Birds of prey

Anne Boleyn stands on the rooftop balcony of Fight Tower, throwing handfuls of birdseed to the ground as her pigeons flap their wings and bounce to and fro, enjoying a wonderful feast provided by the matriarch of their small but powerful gang. One of the pigeons stops in it’s tracks, and looks to Anne. Anne cocks her head in wonder, and in the next instance, the pigeon is gone, almost in a flash.

Anne looks for where it could have gone, and begins to scatter her remaining Pigeons, making sure to keep those still alive safe. When her eyes settle on the other side of the roof, she finds a large Owl clutching her pigeon in its talons, ripping at it’s underbelly with it’s gore-covered beak. A chain hangs from it’s foot and is connected to the very perch it stands upon. Anne lets out a scream and runs at the bird, ready to fight it for the now deceased meal in its grips that was once Anne’s pet. Anne thinks better of this, and begins to look about for some sort of weapon, when she is interrupted by a PA.

Production Assistant: Ma’am, It’s time for your match.

Anne Boleyn: The chained strix over yonder with which has devoured my precious columbidae, for whom does it belong?

Production Assistant: uhh. The ummm…the owl? That, well it’s…Alice Knight’s..

Anne Boleyn: The very…(Anne sighs deeply)…How fortunate. Do be a dear and make sure this beast buggers my loves no further. And if you’re worried about it taking your eyes, rest assured, I will take far worse if even a feather is missing from the remainder.

Anne Boleyn vs Alice Knight

Anne Boleyn gets themselves quite a pop as they storm out of the entrance way.Standing across from Alice Knight, they look absolutely possessed.

Across from him, Alice Knight stares not at Anne Boleyn, but through Anne Boleyn. By their facial expression alone we can tell Alice Knight does not see Anne Boleyn as a person. They see Anne Boleyn as a hurdle. And everything in Alice Knight’s body language and expression tells us Alice Knight is ready to jump.

With the ring of the bell, Anne Boleyn and Alice Knight head toward each other. Anne Boleyn circles to their right, and Alice Knight circles to their left, meeting Anne Boleyn as Anne Boleyn attempts to avoid Alice Knight. Alice Knight fires off the first shot, and damn near tattoos Anne Boleyn with a stiff left to their jaw, moving their head back, and hitting another for twice as much movement. Anne Boleyn moves back but is enclosed by Alice Knight, who moves quickly to the right, cornering Anne Boleyn.

Anne Boleyn falls limply into the corner after an onslaught of chops, both backhanded and forward. Alice Knight continues to chop away at the tree sized man, until Anne Boleyn grabs her by the shoulders and swaps places, throwing them into the corner stiffly and throwing his own offense into play. Escalating from chops to punches, Anne Boleyn works Alice Knight’s sides like a side of beef. Lifting them off the ground damn near with each hit. Alice Knight does not stand this for long, and elbows Anne Boleyn in the head, driving him away just enough to give add some room to breathe.

Rushing forward, Alice Knight hooks Anne Boleyn around the right shoulder and locks on by grabbing their left wrist, which is coming up and under his left arm. Alice Knight does not spin, instead lifts Anne Boleyn into the air, and drops him down onto their right knee for an impressive modified side splitter.

Keeping their arms locked around Anne Boleyn’s head, Alice Knight places their knee into Anne Boleyn’s gut, and lifts him toward, cutting off Anne Boleyn’s air supply, and beginning a warning count of 5, to which is abided and releases the hold. Alice Knight lords over Anne Boleyn, who coughs as his breath begins to catch, and as soon as he gets one foot on the ground, ricochets off the bank of ropes and runs toward him, driving their knee upward into Anne Boleyn’s head. Anne Boleyn backs up, and in the space this creates, Alice Knight goes airborne, and hits Anne Boleyn in the pecs he was pumping with a stout double drop kick. Both land on their backs at the same time, but with Alice Knight sitting up immediately.

Picking up Anne Boleyn by the ears, Alice Knight spins them around so they are facing the other way, bends them backwards, and after placing their elbow across Anne Boleyn’s throat, drops them down onto their knee in what will be known from this day forth as a guillotine back breaker. Anne Boleyn writhes, holding his back which obviously hurts more, while trying to once again regain the breath that’s been denied once more

Alice Knight does not give him the chance, and lifts Anne Boleyn to their feet. Anne Boleyn pushes Alice Knight away, and closes the gap that was created with a stiff clothesline, which lays both of them out a good few seconds. Both getting to their feet, Alice Knight first by a few seconds, they lock up, and Alice Knight comes out on top, grasping Anne Boleyn by the neck in a headlock, and running toward the corner, jumping just before reaching it, and pulling off a vicious looking bulldog.

Rolling onto their knees, Alice Knight attempts to lift Anne Boleyn up, but is pushed into the turnpost with force, and brought back forward by Anne Boleyn, who is gripping them by the tights, and shoved back into the turnbuckle again. Alice Knight rests their for a moment, almost allowing Anne Boleyn to get back to his fight. Alice Knight try’s to plant a kick to Anne Boleyn’s chest, but Anne Boleyn grabs the leg, and pulls Alice Knight into him, throwing them over  head in a suplex, which lays Alice Knight out in the dead center of the ring.

Anne Boleyn paces around Alice Knight, kicking and stomping at random points, angered but tired from the almost nonstop assault. Grabbing a handful of hair, Anne Boleyn lifts Alice Knight and immediately scoops them up before dropping them into a shoulder breaker. As Alice Knight laid before Anne Boleyn, Anne Boleyn began to say something that the OCCHI system was not able to pick up, and as Anne Boleyn went to drop a knee, Alice Knight rolled away, and rolled head over heels to their feet. Sprinting to the ropes, Alice Knight hits a stiff drop kick to the back of Anne Boleyn, which ends with them sprawled out on the mat.

