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Static fills the airwaves until a black and white video cuts in, showing Johnny Dangerous fumbling with a few objects in a locker. A caption at the bottom of the video reads: “Earlier Today…”


The Barracuda appears to be lost in whatever it is he’s messing with, unaware that somebody has left the cameras rolling. Behind him the door to the locker room opens and his tag team partner, the Wildchild, steps in and just stops. He waits for a moment to see if Johnny realizes he’s there, but Johnny doesn’t seem to be aware in the least. Quite unlike somebody who is supposed to have acute senses and always stay aware of their surroundings like a true Secret Agent should.


“Ahem!” Wildchild mimics clearing his throat - finally getting the Barracuda’s attention. Johnny turns around with a raised brow then smiles and nods when he sees that it’s just his best-friend, and tag team partner.


“How’s it going?” he says, and then turns back around.


“Johnny,” says Wildchild, his thick Creole accent shining through. “I dink’ we need ta’ talk.”


“Oh? What’s up?” replies Johnny. He turns back around with a smile, but it’s clear that Wildchild obviously has some serious issues at hand. He stands several feet away from the Barracuda – hands on his hips – with a bleak expression on his face.


“What’s up is exac’ly what I want ta’ know,” Wildchild responds. “I’ve been noticing dat’ you really haven’ been yourself lately, Johnny. Ever since Clusterfuck you’ve been acting really strange.”


“Have I?” Johnny quizzically replies, his eyebrows raised.


“I dink’ so. On Storm and den’ before dat on da’ last Lockdown you purposely tagged yourself in ta’ get da’ winning pin,” Wildchild says. “Den’ when I was da’ referee for Spike Jenkins and Scott Pretzler I got attacked by Revoltuion Zero!”


“Hey now,” growls Johnny. “I came down there to help you on that one, remember? You weren’t the only one to get beat up by them - I got just as much of it when I came to help you.”


“Yeah, two hours later when you finally came ta’ help!” snaps Wildchild, “den when you came down you didn’t get a single shot in on any of dose’ guys. What happened to da’ Johnny Dangerous that would be damned if he didn’ crack a few heads before getting put down!?”


“First off,” says Johnny, seemingly growing frustrated by the accusations of his ‘best-friend’, “It doesn’t matter which one of us pins somebody or wins the match as long as the team wins, Nic. Isn’t that what you used to always tell me, Nic? Now that I have actually come through and won the match for us, I’m trying to steal your thunder?”


“No, that’s not what I mean-”


“Then what do you mean, Nic?” questions the Barracuda, not even giving Wildchild the chance to get his thoughts out. “You mean like when we defended the Tag titles against the Royal Order, and we really shouldn’t be using that as an example – poor Max King was injured in a car wreck, God bless his soul. However, I basically won that match for us.”


“But I-”


“Then,” continues Johnny, “as far as Revolution Zero goes… I thought you had them under control, Nic. I didn’t leave you hanging on purpose. When I finally realized what was going on I came right out!”


“Yeah,” replies Wildchild, “you came out, and gave up before you even hit da’ ring. That’s not the Johnny I’m used to havin’ around.”


“Things change, Nic.” Johnny closes the door to his locker and slides his famous high-tech shades onto his face. “You see, I have to make some changes if I ever want to be successful again. If I ever want to reach that World Heavyweight Championship,” he pauses then looks up at Wildchild, “something’s just have to change.”


Johnny turns, grabs his bag off the bench and walks out the door. Wildchild sighs desperately then sits down on the bench, shaking his head at the entire situation.


“What’s goin’ on wit’ you, Johnny Dangerous,” he says softly, and then looks down. On the bench he notices something left behind by the Barracuda – a small red and white box, and he picks it up. “Marlboro,” he says, reading the box out loud before tossing it down to the ground.


Though it seems that something strange is going on with the Barracuda - a different man than what he normally is - Wildchild can’t help but feel he’s seen this same man once before…













As static covers the screen once more and the feed cuts out.

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Lockdown is live in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...


Boom boom boom boom






The RBC Center comes to life with an opening pyro that threatens to rock it to it's foundation. Our cameras zoom around the arena, showing a smoke covered rendering of an excited Raleigh, North Carolina crowd. Anxious, fans wave their homemade signs in the air, hoping to catch their five seconds of fame. "Spikez still ghey", "I came to see Jet's tits", and an entire row of fans holding up letters to form "MADDIX" are seen before we spin back around to see our announcing team head on.


(Longdogger) "Welcome to Lockdown! Longdogger Pete here alongside the one and only Suicide King, ready to call the action for yet another exciting night of SWF TV!"


(King) "That's right, Doggah."


(Longdogger) "... is that all you have to say King?"


(King) "Yes."


Suddenly, the lights in the arena go dark... pitch black. A hush falls over the fans at ringside, as a single spotlight shines down onto the stage at the beginning of the entrance ramp. A quick excerpt from Rage Against The Machine's cover of "Beautiful World" plays out.


"It's a wonderful place, oh what a wonderful place..."


"For you..."


"... for you..."


"For you... not me..."






Pyros explode from each side of the stage, launching a mix of red and gold stars towards the ceiling and cueing a change in music as Zach de la Rocha's voice once again floods the building, this time doing a cover of "Street Fighting Man". The arena lights pulse along to the beat. Fans at ringside don't seems to appreciate the obvious work that went into producing such a spectacle, instead booing the arrival of Austin Sly as he steps out of the curtain.


"Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet boooooy..."


"'Cause summers here and the time is right for fighting in the streeeet boooooy..."


(Longdogger) "Bid'ness is about to pick up! Austin Sly wasn't even scheduled to be here tonight!"


(King) "He's apparently decided to grace us with his presence. I, for one, am thrilled."


(Longdogger) "What that sarcasm?"


(King) "I don't even know anymore..."


(Funyon) "Ladies and gentleman, Austin Sly!"


Funyon makes his announcement as Austin slowly makes his way down the entrance ramp, the parted sea of humanity lashing out against him on either side. The man isn't intimidated, though, as he takes his time on his approach before casually rolling underneath the bottom rope and into the ring, the end of his trench coat trailing his every moment with an extra flare. He stalks his way to Funyon before pulling the microphone from the distraught announcer's hand.




(Sly) "I know I don't come out here often, mostly because I can't stand to look at you all, but I just had some things that I needed to say. First of all, ever since I came back from my neck injury, people have been looking at me strangely. Not just in the back... but everywhere I go. Maybe it's the black hair... or the black attire... or just my coat... but I don't think that's it. I think it has more to do with the fact that I've become an absolute physical specimen! All the hard work I put into myself and my body while trying to heal my neck..."


"Juice! Juice! Juice! Juice!"


(Sly) "... after receiving a vicious move onto the concrete at Penn Station, just trying to appease you idiots at home that almost ruined my life!"


(Longdogger) "Austin is blaming everything on the fans! That hardly seems fair to me."


(King) "With all due respect... the majority of them are idiots."


(Longdogger) "I don't think they are."


(King) "That's because you're an idiot."


(Sly) "Now I can truly see the world for what it is. A bitter, jealous, entrapment of human souls. You're all jealous of me! That's why you cheered me on week after week no matter how battered or bruised I became. You wanted to see me hurt. You wanted to see me bleed! You wanted me to sink to your level... but I refuse to sink that low! I'm the evolution of what man should strive to be! Independent. Intelligent. Strong. You should all respect me for what I have become, but instead you fear me for what I can do! Tonight, I'm going to prove to you all what exactly I'm capable of. I'm issuing an open challenge to anyone in the back that's willing to face me in the ring to meet me out here later for a match. One on one. Don't bring your stable or your clique, just bring yourself and a willingness to get your ass beat!"


(Longdogger) "That's a bold move by Austin Sly! What happens... what happens if Toxxic answers his challenge? We could very well have a new contender to the World title!"


(King) "Or we could have one very devastated man."


(Sly) "And after I destroy one very unlucky man in this very ring tonight, I'd like to issue a challenge to the ICTV and USJL Champion... LANDON MADDIX!"


"Lan-don! Lan-don! Lan-don!"


