A New Year

New Year.

The end of what has passed, and new beginnings. What crumbles to ash must rise again as the ball drops at the stroke of midnight, flames tearing through the night sky in glory.

FIGHT! NYC has had a tumultuous year. Well, half year. It’s own resurgence from ash came in July, when a solitary note was posted in the locker rooms of some of the best athletes the world had come to know and love, the entirety of the Outlaw Pro Wrestling roster, from where the ashes had crumbled, and some esteemed and world-renowned stars that would be sure to compete with the best OPW had to offer.

Not much information was given, but enough to entice. From there, this mysterious element of surprise had been something of a calling card, with the powers that be deciding to pair enemies against each other at Toxic Tag, and then asking the victors should they wish to fight each other.

Then corralling the top talent into groups of five and having them scale the very Tower that FIGHT! NYC called its’ home for ultimate superiority, and the secret prize of being the all ruling entity that had the power to stop other groups forming.

The truth was, for all the excitement, it was a difficult year for the wrestlers.

And to understand, you would have to understand Xavier Black. The man who had spent the majority of his career at the pinnacle, the man who had found his equal in Stephen Stratford, and the two of them had gone to such lengths to prove their superiority that they broke not only themselves but everybody around them.

Xavier Black thrived on adversity, he was never more dangerous and enthralling than when his back was against the wall and the chips were down, and it was his honest opinion that in order to get the best out of comfortable athletes, he would and should be constantly looking to disrupt their comfort. Constantly shuffle the deck, constantly evolve. To turn their world upside down and make them fight the quicksand, question everybody and be on alert at all times. Comfort was danger.

New Year would bring the end to the infancy of FIGHT! NYC’s 2021, and give birth to more chaos, more disruption, more shuffling of the deck. Maybe some would dissolve in the acid bath waiting below, but he was certain that others would rise and soar to a level that they never could have without FIGHT! NYC and its’ philosophy.

FIGHT! Tower is not far from Times Square, but on this night, the first of three in the lead up to the ball dropping, it drowned the famous square. Bodies on bodies were moving in and around the foot of the Tower, and the monolithic outline of it whited out onto a black background, with the letters making up FIGHT! NYC overlaid.

A disco ball starts to spin, faded black and white at first, before blending into full colour. It is starting to grow larger, closer, until suddenly it crashes into what appears to be glass on which the FIGHT! NYC logo was etched. As the glass shatters, and the disco ball does too, violet letters shimmer around the disco ball and the unmistakable voice of Xavier Black says four simple words.

Your Countdown starts now…

.

.

I love you

The footage begins to roll showing Tara standing in the locker room with her sister; Jennie is already in her ring gear with the Queens Championship adorning her waist. She is hopping lightly on her feet to get the blood flowing, but Tara was eyeing her… It was clear that Tara had concern for this match over her, and she couldn’t stop herself from sneering at her sister while cocking her head to the side. 

Jennie Fenix: What is it?

Jennie asked with an innocence in her voice. As if she couldn’t remember how upset Tara had become when something as embarrassing as the Queens Championship was tied to her name, and to her legacy.

Jennie Fenix: I’m not going to lose this time!

Tara scoffed. Jennie immediately caught up on it, and repeated:

Jennie Fenix: I’M NOT! 

She said with a certain determination; she wanted to be rid of this specific belt just as much as Tara had never wanted it. 

Tara Fenix: I’ve heard that before, Jennie, and–

Jennie Fenix: But–

Tara Fenix: –you’re a screw up! That’s what you do, Jennie. You screw everything up… 

Jennie Fenix: That’s not fair.

Jennie muttered, but Tara wasn’t giving her time to say anything while she continued her own rambling against her.

Tara Fenix: You pushed me to get together with Jason, and look how that ended. You took money from Vhodka and let her waste it on you because you couldn’t beat Michelle; you talked crap to Warstein, and look what he did to you! And then just when I don’t think you can get any worse, you screw up by going against Joe Montuori and losing so that you–

Tara tapped a knuckle against the plate of the belt.

Tara Fenix: –have to wear this embarrassment, and do nothing but bring shame onto a name that I’ve earned! A name that means something!

Jennie Fenix: Tara, I–

Tara Fenix: You what?!

Jennie Fenix: –I–

Tara Fenix: You’re going to get better, but you aren’t going to listen to me?! You what?

Jennie Fenix: –I–

Tara Fenix: Just. Stop.

Tara took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. The expression on her face was conflicted; it was evident that she loved Jennie, but with everything that has happened, she had zero confidence in her ability. 

