The picture fades in to a blimp view of the Canberra Stadium, its sides bathed in the bright evening sun, showing fans in and outside of the sold out stadium milling about. The Australian fans have shown up in droves and whoever did not manage to get a ticket for the event still is outside and it looks like more than just a few barbies have been lit up. As the blimp goes lower we see the ring and the announce tables come into view, where Mike Rolash and Jim Gunt look ready to go.
Jim Gunt: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Evolution and welcome to Canberra, ACT.
Mike Rolash: AC what?
Stevie Illawarra: Australian Capital Territory, mate, don't ya check where we're goin' before gettin' there?
Jim Gunt: Oh, save your breath, I've been down that road with him so many times. it's a lost cause.
Stevie Illawarra: Gotcha.
Mike Rolash: Hey, I can hear all of this, you know that, right?
Jim Gunt: I surely hope so! Anyways, tonight's the go home show for our highly anticipated Confliction PPV next week in Melbourne and we have a few very interesting bouts on the card for tonight, right, Mike?
Mike Rolash: Uh, yes, I am sure, give me one second.
He rifles through papers in front of him.
Mike Rolash: There we go! We have the final round for the Paramount Grand Prix coming up and pretty much everybody still has a chance to proceed to the big finals for the title!
Jim Gunt: Lost Boys and V.E.N.O.M. will face off, a big match for the returned local heroes, Cheshire vs. MJ Flair is another potential flash fire and then finally the reigning champion The Shadow will meet Dan Ryan in the main event.
Mike Rolash: Yes, but not for the title, so what's the point?
Jim Gunt: Don't talk about points, you don't get half of them anyways... So without further ado, let's go over to Ray!
Ray Douglas: The following non-title tag team match is your opening contest and is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first…
The lights black out, only to be replaced by frantic blood-red strobe lights as the fast-paced frantic riff of that classic Misfits song "The Crimson Ghost" starts to play. Crimson Ghost runs out to about halfway down the ramp, his tag title fashioned around his waist, looking around wildly at all the people even as his theme slowly dies out, and is replaced with KMFDM's very own 'Virus’. Kendo for his part walks out slowly and calmly, his tag title slung over his shoulder. He's ready for war and accompanied by super agent JT Barrett, who looks around excitedly.
Ray Douglas: Making their way to the ring, being accompanied by JT Barrett! At a combined weight of five hundred fifteen pounds! They are your CWF Tag Team Champions! Kendo and The Crimson Ghost! The SAMOAN GHOST CONNECTION!
From here, the two themes start to blend and merge with each other, with Kendo methodically stalking down the center the ramp, while Ghost stands on the barricade, bounces around and in general, gets really amped up. This is how it goes until the tag champions reach the ring. The Crimson Ghost! slides inside of the ring as Kendo stops at the steps for his ritual five second prayer. Once done he joins his partners as they wait for the match to begin.
Jim Gunt: After losing last week to the returning Lost Boys, do you think the tag champs can get back on the winning path?
Mike Rolash: If they wanna keep their sponsorship with Jimmy John's, they will.
The drums and baseline from “Bustin’ Loose” come in. Then, Chuck's immortal words, “Gimme the bridge y'all!” Right when the horns come in, BANG! a big shot of pyro on both sides of the entrance.
Ray Douglas: Their opponents, first… making his way to the ring! From Washington, D.C., weighing two hundred twenty pounds! “Go-Go” MOE DAVIS!
Moe leaps from backstage with a big smile and lots of energy. He hypes himself up and reaches out to dap up the fans as he makes his way to the ring. The intro to "Gela Moy" starts to play as Sebastian Diakos walks out dancing the Hasapiko, then cracks his right knuckle in his left hand and his neck as he walks down the ramp with Stella. Sebastian enters the ring under the top rope as he holds the rope open for Stella as she comes in.
Ray Douglas: His partner, hailing from Nicosia, Cyprus, and being accompanied to the ring by Stella.. SEBASTIAN DIAKOS!
Jim Gunt: Well that was quite different from what we're used to seeing.
Mike Rolash: ...
Kendo and Sebastian Diakos are the two men who are going to start this match as senior official, Trent Robbins calls for the bell. Both men circle the ring, then collide with a lock up. Using his weight to his advantage, Kendo backs the taller Diakos into the ropes, where Robbins administers the mandatory five count. The Samoan Suplex Machine relinquishes his grasp, but not before patting Sebastian aggressively across the chest. Moving across the ring, Sebastian locks up with Kendo, but receives more of the same treatment as he's now pushed into the ropes on the opposite side, where Robbins is once again on the scene. Choosing to follow the rules, proves to be a bad idea for Kendo as Diakos momentarily blinds him with a poke to the eyes.
Jim Gunt: Diakos using underhanded tactics at the onset of this contest, trying to buy himself some breathing room from the massive Kendo.
Mike Rolash: This guy has like two inches on Kendo, why is he allowing himself to get bullied in the first place.
Stumbling away from Sebastian trying to clear his eyes, Kendo receives a european uppercut to the jaw that staggers him. A few more uppercuts have Kendo reeling as Diakos hits the ropes, upon his return he creams Kendo with a huge european uppercut but Kendo somehow is still on his feet! Hitting the ropes again, Sebastian is sent crashing face first into the canvas, thanks to a leg sweep by Kendo.
Jim Gunt: Sebastian's face bouncing off the mat as Kendo executes that leg sweep!
Mike Rolash: His head almost resembled a basketball right then.
Jim Gunt: Kendo brings Diakos back to his feet and a HUGE knife edge chop to the chest has Sebastian seeking refuge in the corner.
Sebastian is covering his chest for protection as the Samoan Suplex Machine moves in. Kendo connects with a headbutt before committing to a cross corner whip. Crashing into the turnbuckles, Diakos is able to dodge a charging Kendo as he now crashes in the corner. As Kendo stumbles out, Diakos points towards the ceiling which forces a slightly dazed Kendo to look up. Before he knows it, the right hand of Diakos tags him across the jaw, knocking him off his feet.
Jim Gunt: Sucker Punch by Sebastian! He's doing everything in his power to match intelligence with sheer strength.
Mike Rolash: Well he needs to do something quick. Hit a big move, tag in Moe...something has to give.
Moving towards his team's corner, Diakos tags out to Moe Davis, meanwhile an infuriated Kendo is over to his corner, tagging in the other half of the CWF Tag Team Champions. Both men pace around the ring, before The Crimson Ghost! offers up a test of strength to the shorter Moe Davis. However before Moe can grab his hand, TCG! kicks him in the gut, doubling him over. An irish whip attempt is reversed as Bonehead rebounds off the ropes only to meet the boots of Davis!
Jim Gunt: Picture perfect Go-Go Dropkick by Moe Davis! Did you see the height, he just got on that one?
Mike Rolash: You sure they didn't find this kid jumping over cars, dunking basketballs?
Jim Gunt: If you're trying to say he's athletic then yes… yes he is.
Both men are quick to their feet, TCG! charges at Moe who ducks underneath a clothesline attempt. Running towards the ropes, he springs off the middle one, twisting through the air and catches the head of The Crimson Ghost! spinning and spiking him into the canvas with a Tornado DDT! The Australian crowd cringes as somehow the impact of the maneuver makes The Crimson Ghost flip to his feet! Out on his feet, stumbles right into Davis who backs him into the corner and shoots him across the ring - No! - reversal by Bonehead. He follows Moe into the corner, however Davis uses the bottom ropes for leverage as he springs over Ghost, causing him to crash into the corner. Hitting the ropes, Davis rebounds right into the foot of Bonehead, who drops him with a SUPERKICK! Ghost falls on top of Davis with a back press, going for the cover.
Jim Gunt: And a kickout by Davis!
Mike Rolash: The unpredictability of The Crimson Ghost on full display just then catching Go-Go Moe by surprise.
Bringing Davis to a vertical base, The Crimson Ghost twists his arm with an arm wrench, pulling him towards his team's corner, making the tag to Kendo. With the arm wrench still applied, Kendo drops Moe to a knee with a headbutt. Grabbing Davis by the back of his head, Kendo slams him into a neutral corner's top turnbuckle, soon following up with a brutal chop that gets the fans to let out the ritualistic, “Woos!” Clutching his chest in pain, Davis drops to a kneeling position in the corner as Kendo goes back over to tag in the Ghost. Moving back in on Davis, Kendo snapmares him to the canvas, TCG! connects with a basement dropkick as he sits up. The Crimson Ghost! brings Davis upright and whips him off into the ropes, as he rebounds, Davis slides through the legs of Ghost! Hurriedly to his feet, Davis ducks underneath a wild swing and plants Ghost into the canvas with a Sling Blade!
Jim Gunt: Davis able to get some breathing room! Both men are down, trying to get to their partners Mike!
Mike Rolash: I had my doubts about this kid Jimbo, especially after last week's debacle with Autumn Raven, but he's proving something right now.
Moe stretches out and tags the hand of Diakos, as he enters, he brings TCG! to his feet, hooks him around the waist and sends him flying overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex! Staying on the offensive, Sebastian brings him back vertical, before nailing an european uppercut that has Ghost stumbling back into the corner. A cross corner whip is reversed by Ghost as he follows Diakos into the corner but receives a back elbow for his troubles. As Ghost grabs at his face in pain, Diakos nails a sole kick to the gut, doubling him over. Seconds later Double Underhook Backbreaker has Bonehead clutching his back on the canvas as Diakos goes for the pin!
Jim Gunt: Sebastian Diakos is looking quite impressive in his debut as he brings The Crimson Ghost! back to his feet with a rear waistlock applied! No! Back elbow by Ghost to free himself!
Mike Rolash: I felt that one myself...
A stunned Diakos staggers back a bit as Bonehead charges at him, however Sebastian is able to duck behind Ghost and shoves him bodily into Kendo, who makes the tag but also falls off the apron. Dazed himself, Ghost stumbles right into Sebastian who pops him into the air and just clobbers him with an european uppercut as he descends to the mat! The crowd gasps collectively as The Crimson Ghost hits the mat and rolls out of the ring. As if it's his cue, Davis enters the ring and races towards the SGC corner, leaping over and landing on the apron, Davis hops to the middle turnpost and flip backwards with a moonsault at Kendo!
Jim Gunt: Oh My Lord, he caught Davis in mid air!
Mike Rolash: This isn't gonna end well!
With Davis propped on his shoulder, Kendo slams him onto the thin ring mats at ringside, causing the Australian fans to cringe again. Inside of the ring Sebastian stands there in disbelief as Ghost slides back into the ring. Not knowing what to do, Diakos’ wild swing is dodged by Ghost, as Sebastian turns around, he's doubled over from the boot of Ghost! Almost as quick as lightning, Bonehead hits the ropes and just destroys the face of Diakos!
Jim Gunt: The Crimson Ghost simply rocking Sebastian with the Bloody Hell and here comes Kendo!
Dazed and confused, Sebastian crawls around on the canvas, trying to figure out his whereabouts. Kendo making his way over and grabbing a rear waistlock.
Mike Rolash: The power of the Samoan Submission Machine is incredible!
Deadlifting Diakos off of the canvas and holding him in the air like a giant teddy bear, won at the state fair, Kendo holds him in position as TCG! hits the ropes again, springing off the middle one and flipping over both men, grabbing Diakos’ head for a neckbreaker!
Jim Gunt: MALIU MUMU EXECUTED BY THE TAG CHAMPS! KENDO HOLDING ON FOR THE PIN!
Ray Douglas: Here are your winners via pinfall! Kendo & The Crimson Ghost....SAMOAN GHOST CONNECTION!!
Cut to the concourse of the stadium. Silas is there, in his full set of familiar clothes, albeit with bandages over his eyes and his ribs. He has a little smirk on his face as he comfortably walks among the concrete base structure.
He stops after a few moments, and his face turns to a more neutral look; turning left to see two men looking at him.
He looks back. Sam Braxton and Dean Coulter. The Lost Boys.
They stare at each other, neither of them making the first move.
Silas Artoria: Sam...Dean…
Dean Coulter: Silas.
Silas Artoria: You gentlemen doing well?
Sam Braxton: Bloody ripper.
Dean Coulter: Yourself?
Silas Artoria: Doing well.
Pause. The tone of all involved doesn’t change.
Silas Artoria: Good luck tonight.
Dean Coulter: You too.
Silas nods back.
Silas Artoria: I’ll see you guys around.
Not another word. Sam nods back and Silas continues his walk towards his destination, with the camera maintaining the same distance throughout the several seconds it takes for Silas to come across another member of the CWF.
Tara Robinson: Silas Artoria?
He stops as she enters the frame with a microphone. He turns to her with a big beaming smile on his face.
Silas Artoria: Tara! How lovely to see you thousands of miles from home! How is that set of flowers I gave you?
Tara Robinson: A few have died.
Silas Artoria: Ah, predictable. Turn of the seasons!
Tara wasn’t unsettled, and she gets to work.
Tara Robinson: You have an uphill battle tonight. First your confirmation into the finals is half decided by your match with KC3 and half decided by a match you have no involvement in. In addition, your body has become a clear key weakness exploited by your last opponents, with Nathan using it to score a victory over you--
Silas Artoria: Tara, there’s nothing to worry about.
He leans in close to her and her microphone.
Silas Artoria: I can assure you and those at home that my lingering injuries won’t be an issue.
He kisses her forehead.
Silas Artoria: Now, I’ve got to prepare myself. Have fun--
The Canadian stops his chatter, and turns around to find the source of the call. The camera pans to see none other than MJ Flair enter the frame. She crosses her arms as Silas turns his full body and attention towards her.
Silas Artoria: MJ...you’re looking well.
MJ Flair: You look like shit!
Silas bursts out a little chuckle, but quickly clutches his ribs.
Silas Artoria: Ah, don’t make me laugh.
She nods towards his ribs.
MJ Flair: How did you manage that?
Silas Artoria: Nasty fall, to put it politely. Cracked.
MJ Flair: And they still let you compete?
Silas Artoria: Head injuries hasn’t stopped me from trying something daring, albeit with great difficulty.
He points to his eye.