(Sly) "It seems this man feels more threatened by his own friends than he does by an outside force such as myself. I would like to show him the error of his ways by lifting one of those two titles from him after pinning him for the one... two... three count on Smarkdown! I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming."


With that, Austin chucks the mic back over to Funyon before rolling out of the ring. Once again, a barrage of boos and curses rain down from the crowd, leaving only Longdogger Pete to wonder.


(Longdogger) "Who's going to accept the challenge? Will Austin get his shot at Maddix?"

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The Smartmarks Wrestling Federation presents...



(8:00 PM EST; 5:00 PM PST. Check local listings.)


Send everything (booking requests, promos, Amazon wishlists, etc.) to Ace309.






Landon "La Cucaracha" Maddix © vs. "The Urban Legend" Todd Cortez


-> Last Smarkdown, Todd Cortez defeated Max King to become the #1 Contender to the ICTV title... a title that happens to be held by friend and stable-mate, Landon Maddix. At the end of Smarkdown, they were together, but since then, Toxxic has been planting some naughty ideas in Cortez's head. Will Martial Law still be together once the final bell has rung?


Rules: Straight-up singles match.




“Hollywood” Spike Jenkins vs. "The Franchise" Mak Francis

Special Guest Commentator: Toxxic ©


-> Mak had some... "colorful"... things to say about Spike Jenkins and Toxxic on Smarkdown!. While things have certainly changed since then, Francis is no less eager to take on Spike and his now-crippled ego. Spike, on the other hand, is working his way back up the ranks - a win over Francis would look very good in the eyes of management.


But these men do have one thing in common, and that's an enemy in newly crowned World Champion, Toxxic. Toxxic has offered his services as a guest commentator for this match, to rebut Mak's remarks, address recent events involving Spike Jenkins, and to offer his expert analysis of the match.


Rules: Standard singles-match. Toxxic may write, if he wishes.




Cruiserweight Rules Non-Title Match

Alan Clark vs. "The Critic" Scott Pretzler ©


-> Martial Law and Revolution 0. We don't really need a reason for them to fight, do we? Scott Pretzler is undefeated thus far in singles competition, and has already captured the Cruiserweight title. Martial Law is not about to sit idly by while the newest Rev-0 member continues to gain momentum, so Alan Clark has been dispatched to take him down. Will the newcomer go 3-0 solo, or will Clark be able to put him in his place?


Rules: Cruiserweight rules. 20 count on the outside, no tossing an opponent over the top rope. Everything else is standard.




Wildchild © vs. Sean Davis


-> Revolution 0 is getting really good at making enemies. In the same post-match beatdown that saw "Hollywood" Spike Jenkins removed from the stable, special referee and #1 Contender to the Cruiserweight Championship Wildchild was also made a victim. Wild & Dangerous were able to exact some sweet Hardcore revenge on Storm, but unfortunately that's not the end of it. Wildchild is the number one contender to Pretzler's Cruiserweight title, but Davis wants another run at the Bahama Bomber first - this time, one on one.


Rules: Your average every day run-of-the-mill singles match.





"The Dean of Professional Wrestling" Jay Hawke vs. Danny Dagda


-> We've got a newcomer in our midst! "The Dean of Professional Wrestling", they call him. That's a pretty big claim - we'll see if he can back it up in the ring when he faces Danny Dagda, a man who's been in a bit of a slump recently and is looking to turn things around.


Rules: Standard singles match.


… plus, Austin Sly and a mystery opponent, still to come!

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Pete: It’s debut time here on Lockdown, as we see a newcomer to the SWF, but he’s certainly not a newcomer to the professional wrestling ranks. He is Jay Hawke, the self-proclaimed “Dean of Professional Wrestling”.


King: Self-proclaimed? The man’s list of accomplishments speaks for itself. He was basically the man who single-handedly kept the old High Impact Wrestling Federation afloat. And now he’s decided to return to the ring after a hiatus of over two years by coming to the SWF. We should all feel honored.


Pete: Let’s go up to Funyon for the introductions.


Funyon: The opening contest of SWF Lockdown is scheduled for one fall with a 15 minute time limit!


"Learning to Fly" by Pink Floyd comes on the PA as the lights dim.


Funyon: Introducing first, making his SWF debut...from the Hall of Fame City of Cleveland, Ohio, and weighing in at 215 pounds...he is "The Dean of Professional Wrestling"...Jay Hawke!


A spotlight shines on Jay Hawke as he makes his way to the ring. As Hawke makes his way onto the ring apron, he takes off his robe, folds it, and hands it to the ring attendant. Then he stands up on the turnbuckle with both arms in the air as the crowd boos.


Pete: And you were mentioning the man’s credentials just a few minutes ago. So many championships in the old HIWF, including a five month reign as HIWF World Champion. But calling himself the Dean of Wrestling? His opponent might have something to say about that.


“Tearing Everybody Down” by Anti-Flag kicks up and the bursts of red pyro followed by pyro cascades down from the SmarkTron and blankets the front entrance ramp!


Funyon: And his opponent…from Newark, New Jersey, and weighing in at 275 pounds…Danny Dagda!


Dagda comes out through the pyro and just struts down to ringside.


King: Judging from this crowd, it doesn’t sound like either guy is especially well-liked. This could be fun.


Pete: Both men are in the ring, and we’re just about ready for action.




Jay Hawke and Danny Dagda lock up in the center of the ring. Dagda, having a 60-pound weight advantage, also has a superior strength advantage, so he quickly pushes him into the corner. The referee asks for a clean break, and he gets one if you don’t count the slap to the face. Hawke slowly holds his cheek, but smiles.


Pete: Some Dean of Wrestling. He got suckered into the corner, and then slapped hard for his troubles.


King: Hey, even the smartest wrestler in the company is going to have problems overcoming this kind of weight and strength advantage.


They lock up again, and again Dagda’s strength pushes Hawke into the corner, but this time, Hawke ducks underneath a forearm smash and slaps Dagda in the face. Dagda comes charging, but Hawke quickly slides out of the ring.


King: And there’s proof of that, Pete. A brilliant move to throw Danny Dagda off his game, and he’s quickly out of the way to avoid a further beating. Absolutely brilliant.


Pete: Sure, that was an impressive move, but can he keep Dagda at bay for the duration of the contest?


Hawke reenters the ring, and they lock up again. Again Dagda pushes Hawke into the corner, and instead of breaking the hold, he sends Hawke three quarters of the way across the ring with a high hiptoss that gets a pop from the crowd. Hawke gets to one knee in the corner and nods approvingly. Another lockup, and Hawke quickly locks in a side headlock, only to be thrown across the ring like a sack of garbage.


Pete: You have an explanation for this one, Pete?


King: Actually, I do.


Pete: Wonders never cease.


King: I think Hawke’s trying to test exactly how powerful Dagda actually is.


Dagda stares at Hawke and tells him to charge in. Hawke does so, but he baseball slides underneath Dagda to avoid a clothesline and again rolls out to the floor, shouting “Do you really think I’m that stupid?”


King: See, Pete? That’s worthy of the Dean of Wrestling moniker right there.


Pete: Well, this is what I think Hawke needs to do. He needs to use his superior speed to keep Dagda at bay.


Jay Hawke returns to the ring, and we have another lockup. Again Dagda pushes Hawke into the corner. An Irish whip sends the Dean into the opposite corner. Dagda charges for the spear….









….but Hawke moves out of the way, causing Danny Dagda to hit the corner shoulder first while the impact snaps his neck back. Dagda staggers out of the corner doubled over in pain, and Hawke takes advantage of the positioning to execute a swinging neck breaker. Quickly into the cover:









Easy kickout.



Pete: Jay Hawke picks up the first near fall of the contest after the swinging neck breaker, and now he looks to be in firm control. Into a reverse chinlock, and he looks to be ready to wear his opponent down.


King: And that’s smart. Even being out of action for two or three years, you’ve got to think Hawke is going to have the edge in endurance in the long run.


Danny Dagda makes it to his feet. He hits a couple of elbows to the midsection, then sends Hawke into the ropes. Hawke ducks a clothesline, then comes off the other set of ropes and goes for a high cross body. Dagda catches Hawke in midair and turns it into a hard spine buster slam that sends Hawke’s body into convulsions. The cover:












Danny Dagda quickly picks up Jay Hawke. He sets him up, lifts him into the air…


Pete: What a huge power bomb by Danny Dagda! That could be all right there!