Tara Fenix: I’m glad you came back, Jennie, but that ring, this business, this profession… it’s not for you. This is not what you should be doing. This is what Chris should be doing, this is what I should be doing, this is what Sabin should be doing, and who knows: maybe one day, this is what Edward should be doing! But not you, Jennie. I want you to go out there and get rid of that championship, and then… I want you to retire…

Jennie’s jaw trembled as she lowered her eyes, and began biting at her lip. She sniffled and raised an arm to wipe at her nose; her eyes watered up as she was almost on the verge of tears.

Jennie Fenix: I’m not–

Tara Fenix: You are.

Tara could tell how upset Jennie had become by her own words, and reached her arm around her to draw her in and gave her a gentle kiss on the forehead.

Tara Fenix: I love you, but leave this to me. Tonight is your last night.

End footage.

Jennie Fenix (c) vs Ashlynn Cassidy

FIGHT! NYC Queens Championship

The Queens Championship gets a bad rep, I think.

I mean, it IS the loser belt, or at least that was how it was conceived. And you win it by losing to the champion. So that’s a thing. But there’s one thing to be said about it and that is that people fight like hell, people in Queens Championship matches fight like hell.

Jennie Fenix had the world’s biggest chip on her shoulder. Her sister had just given her the biggest dose of tough love one could imagine, and on the other side of the ring was Ashlynn, who herself had nothing but a point to prove.

They were both on the precipice, waiting, shifting almost weightlessly through the nothingness. Doors open, doors close, sometimes you can get through, often times you’re pushed back. This is not how they imagined they would be spending their New Year’s Eve weekend, fighting for the so-called Loser belt.

But they had the privilege of being the first match on the biggest FIGHT! NYC show of the year. They were determined to set the tone. Jennie was quick off the mark, and Ashlynn was not even a beat off the pace. They exchanged momentum quickly and hit a series of high impact moves that really had the crowd on the tips of their toes.

Momentarily, the feed of Occhi cut to the backstage area where we saw Tara Fenix looking on as her sister wrestled. She seemed anxious, or frustrated.

Back in the ring, Jennie was now being worked over by Ashlynn, who had managed to get the upper hand when Jennie slipped. Ashlynn hit a running knee as Jennie was on her knees, and from there it seemed like it was firmly in her control. She hit a front flip, followed by a lariat, Under/Over & Over & Over.

Jennie Fenix got to her feet again, but then Ashlynn quickly hooked her up for a legtrap DDT which she calls the Lasting Impression, however Jennie managed to unhook herself, slip through and hit a belly to back suplex.

Jennie slid out of the ring, killing her own momentum, to catch a breath and recalibrate. This was too important to make decisions on instinct, and she knew it. She hoped that this would show her growing as a competitor, not just relying on her god-given talent but also using her intelligence. Jennie looked out to the crowd, soaked in the moment. It wasn’t every day you got to open the show for one of the most anticipated events on the pro wrestling calendar for 2021.

But sometimes, a little patience and space is good and other times, it’s too much. Inside the ring, Ashlynn had recovered from the belly-to-back suplex and was on her feet. As soon as Jennie turned back to the ring, she was blindsided by a projectile human flying through FIGHT! Tower.

Damon Riggs near jumped out of his seat, reacting to the impact.

Ashlynn Cassidy got to her feet quickly, and rolled Jennie back under the bottom rope. It was her chance. She stepped forth, inspired by the swelling roar of New York, and pulled Jennie in to show her that sometimes instinct is better than overthinking, and then she let her go with Peroid, Peace.

The lateral press resulted in a three count.

LOSER; AND STILL FIGHT! NYC QUEENS CHAMPION – JENNIE FENIX

Ashlynn dropped to her knees. The validation she sought.

She looked at Jennie, who’s eyes were beginning to swell. She came up short. Again. Her sister was right. Again. What did she need to do?

Back to the drawing board. Again.

The Butterfly

17th October 2021 – FIGHT! Tower

As the raucous Ascension match is taking place, a bloodied and concussed Brandon Moore stumbles out into a hallway. Eliminated by Bam Miller, taking revenge for the harsh lessons that Moore had doled out to him in season one. The harsh reality is that Brandon Moore had underperformed, phoned it in. On Night One, he’d succumbed to the will of Shawn Warstein and on night two he seemed broken, different. A shell of himself. And it all came to a head as he collapsed in a heap on the floor of a service corridor.

Brandon Moore: Fuck.

He spat blood. His head was spinning, and all of a sudden his world started going dark.

Then, in the darkness, a voice.