Silas Artoria: Going to take a lot more than that to stop me. You know that very well.
MJ smirks at the comment, before Silas delivers a deep sigh.
Silas Artoria: I...haven’t forgotten what you said about me. Flattering,
MJ Flair: I also called you a pompous entitled ass.
Silas Artoria: You weren’t wrong!
He stretches his back a little. Bit stiff.
Silas Artoria: Look, I don’t know where and I don’t know when, but there’s something I want to ask of you.
MJ looks a little confused.
MJ Flair: Go on.
A big grin emerges on Silas’ face.
Silas Artoria: I have never felt so alive during our last encounter, and I don’t know how long it’ll take…
He holds out his hand.
Silas Artoria: ...but the second either of us gets that top title again, I want us to take to the ring again; set the world alight!
MJ looks hesitant, glancing his head and then his hand. Finally, she grabs his hand, but he pulls her close and whispers in her ear.
Silas Artoria: Skin that cat.
They release each other, and just stare at each other, with the aristocrat smiling in that same, skin crawling look, although with a touch of sincerity.
Silas Artoria: Good day.
He leaves the frame.
The camera cuts to the backstage area where Moe Davis and Sebastian Diakos are just coming through the curtain following their tag team match against the reigning champions Kendo and The Crimson Ghost! Diakos is clearly frustrated while Moe seems a lot more calm, trying to place a hand on the shoulder of his partner that is quickly wiped away.
Moe Davis: Calm down my friend, one match does not define our entire careers. I came into this company on a high, with a big win, and I will not let one defeat ruin a good thing.
The big man from Cyprus is still not impressed, turning away from Moe and pounding his fist against the concrete wall.
Moe Davis: Well, that had to hurt...
Sebastian Diakos: Those boys are a buncha jokes. Kendo may be a samoan machine, but look at the guy he chooses to team up with week in and week out, a guy dressed up in a freaking red ghost costume! When did the sport of professional wrestling become such a joke?
"One would assume that would be the moment they let you two sign your names on the dotted line to work for this company."
Moe Davis and a now dumbstruck Diakos look up from their conversation to see a man in an black hooded sweatshirt standing in front of them with a cocky smile on his face.
Johnny Graves: The Sin City Saint, Johnny Graves. The honor has been all yours.
As quick as Graves interrupted the conversation between former partners Davis and Diakos, he turns around and attempts to waltz out of the scene. It is Sebastian Diakos who yanks him back, turning him around as he angrily spats.
Sebastian Diakos: Now that we have been introduced, how about you quit running at the lip and put your money where your mouth is. Confliction, live on pay per view. You and I, one on one. How's that sound?
Moe interrupts with a finger waved in between both of them.
Moe Davis: It sounds like I want in on this party.
All three men look back and forth at each other, grimacing as the camera cuts back to ringside.
Jim Gunt: Looks like we have a new face in CWF, Johnny Graves, and already making friends, so we'll have to keep a lookout for any developments coming from this.
Mike Rolash: And what on earth is wrong with Silas? Hit on the noggin' one too many times?
Jim Gunt: Possible, but he has not forgotten the World title, even though he should not worry about that too much just yet, since he still is in the Paramount Grand Prix, speaking of which, the first match is coming right up and would you look at that, Silas is in it!
Ray Douglas: The following is a veterans block match in the Paramount Grand Prix, scheduled for one fall under a fifteen minute time limit!
The intro to "Run This Town" by Jay-Z ft. Kanye West & Rihanna fills the arena as the lights go off and on, matching the beat to the song. Rihanna's voice fills the arena.
KC3 comes out from the back as Jay-Z's verse begins, rocking his head to the beat of the music for a few seconds before making his way down the ramp. After struts his way down to the end of the ramp, he stops again to take in the music a little more.
Ray Douglas: Introducing first, from Loveladies, NJ, The Next Generation God….K... C... 3!!
KC3 slides into the ring and runs the ropes a few times, stopping in the middle of the ring to bounce a couple of more times before his music cuts out. “Something Got Me Started” by Simply Red replace it and dark blue lighting and fog takes over the ramp as the Psychotic Aristocrat comes out from behind the curtain. Silas stands on his trademark cane, his equally trademark bandages still accompanying him to the ring as well. He looks around at the Australian crowd who cheer for him. A smile comes across the face of Artoria as he continues down the ramp, heading into the ring. Silas quickly moves into the corner opposite his opponent; keeping his grin fixated on KC3. Referee Nick McArthur quickly pats KC3 down, then moves onto Silas. The Canadian holds up his hand.
Jim Gunt: The hell is he doing?
Silas brings up one of his fingers to indicate to McArthur to wait, and slowly undo his jacket. One by one, the bruised chest from the past few weeks reveals itself to the crowd, before the bandaged ribs showcase themselves.
KC3 smirks, unfazed.
Jim Gunt: Now isn’t the time for a strip show!
Silas reaches into his back pocket, maintaining eye contact with KC3 without fault. A knife! Shining like a star and sharp as his with. KC3 gives a confused glance, but Silas merely returns a smirk.
The tip of the knife reaches the bandages around his ribs, and cuts down the tight formation like butter. The material falls to the ground, showing a few bruises of varying degrees of darkness and size; some being marks of past bouts.
Teeth starts to show on Silas’ grin, as KC3 looks even more confused. McArthur fixates on the knife and bandages.
Jim Gunt: Well, nice to see that he’s healing up nicely.
Slowly, Silas lifts the knife towards his face, as the grin showed more hints of mania. Sharp side outward, it slides under the bandages covering his injured eye. It starts pushing against them without cutting.
Silas Artoria: Good luck!
Big push outward, the bandages fall to the mat, and KC3’s face takes on a look of shock.
Jim Gunt: Good god! Is that…!?
Mike Rolash: HELL YEAH BABY WE’RE IN FOR A TREAT!
The red-veined, pulsating outlines cover a pitch-black mark around a bright red light, and before anyone can take a good look at the feature, Silas drops the knife and kicks it to the side. One quick motion, his jacket is off.
Jim Gunt: JESUS CHRIST!
Black and red, scale-like features cover both arms. Hardened with the familiar but rare surfacing of the evil within, Silas looks at a startled KC3 and beckons him.
Silas Artoria: COME ON!!!
Ray Douglas: And his, uh, opponent, from Toronto, Canada, he is the Psychotic Aristocrat or whatever that is….SILAS ARTORIA!!
Jim Gunt: After all these months the Passenger seems to have taken a firmer grip on Silas than before and if he continues what he had once hinted at, KC3 might be in trouble tonight!
Mike Rolash: Oh yeah, finally some action here!
Jim Gunt: OK, trying to move on here, it all comes down to this, Mike. This may be the first of three Paramount Grand Prix matches here tonight, but this one in particular has been many weeks in the making.
Mike Rolash: You’re damned right, Jim. KC3 followed Silas around like a lost puppy dog for weeks for reasonings we still haven’t figured out, and in the first week of the Grand Prix both of them were quick to interfere in each other’s matches.
Jim Gunt: And now we’ve come full circle, as both competitors fight in the final week of the entire tournament. Unfortunately for KC3 though, he has fallen behind and remains at just one point. He cannot qualify for the final match at Confliction for the Paramount Championship, but what he can do against his rival, Silas Artoria? Play the ultimate spoiler.
Mike Rolash: After Silas seemed to make amends with some old "friends" earlier tonight, and with the revelation of the Passenger being back, will he have his head in the game or will KC3 do just that?
Rookie referee Nick McArthur starts off the match and KC3 and Artoria trash talk each other right from the beginning, neither man showing a bit of love lost towards the other. Silas Artoria has had enough of the words of the Next Generation God, and shoves him hard in the chest. KC3 comes back with an eye rake!
Jim Gunt: Eye rake of doom!
Mike Rolash: Silas Artoria was just blinded there from KC3, at least the one, uh, real eye, the Next Generation God showing he’ll go to any means necessary to ruin Artoria’s chances at moving forward in the Grand Prix.
Jim Gunt: And KC3 follows it up with those Muay Thai knees, each one shooting up in a flash, but wait- a crazed Silas just tripped the legs out from under him and now has him in an Elevated Boston Crab!
Silas Artoria is quick to put as much pressure as he can on the upper back of KC3, his knee pressed tightly against it as he pulled the Boston Crab up to it’s full extension. KC squirms, eventually able to roll over to his side and push his adversary off of him. The Psychotic Aristocrat is able to take advantage of the downed Davison however, running forward and twisting his knees in the air.
Jim Gunt: KNOCKOUT! Silas just hit those beautiful Bicycle Knees! And he’s going for the cover, this one could be over just like that!
T-KC3 KICKS OUT!
Mike Rolash: Not quite, Jim, the Next Generation God still has a little bit of life left in him.
Jim Gunt: That may just be momentary, as Silas has him up in the air. AAAAIRRRRPLANE SPIN!
Mike Rolash: Around around he goes, where he ends up, not a damn soul knows!
KC3 is tossed like yesterday’s trash hard against the corner. The Psychotic Aristocrat stomps him hard in the corner several times before finally backing up at the behest of the official, but the withering look he gives the referee makes Nick McArthur shrink back. Silas Artoria motions to the somewhat uneasy, but still cheering Australian crowd before heading quickly towards the other side of the ring, where KC3 shoots up his boot just in time to spike him in the face! KC3 up the top rope in an instant and leaps off.
Jim Gunt: CANADIAN DESTROYER POWER-WHAT!? Somehow Silas Artoria continues the transition, landing right on his feet! He has Davison on his shoulders- FALL OF MAN!
Mike Rolash: Holy crap!
Ray Douglas: And the winner of this match by pinfall and picking up two points in the Paramount Grand Prix….SILAS ARTORIA!!
Jim Gunt: Quite the dominating victory here by Silas Artoria, putting him up to four points in the Grand Prix. It looks like the Passenger coming through has given him an additional grit and determination we have not seen of him in the past weeks, even months! But the worst part about the situation Silas now finds himself in, however, is that his chances at making it to Confliction still solely depend on whether Jimmy Allen or Nathan Paradine win the following match...
Walking around the carpark of the Canberra Stadium following their exchange with Silas, Sam Braxton and Dean Coulter, the Lost Boys, talk excitedly amongst themselves as they approach, clearly looking forward to this expedited opportunity for the CWF Tag-Team Title belts. All of a sudden their entry way is barred by the trio known as V.E.N.O.M, Vince Espinoza, Nina and Omar Martinez.
Sam Braxton: Crickey! Looks what the Dingoes dragged in, chewed up and spat back out again!
Nina eyes both men, scanning both of their bodies, up and down.
Nina: ¡Mira! Humorous one he is.
She points at Braxton.
Nina: However, you will not be laughing when your souls are devoured. Something I'm sure your friend here knows a lot about.
She winks at Dean. Dean's expression hardens and he stares daggers at the three members of V.E.N.O.M.
Dean Coulter: Watch what you say, Nina, else we have ourselves a fair dinkum blue right here and now.
Nina: And then what would that prove?
Sam Braxton: Don't get me wrong, I love a good fight but that ain't what we're here for.
There is a tense pause, both sides ready to go at the other in the blink of an eye. Finally Dean breathes and relaxes.
Dean Coulter: Right you are. This is something only the ring can solve.
Sam Braxton: You Beauty!
The Lost Boys continue on their way, though Dean does cast a cursory glance back at a bemused Nina.
Jim Gunt: Looks like the Lost Boys aren't fazed by Nina and her cryptic musings.
Mike Rolash: She is a creepy-ass *bleep*, that's what she is.
Jim just rolls his eyes.
Jim Gunt: Anyways, after Silas' decisive win over KC3, this match here will now decide who will move into the Paramount title match at Confliction!
Ray Douglas: The following contest is scheduled for one fall under a fifteen minute time limit and is part of the Veterans Block of the Paramount Grand Prix!
Jim Gunt: The Paramount Grand Prix is proving to be one exciting way in which to crown our new Paramount Champion. A title-spot with some pretty big shoes to fill.
Ray Douglas: Making his way to the ring, from Dallas, Texas and weighing in at 227lbs, The Catalyst....JIMMY ALLEN!!
Jimmy Allen walks slowly out onto the stage as "Cut the Cord" by Shinedown plays. He pauses there to listen in to the mixed but mostly cheering response from the Australian crowd. He smiles a little, seemingly absorbing it all and getting energy from it. Sprinting towards the ring he leaps and dives under the bottom rope sliding to the centre of the ring where he pops up to a standing position.
Jim Gunt: The Catalyst has taken the CWF by storm and honesty I wouldn’t be upset if he was able to grab that championship strap. The guy certainly deserves it.
Mike Rolash: For god’s sake Jim, get your lips off his arse. Has he got some skill? Sure, but then I could say the same thing about quite a few on the CWF roster. Does he deserve to be Champion? Somehow I doubt he’s gonna cut the mustard. Especially if you bring the issues with his knee into the equation.
Ray Douglas: And the opponent, from Melbourne, Australia and weighing in at 240lbs, The Australian Submission Machine.…NATHAN PARADINE!!
Jim Gunt: Would you say Nathan is more your flavor Mike?
Mike Rolash: Yeah, nah…Or is it nah, yeah? Still can’t understand these frigging Aussies and their strange language.
Jim Gunt: You realize its mostly just English right?
The opening riff to "Beat The Devil's tattoo" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club begins to blast around the arena as Nathan Paradine emerges from behind the curtain, the overhead lights reflecting off of his trademark sunglasses. He smirks as he surveys the home-country crowd for a moment, thumbing the collar of his leather jacket before flicking his hands outwards and approaching the ring. He climbs the stairs and wipes his boots on the outside of the apron before stepping between the ropes. He observes the crowd once more before shrugging out of his jacket, passing it off to a stagehand and backing off into the corner to perform a few light warm ups before the bell rings.
Jim Gunt: The stark difference between the True Blue members of the roster, Nathan Paradine and The Lost Boys, is quite interesting.
Mike Rolash: What’s interesting is you're still harping on when there’s a match about to get under way.
