Ascension

Car horns honk and new york voices spew epitaphs at one another about where one is walking, how one is driving, and a myriad of other issues that will dissolve into forgotten moments once they move past them, but matter most of all here in the moment. A drone shot is how we move past the void of the dark, and we are treated to the black road and faded yellow lines that make up 8th avenue. Darting between cars and people and bikes, the footage begins to change as the camera refocuses not on the road beneath the drone, but the road ahead of it.

Green NYC Taxis and MTA buses battle their way from one side of the street to the other, as pedestrians make their task all the more difficult and some, almost impossible. The drone shot crosses over to the oncoming side of the street, narrowly avoiding several cars by mere seconds, giving us quite a fight, but also giving us our first view of our destination.

The Fight tower, once known but no longer referred to as, hearst tower, is like a modern christmas tree that was wrought from hell with bad intent. The two statues built into the base of the tower, each reflecting the masks of Thalma and Melpomene, or as some might know them, Comedy and Tragedy. The yellow and red spotlights at their base flicker for effect and we zip past them, climbing the tower at a breakneck rate, before leveling out at the top. Upon the very roof, a large gold lock sits on a metal safe with ornate decorations. In front of that safe, is Fight NYC’s very own Miss F. Our drone drops down, and zips toward her, stopping mere inches from her face.

Miss F: All stories have a begining, a middle and an end. We started our journey together at our first event, Blood Money. Our entire roster, locked in the tower with no audience, and no rules, save for one. Be the last man standing.

Our mid season event, Toxic Tag, was a little less straightforward. The idea behind that was not ‘last man standing,’ but ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’ Tasked with fighting as a team with someone they could not stand, we watched as most teams, and for good reason, self-destructed. Leaving only one team the victor.

And now, we bring to you our end of the season offering. An event that many have compared to other events this business has seen, but in doing so, they’ve forgotten two things.

One, our talent. Unlike so many others, we have hired the best of the literal best. From those who were with us from the start, such as our Empire Champion Dickie Watson, and his number one contender Paul Montouri, to those who came later like Betsy Granger, and Atara Themis, to our newest onboarded Fighters, Anne Boleyn and…Dave…the dinosaur. We don’t have big names, but the biggest names, in the fight game today.

And two; we don’t tell you everything. At Blood Money, not one of the competitors knew what the prize truly was, and just like at Toxic Tag, where no one knew there would be a penalty for attacking ones own partner, there is a surprise in store tonight, that will take what the expectations for this night, and put it on it’s ear. Because here at Fight, we do not set out to earn the comparison to others, but to earn the comparison of others to ourselves.

So join us, here and now, in what shall be the new watermark of achievement in the world of professional fighting, as we begin Night one of Ascension. With every title on the line, it’s hard to imagine us topping it. But you have my word we will.

Be warned; While the fall might not kill you, but the climb just might…

Fight’s theme for Ascension ‘In the city’ by the fucking Eagles plays over footage of the entirety of Season 1. From the first main event at Venom 1 with Amari Kent vs MAV, to the barn burner that Damon and Dickie had on Venom 2, and touching on all the keystone moments that occurred between Blood Money and now.

Brandon Moore hitting the EVERBLACK on a midget with a blurred face. Murphy being crowned Queen’s champion in front of a laughing Paul Montouri,Asher Jules running away from a Dickie Watson giving chase behind him, Enforcer turning on Anicka to join The Cure and Sarah Wolf rescuing Anicka, Dollface winning the Bareknuckle Championship against Anicka, Jason Ryan Vs Father Thyme, which was a main event? And as Toxic Tag replays watching the all out war that eventually ends with Dane, Joe and Allison being crowned the winners, as we see the feuds that began there, and ended there, in flashes that overlay the victory of the aforementioned trio.

And as the footage from Venom 10 begins, it suddenly cuts to live footage of the FIght arena. Fans look up at the drone hovering above them and wave their hands frantically, their signs wiggling like sheets in the wind as far as the drone can see. Signs such as ‘Sahara is my decorator’ and ‘NSQ 4 LIFE.’

Damon Riggs and J. Michael Brilliance sit in their booth above the audience, both dressed in suits, Damon’s tailored to his exact specifications and J. Michael Brilliance’s suit clearly coming off a rack. A rack for men much larger than himself.

Damon Riggs: Ladies and gentleman,  Welcome to Ascension!!!

Miss Michelle (c) vs Bam Miller

FIGHT! NYC Bronx Championship

Before the bell even rings, before Bam is even all the way in the ring, Miss Michelle unleashes her fury on him. Just as he is stepping through the middle ropes Miller catches a flying knee to the side of his head. Before he can topple out of the ring Michelle pulls him back in. Everytime he tries to get up on all fours Michelle kicks him in the side, this repeats over and over until finally Michelle drives the side of her right foot into Bam’s head. 

Huffing with anger Michelle stalks Bam as he tries to get to his feet. Just as he turns around she saps the taste out of his mouth, a stream of saliva flying 20 feet away into the crowd. Before he can even recover a slap comes from the other side, another stream of saliva spraying the first few rows of the crowd. Bam lets out a scream of anger and catches the next sap attempt then drives his forehead square into the face of Miss Michelle.

Bam doesn’t release the right arm and now grabs the left arm, then again drives his forehead into her face before pulling her in and throwing her across the ring with a double arm belly to belly suplex. Bam leaps to his feet with a grin of anger and look of determination on his face. He drags Michelle to the ropes then hoists her up for a vertical suplex before dropping her across the top rope as she bounces a bit waist over the rope Bam grabs and DDT’s her off the rope in the middle of the ring.  

A failed pin attempt follows along with a whip to the corner and diving spear and one more failed pin attempt.  Bam grabs Michelle by the hair and pulls her up to a standing position in front of him, Michelle’s left leg kicks up bending backward at the knee and her heel catches Bam square in the balls, instantly releasing his grip on her hair.  Michelle stumbles to the ropes to gain her bearings.

Bam reaches his feet and charges Michelle as she drapes over the ropes. MIchelle twists off the ropes and hits Bam square in the side of the face with a spinning back heel kick, Bam detours from his straight running line and tumbles out of the ring through the middle and top rope. Michelle pulls down on the top rope and slingshots herself over the top rope landing with a knee to the back of Bam and rolling through it.

Michelle rolls into the ring after driving a series of boots to the side and back of Bam. A groggy Bam rolls into the ring and Michelle meets him with a baseball slide to the side of the head followed by a failed pin attempt. Michelle wastes no time while wearing a smile on her face as she drops a few knees and stomps a few times on the back of Bam before mounting the top rope. As Bam gains his feet she leaps off but Bam catches her and fips her over for a scoop slam off the top rope.

Bam falls on Michelle after the slam and the ref counts the failed pin attempt. Both of them reach their feet before the ten count, Michelle first and charges at Bam catching a big boot as her prize. Bam stumbles through with a strut and yell, he motions to the fans and then at MIchelle before pulling her to a standing position and snapping her across the ring with a belly to belly overhead release suplex.

Bam struts across the ring and reaches down for Michelle and finds a thumb in his eye. As he stumbles away Michelle uses the ropes to get her feet.  She pulls herself up in the corner onto the top rope in a seated position. Bam charges from across the ring, Michelle twists off the top, gets a hold of Bam’s head and twists around on him before driving him down with a swinging DDT. Two failed pin attempts and a slap of anger on the mat late and Michelle is on her feet steaming with anger.

