LHR London Heathrow Airport
Francis Walcott and Andrey Dolgopolov can be seen exiting the customs area at Heathrow airport, Hamish Stainthorpe already awaiting their arrival. After a brief handshake with Dolgopolov and a quick brotherly embrace with Walcott, the trio sets out towards curbside, where Stainthorpe’s black Vauxhall Grandland X is already waiting, a man in his 30s behind the wheel.
Hamish Stainthorpe: Gentlemen, this is Commander Murray Donaldson, Murray, these are Francis Walcott and Andrey Dolgolopolov--
Andrey Dolgopolov: Andrey.
Hamish Stainthorpe: Thank you.
Murray Donaldson: Pleasure to meet you, Hamish here has told me quite a few things, especially about you, Mr. Walcott.
Francis Walcott: Not sure if I should feel flattered or afraid, but just call me Francis.
Murray Donaldson: You don’t have to worry, Francis. So we will be on our way to Sevenoaks right away and get our equipment, we’ll meet up with the others and get this going.
Francis Walcott: Others?
Murray Donaldson: Yes. Two more specialists with electronics and, let’s call it anaesthesia. Hamish has booked you into Great Harwoods Farm again, we have until tomorrow late morning to get everything in order, so you can relax tonight.
Francis Walcott: Oh, good, Belhaven Scottish Stout!
Hamish Stainthorpe (laughing): Yes, we will make sure to get you some of that, too. But first we get our equipment, then the fun.
Great Harwoods Farm Bed & Breakfast, West Beaming, West Sussex, UK
The Great Harwoods Farm Bed & Breakfast. Walcott and Dolgopolov are enjoying a nice big breakfast, when Stainthorpe and Donaldson enter the dining room, two more people in tow. They grab one of the adjacent tables and bring it closer as the B&B owner comes over with a fresh, big pot of tea, as if she had been notified before.
Murray Donaldson: Good morning gentlemen, may introduce to you, Jagbir Khan, electronics, and Myfanwy verch Owain, she is a specialist for the, uh, chemical side of things.
Khan is a short, dark-skinned man, thick black mustache, but completely bald, while verch Owain is of medium build, with thick, curly red hair and a mischievous look around her eyes.
Hamish Stainthorpe: So folks, it’s d-day, so to say, let’s go over the details again. Golobayov and his driver leave the Manor every second day at 1115 hours on the dot. About a 25 minute drive since they do not take the main road, then he gets to the Datcha. Lunch averages at around an hour and on the way back is when we will go for it. Jagbir here is going to affix the EMP generator to the bottom of the limousine, which in turn will be triggered as he passes us.
Murray Donaldson: There is a very good spot in the middle of the forest, usually deserted road, nobody will see it coming. Then it is a simple thing to arrive on the scene and pluck them right off.
Francis Walcott: OK, now let’s say that the car turns off, cell phones turn off, we manage to get to Golobayov… Will they not get suspicious pretty quickly over at the manor, if the limo does not show up?
Murray Donaldson: Oh, they will. But all they will find is the limousine. And when we are done with him, both him and the driver will show up almost at their doorstep in perfect fine shape, just missing a few hours of their memory.
Francis Walcott: OK, makes sense. But how will we know that he is telling us the truth and not just fabricated mumbo jumbo?
Myfanwy verch Owain: Leave that up to me, I have a few things in my arsenal that will help us.
And with the sweetest of smiles that betrays her preparing to be part of a black op-style kidnapping she gets up and leaves the room.
