AMERICA IS SHOOTING BLANKS #TEAMBYRD
I GOT HIGH FOR BYRD
DO NOT MILK AND GAME
FEDERAL OFFENSE #SEXMASKLEE
FUCK THE HEARTLAND
We cut away from the raucous crowd and cut to our Hall of Fame announcer Joe Hoffman.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome everyone to ICONIC!!!! We have THREE Championship matches tonight……a battle between two #2 Ranked Wrestlers for the year….AND an unsanctioned HOFC Championship FIGHT. ALL IN ONE NIGHT. ALL RIGHT HERE ON HIGH OCTANE TELEVISION!!!!!
The shot cuts away from Joe and once again to an overhead shot of the crowd as we are set for action.
XANDER AZULA VS MIKE BEST
Joe Hoffman: We are starting ICONIC with HOFC. A number of things to go over. Yes, this is for the HOFC Championship. Also, if Xander Azula does not last more than 7:50 minutes, so, slightly less than one round, we will witness a murder. And given the 7:50 minute mark is in round one, this fight is an opportunity for Mike Best to redeem himself from last year’s ICONIC where he only lasted 7:50 in the Best Title Tournament.
The camera reveals the cage off to the side of the ICONIC entrance stage.
Joe Hoffman: We have Bryan McVay in the center of the fighting pit, so let’s go to him for the introductions.
Bryan McVay: This is an HOFC match and it is for the HOFC Championship! It will be contested under a best of five rounds and eight minutes each round! Introducing first… the challenger… XANDER AZULA!
The whistling intro of “Engel” plays over the PA system, setting the crowd off in a chorus of boos as Xander Azula appears from behind the golden ICONIC logo. He sees the fight pit off to the left hand side and makes his way over.
Joe Hoffman: Azula is no stranger to HOFC, either. But under these conditions, I would think he HAS to be.
Azula enters the cage and waits.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent… the HOFC Champion… the SON of GOD… MIKE BEST!
HALLLLLLELUJAH! HALLLLLLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLEEEEEEEELUJAH!
The catchy but vaguely off putting groove of “HELLAlujah” begins to slap over the sound system, heralding the arrival of the SON OF GOD, Michael Lee Best. The Chicago crowd gives a massive cheer upon seeing the HOFC Champion emerge from the back, ultimately coming out of retirement for this match. Title around Mike’s waist, he walks across the stage floor, down the steps and into the pit.
Joe Hoffman: The referee for tonight will be longtime HOFC official, Nick Stevens.
The crowd roars with anticipation as Mike bounces from side to side on one side of the cage and Xander Azula, meanwhile, remains at a standstill, eyes deadlocked on the legend, knowing what’s at stake.
Stevens calls for the bell, while swinging his hands forward, as if telling both men they can meet in the middle of the octagon. Mike walks up first but Azula isn’t too far behind. As Xander moves towards the middle of the cage, he keeps on guard, knowing once he gets there, the fight will be on. Azula swings an arm forward but Mike leans back at the last second. The SON of GOD smirks in Xander’s direction, as if to say he’s just playing with him.
Joe Hoffman: Not only the master of fighting but the master of the psychological aspect, too. This isn’t a wrestling match. It’s confined to a smaller location and things CAN be over, quickly. Why not frustrate Azula, get him off his game and Mike can finish this quickly.
Azula tries to swing a right hand again but once more, Mike moves back. The reality is Xander is still a step too far away. Mike can see the blows coming so he’s given a lot of time to react.
Finally, Azula charges but Mike sidesteps and the Eternal Circle almost runs himself into the cage.
Best shakes his head, as if he expected more but then Azula pops around, bursts forward and clubs Mike in the side of the head with a forearm shot!
Joe Hoffman: He got him!
Best staggers back while Azula follows. Xander reaches out and takes hold of Mike’s head, driving a knee smash into him. Another knee smash follows. Azula looks for a third but Mike breaks it off by throwing his forearms in the air and then knocks Xander for a loop with a right forearm smash of his own!
Azula gives his head a shake, trying to regain his focus. Mike is out for blood and realizes he’s already staggered his opponent… he sprints forward and looks to tackle Xander to the floor.
At the last second, Azula sees this, steps to the side and redirects Mike into the cage. Then Azula follows with a knee into Mike’s back. The SON of GOD falls onto a knee.
Joe Hoffman: You’d have to think there is some ring rust for Mike. I don’t care how good you are, and we all know Mike’s standing, clearly, but to come back after a long hiatus…
Regardless, one of the nearby cameras shows the look on Mike’s face suggesting he likes what’s taking place. Best turns and blocks a right leg from Azula, reaching forward… attempting to grab Azula’s other leg and pull him down to the canvas along with him.
Xander is game. He jumps back the moment he sees Mike was trying to take him down. This gives Best the space to get to his feet…
And then both men stare at each other from other sides of the cage.
The crowd continues to cheer. To them, it doesn’t matter if this goes five rounds or one. They are anticipating the first BIG blow to come.
The two continue to posture.
Joe Hoffman: It seems like Mike is toying with Azula, trying to sucker Xander into charging and letting his guard down.
Everytime Xander takes a step forward, Mike opens up like the shot is there for the taking. Then Xander steps back and we’re back at square one.
This goes on for a solid two minutes, to the point some of the crowd begins to boo.
Azula clenches his teeth together and sprints forward. Mike opens himself up to look vulnerable but of course the SON of GOD has another plan. At the last second he leaps and wraps his legs around Azula’s neck, flinging both of them to the mat. Mike hovers over top of his opponent and proceeds to hammer Xander’s skull into the ground, ground and pound.
Joe Hoffman: Exactly. Mike knew what he was doing, he allowed the restlessness of the crowd to work into his favour. Azula got impatient and look at what happened.
Not to be outdone, however, Xander is covering up well. He has a lot of energy going into this fight and none of Mike’s forearm shots are landing particularly well.
Best moves to the side, in an attempt to completely wrap his legs around Azula’s waist but the Eternal Circle is able to readjust. He slides backwards on the canvas and then rolls to a knee, even before Mike is able to rise from the mat.
Joe Hoffman: Luckily for Xander, he’s escaped. But I will say this, we are deep into the first round. Azula is literally fighting for his life here and overall he’s done a good job not being sucked in too fast. Other than the last instance.
Both fighters are up and neither man is in the mood for mind games now. Azula and Best march to the middle of the ring and start pumping each other with blow after blow. The crowd works themselves into a frenzy, seeing each man give everything they have into the other’s temple.
Joe Hoffman: We’re reaching the seven minute mark.
Mike Best flawlessly moves around Xander Azula, looking for a rear naked choke… but Azula steps forward and pushes his feet off the mesh, sending both men to the ground while this gives Xander enough momentum to roll out of the choke hold, hop to his feet and kick Mike in the side of the head.
Mike blocks the shot, but doesn’t block all of it. The kick tips the SON of GOD over, as Azula snatches Mike by the waist and throws the champ into the cage. The legend is reeling but turns around, spearing Azula to the ground! Best is trying to mount his opponent, with the idea to unleash as many forearms as possible. Yet again Xander is not only covering up, he continues to slide around the canvas, so Mike is unable to find a good position.
Finally, Azula kicks Best off him. Both men get to their feet when-
Joe Hoffman: HOLY SHIT!
The crowd is shocked!! The arena goes silent.
Joe Hoffman: Xander Azula just hit the Fist of Eris, his spinning backfist on Mike Best!
The champion CRASHES to the mat in a heap. Even Xander Azula’s expression suggests he’s (a little) surprised.
Mike is not out cold, however. So the referee doesn’t immediately call for the bell. Instead, as Best tries to move on the mat, Stevens hovers over him…
And begins to administer the TEN count.
Joe Hoffman: Xander Azula got all of that spinning backfist!
Mike remains on the ground, trying to sit up but every time he does, he falls back down.
Azula moves forward but the referee tells him to remain where he is, as Stevens continues to count Mike Best down.
Joe Hoffman: I just realized something… call me crazy… but looking at the clock right now…
Joe Hoffman: The round WON’T end before the potential ten count!
Joe Hoffman: Not only that… at the pace Stevens is counting, the count of TEN will land on 7 minutes and 49 seconds!
Joe Hoffman: Poetic.
Mike tries to sit up again. This time he looks like he’s going to do it…
He falls back down!!
Joe Hoffman: I don’t think Mike’s getting up from this! I can’t believe what I’m seeing!
The crowd realizes they’re going to witness the upset of upsets!
The SON of GOD blinks. He rocks backwards. He tries to sit up one final time……
Joe Hoffman: NO! The count is blown off!
In what has to be the biggest rush of adrenaline yet, the HOFC Champion gets on his feet RIGHT before the ten count and RIGHT at the 7:50 minute mark!
Best tells Azula to take another strike but before the challenger can, the end of the round is reached.
DING DING DING
Joe Hoffman: WOW! I’d say demons are exercised here but Mike took a legitimate shot at the end of round one. I don’t know how this will phase him moving forward.
Both men collect themselves in their respective corners as the crowd continues to work through what they saw at the end of round one. After the break, Stevens stands in the middle of the pit and calls for the bell.
Joe Hoffman: Let’s begin round two!
There feels like even more anticipation for round two than the initial one, because no one is sure how Mike Best is going to respond.
Joe Hoffman: This round is also going to be interesting to see how Xander Azula can keep up the momentum. Before the Fist of Eris, Xander was holding his own but I’d say it was a stalemate. Now, after one big move, can Xander capitalize!?
Azula shoots forward and tackles Best to the mat. He slams forearm after forearm into Mike’s face and the champion isn’t able to cover up well, at first. It’s only until Xander starts to wildly throw blows, no longer keeping his body weight on top of Mike, does Best slip underneath the challenger, grab him by the waist and throw Azula into the cage.
The Eternal Circle comes roaring back with another Fist of Eris attempt but this time Mike Best ducks it. Still clearly feeling the effects of the first shot, however, the SON of GOD isn’t sharp enough to find his offensive game yet. This allows Xander Azula to rebound, turn around and club Mike in the side of the head.
Best fumbles into the mesh but rebounds off it and destroys Azula with a flying forearm.
Joe Hoffman: It’s almost as if that last shot by Azula woke Mike up.
Finally, Best properly mounts his opponent and begins unloading blow after blow after blow into the Eternal Circle’s face. Crushing shots each time, square in the nose, the mouth, the temples… practically every spot on Azula’s skull. The Chicago crowd cheers along, as Stevens falls to his knees to keep a closer view.
Mike unloads with a fury and every punch the fans cheer louder and louder.
Joe Hoffman: He’s got it back, folks.
Best releases his position, only to make sure he applies a better one. He wraps his legs around Azula’s waits and starts throwing elbow bombs into Xander’s temple. The challenger is trying to cover up, and, at times, he is able to… but Mike has his opponent dead to rights and can throw at any pace and intensity he wants.
Joe Hoffman: Xander’s been grounded here for a solid two minutes. The first minute was nothing but a whirlwind of punches into the front of Xander’s face. This last minute is much more methodical. Mike has to reach further to strike but he also knows Azula won’t be able to break free so easily.
Best drives a forearm so hard into Azula’s temple, at first, it looks like the challenger is knocked out cold. Then Xander raises his head and screams in Mike’s direction for another.
The next shot is partially blocked. But Best simply reloads and tries for another.
Joe Hoffman: Xander has covered up better in this position but unless he breaks free, I don’t know how he can change the momentum.
Azula tries to slide across the canvas floor, with the idea that if he’s able to make it to the mesh, he could use that to his advantage and pull away from the scissor hold he finds himself in. Nevertheless, every few seconds Mike attempts to drive HARD elbows into the Eternal Circle’s temple.
Joe Hoffman: We are working our way closer to the end of round two so perhaps the only play in THIS round is survival…
Hoffman’s words are becoming increasingly clear to the challenger. He tries to move closer to the mesh but he isn’t able to make a lot of headway. One thing Xander has been able to do better, though, is block. While Mike still lands a solid shot or two here and there, Azula maintains his consciousness and that’s the only thing he needs at the moment.
The second round works into the seven minute mark. Mike isn’t going to let Xander get away so easily… in a split second, Mike decides to let go of the leg hold he has, pop to his feet and take a few steps back.
Joe Hoffman: Mike’s looking for the knee!!
But the champion’s smart. He knows he doesn’t have all the time in the world for a solid running head start so instead he leaps forward, shoulder first, and drives an elbow right under Azula’s jaw. This sends the challenger FLYING into the mesh and crashing down to the mat!
NOW Mike Best can go for the knee.
He loads up.
He’s ready to go.
DING DING DING
The crowd boos. It’s the end of round two.
Joe Hoffman: Listen, this was a SOLID rebound for Mike. I know he didn’t get a chance to hit the knee but the amount of damage he did, grounding Xander Azula. It was needed offense. It was a welcome back to the fight pit. Now the tides have turned and in round three we’ll have to see how the challenger will respond…
Mike has minor words for Nick Stevens before returning to his corner, likely wondering when the eight minute mark hit. It takes Xander Azula more time to get back to his side of the pit. The crowd cheers on as replays from the second round show on the big screen.
Stevens walks to the center of the ring, calls for the bell and swings his arms forward again.
Joe Hoffman: Third round. I’d say we have a split here, with round one going to Xander and round two going to Mike.
This time it’s Azula who looks a little loopy as he takes a step forward. The challenger is much more tentative and Mike is the one raring to go.
Best rushes through with a head full of steam. Xander’s eyes go wide and he redirects Mike into the mesh before hitting Best in the back with a couple of swift kicks. The champion turns around. The kicks hurt him, no doubt, but he isn’t reeling yet. Mike blocks a forearm attempt and tries for a right hand of his own… but it NARROWLY misses Xander.
Joe Hoffman: If that one landed, I think it would’ve been over.
Azula counters with a couple of quick jabs before hopping backwards to avoid whatever Mike would return with. The Eternal Circle holds his fists close to his face, also looking to remain on the defensive.
Mike takes a hard step towards the challenger and once again, Azula hops back. Best tries for a kick but he’s too far away. Mike tries for another kick…
And this is when Azula strikes.
But Mike is ready for him. He tackles Xander to the ground and, just like a round before, grounds and pounds.
Joe Hoffman: I’ve watched A LOT of Mike Best HOFC matches. That first kick, he realized Azula was too far away so the SECOND kick was a fake out. Mike’s too smart to do something twice that isn’t going to work. He allowed himself to be “vulnerable” while still being on the ready, knowing Azula would take the bait. It’s extremely solid fighting.
Mike continues hammering Azula into the canvas but the challenger is trying his best to break free. Eventually, somehow, Azula grabs Mike by his right leg and pulls on it.
Joe Hoffman: I think Azula has some kind of modified knee bar on Mike.
Best shouts out in pain, as he can no longer continue driving punches into Xander Azula, he has to find a way out of the knee bar. At first, Best tries to ply Azula’s hands off him but it’s no use. Then he tries to wiggle free but it’s also no use…
Finally, Mike realizes he has to go back to what he was initially doing.
He sucks back the pain. He lets out another cry…
And he delivers a SOLID blow to the face of Azula. Xander breaks the knee bar…
Mike Best rolls to the side.
Joe Hoffman: Damage done to both men. The knee bar had to have hurt. It also left Xander completely open to receive what he did from Mike, one of the most forceful strikes of the match yet.
The fighters try to recover as quickly as they can. By now, Xander Azula’s face has been busted open as trickles of blood slide down his nose. Mike, too, is knocking his right knee in order to get the feeling back into it.
Both men reach their knees and then a vertical base at the same time. Azula looks for a running forearm smash but Mike pops the challenger in the nose again. More blood squirts out.
WHAM, another jab into the nose.
WHAM, and another.
Mike leg sweeps Azula to the mat and then leaps on top of him.
Joe Hoffman: Best has positioned himself well…
The crowd cheers while they all come to a stand, witnessing Mike Best has locked in a shining triangle choke on the challenger!
Joe Hoffman: The only thing working against Mike right now is the round clock. We’re closing in on eight minutes!
As the nearby camera zooms in, it’s clear the move isn’t locked on COMPLETELY, or else the bell may have been called for already. Azula has a couple of fingers in the way, in-between Mike’s forearm and his own neck. It’s not a lot… Xander is definitely still going to suffer…
But it gives him a chance to hold on until the end of the round.
The fans continue to cheer as a merciless Mike Best will not take no for an answer. He slides into a better position, he tightens his forearm as much as he can…
Joe Hoffman: Xander may have to tap here!
The challenger’s eyes roll into the back of his head…
DING DING DING
The crowd explodes in support but Stevens clarifies why the bell sounded to begin with.
Nick Stevens: That’s the end of the round! Break the hold, Mike!