Michelle reaches down to pull Bam to his feet but he rolls her up into an armbar.  Michelle fights through the pain and manages to get a rope break with the toe of her right foot. Bam breaks the hold, grabs her arm and pulls her to the middle of the ring before attempting to lock the maneuver back in.  Michelle manages a kick from her back that hits Bam square in the face. As he stumbles back Michelle scrambles to her feet. Bam manages to gain his bearings and moves in, but Michelle manages to twist away and deliver the 3 Seconds of Fame on Bam, covering him for the pin.

Your winner… AND STILL FIGHT! NYC Bronx Champion… MISS MICHELLE!!

He Didn't See It Coming

Ophelia Pain-Pinkston is wandering the halls, enjoying the fact that there is no longer lockdown in place. She, in lockstep with her husband, Lewis Chad Pinkston, rolls up to the locker room of the FIGHT! NYC Brooklyn Champion, Mason Alexander Vanderbilt.

She taps the door, a smirk on her lips. LC stands to the side, so when the door opens, Mason won’t see him. And true to expectation, Mason Alexander Vanderbilt opens the door. A shocked look on his face to see his opponent appear.

Mason Alexander Vanderbilt: Oh, uh, hi. What’re you doin–

Ophelia looks to her left, and then nods, all whilst smiling at Mason. A fist flies from nowhere, right into the smacker of Mason, catching him off guard.

LC Pinkston: Wow that actually worked?!

Mason was on the floor, and Ophelia laughed.

Ophelia Pain-Pinkston: They always said its the ones you don’t see that knock you out.

He smiles at her. She looks down.

Ophelia Pain-Pinkston: I just wanted to give you a little warning, Mason. This won’t go well for you tonight. See you out there.

She steps over him.

Mason Alexander Vanderbilt (c) vs Ophelia Pain-Pinkston

FIGHT! NYC Brooklyn Championship

In the ring, the challenger awaits. The music of Mason Alexander Vanderbilt is playing, but nobody is coming. Occhi picks up a feed, where Mason is strapped to a stretcher. Medical personnel are buzzing around him, trying to lift him onto a gurney and move him.

Medic: He hit his head on the way down, he’s not responding. We need to get him to the infirmary, NOW.

As the gurney passes down the halls, Mason Alexander Vanderbilt regains consciousness, and starts to struggle.

Mason Alexander Vanderbilt: I can fight. I CAN FIGHT! LET ME FIGHT!

The medic stops the gurney. She starts talking quietly to Mason, and Occhi silences what she says. His music is still playing and he can hear it. He starts unstrapping himself, and the crowd start going crazy. He pushes past medical professionals, and out onto the ramp, where Ophelia is waiting. She rolls her eyes.

Ophelia Pain-Pinkston: So dramatic.

As Mason arrives in the ring, Ophelia wastes no time whatsoever. She approaches him, and drives an elbow straight into his skull. He struggled to his feet, and she whips him into the corner, following up with a running leg lariat. As she stares at him, she turns to LC Pinkston who’s on the outside and feigns crying, pawing at her eyes with her hands. Then she grabs Mason’s face, looks him in the eye, and kisses his forehead, and follows it up with two swift punches to the chest. She then unfastens something from her top, using it to tie him to the turnbuckle.

She hits the opposite turnbuckle, and does a cartwheel into a backhand spring, locking her ankles around Mason’s waist, pulling him down, and sitting on to him. She’s laughing wildly, JM Brilliance on the commentary is screaming SPOOKSHOW THRILLER, and the referee in the sky has no recourse but to call the match off.

A match that should not have taken place. Mason Alexander Vanderbilt was in no condition to undertake this match. But Ophelia? She shrieked. LC Pinkston grabbed the octagon-shaped championship from the podium at the side of the ring and rushed into the ring to hand it to his wife. Her face was washed with emotion as they embraced.

She held the championship up in the air, and Lewis Chad raised her other hand. The Champion of Brooklyn, Ophelia Pain-Pinkston!

Vegas Betting Odds

Backstage, you see J Mont on his cellphone talking to someone. He is deep into conversation from the looks of things. Head down, one foot against the wall. Suddenly, from around the corner appears Ricky Rodriguez. As the footsteps get closer, J Mont finally notices him and he speeds up his phone call. 

Joe Montuori: I gotta go baby. Love you and see you after the match.

J Mont hangs up the phone and now we have Ricky and J Mont face to face. The past few weeks, these 2 men have gone from good friends to almost enemies. Each passing day, the words towards one another get more harsh. But now as the big nights are here, these 2 men have a job to do. And you can tell from the tension right now, Ricky and J Mont have a lot on their minds with one another.

Joe Montuori: Ricky!

Ricky Rodriguez: Hey Joe. Are you ready to put Dane down?

Joe Montuori: I really wish that I threw Dane through the cake and not you.

Ricky Rodriguez: Honestly, I think Paul was more pissed about that than I was. But it’s all good though. 

Joe Montuori: You gotta understand. At the end of the day, it’s not you I’m really having these issues with. It’s Sahara. 

Ricky Rodriguez: And I get that, I do. You gotta look at it where I’m coming from. The way you’re acting and the way people are talking, you’re in too deep with this.

Joe Montuori: I have done this my whole life this way. I am truly trying to change thanks to MIA but Sahara has truly brought out my TWIZTED side that I try to keep away. I am trying to be a better man for MIA.

Ricky Rodriguez: Listen to what you’re saying. You’re trying to be better but you’re letting yourself stay obsessed with this. You can still get yours without having to be that guy you don’t wanna be. Fight her. Get a match with her. Just keep it there.

Joe Montuori: My biggest fear in all of this Ricky is that I know if I do something bad to her, I’m gonna lose you as a friend. But she deserves to be in a hospital bed too and feel the pain that MIA went through. Mia had told me numerous times to just keep my head straight and FOCUS on what’s in front of me. I am trying, but I can’t stand that BITCH. 

Ricky Rodriguez: Then don’t take it that far. Anybody can take anybody out. Run up on them with a brick to the head. Hit them with a car. But what does that prove? Proves you’re fucked in the head? Handle it straight up. You remember that whole thing in Friday when Craig pulled out the gun? Listen to that.

Joe Montuori: Ricky, we have a lot of talking to still do. At least right now we are on speaking terms which is a start. I got your back both nights. But right now, I need to get ready for Dickless Dane Preston.

Ricky Rodriguez: And I gotta get ready for Toddy. You go out there and you kick the hell outta Dane. Show the world who the real Queen is.

Joe Montuori: I’m so torn over your match. All i can say is the best man will win. One of you is leaving with a title, and I’m leaving without a title. That’s the bet for Vegas. 

Ricky Rodriguez: That’s a bet I’d take every time. 

J Mont and Ricky shake hands and go their separate ways. It seems for the moment both men are on the same page and will work together. But you know as well as anyone knows, in the heat of the moment, anything can happen.

Fuck a Friendship

Todrick and Austin are sitting in their dressing room. Todrick’s glam squad is working on her face. Austin looks up from scrolling on his phone.

Austin Ramsey: Babe, you’re quiet. What’s up?

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: I’m quiet because I’m collecting my thoughts, Austin. I know you always have a lot of noise in your head, but I need the quiet sometimes.

Austin’s brow furrows.

Austin Ramsey: Fuck is that…sorry baby. Sorry. Lemme start again. Talk to me, what’s on your mind?

Todrick closes her eyes as they apply the eye makeup. The time that passes is short but to Austin it feels so much longer and he doesn’t like it.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: Well I’m about to go out there and put it all on the line against one Ricky Rodriguez. I know that we are friends but what if he isn’t really taking me seriously?

Austin Ramsey: Who gives a flying fuck? Everyone, literally everyone, that has underestimated you met defeat when they ended a match with you. Toddy, fuck the friendship, fuck that with Sahara’s crooked dick that she fucks him with. He’s such a submissive little bitch now, and you need to take Joe’s advice. Play mind games with him and everyone knows he can’t handle that. Before the bell rings, whisper some vile shit about Panda Sahara in his ear and watch him be thrown off his game.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: I don’t want to play it that way, Austin. I want a good clean contest amongst friends.