Scott Dean performs his routine checks on both competitors, checking for any hidden illegal objects, then with a determined look from Paradine and Allen alike, the referee has nothing else to do except signal for the bell to get the match underway. Texan and Aussie converge in the center of the ring, Paradine lunging forward for a grapple attempt, but Allen evades with a quick hot-step to the side, lashing out with a lightning fast forearm to the side of the face in the process. Paradine is rocked by the stiff strike and is unable to muster a defence as Jimmy comes at him again, this time with an Inside-Out Crescent Kick. However he stalls, flinching in pain running through his knee, before dropping down for a cover attempt.
Jim Gunt: Jimmy Allen is high up there on the list of some of our strongest and most capable strikers. He fashions himself as a Practitioner of the Strong-Style.
Mike Rolash: So far all I’m seeing is a Master of Snore-Style. I mean that pin attempt was way too early!
Paradine kicks out of the lateral press pin attempt. Jimmy is unphased and moves in to maintain his advantage, Paradine surprises the Catalyst with a jawbreaker. Allen staggers backwards, giving the Australian Submission Machine the room he needs. A jumping neckbreaker has Jimmy Allen taken down to the mat.
Mike Rolash: Paradine’s game is one of attrition, slowly wearing down his opponents for that oh so satisfying submission victory.
Case in point, Nathan Paradine drops his knee onto the inside of Jimmy’s injured knee and folds it over his own leg, creating a submission situation. The cries from the Catalyst are clear evidence of the move’s effectiveness. Jimmy flails desperately to weather the pressure and find a means to weaken the grip of the Australian Submission Machine.
Jim Gunt: Nathan Paradine zeroing in on that injured knee, Jimmy realising how dangerous of a spot he is in, flailing and fighting wildly to find an escape.
Mike Rolash: Just one example by Paradine is the Fair Dinkum Submission Machine…That’s the right use of that, yeah?
Jim just shakes his head laughing as the action continues in the ring. A few desperate strikes to the face of Paradine is enough to loosen the hold and Jimmy is able to slip free, crawl-hopping away from his opponent. He gains enough ground, using the ropes to stand, and lash out with a snap superkick. At the last possible moment Nathan catches the boot of the Catalyst and blocks the impressive strike.
Mike Rolash: Jimmy Allen may find it difficult to maintain an offensive if he can barely move.
Jim Gunt: He does seem to be moving slower than the norm.
Nathan applies a standing anklelock, turning Jimmy around and bending the knee with the anklelock still applied and drawing the desired reaction of another exclamation of pain from the Catalyst, then Paradine executes a variation of the text-book high-angle belly-to-back suplex.
Jim Gunt: You don’t see that every day.
Paradine goes for the cover.
NO! Allen rolls his shoulder.
Jim Gunt: And the action continues! Jimmy Allen ain’t out of the fight yet.
Mike Rolash: But will he still be able to walk out of the arena when Paradine is finished?
The Catalyst trips up the advancing Paradine with a legsweep, then quick-as-a-flash is up and somersaulting with a standing Moonsault, holding on for the pin attempt.
Jim Gunt: Jimmy’s speed advantage may be the deciding factor here. He’s gotta keep moving and not let Nathan get him in a hold or grapple. Especially with that knee!
Paradine rolls his shoulder. Jimmy continues to favour his knee, his patented offence creating considerable strain on his injured limb. He is slow to climb back to his feet, giving Nathan enough time to also recover and close the gap between the two.
Mike Rolash: Just remember the Tortoise and the Hare…Slow and steady wins the race. The split moment Nathan can grind Jimmy down to a halt, his mat-based style is gonna do its work!
An irish whip has the Australian Submission Machine bouncing off of the ring ropes. Nathan Paradine ducks underneath a lariat attempt and goes to the opposing ropes for a second go around. However he purposefully throws himself partially through the ropes to reverse the momentum and rebound back into the ring for Spare Change. His running lariat connects the exact same moment Jimmy Allen spins himself around and connects with the Texas Heat roaring elbow! Both competitors collapse to the ring mats as the crowd goes wild, cheering their home country favorite Paradine to get back to his feet.
Jim Gunt: Oh no! What happens if this ends right here and now? What would that mean for the tournament?
Mike Rolash: Crickey! I demand a do-over!
Scott Dean begins his 10 count.
Jim Gunt: I see no sign of movement from either competitor.
Mike Rolash: God damnit get up!
Jimmy Allen stirs, dragging himself across the ring and underneath the bottom ring rope, to stand (unsteadily mind you) on the apron. Nathan Paradine also now stands. Jimmy leaps into the air, to springboard off of the top ring rope, but his knee fails him and he buckles, tumbling unceremoniously into the eagerly awaiting arms of the Australian Submission Machine, connecting with the Paraplex!
Jim Gunt: This could very much be over.
Like one of the many sharks that Australia is known for, Nathan advances onto his fallen prey. He grabs the Catalyst by the foot, setting up for a cross kneelock, honing in on that weakened and injured joint. Summoning up from his well of reserves, Jimmy Allen bursts with a sudden surge of energy and pulls Nathan in for a sudden small package pin.
Jim Gunt: Can Jimmy do it?
Mike Rolash: Not like this!
Ray Douglas: Here is your winner by pinfall and picking up two points in the Paramount Grand Prix…”The Catalyst” Jimmy Allen!!
Jim Gunt: What a fighter!
A large portion of the Canberra crowd boo as Jimmy pops back to his feet following the small package, looking surprised even himself as he stands over a frustrated Nathan Paradine.
The picture immediately cuts to Charles State and Blake Church, where Charles is setting up a desk and Blake is sitting on an equipment crate, deep in thought, apparently calculating. Neither seem to be aware that a camera is right there.
Blake Church: Now if my calculations are correct, we have a Canberra Conundrum.
Charles State: Is "C" the letter of the day?
Blake looks up, slightly bewildered.
Blake Church: Say...what?
Charles State: You've just been alliterating there.
Blake Church: Oh, sorry, didn't mean to.
Charles State: No worries, so what's the deal?
Blake Church: Well, Silas and Jimmy are even on points, they both have 4, so what now? A playoff match? Both advance?
Charles State continues to prep the table, having put a white board on it, propped against the wall.
Charles State: Don't know, ask Stewart. Or St. James.
Blake just shakes his head.
Blake Church: Why do people always have to make things so complicated?
The cameras take us backstage, into the bowels of the Canberra Stadium. The light is low, the atmosphere eerie, as the sound from a single set of footsteps echoes off the concrete floor and walls. We catch up with the owner of the footsteps, as the massive hulking figure of ‘The American Thoroughbred’ Quentin Scarboro comes into view.
Q appears pensive, lost in his thoughts as he trudges steadily, alone, down the otherwise silent corridor. He turns a corner, barely aware of where his footsteps are taking him... and stops dead in his tracks as he walks straight into ‘The Wrestling Inspector’ Stan Summers!
Stan Summers: Well, well, well... we seem to be making a habit of this, don’t we Mr. Scarboro?
A flash of anger passes across the big man’s face, his hands balling immediately into fists as he regards the sneering Summers. The Wrestling Inspector stands tall, attired once again in a plain, slightly dated looking shirt, suit jacket and trousers, ubiquitous black clipboard held in the crook of his right arm.
Quentin scowls down at Summers, staring straight into eyes partially obscured by grey-framed spectacles, before his eyes relax into something resembling a smile, glancing around at their foreboding surroundings as he speaks.
Q: Y’know, as the saying goes - there are some people you don’t wanna meet in a dark alley at night...
Stan Summers’ eyebrows flick upwards. He looks surprised, and perhaps begrudgingly, a little impressed with the conviction in Scarboro’s words.
Summers: Is that a threat, Quentin...?
Scarboro’s sneer intensifies.
Q: Why? Feeling threatened?
Summers barks out a low, hollow laugh.
Summers: Ho ho ho. Not at all, Quentin. Quite the contrary, I assure you. Seeing the fire burning in your eyes, hearing the passion behind your words, it’s exactly what I need. It makes me feel... invigorated.
The Wrestling Inspector hisses the final word, allowing the noise to echo and reverberate into nothingness, the two simply standing and facing one another for several silent moments before Quentin raises his hands in exasperation.
Q: What do you want?
Another raised eyebrow, but more silence from Stan Summers, which seems to further irritate The American Thoroughbred.
Q: Because I ain’t got time for these bullshit games. Listen here and listen good – They’re. Not. Gonna. Work. No matter what you say or what you do, when I get my hands on you in that rin-
Quentin was interrupted by more laughter from Summers, louder this time.
Summers: ‘That ring’? You think that’s what this is? You think I’m trying to get the upper hand for some sort of match we’re going to have together?! Good Lord, no! Ohh my dear boy - that is a good one!
Summers, still chuckling, whips a pen out of the top pocket of his jacket and swiftly scribbles something down on a sheet of paper attached to his clipboard, shaking his head in spite of himself. Q snarls in response.
Q: Then what the hell are you playin’ at?!
Summers merely pops the pen back into his jacket pocket, before slipping wordlessly past a seething Scarboro. He takes several steps down the dark corridor before his voice echoes through the gloom for the final time:
Summers: Patience, my dear boy. All will become clear soon enough. For now, it’s time for you to prepare for your first examination.
Jim Gunt: Blake and Charles are correct, Silas and Jimmy are even on points, so I hope someone will be able to clarify what is going to happen with this one.
Mike Rolash: Yeah, yeah, someone will get to it, I'm sure, but look, Ray is ready!
Ray Douglas: The following is a fifteen minute time limit match set for one fall, and is the final Rookie Block match in the Paramount Grand Prix!
“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC hits over the speaker system and the Australian crowd immediately come alive as Quentin Scarboro storms out from behind the curtain. He slowly and methodically walks down the ramp, getting a few slaps on the back as he never falters his focus, staring into the empty ring all along before sliding in and testing the ropes, looking more ready than ever for this rematch with Scourge.
Ray Douglas: First, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he is the American Thoroughbred….QUENTIN SCARBORO!!
The lights in the arena dim as the opening notes of Mourning Ritual's "Bad Moon Rising" ring out in the arena. The aisle fills with smoke as a giant silhouette appears within it. As the smoke billows away, the monster known as Scourge walks methodically to the ring. Once he reaches the ring, he leaps from the floor to the apron, setting the posts ablaze. He then steps over the top rope and walks right past Quentin to his own corner with an eerie calmness about him.
Ray Douglas: And his opponent, from Parts Unknown, the Darkness Incarnate….SCOURGE!!
Jim Gunt: Here we go Mike, a big rematch from two weeks ago when Scourge beat Quentin Scarboro in the closest of matches.
Mike Rolash: And that is precisely why this match shouldn’t even be happening. Look, I totally agree with the sentiment Scourge has been making, he’s already beaten Scarboro. When C$J decided to fire Mike Munson and Ryan Dream he should have been given a bye week right into the Confliction pay per view.
Jim Gunt: Seems to me that if Scourge is so confident in his wrestling ability and that he should have no problem coming out on top of Quentin yet again.
Mike Rolash: *in a mocking tone* seems-to-me…
Clark Summits gets a few whistles from the Australian ladies in the crowd as the calls for the bell, the best looking official on the CWF roster winking back at them before stepping back just in time for a clearly agitated Quentin Scarboro to come right at Scourge with a Missile Dropkick! The massive body of Scarboro soars through the air like a child, until he blasts the Darkness Incarnate right in the gut with both of his boots!
Jim Gunt: What a missile dropkick from Quentin to start this match off, I didn’t know the big man could fly like that.
Mike Rolash: Scourge was not ready, the bell has barely rang!
Jim Gunt: But it still rang, Mike. That’s all that matters. And now the American Thoroughbred is measuring up Scourge as he pulls himself up in the corner. Here comes Scarboro with a...Cannonball!? Holy shit, Scourge caught him out of mid-air, nearly dropping him straight on his head before deadlifting him back up and...RUNNING SIT OUT POWERBOMB!
Mike Rolash: It’s over!
Jim Gunt: Quentin Scarboro rolls his shoulder at the last second to the approval of the Canberra fans. These Australians sure do love their Big Man Wrestling, kinda like you Mike.
Mike Rolash: What can I say, there’s something about...hey!
Jim just snickers at his broadcoast partner as a frustrated Scourge slaps the canvas, gathering himself before he turns around and lifts Quentin up to his feet by his left arm, tucking it behind his back before powering him up to hit a Backbreaker. Scourge stays on his opponent, stomping him a couple times across different points of his spine before lowering himself down to the canvas to attempt a Camel Clutch on Scarboro.
Jim Gunt: The Alpha of the Omega going for a Camel Clutch on Quentin here, but he is not able to keep Big Q down as he’s somehow getting right up with the massive body of Scourge dangling from his back!
Mike Rolash: But the intelligent Scourge transitioning the clutch right into a Full Nelson, and now he once again retains control of Scarboro!
Jim Gunt: Full Nelson Slam! Big move from Scourge as he goes for another cover.
No! Yet again, Quentin Scarboro rolls a shoulder just at two. Rather than getting frustrated by the count of Clark Summits this time, Scourge places his hand upon the neck of Scarboro and yanks him right back to his feet. Scarboro fights back with a right hand to the side of Scourge’s head. But the Alpha of the Omega comes right back with several nasty throat strikes, bringing Big Q down to his knees as he coughs for a breath of air. Scourge claws him in the face, hoisting Scarboro in the air.
Jim Gunt: DARKNESS FALLS-NO! The Claw Hold Chokeslam almost hits home, but Big Q is able to break out just in time, and nails a HUGE Dropkick out of mid-air in the process!
Mike Rolash: I thought it was over there! This Big Q may be a big dumb old country boy, but he does have a lot of resiliency, I gotta give him that.
Ray Douglas: Ten minutes have elapsed! Five minutes remaining in this Paramount Grand Prix Match!
Mike Rolash: What!? Even in the finals of the damn rookie block we have a time limit, what kinda shit is that?
Jim Gunt: Watch your language Mike, those are simply the rules of the tournament. These two big hosses would fair well to hit their big guns while they can before this match ends up in a time limit draw. And Quentin looks to be doing just that as he is somehow mustering Scourge into the air for a Falcon Arrow, no transitioning- the PANCAKEPLEX! Very impressive, but will it be enough?