Boos follow. Mike, at first, thinks about keeping the hold locked in but he discards Azula to the canvas. The SON of GOD rises, holding his arms in the air… but as he walks over to his corner, there’s a minor limp in his step.
Joe Hoffman: You go back to that knee bar Azula had on Mike. I think it hurt Best, even for the short time it was locked in. Again, you’re seeing Mike in action for the first time since March, where he retired. I don’t care how much you train… you’re going to go through some kinks in the real thing. It might be Xander’s only opening in round four because otherwise, since the Fist of Eris, it’s been a solid Best performance.
Each man is in their corner, both spraying water into their mouths with a water bottle. While Mike does have a limp, he looks much more ready and able. Meanwhile Xander Azula, who did keep his consciousness in the choke hold, his eyes are still suggesting he may be running off fumes.
Nick Stevens walks to the center of the ring.
Joe Hoffman: ROUND FOUR, here we go!
Mike explodes forward, looking for the knee right off the bat but at the last possible second, it looks like his knee gives way! Azula moves aside, grabs Best and takes him down with a double leg sweep! The crowd watches on, some of them in shock, thinking Xander will be able to swing the momentum his way. Azula starts unloading on Mike with right hands but Best does a great job of covering up and breaking free from Azula’s clutches. Mike kicks Xander in the side of the shoulder, knocking the challenger away and giving both men a chance to find a vertical base.
Mike stands, but he’s clearly putting more pressure on his left leg than his right.
Joe Hoffman: Because of the sequence we just saw, I Kneed a Hero MIGHT not be a possibility.
Azula moves forward, throwing jabs in the air as he does, making sure this will keep Mike at bay. Once he’s close enough, Xander goes for another Fist of Eris but Mike moves at the last possible second. Even though he’s not as quick as he’d like to be, given the knee injury, Mike pops forward with a right hand, catching Auzla under the jaw. He connects with another one… and then a third. He has Azula reeling, then he trips the Eternal Circle to the mat… takes three steps back, screams…
The crowd goes wild! Spit flies out of Xander Azula’s mouth.
And Mike Best collapses beside his opponent… who has now been knocked out cold.
Joe Hoffman: I KNEED A HERO!!! He did it!
Stevens falls down on all fours to check on Xander Azula. It’s academic. The ref turns and calls for the bell, as Xander has been knocked out.
DING DING DING
Bryan McVay: The winner of this match… and STILL HOFC Champion… MIKE BEST!
Joe Hoffman: Azula put up a good fight. He had Mike reeling in round one. He caught Mike with that knee bar in round three… it certainly tweaked something but in the end, the HOFC Champion exercised his demons and won at ICONIC.
Mike slowly gets to his feet and is awarded the title belt. He raises his hands in the air as the crowd continues to salute High Octane’s best fighter.
Mike takes a moment to hit his knee a couple more times, in the hopes to put feeling back into it before climbing the cage and standing at the top. The legend raises the title above his head as ICONIC 2022 goes to a commercial break.
THE WORKINGS OF A TRADE
The HOV comes to life as a video begins to play…..
Location: Black Dolphin Prison, Orenburg Oblast, Russian Federation
Scene opens as a large black van, tinted windows and chains on each of the wheels trudges along the thick Siberian snow. The van driver is struggling to see clearly through the snow storm which is battering down from the dark grey sky and his windscreen wipers are moving at the fastest setting possible. The van begins to slip from side to side but the driver is managing to keep to the path he is being directed by red flashing lights, deeming from posts ten feet in the air and spaced apart both left and right of the designed path around six feet apart. The direction the van is taking is finally coming into focus in the distance, a large meshed fence with two outbuildings at each side.
The driver of the van begins to slow towards the gates and stops beside the two outbuildings. A Russian guard, dressed in a long beige trench coat and wearing a black balaclava. He trudges through the snow in black boots towards the van, large rifle in hand. He orders the driver to lower his window. The driver responds.
Driver: Transfer reference XV2564 arriving at final destination.
The guard puts his head into the driver door window. He points at the front passenger seat where someone is sitting, with a black hood over their head.
Guard: Who this?
Driver: Transfer Sponsor.
Guard: Tell him to show me credentials.
The driver nudges the passenger who jumps. It would seem he was asleep.
Driver: He want paperwork.
The passenger goes to take off their hood, the guard backs away and raises his rifle and sticks it into the window, shouting in Russian, then begins to speak English
Guard: Hood on!! Hood remain on until in facility.
The passenger then confused begins to ruffle around him trying to find something, but they are obviously blind and cannot see around him. After several seconds, they turn with their hooded head in the direction of the door and lifts their hands and shoulders as if to give a shrug to the guard
Guard: You driver, get paperwork for him.
The driver, noticing that the guards rifle has not dropped carefully with his palms in clear sight, turns to the passenger and notices a black briefcase at his feet. He picks it up and unclicks it, he takes out the top page and hands it to the guard, who, mopping snowflakes from his eyes, reads it. He now lowers his rifle
Guard: Move forward, follow the red lights, someone will be waiting for you at the facility.
The driver takes the page back and raises up his window. The guard walks back towards his outbuilding and after a few seconds, the meshed gate in front begins to open. Once fully open the driver proceeds to continue down a long path, following the red lights. It takes a few minutes but soon ahead is a large, grey building. It is covered in barbed wire and all windows are barred. At the bottom of a long flight of steps stands two men, also dressed in long beige trench coats but unlike the guard are wearing the traditional Russian bearskin hats. The van stops directly in front of them. One of the men, who is heavily armed, walks behind the van and shouts an instruction in Russian which seems to alert to someone from inside the van, as the double doors begin to open and an armed guard, dressed in black, walks out and hands the other man a piece of paper
Armed Guard from Vehicle: Transfer XV2564
Facility Guard 1: Ask the armed escort to remove for identification.
The armed guard turns to the armed man in the back of the van who hands over his credentials. Suddenly another van, a smaller white van with a satellite on its roof, parks up beside the black van and there is quick movement as three men, one holding a camera and another a microphone run towards the back of the van
Armed Guard from Vehicle: What is this?
Facility Guard 1: Rossiya 1 news. America want proof of transfer. To news reporters make sure you get image of flash drive.
The armed guard moves into the van whilst the facility guard aims his weapon at the man holding the USB Drive. The escort slowly exits the fan and SLOWLY reaches into his tactical vest and pulls out the flash drive. We clearly can see the initials DRW on it.
The man with the flash drive is led by gunpoint thru the snow and towards the other van where we see the driver of the van gets out and walk towards the passenger door and opens it. Out steps the passenger, hood still on his head as the second facility guard walks towards them and the driver hands over the piece of paper. The passenger can be seen leaning towards the driver and seems to whisper something to the driver as the Facility Guard stops next to the driver side window.
Facility Guard 2: Confirm your name sponsor.
Sponsor: Fuck off asking for my fucking name……secondly its Lee MOTHERFUCKING Best and finally you got the flash drive.…where the fuck is the prisoner….You got one fucking minute to hand him over before I do a Crazy Ivan and head back to the states where I WILL turn a key that will turn all this fucking snow into steam when I drop a Nagasaki on your asses.
The guards look at each other and then turn their backs to the van as they begin to communicate on their radios as the recording is ended.
STEVE HARRISON VS CONOR FUSE
We cut back to Joe is ready to start the in ring action for tonight’s show.
Joe Hoffman: It’s Max right? We all know it is Max right? Minister? Sutler? It is a darn Kael that Lee went and traded for right?? Anyway….I am being SCREAMED at to move on……….well…..our next match is a match between two men who have had something of parallel careers in High Octane Wrestling so far. Steve Harrison has had his shots at winning the big one and come up just short, while Conor Fuse has cashed in on two separate occasions. You have to wonder if there’s just a tinge of jealousy toward Conor Fuse from Steve Harrison, but tonight, Harrison gets another chance to prove himself.
“Take the Money and Run,” By The Steve Miller Man starts to play and the curtain flies open.
Bryan McVay: The following match is scheduled for ONE FALL!!…. Introducing first…
Steve Harrison walks out with his arms in the air, a smirk across his face. He begins walking towards the rings and begins waving at that crowd who return his waves with boos and indifference.
Bryan McVay: …from Fairfax, Virginia!… weighing in at 245 pounds… THE MIRACLE MAN!! STEEEEEEVE HAAAAAAAARRISOOOOOONNN!!!!
The smirk begins to fade after hearing the response so the Miracle Man begins jawing back at some of the audience and pointing to himself yelling over and over “ME, ME, ME!.” Steve walks faster to the ring, his smirk now a scowl, he enters the ring and leans against one of the turnbuckles and begins talking to himself, his face becoming red in anger.
Bloody Tears from Castlevania II begins. A purple mist floods the entrance way as “The Vintage” Conor Fuse emerges from behind the apron 23-seconds into the theme.
Bryan McVay: And his opponent… from Toronto, Ontario, Canada…
He stands at the top of the rampway, head down, sporting a dark purple jacket with its high-collar raised. The jacket is open, showing his vintage SNES tights as he slowly raises his head. The fog continues to pump from the stage as Fuse methodically makes his way down the ramp.
Bryan McVay: …weighing in at 210 pounds… THE VINTAGE… COOOONOOOOOOOR FUUUUUUUSE!!!!
The crowd starts a “!RANK” chant, pointing in Conor’s direction as he marches towards ringside. Once in front of the squared circle, The Vintage leaps onto the apron and then with ease clears the ropes by jumping over them and somersaulting into the middle of the ring.
Fuse tilts his head back and zen cries into the rafters while the fans in attendance continue to cheer him on.
Conor removes his trench coat, revealing his trademarked light purple arm sleeve on his left arm. Fuse waits in his corner.
Joe Hoffman: The crowd is ready, there’s an audible buzz from the fans as we get ready to get this one underway. Matt Boettcher is taking his time checking each man for foreign objects…
Harrison and Fuse each hold onto the top rope on either side in their respective corners. Harrison is glaring at Fuse, a disgusted smirk on his face as he looks over at the two-time World Champion. Fuse stares back, looking momentarily out into the crowd when someone yells his name, and he smiles before turning his attention back to his opponent.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Harrison is laser focused on Conor Fuse right now. He clearly knows that he needs to win this match to end the year on a high note. No telling what 2023 will hold for The Miracle Man.
The bell rings and Steve Harrison charges in. Conor side steps, but Harrison corrects and barrels him into the corner. Harrison fires big heavy right and left hands at Fuse, then takes turns throwing similar haymakers to the rib cage of the former champion.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Harrison hot out of the gate, and he’s got Conor Fuse backed up into the corner early, taking some tough shots to the ribs.
Fuse blocks a punch and takes a shot at Harrison’s head himself. Harrison backs out of the corner, then eats a big dropkick right on the chin from Conor Fuse.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse gets some air and that gets the first big reaction from the crowd so far tonight!
Fuse goes on the attack, darting into the ropes, leaping up onto the middle rope and hitting a lionsault on the prone Steve Harrison. Fuse thinks about going for a cover, but instead pulls Harrison up by his hair as both men get to their feet.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse is smart enough to know it’s too early for a pinfall, but he’s keeping on the attack here, maintaining control…
Fuse swipes Harrison’s hand away, then unleashes a huge knife edge chop across his chest, and Harrison winces in pain. Fuse hits another, then another, causing red welts to form across his pectorals.
Joe Hoffman: Conor Fuse survived that early flurry of offense from Steve Harrison, and you these chops have got to sting… Harrison obviously agrees… he grasps at his chest in pain…
Fuse takes Harrison by the arm and whips him into the ropes, then leap frogs Steve Harrison as he bounced back and charges in his direction. Harrison hits the opposite ropes, then drops into a knee tackle that brings Fuse down.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison with what some might consider a bit of a dirty maneuver there, but all’s fair in a big match like this… And to be fair, it’s a really smart strategy to get the high flyer off of his vertical base…
Fuse, still on his knees, grabs at his left knee, the one Harrison took out and doesn’t see the first elbow strike from Steve Harrison, who follows it up with repeated elbows, chops and clubbing blows to the back of The Vintage.
Joe Hoffman: …and now he’s taking it to Conor Fuse again. Eventually all of these strikes are bound to wear him down.
Harrison barks at a fan at ringside who’s wearing Conor Fuse gear, and turns around to see Fuse getting up to his feet. Conor charges Harrison, tackling him and sending both men tumbling out to the floor.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Harrison let his guard down a bit there to argue with a fan… Fuse comes in hard and both men are down on the floor!
Harrison takes the brunt of the fall, and Fuse is quickly up and climbing up onto the ring apron. He climbs into the ring then sprints to the opposite ropes, comes back and goes flying through the rope with a twisting sideways suicide dive that takes out Steve Harrison, half the guardrail on that side of the ring and leaves Fuse himself propped upside down against the ring steps.
Joe Hoffman: Conor Fuse has no regard for his own body! He flung himself at Steve Harrison without even trying to take aim… and he’s none the worse for wear himself… Both men are down, and Matt Boettcher starts counting…
The crowd gives Fuse a loud reaction.
He tumbles over to his side and starts shaking the cobwebs out, while Harrison is still face down.
Slowly, Harrison rises to his feet, and with a running start, Conor Fuse leaps up onto the top of the ring barricade and hits a hurricanrana on Steve Harrison. His head hits hard and he goes flying up against the ring apron.
Fuse scrambles back to his feet and, with some effort, pulls Harrison up and rolls him onto the ring apron under the bottom rope, then holds him there. Boettcher stops the count. Fuse gets up on the apron next to Harrison, then drops a leg across his throat, slingshotting him into the bottom rope and leaving him hanging there.
Joe Hoffman: Guillotine on the bottom rope!
With Harrison stuck in the ropes, Fuse heads about five steps away, near a fan reaching over to slap him on the shoulder, then runs and hits a missile dropkick to the side of Steve Harrison’s face.
Joe Hoffman: Big missile dropkick and Steve Harrison goes limp up on the apron there… Fuse playing to the crowd who are eating this up!
Finally, Fuse climbs back into the ring and grabs Harrison by the tangled up foot, untangles him, then drags him back into the middle of the ring. He runs the ropes, then comes off and hits a rolling thunder splash.
Joe Hoffman: Here’s the cover…
Fuse shoves Harrison back down and covers again.
Frustrated, Conor pulls Harrison up to a seated position, then places a knee in his back and cranks his head back, putting pressure on the neck and spine. Boettcher kneels down and asks Harrison if he wants to quit, but he furiously shakes his head no, then screams out as Fuse pulls back on his neck one more time.
Joe Hoffman: Lots of action in a short period of time, but Conor Fuse is slowing it down a little bit and working the neck and spine of Steve Harrison.
Harrison pounds the mat, fist closed, in frustration, again screaming out “NOOO!” when Matt Boettcher asks him if he submits.
Joe Hoffman: Boettcher calling for the submission, but Harrison is refusing here. He’s still got a little fight left in him… not ready to call it quits here…
Shifting his weight, Fuse leans forward and clasps Harrison with a full nelson grapple from behind, slowly raising him up to his feet. Fuse pushes Harrison forward, they both bounce into the ropes and then, using the momentum gained by the rebound, Fuse lifts and throws Harrison overhead with a running release German suplex.
Joe Hoffman: Beautiful move from Conor Fuse!
Conor walks over to the fallen Harrison and reaches down to pull him up, which is when Harrison desperately reaches out and hits a low blow.
Joe Hoffman: And just like that… the tables turn. What a cheap trick by Steve Harrison. Conor Fuse had him dead to rights, and Harrison took the easy way out.
Getting a chance to catch his breath, Harrison gets up to his feet, then arches his back, stretching it after being stuck in the reverse chinlock for so long. Harrison grabs Fuse from behind… Saito suplex!
Joe Hoffman: Harrison drops Conor Fuse to the mat!
Quickly he pulls Conor up. Belly to belly suplex!!
Joe Hoffman: Another suplex!
Again, he pulls Conor Fuse up to his feet. Front facelock, then he lifts him high up into the air in a suplex position, but instead drops him head first to the mat with a brainbuster.
Joe Hoffman: Another suplex… no, a brainbuster! What impact on the back of the neck! Harrison covers…
Matt Boettcher drops down to count.
NO!!! HE KICKED OUT!
At the last second, Conor Fuse’s arm shoots up into the air. But Harrison stays on the attack, driving forearm shot after forearm shot into the head and neck of Fuse.
Joe Hoffman: Harrison taking some vicious shots at Fuse… maybe getting some payback for that neck crank earlier in the match…
Harrison yanks him up by the hair. Chop! Another chop! He whips Fuse into the ropes…
Joe Hoffman: BIG SPINEBUSTER!! Another cover!!
