BOBBINETTE CAREY VS. RAZIEL REYNOLDS
The HOTv video ends and cut live inside a sold out Best Arena for the first show post War Games. The crowd is buzzing in their usual customary behavior after a High Octane PPV.
We immediately cut to our Hall of Fame announce team to kick off the show.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to this special edition…and back to where it all started……Friday Night CHAOS!
The camera pans around the Best Arena as the crowd turns their attention towards the High Octane Vision screen at the top of the entrance ramp as the show is officially underway with the sight of Joe kicking off the proceedings.
Joe Hoffman: We have a stacked card on hand here tonight. We have two debuts and the return of Hall of Fame technician and five-time world champion, Rhys Townsend!
As Joe hypes up the card, we can see Benny sniffing and wiping his eyes next to him.
Joe Hoffman: What is wrong with you?
Benny Newell: Do you want to see a dead body Hoffman?
Joe Hoffman: What?
Benny Newell: I said do you want to see a dead body?
Joe Hoffman: Not really…..
Benny cuts Joe off.
Benny Newell: Well too bad!
Benny wipes his eyes.
Benny Newell: Because tonight we are celebrating the life of Evan Ward, who tragically passed following Ward Games.
Joe Hoffman: Weren’t you celebrating that Solex eliminated him?
Benny Newell: HOLD YOUR TONGUE HOFFHOLE! DOESN’T MEAN I WANTED THE MAN DEAD!
Benny goes back to sobbing as Joe shakes his head.
Joe Hoffman: Regardless, lets shift to inside the ring as we kick off the show with Nettie Carey taking on the debuting, Raziel Reynolds.
Benny Newell: WHY LEE WHY?!?!?!?!? YOU SHOULD’VE TAKEN BERGMAN! NOT WARD!
Benny begins to “sob” uncontrollably as Joe rolls his eyes at Benny clearly trolling everyone watching at home. The lights in the arena slowly dim and the HOV lights up displaying many sports trophies including football, basketball, and baseball as the beginning of
“Let it Rock” by Kevin Rudolph
Begins to play. As the beat begins to hit, the HOV and the Best Arena lights begin to strobe as RAZIEL REYNOLDS appears on the screen.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first, From Atlanta, Georgia… he stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 225 pounds… He is… RAZIEL! REYNOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLDDDDSSSS!!!!!!!
Raziel emerges from the back as he stops to record his walk to his debut match as championship golden pyro showers down behind him.
Joe Hoffman: Raziel Reynolds is an imposing specimen and from his press release, he’s an extremely talented athlete, but he’s also been in trouble with the law from drugs and alcohol.
Benny Newell: Sounds like my kind of guy….sure glad that those guys over on the other channel gave us their sloppy seconds here.
Joe Hoffman: What are you even talking about?
Benny Newell: Oh you didnt hear? The baby soft PRIME fucks didnt want Raziel on the roster as he wasnt good enough to hack it there.
Joe Hoffman: But half their roster is…..oh never mind. Let us focus on the match at hand. Who cares where Raziel was or could have been…he is here in High Octane Wrestling!!!
Raziel pauses on the ramp and goes over to the crowd and takes a selfie with them before making his way over to the ring steps and making his way into the ring and begins to stretch out on the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Raziel looks confident, but he’s got a tall task ahead of him as he takes on a Hall of Famer.
The Arena lights go black as “Enemy” by Anna begins to play.
“Tell you you’re the greatest but once you turn they hate us!”
A magenta spot light shines down as Nettie Carey makes her way under it.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent, from Parma Heights, Ohio…NETTIE! CAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRREEEEEYYYYYYY!!!
“Oh the misery everybody wants to be my enemy!”
Nettie stares down toward the ring and points towards her opponent before making the motion she is going to break them in half before making her way down to the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Nettie telling Raziel she is going to……
The lights begin to flicker.
Joe Hoffman: What the…..
The arena goes pitch black before the HOV lights up with technicolor imagery.
Joe Hoffman: Ladies and gentlemen I believe we are experiencing technical difficulties.
Benny Newell: This is all Aceldama’s fault. No showing bastard.
The HOV begins to flicker with Raziel Reynolds name before the Raziel fades and holds the Reynolds name on the screen before switching to dark images of people cutting themselves, images on fire like dolls, houses, trophies, images of crows and cemeteries as “Dead Man Walking” by Bloodsimple begins to play.
Benny Newell: IS THAT EMO FUCK HERE HOFFMAN?!?!?!?!?
We get a glimpse of Nettie as she has a look of concern on her face as she begins to look around anxiously in anticipation for a certain someone to appear.
Joe Hoffman: We shall see Benny, but looking at Nettie’s face she’s pretty scared.
Benny Newell: After what she’s done, I would be too.
There is maniac laughter as the music and imagery stops and the arena goes black before the house lights slowly come back on. Nettie slowly finishes walking to the ring looking over her shoulder as she cautiously gets inside and once in Hortega signals for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here we go.
Nettie continues to look towards the entrance ramp and cautiously towards the crowd as Raziel sneaks up behind her and rolls her up.
Nettie kicks out.
Joe Hoffman: Raziel almost snuck away with the victory there.
Even though it was only a count of dos, Raziel begins to celebrate and shows Nettie he was that close to pinning a Hall of Famer and former world champion in his first ever professional wrestling match.
Benny Newell: Hey Hoffman, do you know if this Reynolds guy is related to Carey’s best friend Shane?
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think so.
Benny Newell: You sure he’s not like a distant cousin?
Joe Hoffman: All Reynolds are not related Benny.
Benny Newell: You sure?
Nettie doesn’t seem impressed by the cocky, young man and the two begin to circle one another. Raziel goes to lockup, but Nettie ducks underneath and trips Raziel down to the ground. Nettie continues the momentum as she floats over to a side headlock. Raziel tries to use his strength to power himself up, but Nettie quickly rakes the eyes and Reynolds falls back onto his stomach and Nettie transitions to his back and raises both arms onto her thighs and grabs his chin and pulls back.
Joe Hoffman: Camel Clutch!
Benny Newell: She’s trying to break Shane’s cousin back and make him humble!
Hortega asks Reynolds if he wants to quit and he says no.
Joe Hoffman: The good thing in Reynolds’ favor is that he has is length of his body and could use that to slip out of the submission.
Benny Newell: I’m going to show the chick over in the front row the length of my third leg after the show. DRINK!
Benny pounds a Red Bull as Reynolds begins to use his strength and leans forward so he can get to all fours and proceeds to slowly stand up.
Benny Newell: He’s doing it…..
Joe Hoffman: Raziel held a lot of powerlifting records at his school so this should not come as a surprise.
Raziel gets to his feet and backpedals to the nearest corners and drives Nettie into the turnbuckles. Raziel begins to unleash a flurry of back elbows to the sides of Nettie’s face.
Benny Newell: LETS FUCKING GO! SHANE’S COUSIN RULES!
Raziel delivers a nasty right elbow that causes Nettie to lean against the ropes. Raziel positions her before running across towards the opposite corner before sliding to make a turnaround and running full speed towards Nettie and delivering a boot to her face.
Joe Hoffman: Heck of a kick by Reynolds….who is 10000% NOT related to Shane Reynolds. This was just some emotional terrorism booking by Lee Best here.
Raziel grabs Nettie by her hair and tosses her to the mat before dusting his hands off and reaching underneath were his smart phone is and draping himself across the top rope to take a selfie and video. Raziel perches himself on the top turnbuckle with phone in hand and does a split legged moonsault.
Nettie gets her foot on the bottom rope.
Benny Newell: Dang. That would’ve been a great victory selfie.
Raziel tosses the phone to the corner and mounts Nettie and begins to unleash right hands.
Joe Hoffman: Raziel may have to do more than throw fists because Carey can take a punch from the best of them.
Benny Newell: Mario taught her well.
Raziel rears back and goes for one final punch, but Carey moves her head and Reynolds punches the mat and she quickly grabs his arm and locks her legs around her opponent’s neck.
Joe Hoffman: Triangle!
Benny Newell: Those magenta thighs of Carey are going to choke the life out of Shane’s cousin!
Joe Hoffman: Benny they are not cousins.
Benny Newell: FUCK YOU!
Hortega asks Raziel if he wants to quit but he says no.
Benny Newell: Carey crushed Shane’s championship dream in 2008 and she’s going to crush his cousin’s windpipe tonight.
Carey pulls back on the arm, but as she does she places her shoulders into the mat.
Carey releases the hold in time.
Joe Hoffman: Carey with a rare mistake that almost cost her the match.
Carey quickly rolls backwards to get to her feet and rushes towards Reynolds who turns her inside out with a lariat.
Benny Newell: HOLY SHIT!
Raziel takes a moment to catch a breather before turning Carey onto her back and grabbing her by the face.
Raziel Reynolds: You like that? You like that?
Raziel asks before slapping her across the face and hitting the ropes to deliver a leg drop.
Carey pops the shoulder up and Raziel looks at Hortega who says it was a count of dos. As Carey starts to get to her feet, Raziel kicks her right in the face before putting the boots to her.
Joe Hoffman: A lot of frustration behind those stomps.
Benny Newell: Carey just needs to do what she does best.
Joe Hoffman: What’s that?
Benny Newell: Lay on her back and take it.
Joe Hoffman: Why did I even ask.
Raziel delivers one big stomp to the chest of his opponent sending all of the air out of Carey as she begins to gasp for air…
Joe Hoffman: Rolling thunder!
Carey kicks out at the last instant and Reynolds hits the mat in frustration.
Benny Newell: Calm your tits Reynolds. You’re wearing her down.
Reynolds picks Carey up by her hair and places her between his legs. He bobs up and down a few times before flipping forward, but Carey catches him mid flip and drives him into the mat.
Joe Hoffman: HOLY COW! CAREY REVERESED THE CANADIAN DESTROYER INTO AN AIR RAID CRASH!
Reynolds pops the shoulder right before Hortega’s hand hits the mat. Carey can’t believe it as she lets out a scream.
Benny Newell: The sounds of those screams will make any man soft.
Carey gets to her feet and double stomps the chest of Reynolds before mounting him and delivers a flurry of forearms to her opponent’s face. She delivers one final forearm before jumping up letting out a roar. Carey goes over and picks up Reynolds and uses all of her strength to whip the big man into the ropes before charging at him. However, Carey got overzealous as Raziel jumps to the middle rope and springboards backwards and delivers a kick.
Joe Hoffman: THE NOTORIOUS K.I.X!
The kick hits Carey right in the face and she hits the mat hard. Reynolds takes a moment to check his mouth and nose to see if he is bleeding before going to the corner and retrieving his phone.
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think this is a wise idea.
Benny Newell: He’s just taking some pictures of his impending victory Hoffman.
Raziel clicks a few buttons on his phone and begins to record a video.
Raziel Reynolds: Time for me to pin this chick and get the victory. You hear that Carey?
Raziel stands over Carey and leans down to yell it again and the Hall of Famer reaches up and rolls him over.
Joe Hoffman: Small package!
DING. DING. DING.
Bryan McVay: And your winner by pinfall, NETTIE! CAAAAAAAARREEEEEEEEYYYYYY!
Reynolds pops up and looks around bewildered as Carey slides out of the ring and leans against the barricade smirking as she points to her head.
Joe Hoffman: Carey definitely outsmarted the HOW rookie tonight…..
The lights begin to flicker and go out and when they come on every member in the first three rows around the barricade are wearing white masks with black stitches around the mouth. Carey turns to look at the audience and immediately drops to down in terror as she holds her hand up begging them not to hurt her.
Joe Hoffman: Carey looks like she has seen a ghost!
Benny Newell: Is he here?!?!?!?!?
Laughter is heard throughout the arena as the lights go out once more and when they come on the masks disappear. Carey not taking any chances hightails it to the back as we cut elsewhere..