Alice Knight walks carefully to the turnbuckle, climbing to the top and is about to jump, when Anne Boleyn makes his way on hands and knees toward the corner. The crowd erupts as Alice Knight smiles and for a second everyone in attendance shares a brain with the crimson haired fighter perched on high.

Anne uses the corner as a brace and gets onto their feet, and no sooner than Anne Boleyn turns, Alice Knight leaps from the turnbuckle into the air, and as the OCCHI system splits into 3 different views of this, we see 3 different angles of the impacts of Alice Knight’s coast to coast dropkick that the fans pop over each and every time. Anne Boleyn bounces off the rope banks and hits the mat, tumbling over onto his chest. 

Alice Knight wastes little to no time and grabs Anne’s legs, locking into the Wicked Little Machine hold, which is a sharpshooter with reverse face lock. The crowd expects Anne Boleyn to tap, but instead watches as Anne Boleyn reaches out a hand out and grabs the rope, to which the ref booth issues a release warning. Alice Knight ignores this call for about 3 seconds, before finally unlocking the move.

Alice Knight stands, and Anne Boleyn knees, both lacking in oxygen but one more so than the other. Alice Knight waits for Anne Boleyn to stand, and when they are face to face…

Alice grabs Anne by the sides of the head, and drops her down into a Facebuster, which hits so hard Anne flips over onto her back. Alice, seeing the opportunity, rushes to the corner, and no sooner than both feet are on the turnbuckle, leaps off toward Anne, hitting The Owl Splash, and ending Anne’s night the way it had begun, with an Owl being victorious.

WINNER; ALICE KNIGHT!!

Lipstick On Your Collar

A crowd had begun to gather on the ground floor of FIGHT tower, the central focus being that of a frazzled looking woman with dark mascara streaks under her eyes and breath that was sixty proof. The woman leaned over the reception desk pointing a chipped red finger at the receptionist who was very calmly and casually reaching over to press a small button on top of her desk.

Unknown Woman: WHERE IS SHE? I want her brought out here right now! If you don’t pick up that phone and call whoever it is that has any power around this hole so help me God, I will come back there and do it myself.

The woman’s eyes were showing just a little too much white, quite a bit more than rational even-tempered peoples showed. The woman began to round the reception desk towards the receptionist looking to take matters into her own hands when a masculine hand suddenly clenched her shoulder and spun her around to face The Blacks flanked by a four-man security team behind them.

Unknown Woman: Who THE HELL do you think you are? Take your paws off me before I-

Vincent Black: Stop.

The word was as steady as the gaze the bore into the woman across from him as Vincent Black casually flexed his hand to apply more pressure to the woman’s shoulder. Not enough to really harm her but enough that she knew the potential were there should she not listen to the man before her. Vhodka pushed past the two of them, picking up the half-eaten pastry belonging to the receptionist and taking a bite as she leaned on the desk and picked imaginary lint off the house coat of the woman before them.

Vhodka Black: Primo pastry, Debs.

Vincent Black: Explain.

Vhodka Black: It’s boysenberry. You know like the one that they have on the wallpaper in the chocolate factory? That one. Though I don’t know why they say it tastes like boys, tastes nothing like you.

Vincent Black: Not you, her. And it’s the pineapples.

The woman looks between the two making the usual conclusions that people who are met with The Black’s must make and decides as most people also do that it would be in her best interests to obey whatever it is they asked for.

Unknown Woman: I want you to bring her out here, right now. Or take me back there to her. I don’t care which! Either way, she’s going to pay for what she’s done.

Vincent Black: And what exactly has she done?

The flanked security guards begin pushing back a member of the crowd who was a little too eager to make the acquaintance of Vincent and Vhodka and a commotion ensures. By the time that Occhi can pick up the conversation being had the woman has finished speaking and Vincent and Vhodka are looking very seriously at each other.

Vincent Black: I would like to show you my office.

Ashlynn Cassidy vs Ricky Rodriguez

Ashlynn and Ricky were both alerted when they were already in the ring, that Porter would not be available to participate. After shaking it off and getting themselves ready for a more straight forward one on one contest, the match began the way one would expect a match like this to start.

Fast. And we mean incredibly fast. Ashlynn showed Ricky that whatever Ricky could do, Ashlynn could do equally if not better. While Ricky went out of their way to showcase skills in not only offense, but defense. Making sure to give Ashlynn multiple opportunities to attack, only to either block or reverse them.

In the eyes of Ricky we can see the drive to prove that he can win victoriously, and not just by DQ. In fact, this version of Ricky is one we’ve only seen glimpses of. This one is motivated, and not just by the external, but by something internal. Something that demands to be listened to.

But Ashlynn is deaf to the almost audible want of Ricky. For she, too, has a desire. A desire to prove that she is not just a pretty face. That the Zion was not just a trip into something worth landing in. And in the end, only one of them could be right…

Ashlynn waited for Ricky, and once both feet were on the mat, she grabbed his arm and pulled him toward her, ready to hit her finishing kick to his face. But Ricky sees it coming, and in a flash, is able bend over, causing Ashlynn to land on Ricky’s back. Stablizing both legs, Ricky keeps Ashlynn in place, grabbing both the head and leg of the opponent, before straightening up, positioning into a Burning Hammer, and them dropping Ashlynn directly into a furious knee shot. The sound it makes is sickening and the sound that follows is three chimes, and the ring of a bell, announcing a very impressive victory for Ricky.