Steve Harrison slaps the mat in frustration and looks up at Matt Boettcher questioningly, but Boettcher holds up two fingers, indicating a two count only. An angry Steve Harrison grabs Fuse by the head and bounces the back of his head off the mat over and over, finally and with a yell, yanking him up and unceremoniously tossing Conor Fuse over the top rope and to the floor.
Joe Hoffman: Steve Harrison losing his temper here now… the intensity is kicking up a notch… Fuse down on the outside and Harrison’s right behind him…
Harrison follows him out, jaws with a fan at ringside again, then roughly pulls Conor Fuse over to the ring steps. Grabbing him by the back of his head, he rams Conor’s face down on the cold hard steel, beginning to scream in anger with the fourth strike, then finally with a resounding CLANG drives his face into the steel one last time.
Joe Hoffman: Conor’s face practically bounced off the steel with that last impact on the steel… and now the blood is flowing…
Conor rolls over onto his back, his face none the worse for wear, and blood slowly trickling down from the top of his forehead with a straight line gash has opened up near his hairline.
Joe Hoffman: That’s a nasty bit of business on his forehead, but God knows there isn’t anyone coming out to do anything about it. But someone’s gonna need a few stitches after this match is all said and done.
Matt Boettcher climbs down out of the ring and warns Steve Harrison, but to no avail as he waves him off, then turns back to Conor Fuse. Taking him by the head, he rolls Fuse back into the ring, then follows right behind him.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse is out right now… Harrison flopped him right back under the rope like he’s dead…
Fuse is barely moving while Matt Boettcher checks on him.
Joe Hoffman: …and from the looks of it, Matt Boettcher isn’t sure either…
Harrison takes Fuse by the head and puts him into a seated position. Running the ropes he hits ENLIGHTENMENT… a knee trigger to the back of Conor Fuse’s neck. Fuse crumbles to the mat like a shot.
Joe Hoffman: That might do it! Harrison was right on target with that running knee strike and Conor Fuse is in big, big trouble!!
Quickly Harrison dives onto the back of Fuse and pulls his left arm around to his back, then locks in a crossface. With some effort, he flips him up and over with IT’S A HARRICLE…
Joe Hoffman: Harrison has him locked in… Fuse is flailing his free arm trying to escape, without much success…
…But Fuse lands on his feet!
Joe Hoffman: But Conor Fuse flips out of it! Harrison has no idea! He thinks he just put Conor Fuse away!
Harrison’s eyes go wide with surprise when Conor Fuse locks in IT’S A HARRICLE himself.Fuse looks out into the crowd and screams out, “WEAPON GET!!!”….He lifts him over and drills him to the mat with the big crossface chickenwing suplex.
Joe Hoffman: He took a page out of Steve Harrison’s book! Big time impact…
Fuse looks down at Harrison, who is lying flat on his back near the corner, and he sees an opportunity. Fuse steps through the ropes, climbs to the top turnbuckle and prepares for the SUPER SPLASH.
Joe Hoffman: Fuse is perched up top! He’s got a shot of adrenaline and he’s gritting his teeth preparing to make the big leap…
Fuse leaps in the air, performing the 450 degree front somersault perfectly…
Joe Hoffman: Fuse hits nothing but mat as Harrison rolls out of the way. Quick cover by Harrison on Fuse!
Joe Hoffman: Nobody home!! Harrison reaches an arm across Fuse!!
Joe Hoffman: Fuse just gets the shoulder up!!! Harrison flops off of him, still reeling from the WEAPON GET!
Fuse pulls himself up by the ropes, pulls Harrison up but Harrison surprises him with another low blow!!
Joe Hoffman: Again Harrison takes the easy way out!! Come on, Boettcher! How are you not seeing that?!
Harrison goes around behind…. CROSS FACE CHICKEN WING!!
Joe Hoffman: He’s got him locked in! Are we gonna see IT’S A HARRICLE from Steve Harrison here?? No! He falls back, bringing Fuse down with him and holds onto the crossface!! Harrison wrenching back! Fuse kicking with both legs and one ends up draped over the bottom rope!! Boettcher sees it!
Harrison is forced to release the hold, and yells at the referee again, frustrated. He approaches Conor, who drops to a knee…. And hits a low blow of his own!
Joe Hoffman: Oh my God!! Turnabout is fair play!! Harrison in obvious pain! Fuse goes right at Steve Harrison with a superkick!! Harrison stumbles back… another superkick!!… and another!! And Harrison goes sprawling backward into the opposite corner! Seems like the turnbuckles are the only things keeping him upright now!
Fuse sprints at Harrison and leaps up as if going for a missile dropkick, but he anticipates what comes next… Harrison moves out of the way and tumbles to the mat, and instead of a crash and burn, Fuse leaps up onto the top turnbuckle then leaps into the air and comes crashing down on top of Steve Harrison with a Phoenix Splash.
Joe Hoffman: What a maneuver!! Fuse with the Phoenix Splash… and now he’s back up and climbing back up the turnbuckle one more time!!
Fuse climbs to the top, steadies himself, then leaps into the air, does a 450 degree spin through and lands hard right across the chest of Steve Harrison.
Joe Hoffman: He hit it!! Fuse makes the cover!! Matt Boettcher makes the count!!
The bell rings, and Conor Fuse rolls away and props himself up against the ropes.
Bryan McVay: The winner of this match… in 22 minutes 27 seconds… THE VINTAGE…. CONNOOOOOOOORRRR FUUUUUUUUUUSE!!!!!!!
Joe Hoffman: Conor Fuse picks up a huge win here at ICONIC… and ends 2022 UNDEFEATED in singles action for the year. Clearly he has a claim to a shot at whoever wins our Main Event later this evening.
Fuse gets to his feet and stands over Harrison… Harrison looks up at him… still wincing in pain but also grimacing in anger… Fuse finally shakes his head and then walks away, climbing through the ropes and out to the floor.
We fade out to a quick advert as the Chicago fans give Fuse and Harrison an appreciative applause for their efforts here tonight.
LSD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Post PWA friendly advert we cut back live inside the arena. The camera pans around the audience at all the people who packed in here tightly to see ICONIC 2022. The camera finally settles in on the announcer’s table where the Hall of Famer Joe Hoffman is ready to call the action.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to ICONIC live here from Chicago! Buckle up ladies and gentlemen because things are about to get crazy even by HOW standards. We’re moments away from the Falls Count Anywhere match for the HOW LSD Championship. Five men will march their way down to the ring here and end up who knows where for the chance to walk out of 2022 as the LSD Champion. Referee Joel Hortega has his work cut out for him tonight but let’s send it to Bryan McVay in the ring for the introductions.
The camera shifts away from the announcers to the center of the ring where Bryan McVay stands proudly and referee Joel Hortega is standing in one of the corners. Bryan waits for the crowd to quiet down a little bit before raising the microphone up to his lips.
Bryan McVay: Our next contest is a Falls Count Anywhere match… and it’s for the HOW LSD Championship!
The crowd pops and starts to talk amongst themselves about who will win the match and what part of the arena that the five wrestlers will end up at. Bryan raises the microphone up once again.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first…
The lights dim and a golden spotlight shines on the curtain as “BACK IN BLACK” by AC/DC blares across the Best Arena. Jatt Starr, sporting his 97Red and black checkered suit, an old school Best Alliance t-shirt, and some sunglasses. The Rembrandt of Wrestling begins sauntering down the ramp taking a moment to pose for the fans who have their phones out. He removes his sunglasses and hands them to a rather busty young lass in her late twenties before continuing down the ramp.
Bryan McVay: From Havre, Montana, weighing in tonight at 220 lbs. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. He is the Rembrandt of Wrestling. He is the Ruler of Jattlantis. Here is JATT! STARR!
The Ruler of Jattlantis looks over at a sign supporting Joe Bergman and in an act of pure class proceeds to spit in the face of the fan for promoting a cheat, a liar, porpoise violator, and war criminal. The Duke of Jattmandu continues down the ramp and walks up the ring steps. He stands on the apron and demands that Hortega opens the ropes so that the HOW Hall of Famer can enter.
Joe Hoffman: Pure disrespect shown to Joe Bergman and the fans of the leader of section 214. Jatt Starr once again has sold his soul to Lee Best and put himself in the GOD of HOW’s good graces by assaulting Joe Bergman with a tire iron. He’ll have more than just Joe Bergman tonight in this LSD Championship match. It’ll be every man for himself but can Jatt Starr once again become the LSD Champion and close out 2022 proving to everyone that Sultan of SeaJattle has not lost a single step.
A lone spotlight shines a beam of 97Red in the middle of the ring and the Sultan of SeaJattle looks up and extends his hands, bathing himself in 97Red like Andy Dufresne in a rainstorm after escaping from Shawshank. The lights come up and the music fades as he hands off his suit jacket and t-shirt to a reliable HOW crew member on the outside. The Rembrandt of Wrestling adjusts his suspenders and readies himself for the match.
Bryan McVay: Introducing next…
The beginning of “THIS MEANS WAR” by Avenged Sevenfold thumps from the sound system as the crowd explodes into a fury of boos and hisses. A montage of Steve Solex plays on the HOV, flashing on and off in rhythm with the music. As the music stalls, the HOV goes black as the lights throughout the arena go dark.
Bryan McVay: From Huntington Beach, California, weighing in tonight at 252 lbs. Representing The Highwaymen. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. He is the #1 MERCDAD. Here is STEVE! SOLEX!
A bomb like explosion blasts at the top of the entry way sending a plume of smoke up and in front of the HOV in the shape of a mushroom cloud, and at that moment the music returns and Steve Solex makes his way out from behind the curtain.
Joe Hoffman: Leading into tonight Steve Solex made the confession that he knows he’s been the weak link of The Highwaymen. He doesn’t know how many more of these he has left in him. He feels like he hasn’t carried his own wait within the group but tonight can change all of that. To walk out of here tonight as the new HOW LSD Champion then turn around and help Joe Bergman capture the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts would be huge. If Clay Byrd also wins later tonight then the entire landscape of HOW could be flipped upside down heading into 2023.
The montage continues to play on the HOV as Solex stops atop the entrance ramp and pounds his chest twice with a white knuckled fist before throwing his hands high up into the air. He soaks in the boos from the crowd before marching down to the ring. No glitz, no high fives, just a fast paced march and the look of a cold blooded killer. He slides under the bottom rope and stares down Hortega before finding his corner and resting back into it.
Bryan McVay: And introducing next…
The lights in the arena go black as a synthesized hymn begins to play as the High Octane Vision comes to life as an angelic voice begins to sing.
“Born from pain, inside my veins.
Bred for war, begging for more.
None shall mourn, I am reborn.
Live in sin. The House always wins.”
The hymn continues as the screen begins to show the Best Arena transformed into a style of a church and the screen slowly flashes the words…..
WELCOME… TO… THE… HOUSE… OF… BEST
Lee Best’s infamous blood shot eyes hover above the top. The lights in the arena begin to come on in a shade of 97Red as smoke and fog begin to fill the stage area as well. The sound of glass breaking is heard as the screen shows a crack over the mural of the Best Arena and Lee Best’s eyes as “O FORTUNA EXCALIBUR REMIX” by Apotheosis begins. Lights above the ring shine down to create a 97 Red HOB. The stage flashes with alternating red and white lights as Scott Stevens makes his way out onto the stage.
Bryan McVay: From The Great State of TEXAS, weighing in tonight at 256 lbs. Representing The House of Best. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. He is one half of the HOTv World Tag Team Champions. Here is The Demi-God SCOTT! STEVENS!
Stevens’ 97 Red circular sunglasses glisten in the light along with the HOTv tag team championship belt around his waist while his devilish grin is plastered on his face. Scott drinks in his own hype as he lifts his right arm and points to the heavens before he begins to slowly walk toward the ring. As he does so he carries the Book of Best front and center of his chest while he sticks as close to the center of the ramp as possible to avoid being touched by the heathens that line the barricade. As Scott climbs up onto the mat, the massive Cross of Best hangs around his neck like jewelry. Scott wipes his feet off on the edge of the ring, his smile never leaving his face.
Joe Hoffman: Out of everyone in this match it’s Scott Stevens’ situation that is the most interesting. He is one half of the HOTv World Tag Team Champions but he’s not aligned with the Highwaymen or with the Final Alliance. Scott Stevens is loyal to Lee Best and Lee Best only. With his son back into his family and finding out how Steve Solex acted. I have no doubt in my mind that Stevens and Solex are going to tear this entire building apart. But will he focus on Solex, the tag title defense later, or taking the LSD Championship belt from his own partner?
Moving towards the center of the ring, Scott bathed in the red lettering, drops to a knee before looking up with his eyes closed towards the heavens mouthing something as he is bathed in the sinister glow of 97 Red. Once his prayer is done he slowly lowers the hood of his jacket and lifts his arm high into the air as the music dies and the house lights return signaling Scott to take off the Cross of Best and kiss it before making his way to his corner. Hortega has to stand in the center of the ring partly to protect Bryan McVay and partly to keep Stevens from ripping into Solex before the bell even rings.
Bryan McVay: And introducing next into the match…
The opening piano played by Billy Powell followed by the iconic guitar licks from Gary Rossington’s slide guitar at the beginning of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s epic ‘FREEBIRD’ blare out of the speakers.
Seconds later, the lovely Sunny O’Callahan emerges from the back dressed in the fashion of a female background singer from a late seventies Southern rock band wearing a spaghetti strap top, a pair of jeans, heels. and her usually straight hair is all frizzed out and curly.
Sunny takes a swig from a bottle of Southern Comfort and sways on the stage as Ronnie Van Zant’s vocals come on over the sound system.
“If I leave here tomorrow… will you still remember me?”
Bryan McVay: From Plattin, Missouri, weighing in tonight at 215 lbs. Representing The Highwaymen. Accompanied to the ring by Sunny O’ Callahan. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. He is The Man of the People. Here is Ordinary JOE! BERGMAN!
“For I must be traveling on now… ‘Cause there’s too many places I want to see…”
Joe Bergman comes out dressed as normal in a plain black robe over his wrestling trunks.
“But if I stayed here with you girl… Things just couldn’t be the same…”
Joe Hoffman: You can’t hear yourself think in this building with how loudly the crowd here in Chicago is booing Joe Bergman.
“Cause I’m a free as a bird now… and this bird you cannot change…”
The crowd continues to shower Bergman in hatred other than of course section 214. Joe, ever the professional, pumps his first in the air.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
With Sunny leading the way, she and Bergman start down the ramp towards the ring.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
Bergman slaps a few people’s hands who aren’t screaming at him along the way to the ring.
“And this bird you cannot change…”
Joe climbs up on the ring apron and opens a path for Sunny to climb into the ring. Then he leaps over the top rope and climbs up on the turnbuckle.
Joe Hoffman: There has been buzz all over the world and on social media that people think that tonight is the night for Joe Bergman. That after all the attacks and all the torment that he’s suffered thanks to Lee Best and those loyal to him. Joe Bergman will walk out ICONIC here tonight as the new HOW LSD Champion. And possibly even the new HOTv World Tag Team Champions along with Steve Solex but what then? Does Joe Bergman wrestle in HOW in 2023 or does he sign with PRIME? Or is there another mystery promotion lurking out there waiting to try and sign one of the hardest working wrestlers in the business?
“Lord knows, I can’t change”
Looking out over the ropes with Sunny right by his side, Joe raises his arms in the air and a can of PBR in tribute to the ‘ordinary people’ in attendance tonight and, of course, Section 214. Joe hops down off the ring apron then goes over and tries to calm down and help focus Steve Solex, who is having a war of words with Stevens, on the task at hand.
Bryan McVay: And finally the Champion…
The lights in The Best Arena begin to dim as the lights from phones dot all over the audience. The crowd is buzzing until finally the HOV comes to life and words echo throughout the building.
“THE KING… IS HERE!”
Smoke begins to form on stage followed by the sound of “KINGDOM” by Jaxson Gamble blasting from the speakers. The crowd here in Chicago gives a mixed but mostly positive response as a figure starts to emerge from the smoke on stage. The fans reaction gets that much louder as The LSD Champion Jace Parker Davidson stands at the forefront of the entrance ramp. Jace has on a long leather trench coat along with his wrestling gear. He has the LSD Championship belt displayed proudly around his waist. The ICON Championship displayed over his left shoulder and his half of the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts over his right shoulder.
Bryan McVay: From Denver, Colorado, weighing in tonight at 253 lbs. Accompanied to the ring by Abdullah Choi and STRONKETTE. He is a HOW Hall of Famer. He is the Wrestler of the Year for 2021. The Wrestler of the Month for November 2022. He is the GREATEST LSD Champion of all time. He is THE Triple Champion of HOW. Here is the King of Everything… JACE! PARKER! DAVIDSON!