Austin Ramsey: Fuck that, Toddy. Who’s to say he will play fair? Who’s to say Sahara won’t interfere? They need a highlight to their boring-ass relationship. Ricky is a bitch and we both know it. He is the male version of Sahara. Sad thing is they are both still not relevant soooo…fuck loyalty to him. He’d turn on you like he turned on me. Remember that my love?

Todrick is silent for several moments as Austin has a smug grin on his face. He walks up and puts his arms around Todrick.

Austin Ramsey: You can’t trust him, Babe. You need to go out there and FUCK HIM UP! Everything you already had in you, everything Sam and Akasha taught you, everything I taught you needs to be on display tonight. It is not Ricky Rodriguez’s time. It’s your time. He may be her little lion, but you are the Nala to my Simba and we rule pride rock. We know what happens to the weak lions.

Todrick leans her head into Austin’s embrace. She nods in agreement and kisses his arm.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: I am the Manhattan Champion!

Austin Ramsey: Say it again, louder and with all you got, babe!

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: I AM THE MANHATTAN CHAMPION!

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey (c) vs Ricky Rodriguez

FIGHT! NYC Manhattan Championship

The match opens with a series of tie ups, takedowns and chain wrestling that would remind everyone of the old days of wrestling. Things break down quick though as a knee to the stomach and grab of the face and hard toss to the back by Ricky gives him an upper hand.  Ricky doesn’t waste time with his upper hand as he uses it to set his pace with a series of impact moves that lead to a failed pin attempt. Wanting to push his pace Ricky whips Todrick to the ropes but on the return Todrick ducks a clothesline and counters with a reach back neck breaker.

Ricky is on his feet first, but as he grabs for Todrick he finds himself rolled into a small package, a quick kick out and Ricky is falling through the middle rope, Todrick following from over the top with a missile dropkick that sends Ricky back first into the railing.  Todrick rolls Ricky into the ring, leaps to the apron and hits a spring board splash from over the top rope on Ricky. The pin attempt fails but Todrick keeps the pace going.

Todrick whips Ricky around the ring before sending him into the corner, but as Todrick follows Ricky leaps onto the ropes and spins off landing a roundhouse aerial kick to the side of Todrick’s face. Ricky reaches his feet first and drives a few heels to the sides and back of Toderick before sending Toderick up into the air and down with a stalling vertical suplex. 

Ricky presses the offense with some takedowns and suplexes, his energy amping up as he does.  Ricky stalks Todrick and just as Todrick reaches a vertical base Ricky leaps into the air for a cutter but Todrick counters into an atomic drop, as Ricky bounces from the pain and turns around Todrick slaps the taste out of his mouth then grabs him by the back of the head and slams him face first into the mat.  Ricky rolls to the ropes and Todrick rushes in with a baseball slide but Ricky manages to move and Todrick slides right out under the bottom rope to the outside.

As Todrick reaches a vertica base Ricky dives through the middle rope and spears Trodrick into the ground.  Ricky rolls Todrick into the ring and as a wobbly Todrick reaches a standing position Ricky drives a boot to the stomach then lifts Todrick into the air and spikes him down with a DDT and pin fall attempt that fails.  Ricky keeps the offense going with a series of chops and takedowns that lead to RIcky sending Todrick into the corner and mounting the ropes.

8 blows land to the top of Todrick’s head Ricky revs up another blow but Todrick grabs the thighs of Ricky and powerbombs him out of the corner. Neither of them are quick to get up.  Ricky is the first to his feet and turns to see Todrick on his knees in the corner.  Ricky rushes and dives for Todrick but catches a face full of the middle turnbuckle.  As Ricky reaches his feet Todrick kicks him in the stomach, then hooks the head for a DDT, he sways his hips then spikes him with a DDT. 

Now Todrick is on his feet and feeling the energy of the crowd as he gets to the top rope. He leaps off for a split leg moonsault but catches two knees instead. Again Ricky is on his feet first and again as he reaches down and again is caught in a small package that ends as quick as it started.  Ricky with a fury of frustration goes for a stomp but Todrick grabs the ankle, twists him around and gets Ricky on his chest with the Texas Cloverleaf locked on.  

RIcky pushes up onto his arms and crawls while dragging Todrick to the ropes to break the hold.  Todrick grabs Ricky by the leg, pulls him back to the middle of the ring and again slaps the Texas Cloverleaf on him, and again Ricky pushes up on his arms, but Todrick leaps up and drives his ass down on the small of Ricky’s back.  But Ricky drags the two to the ropes to get the break, this time rolling out of the ring before Todrick can pull him back to the middle of the ring.

Todrick slips out of the ring and slams Ricky back first into the apron before rolling him into the ring.  As Ricky gets to his feet Todrick goes for a back heel kick but RIcky ducks and lands a right. Todrick blocks the following left and Ricky returns the favor.  Ricky feigns a kick then throws a hook but Todrick sees it coming, ducks the blow, hooks him up from behind and drives him down with the Hands on Your Knees.  Todrick drops down and covers Ricky for the pin.

Your winner… AND STILL FIGHT! NYC Manhattan champion TODRICK TABOR-RAMSEY!!

FoCuS on the Goal

P Mont is sitting down in his dressing collecting his thoughts on this big night. So much is at stake for him. The Empire title and the top of the Fight Tower to crown himself and Dynasty the winners. Trying to get some alone time before it all goes down. But that’s not gonna happen. The door swings wide open and bounces back off the wall. Almost off its hinges. It’s none other then J Mont. The look on his face is almost the look he has when he sees Sahara.

Joe Montuori: What the fuck was that all about?

Paul Montuori: Bruh you’ve got some fucking nerve barging into here. Mom and Dad are alive? And I had to find out through a fucking Dane Preston promo?

Joe Montuori: P, no one knew but them, the family attorney and the state judge.

Paul Montuori: I don’t give a fuck. I’m your brother. They’re my parents.

Joe Montuori: I did what I had to do for mom and dad. You or no one else cared about their well being. We had mobsters trying to take them out so they could be the kings of NY. I did what had to be done. 

Paul Montuori: I didn’t care about their well being? Bullshit. After all this fucking time, after all the grieving I did, especially over Mom. And they’re alive. And you knew the whole fucking time!

Joe Montuori: You will never understand. Mom and Dad were thankful for what I did for them. But now look at the mess I have to clean up. 

Paul Montuori: You fucking lied.

Joe Montuori: I never lied to you. I just never told you what was going on because you have a big mouth and were going through your own shit in life with women, drugs and alcohol.

Paul Montuori: You lied to me about our parents dying because I had a big mouth? And why do you think I got into drugs and alcohol? You don’t think telling me our parents died had anything to do with it? 

Joe Montuori: P, just shut up OK? It doesn’t matter. You have the Empire title tonight to win. I have been telling you that ever since we came here to FIGHT NYC. Stop being a baby about what I did with mom and dad.

Paul Montuori: You fucking lied and told me our parents died! All this time I thought they were dead. And I’m just supposed to get over that?

Joe Montuori: You know what man, I don’t have time to argue with you right now. I have to FOCUS on beating Dane first and making sure the Dynasty gets this win. And you have to FOCUS on Dickie. 

Paul Montuori: You don’t have time to argue with me? You fucking lied about our parents being dead! How the fuck don’t you see how big of a deal this is?!

Joe Montuori: [Joe is about to lose his mind.] P, enough already. What’s done is done. 

Paul Montuori: What’s done is done?! Bruh, get the fuck outta here! Coming in here with that bullshit right before my big fucking night!