Directions Unclear

Miss F is seen walking through the halls with the Brooklyn championship in her arms. The ‘Atara Themis’ nameplate no longer present. Miss F raises her free hand to her ear, and responds to her wireless OCCHI system communicator, which unlike Vhodka’s isn’t made of pasta.

Miss F: I’m en route. But I need to make a stop. Just…actually…Vhodka!!

Vhodka turns, her mouth full of gummy worms she confiscated from the vending machine that she now has a key to. She smiles, revealing the multi-colored teeth and attempts to speak but produces only grunts and growls and terrible, awful squishing noises.

Miss F: Do me a favor. Take this belt to Anne, in the property office. Atara…well, this business did to her what it does…So we need to shelve it for a while. Until we figure out what comes next.

Vhodka nods and takes the belt, slinging it over her shoulder and walking toward the elevator bank.

Oh Centurion, come out and play.

The crowd within the FIGHT Tower break out into loud boos as we cut outside of the Tower where we find the CHRONIC ONE as he observes the scene which lead to Todrick Tabor-Ramsey being arrested last week before his husband squared off against Chris Page himself. Chris shifts focus towards the camera as he states. 

CHRIS PAGE: This is the place in which lesson number two began to unfold just two short weeks ago. This sidewalk is where the most outradgious and atrocious action that has ever taken place in the state of New York took place. Not since the days before the Mafia has a more heinous attack; not even the two on one advantage, but it was the Hertosexual Bashing that took place perpetrated by Todrick and Austin Ramsey. 

Chris is still in his street clothes as he reaches into his back pocket retrieving a small, square silver tin. Cracking it open he pulls out one of many pre-rolled joints, closes the tin and slides it into his back pocket. Chris sparks the joint, taking several deep pulls. 

CHRIS PAGE: It’s funny to me…

Chris states before blowing out the inhaled smoke. 

CHRIS PAGE: If I attacked a gay male in the streets, beat him down it would be considered a hate crime; but yet when they attack heterosexuals it’s just looked at as a simple assault. Todrick Tabor-Ramsey and Austin Ramsey are hertosexual bashers.

“F**K YOU PAGE! F**K YOU PAGE! F**K YOU PAGE!” can be heard filtering throughout the Tower on the inside while Chris continues.

CHRIS PAGE: The Ramsey’s and all of their followers are nothing more than hypocrites in every sense of the word; which makes it only fitting Centurion reared his ugly face. If the comical aspect of Professional Wrestling hasn’t reared it’s head, again, and since Todrick has made it clear that I’m not worth his time or energy… I suppose that leaves my dance card for COUNTDOWN with an opening.

Chris takes another toke off his joint as he steps towards the cameraman. He intently pierces the lens with his cold blue eyes while exhaling a cloud of smoke. 

CHRIS PAGE: Here’s how this plays… Chris Page versus Centurion for the FINAL TIME. We’re knotted at one a piece, let’s break that tie. I’ll even allow you to name the stipulation so that you can stack the deck so far in your favor, and when I beat you, again, I’ll send you back down to the lower card where guys like you belong. 

We can hear the sounds of someone giggling just off camera from behind Chris. He turns around where the crowd inside the Tower erupt at the scene of Todrick Tabor-Ramsey stands just outside the door which leads into the FIGHT Tower. 

CHRIS PAGE: Ah, it’s my number one fan. 

Chris walks over towards Todrick. 

CHRIS PAGE: Want an autograph of something? 

There’s just a smirk from Todrick Tabor-Ramsey as Chris reaches up taking a toke off his joint. Todrick reaches out snatching the joint from his lips while in mid toke before thumping it off to the ground. In response Chris shoves Todrick out of the way and enters the Tower. 

I've had (not nearly) enough

Miss Michelle, still angry over the loss of her title the previous week, is told that her match against Tara has been cancelled, and in a moment of sheer anger, which is not unlike Michelle, a table flies from one side of the hallway to the other, and the screams that echo down the hall gets the attention of everyone in the area. As Michelle’s form vanishes around a corner, the angry cat like voice can be heard screaming once more. Not a curse. Not a threat. But a name.

“XAVIER!!”

The Circus Is In Town

A Moth Seems A Monster

Paul Montuori looked up as the door opened in front of him. He was walking through the service entrance to FIGHT Tower, and there was no security outside, the manual door opened automatically, and a shadow stood before him. He could see the man, but we, the viewer, only a silhouette.

Paul Montuori: Yo [ beep ], what you doing here?

Man: We need to talk.

The voice seems familiar, but in a whisper its hard to make out who exactly.

Paul Montuori: Why you bein’ weird for?

Man: I’ve done it, I’ve set everything in motion. Are you ready?

Paul Montuori: What do you mean?

Man: The moth emerged.

Paul throws his hands up in the air, shakes his head in confusion.

Paul Montuori: What the hell are you talkin about man?

Man: Take care of your business and I got the rest. You’ll know when it’s time.

The shadowed figure walks out of the shot, and we see Paul Montuori look around as if to wonder if anyone else just witnessed the nonsense or if it was just him going insane, again. As he turned to look behind him, he noticed a pearl colored Cadillac Coupe deVille pulling away from the parking lot. He shook his head.

Austin vs Henry James Jr

The second the elevators to the Bareknuckle pit open, Austin Ramsey charged out, looking to take out the pent up aggression life has seemingly given him an endless supply of. Moving through the ground that is littered with tires which make progress difficult, but Ramsey drives forward despite.

Henry James steps out of the elevator, and carefully makes his way through the tires, making slow progress toward an ever advancing Austin. As James sets feet down, and hunkers down to prepare for Austin, Austin appears, and crashes his left hand across the nose of Henry James. As Austin’s hand comes back, Jame’s comes forward with a reach of his own, and catches Austin in the cheek. As Austin rears back, the elevator dings once more, and the doors separate. The two guards who watch the elevator are laid out inside at the feet of the very much undead Druscilla White. Skulking toward the fight happening over in by the other elevator. By the time Austin notices the additional third person, it’s too late.