King: I’m not sure he wants it yet, though. He’s not going to the cover.


As Hawke reaches his feet, Dagda comes running off the ropes, only to get taken down by a leg lariat. Hawke quickly drops the leg across the chest and covers:












A frustrated Hawke begins to choke Dagda, and he relinquishes the hold just prior to the referee’s five count. Hawke smiles, then puts the chokehold back on, once again just breaking before the five count.


King: And there you see the mark of a veteran. You don’t get disqualified for the chokehold until the referee reaches five, and Jay Hawke is breaking the hold at four and a half.


Jay Hawke drives Danny Dagda’s face into the mat. And again. And again. And then he locks Dagda into the camel clutch.


Pete: And this one might be over! Hawke locks in the camel clutch, all the pressure on the head and neck of Danny Dagda!


King: This is beautiful. All the pressure on the neck, and this started with the shoulder hitting the corner on the missed spear.


Dagda pushes himself up to alleviate some the pressure, then makes his way to his feet when he catches Hawke with a back heel low blow. Luckily for Dagda, the referee was still looking for a potential submission and therefore didn’t see it. After taking a second to try and work the kinks out of his neck, he chokes Hawke against the ropes, this time being the one to release right before the five count.


Pete: Now it’s Danny Dagda taking full advantage of the rulebook here, and now he brings Jay Hawke closer to the middle of the ring…and there’s the swinging neck breaker!


King: We saw Hawke using that one earlier, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d think Hawke using it earlier might have given Dagda the idea.


Danny Dagda grabs Jay Hawke into a side headlock, then drives Jay Hawke into the mat face first with a bulldog. Dagda gets to his feet and begins waving his arms in a Dirty Bird type fashion, then looks down at Hawke and says “If you’re so smart, fly away from that one!”


Pete: Now this might be a mistake here. Dagda has decided to taunt Jay Hawke rather than pin him!


King: Hey, he’s in control of the man here. Why not have a little fun while you’re at it?


Danny Dagda turns around and yells at the crowd, but that leaves Hawke the opening to take his opponent over into a backflip cradle:









Thr… kickout.



Both men quickly get to their feet, but Dagda takes his opponent down with a hard super kick. The cover:









Thr… kickout.



Pete: And just when it looks like Jay Hawke might be gaining the advantage, Danny Dagda comes out of nowhere to land that super kick!


King: But he never hooked the leg, and you can’t win too many matches in the SWF without hooking the leg.


Danny Dagda pulls Jay Hawke up to his feet. He slaps him…then again…and then he grabs Hawke by the throat and heaves him hard into the corner. Dagda takes a moment to celebrate, and it turns out to be one second too long, as he charges into the corner, only to get taken down by a roundhouse kick to the temple. Still on his feet, he takes a leg lariat to the jaw.


Funyon: Five minutes have gone by in the contest, ten remain in the time limit.


Dagda still won’t fall, so Hawke heads to the apron and comes back into the ring with a springboard lariat that finally knocks his larger opponent down. The cover:












Hawke covers again:












Hawke wastes little time trying to keep the advantage. He locks in a front facelock. Dagda tries to fight out of it, and after a bit of a scuffle, Hawke has locked in more of an inverted headlock. Dagda still tries to fight out of it, but Hawke drops Dagda with an inverted DDT onto Hawke’s knee. Another cover:












With Dagda still on the mat, Hawke locks Dagda into a dragon sleeper.


Pete: And the self-proclaimed “Dean of Professional Wrestling” has Danny Dagda locked in a dragon sleeper in the center of the ring!


King: And with all of his offense seemingly focused on the neck of Dagda, he might have Dagda in a lot of trouble here.


Dagda tries to push himself toward the ropes, and he eventually makes it to the bottom rope.


Pete: And Dagda makes it to the rope to force the break. Break it!


Hawke drives a knee into the back of Dagda’s neck as he releases the hold.


King: Break it? He might have broken Danny Dagda’s neck with that hold!


Jay Hawke pulls Dagda to the center of the ring. He stomps the arm four times, then drops a leg across the shoulder. Acting quickly, he locks in a short arm scissors, which illicits a pop from the crowd, if only because they can’t remember the last time they saw the hold.


Pete: And how’s this for an old school submission hold? Jay Hawke brings the short arm scissors out of mothballs, and Dagda might not know how to counter it!


Danny Dagda struggles momentarily, but he does roll Hawke over onto his shoulders:









But he knowingly helps Hawke’s shoulders off of the mat as he tries to pick the Dean up with one arm. He’s unable to lift him more than about three inches, but remembering he has a free arm, he grabs Hawke by the throat.


Pete: Dagda with the chokehold…and he just picked Jay Hawke up by the throat with one arm!


King: And remember, it’s been the neck that’s kept Hawke out of wrestling for over two years!


And Danny Dagda doesn’t do that oft-injured neck any favors, as he spins Hawke around two full revolutions before taking him down with a choke slam!


Pete: Spinning choke slam! Danny Dagda with the spinning choke slam, and he’s got it won!


King: No he doesn’t, Pete! Hawke’s been working over the neck and the shoulders for the last three or four minutes, and Dagda is clearly favoring the neck!


Indeed, Dagda is slow to get to his feet even after executing the hold, but he’s got Hawke by the hair to pull him to his feet. A knee to the midsection. And another. Yet another. Then locking his arms around Hawke’s head and arm….






Pete: What a head and arm suplex by Danny Dagda, and he damn near folded Jay Hawke in half with that one!


King: Now it’s Hawke favoring the neck, and Dagda going for the cover!












Pete: No! Two and a half, if not more, but Hawke somehow got out of it!



Dagda stands in the corner and motions for Jay Hawke to get to his feet. The crowd senses what’s coming and begins to stir. Hawke gets to his feet…and turns around just as Dagda drives him into the corner with a sickening spear!





Pete: My God, what a spear into that corner! He nearly snapped Jay Hawke into a bunch of smaller pieces!


King: But I think Dagda hit his head on the turnbuckle as well! Both men are down, and the referee has started his ten count!
















Pete: And if the referee reaches ten before at least one of these men can get to his feet, this match is going to be a draw!













King: Both men are starting to get to their feet, but it might already be too late!











Pete: And Danny Dagda barely makes it to his feet, and that’s going to stop the ten count!


King: And Jay Hawke’s gotten to his feet as well, but he’s got Dagda standing behind him!


Danny Dagda grabs Jay Hawke into a waistlock, and he quickly takes him down into a German suplex:















Dagda screams, “That’s it, I’m done playing around with you!”


Pete: This could be it, King. I think Dagda wants to go for the Deflation right here!


King: This could be a huge mistake at this point of the match! He’s still feeling the effects from earlier tonight!


Danny Dagda sets up Jay Hawke as if he’s going for the Deflation, but Hawke tries kicking his legs to block the hold. Unable to lift Hawke like he wants to, he takes his opponent down with a piledriver instead. Dagda smiles and covers, but only manages to cover about half of Hawke’s upper body:












Danny Dagda smiles again, as he thinks he has this one well in hand. He picks Hawke up and brings him to his feet, but Hawke quickly snatches the left arm and takes him down into a Fujiwara armbar. A handful of fans scream for Dagda to tap as he pulls himself toward the ropes, and indeed, it’s the ropes that save Danny Dagda from what might have been a sure submission.


Pete: And Danny Dagda reaches the ropes, but how much damage has been done to the neck and arm?


King: Quite possibly too much to recover from.


Jay Hawke levels Danny Dagda with a series of forearm smashes to the face. He goes for an Irish whip into the corner, but Dagda reverses it. Dagda quickly charges into the corner for a spear, but Hawke side steps it, and Dagda’s arm and shoulder once again crash into the ringpost.


Pete: Huge mistake by Danny Dagda there, and Hawke’s behind him. He could be setting him up for something!


Indeed he is, as Hawke locks Dagda into a crossface chickenwing, then jumps into the air and hooks his legs around Dagda’s free arm into an arm scissors.


