The logo for HOTv flashes across the screen, followed by the logo for High Octane Wrestling, as “Welcome To The Jungle” begins to blast through the speakers of the newly rebuilt Best Arena. The Chicago crowd is particularly rowdy tonight for the return of Refueled to HOW’s flagship venue, and every last fan is on their feet.
The HOV lights up, showing fans in the arena the same thing that the viewers at home see on their screens– highlights from the No Remorse pay-per-view that took place two weeks ago in this very time slot. Still frame shots of Rick and Hughie Freeman battling it out in Gen Pop at Alcatraz, with Hughie Freeman smashing the Bandit with a brutal Fatality punch. Doozer and Jiles emerging victorious over the Hollywood Bruvs after a hard fought match, hoisting the titles high over their heads for the second time in their HOW Career. Lindsay Troy wrenching back on a spine twisting submission, with the pained expression of Eric Dane staring hollow into the camera just seconds before tapping out in a Chicago Street Fight. The HOV shows a haunting image of Dan Ryan with the ICON Championship, standing over the battered remains of Cayle Murray, and then a still shot of Michael Best being dragged out of FiveTime Academy after Max Kael was literally hit by a Prius to cost him the HOW World Championship.
And then, we see Lee.
The still frames turn to a guerrilla video feed, with film grain over the picture and all, as the music stops playing. We can distinctly hear the “click” of a ballpoint pen, before Chris Kostoff drives Lee’s favorite weapon directly toward his good eye. The screen flashes to black an instant before contact is made, and is instead replaced by the logo for No Remorse– the once vibrant face of Lee Best on the banner slowly fades out to gray.
As the camera pulls back into the arena, the fans are still on their feet. The recap finished, we resume our regularly scheduled camera pan– fans have brought signs to the show this week, from intricate art to shitty sharpie-on-cardboard, and the cameras highlight some of the best:
MURDER DADDY GROUNDED THE MURRAYS
I RAN OUT OF TIME TO MAKE THIS SIGN GOOD BECAUSE I WAS PLAYING CRUSADER KINGS THREE ALL WEEK AND ALSO THIS SIGN IS WRITTEN IN VERY SMALL LETTERS
FREE FREEMAN, LET HIM BE FREE, MAN
CONOR FUSE IS LIT
24K – 24K = 0K
WAIT SO IS LEE JUST STRAIGHT UP BLIND NOW
MIKE BEST + PRUIS = TAG CHAMPS
SHOULDN’T HAVE FUCKED WITH CARDBOARD DAN, BRUV
The camera finally falls to the announcer’s table, where the Hall of Fame announce team is waiting at their desk for the beginning of tonight’s show. Joe Hoffman adjusts his papers in front of him, as Benny Newell clearly doesn’t realize that he’s currently on camera— he is literally doing a line of cocaine off of a miniaturized replica of the HOW World Title.
Joe Hoffman: Good evening, everyone, and WELCOME… to another episode of HOW Refueled. I’m Joe Hoffman, joined as always by my broadcast partner “Big Buff” Benny Newell. The epitome of professionalism as always, Benny.
Benny Newell: Hey hey, FUCK YOU, JOE! This is a very emotionally challenging night for me! Lee Best is dead, and I have spent the better part of a year making fun of his son, who is now potentially going to be my boss. If I have to do a thousand lines of coke off of a thousand World Titles to make him realize that he has always secretly been my hero, then that’s what I’m gonna–
Joe Hoffman: Lee Best isn’t dead, Benny. He’s potentially blind, and he’s definitely in critical condition, but Lee Best is definitely not dead. We’d have heard news by now if he was dead.
Benny Newell: Oh.
With a flourish, Benny knocks the faux-World Title off of the desk and lets it fall to the concrete floor below. He is about to sweep the baggie of cocaine off as well, but thinks better of it and instead deposits it into his jacket pocket.
Joe Hoffman: Folks, we’re two weeks removed from the first edition of HOW No Remorse, but there isn’t time to dwell on the past– we’re now just six shows from one of HOW’s premiere events of the year… RUMBLE AT THE ROCK! Tonight’s show will see four exhibition contests featuring some of HOW’s newest talents, as well as a Tag Team title match in tonight’s main event!
Benny Newell: What a bum fucking card, Joe. I’ll bet you a bottle of Jack that this ends up being the worst rated show of the new era.
Joe Hoffman: Love your optimism, Benny. Way to keep fans glued to the broadcast.
Benny Newell: The fuck else are they gonna watch?
As Benny and Joe continue to bicker on an emotionally charged night, they are suddenly interrupted by the lighting up of the HOV.
The catchy but vaguely offputting groove of Hanzel und Gretyl’s “HELLAlujah” begins to slap over the sound system, and the fans in the arena are back on their feet for the entrance of the HOW World Champion himself, Michael Lee Best. The Son of God steps out slowly on the stage in a crisp blue suit and white dress shirt, the HOW World Championship slung proudly over his shoulder. His other arm has something sling over it as well— a medical sling.
Joe Hoffman: Though he certainly looks worse for the wear tonight, folks, he is here and he REMAINS the HOW World Champion. Michael Lee Best took on The Minister at No Remorse, and literally escaped certain death to retain his championship.
Benny Newell: The greatest HOW World Champion… say it with me, folks… OF ALLLLL TIIIIIIIME.
Joe Hoffman: So… you like Mike Best again? I can’t keep track this year.
Benny Newell: Any man that Lee Best builds a marble statue of in front of his arena is a man I can trust, Joe.
Walking confidently, but noticeably slowly, the Son of God makes his way down to the ring. There is a mild limp in his step, and some abrasions on his face that are still healing after going to war with his own brother at No Remorse.
The World Champion forgoes his usual roll into the ring, instead opting to take the steps and duck in through the ropes. He borrows a microphone from ring announcer Bryan McVay, slowly walking around the canvas as he prepares to speak. Finally, he stops in the center of the ring and raises the microphone to his lips.
His first words are spoken softly.
Mike Best: I… am still… alive.
Right here, in the Best Arena, in his own hometown, the reaction for the Son of God is overwhelmingly positive— it might not stay that way, but it’s hard to get booed for not dying in an arena that bears your last name.
Mike Best: Do you hear me, HOW? I AM STILL… ALIVE!
The reaction is even louder this time, as the champion looks like he’s starting to get amped inside of the ring. He nods his head along to the crowd, but his eyes are fixated on the entranceway.
Mike Best: One year ago, I came out of retirement. I said I was coming back to face Christopher America at Rumble at the Rock, and that I was going to win– and I did. I said that I was going to win War Games, and despite the overwhelming fucking odds, I DID. And two weeks ago, I said that I was going to step into The Minister’s playground in Tampa, and that I was going to survive… and I FUCKING DID IT. I have been assaulted, manipulated, and made FUCKING HOMELESS… but I am still alive. I have been stabbed, mauled, and mocked, but I am STILL ALIVE. I survived. I endured. And here I stand tonight, after six months of brutality, and I am STILL the HOW WORLD MOTHERFUCKING CHAMPION!
He thrusts the World Title into the air, trying to hide the obvious pain on his face from overextending his shoulder. He flinches against the other shoulder, bracing the sling toward his body as he forces a smirk on his outwardly confident face.
Mike Best: Saint Spooky, your would-be “number one contender”, hasn’t been seen since I left him buried behind me in the rubble of his little Home Alone FiveTime Funhouse, but I’m still here. I’m still alive. I’m still the man who can’t be killed. And so I ask you, ladies and gentlemen… who the fuck is next?
His eyes are fixated on the entranceway still, as though he’s awaiting the arrival of his next challenger already.
Mike Best: Who’s it going to be? Who’s going to try their luck against the Starmaker of HOW? We are forty eight days from Alcatraz. Forty eight days from the most brutal night in the HOW calendar year, and this beautiful leather strap over my shoulder is your ticket to the main event. Step right up, step right up, come one come all… but before you get in line for the ride, it’s important that you know that this time… admission isn’t free.
The intensity remains in his eyes, as he fixates his gaze on whatever might come through that curtain. The smallish corner of his mouth turns up into a defiant smirk.
Mike Best: Right here and now, I am issuing an open bounty on the HOW World Championship at Rumble at the Rock. You will sign your name on the dotted line and you will get your chance to make history against the Starmaker, but there are no more free lottery tickets, boys and girls. From now on, if you wanna play, you need to pay… and I don’t want your fucking money. I want something a little more valuable. Something you can’t take back. Something you shouldn’t sign away lightly. Because if you cash in your chips for a shot at me at Rumble at the Rock… you aren’t just playing for the title.
A brief pause, and a sneer.
Mike Best: You’ll be playing for your life.
The murmur in the crowd is electrifying– while this isn’t unheard of in High Octane Wrestling, it’s been a very long time since the next words have been spoken.