Dru grabs the back of Austin’s head and drives it downward, striking with a knee to the forehead region. Something behind Austin’s eyes shifts, almost as if someone else is driving, and the blood that trickles from the area of impact highlights in a crimson background. Dru and Austin begin to strike hard and fast at each other, until Henry James Jr gets tired of seeing Dru get hit, and blasts Austin in the side, sending Austin to the ground. Henry James and Dru continue to work over Austin, until the security team led by Vincent and Vhodka Black appear, along with the rest of their newly hired staff, and pull them apart.

Henry James is then announced as the winner, as Austin, damn near foaming at the mouth, struggles to reach Dru through the crowd of people separating them.

Vincent looks at Dru and warns her. “Dead or not. This doesn’t happen again.” Dru smiles and winks, walking away with Henry, but looking back at Austin with a sneer.

Fools Gold

Vhodka squishes are mouth around as Miss F turns on a heel and heads for the opposite direction. She looks down to the belt that is in her hands and eyes it suspiciously as she swallows the gummy glob in her moistened mouth. Vhodka’s eyes quickly dart around the hallway for signs of anyone headed in her direction before they turn back to the belt in her hands.

Vhodka Black: Finally got me one of these. Haha, suckers.

Vhodka lifts the belt to her mouth and bites down with a fierceness usually reserved for poorly cooked steaks before she howls in pain and throws the belt down.

Vhodka Black: Who the hell makes a belt out of metal? Damnit X, couldn’t you have at least shelled out for the chocolate?

She lifts her hand to rub the side of her jaw heaving out a frustrated sign before bending down to pick up the belt. As she comes back to her vertical position, she her eyes find those of Anne Boleyn walking briskly down the hall with a small pigeon position on her shoulder like some sort of bargain basement pirate. Vhodka’s face is alight with good fortune as she waves a hand towards Anne Boleyn.

Vhodka Black: Hey! You! Miss F said I was supposed to give this to you.

Vhodka’s eyes shift to the bird on her shoulder and her face turns cold. She couldn’t dare make eye contact with the bird, there was too much left unsaid. Her voice was flat, matter of fact.

Vhodka Black: Esteban. You’re looking well with your new… friend.

The bird caws as Anne greedily snatches the belt from Vhodka’s hands not at all paying attention to the single tear rolling down the other womans cheek as her face is awash in the golden reflection of the belt.

Anne Boleyn: Does this mean the throne has been vacated?

Vhodka Black: Uh, yeah, sure. I mean if you need to go there are plenty of bathrooms.

Vhodka steals one more glance at the pigeon in Anne’s shoulder before her nerve finally fails her and she turns to walk away from him for good.

Listen, Pa(u)l

Mrs. Chief of (In)security

Vhodka Black walks in as the darkness rolls away. Wearing a Security jacket and an earpiece, she slides her mirrored aviators down and scans the room. Pressing her finger into the ear piece, which upon closer inspection is just a piece of Rotini taped to the bottle cap inserted into her ear. Opening drawers and looking in cabinets, Vhodka whispers to the chapstick in her hand about everything being up to code.

Vincent Black: You know, we have real versions of those…

Vhodka Black: Yes but mine is DIY, and if I learned anything from Tiktok, it’s that people like DIY. Say, speaking of doing it…

Vincent Black: …we are here for a reason. But right after, yes.

Water rushes in the distance, and the bathroom door of the suite opens up, giving Paul Montouri a startle. He drops the hand towel on the sink and steps out of the bathroom. His foot is barely over the transom before Vincent steps toward him.

Vincent Black: What the fuck are you doing here?

Paul Montouri: …this is my ro-

Vincent Black: I don’t mean in this room. I mean in this business. I know you don’t need the money. You’ve never needed the money. I know you don’t value anything about the fame. Fame you can get anywhere. So tell me, Paul. Why are you still here?

Paul Montouri: …I don’t know.

Vincent Black: Yes you do. You know and you don’t want to say it because you know what point I’m trying to make, and like the stubborn mule, you don’t want to make it for me.

Paul Montouri: What do you want me to say, Vin?

Vincent Black: ALL YOU DO IS SAY. Get out of this funk, and get back to where you were. Leave the sad bastard act for someone else, show these people who you are. Who you really are. Because as of now, there are two opinions on Paul Montouri. Figure out which one you aim to prove right?

Vincent storms out, leaving Paul with a somber look upon his face. He looks to Vhodka who nods her head and exclaims

Vhodka Black: YEAH!!!!

Paul Montuori vs Anicka Swan

The last few weeks, the same thing has happened each time. Paul Montuori comes to the ring, no music, no bluster, no anything, and then he takes a bat to his opponent until the referee takes mercy on his victim and disqualifies him.

As he withdrew his bat, before the bell had even rung, Anicka Swan looked him dead in the face and said “Ani dares you”.

Paul’s lip quivered.

“Ani said…” she repeated.

“I heard you.”

Thwack. A right hand to the temple.

“Take it like a bitch.” Anicka snarled as she laid another one on him. Paul was dumbfounded, but it only lasted a minute. The two athletes, two of the best in this organisation on their given day, went toe to toe for several minutes, neither getting the upper hand but both taking their share of the advantage and some licks on the reciprocal.

It looked like Paul was starting to get the upper hand, starting to take control, until the arena went black, no cellphone lights, no noise. Everything cut to nothing.

  

As the lights resume, and the audio feed cuts back in, everyone in the arena is in shock. Damon Riggs is just repeating..