Voice: You’re circling the drain.

As the body that the voice belonged to shifted, the light flooded back into the room. A delicate but assertive tone of voice, indistinguishable. His silhouette nondescript, just darkness as a shadow cast down on the Faded Star.

Voice: You’ve lost yourself, in this war. You’ve lost yourself. Your priorities are askew, your vision blurred. They’re going to take a clean sweep, watch.

The person pushes Moore with his boot. Brandon bares his teeth angrily as he looks up at the person standing over him.

Voice: There’s no fight left in you.

Brandon Moore: I’ll fight until I die, you of all people know this.

Voice: Then fight.

Brandon Moore: What for? They are the darlings, everything is stacked in their favor. No matter what I do, I’m isolated, they divided us all and took over.

Voice: You are the symbol of the people that came before you. Riggs, Montuori, Vhodka, Xavier, Anicka. In your death spiral you represent everything that came of the people that came before us.

Brandon Moore: What do YOU care about those people?

Voice: Those people, insidious as they may be, are our people. With their failing, your failing, brings into question everything the rest of us ever accomplished. You need to heal those old wounds of the past, for the greater good. You should go to The Old Man, he will lend an ear seeing you like this. And from there, the rest of them.

The man stands now, turning away.

Voice: Get yourself clean. That poison never did anything for you but let you settle for mediocrity. Angry Brandon with a chip on his shoulder is the dangerous one, not the one who drowns his feelings in a 30 gauge needle. Cut the poison out of your body, so you can cut the cancer out of FIGHT!.

As the shadow disappeared, Occhi focused on Brandon Moore’s face, who seemed like he had both seen a ghost and a revelation at the same time. It would take some self-reflection and healing before he could start to do what he needed to do. He pushed open the fire escape door and daylight poured in. A white butterfly landed on the back of his hand, and then it fades away.

The Brooklyn Trials

History in the Making

When this match was announced, Atara Themis was the champion by right and Anne Boleyn was the champion by possession, only she had defaced the championship and turned it into a crown, and she hadn’t had rightful ownership of it in the first place. A happenstance mistake by a terrible member of staff caused a misunderstanding, and Atara Themis is not the type to leave on the wrong end of a misunderstanding, so Vhodka Black had paid from her own money to replace the original FIGHT! NYC Brooklyn Championship.

But it struck an idea, because Anne Boleyn would not willingly give up her crown, and Atara had no reason to want to walk away from what she earned through sweat and blood. The Brooklyn Trials would be a series of challenges. And in this moment Atara Themis and Anne Boleyn were sat in front of Serotonin, both of them with their respective version of the Brooklyn Championship laid out on a table in front of them. They had a small piece of paper, and a larger piece of paper. Serotonin stepped closer to the two ladies.

Serotonin: Okay, history of Brooklyn exam. You got five minutes to answer twenty questions about Brooklyn and then we are done for the day. Easy work.

Atara Themis looked up, scowling. She was a renowned athlete, one of the best in the game at the moment, and this was what FIGHT! NYC wanted to do with her talent?

Anne Boleyn looked down at the words as if not all of them made sense, then back at the purple-haired, fake-tanned, three inch fingernail extension-ed entity that was the Assistant to the Head Liaison.

Neither of the competitors had been given lead time on this requirement, and neither seemed prepared.

Serotonin: First question. True or false, if Brooklyn were a city in it own right, it’d be top 5 largest in America?

Atara Themis: I just need it to make sense. What importance does it ha–

Anne Boleyn: True. Bugger it. Why ever not?

Atara, cut off by Anne, shoots a glare of fury toward her opponent. All of a sudden, a fire is lit under her and now she wants to win. Who cares why.

And so it went on. Serotonin was happy to conduct this exam as a buzzer-beater, despite her working very hard on scented scoring cards and question sheets for a silent exam. This was way better, seeing them try and fail to answer basic questions about Brooklyn. As the last question loomed, they were tied on 6 points each with 7 questions that neither could correctly identify.

Both of them seemed very keen to get one over on the other, and their chairs had visibly moved closer and closer to Serotonin, and to each other.

Serotonin: Aight, for all the marbles, then. True or false – The hot dog, an iconic American food, was invented in Coney Island in the late 1800s?

Anne Boleyn: This is the wrong century for me…

Serotonin looks at Anne, who shrugs her shoulders.

Atara Themis: Of course its true. Ain’t gonna get one over on me about junk food. Tell me I’m wrong! Come on, tell me!

Serotonin: You ain’t wrong, girl. I mean, you wrong AF. On so many levels. But this? You got this one.