Mike Best: A literal death match. In forty eight days, one of you will step into the Infirmary with the Son of God, and you will either leave with your shield or you will leave ON IT. You will either win the HOW World Championship, or you will lose your life, because the match WILL. NOT. END. Until one of our hearts stops beating. No swerves. No tricks. No loopholes. One of us leaves with the championship, and one of us leaves in a fucking box. I have survived four stabbings, two crucifixions, one gunshot wound, and a partridge in a fucking pear tree… but there’s no escape from this. At Rumble at the Rock, we’re playing Russian Roulette with the World Title.
He raises a finger gun toward his head, feigning pulling the trigger.
Mike Best: Who wants the first shot?
His head drops back as though he’s been shot, before the Son of God lets a sinister cackle escape the back of his throat. He nonchalantly flips the microphone into the air, letting it hit the canvas with a terrible sound as he heads toward the ropes to live the ring– HOW Refueled cuts to its first commercial of the evening, with a stunned crowd left anticipating what could possibly come next.
No, he isn’t kidding. A literal death match.
Steve Harrison vs Erin Gordon
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to the show, ladies and gentlemen… what an announcement just moments ago, with the HOW World Champion declaring that his match at Rumble at the Rock will be contested under… under literal death match rules.
Benny Newell: …I can’t lose another Best, Joe. I just can’t fucking do it.
Benny Newell: MIRACLE MAN, BAYBEE!
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 Pennsylvania, weighing in at 149 pounds, ERIN GORDON!
Joe Hoffman: Erin is looking to get back on the right track here. It’s going to be a tough one against Steve Harrison, though.
Benny Newell: Are you kidding me, Hoff? Erin has about as much of a chance as a MIRACLE happening in a mosh pit of atheists becoming full blooded Christ lovers. ZERO! The only miracle that will happen, of course, is Harrison will bestow a miracle of a win on Erin and then she’ll magically become relevant and probably receive some type of title shot!
Joe Hoffman: Or go the other direction…
Benny Newell: Oh no you didn’t! Did you just insight something negative Hoffhole?!
“Take the Money and Run,” By The Steve Miller Man 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 rings and begins waving at that crowd who return his waves with boos and indifference. The 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!.”
Bryan McVay: And her opponent, from Fairfax Virginia, weighing in at 245 pounds he is…STEVE HARRISON!
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.
Benny Newell: The Miracle Man himself! This man is so miraculous that he hasn’t even lost a singles match in HOW yet! How holy is that, Hoffy!?
Joe Hoffman: Steve is good, yes. However, remember Benny…no one is holier than thou.
Benny Newell: Did you just make a Lee Best reference?
Joe Hoffman: I mean HIM! No one is holier than thou than HIM!
Benny Newell: Why the fuck don’t you just say his fucking name you dumb bitch! Lee motherfucking Best! DRINK!!
Joe’s not amused.
The match starts and Erin doesn’t quite understand what’s going on as Steve is quick to charge at her and pummel her with a massive ass clothesline. Steve drags Erin back to her feet as he thinks about releasing a belly to belly suplex but shrugs his shoulders and changes his mind. Instead he grabs Erin connecting with a quick and decisive move that everyone has come to know by now.
Benny Newell: IT’S A HARRICLE!!!!
Boettcher drops down to make the cover as Harrison even puts his feet on the ropes out of shear cockiness.
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner….STEEEEVE HAAAAAAAARISON!
Harrison simply gets up and start jeering to the crowd with cocky arrogance as they drown him in boos, but he doesn’t care. He picked up another miracle here tonight.
Joe Hoffman: Well, another win for Harrison. The man is going to start getting noticed more promptly around here.
Benny Newell: He already has you stupid motherfucker! Man what is wrong with you tonight?! Or did we witness another miracle right in front of our very eyes with you changing your tone around here?! Oh I pray it ever so!
Joe Hoffman: Keep dreaming Benny, keep dreaming..
The show cuts backstage.
No Strings Attached
The camera cuts backstage in the Best Arena, where Gilda is standing in front of a door. Sitting in front of the door in his wheelchair, which now has a little flag that reads “Starrlite Express” attached to the handle, is JATT STARR.
GILDA Are you sure about this?
JATT STARR: Am I sure? Darn tootin’, Rasputin!
GILDA I don’t feel too, you know, comfortable about this.
JATT STARR: I get it. You’ve never met him before. But you trust me, right?
JATT STARR: You trust me. I trust him. It’s a triangle of trust.
GILDA It sounds more like an angle of trust.
JATT STARR: The point is, he’s the brother I never had.
GILDA I thought you had two brothers.
JATT STARR: Yeah, but I hate my brothers. They’re the brothers I never wanted. Come on.
The Sovereign of Starrgentina opens the door……
A broom falls out of the maintenance closet and hits him in the head. The Starrabian Knight emits a pained, frustrated
groan and throws the evil, violent broom back into the closet from whence it came.
JATT STARR: Wrong door.
GILDA Are you sure? Maybe there’s a secret door in there that leads to a spacious office with ice sculptures, champagne fountains, and waiters serving caviar.
JATT STARR: Did you inherit your mother’s sarcasm?
The Baron of Boca Jatton closes the closet door and makes his way about fifteen feet down the hallway followed by
his daughter and they stop in front of another door. The door has a nameplate that reads “MARIO MAURAKO”. Just as he is about to open the door, Gilda stops him.
JATT STARR: What? I told you, he was my old tag team partner. You can’t be a successful tag team without complete and total trust. Out of everybody in the HOW, he is the one person I would trust with my life.
GILDA Didn’t he used to beat women?
JATT STARR: The operative words being “used to”. And I wouldn’t exactly classify it as “beating” women.
GILDA What would you call it?
JATT STARR: Um…well….he….I would probably say….But he’s changed now! The Mario of old would be wearing a t-shirt with some crude blurb on it and a clip-on tie and call it formal wear! He actually wears suits now. He’s matured.
GILDA Still, is this the right time? I think I should be focusing on my match later tonight.
JATT STARR: It’s Bobby Dean. He’s so out of shape that by the time he makes it to the ring, he’ll pass out. Easy win.
GILDA He’s a deviant. Shoving people’s heads down his tights. A DEVIANT!
JATT STARR: Yes, but a cowardly, weak deviant. It’s an easy win.
GILDA Nothing is easy. Didn’t you tell me to never underestimate anybody?
JATT STARR: Don’t use my own words against me. Not cool. Look, Mario is expecting us. He wants to meet you. Hear him out. If you don’t agree with anything he has to say, you can walk out. There’s no harm in listening.
GILDA Tell that to The Children Ota’Topeht. The Founder manipulates using his charm and then casts them aside when they are of no use to him or the Tribunal any longer. That is, until they need her again. Using her own—
JATT STARR: Will you stop? This Founder turd muffin douche isn’t Professor X. He can’t make just anyone join his cult, otherwise we’d all be Children of Oompla Loompas.
GILDA Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare sit there and talk about shit you don’t know about! YOU WEREN’T THERE!!!
The King of Grapple from the Big Apple looks up at Gilda, her face is red with anger, her eyes look at him as they would an ant on a picnic table before squishing it. He should know better than to bring up his views on where she grew up. He didn’t live it like she did. He didn’t witness the sick, twisted abuse the cult members were forced to endure….not that he knows.
Gilda has given nuggets of what happened, but never specifics, never the full story. But he knows the Founder is a turd muffin douche. That’s not my opinion. That’s a fact.
JATT STARR: I’m sorry. All I’m saying is, Mario is not some freaky deaky leader of some creepy cult. I assure you, I would never place you in a position where you are forced to do something you don’t want to do. He pisses you off, we’re outta there.
GILDA I know.
The Sultan of SeaJattle opens the door to MARIO MAURAKO’s office and enters followed by Gilda. Mario is sitting behind his desk staring at a chess board. He moves one of the pawns on the board as he looks up and sees Jatt & Gilda entering. Mario stands up smiling ear to ear.
MARIO MAURAKO: Jatt Starr, my man! It’s been such a long time. Nice wheels you’ve got there, did you come to me to
pimp out your ride with some spinning hubcaps or something?
Mario pauses for a second as Jatt emphatically looks at Mario and then Gilda. The odd behavior triggers a memory in the cranium of Mario.
MARIO MAURAKO: Oh shoot, that’s right, I forgot that I arranged this meeting. Please forgive me, there’s been a lot going on recently.
JATT STARR: No problem, Mario it happens to the best of us. Allow me to introduce you to my daughter, the heir of Jattlantis! The Empress of Gildanois! The—
GILDA Papa, I am not doing the nickname thing. That’s your thing. I want to do my thing.
MARIO MAURAKO: And what is your “thing”, little lady?