NO! SCOURGE KICKS OUT AT THE LAST SECOND!
Jim Gunt: Summits hand hit the canvas for three, but he just realized his mistake as Quentin Scarboro is to his feet celebrating!
Mike Rolash: Oh no…
The American Thoroughbred hops to his feet after hearing the three count of the official, turning his back to him as he leaps in the air in excitement. Big Q is going to Confliction, Big Q is going to Confliction, that is the one and only thought running through the big man's head. When he turns around and sees Clark Summits holding up two fingers he completely loses it, getting in the face of the official and screaming at him that he heard him count to three. Summits tries to explain his mistake and that the match continues, but Q isn’t having it, the distraction enough for Scourge to pop up and hit and Leaping Clothesline! Cover!
T-NO! Scarboro kicks out at two!
Jim Gunt: What a-
Ray Douglas: Thirteen minutes have elapsed. Two minutes remaining in this match!
Mike Rolash: Come on guys, one of you needs to get the job done! We can’t allow another PGP match to end in a time limit draw or this whole thing will look like a farce!
Jim Gunt: Scourge is calling for the end now as he hoists Quentin up for a Tombstone Piledriver, wait no- Scarboro reverses into his own Piledriver and spikes Scourge on his head!
“THIS IS AWESOME!”
*CLAP CLAP CLAP!*
“THIS IS AWESOME!”
Jim Gunt: I’ve got to agree with this sold out crowd, this match has been absolutely awesome. But I kind of doubt they’ll be chanting the same thing if this one ends in a draw, so Quentin is going to have to make the cover here.
Mike Rolash: But he’s not Jim, he’s getting up to his feet and calling for Scourge to get to his...what an idiot.
Jim Gunt: Don’t be so sure, Mike. THE MOMENT OF INTROSPECTION! Scarboro with that nasty Knee Strike to the neck of Scourge, and he’s out like a light as Big Q just lands on top of him!
Ray Douglas: The winner of this match by pinfall and picking up two points in the Paramount Grand Prix….QUENTIN SCARBORO!!
Jim Gunt: Big Q has done it, Mike! Despite his haters, Quentin tied it up with Scourge as both men go into Confliction with four points and now BOTH men will be in the Paramount Championship Match or not, Blake is right, why do things always have to be this complicated!!
Mike Rolash: What a match that should be, as both Jimmy Allen and Silas Artoria have qualified as well, maybe, someone really has to clear this up... Well I’m hearing something is going on backstage, so let’s head there...
Again the picture cuts backstage, but this time Charles and Blake are ready for the cut, the desk is all set up and a CWF cloth is hanging over the white board that is still leaning against the wall.
Blake Church: So we made sure to reach out to the powers that be to get some clarification on the Paramount Grand Prix and it has been made official!
Charles State: The final at Confliction will be a Fatal Fourway between Jimmy Allen, Silas Artoria, Quentin Scarboro and Scourge to decide who is going to be the brand new Paramount champion!
Blake Church: That's all, but we figured a few people might be slightly interested in this latest development, back to ringside, where I believe our boss is waiting.
Jon Stewart is shown standing in the ring wearing his trademark tux, a microphone swaying in his hands as he nonchalantly points over to a black table with with sets of contracts sitting atop of it on opposite sides where two chairs side at the table ends. Stewart garners a solid response from the Canberra crowd before he places his hands in the air to hush them, raising his microphone up to his lips.
Jon Stewart: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, and it is a pleasure to be here performing for all of you here in Canberra, Australia!
Stewart gets a cheap pop as he fidgets around with his microphone a bit.
Jim Gunt: What a response for our CWF commissioner!
Mike Rolash: A pretty cheap one at that, I'd say?
Jon Stewart: Well I am not one to waste time, so without further ado, it is time to call out Clyde Walker and Freddie Styles. The two of you, as well as the Snake Nation behind Walker and the Glass Ceiling behind Styles, have been at each other’s throats for weeks now. Things have come to a breaking point, and I have had enough. You two are affecting not only the wellbeing of yourselves, but the wellbeing of your fellow competitors with your antics in the backstage area and elsewhere, and I will not idly stand by and allow that.
For the first time, the fans actually boo Jon Stewart a little bit. The Evolution boss laughs calmly, raising a hand out.
Jon Stewart: Don’t get me wrong, guys, I love a good old-fashioned battle. But Big Rig and Styles have taken things further than that, it’s become personal between these two men. So that is why I have ruled that at Confliction, the two of them will face off in a Parking Lot Brawl! We’ll have the best security team imaginable to ensure the safety of fans and all onlookers alike, but we promise the most brutal of endings for these two men’s rivalry! So now, without further ado, let’s get these two men out here…
The lights go down, and all you see is a silhouette of a man, forming a diamond with his hands above his head as the opening riff hits...
You don't know what you're doing, doing, doing....
That's where you're wrong!
As the song moves into the verse, Freddie steps out from behind the curtain as he just stands there in his hooded vest, hood over his head, bouncing from side to side, before making his slow walk towards the ring.
I — will — not — lose
(You don't know what you're doing, doing, doing)
Put somethin' on it!
Freddie slowly walks up the ring steps, and steps through the ropes. He then stands on the middle rope, holding one arm above him, before stepping down, and leaning over in a corner. He takes the hood from off his head, scoffing at Jon Stewart who pulls a chair out for him before he eventually takes the chair and sits down.
Jim Gunt: The Hall of Famer Freddie Styles, who has been looking better than ever as of late. The man once again teamed with Duce Jones last week to upend the World Champion The Shadow and Clyde Walker.
Mike Rolash: Styles proved once again last week why he's one of the all time greats around here.
Jon Stewart: Thank you, and….
The backwater, lo-fi guitar breaks and enters through the speakers as the lights die down. As soon as this happens, the crowd becomes illuminated by cell phones lights.
Now I've never been the one to play it safe
I might play a little dirty some day
I'm just following fate they say I'm the chosen one
And then, Big Rig and his Fifth Wheel boys appears - with the boys carrying the Osage-nation buffalo skin themed state flag of Oklahoma proudly. Rig holds onto a can of beer and stops at the end of the stage to gaze out toward the crowd. He nods his head to the music, takes a sip of his beer, and then stretches his arms outward. He looks up toward the ceiling and screams:
"GET OUT THE WAY - THE BOYS ARE HERE!"
Jim Gunt: Gotta love Big Rig, the guy just knows how to have fun.
Mike Rolash: I know one person who's not quite "in love" is Mr. Ballgame himself...
With that, Rig departs from his chaingang and heads toward the ring, remaining focused on the Freddie Styles in the ring. Once he reaches it, Clyde slides underneath the bottom rope and gets right in Styles face as he rises out of his seat.
Jon Stewart: Now, now guys, calm down. This is not going to end like every other contract signing in the history of professional wrestling, no not on my watch. We are going to have a calm, cool and collected signing for your pay per view matchup.
Rig and Styles are both seething already.
Big Rig: You think that’s gonna work? Styles and his gang of thugs destroyed my rig. Where I come from, we don’t piss and moan when someone fucks with one of ours. We get revenge. We make a pig squeal. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do to your punk ass come Confliction.
A smirking Styles flings his fingers in the air, proposing for Walker to sit himself down.
Freddie Styles: Is ‘dat right? Truth of the matter is, I proved to the world that I am better than yo’ ass last week on Evolution. The Smokin’ Aces showed that we are not a thing of the past, that no matter if Duce Jones and Freddie Styles are out winning titles on our own or as a unit, we are winning. That’s what we do.
Jon Stewart: Gentlemen, please.
With Stewart finally able to calm down Walker and Styles enough to seat them, the CWF commissioner places a contract in front of them. Before he can even go over the specifics of the match, Big Rig signs his name on the dotted line.
Big Rig: It’s done then. I’m going to steamroll through your ass like a mack truck, Styles.
The Hall of Famer simply laughs back at the threat from Clyde Walker, replying by simply signing his name on his own contract- then shoving the table into the chest of Walker! Big Rig falls back in his chair, some of the Australian audience members laughing as he composes himself. Freddie is up on his feet, until one of the members of Snake Nation leaps on his back, pounding down on him!
Jim Gunt: It's Pandamonium out here!
Mike Rolash: What!? Pandalike is back, again?
Rig gets to his feet to assist him, but Byson Kaliban rolls into the ring and nails him with an Uppercut! Jones is in and fends off two more Snake Nation members, Stewart going crazy as he watches the action ensuing in the ring.
Jon Stewart: Security! We need some help out here!
The Canberra crowd boo as dozens of security guards in black come storming out from the back, hurrying to ring to stop the battle in the ring. Styles is able to break through them though, leaping up in the air to take out two security members and land a Big Splash on Walker! The two men battle to the canvas, going punch for punch before once again being broken up.
Jim Gunt: Well folks, that was certainly as wild as we expected it to be. As security continues to clean things up, let's get ready for The Lost Boys to take on Vince Espinoza and Omar Martinez of V.E.N.O.M.
Mike Rolash: In what should be a very interesting number one contenders match, as V.E.N.O.M were drafted over to Hostility last Friday!
The picture cuts to an empty ring with the CWF logo in it. The camera zooms into the logo as the voice of Blake Church is overlaid.
Blake Church: Some federations claim to be the best.
A bunch of CWF replica belts are thrown into the ring.
Blake Church: Some federations claim to be the toughest.
A bloodied sceptre is coming in, followed by a barbwire wrapped baseball bat.
Blake Church: Some federations claim to play the best mind games.
A burlap mask is thrown into view, then a druid's robe.
Blake Church: But only one federation manages to prove these claims.
A logo of the CWF Network is superimposed over the ring.
Blake Church: CWF Network, the only place you will need.
Fades to black.
Jim Gunt: Did Commissioner Stewart really think that this signing could have gone off without a hitch?
Mike Rolash: I'm telling you, these pills he keeps on popping are doing something up there.
He brings his index finger to his temple in a circular motion.
Jim Gunt: No comment. But we have tag team action coming up and this has all the prerequisites to become a very polarizing event here!
Ray Douglas: The following tag team contest is Number One Contenders Match for the CWF Tag Team Championships! Introducing first...
“Become The Enemy” by Like A Storm hits and Sam slides out onto the stage to thunderous applause by the Australian crowd. He remains on his knees and waits for Dean to march onto the stage, standing behind him. Together they look around the arena and to the ring before Sam leaps to his feet, throws back the hood of his jacket and sprints down to ringside.
Ray Douglas: Making their way to the ring, at a combined with of four hundred seventeen pounds, from Brisbane, Queensland! Sam Braxton, Dean Coulter....THE LOST BOYS!!
Sam waits, kneeling on the apron for Dean, who strides down the ramp to join his partner, kneeling on the apron. Together they look once again around the arena and the screaming home country fans, then enter the ring and ascend neighbouring turnbuckles. They raise their hands in front of their faces, fingers interlocked for a moment then descend back to the ring.
Jim Gunt: Fresh off a win over the tag champs, you have to think these guys are ready for anything at the moment.
Mike Rolash: They may be ready for anything, but they've never come across a force like V.E.N.O.M and they might be in for a long night.
A total blackout consumes the Canberra Stadium, as much as the fading daylight allows the opening sounds of “Second Death of Souls” by Matriarch to play. The fans began to stir, the lightsabers from cellphones can only be seen. As the song kicks up a notch, a red spotlight beams down on the stage area as V.E.N.O.M stands there, Nina leads the way, holding her Hostility Aversion Championship elegantly within her grasp, as the trio make their way to the ring.
Ray Douglas: Making their way to the ring, at a combined weight of four hundred fifty five pounds! Beinging accompanied to the ring by Nina! Vince Espinoza, Omar Martinez....V.E.N.O.M!!
Coming to a standstill at ringside, Vince and Omar make their way inside of the ring as Nina stands ringside.
Jim Gunt: These guys also hold a victory over the tag champs and even though they're signed to Hostility, they still feel they are contenders for the titles.
Mike Rolash: All I know is, whoever loses this match should still be in consideration for receiving a shot at those titles after Confliction.
Official “Big” Denny Davidson is done doing his checks, soon calling for the bell as it's Espinoza starting off with Braxton. Davidson seems a bit uneasy, officiating this match, giving what happened the last time he officiated a match with Espinoza in it. However, Vince stalks around him as he and Braxton circle around each other and soon tie-up. Espinoza easily forces Sam into a neutral corner. Davidson is there, trying to call for the break as Vince eases up a bit, before swinging wildly with a right hand as Sam ducks out of the way. Espinoza turns towards Sam, who is bouncing on the balls of his feet, telling Vince to bring it. Vince moves in for another lock up, but Braxton is able to execute a standing switch. Fighting against Sam's grip, Vince swings back viciously with an elbow, but being the faster of the two, Braxton is able to avoid harm.
Jim Gunt: This might be a smart strategy by Sam as he tries to stay quick on his feet. We all know what Vince is capable of doing to someone, inside of that ring.
Mike Rolash: Sam's focused on getting those tag titles back in their possession, but Coulter has to be on the same page...and considering the connection these guys have with Elisha and his group, Dean might not be all there.
The two men lock up again and it's Braxton with a side headlock. However, Vince easily pushes him off into the ropes, upon his return, Espinoza goes for a hip toss but Braxton manages to twist through, landing on his feet. His countrymen let out a round of applause as he simply shrugs at Vince, who seems frustrated. Vince now charges at Braxton, going for a lariat but once again Sam avoids imminent danger, racing to the corner and quickly scaling to the middle rope. Vince runs at him again, only for Sam to leap over him, landing on his feet with a forward roll.
Jim Gunt: Braxton is managing to play an excellent game of cat and mouse, hoping to somehow wear Vince down a bit.
Mike Rolash: Yeah, looks like he's waiting for the perfect moment to strike and Vince getting heated each time he misses Sam. You'd have to think that would throw him off his game.
Nina looks on, emotionlessly as Sam finally charges in at Vince, only to get flattened with a shoulder tackle!
Mike Rolash: It was at this moment he knew… he fucked up.