King: What is that?


Pete: Jay Hawke has Danny Dagda locked into the Wing Span! Working on the arm and neck! What a punishing hold!




Pete: And Dagda taps out! Jay Hawke is victorious in his first ever SWF appearance!


Funyon: Ladies and gentlemen, in 8 minutes and 37 seconds, the winner of this contest….. “The Dean of Professional Wrestling” Jay Hawke!


King: And it took a very calculated attack for Jay Hawke to take his one. He worked on the neck and arm to set up the finishing hold, and he took advantage of a mistake to pick up the win. A very impressive debut for Jay Hawke over a game opponent.


Pete: And we still have more to come after the break, including that huge main event for the Intercontinental Television Championship. Don’t go away.

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Alan Clark stops short as he hears his name said - and said is a strangely familiar accent, as well. Pausing, the man from Long Beach turns to see the spiky-haired form of the newly-crowned World Champion leaning against a vending machine.


“What’s the matter,” Clark spits, scanning the immediate area for other members of Revolution Zero, “don’t think your boy can get the job done tonight?” He looks back at Toxxic, but the straight-edger just grins.


“Calm down Clark, I’m not here to take you out,” he says. “I just want to talk.”


“Well I don’t want to talk to you,” Clark informs him shortly, and cautiously turns his back on the Brit to walk away…


“Seen the card tonight, Clark? Seen who’s in the main event?” the mocking British accent floats down the corridor. “Strange that; I wonder when you were last in the main event in a singles match?”


“Todd and Landon are in the main event for the ICTV Title,” Alan says, rounding on his longtime adversary. “Todd won that shot against Max King. It’s a great moment for Martial Law-”


“-but not for you,” Toxxic cuts in. “As I recall, you’re 3 for 2 against Landon. You certainly came out on top in your last little feud. So how come he’s main-eventing and you’re not?”


“I suppose you’ve got a theory,” Clark snorts derisively, but Toxxic nods as if the comment had been made in a polite tone of voice.


“Of course. Think about it; last autumn - that’s ‘fall’ to you, Yank - who was the main group opposing Revolution Zero? The Urban Empire. But then Mask left and Mike got retired” Toxxic pauses for a moment to grin lopsidedly “and Todd had to start a new faction. He recruited you, and dumb as you are Alan, no-one can ever doubt your commitment to things. But that was only two of you, and that meant you would need one more person to even up the numbers…”


“Toxxic, I know this,” Clark snaps. “What’s this, SWF revisionist history?”


“Landon wanted into the main event,” Toxxic tells him, staring Clark in the eye. “He saw where the Urban Empire had been on the card - main event after main event against us - and he wanted a part of the spotlight. But you know what I reckon he wanted even more than that?”


Toxxic lets the question hang in the air for a moment, holding Alan Clark’s gaze all the while.


“I reckon he wanted to make sure that you never got to be anywhere he didn’t,” Toxxic continues. “Not Alan Clark, the man he could never really get the upper hand on. Empty Arena matches, Ironman matches - you owned him all the while. But if he leads Martial Law, he can always tell you what to do.”


“Oh yeah?” Clark retorts. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, champ, but I don’t take orders from Landon-”


“Bullshit,” Toxxic cuts him off. “He’s got you and Todd completely fooled. Y’see sunshine, Landon’s talking about what’s best for Martial Law, but what he means is what’s best for Landon Maddix. Why else throw you out of the Clusterfuck with that lame ‘Bloodshed’ excuse, when you, me, Landon and everyone else knows it’s just you living out your nu-metal Slipknot fantasies? The only thing he’s concerned about is that he stays on top of Martial Law.” Toxxic pauses, and grins again. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I was fine with Sacred getting a World Title shot as long as he stayed with us. You just think for a moment what Landon’s reaction would be if you or Todd got in line for this hunk of gold,” he continues, patting the World Heavyweight Title over his shoulder. “Oh but wait, I forgot; you’re the cruiserweight wrestler, aren’t you Alan?”


“You’ve got a hell of a lot to learn about us, you British asshole,” Clark snarls. “I don’t give a damn who takes that belt from you as long as someone does, and Landon will at From The Fire!”


“Oh please, you’re scaring me,” Toxxic responds, sounding far from terrified. “No-one’s ever beaten me twice except Janus, and I’d been thrown through plate glass by Kibagami before one of those matches. Maddix is going to have to pull out something bloody special out to get this off me a second time.” The Straight-Edge Sensation grins again, and drains the can of Frost brand Cola in his hand.


“But I digress,” he says, crunching it up in his fist and throwing it with unerring accuracy into a nearby trashcan. “Alan, I don’t give a shit about your career. The only thing is that you’re marginally more annoying to me in Martial Law than you would be bouncing around the midcard on your own. I just wanted you to know that I’m laughing at how well Maddix has you fooled… and if you take this up with him Martial Law will self-destruct, and I win again. Now, I’ll let you get back to preparing for Scott Pretzler. He takes some preparing for, as well.”


The World Champion turns to leave, then stops and turns around to where the seething Clark is still standing.


“Oh Alan, about Scott and his snowflake clutch… you’d best protect ya neck.”

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“Welcome back to Lockdown,” Longdogger Pete says excitedly. “A couple of weeks ago on Smarkdown, Wildchild suffered a savage beatdown at the hands of Revolution Zero members Sean Davis and Scott Pretzler. Last week on Storm, Wildchild was able to gain a small measure of revenge as he and his partner, Johnny Dangerous, defeated Davis and Pretzler in a hardcore Tornado Tag. And tonight, Wildchild has a chance to work out a few more frustrations, as he prepares to step into the ring against the enforcer of Revolution Zero, Sean Davis!”


“Sean Davis and Wildchild are two of the top competitors in the SWF today,” adds Suicide King, “and they are also, respectively, the two best natural athletes in this industry. However, I can’t see Wildchild being able to beat Sean Davis here tonight; he’s giving up too much size, too much strength, and he doesn’t have his partner to bail him out tonight!”


“There’s been much speculation about problems between Wild and Dangerous in recent weeks,” says Pete. “We’ve witnessed tension in the ring between Wildchild and Johnny ever since Clusterfuck, and you can’t help but wonder whether this is something that will heal over time, or whether it means trouble for the Tag Team Champions!”


“Well,” quips King, “I went on record weeks ago as saying that Johnny’s ego was going to be the death of Wild and Dangerous. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that their partnership won’t last beyond From the Fire.”


“You think that Johnny Dangerous is going to turn on his partner?” asks Pete.


“Not necessarily,” replies King, “but you’ve seen the way that Johnny’s nearly cost his team some recent matches with his showboating, haven’t you? I think that Johnny’s ego is going to lead him to do something stupid that costs Wild and Dangerous the Tag Team Titles, and I think that’s going to spell the end of those two as a team!”


“Nevermind the fact that you’ve wanted Wildchild and Johnny to split up since day one,” snipes Pete.


“Hey,” replies King, “I’ll be the first to admit that no one in the SWF will be happier when Wild and Dangerous finally split than me, but how about a little credit for being right!”


“Maybe I’ll give you some credit when you actually are right,” says Pete. As LDP and King continue to snipe at each other, the lights in the arena dim. Jagged streaks of white pyro flash from the ceiling down to the stage like lightning.




A loud thunderclap rumbles through the arena and “F.E.” by 40 Below Summer begins to play, heralding the arrival of the Perfect Storm. Ring announcer Funyon, dressed immaculately in a royal blue tuxedo, stands in front of referee Red Herrington as he raises the microphone to his lips. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he begins, “the following contest is scheduled for one fall! Making his way towards the ring at this time, accompanied by Marcus Washington, from Jacksonville, Florida, weighing two hundred seventy-five pounds: the ‘Perfect Storm,’ SEEEEEAN DAAAAAVIS!” The Perfect Storm walks up the steel stairs to the apron and then steps between the ropes to enter the ring. Marcus Washington banters with the fans at ringside as Davis stares intently at the ramp, rubbing the stitches above his right eye as he waits for his opponent to appear.


“How about the look in those eyes,” notes Pete. “He wants a piece of Wildchild in the worst way!”