JATT STARR: She’s finding her way.
MARIO MAURAKO: Ah! A journey of self-discovery!
JATT STARR: Mario, this is Gilda.
MARIO MAURAKO: Gilda my dear, very nice to officially meet you. Your father and I go way back. Hopefully you didn’t inherit his bad wheels. If so, I really do have some cool spinning hubcaps.
Mario extends his hand and shakes Gilda’s hand. You can see the hesitation in her eyes and Mario can feel it in the handshake.
MARIO MAURAKO: So you’ve heard about me. Listen, the Whack-o-Meter was over a decade ago. Things change, people change, I have changed.
GILDA What is a “Whack-O-Meter”?
MARIO MAURAKO: She doesn’t know about the Whack-O-Meter?
JATT STARR: It hasn’t come up.
MARIO MAURAKO: A story for another time.
Mario walks back to his desk and sits back down and moves the chess board off to the side.
MARIO MAURAKO: Listen, I asked for you both here to discuss some serious business. This business is tough Gilda,and you don’t get to stay in it as long as we have unless you have some good people looking out for you. Your Dad is like a brother to me, so that kind of makes me your uncle.
GILDA I’m not sure that is how that works.
MARIO MAURAKO: Well, then what about your Godfather? Jatt, can I be Gilda’s Godfather?
JATT STARR: Well, I was thinking maybe giving Lee that title, but you and I were tag team champions….sure! The title is yours!
MARIO MAURAKO: Gilda, I’m your Godfather. It’s literally my duty to look after you now. I even got you a present to commemorate the occasion.
Mario reaches into his desk and pulls out a cloth.
GILDA What the hell is that?
MARIO MAURAKO: This is an official limited edition Starrvivor Maurako buff, from back in the day when your Dad & I dominated the Tag Team scene. This buff is for you, if you want it. You don’t have to decide now, I know you don’t know me from your uncle; which is also me, but that is a debate for another day. Just take it and think about it.
Gilda takes the Starrvivor Maurako buff. Mario and JATT STARR look expectantly towards her.
MARIO MAURAKO: Go on! Try it on!
GILDA Maybe later.
JATT STARR: She’s new to the tribe. She needs to get acclimated.
MARIO MAURAKO: But it’s in mint condition. I saved it for a special occasion.
The Jatt-I Master gives Gilda a pleading look. It says “please don’t hurt his feelings. Gilda lets out a sigh and puts the bull on her head.
MARIO MAURAKO: Yes! Perfect! It’s like Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci formed an alliance and painted an image inspired by Parvati Shallow.
JATT STARR: Only one of the greatest “Survivor” players of all time!
MARIO MAURAKO: Has she never seen “Survivor”?
MARIO MAURAKO: Jatt, as Godfather, you must grant me this favor and, over the next week, watch Survivors Borneo, Amazon, Palau, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Cagayan, Cambodia, Millennials versus Gen X, David versus Goliath, and Winners at War.
JATT STARR: Consider it done.
GILDA Doesn’t that seem like a waste of time?
Jatt Starr and Mario Maurako both gasp in horror.
MARIO MAURAKO: If we were on an island right now, the Survivor gods would smite you.
JATT STARR: In the most embarrassing way possible.
MARIO MAURAKO: A failed idol play.
JATT STARR: Getting voted out with an idol in your pocket.
MARIO MAURAKO: Giving your idol away to the person that votes you out! The Survivor gods are unforgiving.
GILDA I don’t believe in gods, much less Survivor gods.
JATT STARR: Blasphemy! Well, I can’t apply anymore. I’d be the first one voted out now.
MARIO MAURAKO: I doubt the island is wheelchair accessible.
JATT STARR: See? I can’t even get on the show now!
GILDA What is with you? The wheelchair has— You now what? Apply…don’t apply. It’s up to you.
JATT STARR: You will change your attitude after you watch two or three seasons.
MARIO MAURAKO: Just not Nicaragua. That season sucked.
JATT STARR: Medallion of Power my Jattacular ass! Don’t get me started on Redemption Island. Like, come on, of course Boston Rob was going to win on his fourth try especially against a bunch of noobs. Freakin’ noobs, man.
Gilda, the look of frustration grows as the Marvelous One and the Mayor of ManJatthan continue their Survivor discussion.
GILDA I really want to just leave….
JATT STARR: Sorry! Sorry!
MARIO MAURAKO: I’m sorry.
JATT STARR: You called the meeting. Since you’re now Gilda’s godfather, do we call you Don Mario?
MARIO MAURAKO: I don’t think certain friends of mine would look too kindly on that. But yes, yes you may..
JATT STARR: Would mobsters call this a “meeting” or a “sit down”?
MARIO MAURAKO: Yes. And they’re not mobsters, they’re businessmen.
JATT STARR: Waste management, right.
GILDA Sit down….Meeting….Who cares what this is called?
JATT STARR: Well, if you’re about to put a hit out on someone, I’m pretty sure the terminology would be quite relevant.
GILDA I don’t want to be the wet blanket and I enjoy James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson as much as the next girl….
MARIO MAURAKO (to Jatt): That next girl must be ancient.
GILDA —but, I have a match tonight and I would like time to prepare. I don’t think discussing proper mob terminology is the best use of our time.
MARIO MAURAKO: I get it. Let’s get focused.
JATT STARR: Remember that time I ate the sushi from that gas station?
MARIO MAURAKO: Oh my God! The noises your stomach was making during that match!
Gilda rolls her eyes and sighs. She becomes increasingly impatient, she starts wringing hands and fidgeting as Mario and the Champion of Jattanooga continue to wax nostalgic.
JATT STARR: I don’t think the janitorial crew has forgiven me for what I did in the bathroom that night.
MARIO MAURAKO: Especially Rico and Dave.
JATT STARR: Dave is the one with that thing on his face, right?
MARIO MAURAKO: Yes.
JATT STARR: He gives me dirty looks all the time.
MARIO MAURAKO: Do you blame him?
JATT STARR: It was noxious.
MARIO MAURAKO: It was a biohazard.
JATT STARR: Lesson learned. Don’t eat sushi from gas stations.
GILDA Papa! Please!
JATT STARR: Right. Sorry.
MARIO MAURAKO: Yeah, focus! Okay. Gilda….do you like music?
GILDA I don’t see how—
MARIO MAURAKO: Humor me. Do you like music?
GILDA Well, yeah. My mother would listen to these bands, you probably don’t know them.
MARIO MAURAKO; Try me.
GILDA Garbage, No Doubt, Alanis Morrissette, Veruca Salt.
MARIO MAURAKO: They sound vaguely familiar. But you are in luck! Do I have a gift for you!
MARIO MAURAKO opens a drawer in his desk and pulls out a CD and hands it to Gilda who looks it over.
GILDA N – Sync. Oh, like “in synch”!
MARIO MAURAKO: Jatt, is she….?
JATT STARR: What? A bimbo?
MARIO MAURAKO; Whoa! That’s not what I was going to say! That’s offensive! But essentially….yes….
JATT STARR: No. She’s very intelligent. She was just sheltered growing up. Utah.
MARIO MAURAKO: Damn Mormons.
GILDA I WAS NOT A MORMON!!!
MARIO MAURAKO: I’m sorry. Utah, Mormons, it’s like peanut butter and jelly, you can’t think of one without the other.
GILDA It’s fine.
MARIO MAURAKO: Jatt speaks highly of you. I want to see you beat Bobby Dean as much as he does, hence my gift. Trust me when I say, when you listen to the first track, you will become filled with so much anger and rage, that when you hit the ring, your competition, be it Bobby Dean or Dan Ryan, will wet themselves and say Bye-Bye-Bye!
Mario quickly puts his hand up and Jatt responds by slapping it, completing the epic high five between former tag team champions.
JATT STARR: BAM!
GILDA Thank you. I’ll listen to it.
MARIO MAURAKO: Thank you….?
GILDA Thank you, Godfather.
MARIO MAURAKO: You’re welcome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, the tag team division will not run itself. I have got calls to make, papers to…uh…sign, and other very, really important stuff.
GILDA That’s it?
MARIO MAURAKO: Yep.
JATT STARR: Great seeing you, Mario!
Jatt and Gilda exit Mario’s office and enter the corridor
JATT STARR: Well?
GILDA That was pointless.
JATT STARR: What? You got a CD, a Survivor Maurako buff. Oh! I can pull mine out and we can take family holiday photos! Oh! And matching Starrvivor Maurako jerseys! I think I have a couple with a red and green color scheme!
GILDA Oh joy.
JATT STARR: And?
GILDA And what?
JATT STARR: Mario! Isn’t he great?
Jatt Starr starts rolling down the corridor. Gilda takes a moment and looks at the “No Strings Attached” CD.
GILDA He’s….something alright.
