We open to a scene that would be familiar to most SHOOT Project Faithful, but perhaps not to the legions of HOW fans. The room is simple, but elegant. A high-backed but comfortable chair upholstered in what looks like red velvet rests almost in the center of the room on a plush, dark carpet. The glow from what one would assume to be a fireplace illuminates the room. It would seem cozy if not for the man sitting in the chair. The man is sizable, but not monstrously so. His shoulder-length, black hair frames his somewhat sharp features as a smirk that never quite reaches his pale, gray eyes is somewhat hidden by a thick, yet groomed, black beard.
Jacob Mephisto, former two-time SHOOT Project Sin City Champion sits staring across at Patience Montgomery. The latter sits in deep thought, staring at a chess board between them, her eyes, the color of faded dollar bills, sweep across the board as she twirls a finger through her red and black hair.
“Tell me again why this is so important,” Patience inquires of her “father.”
Mephisto doesn’t blink or respond immediately. He simply watches. Patience cocks her head to the side.
“You see, my dear,” he says. “In chess, much like in our profession, thinking several moves ahead is key. There are those who like to ‘just wing it’ and ‘fly by the seat of their pants.’ But, even in success, those individuals ultimately fail. Anticipation, however, works wonders.”
Mephisto maneuvers a piece on the board carefully and deliberately, leaving a clear opening for the piece to be captured. Patience practically pounces, capturing the piece. Mephisto cocks his head to the side and makes a light clucking sound.
“When you rush in and only seek offense, you set yourself up for failure, dear Patience. And I expect better.”
Mephisto moves another piece and captures hers. She frowns. Mephisto looks directly at her, cold, gray eye critical.
“Checkmate. Off you go, girl. Think about our lesson today.”
Patience frowns deeply, the madness in her eyes dimming to something resembling hurt. She opens her mouth to speak, but is interrupted.
Mephisto looks down to the buzzing iPhone and frowns. He looks at the screen as he unlocks the phone and sighs heavily.
Hey, it’s Blaze. U up?
“It isn’t enough that Josh Johnson exercised my contractual obligation to appear on behalf of the SHOOT Project. He’s paired me with this… this imbecile.”
Patience frowns deeper, her voice coming out sullen. “I should have been your partner for this.”
Mephisto doesn’t say a word. He waves her off, still staring down at the phone screen in disdain. Patience stalks away mumbling darkly.
Hey so we should def call ourselves “The Bad Guys.”
A pale, gray eye twitches.
Oh man, can our entrance music be Billie Eilish? We’re the baaaaaaaaaaad guys. DUH!
A heavy sigh.
Hey didn’t get an answer so I went ahead and signed us up as The Bad Guys.
“He’s not going to make it to Refueled. I’m going to kill him.”
A Couple of Days (and a LOT of texts) Later…
Mephisto sits in front of a simple black backdrop adorned with the High Octane Wrestling logo. He looks calm and collected, though there is an undertone of annoyance in his face. The fact that his phone is still buzzing every couple of minutes probably has something to do with that. He takes a moment to glance at the screen.
… and then we could like throw an opponent into the ropes and I could duck and you could do that axe-kick of yours. That would be so cool…
… Idk if you can lift Bobby Dean like that but i could like double stomp him while you drop him down…
Mephisto puts the phone into his pocket, turning to face the camera.
“You know, when Josh Johnson called me and told me that he was exercising a little used clause in my contract to enter me into a tournament on behalf of the SHOOT Project I thought, ‘fine, no problem.’ But, then he had to go and pair me with Blaze Claymore. Not a prolific dream partner that so many have clamored for. Blaze. Claymore.”
… soooo should I bring powder or something to throw into their eyes? That’s what Bad Guys would do, right?…
“Still, there’s an opportunity here. There’s the chance to step into the ring with Cancer Jiles and Bobby Dean. These names are familiar to me. But, the opportunity is not with these opponents. The opportunity is to mold and guide the floundering Blaze Claymore. You see, I’m going to take this tournament and this pairing and I’m going to make Josh Johnson regret it. I’m going to turn Blaze Claymore into a certified killer in the ring. We are going to carve a path through this tournament…”
… I could sneak some brass knuckles in my tights…
… Hey can you teach me that black mist thing you do…
Mephisto looks agitated for a moment and then deadpans, looking off-camera.
“Ok, seriously, how did he even get my number?”
The Next Day…
We open back to Mephisto pacing back and forth at the MGM Grand in preparation for a photoshoot he is attending for PRIME Wrestling.
… but really, we should probably talk strategy face to face…”
Mephisto sighs, his usual composed demeanor is replaced with annoyance.
“I swear, if I had any sense at all I’d just forfeit this thing.”
An MGM employee walks by, talking on a cell phone and not noticing Mephisto.
“Yea, he’s here too! I know! This whole PWA thing is super cool. Those kids, or whatever of his though? Creepy as hell in person. Yea. I’ll bet Blaze Claymore or whatever is terrified of him.”
And that’s when the idea hits him. It’s a terrible, awful idea. Mephisto stops pacing and smirks, pulling out his cell and firing a text back to Blaze for the first time since his phone started buzzing.
You know what? Sure. I’ll meet you in Philly and we can talk details.
He presses send and a text almost instantly comes back.
He doesn’t bother to look at the response.
“Patience, dear. Decius! I’ve got a little job for you. Let’s put our lessons aside and have some fun.”
Some Time Later…
We open back to a similar black backdrop. This time, however, there is a new logo. It’s a stylized “M” written in a font that looks like blood. Jacob Mephisto sits on a stool, his symbol painted in red on his forehead. The usually groomed black hair hangs loose around his face.
“You know, gentlemen, I don’t know a ton about you. I’ll be honest. I know Bobby Dean has appeared for SHOOT Project. I know you both are in the Almasy Invitational in PRIME. Other than that? I know you call yourselves the eGG Bandits. It’s… endearing. Here’s the thing though. My partner? He’s goofy. He doesn’t get taken seriously. But, there’s something brewing in him. I’m going to drag that out. I’m going to unleash a version of Blaze Claymore that will earn his name respect.”
Mephisto smirks, the gesture never making it to his eyes. Those pale, gray windows to the soul show no glee or humor. There is, however, something else there. Bad intentions.
“So, Bobby Dean and Cancer Jiles. We’ll see you at Refueled. And, yes, it will be a pair of BAD GUYS that will make sure you won’t be making it to round two. You’ve got eyes. You’ve got ears. Look at my works and you’ll understand my new protege and I? Our difference is our strength and the longer we’re in this tournament the more dangerous we’ll become. It’s only a matter of time….
He brushes his hair back looking into the camera with dead eyes.
“And time… is on OUR side.”