“Well, getting hit in the face by a title belt will do that to a man,” replies King. “Wildchild caught him with a cheap shot last week, and then contributed to busting his face open with that Dangerous Drop to the concrete!”


“You know what, King,” quips LDP, as “F.E.” fades into the ethereal, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!”


“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” asks King.


”It means that if Sean Davis and Scott Pretzler hadn’t attacked Wildchild without provocation back on Smarkdown, then the match on Lockdown likely never would have happened, and Davis wouldn’t *have* stitches above his right eye!”


Before King can reply, the arena goes dark, and the crowd erupts in a preemptive cheer, as Reggie Noble’s voice cuts through the darkness like a blade:



















A single spotlight centers itself on the stage, flashing off and on in rhythm as Redman’s “Let’s Get Dirty” throbs melodiously throughout the arena. The Bahama Bomber bursts onto the stage, the Tag Team Title belt strapped to his waist.


“AAAAND his opponent,” shouts Funyon, “from the Bahamas, weighing two hundred fourteen pounds, he is one-half of the SWF World Tag Team Champions: the WIIIILDCHIIIIILD!” Wildchild runs down the ramp, slapping hands with the fans surrounding the barricade, and completes a victory lap around the ring before somersaulting over the bottom rope and into the ring. The Bahama Bomber gracefully springs to his feet and races to the corner, leaping onto the middle turnbuckle and removes the Tag Team title belt from his waist, raising it above his head proudly as the fans cheer on.


“Interestingly enough,” says Pete, as Funyon exits the ring “this will be Wildchild’s first singles match since his return to the SWF in late November, but he’s been undefeated in tag team competition since his comeback.”


“It doesn’t matter what his record is in the tag team division is tonight, Drain-Clogger,” replies King. “But what is important is that Wildchild hasn’t worked a full singles match in almost a year! Wildchild’s last singles match in the SWF was back on March 1st of 2004, when he Alan Clark upset him to become the World Cruiserweight Champion. Since then, he’s only worked tag team matches. You have to expect conditioning to be a factor!”


“Nobody’s ever accused Wildchild of lacking in stamina before, King,” rebukes Pete, “but we’ll see!”


Wildchild hops down from the turnbuckle and surrenders his title belt to Red Herrington as “Let’s Get Dirty” fades out. Herrington leans over the edge of the ring to hand the belt to Funyon. Davis fixes an impassive stare on Wildchild as the Bahama Bomber waves his hands through the air to get the crowd even more into it, as Herrington orders the timekeeper to ring the bell, signifying the start of the match:




“Bell’s gone,” says Pete, “and we’re underway!” Marcus Washington calls out to Davis from the arena floor, shouting out words of encouragement, and as the Perfect Storm turns his attention towards his lawyer and long-time friend, Wildchild seizes the opportunity to strike! He dashes across the ring and leaps towards Davis to deliver a flying attack to the back!




… But the Perfect Storm turns back around suddenly and snatches Wildchild out of the air, wrapping his massive left paw around the Caribbean Cruiser’s throat! Davis throws Wildchild against the ropes and then shoves him into the corner, continuing to hold him still with his left hand as he raises the right…





… And comes down hard on Wildchild’s chest with an open-handed slap! The Tropical Tumbler rocks against the turnbuckles in pain, only for Davis to pull his opponent towards him, grasping both sides of his head in his mammoth hands…





… And slamming his head into Wildchild’s face with a devastating headbutt that sends the Bahama Bomber stumbling back into the turnbuckles!


“Wildchild tried to cheap shot Davis again, and now he’s paying for it,” laughs King. “He should have known better than to try to attack Sean Davis head on; I’d definitely stay away from this guy!”




Davis delivers another open-handed slap that sends Wildchild staggering out of the corner, leaning heavily against the ropes for support.


“You’re right about that, King,” concedes LDP. “Wildchild cannot match power with Sean Davis; he definitely has to stay away from him!”


Davis steps forward to press his attack, but Wildchild surprises him, quickly lifting his right leg off the mat and slamming his foot into big Sean’s midsection! As Davis stumbles backwards from the unexpected attack, Wildchild charges forward, leaping into the air with his arm raised high above his head…





… And lowering it onto Davis’ head, driving the point of his elbow just above the Perfect Storm’s right eye! As Davis clutches at his eye instinctively, Wildchild presses his attack…









… Hammering the Perfect Storm in the chest with a battery of rapid-fire punches that send him stumbling backwards into the corner!


“And once again, Wildchild trying to take it to Sean Davis,” says Pete, “but this time, he’s all over him!”


“Well, if Wildchild wants to stand a chance against Davis tonight,” adds King, “he’s going to have to stick and move!” Wildchild takes a step back from Davis and then springs towards the corner, whipping his arm quickly through the air…






… And smashing his forearm into Sean’s face! Wildchild charges forward once more, but the Perfect Storm stuns him with a rake of the eyes, and as Wildchild is trying to recover from the temporary loss of vision…






… Davis sends him down to the canvas with a sweeping left hook! Davis grabs Wildchild by the hair and pulls him back up, only to drive him face-first into Davis’ knee with a tremendous knee smash! Davis pulls Wildchild back to his feet and then traps him in a front-facelock, squeezing Wildchild’s neck as he leans heavily over his opponent’s back.


“Wildchild not able to resist the temptation of trying to go toe-to-toe with Sean Davis,” notes King, “and the Perfect Storm caught him again!” Wildchild wraps both arms around Davis’ left leg and tries to get him off-balance, but Sean has a nice solid base, and Wildchild finds himself unable to displace Sean’s weight. Davis turns the Tropical Tumbler towards the corner and pushes him aggressively into the turnbuckles, releasing the facelock only to slam a ferocious kneelift into Wildchild’s breadbasket!


“Davis with a series of knees into Wildchild’s midsection,” says Pete, as the Perfect Storm continues his relentless assault, “and then follows it up with a couple of shoulderblocks!” Davis turns his back to Wildchild and then lifts both arms up, grabbing the opposing ropes with each hand, trapping the Caribbean Cruiser in the corner. Sean uses the ropes to launch himself backwards into the corner…




… And mashes Wildchild against the turnbuckles!


“Look at Davis use that size to his advantage,” marvels King, as Davis slams into Wildchild a second time. “Sean has a sixty pound weight advantage over Wildchild, and he’s making the most of it in the ring tonight, slamming all of that bulk and muscle into Wildchild’s chest!”


“Sean Davis tips the scales at 275,” adds Pete. “That’s almost like having a refrigerator dropped on you!”


“And now Wildchild finally gets to feel what it’s like,” crows King. “He makes a living using his body as a weapon, attacking people with flying attacks, and now he gets to experience what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that kind of offense!”


“Absolutely,” concedes LDP. “Davis didn’t exactly come off the top rope, the way Wildchild likes to, but I can assure you, what’s he’s doing right now is just as effective!”


“And look at how smart Sean Davis is being,” remarks King, “That’s where all that strength training pays off: look at him using that leg strength to hold Wildchild against that corner. That’s where doing squats and leg presses pays off, Leap-Frogger! Wildchild can’t catch his breath with Davis leaning on his chest like that; that’s going to stop him from being able to breathe, and get the oxygen that he needs!”


“Sean Davis with a smile on his face,” notes Pete, as Marcus Washington dances around the ring. “The look on his face tells you that he has things well in hand!” Davis grabs onto the ropes and launches his body into the corner once again…






… But the Bahama Bomber raises his legs at the last second, driving both knees into Davis’ back as the he slams into the corner! The Perfect Storm staggers across the ring, and Wildchild pulls himself out of the corner, bouncing off the ropes to build momentum as he launches himself at Davis, leaping into the air and thrusting both feet into his back with a running dropkick! Sean drops to one knee in front of the ropes as Wildchild steps out onto the apron.


“Sean Davis thought he had everything under control,” shouts Pete, “but he didn’t! Wildchild got both knees into the back, and now he’s, once again, taking the fight to the Perfect Storm!”