Damon Riggs: I don’t believe it.. It can’t be.. ?

Anicka smirks, throws herself into the ropes and hits her patented Swan Song shooting star DDT.

Paul Montuori doesn’t wait for the pin, he rolls out under the bottom rope, and starts walking away. He’s smacking himself in the head, yelling “Snap out of it!”

WINNER BY COUNTOUT; ANICKA SWAN!

An Apple a Day

Dr. James Vincent steps up to the Medical entrance of the Fight tower, and swipes his keycard. The door does not slide open, and instead of the familiar ring he is used to, is startled by a buzzing sound. He swipes again, and the results remain the same. The intercom above the door alerts him to its activation, and Miss F comes over the small but crystal clear speaker.

Miss F: Mr. Vincent, while we appreciate all you’ve done in the last year for our staff, both administrative and performers, your services are no longer required. The personal belongings in your office will be shipped directly to your home. Thank you and good luck

Dr. James Vincent: I have a contract.

Miss F: No, you had a contract. A contract that stated in no uncertain terms that your time here would come to an abrupt end should you break the morality clause. Would you like to argue that you did not? Should we discuss this in front of a medical board where your license can, and should, be revoked?

Dr. James Vincent: …it was a mistake.

Miss F: Finally something we agree on.

Dr. James Vincent backs away from the door, and with a lot less energy than he had a moment before, walks slowly down the sidewalk and vanishes into a crowd.

Behind her desk, Miss F stares at footage of the Doctor going into the bathroom, and then a fast cut to the image of him coming out of it, clearly weaker in the legs and other areas.

Miss F: Men are so fucking stupid.

Sahara vs Betsy Granger

Sahara and Granger are familiar foes, having squared off a couple of weeks prior. It went Sahara’s way, true. But there was unfinished business, and Sahara had been trying to work her way through New Status Quo.

Betsy seemed off, rushed. Distracted. Something was up.

Sahara worked her over, boot to the throat (Valhalla), then a round kick to the temple (Victory).

Betsy was a step behind in each action, and Sahara knew it. Sahara got cocky, though, and started jawjacking with Betsy about Aiden, about Shawn and about James Raven. She was holding Betsy’s face up and looking into the camera and started asking James Raven to come save his damsel in distress.

Betsy didn’t like that. Not even a little bit. Like when the switch gets flipped, she grabbed a handful of Sahara’s hair and whipped it down to the mat, then she jumped on her in full mount and started raining down rights and lefts.

Betsy went full bitch for a straight four and a half minutes and nearly sealed the deal, before Eoin O’Rourke appeared at the top of the ramp.

Then things started to make sense, why she had such a long journey to the ring when she knew the route, why none of her things were in the right place, why she had Kasey’s Islands belt instead of her own – the leather felt all wrong. This motherfucker is the motherfucker who gave Michelle all his Blood Money so she could challenge for the Manhattan belt next week. Why?

He laughed at her. Apathy’s proxy, of course.

See, Apathy hadn’t really got much love lost for Eoin, things had soured. But him? He still wanted to impress her. He wanted to do what he had to do to get on Apathy’s good side.

What was Apathy’s stake in all this? Well, she had a problem with Lycana, she refused to fight Atara, she wanted to be taken seriously. This was her play. Betsy.

The XWF link, the NSQ link, the clout, who knew. Eoin smiled, right as Sahara springboarded off the middle rope and blindsided Betsy Granger with the Flight of the Valkyrie, followed by a swift Valhalla Falls.

WINNER BY PINFALL; SAHARA

Reimbursements

The room echoed with the sound of Anne Boleyn’s dainty foot steps as she pushed open the doors to Human Resources with a flourish and a rather irritated look upon her face. The Brooklyn Championship is fastened securely around her waist and she keeps a possessive hand over it’s face in case any would be muggers happened to try to disrobe her of what had been rightfully granted her. Anne’s eyes narrow as she approaches a woman at a desk, swiping a hand across it to knock the accumulated papers to the floor she leans in to the startled woman’s face and speaks firmly.

Anne Boleyn: I’m here about my reimbursement.

Richina Grey: I’m sorry?

Anne Boleyn: Pardon me, I forget that not everyone has been afforded the education of the throne. Let me speak to you as I would a commoner. I have lost a most distinguished ally in battle and I am here for the monies owed to me for his funeral arrangements.

Richina stutters as she looks up at Anne before her as the sound of the doors being thrust open behind them draws their attention. Vhodka Black rushes into the HR office wasting no time as she comes upon Anne and the HR secretary.

Vhodka Black: Yo, Anna Banana. Gonna be needing that belt back. Smol mishap, tiny communications, lorge ragrets. Know what I mean?

Anne instinctually clutches the belt closer to her torso like a greedy child with the last bit of pizza in the box. Anne narrows her eyes at Vhodka as she takes a defiant step back as it clearly dawns on Vhodka that this will not be an easy transaction. Vhodka reaches down into her boot, pulling out a sharpened pencil and holding it threatingly in Anne’s direction. 

Anne Boleyn: It’s a pity it’s had to come to this, Jester.

Vhodka Black: Come to what, Chester?

Without warning Anne grabs at a slender man obliviously walking through the office and throws him into Vhodka before she springs to motion and heads for the door. Vhodka goes ass over tea kettle as she struggles underneath the unnamed man.

Vhodka Black: LC?

LC Pinkston: Yo, Vee Nasty. No offense but I have to run this by Ophelia first, just a respect thing.

Vhodka nods at LC who rolls off of her with as much quickness as a man like LC Pinkston can muster as Vhodka eye’s the door that Anne has escaped from. 