J Mont just shakes his head at P Mont and walks away. On his way out, he slams the already broken door as it can’t even close shut now. Who will pay for this door? And what will happen when the brothers team up?

Sarah Wolf (c) vs Druscilla White

FIGHT! NYC Bareknuckle Championship

The two elevators that lead to the pit area open up into pure darkness, and Druscilla steps out, as does Sarah. They both can see the light from the other elevator, but can’t see each other. Sarah takes a step forward, and the light above her follows her. She keeps walking and the light keeps track with her. Dru sees this and begins to move toward that light, her own light keeping pace with her as well. Seeing what is laid out before them in the detail of the soft spotlight. There are no containers, no large wooden posts, the area seems to be free and clear of any obstacles or obstructions. Until they get to the center.

A tower with steps on either side lead up to a small platform suspended in mid air. The lights above it all flash, and both Dru and Sarah know they’re meant to be on it. Each begin to walk the steps and as they reach the top, they catch sight of each other. Smiles develop on both faces and they walk to the center of the platform. As soon as all four of their feet are on the platform, it lifts up and suspends them above the ground. A cage them drops down along the sides, trapping them inside the 10×10 cell. The horn alarms and without a second of hesitation, Dru and Sarah begin to punch wildly, bashing each other in the face, the ribs, the stomach. Each doing their best to do their worst.

Sarah kicks Dru in the stomach and sends her into the cage, but Dru fires back and use the momentum to crack Sarah in the face with the her elbow. Dru’s hand ends up against the cage bars, and Sarah begins to pummel her in the ribs as hard as she can. Dru places her boot against the cage and pushes off, backhanding her on the way to the center of the platform. Sarah jabs Dru in the nose twice before she can cover up and start absorbing the barrage Sarah is unleashing with her forearms placed before her face.

Dru drops her guard the second Sarah pulls back her last jab and throws a stiff one herself, connecting with Sarah’s left eye and snapping her head back. Sarah ducks the next jab but it’s not a jab at all, but a shoulder flex that causes Sarah to move directly into the path of a solidly placed hook to her jaw. Sarah barely remains on her feet, and for a second places her hands back up, but then puts them right back down. Dru sends another hook, this one a right, and then another hook, this one a left. And each hook from one side begets the other and Sarah stands there, looking into Dru’s eyes as blood rushes to the surface of her skin, and out of several small cuts. Dru doesn’t let up though, and keeps going, left after right, right after left. Out of breath after a solid minute of this, She looks at Sarah and sees she’s not even there, she’s just a shell that refuses to fall. Sarah leans forward and says something, something that enrages Dru, screams out loud, her mouth and eyes open as wide and as hard as possible. Placing her hand on Sarah’s throat, she pushes her against the page and unleashes left hands to Sarah’s head again and again, until Sarah’s knees buckle, and she falls to the floor, consciousness no longer among her abilities. Dru stands over her, screaming at her in a voice so strained and raspy we can barely make out what it is she’s saying. The lights then flicker, and the cage rises away from the platform, as it lowers back down to the staircases beneath. There, Miss F waits with Dru’s new championship in hand.

YOUR WINNER… AND NEW BAREKNUCKLE CHAMPION… DRUSCILLA WHITE!!!

When This Is Finally Over

J Mont is seen with Vhodka Black in his dressing area. And no, it’s not what you think. Over the past few months, J Mont and Vhodka have built a great friendship and overcame all the past history they had. Now they are like best friends and have eachothers back. You can see them talking and laughing. 

Joe Montuori: I really appreciate all you have done for myself and Mia. Being there for her and reaching out all the time.

Vhodka Black: Anytime Joe. Mia is a good woman for you and glad to see you are truly happy.

Joe Montuori: I cant wait til all of this Ascension stuff is over so the 4 of us can go on that double date finally and have a good time. 

Vhodka Black: Vincent is only going because it’s you. You know he’s not a big fan of going out around a lot of people. 

Joe Montuori: I owe it to him since I put his life through hell when he was in the HR department. 

Vhodka Black: You were truly the Zack Morris of FIGHT! NYC. 

Joe Montuori: And speaking of Zack, I can’t wait to finally end this all with Screech Preston. I mean Dane.  

Vhodka Black: He does look like Screech a little if you add some muscle and facial hair.

Joe Montuori: I finally get to end this chapter with Dane and start a new one with Mia and my new friends. 

Vhodka Black: And I will be there with you both. 

Joe Montuori: Thank you Vhodka.

Vhodka Black: And this thing with you and Dane, it needs to end here tonight. Joe Montuori isn’t a LOSER. Now go out there and show the world what I know.

J Mont gives Vhodka a big hug. Hopefully Mia and Vincent know it was a friendly hug and nothing was meant by it. J Mont is just pumped up right now thanks to the support from Mia and the words from Vhodka. Will this finally end with Dane and J Mont?

And Still...

The scene inside the locker room of ‘Battleborn’ Dane Preston, has Allison Riggs-Preston watching from the couch as Dane paces back and forth.

ARP:  Six months babe, for six months he made our lives a living Hell….

Dane Preston:  Hell doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.  It was like having our own personal Devil torment us on a daily basis.

ARP: How is that not the same thing?

Dane Preston: Because at least in Hell, you can hide from the Devil.  Here, social media, living in close proximity, working for the same company.  There’s literally no escape from the reminders of what he’s done to us.  What he did to you…”

Things got quiet for a few moments before Dane began some dynamic stretches and flexibility exercises to warm up and get loose for his match.  Allison gets up off the couch and steps in Dane’s path, placing her hand on his chest.

ARP: We’ve endured Hell, together.  We will face whatever comes next, together.  I’ve seen you go against Joe in the ring.  Barring interference or Joe using shady tactics, he cannot beat you.

Dane Preston: I’m not afraid of losing to him.  I’m afraid of living with myself after what I do to him.  That’s what scares me.

ARP: No matter what, we deal with the aftermath together.  You’ve got this babe.

Dane leaned down and kissed Allison passionately, before smacking her on the ass and giving her a playful wink.  Despite everything riding on this match, Dane can still show his wife how much he loves her.

Dane Preston: It all ends tonight…AND STILL.

ARP: Damn right, AND STILL.

Joe Montuori (c) vs Dane Preston

FIGHT! NYC Queens Championship

It was only a few short weeks ago that Joe Montuori and Dane Preston were the names on everyone’s lips after a shocking domination of the inaugural Toxic Tag match. Tonight they were the names on everyone’s lips for entirely different reasons – negative reasons at that. It would seem that Toxic Tag had spelt the beginning of the end for the two men, the pinnacle before a spectacular swan dive to rock bottom, which is how they came to be competing for what fans called “the loser title” but what FIGHT NYC called The Queens Championship. 

Dane was on a cold streak, having lost his last four matches – but hey, who’s counting? His opponent and long time rival Joe Montuori walked into this as he had so many matches before this, as a champion. However this time it was a belt that he never wished to hold in his career. A shiny silver reminder of the fact that not only had he lost the Islands Championships he had held with Dane and Allie, he had also lost the Manhattan Championship as well as whatever credibility he had built up in the short time the doors of FIGHT had been open. It’s true, both of these men’s careers might as well have been dead and buried for the last several weeks. But maybe tonight was the night that FIGHT NYC would see a resurrection. 

