside a phone booth, with RICK holding the thing shut from the outside.
Mario Maurako: THERE YOU GUYS ARE!! I saw what was going down and was hoping to get here before… well, this could escalate. Phew! Guards!
A starting offense for a football team of HOW Security comes charging down the hall, and separates Bruv from Bandit.
Mario Maurako: Remember guys, we want people to buy the Pay Per View. That said, I’ll throw all of you a bone because you’ve been such a joy to watch these past couple of months. No Remorse…The High Octane Tag Team Champions, Mikey Unlikely and Jesse Kendrix, will defend against Cool Jiles and THE DOOZER… UNDER TORNADO TAG RULES!
The audience pops so loudly after the announcement you can hear them in the back.
Mario Maurako: Oh, and FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE!!
The show feed cuts to commercial before anarchy and pandemonium can take control.
Just a reminder from all of us in the High Octane Hall of Fame that this could have been your year, Stevens. Maybe.
Conor Fuse vs. Jason Storm
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to the show, folks! We’re getting set for a match between two relatively new faces here at High Octane Wrestling as Conor Fuse looks to build on his successful debut while Jason Storm tries to turn his luck around after taking a loss to Erin Gordan in his.
Benny Newell: Look at me, my name’s Joe, I do my homework.
Joe Hoffman: Was that supposed to be an insult?
Benny Newell: Shut up and let me DRINK!
Joe Hoffman: Anyway, during the commercial Jason Storm already made his way out so we’re just waiting on the one who calls himself The Vintage.
The lights in the arena turn off before the big screen flickers on, like it has just been plugged in. The music from Mega Man 3’s character selection screen fills Allstate Arena. A picture of Conor Fuse’s head is placed in the middle of the HOV and numerous faces of various HOW wrestlers are scattered around, resembling that of a Mega Man stage select screen.
Benny Newell: What has HOW become…
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.
Bryan McVay: Making his way to the ring, weighing in at 210 pounds… The Vintage… Cooooonoooooooor Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuse!
He stops at the front of the ring, takes one leap onto the apron and with ease, clears the ropes and somersaults into the squared circle while The Game Boy crosses his arms and waits on the outside.
Joe Hoffman: Jason Storm apparently wants no part of The Game Boy being ringside.
Benny Newell: Can’t say I blame him there, but I’d be more worried about his crazy, nerd raging opponent over there.
As Storm finishes his plea with Boettcher to get The Game Boy removed, he slowly turns to see his opponent hitting his corner’s turnbuckle like an absolute madman. Both Jason and Matt Boettcher look equally perplexed.
Joe Hoffman: I think he calls this “Powering Up”… but before the bell even rings?
As if he could hear the announcers, Boettcher snaps out of the trance induced by watching Conor Fuse’s turnbuckle assault, and calls for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: Here we go!
Just after the bell rings, Fully Powered Conor Fuse twirls around and immediately breaks into a quick sprint toward Jason Storm.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse starting this off face – oh but Jason grabs him up, looking for a sidewa- NO, Fuse twists around over Storms’ shoulders, grabs his head – TILT-A-WHIRL DDT! OH MY!
Benny Newell: DRINK!
Jason bounces head-first off the mat and flops over onto his back. Before anyone watching can even blink, The Vintage leaps onto the top rope with a single bound.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse is airborne! SUPER SPLASH 450! THAT’S IT!
Benny Newell: Wait did I black out the action?
Fuse stays on top of the lifeless Jason Storm and lifts a leg. Boettcher drops.
DING DING DING!
Bryan McVay: And your winner… COOONOOOOOOR! FUUUUUUUUUSE!!!
Joe Hoffman: Impressive win by Fuse!
Benny Newell: I guess. At least he saved us some time.
Are You There God? It's Me, Simon.
MEMORIAL SPECIAL: 15% OFF ALL CARDBOARD DAN MERCH UNTIL NO REMORSE!!!
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Hammer Meet Nail
Backstage, Dan Ryan is walking through the hallway from the outside drop-off area doors to the dressing room area, heading in the general direction of the Group of Death locker room.
He isn’t booked for a match tonight, so the dress is casual, but not too casual. A large custom button down shirt is rolled up at the sleeves, and the top button is free, since his tree trunk of a neck would threaten to bust it open anyway. Black dress slacks stretch down to a pair of polished black shoes, which clack against the floor as he walks through. A single, simple bag is slung over his shoulder, and his eyes are focused forward, head slightly down as his lengthy stride makes up the distance quickly.
Coming around a corner, he slows down slightly, and his head raises with a flat expression on his face.
Blocking the hallways are six security men, and just behind them, leaning against the wall with a cocky smirk, is Cayle Murray.
Ryan locks his eyes on Murray, who isn’t looking at him, and makes a slow approach, but the six men hold a line between them.
Ryan holds up his hand, motioning in a counting gesture from one man to the next.
One, two, three, four… he looks down at his hands, raising two more fingers… five, six…
He looks up slightly, as if thinking it through, then shrugs, and eases forward.
Surprisingly, Cayle turns, still not looking Ryan is the eye, places a hand between the middle two, and gently separates them to make a space to walk through. With a confident grin, and, looking Dan in the face finally, he slips through, nothing left between him and the giant of a man, some six inches taller and nearly eighty pounds larger than the younger Murray.
Ryan pauses, holding his place, as Cayle approaches, looking him up and down, practically strutting his way forward.
He stops, finally, a mere six inches or so away.
Cayle Murray: Hello Daniel.
Cayle Murray: What’ll it be, mate? Words or fists? Don’t worry about these lads, I know you’ve already got a dozen of them buried at the bottom of your garden. The big lad told me all about that.
Murray raises a finger to his lips and tilts his head, faux pondering.
Cayle Murray: Come to think of it, these chaps don’t have their backs turned. That’s how you prefer to fight, isn’t it, tosser? Maybe it’s not such a bright idea. I dunno. Keen to find out though…
Dan’s eyes narrow. He looks past Cayle again, sees the security force, and looks back at Cayle, whose smarmy grin widens.
Cayle Murray: Go on, chief. Have a crack.
The HOW newcomer taps his own jaw.
Cayle Murray: I know you want to. I dare you. Take your best shot, knuckledragger. It’s right there. Try it. See what happens…
Again, Ryan looks from Cayle to the security, then back again, then back to the security, then back at Cayle.
Cayle starts to frown, growing impatient for Dan Ryan to take action and walk into this trap.
Cayle Murray: Get a move on, dickhead.
Ryan looks down at the floor, and holds his stare there, as Cayle starts to get more irritated.
Cayle Murray: You hear me? I said…
At that, Dan Ryan’s eyes snap up to meet Cayle’s with a terrifying, unsettling swiftness. Where there was calm detachment before, there is now flashing rage and an almost eager delight.
Cayle Murray: …do….it… um…
The cuntier Murray sibling flinches, stunned and thrown off guard by the sudden change of tension in the air, but finds himself welded to his spot on the floor, eyes widened and looking up at the terrible visage of a madman.
Ryan takes a very short, measured step forward, bringing him inches from Cayle Murray as he looks down at him and, turning his head slightly sideways, leans down and in to the point that they nearly breathe the same air.
Dan Ryan: You’re stepping forward… as if having security around you is what’s holding me back. It didn’t work for your brother, and it won’t work for you either. The only reason this hallway doesn’t feature a pile of broken bones and another crippled Murray brother… is because I haven’t chosen to make it happen….
Ryan leans until their heads are side by side. For a reason he doesn’t yet understand, Cayle holds in place, unmoving.
Dan Ryan: …YET.
Ryan retreats his head back, crosses it in front of Cayle’s, holding eye contact, then moves to the other side, where he whispers in his ear.