Gilda holds the CD and taps it against her free hand before following her father down the corridor as the scene ends.
Conor Fuse vs Scott Stevens
The scene backs to ringside. The lights in the arena turn off before the big screen flickers on, like it has just been plugged in. The 8-bit sound of Mega Man 3 blares across the arena. 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, who is carrying a plain paper bag. 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. As Joel Hortega does his prematch ritual of waiting,
BRIAN McVAY: Ladies and gentlemen, standing outside the ring weighing in at TWO HUNDRED AND TEN POUNDS…..THE VINTAGE….COOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNOR FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE.
“Dead Man Walking” by Crucifix blares across the arena as Scott Stevens emerges from behind the curtain. Stevens proceeds to make his way down the ramp.
BRIAN McVAY: And his opponent, weighing in at TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX POUNDS……..SCOTT…..STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVENS!!!
JOE HOFFMANN: Benny, we should have quite a match in store here. The battle tested veteran, Scott Stevens versus the undefeated newcomer, Conor Fuse.
BENNY NEWELL: By “battle tested” you “crash test” tested, don’t you? I will bet my collection of anal plugs that the undefeated Conor Fuse will remain undefeated tonight.
JOE HOFFMANN: I’m…uh….not taking that bet, Benny.
BENNY NEWELL: Because you know you’ll lose, Hoffhole!
JOE HOFFMANN: And you’re still sticking to the A-material, Benny.
BENNY NEWELL: Fucking A PLUS material, Hoffhole!
Scott Stevens slides into the ring and his music fades. Connor Fuse slides into the ring. Both men stand in opposite corners of the ring. Joel Hortega sounds for the bell.
JOE HOFFMANN: The match is underway!
Conor Fuse eyes Scott Stevens. They circle the ring. Conor Fuse rushes towards Stevens and stops suddenly as Stevens takes a defensive stance.
BENNY NEWELL: Someone do something!
JOE HOFFMANN: Conor Fuse is clearly sizing up his opponent.
Conor Fuse and Scott Stevens finally lock up. Conor Fuse places Stevens in a headlock. Stevens shoves Conor Fuse off of him into the ropes. Conor Fuse bounces off the ropes as Scott Stevens puts his head down. Conor Fuse kicks Stevens in the face. Stevens staggers backwards and Conor Fuse hits a dropkick to the face. Stevens drops down to the mat but pops back up like a Pop Tart from the toaster. Conor Fuse charges looking for a clothesline but Stevens ducks. Conor Fuse turns and gets nailed with a Scott Stevens right hand, then another. Then another.
JOE HOFFMANN: Conor looked to be dominating early but looks like the momentum is shifting.
Suddenly, Conor Fuse delivers a left hand, the two men begin to exchange blows until Scott Stevens kicks Conor Fuse in the gut. Stevens grabs Fuse by the arm and sends him into the ropes.
JOE HOFFMANN : Stevens might be looking for the Toxic Sring here!!! NO!!!!
Conor Fuse hits the ropes and immediately grabs the ropes and swiftly kicks Scott Stevens in the face. Conor Fuse immediately grbs Scott Stevens from behind and hits a German Suplex. Conor Fuse follows up with a Rolling Thunder Splash. Conor Fuse gets up, hops onto the top rope and sails in the air and hits a moonsault!
JOE HOFFMANN: This might be it here!
BENNY NEWELL: I love Conor Fuse the way I love my porn……VINTAGE!!!
Conor Fuse gets up and screams “PAUSE”. Joel Hortega looks confused. Conor Fuse heads to the corner, rubbing his chest, and if sensing what Conor Fuse, The Game Boy hands Conor Fuse the brown bag.
JOE HOFFMANN: Did he just “Pause” the match?
BENNY NEWELL: Can we talk if the match is paused?
Conor Fuse reaches into the brown paper bag and pulls out some Cheetos and
JOE HOFFMANN: He’s having a snack?
BENNY NEWELL: Kicking Stevens’s ass is hungry work!
Conor Fuse begins shoving Cheetos in his mouth and tosses the rest in the brown paper bag. He reaches in the bag and retrieves a Kool-Aid Juice Pouch – Kool Aid Jammers Tropical Punch to be exact. Conor Fuse sits on the top turnbuckle and pierces the pouch with the straw. He begins drinking the refreshing tropical drink.
JOE HOFFMANN: This is just ridiculous.
BENNY NEWELL: Let the man drink!
JOE HOFFMANN: Meanwhile, Scott Stevens is recuperating in the middle of the ring.
Conor Fuse finishes his juice pouch and hands it to The Game Boy as Scott Stevens slowly begins to get on all fours. Conor Fuse does a couple of quick stretches before yelling “CONTINUE!”.
JOE HOFFMANN: Looks like he’s ready to continue the match, finally.
BENNY NEWELL: He’s refreshed!
Conor Fuse ruffles Scott Stevens hair, but it’s just to remove the cheese dust from his fingers. Stevens takes a futile swing. Fuse immediately nails his opponent with a dropkick. Stevens drops to the mat. Conor Fuse grabs Scott Stevens by the head, pulling him up. He makes sure they in the center of the ring and proceeds to deliver a Tilt-a-Whirl DDT!
BENNY NEWELL: STEVENS GOT PWN’D LIKE A FUCKING NOOOOOOOB, HOFFHOLE!
JOE HOFFMANN: Do you know what that is?
BENNY NEWELL: Boob, Noob, a Titty is a Titty!
JOE HOFFMANN: That’s not what that….in any case…..
Conor Fuse as if in one fluid motion gets to the top rope from the match, leaps, and delivers stunning 450 Splash. Conor Fuse covers.
JOE HOFFMANN: This will do it.
BENNY NEWELL: I told you!
BRIAN McVAY: THE WINNER OF THIS MATCH…….THE VINTAGE……CONOR FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE!!!!
Conor Fuse jumps up and raises his arms in victory, pumped for his third win in a row. He exits the rings and celebrates with The Game Boy.
JOE HOFFMANN: Another impressive victory by the newcomer! A surprisingly easy victory for Conor Fuse, you know he and Erin Gordon are on a collision course in the near future. You can bet she won’t go down as easy.
BENNY NEWELL: You want to talk about Erin Gordon going dow—-
JOE HOFFMANN: And we’re headed backstage!
New merchandise coming soon!
Won't Back Down
“The talk’s already begun, y’know.”
From Conor Fuse’s win over the High Octane Coulda-Been Hall of Famer, Scott Stevens, the camera cuts backstage and finds Lindsay Troy sitting atop a stack of black and 97Red production trunks. The Queen of the Ring and HOW’s Renaissance Woman looks a lot better than she did after Eric Dane introduced her face to both a car window and his knees multiple times during their Chicago Street Fight at No Remorse, and while her posture this evening appears relaxed there’s an edge to her words that accompanies a steely expression.
Lindsay Troy: It didn’t take long after the new round of title contenders were announced for the PR machine to kick into gear. “Rematch of the Year,” right up there with Mike Best versus The Minister. “Next Level Family Feud,” because in-law versus in-law is the easiest story thread in the book. I grinded out a win over Eric Dane at No Remorse, and Dan Ryan grinded Cayle Murray into a squid ink splatter. Big wins reap big rewards, and the temptation was too great for Lee Best to pass up. An LBI Re-Do. The Hammer of GoD versus The Fallen Matriarch.
The Queen chuckles; this is no reward, and she knows it. It’s a march to her dismantling, for besting Dane two weeks ago, for ruining Lee Best’s attempt at teaching her a lesson, for even coming back from her injury in the first place. An attempt to splinter the Group of Death, or keep her out of it permanently.
Lindsay Troy: With every hype piece, though, there’s an attempt at reason. Dan’s more dangerous than ever. The Murray Family has been snuffed from the sport at his hands and now I risk the same fate. This isn’t gonna be just any ol’ affair, it’s happening at Alcatraz. I shouldn’t take this match, what about my knee? I shouldn’t take this match, what about my career?
Lindsay’s eyes narrow; a critical assessment of the naysayers.
Lindsay Troy: I’ve done lots of things I shouldn’t have done in my career, lots of things I shouldn’t have been able to do, and what I’m not gonna do is refuse to face Dan Ryan for the ICON Title at Rumble at the Rock.
The fans in attendance go wild at this proclamation.
Lindsay Troy: You think Dan would turn this opportunity away if the shoe was on the other foot? Fuck no. He is more dangerous than ever. He isn’t the same man I’ve tagged with for sixteen years. And despite that, I still will not back down from this fight.
Let them talk of Lindsay Troy running headlong to her doom and meeting the beast head-on.
It’s not anything I haven’t done before…and come out the other side of…
The camera lingers on the Queen for a couple seconds then cuts back to ringside.