Atara Themis stands up, grabs her belt from the table in front of her and tips over the table that housed Anne’s crown.

Atara Themis: Now off with her head. Brooklyn is mine!

Serotonin stifled a chuckle, before reaching down and handing Anne back her crown. Smarting, and feeling like the odds were stacked against her, Anne had a scowly face, which softened by the giving of her crown.

Atara looked up, concerningly.

Serotonin: Back here, same time tomorrow. Round two. Problem solving.

ATARA THEMIS – 1

ANNE BOLEYN – 0

What I Should Be Doing

Jennie Fenix was distraught. She sat in a corridor, on a chair, on her own. She looked down at the silver championship that she was burdened with, the crooked broken crown and wondered if her sister was right. Was she cut out for this? Is this what she should be doing?

Her sister appeared next to her, a wry look on her face.

Tara Fenix: Do you see what I am talking about, now?

Jennie continued to look down.

Tara Fenix: Are you okay? Injured?

Jennie stood up.

Jennie Fenix: I’m not quitting. You don’t believe in me, and you may never, but I’m not quitting.

Tara’s face turned from one of pity to one of anger.

Tara Fenix: You really don’t see it? Or are you just too stupid to recognise it? You’re not cut out for this. I’m sorry, I love you.

Jennie Fenix: This is not love. You don’t know what love is.

Tara Fenix: How dare yo—

Jennie steps forward and nails her sister in the face with a brutal Genocide Kick. Without a second thought, she covers her sister, and the crowd in the arena yell out 

ONE

TWO

THREE!!

Jennie stands up, and throws the championship down on her sister.

Jennie Fenix: There. Now you deal with the embarrassment. Leave me alone.

Jennie turns and storms off, the FIGHT! Crowd wondering whether it should stand or not.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey vs Ricky Rodriguez

#1 Contendership to Brooklyn Championship

Fight Tower is rocking as Ricky and Todrick emerge from their corners meeting in the center of the ring with a handshake before backing away which garners a louder ovation with the sportsmanship shown between both friends. 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: It’s always good to see the show of respect between two longtime friends like Todrick and Ricky.

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: It always starts out friendly, let’s see if it stays that way. 

They separate from the center of the ring where they lock up. It’s Ricky that snatches a side headlock as he starts grinding on Toddy’s head. The referee is quick to check for a choke, all is clear. Todrick wasted no time as he backed up against the ropes and fired Ricky across the ring, he bounces off the near side ducking under a Todrick lariat attempt where Ricky bounces off the far side and into a tilt-a-whirl attempt from Tabor-Ramsey that’s counter with a head scissors take over with the momentum sending Todrick rolling out to the floor. Ricky sizes him up and rushes across the ring bouncing off the far side where he dives over the top rope with a corkscrew plancha that brings Fight Tower to their feet! Todrick hits the floor as Ricky lands on his feet with no wasted motion as he picks Toddy up and hurls her back into the ring. Ricky dives under the ropes and into a quick pin attempt that’s kicked out in two! 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: Ricky is looking to end it quickly in the early goings. 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: He wants to avenge the loss the last time these two locked horns here inside the Tower. Can’t blame him for that. 

Ricky is back to his feet after the near-fall as he reaches down picking Todrick up off the mat where he rocks her with a forearm shot, followed by a second, then a third backing Tabor-Ramsey into a neutral corner. Ricky backs up to the center of the ring before charging forward towards Todrick who side steps Ricky at the last second sending him crashing sternum first into the turnbuckles where he staggers backward several feet giving Todrick more than enough space to connecting with her Flying Chuck kick to the face of Rodriguez to a huge pop from the crowd as she scurries into the cover hooking the near leg for a strong two count. Todrick quickly transitions into a rear chin lock as the official slides into position asking Ricky to surrender. 

J MICHEAL BRILLIANCE: These two know each other so well, they’ve been in the ring together so many times that it makes you wonder if this match is going to come down who makes the first big mistake. 

Ricky starts working his way back to his feet while Todrick cranks back on the rear chin lock, Ricky turns into the chin lock where he looks to deliver a side suplex! Todrick flips over the back of Ricky landing on her feet, Ricky spins around where she scoops him up and delivers a running powerslam! Tabor-Ramsey rolls over onto her back where she nips up to a huge pop from the crowd that only escalates louder as she steps out to the ring apron before starting to climb up to the top turnbuckle! Ricky starts to stir as he begins to get back to his feet, and as he stands Todrick comes off the top rope with a Molly-Go-Round that sees Ricky hit a tremendous counter into a sit-out Powerbomb! Ricky is quick to cover with yet another near-fall as Ramsey is able to kick out in two. 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: A sweet little counter by Ricky swings the momentum back to his favor. 