Dan Ryan: I know what you told Lee, Cayle. I know what you told him, but you and I both know the truth, don’t we?
Ryan finally pulls back up to his full height. By now Cayle has started to regroup, and he steels himself, but the same confidence is gone, replaced by a forced resolve.
Dan Ryan: Whatever fiction you want to weave for everyone, you don’t know me, Cayle. Not anymore. Whoever you think you know is long since dead, deader than the career of the more talented brother…
Dan Ryan: You’ve bullied yourself into accepting something that you don’t understand, bullied by the memory of a time of fun and games, when you’re looking hate and unadulterated rage right in the eyes. You promise me violence, you promise revenge, you promise me blood. Don’t threaten me with a good time, Cayle. And if you want to start early, there’s no need for the preamble. I’ll stand here, and I’ll let you do what you want. All seven of you…. You… take your shot.
The eyes hold their lock on Cayle’s eyes, and Murray frowns as he returns the look, but he doesn’t move. He considers his next move, but finally shakes his head and smirks slightly, backing away and putting a hand on the shoulder of the nearest security guard.
Cayle Murray: Nah.
The line parts, and Cayle walks through, throwing one last disgusted look in Dan Ryan’s direction before walking down the hallway with the other six men in tow.
Ryan watches, standing perfectly still. He holds, and they disappear, one by one around a corner and out of view.
A facial tic causes his left eye to blink, but only closing halfway, and he stands there, staring at nothing.
Doozer vs. High Flyer
Joe Hoffman: Moving right into our next bout, here, Benny.
Benny Newell: Yeah, right into a match that would’ve been exciting twenty years ago, Hoffhole.
Joe Hoffman: Hey now, both these guys might be on the older side, but they’re both riding a recent wave of success aside from last week’s ladder match.
Benny Newell: Don’t remind me. I need this bottle to last ‘til the main event.
The lights dim, causing the crowd to quiet.
The amplified crack of an eggshell breaks the silence. “Doozy” by Token fills your ears as yellow strobe lights dance over the stands, highlighting the fans who are there as they stand and cheer. Doozer emerges from the back, nodding his head to the music, staring at the ring with full focus as he marches down the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Here comes The Dooze. Looking more and more like The General, as his friend Cancer Jiles likes to call him.
Benny Newell: DRINK!
Bryan McVay: Making his way to the ring, weighing in at 273 pounds… from Boston, Massachusetts… representing the eGG Bandits… DOOOOOOOZERRRRRRRRRR!!!
The crowd gives the eldest Bandit another pop as he slides into the ring and performs an explosive pushup to get up to his feet in one motion.
As The Dooze makes his way toward a corner,
~All Aboard! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA~
Joe Hoffman: And here comes Harmen!
A light fog rises up from the entrance way as the opening guitar riff kicks in. Parting the smoke is High Flyer, who stands confidently at the top of the entrance ramp. He tosses one hand up in a devil horn taunt, and smiles slyly to the camera. He stomps his way to the ring, paying very little attention to the crowd. Once he reaches ringside, he slips in under the bottom rope, then sprawls on his back. He begins to make snow angels while residing on his back, looking up at the lights before recovering to his feet.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Bethelem, Pennsylvania… weighing 224 pounds… HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH! FLYYYYYYYYYYYYERRRRRRRRRR!!!
As the announcer introduces Harmen, he leaps onto the second ropes and looks out to the crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Hortega giving both men the rundown. Let’s get ready for some action!
Benny Newell: (sighs) Yeah, some good, ol’ geriatric action.
Both Doozer and High Flyer stand on opposite sides of the ref, staring eachout down without a blink. Joel calls for the bell and steps back.
Doozer slowly extends an open hand toward his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: Despite being a Bandit, this offering of sportsmanship looks legit to me.
Harmen eyes the hand critically, but The Dooze nods to assure him of no ill intent. Jack skeptically raises his own, and just before reaching Doozer’s hand, reels it back in and shoots both hands to the top of his head, pointing his fingers up to make devil horns.
Benny Newell: HAH! NOT RETURNED!
With Doozer’s confused eyes on his opponent’s fingers, High Flyer sends a quick boot to into the eldest Bandit’s gut, doubling him over. Harmen pulls him close and sends a knee strike up into Doozer’s upper torso. Then another.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer with the early offense!
Harmen sends a third knee with extra oomph, sending Dooze straight up and stumbling back. Jack takes a step up and twirls on one foot, sending the other up –
Joe Hoffman: Doozer ducks under the roundhouse! He charges forward with a clothesline – High Flyer ducks under that! Flyer grasps Doozer by the midsection before he can turn around, GERMAN SUPLEX! He bridges into a pin!
Benny Newell: Damn, was hoping that’d be it!
Both competitors rise to their feet and grapple. Dooze maneuvers the grapple into a side headlock. He tightens the hold, as Harmen sends rights and lefts to no avail. Hortego checks on him, but he shakes his head while in the hold, then puts his right hand on Doozer’s back and pushes them both toward the turnbuckle. He digs in his heels and throws Dooze off him, slamming face first into the turnbuckles.
Joe Hoffman: Impressive show of strength by High Flyer, sending the bigger man into the corner while in a headlock! OH WOW he follows it up with a snappy dropkick to the back before Dooze could turn back around!
The kick sends Dooze back into the turnbuckles even harder. Jack turns The Dooze around and whips him to the other corner –
Joe Hoffman: Doozer reverses the whip! Flyer bounces off the turnbuckles. OUCH! Doozer with a nasty CLOTHESLINE! The crowd gives him a roar!
Harmen flips in the air, landing on his back and rolling around emphatically. Doozer approaches him, sending a couple kicks into his back before Jack spins up and hits Dooze with a legsweep into an inverted DDT!
Joe Hoffman: RIGHT WHEN YOU THOUGHT DOOZE HAD THE MOMENTUM! What a move by High Flyer!
Harmen runs to the corner and leaps over the ropes onto the apron. He swiftly jumps up to the top ropes from there and launches, looking for his ½ frog splash, but Doozer moves!
Joe Hoffman: Looks like The General moved a little too soon there! High Flyer saw it just in time and landed on his feet!
Benny Newell: Even I’ll admit, he’s pretty nimble for a senior citizen.
Just before Doozer can get onto his own feet, Harmen hovers over him and sends a hard knee into his side. Doozer rolls over a couple times, sneering up at Jack.
Joe Hoffman: Oh you can tell he didn’t like that – Flyer just spat at his opponent!
Dooze turns red and, before The Lunatic can blink, General Bandit is all over him.
Joe Hoffman: Doozer tackles Harmen, taking him down by the legs, mounts and is raining down vicious rights and lefts!
Hortega has to pull Doozer off, who lets out a roar to the crowd. He turns back toward Jack and sends a couple boots down before picking him up by the hair. Dooze pulls Flyer to the middle of the ring and grabs his head under his left arm and lifts for a suplex-
Joe Hoffman: Dooze looking for a suplex, but Harmen hooks a leg around his leg to stop the move! Dooze sends a right hand into Jack’s side, releasing the leg hook. He lifts- NO, Flyer hooks the leg again!
Before Dooze can react again, Harmen sends a shot of his own to Doozer’s side then grasps his neck and twists, falling on his butt as he does.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer with a corkscrew neckbreaker! Another pin!
Benny Newell: He’s getting closer!
Harmen angrily snaps to his feet and brings Doozer up with him.
Joe Hoffman: Irish whip to the corner. Doozer reverses! He charges after his opponent and hits a corner slash as soon as Harmens back hits the turnbuckle.
The Dooze plays to the crowd with a raised right arm, then turns back to Jack and throws a haymaker- Flyer throws up an arm out of nowhere for the block! Then he sends sharp kick to Doozers gut, doubling him over. Harmen grabs the back of Doozers head and drops down, lifting both of his knees up into Doozers chest as he pulls him down into them to double the impact!