B2110 between Crawley and West Beaming, West Sussex, UK
The forest along the rural road B2110 between The Datcha Restaurant in Crawley and the Institute’s Manor in West Beaming. Down a narrow dirt road leading somewhere inside the forest, a black Vauxhall Grandland X as well as an old ragged Land Rover are parked just out of sight, with Jagbir Khan in the back of the Land Rover monitoring all kinds of equipment that will trigger the electro magnetic pulse to disable the limousine as well as the cell phones inside. Myfanwy verch Owain has two syringes ready to go in a satchel, which she still is very mum about. Walcott and Stainthorpe are sitting in the Grandland, nervously chatting, while Dolgopolov sits on a tree stump, smoking a filterless cigarette, completely detached from everything around him. A radio crackles and Donaldson’s voice comes through that the limousine has passed his spot a few hundred yards up the road.
Hamish Stainthorpe: It’s showtime!
Without any other words exchanged everybody springs into action, taking up their previously discussed positions, ready to go.
Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, UK
A windowless room, two neon lights above a hospital bed buzzing away. An unmoving man is laying in bed, slowly coming to. He is not alone. Myfanwy verch Owain is monitoring a heart rate and blood pressure monitor, while Hamish Stainthorpe and Francis Walcott are sitting in chairs close by.
Hamish Stainthorpe: Good day, Dr. Golobayov, I hope you had a good rest.
Dr. Ivan Golobayov: Где я?
Hamish Stainthorpe: I am assuming you are wondering where you are or who we are and neither matters, Doctor. We only have a few questions that we would need some answers for and you will be on your merry way.
Dr. Ivan Golobayov: Я не говорю по английски!
Hamish Stainthorpe: Unfortunately I do not speak Russian, so you will have to switch to English, please.
Dr. Ivan Golobayov (with a big grin on his face): No English!
Suddenly a voice comes from the far end of the room.
Andrei Dolgopolov: Это не проблема, врач.
Doctor Golobayov’s smile immediately vanishes and his already pale complexion loses another shade.
The Inn at Grace Winery in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. A scenic, sprawling farm and winery with a few beautiful Georgian style cottages set among the trees. The camera moves to one grey stone building, a covered porch flanking the entrance. A little dining/lounge/conference room is attached to its side, with big floor to ceiling windows and French doors, which are open to allow the warm spring air in. Coming closer, the camera reveals The Shadow together with a few of the druids seated at a table, with a large screen TV hooked up to a laptop.
Sanford Thibodaux clicks a remote to test out the connection and a blue image shows up on the screen. As he clicks the remote one more time, two big pictures pop up on the screen side by side.
The Shadow: The Smokin’ Aces… Duce Jones, Freddie Styles… Did you know that waay back around Modern Warfare, people had already pegged you guys as a tag team? Took you quite a few turns on the carousel to finally come out of the woodwork and would you look at that? Suddenly you are the team to beat for the title.
He gets up and starts pacing.
The Shadow: I am not saying that you got the titles cheap, but you definitely were at the right place at the right time. Not many teams can say that they shot from zero to hero in no time like you have, most of them had to toil away through the tag team division far more to even get a whiff at the titles. Obviously you have been able to benefit from a division within that, well, division. But your rapid ascent has no importance to the match at hand, because sometimes just being at the right place at the right time is all it takes.
He points at the picture of Duce Jones.
The Shadow: Duce Jones, second generation wrestler, one of the youngest World Heavyweight champions in CWF history. A modern day Icarus, soaring to heights previously unthought of, dethroning the Accelerator, Harley Hodge, during Modern Warfare. You held on by beating actually Mr. Styles right here and progressed to the finale - and a memorable finale it was. You turned into the champion that never was beaten, for you fell victim to a screwjob that people would talk about for months, with Jace Valentine turning to Ryan Sunset’s dark side and betraying everything and everyone. Since that day, you’ve never quite been the same again…
Images of Duce in a trashed locker room flicker across the screen.
The Shadow: It came out that you were (are?) not all alone, since your companion Byson Kaliban decided to show up and confuse the heck out of everybody. And in all honesty, it was not easy for your opponents either, never knowing which of the two of you would actually show up. Coming to think of it, where did Byson actually disappear to? Anyways, you always managed to stay in the upper echelons of the federation, but it took until Mr. Styles came back into the picture and teamed up with you that things began to look up and up they looked dramatically!