Pyro explodes from either side of the stage as the crowd just gets even louder. Jace looks out at fans in The Best Arena then slowly begins to make his way down the ramp towards the ring. Abdullah Choi and STRONKETTE make their way down on either side of Jace while keeping any of the fans from reaching out and touching the LSD Champion.
Joe Hoffman: The LSD Champion and the man that calls himself the Triple Champion of HOW. He defends the LSD title here in Falls Count Anywhere and then turns right around to defend the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts right after. I wonder what is going through his mind right now. Is he worried that he might lose one or both of those titles? Is he planning on sacrificing one of those titles to retain the other? Or is Jace Parker Davison walking into his tall order here at ICONIC thinking that he can win both of these matches and walk out of ICONIC with all of these Championship belts?
STRONKETTE makes her way up the steel ring steps and holds open the ropes. Jace walks along the ring apron then steps into the ring making sure to hold onto all three Championship belts. Jace walks to the center of the ring then raises both title belts on his shoulders high into the air as pyro rains down over the ring from the rafters. Jace lowers the two Championship belts then hands the ICON and HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts to Choi on the outside. Jace stands in the middle of the ring looking at all four of his opponents standing in different parts of the ring. A small smirk spreads over his face as Bryan McVay exits the ring.
Joe Hoffman: Big fight feel here in this match. Bergman and Solex. Stevens and Davidson. Jatt and Davidson. Jatt and Bergman. Stevens and Solex. Davidson and Bergman. Just who will walk out of this Falls Count Anywhere match as the LSD Champion? Who is going to leave it all in the ring here in this match knowing they have to do it all over again in a match right after?
Hortega walks over and collects the LSD Championship belt from Jace as he takes off his trench coat. Hortega walks to the center of the ring then raises the title belt high into the air. Hortega lowers the belt then hands it to a crew member on the outside before calling for the bell to start this Falls Count Anywhere match.
Stevens and Solex both race out of their corners like bats out of Hell then collide in the center of the ring. The two men begin to trade off heavy punches as Jatt comes across the ring and goes after Bergman. Those two men start to exchange chops to the chest back and forth. That leaves Jace in his corner alone just watching his four opponents go at it. Jace slowly crouches down in his corner and begins to talk to both Choi and STRONKETTE. Stevens starts to get the advantage of the exchange with Solex. Punch after punch begins to stagger Solex towards the ropes. Solex quickly jabs a thumb into Stevens’ good eye then plants a knee to the midsection that doubles him over. Solex grabs a hold of Stevens and whips him into the ropes but Stevens reverses. Stevens lifts Solex off the canvas and just throws him back down hard. Stevens and Solex trade shots on the canvas and then roll out of the ring to the arena floor. Bergman grabs a hold of Jatt and throws him against the turnbuckle. Bergman begins to climb the turnbuckle over Jatt but Jatt grabs hold of Bergman. Jatt walks out of the corner then hits Bergman with an inverted atomic drop down that sends him down to the canvas. Jatt straightens himself up but Jace comes up from behind him and rolls him up as Hortega slides in.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: D–
No… the pin attempt is broken up by Bergman.
Joe Hoffman: Jace tried to sneak in a quick one there and escape with the LSD Championship belt but Joe Bergman wasn’t letting him off the hook that easily.
All three men are back up to their feet quickly. Jatt and Jace stare at each other. Jatt isn’t happy at all but Jace holds up his hands trying to plead with Jatt that he meant nothing by it. Bergman charges and hits both men with a running double lariat that sends him both to the mat. On the outside Solex grabs a hold of Stevens and runs him shoulder first into the steel ring steps. Stevens hits with a sickening thud as Solex grabs a hold of the steel chair and slides into the ring. Jatt is the first man to his feet but Bergman charges and hits Jatt with a spinning heel kick that sends him right back down to the canvas. Jatt rolls to the outside as Bergman gets to his feet. As Joe turns around Jace has the steel chair in hand and swings for Bergman’s head but misses. As Jace turns around Bergman reaches into his trunks and tosses his hand out towards Jace.
Joe Hoffman: FIREBALL!
Jace drops the steel chair and flinches on instinct of the threat of fire but Bergman was faking. Bergman hits Jace with a basement dropkick that sends him down to the canvas. Jace rolls to the corner and uses the ropes to pull himself back up to his feet. Bergman grabs a hold of Jace then hangs him upside down in the tree of woe in the corner. Bergman tees off on the chest and midsection of Jace with repeated kicks. On the outside Solex grabs a hold of Stevens and starts to pull him up to his feet but Jatt clubs Solex with a shot to the back of the head that causes him to drop Stevens. Jatt grabs a hold of Solex then slams him down head first onto the announcers table. Stevens gets back up to his feet then helps Jatt toss Solex over the steel barricade and into the crowd. Jatt goes to climb over the barricade but Stevens stops him. Stevens slams Jatt head first down onto the barricade three times before letting him hit the arena floor. Stevens climbs the barricade and goes after Solex. Inside of the ring Bergman grabs a hold of the steel chair then places it in front of Jace’s face as he continues to hang in the tree of woe.
Joe Hoffman: Bergman has bad intentions on his mind here and he has Jace isolated inside of the ring with Hortega right there to make the count.
Bergman backs up then grabs a running start and hits a dropkick to the chair, sending it slamming into Jace’s face. Jace falls to the canvas hard as Bergman gets back up to his feet. Joe points to the top rope as the crowd begins to boo. Bergman steps through the ropes and begins to climb the turnbuckle. Joe balances himself on the top rope but suddenly Jatt hops up onto the ring apron. Jatt shoves Bergman off of the top rope and sends him crashing down to the canvas hard. Jatt quickly begins to climb the turnbuckle as Bergman begins to fight his way back up to his feet. Jatt perches himself on the top rope as Bergman turns around. Jatt leaps off the top rope and hits Bergman with a Starrcanrana then rolls through with a pin attempt as Hortega slides in.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
No… the pin attempt is broken up by Jace.
Joe Hoffman: First Jace tried to roll up Jatt from behind and get a cheap win in the beginning of this match. Now he just broke up a pin attempt by Starr here against Bergman. Jace is doing everything in his power to retain the LSD Championship but at the cost of pissing off the Special Guest referee for the HOTv World Tag Team Championship match.
Jatt gets to his feet and shoves Jace with both hands. Jace places his hands together and pleads with Jatt to side with him to help take out Bergman. Jatt turns around and looks over at Bergman who is starting to get up to his feet. Jace and Jatt both begin to put the boots to Joe Bergman keeping him down on the canvas. Jatt and Jace stalk around Bergman as he fights his way back to a vertical base. Jace charges forward and hits Bergman with a superkick. Bergman staggers backwards but right into the arms of Jatt. Starr lifts Bergman off of his feet and plants him with a German suplex down to the canvas. Jatt gets back up to his feet but Jace grabs a hold of him and tosses him over the top rope and down to the arena floor. Jace looks down at Bergman on the canvas after ending his mini truce with Jatt. Jace thinks about covering Bergman but panics a bit as he’s lost track of Stevens and Solex. Jace finally spots them fighting deep into the crowd then shoves Hortega. Jace points towards the two men then exits the ring and tells Hortega to follow him. Jace hops the barricade followed by Hortega then races through the crowd after Solex and Stevens.
Joe Hoffman: Jace had a chance to capitalize on Bergman inside of the ring with Jatt on the outside and Hortega right there. However, with Stevens so far away from the ring fighting with Solex and their tag title defense right after this match. He’s choosing to try and herd everyone in this match in one area and keep his eyes on them.
Up the stairs in one section of the arena Solex has a hold of Stevens and slams him head first into the metal railing in the center of the steps. Stevens is busted open and bleeding as Solex has a sadistic smirk on his face. Solex grabs a hold of Stevens but Jace grabs Solex and pushes him away. Solex and Jace begin to exchange right hands but Jace gets the better of the exchange. Solex begins to stagger backwards a bit before Jace gets a running start. Solex was playing possum then catches Jace and plants him down onto the concrete hard. Jace arches his back in pain as Solex takes a moment to catch his wind. Both Jace and Solex begin to peel themselves off of the concrete as Stevens pulls himself up to his feet using the metal railing. Both Solex and Jace are on their hands and knees as Stevens wipes the blood from his face. Stevens snarls at Solex then charges towards him at full speed.
Joe Hoffman: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!
Stevens fires the knee trembler with the heavy knee brace at Solex but Solex rolls out of the way.
Joe Hoffman: …BUT HE HITS JACE WITH IT!
Stevens landed the heavy knee shot flush on his tag team partner and completely wiped him out. Without a moment of hesitation, Stevens hooks the leg and makes the cover on Jace as Hortega slides in for the count.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TR–
No… it’s broken up by Solex!
Joe Hoffman: Scott Stevens was a half a count away from pinning Jace Parker Davidson to become the new LSD Champion. Their already unsteady partnership would have imploded on the spot right then and there had Hortega reached three.
Solex grabs a hold of Stevens and pulls him back up to his feet. Solex hooks up Stevens and tries to hit him with a snap suplex down to concrete below but Stevens blocks it. Solex tries to muscle Stevens up one more time but he’s hit with a clubbing shot from behind by Jatt. Solex staggers and drops Stevens to the floor. Solex turns around and begins to argue with Jatt but Starr begins to pepper Solex with punches. Jatt throws a boot to the midsection but Solex catches Jatt’s foot. Jatt hops on one foot begging Solex for mercy but then leaps up and hits Solex with an enziguri kick to the back of the head. Solex crumbles down to the concrete floor as Jatt sits up and points to his head showing he’s smarter than the Mercdad. Jatt hooks the leg and makes the cover on Solex as Hortega slides in.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TRES
Joe Hoffman: That was almost three but Joe Bergman just saved his fellow Highwaymen partner from getting beaten here in this LSD Championship match!
Jatt rolls around on the concrete in pain but Bergman shows no mercy and repeatedly cracks Starr with shot after shot with the kendo stick in his hands. Jatt begins to try and crawl away but Bergman is right there with him. Joe gets grabbed from behind and spun around. Bergman raises the kendo stick into the air ready to strike but stops himself when he sees it’s Solex. The two men stand there looking at each other before Solex goes and points over towards Jatt who continues to crawl away looking for safety. Bergman nods his head as both Highwaymen members go after Jatt Starr who has made his way onto the concourse. The fans buying merchandise and food all cheer wildly as Jatt is pelted with stiff kicks from Solex and kendo stick shots from Bergman. Jatt rolls over onto the ass and begs off from the two men. Solex sees where beer is being sold and heads over that way to grab a cold one leaving Bergman and Jatt alone. Jatt begins to apologize to Joe profusely then offers his hand towards Bergman as a peace offering.
Joe Hoffman: Don’t do it, Joe!
Bergman stares down at Jatt’s hand but the pause is just what Starr wanted. Jatt lunges forward going for a low blow on Bergman but Joe sees it coming and side steps the blow. Stevens can be seen ordering a beer and signing a clearly drunk, but busty woman’s chest as Jatt scurries up to his feet. Bergman wraps the kendo stick to front of Jatt’s neck then takes him down to the floor hard with a side Russian leg sweep. The fans on the concourse cheer wildly as Solex raises his beer into the air and then begins drinking it. Both Joe and Jatt are slow to get back up to their feet. Joe still has the kendo stick in hand but gets hit from behind with a steel chair from Stevens. Bergman drops the kendo stick and falls to the concourse floor again. Solex lays eyes on Stevens who stands over the fallen Bergman then makes his way over. As Stevens turns around Solex hits him in the face with what is left of his beer. Solex gives Stevens a boot to the midsection that causes him to drop the steel chair. Solex grabs a hold of Stevens and shoves his head between his legs. Solex lifts Stevens into the air then spikes him with a piledriver down onto the steel chair. Solex hooks the leg and makes the cover on Stevens as Hortega slides in.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TRES!
NOOOO!!! Jace dives in and breaks up the count right before the three count!
Joe Hoffman: I thought we had just crowned a new HOW LSD Champion right there! Solex planted Stevens with that piledriver on the steel chair but Jace came flying in out of nowhere to keep Solex from winning the LSD Championship.
Jace gets up to his feet then begins to argue with Hortega of all people over almost losing the LSD Championship belt. Hortega argues right back with Jace but Davidson shoves Hortega. Seeing that it’s LSD rules Jace can’t be DQ’ed but that doesn’t stop Hortega from shoving him back. Bergman gets back up to his feet and begins to hit Jace with punches and kicks that stagger him back down the stairs into the arena. Jatt comes up from behind Bergman and clips him in the back of the knee. Bergman crumbles and stumbles down a couple of the steps. Jace and Jatt look at each other but before either man makes a move Solex comes roaring behind them. Solex just throws his body at them and the three men go tumbling down the stairs into the crowd. The fight with all four men continues throughout the crowd until Stevens returns to the fight with the steel chair. Stevens levels Bergman with a shot to the back of the head and then Solex. Jatt Starr comes up from behind Stevens and plants him with a falling inverted DDT down to the floor. The chair goes skidding away as Jatt grabs a hold of Stevens and pulls him back to his feet. Jatt hooks Stevens and tries to hit him with the Falling Starr onto the floor but Stevens powers out and shoves Jatt away. Jatt staggers a bit but turns around and hits a kick below the belt from Stevens. Jatt’s knees buckle in pain but Stevens grabs a hold of Jatt and lifts him into the air. Stevens holds Jatt into position then.
Joe Hoffman: SCORPION DRIVER DOWN ONTO THE STEEL CHAIR!
Stevens plants Jatt with the sit out tombstone piledriver onto the chair as the crowd comes unglued. Stevens hooks the leg and makes the cover on Jatt as Hortega slides in for the count.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TRES!!!
NOOOO!!!!! Jace yanks Hortega away before he can make the three count!!!
Joe Hoffman: Jace just screwed his own partner out of the LSD Championship!
Hortega gets up to his feet but before he can react Jace slaps a pair of handcuffs onto Hortega’s wrist. Then Jace slaps the other end on his own wrist to make sure the two of them are locked in the cuffs together.
Joe Hoffman: Jace Parker Davidson just handcuffed himself to referee Joel Hortega. I guess he’s tired of trying to keep four different opponents from becoming LSD Champion and to prevent that from happening he just attached himself to Hortega!
Hortega tries to yank himself free but it’s useless. Stevens gets up to his feet and is livid with his partner. Stevens gestures to the fallen Jatt Starr then to the handcuffs. Jace tries to reason with Stevens but the Texan has had enough. Stevens begins to rock Jace with big right hands that cause both him and Hortega to stagger. Bergman and Solex are back up to their feet and attack Stevens from behind. This gives Jace the opening that he needs to grab Hortega up and race off backstage. The crowd boos wildly as the two members of The Highwaymen turn and give chase to Jace and Hortega. Eventually both Jatt and Stevens get back up to their feet and they also head backstage as the cameras try to follow all of them.
Joe Hoffman: Jace Parker Davidson has taken Joel Hortega hostage and he’s disappeared backstage away from all of his opponents. The Highwaymen are in hot pursuit but he’s nowhere to be found. Here come Jatt and Stevens!
The fight between the four men rages throughout the hallways of the backstage area. Starr and Bergman. Solex and Stevens. They all go off in different directions fighting each other as more cameramen hit the scene. Slowly, a door to a janitor’s closet opens and Jace peaks his head out of it. After making sure the coast is clear Jace emerges from inside while dragging Hortega along. Jace grins thinking he’s outsmarted everyone in the match as he begins to look around for someone to sneak up on and pin. Jace turns a corner and finds Stevens and Solex still going at it. Jace points over towards them and tells Hortega something when suddenly.
Joe Hoffman: Joe Bergman with a pair of bolt cutters just freed Hortega from Jace!
Hortega races off towards Stevens and Solex as Bergman jabs Jace in the midsection with the bolt cutters. Jace falls to his knees as Bergman tosses the bolt cutters aside. Bergman begins to back up and line up Jace who is coughing up a lung. Bergman charges and goes to hit Jace with Bend The Knee but Jace manages to slide out of the way. Bergman’s boot stomps down on the floor hard as Jace pulls himself up to his feet. Bergman turns around but Jace gives him a boot to the midsection then.
Joe Hoffman: UNSCRIPTED VIOLENCE ONTO THE FLOOR!
