Desensitization

TAG WARS III.

Round One.

Miss F: Please, please, you won’t be needing that.

Miss F stood in front of me, her expression expectant as she gestured to the FIGHT! NYC Empire Championship that was slung over my shoulder. She raised both of her hands, pursing her lips slightly as she waited, and for a second, I could feel the perspiration rising upon my brow. No, this wouldn’t be the last time I held the championship in my hands, but it still felt like hell as she raised both of her hands. With a small sigh, slow and determined, I pulled it from my shoulder, setting it within her hands. 

Together, we walked side by side then. It was daunting, knowing that this woman, who we knew nothing more than her initial — which probably was fake anyway — but she knew everything about us and this company, the ins and the outs. Maybe we were just the peons on a chess board, moving wherever we were told in a game only made for one person, and she was the master at the game. Or she was the hand that moved everything. Part of me wondered where she came from, what she did before this, who she was…but that could wait. Like everything else, that could wait, because my focus needed to be on this. Now. Pondering origin stories never bode well for tasks at hand.

Nothing more.

However, she kept the pace with me, her steps matched mine, like she was my mirror. After a few moments, she stopped short. An outline of a door was there, embedded into the wall. I could feel my lips beginning to crack as if the air had become dry. There was barely a seam around its edge, but it looked different. She stepped forward a bit, with one of her feet, and pushed a keycard to what must have been a hotspot lock on the wall. A green light illuminated like a halo around the door, signaling entry. She slid the door open, to the left, and ushered me in.

Miss F: Wait in here, please. Soon you will know what to do.

She folded her hands over her clothing, and I looked at her apprehensively. If there was anything I’d learned from this company so far was that I needed to expect unexpected situations. I was hesitant, but still…I stepped in. I wanted to know what this was for, what the point of all this was, but as I turned and looked back to ask her, the door slammed shut in, pushed by some force that I couldn’t explain. Perhaps hydraulics. I was left standing in utter darkness, and the world around me began to cave in. I paused, trying to calm my heart rate as I reached out and pressed my fingers against a cold surface — perhaps a wall.

I ran my hand the length of what I could, finding myself stopping a moment later as I felt a change in direction. I was boxed in. I was hemmed in. It was only four feet in width around, and though I could stand tall enough, it still felt like shit to be in this.

Perspiration built up upon the back of my neck. It was claustrophobic in this room, deafening. I could hear nothing, I could visualize nothing…and yet I was meant to stand in here calmly. I pressed both my hands to the walls around me, feeling for a crack in the wall, something, anything, to get out of this box. I couldn’t even feel the air above me, and my breaths became shallower and shallower. Part of me wanted to yell out, but I didn’t. I clamped my lips shut and exhaled. But the air was heavier. My skin began to itch. My hearing began to hollow out like a cave. I reached out, scratching my fingers against the wall, trying to feel anything but the walls closing in on me.

Trust this.

Yeah, fucking right. After Blood Money? Who would trust what happened in this building?

Eventually, however, a dull light began to appear on the wall to my right, stopping my brief foray into panic. Dim at first, it flickered for a moment before the wall nearly disappeared. It was clear that it was glass — a two-way mirror, and whatever electronic that allowed it to change shut off entirely finally allowed me to see that I was not alone. 

Paul Montuori was on the other side of the mirror, with the fluorescent light shining down upon both of us. He stares back, almost as if he is in about the same amount of shock, his nerves having desensitized to frazzled little bits like his own. Our eyes meet, and we both share the same expression of confusion. 

A click sounds next to my head, and the glass disappears, slowly moving back mechanically. Apart from the mechanical movement of glass, it is silent. There are no other sounds leaking through. A pindrop could echo for miles.

Paul Montuori: Hello, Dickie.

Dickie Watson: Thought I might see you, if I was gonna see anyone.

Paul Montuori: What is this?

I shook my head, but it seemed to be setting in. This was, after all, Toxic Tag. We weren’t meant to be partners. This was the shithead that wanted my title, but that wasn’t the goal here. We weren’t supposed to destroy each other. We were supposed to figure out how to work this out, and if there was anything that I knew about PMont, it was that he didn’t like to lose. This was supposed to set us off-kilter, and it was fucking working.

Dickie Watson: They’re trying to put us on edge. Like something big is going to happen and if we step out of line, it’ll be our heads on the fucking stake.

The expression on Paul’s face was incredulous, and he scoffed…though there was a slight panicked edge to it. Barely noticeable. But I can see the sweat on the back of his neck too. We just had to make it through this. 