Brandon Moore vs Chris Page

The Tower is rocking as Chris Page and Brandon Moore gaze across the ring from each other. They collectively start to walk towards the center of the ring as the sounds of the buzzing fans continue to get louder and louder. They engage in some words spat back and forth, neither backing down. They finally lock up, jockeying for position before shoving off each other with a stalemate. Both men circle each other a second time before locking up a second time. Again they jockey before Page is able to snatch a go behind hammerlock, he cranks on Brandon’s arm twisting it behind his back only to be met with an elbow to the temple. Moore takes over with a series of unanswered strikes by Page that leads to a capture T-Bone Suplex from Moore for a near fall. Moore picks Page up off the mat before hurling him into a neutral corner. He charged forward running into a right boot to the face. Page comes out of the corner with a front waist lock before delivering a overhead release german suplex into the turnbuckles! 

Page opts not to cover as he pulled Moore out towards the center of the ring. He starts stomping at the right elbow joint of Moore. He picks him up off the mat where he laces him across the chest with a knife-edge chop. Chris boots Moore in the midsection where he underhooks the arms of Moore where he delivers a butterfly suplex into a backbreaker for a near fall of his own. Page picked Moore back up where he fired him across the ring, Moore bounces off the ropes ducking a Page clothesline. Page spun around into a kick to the gut followed by a gut buster from Moore! The Tower started to rally behind it’s original talent as he picked Page back up and followed up with a Half Nelson Suplex! 

Moore pops up meet Page as he reaches his feet taking a wrist lock that he transitions into jumping knee to the jaw rocking Page back into the ropes where he staggers forward into a snap powerslam for a two count! Moore transitions into a full mount where he starts a ground and pound on Page’s face with repeated right hands! Page manages a counter into a Triangle Choke! He applies pressure but Brandon is entirely to strong and is able to hoist Page up where he delivers a running Liger Bomb! The Tower exploded as Moore made the cover but Page was out in two. Brandon continued putting on the pressure as he drove Page back into a set of turnbuckles. Moore lays in repeated shoulder blocks to the midsection before hoisting Page up to a seated position on the top ropes. Moore steps up looking to deliver a Suplerplex, Page blocks by latching on to the top rope. Moore attempts again, and again Page latches on to the top rope. He drives a series of right hands to the ribs of Moore before shoving him backward crashing down to the mat. 

Page stood up on the top rope where he leaps off with a Diving Headbutt to Moore! 

Page made the cover but only garnered a two! 

Chris was back to his feet where he called for the Page Plant. Brandon pushes his way up to his feet where Page drove a boot to the midsection doubling over Moore, he set him up for the Page Plant only to see Moore counter with a double leg takedown! Page popped back up to his feet where he walked into a Disasterpiece crumbling Chris to the mat! Moore pressed the cover bringing a gasp from the crowd as Page escaped in two! Brandon Moore is kinda shocked as Page continues to press on. Brandon picks Page up off the mat rocking him with a series of forearms to the jaw before taking Page back into the ropes, he looks to shoot him across the ring, Page reverses and it’s Moore who bounces off the ropes and into a Double A Spinbuster Slam! 

Page begins to work his way back up to his feet where he picks Brandon Moore up off the mat placing his head between his legs. He runs his thumb across his throat before delivering a Page Plant. The cover was made, leg was hooked, and the lights were out as Chris Page pinned Brandon Moore for the three count. 

WINNER VIA PINFALL; CHRIS PAGE

Good Girl Gone Bad!

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey stands in the backstage interview area with the Manhattan Championship proudly hoisted on her shoulder. The frame widens and standing behind her are four of Manhattan’s finest in blue. She smiles at the camera and the crowd begins to cheer loudly.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: Tonight we heard from Chris Page earlier with that tom foolery and bill fuckery about heterosexual bashing. He claims that he wants everything to be equal. Well, I’m all for equality. Last week was not a hate crime and he knows it. But I’ll entertain his alternative facts for a minute with some facts of my own. You constantly run your mouth about my husband and I and we react to it. I get it, you love your Disney villain monologues and you are quite good at them.

I can give credit where credit is due, but it appears that you are now starting to reach out of your depth. You are trying to be Pixar when you aren’t from that era. You took it too far last week, and everyone knows it. But you lit a fire in me that I haven’t seen in a very long time. I have admittedly been trying to be this person that was the “good girl” of the company but now I’m a good girl gone bad. 

You crossed the line and you thought you would bury me. Now you call it heterosexual bashing? Please explain to me how you came to that conclusion? You were not emotionally stable enough to handle me addressing you, when you clearly sent an invitation for me. Your sense of entitlement is your problem and not mine. I told you that I respect your legacy in this business but that only goes so far and after last week, my respect has turned into disdain. 

For the record, I have never cared about someone’s sexual orientation when having dealings with them. Gay, straight, bi, trans, blue, yellow, or purple, it does not matter, but when you come for me and I did not send for you, I’m going to respond. It’s not my problem if you don’t like my reaction to your behavior. Equality right? Well these fine gentlemen behind me will make sure that you get all of this equality tonight, honey. You put your hands on me, that’s assault. See you soon, Boo Boo Kitty.

Todrick heads towards the parking garage with the police officers in tow. Chris Page steps off the elevator and into the garage heading towards his limo.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: That’s him right there officers.

The officers advance on Chris Page as Todrick folds her arms and cocks her hip like Regina George in Mean Girls and smirks.

Officer: Chris Page?

Chris nods and looks at Todrick with pure disgust on his face. The officer places the handcuffs on Chris and Todrick advances to Chris’ face.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: Chris, it would be so easy to watch you be humiliated and led out of here in handcuffs.