END OF THE WARD
The show cuts backstage to a sombre room where we find some of the roster mingling in a few groups. On one side of the room is a large buffet table, on the other is a collection of Champagne bottles and glass flutes. In the middle of the far wall is an open coffin with a wreath on an easel beside it.
Standing near the buffet table are Christopher America and Dan Ryan from the Final Alliance silently eating nibbles from the buffet, while over by the Champagne is Conor Fuse playing Zelda on his Switch. Loitering on his own is Clay Byrd while Scott Stevens also hangs around close to the Champagne. Standing in front of the coffin, looking down at the hall of famer, is Darin Zion. Darin Zion takes the moment to step up to the coffin, looking a bit out of place.
Darin Zion: Honestly, I didn’t know Evan Ward well. My exposure to him was limited to his final weeks as the obnoxious person behind Ward Games. I remember him from the footage I watched while entering the business and studying other fighters in HOW. That Evan Ward was a great man. I admired his once unwavering morals and commitment to excellence. He fought relentlessly through adversity, resisting temptation before his aneurysm. That’s who I strive to be every day when I step out of the ring for the fans.
Zion looks down at the dead Hall of Famer with sorrowful eyes.
Darin Zion: Steve Solex/Shawn Kutter denied Ward the chance to seek forgiveness and rediscover his true self. I won’t forgive him. He took away someone I idolized. He stabbed me in the back the moment I entered Ward Games. He’s a monster! I’ll ensure the memory of the real Evan Ward lives on in HOW, even if it’s my final act here.
He walks over to Fuse while the Final Alliance representatives stare daggers at him. Suddenly the door swings open and the recently returned hall of famer and Ward’s former Ground Zero stablemate, Rhys Townsend, strides in to stand in front of the coffin. There’s a cheeky smile and wave at the Alliance members in the room. Immediately, Ryan tenses up and looks like he is about to kick off, but America puts an arm out and mouths “Not here” to him.
Rhys Townsend: Y’know…I could stand here and talk about how Evan Ward stood for everything good that Ground Zero ever stood for. That’s totally a viable option. I’m sure someone who’s desperate for the good guy points has already said that stuff about how, at his peak, he was all that was good about professional wrestling.
The six foot one Welshman pauses, finding a common jazz cigarette somewhere on his person, as well as the accompanying lighter. He’s either not polite enough, or doesn’t have the fucks to give – but either way, he asks no-one as he lights up.
Rhys Townsend: Or I could do the other thing, and shit on him. I’m pretty sure each and every Alliance member in the room’s gonna do that. I don’t wanna stand here and lecture about the rights and wrongs of the wrestling industry…it’d feel a little hypocritical of me after I left a geriatric pensioner in a pool of his own blood.
He smiles, the various Alliance members bristling at the comments passed.
Rhys Townsend: So I’m gonna keep it simple and short. I can see Christopher America and Scott Stevens here, so I’m sure both are gonna be overindulgent and cut a ten minute long promo. Whatever. What I’ll say is that Evan Ward should be a good lesson in staying true to yourself. When he was in Ground Zero, when he believed the message we were preaching, the man was untouchable. When he came back, well…
We all know what happened.
He bows his head, appearing to be finishing up with his monologue.
Rhys Townsend: Evan…you were a pretty great tag partner, a better stablemate, and if reports are to be believed, you managed to become more annoying than peak Scooter Woodson. Bit of a shame that you’re going out as a lazy, basic Alliance bitch…I thought better of you. But here we are. Such a shame.
Rhys shakes his head, pausing briefly.
Rhys Townsend: Now, if you’ll excuse me…I got some shit to do.
He turns from the coffin and walks away out the door, ignoring everyone else in the room as if you couldn’t cut the tension with a knife, no doubt focussed on his upcoming match with Zach Kostoff. Clay Byrd steps up to the coffin now.
Clay Byrd: Oh wow, I apologize, I thought this would be over by now. I’m just in line waitin’ ta piss on a man’s grave post burial. Oh look! There’s a casserole on that table over there… sorry, I’ll be back.
He goes straight to the buffet table to dig into the casserole as Dan Ryan walks past him to say some words about his dearly departed team mate.
Dan Ryan: What can I say about Evan Ward? He had a stupid accent, stupid hair, and bad teeth. What a cunt. All I know is… wait, did Clay say something about a casserole??
Dan starts to rush away in the direction Clay Byrd went, but then quickly pauses, turns back to the coffin and spits on the corpse before walking away. A loud belch is heard and the attendees turn around and look at Scott Stevens wiping his mouth.
Scott Stevens: Guess it’s my turn.
Scott steps up next and heads to the front.
Scott Stevens: Let’s all bow our heads.
Stevens bows his head before continuing.
Scott Stevens: Dearly, Welshian trash. We are gathered here to celebrate the biggest third generational douchebag to ever grace God’s 97 Red colored ring.
Stevens slowly raises his head.
Scott Stevens: Evan Ward, I bow my head in reverence as life’s eternal question will be answered, “How does it feel to always be third best?”
Stevens leans on the podium.
Scott Stevens: You were third best to your father and grandfather. You are the third best throwing a knee behind myself and Mike. You were always the third best member of Ground Zero behind myself and Chris Diamond…..or was it myself and Ryan McKenna? I can’t remember.
Stevens looks towards the Final Alliance’s direction.
Scott Stevens: Hell, maybe if Christopher America’s team had a real captain like myself they wouldn’t have went out like a bunch of bitches in third fucking place.
The Final Alliance members stand and the Texan graciously flicks them off.
Scott Stevens: In closing, rot in piss, the Evan Ward Memorial Battle Royal sucked, and get better booze next time.
Stevens stomps away and out the room, not even bothering to take a complementary mint. This time Conor Fuse walks up to take his turn speaking.
Conor Fuse: Ummm, well this is the second time I’ve been to one of these things in HOW and it doesn’t get any easier.
Fuse lowers his head.
Conor Fuse: I was really looking forward to wrestling you, we would’ve had some great battles.
Clearly Conor is uneasy and doesn’t know what to say anymore so he just nods his head a couple of times and then places a ceremonial Sega Saturn controller on Ward’s chest before walking away. Finally the truest of Americans puts down his Freedom Fries and steps up to say the last words. He looks down at his former captain.
Christopher America: I first got to know Evan when he was a member of Ground Zero. A man dedicated to the… the morals and ethics and do-good attitude that defines all great men. Morals and ethics so near and dear to his heart that they were quickly abandoned and forgotten about when times got tough. Just like how I was quickly abandoned and forgotten about inside Solitary Confinement.
Christopher America: Did Evan come find me and free me, despite numerous videos showing I was locked in Alcatraz? No. He did the moral and ethical thing by allowing me to rot away for a month… like a do-gooder would.
Christopher America: Fast forward to today. Evan now lies before us a changed man. Evan returned to HOW and made nice with the Alliance. He chose to make a difference and do good for the wrestling company that gave him so much. He showed us how to irritate and thus motivate Clay Byrd. He showed me that I was right all along about Un-Americans. They are disgusting and should never be tagged with. He showed us that even the noblest among us are willing to sell their souls for just another World Championship shot.
America looks saddened at the mention of his lost love.
Christopher America: They say that a brain aneurysm is what did him in, brought about by that nasty piledriver by Kutter. But rather than reflect on that negativity, I choose to keep things positive, on this day. I know… in my patriotic heart of hearts… that this aneurysm… this insufferable and diabolical condition… couldn’t have happened to a nicer person than Evan Ward.
Christopher America: And as his soul is gently carried on into the afterlife, I know he is looking up at me right now, smiling and saluting his greatest tag team partner.
America shakes his head and walks off, motioning for his teammate to follow him as he leaves the room. Zion and Fuse follow shortly after, leaving enough time to avoid the awkwardness of walking next to the Final Alliance. The scene fades out, leaving Clay to eat his casserole.
DUST N BONES
We cut elsewhere backstage, where Xander Azula is standing by with his Eternal Circle followers…their heads lowered in honor of the fallen HOW Hall of Famer, Evan Ward. It’s a moment of silence that lasts just over a minute and a half…you guessed it, ninety-seven seconds. After this, Xander finally begins to speak, a smile on his face in spite of the mixed (at best!) response from the Best Arena crowd.
Xander Azula: Chicago…the champ is here…the champ is home.
The attempted pandering from the Fighter fails to land with its intended audience, and this crowd is quick to let Xander know with another chorus of boos, much to the Fighter’s amusement as he presses on.
Xander Azula: It’s okay, Chicago…I can forgive you for this disrespect. It’s been a rough week for all of us, what with losing a Hall of Famer in Evan Ward the same night that we saw a victor crowned in War Games…a big winner, at that.
This gets a pop from the crowd, thrilled at the mention of the new HOW World Champion as some even start to chant the man’s name…and those chants of “STRONK…STRONK…STRONK” are what changes the demeanor of the Fighter, his smile quickly fading away as he speaks again.
Xander Azula: You listen here, and you listen good Chicago…STRONK won War Games, ain’t nobody taking that way from the big man…but he didn’t beat the champion. He didn’t beat me.
Xander motions for his right-hand man Vagn Dahl to hand him the replica #97RED belt, much to the chagrin of the Chicago crowd as the Fighter lifts the belt up high, his face still quite stern as he presses on once more.
Xander Azula: I’m the one who beat Christopher America. Hell, STRONK, I beat you once upon a time too. People will call you the HOW World Champion coming out of War Games, but I am the REAL World’s Champion. The food chain of this business? You’re looking at the top of it now, folks.
Xander lowers his championship, the smile finally returning to his face despite the continued jeers from the crowd.
Xander Azula: And that brings me to my opponent for tonight, the newest Scott to join the ranks of High Octane Wrestling…Scott McKlayn. You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, Scotty…if you can’t hang with the champ, you’re gonna die. Time to see what this second-generation talent is actually made of.
Xander hands the title back to Vagn before motioning for the group to make their exit, to which the Eternal Circle obliges…walking out of frame as we fade to commercial!
SCOTT MCKLAYN VS. XANDER AZULA
Joe Hoffman: We are back from commercial and we are about to see another debut here in HOW tonight.
The packed stadium buzzes with excitement as the next wrestling match is about to begin as Bryan McVay stands in the center of the ring and he’s ready to go.
Bryan McVay: Ladies and gentlemen. Our next match will be one fall. Introducing first.
“The Man” by Aloe Blacc comes on and Scott McKlayn walks out onto the HOW stage for the first time.
Bryan McVay: Weighing in tonight at 245 pounds. He is from Atlanta, Georgia and he is making his HOW debut. Please welcome… SCOTT! McKLAYN!
The crowd explodes with excitement as McKlayn strides confidently down the ramp towards the ring,
Joe Hoffman: And tonight, we get our first look at Scott McKlayn. Benny, any thoughts?
Joe Hoffman: Guess not.
McKlayn climbs into the ring and goes to his corner. He stretches on the ropes and hops up and down to get ready.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent…
The whistling intro of “Engel” plays over the PA system, setting the crowd off in a chorus of boos as Xander Azula steps out onto the stage, surveying the crowd with a snarl on his face.
Joe Hoffman: And here comes Xander Azula. We just heard him call out STRONK even after he had a disappointing match at War Games…….. you’ll be sure he’ll be looking to get back on the winning trail tonight.
Bryan McVay: …weighing in tonight at 230 pounds. From Long Beach, California…
The crowd show their disdain for Xander, whose snarl fades into a smirk.
Bryan McVay: …XANNNNNNNN-DER. A-ZUUUUUUUUU-LA!
Xander taunts those jeering him during his journey to the ring, sliding in to get ready for the match at hand before leaning against the nearest turnbuckle.
Joe Hoffman: Matt Boettcher will be the referee for this match.
Boettcher performs the usual pre-match check of both men.
Joe Hoffman: Benny. Anything?
Benny Newell: Nope. I already had the back of the first serving of sloppy seconds and I will NOT put my good name out there again!