Paul Montuori: Pffft, yeah right. This is just pomp and circumstance.

In the distance, I heard a thudding sound. I turned forward and looked, my eyes narrowing. The sound of more glass moving away whirred near my ear. The wall in front of us faded from opaque to transparent, and standing directly across from us were who I had to assume we would be facing. Druscilla White and Asher Jules, the new stand in.

Asher dry heaved as he dramatically threw himself around the rectangular box that we found all of ourselves in. I raised an eyebrow — god, at least I hadn’t gotten that far down the drain.

Asher Jules: Fook makin’ me a pressed leaf. Ain’t right.

It felt like things were starting to make sense now.

Fight Mode

The perspective shifts, and we are now looking back at Dickie Watson, who is wringing his hands. We look down, our own hands, we are Paul Montuori.

I like surprises, but not surprises in FIGHT!. Nothing good has come from any surprise X and his minions have bestowed upon me since the promotion opened its doors. This whole, sitting in a glass box, not cool. But at least Dickie doesn’t smell terrible. Is that a faint hint of Axe body spray? Do they even make that anymore?

I can feel myself getting antsy as I rock back and forth on my heels. This is worse than that time they made me bang Bree Olson in a phone booth dressed like Superman. I mean, banging Bree was fun, and she’s hot. But two people in a closed box, banging, sweating all over each other. Let’s just say that phone booth smelled worse than Sahara’s sloppy snatch after getting banged missionary by Dane..

Wait, why’s that little Brit in the box with Druiscilla? I thought Graham Cracker was her partner. Not that the outcome would matter, Asher, Graham Cracker, Johnny Stylez.. I guess I should pay more attention to what’s going on in FIGHT!.

Dickie Watson: You ok?

Paul Montuori: Yeah, why?

I look over at Dickie who’s looking at me. I realize I’m no longer rocking back and forth on my heels, but now I’m bouncing from side to side. My body has automatically gone into fight mode. He shrugs and looks back out of the glass box we’re in. 

The two-way glass becomes more transparent, revealing a ring. So that’s where we’ll be getting our first Dub.. I pull the scrunchie off my wrist and tie my hair back into a dope ass bun. I catch the reflection of myself on the glass, damn I look so sexy with a fucking bun.

Suddenly it all starts to come into focus. Four rings. Eight boxes. Eight teams. Each ring with two boxes next to it, divided by more glass. They’re going to contain us in our own ring, by the looks of it battling each other at the same time. Oof.. There’s Joe, glaring at Dane. Not sure how they’re not already at each other’s throats. Voo and Vhodka, Vinnie and Dollface, same..

One Last Stipulation

We pan backwards to see the whole top-down scenario.

The sound of glass shifting, as more and more panels of the two way glass disappear and we see that there are indeed four rings in a two by two grid layout, and very little else. Everything is black, there are no fans, there are no guard rails, this is not the usual room where FIGHT! matches take place. As it appears that the glass dividing the competitors from their opponents seems poised to lift, a crackling sound comes on through the arena.

WELCOME TO TAG WARS III. THIS IS THE FIRST ROUND. I DO HOPE YOU WERE PREPARED, BECAUSE THE TIME HAS NOW COME TO SEAL YOUR FATE. WORK TOGETHER, AND THRIVE. OR FAIL AND FALL TO THE WAYSIDE. THE CHOICE IS YOURS, BUT BEFORE WE LET THE WARS COMMENCE THERE IS ONE RULE THAT MUST BE BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION.

IF YOU STRIKE YOUR PARTNER, YOUR BLOOD MONEY TOTAL WILL BE REDUCED TO ZERO, AND YOU WILL BE INELIGIBLE TO GAIN ANY BLOOD MONEY FROM TONIGHT’S BATTLE REGARDLESS OF YOUR FINAL POSITION.

Many of the fighters gasp, seemingly shocked by the revelation. Others, well, some of the others didn’t seem to care…

First Blood

Vincent Black and Dollface stare at each other, each in their compartments, separated by the glass between them. Vhodka and Voodoo are next to them, also separated. Voodoo is burning a hole through the glass with her expression as Vhodka pulls her top up and presses herself against the glass for Vincent. Vincent smiles, and winks at her. Across the ring, Dane Preston turns his back to Joe Montouri, as Sahara and Allison Riggs Preston-Montouri? fight silently with the divider muting their whispers to almost nothing. And then the slots between them rise, and the second they are no longer there, Dollface and Vincent begin to pummel each other, Vincent holding Doll against the glass and hitting her in the face as hard as he can, with Dollface trying her damnedest to gouge his eyes out with her thumbs. A move he is actively avoiding.