Looking down at Sam, Vince hits the ropes and runs over top Braxton, who's rolled to his stomach. Getting to his feet, Braxton leapfrogs over an incoming Espinoza as he rebounds, rebounding again, Sam dodges another lariat, rolling through towards his corner and almost smirking as Vince seems infuriated now. The Australian fans are showing Braxton some love as he smirks in acknowledgement. Sam reaches back to Dean and makes the tag as Martinez reaches out for a tag himself.
Jim Gunt: Do you hear these people Mike, they have truly missed the Lost Boys!
Mike Rolash: Thing is, they've been over here ever since they went missing. So it couldn't have been that bad.
As Martinez enters the ring, he quickly rushes Dean and surprises him with a forearm to the jaw. Refusing to back down, Coulter returns the favor with an european uppercut of his own. Omar connects with another forearm, followed by a big european uppercut by Dean. The two continue to exchange shots, until it's Coulter who's fed up and stops things with a knee lift to the midsection. Now backing Martinez up into the ropes, he shoots the Racer across, but Omar springs off the middle rope and catches Coulter as he descends with an arm drag, taking him down to the mat. Both men are back up quickly as now it's Coulter, who takes Martinez over with an arm drag!
Jim Gunt: The action is starting to pick up as both men are back to their feet. Clothesline ducked by Martinez as he bounces off the ropes and… Hurricanrana! But they're back up and it's Dean with a Cyclo-Rana of his own!
Mike Rolash: Right because Australia gets cyclones and not hurricanes, correct?
Both men are to their feet in separate corners, eyeing each other down as the crowd cheers them on. Both men tag back out to their respective partners, Vince charges full speed at Braxton but is sent crashing to the mat face first with a drop the hold. Rolling to his back, Vince quickly moves out of the way as Braxton attempts a standing moonsault! Hurriedly to his feet, Vince turns his back to Braxton and performs a moonsault of his own but receives the same fate as Braxton. This prompts Coulter to come in as he goes for a standing moonsault on Espinoza, but the pool is empty for him. Finally it's Martinez who wants to try his luck as he goes for a standing moonsault on Coulter but only crashes face first with the canvas. Braxton and Coulter both kip up to their feet as Martinez flips to his, meanwhile Espinoza simply sits up as the fans are on their feet, showing appreciation for the athletic display.
Mike Rolash: Why are these dumb fans celebrating? No one connected with anything...
Jim Gunt: It's call showing respect, Mike.
Mike Rolash: I understand that, but outside of Vince doing a backflip, I really didn't see anything special.
Jim Gunt: Ugh… One day…
Mike Rolash: One day, what?
Jim simply ignores him as Martinez moves in quickly with a boot to the gut of Braxton and tosses him out of the ring. However, Coulter is right there, taking him over the top rope and to the outside with a clothesline. But when he turns himself, he meets the boots of Espinoza, who executes a dropkick! Coulter crashes to the canvas and rolls out of the ring as Vince looks set to do something big!
Mike Rolash: How many tricks can one guy have up his sleeves?
Jim Gunt: It seems endless, when you're talking about a guy like Espinoza.
Espinoza hits the ropes, looking to fly but Braxton enters back into the ring and gets in his way. Ducking another lariat, Braxton spins through and clocks Espinoza across the skull with a Roundhouse Kick, forcing him through the ropes. Wasting no time, Braxton hits the ropes and takes out both Espinoza and Martinez as he comes flying through the ropes with a tope con hilo! The fans are to their feet cheering Sam and Dean on as they are back inside of the ring and on opposite turnbuckles, posing for their countrymen. Dropping from the corners, Coulter goes back to his team's designated corner as Sam slides out of the ring and rolls Vince back inside. With Espinoza getting to his feet, Sam perches himself on the apron, soon pulling himself to the top rope and taking Vince down with a crossbody, holding on for the pin as Davidson slides in for the count!
Jim Gunt: It looks like The Lost Boys are the anti venom for this group as they are not giving them a chance to breathe.
Mike Rolash: Those years of tagging together have made these two a well oiled machine and right now, it looks like their eyes are set on the CWF Tag Team Championships.
Braxton grabs a front facelock on Vince and drags him towards his team's corner, where Dean tags his back. Holding Vince down, Braxton exposes his side as Dean connects with a boot. Hooking a front facelock of his own, Coulter takes Vince over with a vertical suplex, quickly floating over into a pinning predicament as Denny makes the count!
Bringing Espinoza back to an upright position, Coulter tags Braxton back in as they now go for a double team. Coulter whips Vince into the ropes, taking him down with a drop toe hold as he rebounds, bounces off another set, Braxton slides in with a dropkick to Vince's face! Braxton shoots the half, going for the cover.
Jim Gunt: Vince with the shoulder up! And Mike have you seen anyone dominate Vince like this?
Mike Rolash: No I haven't, which gives me hope that the man isn't indestructible. And right now Sam and Dean are bringing him down a notch.
Not complaining about the count, Braxton brings Vince back up to his feet, however it seems as if the Boa gets a sudden burst of energy as he quickly hooks Braxton and sends him overhead and crashing to the canvas with an Exploder Suplex! Both men are down as the Australian fans come to life, stomping their feet in unison trying to will Sam back to his feet. But it's Vince who's first to reach his partner; making the tag, Martinez comes in on fire, dropping a rising Braxton back to the canvas with a running big boot. Coulter is now back inside as Martinez executes a forward roll and spikes Dean face first into the mat with a cutter! Omar seems to be summoning dark forces as the fans jeer him the whole way.
Jim Gunt: The roles seem to have been reversed here tonight as Omar is looking to bring his team back into this fight.
Mike Rolash: From the look on Nina's face that might not be a good thing.
Both Coulter and Braxton rise in opposite corners as Martinez first charges at Braxton, springing off the middle rope and connecting with a spin kick that slumps Sam. Now charging in the opposite direction, Omar gives Dean the same treatment as the fans boo his offense. Moving in Braxton, Martinez brings him to his feet and lifts him onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry, without hesitation he swings Braxton around for a Michinoku Driver, holding on for the pin.
Dean makes the save! Slowly getting to his feet, Coulter grabs ahold of Omar and brings him to his feet. However, Martinez breaks free and grabs the hand of Dean and quickly slaps him hard across the chest, now running towards a corner.. Martinez scales to the top before leaping through the air and taking Dean to the mat with an arm drag. Both men are to their feet as a clothesline attempt is ducked by Coulter as he hooks Omar from behind. Without a second thought, Dean lifts Omar up and spins him down into the canvas.
Jim Gunt: True Blue Thunder Bomb by Coulter and I think “Big” Denny has lost control of this match!
Mike Rolash: The action is moving so fast, how can you keep up?
Dean gets back to his feet and catches a charging Espinoza with a Roundhouse Kick! However Vince is still on his feet as Coulter rebounds off of the ropes, whatever he was attempting is thwarted as Vince catches him in mid air like a child and spins him back down to the mat with a Sidewinder Suplex! Slowly getting to his feet, Espinoza is caught off guard by Braxton who flips over his body, taking him down to the mat and now has a cross armbreaker applied. The crowd are to their feet, screaming for Vince to tap. But it's no dice as Vince is able to get to his feet, broadening his base and lifts Braxton high into air, while he's still locked on his arm. But Sam has the wherewithal to escape landing on his feet as the crowd explodes! He suddenly lifts Espinoza up into a fireman's carry, but a couple of elbow shots are all it takes for him to break free. Shoving Braxton into the ropes, Sam returns and takes Vince to the mat with a wheelbarrow roll, hurriedly getting to his feet, he double stomps the gut of Vince before coming down with an elbow drop! He stays on top for the pin as Davidson makes the count!
Jim Gunt: That was simply beautiful, how he transitioned out of the double stomp.
Mike Rolash: Sam Braxton really wants this win for his team and he's willing to pull out all stops to achieve just that.
Sam slowly rises to his feet as Omar is right there on him, but whatever he had planned is stopped as Dean grabs him and whips off into the ropes. Rebounding Omar connects with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors taking Coulter down to the mat. Back to his feet, Espinoza is sent crumbling to the canvas, thanks to a WIZARD OF AUS! BRAXTON IS ON HIS FEET, CELEBRATING WHEN VINCE BRUTALIZES HIM WITH A LARIAT TO THE BACK OF THE NECK! LETTING OUT A GUTTURAL YELL, BEFORE TURNING TO DEAN WHO CATCHES HIM WITH A CALF KICK! DEAN GETS BACK TO HIS FEET AND RECEIVES A SPINNING BACK ELBOW FROM MARTINEZ! COULTER REBOUNDS OFF THE ROPES AND TAKES MARTINEZ BACK DOWN WITH A SPIN HEEL KICK AND ALL FOUR MEN ARE DOWN!
"Holy Shit! Holy Shit!"
Jim Gunt: That exchange was brutal and listen to these fans, enjoying every moment of it.
Mike Rolash: A shot at the tag team titles is on the line, Jimbo. Which of these two teams will come out on top?
Both Espinoza and Coulter slowly get to their feet, Dean being the first to his feet. Dean charges in at Vince, but gets caught with a scoop powerslam! Back to his feet, Vince catches Braxton's foot as he goes to kick him. Spinning him around, Vince goes for a back suplex but Braxton is able to flip through, landing on his feet. Twisting his arm across his throat, Braxton has Vince setup for the Brax-Breaker. Suddenly a recovered Coulter springs to life and races towards them and in unison, him and Braxton nails the…
Jim Gunt: TOGETHER, SAM AND DEAN HAVE MET VINCE AT THE CROSSROADS! IT SHOULD BE ACADEMIC FROM HERE!
Mike Rolash: Coulter’s holding Martinez off as Sam goes for the pin!
Ray Douglas: Here are your winners via pinfall and Number One Contenders for the CWF Tag Team Championships....THE LOST BOYS!
The picture switches backstage, where Blake Church and Charles State are standing in front of their table and the big white board is no longer veiled, showing the Confliction logo on top. Several magnetic name tags are to the side of the board and in its centre is what looks to be the running order of the show.
Blake Church: Good you came along, because things are starting to take shape here for Confliction.
He points at already complete matches on the bill.
Charles State: We already knew about "Big Rig" Clyde Walker vs. Freddie Styles in a Parking Lot Brawl since last week, as well as the local heroes Lost Boys facing off against the Samoan Ghost Connection for a shot at the tag team titles.
He points at a cluster of name tags at the centre top of the board.
Charles State: And today we were able to add another match and the final of the Paramount Grand Prix has turned out to be even more spectacular than we could ever have expected!
Blake Church: Yes, a Fatal Fourway match due to too many people with equal points after the round robin, so now we will have Scourge, Quentin Scarboro, Silas Artoria and Jimmy Allen all together in one big battle for the gold. Neither of them have held singles titles in CWF, so it will be exciting to get a brand new champion crowned in Melbourne!
Suddenly a knock interrupts and Charles looks around, trying to find the source of the knocking when a flap opens on top of the table their board is resting on and a hand comes out with a folder piece of paper. Blake takes it with a suspicious look and the hand disappears with a flourish.
Blake Church: OK, that was, uh, different, let's see what this, hm, messenger brought us.
As he unfolds, Charles is trying to open the flap again, but the table top looks perfectly sealed and underneath he cannot find any sign of it either.
Blake Church: So we have just been informed that there is another match announced for Confliction, between two mystery entrants, but no other information.
He turns around the piece of paper, trying to find what he assumes is the rest of the message.
Charles State: Alright, so you've heard it here first, a mystery match nobody knew about with two wrestlers nobody knows and put together by someone we don't know, all delivered by a, well, hand that appeared out of nowhere. Sounds legit. Back to you folks.
“So you’re telling me you don’t want to step into the ring at Confliction...?”
Christopher St. James’ voice rings out across the table within the small office which had been temporarily set up for him within Canberra Stadium. Across the table sits ‘The Wrestling Inspector’, Stan Summers, who isn’t even giving CWF’s owner the privilege of eye contact; instead, the W.I.R.E. employee sits in the chair opposite C$J, scrawling absent-mindedly on a piece of paper attached to the ever-present clipboard with the ever-present Parker pen.
Summers: No, not yet. I still have some... assessments to complete on the Championship Wrestling Federation.
Stan speaks blithely, giving the impression St. James does not warrant his full attention. The CWF owner, perhaps trying to regain some authority, stands and places both hands on the desk in front of him, leaning over slightly as he speaks again, this time in a tone dripping with sarcasm.
C$J: Well you’ll forgive me for enquiring exactly what your initial impression of our little company has been? I’m sure you’ll agree we’re not a completely lost cause, eh Stan?
Summers sighs, long and loud, and with what seems like a huge effort, looks up from his clipboard and into the eyes of the CWF owner standing before him.
Summers: I won’t lie to you Christopher, there is much work ahead. This won’t be a short inspection, that’s for sure. And yes, there will be an element of... practical assessment... required during my tenure here.
A pregnant pause, broken finally by an exasperated-looking C$J.
C$J: But not yet?
Summers: No, for now I am content merely to observe. To continue to try to understand my latest pet project – one Quentin Scarboro.
C$J draws himself up to his fullest height, in another attempt to re-assert his authority over his latest guest. When he speaks next, it is in a weighty tone dripping with a backnote of threat.
C$J: The American Thoroughbred has a rather important Paramount Championship encounter planned for Confliction. I certainly hope, Mr. Summers, that you weren’t planning any... shenanigans. I can assure you that the CWF hierarchy would not take kindly to any more of your impromptu involvement in Scarboro’s affairs. And I’m sure your beloved WIRE bosses wouldn’t be too keen either.
Summers presses his hand to his chest, painting a mock offended expression across his usually stern features.
Summers: I wouldn’t dream of meddling, Christopher, please know that. However, it is well within my remit as Senior Inspector within the Wrestling Inspection, Review and Examination authority; I am duty bound to ensure that wrestling companies and their employees the world around are abiding by certain standards.
It is obvious by his expression that C$J is exercising every effort not to roll his eyes in front of The Wrestling Inspector.