Joe Hoffman: Okay then. Boettcher’s ready to go and he calls for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And this match is underway.
The two men circle. The fans are excited as the two opponents engage in a tie-up.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn delivers a low knee and clubs Azula with a right hand.
McKlayn stalks Azula to the ropes and traps him in a corner.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn landing body shots and he clubs Azula once more.
McKlayn sends him into the corner turnbuckle.
Joe Hoffman: Azula hits those buckles hard. McKlayn moves in.
He drops down on the mat and fires a right hand into Azula’s face. The fans express their displeasure, but McKlayn stands Azula up to throw punches. He proceeds to CHOKES Azula on the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Blatant choke by the newcomer and-
Benny Newell: Yeah.. I want to change my bet on the HOG tonight..
Joe Hoffman: Benny!
Boettcher starts a five count. McKlayn releases him at the count of four. He then argues with the referee.
Joe Hoffman: Xander Azula off to a slow start so far in this match.
Azula struggles to get up, but McKlayn shoves him into the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn is all over him. Another clubbing shot to the back and Azula is down to a knee.
He taunts Azula, stomps him, and takes a swing. Azula suddenly counters with punches! Azula relentlessly fires fist after fist.
Joe Hoffman: Here comes Xander…
McKlayn delivers another low knee and stops Azula’s momentum.
Joe Hoffman: And then McKlayn takes a short cut. McKlayn whips Azula corner to corner. He runs in… XANDER MOVED!
McKlayn slams into the corner turnbuckle and sputters backwards. Azula rocks him with forearms! Fans fire up and Azula runs, but McKlayn chops Azula… spins Azula around…
Joe Hoffman: Hammerlock back suplex by McKlayn!
McKlayn stands over Azula and also taunts the fans.
Joe Hoffman: The fans don’t like it but Scott McKlayn has impressed early on. What do you think Benny?
Benny Newell: …
Joe Hoffman: Okay then. McKlayn whips Azula corner to corner again. He runs in, Azula dodges! Now Azula fires off fast hands as he’s had enough!
One… two… three… four… five.
Joe Hoffman: Matt Boettcher starts a five count.
Azula lets off. McKlayn goes for a single-arm DDT. Azula dodges. He gets some space and DROPKICKS him!
Joe Hoffman: WHAT A KICK BY AZULA. McKlayn staggers back to him… SNAP SUPLEX. And McKlayn didn’t like that and he rolls out of the ring.
Azula storms out after McKlayn, drags him up, and slams him into barriers.
Joe Hoffman: Azula stalks McKlayn around the ring.
He catches McKlayn and chops him against barrier. Azula steps back and then RAMS McKlayn into barrier.
Joe Hoffman: Azula roaring back after a slow start. But they’re both on the floor and Matt Boettcher has started a ten-count.
The fans rally up, and Azula CHOPS McKlayn again! The he slides in and right back out of the ring to refresh the ring count.
Joe Hoffman: Smart from Xander there. He lays a couple more boots to McKlayn and pulls him back up.
Azula puts McKlayn back into the ring,
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn gets back to his feet and he fires off a flurry of right hands.
Boettcher starts a count. McKlayn lets off and shoves Azula into a corner.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn reels Azula in… he whips Xander to the ropes… SPINEBUSTER! McKlayn quickly around Azula… BACKSTABBER!
McKlayn makes the cover.
TWO… Azula kicks out.
Joe Hoffman: Beautiful combination by McKlayn and he nearly gets the pinfall.
Joe looks over at Benny.
Joe Hoffman: Anything?
Benny shakes his head no.
Joe Hoffman: Okay then.
McKlayn scowls as he looms over Azula.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn clamps on a chinbar. He transitions… SPINNING OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX.
The force of the move causes Azula to roll out of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn wanted to go for the pinfall but Azula rolled out of the ring.
McKlayn drops down to the floor. He takes Azula by the hair and RAMS him into the steel steps.
Joe Hoffman: Wow. McKlayn made sure Azula’s knee hit the steel steps hard.
Azula writhes and clutches the leg while fans boo and gives McKlayn thumbs down.
Joe Hoffman: Again, the fans not happy with McKlayn’s action-
Benny Newell: Fuck the fans, Joe. Fuck the fans.
McKlayn puts Azula in the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Azula’s leg is injured and McKlayn is focusing on it. McKlayn stomps away on the bad leg!
Fans chant “MCKLAYN SUCKS!”
Benny Newell: As I said, fuck the fans.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn stands Azula up, He whips him to the ropes… SPINEBUSTER!
McKlayn has the leg for a HALF CRAB! Azula grits his teeth and endures the pain as McKlayn twists his leg. The crowd shouts encouragement to Azula as he endures.
Joe Hoffman: Azula tries to reach out for the ropes!
McKlayn tries to cinch the hold tighter. Azula puts everything he has into stretching his hand to the rope.
Joe Hoffman: Can Azula get to the ropes.
Azula shouts and wills himself to get to the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: He’s almost there
Azula’s hand grabs the bottom rope. Boettcher immediately calls for a break.
Joe Hoffman: Azula gets the ropebreak!
McKlayn lets go fast.
Joe Hoffman: Azula kicks him with the good leg!
McKlayn grabs that leg, so Azula kicks him in the balls!
Joe Hoffman: WHOA!
The fans rally.
Joe Hoffman: Xander gives a little of it back to McKlayn.
Azula and McKlayn rise, and McKlayn storms over.
Joe Hoffman: Azula fires body shots and that slows McKlayn down. McKlayn charges at Xander, but Xander counters with a quick punch to the face.
McKlayn stumbles back, giving Xander an opening.
Joe Hoffman: Azula charges forward and pins McKlayn in a corner. Azula fires off! McKlayn shoves Azula, Azula comes back… THE SNUB!… no.
Azula’s Bullhammer elbow misses but McKlayn takes a waistlock from behind. He iifts and slingshots Azula off the top rope and slams him to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: SLINGSHOT POWERBOMB!
McKlayn holds Azula down for the pinfall. Boettcher slides in.
TWO… shoulder up.
Joe Hoffman: NO!
McKlayn can’t believe it.
Joe Hoffman: SOMEHOW, XANDER AZULA GOT THE SHOULDER UP IN TIME!
He glares at Matt Boettcher.
Joe Hoffman: And Xander gets back to his feet.
McKlayn spins him around and goes for another waistlock. Azula back kicks McKlayn to the balls.
Joe Hoffman: Azula fights back.
Benny Newell: Oh please. If the Final Alliance did that you’d be bitching up a fucking storm about how they cheat to win their matches.
Joe turns to Benny.
Joe Hoffman: Glad to see you’re still here.
Azula runs and drops McKlayn with a Flying Shoulder Tackle.
The fans fire up again.
Joe Hoffman: Azula off the ropes… SWINGING NECKBREAKER! He hooks the leg.
TW- McKlayn kicks out emphatically.
Joe Hoffman: McKlayn powers out but Azula stalks him to ropes.
McKlayn elbows low.
Joe Hoffman: And that will slow down Azula. McKlayn tries to slap on a Hammerlock… Azula fights out, He sends McKlayn to the ropes… DROP TOE HOLD BY AZULA!
McKlayn leaps back up. Azula unleashes a second Bullhammer elbow. Again, McKlayn ducks under. Azula whips back around with a backfist… McKlayn ducks that.
Joe Hoffman: Azula went for the home run there with The Snub and the Fist of Eris.
Azula’s off balance. McKlayn steps in. Grabs and spins Azula and drives him back first to his knee.
Joe Hoffman: TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER BY McKLAYN AND HE MAY HAVE BROKEN AZULA IN HALF THERE!
But instead of going for the pinfall, McKlayn waits.
Joe Hoffman: Azula slow to get back up.
But he does. McKlayn rushes in and drives the knee forward.
Joe Hoffman: DESTINY EDGE!
Azula’s out on his feet. He lurches forward right into McKlayn who immediately puts him in a vertical suplex position.
Joe Hoffman: McKLAYN’S GOT HIM UP!
McKlayn taunts Azula. He turns and slams him to the mat.
Joe Hoffman: JACKHAMMER SLAM!
Boettcher slides right in for the count.
Joe Hoffman: ONE!… TWO!… THREE!
Joe Hoffman: McKLAYN WINS!
Bryan McVay slips back into the ring.
Bryan McVay: YOUR WINNER AT THIRTEEN MINUTES AND TWENTY-SIX SECONDS… SCOTT! McKLAYN!
Boettecher raises McKlayn’s arm.
Joe Hoffman: Another tough loss for Xander Azula as Scott McKlayn does what Raziel Reynolds was not able to do earlier tonight, win his HOW debut match. All right, let’s send it to the back.
Action cuts elsewhere..
IT’S A LONG WAY DOWN
We cut backstage in The Best Arena in Chicago, we see the former HOW LSD Champion Jace Parker Davidson walking into the building from the rear entrance. He wheels his luggage behind him but he looks like shit. He hasn’t shaved in a few days, his clothes are a wrinkled mess, and it seems like he hasn’t slept in about 72 hours. Davidson trudges along with his hand down until Blaire Moise and a cameraman come racing in his direction.
Blaire Moise: Jace!
Blair calls out but Davidson ignores her and continues walking down a random hallway.
Blaire Moise: I wanted to get a few words from you.
Davidson raises his head slowly and looks over at Blair who is trying to keep up with him. He soon lowers his head again and once again ignores her. Blair reaches out and grasps him by the arm to stop him.
Blaire Moise: JACE PARKER DAVIDSON!
Jace sighs but then raises his head and turns to look at Blaire.
Blaire Moise: War Games in Mexico was an interesting night, to say the least. A lot went down and I was wondering if you could talk about your experience inside the cage.
Davidson: Sorry, I don’t want to talk about it.
Jace tries to turn and keep walking but Blaire keeps a hold of his arm.
Blaire Moise: You don’t want to talk about it? You had a great showing! You were one of the final six men left in the match!
Davidson: So what?
Blaire blinks for a moment trying to think of a way to spark something out of the Hall of Famer.
Blaire Moise: So, you just came off of 300 days as the HOW LSD Champion. You’ve set just about every record there is to set with that belt!
Jace narrows his brow at Blaire’s excitement and stiffens his jaw.
Davidson: Exactly, coming off 300 some-odd days as the LSD Champion and what do I have to show for it? I don’t have a Championship belt in my possession because I lost it in the War Games match to a guy… sorry, Michael Lee Best in a mask fresh out of retirement because there is always a spot reserved for “The Son” no matter how stupid it is.
Jace lets go of his luggage and gestures with his other arm toward the rest of the arena.
Davidson: Everything I planned, everything that I swore I was going to do, didn’t fucking happen. Conor went further in the War Games match than I did. I got trumped by Rhys Townsend of all fucking people in whacking Lee Best upside the head. Lee Best is bruised, pissed probably, but alive and well. The Final Alliance has all of the belts and I failed…
Jace’s face scrunches as he chokes down the knot in his throat before speaking.
Davidson: …I am a failure.
You could hear a pin drop on the broadcast before Blaire speaks up.
Blaire Moise: While War Games is certainly THE match in High Octane Wrestling, it is only one match. Calling yourself a failure might be a bit much, all things considered.
Davidson: I get what you’re trying to do, Blaire, but let’s face facts. Lee Best pissed on me, he stabbed me in the eye, I’ve gotten beaten up by STRONK and Mike Best, and when the dust settled here I am a broken individual, devoid of revenge or purpose.
Blaire Moise: That spot with you and STRONK at the top of the cell was amazing and—
Jace interrupts Blaire.
Davidson: And all it did was give the big guy time to take a nap before getting down to business. All of that work to lure him up there and put him through the cage and all that I did was screw Conor Fuse out of a War Games win. STRONK might just be unstoppable. Like I said Blaire, I am a failure and I’m not sure I’m even worthy of wearing this Hall of Fame ring on my finger.