VINCENT BLACK HAS BEEN FINED 6,500 BLOOD MONEY FOR STRIKING HIS PARTNER

DOLLFACE HAS BEEN FINED 6,000 BLOOD MONEY FOR STRIKING HER PARTNER

Across the ring, Voodoo and Vhodka ignore the urge to do the same, but only for about five seconds. On the sixth second, Vhodka grabs Voo by the neck and begins to throttle her as she tries to break the hold by throwing kidney punches. 

VHODKA BLACK HAS BEEN FINED 5,500 BLOOD MONEY FOR STRIKING HER PARTNER

VOODOO HAS BEEN FINED 4,000 BLOOD MONEY FOR STRIKING HER PARTNER

Finally someone in their right mind raises the remaining plexi glass and Voodoo and Vhodka are allowed out of their cell, continuing to assault each other. Allison and Sahara keep their wits, but are watching as Dollface and Vincent Black rip into each other.

All the rest of the competitors stood on high alert as the glass shifted, and the crackling voice was heard again.

THREE

TWO

ONE

FIGHT!

Get Your Head In The Game

Looking at the chaos in the other rings made Asher even more anxious. He was worried that his partner could fuck him up just like was happening elsewhere. He paid close attention as Vhodka Marie and Voodoo threw hands, so much so that he didn’t see the FIGHT! NYC Empire Champion flying towards him, an explosive start to the match in the ring that we’ll call Ring Number One. Paul Montuori and Druscilla were tying up in a more traditional manner but Asher had already tumbled through the ropes. He was walking in a circle around the ring.

Asher Jules: So are you tellin me that there’s no bleedin way out of here?

Dickie laughs. Surrounded by glass, and he thinks there’s a secret escape out?

But it doesn’t take a second for him to find himself in full-gone pursuit of Asher around the ring and he realizes that he is faster than he looks. As it seems like Dickie might eventually be gaining on the small nimble fae beast, suddenly he disappears. He’s gone under the ring.

Not willing to fall into his trap, Dickie simply slides under the bottom rope and takes the opportunity to help his #1 contender out against Druscilla.

Dru has seen this as her golden ticket. Much like many of the competitors, and she’s fighting with all the heart you’d expect of someone who was getting a chance to make an impression on the creme de la creme.

Montuori had been backed up into the corner before Dickie grabbed a handful of Dru’s hair and ran it along the top rope along with her forehead.

Dickie turned to Montuori, shook his head derisively, and then muttered “You wanna win, right? Get your head in the game.”

Old Rivalries, Made New

Vhodka and Voo look as ready to kill each other as it gets, finally decide to let the match continue and turn to their opponents. Dane and Joe look at the two competitors across from them who just almost took each other out, and prepare to get the overflow of their rage. While Vhodka and Voo do the same. As if there was any other pair who hated each other more than Vhodka and Voo, it would be Joe and Dane. Vhodka pointed to Dane and Dane stepped forward. Voo and Joe stepped toward each other, and Voo reminded herself of the time Joe claimed her kids as his own, and Joe remembered how she denied it, which was in his mind, very rude. They all locked up with each other, gripping one another hard enough to shake the ring.

New Rivalries

Shawn Warstein paced right, and left. As he stood in front of Brandon Moore, Moore sighed. They’d found respect for one another, sure, but Moore didn’t want distractions. Apathy looked at Moore in the eyes, and it was the breaking of the eye contact by Warstein’s pacing that had irked him. Here’s the thing, in this tournament+ which carried great stakes, friendships and allegiances were fragile. The competitors knew that at a moment’s notice they could be helping their worst enemy beat the fuck out of their best friend, because the prize was the prize and that was that. The relationship between Moore and Apathy was one of business at best, they understood each other and knew that they could get further working as a team than separate, and they also understood that as soon as that glass partition separated, it was like they never knew each other.

Anicka Swan on the other hand, one of the most decorated in the history of FIGHT – if you include inherited history – had little to prove but everything to prove all at the same time. It felt like people had discounted her, had forgotten about her, and she hated it every time discussion around the bars and in the streets started getting to who they thought would do this or that, and her name never seemed to come up anymore. When people like Warstein’s did, often. New people, who hadn’t paid their due.