Summers: And, as I have already intimated, it has not been immediately obvious to me that these standards are being upheld within the Paramount division here in the CWF. And it is for this reason that I am inserting myself in the Confliction Paramount Championship match as a special guest referee, in order to ensure that the required standards can be set and maintained from day one of this title being challenged for.
C$J: You can’t do-
Summers silences an angry-looking CWF owner with a single raise of the hand, before he withdraws a single sheet of paper from the clipboard and places it on the desk in front of C$J with a flourish.
Summers: I think you’ll find I can.
St. James reads the note with a look of fury on his face, before sitting back down on the chair behind him, anger being replaced by somewhat desperate resignation even as The Wrestling Inspector continues on:
Summers: Furthermore, a pay-per-view event seems the perfect opportunity to commence the practical aspect of my inspection.
C$J: But, you just said you wouldn’t be stepping into the ring yet...?!
Summers: Very observant, Christopher. But you’ll note, I didn’t say anything about the fact that I would be commencing the practical assessment. No... instead I feel that this is the ideal time to introduce you, and the CWF, to my... enforcer...
At this, Stan gestures towards the corner of the room, where a hulking figure previously obscured by shadow now steps out to tower above the seated pair; C$J looking surprised, perhaps angry, Summers quietly smug.
Summers: I am sure that you will be able to accommodate Scott Dann here into the Confliction card, no?
The camera lingers on the face of C$J, who wears an expression that screams “What have I done to deserve this?” as he stares into the eyes of the newly introduced ‘Enforcer’, Scott Dann, before the camera fades slowly to black.
Mike Rolash: There is so much going on in CWF right now, it's not even funny! I'm starting to lose track.
Jim Gunt: Starting to? Yeah right... So we have a mysterious mystery match announced for Confliction, nobody has any more information on it yet, but I hope we will get some clarification on this and Scott Dann is the latest addition to the CWF roster as enforcer of this weird little inspector there.
Mike Rolash: What is this whole W.I.R.E thing anyways? Are we turning Sesame Street, spelling everything out? CWF, V.E.N.O.M, W.I.R.E. This is getting A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G...
Ray Douglas: The following match is set for one fall!
Mike Rolash: Aaand now for something completely different...
Purple lights shine around the top of the ramp, fog rolling around it as the beginning lyrics of ‘Somewhere in Hollywood’ by Sixx A.M. start to play, the tron displaying a purple outlined black raven with her name fading in over it.
As the guitar riff starts up, the purple lights start to flicker like a strobe light as Autumn slowly walks out from the back, coming to a stop at the top of the ramp. She glances out at the crowd with a smirk on her face as she starts down the ramp slowly.
Ray Douglas: From Los Angeles, California, weighing 120 pounds, she is the Beautiful Psychopath....AUTUMN RAVEN!!
She walks around the ring, glaring at the fans sitting at ringside before sliding under the bottom rope and leaping to her feet, giving the crowd a smug smile. She runs to the corner turnbuckle, climbing to the second one, taunting the crowd, as she flings her arms out to the sides once again before climbing down.
Jim Gunt: Autumn Raven comes into Canberra riding the crest of a wave following a string of good performances here in the CWF.
Mike Rolash: Sure, and how does this Judas repay us? By jumping ship to Hostility!
Jim Gunt: She... errr... that's quite an insult, Mike...
Mike Rolash: JUDAS!!!
The lights flicker as we hear this over the PA System...
"Dangerous Tonight" by Alice Cooper starts to play as Ataxia enters the arena wearing his cloak of raven feathers, tophat, cane, and raven mask over his usual bag like mask. The Messiah Pariah looks worse for wear, holding onto the back of his neck with his right hand and rubbing it as he stands atop of the ramp soaking in the boos from the Canberra crowd.
Ray Douglas: And her opponent... from Parts Unknown, he is The Messiah Pariah....ATAXIA!!
Ataxia spins the cane around and walks right past the booing fans to the ringside area. He climbs into the ring gingerly and much slower than normal takes off the cloak. He proceeds to take off the mask, hat and cane. A ring attendant grabs them as Ataxia stares back at Autumn Raven.
Mike Rolash: Our resident bag-wearing psycho is looking pretty spritely tonight... considering he was the victim of attempted murder last week!
Jim Gunt: Must you always be so melodramatic?!
Mike Rolash: I’m just saying Jim, it’s no wonder he’s looking motivated and ready to bounce back...
Jim Gunt: Well, you can’t argu-
Mike Rolash: ... ready to bounce back by committing ATTEMPTED MURDER on his JUDAS opponent!!!
Jim Gunt (sighing): This has been a long night...
In the ring, referee Nick McArthur, having finished his pre-match preparations, signals for the opening bell. As it sounds, Raven has already let out a visceral scream and begun to charge, taking The Messiah Pariah by surprise as she levels him with a flying forearm to the head, looking to take immediate advantage of his injury as she sends him sprawling. Ataxia bounces back to his feet quickly, but Raven’s momentum has taken her into the ring ropes and then back towards her opponent, who’s taken back down to the canvas with an impactful bulldog. Autumn Raven follows up with an opportunistic cover.
Ataxia responds with a powerful kickout, unsteadying the smaller, slighter frame of Autumn Raven. The Beautiful Psychopath attempts to keep her opponent grounded with a succession of stiff kicks and stomps to the torso, neck and head, but Ataxia battles gamely back to his feet even against the barrage of boots. He shoves Raven backwards into the ropes on the other side of the ring; A-Ray comes charging back, looking intent on taking her opponent straight back down to the canvas... but is met by the flying form of Ataxia, who nails her with an athletic and aesthetically-pleasing spinning wheel kick to the face, sending her sprawling!
Autumn Raven is rocked for a second, but manages to scrabble back to her feet surprisingly quickly considering the impact of the previous move. Ataxia, though, has leapt up to the top rope in the nearest corner, and as Raven turns, The Messiah Pariah is already flying through the air towards her, nailing her with a flying reverse elbow! Ataxia is quick to go for the pin.
Jim Gunt: A breathless start in this one, with neither competitor able to sustain an advantage thus far!
Mike Rolash: I've got to say, even I'm a little surprised at how well Ataxia is moving in this one. Is the guy really even human?
Both competitors regain their vertical base once more, a little more slowly this time. Ataxia aims an almighty swing at Raven’s head, but The Beautiful Psychopath nimbly ducks, the blow, before following up on her unsteady opponent with three stiff forearms to the jaw. Autumn Raven backs Ataxia onto the ropes before whipping him roughly across the ring, taking The Messiah Pariah down to the canvas with a swift drop toehold; Raven then expertly floats over her fallen adversary in order to slap on an STF!
Jim Gunt: Beautiful!
Mike Rolash: I didn’t know you had a thing for Autumn Raven, Jim. What would your wife say?
Jim Gunt: No... I... umm... I was just talking about... about that sequence of moves...
Mike Rolash: Tut tut Jim... tut tut indeed.
Jim Gunt: Oh please!
Ataxia’s grunts and groans under the pressure of the submission hold threaten to drown out Jim’s protestations, as the Beautiful Psychopath wrenches back on the hold. Referee Nick McArthur is right there asking for the submission, but Ataxia merely cackles in his face. Raven looks confused, and her momentary lapse is enough for Ataxia to take advantage of, as he twists and contorts both his and Raven’s body into a complicated pinning predicament!
Ataxia pounds the mat in frustration, but recovers his composure quickly as Autumn Raven springs up and out of the pin; Tax is there to meet her, though, and uses her momentum to scoop her up and over his shoulder, before taking A-Ray down with a powerslam. A standing leg drop across the throat is next, followed by a succession of nasty looking stomps to Raven’s head and neck area. The Messiah Pariah looks to be building a head of steam, until he suddenly appears distracted by...
Mike Rolash: What the hell is that...?
Heads throughout the Canberra Stadium all flick towards the stage area – there, to the side and in the shadows, a mysterious figure in a familiar-looking full-length robe stands stock still, seemingly staring directly at The Messiah Pariah despite the fact the figure’s face is completely obscured by the darkness in which it stands.
Ataxia, even underneath the ubiquitous head bag, looks puzzled and angry, holding his hands up high in confusion as he stares a hole into the shadowy figure. His attention is held long enough for the fallen Autumn Raven to wriggle up behind him and execute a school boy roll-up!
Mike Rolash: Almost got him!
Jim Gunt: Had she done so, that victory would have needed a huge asterix next to it in the record books, as it would be remiss not to acknowledge the huge assist from that unknown figure in the shadows.
Mike Rolash: Too true Jim – that maniac needs to get his bag-wearing head back in the game if he wants to come away with the win tonight!
Almost as if he’d heard CWF’s colour commentator, Ataxia shakes himself back into focus, before blocking a vicious looking roundhouse right and following up with three of his own, rocking The Beautiful Psychopath. A-Ray comes back with a standing dropkick, but Ataxia catches her legs and immediately steps through into a boston crab, wrenching down and backwards as Raven screams in pain and frustration.
Jim Gunt: Boston crab! The Messiah Pariah has Raven locked in!
Ataxia’s cackles can be heard even over the roaring boos of the Canberra crowd as Nick McArthur once again slides to the mat, asking for the submission. Raven, though, grits her teeth and is able to summon up the energy to power out of the hold, sending Ataxia sprawling into the ring ropes on the other side of the ring. The Messiah Pariah untangles himself quickly, but the momentary lapse only gives Autumn Raven time to haul herself to her feet, rear back and deliver.
Jim Gunt: Claw of the Night! This is-
Mike Rolash: No!
The Messiah Pariah, though, is almost Matrix-like in his evasive manner, dodging out of the way of the superkick. This time it’s Autumn Raven’s turn to be unsteady, and Ataxia leaps at the chance to take advantage – literally! The Messiah Pariah takes two big steps across the ring, a third onto the turnbuckle, and in one fluid movement, pirouettes through the air before nailing an impactful kick to the side of Autumn Raven’s head, sending The Beautiful Psychopath crumpling to the floor.
Jim Gunt: Peaceful Tolerance! This IS over now!
Referee Nick McArthur drops down to the canvas to make the cover.
Ray Douglas: Here is your winner... ATAXIAAAA!!!
The referee gets to his feet to raise the hand of the victor, but The Messiah Pariah has already slid under the ropes and is making a beeline up the ramp. The shocked Canberra crowd look on in silence, some of them cheering on Autumn Raven as she gets to her feet slowly.
Mike Rolash: Does he have a train to catch or something...?
Jim Gunt: No - he’s heading for that figure in the shadows!
Indeed, Ataxia has burned a path straight down the side of the stage, and is gunning straight for the hooded figure, who still remains stood stock still. Ataxia lets out another loud scream as he runs full pelt, looking to take the figure down...but just as the point of impact would normally be made, the figure seems to lose all form and structure, apparently vanishing into thin air as the robe falls sadly to the floor. Ataxia simply looks nonplussed, sat on the floor surrounded by the robe and the jeers of the CWF crowd.
Mike Rolash: What the hell is going on here?
Jim Gunt: It looks to me like The Shadow may have upped the ante on the mind games as this unusual saga continues to unfold. How will Ataxia respond at the Confliction pay-per-view? Tune in next week to find out folks!
Mike Rolash: I don't know Jim, something tells me we may not have to wait until next week to see the sequel between these two. But for now, let's head backstage...
CWF Commissioner, Jon Stewart is stepping out of his impromptu office within the Canberra Stadium when he comes almost literally face-to-face with a familiar figure.
“Where is he?”
It is Leona Gainsborough, manager and partner of Impact Champion, Zach van Owen, and good friend of the members of the Forsaken
Jon Stewart: Leona…
Leona Gainsborough: Where is Xander god damnit? He took Zach and I’m gonna make him pay!
Jon Stewart: Mr Haze has distanced himself from the CWF since that incident, and it may be hard to believe but I don’t think he’s involved.
Jon is right, it is hard to believe.
Leona Gainsborough: Well what about that dipshit, John Kreese? Where is he? God knows he’ll be involved.
Jon Stewart: Please Ms Gainsborough.
Leona Gainsborough: No one seems to be doing anything! It’s like nobody gives a damn!
Jon Stewart: An investigation is underway, with the very best taking the lead. I’m sorry, there isn’t much else anyone can do at this point, but know that Zach is very much on our minds and in our hearts.
Leona Gainsborough: Stow that thoughts and prayers bullshit.
Jon Stewart: I suggest you return home, skulking around here won’t do you any good. Ah, Dorian!
By some good fortune Dorian Hawkhurst passes by at that moment and the Commissioner catches his attention.
Jon Stewart: Could you be so kind as to accompany Leona. She is still very much distraught and could use the support of a friend.
Wordlessly Dorian complies and gingerly drapes an arm around the Lioness of Pennsylvania, leading her away. It has been several weeks since the Modern Warfare Pay-Per-View where Zach van Owen had been carried away by a veritable sea of impostors clad in the Impakt bodysuit. There has been no sight or sound of the Game-Changer since that day, no indication of ransom by the captors. The Impact Champion has just disappeared.
A grave concern for many.
CUE UP: "Goodnight" by The Birthday Massacre
Jim Gunt: Ladies and gents we are BACK at ringside and the sounds of the crowd can be heard to the moon and back as they welcome the CWF’s returning hero to the ring!
Mike Rolash: Easy there, Gunter. Let Doogie up there in the ring earn his check.
Sure enough, we cut to the ring and Ray Douglas, the fans already ahead of him with their ‘EMM JAY EFF’ chant.
Ray Douglas: Ladies and gentlemen, our next match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, from Warwick, New York, USA… EMM! JAY! FLAIR!!
Without dramatics or extraneous posing, MJ Flair walks out with a lift in her step that either screams confidence or screams the projection of confidence. The crowd welcomes her like a hometown hero, despite this tour being her first ever visit to Australia.
Jim Gunt: The fans throughout this tour have certainly shown their love for the CWF, Mike - and MJ Flair has carried the banner ever since she first stepped into our ring! I think she’s picked up right where she left off at Modern Warfare!