Davidson raises his hand into the air and grips the Hall of Fame ring with his other hand. He stares down at it trying to decide whether to take it off or not.
Blaire Moise: So, what is next for Jace Parker Davidson in HOW?
Jace looks away from the Hall of Fame ring and out into nowhere in general as the question lingers in the air for an awkward amount of time.
Davidson: They serve alcohol in this arena, right?
Blaire Moise: Uhhhh, yes, they do.
Davidson: Yeah, thanks, Blaire.
Jace grabs his luggage and walks off with no further comments leaving Blaire standing there shaking her head.
SINGLE LEG CRABS FOR EVERYONE
Instead of cutting somewhere else backstage the HOV comes to life…..
It’s a famous facade we’re greeted with. Somewhere in Chicago, we’re on the street immediately outside the infamous Best Arena, watching the crowds milling around outside in between the brief break in matches. Mostly, if we’re honest about it, it’s the smokers. Y’know. Last match ended, might as well sneak out for a quick one before the next match. Gotta stay high, after all. And it ain’t a big deal if you miss some sports-entertainment bullshit segment so you can smoke some weed, is it?
Except stoners…sometimes they’ve just got a sense for it. ‘Cause they’re about to have some sports-entertainment bullshit right in the middle of their smoke break, because from the middle distance comes the revving of an engine, quickly followed by some screeching tyres.
Maybe at this point you’re expecting to hear a crash, or some exclamation or some shit like that. “HOLY SHIT THERE’S A MADMAN IN A CAR COMING FOR US.” type deal. But nah. People could be screaming things like that, but all we can hear is a classic rock tune. You know it.
“HIIIIIIIIIIIIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE!
RIIIIIII-IIIIDE INTO THE DANGER ZONE!”
And as if it was rehearsed, careening into view is a sight that should be familiar to any long-term fan of High Octane Wrestling – Townsend’s Taco Truck. This offensively brightly coloured truck comes to a stop in front of the stoners, as the music abruptly stops. The truck lurches about, before the window slaps up and open and we are greeted with the truck’s proprietor – Rhys Townsend. The Welshman appears clad in an apron emblazoned with the taco truck’s psychedelic logo, an oversized chef’s hat perched atop his bald head, looking, well…softer than he used to be. A little more rounded around the edges. Certainly not the in-shape, spend half your life in the gym and the other half carefully watching your diet bodies that, well, pretty much everyone in High Octane Wrestling possesses. Is he fat? Maybe. But if he is, it’s most certainly a powerful sorta fat.
He throws the menu boards open on either side of the window – and to another cheer from the stoners, we see what’s on offer – Single King Crab Leg Tacos. Price? Free. One per person. Of course stoners are gonna cheer free food. They somehow form an orderly line, as the Hall of Famer goes to work, pulling out a hefty crab leg for every eager customer.
And then, suddenly, he looks up at the camera that’s been right there the whole time, and starts to speak
Rhys Townsend: Good evening, High Octane Wrestling! It’s…well, cliche as it is, it’s good to be back. Y’know? Feels nice. Feels right. Sure, I could tell you it’s the whole, fuck it, one last run thing, but this business…let’s be honest. There’s always potential for another, right? So fuck it. I’m just another Hall of Famer here to play his greatest hits. That, people, is what I’m here to do. Now, I’m not about to stand here and list shit off, and I know that there’s new wrestlers, new fans, people who never heard my name beyond being a Hall of Famer and I won some shit back in the day. Chill. I know there are other people who do know…and I’m gonna give absolutely everything I have to play those greatest hits as well as I can. Show the new wrestlers, the new fans exactly why I’m a Hall of Famer.
He smiles as he pauses briefly, a taco splayed open with it’s impressive crab leg on show. The Welshman turns away from the camera a moment, still smiling as he reappears with a bottle. Obviously, there’s a hilariously over exaggerated skull on it, because of course, this is quite obviously the sort of sauce that’s gonna make you shit your ring inside out tomorrow.
The label? “Trent’s Fuckin’ Secret Curry Sauce Of Death”
Townsend absolutely covers the crab leg in the sauce and hands it to a dude, who, well…he looks like he’s about halfway to Mars right now.
Rhys Townsend: So, with the introduction out of the way, let’s move onto business. I’d like to give Lee Best the horrifically predictable golf clap of sarcastic applause…
He stops and, well, does the sarcastic golf clap.
Rhys Townsend: I’m mad at Townsend right now because he got one over on me, and I hate anything with the name Kostoff, so boom, match. Two birds with one stone. Either I give Kostoff a kicking or he gives me one, and, either way, Lee wins. I mean…to be honest, I’m getting what I want too, right? I loved getting to go toe to toe with Chris Kostoff, I’m looking forward to kicking this new Kostoff’s ass too. That, and, well…I don’t really care who I face, if I’m honest. I’m here to wrestle. I’m here to put that grind in. I mean, I hear nowadays that it’s more relaxed on the wrestlers and sports-entertainers here…less matches, more breaks, easier schedule than I used to hammer out. Regular weeks off. Hell…I got offered it when I agreed my return. Every other show.
He stops speaking, though he’s still serving the tacos to the weirdly organised stoners with machine like precision. The queue, at this point, has obviously grown. I mean…if you were in the arena and you saw on the screens that free tacos were outside? Shit, you’re off, right?
He looks a little disgusted as he resumes his monologue to the camera.
Rhys Townsend: Which is fine. I get it. I do. But when I threw open the windows to the truck tonight, I said I was here to play the greatest hits. So I’ve already asked management to book me next week. I don’t care who it’s against. Personally, I’d love to throw out an open challenge and see who’s gonna step the fuck up and try to send this Hall of Famer back to the retirement home, but we all know Lee Best is gonna use it to try and grind me down. That’s chill. Like I keep saying, I’m here to grind. But I find myself hoping that one of you out there has the balls to say, y’know what? Fuck Lee Best. Fuck The Alliance. I want a chance to go one on one with this asshole. I want to see if I can beat him so I can sit around in a week and act all disdainful and aloof about having beaten a Hall of Famer the week after. I threw it out there in my letter – I want to see if anyone has the sack to step up and take what should be theirs, rather than just watching Lee Best’s stale circlejerk Alliance hold all the Championships…and if anyone here is worth a fuck, you’ll be mad that I don’t think you’ve done shit about the Alliance. So go demand you face me next Chaos. Man up. Show me, and the thousands of fans that you’re actually worth a fuck. Demand the match.
He pauses between tacos, taking a quick drink of some mango juice, taking a long, deep toke of some spliff that was apparently just sitting there, off camera this whole time. As he resumes serving, he resumes speaking.
Rhys Townsend: So…let’s get onto the super relevant business then, yeah? Because I’d kinda like to…if I’m honest, I’m getting a real kick out of facing Kostoff this week. I was fortunate enough to go to war a good few times with the old, grizzled Kostoff. This week, it ain’t quite that, but it seems like it’s close enough. Before, I was the young asshole, now, he is. He’s the young rookie and I’m the veteran…and rather than muse about how getting old sucks, I’d rather fucking enjoy it. Because, y’see, people, as much as I loved to fight Kostoff, that old bastard always did one thing that really pissed me off, so I’m gonna seize my opportunity to do it tonight.
The Welshman seems to be enjoying himself at this point, grinning as he serves and speaks.
Rhys Townsend: I hope you’re gonna bring it tonight. I hope there’s some of that legendary Kostoff fight within you…and I hope you’re as hungry and as fired up as your roster page reckons you are. ‘Cause if you aren’t…well…I plan to bring it tonight. I plan to throw everything I have into this match, this main event. First match back and I’m in the main event? Yeah, you best fucking believe I’m gonna do my level best to ensure it’s me who gets his arm raised. Sure, maybe the Alliance is gonna see the opportunity and beat the shit outta me. Doesn’t matter. Nobody will remember that in two weeks. But…”And your winner…RHYSSSSSSSSSS TOWNSENDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!”
The sudden increase in volume from the man startles some stoners, sending crab legs flying.
Rhys Townsend: They’ll remember that. So…boy…
That. That right there. Boy. That’s what he’s been waiting to say, as the glee at uttering it is quite evident.
Rhys Townsend: Bring fuckin’ everything you got tonight. Maybe you win. But I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s gonna be enough. See…I think there’s some Single Leg Crabs of Doom. I think you’re gonna tap out. I think there’s one outcome to this match. Townsend wins. Hashtag Predictable.
We go to commercials on the shot of Townsend, still serving the tacos with machine like precision, a smile of pure joy all over his face. Someone’s obviously happy to be back. Cue up the vintage Townsend commercial….
Back live and the scene cuts backstage in the Best Arena to Brian Bare, much like Godsmack and every Friday night, standing alone.
Brian Bare: Ladies and Gentlemen, live from Mexico City via satellite, I have with me one-half of the HOTv Tag Team Champions, Jatt Starr.
A split screen appears with Brian Bare on the right and Jatt Starr on the left. The HOW Hall of Famer sports his red and black checkered suit, black dress shirt, and a black tie with a red paisley print. The HOTv Tag Team Championship rests over his left shoulder.
Brian Bare: This weekend, at PWA-2, you and Dan Ryan will square off in a Tornado Tag Team match for the PWA Tag Team Championships, before we get there, lets go back to War Games….Joe Bergman eliminated you—-
Jatt Starr: Really Brian? We’re going there? What, it’s not enough that the whole world got to see it live, but I have to keep reliving one of most embarrassing moments in my long, storied, legendary career? Yes! I got eliminated with a roll up. Yes, Lee Best basically counted to fifty and I was unable to kick out! I suck, okay?! I’m the “Manos: Hands of Fate” of wrestling! I am the New York Jets of the HOW! The-the-the Detroit Pistons! I might as well head to PRIME where HOW wrestlers go to die and swap “Remember When” stories with Arthur Pleasant and Bobby Dean! What? You don’t think it eats at me, that Jatt Starr, the Jattinum Standard, HOW Hall of Famer, HOTv Tag Team Champion, couldn’t kick out of a simple roll up?! That I don’t think that-that-that my wife, my scorching hot wife, is probably disgusted that she’s sharing a bed with someone that can’t even kick out of a roll up….not just after three….but after something like eleven seconds….and is probably out having some kind of sex affair with someone who CAN? Not cool, Bri! Not cool!
Brian Bare: Actually, I was just going to mention if you had thoughts on Joe Bergman, the man who eliminated you and will be having his very last match at PWA-2, considering your long history with him?
Jatt Starr: Joe Bergman is a tool and a cheat and a liar and I hope bleeds from his anus to his mouth so he can taste his own blood turds!
Brian Bare: So, there’s no love lost, there. But let’s go back to War Games for a moment. It was a very rough night for both you and your fellow HOTv Tag Team Champion, Dan Ryan and both centered around Lee. Lee, as you mentioned, counted you out, rather slowly, some would say, and he ordered the Alliance members, Christopher America, Shawn Kutter, and El Blanco Hombre—-
Jatt Starr: When did El Machu Pichu join the Alliance, by the way? I missed that memo. But, why should that shock the Ruler of Jattlantis? Maybe I am on the outs. Maybe Lee has, in fact, given up on me. I can’t explain why they felt the need to eliminate Dan when they did and in the manner in which it was done. But going back to my situation, it really makes you think….maybe I’ve stayed too long….a lot of times, you don’t get to go out with a bang, sometimes you go out with a simple roll up….sometimes you go out with a whimper. I have four matches remaining on my contractual minimum, including PWA-2. Once those obligations have been met, it would be time to consider hanging up the boots.
Brian Bare: So, you’re pondering retirement?