Benny Newell: NOW THAT’S A FUCKING MOVE!
The move sends Dooze upward and stumbling back, trying to catch both his breath and balance at the same time.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer jumps up to the top turnbuckle and flies high! CROSS BODY SPLA- NO! DOOZER CATCHES HIM! He tosses Flyer up over his head like a wet towel and onto his shoulders into a fireman’s carry – EGGU! EGGU! E-
Benny Newell: Say that one time and I’ll egg YOU!
The Dooze pops up and hovers over Jacks head, shaking a pointed index finger at his downed opponent. He charges the ropes to his right, bounces, takes one giant step toward Flyer and drops a closed fist right on his face!
Joe Hoffman: YOU CANT YOLK ME! DOOZER HITS IT! HE PINS!
DING DING DING!
Joe Hoffman: The Bandits continue their impressive streak with Doozer grabbing a singles victory over High Flyer!
Benny Newell: Our GOD can’t be happy with this…
Bryan McVay: And your winner… DOOOOOOOOZERRRRRRRRRRR!!!
Before Hortega can even grab his arm to raise it, Doozer drops and rolls out of the ring. He marches to the back as if he’s got other business on his mind already.
A New Challenger Has Appeared!
The camera cuts backstage, where an empty hallway immediately becomes very loud, as The Vintage Conor Fuse playfully skips across. Hands in his jean pockets, lime green “8-BIT BADASS” t-shirt on and dirty blonde hair all over the place, it appears he’s in good spirits after an easy victory over Jason Storm earlier this evening. Fuse grins from ear-to-ear and creates quite the noise for one man. He giggles, laughs and shouts. It’s annoying.
Conor Fuse: Such an easy game! I am proving no one works harder than me!
Conor is midway down the hall when he stops and looks behind him. There’s no one to be seen.
Conor Fuse: Come along Game Boy! Hurry up!
He says this with a roll of the eyes like his big henchmen is always lagging behind and can’t keep up.
Conor Fuse: Well, what can I say? Everyone lags behind me.
The Vintage turns around and realizes he may have to go as far back as Gorilla to find his partner. The exit doors were right there but the rest of the celebration would have to be put on pause.
Conor Fuse: Sigh.
Joe Hoffman: Did he say “sigh”?
Conor Fuse: Well, what can I say? Jason Storm tried that power outage to stop me from learning all about him but it didn’t do anything. Do these new BOTS know a thing about me? Because if they did, they’d quit. What a joke. I hope he goes back to whatever system he came from. Can’t hang here. Not in HOW. I wonder what I should do next. There are some nice, shiny Achievements in this game. I could go after those. There’s that Rick guy with no last name. Play against him? Hmmmm. What about the Murrays, Cayle or… what was that other guy’s name? I don’t buy for a second that he’s too injured to come back. Everyone hits continue eventually. Everyone.
Conor turns back down the hall and lowers his head. By now, the hallway grows eerily quiet. Too quiet.
Conor Fuse: Well, so be it. Guess I’ll just have to move on to the next level quickly and finish this game. Who knew it would be so… easy?
Behind the Vintage, the sound of approaching footsteps make themselves known. They’re loud, and ploddingly slow–basically, it sounds just like the Game Boy has begun catching up to him, so Conor doesn’t bother to look behind himself. As the figure approaching him comes into view, though, the faint sound of cheering can be heard as the Oncoming Storm reveals herself to be the one joining the man who robbed her of victory two weeks prior. Erin Gordon’s expression is less than impressed at the bragging Fuse has been doing, but she remains silent for now, letting him continue to speak.
Conor Fuse: Is that you, Game Boy!? Man, you’re slow for a big guy, huh? That’s alright. I’m the quick one. You pack the punch!
Conor giggles again and covers his mouth, trying to not turn it into full laughter. Behind him, Erin’s expression begins to turn from irritation… to amusement.
Joe Hoffman: Ummm, that’s not your Game Boy…
Benny Newell: Run, kid! You’re in danger!
Conor Fuse: And what punch!! Mmmmm, punch. I could go for some Kool-Aid right now. Let’s get some! Red Kool-Aid, of course.
Realizing The Game Boy hasn’t said anything yet, Conor’s face grows a little puzzled.
Conor Fuse: Hey, buddy? Kool-Aid, right? Yummy yummy?
Yep, Erin now looks vaguely amused in spite of herself. It’s like her son has reverted to being five again, or something along those lines. Her head tilts to one side as a scoffed-out sound leaves the Oncoming Storm. Is that what passes as a laugh for her? Whatever it is, Conor’s puzzlement begins to turn into something else as a hand reaches behind himself to pat where Game Boy’s chest would be…
Conor Fuse: Game Boy?
…only to find open air. As his hand continues to aimlessly feel around, his expression runs the gamut from confusion, to concern, to relief when his hand lightly smacks against Erin’s face, to fear as he feels around and realizes what the fans have known all along. Conor swallows hard as he turns around, his hand dropping away from the Oncoming Storm’s features, though before he can so much as utter a peep, he’s eating a stiff spinning backfist from Hell, dropping him like a bad habit!
Joe Hoffman: Nor’Easter out of nowhere! That has to feel good for Gordon, considering how much this obnoxious weasel has been running his mouth about how he cheated to take the win over her.
Benny Newell: How is this different?! She ambushed him–
Joe Hoffman: She waited until his back was no longer turned, giving him a shot at getting his hands up. For a man that brags about his speed, Erin’s proven herself to be capable of being even faster!
Settling down into a crouch next to Conor’s head, the Oncoming Storm comes as close to a smirk as she’s gonna.
Erin Gordon: Hope that punch was to your likin’, you thievin’ sumbitch.
A gentle pat in the middle of Fuse’s chest and she’s standing, whistling to herself to the tune of ‘The Man Comes Around’ by Johnny Cash as she makes her way out of the shot, her point proven for the moment. The camera pans down to Conor’s glazed-like-a-donut expression as the scene fades to commercial.
Buy this motherfucker now, because the price doubles in two weeks when this shit becomes a literal Bible. – MB
04 AUG 2020
RICK sits in a plain white waiting room on one of the seats affixed to the wall, a reusable black shopping bag on the floor between his feet, obviously full of items. He looks around the plain room impatiently, then to the clock on his phone. Suddenly one of the two doors in the room opens and two of Woodson’s H.A.T.E. Guards step inside the room and eyeball him for a moment before looking at each other and nodding.
GUARD 1 (to guard 2): Ten bucks says the Pikey gets lucky tonight.
RICK looks at the pair quizzically before locking eyes with the shorter of the two guards, awaiting his response.
GUARD 2 (whispers back): Shh, he’s watching…but fifteen and I’m in.
Suddenly a buzzer sounds inside the room and the guards motion to RICK, and then to a plain door at the other side of the room.
GUARD 1: Alright, big man…let’s go.
As RICK stands, his full size becomes evident to the shorter guard who simply looks up in amazement before gulping. RICK looks down at him flatly before walking towards the other door carrying his bags
GUARD 2 (whilst walking): We wouldn’t normally allow visitors, or gifts, but the orders have come straight from Scott Woodson himself.
RICK does not respond as he walks side-by-side with the guard. Perhaps resonating with him how bizarre it is that Woodson would grant access to RICK in this twisted game of HATE.
GUARD 2: You know, you can hardly get a word from the bastard normally. But all week he simply can’t stop repeating your name..
RICK does not alter his blank expression.
GUARD 2: Over and Over.
The rattle of the keys clink louder as they come up to the locked door at the end of the room.
GUARD 1: You’ve got ten whole minutes.. Make them count.