Jace spikes Bergman onto the floor with the double arm DDT. Jace hooks the leg and makes the cover on Bergman but Hortega is nowhere to be found. Jace slams his hands onto the ground but suddenly he’s grabbed by the hair. Jace is pulled to his feet by Solex who flips Jace the bird. Solex grabs Jace a boot to the midsection then hits him with a gutwrench powerbomb down to the floor. Jace howls in pain as he tries to crawl away from Solex. Steve gets to his feet then grabs a hold of Jace and tosses him inside of the nearest female bathroom. Different women race out of the bathroom screaming which only causes Solex to laugh. Solex steps inside then grabs a hold of Jace and begins to drag him over towards an open stall. Solex pulls Jace up and begins to try and force Davidson’s head into the toilet but Jace fights it. Both men struggle until Stevens pops Solex in the back of the head with The Fist. Solex lets go of Jace and staggers a bit from the Superman punch. Stevens grabs a hold of Solex then launches him as hard as he can into the door of the stall which completely knocks it off of its hinges. Stevens turns to Jace who is struggling to get back up to his feet. Stevens extends his hand down towards his partner.
Joe Hoffman: Stevens just saved Jace from toilet death and now it looks like the Demi-God is offering an olive branch to his partner.
Jace grabs Stevens’ hand who helps him back up to his feet. However, Stevens lunges forward and hits Jace with a headbutt that makes his legs give out on him. Stevens turns Jace upside down then dunks his head into the toilet. Jace flails around as Stevens holds his head under the water. Stevens holds Jace in place before using his boot to flush the toilet while Jace’s head is submerged.
Joe Hoffman: Scott Stevens is giving the Triple Champion of HOW a swirlie! Bloody tampon be damned! Revenge must taste awful sweet for Scott Stevens right now!
Stevens finally lets go of Jace who crawls away dripping wet while hacking and gagging. Stevens looks on proudly through his crimson mask of blood. Suddenly Joe Bergman comes screaming into the women’s bathroom with his eyes closed shut. Bergman hits Stevens with a running shotgun dropkick to the chest that sends Stevens crashing back against the wall of the bathroom stall. Stevens pulls himself back up to his feet but then Bergman monkey flips Stevens out of the stall and down to the bathroom floor. Stevens hits hard as Bergman gets back up to his feet. He sees Jace escaping the bathroom with hands full of paper towels trying to dry his head. Bergman gives chase then spins Jace around. Jace fires a right hand but Bergman blocks it and stomps down on Jace’s foot. Jace grabs his foot in pain but Bergman reaches into his trunks and shoots his arms out towards Davidson.
Joe Hoffman: FIREBALL! FOR REAL THIS TIME!
Bergman tosses the fireball into Jace’s face which blinds him and causes him to scream in pain. Jace staggers around holding his face but Bergman isn’t done. Bergman fires a second fireball, this time at the back of Jace’s head.
Joe Hoffman: JACE IS ON FIRE! JACE IS ON FIRE! BERGMAN HAS CAUSED JACE TO GO UP IN FLAMES!
This is only partly true because Jace’s hair and head are on fire. Jace burst through the doors out into one of the back docks of the building. Bergman grabs a hold of Jace then tosses him up and into a nearby dumpster. Bergman satisfyingly wipes his hands clean then heads back inside of the arena. Only to get blindsided by Jatt Starr. Jatt runs Bergman head first into a nearby wall which causes him to fall to the floor. Jatt makes his way over to a table backstage set up with catering items. Jatt tries one of the grapes before swiping all the food off of the table and onto the floor. Jatt turns his attention back towards Bergman who staggers to his feet. Jatt plants a boot to the gut then plants him with a DDT to the floor. Jatt pulls Bergman to his feet then drags him over towards the table. Jatt places Bergman onto the table then begins to climb up a ladder he clearly set up during all of the chaos. Jatt makes it to the top of the ladder then dives off and hits Bergman with an elbow that puts both men through the table. Hortega finally shows his face as Jatt lays an arm over Bergman to make the cover.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TRES!!!
NOOOO!!!!!! THE COUNT IS BROKEN UP BY STEVENS!!!
Joe Hoffman: Jatt Starr would be the new HOW LSD Champion if not for Scott Stevens coming in at the last moment! Jace is in the dumpster, Bergman just got put through the table, and Solex is still in the ladies bathroom. Jatt was mere milliseconds away from regaining the LSD Championship!
Stevens reaches down and begins to drag Jatt away from Bergman and the mess of broken table pieces but he gets grabbed from behind. Stevens is spun around and eats a boot to the midsection from Solex.
Joe Hoffman: SOLEXECUTION ON STEVENS!
Solex nails Stevens with the stunner down to the floor. Stevens, sensing he is in danger, begins to scratch and crawl his way through the backstage area. Solex gets to his feet and begins to kick and stomp away at Stevens as they make their way through the hallways. The cameras go back out into the arena where Scott Stevens comes tumbling out on stage and down the ramp towards the ring. Steve Solex follows behind Stevens as both men end up back down to the ringside area. Solex grabs a hold of Stevens then tosses him under the bottom rope and back into the ring. Solex slid back into the ring followed by Hortega who came racing down the ramp. Solex gets up to his feet then grabs a hold of Stevens and begins to pull him up off of the canvas. Stevens surprises Solex by coming up and hitting him with a bicycle knee strike to the face. Solex staggers as Stevens lunges forward.
Joe Hoffman: TOXIC STING!
But Solex counters by pushing Stevens off into the ropes. Stevens rebounds off the ropes but Stevens runs through him with a shoulder block.
Joe Hoffman: BY GOSH!
Stevens is back up to his feet but Solex charges off the ropes and hits him with a second shoulder block.
Joe Hoffman: BY GOLLY!
Stevens staggers back up again as Solex rebounds off the ropes one more time.
Joe Hoffman: CLOTHESLINE FROM HECK!!!
Solex plows through Stevens with the big clothesline turning him inside out as he crashes down to the canvas. Solex drops down to make the cover on Stevens but he’s grabbed from behind by Jatt Starr who finally makes his way back down to the ring. Stevens swings another clothesline but Jatt ducks it. Jatt grabs a hold of Solex.
Joe Hoffman: FALLING STARR!!!
Jatt plants Solex down to the mat hard with his finisher. Jatt begins to slowly roll Solex onto his back to make the cover but this time it’s Jatt that is grabbed from behind.
Joe Hoffman: DRAGON SLEEPER! JOE BERGMAN HAS MADE IT DOWN TO THE RING AND HAS JATT STARR LOCKED IN THE DRAGON SLEEPER!!!
Bergman screams out as he locks in his submission finisher on the man that caused him to almost miss ICONIC. Hortega drops down and begins to ask Jatt if he wants to submit but Jatt refuses. Jatt begins to reach out and try to grab onto anything that he gets his hands on but he’s nowhere close to anything.
Joe Hoffman: BERGMAN’S GOT JATT LOCKED IN DEEP RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF THE RING. JATT IS EITHER GOING TO TAP OUT OR PASS OUT HERE!!!
Hortega continues to ask Jatt but the stubborn Hall of Famer refuses to admit defeat. Especially to Joe Bergman of all people. Joe having had enough of Jatt and everything else leans back as far as humanly possible on the fold. Jatt begins to fade as Hortega grabs a hold of his arm to check. Bergman screams out for Jatt to tap but in his position can’t see it coming.
Joe Hoffman: BEND THE KNEE OUT OF NOWHERE!!!
Literally by the grace of God himself as dirty Jace Parker Davidson slides into the ring and hits a modified Bend The Knee on Bergman. Instead of driving his boot to the back of Bergman’s head, Jace leaps into the air and drives his boot through the face off Bergman.
Joe Hoffman: IT SMELLS LIKE BURNT GARBAGE IN HERE BUT I THINK JACE JUST BROKE BERGMAN’S NOSE!!!
Jatt falls to the canvas limply. Bergman’s face is literally crushed. Solex and Stevens are both out on the canvas. Jace literally faces into the cover on Bergman as Hortega slides in for the count.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joel Hortega: TRES!!!
NOOOOOO!!!!! JACE IS YANKED OUT OF THE RING BEFORE THE THREE COUNT CAN BE MADE!!!!
Joe Hoffman: BOBBINETTE CAREY?!?!?!
The crowd along with Jace and Joe are all stunned by the fact that Bobbinette Carey has hopped the steel barricade and just cost Jace the LSD Championship belt. Carey stares at Jace with pure hatred in her eyes before firing stiff forearm shots to the chest and face of Davidson. Carey knocks Jace down to the arena floor then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a knife.
Joe Hoffman: OH GOD! BOBBINETTE CAREY WASN’T EVEN ON TONIGHT’S CARD BUT SHE HASN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT EVERYTHING DAVIDSON HAS DONE TO HER! SHE’S GOING TO TRY AND FINISH WHAT SHE STARTED AT RATR!!!
Jace pulls himself up to his feet using the ring apron as Carey points the knife forward and charges towards Davidson. Just when Carey is about to stab Jace for a fourth time, Davidson dodges out of the way causing Carey to collide with the steel ring post. Carey falls to the arena floor and drops the knife. Carey begins to reach around and search for the knife but Jace charges.
Joe Hoffman: BEND THE KNEE TO BOBBINETTE CAREY ON THE ARENA FLOOR!!!
Carey’s body goes limp as Jace collapses at ringside. Jace reaches up to the ring apron and pulls himself up and rolls back into the ring. Jace uses the ropes to regain a vertical base then turns around and finds he’s not the only man on his feet.
Joe Hoffman: STEVENS IS UP! SCOTT STEVENS AND JACE PARKER DAVIDSON ARE THE LAST TWO MEN STANDING IN THIS MATCH!!!
The current HOTv World Tag Team Champions stare across the ring at each other and all love is lost between these two men. The rush at each other with everything they have left. The two man trade blows back and forth as the crowd chants with each shot. Stevens gets the advantage of the exchange and leaves Jace staggering. Stevens spins and goes for a discus clothesline but Jace ducks it. Jace straightens up and goes for a V-Trigger knee while Stevens’ back is turned. Stevens dodges out of the way as Jace staggers into the ropes. Stevens charges and goes to clothesline Jace to the outside but Jace drops down to the mat pulling the top rope with him. Stevens tumbles and falls to the outside hard.
Joe Hoffman: JACE MANAGES TO GET SCOTT STEVENS OUT OF THE RING AND EVERYONE IS STILL DOWN!!!
Jace doesn’t even get back up to his feet. He looks around the ring then begins to crawl on his hands and knees over to one of his opponents. Jace makes the cover and hooks both legs on Solex as Hortega slides in.
Joel Hortega: UNO
Joe Hoffman: KICK OUT STEVE!
Joel Hortega: DOS
Joe Hoffman: NOT LIKE THIS!!
Joel Hortega: TRES!!!
Joe Hoffman: DAMMIT!!!
Bryan McVay: Here is your winner… AND STILLLLLLL HOW LSD CHAMPIONNNNN… JACEEEEE PARKERRRRRR DAVIDSONNNNNN!!!
Joe Hoffman: In the end after this wild and crazy match Steve Solex simply didn’t have enough left in him to kick out. All that time spent on a couch has finally caught up to Solex and bit him on the ass. Jace retains the LSD Championship belt here at ICONIC but how are he and Stevens going to somehow work together now to defend the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts? How does anyone at ringside here have anything left to wrestle another match?!?!?
Hortega gets to his feet and presents Jace with the LSD Championship belt. Jace lays back on the canvas and clutches the title belt to his chest. On the outside Scott Stevens sits leaned back against the ring. He’s angry, disappointed, and pissed off at this tag team partner.
Joe Hoffman: We need to take a break to satisfy our sponsors and to reset here at ringside. We’ll be back ladies and gentlemen with the start of the HOTv World Tag Team Championship match. Stay tuned!
THE HIGHWAYMEN VS JPD/STEVENS
The cameras come back live to the ringside area here in The Best Arena. The crowd is still buzzing over what happened only moments ago in the LSD Championship match. The camera shifts over to the announcers table where Hall of Fame commentator Joe Hoffman tries to recap and shift forward through the chaos.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back to ICONIC ladies and gentlemen. We’re still here at ringside after that extremely violent LSD Championship match. Bobbinette Carey and her knife have been gathered up and escorted to the backstage area via medics and EPU agents. Jatt Starr has been given a referee’s shirt that he has put on. Joel Hortega has been sent backstage also. The Highwaymen are in their corner trying to recover enough energy to try and win the HOTv World Tag Team Championship match. The Champions on the other hand aren’t exactly on the same page.
The camera shifts into the ring where referee Jatt Starr can be seen standing in a neutral corner. He rubs his neck in pain as he glares over at Joe Bergman in The Highwaymen’s corner. Bergman has helped Solex to his feet and is helping him recover and pep talk him into focusing on the match ahead. In the Champions corner Scott Stevens can be seen pacing back and forth. Stevens is still hot over what happened at the end of the LSD Championship match. Jace is sitting on the canvas leaned against the turnbuckle. He’s completely spent, slightly burnt, and still reeks of garbage.
Joe Hoffman: Joe Bergman and Steve Solex gave it everything that they had in the LSD Championship match. I’m sure they’ll have each other’s back here tonight for the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts. Jace Parker Davidson narrowly managed to retain the LSD Championship belt but he screwed over his own partner to do that. Jace looks out of it here and Stevens looks like he could explode at any moment.
Jace slowly begins to pull himself up to his feet using the ropes while Stevens continues to pace back and forth with his Texas sized rage. In the Highwaymen corner across the ring, Joe Bergman convinces Solex that he’ll start the match for their team then helps him to the ring apron. Jatt Starr has had enough and he marches out of his own corner and spins Bergman around. Bergman rears back ready for a fight by Jatt points down at his referee’s shirt and threatens to disqualify Bergman before the match even begins. The two Hall of Famers argue back and forth before Jatt looks towards the stage and begins waving his hand.
Joe Hoffman: What is he doing?
Everyone in the arena is equally confused until a lone EPU member begins to jog down the ramp towards the ring. The EPU member enters the ring as Jatt begins to explain to him why he called him out. Jatt points to Joe Bergman and makes very animated hand gestures before turning around and pointing over towards Jace in the Champions corner. Jatt continues to talk to the EPU member before finally pointing back to Bergman in a very commanding way. The EPU member nods his head and approaches Bergman who shakes his head. The EPU member begins to aggressively pat down Joe Bergman as Jatt folds his arms across his chest.
Joe Hoffman: You’ve got to be kidding me. Jatt Starr has called down a member of the EPU to pat down Joe Bergman like he’s trying to board a plane. HOA TSA if you will…….Clearly, Jatt is trying to make sure there are no more hidden items on Bergman’s person that he can use to throw more fireballs here tonight.
The EPU member double and triple checks Bergman and begins to handle the Hall of Famer in a violent fashion until Solex steps into the ring. Solex shoves the EPU member away from Bergman then points over at Jatt. The EPU member informs Jatt that Bergman is clean, which doesn’t please him at all. The EPU member exits the ring and heads back up to the ramp as across the ring Stevens has gotten in Jace’s face and the two are having a very heated argument. Jace shoves Stevens away from him but Stevens fires back and shoves Jace against the turnbuckle. The fuse is finally lit and the HOTv World Tag Team Champions begin to exchange right hands in the corner.
Joe Hoffman: The Champions have broken down completely and are fighting each other before this HOTv World Tag Team Championship match can begin!
Jatt races off and tries to break up the two men but Stevens has gotten the advantage on Jace. Jatt grabs a hold of Stevens and pulls him away while trying to talk sense into him. Stevens has reached the point of no return and shoves Jatt out of the way. Jace steps forward and swings another right hand but Stevens sees him coming.
Joe Hoffman: TOXIC STING! STEVENS JUST TOOK OUT HIS OWN TAG TEAM PARTNER!
Stevens levels Jace who hits the canvas hard and rolls to the outside of the ring. Stevens gets up to his feet still livid as Jatt just stands there wide eyed. Bergman and Solex stand in their corner watching it all transpire. Choi and STRONKETTE rush over and try to attend to a lifeless Jace on the outside. Stevens turns around and yells at Jatt Starr. Jatt takes a step back as the two men exchange words. Stevens points over towards the Highwaymen as he grabs a hold of Jatt by the shirt. Jatt, having no other choice, gives Stevens what he wants and signals for the bell to start the match.
Joe Hoffman: Scott Stevens has taken out Jace Parker Davidson and now he’s going to defend the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts two on one against the Highwaymen!