She’d hit him first, and hardest. And as soon as the glass shifted, that’s exactly what she did. Brandon Moore was nose to nose with Apathy. They continued to stare each other down, but Anicka had Warstein straddled and was raining blows down on him.

Truth and Consequences

On the other side of the glass, Vincent and Dollface tear into each other with little regard for the actual match itself. Knowing very well that this act will have their Blood Money accounts emptied immediately. But as they throw fist after fist into each other’s face with no sign of stopping. Both have began to bleed from their noses as well as their hands. Allison and Sahara are both content to simply watch their so-called opponents take each other out rather than have to do so themselves. Sahara approaches Allie and asks for a truce. That they would definitely be making it to the final at this rate and could win it all. Allie thinks it over and nods. The two begin to shake hands but Sahara fails to her knees screaming in pain from the pressure being applied from Allie’s grip. Sahara laughs as Allie pulls her hand away and for a second considers paying the money for the honor. 

Angry and frustrated Allie rushes over and pulls Doll away from Vin, who she was assaulting in the corner,  and begins to to knife edge chop her in the chest. Vincent takes a breath before Sahara goes airborne and attempts a body splash on him in the corner. Vin fell out of the way and rolled under the rope and popping up on the apron. He throws a hard right hand which backs her off, but she fires back at him with a running knee strike which lands hard again at his chin, and almost removes him from consciousness. Sahara turns to check on Allison and finds Dollface waiting for her.

Occhi Sees Everything

Druscilla White was on her back, and Watson and Montuori were taking turns laying into her. Montuori was starting to pity her, but not enough to put her out of her misery. He nudged Watson, and suggested they both go hunting for Asher beneath the ring.

Now, once upon a fairytale time, way back at Blood Money, it was said that Xavier Wolf and the staff at his disposal truly did think of all eventualities when designing FIGHT! Tower, and the next series of events would put that to the test. As Dickie Watson, the Champion of the whole organization, pulled aside the unbranded black curtain that obscured beneath the ring, the occhi system did infact kick in under the ring, showing us in clear nightvision the Champion on all fours, crawling around in the dark.

He wasn’t able to see anything, but his adversary had spent a few minutes under there and his eyes were acclimatized. He didn’t see the boot coming, but Asher let out a cackle as he propelled himself with the use of the structural girders beneath the ring and drove the soles of his feet into Dickie Watson’s skull. He saw Montuori approaching and grabbed a handful of his hair and tried to start tying him, by the hair, to the same structural girders. He scurried out from under the ring and started trying to get the attention of one of the referees perched high in the sky watching down on the action.

Asher Jules: Oi mate, oi. Um, count them out yeah?

Now here’s something to note. The referees don’t speak to the fighters. They communicate through commands that are announced by the speaker system, but the referee shook his hand firmly to indicate to Asher that he wouldn’t start counting them out.

Asher Jules: What? Why not? I swear these lot are always trying to screw me over.

It didn’t take but a moment for the slightly dazed-looking Dickie Watson to emerge, rubbing his nose and sinus area. He blindsided Asher, who faceplanted into the plexiglass that separated them from the Dane and Joe vs Vhodka and VooDoo match. And as Asher slid down the glass, staring at his mother figure, Dickie entered the ring under the bottom rope and some sort of order had been restored to the match. One versus one. Two on the outside.

Fighting Over Positions

Across the ring behind the glass, Dane sling shots Vhodka into the corner and attempts to follow her in, but she shoots out and shoulder charges him, dropping him to the mat to Joe’s amusement. Vhodka rushes Joe and knocks him off the apron. Grabbing Dane by the hair she pulls him toward her own corner, and slaps Voo in the face in the way of a tag. Voodoo climbs into the ring, and turns quickly to kick Vhodka off the apron with a kick to the ass. Dane takes the moment presented to him, and grabs Voodoo from behind, tossing her into the air with a swift snap German suplex. Voo lands square on her back and rolls onto her knees, holding her side and cursing. Vhodka goes to make a remark about how good Voo looks on her knees, her natural position in Vhodka’s mind, but Voo shows that Ani is not the only one who can leap up off her knees, and slams into Vhodka with a stiff forearm shot to the head, sending her down onto her back, a position Voo feels Vhodka should be used to by now.

It's Only Fair

Warstein tagged himself into the ring, and Moore stopped in his tracks dropped Anicka Swan on the floor in a pile and pushed his nose into the nose of Shawn Warstein.

Brandon Moore: Look. If you want to win this thing, I promise you that the last thing you want to do is piss me off.