Both men were locked into a heated battle in the middle of the ring with Joe Montuori coming out of the gate on top, thanks to a lucky shot to Dane’s throat that left him gasping for air and unable to defend himself against the onslaught from Joe. The men lock up in the center of the ring, Joe quickly takes Dane down with an arm drag that sends him thudding to the mat. As Dane gathers his wits about him and gets his bearings Joe snaps off the ropes with a hard clothesline sending him back down to where, in Joe’s mind at least, Dane belonged. Joe Montuori smirks as he looks down at the fallen Preston below him, before he dropped to his knees to smush Dane’s face with his palm, making some very choice comments about Dane’s anatomy – and if you’ve spent even a second on Twitter I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Dane Preston had had just about enough out of Joe Montuori as he cleared his throat and hocked what was by all accounts a Jack Dawson quality loogie right into the face of Joe Montuori who flew into an absolute rage the moment the spit splattered against his skin. Dane would be a dead man, Joe would see to that. Six feet under and concreted over so that not even the most gifted necromancer history has ever known would be able to draw him from his grave. Joe Montuori grabs Dane by his head dragging him up to his feet in the center of the ring, had Joe been a little less enraged and a little more aware of the man before him perhaps he would have seen the elbow coming straight for his face, but he didn’t and Dane was able to nail him sending Joe staggering away with a hand to his face. Dane uses his fists to drive Joe into the corner turnbuckle, Dane grabs him and pulls him back out rushing forward to hit Montuori with a running bulldog. Preston wasted no time, grabbing Joe by the head, dragging him to his feet so that he did not lose any of the ground he was quickly gaining on the other man. 

Dane grabs Joe’s arm, slinging his nemesis into the corner, rushing in after him and driving his forearm into Joe’s chin. Montuori stumbles out of the corner as Dane Preston bounces off the middle rope drop kicking Joe in the back of the head to send him face first down to the mat. 

It was at that point the first cover of the match was made, but it would be no good, falling short of the final count needed to end Joe Montuori and put an exclamation point on everything Dane had said over the last several weeks. Dane Preston has endured a lot, not only just the physical toll but also the emotional aspect that came from having Joe Montuori weasel his way into his marriage. Though he would never admit it, the fact that his wife had slept with this piece of shit absolutely enraged him down to his very core. The thought of her lips, her hands, her body desecrated by a Montuori, the knowledge that Joe knew his wife in ways only he should, well, it was enough to practically kill him. But Dane Preston had not died when Joe Montuori did the unthinkable, instead he rose. Not like the clumsy shambling dead of your average blockbuster zombie b-movie but like a man who had everything to gain and simply nothing else left to lose. This was a turning point in not only this match but in the very psyche of Dane Preston. A supernatural resurrection of the man that Sahara has challenged him to be and he had been fearful to become. 

Dane Preston was vengeance. Every strike he landed against Montuori one more step closer to freedom from the trap Montuori had snared his family in. Every time the other man’s body hit the mat with a meaty thud he was energized, growing stronger in his righteousness and the knowledge that tonight, his streak would come to an end. Joe could feel the match slipping away from him as he looked into the eyes of Preston, seeing not only his loss but his outright demise reflected in the other man’s determined gaze. His mind became frantic, bouncing metaphorically in the confines of his skull until finally settling on Mia’s face in the forefront. His Mia, the person who had pulled him from the brink and brought him back to more of himself than he thought had been left after so many years of this business. He did not want to return to his beloved as a loser, but he knew, knew with every fiber of his being that no matter what this match held for him, in a way, he had already won. 

Whether it was Mia or the knowledge of far more important battles that had already been won, Joe’s body laid eerily still on the mat after Dane nailed the 1SK. To Joe who was slowly slipping into unconsciousness, the referee’s three count was much faster than he logically knew it could have been but to Dane Preston, it felt like he’d been waiting a lifetime.

Brandon Moore vs Shawn Warstein

Brandon Moore stands stoic, a million thoughts running through his mind. Across the ring from him is the man that stood with him at Toxic Tag.

It started at Venom 1, by chance. With Moore speaking to FIGHT! Correspondent Serotonin in the Fifth Turnbuckle when Warstein walked past. Moore took issue, because this was the big shot coming into HIS territory. At least, that’s the way he saw it.

On the other side of the coin, Warstein was the new guy, and he wasn’t gonna back down and be the beta to anybody’s alpha. So he had to snarl back, take a piss on the very ground that Moore walked. Make sure he walked into the new school and punched the biggest loudmouth square in the jaw to assert himself.

And week by week it escalated, until they gained eachother’s respect. Realised that they are cut from cloth that whilst it wasn’t the same, it had some similar properties. They realised that neither man would stop short of death in pursuit of their goals. Neither would relent. They circled each other and like the dogs in the analogy, their teeth were bared. Their legs poised to react at any moment.

It was unlike anything you’d expect from a professional wrestling context. There was no collar and elbow tie up, no running the ropes. They circled each other like muay thai fighters, Brandon throwing feints, Warstein rolling right hands.

The tension in the crowd was palpable. This wasn’t the main event, but on any other night in any other promotion, it could and should have been. These two fighters are the absolute creme de la creme, top of the food chain.

As Warstein rushed in and grabbed the hips of Moore, New York City and the captivated worldwide audience live on fight-now.com cheered. The Chicago native clamped on and drove Moore to the mat with a blast double, and both men crashed into the ropes. Fists flew. The Muay thai stance had moved very swiftly into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu arena, and Moore threw up his legs, trying to trap the head and arm of Warstein in a triangle choke. No dice, Shawn thrust an elbow aggressively into the chin of Moore, and yanked his body free. He cleared the legs, stepped into side control and clamped down on a bulldog. Both men got to their feet, and with the bulldog hold still on, he ran and drove Moore into the mat. Early momentum with Warstein.

A few moments later, Warstein stood over Moore once more, having found a way to ground him again. A gesture to the crowd roused a reaction. Almost like “How’d you like your boy now?” A handful of Moore’s hair in his claws, he dragged Brandon to his feet, and hooked him up with a front facelock, then snapped him angrily into the mat. A quick cover resulted in a delayed two count. In another world, on another planet, he could have put him away. If only Warstein would’ve secured the shoulder to the mat sooner.

Warstein was relentless. As Moore was backed up into the corner, the leader of New Status Quo’s Ascension team had a point to prove. He came in alongside Dickie Watson, at Blood Money. The inaugural FIGHT! NYC event, and he had the same burning desire in his belly, to show the world that he wasn’t just an XWF product. That his success in GCWA and Project Honor hadn’t been just a fluke, he was the real deal. And at Blood Money, he’d been overshadowed by Watson. In fact, Warstein had attempted to prosper at Watson’s expense, and it’d backfired. So, whilst they’d put that to one side in order to establish themselves, there was an element of a chip on Shawn’s shoulder. He wanted to prove beyond doubt that he was worthy. That Blood Money was a twist of fate, that there wasn’t anything to separate him from Dickie, that he was as deserving as anyone of being the marquee star in FIGHT! NYC. Moore was raised high into the air, thrown against the turnbuckle and he slumped down into the canvas.

In this moment, Brandon Moore had to re-analyse everything. Was Warstein more than he could chew? Had he stepped forward to quell the influx in vain? His attempt to maintain the status quo in this world of FIGHT, was it a fool’s errand? And what about last week, when he had the match against Bam Miller won, and he decided to put himself through an explosive board? A lot of things were running through the mind of Brandon Moore in this moment, and he couldn’t quite organise his thoughts. It was kinda tough when a relentless adversary was driving his limbs with reckless abandon into his face. And what of Ezra, and Michelle, and everyone else who relied on him? Tomorrow he would lead his team – Apathy, Eoin O’Rourke, Sarah Wolf, The Enforcer. What would they think of their leader? This wasn’t a moment to wilt or show weakness. Brandon Moore has dug deeper, against more dangerous people, all through his career. So why did it feel like he was powerless?