The officer laughs and removes the cuffs from Chris’ wrists, they turn and walk out of the garage after they do so.

Todrick Tabor-Ramsey: I’m not that girl, however, now you know that I have the power to make your life a living hell, which I fully intend to do. Remember, you started this, oh, and I’m starting this. 

Todrick steps out of the way and Centurion clobbers Chris from behind. Todrick begins to laugh as the beatdown continues. Security rushes out to stop the attack and Todrick saunters away into the Tower.

Work Smart

Shawn Warstein: Why not?

Dickie Watson: Do you think he needs softening up? Do you think James needs the help?

NSQ locker room. James Raven is in the ring, but Dane is still waiting to be introduced. Dickie is stood between Warstein and the door.

Shawn Warstein: Look, if you get out of the way, I can make good without anyone even noticing. And it isn’t about whether James needs the help, or whether softening him up for you is required. But work smart, not hard. Do the least amount of effort that it takes to get the job done. Save your energy for, y’know, when you and Aiden get back to your Empire suite.

Warstein chuckles to himself, but Dickie doesn’t find it so funny.

Shawn Warstein: Fine. Killjoy.

Back to ringside.

Dane Preston vs James Raven

Dane was in the ring first and after a solid minute of waiting, Raven, One of Fight’s newest signings, made their way to the ring. The two fighters, not at all impressed with each other, bore holes into the heads of each other, giving the term RBF a much more dangerous and masculine definition.

The crowd chanted, and the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen had support in text and emoji form for both. As the bell sounded, hell was unleashed inside of both, and they both planned to make the other painfully aware of it. Raven, winning the first lock up, spun around the opponent and locked both arms around their waist. Lifting Dane off the ground, Raven lowers, and then lifts again, throwing Daneoverhead in an impressive show of ability. Raven stands up only to find that Dane had landed, not on their back, but on their knees, and was already back on their feet. A feat, no pun intended, that impressive both the crowd, as well as Raven.

Raven runs to the bank of ropes and shoots off, attempting a heel kick that Dane doesn’t entertain at all, and side steps. Raven laying on the ground, watches as Dane’s foot comes down over and over, driving into the chest and head, and chest again of the downed Raven. Bouncing off the closest rope to Raven, Dane leaps up and drives a knee into the forehead of Raven. 

Rolling away and embracing the affected area, Raven gets to one knee, and brushes the hair out from their eyes. Dane runs forward, attempting a knee to the face of Raven, but is rolled up into a small package when Raven dives behind Dane and twists, grabbing through the legs of Dane and locking in the small package, which to Raven’s disappointment, only secures a two count out of the preferred three.

Raven, desperate to make a good impression against the former champion, drives a knee to the back of Dane’s head, and follows up with an elbow to the front of the head. Dane Doesn’t fall to the mat but looks like it was close, instead struggling to stand and instantly throwing a back elbow into Raven to back them off. Dane Shoots off the nearest ropes to Raven’s side and attempts to take the blue haired fighter out by the knees, but missing when Raven leap frogs over.

Dane rolls out of the missed attempt and catches sight of Raven shooting off the ropes. Dane runs toward the Raven and the two collide with clothesline attempts, both successful and brutal in their own right. 

Each rolls to their feet, and looks at the other. Savagery hides behind each of their eyes and builds in the white knuckles of their balled up fists. Dane, who began 2020 at the top, who was now being reduced to fight the newest of newcomers that Fight has. And Raven, who was not about to let a person who she saw as a downward spiral stop the upward trajectory. 

The two competitors met in the center of the ring, and exchanged rights and lefts, each making the other feel the wrath of the reality they were dealt over the the future each wanted. And when the fists stopped flying, it was Raven who had gotten the upper hand. Grasping Daneby the back of the head, Raven forced Dane’s head downward into an upward moving knee, which sent Dane spiraling to the mat, motionless.

Raven threw themself against the ropes and on the way back toward Dane, placed both hands on the mat and cartwheeled, landing an impressive leg drop onto the back of Dane’s head. The pain of which motivated Dane to roll from the ring, and try to recollect themselves on the floor below. 

Raven steps through the ropes and takes aim and a staggered Dane. A stutter step on the apron is followed by a leaping cross body block attempt that Dane Sparta kicks to a sudden stop. The crowd all look away as Raven falls to the floor hard, and Dane falls backward, grasping the leg utilized in agony, apparently having jammed the knee from Raven’s incoming force. 

Not letting this stop them, Dane sucks it up and crawls toward Raven. Grabbing the small of Raven’s back, Dane begins to drive knee after knee after knee into Raven’s head, screaming with every hit at the top of  their lungs.

Said lungs, now devoid of air from the effort as well as the accompanying screams, Dane Rests up against the security railing, and collects as much breath as possible. Raven, who is crawling away, a small crimson zigzag of blood across the forehead area, begins to get onto their feet with aid of the apron and bottom rope.

Dane charges, but Raven sees it coming. Lifting both feet off the ground and pulling into the ring, Dane crashes into the steel steps and flips over them, once again grasping at the jammed up knee.

Raven, rolling out of the ring, lays into the knee area of Dane, still not having caught their breath, but closer to it than Dane is. Picking Dane up by the arm, Raven throws them into the ring, following close behind.

Raven stands over Dane, poised in the corner area. Watching with determination in the eyes, Raven waits for Dane to rise fully. Once Dane has done so, Raven acts..

Rushing toward Dane, Raven leaps into the air and grabs Dane by the neck. The momentum carries both of them from the center of the ring to the right side, with Raven bringing Dane crashing down in his RKO style move, Flight Of The Raven, which is not the last move that almost every single person in this sport has. Dane crashes and doesn’t move, until Raven turns him over and hooks a leg. The 3 count comes and Dane kicks out on 4, securing the win for THE PEOPLE’s GOAT, JAMES RAVEN.