RICK ducks under the doorframe and steps inside the segregated meeting room once unlocked. Simply white and plain like the waiting room, a single table with two metal fold up chairs sitting in the centre of the floorspace. Hughie Freeman sits crossed-legged against the opposite wall. His wrists are shackled to his waist in front of him. Hughie doesn’t look up, instead he simply calls out like a wounded animal.
HUGHIE FREEMAN: RIIIIIICCCCCKKKKKKKKK!!
With a sympathetic look, RICK retrieves a raw steak from out of his bag and hurls it at Freeman.
Hughie let’s the slab of meat bounce off his bare chest.
HUGHIE FREEMAN: RIIICCCKKKKKKKKKKKKK..?!
Freeman responds, utterly bemused. However, shortly thereafter, takes the opportunity to methodically show RICK his two fists. His badly self-tattooed knuckles show LOVE/HATE.
Hughie’s left fist goes forward indicating LOVE and then his right soon follows indicating HATE. The fists go back and forth like he wants RICK to choose. Even despite what transpired at Refueled XXXV, Hughie still wants RICK to choose one, it seems. RICK shakes his head no, and speaks uncharacteristically softer, almost sympathetic to his old stablemate’s situation.
RICK reaches back into the bag. This time he pulls out a lovely bunch of red roses with a clearly sympathetic smile.
HUGHIE FREEMAN: RRRIIIIIIICCCCCCCKKK!
Said with a heartfelt tone.
Meanwhile, Freeman takes this as a signal to make his next move. Hampered by his cuffed wrists, The HOW Resident Pikey pulls on his pants bottoms with his fingertips. Once angled right, he then uses his hips to drop them. An immediate pixelated image covers his nether regions. RICK is shocked. However.. bashful.
HUGHIE FREEMAN: RIIIIICCCKKKKKYYYYYYYYYYY
Freeman waddles over to RICK like a penguin with his pants down to his ankles, RICK blinking, confused at what’s occurring. He immediately snatches the flowers off of RICK and inhales the aroma of the roses deeply, closing his eyes and enjoying the moment.
The pair are mere feet away and you can certainly feel the tension. The LOVE/HATE relationship these former teammates have for one another built from the very beginning.. now traveled as far as Alcatraz!
RICK slowly tilts his head downward to Hughie’s exposed bottom-half and even more slowly returns his gaze directly into Freeman’s eyes, clearly sizing him up. The big man then gets even closer.
Joe Hoffman: Ooohhh, here we go!
Hughie then frowns and seemingly takes this as a threat in his own habitat. So he hurls the roses over his shoulder and steps forward himself.
Benny Newell: Ya fucking gunna LOVE this!
The estranged duo are near enough skin-on-skin as RICK is panting like a wild gorilla. Hughie, meanwhile, simply clenches his fists.
Joe Hoffman: HELLO!
RICK makes the first move by grabbing aggressively around the censored crotch area.
Benny Newell: The fucker likes it!
Hughie smiles, psychotically.
The scene rapidly transitions to outside of the meeting room and back in the waiting area. Outside of the door are the two HATE officers sinisterly laughing at the commotion going on in the other room. The sound of rearranged furniture hits the HOW audio, along with the sound of bodies hitting the walls, and a mixture of grunts and groans, along with a loud roar from RICK.
The shorter of the two guards shakes his head and retrieves his wallet, pulling out three bills and folding them in his hand before replacing it in his back pocket. He silently hands the money across to the other guard who takes it and hastily shoves it in his pocket.
Joe Hoffman: It must be LOVE, Benny! All this time..
Benny Newell: Fuck that, it’s always been HATE.
Suddenly, RICK bursts through the doors with a thunderous roar, his face and chest covered in blood. His unexpected exit sent the two H.A.T.E officers flying and the feed cuts to black.
Cancer Jiles vs. Farthington
The lights quickly dim, and the AllState Arena falls to a murmur. Pitch black, followed by the hush of absolute silence, and then the clang of a blinding white spotlight kicking on echoes throughout the building. The spotlight, which illuminates the entirety of the curtained area of the entrance ramp, is in the shape of a gigantic egg.
The floor starts to shake with rabid anticipation.
Smoke begins to fill the ramp space.
Suddenly, the spotlighted egg cracks. Pyros touching the roof coincide with the crack, as does the opening guitar riff to, “I am the COOL.”
Joe Hoffman: Big entrance for Jiles tonight.
Benny Newell: Chalk it up to the idiot making the most of it, being that he’ll probably never get another opportunity like this one.
“I’m the one your mama warned you about”
A fanatical eruption of excitement explodes out of the live audience upon hearing the spot on lyrics of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
“When you see me, I will leave you no doubt”
Out from behind the curtain steps the T-shaded, wolf fur cloak wearing, challenger to the throne. Only the top half of him is visible. The bottom half, from the COOL tattoo down, is shrouded by the smoke.
“I’m the coolest man that ever walked this earth”
The Maestro doesn’t get too far, stopping in his tracks after only a few steps. He slowly begins to open his arms, until they are fully outstretched so he can properly and warmly welcome the feverish reception.
“I’ve been the coolest since the day of my birth”
Quickly, Jiles cocks his head so he’s looking up towards the rafters and presumably the lights for the last time this evening. He then aggressively sprays a short burst of yolk-yellow mist high into the air. Before it can land on him, he starts his walk towards the ring.
“I am the COOL.”
Over the moon, emphatic, lose and we riot cheering ensues. In fact, it’s so loud the announce team has to scream just to be heard.
Joe Hoffman: IN AN EXCLUSIVE ONE ON ONE INTERVIEW BETWEEN JILES AND FARTHINGTON EARLIER THIS WEEK ON THE HOTv NETWORK, THE CHALLENGER SAID THE OCTABANDITS WOULD BE BACKING HIM UP. BENNY, HE WASN’T LYING!! LISTEN TO THIS CROWD!!
Benny Newell: LET’S SEE IF ONE OF THEM WOULD JUMP INTO THE RING AND TAKE A BROKEN ARM!! NERDS.
Joe Hoffman: DOES THAT MEAN YOU’RE PULLING FOR FARTHINGTON?
Benny Newell: HOPEFULLY I’M BLACKED OUT BY THE TIME THE MATCH STARTS SO I CAN LEAVE IT UP TO CHANCE AND WON’T HAVE TO MAKE SUCH A DECISION.
Joe Hoffman: I GUESS WHEN ONE OF THEM BROKE YOUR ARM, AND THE OTHER ONE SLAPPED AN EGG ACROSS YOUR FACE YOU’RE NOT LEFT WITH MANY OPTIONS.
Benny Newell: DRINK!!!!!!!!!!
By the time the Hall of Fame duo is done screaming over the reception, Jiles is already down the ramp, out of his wolf garb, and sliding into the ring. He pops to his feet, bounces off the nearest ropes, and then stops to share a word or two of friendly encouragement with the referee for tonight’s match, Matt Boettcher.
As Jiles’ music fades away, “Mr. Finish Line” begins to echo some smooth bass riffs throughout the arena, heralding the arrival of the LSD Champion. Cecilworth Farthington steps out onto the stage, looking out into the sea of Chicago fans and hoisting the LSD Championship high over his head. He yells those two words, and a surprising number of people in the crowd yell them along with him:
CMF: LOYALTY. AND. SACRIFICE.
He throws the belt over his shoulder, as he marches toward the ramp.
Benny Newell: lOyAlTy AnD sAcRiFiCe….
Joe Hoffman: It’s taken him this far, Benny. Cecilworth Farthington has now not lost a match in nearly a year and a half, as we head into No Remorse in just two weeks time.
Benny Newell: Yeah, we get it. The guy is hard to beat. Do you have to fucking tell me about it every week? I KNOW.