Warstein pulled a face. What the fuck did he care what Brandon “Big Dog” Moore thought, anyway? By the time this was said and done, Moore would be a stain on his boot. Tagging himself in gave them the best opportunity of getting the job done, so that’s what he did.

He grabbed Anicka Swan, pulled her to her feet and thrust her into the corner that he shared with Moore. He unloaded a series of rights and lefts and then followed with a knee strike to the sternum. Apathy got through the rope and tried to make a bee-line for Warstein. The overhead display started to count towards a five count, but that didn’t matter. Brandon Moore raised a hand and got Apathy’s attention.

Brandon Moore: Play by the rules, Elizabeth. Its only fair.

Apathy raised her hands up and started to back off, and then Moore used his raised hand to forcibly slap Shawn Warstein on the shoulder, tagging himself back in the ring. Warstein was furious, and Moore grinned wide, imitating the same goofy face that Warstein had pulled when he tagged himself in earlier.

Glassjaw

Vincent Black and Sahara are on the outside of the ring, laying into one another and seeing who can dent more objects with the others head, as Dollface and Allie go round and round in the ring. We get the sense that Dollface wants to get back to VIncent, but Allison is keeping her there on purpose. A move that doesn’t make sense in a competitive way, but tracks due to how close they are. Dollface finally gets the upper hand, and drops Allison with a shot to the throat that cuts off her air supply. Allison grabs her own throat with both hands, and in a move of sheer will uses the strength from her arms to headbutt Dollface so hard that Doll stumbles backwards and almost falls out of the ring, but instead slams her head against the glass partition.

Vincent Black falls against the steel steps, having been kicked away by Sahara. Sahara follows up with an attempt at a knee strike, but Vin catches her in his arms and runs her into the glass partition, shaking the entire structure with the impact. Unfortunately for Vincent, just as they approached, Sahara showed amazing presence by grabbing his head and thus forcing him to crack his head on the partition as well. Small hairline fractures fill with the blood from his head, and her back, respectively. Sahara and Vincent are about to get to their feet, when Dollface leaps over the top rope and flips onto them, executing a perfect backflip body press onto Black but catching Sahara as well.  Sahara looks into the ring and sees Allison preparing to fly over the top rope. Leaping out of the way, Sahara watches as Allison comes crashing down onto Vincent Black, sending his head into the ground and almost surely removing him from consciousness. Sahara raises her hand to give Allison a five, but Dollface grabs her hand and spins her around, placing a foot under her chin, and pulling her down as she falls on her back, driving said foot into said chin.

Turning Tides

Dickie is in the ring and Asher is now the legal opponent. Dickie doesn’t really have that much trouble with Asher, and runs a series of moves pushing him around the ring. He goes for a fall which is interrupted by Druscilla, then Paul reaches out for a tag and Dickie nods in recognition and they swap over. The Empire Champion and the #1 contender are doing a good job of using their superior technical skills to dominate the match. Frankly, neither Asher nor Druscilla have a lot to offer them. Their only chance is likely if Paul or Dickie make a mistake or have a disagreement. Whilst Paul and Dickie are tagging in and out respectively, neither of them place any urgency on stopping Druscilla White reaching for Asher’s hand and becoming the legal person. In fact, they continue to talk behind hands that shield their mouths whilst Druscilla crosses the ring and knocks both of them into the ropes.

Druscilla then drags Paul to the middle of the ring, and starts to work on making them pay for their arrogance. Listen, I might’ve drawn the short straw in terms of partners, she thought to herself, but I will give as good as I’ve got and I don’t care who stands in my way.

She delivers a series of moves to Paul, first a Wolves Revenge from the top rope, followed by a Bayou Showgirl. It doesn’t take a second for Dickie to hop the top rope hoping to break the submission, but Asher has walked the top rope like a circus act and kicked Dickie in the face. Tide is turning indeed.

I See You, Baby

Across the ring, Voodoo and Joe Montouri continue their back and forth, with Dane and Voodoo paying more attention to their significant others on the other side of the glass. Vhokda snarls as Dollface slams Allison down onto Vincent Black. Dane watches as Dollface pulls Allison up by her hair with a handful of it close to the root, almost pulling it out of her head. In the ring, Joe dives toward Dane and makes a tag, tired from the round and round with Voodoo. Something only a handful of men have had the honor of surviving. Dane steps into the ring and stares down one of the matriarchs of his ‘family.’ Running toward her, he ducks her attempt to clothes line him and fires back with a sweeping kick to the back of her leg. Voodoo falls flat on her back but rolls away from the elbow drop that follows. Voo and Dane both make it to their feet at the same time, and both smile at what’s to come.