The grim face of Freddie Styles appears on the screen, surrounded by Chaolin Sahn, Ryan Sunset, Elisha and Alex Cain.
The Shadow: And here he is, the famed Mr. Freddie Styles, Mr. Ballgame. Now your history is almost even more interesting than Mr. Jones’, because you once stood in the most influential stable in the history of CWF - the Eternals. And that is one of the most dramatic changes of fortunes for all of the involved. You were the enforcer, you were their brawn, called in when they felt the need to intimidate someone or just to make their will known. You were the lowest on the totem pole, but as suspicious as your affiliation was back then, kudos to you for stepping away from this precursor of what now is the Oreo Cookie Club.
The image changes to Freddie standing with Duce and MJ Flair when he was supposed to be on the Eternals’ side after a main event.
The Shadow: Around that time you have had your highest highs, reaching the semi finals of Modern Warfare and main eventing, skirting around the World Heavyweight title for a while, yet success, while always close, would elude you and then suddenly it was as if someone pulled the rug right out from under your feet. What had gone right before, began not to work anymore. Some little injuries added up and then - poof - you were gone. Dropped out to recover, refresh, reset. And when you came back - Duce was there, right when you returned against none other than Billy Anderson. And the rest is history, fighting against questionable booking and finally creating the Smokin’ Aces and their cometlike ascent to hold the titles, wresting them from the Lost Boys in their darkest hour.
The Smokin’ Aces holding the titles high in the air after their victory comes to the screen.
The Shadow: And so now we are here, Mia Rayne and I, having won a Fatal Fourway match against some more and some less formidable foes, entering Golden Intentions to upset the champions, much like you had done not long ago. I am sure that one thing you will be focusing on when looking at us, is us as The Forsaken versus Oreos. How our attention cannot be fully on you, but always divided, worrying about an attack or something else that could distract us from our goal. We have been fighting our battles with the Cookies, yet have we faltered on our way as a group? No. Ataxia still has his belt, Dorian gave Caledonia a run for her money and Mia and I, well, we are here.
He stops his pacing as Duce and Freddie’s pictures appear on the screen again.
The Shadow: Now you two, though, interestingly enough have not declared any position in the big war that is going on. Not that I would believe either of you would side with the Oreos, it is both surprising and remarkable that you have not yet taken a stance against them either, especially given Mr. Styles’ former ill-begotten affiliation with them and both of you having stood with MJ before. Even Silas has declared that he does not want any part in this conflict, however foolishly he thinks that he can avoid being sucked into the maelstrom that has been created by the unholy pact Rish and Elisha had struck prior to this insane match… But the Aristocat is a story for a different time.
The screen changes to show The Forsaken and the Smokin’ Aces side by side, looking as if they are ready to go.
The Shadow: So now enough of the past, let’s look into the future, shall we? Golden Intentions, surrounded by all the other matches, mostly title matches - lumberjack, submission, cage, Malice in Wonderland match… And here we are, a classic, standard tag team match, nothing fancy. So how do we all measure up now? On one side two of the Forsaken. A group that is still mostly being viewed as misfits, outcasts, which in itself is not inherently wrong, stopping at nothing, interfering whenever and wherever they please, because you know, we’re eeeeeevil. But I believe that we have proved by now that we’re not just a jumbled together crew, that we are not here to take whatever by any means necessary, no. We still abide by ethics, even though it may not be as visible at first glance.
On the other hand we have the Smokin’ Aces, some may call it a fateful union, some a team borne from similar fates. It is undeniable that you have chemistry, it is undeniable that you guys have talent, but are you ready to take on a forsaken force that is intertwined on a completely different level? The four of us go beyond your usual group born out of necessity or business, we have this bond that goes deep and as different as we are, makes us one.