Jatt Starr: After my contractual commitments are met. Besides, I’m the HOTv Tag Team Champion, as long as Dan Ryan is counting on me from other people breaking up his pin attempts, I am here, since that’s really all I’m good for lately. But that’s next week, Dan Ryan and myself are taking on two teams from other promotions that I really don’t care to remember right now, but in two weeks? I have some questions. Questions that only man can answer. A man who has not responded to my calls or texts. Next week, I invite….not demand, not order, not insist…invite, as my special guest on a very special “Starrgazing with Jatt Starr”….Lee Best. We’ll see if he accepts. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a tag team championship match to prepare for and tag team names to memorize.
Jatt Starr’s feed cuts before Brian Bare can thank him for joining and he stands there, his mouth agape. As he opens his mouth to cut to the next segment, the scene ends.
CHARLES DE LACY VS. BRIAN HOLLYWOOD
Back inside The Best Arena, regal tones of “Ballad of the Virgin Soldiers” pipe through the HOW PA system, signaling the arrival of “Dandy” Charles de Lacy. Sauntering down the aisle, a look of utter contempt etched on his face, and a cricket bat in his hands de Lacy glares at the fans who dare to reach towards the expensive silk robe draped over his shoulders. Wiping his feet on the apron, de Lacy steps through the middle rope before turning slowly in the centre of the ring and surveying his surroundings. The referee helps de Lacy remove his robe, handing it to the time-keeper on the outside of the ring along with the cricket bat, while de Lacy limbers up on the inside with a series of stretches.
Joe Hoffman: After that big War Games performance, De Lacy looks in great shape tonight.
Benny Newell: Yeah sure Joe, it wasn’t GOOD ENOUGH though…..can we focus on the fact that Jatt is DEMANDING LEE to share mic time with him next week?? THAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS MATCH.
Joe Hoffman: That is some big news for sure and who knows what Lee will do being challenged like that…Let’s focus on this match huh?
Benny Newell: Look Da Lacy Panties cost America the World Championship by bringing the whole team down!
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think he did anything of the sort.
“Stronger on your Own” by Disturbed blares over the PA. Hollywood slowly walks from the back and takes center stage as he stands there for a few brief moments, closing his eyes. He reigns in the boos from the crowd as he gets in final mental preparation for his upcoming match. As Hollywood opens up his eyes, pyro shoots off in opposite corners of the stage as it makes its way to center stage. As the pyro hits the center, the camera zooms in to see the reflection in Hollywood’s eyes as he finally makes his way down the ramp, quickly taking off his vest and throwing it down with intensity. Hollywood makes his final push as he charges the ring, rolling under the ropes. He gets back to his feet and looks about the entire arena glaring at the fans before he takes his place in the corner turnbuckle before turning his gaze intently in the ring as he awaits for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: And here comes Brian Hollywood.
Benny Newell: He still works here?
Joe Hoffman: He’s a former World Heavyweight Champion, Benny.
Benny Newell: Don’t care. Act like it.
DING DING DING
Hortega calls for the bell and De Lacy comes across the ring in a hurry. He delivers a sprinting European Uppercut to Hollywood, catching him off guard and knocking him back into the corner. De Lacy unloads, multiple stomps to the midsection, fires off and drives Hollywood back into the corner. Hollywood fires off a right hand that staggers De Lacy. He sprints out of the corner and leaps into the air going for a flying forearm. De Lacy manages to catch Hollywood, and spins him around with an inverted atomic drop.
Joe Hoffman: Ow!
Benny Newell: That’s going to hurt.
Hollywood stumbles around and falls to the canvas, holding his nether regions. De Lacy snarls, and drags Hollywood to his feet by his hair. He fires off another european uppercut, before setting him up, and lifting him up in the air for a vertical suplex. De Lacy stalls at the height of the move, and holds it there for a few moments before bringing Hollywood crashing down to the canvas. De Lacy slides over, and hooks the leg as Hortega slides in for the pinfall count.
Benny Newell: Glad he kicked out, I should have put Hollywood on my list with Zion.
Joe Hoffman: Kickout from Hollywood, let’s see if he can get back into this one.
De Lacy barks at Hortega and counts to three for him. Charles pulls Hollywood to his feet again, this time De Lacy goes for a collar and elbow tie-up, but Hollywood reverses to a rear waist lock. De Lacy tries to reverse it back, but Hollywood tightens his grip, and rides him around. Finally Hollywood gets a second and flips him up and over his head with a german suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Signs of life from Brian Hollywood!
CDL gets to his feet quickly, but is wobbly. Hollywood takes the opportunity and charges across the ring, and dives at De Lacy. De Lacy hits the mat, and Hollywood flies over, missing the Executive Decree and smashing himself into the ropes. His foot gets tangled, De Lacy notices Hollywood trapped in the ropes, with Hortega trying to free him. He comes across the ring and shoves Hortega out of the way and starts peppering Hollywood with boots to the midsection and face.
Joe Hoffman: He’s trapped!
Benny Newell: He’s like a pinata but a person!
Hollywood tries to cover up, but De Lacy is still able to get some blows through. Hortega comes back over, but CDL keeps pushing forward. He lifts Hollywood up off of the mat, his leg still wrapped up in the ropes. He slams him to the canvas with a thunderous DDT, and looks up towards the camera and smirks. Hollywood is on the mat holding his skull, and De Lacy is quick to bring him up to his feet again. Hollywood, on one leg manages to throw a right hand that staggers De Lacy backwards. Hollywood scrambles and tries to get his leg out of the ropes, but De Lacy is back on him with right hands to the back of the head.
Joe Hoffman: Someone has to get Hollywood out of those ropes.
Hortega finally obliges, and Hollywood falls backwards while De Lacy clubs him across the shoulders with his forearm. De Lacy drags him to his feet by his hair, Hollywood fires off an elbow to the midsection that doubles CDL over. Hollywood grabs CDL in a front face lock and tries to lift him up for a DDT of his own, but De Lacy is able to stand his ground, and lifts Hollywood over his head with a big northern lights suplex.
Benny Newell: OOF!
Hollywood hits the canvas, and CDL is right back on top of him. Hortega counts.
Joe Hoffman: Another close call!
De Lacy gets back to his feet, furious with Hortega. He begins admonishing Hortega, counting very slowly, showing him it was three.
Benny Newell: I agree with Charles here, clearly that was a three count.
De Lacy, finally satisfied that Hortega has had enough goes to turn around, but Hollywood is there and staggers him with a right hand. Hollywood grabs a front face lock, and attempts a snap suplex but CDL manages to get his leg up to block the maneuver. Hollywood tries again, and CDL blocks again. Hollywood is frustrated and starts peppering CDL’s back with shots and tries again, but the leg is still there and blocks Hollywood’s attempt again.
Joe Hoffman: Brian Hollywood really wants that suplex.
De Lacy let’s fly with an elbow to the midsection, then another, then another, and manages to switch places with Hollywood. CDL goes for the lift but Hollywood blocks it, and CDL reaches down, grabbing Hollywood’s leg, and flips him over planting him to the canvas with his Fisherman’s Buster.
Joe Hoffman: Dandy’s Decree!!!
Charles bridges and Hortega flies in to count.
DING DING DING
CDL isn’t done though and slides out of the ring, and snatches the cricket bat off the table.
Bryan McVay: Your winner by pinfall… CHARLES DE LAAAAAAAAAACY!
Benny Newell: Oh, where was this bat when we were in War Games, Charles? WHERE WAS IT TO PROTECT CHRISTOPHER AMERICA?!
De Lacy brings it up, and back down. Smashing Hollywood with the cricket bat as hard as he can, before walking away, snarling and heading back up the ramp.
Joe Hoffman: That was uncalled for! He already beat him!
Benny Newell: I kinda liked it……quite dandy if I dare say so myself!
Joe can only roll his eyes as we cut away from ringside and head backstage.
The action cuts backstage as wee Blaire Moise standing at the ready.
Blaire Moise: Ladies and gentlemen, my guest at this time, former HOW World Champion, Christopher America.
The former World Champ walks up to Blaire, brow furrowed as if he has a lot on his mind.
Blaire Moise: Chris, another valiant effort inside War Games, where you almost went the distance.
America quickly holds up his hand and shakes his head.
Christopher America: No. we’re not gonna do this. I’m not gonna be talked to like this by Blaire Moist.
Blaire Moise: It’s Moise.
Christopher America: Whatever. Do you see me standing here today?
Christopher America: Am I hiding in my locker room sulking? Do you see me, with tears in my eyes, mourning the loss of my beloved championship? Do you see me needing to figure out where it all went wrong? Do you see me needing 24 hours off so that I can go cool down?
Blaire shakes her head.
Christopher America: Of course not. Because I’m not a fucking little bitch. So don’t talk to me somberly or as if I have regrets.
Ever since I won the HOW World Championship, I have made it my mission to be the absolute best World Champion HOW has ever seen.
I spoke often of what a third reign meant to me. I talked about climbing the insurmountable mountain that was Mike Best’s unprecedented reign. I bragged that it was going to take one hell of a man to knock me off that mountain.
And I was right.
Challenger after challenger, I turned them away.
And the man who finally knocked me off was a walking colossus. A living mountain. An unrelenting juggernaut.
In short…a hell of a man.
That man is STRONK Godson.
I make no excuses for what happened in War Games. I gave it my all and my all wasn’t enough. STRONK Godson did what no other person in HOW was able to do. Now, later tonight, the new champion will get his due.
But to make sure that there is no misunderstanding, I say this…
Congratulations to STRONK Godson, the new HOW World Champion.
Congratulations to Steve Solex, the new HOTv Champion, and winning captain of War Games.
Congratulations to Lee Best and the Final Alliance for ensuring that we retained the HOW World Championship and the HOTv Championship.
America pauses, looks contemplatively off to the side for a brief moment before staring right back into the camera, speaking with a shocking sincerity.
Christopher America: And to STRONK… treat her well.
For when her eyes start wandering… when her eyes look for the next potential suitor… I’ll be there for her.
I’m ALWAYS there for her.
Blaire Moise: Speaking of other potential suitors…
America shoots Blaire a dirty look.
Blaire Moise: Chris, any comments on the seeing Shane Reynolds show up at War Games and the in ring return of fellow Hall of Famer Rhys Townsend?
Christopher America: Some teacher from Las Vegas must’ve cut themselves, dipped their fingers in their own blood, and typed out one hell of a shitty poem on their LiveJournal to summon Shane Reynolds and bring his ass back from whatever dark basement he’s been holed up in.
Either that or Carey invoked his name for the third War Games in a row and, like an emo-Beetlejuice, he declared it was, “Showtime!”
Whatever the case may be, I hope Shane is back for good. And I hope that Bobbinette Carey gets fucked over like she so richly deserves. Because you see, when Carey and Shittywood and others say, “Duhhhh… You woulda done the same! You woulda screwed someone over for da title! Uh hur hur hur.” the truth is that we haven’t. Aceldama, that goose stepping, cluck head didn’t screw over Shane when they won together. Tyler and I didn’t screw each other over.
No, it was only Carey.
The woman who talks out of both sides of her mouth, claiming she’s the only one with the balls to do that and then questions why it’s her that Shane wants revenge on.
Fuck her stupidity and her greed.
My hope is Shane does it on Juneteenth.
America puts his hand to his ear.
Christopher America: There it is. Do you hear that! It’s Carey saying, “Rude!” before she goes off to lose another match.
And as for Rhys Townsend, well… meh.
Just another Welsh fucker who wants to overuse the letter “Y”.
I mean, why use a single letter when you can use 15 consonants in a row, right?
But don’t worry, when he’s not butchering American English, I’m sure he will do his damndest to try to claim a sixth World Championship. It’s an admirable goal to be sure. But may I suggest during his quest for a sixth, that Rhys figure out a way to hold it beyond two short months.
After all, we can’t all be like me… we can’t all complete a PPV grand slam in a single year, can we?
And figure out a way to not die like his friend Evan Ward did. It’d be a real shame if that happened. Such a…
America yawns loudly.