It Goes to Eleven
Joe Hoffman: Well folks, as we saw two weeks ago at No Remorse, RICK was knocked out by Hughie Freeman with that Fatality Punch at Alcatraz. We will see RICK in action tonight as he will team with Zeb Martin to take on Darion Matthews and Brian Hollywood in the main event. But we have not heard anything more about Hughie Freeman, whom we have assumed is back to his cell at Alcatraz awaiting his next opponent.
Benny Newell: So? Who gives a shit about that pikey fuck Joe.
Joe Hoffman: Because we are less than two months away from Rumble at the Rock where we all will be on Alcatraz Island with Hughie Freeman. Plus we have all heard the rumors that Scott Woodson… or Scottywood… will be here tonight to…
Benny Newell: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No one cares about the thirty whatever percent owner of HOW who has been absent as fuck over the past many months. Trying to swing his useless dick around and failing at every corner.
Joe Hoffman: Well with Lee Best bottomlined… and his condition really being unknown after Kostoff….
Benny Newell: NO! We don’t need to talk about that absolute fucking travesty anymore Joe!
Joe Hoffman: Well what I was GOING to say is that Scottywood might now be the highest ranking person in HOW right now.
Benny Newell: Fuck us all….
“The Animal” by Disturbed hits over the speakers of The Best Arena as the fans roar in a mix of boos and cheers. The stage is bathed in a red #97Blood light as smoke pours out from the stage.
Bryan McVay: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, the thirty-nine percent owner of HOW, Hall of Famer, The Hardcore Artist… SCOTTYWOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!
Making his way out from the smoke we see a white light shine down on Scottywood as he walks out dressed in his custom made HOW hockey jersey and holding his trademark barbed wire wrapped hockey stick. His dreadlocks are down as he takes a drink of his Revolution Brewing Anti-Hero IPA before looking out at The Best Arena. He smiles as takes another drink before making his way down the entrance ramp and towards the ring.
Joe Hoffman: A very important note… Bryan McVay introduced him as Scottywood tonight… not Scott Woodson.
Benny Newell: Is it, Joe? Is it very important?
Joe Hoffman: If he’s signing my check for the time being… yes.
Benny Newell: Like you said, Lee ain’t dead… so he’d never let Woodyfuck do that.
Scottywood takes the microphone from McVay as the music starts to fade out to just the roar of the crowd who is mostly happy to see The Hardcore Artist back in the HOW ring.
Scottywood: Fuck… it is good to be back in THE BEST ARENA!!!!
The cheap pop has its desired effect as the crowd roars to the smirk of Scottywood.
Scottywood: Not that any of you fuckers missed me when we returned here at No Remorse….
The cheap pop turns to boos as Scotty just shakes his head, again smirking at how easy it is to manipulate the crowd.
Benny Newell: You’re missed like fucking crabs Thotty.
Scottywood: Instead I was somewhere much better than Chicago… I was at Alcatraz… watching the “thrilling” match where Hughie Unchained knocked the shit out of RICK. Closing a chapter on the HATE that has been fueling between those two for months now. Now Hughie can focus on something much more important… another Bandit and his LSD Title.
The Chicago faithful roar for the reference to COOL Jiles, the current HOW LSD Champion as we see a few eggs make their way from the crowd and into the ring.
Scottywood: I will track down and murder the next motherfucker who throws a fucking egg into this ring.
Benny Newell: Why don’t we have eggs at ringside Joe!
More boos reign down from the fans… but not a single egg takes flight towards the ring.
Scottywood: Me and Jiles have quite the history as you all know… but I am certainly in no place to book myself as a challenger for what will ALWAYS be MY championship. No matter what comedic relief fill-in sidekick is holding it. Hughie will have the next shot at the title at an upcoming Refueled… live from Alcatraz island where I will be doing more than just watching from the shadows. But you need no more details about that right now.
Joe Hoffman: LSD Title matches have a long history of uber violence… so I shudder to think what Scottywood has in mind for those two.
Scottywood: What I can tell you is a match that I can book right now as the highest percentage owner behind the likely comatose Lee Best. Who at best is blinder than the referees in the NHL playoffs this year and on so many drugs he won’t give a fuck for a long time. So at the tenth installment of Rumble at the Rock in just forty-eight days, we will see Hughie Freeman battling for his freedom from Alcatraz.
Joe Hoffman: I’m sure if Hughie could watch the show tonight, that would certainly peak the pikey’s interest.
Scottywood: But if Mike Best can extort a price tag on a match at Rumble at the Rock, then I sure as fuck can too. And believe me when I say that freedom does not come fucking cheap. HOW has turned a corner back towards what made us H-O-FUCKING-W. Cranking the violence up to fucking eleven and seeing who is still breathing when the anarchy comes to a stop.
Joe Hoffman: Mike Best asking for people to put their life on the line to fight for the World Title and now Scottywood is reminiscing about some of HOW’s bloodiest days.
Benny Newell: He’s just riding the champ’s coattails, Joe. GET YOUR OWN THING, SCOOTER.
Scottywood: But in the end… it’s pretty simple, mate… all you have to do is win. Win and close the final chapter in your book of HATE. All you have to do to win your freedom, Hughie… is at Alcatraz… beat The Hardcore Artist… beat me!
Dropping the mic Scotty smiles as his music hits over the boos from the Chicago crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Scottywood versus Hughie Freeman at Rumble at the Rock! For Hughie’s Freeman!
Benny Newell: And if that pikey fuck can beat Jiles for the LSD Title?
Joe Hoffman: Like he said Benny, freedom isn’t cheap.
Benny Newell: Clever fuck.
Finishing his beer, Scotty tosses the empty can into the crowd as he dares one of the fans in the front row to throw another egg at him before laughing back at them as we cut to a commercial break.
High Flyer vs. John Mckinney
Joe Hoffman: And we are back. Benny, we’re going to get our first look at HOW newcomer John McKinney tonight.
Benny Newell: Who?
Joe Hoffman: John McKinney.
Benny Newell: Oh. The guy who’s already in the ring?
Joe Hoffman: Um. Yes.
Yes, John McKinney is already in the ring.
Benny Newell: If he’s already in the ring, it means he didn’t get an entrance. If he didn’t get an entrance, well, you know what that means.
Joe Hoffman: Well, we’ll find out what exactly that means in just a few minutes. Let’s go to Bryan McVay, who’s also already in the ring, for the introductions.
On cue, McVay begins.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania…weighing in tonight at 228 pounds…JOHN McKINNEY!
McKinney does not elicit much of a reaction from the HOW fans.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent…
~All Aboard! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA~
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: Making his way to the ring from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania… weighing in at 224 pounds… HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH! FLYYYYYYYYYYYYERRRRRRRRRR!!!
Harmen leaps onto the second ropes and looks out to the crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Well, we found out this week that High Flyer has taken on new management. Mary-Lyn Mayweather will be guiding the Lunatic going forward but tonight, her new client takes on the new kid on the block, John McKinney-
Benny Newell: Who didn’t get an entrance.
Joe rolls his eyes.
Joe Hoffman: …who didn’t get an entrance. Thank you Benny.
Benny Newell: Just keeping it real Hoffman because that’s how I roll.
Hoffman turns to Benny with a quizzical expression. Then he faces the camera again and wraps up the build up to the match.
Joe Hoffman: Matt Boettcher will be our referee and he’s doing the pre-match check of both men.
Boettcher nods to both men and calls for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And this match is underway.
Harmen casually walks to the middle of the ring and meets the HOW newcomer. He extends his hand to McKinney for a pre-match handshake.
Joe Hoffman: Well. It looks like High Flyer is welcoming John McKinney to HOW with a little sportsmanship.
Benny can be heard off screen snorting in derision.
Benny Newell: You’re fucking with me, right?
Joe Hoffman: What do you mean?
McKinney, unsure of what Harmen’s intent is, looks to the crowd for help…
…of which he gets none.
Benny Newell: Doozer and High Flyer did this same routine at Refueled XXXVI.
Finally, McKinney gives it a shot and goes to shake High Flyer’s hand. But just before his hand reaches Harmen’s, High Flyer reels it back in and shoots both hands to the top of his head, pointing his fingers up to make devil horns.
Benny Newell: HAHAHAHA! Dipshit! Flyer did the same fucking thing to Doozer.
High Flyer sends a quick boot to the gut and doubles McKinney over. He hooks both arms and lifts him up into the air – then falls back and drives McKinney to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: HYPOTHERMIA!
High Flyer slips through the ropes and waits on the apron as McKinney slowly gets back to his feet.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer on the outside. I don’t think McKinney knows what hit him.
Harmen jumps to the top rope and leaps on McKinney.
Joe Hoffman: Springboard Lou Thesz Press!
McKinney topples back to the mat in a rain of High Flyer punches.