And you know what the biggest difference between you and The Forsaken is? You have everything to lose, we already have lost more than you will ever be able to imagine. We have nothing more to lose, but everything to gain.
He reaches into a pocket and pulls out a package of Nicorette.
The Shadow: And here, you might need these, maybe it’ll help your aces to quit smoking. Heard it’s not healthy…
The picture fades in to the same conference room at the Inn at Grace Winery. The sun has almost set, a cool breeze is moving the curtains as the camera turns around. Apart from The Shadow and Thibodaux, Anders Fagermo and Ciaran O’Fathaigh are in attendance. Thibodaux is seemingly trying to get an image onto the screen, given the look on his face and the fist slamming on the table, not very successfully.
Anders Fagermo: So this rumble thing, you against 29 people, that’s a lot of ground to cover.
The Shadow: Yes, obviously there are some of them that don’t really stand much of a chance to win and some that we do not even know about yet. I also have absolutely no idea when I’ll be called into the ring, I just know that Starr is number 1, King 2 and Duce 30, but other than that there are a lot of people in between. So you can’t really lay out any tactics per se, but still, it can’t hurt to be prepared. Thibodaux, the show is a week from now, do you think we’ll be seeing something by then?
Thibodaux stops cursing at the laptop just long enough to send The Shadow a look so serious that none of the other attendees could help but break out laughing. At this moment Alistair McLean comes in, has a quick look, then walks around the table, grabs a cable, plugs it into the laptop and the screen comes to life.
Alistair McLean: Yer welcome.
Thibodaux looks at him incredulously before he is being snapped back to reality.
The Shadow: Sanford? Sanford! Earth to Thibodaux, can you read me?
With a shake of his head he re-focuses and clicks the remote and a picture of Dick Fury pops up.
Alistair McLean (leaning in towards Thibodaux): Aw ye hud tae dae was ask!
Ciaran O’Fathaigh: Who is THAT?
Sanford Thibodaux (rifling through some papers): Apparently one Dick Fury.
Sanford Thibodaux: Came in as one of the extra-fed entries into the rumble.
Andreas Fagermo: Sounds like a porn star…
Sanford Thibodaux: Well, for all I know he might be, I mean, “You Baby's Real Daddy”, “Mr. Jizztastic”, the stache… But he was in UTA before.
The Shadow: Total surprise package… If he wrestles like he looks, he will not stop at applying anything dirty to sleaze his way through. Next?
A click of a button and Revenant pops up. Immediately The Shadow’s face takes on a sterner look than before.
The Shadow: Revenant, traitor! Guess you just cannot trust the undead anymore these days. Revenant, I understand that you seek to advance your career and whatever quest your puppet master Schamor has you on, but you made a big, big mistake when you switched sides, well, actually declared allegiance to anyone for the first time. I can see why you would try to align yourself with a strong group to be able to feed off their momentum and strength, but you are dealing with powers far beyond your ken, Rev. Look at how many people this moloch has taken up and then spit out again, in the best case broken and disfigured, in the worst case never to be seen or heard of again. Should we meet inside the ring, expect no mercy, you live by the sword, you die by the sword and at Golden Intentions you will feel the wrath of my blade.
Thibodaux brings up the next picture, Payne.
Alistair McLean: Och, a walkin' ben!
Sanford Thibodaux: Ochawhat?
Ciaran O’Fathaigh (laughing): A walking mountain.
The Shadow: Mr. Starr’s sidekick and while I do not see him win, he could play a huge role, depending on when he will enter the ring. If Starr is still in, then everybody will have a tag team against them and one that has someone that could single-handedly throw probably half the entrants into the front rows on his own. I think that it’s pretty clear that we all will have to eliminate him as fast as possible, otherwise this will not end well.
Andreas Fagermo: Yes, Rolash.
Despite the seriousness of the task at hand, the assembled men can’t help but laugh.