“Wildchild has gotten Davis down to one knee,” concedes King, “but he’d better stick and move; he can’t trade punches with Sean Davis!” Wildchild stands in front of the kneeling Davis and grabs the middle rope with both hands, planting his feet on the edge of the ring apron and leaning backwards, pulling against the middle rope for all he’s worth.


“Wildchild has been known to do some sensational things from that apron,” says Pete. “There’s no telling what he’s planning to do right now!” Suddenly, Wildchild releases the middle rope, falling to the padded arena floor as the plastic-coated solid steel cable snaps back towards the ring…














The force of the blast sends Davis flying backwards towards the center of the ring, all the stitches above his right eye ripped apart! Blood spurts from Sean’s forehead like a fountain as the Perfect Storm lies on his back, roaring in excruciating pain!








“That was disgraceful!” bellows King. “Wildchild should be disqualified for that! He should be fined and suspended as well!”


“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, King,” replies Pete, as Wildchild climbs back onto the apron. “There was nothing illegal in what Wildchild just did, and although it’s unlike him to be so aggressive, there aren’t really any grounds to disqualify him!” Wildchild runs to the corner and leaps onto the top turnbuckle, measuring up the Perfect Storm as he springs into the ring…





… And drives the point of his elbow into Sean’s head with a diving elbow smash! Wildchild remains atop Davis as Red Herrington dives into position to count the pinfall:




















“Wildchild trying to close out the match after a devastating elbow,” says Pete, “but even after sustaining all that punishment, Sean Davis still had more than enough energy to power out of that pinfall!”


“He was about four feet from a pin there, Drain-Clogger,” says King, indicating the ease with which Davis was able to kick out. Wildchild runs towards the edge of the ring to get a good start as Davis rolls to his knees…




… But before he can take off for another running attack, Marcus Washington reaches into the ring to trip him up! Furious, Wildchild exits the ring and gives chase to the lawyer, who flees for his life around the ring, as Davis rolls out to the floor.


“Marcus Washington getting himself involved in the match,” says Pete, “and I think that he may have just made a grave mistake! He’s going to wish that he’d minded his own bid’ness if Wildchild gets his hands on him!”


“Well, Wildchild is the fastest man in the SWF,” replies King, “but Marcus Washington is pretty fast in his own right, and he had a head start!” Washington runs for all he’s worth with the Bahama Bomber right on his heels, running all the way around the ring. Davis, who had been hiding beside the apron, waits for Marcus to run past him before exploding off the floor, arm raised to deliver a massive clothesline…




… But the Human Hurricane sees him coming, and dives to the floor, somersaulting safely out of his reach! Wildchild immediately springs back to his feet and kicks Davis in the midsection, doubling him over and giving Wildchild a clean shot at his face…






… And the Bahama Bomber takes full advantage; assaulting Davis in the head with several more machine gun-like punches that further open up the wound on his forehead! Wildchild then grabs him by the wrist and whips him across the arena floor…






… But the Perfect Storm reverses easily, sending Wildchild crashing into the steel stairs!


“That shows you right there why Wildchild isn’t going to win this match,” says King. “He finally outsmarted and out-maneuvered Sean Davis, but instead of sticking to a hit-and-run attack, he tried to beat him with strength, and Davis was able to regain control of the match!” Davis rolls Wildchild into the ring, and then pulls himself onto the apron. By now, Sean’s face is so covered in blood that he can barely see, and he calls out to Marcus, who wipes his eyes several times with a towel. Davis slides back into the ring and pulls Wildchild to his feet, grabbing him by the hair and slamming him face-first into the top turnbuckle! Marcus Washington screams to get referee Herrington’s attention as Wildchild staggers out of the corner, and Davis grabs him by the back of his tights, pulling his shoulder strap from behind his back and around his neck, effectively choking Wildchild out with his own tights with his left hand while he uses his massive right hand to conceal what’s going on, wrapping it surreptitiously underneath Wildchild’s jaw with a deceptive chinlock.


“And look how smart Marcus is,” notes King. “That’s why Davis brings him down to the ring: he’s distracting the referee so that Sean can do the damage!” As Marcus keeps Red Herrington occupied, Davis continues to choke Wildchild out with his own costume.


“You want to talk about someone getting disqualified,” says Pete, “It should be that man right there! That’s blatant cheating! Turn around, ref; turn around, and come back over here to the action!” Herrington turns his attention back to the two combatants, but Davis slyly shifts his body so that all the referee is able to see is a seemingly innocuous chinlock.


“Look at that,” crows King, “he can’t see it! The referee is totally blocked out by Davis’ body and his arm! He’s got a tight grip on that strap, and he’s choking the life out of Wildchild!” Wildchild turns his body in towards the Perfect Storm and stuns him with an elbow jammed into his midsection! A second elbow sends Davis stumbling backwards, pulling Wildchild with him!


“Elbows to the midsection by Wildchild, trying to break up this hold! He’s got big Davis reeling!” shouts Pete, as Davis is able to put down Wildchild attempted insurrection by squeezing tighter on the singlet. “But Davis is able to turn things back around in his favor, and Wildchild is still caught by that strap!”


“That’s why Wildchild couldn’t get away,” chuckles King. “And Marcus is doing a tremendous job outside the ring, keeping Red Herrington distracted!” Davis finally relinquishes his devastating choke, only to drop Wildchild with a ferocious headbutt! Davis swoons from the effects of the headbutt himself, leaning back against the ropes as he uses his forearm to wipe more blood from his eyes.


“Sean Davis definitely did the job, sapping the energy out of the Wildchild,” notes Pete, “but as you can see, he’s a little the worse for wear himself; he’s lost an awful lot of blood in this match, and headbutting Wildchild may not have been the best idea!”


“Davis may be a little light-headed from the blood loss,” says King, “but I can assure you that he still has more than enough energy to put this chump away!”






At the sudden chorus of boos from the crowd, King and LDP look over towards the stage and see Scott Pretzler stepping out from behind the curtain, a smug look on his face.


“Now what’s he doing out here?” demands Pete. “Scott Pretzler, the SWF World Cruiserweight Champion has no business being out here for this match!”


“Well, obviously he wanted a ringside seat,” replies King, as the Critic strolls down the ramp. “I mean, Wildchild is the Number One Contender to the Cruiserweight Title, and Pretzler wants to get a closer look at what he’s got in store for him!”


“Well then, he came down for the wrong match! This match is not going to serve as an accurate gauge for what Wildchild is able to do against other Cruiserweights,” argues LDP.


“Maybe not,” replies King, “but it might help Pretzler learn how to beat Wildchild!” Davis pulls Wildchild to his feet and bends forward to apply a front-facelock, but the Bahama Bomber lunges forward, pushing the Perfect Storm towards the corner. Davis, unprepared for any resistance by the Wildchild, does not have time to establish a base, and stumbles backwards into the corner! Wildchild steps away from the corner and charges back towards Davis, blasting him above the eye with a running back elbow! As Davis grabs his head in pain, Wildchild goes back to work with quick right hands!






“Wildchild trying once more to come back against Sean Davis!” shouts Pete. “As he hammers away at the Perfect Storm, opening up that wound, increasing that blood loss!”


“Well, I don’t know where Wildchild got this burst of energy from,” says King, as Davis finally grabs hold of Wildchild and shoves him into the corner, slapping on a trapezious hold. “But once again, Drain-Clogger, the size and strength of Sean Davis makes the difference!” Davis pulls Wildchild away from the corner, the trapezious hold still in tact, but he leaves his ribs wide-open, and Wildchild sets his sights on them, hammering the big man on each side with several shots to the ribs! The crowd erupts as the Bahama Bomber measures Davis up for a hard right hand to the cut above his eye that sends the big man staggering backwards, and then races towards the edge of the ring, exploding into the air as he rebounds and whipping his leg sharply through the air…





… Sending Davis down to one knee with his patented leg lariat! Wildchild spring back to his feet and grabs the Perfect Storm by the back of his head, pulling him to his feet and leading him to the corner, before slamming him headfirst into the top turnbuckle! Davis staggers backwards as Wildchild quickly ascends to the top turnbuckle himself, the fans cheering loudly in anticipation as the Human Hurricane leaps from the top turnbuckle, snaring Davis’ head as he falls towards the ring…






… And slamming Davis face-first into the canvas with a sensational jump-swinging DDT!