Solex steps through the ropes to the ring apron as Bergman and Stevens begin to circle each other in the center of the ring. Bergman and Stevens lock up and struggle for position. Stevens gains the advantage with a side headlock on Bergman. Joe fires shots to Stevens midsection then shoots him off into the ropes. Stevens rebounds off the ropes then takes Bergman down to the canvas with a shoulder block. Stevens takes off towards the ropes again as Bergman gets to his feet. Stevens rebounds off the ropes and hits Bergman with a Texas hammer that sends him down the canvas. Bergman rolls to the neutral cover to prevent Stevens from getting a pin attempt. Bergman pulls himself up to his feet as Stevens charges towards the corner. Stevens leaps into the air and crunches Bergman in the corner with a Stinger splash. Bergman staggers away from the corner but Stevens lifts him up onto his shoulders. Stevens plants Bergman with Houston We Have A Problem down to the canvas. Stevens hooks the leg and makes the cover as Jatt slides in for the count.
Jatt Starr: ONE
Jatt Starr: TWO
Jatt Starr: THR–
NO! BERGMAN GETS A SHOULDER OFF OF THE CANVAS!
Joe Hoffman: Clearly, a fast count by Jatt Starr there after the Death Valley Driver from Stevens but thankfully Bergman got his shoulder up before the three. With Stevens trying to fight off both Bergman and Solex alone it seems Jatt is going to do everything he can to prevent the Highwaymen from regaining the titles.
Stevens gets back up to his feet then grabs a hold of Bergman by the waist and pulls him up to a vertical base. Stevens goes for a suplex but Bergman counters with rapid elbow shots to the side of Stevens’ head. Stevens hits Bergman with a clubbing blow to the neck then a knee strike to the spine using the knee brace. Stevens grabs a hold of Bergman again and hits him with a German suplex but Bergman lands on his feet. Stevens makes it up to his feet in shock and charges towards Bergman. However, Bergman catches Stevens then lifts him into the air and drops Stevens’ throat first against the top rope. Stevens falls to the canvas holding his neck as Jatt comes over and begins to immediately berate Bergman. Jatt once again threatens to DQ Bergman for using the ropes to choke Stevens. Bergman resists the urge to deck Jatt then turns and makes the tag to Solex. Steve enters the ring and both men go to grab Stevens but Jatt gets in the way.
Joe Hoffman: What the hell is Jatt Starr trying to pull now?
Jatt Starr argues with the Highwaymen and tells Solex he has to exit the ring. Bergman and Solex argue back that it was a legal tag but Jatt smirks and shakes his head. Jatt pulls out a mini rule book from his pocket and flips through it quickly. He goes to the corner and points out that Solex wasn’t holding the tag rope when Bergman tagged him. Jatt orders Solex out of the ring or else he’ll call for a disqualification. Pissed off, Solex marches back to his corner but this whole ordeal has given Stevens time to recover. Stevens comes up from behind Bergman and hits him with a low blow that Jatt doesn’t see. Bergman crumbles down to the canvas as Stevens gets back up to his feet. Stevens grabs Bergman by the hair then shoves his head between his legs. Stevens lifts Bergman into the air and goes for a powerbomb but Bergman fires away with right hands to the already busted open head of Stevens. Bergman counters by snapping Stevens up and over with a hurricanrana. Bergman begins to crawl to his corner as Solex makes sure to grab the tag rope. Stevens staggers to his feet and goes after Bergman but Joe leaps towards the corner.
Joe Hoffman: TAG INTO SOLEX!
Solex enters the ring and mows down Stevens with a running clothesline. Stevens gets back up but Solex charges and runs him down with another clothesline. Stevens staggers back up but Solex grabs a hold of him and begins smashing his head repeatedly against the turnbuckle in the corner. The crowd counts along with each shot until Jatt comes over and tries to stop Solex. Steve yanks his arm away from Jatt violently then balls up his fist. Jatt leans in and dares Solex to hit him but Joe screams from the ring apron for Solex not to do it. Solex grits his teeth then turns back towards Stevens. Solex hits Stevens with a swinging neckbreaker down to the canvas. Solex takes his forearm and begins to grind it back and forth over Stevens’ head as Jatt comes over and begins a very fast five count. Solex removes his forearm at 4.99999 then hooks the leg on Stevens and makes the cover as Jatt slides in.
Jatt Starr: ONE
Jatt Starr: TWO
Jatt Starr: THR–
Suddenly, instead of slapping his hand down onto the canvas a third time, Jatt reaches up and grabs the back of his neck in pain.
Joe Hoffman: Blatant slow count there by Jatt but now he’s literally refusing to count the three to prevent The Highwaymen from winning this match!
Solex shoots to his feet like lightning then grabs a hold of Jatt by the shirt. Solex argues with Jatt but Starr continues to point to his referee’s shirt. Jatt points to Bergman and blames him for hurting his neck as Joe shouts for Solex to stay focused. Solex lets go of Jatt then turns back towards Stevens. However, Stevens pops up and goes for the TOXIC STING but Solex counters by pushing Stevens into the ropes. Solex charges in towards Stevens then clotheslines him over the top rope and down to the arena floor below. Solex exits the ring after Stevens as Bergman hops down off the ring apron. The two Highwaymen grab a hold of Stevens and hit him with a double side Russian leg sweep into the steel barricade. The back of Stevens’ head bounces off of the steel with a sickening thud. Inside the ring Jatt is making his ten count at the speed of light. Solex scurries to his feet and dives back into the ring before Jatt can reach ten.
Joe Hoffman: Jatt Starr just tried to catch Solex and Bergman napping on the outside and get the double count out. Titles would have remained with the Champions but Solex beat the ten count and Jatt’s very unhappy.
Bergman gathers Stevens and rolls him back into the ring. Joe goes back to his own corner as Solex grabs a hold of Stevens. Solex muscles Stevens into the air then hits him with a gutwrench powerbomb down to the canvas. However, Jatt suddenly falls to the canvas dramatically. Solex hooks the leg and makes the cover on Stevens but Jatt is still down and unable to make the count.
Joe Hoffman: Jatt is literally pretending that he was struck by Stevens’ boot on that gutwrench powerbomb. He’s faking like he’s out cold to prevent making the count for The Highwaymen!
Solex snaps and shoots to his feet. He heads over towards Jatt with bad intentions but Bergman rushes into the ring and stops Solex before they get disqualified. Bergman tries to talk down Solex as Jatt magically rises to his feet unscathed. Jatt begins to order Bergman out of the ring before starting a five count. Bergman exits the ring as Solex turns back towards Stevens who has struggled his way up to his feet. Solex charges but Stevens catches him and hits him with a Double S spinebuster down to the canvas hard. Both men are down as Bergman claps his hands on the outside trying to will Solex to his feet. Slowly, both Stevens and Solex make it back to a vertical base. The two men exchange right hands but Stevens goes to Solex’s eyes then whips him into the ropes. Solex hits the ropes but Bergman reaches out and tags himself in.
Joe Hoffman: BERGMAN MADE THE TAG!
Stevens catches Solex and snaps him down to the canvas with a powerslam but Bergman enters the ring and goes after Stevens. Jatt cuts off Bergman and once again orders him back to his corner. Bergman is furious, he held the tag rope, he made the tag, he did everything right. Jatt grabs his rule book and indicates that Bergman slapped Solex’s back, not his hand, which makes it an illegal tag. Bergman is literally hopping mad then reaches out and snatches the rule book away from Jatt. Bergman tosses the rule book out of the ring and into the crowd much to the shock of Jatt.
Joe Hoffman: THE RULE BOOK HAS LITERALLY BEEN THROWN OUT. GO JOE!
Bergman storms past Jatt then grabs a hold of Stevens. Bergman runs Stevens to the corner and rams him shoulder first into the steel ring post. Bergman turns around then grabs Solex and drags him back into their corner. Bergman steps out to the ring apron, grabs the tag rope, then reaches in and slaps Solex on the hand.
Joe Hoffman: BERGMAN IS LEGAL NOW!
Joe storms back intro the ring as Stevens pulls himself away from the steel ring post. As Stevens turns around Bergman gives him a boot to the midsection. Bergman grabs a hold of Stevens then uses the turnbuckle to plant from down to the canvas with a tornado DDT. Bergman gets to his feet then steps through the ropes and begins to climb the turnbuckle. Bergman balances himself on the top rope then leaps off and hits Stevens with a leg drop across the neck. Bergman back to his feet then once again steps through the ropes and begins to climb the turnbuckle. Joe gets his balance then leaps off and hits Stevens with a high angle senton bomb from the top. Bergman hooks the leg and makes the cover on Stevens as Jatt slides in.
….But Jatt doesn’t count.
Jatt reaches into this pocket and pulls out a stopwatch. Jatt fumbles with the device trying to get it to work as the crowd counts along at the seconds that pass by.
Joe Hoffman: Instead of counting Jatt has tried to use a stopwatch on the pin attempt by Bergman. It’s obvious he’s just buying time because he knows Bergman has Stevens beat!
Bergman gets to his feet and this time it’s him that snaps. He grabs a hold of Jatt by the referee’s shirt and forces him back into the corner. Suddenly, Solex is yanked down off of the ring apron and hits his head on the way down.
Joe Hoffman: JACE HAS GOTTEN INVOLVED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THIS MATCH!
The LSD Champion slides into the ring then gets up to his feet. Jace charges towards the corner to hit Bergman but Joe dodges at the last minute. Jace collides at full speed with Jatt and crunches him in the corner. Jatt collapses down to the canvas legitimately this time as Jace backs away from the corner. Bergman grabs a hold of Jace from behind and hits him with a reverse DDT down to the canvas. Joe grabs a hold of Jace and goes to lock in the Dragon Sleeper. Stevens charges and blasts Bergman with a running knee to the side of the head that forces him to release Jace. Stevens grabs a hold of Bergman but suddenly.
Joe Hoffman: SOLEX JUST BLASTED STEVENS WITH A SHOT TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD WITH A STEEL CHAIR!
Solex is back into the ring with the steel chair as Stevens hits the canvas like a ton of bricks. Solex kneels down and checks on Bergman but suddenly Jace charges and hits Solex with a V-trigger knee strike to the side of the head. Jace backs up towards the corner as Solex fights his way up off of the canvas. Jace charges out of the corner then hits Solex with BEND THE KNEE.
Joe Hoffman: THE STOMP MISSES AND BERGMAN SPRAYS JACE IN THE FACE WITH GREEN MIST.
Solex yanked out of the way by Bergman as Jace’s boot hit the canvas. Joe leans forward and spits green mist into the eyes of Jace. With the LSD Champion blinded and staggering, Joe grabs the steel chair and blasts Jace with a shot to the head that sends him crashing down to the canvas. Bergman raises the steel chair into the air again but he’s stopped by Solex. Steve talks to Bergman then points over at Jatt who is still on the canvas.
Joe Hoffman: Solex realizes that Jatt isn’t going to be down forever and the last thing they want is to be caught using a steel chair.
Bergman nods his head and tosses down the steel chair to the canvas. Bergman and Solex focus on Jace who struggles to get back up to his feet in unsteady legs. Solex races towards the ropes as Jace barely remains standing. Solex bounces off the ropes and goes for The Clothesline From Heck but Jace collapses to the canvas before Solex can hit it. Solex looks down at Jace disgusted then tells Bergman to lift him back up to his feet. Joe pulls Jace up to his feet and holds him in place as Solex races towards the ropes again. Solex bounces off the ropes then connects with The Clothesline From Heck.
Joe Hoffman: ….HE HIT BERGMAN!
Jace ducks out of the way at the very last moment and Solex decks Bergman with the big clothesline, unable to stop his momentum. Solex looks down shocked but blindly Jace manages to grab a hold of Solex and tosses him through the ropes and out of the ring. Jace tries to clear his vision but Stevens grabs a hold of Jace and tosses him out of the ring also. Bergman staggers back up to his feet but Stevens literally almost falls over himself trying to get to him. Stevens grabs Bergman from behind and rolls him up with a healthy handful of tights as Jatt slides in as quickly as possible.
Jatt Starr: ONE
Jatt Starr: TWO
Jatt Starr: THREE!!!
Joe Hoffman: SON OF A BI–
Bergman kicks out but it’s too late due to the extremely fast count by Jatt Starr. Stevens and Jatt slide out of the ring quickly as Jace grabs a hold of his LSD Championship belts the both HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts. Jace walks over to Stevens on the outside and the two men glare at each other. Stevens prepares himself for the worst but Jace just tosses Stevens one of the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts. Stevens catches the title belt as Jace walks coldly past him.
Joe Hoffman: The Highwaymen were screwed out of both the LSD Championship belt and the HOTv World Tag Team Championship belts. Even two on one for most of this match, Jatt Starr made sure that Bergman and Solex had zero chance of walking out of here with the belts tonight. You’ve got to feel for Bergman and Solex here.
Bergman sits up and then slowly stands back up and stares towards the stage where Jatt Starr stands in between Jace and Stevens. Jatt raises both men’s arms high into the air victoriously as Solex slides into the ring and points out at Jatt Starr.
Joe Hoffman: Well it is clear as ALL DAY that this is not over and you gotta believe that Jatt versus Bergman or even Solex is set to happen in singles action as soon as possible in 2023. It is the only—-
EVERYONE turns back towards the ring where we see the aftermath of one Steve Solex just nailing his Solexcution on Joe Bergman.
Solex does not waste anytime and pulls Bergman back up to his feet…bounces off the ropes and nails Bergman with a powerful clothesline.
He stands over Bergman and then kneels down as the shocked Chicago crowd look on.
Solex pulls Bergman’s head up by the hair and promptly spits in the mans face before slamming the man’s head back into the canvas.
Joe Hoffman: Solex just turned on Bergman and the Highwaymen???!!!!
To back up that point Byrd and Harrison come rushing down the ramp, pushing past Jatt and company, and slide into the ring next to Bergman as Solex exits stage left thru the crowd.
The cameras capture Jatt, Jace and Stevens laughing at the Highwaymen as they look on at Solex as we fade out to another advert.
Back from the quick advert and the HOV goes dark ……suddenly the STRONK-flexing silhouette logo flashes onto the big screen, but no music plays.
The fans hadn’t seen STRONK since Conor Fuse bashed his head in and put him in a coma at Rumble At The Rock. No one had heard from him. No one knew the state of his health. Was be dead? There were no news articles. The High Octane Rag Sheets hadn’t heard enough to even spin a halfway decent rumour. It was radio silence.
A mixed reaction gradually turns to cheers as the fans realize that one of the hottest new stars of 2022 was finally making his triumphant return. Chants of “STRONK! STRONK!” ring out from the stands.
Still, the ultra popular song “STRONKER” does not play, and much time—minutes, it seemed—passed without anyone emerging onto the stage.
Just as the Chicago audience begins to grow restless, a lone spotlight hits the stage.
And STRONK Daddy finally appears.
Slowly, the fans start to boo.
They’d been hoodwinked.
That wasn’t STRONK Godson on the stage. It was an imposter. The man on the stage wasn’t close to 307.1 pounds. He was, at first glance, sixty, maybe seventy, pounds less than that.
“WE WANT STRONK! WE WANT STRONK!”
The man ambles robotically to the ring and climbs inside. It’s only after he takes position mid-ring and the hard cam frames his sunken, emaciated face that the fans realize…
That is STRONK.
But all the STRONK has been drained from his once head-turningly massive body.
The crowd falls into a hushed silence, unsure of what to make of the shell of a man stood before them.
STRONK pulls the very loose XXXL T-shirt (with crudely airbrushed “muscles” on the front and back) up and over his head in one seamless motion, tossing it to the canvas.
But it doesn’t feel right. Doesn’t look right.
And the fans that once loved the man known as STRONK, loyal to him even after he brutally assaulted Bobbinette Carey unprovoked, started to mock and heckle him.
STRONK looks down at his body…
He’s not STRONK.
STRONK was a rampaging demi god with dancing pecs and quads like tree trunks.
No, he was Stronk now. A measly 230 pounds of saggy tit meat and atrophied musculature. He looks defeated and depressed, shoulders rounded, posture imperfect.
Stronk: “Stronk is back. Yes. Uhhhh… Good bye.”
Even his words have lost all their oomph and confidence.
Amidst laughter, boos, and the odd persistent but faint chant of his name, Stronk drops the mic and shuffles lethargically back up the entrance ramp.
He stops right under the HOV and turns towards the crowd one more time…….he flexes with all his might…TRYING to capture his ICONIC pose……but it is just sad.
STRONK ain’t back.
Stronk has arrived.
The question is — will anyone care?
As Stronk disappears to the back the HOV once again comes alive…
The HOV once again comes to life, and we see a video once again start to play as we see Lee Best standing impatiently waiting in front of the facility guards.
Lee Best: WHERE. THE. FUCK. IS. MY. GUY. NUMNUTS.
Facility Guard 2: Your prisoner is currently undergoing his final medical. I have been informed that he will be here momentarily.
Lee Best: Medical? You got the message right? I do not need him for the NBA right? I do not give two fucks about a medical.