The Shadow: And Starr, you are coming off one of your biggest matches of your career, a submission match to boot AND you come in on number 1. Now I respect your achievements in the ring, your spirit and tenacity, even though I cannot really condone your actions or attitude around it, yet even for someone so full of confidence and spunk, you will have to admit that the odds are not quite looking fabulously outstanding for you, no? And with King as number 2 you will be able to continue right where either of you had left off in your match, so I think you’ll be busy enough with the aftermath that you really WOULD need to have to rely on Payne to get anywhere close to that title shot. And whoever lost the first match will seek immediate revenge, so that’s that.
Thibodaux hits the button another time and Silas Artoria’s face appears on the screen, all of the previous mirth quickly evaporating.
The Shadow: Ah, Silas Artoria, my special friend. The King of the Alternate Reality. Obviously I do not know how you will have fared against Ataxia in your cage match for the Impact title, but your bone is a special one to pick. Not only did you have your posse cowardly attack us, you keep talking trash about the Forsaken and accuse us for things you have done yourself. Why did I call you out for Alternate Reality? Because you keep yammering about your obsession with the World Heavyweight title despite not having done ANYthing to deserve a shot other than pestering Caledonia. Because you call me the puppet master of Ataxia, which is further proof you haven’t heard the warning shots, but in a way maybe it is good that you tend to overlook the details or view yourself as the superior man in both intellect and pretty much everything else as well… Either way, look at your Coalition now, this oh so proud instrument of reaching supremacy, in shambles, a ruin. I bet your Passenger is not a happy camper deep inside your head, eh? But your delusion will be your downfall, whoever views Ataxia as a mere stepping stone towards the World title has another thing coming, but I will leave that in the more than capable hands of the Masked Menace… NEXT!
The irritation that had crept into both his voice and face dissipates somewhat with the next picture showing up on the screen.
The Shadow: Dorian Hawkhurst, the Forsaken Demon. You, my friend, have fought a very valiant battle against Caledonia last week, squaring off against one of the toughest contenders CWF has ever seen and you managed to take her to her limits. As odd as it may sound given the huge difference in height and weight, it demands a lot of respect and you are destined for great things! I know that in the rumble we will have each other’s backs, but this is a great opportunity that beckons, so I would have no hard feelings towards you, if you were the one eliminating me. But do not take this as my agreement to do so, because all’s fair in love and the rumble, haha.
Jarvis King is next on the screen.
The Shadow: Oh, the One King, number 2 into the ring together with his personal Sauron. Now many will expect the two of you to be the ironmen of this rumble, but I think that it is easy to forget that not only will you already have been in another grueling match before it, but in a submission match, meaning that you already will have brought yourselves to the edge of your sanity. But you are one to never underestimate, for your resourcefulness could come through at any time. For all I know you could slide out of the ring and hide underneath until the coast is clear…? Either way, your skillset and the incredible strength of your mind and determination alone put you up there into the current Olympus of CWF and I dread the time, when I might have to face you in the ring one-on-one…
The next click does not yield any change and only after banging the remote against the table twice suddenly Clark Steele’s image scowls from the screen.
The Shadow: That’s this Clark Steele guy, right?
Sanford Thibodaux: Yup. The Man of Steele. The GPWoAT.
Ciaran O’Fathaigh: That sounded painful.
Sanford Thibodaux: Greatest Professional Wrestler of All Time.
Andreas Fagermo (getting up): Ah, a humble one. I’ll go grab something to eat.
The Shadow: Yes, he definitely knows how to make friends, but he comes here into an incredibly tight federation that he knows nothing of and--
Sanford Thibodaux: --I would assume he doesn’t really care enough to find out about either…
The Shadow: Yeah, right? And at his first appearance manages to bring up everybody against him, and now pretty much acts as if he has already won the rumble, just because he spent 2 years in the ring during them. If you have to brag with how many rumbles you have been in and how much time you spent in them to the second, you know that there is a deeper lying issue. And if you enter eleven rumbles and do not manage to win a single one of them, yet present yourself as the best thing since sliced bread, it’s clear that there is a lot of bark, but no bite. We will probably all sleep better that night to have been able to share a ring with your dazzling brilliance and greatness, but I, for my part, will enjoy seeing the replay of you hitting the floor outside of the ring.