Joe Hoffman: And High Flyer is just pummeling the rookie.
Benny Newell: What did you expect? He got no entrance and then he fell for the same fucking fake handshake thing that High Flyer pulled on Doozer.
Finally Boettcher goes over and starts a five count. At four, High Flyer relents and steps back from his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: Boettcher finally stops the carnage momentarily. High Flyer is in complete control of this match.
It takes a few seconds for McKinney to pull himself back up again. High Flyer waits. Once McKinney gets to his feet, High Flyer hits the ropes and rushes forward – raises his right foot – and knocks McKinney out cold when it connects flush with his jaw.
Joe Hoffman: LOCOMOTIVE!
McKinney pirouettes and collapses in the middle of the ring.
Benny breaks out laughing.
Benny Newell: High Flyer just knocked him the fuck out!
High Flyer drops down and hooks the legs. Boettcher is right there to make the count.
DING! DING! DING!
Joe Hoffman: And this match is mercifully over.
Bryan McVay climbs back into the ring to make it all official.
Bryan McVay: Your winner at four minutes and fourteen seconds- HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH! FLYYYYYYYYYYYYERRRRRRRRRR!!!
Boettcher raises Flyer’s arm.
Joe Hoffman: High Flyer with an easy victory over John McKinney-
Benny Newell: The guy with no entrance.
Joe shakes his head.
Joe Hoffman: …who did not get an entrance tonight.
September Issue coming next week. Who should be the NINETYSEVEN Wrestler of the Month?
Steve Harrison and Jack Marley are seen walking towards the exit. Jack is walking behind a little as he struggles to carry two full trash bags. Brian Bare intercepts the two with a mic in his hand. Steve stops Jack and stares at Brian. Steve is decked out in his tan business suit, looking as dapper as Doozer looks unkept and dirty.
Steve Harrison: Yes?
Brian Bare: Steve, glad I caught you, my man.
Jack lets out a long breath and drops both bags on the ground with a grunt. Steve looks down at it and sees some cash is sticking out of one of the bags. He quickly reacts and ties the bag up tightly and smacks Jack in the back of the head.
Jack Marley: My bad, mon.
Steve Harrison: Ugh, so what’s this about me being your man? I don’t see you carrying a bottle of Holy Water, do I?
Brian pauses and shakes his head.
Brian Bare: Well—uh, you know. We get along, but well…
Steve Harrison: I am not friends with the help, especially ones that are not purchasing the great products of Miracle Enterprise.
Brian looks back down at the trash bags and back up at Steve.
Brian Bare: They were all sold out, Steve. By the looks of it you might be able to spare some cash, you had a good night.
Steve groans and shakes his head. He brushes his shoulders off and stares from the trash bags then back to Brian
Steve Harrison: Miracle Enterprise does not want to brag about the sell out of Holy Water tonight. This is all about the respect we have for The Minister. A portion of tonight will go to a beautiful cemetery plot for him…you know—if he is dead.
Brian Bare: About that…
Steve looks around worried and interrupts Brian.
Steve Harrison: Whoa, whoa, Brian, have you heard something?
Brian Shakes his head.
Brian Bare: No, there has not been any word about Max Kael. But I wanted to ask, if he is alive is, he still entitled for 50% of tonight’s profits?
Steve Harrison: Brian, do you think I am sort of conman?
Brian pauses and stares at the camera as everyone watching probably laughs louder then the noise Bobby Dean makes when he masturbates to prolapsed buttholes.
Brian Bare: Well some would say…
The Miracle Man steps up quickly and grabs Brian by the collar and picks him up.
Steve Harrison: Some would say what, motherfucker?
Brian struggles in the Suplex Saints hands so Steve finally puts him down on the ground.
Brian Bare: Not me, Steve, never. I know you are just a great business guy, but you know people say stuff.
Steve pats Brian on the head and nods.
Steve Harrison: Yes, jealous people say a lot of shit. If my favorite Minister is alive then of course he will receive 50% of tonight’s products. Jack has been praying with the rosery daily in hopes that he is alive. This is a tough, Brian. Things move fast and Miracle Enterprise cannot wait for Easter for him to rise from the dead.
Brian Bare: Just a word of caution, you don’t want to make an enemy out of that guy.
The Miraculous Man of splendor nods his head with a grin.
Steve Harrison: Oh, trust me…The Minister and I will get along just fine if he is alive. I feel like this is an attempt to try to start drama where there isn’t any. If you want to talk about how I destroyed some mouthy Woman we can do that instead.
Brian Bare: Erin Gordon? Ok sure, congrats on the big win…
Steve’s left eyebrow rises in confusion and he shakes his head.
Steve Harrison: That wasn’t Lindzzzzzeee Troy?
Brian Bare: Um…no?
Harrison laughs and smacks Brian across the back.
Steve Harrison: I know, I know. I didn’t destroy Mama PMS but I did survive listening to her talk tonight and that is…another victory its self. I hope Erin Gordon has health insurance, but I doubt she does. If she wants another wrestling lesson some day maybe I will grant it. You know…nothing wrong with an easy win to pad the record right, Jack?
Jack looks up and nods.
Jack Marley: I agree with everything you say, mon.
Harrison laughs and nods back at Jack.
Steve Harrison: Brian, I have bags of cash and I am still undefeated. I am not sure anyone can boast about such success within HOW right now.
Brian Bare: What about Cancer Jiles? He is a double champion and has not lost a single match in a long time.
Steve Harrison: I wish the Asterix Man all the continued luck in the world. I hope Hughie Freeman gives him a hell of a match.
Brian looks confused back at Steve.
Brian Bare: Wait…what?
Steve Harrison: I may have earned a title match and maybe…well there is no maybe about it, I deserve a title match. The thing is, I am not going to challenge that soulless moron to a match, we will do it when I feel it is profitable to me. Miracle Enterprise is celebrating tonight, I don’t want to hear about anything else. Jack, grab the bags, we are hitting all the strip clubs.
Jack picks up the bags and Steve smiles like an asshole to the camera and walks away.
Gilda Starr vs Bobby Dean
Joe Hoffman: It’s semi-main event time from the first Refueled at the Best Arena and we’ve got Gilda Ockelman-Starr set to take on “Beautiful” Bobby Dean. The eGG Bandits had a hell of a night at No Remorse and they’re looking to keep that momentum going in these next two matches.
Benny Newell: And I’ve got a fresh bottle of Jack ready to go for this one, Hofflepuff. Bobby’s cheery and annoying. I hate Jatt’s thousand nicknames for himself, and his Kimmy Schmidt daughter’s a creep. Bring on my blackout!
“Empty” by Garbage blares across the arena as Jatt Starr rolls out from behind the curtain, Gilda Ockelman-Starr trailing behind. She pays no attention to the crowd reaction, instead looking focused and determined as she walks past Jatt Starr, who is basking in the adulation of the fans. Gilda rolls under the bottom rope, enters the ring, and stalks to a corner. Jatt arrives at ringside and gives his daughter a few final words of encouragement.
Brian McVay: Introducing first, from Havre, Montana…weighing in at 134 pounds… Gilda! Ockelman! Starrrrrr!
“Don’t Stop” by Nothing More cues up and the Beautiful Man from Honalee, Bobby Dean, makes his way out from the back to a resounding chorus of cheers. The heart and soul of the eGG Bandits waves to the fans as he walks to the ring, keeping his eyes glued on Gilda all the while.
Brian McVay: And her opponent, from Houston, Texas…weighing in at 230 pounds…”Beautiful!” Bobby! Deeaaannnn!
Bobby slides inbetween the top and middle ropes and sheds his baby blue ring robe. With all participants in the ring, Joel Hortega calls for the bell and we’re underway.
Bobby and Gilda lock up for a collar and elbow and Bobby’s able to muscle her pretty easily back into a neutral corner. Hortega starts his five count and Bobby starts to back off, but Gilda throws a quick elbow to the side of his head, causing him to stumble away.
Joe Hoffman: Bobby’s trying to honor the rules of the ring there with Gilda and he paid the price.
Benny Newell: Yeah, because he’s a sucker. I’d say a sucker for a pretty face but Gilda’s about a 6.
Gilda darts out of the corner, looking to follow up on that fast strike. Bobby’s recovered enough to throw a knee into her sternum, and Gilda stops dead in her tracks. The Man with the Second Best Hair in the Bandits plants her to the mat with a DDT and makes the cover.
DO-Shoulder up by Gilda.
Bobby starts to lift Gilda up, but the Heir to the Throne of Jattlantis surprises him with a small package!
Kickout by Bobby Dean!
Joe Hoffman: Gilda’s still very green, and she’s giving up almost a hundred pounds and years of experience to Bobby. Any tricks or surprises she can pull out of her hat is only going to help her here.