“Dig deeper” he kept repeating inside of his head. He didn’t know how to quit, and he wasn’t about to start. He reached up, grabbing Warstein by the belt, and drove through the man, landing a double leg of his own. He mounted Warstein and started throwing rights and lefts. Now it felt like Warstein was fading. Moore was gathering steam and putting the building blocks in place. Arm drag, high angle wristlock, leg drop, knee to the sternum. Back to the basics, back to the foundation. Wrestling fundamentals. Some of these wrestling moves, Brandon hadn’t performed in a decade or longer. Moore laced up an arm around his boot, stepped through, flipped Warstein over and tipped him into some kinda cradling pin. The screen high above the ring lit up. Warstein was by no means done, but the pin was a pretty good one and he couldn’t force his shoulders up despite being handily capable of remaining in the fight. Evidently the struggle meant a shoulder got off the mat, and his graces were saved, but Moore stood over him, pointed at him and muttered “I had you there”.

Never count Moore out. Warstein knew it already. He knew it from watching him at the end of Venom #10 where he stood up and called on the fight after having been through a war with Bam Miller. Warstein was on his feet, and he stepped toward Moore, who grabbed a full nelson with a quickness that Warstein hadn’t expected, and then he was driven into the canvas with an aggressiveness that he did expect and the world was familiar with. This was the Ouroboros. The crowd were silent, bated breath, waiting to see what happened next.

Typically, Moore would cover an opponent here. But he wasn’t done. He was far from done. He looked down on Warstein and thought about his family, thought about his sacrifices. Thought about tomorrow and the statement he wanted to make. Warstein’s hand was clamped to the side of his head, Moore grabbed it, and hoisted him up to his knees. He came from the rope, and hit a running knee strike to the face.

Warstein slumped down now. He looked done. And Moore stood over him, remorseless. Many of the same doubts that had coursed through Moore’s head not ten minutes earlier were likely swirling somewhere in the back of Warstein’s. Only, the fog in his mind from the head trauma was blocking him from accessing those thoughts. He was running on instinct alone. “Fight for your life”. “Get up”. “Hit. Don’t get hit.”

Moore looked out to the crowd, raised his hand in the air, then thrust a thumbs down.

“This ain’t over. Not by a long shot.”

Brandon Moore slid out of the ring, and tossed up the apron. He reached under the ring and started pulling out a variety of objects. None of them were legal in this match but it didn’t feel like that was the number one priority for him. It was about making a statement. It was about pissing on the ground that Warstein had dirtied. It was territorial. About respect.

A steel clamp. Used by the ring crew to secure the ring whilst other parts were being screwed together. It fit over his fist like a knuckleduster. He looked at his fist, then nodded his head. Back into the ring, then. Warstein was on his feet, barely.

Moore approached, and the dazed Warstein was ripe for the taking.

Then another flood of thoughts rushed through Moore. The old Moore wouldn’t have hesitated. He would’ve cleaned Warstein’s clock and dealt with the consequences later. That’s a tomorrow problem. But Brandon Moore of 2021 was a changing man, was someone that was going to be better, think better, do better. If he gets himself disqualified, he’ll lose his Blood Money, he will lose his opportunity to bid for the Empire Championship. And whilst he is confident that he’ll win the Ascension match tomorrow and render the Blood Money aspect irrelevant, hedging his bets is the best course of action. Usurping Warstein in Blood Money wasn’t strictly possible from this match alone, but Moore had some debts to collect and knew that if he could take Warstein’s Blood Money, he could ensure he is top of the pile when the bidding opens after Ascension. So why get disqualified?

The hesitation.

He hesitated too long.

A short knee to the face, followed by a straight elbow, immediately followed by a spinning back elbow to the jaw.

Damon Riggs: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE! GET ‘EMMMMM!!!!!

There is no impartiality when it comes to Damon Riggs. Differences, settled as they may be, didn’t stop the fact that he wanted to see Brandon Moore put down like the dog that he was.

Shawn Warstein slumped against the ropes, the crowd roaring him on. Or roaring Moore on. Who knew. Moore struggled to his knees, which was the cue Warstein was waiting for. He used the momentum of the ropes to propel him, driving his shin into the face of Brandon Moore.

KING’S CROWN!

And the crowd rose to its feet, could Moore summon anything inside?

In a square in the corner of the screen, we had a shot from the top of the ramp, where we saw the concerned looks on the faces of Apathy and Eoin O’Rourke, as Security prevented them from entering the ringside area.

In another modal, Dickie Watson was pacing back and forth in his locker room warming up with Aiden Reynolds, watching the match between throwing combinations at his partner. Betsy and Kasey, on the other hand, were glued to their seats, wringing their hands.

As the counter in the sky counted, the crowd counted along with them.

ONE.

TWO.

THREE.

Vhodka Black vs VooDoo

Who would be first? That was the argument of choice leading up to night one of the Ascension pay per view where Vhodka Black and Candice “VooDoo” Wolf would settle the score between them once and for all. To the women, the order in which they were to enter the ring was just another chance for one to prove their dominance to the other despite the fact that everyone else in the building saw it more like two immature children jockeying for the front seat on a two-block trip to the grocery store. As the world waited with bated breath to see who had won the honor of being the first to enter the ring, the song that hit the sound system was as unexpected as the argument over entrances in the first place. 

Miss F stood center stage, bringing the mic to her lips without much flair for the dramatic. After all, she was a no-nonsense sort of woman, entirely unlike the two that would soon join her. Miss F smiled as she brought the microphone to her lips, addressing the fans in attendance and those watching at home.

Miss F: Ladies and Gentleman, tonight’s match between VooDoo and Vhodka Black will have special stipulations set forth to ensure the safety of both performers and quite frankly, everyone else in attendance. Earlier today we informed both ladies that the upcoming match between them would be a hardcore match, much to their satisfaction. Each woman may use whatever weapons she wishes to incapacitate the other however there is a catch… each woman may only use whatever weapons she is able to carry into the ring herself.  

Miss F pauses to build tension with the crowd whose volume has risen to a dull roar at the announcement of weapons being added to a match that already has such volatile potential. 

Miss F: Prior to coming out here to make this announcement I was given another such announcement directly from our owner Xavier Wolf. Mr. Wolf has authorized a second stipulation in this match, a stipulation that, well, is better shown than told. 

Miss F smiles at the crowd as Xavier Wolf steps out from the backstage area, the area erupting into chaos at his presence. He is trailed by his brother, husband to Vhodka Black and ex-husband to VooDoo, Vincent Black. The two men stand beside one another looking the embodiment of living comedy/tragedy masks as Xavier smiles and Vincent wearily makes heavy eye contact with his twin who gives his shoulder a small squeeze before he begins his descent down the ramp towards the ring. From the back a sort of procession starts as Anicka Swan steps out to follow Xavier down the ramp, followed by Dane Preston, Allison Riggs Preston, Murphy Doyle Maher and finally Kal X. Wolf. Vincent Black and Miss F keep their positions at the top of the ramp as they watch the other members of what is known as The Pack surround the ring. 

VooDoo was the first to enter the ring, forever the consummate professional she was loaded down with weapons of a various sort but what one would expect to see in a match like this. It was Vhodka Black that was problematic, as she so frequently is. If VooDoo had entered this match up like a professional, Vhodka had entered like the bag lady off 5th and Jefferson Ave. From the barbed wire crown atop her head, the bear trap chained to her back, the road flares sticking out of the top of her pants down to the steak knives duct taped to the ends of her boots for stab-kicks every inch of her body had been covered head to toe in weapons. As she approached the ring Kal X Wolf was the first to stop her, the two engaging in a heated exchange over her assertion that no one had given her a list of restricted weapons and therefore she was legally allowed to use them all and his assertion that she was a looney toon and couldn’t enter the ring with a running chainsaw. As it usually was, it was Xavier Wolf who persuaded Vhodka to disrobe of her most deadly weapons allowing her only to keep what would be deemed a “normal” item for this sort of situation. 