Christopher America: shame. But I’m sure I’ll get over it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get ready for the main event tonight. Rumor has it, something big is going down at the end of the show and I plan on bearing witness to it.
America smiles, unsettling Blaire, before he walks off.
TILL NEXT TIME…
The show returns to ringside where Joe Hoffman is looking very serious while Benny is looking like he couldn’t give a shit.
Joe Hoffman: Earlier tonight we saw some of the roster share their thoughts on our fallen colleague, Evan Ward. He was an inspiration to many on the roster and to many fans at home.
Benny Newell: What are you talking about, Hoffhole? Ward was a total dick, a grade A douche-face!
Joe Hoffman: I meant over the course of his career, Benny. Sure he went off the rails a bit in the last couple of months but given his medical condition I can’t hold it against him. What he achieved before was certainly worthy of everyone’s respect.
Benny Newell: Eh, good riddance I say.
Joe Hoffman: Well, folks, I’m receiving word that we’re to go live to the reading of Evan Ward’s last will and testament. I’m sure it will be a heartwrencher.
The show cuts backstage to the same sombre room seen earlier. Now all the wrestlers were gone, the buffet table was decimated and all the Champagne bottles empty. The low lighting illuminated a wreath on an easel beside a cloth covered table with the open coffin sitting atop. The still corpse of Evan Ward can be seen inside it. A large, modern TV looked over it with an ancient VHS player plugged in. A tall man in a typical black suit stands far enough in the shadows that his identity was obscured but close enough that he could reach forward and press play on the tape.
The TV screen lights up with a tasteful video package remembering the life of Evan Ward to some artsy fartsy funeral music. It plays through a black and white slideshow of photos from Evan’s childhood, a young kid learning the tricks of the trade from his father, moving on to his teenage years jumping off stupidly high things like an idiot. It moves onto highlights from Ward’s career, still in greyscale, showing his debut on to his TV Title victory, fighting Austin Reeves on the roof of Alcatraz, forming Ground Zero, all the way to his World Championship victory at War Games. The footage reaches a crescendo, set to the 1812 Overture, with a slow motion, highly graphic montage of Ward having the living shit beat out of him at War Games, culminating in repeated shots of Kutter spiking his head into the ramp from many camera angles.
The footage hangs on a photo of Ward and his family:
1990 – 2023
Simply the best
Better than all the rest
Many people at home are sure to be immediately picking up a phone to lodge a complaint with the network over how disrespectful it is to use that quote, but in Evan’s defence, ignoring the fact he recorded this video package before she had passed, he was just such an asshole he would have used it just to piss people off.
The TV cuts to footage of Evan Ward sat at an ornate table in a study of some kind. The amount of Spanish on the spines of the various books lining the shelf behind him indicates it was recorded in Mexico.
Evan Ward: Hey, what’s up, fuckers? I bet all you asshats are miserable as hell, all sad and cut up, aren’t you? And I bet now you’re thinking, damn that Evan, he’s such a twat for swerving us. But, no, I’m sad to say that if you’re watching this I am most certainly dead. I entered that Ward Games cage and fought for my life but, unfortunately, met my demise at the hands of one of those nerds in the match.
Evan pauses, wiping a mournful tear from his eye.
Evan Ward: Obviously I have no idea what happened in the match, I mean it hasn’t happened yet for me, but I’d like to start by thanking the entirety of my team for helping me become HOW World Champion, especially Aceldama, you really knocked it out the park taking out Clyd, dude. And my condolences to America, I would say you can have the belt back now I’ve got no more use for it, but I’ve decided to be buried with her, so tough luck.
Ward smiles mischievously at the camera.
Evan Ward: So, dudes and dudettes, dicks and twats, assholes and muffholes, it is time for me to read my will and bequeath my worldly possessions on the worthy. As I said, if you’re watching this it means I am no more, ceased to be, bereft of life. I’ve shuffled off my mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. I am an ex-wrestler. Well… I mean, as long as that idiot standing beside my corpse like some fucking mindless golem hasn’t accidentally played the wrong vid-
The footage cuts out as the man panics and starts fumbling with the VHS player to eject the tape.
Probably Not Trent: Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
He throws the tape over his shoulder (it lands in the casket atop Ward’s still unmoving corpse) and replaces it with a different video of Evan still sitting at the same desk, though the lighting from the window has changed enough to show it was recorded at a significantly different time of day.
Evan Ward: Okay, so I can safely assume that cockhead fucked up and played the wrong tape. Let’s begin again. Hey, what’s up, fuckers? I bet you’re all sad and shit I’m dead and to that I have to say… GOTCHA! If you’re watching this video then I am not dead! I clung to life like the true fighter I am and beat the odds. Having an aneurysm pop in the middle of your brain would be enough to kill any of you assholes on the roster, but not me, I’m made of better fucking stuff than the lot of you!
Evan throws a middle finger at the camera.
Evan Ward: Sadly, it does mean I’m incapacitated in some horrific way which means I am unable to speak or interact with the camera in any way. I can only imagine what was done to me at Ward Games, but whoever did it is going to pay through their teeth… Yes, I’m talking to you, Bergman. You’re the only one in that match evil enough to cripple a man this horrifically. It’s totally your M.O. If I could walk, talk or even move at all, I would be hunting you down like the vile scum you are!
Evan slams a fist down on the table.
Evan Ward: Anyway, this isn’t my last will and testament, but it is my living will. I may be incapacitated, I may be injured beyond all reason, but I am still awesome. I am the most amazing, incredible high flyer to ever grace that wrestling ring. You think something like this would stop me? NEVER! No matter what condition I’m in, I am still the Final Alliance’s most valuable asset! I assume I am Lee Best’s World Heavyweight Champion, the winner of Ward Games! Worshipped by the lower ranks of the Alliance like STRONK, Steve Solex and Dan Ryan! Lee Best will keep booking me, dammit, or so help me I will sue this company for all it’s worth for discrimination! You ableist shit-eaters can’t do anything to stop me wrestling!
Evan, on the video, looks manic and determined, while Evan, in the casket, is unmoving and really, actually looks dead.
Evan Ward: Ladies and gentlemen, under the care and guidance of my contractually obligated servant, the stoned cyclops, Trent, I present to you the new HOW World Heavyweight Champion, the…
Evans lips keep moving, any lip reader could tell he was saying “Insert Appropriate Nickname Here” while the female text-to-speech voice from TikTok is badly dubbed over the top.
TikTok Voiceover: Catatonic Calamity, Evan Ward!
The man, who is almost definitely Trent, presses a button on a remote control and the casket breaks apart, the cloth on the table falls away and the unmoving body of Evan Ward rotates upright, strapped into a big electric wheelchair with large tank-like caterpillar tracks.
A tankchair, if you will. It spins to face the camera. Evan’s eyes are open but no one is home, he just stares vacantly past the camera, eyes unblinking and unmoving, not a single muscle twitches anywhere on his entire body, only held upright by the many straps belting him into the tankchair. Even his breathing is so shallow as to be unseen. Meanwhile, the Evan Ward of last week grins from ear to ear.
The camera cuts back to ringside where Joe Hoffman is dumbfounded.
Joe Hoffman: … What…
Benny Newell: AHAHAHA! I LOVE THAT GUY!
The feed immediately cuts to a commercial break as the crowd is absolutely buzzing from what they just seen.
Back live and the scene opens to Conor Fuse standing in a dark room with his head down, staring at the floor.
Conor Fuse: I was ready. Focused. Determined.
WarGames footage shows Conor entering the cage and unleashing himself against anyone coming.
Conor Fuse: But just like before, WarGames didn’t work out the way I had envisioned.
Fuse pins Christopher America. He screams into the rafters and then he’s immediately placed into a choke hold by Stronk Godson.
The footage slows down, the music is somber. Conor tries to fight his way out of the hold…
His eyes roll into the back of his head as he collapses to the canvas.
The bell rings and then Godson holds the World Championship in the air. The scene returns to the real time Conor Fuse.
Conor Fuse: I’ve been playing this game for three years. Every June I’m in the exact, same, spot…
Another image of Conor passed out on the canvas at WarGames is intercut with the present Conor Fuse.
Conor Fuse: So close. So far away.
Fuse shakes his head.
Conor Fuse: From bell-to-bell, chaos to carnage.
Conor runs an unsteady hand through his hair.
Conor Fuse: Many would be happy to make it to the end. It might mean I have a title opportunity coming my way. After all, I pinned the former World Champion…
Conor doesn’t like what he’s saying.
Conor Fuse: But I got CHOKED OUT by the man I should’ve murdered.
The Vintage raises his head towards the camera, revealing dark circles under his eyes, looking like he hasn’t slept in days.
Conor Fuse: It’s time to make a change.
The gamer walks away from the camera.
Conor Fuse: This version of Conor Fuse is no more…
And Chaos goes elsewhere.
RHYS TOWNSEND VS. ZACH KOSTOFF
The show cuts back to the announcers’ table at ringside.
Benny Newell: Fuck that nerd, why can’t STRONK just break him already? He could snap him like a twig!
Joe Hoffman: I’m sure Fuse would put up a very strong fight, Benny.
Benny Newell: Shut up, Joe, Fuse is a spec of dust compared to our new World Champion!
Hoffman lets out an audible sigh.
Joe Hoffman: Anyway, now it’s time for our main event, folks. We have the rookie son of a late Hall of Famer, Zach Kostoff, facing down the returning Hall of Famer, Rhys Townsend. Townsend made a shocking return at War Games where he took out all the EPU agents and left Lee Best in a pool of his own blood at the close of the show. One has to wonder what his mindset is knowing that his long time friend Evan Ward is alive and well!!??
Benny Newell: First off…well is a relative word there sir. I mean TRENT is back…….and now we get to see Townsend in action. Who gives a fuck about his mentality right now. I want to know if we are on the highway to the Holyoke Mall!!??
Joe Hoffman: I get that reference and for those at home that get it…..all I can say is well done Benny. Well done.
The arena dims its lights. A light blue light shines down on the stage as Jelly Roll “Son Of A Sinner” begins to play through the arena. The lyrics, “I’m a long haired son of sinner” echoes off the walls, Zach makes his way onto the stage. He slowly makes his way down to the stage as the crowd has a mix of cheers and boos. Zach climbs the stairs, grabs the top rope and leaps over the top.
Bryan McVay: The following match is scheduled for one fall! Introducing fist, at a weight of 240lbs, ZAAAAACCCHHHHH KOOOOOSSSSSTTTOOOOOOOOFFFFF~!
The big screens turn off as a klaxon sounds, filling the air with its abrasiveness. The sound of boots stomping starts quietly, and slowly builds into it’s clear crescendo as Corey Taylor’s monologue begins
“This is the year where hope fails you.
The test subjects run the experiments,
And the bastards you know,
Is the hero you hate.
But cohesion is possible if we strive.
There’s no reason,
There’s no lesson,
No time like the present.
Tell me right now,
What have you got to lose?
What have you got to lose,
Except your soul?
Who’s with us!”
Immediately after this, the klaxon and boots fade out, and the aural assault begins, the drums booming through the sound system with military precision, the riffs stuttering over the top like machine guns. The music quickly drops into a brief fill, accentuated by a big fuck off pyrotechnic explosion right in the centre of the stage. It’s around this time that the screen sparks back into life, showing a fairly simple, barebones video of Townsend hitting some cool moves and looking generally cool. Like professional wrestler entrance videos generally do. The man himself appears after the explosion, towel wrapped around his neck. There’s no real pizzazz to his entrance, it’s why he put a big fuck off explosion in it.
Bryan McVay: And introducing his opponent, weighing in at 273lbs, he is a Hall of Famer, RRRRRHYYYYYSSSSSS TOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWNNNNNNSSSEEEENNNNNDDDD~!
He walks from ramp to ring, not stopping, not acknowledging anyone, carrying the face of someone totally focused. There’s no wasted movement as he walks up the steps, wiping his feet on the apron before climbing into the ring, discarding the towel he’d been wearing around his neck to one of the ring attendants, ready to do some wrestling.