Benny Newell: Can the hat cover her face? If not, maybe a bag will do.
Joe Hoffman: Benny.
Benny Newell: Jesus, so sensitive.
Bobby’s up first and he latches onto Gilda with a side headlock. He grinds his forearm against her cranium, applying pressure. Gilda throws some punches into Bobby’s side, but they’re glancing blows and don’t do much of anything. She tries pushing Bobby off but, again, has no luck. Jatt Starr leans forward in his wheelchair and pounds the edge of the ring, yelling for Gilda to get out of the move. His voice being loudly added to the crowd noise causes Bobby to perk up a bit and glance over in his direction.
Bobby, a bit Starrstruck, takes a second to wave at the HOW Hall of Famer. Jatt, torn between wanting to cheer his daughter on and bask in the adulation of an adoring fan, decides on the latter and waves back.
Benny Newell: Oh what is this shittery?
Joe Hoffman: Seems like Bobby and Jatt have formed a mutual appreciation society.
Benny Newell: Please GOD take me now, DRINK!
Whether he intended on it or not, the distraction from Papa Starr works in Gilda’s favor. She wriggles out from Bobby’s grasp, snares him in an inverted headlock, smashes her elbow down, and drops Bobby onto her rising knee!
Benny Newell: The fuck was that?!
Joe Hoffman: The S.Y.P.! The full name of which I will not be repeating!
Benny Newell: Gonna make me go to the website to look it up, Joe? Really?
Bobby hits the canvas like a sack of bricks and Gilda quickly covers!
DING! DING! DING!
Brian McVay: Here is your winner…Gilda Ockelman-Starr!
Gilda rises to her feet and lets her hand be raised by Joel Hortega. Jatt has his arms gleefully raised outside the ring. He motions for Gilda to join him but she makes her way to the ropes closest to the aisle and starts up toward the back.
In the ring, Bobby’s up to a sitting position, holding the back of his head and wondering what asteroid hit him on its way to earth.
Sins of the Father
A large gathering of white masked individuals has congregated in the parking lot, the disheveled group of probably thirty individuals seem lost, unsure what to do with themselves as they mill about with no seeming goal. In the absence of the Minister his followers lost their focus, their meaning and purpose, once again little more than the helpless dredges of society that they were..
????: He’s not coming back.
A voice calls from across the parking lot as a familiar face can be seen approaching the hapless Congregation. Sutler Reynolds Kael, Max’s adopted son and the referee at No Remorse, casually strides in front of the group dressed in a sharp looking suit with a smirk reminiscent of his real father, Shane Reynolds. His eyes burn with a different kind of intensity, not one born from the Kael family but likely linked to his true heritage.
Sutler Reynolds Kael: I should know. You’ve all been very loyal, very dutiful and in return what did you get?
The Congregation members look between each other and while their faces are covered in white masks it is clear that they are each of them unsure, likely having never asked themselves that question before. There is an uncomfortable silence between the lot as Sutler slowly shakes his head.
Sutler Reynolds Kael: He’s either dead, hiding or still buried under that pile of broken promises, in either case none of you are ever going to see him again. It’s just what he is, it’s just what he does. He’s a parasite that feeds on hope and hatred.
Reaching out and touching one of the masked individuals on the shoulder, a pained expression on Sutler’s face as he nods empathetically.
Sutler Reynolds Kael: He did the same to me. He’s done the same to others, over and over again. The trail of shattered lives and broken homes that monster has left behind is unacceptable. A few of us have decided to do something about it, to put an end to the cycle of carnage. It’s time to heal..
He moves toward the end of the rubble, his cold eyes staring down at the twisted, mangled rebar that once held up the glass ceilings of the entryway. It had to weigh at least a few tons, there was no way Max.. or the Minister could have survived. No way and yet.. Sutler knew better than most how hard it was to keep this man down permanently.
Sutler Reynolds Kael: Leave this part of your lives here, where it can stay dead and buried with him.
Reaching out Sutler pulled the white mask off of one of the Congregation members to reveal the face of a young woman, her face filled with fright and uncertainty. He pushed the mask into her hand and pointed toward the rubble he stood next to. She took a step forward, her hands shaking as he looked down at the grave of the Minister. Lifting her hand she let the mask hang on the end of her finger tips before it slipped away.
She braced as each member of the Congregation did to wait and see if some vengeful force would smite her for such an action. It seemed like eternity passed but… nothing. She turned to look at Sutler who offered a warm smile and a tight hug. Others immediately ripped their masks off, throwing them at Five Time Academy before they were all, in turn, embraced by Sutler. Within a few minutes the Congregation was no more, each of them now looking to young Kael for direction.
A few white vans pulled up as Sutler herded the last of Minister’s ex-followers into them before they all departed, their destination unknown. Silence washed over the ruins of Five Time Academy which now was also covered in the discarded white masks of the Congregation.
…somewhere, buried beneath steel, glass, dirt and rock, a red glow appears, it’s #97red light burning like embers buried in a dying fire.
World Championship Literal Deathmatch
Michael Lee Best© vs. ???
Match For Hughie’s Freedom
Scottywood vs. Hughie Freeman
Hollywood and Matthews vs eGG Bandits
Bryan McVay: The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL….and is for the HOW World Tag Team Championships!!!
“Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy blares over the PA system as Brian Hollywood emerges from the back wearing a Boyz are Back in Town Shirt and new THB ring gear.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, the challengers… weighing a combined 448 pounds… at any given moment they could be Sex & Money, The Hollywood Boyz, The Darin Matthews Band, Zionwood, or whatever else they come with next… they are DAARIIIN MAATHEEEWS and BRIIIIIAAAAN HOLLYYYYYYWOOOOOOD!!!
As Hollywood’s riling up the crowd; Darin Matthews emerges from the back wearing sunglasses and strutting down the ramp. Both enhance and hug before running down the ramp.
Both men give fives towards the crowd before climbing up the stairs, entering the ring and giving each other a double high five as they turn around and look ready to take on the Egg Bandits.
The arena lights go out.
“Banditstruck”, an AC/DC Remix, reverberates throughout the AllState arena.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah…
Benny Newell: NO!
The Octabandits cheer.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah…
Benny Newell: I’m not drunk enough yet!
A spotlight the shape of an egg illuminates the top of the entrance ramp.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah…
Benny starts chugging from his bottle.
A gigantic, literally larger than life, form emerges from gorilla.
Ah ah ah ah ah ah…
Joe Hoffman: Here come the champions!
Ah ah ah ah ah ah– Band-its!
Benny Newell: Fuck you, Joe. These two fools didn’t even win the belts! The Bandits are a disgrace!
Ah ah ah ah ah ah– Band-its!
The rest of the tune you know all too well plays out as the freakishly humongous form finally steps into the light.
Benny Newell: Like what the fuck is that?!
Joe Hoffman: That… that looks like Zeb Martin sitting atop RICK’s shoulders with both of the HOW Tag Titles draped over his shoulders…
Bryan McVay: And making… their… way to the ring, weighing a combined 660 pounds… they are the reigning HOW Tag Team Champions… Zeb Martin and RICK… the EGG! BAAAAANDIIIIITS!!!
Zeb hops off RICK’s shoulders and slides into the ring with both belts. The big man box jumps up onto the apron, wipes his boots like he was standing on a welcome mat, then slowly steps over the top rope. Matt Boettcher approaches Martin to collect the titles. As the ref reaches out, the Watson Mill Kid drops to a knee raising both titles above his lowered head like a holy offering.
Boettcher shows the belts to the challengers. You can see the drool dripping from Darin’s dumb mouth.
Joe Hoffman: I gotta say, Hollywood and Matthews look different out there tonight.
Benny Newell: Like they don’t have their heads up the others ass and actually look focused?
Joe Hoffman: Well… kinda, yeah…
Boettcher calls for the bell.
Hollywood takes a step through the ropes and onto the apron, but Matthews stops him halfway.
Joe Hoffman: Well there’s an unexpected start. Looks like Darin wants Brian to start the match off for the challengers.
Benny Newell: How sweet. Now crack some eggs!
Zeb looks up at his much larger teammate, who gives him a quick nod of approval before stepping over the top rope and out of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Zeb Martin and Brian Hollywood starting to circle each other, sizing the other up.
The two simultaneously leap forward and lock up. They jockey for leverage.
Joe Hoffman: Looks like the slightly heavier Zeb is using that extra weight, pushing Hollywood back. Oooo! Brian delivers a high knee into the Watson Mill Kid’s torso!
Martin doubles over after losing his breath. Hollywood sends a swift kick into Zeb’s chest, straightening him up and sending him stumbling back a couple steps.
Joe Hoffman: Brian Hollywood charging his opponent with a stretched out arm, but the young Bandit ducks the clothesline just in the nick of time!