“DDT!” exclaims Pete. “Wildchild just hit Sean Davis with what appeared to be a version of the Presumed Guilty! If he covers him, it’s over!” Wildchild rolls Davis onto his back and applies a lateral press as Herrington dives into position:











… But Pretzler alertly drapes Sean’s foot over the bottom rope!







“Foot on the ropes!” shouts King. “No three-count; Davis got his foot on the ropes!”


“You mean that Pretzler got his foot on the ropes, don’t you King?” asks LDP, as Pretzler turns towards the fans, pleased with his handiwork. So pleased, in fact, that he doesn’t see Wildchild leaning over the top rope to grab him by the hair and pull him onto the apron! The fans squeal with excitement as Wildchild turns Pretzler around to deal out some punishment, but as he draws his arm back, the Perfect Storm catches it in mid-swing!


“Brilliant teamwork by Revolution Zero,” crows King, as Marcus Washington distracts Red Herrington while Davis holds Wildchild in place. “Pretzler distracted Wildchild just long enough to allow Davis to recover, and now they’ve got him right where they want him!” Pretzler removes the Cruiserweight Title from around his waist, raising it to eye level as he signals Sean to push Wildchild into it. Pretzler draws the belt back as the Perfect Storm shoves Wildchild towards the edge of the ring…




… But the Bahama Bomber ducks out of the way, and Pretzler’s blow finds the head of Sean Davis instead! The Perfect Storm staggers back wearily and then collapses to the canvas like a fallen tree!




“He missed!” shrieks LDP. “He missed Wildchild and hit his own partner!” Scott is so stunned by shock that he doesn’t notice the Human Hurricane’s foot rifling towards his face…






… And knocking him off the apron with a superkick!



“Davis is down! Pretzler is down!” exclaims Pete, as Wildchild winds his hands rapidly above his head. “And Wildchild is looking to end this match!” The Caribbean Cruiser steps out onto the ring apron and runs to the corner, deftly scaling to the top turnbuckle. He wastes no time before leaping back off the turnbuckle, flipping forward twice in succession…







“Falling Star Bomb!” shouts Pete. “That’s going to do it!” Wildchild remains atop Sean’s chest, holding him down for a cover as Herrington dives in position to count:



















The cheers of the crowd practically drown out the sounds of “Let’s Get Dirty” as Wildchild gets back to his feet. Red Herrington holds his hand aloft in victory as Funyon makes the official announcement:


“Here is your winner: THE WIIIIILDCHIIIIILD!” Wildchild runs over to the corner and leaps onto the middle turnbuckle, pointing down to the arena floor at Pretzler as the Cruiserweight Champion picks himself up, rubbing his chin gingerly.


“A big win for Wildchild here tonight on Lockdown,” says Pete excitedly, “in his first singles match in almost a year, and it looks like he wants to send a message to Scott Pretzler!”


“Well, Scott Pretzler’s attempt at affecting the outcome of the match may have backfired,” says King, “but he’ll have a chance to take matters into his own hands when he and Wildchild meet for that World Cruiserweight Title!”


“What a tremendous match,” shouts Pete, “and we’ve still got plenty of action, folks; don’t you dare go ‘way!” Wildchild points towards Pretzler’s Cruiserweight Title, waving his arms across his waist in a covetous manner and fixing a challenging stare at the Critic…



As we:


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We return to Raleigh, North Carolina where after a commercial break, we continue on with SWF Lockdown.


"(LDP) Welcome back to the show, where Austin Sly issued an open challenge earlier tonight. We still have no idea who took him up on it, but it's about time we find out!"


The lights in the arena go dark. Pitch black. A hush falls over the fans at ringside, as a single spotlight shines down onto the stage at the beginning of the entrance ramp. A quick excerpt from Rage Against The Machine's cover of "Beautiful World" plays out.


"It's a wonderful place, oh what a wonderful place..."


"For you..."


"... for you..."


"For you... not me..."



*BOOM! *


Pyro explodes from each side of the stage, launching a mix of red and gold stars towards the ceiling and cueing a change in music as Zach de la Rocha's voice once again floods the building, this time doing a cover of "Street Fighting Man". The arena lights pulse along to the beat. Fans at ringside don't seems to appreciate the obvious work that went into producing such a spectacle, instead booing the arrival of Austin Sly as he steps out of the curtain.


"Everywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet boooooy..."


"'Cause summers here and the time is right for fighting in the streeeet boooooy..."


"(Funyon) Ladies and Gentlemen, the following is a singles match scheduled for one fall! Introducing first, hailing from St. Louis, Missouri and weighing in at two-hundred and thirty seven pounds… AAAUUUUSSSTIINNN SSSLLYYYYY!"


With a look of utter disgust and contempt plastered onto his face, Austin slowly makes his way down the entrance ramp, the parted sea of humanity lashing out against him on either side. The man isn't intimidated, though, as he quite uncharacteristically makes his way down to the ring in a hurried manner. Rolling underneath the bottom rope and into the ring, the end of his trenchcoat trailing his every moment with an extra flare, he quickly paces the ring before making his way to the lower right corner of the ring and removing his coat, hanging it on the ringpost.


"(King) There was a literal fire raging in Austin earlier tonight, and he appears just the same now. He wants to change his fortunes and make his mark, and I think he can."


"(LDP) Well, it depends on who his opponent is… just looking at those who aren't booked for tonight, there are a few names who could give Austin a run for his money. For his sake, I hope he didn't bite off more than he could chew."


Austin Sly continues pacing in anticipation and the fans wait on their feet as well, thoughts of who the mystery opponent could be running through their heads. The arena is nearly silent, but suddenly the house lights dim, multi-coloured strobes pulse and flash, and Mastodon's "Crusher Destroyer" furiously blasts from the speakers! Manson emerges moments later to a nicely sized pop and walks straight down the ramp, focused on Austin.


"(Funyon) And his opponent, hailing from Denver, Colorado and weighing in at two-hundred and thirty five pounds… MMMMAAAAANNNSOONNN!"


"(LDP) It's MANSON! He's had a couple shows off after losing to Spike Jenkins in a Cruiserweight Championship Match, but is now ready to get back into the thick of things!"


"(King) The question is, will his knee give him any problems? Going by what Spike did in order to beat him, there's no way he's one hundred percent."


"(LDP) Possibly, but he's very resilient, so it may not even be much of a factor."


Manson approaches the ring cautiously, keeping his sights fixed on Sly, then rolls in and quickly pops up to his feet, as he backs into his corner. Funyon exits the ring and Matt Kivell calls for the start of the match, as Manson and Sly emerge from their corners.




Manson and Sly both emerge from their corners, circling the ring, then meeting in a lock up. Manson gains the initial push on Sly, but Sly's height advantage forces him back a couple steps, before Manson is able to dig his feet in and push Sly back into his corner. They exchange position multiple times along the ropes toward the upper right corner, and Sly emerges with position, as he pins Manson against the turnbuckle. Sly keeps the hold on Manson, and soon Kivell has enough, as he forces the two to break, with Sly giving a shove to Manson as he backs off, which gets a light amount of jeers from the crowd. Manson takes offense and steps toward Sly, paintbrushing him with a slap across the face, which causes Sly to explode and ignite a fistfight between the two.


"(LDP) A little testing of the waters to start off, but a shove by Sly off a break kicks off a fight between the two!"


The flurry of fists continue, but Sly soon falls to the mat. Manson delivers a few more punches as Sly stands back up, sending him to the left side ropes before Manson latches onto him and sends him across the ring. Sly bounces off and Manson catches him with a kick to the stomach. Hooking him around the head and by the tights, Manson grunts and lifts him up for a suplex, but Sly squirms out of it, landing on his feet behind Manson. Sly looks for a quick end to the match, grabbing Manson around the leg and rolling him up with a schoolboy.


"(LDP) Schoolboy by Sly!"




-Manson kicks out, and he and Sly now get back up to their feet.


"(LDP) Sly couldn't get him, to no great surprise."