Cecilworth climbs up the ring steps, handing the LSD Championship off to Boettcher before taking his corner. The champion and the challenger exchange knowing looks, each intently ready for this championship match, as the referee signals for the bell.
DING DING DING
An oddly focused looking Jiles begins to circle the outside edge of the ring, nodding at Farthington as the champion joins him. Both men circle, waiting for an opportunity, before both seemingly shoot in for a tie-up at the same time!
There is a jockeying for position in the center of the ring, but Farthington seems to take advantage of what appears to be a slip in footing by Jiles– he moves from the tie-up into the right arm of his opponent, and he’s going for the Article 50 right out of the gate! He grabs hold of the arm and throws his weight back to the canvas, taking Jiles over with him just seconds into the match!
The crowd explodes into a mixture of cheers and boos, as Farthington looks to set a record here tonight for fastest submission in HOW history!
Joe Hoffman: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS! OH MY GOD!
Benny Newell: God FUCKING damnit, SOMEONE STOP THIS PIECE OF SHIT ALREADY!
Jiles doesn’t even try to stay on his feet– he rolls with the cross armbreaker, fighting against the pain, and throws his full momentum into flipping Farthington the rest of the way over. Using the leverage of his own arm caught in that vice-like grip, he takes the momentum and turns it into a locked in small package! He’s got Farthington rolled over!
DING DING DING
In literal seconds, the year and a half long winning streak of Cecilworth Farthington is brought to a screeching halt, as a crafty Jiles secures the pinfall. The arena is almost silent for a moment, and the sheer shock of the pin forces Farthington to release the hold– Jile rolls to his feet, holding his arm in utter pain but now running off pure adrenaline!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner, and NEWWWWWW HOW LSD Chaaaaaampion….. COOOOOOL….. JIIIIIIIIILESSSSSS!
In the middle of the ring, Cecilworth Farthington sits up, hunched with his elbows resting on his knees. He looks absolutely bewildered by whatever has just happened, as Boettcher hands the LSD Championship off to its new owner.
Joe Hoffman: What… what the hell just happened?!
Benny Newell: No. Fucking. WAY.
Joe Hoffman: Jiles… JILES IS THE LSD CHAMPION! THE STREAK IS OVER!
Benny Newell: AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YES! FUCK YES! THANK FUCKING GOD YES! I FORGIVE YOU NOW, YOU STUPID BRITISH FUCK! WE’RE EVEN! FRIENDS AGAIN, YOU LOSER PIECE OF SHIT! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!
Jiles snatches the belt, looking at the potential nuclear explosion about to happen in the former champ and choosing to take his celebration outside.
He bails out of the ring to the floor, as immediately the rest of the Bandits make their way to ringside to celebrate Jiles’ championship victory. The camera cuts one last time to Farthington in the ring, with a blank, confused expression on his face as he shakes his head– the celebration is going to continue outside, but for now we head to the HOV as Refueled goes on.
Starrgazing With The Starrs
The scene cuts to one of the conference rooms located in the arena. There are black curtains in the background with the HOW logo. Sitting in front of the curtain at a long table is Jatt Starr and Gilda Ockelman-Starr. The sound of Billy Squier’s “Everybody Wants You’ plays, as a graphic appears that reads “STARRGAZING WITH THE STARRS”. The music fades with the graphic. The Starrabian Knight shuffles papers around.
JATT STARR: Welcome to ‘Starrgazing with the Starrs. I am Jatt Starr. The Ruler of Jattlantis. The Sultan of SeaJattle. The Mayor of ManJatthan. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
GILDA: What’s wrong?
JATT STARR: Nothing. I’m fine.
GILDA: You’re not your usual….
JATT STARR: What?
GILDA: You’re not….as smug.
JATT STARR: It’s just….I’m looking at this “No Remorse” card and…..meh.
JATT STARR: The main event sucks. Max Kael….Oops….”The Minstrel” versus Mike Best.
Gilda points to the paper in front of the Baron of Boca Jatton.
GILDA: It says “Minister”. Do you need your reading glasses?
JATT STARR: I told you not to tell anyone about that.
GILDA: What is he the Minister of?
JATT STARR: I don’t know, the Church of Saturday Taints?
Gilda looks at her father, confused, her eyes asking for clarification.
JATT STARR: I’ll explain it when you’re older….or never. Kael and Michael Best. They’re vile. Awful people.
GILDA: They don’t seem to have any respect for anyone other than themselves. Self-absorbed narcissists that use people and toss them aside like a snotty rag until they need them again to clean waste receptacles of the RV’s or to pose for their “artistic offerings’ for the—
JATT STARR: I think we need to stay focused here. Bottom line, I really don’t care about this match. It’s trash. It’s garbage. “No Remorse” should be VERY remorseful for forcing the fans to watch that turd of a match.
GILDA: Maybe Darin Matthews will win the HOW Championship from Mike Best.
JATT STARR: And maybe Andy Dick will win the Academy Award for Best Actor after starring in a biopic about Martin Van Buren.
GILDA: Is he any good?
JATT STARR: Martin Van Buren? He’s dead.
GILDA: Andy Dick.
JATT STARR: You just have no pop culture intelligence. You need to watch more movies.
GILDA: I watch movies. Bogart and Bacall. Rogers and Astaire. Orson Welles. Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Lee J. Cobb, Edward G.—-
JATT STARR: Anything on Turner Classic Movies doesn’t count.
GILDA: Mother and I shared many a night watching the classics.
JATT STARR: And you’ve never seen “Star Wars”. Anyway, as much as I would absolutely LOVE for Darin Matthews to completely EMBARRASS Mike Best….that would be hoping for too much. It’s like when I was a child, I wanted Soundwave from the Transformers and you know what I got? SOCKS!!!! I am not giving myself false hope like that EVER again. Michael Best retaining his title against Darin Matthews is the wrestling equivalent to SOCKS!!!! I have enough socks. Some of them have holes in them, sure, but I have plenty without holes!!!
GILDA: Um, yeah, moving on….What about the Eric Dane versus Lindzeee Troy?
JATT STARR: Eric Dane is a Jatt Starr wannabe without the charisma, the talent, the good looks, the accomplishments, the encyclopedia knowledge of all things nineties pop music. Linzeee Troy is nuts but would look good in a swimsuit.
GILDA: Ew. Next, the Alcatraz Match. RICK versus Hughie Freeman.
JATT STARR: Hmm….Hughie has been locked away on Alcatraz with nothing but his thoughts. Hughie is a little nuts. And a little nuts is okay by me. And he would look better than RICK in a swimsuit.
GILDA: Ew squared.
JATT STARR: It’s not like I want to see them in Speedos! No one wants to see that!
GILDA: Are you going to be basing all of your predictions on swimsuits?
JATT STARR: Heck no! I wouldn’t want to see Lee Best or Kostoff in a swimsuit.
GILDA: You’re odd. Next, there’s the Egg Bandits versus the Hollywood Bruvs.
JATT STARR: Egg Bandits to win. I still don’t know what a Bruv is. And those Bandits are tough to crack.
Gilda rolls her eyes and puts her head down in shame at her father’s poor joke.
JATT STARR: Besides, I cannot support the team that defeated my daughter in her debut match.
GILDA: You should not have taken me out of that match.
JATT STARR: How many times do I have to apologize? I was protecting you!
GILDA: You left Kostoff to fend for himself.
JATT STARR: He’s Kostoff! He’s used to it! You know what? Fine, let’s skip over the Bill Murray versus Meg Ryan ICON Title match. Not like anyone really cares about that match anyway. Let’s just go right to the TRUE main event. Lee Best versus Kostoff. Lee Best will DESTROY Kostoff.
GILDA: Lee seems like a stand up….person, but Kostoff is bigger and stronger.