Joe Hoffman: Neither of these men are showing much pageantry here, both of them are no nonsense wrestling machines.
Benny Newell: What’s the point in that? This is professional wrestling, if you’re not showing off then you’re admitting to be a nerd!
Matt Boettcher calls for the bell to get the match started as the lights return to the arena. Both wrestlers circle the ring, eyes locked and looking for an opening. Kostoff sees one and charges at Townsend, hoping to catch him off guard and locks up with the veteran wrestler. He pushes Townsend back a step but Rhys plants a foot, stopping Kostoff’s momentum and pushes him back into the opposite corner of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff has the slight height advantage here, but Townsend’s significant weight advantage comes into play, overpowering the younger man.
Benny Newell: He’s fat, Joe. Townsend is a fat fuck, he’s been sat in his van eating tacos and now he’s fat. It’s disgusting.
Townsend breaks the collar-and-elbow tie-up as Boettcher’s count reaches 3. The ref gets between the two wrestlers but Zach takes advantage, swinging a cheap punch at Townsend. Townsend has it scouted, leaning back to narrowly avoid the punch. The force of the miss throws Kostoff off balance, Townsend catches him in a half-nelson and suplexes across the ring to the cheers of the crowd.
Joe Hoffman: Townsend’s experience is showing, he made that look easy.
Benny Newell: He’s fat and old. That’s not a good thing. Townsend is an old and out of touch asshole who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Joe Hoffman: He’s only 31, Benny.
Townsend picks Kostoff up and throws a chop as the crowd shouts “WOOOOOO”, and another! Kostoff staggers but the pain spurs him on and he throws a forearm at Townsend’s jaw. Rhys takes it and throws another chop but gets another forearm. Chop. Forearm. Chop. Forearm. Chop. Headbutt from Kostoff!. Townsend staggers, shakes his head and gives a headbutt of his own. The rookie takes a few steps back then launches forward, hitting an explosive clothesline. Townsend is back to his feet but gets taken down by another clothesline and again by a third. With Townsend grounded, Kostoff goes to pick him up.
Joe Hoffman: A high paced series of strikes, both giving as good as they get but looks like Kostoff has come out on to-SMALL PACKAGE BY TOWNSEND!
Benny Newell: FUCKER WAS PLAYING POSSUM!
Kostoff gets a shoulder up but Townsend uses his technical prowess to smoothly switch into an STF! Townsend wrenches back on Kostoff’s head while his legs bends Kostoff’s leg backwards. The ref checks on Kostoff but he digs down and refuses, crawling to the ropes.
Joe Hoffman: Near fall by Townsend, now he has Kostoff tied up in a painful submission move!
Benny Newell: Boring! Kostoff needs to bust that Welsh bastard open and make this match exciting! COME ON!
Kostoff reaches the ropes and the ref counts. Townsend breaks the hold on 4 and Boettcher makes him give Kostoff space. Kostoff pulls himself up on the ropes, pushing through the leg pain. He runs at Townsend with a clothesline but Rhys ducks and lifts Kostoff up, dropping the rookie’s leg on the veteran’s knee with a shin breaker! Townsend stomps on Kostoff’s leg.
Joe Hoffman: We’re seeing a very clever strategy from Townsen, working that injured leg. Is he trying to set up for his single leg crab?
Benny Newell: Ya think? Sometimes I question your intelligence, Joe.
Kostoff struggles to his feet through the strikes and with a burst of strength he shoves Townsend backwards, kicks his gut and hoists him vertically, planting the former World Champion’s head into the canvas with a brainbuster! Kostoff is slow to make the cover, his leg hurts a lot from lifting the heavier man up. Boettcher counts.
TWO-KICKOUT WITH AUTHORITY!
Benny Newell: God dammit, Kostoff! Stop being so useless and pin that fucker!
Joe Hoffman: Kostoff dropped Townsend on his head but the 4 time World Champion is having none of it. If anything, Kostoff just lit a fire under Townsend.
Benny Newell: Oooo, that’s an idea. KOSTOFF! LIGHT HIM ON FIRE!
Rhys shoves Kostoff off and gets to his feet as nimbly as his pudgy frame allow. Kostoff meets him in the middle of the ring but gets flattened by a huge lariat. Kostoff almost bounces off the canvas back to his feet but gets hit with another. Back to his feet again, Kostoff steps into a belly-to-belly suplex! Kostoff rolls to his feet, he stumbles around into an exploder suplex! The momentum carries Kostoff up onto his feet and staggers into the ropes and bounces backwards right into the grasp of a rear waistlock…
Joe Hoffman: DAS SUPLEXEN~!!!
Benny Newell: ARRRGGHH I HATE TOWNSEND FOR DOING SUCH A PERFECT GERMAN SUPLEX!
Townsend holds the bridge of the best German Suplex in the business for the pin.
NO! KICKOUT AT 2.9! Townsend doesn’t let go, instead he transitions as they roll over, grabbing Kostoff’s injured leg and bending it backwards.
Joe Hoffman: Single Leg Boston Crab of DOOM~!
Townsend arches backward, his knee firmly planted in the spine of Kostoff and pulls as hard as he can..
DING DING DING DING~~ Matt Boettcher calls for the bell as Kostoff taps. “Pulse of the Magots” hits the speakers as Townsend’s hand is raised in victory by the referee.
Joe Hoffman: Townsend won that one with authority. People have questioned whether he’s over the hill but from that showing I think it’s safe to say Rhys Townsend hasn’t missed a beat.
Benny Newell: No, and he didn’t miss a meal with the size of that gut!
Joe Hoffman: Benny, you can’t mock people for their weight anymore.
Benny Newell: Stop being so soft, nerd.
Joe Hoffman: Anyway, stay tuned, folks! The night isn’t over yet, we’ll be right back after the break with a very special celebration for our new World Champion, STRONK!
The show leaves the returning Hall of Famer to celebrate to the cheers of the crowd….
The HOV comes to life and we hear the sound of boots stomping on the wooden planks echoing through Joe Bergman’s Barn.
The air is thick with the smell of sweat and dirt. In the middle of the barn is a wrestling ring, surrounded a small crowd of students with a few die-hard fans mixed in.
Blaire Moise: Blaire Moise here at Bergman’s Barn outside of St. Louis and I have Joe Bergman with me.
The camera pulls back and bring Bergman, his wife Laura, 2-year-old daughter Olivia into the shot.
Blaire Moise: Joe, Sunday night at the PWA-02 show, you will have your final pro wrestling match ever against Sage Pontiff. How are you feeling?
Joe Bergman: I’m feeling good, Blaire.
Blaire Moise: How does it feel to know that the PWA-02 will be the last time you’ll wrestle?
Joe Bergman: It’s bittersweet, you know? Wrestling has been my life for so long… seventeen years… but it’s time for me to hang up my boots and move on to the next chapter.
Blaire Moise: What are some of your favorite memories from your time in the ring?
Joe points up at the pictures on the wall.
Joe Bergman (looking up, lost in thought): Oh man, there are so many. Obviously, winning the HOW World Title against Brian Hollywood is up there… defeated John Sektor to win it a second time. Teaming up with The Highwaymen at the Dead or Alive show ranks up there. Winning the HOW Tag Team title with Andy Murray… as miserable of an experience as THAT was… still is a high point in my career…
Joe stops and grins.
Joe Bergman: …and then of course, the biggest one has to be coming back to HOW after heart surgery and defeating Steve Solex with the help of my good friends in Section 214… that one ranks pretty high.
Blaire Moise: What will you miss the most?
Joe Bergman: The adrenaline rush before a big match, the rush of the crowd when you hit that perfect move, the camaraderie with my fellow wrestlers… it’s hard to pick just one.
Blaire Moise: What advice would you give to young wrestlers just starting out?
Joe Bergman: Never give up. It’s a tough business, but if you have the heart and drive to succeed, you’ll make it. And always remember to have fun. The past few months I kind of lost my way in that regard but that’s what it’s all about in the end. At the PWA-02 show, when I step into the ring representing HOW for the last time… against PRIME’s Sage Pontiff.
Joe turns to the camera.
Joe Bergman: Sage. Can you prove to the folks in Mexico City… the wrestlers in PRIME… to the wrestling world that you belong on the big stage? Can you do it on the big stage? Trust me, the PWA 2 show in Mexico City will be a VERY… BIG… STAGE. I’ve been there. I’ve main evented big shows. I’ve wrestled in some extremely high stake matches over the past few years. Are you up for the challenge? Can you thrive in the same high stake, high-pressure, bright-light atmosphere as I have? This is your big chance. Your opportunity to show the world just what Sage Pontiff is all about. It’s a big stage, Sage. Will you welcome the challenge? Will you shine at what will be your biggest moment in your pro wrestling career? Or will you wilt under the bright lights?
Blaire nods as Joe talks.
Joe Bergman: Sage, I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve experienced the ups and downs, the wins and losses, the blood and sweat… the hard work that goes into being a professional wrestler. And at the PWA 2 show, the curtains come down for the final time for Joe Bergman and it all comes to an end. You better step up. You better dig deep. You better rise to the occasion. I want you to shine… to have your moment. I want you to wrestle like you’ve never wrestled before because that’s the effort it’s going to take for you to beat me on June 11th.
Joe Bergman: To the fans who have supported me throughout my seventeen-year journey through the backwoods of America wrestling in high school gym, bars, and any place where a ring could be set up. People who saw me compete in Political Championship Wrestling as a teenager… who saw me wrestling in the American Heartland at MVW… who saw me battle some of the best wrestlers in the industry in HOW. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for making this journey worth it. I may not know how my final match will end at the PWA show. But one thing I do know is that I will give it my all. For you, the fans. For my opponent. And for myself. Thank you.
Blaire Moise: All right, thank you Joe Bergman.
The video ends on the HOV and the screen goes black as we head to commercial.
Back live and inside the arena, the electrifying anthem “STRONKER” by the enigmatic FLAV RILLE echoes through the Best Arena, its powerful beats pulsating through the crowd.
The words reverberate repeatedly, blending demonic and robotic tones, creating an ominous atmosphere. A subtle remix of the original song.
The lights flash inside the arena, momentarily illuminating the raucous crowd in perfect sync with the music. Anticipation builds as the audience is captivated by the subtly remixed STRONKER.
A spotlight focuses on the stage as Michael Oliver Best, impeccably dressed and carrying a weight scale, makes his way out from the back. He bears the scale proudly, propped against his shoulder, ready and willing to measure and document his client’s relentless pursuit of physical strength and size.
New HOTv Champion Steve Solex walks out onto the stage next, acknowledging MOB with a nod, and glaring at the crowd.
A few moments later, MOB turns back, directing everyone’s attention to the entryway.
The imposing, 307-pound figure of the newly crowned HOW World Champion emerges from behind the curtain, greeted by a mixture of cheers and jeers. He is the Upcoming Large Object, the King fucking Stallion, the man who will propel High Octane Wrestling towards unparalleled success in the wrestling industry. And he knows it.
Perched atop a sleek, HOW red, self-balancing scooter, STRONK gazes out at the Chicago crowd with his signature David Puddy blank stare. The white light bathes him as the camera captures him from below, making him appear colossal on the video screen behind him.
Three men descend to the ring, and once inside, after placing the scale center stage, Lee Best’s dapper brother grabs a mic.
MOB: What did I–
The crowd’s boos cut him off, eliciting a smug smirk. He stands, waiting for the fans to finish expressing their hostility.
MOB: Are you done?
His raised eyebrows scan the crowd impatiently.
MOB: What did I say? What did I tell you? Huh? Hmmmmmmm?
On the side, a stoic, unflinching STRONK flexes his bulging muscles, hooking his thumbs in 97RED.