Facility Guard 2: Standard procedure. Prisoner 24577 has been in solitary for five years now. Just undergoing final evaluations. May I ask, what do you get from this transfer?
Lee Best: Unless your name is Hall of Famer Blaire Moise…you do NOT get to ask me any questions asshole.
Before the guard can follow up, the nearby vans back double doors open and a large man, head covered in a hood, is escorted out of the van. His head is slightly slouched over, and he seems to be getting helped down the steps. Unlike all those around him who are well covered he is exposed to the elements, only wearing a white vest and grey jogging pants, the pull cord removed. As he gets to the bottom of the steps it becomes obvious that he is not wearing any footwear. Lee Best notices this and begins to wave his arms in anger, pointing to the prisoners’ feet.
Lee Best: You bring him to me with no fucking shoes?! Get him shoes on immediately! I will not have him dying on me before I even get him on the plane!
Facility Guard 2: Apologies Mr. Best, but it would seem that your prisoner has failed his psych evaluation. He is not allowed to have footwear with laces after an attempt to take his own life. I will get someone to bring of what you call….wellington boots?
Lee Best: Boots, subway sandwich bags, I don’t care what you put on his feet but get him something. So….can I see him? Take the hood off. Want to see with my own eye it is really him.
Facility Guard 2: Standard protocol states he must keep his head in the hood until he is on the plane.
Lee Best: Hood off or KABOOM. Got it???
Facility Guard 2: Do what you need to do. Oh, I see the boots are here.
A man exits the front of the van carrying a pair of boots. The two guards at either side of the prisoner set him on the second step and take the boots and proceed to put them onto his feet. Whilst the prisoner is seated Lee Best decides to move closer and is looking around the prisoner, but doesn’t seem too convinced at who he is looking at
Lee Best: I know, there is one thing distinctive about him….
Lee kneels down and puts his hand behind the prisoners back, moving the bottom part of the back of the black hood out of the way. He lets out a laugh and a smiles
Lee Best: It is you!
Lee moves closer towards the cloth of the hood, in the vicinity of where the prisoner’s ear would be and begins to whisper
Lee Best: Anyone worth a fuck recognizes that fucking tattoo. You are coming home with Daddy big boy……
At the sound of Lee’s voice, the prisoner begins to become volatile and begins shaking his head and grunting, but making no recognizable sounds. The two guards restrain him
Lee Best: You’re my property now. You will work FOR me; you will do what I tell you and you will do it for free. Eleven years I have waited for this moment, eleven fucking years. Let’s get the fuck outta here. We got a FULL Sunday of events for your ass.
Facility Guard 2: Paperwork is ready, you are good for transfer.
The news crew begin to move forward as the prisoner is taken back onto his feet, this time protected from the harsh snow by a pair of boots as he walks towards the back of the van
News Reporter: Sir, sir, do you have anything to say to the American people? Do you wish to comment on this transfer?
The microphone is pushed towards his face, still in the hood and all that can be heard is loud panting
News Reporter: Can you tell me your name?
After a few seconds of panting, the prisoner raises his head
Prisoner: Name? I have been known by many.
Lee Best: NONE OF which matter right now…..LET’S FUCKING GO.
The reporter ignores Lee and continues on with the questions…
News Reporter: That accent, you are……German?
Prisoner: I am born of no country, citizen of no land. I am from the skies, the bomb awaiting to erupt, the explosion about to light the sky a crimson red. I am…..the ACELDAMA!!
Aceldama pulls his head backwards with a jolt which makes his hood remove from his head. He is unrecognizable, but the blistering green eyes remain, pulsating into the camera. His jet black hair, once slicked back so cleanly, has been replaced with a dirty grey complexion. The tattoo under his mouth remains, but missing is his multiple ear piercings, some by the looks of it forcefully removed from his skin. He has dark stubble, and his teeth are beginning to turn yellow, some missing. The guards struggle to get the hood back onto his head and he is put into the back of the van and put into the shackles as the door is closed at the back of the van. Lee Best is handed paperwork and then one of the guards proceeds to put the hood back onto his head as the driver escorts him into the passenger side and closes the door. He slumps onto the dashboard, but then raises his head again as he hears from the back an evil, sadistic laugh and banging, which seems to be Aceldama banging the back of his head against the front of the van.
Aceldama: Back to work ey Lee? Hopefully there is still a few old faces around. As you Lee, I too have unfinished business.
Lee Best: Oh trust me….the ones that remember you are NOT going to be happy…..and the ones that do not know you….well they will soon find out why I flew my happy ass all the way here to Russia to snag the first member of ahem……. my team.
Both Aceldama and Lee look out separate windows with smiles on their faces as the video comes to and end as the van races towards an awaiting plane.
CLAY BYRD VS CHRISTOPHER AMERICA
The HOV goes black once again and we cut back to Hall of Fame announcer Joe Hoffman as it is time for our Main Event.
Joe Hoffman: ACELDAMA returning to HOW? As we all saw that video was from this weekend….we know from Lee Best’s tweets today that he is HERE in the building with a guest from Russia…who we now know is Aceldama. They are here somewhere, and we have yet to see the 6’2” German…….but that is not the last of the surprises. There is one more folks.
Joe pauses as a single spotlight hits the entrance ramp and we see none other than Big Buff Benny Newell standing at the top of the entrance ramp…..Christmas hat in all its glory.
Joe Hoffman: That is right folks……back to call another PPV Main Event is none other than my fellow Hall of Famer…..Big Buff Benny Newell!!!!
Benny makes his way down the entrance ramp and takes a seat next to Joe. He is unable to get a word in as the Chicago crowd can be heard chanting his name loudly.
The HOW Hall of Famer salutes the crowd and finally sits down and dons the headset once again.
Joe Hoffman: Welcome back Benny!! How are you and obviously the main question…..how has rehab been going??
Benny takes a deep breath and smiles before answering.
Benny Newell: Look Joe I am honored to be BACK here on High Octane Television set to call the LAST match of the year pitting Number one ranked Clay Byrd versus the World Champion Christopher America. I am humbled to be sitting here. I am glad to be alive. I for one am just glad to be able to sit next you, my longtime friend, and let you know that if all things go well I will be checking out of rehab on January 1st and coming back to High Octane Wrestling fulltime soon after that!!
Joe Hoffman: That is amazing to hear. On where Aceldama returned we also learn that Benny Newell is coming back full time to commentary….that is legit just amazing. I am so proud of you man. Just awesome.
Benny just smiles and holds back some tears before quickly trying to deflect.
Benny Newell: Well, enough about me….it is time for our Main Event. World Champion Christopher America taking on the Wrestler of the Year for 2022 in High Octane Wrestling…..the man that clinched the Number One ranking weeks ago……The Behemoth…..CLAY BYRD!!!!!
On cue Guitar and harmonica begin to blare through the arena, the start of Gunning For You by Nick Nolan sends a silence across the crowd as Nick Nolan’s lyrics echo through the arena. Red letters slash across the screen as “BYRD” is spelled out. Clay appears through fog on the entrance ramp, cowboy hat low over his eyes, a long black duster on and a rope in his hand.
My Gun is loaded it’s getting time
Two shots of whiskey i’m takin’ what’s mine
Ain’t what you’re sayin it’s what you do
Your time has come boy i’m Gunnin for You
When hell is rainin down you’ll see my face won’t heara sound
You’ll feel that bullet burnin through
Take your last breath boy
I’m Gunnin for You
Clay begins his slow walk down the ramp. His eyes are fixed on the ring, and he trudges on. Not paying any notice to any of the fans in attendance.
There’s desperation deep in your eyes
No turnin back now no compromise
Cause only one of us walks out that door
The other bleedin out on the floor
Clay walks up the steps and climbs into the ring as the sold out Chicago crowd continue booing the challenger.
Joe Hoffman: This is the moment that Clay has been waiting for, but I question where his mindset is at after seeing Steve Solex literally turn his back on The Highwaymen earlier tonight.
Benny Newell: I will tell you this Joe…..I was backstage all of this evening and there is not ONE person who thinks that Solex did not just lay down and allow Jace to now only pin him for the LSD but also cost The Highwaymen the Tag Titles. Watch the matches back…..I promise you its as clear as day…..the fix was in from jump street.
Joe Hoffman: Well, it is hard to argue that point now doubt. But he HAS to put that all behind him…..The World Championship is at stake and GOD knows when he might get another shot if he fails to pull it off tonight.
Benny Newell: In a word Clay is fucked if he loses tonight.
Joe looks at Benny……shocked at the man’s choice of words.
Benny Newell: What? I am sober…that doesn’t mean I am not going to fucking cuss Joe. You keep it clean over there….Let me do what Lee pays me to do.
Joe slowly nods his head in agreement as the crowd rises to their feet as the entrance begins for the HOW World Champion.
America makes his way down the ramp, World Championship firmly around his waist, ignoring all the fans reaching out to touch him.
Joe Hoffman: The World Champion looking laser focused here tonight Benny.
Benny Newell: I have no doubt in my mind that America is mentally prepared. He has a game plan no doubt.
America makes his way into the ring and stands at attention in the center of the ring.
He places his hand over his heart once again, smirks and then turns towards Byrd as his entrance music slowly fades out.
Bryan McVay walks to the center of the ring and begins the introductions for tonight’s main event.
Bryan McVay: Introducing first……from Plainview Texas…..standing 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighing in at 295lbs……..The Monster from Plainview….THE BEHEMOTH…..CLAY BYYYYYRRRRRDDDDDDD!!!!
The boos are deafening as Byrd raises his arms up in the air.
Bryan McVay: Introducing next…..from AMERICA…….standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighing a PATRIOTIC 255lbs……..The WORLD CHAMPION OF HIGH OCTANE WRESTLING……..CHRISTOPHER…..AMMMMMMMMMERRRRRRIIIIICCCAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
The crowd begins chanting….
The crowd continues to chant at America hands the big 97Red belt to the referee assigned this match this evening….Matt Boettcher.
The Hall of Fame referee holds the World Championship belt high in the air as the crowd continues to cheer for America.
Joe Hoffman: What an electric atmosphere here tonight for this match. It is clearly a coin flip tonight…
Benny Newell: I took America at -325 earlier in the week……BUT also put a small bet on Byrd at +250. Gotta bet with your wallet…not your heart Joe.
Hoffman can only smirk as back in the ring we see Boettcher motioning for both men to get back into their corners.
Both men slowly back up and Boettcher, satisfied with both men nodding that they are ready, signals for the bell and our Main Event of ICONIC 2022 is underway!!!
America immediately charges at Byrd and nails him with an American uppercut.
Benny Newell: Aceldama would prefer that move keep its European name, but this is America dammit.
America nails Byrd with another uppercut and the big man staggers back into the corner. America wastes no time as he grabs Byrd by the head and delivers an American head butt to the big man.
Joe Hoffman: America starting hot here, and word is that he specifically has been working on certain moves just to use tonight and that headbutt was one of them.
Benny Newell: Not sure how much training you need to execute a fucking headbutt……but I will not judge the World Champion. He is on FIRE early!!
Another headbutt drives that point home and Byrd is staggered as he leans against the turnbuckles…trying to protect himself.
The World Champion pulls the challenger out of the corner and walks him over to the ropes, leans in and then Irish Whips the man across the ring.
America rushes at the man and executes a flawless running cross body, landing directly on top of Byrd.
America hooks the leg….
KICKOUT by Byrd.
Joe Hoffman: Too early for a pinfall there by America but you gotta assume that America was just wanting Byrd to exhaust some more energy by kicking out.
Benny Newell: This is why America has been Champion as long as he has….it is not just his physically prowess….but the way that he defeats his opponents mentally…its beautiful to watch.
Joe Hoffman: I cannot argue that point, but one has to wonder just how unbiased you are here Benny. I mean quite frankly some folks are going to assume that you are sitting here at this desk just biding your time to screw Byrd over by smashing a bottle over his head and allowing America to retain.
Benny Newell: First off…fuck you and everyone else who thinks that. I have been in REHAB….TRYING to better myself. My days of getting physical are long gone and quite frankly I probably owe Byrd an apology as part of my steps.
Joe is quite literally shocked by the words coming out of Newell’s mouth.
Joe Hoffman: If you are being sincere….I have not been ever more proud of anyone.
Benny smiles sheepishly as the two announcers quickly turn their attention back inside the ring where America just nailed a BIG back body drop on Byrd.
Joe Hoffman: All America here….and he is NOT letting up!!
Byrd bounces off the canvas and is near the ropes. He pulls himself up and just as he does he turns to see America running at him.
He has no time to duck or move out of the way and eats a powerful clothesline that sends himself and America over the top rope and to the floor below.
America quickly pops up to his feet and motions to the crowd that the belt is staying around his waist.
America then turns back towards Byrd, who was crawling in the opposite direction but is now staggered up to his feet and runs at the Texan. America dives and nails a perfect chop block to the back of Byrd’s left knee.
The Behemoth screams out in pain as he drops to his knees.
Joe Hoffman: America literally pulling out his whole move list here in the first few minutes of this match!!
America nails Byrd in the neck with a vicious elbow and the man falls face first to the Best Arena floor.
Back in the ring Boettcher is SCREAMING at America to bring the action back inside the ring as his count is up to seven.
Joe Hoffman: America could literally just win by count out here……..and it looks like he might!!???
America slides into the ring as Boettcher hits eight……..and as Byrd slowly gets up to one knee.
Byrd staggers up and dives towards the ring…..
Boettcher stops the count as Byrd makes it under the bottom rope….only to be met with an elbow to the back of his head.
America nails him with another elbow…and then another…….and then another….each time he executes the move quicker…..until he finally pauses, and nails one final jumping elbow drop to the back of the man’s head.
Joe Hoffman: America was waiting and took advantage of the situation. Byrd KNOWS America is smart but until you are in the ring with this man….I just do not think people realize how smart America really is in that ring.
Benny Newell: Smart. Cunning. Ruthless. He is all of that and more. This is what made him a Hall of Famer and what has made him a multiple War Games winner. People CONTINUE to sleep on America, and they continue to pay the price.
Joe Hoffman: America continues to focus on the head and neck area of Byrd, and you have to already know that is because America plans on ending this match with his FOR AMERICA 2.0! finisher….which ultimately ends with his opponent hitting headfirst into the canvas.
Benny Newell: Duh. No fucking Shit Hoffman. NO shit.
Back in the ring America drags Byrd back up to his feet and once again leans into the man before Irish Whipping him across the ring and as Byrd bounces off the ropes he is met with a snap powerslam from the Champion.
Another quick cover….
KICKOUT by Byrd
Joe Hoffman: Another quick kickout by Byrd….just not as quick as the first one. He still kicked out easily and once again its clear that America is just making him exhaust his fuel tank.
Back in the center of the ring and America rolls Byrd onto his stomach and immediately locks in a side headlock and leans all 255lbs into the hold…hoping to make it harder for the big man to breath and obviously keep the man grounded.
Benny Newell: It sure is tough to do big powerful moves if Byrd cannot stay on his feet or keep his wind. Amazing work here by America here in the first 10 minutes of action.
Byrd does not stay down for long, however. The BEHEMOTH slowly gets up to one knee, America still holding the side headlock in place, and finally up to both feet. He elbows America in the rib cage and the World Champion staggers a few feet away.
Byrd tries to catch his breath and then starts towards America but just as he does America spins around and nails the man with a discus elbow sending him flying backwards, thru the middle rope, and to the arena floor below.
Benny Newell: DEVASTATING ELBOW there from America…….HE IS DROPPING BOMBS HERE!!!
The cameraman rushes to get into position and we see that Byrd’s nose is clearly broken as blood begins to spill from it.
Clay wipes the involuntary tears from his eyes and then the blood from his nose as he slowly gets back up to his feet.
Joe Hoffman: Well, we have blood, and it did not take long….just what seems like a million elbows from America.
Benny Newell: BOMBS. AMERICA IS DROPPING BOMBS.
Outside the ring Byrd begins to walk away from the action as he begins to circle the ring…trying to stall as he deals with his broken nose.
America has no desire to wait however as he grabs the top rope and springboards himself over and onto Byrd via a springboard cross body.
The two men crumple to the arena floor as the Chicago faithful cheer loudly for the World Champion.
Benny Newell: Since when does America do flippy shit?? I am not sure if being sober is the right thing for calling action here in HOW.
Joe Hoffman: America is simply pulling out all the stops as he is just RELENTLESS. He is not giving Byrd any time to recoup or gather his bearings.
America gets back to his feet and smiles out at the cheering fans as he pulls Byrd back up to his feet….SLOWLY…..by the man’s hair.
As Byrd gets eye level with America the World Champion goes to headbutt the main again but before he can deliver the blow his throat his met with a quick rabbit punch from the Texan.