The two women finally stood across from one another, their eyes burning into each other as they waited for the sound of the bell that had not yet rang and would not, not until the rest of the stipulations were revealed. From the top of the ramp Vincent Black sighs before raising his hand and gesturing for something else from the back. Vhodka is the first to notice the procession of children making their way down the ramp, nodding her head at VooDoo who turns to watch she and Vincent’s three children lead Vhodka and Vincent’s one child down the ramp – their father following the four children down to the ring and lifting them over the barricade to their front row seats. Vincent solemnly finishes his task before coming to stand beside his brother who had come up with the idea to include the children in the first place. While Vincent Black hated the idea of his children witnessing what was to come, Xavier Black had lobbied for their presence and lobbied for it hard, while Vincent did not understand his brother’s insistence, he accepted it knowing that Xavier would not have asked in the first place without good reasoning. The final piece of the puzzle came in the form of Damon “Havok” Riggs who rose from his position at the announcer’s desk and removed his headphones, slowly walking down to stand beside Vincent Black at the end of the ring closest to the children. 

Miss F: FIGHT NYC is a business but this match is something that is very personal between the two of you. Family business, I believe you said, Xavier? As such, your family will surround the ring for the duration of the match. They will not intervene or help in any way; their presence is merely to contain the two of you to this ring and ensure that no one else interferes on your behalf. Ladies, I do hope you are able to work out your differences once and for all.

The sound of the bell was like a gunshot as both women lunged for each other at the same time seemingly forgetting the piles of weapons littering the ring around them for the first half of the match. Acquiring a weapon would have meant that they had to unhand one another to retrieve one, something neither of the women was willing to do. Midway through both women had taken enough damage that they had no choice but to separate for the moment and gather their wits about them. VooDoo rolled to a corner nearest Vincent and Damon while Vhodka had crawled toward Murphy and Kal, the former pulling out a ziplock baggie full of cheetos from his pocket which he hand fed to Vhodka one by one to get her strength back up. Murphy patted Vhodka on her shoulders before he sprayed a stream of Mountain Dew into her mouth from a water bottle while Kalvin Fagan attempted to talk strategy to a woman who had only ever strategized the best path through an all you can eat buffet. Damon on the other side of the ring seemed to be making much better progress with VooDoo who listened intently to her friend nodding her head every now and again. At once both women pulled themselves to their feet, VooDoo with a baseball bat in hand and Vhodka seemingly empty handed as they slowly made their way toward one another. VooDoo hefted the baseball bat over her shoulder, smirking at Vhodka across from her who returned her smile with one of her own before reaching down the front of her pants producing a pair of nunchucks. VooDoo swung for the fences as Vhodka tried to remember the teachings of the Ninja Turtles while also diving from VooDoo’s strikes with the bat. The crack of the bat connecting with Vhodka’s midsection produced a wince from several of the pack at ringside as Vhodka bent at the waist, hands instinctively grabbing her stomach. VooDoo wastes no time, bringing the bat over her head and striking Vhodka on the back, dropping her down the mat. The Pack around the ring slapped their hands to the mat willing the fallen Vhodka to get back up and do something before VooDoo took her head off with the bat. Vhodka Black laid there listening to her friends and family around the ring screaming her her, their urgency letting her know what the woman above was planning but it wasn’t until her eyes connected with her husbands across the ring that she remembered why she was here in the first place. To Candice, she was the villain, the woman who had stolen her husband and brought untold amounts of pain and heartache to her children – who could really fault her rage at the woman struggling to her knees below her? But if Voo wanted her to be the villain, well, then who was she to argue? Slowly Vhodka crawled toward the side of the ring her husband watched her from, VooDoo slamming the bat into the mat behind her as she waited for the other woman to rise so she could take her head off. In one swift motion Vhodka stands and turns towards VooDoo, flinging her hands in the direction of the other woman who instantly drops the bat grabbing her eyes as a fine cloud of glitter from Vhodka’s pocket sifts through the air to land at her feet. Apparently glitter doesn’t really do much when thrown at someone’s eyes as VooDoo seems to realize, dropping her hands and rolling her eyes. But Vhodka hadn’t meant to blind her only to distract her long enough that she could grab the rope at her feet below, a rope she wrapped around the other woman’s neck yanking her down to the mat as hard as she could. VooDoo’s head snapped against the mat as she landed but Vhodka rode her down – straddling the other woman all while she used every ounce of strength she had to strangle her with the rope. VooDoo kicked and grabbed at her throat desperately trying to get a finger between the rope and her airway while the Pack around the ring screamed at one another – half feeling like they needed to put a stop to this, the other half arguing that they needed to continue if this was ever going to end. 

VooDoo was beginning to turn from her usual porcelain to a kind of mottled red and purple as her airway was restricted. Vhodka roared above her finally, finally beginning to taste the vindication and revenge that she had come here for. This was it, she had her. All she had to do was hold on until the other woman passed out and it would be done. She could feel VooDoo weakening below her as she pulled on the rope, her attempts at freedom getting less and less pronounced. Across the ring, Vincent watched. Watched as his wife strangled his ex-wife and for one of the very few times in his life he was helpless. He could not stop this and worse yet, he had caused it in the first place. Vhodka’s eyes rise from the woman below her to find her husband across the ring but it is not the pain in his face that stops her. Over Vincent’s shoulder are four horrified faces – the faces of Ripley Austin, she and Vincent’s daughter, Rose and Ciara Black, VooDoo and Vincent’s twins and at the very end, just behind Vincent, Callan Black. Callan Black who was not hers but had been the only one of VooDoo and Vincent’s children that had readily accepted her when his father had moved out and in with the woman who had ruined his parents marriage. Where the twins had treated her like the woman who had ruined their lives Callan had simply treated her like a person. There was no judgement or hatred from the small boy, only the kind of innocent acceptance that comes from small children and animals. And in his eyes as she stared at him over Vincent’s shoulders she watched her reflection in his horror and fear. Vhodka released the rope as if it had burned her, crab walking on her hands over VooDoo’s body to the corner of the ring as VooDoo weakly removed the rope, choking as her lungs finally took in a good breath. 

VooDoo rolled to her side, coughing and getting her wits back around her slowly before her eyes traveled to her assailant in the corner. VooDoo knew that Vhodka had her. She had felt herself slipping from here to unconsciousness but at the very last moment the other woman had pulled away and left her, she needed to know why. But first, she needed to arm herself. Her hands travel over the mat looking for something, anything, finding the bat that she had dropped earlier. She gripped it tightly, rising to her feet and taking a few wobbly steps toward Vhodka who remained seated. Vhodka raises her hand, a slender tattooed finger pointing to the horrified children sitting only a few feet away from the women, nodding her head in their direction. VooDoo against her better instincts took her eyes off the woman in front of her, finding her children only to discover what Vhodka had already discovered a moment before: the cost of war. 

The bat slips from her hands with a resounding thud as she swallows hard, looking back to Vhodka who has risen to her feet to stand beside her. Both women turned once more to look past the man that had caused all of this to the children he had fathered behind him. At that moment, for the very first time in a long history, VooDoo Wolf and Vhodka Black were on the very same page. 

The two women stared at one another, VooDoo sporting rope burns around her throat and Vhodka’s face already swollen from the bat earlier in the match. In that moment, an understanding. And then, a truce.