Ricky is back to his feet where he picks up Todrick and hits a spinning neckbreaker before responding with a nip up of his own! Ricky takes it high risk as Fight Tower roars for both participants as Ricky climbs up to the top turnbuckle. He sees Todrick getting up where he sets sail with a Missile Dropkick landing on the money! Ricky covers with a back press hooking a near leg for a near fall! Ricky gets back to his feet where he picks up Tabor-Ramsey, he shoots her across the ring with an Irish Whip, Toddy bounces off the ropes as Ricky drops his head for a back body drop attempt only to have Tabor-Ramsey deliver a modified ax kick across the back of the neck! 

The crowd pops big as both men are down. 

The official starts laying the count. 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: Incredible counter by Tabor-Ramsey as both are down. 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: It goes back to how well these two know each other. You can’t expect either to have an advantage for a long period without some sort of counter.

Todrick picks Ricky up off the mat where she bounces off the ropes landing a running STO! Tabor-Ramey makes the cover hooking the near leg for a near fall. The crowd starts a dueling chant of “LET’S GO TODDY/LET’S GO RICKY” chant as the love from the Tower pours over both of these prime athletes. Toddy gets back to her feet, she reaches down picking Ricky up off the mat rocking him with a series of European Uppercuts rocking Ricky back into a neutral corner. 

Todrick laces Ricky across the chest with a knife-edge chop which echoes throughout the Tower.

She lands a second before hoisting up Ricky to a seated position on the top rope. Toddy steps up on the middle rope before going up to the high rent district where she peals off an incredible top rope hurrincanranna! The crowd roars as she makes the cover hooking the far leg of Ricky! The referee slides into position making the count which draws a collective gasp from Fight Tower when Ricky shoots a shoulder up of the mat before the referee’s count of three. 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: I thought it was over! 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: So did everyone inside FIGHT Tower!

The dueling chant continues for Toddy and Ricky as she works her way back to her feet. She reaches down picking Ricky up off the mat where she shoots him into the set of turnbuckles. She charges forward where Ricky manages to send her smashing face-first into the middle turnbuckle with a drop toe hold! He rolls her up with a schoolboy for another near fall! Ricky beats Toddrick to her feet where he hits a picture-perfect Superkick! Tabor-Ramsey hits the mat like a ton of bricks as Ricky seizes the moment and steps out to the ring apron where he scales back up to the top turnbuckle! He measures his prey before leaping high into the air with a Shooting Star Press that sees him crash down on top of the knees of Tabor-Ramsey as she draws them up into his midsection! 

She transitions into an inside cradle for another near fall! 

The fans inside the Tower being a massive chant of “THIS IS AWESOME! THIS IS AWESOME! THIS IS AWESOME!” as the battle between friends continues with a shot at the Brooklyn Title in the balance.

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: It’s hard to disagree with the sentiments of the Fight Fans here in New York City! 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: Much like they’re screaming it around the world!

Todrick slowly starts to make her way back to her feet. She reaches down picking Ricky up off the mat where she delivers the WIG SNATCH DDT! The Tower pops as she rolls Ricky over making the cover! The crowd gasps as Ricky escapes at the very last possible second! 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: What a ride these two are taking us on night one of Countdown! 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: It’s a pick em’ at this point if you ask me, it goes back to who will make that big mistake?!

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey uses the ropes to help pull herself up to a vertical base where she signals for Hand On Your Knees! Fight Tower pops big as she picks up Ricky off the mat. She looks to set him up for the finish that Ricky spins out of and counters with a ¾ Neckbreaker from out of nowhere! 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: COUNTER BY RODRIGUEZ!

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: That could be that one mistake that matters!

Ricky reaches a vertical base where he picks Todrick up off the mat, he takes her up in a torture rack position! 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: Ricky’s got him set up for the Real Style! 

But before he can deliver it Todrick slides down the back where she plants Ricky with HAND ON YOUR KNEES to secure the pinfall victory! 

WINNER; TODRICK TABOR-RAMSEY

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: Todrick Tabor-Ramsey has just secured herself a shot at the Brooklyn Championship! That was one hell of a contest! 

Toddy gets to her feet where her arm is raised in victory! Fight Tower applauds the efforts of Todrick and Ricky as they’ve both left it all in the ring. Todrick jumps up on set of turnbuckles throwing her arms in the air. While she celebrates Ricky is shown sitting up on the mat, dejected as he backs into a neutral corner watching Todrick from the distance. 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE:  Ricky has nothing to hold his head down about. An incredible performance within a match that could have broken either way. 