Joe drops down to the apron, and approaches the plexi-glass with Allison on the other side. Dollface slams Allison’s face against the glass, licking the blood that begins to emerge from the cut Allison suffers due to the crack in the glass. Joe punches the glass, and a small crack abruptly appears where he hit. Allison takes advantage of Doll’s distraction, and Allison grabs the back of Doll’s head and slams her head in the glass a few times for good measure. As Doll bounces off and staggers away, Allison turns to Joe and nods at him in thanks for the distraction, as Vincent Black stands up, and drops Allison in a reverse DDT. Winking at Joe in the same way, meaning the same thing. Joe backs off angry, and returns to his corner, clapping to cheer on Dane and feeling absolutely disgusting about it.

Respect Earned, Again

Warstein and Moore were both in the ring, Apathy and Anicka were both not. Because Warstein had clotheslined Anicka out, and Moore had sidestepped a cross body and dumped his Cure colleague over the top with her own momentum. They looked impressed with each other, finally.

Maybe respect had to be earned a few times over, it was hard to say. This time, they touched fists, and then both sprawled to the mat, rolling out on opposite sides and closing in on their adversaries. An Irish whip each, only Anicka reversed hers, and sending Warstein into the steel ring post. Anicka bundled Shawn under the bottom rope and then begged him to get up from his knees. The irony of this wasn’t lost on her as she drove across the ring and aimed a superkick at his skull. He telegraphed the Black Magic, grabbed hold of her and went for a small package.

I will say, one thing that having referees in the sky didn’t achieve was when shit went sideways, they didn’t have the power of physical intervention. Warstein wasn’t legal, and neither was Anicka. The small package wasn’t counted, but it could have been a three for sure. Moore left Apathy in a pile outside the ring as he himself slid into it.

Anicka, now clear of the small package, took a kick to the face from Moore, and then she was hoisted onto his shoulders. He snarled, leaving her up there with no hands, and drew his hand across his throat, then took three steps forward and dumped her on her neck with The Everblack.

Dig Deep

Asher and Druscilla had been more than a thorn in the side of their adversaries. Dickie and Paul had both spent a period of time pinned back in the match and Druscilla was enjoying a period of success against Paul. Paul could feel every doubt in the back of his mind screaming to him, calling to him.

 

Maybe he was basura. Maybe he was the one that his dad was right to overlook all along. Other side of the ring his brother and his partner were in the ascendency, here it looked grim and they were supposed to have the easy match.

Dickie? Well he was useless. Laid face down after getting somersaulted on by Asher Jules. Paul would have to find another gear, and another reason to get up to his feet and fight on.

Madison. Madison. Alexis. Something, someone. Himself. Dickie. He thrust a foot under him, pulling himself to his feet, and wildly swung a fist at Dru. She saw it last week, stepped to the side a hit a dropkick to the knee again and he was on the mat. His legs didn’t want to work, he was exhausted. Dickie was stirring, but he had to prove himself. He didn’t want Dickie to have to get the job done.

Paul lunged to the rope, ducked through a clothesline attempt and knocked Asher off the apron at the opposite side. He reached over to Dru on the rebound, who clutched him up in the air and dropped him on his face. She went for the pin, but no dice.

Game. Set. Match.

Brandon stood over the broken body of Anicka. He looked at Warstein.

Brandon Moore: You want the honors?

Warstein knew this game. A power move. But what was the move back? Bluff? Double bluff?

See, Moore is trying to out-alpha Warstein, and Shawn reasons that if Brandon gives him the pinfall, it is almost like he pities him. Yet, does Moore expect Shawn to say no, and the real play here is to tag himself in, lest he give Moore the satisfaction of the pinfall and the element of control?

Shawn Warstein: Fuck it.

Warstein slapped hands with Brandon Moore, stepped through the ropes and grabbed Anicka by the head. He threw her to her own corner, where Apathy had started to climb onto the apron. Apathy got into the ring, but she was still dazed. A damn sight better off than Ani. Warstein allowed her to walk him down, backing himself into a neutral corner, before he hit a jumping switch knee to the sternum, followed by a straight elbow and then a spinning back elbow. Apathy slumped to her knees near the center of the ring, and Warstein ran full speed driving his knee and shin bone into her skull.

As he covered Apathy, his eyes were laserfocused on Brandon Moore, who laughed.