Mike Rolash: Do you have a peace pipe hidden somewhere? Like, what kind of hippie lingo is that? Carrying a banner? Peace and love? Shush your face, Gunter. The truth is that Flair came back for a selfish reason: revenge. We’ve got a two-time former World Champion challenging another former World Champion who may or may not even be a thing anymore for a feel-good bloodbath that puts a semi-innocent bystander in the line of fire, and they don’t even have the courtesy of wrestling for a title. Did I miss anything?
Jim Gunt: …
Mike Rolash: Put that in the pipe and smoke it.
MJ makes her way down to the ring, slapping every outstretched hand and bumping taking the time to pose for a few pictures, sign some autographs, and return any and all high five and fist bump requests pointed in her general direction. Once at ringside, however, she skips her usual entrance and slides under the bottom rope, and paces like a caged animal.
As soon as her music fades, however…
Mike Rolash: I REALLY don't like it when these Forsaken people decide to turn out the lights. It's usually spooky, made to torment me for no reason, or just not necessary. I... I...
Jim Gunt: You wha... What is that?
CUE UP: “Banana Man” by Tally Hall
A single spotlight comes on the stage as a stagehand wheels out a moving platform, on top of which stands a single, solitary banana. More spotlights begin to come on, bathing the banana in glorious light, all eyes fixated on it, not noticing the screen above the banana has come to life and a single, emoticon, generally disregarded in everyday speech, appears, and an oh so familiar bass riff begins and "Banana Man" fades into the distance. The emoticon is what draws the most attention though as it becomes the only source of light outside the spotlights now spinning rapidly around the banana. "Committed" by One-Eyed Doll rings out for all to hear and the response is of course, ear splitting.
Jim Gunt: It can't be! She hasn't been seen since she was viciously attacked by The Aces!
Mike Rolash: Ya' know, that has technically never been proven. This is like every weird nightmare that I've had since Mia has joined CWF and she disappeared. I... I don't feel well any more.
As Mike sinks down lower in his chair the banana skin finally peels itself away to reveal the one and only, Mia Rayne, dressed to compete in her latest official t-shirt, available exclusively at shopzone.cwf.com. Before anything else can be said or done though, The Crimson Ghost comes in from out of no where and slams a whipped cream pie right in Mia's face! The crowd goes silent and the only sounds can be heard is the laughter emitting from both Ghost and Mike Rolash. That is until shrill laughter rings out through both TGC's and Rolash's as Mia joins in before leaping off the platform she's on and rocking The Crimson Ghost with a Punchline right on the jaw! TCG crumples to the entrance ramp and Mia takes some of the cream from her face and wipes it across his mask in a makeshift smile, before sampling it for herself. Her eyes center in on MJ as she nears the ring.
Jim Gunt: Mia Rayne has clearly lost none of her whimsey, Mike!
Mike Rolash: I hope she’s brought enough to spare, since it looks like Flair’s are in short supply.
Mia walks up the ring steps fairly nonchalantly, and steps between the ropes with cream falling off her face. The crowd is chanting ‘Welcome Back!’ as loud as they can, and she smiles at her opponent.
Jim Gunt: This has to throw MJ off her game, Mike! She still has her game face on, but she was hoping for one opponent, expecting another, and is in the ring with a third!
Mike Rolash: So it’s a tough business. Put on your big girl britches and deal.
As referee Trent Robbins turns his back on Mia to speak to MJ, Mia grabs him from behind! He freezes and MJ steps towards her…
...but all Mia is doing is wiping her face off on the back of Robbins’ shirt.
Mike Rolash: I love the mind games.
Jim Gunt: One minute you love the mind games, the next you hate the Forsaken’s mysterious lights dropping. Can you make up your mind?
Mike Rolash: …
Jim Gunt: Not so fun now, is it?
There’s the bell, and Mia circles the ring - but MJ drops any pretext of a wrestling match and rushes her with a right hand to the face! Another right! A third! Mia is rocked into the corner! MJ folds her hands and brings a double axe - handle down on Mia’s head - MIA WITH A SPLIT! MJ’s hands crash into the turnbuckle pad and Mia with a leg sweep!
Jim Gunt: Mia to the outside! Trent Robbins backs MJ up, and this is a good move by Mia!
Mike Rolash: It certainly is. Take a breather, get your legs back, stop your opponent’s momentum. I’m a fan.
Robbins’ count never gets past two, as he is continually stopping MJ from leaving the ring. Outside, Mia remains out of reach from the ring, wisely keeping her distance.
Mike Rolash: See, this is how dumb Flair is. All she’s doing is giving her opponent recovery time.
Jim Gunt: She’s definitely far too overzealous, Mike.
After Trent Robbins backs MJ up again, he starts his count on Mia, and she stares across the ring at her old friend. Mia takes a tentative step towards the ring and grabs the middle rope to reenter the ring… MJ FLAIR WITH A RUNNING KNEE TO THE HEAD! MIA FLIES BACKWARDS AND CATCHES HERSELF ON THE GUARDRAIL!
Jim Gunt: Robbins again trying to bring MJ in line, and I think he’s threatening disqualification!
Mike Rolash: It’s about time, she’s been a rogue for far too long.
Trent Robbins returns his attention to Mia Rayne outside the ring and he counts ONE.
Mia gets herself together and looks towards the ring, just in time to see MJ Flair climb to the top rope out of the referee’s view!
Jim Gunt: MJ with an aerial - MIA SIDESTEPS! FIST TO THE STOMACH! Mia Rayne slides back into the ring while MJ holds her stomach on her knees on the floor! Robbins starts a new count!
Mike Rolash: You’ve flipped it, Mia… now get in there and finish her! Or, you know… out there!
In the ring, Mia Rayne actually does not make a move to go out there and finish her opponent. She stands near the opposite side of the ring ropes, waiting and watching. At the count of five, when MJ’s hand appears on the apron, she tenses a bit and gets herself into a defensive stance.
Jim Gunt: Both of these athletes are back in the ring, and I’m surprised at Mia - she didn’t go for an advantage while her opponent was compromised!
Mike Rolash: Surprised, really? She was a bit cloying, but she always fought with honor. Can’t say the same for Flair.
They lock up, and both women struggle for control. Mia powers MJ backwards, but MJ digs in her heels and lowers her center of gravity to compensate.
Jim Gunt: We’re at a stalemate here, Mike - Mia Rayne has a height and weight advantage over MJ, but I think MJ compensates with her overall strength; she may be the most fit wrestler in the CWF right now!
Mike Rolash: I mean, you call her fit, but she’s a CrossFitter. How fit can someone get when they’re hitting tires with a sledgehammer, or whatever they do...
Jim Gunt: What?
Mike Rolash: I just realized how fun that sounds.
Mia with a two - handed choke lift! The referee counts, but MJ hooks her legs around Mia’s waist!
Mike Rolash: So how do we call this?
Jim Gunt: Both women are doing something to interrupt the airflow into their opponent’s lungs, but MJ’s hold is legal while Mia’s isn’t--MIA WITH A MODIFIED POWERBOMB! COVER!
The fans count along, as the slo-mo replay shows Mia dropping her hands from MJ’s neck and swiftly moving them to her opponent’s collarbone, slamming her head, neck, and back first into the mat before making the cover. MJ’s kickout moves her close enough to the ropes to grab them in order to get herself back up.
Jim Gunt: Mia with the first near-fall of the match, but beyond that I think these two women have been fairly evened up so far!
Mike Rolash: Are you kidding? Mia’s been playing smart, playing defensively, and keeping her distance. Flair’s run in like a bull in a china shop and while that might get her a few lucky hits, it’s no way to win a match.
To his point, Mia has backed up, and she waits on her knees for MJ to get herself back up. As the two-time former World Champion does so, she turns around and beelines for Mia! Swift kick to the side of the head while Mia is still on her knees!
Jim Gunt: That caught her off guard, Mike! Mia got her hand up to block MJ’s kick but I don’t think she blocked all of it!
Mike Rolash: And to my point, Flair is on top with a bunch of illegal closed fists and not even attempting a cover.
Trent Robbins cautions her - and warns her - and finally, he pushes her shoulders up and gets in her face! Mia Rayne hooks her shoulders and reverses her!
Jim Gunt: That was close, Mike - and Trent Robbins really needs to walk a line here. While MJ Flair absolutely should be respecting his authority as referee and listening when he tells her to break, should that have been a three count MJ would have had full cause to cry referee interference.
Mike Rolash: Blah, blah, blah.
Again, Mia escapes to the outside to catch her breath. This time, however, MJ, instead of trying to go straight for her and breaking the count - she steps back while Robbins counts one. Counts two. And she slides out of the ring behind his back! Mia watches her come and backs up, but she’s moving much more slowly than MJ as she’s continually looking over her shoulder at what might be coming up on her head on from the rear.
MJ lunges at her - MIA SIDESTEPS! MJ hits the ring post with her shoulder and Mia with a belly to back suplex on the floor!
Jim Gunt: Mia Rayne has taken a clear advantage in this match! Now she’s sliding back into the ring!
Mike Rolash: Well, what do you expect? These two were friends… are friends? I don’t know. Would you want to stick around while someone wants to hit you?
Jim Gunt: I couldn’t say. Why do you come to work every day?
Mike Rolash: ...That was hurtful.
Trent Robbins counts.
MJ holds the back of her head as she rolls towards the timekeeper’s table.
In the ring, Mia Rayne waits behind the referee. She’s ready for whatever comes next but is smart enough to try to keep herself behind the referee so she is fully prepared for whatever comes.
Jim Gunt: MJ has a chair!
Mike Rolash: If Robbins had issue with Flair using a closed fist, he’s probably going to really disapprove of a weapon.
Even as Robbins cautions MJ about bringing a foreign object into play, she slides the chair into the ring and follows it in quickly. Mia with a running knee! MJ gets a forearm up to block, but she’s still put back into the corner! Mia follows with a forearm of her own, punching down - MJ with a headbutt to the stomach! Lift and a spinebuster! MJ covers!
Jim Gunt: MJ pounds her fist into the mat in frustration!
Mike Rolash: That was her first attempt at a pin, what did she expect?
Taking only a moment to vent, MJ scoops Mia up once again and sets her up for what looks to be a powerbomb.
Jim Gunt: This could be it, Mike!
Mike Rolash: If stick figure MJ can lift a real woman like Mia, that is!
Jim Gunt: MJ lifts - MIA POWERS DOWN! BACKDROP! OOOOH! MJ LANDED BACK FIRST ON THAT CHAIR!
Mike Rolash: It’s her own fault for bringing it in!
Since her shoulders are not on the mat, MJ is not in any danger of being pinned, but she rolls off the chair onto her knees as the referee checks on her. Mia moves in, but Robbins backs her off!
Jim Gunt: MJ IS UP!
While Mia listens to Trent Robbins finish telling her to back up so he can count MJ, the former two-time Champion herself has stood up, chair in hand, and she takes three or so steps over, swings it around Robbins, and bends the steel over Mia’s head!
Predictably, he calls for the bell.
Mike Rolash: Nice representative of the brand, Gunter!
The fans rise in volume as MJ hits Mia again - this time across the back. She yells at the prone body of her opponent, “FIGHT ME! NO MORE GAMES!”
Jim Gunt: MJ has been disqualified, and Trent Robbins grabs the chair from her, mid - swing! They’re arguing, all the while security is headed to the ring!
Mike Rolash: Thank you, but a trifle late.
MJ drives a boot into her opponent’s side as Mia just begins to stir, and three members of security pull her back and hold her away while Trent Robbins threatens a fine, and the fans unify in a chant of ‘LET THEM GO!’
Mike Rolash: Bloodthirsty ghouls, here.
Jim Gunt: While I’d argue that they just want to see a good fight, I also have to agree that you need two people ready for a fight. Right now we have three members of security and Trent Robbins holding MJ Flair back while Mia Rayne recovers her senses on the other side of the….
Jim Gunt’s voice trails off as he sees Mia near the ropes on one knee. She looks down, looks at MJ, and holds her hand to her head.
She looks back at MJ, and reaches into her boot for… something.
Mike Rolash: What’s she doing?
Jim Gunt: Oh, don’t tell me…
Mike Rolash: Flair wanted it!
And Mia Rayne pulls a familiar mask over her head.
Jim Gunt: LOKI SYNN! MJ FLAIR HAS UNLOCKED LOKI SYNN!
She stands up with a shot and charges the assemblage, driving a forceful punch right into MJ’s face!
Mike Rolash: And stupid Flair is being held down by security! Hah!
At the shot, clearly not ready for it, MJ goes down to the mat while security immediately switches their focus from MJ to Mia.
Instead of trying to calm her down, they pull her out of the ring and attempt to move her up the aisle.
Jim Gunt: MJ trying to stand up, but she’s on wobbly legs! Already, you can see the bruise forming around her eye!
Mike Rolash: She wanted it, she got it!
MJ drops to her knees and yells at Ray Douglas to hand her a microphone. He practically trips over himself getting there, at least partly out of fear.
Mike Rolash: Too bad Loki didn’t drill her in the mouth.
In the ring, MJ charges to the ropes nearest Loki. Trent Robbins gets in front of her, but MJ does not push past him.
MJF: No more, Loki.
She touches the bruise around her eye.
MJF: No more of this bullshit. No more decorum, no more rules, no more professional etiquette. No more disqualifications or mind games.
The statement intrigues Loki enough for her to stop pushing back to the ring; she waits and listens.
MJF: Confliction. One last fight. No disqualification. No foreign objects. No interference. No excuses.
Jim Gunt: MJ just threw the microphone towards Loki! She grabs it!
Mike Rolash: The whack to the side of the head certainly didn’t affect her motor skills.
Loki holds the microphone in her hand and waits for several seconds before she replies.
Loki Synn: No mercy.
The fans explode at the response, and Evolution cuts elsewhere to clean up the mess!
As the ring crews work frantically to get the ring ready for the main event, the picture switches to Blake Church and Charles State still at their desk, adding MJ Flair and a hand-written Loki Synn magnet into the middle.
Blake Church: Wow, what a development and what a match to be added to Confliction, MJ Flair is getting her wish and go against Loki Synn one more time in what promises to be one of the grudgiest matches we've seen in a long time.
Charles State: And who knew that the key was chair shaped.