JATT STARR: Kostoff is predictable. Lee Best is wily. He will pull out everything trick in the book.
GILDA: As much as you love Lee Best—
JATT STARR: WE love Lee Best.
GILDA: I respect and admire Lee Best. Love is a little strong.
JATT STARR: You’ll get there.
GILDA: Mister Best has been laid up. Isn’t he injured?
JATT STARR: You can’t injure Lee Best! He’s conserving his strength. He’s meditating on the millions of ways he will eviscerate Kostoff.
GILDA: But Kostoff has been competing week after week. He’s gaining more experience.
JATT STARR: No offense. But he’s been losing!!! He’s a loser!!! He has zero momentum!!! He’s a broken down old fogey!
GILDA: Lee’s old too.
JATT STARR: Why are you being so Anit-Lee Best???
GILDA: I’m not! We’re picking winners! I’m being objective!
JATT STARR: I have seen what Lee Best can do. No way that goon, Kostoff comes out with a win.
GILDA: I hope you’re right. But I’m sticking with my pick.
JATT STARR: You’re eating broccoli for the rest of the week.
GILDA: Good. I like broccoli.
JATT STARR: Fine! You’re having gummi worms for the rest of the week!
JATT STARR: Well, I time is up. This edition of Starrgazing with the Starrs is brought to you by….oh geez…do I have to?
GILDA: They let me use their ring for training.
The Sovereign of Starrgentina reads the promotional copy of his sponsor….reluctantly.
JATT STARR: This edition of Starrgazing with the Starrs is brought to you by The De La Croix Wrestling and Boxing Training Center and Candlemaking Shoppe. Whether it’s training for your next fight or eliminating odors your home, De La Croix will do right by you. Look for their new candle….”Peppermint Tears”….It smells like you just took candy from a baby.
GILDA: Until next time, I am Gilda Ockelman-Starr.
JATT STARR: And I am the Hero of Jattlanta. The Champion of Jattanooga, The King of Grapple from the Big Apple. Jatt Starr….Good night!
“Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier plays as the “Starrgazing with Jatt Starr” appears on screen and the scene ends.
Win or lose, it’s all part of a legally recognized God’s plan.
Darin Matthews vs. Michael Lee Best
We return ringside where the fans rumble with anticipation for Refueled’s final match of the evening. Bryan McVay is standing by in the ring as the voices of Benny Newell and Joe Hoffman filter over the cheering crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and Gentlemen one member of the Group of Death has lost their title here tonight in a surprising upset.. Will lightning strike twice?
Benny Newell: Fuck me, Hoffman, I’m torn on how I should fucking feel right now.. Maybe the whiskey has an answer..
The sound of Benny glugging back a bottle of American Rye Whiskey immediately follows his words as well as a sigh from Joe.
Joe Hoffman: I’m not sure about my partner here but I’m still stunned by our new LSD Champion, Cancer Jiles, slaying Cecilworth Farthington and ending the unpinned streak. Can Darin Matthews follow up with another shocker and pick up a victory over the 9 time reigning High Octane World Champion, Mike Best?
Benny Newell: Ugh.. Hoffman.. Fuck Cecilworth Farthington, he broke my arm and I’m currently sober enough to remember.. Fuck Darin Zion, he doesn’t have eyes and I’m currently drunk enough to believe that. Fuck Mike Best, his best friend broke my fucking arm and I’m not drunk enough to forget that yet..
Joe Hoffman: Fascinating insight, as always Benny. Let’s throw it up to Bryan McVay in the ring!
As Bryan lifts the mic to his lips the fans get to their feet as the arena begins to rumble with excitement.
Bryan McVay: Ladies and Gentlemen this is your Main Event and it is for the High Octane Wrestling World Championship!
The rumbling boils over into cheers and chants of HOW as McVay allows the crowd a moment to settle down before continuing.
Bryan McVay: Introducing the challeng-
Before he can finish the lights in the arena darken. “Debts to Pay” blares up on the All State Arena sound system as the fans come alive with boos. The stage lights up with bright white light as the Minister skulks out onto the stage looking supremely unhappy. A frown pulls his face down while his head hangs low giving him a sullen, sulking appearance.
Standing on the stage he glares out over the hostile crowd with his intense, burning red eye while his blue seems to dart around maliciously. The flashing lights slowly phase into a brilliant white light that bathes the Minister in a faux holy light. As he stalks to the ring Steve Harrison, the Miracle Man himself, appears on the stage behind him holding several bottles of Miracle Water. Unlike the Minister, Harrison is energetic, excited and eager to sell, sell, sell! He is flanked by Jack Marley who is dragging a cooler behind him which appears to be filled with more bottles of “Miracle Water”.
Reach the ring the Minister stalks to the commentary table where he glares at both Benny and Joe until Benny finally gives up his chair. Meanwhile Harrison and Marley have moved over the barricade and are now trailblazing through the audience selling their miraculous product. “Debts to Pay” slowly fades away as the lights come up once again.
The Minister: Gentlemen.
Benny Newell: Max, so happy to see you!
A red eye burns into Benny’s forehead for an uncomfortably long time before the Hall of Famer realizes his mistake.
Benny Newell: Minister! HA! Fuck me, I mean the Minister! Lee and I are real good right now so you know.. You know.. Welcome to the Commentary Table, I’m happy you took my chair, I could use the exercise, you know, I’m probably pre-diabetic an-
Joe Hoffman: Minister, I can’t say it’s a great pleasure to have you here.
The Minister: At least you’re honest, Hoffman, I respect that. Benny, calm the fuck down, I’m pissed off but it’s not at you. Will somebody get Mr. Newell a chair?
Joe Hoffman: And why exactly are you out here?
The Minister: Too watch a World Title Match now, hush Mr. Hoffman, Mr. McVay is trying to speak.
Joe rankles at the idea of being shushed by the likes of the Minister as Bryan McVay raises the mic to his lips once again.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, the challenger..
The lights in the arena dim as “The Man” by Aloe Blacc begins to scream out over the crowded arena. A single beam of light cuts through the noise and the darkness to highlight Darin Matthews with a #97Red robe and jet black collar. To his side is Meredith who has her own microphone, her hand raised to cut off Bryan McVay. Darin lifts both of his arms into the air, a confident, serious expression set on his face like quick dry cement.
Meredith: ..the Challenger.. Hailing from The Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. He weighs in at a lean, mean 223 pounds, he is the man known as the Pinnacle of Pro Wrestling, the Artiste of Atlantic City, the Messiah of Missouri Valley, your Tyrant of the Territories and your FUTURE High Octane Wrestling World Champion… DAAAAAARIIIIIIN MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATHEWS!!!!
Matthews spins and throws his robe off, speeding directly to the ring as Meredith collects the robe and follows. As he passes fans he slaps the hands that are stretched out, in general getting a strong reaction from HOW fans curious to see if Matthews can put Best down in the new era.
Joe Hoffman: A great reaction here for Darin Matthews who has had a roller coaster of a year so far.. Could this be the ultimate high here tonight taking down the Son of Lee Best?
The Minister: What the fuck is this entrance? We have a ring announcer, his whole job is to announce your name, what kind of man brings in another person to personally announce for them?
Benny Newell: Exactly my thoughts, this Meredith is stealing food off Bryan McVay’s table! Darin Matthews uses illegal labor, somebody report this woman immediately to ICE! I got you Bryan McVay!
Joe Hoffman: I don’t.. I don’t think you understand what illegal labor refers to Benny and Minister, didn’t you have the Herald a few months ago?
The Minister: I don’t remember anyone named Harold, Mr. Hoffman, please, shush, at some point Bryan McVay is going to get to do his job but only if you be quiet.
Joe Hoffman: Me be quiet?!
Benny Newell: DRINK!
The Minister: SHUSH!