Dickie Watson (c) vs Paul Montuori

FIGHT! NYC Empire Championship

The crowd is still on their feet from Paul Montuori’s entrance by the time that Dickie’s starts, and they pop at the sight of him. Carrying the Empire Title over his shoulder, and a look unlike what we’ve seen on his face in a long time. Dickie walks the isle slowly, giving Paul a good view of the belt getting closer to him by the second. Entering the ring, Dickie holds the belt up right to Paul’s face, and makes it very clear in his facial expression, that this is as close as he intends to let him get to it.

Dickie and Paul exchange a few ‘pleasantries’ before going to their separate corners. The crowd is enthusiastic as they look at the two men in the ring looking at each other. And then the horn went off. Paul, his hair flowing behind him as he rushes toward the center of the ring. And Dickie, who’s hair bounces with every step, and even more so when he attempts to grapple with Paul, but catches a kick to his gut from Paul. Paul grabs Dickie by the neck and tries to follow up with a knee, but Dickie catches the knee, sweeps the other leg, and drops an elbow onto Paul’s chest. Getting back onto his feet, Dickie attempts a second elbow but Paul rolls out of the way and to his feet. Dickie twirls up onto his knees, and then to his feet. Paul circles Dickie, reaching out an arm to keep him at distance and to take advantage of the difference in reach. Dickie smacks the hand away and runs toward Paul, jumping up at him and grabbing the back of his neck, and planting his knees into Paul’s chest, attempting a move but has it blocked when Paul grabs Dickie by the sides and pushes him away from him, but Dickie thinks fast and thrusts his legs outward, dropkicking him dead center into the chest, and backing him up into the bank of ropes behind him. Dickie kicks up to his feet, but Paul fires off the bank of ropes and lands a hard kick to Dickie’s chest, sending him back down to the mat, if only for a second.

Dickie bounces off the mat band turns over, rolling out of the ring and beneath the ropes. Paul swings at Dickie, but Dickie avoids it, tattoos Paul with a hard shot to his face, and backs him away from the ropes. Dickie springs off the apron, onto the top rope, and springs forward, coming down with a right arm to Paul’s throat, sending both of them flipping feet over head. Paul lands on his stomach, and Dickie lands on his back. They both start to rise, and Paul lunges, pulling the legs out from under Dickie, and grabbing both of his ankles. Stomping Dickie in the stomach a few times before moving over to Dickies left side, and pulling him up by his arm.

Dickie rises faster than Paul expects, and darts behind him, his hand still in Pauls. Spinning Paul around, Dickie attempts a one arm diamond cutter style move, but Paul frees his hand and uses the other to push Dickie away, causing him to land with a satisfying thud in the center of the ring. Dickie spends no time on the mat at all, and is back on his feet, an intensity in his eyes that is rivaled only by Pauls.

The two men spend the next 15 minutes doing just this. Getting the upper hand, having that upper hand reversed, and leaving one of them, and sometimes both of them, laid out but for only a few seconds. The only thing that continues to change is the size of the spots, and the moves performed in them. Dickie hitting a tornado DDT on Paul that would break a lesser neck, and Paul catching Dickie in a fall away slam that a weaker person would not have been able to roll out of as he had. 

Submission moves be damned. This wasn’t a wrestling match. This was a battle. To show the eyes of the world that are never off of fight, exactly what they should be looking at. Paul with a devasting DVD that made Dickie lose his breath. Dickie with a knee strike rush to the temple of Paul that makes him forget where he is.

We can not see the backstage area. We dare not take our eyes off the in ring action, but if anyone anywhere wasn’t watching this fight, standing on their feet in anticipation, then either they don’t watch wrestling or they don’t have a pulse. 

Dickie came close to pinning Paul several times, none of which were successful. Not true attempts mind you, but small packages, roll ups that Paul didn’t see coming, and the like. Most were barely one counts, a few made it to two.

Paul was no slouch in the pin attempts either. Having laid Dickie out for what he hoped would be the end of the match, he’d be left with a look of wonder when the smaller man kicked out with enough gusto to free him from a much bigger man.

The only people more shocked by the constant kick outs and reversals than the audience were each other. Paul who expected Dickie to be weak, and frail for his size. And Dickie, who expected Paul to lack in speed as opposed to strength. Both were wrong. Increasingly so. 

Sweaty, and beat up, but nowhere near tired, the two men keep this match going for another 20 minutes. Just as give and take, to and fro, as it had been the previous 35. Coming close to the time limit, the clock on the ref booth begins to count down and suddenly a sense of urgency begins to form in the faces and actions of both men. Dickie Watson who would not lose his title the first time he defended it. Paul Montuori who had been so close to getting this title first, and was sure it was meant to be his. Suddenly, it was not a wrestling match.

Now it was a fight.

Paul rushes Dickie, kicking him in the stomach and doubling him over. Grabbing both sides of his head he throws Dickie down head first against the mat. Dickie’s head bounces upward and is caught with a kick from Paul which sends him rotating to the left. On his stomach, he gets his feet up beneath him and pushes, darting toward Paul and getting his arms right behind his knees. Pulling his arms inward he removes Paul’s legs from underneath him and he falls with a thud that is partly his back, but mostly his head. Skittering ip Paul’s lanky frame, Dickie settles on his chest and lays into Paul with repeated rights, all hitting the same spot right beneath his left eye. Paul brings his knee up, and begins to hit Dickie in the back, over and over. Dickie gets one punch.

He gets a knee to the back, and loses his rhythm.

Dickie lands a punch,

Gets a knee, loses his rhythm.

Paul finally frees himself from the smaller but determined champion, and sends him flying off of him with a double knee that lands on his either side of Dickie, right at the bottom of his rib cage. Dickie, laying next to Paul, holds his sides with one arm, and starts to stand up, using the ropes to get himself up. Wandering to the corner, he is beset upon by Paul, who backs him into the corner, and begins to lay into him, blood dripping from a wound just beneath his eye fills the lines of his scowl, completing his look of utter rage like face paint. Dickie begins to slump into the corner, and Paul, out of breath but angry, staggers away from him.

Standing in the middle of the ring, Paul’s face becomes further enraged, and he takes a deep breath, lets out a primal yell, and rushes the corner with Dickie in it shoulder first.

But Dickie sees it coming, and lifts his feet, allowing Paul to collide through the turnbuckles, and into the corner post itself. Paul backs out of the corner, holding his shoulder and falling to one knee. Behind him, Dickie Watson stands on the corner, and waits. He waits for his moment. The moment he’s wanted since he came to fight, since he won the world title, since he signed on to be yet another example that no one might appreciate. This would not be a victory. It would not be a title retention. It would be the one thing that he wanted.

This would be proof.

Paul turns in time to see Dickie leap off the turnbuckle, his foot extended and his eyes on the back of Paul’s head. Paul rolls away, shoulder be damned despite it’s complaints, and watches as Dickie hits the mat and rolls out of his missed attempt. Both of them on their knees, looking to the other, Dickie and Paul stand up, but the shoulder injury Paul has causes him to stagger, and Dickie takes full advantage. Running at him, Dickie places one foot on Paul’s knee, and steps up…

Puts another foot on Paul’s shoulder, and steps up…

And twisting in the air, he comes down on the back of Paul’s head with his foot, and drives it into the mat.

Paul lays out flat, and Dickie turns him over, pinning him with a hooked leg, despite the fact that this just a forgone conclusion at this point. 3 seconds later, Dickie Watson is STILL the Empire Champion, and Paul Montuori is still laid out cold. Dickie stands up, and his Empire Championship is brought to him by Xavier Black, and Miss F, who congratulate him as press storm the ring to ask questions. As Dickie’s picture is taken with Xavier and F, Paul sits up, and silently leaves the ring. Looking at Dickie from the outside, he utters something about tomorrow, and returns backstage, never looking back.

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