SHAWN WARSTEIN AND BRANDON MOORE ADVANCE TO THE SEMI FINALS

ANICKA SWAN AND APATHY ARE ELIMINATED.

Mental Acuity

Dickie was itching to get in and Paul was done for. Thankfully, Paul had flattened Druscilla White at the same time that she drove a knee into his skull. Dickie wasn’t as quick as Asher, chasing around the ring, but his mental acuity was miles faster and he had the foresight to hop the rope, throw a Molotov Cocktail through the ropes and into the spine of Asher, then he dragged both Paul Montuori and his opponent to his corner, and tagged in Paul… all whilst the eye in the sky was counting him to a disqualification.

He ascended the top rope, pointed to the sky, then dove and hit ADRENALINE, which sealed the deal admirably.

DICKIE WATSON AND PAUL MONTUORI ADVANCE TO THE SEMI FINALS

DRUSCILLA WHITE AND ASHER ARE ELIMINATED.

Take A Seat

Voodoo locks in a modified sleeper on Dane’s neck, and as he struggles she closes her grip tighter and tighter. His eyes become heavy, but as he is just about to pass from the realm of consciousness, he sees Allison. She stands up outside her ring, separated by glass, and bleeding from the side of her head. And Dane Preston becomes a man possessed. Slipping his arms between Voo’s legs, He hoists her up onto his shoulders, breaking the sleeper and dropping her onto her head in a modified DVD. He follows it up immediately with a stiff knee drop onto her forehead, which causes her to sit up in agony, blood rushing to the surface of her face. Vhodka smiles and cheers for Dane, siting down comfortably in the corner, her legs outstretched and crossed in front of her with her back to the turnbuckle. Dane picks up Voo and immediately drops her with a rolling DDT that could take a lesser persons head off, but only almost kills Voo. Voo crawls toward Joe’s corner, and begins to use the ropes in front of him to get to her feet. He looks down and her and laughs. She looks up at him and sinks her teeth into his thigh. Joe yelps in pain and Voo reaches up grabbing him by the chin by shoving her fingers into his mouth, She pulls his head downward and forces his throat onto the rope, sending him falling down off the apron. Dane rushes but Voo kicks backwards, catching him in the gut. She places her hands on his back and throws him shoulder first into the turnbuckle. No sooner than he bounces off does Voo run across the ring and baseball slide into Vhodka, sending her airborne and tumbling down the steps that are traditionally in opposite corners of the ring. She rolls down them and stays in a crumpled ball for some time.

Voodoo turns to see Joe and Dane both conspiring in the corner, and mutters something about ‘two men, one men’ and approaches them. In a moment of quick thinking they both slide to either side of her, and both deliver sweeping kicks to her chin,  causing her to backflip 180 degrees onto her face. Dane rolls her over and hooks the leg, but Voo rolls out of it at the count of two. Dane grabs her by the hair and lifts her to her feet, but she elbows him to the chin, backing him off. She follows him to the rope bank and unleashes a torrent of slaps and punches, backing him against the ropes and eventually sending him over the top. Voo runs in the opposite direction and kicks Joe in the chest, sending him flying off the apron. Turning, Voodoo sees Dane resting on the apron and runs at him. At the last second, Dane spins away from the spot he was in and a steel chair slams into Voo’s head as it passes through the ropes. She falls to the floor and Dane slides in to cover her, As Vhodka watches Dane secure the 3 count, and removes them both from the tournament.

DANE PRESTON AND JOE MONTUORI ADVANCE TO THE SEMI FINALS

VOODOO AND VHODKA BLACK ARE ELIMINATED.

Dane raises his hand in the air, but only for a moment. Vhodka rushes in and pushes him out of the way, stepping on his moment, and Voo’s throat with authority. Dane and Joe back off, watching as Vhodka screams at Voo while kicking at her. Backing up, Dane and Joe just look at one another, and then suddenly, their attention is turned to the ring adjacent.

Bloodsport

Allison attempts to crawl away, but Dollface stands over her, kicking her hand out from underneath her, and making her fall flat on her face. Dollface looks up to see Allies’ beloved looking at her through the glass, and she smiles. She places her foot on the back of Allie’s head and pushes down, mashing her face into the mat the heel of her boot, and she fucking presses.. Joe and Dane step up to the glass, no longer concerned with one another and only focusing on Allie. They begin to bang on the glass, but Dollface doesn’t care, she lifts her other foot making all of her weight push her face into the floor as her arms scramble for something to grab, something to reverse the move. But thankfully she has a partner.