In the ring Matthews has climbed the nearby turnbuckle and basks in his glory as the fans continue to cheer. Smirking Darin steps up onto the turnbuckle, flipping back before landing solidly near the center of the ring. He moves toward his own corner where he is joined by Meredith as he awaits Mike Best.
Bryan McVay: And the Champion..
The catchy but vaguely off putting groove of Hanzel und Gretyl’s “HELLAlujah” begins to slap over the sound system heralding the arrival of the SON OF GOD, Michael Lee Best.
Bryan McVay: Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, standing at six foot, one inches and weighing in at two hundred and thirty five pounds.. MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE BEEEEEEEEEEEST!
The always polarizing wrestling veteran steps out slowly onto the stage making his way toward the ramp. He holds the HOW World Championship into the air on the stage, staring out into the crowd as he bobs his head to the sweet jams of his own entrance music.
Joe Hoffman: The Son of Lee Best, Mike Best, is a record Nine Time World Champion adding to his already impressive list of achievements here in High Octane Wrestling.
The Minister: He’s also a drug addict, an egomaniac, an idiot, a selfish little tattertot of a man, Hoffman! He’s probably also one of those racists I’ve been hearing about, Hoffman!
Benny Newell: Racist! That’s horrible! I can’t be racist ‘cause I love pussy of every color!
Joe Hoffman: Jesus Christ, that’s.. Not how Racism works Benny.
Benny Newell: Well cause I know some guys who only fuck certain colored pussy and discount meat is discount meat, I don’t care what the color is if the price is right, you know!?
The Minister: Shut the fuck up Benny.
Mike Best slowly saunters down to the ring soaking in the weird mix of boos and cheers as the polarizing Champion. He moves directly toward a camera where he flips it off, his HOW Hall of Fame ring on full display. Mike is kind enough give Zion a close look at it as well before he rolls beneath the bottom rope and into the ring. Slipping up to his feet he makes a dismissive wave toward Zion while he slips into his corner, stretching, the music slowly fading away as the house lights come up.
Joel Hortega takes the HOW World Title and Mike’s HOF ring, handing them off to the time keeper before signalling for the bell!
DING DING DING!
Darin flies out of the corner like a man on fire catching Mike off guard by the suddenness of the attack! He barely has time to get his arms up as Matthews reigns down a barrage of forearms and kicks aimed more at wearing down Mike then causing any serious damage. The surprise now gone, Mike is able to shove Matthews back and launch his own offense with an explosive flying knee!
Joe Hoffman: Darin Matthews is fired up and ready to fight!
The Minister: He is looking surprisingly energized, Hoffman, I wonder if it has anything to do with his own personal announcer. You know.. I look around HOW and I see a lot of selfish people, Hoffman. Selfish people like Darin Matthews and Mike Best.
Benny Newell: Those Selfish Pricks!
Joe Hoffman: I’d say this is a kettle, pot debate.
The Minister: I don’t know what that means but it sounds racist. Are you a racist like Mike Best, Hoffman?
Joe Hoffman: There is a match going on, you know!
The Minister: Hush, Hoffman, there’s a match going on!
Darin narrowly spins out of the way before using his momentum to cut a stiff clothesline Mike who slips beneath the wild arm firing a stiff forearm toward Matthew’s own exposed jaw.
Mike connects, dazing his opponent causing the champion to take to the ropes, building up momentum as he aims to land another vicious forearm across Darin’s face.
Before Mike can connect Matthews fires a stiff kick across Mike’s ribs driving the air out of the Champion. Seeing a momentary opening in his armor Darin fires another kick off!
The sound of Matthew’s shin connecting with Mike’s abdomen echoes around the arena accompanied by a collective “OOOOoh!” by the crowd. Mike’s face drains of color as a distinct red welt begins to appear across his midsection. As Darin can be seen cocking his lack back Mike tenses up, preparing to absorb another block.
This time Darin’s foot connects with the side of Mike’s head knocking the light from his eyes as his head snaps back, his body collapsing to the ground. The crowd goes insane as Darin drops for the pin, hooking one leg as he pulls Mike in for a deep pin!
The Minister: WHAT?!
Joe Hoffman: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!
Benny Newell: Oh man, this is some wild acid…
Darin releases the pin as the crowd explodes! Matthews jumps to his feet, his face washed pale with surprise and excitement! Meredith jumps onto the apron looking just as surprised and astonished as Darin!
WINNER AND NEW HOW WORLD CHAMPION DARIN MATTHEWS VIA PINFALL AT 2 MINUTES 2 SECONDS.
Joe Hoffman: He did it! Darin Matthews did the impossible and defeated Mike Best to become the new High Octane Wrestling World Champion!
The Minister: IMPOSSIBLE! FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!
Referee Matt Boettcher runs to the ring, sliding in beneath the rope and immediately moving to Hortega, pointing toward the ropes where Mike Best’s foot can be seen hanging. The crowd immediately begins to boo as the two referees talk and a replay of the pinfall shows Mike getting his foot on the ropes before the two count.
The Minister: There! For fuck’s sake, Hortega is a fucking disgrace and I’d tell him to his face any day of the week but he doesn’t speak English!
Joe Hoffman: Darin Matthews was this close to being the new Champion but it looks like Head Referee Matt Boettcher is reversing the decision..
Darin looks confused and angry as Boettcher appears to be explaining what happened while Joel Hortega speaks with Bryan McVay.
Bryan McVay: The ruling is Mike Best had his foot on the rope before the three count there for the match continues!
Darin wastes no time as he drags Mike into the center of the ring and hooks both of his legs!
Joe Hoffman: Another near pinfall as Matthews keeps up the pressure!
The Minister:.. Seems Mike is more disappointing then I thought.
Benny Newell: Wait.. so.. So Darin Zion almost won the World Title just now? That wasn’t acid?
Joe Hoffman: No, Benny, that really did just happen.
Benny Newell:..fuck.. DRINK!
Mike manages to throw his shoulder up before he rolls toward the ropes, kicking his foot up on the bottom rope as he does his best to hide a smug looking smirk. Matthews’ face flushes red with frustration as he realizes that Mike was fucking with him. Jumping to his feet Darin darts forward and slides aiming to kick Mike straight under the bottom rope.
The HOW Champion uses the ropes to pull himself out of the wait causing Darin to slide past Mike and out onto the hard mats on the outside of the ring. Mike is on his opponent like a coke fiend on an 8-ball, dragging Darin up by his hair before driving it into the barricade on the outside of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Love him or hate him there are few people in HOW with as much ring awareness as Mike Best, you can say whatever you like about his personal life, about his business acumen, or whatever but you can’t say that Mike Best doesn’t know every inch of any arena he wrestles in.
The Minister: Yeah, Hoffman? Well assuming he wins here tonight he’ll be in Five Time Academy, alone, with me. Do you know who knows that “arena” better than Mike Best? ME!
Benny Newell: Guys, I think I’m ready to forgive Cecilworth Farthington. He did finally lose.. I did promise myself I would let it go.. What do you think?
Joe Hoffman: I think that’s a great id-
The Minister: You’re a fribble and a Gadabout, Newell.
Benny Newell: Thank you! DRINK!
Mike whips Darin into the corner ring post, his head cracking off the pole as his body ragdolls through the air before coming to an unceremonious pile in front of the commentary table. Mike makes his way to Darin, his eyes locking on Minister as he does so.
The Minister: This idiot better not lose to Darin fucking Zion tonight. Yeah I’m talking about you, Mike.
Mike shouts something at the Minister provoking him to stand up behind the table as the two brothers stare each other down.
The distraction is just enough to allow Darin to clamour back up to his feet and pull Mike back into a surprise Russian Leg Sweep! The back of Mike’s head connects with the ground with a thud as Darin is able to pull momentum back over to his side. The Minister sits again, his sour expression even deeper as he looks on in disgust.