Next up we see LX-2656.
Alistair McLean: Isnae 'at th' chick 'at ne'er showed up puckle weeks ago?
The Shadow: Yes, and we know absolutely zilch about her. Just rumours that she is a little unstable…
Another click, another picture, Xander Haze.
The Shadow: It would be easy to put you down as handicapped, Xander, you have proven by now that you more than make up for that with your viciousness, this primal rage that you have bubbling inside of you and this makes you dangerous for anybody in that ring. At the same time this could also very well be your downfall because your anger clouds your judgement.
Sanford Thibodaux: Speaking of which, isn’t he the guy that tried to poison that Zach kid?
The Shadow: Yes. And I am still wondering how it can be that he is still wandering around free. Aren’t the US known for clamping down on that stuff?
Sanford Thibodaux: Well, yes, but I’m sure that you have just as many of these fellas living perfectly free lives no matter what they did, so…
As Fagermo comes back in with a huge bowl of popcorn, Thibodaux brings the next face onto the screen, this time Azrael.
The Shadow: Azrael, Archangel of Apathy, Amounter to Nothing… He never ceases to amaze me with how little he cares, if he wins or loses. He is one of the most blah persons I have ever met and I am seriously not sure anymore what to say about him… Next…
Dean Coulter fades onto the TV.
Alistair McLean (munching popcorn, which makes his Scottish accent even harder to understand): Th' loon 'at got tint!
Sanford Thibodaux (with a pleading look): Ciaran?
Ciaran O’Fathaigh: I have no idea…
The Shadow: Judas, what a fitting name, betrayer of your partner Sam, betrayer of the Coalition, but that’s not as grave. You have sworn allegiance to Them-who-shall-not-be-named--
Sanford Thibodaux: Voldem--
The Shadow: Sanford, really? Where was I? Oh yes, you’ve gone to the dark side. Granted, a somewhat noble intention to get your mother’s medical care in line, but in hindsight, was it worth it? I know the pain you have been going through, the helplessness, the trying to strike a deal with the devil. But look at me - while I have embraced the darkness, I have not abandoned myself, have not allowed the devil to swallow me whole. You may have found allies, but what are you to them? Are they really your allies or are you just there at their beck and call, ready to do their dirty work? Plus at Golden Intentions you will have to face the people you betrayed…
The Shadow: What are the odds… Sam Braxton, the other Lost Boy! You are truly lost now, though, because you lost your friend and partner for so many years. You lost your faith and now you are floating in Nowhereland, angry at the world, at CWF, at the Oreos, at Dean, and probably a few more other people. While I respect you as a wrestler, as a competitor, I would not think that Golden Intentions will be a quest for the victory and the shot at the title, but I think revenge is on your mind. Coming to think of it, you and Xander would make for an excellent tag team right now - Rage.
Clicking can be heard, but nothing changes on screen until finally the picture switches to Duce Jones and Freddie Styles.
The Shadow: I am having a distinct feeling of deja-vu here, haha. Duce, you have the advantage of entering as the last man into the rumble, but after Mia and I are done with you and Freddie in the tag title match, you will need this reprieve. Maybe having to spend less time in the ring might give you a fighting chance to compensate for losing the tag team titles, but if you will still have the focus for it, that remains to be seen, my friend. Freddie, godspeed to you, because you will need it, you never know when you are going to be called in and you will still be licking your wounds...
Click to Bronson Box.
Alastair McLean (clearly excited): Och! McAllister! Scottish power! He's a body ye hae tae watch, boss, he can tak' yer heed aff an' 'en continue tae flin' ye aroond! Och, cwf better bewaur!