Vincent Black and Sahara had been exhaustingly fighting each other with the worst of intentions, punching and kicking, and dropping each other at every turn. And then Vincent saw Dollface do what she was doing, and he pointed to the inside of the ring. Sahara slid in and rolled to her feet, leaping into the air the second her feet touched the ground and drop kicked Doll to the chest, sending her onto her back and toward the corner. Vincent slides into the ring, looking to attack Dollface, but is stopped by Sahara who delivers a devastating spin kick to his jaw, not giving a single fuck about his intentions. Vin staggers back and Sahara goes to grab him, but Dollface appears in the middle of them, and unleashes a spray of the black shit she’s known to produce. No sooner than she does, Allison comes running and Dollface pulls blinded Vin toward her, and dives out of the way, but throws her knee up into the air. Allison collides with both Vin, and Doll’s knee. Allison falls ontop of Vin stiffly, and neither move. Dollface looks to the eye in the sky and yells out “COUNT!” 

The three count comes and goes, and Team Vinface is eliminated.

SAHARA AND ALLISON RIGGS-PRESTON ADVANCE TO THE SEMI-FINALS

VINCENT BLACK AND DOLLFACE ARE ELIMINATED.

Dollface turns on her heels and levels Sahara with a kick to the face, sending the blind woman out of the ring and to the floor. Doll looks up to see Joe and Dane looking at her, and she smiles and reaches down, grabbing Allie by the head and dragging her toward the glass. Laying her on her back, Doll puts the heel of her boot on Allisons face, and rather than looking at Dane and Joe, she watches as the blood runs from her nose and squirts around her foot.

Dane Preston and Joe Montouri watch as Dollface begins to put further pressure on Allison’s face. They stand there, each angrier by the second at the suffering their beloved is going through. When they both step back at the same time, and throw a punch into the partition at the same time. The glass partition begins to crack with each subsequent hit, Dollface looks up and shrugs, but that shrug begins to fade away as they begin to throw their shoulders into it. Two of the hardest hitting men in the entire business put their everything into that glass to save their everything on the other side.  Dollface walks toward it, and places her face against the glass, Behind her, Sahara and Vincent rise to their feet. Vincent’ eyes are black from the goo, which is haunting. But his hands come up and reveal that he was wearing a pair of protective contact lenses. Removing them, he turns toward the ring and rushes in.

He grabs Allison’s foot and drags her from the center of the ring, rolling her out to safety. Joe and Dane are too concerned with Dollface and the glass between them to notice, and just as the glass begins to really shatter, Vin rushes Doll from behind.

But there’s a reflection.

And Dollface spins on her heels, and falls onto her back, planting her foot into Vin’s chest, and sending him flying into the glass, through the glass, and into Joe and Dane. Blood comes from his shoulder area, and as Joe and Dane attempt to get their feet, they slip in the puddle that is 50% glass and 50% Black’s blood.

Brushing the glass off her, Dollface rises and stands over Vincent Black. His head is bleeding, his shoulder torn open, and the area begins to bruise already. Sahara climbs into the ring, followed by Allison. Dane and Joe rises, covered in glass, blood, and cuts, And the four begin to walk toward the Doll, until she holds up her hands toward both, and points toward Vincent Black.

Dollface: This is a serious matter, And that is a serious wound. Someone needs to apply pressure to it, or your precious Phreeq wont only have lost this match. In fact, as a sign of my interest in his continued existence, you can use this.

Dollface removes her mask, and the fake hair attached to it and reveals a fully shaven head and the face of Sarah Wolf, VIncent’s own sister. And she isn’t like Hannibal, where she’s wearing the face, It is her.

You, as the viewer, react just as the competitors reacted, And out of all the faces looking on, one looks through and Vhodka Black rushes into the ring, but slips on the glass and blood, and watches as Dollface, Sarah Wolf, makes her escape.

Damon Havok Riggs: Ladies and gentlemen, this…this is not what we expected. EMT’s are on the way to the ring, Sarah Wolf is on her way out of the building, and this isn’t even over. Until tomorrow…I don’t even know what to say?

That last part which was not meant to be said on the air came across muffled as Damon removed his headset out of shock. The final shot of the night is that of Vincent Black being tended to by the paramedics as the rest of the competitors either look on or walk away. The screen fades to black and the FIGHT! Logo appears with the words ‘to be continued’ beneath it.

TO BE CONTINUED