Home Turf

As the action in the ring comes to an end, an unfamiliar tune begins to play through the arena. James Raven, still in the ring after his match, turns to look at the rampway as “Sweatpants (Battle Tapes Remix)” by Childish Gambino kicks in. The OCCHI system cuts to Shawn Warstein who clearly recognises the music. He looks confused and irritated by the interruption.

Slowly, out onto the ramp walks UGWC Superstar Sebastian Everett-Bryce III – James Raven’s opponent in three weeks time at UGWC Horizons and guest of Shawn Warstein for the evening, shedding light on his earlier reaction. Seb holds a microphone, his eyes set upon the ring.

A grin slowly appears on Ravens face as he leans back casually on the ring ropes and studies his surprise visitor.

Uncharacteristically, Seb is wearing a thin grey top with the hood pulled up over his head. Beneath, he wears a plain black t-shirt, grey jeans, and white trainers. A leather jacket finishes off the look, much less flamboyant than usual. The music fades away, the crowd abuzz with anticipation. Seb looks upwards at the ring and lifts the microphone to his lips.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: James… Raven.

James throws up a peace sign from the ring. Sebastian pauses for a second, a look of a dawning idea upon his face, before beginning to check his pockets.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: Hold on, one second… Let me just get my phone… I Need a… A selfie. We need to remember this moment.

Sebastian continues to rummage through his pockets as James looks to Shawn, eyebrows arched in confusion. Something feels off about all of this.  Sebastian stops fishing through his clothes, setting his eyes on Raven in the ring.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: You know… For the likes.

He smiles a smile that never reaches the eyes. A moment later, he pauses, and rolls his eyes in realisation. He looks around at the crowd, still hushed by the surprise entrance

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: Of course. I left my phone backstage…

He raises a single finger into the air and spins it in a circle.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: So they could play my music.

Seb turns again, this time his eyes focused on Raven. James crosses his arms over his chest, realizing that this little face to face wasn’t going to play out how he had expected. Sebastian wags his finger slowly.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: I bet you’ve never had to have your entrance theme played from your phone, have you Mr. Raven?

He shrugs his shoulders before continuing.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: Not to worry, James. We have a few more weeks to snap a picture. We missed out last Monday – you’d left before I managed to catch up with you backstage. Before I had a chance to thank you for accepting my open challenge.

Seb paces slowly this way and that, looking down at the ground and then out to the crowd.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: I’m not sure whether you noticed – and to be clear, I wouldn’t expect you to care – but, as you made your Ravenesque entrance into my life, I was just about to announce my retirement from this business. The end was approaching. And then came you. The Greatest of All Time arriving to cause the kind of stir that only he can. You stepped in, James, and you stopped me from making a grave mistake. Because it was a mistake. I should never have announced the end. I should have just let it be… I should have walked away. Disappeared into the ether, leaving all around me to wonder if I’d ever really been there at all. But as usual, I was arrogant. I assumed everyone would want to wave me goodbye when…

He pauses to look back down at the ring and allows that half smile to slide across his lips again before he holds out his hand and gestures towards the ring.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: … All they really wanted was you. And who can blame them? Look at you – handsome, charismatic, and talented as they come. A modern hero, for a modern world. As the cliche goes… Women want him and men want to be him.

Seb begins to nod slowly.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: And so… When you graced us with your presence last week on Synergy, it’s no surprise that all discussion of my announcement disappeared. Everyone assumed that having the great James Raven answer my call would be enough to change my mind. But even if it was? Not a single person wanted to know if I still felt the same. And why was that, James? It was because you had doffed your hero’s cap in my direction.

He looks down at the ground again, running a hand over his stubbled jaw.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: I regret to inform you that this isn’t the Sebastian that you may have hoped to face at Horizons. A month ago, had you fired your sexy little finger guns at me, I’d have fired them right back and blown you a kiss as a cherry on top. I’d have rushed backstage and high-fived every single person I passed because you had blessed me with an audience. But you see, things have changed. Everything has changed. I’ve come to realise who I am…

And when he looks back up from the ground, the smile is gone. The eyes are intense, and perhaps, a little tearful.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: I know why you’ve chosen to face me, Raven. I know why you’ve chosen now. I won’t tell these people, your people, the truth about what you see when you look at me but I know. And I know you’ll deny it, like anyone would. You’ll make your jokes at my expense and play to your strengths. But just understand… That I know what you see when you look at me. Because I see it too. It’s all I see, James. Everytime I look in the mirror it’s all I can see. So… .You still have time to admit it. To tell your people the truth. Or I will.

Seb shakes his head a little and clears his throat.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: Watch me closely these next few weeks, as my path will tell you much of what you need to understand about our meeting at Horizons. But know this. For you? The Greatest of all time? I won’t make it easy. This isn’t about the rising of an Empire. It’s about the man at the centre of an Empire Fallen. And the Raven sent to bring him an omen of prophecy.

He takes a final deep breath, closes his eyes and rotates his neck.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: Horizons will be the beginning or the end. There is no in between. But until then, James… I’ll… I’ll put on a happy face, so you can at least pretend I’m the man you thought you were challenging. And I’ll do that just for you.

He slowly forces the smile back across his lips, and tosses a wink in Raven’s direction.

Sebastian Everett-Bryce III: I’ll see you soon, friend. This will be… Remembered..

And with that, Sebastian drops the microphone on the rampway, adjusts the hood so it’s more over his face and slowly backs out of sight. His music plays out one more time whilst in the ring, Raven holds up his hands questioning what he’s just heard, before turning back to the crowd.

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