Anders Fagermo (voicelessly mouthing the words): What the heck?
The Shadow (shrugging): Bronson Box, I don’t know much about you, but if Alastair gets this excited, it means a big deal. I haven’t seen much yet, but I have a feeling that meeting you in the ring might be a very unpleasant affair. Your alignment with Dane and MJ gives me hope that you stand on the right side in these conflicting times, but I’d be foolish to place my trust in you. And speaking of Eric Dane - like I said, you stand on our side for now, but I do not trust you either. You have this aura of standing on whichever side you will benefit from more. I hope that this will not end in betrayal…
Thibodaux hits the button again and Cassandra’s portrait briefly shows up on the screen before suddenly everything goes black.
Sanford Thibodaux: What the f--reaking…
Anders Fagermo: She’s not that ugly...
Cederbergh opens the door and peeks in.
Victor Cederbergh: Power’s out, whole house.
Sanford Thibodaux: Alrighty then, show’s over, peeps, lemme get some enlightenment.
He gets up and follows Cederbergh out of the room.
The Shadow: OK then… Who are we missing anyways?
Ciaran O’Fathaigh (reaching over for Thibodaux’s papers): The Dangaroos, Omega, Ataxia, Trent Steel, Zach Vaughn, Krayzie, MJ Flair, Cassandra and Mia. How many people are in this rumble? Feels like we’ve already gone through 100!
The Shadow: A lot! The Dangaroos I am not worried about, Ataxia and Mia neither, even though they’ll also already have a hard match in their bones and if everything goes to plan, titles in hand, Omega will be coming straight out of the World Heavyweight match, so who is left… Trent Steel. Carnage Wrestling legend, we will have to see how preoccupied he will be with Ataxia, but he is a dangerous man, he is one of the few that I could see go all the way to the end. Zach, young Zach. He has been so inspiring and then tried to take on the Oreo Club all on his own and he paid dearly for it. Then add his father, that sleazy detective and Xander and you have a young, promising, talented man that has been rolled over by reality, but - through all of this, it does not look as if his spirit is broken, if he is joining the rumble. One man I cannot read is Krayzie, Duce’s dad. I know that he used to be a legend in his own right, but even though he looks in good shape, I’m not sure he is ready for this. Also if you look at how he flew off the handle against Duce last week… I don’t know...
Sanford Thibodaux is returning with a whole chandelier full of candles, bringing a welcome light to the gloomy room.
Sanford Thibodaux: There we go, we can finally shed some light on this! Power is out in the whole area, looks like someone hit something big, thankfully they have tons of candles and stormlights here, so we should be able to “survive”, so to say.
The Shadow: Thank you, Sanford. And that leaves us with two strong ladies, one Cassandra, the Prophetess of the Doomsday Club that can’t foresee the next page of the phone book. Isn’t it kind of funny that she can see the future AND the past? Yet still there are plenty of surprises still in stock for her and her culty clan? And the other polar opposite, is of course MJ Flair, World Heavyweight champion extraordinaire and of late also self-avowed Oreo hunter. You are another one that I could see going all the way, while you are probably the perfect opposite of what one would consider the Heavyweight champion, you are feisty, resourceful and infinitely determined. You would never back away from a challenge, you would stand up to whoever would be in your way. Now, though, you opened a can of worms that is big enough to swallow you whole. Yes, “only” Cassandra, Revenant and Judas are in the rumble, but have you seen Elisha or Choronzon anywhere on the card? You know that the Chosen will be right there in the first row, ready to jump in at any given time. I deeply respect you, but I will not hesitate heaving you over the top rope, if it came down to it. No hard feelings…
The camera spins around to show The Shadow’s face, the flickering light of the candles reflecting off his eyes, which are staring into vacancy and barely audible he whispers.
The Shadow: Let’s get ready to rumble indeed…
The picture slowly fades to black.