The Minister: Look at this egomaniacal, boarish dunderhead focusing on me and not keeping his eye on the prize which is escaping here tonight with his World Championship so he can face me at No Remorse!
Joe Hoffman: I would say any man who chooses to ignore the Minister at ringside would be a fool.
The Minister: All you had to do was stop at any man who chooses to ignore the Minister which is exactly what Mike Best has done since War Games! So I’m out to so he has to see me, so he has to notice me but at the same time, he’s a nine time Champion, Hoffman, a little distraction like me shouldn’t be such a big hurdle to overcome!
Joe Hoffman: If you say so.
Darin drags Mike up to his feet and rolls him into the ring, slipping in before quickly hooking the leg!
Hortega alerts Darin that Mike has his foot on the rope causing Zion to become visually enraged. Instead of dragging Mike out of the corner he simply begins to hammer him with rights and lefts as the frustration boils over.
Joe Hoffman: Another near pinfall by Mike Best by placing his foot on the ropes and I’m starting to think this is just to mock Matthews.
The Minister: You think? Who puts their foot on the rope, it’s literally the laziest thing you can possibly do! It’s a garbage tactic performed by garbage humans!
Pulling Mike up to his feet Darin pulls him into a snapp DDT planting his head right in the center of the ring. He clamours up to his feet before dropping a series of elbows across Mike’s chest before he finishes with an elevated leg drop across Mike’s chest! There, in the center of the ring far from any ropes, Darin hooks both legs!
Joe Hoffman: This time Matthews makes sure Mike is right in the middle of the ring forcing that kick out instead of a rope break.
The Minister: This is actually a brilliant move on Matthews part, it’s what he should have been doing from the beginning but he learned and now Mike’s the one paying the price for it. Now, I don’t want Mike to lose here but I also am not against Matthews putting a little damage on him.
Benny Newell: Wait.. so we’re cheering Darin Zion now?
The Minister: Cheering is a strong word, Benny, I’d say we are.. Cautiously optimistic that Mr. Matthews softens Mike up.
Benny Newell: Sounds great!
Mike’s shoulder pops up as Matthews stares down at the HOW World Champion with a look of grim determination. Hoisting Mike up he begins executing a series of stiff suplexes, Double X-wrist lock, T-Bone, German, etc, etc. Each time Mike’s body seems to fold and crumble a little easier.
Joe Hoffman: A blistering series of suplexes just exploded out of Darin Matthews!
The Minister: ..yes.. Surprisingly effective..
Benny Newell: So if Mike loses does that mean that you face Darin Zion at No Remorse or just.. A titleless Mike?
The Minister: How am I supposed to know, I don’t book matches!
Joe Hoffman: Before we worry about any of that Matthews still has to pin Mike Best!
Matthews, looking exhausted from the chain of suplexes, turns his eyes to the top rope and then back down at Mike. He drags the Champion up, lifting him to the top turnbuckle before he begins his own ascension. The fans in the AllState Arena begin to stamp their feet, the floor rumbling ominously as Matthews stands on the top turnbuckle with Mike..
Joe Hoffman: Both Mike and Darin in the high rent district!
The Minister: Look at this idiot up here! He’s gonna hurt himself as much as he hurts Mike!
Benny Newell: DRINK!
Mike’s body folds in half as it connects with the ring then springs back out, his limp body flopping to a heap in the center of the mat. The fall wasn’t much kinder to Darin who slowly drags himself over to Mike, pulling his leg up as he cinches in the pin!
Joe Hoffman: Another near pinfall in the center of the ring for Darin Zion!
The Minister: You don’t have to broadcast that, Hoffman, I don’t want Zion getting any addition assistance!
Joe Hoffman: It is literally my job to broadcast it.
The Minister: Well isn’t that convenient!
Mike doesn’t even appear to be fully aware that he kicked out, his body lurching out of the position almost as if by nature. Darin, his breath coming heavy as he has continued to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Mike, begins to climb back up to his feet. Using the ropes to steady himself Matthews signals for The Ratings Spike..
The HOW World Champion stumbles to his feet , his back turned to Darin leaving him completely vulnerable..
Joe Hoffman: THE RATINGS SPIKE!
Darin drives Mike’s head down into the mat once again, a vicious spiking that sends the World Champion’s feet into the air before his body collapses once again into a heap. Darin hooks the leg!
The Minister: I swear to Lee, if Mike loses..
Somehow once again Mike is able to get his shoulder up, if nearly a heart beat too late. The crowd once again lets out a disappointed boo as Darin slams his fist into the ring in a fit of frustration.
The Minister: This is getting ridiculous now! Excuse me, gentlemen, I’ve got some business to attend to..
Tossing his headphones aside the Minister slithers out of the commentary position allowing Benny to sink back into his chair. He moves toward Meredith, his red eye fixed on her as a cruel smile stretches across his scarred visage. Meredith realizes what is happening and quickly scrambles away as the Minister continues to stalk after her.
Joe Hoffman: The Minister has just left the announcing position and appears to have his eye set on Meredith who has done nothing this entire match!
Benny Newell: You heard him, he just wants to introduce himself! The Minister is a nice guy, he probably just wants to shake her hand!
Back in the ring Darin has muscled Mike up onto his shoulder and appears to be looking for The Sixth Star when he notices the Minister stalking Meredith. He drops Mike and quickly makes his way outside the ring, grabbing a chair from the fans as he makes his way up the ramp after his new target.
Joe Hoffman: Darin is out of the ring and stalking the Minister!
Benny Newell: Watch out, Minister!
Not even waiting to get the Minister’s attention Darin blasts him the back of the head with the chair with a resounding crack! The Minister stops, stumbling forward a little before he turns, glaring at Matthews with a hateful, baleful glare.
Once again the chair comes crashing down, this time across the Minister’s face taking him down hard as the crowd loses its collective mind! He tosses the chair to the ground and spits on the Minister before returning to the ring to a hero’s welcome.
Joe Hoffman: Darin just leveled the Minister! Two chair shots to the head and the Minister is down on the ramp!
Benny Newell: Disqualify that man!
Joe Hoffman: For what, the Minister wasn’t in the match!
Benny Newell: Fucking bullshit! DRINK!
Slipping beneath the bottom rope Darin grabs Mike and pulls him back up to his fe-
A well hidden knee connects with Darin’s groin taking the wind right out of the challenger’s lungs. Fast as lightning Mike hits the ropes..
I KNEED A HERO!
Benny Newell: MDKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
Joe Hoffman: No, it’s called the I Kneed a Hero and Darin Matthews just caught the wrong end of it.
Mike’s knee might as well have been a shotgun plast as he catches all of Darin’s jaw! The challenger’s body crumbles like wet noodles as Mike hooks the leg.
WINNER AND STILL HOW WORLD CHAMPION: MICHAEL LEE BEST IN 17 MINUTES 4 SECONDS!
Joe Hoffman: Mike manages to escape with the World Title after being on the receiving end of a lot of punishment at the hands of Darin Matthews who put up a world class effort!
Benny Newell:..but he didn’t win, did he Hoffman!? No he didn’t! Now the Minister can go to No Remorse and take that title of Mike!
Joe Hoffman: He’ll have that chance at No Remorse!
As Mike sits in the ring clutching his World Championship looking spent back on the ramp the Minister is slowly stirring. Blood trickles down his forehead where Darin blasted him with a chair shot, his face a mixture of confusion and rage. Stumbling up the ramp he glares down at World Champion.
Standing up to his feet, Mike Best looks down at Darin Matthews, and then back up the ramp at The Minister. He pulls his championship closer, stepping backward toward the ropes as Refueled comes to an end.