Hollywood spins around, Zeb grapples him. The two jockey once again. Martin snaps out a Whizzer takedown and transitions into a headlock on the mat!
Benny Newell: That looked illegal!
Joe Hoffman: HOW?
Benny Newell: I don’t know! Somehow! DRINK!
Boettcher checks on Hollywood, who shakes his head emphatically. Zeb tightens the hold and Brian shouts out in pain. Boettcher checks him again, but is waved off by Hollywood’s free arm. The High Octane veteran starts to rock as much as he can under Martin’s weight. Then with one last push he kicks his legs up and uses the momentum to turn over and onto his opponent!
Joe Hoffman: Impressive show of athleticism there by Brian Hollywood.
Benny Newell: Pfft! If a Bandit pulled off a counter that flawlessly you’d have a boner right now, Hoffhole. What bias!
Hollywood sends a flurry of punches down onto the back of Zeb’s head before leaping up and tagging the outreached hand of Darin Matthews.
Joe Hoffman: The self proclaimed The Tyrant of the Territories just catapulted over the top rope and is closing in fast on Z, who’s just pulling himself to his feet…
Martin’s awareness takes over as he quickly drops back down and toe trips Matthews.
Joe Hoffman: WHAT INSTINCT!
Benny Newell: *clears throat*
Darin slaps the mat and gets to his feet as fast as Zeb. The two lock up and jockey for leverage. Before you can blink, Martin snaps Matthews over him and down hard onto the mat for a mean gator roll.
Joe Hoffman: The youngest Bandit continues to display his grappling prowess tonight!
Zeb, using his momentum from the last move, rolls back to his corner and tags in the eager RICK who was shouting something in french like a pure huluberlu. And that has nothing to do with TV.
Benny Newell: So this dope who couldn’t speak English two weeks ago is fluent in French now?
Joe Hoffman: I… yes?
Benny Newell: BOIRE!
RICK hurries over the top rope and meets the just risen Darin with a snap clothesline, sending Matthews head over heels. The French Freak formerly known as The Three Word Warrior charges at his opponent’s corner and delivers a big right hand to Hollywood, sending him off the apron and into the barricades.
Joe Hoffman: RICK’s roll-
Benny Newell: Don’t you dare!
Joe Hoffman: Uh, RICK’s on fire right now! He’s turning back to Darin- BIG BOOT!!!
RICK leans into the nearest ropes and roars to the crowd,
RICK: VIVE L’OEUF!
He turns back to see Matthews desperately trying to pull himself up in a far corner. Just before he can take a step forward, a pair of hands belonging to Brian Hollywood reach under the bottom rope from outside the ring and grab Rick’s monster sized boots, yanking them out from under the Canadian Colossus.
Benny Newell: HAH! Big tree, fall hard!
The big Bandit crashes face first down onto the mat. Boettcher runs to the ropes and warns Hollywood to get back onto the apron in his corner. Watching RICK slowly push himself up, Matthews sprints toward him and jumps, kicking his legs out in front of him and lands a nasty dropkick to the side of RICK’s head.
Joe Hoffman: Nasty dropkick there by Matthews!
The Mountain of a Man rolls out of the ring, holding his face in pain. Landing on his feet, RICK shakes off the recent shot and turns back –
Joe Hoffman: DARIN WITH A BASEBALL SLIDE UNDER THE BOTTOM ROPE!
RICK goes crashing into the barricade. Matthews grabs onto the ropes and pulls himself back into the ring where he pops up to his feet and taunts the crowd with both arms raised and that smirk you love to hate.
Boettcher starts the count.
Outside the ring Hollywood pounces onto RICK and rains down rights and lefts like a man possessed.
Joe Hoffman: Boettcher warning Hollywood as he’s not the legal man and RICK is.
Brian eventually steps off with his hands raised innocently.
Back in the ring, Matthews climbs a turnbuckle nearest to the action outside the ring.
Zeb, just about to jump off the apron and run to help RICK, stops after noticing Darin reach the top rope. RICK begins to pull himself up, with the help of the barricade, but Hollywood charges and sends a hard knee into his ribs.
Benny Newell: NICE ONE!
Joe Hoffman: Boettcher didn’t think so!
After warning Hollywood for the last time, Brian returns to the apron at his team’s corner and Matt continues the countout.
Zeb sprints over to Darin’s corner and sends a quick right hand upward into Darin’s torso as Boettcher continues to count out his teammate while keeping a close eye on Hollywood.
Benny Newell: Oh come on, he’s done nothing wrong!
Martin grabs both of Darin’s boots and yanks forward, dropping Matthew’s into a seated position on the top rope. On the outside, RICK starts pulling himself back up. Knowing what Hollywood’s thinking, Boettcher points a finger at him.
Joe Hoffman: Something interesting developing in ring here between Martin and Matthews while Matt’s focused on the other two…
Zeb sends a hard right into Darin’s snarky face, stunning the Tyrant of the Territories atop his perch. Martin quickly twists, now back-to Darin, and he reaches both arms up, grabbing Matthews by his armpits.
Benny Newell: BITCHER YOU BLIND FUCK! TURN AROUND!
Zeb lifts Darin and flips him over while pulling him forward over his head – ICONOCLASM!
Joe Hoffman: WHAT A MOVE!
The impact from the move steals Boettcher’s attention from continuing RICK’s countout. Martin’s already out of the ring before Matt can even yell at the young Bandit to get back in his corner.
Benny Newell: CHEATING SCUM!
Joe Hoffman: I’d say more like fighting fire with fire, Benny!
Hollywood, realizing the slam was his tag partner hitting the mat, jumps up onto the apron and shouts for his teammate to get to his feet and tag him while reaching as far over the rope as possible.
Zeb sprints back and jumps up onto the apron of his own corner as RICK gets to his feet and rolls, favoring his ribs, back into the ring
Joe Hoffman: The two legal wrestlers stir and start crawling toward their corners. Darin, starting off much closer to his, uses the last bit of life left in him to catapult forward and slap Hollywood’s hand!
Benny Newell: Fuckin’ kill ‘em, Hollywood!!
Brian leaps into the ring and charges toward his crawling opponent to prevent the tag. Hollywood grabs one of RICK’s legs, but the big man twists and sends the free leg up, connecting a big boot to the side of Brian’s head. RICK instinctively rolls back, and lunges forward to tag in Zeb!
Joe Hoffman: The big man’s survival instincts showed off there! OH NO!
Unnoticed to all, Matthews had dropped off his corner and slunked his way over to the Bandits’. Just before RICK could get the tag, Darin swept both of Martin’s legs out, sending him face first into the apron.
Benny Newell: OH YES!
Boettcher shouts at Matthews to get back to his corner as he leans over to check out the dead fish flopping around in pain, also known as Zeb Martin. RICK pulls himself to his feet, looking down in horror at young Zeb. He turns to see Hollywood leaning against the roles.
Joe Hoffman: RICK makes his way to the center of the ring, still looking a bit shaken. Huh? Darin just jumped onto the apron, but not in his corner as he stands in the middle of the opposite side of the ring as his teammate.
Hollywood nods to Darin, causing RICK to turn around in confusion.
Joe Hoffman: Matthews jumps up onto the top rope and leaps! Hollywood charges RICK from behind! OH MY GOD! Just as Hollywood sent a claymore kick to the back of RICK’s head Darin double axe handled him from the front!
Benny Newell: I DONT KNOW WHAT THE FUCK THAT WAS BUT I’LL DRINK TO IT!
Joe Hoffman: Darin quickly slides out of the ring as Hollywood goes for the pin…
Bryan McVay: Your winners, and new Tag Team Champions of the World!!! DAAAAARIIIIIINNNNNNN! MAAAAAATTHEEEEEEEWSSSSS!!! and BRIIIIIAAAAANNNNNN! HOLLYYYYYWOOOOOOOOOD!!! THE HOLLYYYYWOOOOOOOOD! BOOOOOOYYYZZZZZ!!!
Boettcher presents the titles to an elated, albeit exhausted, Hollywood Boyz. The two long time friends look at each other, all smiles, before hoisting their titles into the air.
Benny Newell: THERE IS A GOD!
Joe Hoffman: Regardless, what a main event and a huge congratulations for The Hollywood Boyz!
As Hollywood brings his belt in close and rolls out of the ring, Matthews scurries over to their corner and pulls an object out from under the apron.
Darin raises the object, now clearly a cellphone, up and taps the screen a couple times. Then, with a shit eating grin, he raises it as high as he can. Higher than he raised his newly won title just moments ago, and the phone’s speaker begins to play,
~We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions
Of the world~
The commentators can only look on uncomfortably at the celebration, as the Hollywood Boyz hold their titles aloft in the ring and HOW Refueled comes to a close.