America falls to his knees as he gasps for air as Byrd falls against the guard rail……also trying to gather himself.
Byrd steadies himself and turns towards the fans just as a beer comes flying at him. He quickly ducks the plastic cup and begins laughing. The Chicago fans let him hear it as he takes it all in and just smirks at the fans.
Joe Hoffman: No love lost here between Byrd and Chicago.
Benny Newell: That is because no one wants to watch those Japanese pro wrestling with him. Or anime porn. Just spitting the facts Joe….calling it how everyone sees it.
Joe can only shake his head as back at ringside we see Byrd pull the still struggling to breathe World Champion up to his feet.
Now it is Byrd who delivers a massive headbutt and America is clearly rocked by the blow.
Byrd delivers violent headbutt after violent headbutt and only stops as he hears Boettcher get to a seven count.
Byrd spits blood out on the arena floor before pulling a limp America up to his feet and rolling him back into the ring.
Boettcher once again gets to a nine count before Byrd gets back into the ring but this time he slides into the ring in control of the action.
Joe Hoffman: The first literal offensive strikes of the match for Byrd and he has America reeling already.
Benny Newell: Five violent headbutts will do that…..but you know those had to do some damage to Byrd already…..his whole head would be turning a shade of dark orange if this was a PlayStation game…..
Joe Hoffman: I got nothing on that one. Literally nothing.
Benny Newell: Then call the action PROFESSIONAL.
Newell smirks as Joe turns his attention back to the action inside the ring where we see the Behemoth stomp America in the back of the head with his Size 97 boot. Byrd then drops down and delivers a knee to the throat of America before placing both hands around the throat of America and begins choking the literal life out of the Hall of Famer.
Byrd grabs the throat of America tighter
Byrd releases the hold before Boettcher can get to the five count.
Joe Hoffman: Byrd flirting with a DQ there….even if I think there is ZERO chance of a DQ here in the Main Event of the last show of the year….I think you would need to literally stab someone in the eye with Lee’s pen to get a DQ finish during this match.
Benny Newell: Well, I mean…..
Joe shakes his head no as back in the ring Byrd once again has his hands around the neck of America and once again he does not let go until Boettcher gets to the count of 4.99.
The Chicago crowd boos loudly as Byrd stands up, pulling America up with him, only to knock the Hall of Famer back down with a devastating right hand.
Byrd can be seen laughing as he looks down and sees America is also bleeding.
Joe Hoffman: Both men bleeding and Byrd is fully in control folks.
Benny Newell: We are almost at the 20 minute mark for this match and I feel like we are only halfway there. This has just been heavy hands and headbutts for the most part.
Joe Hoffman: Folks tuning in to watch some high flying 97 star match are just not going to be happy here. You have two brawlers who are literally fighting over the biggest prize in the business and neither one of them are going to take a big risk and take a chance of losing it all over a simple mistake.
Benny Newell: America did a cross body!!!
Joe Hoffman: True. That’s damn true.
Benny Newell: Do not bring Pittsburgh into this.
Joe Hoffman: Huh?
Joe can only shake his head as the ever professional turns back to the action inside the ring where Byrd has pulled America up to his feet and promptly picks him up to body slam him.
But instead of dropping the man right away to the canvas, the Behemoth walks around the ring with America in his arms.
Benny Newell: It is as if America weighs 55 pounds in Clay’s arms and not 255…..Jesus H Christ.
With the crowd booing even louder with the show of dominance by Byrd, the man finally drops America to the canvas with a resounding thud.
Byrd promptly drops to the canvas and now it is his turn to lock in a side headlock…using his 295lb frame as leverage.
Joe Hoffman: 40 pound weight difference between the men and when we saw America do this exact move earlier…..well it was just not as impactful as what we are seeing now. Byrd has that headlock in DEEP and is using ALL of his bodyweight here.
America, starting to having real trouble breathing, begins to panic as he tries to get to his feet. He manages to get to one knee and tries to elbow the big man but he is unable to connect. He quickly begins punching any part of Byrd’s leg he can connect with and it delivers the response he was needing as Byrd stands up to his feet….pulling America up with him….headlock still engaged.
With some desperation America begins moving his legs and is able to push Byrd towards the ropes and is able to push Byrd off him and send him towards the opposite side of the ring.
Byrd bounces of the ropes and as he comes back towards America he sees the World Champion pull down the top rope.
Byrd stops dead in his tracks and kicks America square in the ribs and follows that up with a stomp to the man’s chest and America crumples to the canvas. As Byrd reaches down to get a hold of the man, America is able to roll under the bottom rope and he falls out of harms way and to the arena floor.
Joe Hoffman: What a SMART move there by Byrd. The big man saw what America was up to and was able to deliver some big blows before the World Champion rolled out of the ring.
Benny Newell: Everyone gives credit to America and his smarts but even I gotta admit that was quick thinking by the Texan.
Joe Hoffman: We are twenty four minutes into this match and I have a feeling that number is going to be one top of a lot of folks minds later tonight and tomorrow.
Benny Newell: Now Joe you just stay away from comments like that or Mr. Wahl will be coming at you…..that is my territory…..NOT yours.
Joe sheepishly smiles that quickly turns to panic as Byrd has rolled out of the ring and has just tossed America into the front of the announcers table.
Both Benny and Joe stand up as Byrd pulls America up to his feet…..bear hugs him…..and delivers a ruthless spinebuster……completely shattering the announcers table under the weight of both men.
Benny and Joe lost all connectivity with their headsets as cameramen rush to zoom in on the crumpled body of the World Champion.
Byrd slowly stands up, wipes fresh blood from his nose, and looks down at the damage he just inflicted.
Byrd turns towards the ring as he hears Boettcher hit the count of five.
Clay knows damn well he cannot win the match like this and slowly pulls America back up to his feet.
Byrd literally tosses America back into the ring and slides in quickly just as Boettcher was about to hit ten.
The crowd, all on their feet, are dead silent as Clay drags America by the leg to the center of the ring and makes his first cover of the night.
America barely gets his shoulder up and all Byrd can do is laugh. He stands back up, pulls America up, and proceeds to whip the man thru the middle ropes and back to the outside.
Joe Hoffman: Hello? I think we are good…ya……sorry about that folks….we lost connection there with the headsets for a minute but we are back and Byrd has decided to take it up a notch here as he is looking to end this match now before any sort of comeback by the World Champion.
The Challenger exits the ring as well and lifts America up to his feet and drops his throat first on the ring barricade.
America begins instantly writing in pain as he tries to breathe.
Benny Newell: If America is NOT able to talk after this….I swear to LEE…..
Byrd kicks America in the ribs for good measure and it is clear that America is struggling to take in fresh oxygen.
America begins crawling along the floor of The Best Arena and Byrd can only smile as he walks beside the Champion….stalking him.
Benny Newell: Boettcher needs to count quicker….for fucks sake it should be a ten count already…..Byrd wins by count out….America retains the belt. You are welcome.
Joe Hoffman: NO ONE wants to see that Benny. NO ONE.
Benny Newell: Lee said the shitty side discords were NOT going to be happy after tonight and I think that he is at least ONE person who would be happy with that.
Joe once again only can shake his head as back in the ring Boettcher has once again hit the seven count.
But there will be no nine count this time as Byrd immediately pulls America back up to his feet and rolls him into the ring. Byrd rolls into and decides to roll out of the ring just as fast. He pulls America by his feet back OUT of the ring and then proceeds to Irish Whip the man hard into the guard rail. The Challenger quickly follows up by taking a few steps back and then begins running towards America…
Joe Hoffman: OH MY GOD…….
Benny Newell: NOOOOOOOO!!!!
America barely sees the man coming at him and tries as he might to move his body will just not cooperate as Byrd launches himself at the World Champion and literally spears the man thru the guard rail knocking it over on its side and the two men land in the second row of fans.
EPU agents come rushing down from the back as the action has spilled into the fans.
Joe Hoffman: The fans are chanting what I am thinking………NEITHER MAN IS MOVING!!!!
Back in the ring Boettcher is up on the second turnbuckle looking out at the chaos as EPU agents begin clearing fans back away from the action.
With hands on his hips, Boettcher is just flat out refusing to begin the ten count.
Joe Hoffman: I for one would like to commend Boettcher here. He has literally seen EVERYTHING over the years here in High Octane Wrestling and ending a World Title match at ICONIC via count out is just NOT something anyway wants Benny…..again…..NO ONE.
Benny Newell: You keep saying that but rules are rules Joe. I didn’t write them…..they are from GOD himself……and if GOD did not want…oh never mind. I agree…fuck a count out.
With hands on his hips, Boettcher agrees with the announcers as he continues to watch from the second turnbuckle.
Finally, Byrd begins to move and staggers up to his feet. He looks around at the EPU agents and immediately panics.
Joe Hoffman: Welp……we never do know who are under those masks!!!
Byrd begins randomly punching any EPU agent near him.
The EPU agents slowly back off with their hands up…clearly they have been instructed NOT to interfere in this match.
Benny Newell: SEE…..even GOD wants this match to end clean. NO Shenanigans!
Joe Hoffman: I am sorry to say it….But I am with Clay on this one…I do not trust any EPU agent. Nope. None of them. Never.
Benny brushes off Joe as the focus returns to the action at ringside as Byrd can now been seen holding a chair a fan was just recently sitting on. He motions for ALL the EPU agents to steer clear of him and they continue to back up.
Boettcher screams at Byrd that if he uses the chair on America that he will be disqualified.
Byrd looks up at Boettcher and flips the referee off before THROWING the chair violently at the nearest EPU agent and hitting them right in their 97red helmet.
The agent barely flinches due to his protection but he does take a few steps forward.
Byrd keeps one eye on the agent as he reaches down and grabs America’s leg and begins dragging him back towards the ring.
Boettcher continues to yell at Byrd to get back into the ring and the Challenger finally listens to reason as he rolls the lifeless body of America into the ring.
Clay pulls himself up to the canvas and looks down at America and sighs heavily. Instead of climbing into the ring the big man turns and runs the length of the ring and dives off right before the turnbuckle and nails two EPU agents with diving Texas Lariats.
Joe Hoffman: HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!???????
Benny is taken aback by Joe cursing and the Chicago fans are just as taken aback but due to Byrd’s dive.
The Best Arena is quiet as everyone is on their feet as they watch Byrd rip the helmets off the men he just power clotheslined.
A cameraman rushes into and captures the faces of the men.
Joe Hoffman: Those….those are not wrestlers. That is Greg and Steve. They were both at the Christmas party last night. What is Byrd doing!!??
Several other EPU agents rush over to the carnage and as they do Byrd begins attacking each one….but NONE of them are fighting back.
Benny Newell: What in the actual fuck is Byrd doing here. HE could have won the match already if not with his obsession with someone interfering in this match. The EPU is literally refusing to fight back with him.
Byrd rips off the masks of a few more EPU agents before the rest slowly begin walking back up the entrance ramp….seemingly being ordered to fall back.
Joe Hoffman: ALL of these shenanigans are honestly Byrd’s fault here. I mean he’s lost it mentally…he is too consumed about being screwed over here!!
With the final EPU agent disappearing backstage, the Challenger finally turns his attention back towards the ring and walks up the ring steps and back into the ring.
Boettcher begins yelling at him that he is getting dangerously close to being counted out and Byrd just scoffs at the notion and continues to head towards the still unmoving body of the World Champion.
Byrd pulls the dead weight of America up to his feet and just as he does that America jumps into action and quickly side steps Byrd, kicks the man in the back of his knees forcing the man down to a knee, and promptly nails him with a hurried but effective FOR AMERICA!
Benny Newell: AMERICA WAS PLAYING POSSUM………HE JUST NAILED HIM WITH HIS FINISHER AFTER KICKING HIM IN THE KNEES MAKE IT EASIER TO DELIVER THE BLOW…THIS MAN IS A FUCKING GENIUS!!!!
America quickly covers Byrd…..
FOOT ON THE ROPES!!!!! FOOT ON THE ROPES!!!!
Boettcher stops the count and points at Byrd’s right leg literally laying on the bottom rope.
Benny Newell: That too tall motherfucker!!!!
America slams the mat in frustration and slowly gets back up to his feet….this time he is holding his ribs as he is no longer able to mask the pain from being speared thru the guard rail.
The Chicago crowd is back to cheering for the long time ally of Lee Best and their cheers fuel America as he musters the strength to pull Byrd back up to his knees and America grabs Byrd’s head and once again hits a modified version of his finishing move.
This time America DRAAAGGGGSSSS Byrd to the center of the ring before falling to the mat and hooking the leg.
Benny Newell: DOS FOR AMERICA’S!!!!! THIS IS IT!!!!
Joe Hoffman: KICK OUT BYRD…..KICK OUT!!!!!!
Boettcher quickly drops down and begins the count.
Joe Hoffman: HE KICKED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
America is shocked as he rolls off of Byrd, holding his ribs in pain. He slams the canvas with his other arm in frustration.
Joe Hoffman: Clay Byrd just kicked out and one has to wonder if America would have just covered him right away and didn’t drag him to the center of the ring……..well I think he would have won just there.
Benny Newell: Sadly, I cannot argue with that. Byrd getting that foot on the ropes really had America overthinking it and wasted too much time dragging Clay back to the center of the ring. Just drag him a few feet and make the cover. That is ALL he had to do!!
America, now on his feet, looks down at the challenger and for the first time in awhile looks unsure of what to do.
The Champion winces in pain as he bends over and grabs the Texan by his long hair. He drags the man up to his feet and rears back his right hand and delivers a heavy right hand.
The blow almost seemingly brings Byrd to his senses as he staggers backwards until he hits the ropes and bounces off them back to the center of the ring where another right hand from America is waiting.
But Byrd blocks it.
The Challenger nails America with his own right hand and now it is the Champion’s turn to stagger backwards and come off the ropes……this time connecting with another right hand.
The crowd is cheering madly as both men begin delivering heavy right hands in unison.
Benny Newell: LETS FUCKING GO!!!!!! BYRD DROPPING BOMBS….AMERICA DROPPING BOMBS!!!!!
Byrd finally is able to gain the advantage and punches America back into the ropes. Byrd quickly grabs the Champion by the arm and whips him into the far rope and as America bounces off Byrd goes for a powerful clothesline but America ducks underneath and bounces off the ropes again…..
Joe Hoffman: BYRD JUST SPEARED AMERICA COMING OFF THE ROPES!!!!! COVER HIM!!!!
Byrd quickly does just that and Boettcher makes the count….
KICKOUT…….America kicks out and starts to roll out of the ring clutching his ribs.
Joe Hoffman: BYRD STOPPED HIM!!!! America was trying to roll out of the ring and Byrd would not let it happen. America has to have broken ribs….multiple….he can barely breathe out there!!!
Byrd, looking all sorts of concussed from the FOR AMERICA finishers and all the right hands, steadies himself as he pulls America up to his feet and promptly picks the man up and gut wrench powerbombs into the center of the ring.
The sound of air leaving the lungs of America can be heard throughout the arena.
Byrd covers and hooks BOTH legs….
Joe Hoffman: ANOTHER kickout by the Champion.
Byrd screams out in frustration as he wastes no time now lifting America back up to his feet and this time Byrd bounces off the ropes…
Joe Hoffman: TEXAS LARIAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The sound isn’t of flesh hitting flesh but instead of steel hitting skull.
Joe Hoffman: NOOOO!!!!!!!!!
Clay crumples to the canvas as blood begins to spill from the back of his head and we see the cameraman that has been following the action EVERYWHERE during this match standing on the ring apron.
The man drops to the arena floor before Boettcher can realize what happened….
Joe Hoffman: NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Boettcher, who was checking on America, quickly stands up and sees Byrd laid out.
America slowly begins to crawl over to Byrd and place his arm on the big man’s chest.
Boettcher, who has seen it all over the years, has no choice but to make the count.
Bryan McVay: WINNER OF THE MATCH IN 46 MINUTES AND 38 SECONDS……AND STIIIILLLLLLLLLL HIGH OCTANE WORLD CHAMPION………CHRISTOPHER…..AMMMMMMERRRRIIIIIICCCCCAAAAAAAA!!!!
Joe Hoffman: What in the actual fuck….motherfucking bullshit…fuck this….I mean what the fu-
Benny slaps Hoffman hard across the mouth and Joe snaps back into factory default mode.
The cameraman on the outside now climbs back inside the ring and helps America up to his feet. He hands America the big 97Red belt and then puts a knee in the chest of Byrd until the man slowly opens his eyes.
Only then does he pull back his hoodie for ALL to see his identity.
Dan Fucking Ryan
ICONIC ends with an overhead shot of America lying down hugging the World Championship and on the blind fury in the eyes of Byrd.