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: I’m proud as hell of both of these two young talents in FIGHT because they both just showed you something that there’s not a lot of within professional wrestling anymore; heart. 

Todrick hops down off the turnbuckles as she turns around where she sees Ricky slumped in the corner. She walks over to him where she reaches her hand out. Ricky looks at the hand before reaching out and taking it as Todrick helps him to his feet. The two hug it out to a huge ovation before Ricky raises Todrick’s arm up in the air 

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: Now that right there is what I love seeing. 

Piggyback Rides

After the match with Todrick, Ricky Rodriguez makes his way through the curtain and into the back. His thoughts were swirling and every inch of his body hurt from that match. As soon as he got there, the result of the match didn’t matter. He had just went out there and had the match of his life with one of his best friends.

The adrenaline was still running high and Ricky found himself feeling better than he had in a long time. But even none of that mattered when he saw who was standing there, excitedly waiting for him. Jennie Fenix stood with her hands clasped together as she looked at Ricky with a large smile and a look of pride on her face.

It wasn’t that she was standing there that took Ricky off guard, it was the fact that things were playing out almost exactly like they did in a dream he had about her. Almost everything, down to the eerily similar outfit she wore, was just the same. He took a single step forward before being rushed by Jennie. She threw her arms around him as he wrapped his around her. The two shared a tight hug before parting just enough to look at one another.

Jennie Fenix: ‘Oh my godd, you were great out there! You totally killed it!’

Ricky was all smiles after hearing Jennie. 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I did alright.’

Jennie’s brow furrowed with feigned offense as she playfully punched Ricky in the arm. He winced and grabbed where she punched him, causing her to laugh out.

Jennie Fenix: ‘Stoopp. You were great. Everything you did looked so good. You have to give yourself more credit than that.’

Ricky gasped out, noticeably shocked as Jennie laughed out again, this time poking at his chest with her index finger.

Jennie Fenix: See, that doesn’t just work on me. Works on you too.’

Slowly, Ricky nodded his head, that smile dominating his face.

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘You’re right. I felt great out there and I think it showed.’

Jennie Fenix: ‘That’s more like it! Piggyback ride?’

Laughing out, Ricky gave another nod before turning around with his back facing her. Ricky kneeled down as Jennie climbed on his back. Her arms wrapped around his neck while her legs did the same around his midsection as Ricky stood up fully. As he did, he jumped a bit, causing her to bounce around and laugh out.

Jennie Fenix: ‘Let’s hurry up and get out of here and celebrate!’

Ricky nodded in agreement as walked off with Jennie on his back, the two of them laughing while they did.

Magic Mirror On The Wall

Paul Montuori smiles as he stands in his pod. Waiting to be escorted to the ring. As he carries out his final stretches, he looks at himself in the mirror. His auburn hair, his bare chest, his tan and angular features. He was ready. This was good. He was ready to turn the leaf anew.

As he caught a glimpse, again, he realised that what stared back at him wasn’t himself. His features were saturated a little, paler. His eyes darker. His skin clear, and blackened dreadlocks. A symbol on his forehead. The symbol on his forehead. iMaGiNe. What the hell was happening?

As he continued to stare, he saw the dreadlocks soften and straighten out, until he had long jet black hair.

Black lips, smeared and messed up.

The reflection smiled at him, but he was sure he didn’t smile.

He shook his head.

Paul Montuori: What the fuck?

iMaGiNe: Just… trust the process. It might seem fucked up, but it will work. In the end.

He blinked a couple of times, not quite believing that the reflection responded to him.

Talent Liaison: Mr Montuori… they’re ready for you..

As the door swung open, Paul checked back and in the mirror was his own reflection, not the weird one.

New Status Quo (c) vs Moore & Montuori

FIGHT! NYC Islands Championship

So, you should know that Brandon Moore and Paul Montuori are not teaming together for the first time. They paid their Blood Money and wanted to take a shot at taking out the incumbents because of all of the perceived hostile takeover that had happened since Blood Money back in July. But Brandon Moore and Paul Montuori were infamous as a team, they came together at Tag Wars II and swept the floor with the competition and duly named themselves Wrecked & Worthless. Or Dubdub. An enigmatic team that would eventually succumb to their own differences before any team could do the damage to take the championships from them, the only team to beat Vincent Black and Vhodka Marie as she was previously known.