Despite the seriousness of the situation Blake cannot help but snorting out a laugh.
Blake Church: So next week at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne--
As if on queue the mysterious hand appears again through a flap in the desk, once more holding a folded piece of paper. Charles gingerly grabs it and after a short wave in the direction of the camera it retreats again. Charles double checks the desk top and underneath again.
Charles State: Where does this thing come from, for heaven's sakes??
Shaking his head he unfolds the paper and his eyes go wide.
Charles State: Well, as we are just being informed, Confliction will not be taking place at the Rod Laver Arena, but has been moved to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds due to the overwhelming demand by the Australian fans!
Blake lets out a whistle.
Blake Church: That place is almost seven times as large, I think we need to come to Oz more often! Anyways, I hear that Dan Ryan has some words for us just before his match against The Shadow!
The locker room in Canberra. Dan Ryan is alone, having carved out a room for himself in the stadium. We’re looking straight up into his face as he holds a small video camera and looks down into it.
Ryan: Hey there Canberra. It’s been awhile. Yeah, you know. I’ve been doing this and that, and it’s been some years, but I’m back.
Now we all wanna see a good show, and you know I always deliver. For the last month or so, I’ve been here knockin’ off the rust and taking care of business. Last week, I got to toss Ataxia off the stage and onto his neck, just like I used to, and I have to say it felt good. No, it felt really good.
Apparently, one of the paramedics pulled that little string on his back that makes him do that weird cackle, and he did his weeble wobble routine with a little laugh thrown in for effect, but that’s okay. The human body responds to pain the way it wants to, no matter how crazy you are. Anyone can be hurt. Anyone can be put down. It’s about whether or not you come back that really matters isn’t it?
Ryan smiles, softly and kindly
Ryan: I’m sure he’ll be fine. I didn’t throw him that hard.
And back to our regularly scheduled stoicism.
Ryan: But let’s focus on the task at hand, shall we?
This week I face you one on one, The Shadow. And The Shadow, let me tell you something. Here in CAN…….. wait for it… BERRA, you get an introduction -- yes, ONLY an introduction. You see, you don’t get the whole package tonight, no matter how much you want it. Tonight you get a taste. But soon, believe me, very soon I’m coming for that championship of yours.
Ryan adopts a look of determination.
Ryan: So shine a light, The Shadow. Shine a light so you can be in your full The Shadowy glory. Don’t let it dim, not before I get to take my fist and break some of those pretty little teeth of yours. But not all of them. No, not all of them. Save some for next time.
Ryan gets very serious and very dark in his expression.
Ryan: It’s no fun if you can’t savor it.
The lightest of sinister smirks tugs at the corner of Ryan’s mouth, then…
Ray Douglas: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the main event of tonight’s Evolution. Introducing first, hailing from Houston, Texas, and weighing in at 305 pounds!! He... is... DAAAAANNNN... RYYYYYYAAAANNNNN!!!
The lights go out and a dual-spotlight makes an encircling pattern on the entrance area as the opening riff of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Zero” plays. When the riff audio kicks it up a notch, Dan Ryan steps out and pauses, looking into the audience, then heads down the aisle as pyro blasts behind him. The video shows clips from his career: powerbombing Mark Windham, superkicking Craig Miles, taking Impulse's head off with a clothesline, hitting Eli Flair with the Headliner, countering a Castor Strife dive into a vicious powerslam, smirking as he pins Bronson Box.
Jim Gunt: Even though the title is not on the line today, it will be very interesting to see what could have been, if Dan had beaten Ataxia in the Modern Warfare semi finals. But going with what he just said he does not seem to be too concerned, but that he is here to scout and observe.
Ryan walks directly to the ring, rolls in under the bottom rope and climbs the nearest turnbuckle, keeping his arms down and smirking into the crowd as the music plays.
Mike Rolash: He might well be the champion, just look at the size of this man!
Jim Gunt: And there we go again.
Mike Rolash: What?
The lights go out and opening drums of Primordial’s “Wield Lightning to Split the Sun” start to play, sending cheers through the crowd. Blue light illuminates the stage entrance, casting the fog wafting in an eerie light as two hooded figures step out.
Ray Douglas: And his opponent, the reigning CWF World Heavyweight champion, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada - THE SHADOW!
The Shadow raises his staff and then points it towards Dan Ryan standing in the ring, motionless, observing The Shadow walking down the ramp with Myfanwy at his side.
Jim Gunt: Here we have two of the most cerebral wrestlers this federation has ever seen going head to head.
Mike Rolash (yawns): Yeah, I’ve seen that cerebral crap before.
The Shadow steps through the ropes, not taking his eyes off his opponent. Dan steps forward into the centre of the ring and The Shadow walks right up, having to crane his neck to meet the gaze of the taller Ego Buster. Finally referee Nick McArthur steps between them and The Shadow takes off his robe and title, handing it over to Myfanwy. McArthur signals for the bell to be rung and Dan motions for The Shadow to come forward, but the reigning champion does not move.
Mike Rolash: What is he waiting for? Is he...afraid?
Jim Gunt: No, he is observing. Looks like Dan Ryan is not the only one trying to learn his opponent
Neither of the two men are making any moves towards each other, but have started to circle each other, trying to study the opponent, to find the weak spot, the opening. The camera moves over to Mike, who is standing up.
Mike Rolash: Booooring! Booooring!
Jim Gunt: Will you sit down!?!
Mike Rolash: But look at them!
Jim Gunt: They are meeting each other for the first time, the title is not on the line, so why would they go all out?
Mike Rolash: For me?
As if they decided together to make Mike’s wish come true, they spring into action with The Shadow rushing in for a sudden clothesline. Dan ducks under and turns to receive The Shadow coming off the ropes, ready for a back body drop, but the Weaver of Dreams rolls over his back and lands on his feet behind Ryan, who whirls around to face him.
Jim Gunt: There, happy?
Mike Rolash: Better, yeah.
Jim Gunt: This promises to be an interesting match. Dan Ryan usually has a counter to anything his opponent could throw at him, but with The Shadow he has a master of observation as his adversary.
Mike Rolash: And back to boring.
The two circle each other again and both start fake attempts at an attack, testing out the other’s reaction time. Just like the first time around, one of these fakes suddenly converts into an actual attack as Dan lunges forward, then drops to one knee and takes The Shadow down with a quick arm drag that he immediately tries to convert into a Fujiwara armbar, but the man in black twists around, plants his feet onto the bottom rope and pushes himself off, throwing Ryan off balance.
Jim Gunt: Yeah, this is not going to be a quick, high flying affair, that’s for sure.
Mike Rolash: Wake me up when they’re actually doing something.
As both men get to their feet again, The Ego Buster moves in right away, grabbing The Shadow and holding him in a tight hold from behind. German suplex! But he does not go for the cover, but pulls The Shadow right back up, ROLLING GERMAN SUPLEX into the bridge!
Jim Gunt: Yes, that was a little optimistic here.
Mike Rolash: You won’t know till you try it.
Both men are back on their feet, holding each other’s gaze once more. But this time they jump into action faster than before with Dan Ryan going on the offense trying to grab and overpower The Shadow, but the Canadian was expecting the move and dodges out of the way.
Jim Gunt: The Shadow is going for the Crucifix and the momentum is enough to bring the big man down!
Mike Rolash: Yeah, on him. Bright move.
Jim Gunt: Yes, but that was a surprising move there. And Dan is in motion again.
As both men are getting up, Dan decides to launch himself forward into a kind of spear that takes the champion by surprise and knocks the wind out of him for a moment. But that is enough for the bigger man to lift The Shadow up onto his shoulders.
Jim Gunt: This almost looks like…
Mike Rolash: What? Ooh, this could be the end!
Dan goes to execute his feared Burning Hammer move, but The Shadow has just enough wherewithal to twist himself, kind of landing on his feet, but his momentum sweeping him right through the ropes and to the floor, Myfanwy rushing to his side to make sure he is ok. He places his hand on her shoulder to indicate he is alright without taking his eyes off Dan.
Crowd: Holy shit! Holy shit!
Jim Gunt: No kidding!
Mike Rolash: I don’t like this guy, but this was an incredible escape!
Even Dan acknowledges this with a small nod towards The Shadow, who responds the same, but whose expression shows that he knows that he narrowly escaped a potentially deadly move, looking at Ryan warier than ever. Not letting him out of his sight he ascends the steps and back through the ropes.
Jim Gunt: Our champion did not expect this one.
Mike Rolash: No, I want to see more of this.
Jim Gunt: Oh, suddenly you are all awake again?
Mike Rolash: Give me action and I’m right there.
The two men start to slowly circle each other again and this time it is The Shadow that goes on the offensive, rushing forward with a clothesline attempt that Ryan easily ducks under, but it looks like The Shadow had planned on that, because he jumps onto the middle rope and bouncing back hits some variant of the Superman punch at the Texan that brings him down.
Jim Gunt: Whoa, that was a nice move and The Shadow is going on the top rope!
Mike Rolash: Is he nuts?
Jim Gunt: FLIGHT OF THE NIGHT DEMON!
He lands a beautiful swanton bomb into the Ego Buster, rolling through and turning into a crouch a faint smile on his face. He does not waste any time and pulls a groggy Dan up and with great strain lifts him up onto one shoulder.
Mike Rolash: What on earth…
Jim Gunt: He can’t!
With a grimace The Shadow puts Ryan into the position for a tombstone piledriver, but the big man manages to shift his weight, causing The Shadow to fall backwards, barely finding the time to roll out of the way as Ryan crashes to the mat. Both men are down.
Crowd: This is awesome! This is awesome!
Jim Gunt: Who would have thought that what started so measured could turn into this!
Mike Rolash: I grudgingly must agree with you.
Both men drag themselves to opposite corners into a seated position, just staring at each other for a bit, processing each other’s moves. The Shadow is first to his feet and just as Ryan is coming to his, the Weaver of Dreams suddenly takes a run and leaps off.
Jim Gunt: Hammer of the Gods!
The running dropkick hits Dan right into the chest, driving all air out of him. Just as The Shadow steps through the ropes to ascend the turnbuckle, a reaction from the crowd draws his attention to the entrance, where a familiar masked figure has just stepped through the curtain.
Mike Rolash: Oh no, not him on top of this!
Ataxia is wearing a neck brace, courtesy of Dan Ryan throwing him off the stage last week, and is headed straight for the ring, where both The Shadow and Dan are watching him come down the ramp. Nick McArthur clearly is not sure what to do, so he just stands back for now.
Jim Gunt: I can’t say I am entirely surprised that Ataxia is showing up here, with what happened last week and then this mysterious robe during his match, but one can’t help but wonder what this is going to turn into. He has something in his hand!
Mike Rolash: It looks like a pen of some sorts?
The Messiah Pariah walks up the steps and through the ropes, holding up the pen and pointing to his neck brace, which looks like having several scribbles on it.
Jim Gunt: Is he seriously asking them to sign his neck brace?
And indeed he is motioning for them to come over, but unsurprisingly neither man moves. Ataxia comes closer, still pointing at his neckbrace when he all of a sudden lunges forward, brandishing his pen like a knife, trying to stab the two opponents, taking them by complete surprise. Immediately the bell rings to indicate the end of the match.
Jim Gunt: Holy hell, what just happened?
Mike Rolash: He - tried to kill them…??
The two men can barely avoid the sudden flurry of stabs before knocking him on his back. As Ataxia flings out his arm to brace the fall, Myfanwy rushes close, brings her elbow down hard on the masked man’s wrist, causing him to drop the pen. He quickly turns around and takes a swing at her through the ropes with his left arm, but she ducks down just in time for him to only swing through her hair.
Mike Rolash: That was a gutsy move, he could have taken her out right then and there!
Jim Gunt: Absolutely, but that’s just the distraction The Shadow and Dan Ryan needed!
Both men are on Ataxia when suddenly the lights flicker and Alabama's "Im in a Hurry to Get Things Done" starts to sound, stopping all three dead in their tracks.
CWF commissioner Jon Stewart walks through the curtains, an angry look on his face, his usual calm demeanor clearly having taken a hit this evening. The three combatants all get to their feet, retreating in three separate corners as the chief steps through the ropes, a microphone in hand.
Jon Stewart: I’ve just about had it with all of you tonight! At first Big Rig and Freddie and now you? What is wrong with you people?
As all three men begin to talk, he only puts up his index finger to silence them.
Jon Stewart: This has to be settled and this will be settled in Melbourne at Confliction. You!
He points at Ataxia.
Jon Stewart: You!
He points at Dan Ryan.
Jon Stewart: And you!
He points at The Shadow.
Jon Stewart: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Triple Threat match for the title.
The crowd erupts in loud cheers upon this announcement when a voice rings through the Canberra Stadium.
Duce Jones: Naw. Naw… Shit not bout t'go down like dis!
All heads swivel to show Duce Jones walking down the ramp.
Duce Jones: Hol’ on fo’ a minute.
He steps through the ropes, with a paper in his hands.
Jim Gunt: Duce is here and he has a paper.
Mike Rolash: I’m telling you, paper is the root of half the evil in this federation!
Duce Jones: Dis shit not goin’ down like dis.
Jon Stewart: And why not?
He holds up the piece of paper that bears the CWF logo on top.
Duce Jones: Dis is a guarantee fo’ a shot at tha World Title.
Jon Stewart: Says who?
Duce Jones: Ya boss! When tha Glass Ceiling agreed t’stop our protest, he signed dis deal in return and I want dat title shot at Confliction!
Stewart takes the paper and reads through it before handing it back to Duce.
Jon Stewart: Alright, looks legit, so change of plans, no Triple Threat next week, sorry, folks.
The crowd reaction immediately turns hostile. Stewart points at Duce.
Jon Stewart: You!
A smile appears on Duce’s face. The commissioner makes a sweeping motion through the ring.
Jon Stewart: Them!
The smile disappears.
Jon Stewart: Fatal Fourway. Falls Count Anywhere. See you in Melbourne!
With that he steps through the ropes to thundering applause and walks up the ramp while the four competitors look at him in disbelief as the picture cuts to the credits.
Results compiled and archived with the Efed Management Suite