MOB: I told all of you from beat fucking one, anyone who would listen, that this man… this glorious man would triumph at War Games. That he would seize the HOW World Championship. That he would choke the life out of Conor Fuse, that creepy piece of shit. That he would etch his legacy in High Octane Wrestling! See, I possess the gift of foresight. I saw this man’s triumph, every aspect, every detail, as real as the earth, the moon, the stars, envisioned with precision and completeness! I willed it into reality!
Solex adjusts the HOTv title on his shoulder and scratches his beard, nodding along with Michael Oliver Best’s diatribe.
MOB: And not a single soul believed me. You all took it for granted that Christopher America would hold onto his title. Or that Conor Fuse would reclaim the championship he once held. Or that Clay Byrd would defy all odds stacked against him–and of course it doesn’t get much dumber than that! Or that some unknown entity like El Hombre Blanco would miraculously triumph despite his seriously abysmal team. Or that Jace Parker Davidson’s delusional self-belief would actualize into the big win that has eluded him since returning to HOW.
MOB shakes his head, stifling laughter. How foolish of the fans to doubt him. What a bunch of fucking marks.
MOB: How gullible you all are to believe the stuttering, unconvincing affirmations of lesser men! Pathetic. You’re all a bunch of moronic sheep and you were WRONG. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! You hear me? WRONG! Now, the true champion has his belt, THE belt, and harmony is at long last established in this pestilent world of ours. And that’s okay. I forgive you. Treat this as a learning opportunity, and never, ever doubt me again!
Michael Oliver Best paces the ring a bit.
MOB: Now, I acknowledge I’m using a lot of college words, and thus may have lost you all collectively minutes ago. So, I’ll idiot-proof what I just said and dumb it down for you: You are all stupid. STRONK is the champ. I predicted it would happen. And Mister Godson’s reign will be one for the record books. Mark my words and treat them as gospel. Mister Solex, you look magnificent with your new championship title, perhaps you’d like to say a few words?
Solex takes the mic from MOB and gives him a respectful nod of the head as he raises the mic to his mouth.
Solex: I know that we’re here to acknowledge the World Champion, the motherfucker of all motherfuckers, the King Stallion himself, STRONK. But first, I have to tell you how nice it is to be the HOTv Champion, once again!
Solex hoists the HOTv Championship up in the air to a chorus of cheers from the Chicago crowd, all the while side-eyeing MOB with a smirk on his face.
Solex: I mean, it would have been nice to have just been handed a championship title … you know, like you did for that bitch Jace Parker Davidson at March to Glory. But that’s a topic for another day. Today is the day we celebrate OUR CHAMPION!
The crowd cheers as STRONK puffs his chest out.
Solex: I knew, I just fucking knew that if STRONK followed my advice, took heed to my wise council if you will, that he would become the next HOW World Champion. We worked hard to get those letters back to caps and I’m as proud as a #1 Dad can be of my protegé and your…fuck, I’ll say it again…your HOW WORLD CHAMPION! We won War Games because of a combined effort of Joe Bergman, Darin Zion…
Solex begins to laugh and shake his head.
Solex: Let’s be real. (laughs) Bergman and Zion didn’t even need to fuckin’ show up. STRONK and I won War Games! And because of that, I will forever be known as the GREATEST War Games Captain of ALL TIME!
The crowd cheers.
Solex: But, this night is not about me. It’s about the man that stands in front of all of you as the best in this business. The holder of the only World Championship that matters. STRONK!
Again the crowd cheers as Solex’s eyes begin to well up with tears. He adjusts the HOTv Championship over his shoulder and gives STRONK a dad-like pat on the shoulder.
Solex: I’d love to rant on and on about just how great this man is and how great I am…and I’d love to chastise some NERDS for a good 10 minutes, but unfortunately for all of you…I’ve got a plane to catch and we need to keep this thing moving. I’ve got a date with a curly-headed twat-waffle back down in old Mexico that I’ve got to deal with. So, Michael Oliver Best, the floor, sir…is yours.
MOB takes the mic back from the HOTv Champion, resting his hand on the top of the scale.
MOB: Thank you, Mister Solex. … Six months of hard work led to Mister Godson’s championship win at War Games. Blood, sweat, tears.
STRONK grunts, giving Michael Oliver Best the side eye.
MOB: Correction–there were no tears. None. The man doesn’t cry. The man doesn’t break. Mister Godson pushes forward in the face of adversity. He rises to the occasion in a way few men are capable. I have seen a lot of stars walk through the door of HOW, but Mister Godson is special. Mister Godson is exceptional. Jace Parker Davidson slammed him through the War Games cage’s roof; anyone else would’ve been scraped off the canvas. But not Mister Godson! He rose, dusted himself off, shook off the haze, and…
He looks at his client, frozen in a singular pose, admiringly.
MOB: He put Conor Fuse to sleep in the ring. Conor Fuse may have battered Mister Godson into a coma when he was at his lowest, but he didn’t win the war! Conor, remember this: you won’t have another chance to end Mister Godson. You had your shot and you blew it. You didn’t slay the beast; you only fueled his motivation and enraged him. Maybe one day you’ll cobble together a few decent wins and find yourself standing across the ring from the King Stallion once again. For your health and wellbeing, I hope not, but no one’s ever accused you of sound decision-making.
The crowd boos, some chant “CONOR FUSE!”, but Uncle Oliver can only roll his eyes.
MOB: Mister Godson, there’s a reason that I hid the digital scale in your home, and by ‘hid’ I mean tossed it in the trash. I was waiting for this very moment. Live television, live crowd. If you don’t mind, step up onto the scale and let’s see how many pounds a couple more weeks and that beautiful HOW World Championship belt have added!
STRONK confidently strides around and steps up onto the scale, the belt glinting beneath the bright lights. Just like his weigh-in at the press conference before War Games, the video screen transitions from the live feed of the show to display the reading on the weight scale.
The HOW World Champion flexes in his signature double-bicep STRONK pose as a number appears on the screen.
MOB: Ladies and gentlemen, behold… THREE HUNDRED. AND NINETEEN. POINT SEVEN. POUNDS.
Solex golf claps, proud of the man he’d taken under his wing. 319.7 pounds… he’s a big boy, for sure.
MOB: My client is no longer STRONK Godson. He is… STRONK! Godson. Understand? You gotta speak it from the depths of your balls and put due emphasis on the STRONK!
STRONK! Godson steps down off the scale, and before MOB can speak again, STRONK! snatches the mic from him and stares down the barrel of the harm cam, resolute intensity burning in his eyes.
STRONK!: YES. STRONK IS H-O-W WORLD CHAMPION. THE WORLD IS VERY BIG LIKE STRONK! AND STRONK! IS THE CHAMPION OF IT. NO HUMAN CAN TAKE THE CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD FROM STRONK! NO HUMAN HAS THE MASS OR THE MUSCLES OR THE RAGE TO BEAT STRONK!
STRONK! tears the STRONK DADDY t-shirt from his torso and tosses it aside, then digs in the pocket of his shorts and pulls out a necklace of large teeth on a piece of string, holding them up for all to see.
STRONK!: AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON. STRONK! HAS NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU. YOU KILLED MONGO. YOU STOLE STRONKUMMS. YOU MADE STRONK!’S BACK HURT BY HURLING STRONK! THROUGH A GIANT BIRDCAGE HOUSE. STRONK! WILL HAVE STRONK!’S REVENGE. YES. MONGO WILL HAVE MONGO’S REVENGE ON BEHALF OF STRONK! YES. JACE PARKER DAVIDSON IS NOT SAFE AND WILL NEVER BE SAFE UNTIL BEING SAFE DOES NOT MATTER ANYMORE BECAUSE JACE PARKER DAVIDSON IS OBLITERATED. AND AN OBLITERATED THING DOES NOT NEED TO BE SAFE BECAUSE AN OBLITERATED THING IS ALREADY OBLITERATED. YES. FUCK YOU JACE PARKER DAVIDSON. YOUR TIME WILL COME. GOOD BYE.
STRONK! drops the mic, as his music starts up again, and CHAOS slowly fades to black…
After Chaos 032 goes off the air live from The Best Arena in Chicago, the HOTv Network goes to a black screen for a few moments. There is no sound until words in 97red lettering appear on the screen.
The words fade back to the closing segment where the HOTv Champion Steve Solex and the HOW World Champion STRONK Godson are in the ring. The screen splits and shows the backstage area during that segment. It shows an obviously intoxicated Jace Parker Davidson staggering his way through the hallways.
Davidson: T–That son… son of a bitch! That should be me out there!
Jace slurs his words as obviously the liquid courage as Davidson from admitting that he’s a failure to a state of readiness for a confrontation.
Davidson: He… he was MY friend and… and then… he turned his back on me! ME!
Jace reaches out and places his hand on the wall to keep himself from falling over as he continues his journey.
Davidson: I thought he was dead… I THOUGHT YOU DIED, GODDAMMIT! You… you gave me the company and now… now you… you want it back. You stabbed me in the back! Why?!
Jace incoherent babbling gets looks from people backstage but he pays them no mind. He rounds a corner and keeps trudging along.
Davidson: I… I beat you! I put… you through the cell at War Games and then what? You couldn’t just stay down! You attacked me… time… and time… over… and over. And then just to spite me… you win War Games!
Jace grabs an unknown ring crew worker and grabs him by the collar of his shirt before screaming in his face.
Davidson: HE TOOK MY TITLE! HE’S THE REASON I DON’T HAVE A BELT ANYMORE!!!
The ring crew worker nods his head up and down nervously but Davidson just pushes him aside and continues on. He spots the gorilla position and begins to head that way until a large figure stands between him and the entrance to the stage. That figure is Final Alliance member Dan Ryan.
Davidson: The fuck do you want?!
Jace questions but Ryan just stands there with his arms folded across his chest.
Davidson: Move the hell out of my way! I need to go to the ring and… and face STRONK! Maybe I’ll kick that fucking dog again too!
Ryan slowly shakes his head no as Jace struggles to remain upright.
Davidson: FINE! Have it your way.
Jace raises his fists into the air but before he can make a move he’s attacked from behind. Six or seven EPU members crowd Davidson and beat him down with their batons. A few stomps are laid in also as Ryan just stands there watching the beating go down. Every time Davidson tries to get back up, he’s beaten back down again.
Dan Ryan: Lift him up.
Ryan says in a stern voice. Two EPU members grab a hold of Davidson and pull him off of the floor. Dan approaches slowly and then looks the barely conscious Davidson in the eye.
Dan Ryan: I’m here because I was told to be here. I was told that you… are a threat. A threat to the Alliance, a threat to STRONK, and that makes you a threat to me.
Ryan grabs Davidson by the hair and pulls his head up to eye level.
Dan Ryan: I don’t have a strong feeling about you either way, but it is my job. It’s my duty to eliminate threats to The Final Alliance.
Ryan grips Davidson by the neck and then lifts him high up into the air. Dan holds him in place in a vertical suplex position before transitioning to spike Jace head first to the concrete with a screwdriver. The sickening thud of Davidson’s skull hitting the floor and his neck compressing echoes off the walls. Dan gets up to his feet and looks down at the lifeless former LSD Champion before turning to the EPU members.
Dan Ryan: Our job here is done.
Dan and the EPU members walk off and the last thing you see is EMTs rush into the scene and place a neck brace on Davidson. They begin to load the Hall of Famer up on a stretcher as the feed is cut.
BONUS TO THE BONUS
We cut to the Best Arena parking lot, which is never a good thing, and see Bobbinette Carey climbing into her magenta colored limo.
The driver shuts the door behind her and the limo is dark as Carey waits for the driver to climb into the drivers seat and start the limo.
Except he doesn’t.
Instead she feels someone else is in the limo with her.
She lifts up her phone in front of her and she screams out in horror as she sees the man in front of her.
The feed immediately stops and the HOTv logo comes on as the screams of Carey continue to fill the Chicago night air.