But on this night they were known only as Moore and Montuori. And they were the challengers to the throne.

The incumbent kings, in all senses of the word, were New Status Quo. They’d Ascended, literally, to this position by climbing to the top of the tower and eliminating all of the other teams in the competition along the way. The beautiful man standing in the centre of the ring, James Raven, being a pivotal part of that happening. He was flanked by Aiden Reynolds, who had come in and hit the ground running with several impressive performances of his own.

In eliminating the other teams, they had literally eliminated them from existence. They were forced to disband on the spot, and no new group was allowed to form until such a time as New Status Quo mandated it. And so, to their chagrin, Moore and Montuori were not allowed to have the grand reunion with all the hype and visuals that they had hoped for. In fact, they had to enter the ring separately. They had been kept in separate parts of the Tower since arriving, and as they finally met for the first time in the ring on this evening, they bumped fists and the crowd gave a roaring reaction.

Nobody could be accused of loving Brandon Moore, but Paul was a loveable character, and a reunion could perhaps soften Brandon, so here’s hoping?

Raven and Aiden nodded to one another and then Aiden cracked his neck. Raven bolted across the ring and drove an elbow into the back of Moore, bundling him through the ropes and out of the ring, and Paul Montuori got caught in the crossfire. Aiden was in the ring alone, looked out at the crowd, shrugged, and then sauntered in a relaxed manner to join the fray.

We are reminded that this is to be a street fight, so whilst they went through the formalities of coming to the arena and into the ring, that was not a requirement. In fact, Brandon Moore had a handful of Raven’s immaculate hair, and with Paul’s help, dumped him headfirst into the crowd.

And in that moment, it was just like when you’re a girl in a mosh pit at a packed rock concert, and the bodies squash together and all of a sudden you feel grabby hands in places that hands have no business being. The New York crowd was relentless, and Raven was the girl.

It lasted but a moment, but certainly was enough to have scarred him for life. Montuori and Moore were quick to follow and whilst they may’ve found it somewhat amusing, it wasn’t an effective tactic to win their match and the FIGHT! NYC Islands Championships. Paul Montuori wrestled a chair from beneath a woman sitting in the front row, and threw it at the oncoming Aiden Reynolds. Reynolds caught it, and just as Montuori was going to follow up with something definitely devastating, a man from the crowd grabbed his arm and pulled him against all of his momentum.

Crowd Member: You just took that chair from my pregnant wife! What the fuck, man?

Paul Montuori: Shit, uh, well, I’m sorry man. Listen, I’ll make it up to you but I’m a bit–

Aiden levelled Montuori in the gut with the chair, then slammed his head down onto it as he braced it over his knee. He then turned to the angry gentleman, and offered him the slightly mis-shapen chair back.

Aiden Reynolds: Here you go, mate. Sorry it’s a bit dented.

Raven and Moore had disappeared to the depths of god-knows-where, and Paul and Aiden had decided that moving out of the large concentration of fans at ringside was a good idea and they threw hands as they edged toward the concession stands. Paul spent the majority of the time finding condiments to ram Reynolds’ head into, and Reynolds would use what little amateur wrestling he had to drive his ketchup laden forehead into the clavicle of his opponent, driving him to the cinderblock walls and then using whatever was in reach to clobber the Blood Money finalist with. A highlight of this exchange was Reynolds and his parkour-inspired scaling of a hotdog stand where he stepped on a chair, then a table, then somebody’s back before finding himself atop the concession stand. He then hit a diving somersault plancha. For a guy of his size and build it seemed a stretch, but he nailed it. Montuori reeled back before losing his footing and succumbing to a pinfall attempt. He escaped before it was too late.

In the control room there was rage coming from the pores of the controller who was cycling through several thousand video feeds trying to find out precisely where Raven and Moore had gone. You see, they were so focused on this exchange between Montuori and the member of the crowd that they hadn’t seen where exactly they’d ended up. Panic was setting in, until eventually the guy back-seat-operating yelled out “THERE! THERE THEY ARE! BOILER ROOM!”

And the feed cut to the boiler room. Moore had Raven against some copper piping and was trying to chain him to it. He knew he couldn’t score a pinfall on a guy who couldnt have his shoulders pinned to the mat, but that wasn’t important. His suffering was.

Because for everything that NSQ represented, this man was the one that stood out the most. He wasn’t even here in Season One, not until the finale. He didn’t do the hard work, if you could even call it that. He just turned up, got his token title and his associated main event bookings. He was the poster boy of entitlement, and it was him that needed to be made an example of.

Occhi caught a close up of Brandon Moore, who had a crimson mask, and then ran some rewind footage of Raven throwing him through a pane of glass, and down a flight of stairs.

Somehow, Moore was in the commanding position at this point, though. He had wrapped his fists in the chain that he had previously been trying to use to chain him to the piping, and drilled it into Raven’s forehead. James Raven grabbed a front facelock and stopped the onslaught of fists coming his way from the Faded Star. He attempts to suplex Moore into the wall but with no such luck, the maneuver is reversed and a northern lights suplex has Raven on his back on the concrete and a pinfall attempt. It was stifled at two when The People’s GOAT thrust himself free.

Paul and Aiden were the focus again, as they were battling in the area near the parking lot. Paul had Aiden in the footwell of a pickup truck, and was repeatedly slamming the door on him. Aiden was screaming in pain, until the searing white pain coursing through his body forced him into survival mode, god mode, beast mode, whatever you’d call it. He near enough kicked the door off of its hinge and straight into PMont’s face. As the door swung back, it nailed Aiden across the knees again once for good measure and both men cried out in echoed pain.

James Raven had Brandon Moore by the belt, they were in a different area but it looked to be still underground. There were all the fixtures and fittings of the Heatmeiser room from the Christmas show still in place.

James Raven: That stupid fucking match.

Raven continued to mutter under his breath and then threw Brandon Moore with all his strength into the wall. The wall was a plasterboard wall, and it crumbled with the force and weight of a 6’5” and 225lb man crashing into it. A bunch of electrics exploded and send sparks in multiple directions as the wall twisted and dissipated.

Raven was quietly satisfied with himself, and then the screen split to show Paul Montuori limping away from Aiden Reynolds who was limping after him. Both men thought themselves the predator, and the other prey, which was an interesting dynamic to watch unfold as the two men came together, with Montuori turning to catch the oncoming prey and Reynolds using what little left in his knees to jump in the air.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen two people try to do a diving cutter at the same time but The Gold Coast Cutter and the PaulKO are basically the same thing, and they ended up both jumping on the floor holding hands and faceplanting the concrete.

On the other screen, James Raven is standing over the body of Brandon Moore, and he tries to pull him out of the rubble. But the Faded Star is indestructible. He grabs Raven as he comes close, and monkey flips him into the electronics.

They are throwing right hands at each other rolling around in these cables and more and more sparks are flying as the electronics continue to short-circuit and neither of them seem to understand the danger.

Getting to his feet first, Aiden Reynolds grabs Paul Montuori by the legs and manages to lock in his signature leglock, the FOUR X GOLD.

Brandon Moore, down in the Bareknuckle Pit, has somehow got James Raven perched on his shoulder. James Raven skids down the back of Brandon Moore and shoves him face first into cinderblocks, then the feed from Occhi cuts.

The sound can still be heard.

DAMON “HAVOK” RIGGS: What the hell?

J MICHAEL BRILLIANCE: We’re hearing from tech that they’re working on restoring the feed, bare with us, folks.

Screams. Static. A standby logo appears on the screen, then more thudding and crashing, before the feed cuts back in. Aiden Reynolds’ face, looking vacantly up at the ceiling, is all that is in shot. Blood trickles from a large gash in his forehead. Then the announce system counting to three. There. It was done.

Occhi pans back slowly to reveal Paul Montuori standing over Reynolds, only his skin seems paler, and his hair darker. He laughs as he looks down on the destruction. Slowly the camera shifts around his body to reveal his face, blackened eyes and scribbled out lips, a symbol on his forehead, black body paint all down his chest and arms, and white-out eyes. He bares his fangs and screams at the sky.

James Raven looks down at Moore, beaten but not defeated, and then back up at the gods. Somebody up there had told him that Aiden had been pinned. Something happened during that blackout, he knew it. He drove one more boot into Moore for good measure, and then he did what he could to make it to Aiden. A thought didn’t cross his mind that he had no idea where Aiden and Paul had been fighting. He just knew he needed to check on him. He knew he needed to have his partner’s back, and he hadn’t had it.

This strange iteration of Paul Montuori was evidently the one known as iMaGiNe. He was given the FIGHT! NYC Islands Championship, he raised it up to his face briefly to inspect it, and then dropped it to the floor.

WINNERS; NEW FIGHT! NYC ISLANDS CHAMPIONS – PAUL MONTUORI & BRANDON MOORE

iMaGiNe: You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

The camera faded to black, then the FIGHT! NYC logo appeared, and then the Countdown logo. The three on the logo started to flicker and fade until the number 2 clicked into place, and then the feed cut.

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