"(King) That never works…"


Sly is the first to strike with a kick to the stomach, doubling Manson over. Sly follows that up with an elbow to the back of the neck, bringing Manson down to a knee. Sly goes to lift Manson up, and Manson pushes him away, allowing him to stand and hit a clothesline. Sly goes down to the mat, then pushes himself back up to his feet, and Manson hits the boot to the gut. Again hooking Sly up for a vertical suplex, Manson lifts him upward, this time succeeding in dropping him back. He floats into the cover.


"(LDP) Manson hits the vertical suplex, and here's a cover!"





-Sly kicks out at one, and Manson goes down to lift him up. Bringing a hand back, he chops Sly across the chest…






-and he brings the hand back again…






-making contact once again. Sly retaliates with a couple of punches, and Manson simply counters with a knee lift to the stomach, doubling Sly over, followed by…












"(LDP) Series of knife edge chops by Manson!"


-another chop finishes it off, sending Sly stumbling back to the upper left corner. Manson pursues and hits a right, followed by a left, a right and so on, which knocks Sly down to the mat. Kivell tries to drag The Hate Machine away from Austin, who sits slumped against the bottom turnbuckle in a daze. However, Manson isn't so cooperative, as he simply sidesteps Kivell and goes back to work, fervently laying in the boots to him and stomping a mudhole. Finally heeding Kivell's warning, he leaves Sly in the corner, throwing his fist in the air and getting a round of cheers from the fans.


"(LDP) Sly is in a tough position, as Manson has gotten the better of him early on!"


"(King) None of this is true wrestling… Sly wasn't prepared for this!"


"(LDP) Hey, he brought this on himself!"


Manson heads back toward Sly to pull him out of the corner, however Sly gets a hand up and rakes his eyes. Manson is sent stumbling, trying to clear his eyes, as Sly pulls himself up out of the corner. Taking Manson by the back of the neck, Sly rams him head first inot the top turnbuckle. Manson hangs off the ropes and tries to shake it off, and Sly follows it up, grabbing Manson and pinning him face first against the top rope, dragging him along it and causing further harm to him. Manson goes down to his knees and again allowing him no time to recover, Sly delivers a stiff kick to the ribs, upending Manson, and following that up with a kick to the chest, knocking Manson down to the mat. Pulling him up, Sly whips Manson toward the near camera side ropes. Manson bounces off, and Sly hits a basement dropkick to the knees, knocking Manson down once again.


"(LDP) After some desperate tactics, Austin is able to get a dropkick to Manson's problematic knee, taking him down!"


"(King) Now begins the comeback!"


Sly hovers near Manson as he gets to his feet, clasping his arms around the latter's head in a side headlock. Manson attempts to shove Sly off toward the ropes, but Austin keeps the hold on and goes down to a knee, dragging Manson down with him. A little panicky now, Manson looks for a way out of the hold, initially grabbing Sly by the hair. He releases Sly at the behest of Kivell, and resorts to hitting another series of punches to Sly's kidneys, allowing him to get to his feet. Manson continues pounding away at Austin's lower back, loosening his grip and getting a little breathing room, then wraps his arms around Sly's waist and lifts him up, planting him with a backdrop suplex!


"(LDP) You were saying?"


Sly clutches his neck and flops around on the mat momentarily, deciding to roll out of the ring to rest. Meanwhile, Manson sits on the mat, taking in a few breaths before getting up to his feet. He begins heading outside, but is halted by Kivell, while Austin paces on the outside and buys some time.


"(LDP) Austin escapes to the outside, looking to regroup!"


"(King) Good plan. He can't get any sustained offense on Manson, so heading outside, regrouping and breaking Manson's momentum is the best thing to do so that this match doesn't get away from him."


Manson stands, hands on his knees, as Sly argues with fans along the near camera barrier as he backs up toward the ring and Kivell implores him to get back into the ring. Manson takes his opportunity to strike then, as he bypasses Kivell and rushes toward Sly's position. He goes low, hitting a baseball side dropkick to the back! Sly goes stumbling forward into the barrier, as Manson heads out. Manson hits Sly with a few fists to the forehead, then pulls him up off the ground by the back of the head, in order to bring him back into the ring. Sly, though, has other plans as he shoves Manson off. Manson spins back around and Austin hits a kick to the stomach. Grabbing Manson by the arm, Sly whips him…




-into the steel steps! Manson bangs against the steps knees first and flips up and over in a horrible collision, clutching his right knee and crying out in pain as he lands.


"(LDP) Manson goes knees first into the steps! This has been Manson's match thus far, but this doesn't bode well!"


"(King) Haha. I'll say! Atta boy, Sly!"


With Kivell in his ear admonishing him, Austin flashes a wry smile and rolls back into the ring. He gets to his feet and raises his arms in the air…




-which gets a large amount of scorn from the RBC Center crowd. Kivell can do nothing but shake his head and reluctantly begin a count…













-Manson begin stirring…








-He gets up to a knee…





-And up to his feet…





-He limps over to the apron…





-And rolls into the ring, much to the chagrin of Austin, as he heads over and stomps on the back of Manson's neck.


"(LDP) Manson in just before ten, thankfully, but the collision with the stairs on the outside looks to have done a bit of damage."


Manson covers up his neck with his hand, prompting Austin to deliver another stomp before backing off. Manson reaches for the ropes and pulls himself up, as Austin lurks behind him and rushes forward with a kick to the back of the leg! Manson hangs on to the ropes and stays on his feet, as Austin opts to head out to the apron. On proper footing, Manson releases the rope, and Austin jumps up to the top, springing off. Austin flies through the air and as Manson turns around, Sly straightens out and catches him with a springboard dropkick! Austin scrambles into a cover with a lateral press…


"(LDP) Springboard dropkick by SLY!"












-Manson kicks out! Sly goes for another cover, now with a hook of the leg.













-And he kicks out again!


"(LDP) Multiple covers, but Sly couldn't get him."


"(King) Maybe not, but what that does, especially on someone late in the match, is wastes their energy, and Manson can't afford to lose that."


Austin slaps the mat and brings Manson up to his feet, hitting him with a kick to the knee. Manson yelps and grabs his leg as Austin wraps and arm around Manson's waist, the other arm bundling the bum leg. Sly hoists him up and drops him shin first onto his own knee, hitting a shinbreaker! Manson screams in pain once more, again clutching at his leg, as Austin goes for yet another cover, this time cradling both legs.













-And Manson kicks out once more, causing Sly to get a little red in the face and shout a clearly audible "Fuck!" which is conveniently missed by the censors. Austin slaps the mat again and stands, now going for Manson's leg and wrapping it in a scissors hold. He goes down to the mat and hooks the leg with his arm, as Manson again screams in agony.


"(LDP) Austin with a leg lock!"


Austin yanks on the leg, attempting to cause more harm, as Manson slaps the mat and grits his teeth. Kivell checks with Manson, seeing if he wants to give up, to which Manson shakes his head. Austin flexes his arm and leans back further, looking to exert more pressure on Manson's leg, and Manson slaps the mat again. Desperate to free himself, Manson fires up and hits a chop to Austin's neck. Sly doesn't relinquish the hold, forcing Manson to rear up and hit another chop, weakening Sly's grip just a bit, as the fans begin rallying around Manson.








Taking his opportunity, Manson pulls himself toward the ropes. Austin applies increased pressure once again, and Manson fires up and clocks Sly with a punch. Clawing his way closer to the ropes, Manson reaches out. Just out of his grasp, Manson makes a final lunge. Manson grabs hold of the rope, and Kivell demands the break.


"(LDP) Manson fights his way out of the leg lock!"


"(King) Oh, just great. Really."


Clearly not happy, Austin's frustration becomes evident, as he pounds the mat with his fists and appeals to Kivell. Kivell points out the clenched fist around the rope, and Sly screams out, before dropping an elbow on the back of Manson's neck. Austin huffs and puffs as he bends down to lift up Manson, bringing him up to his knees. Sly hits a series of punches on the downed Manson, and although he wobbles, he doesn't go down. With increased ferocity, Sly lays in more fists, finally knocking Manson back down. Sly demands he stand up, and he does so, with his back to Sly, but Manson spins around and absolutely NAILS him with a rolling elbow to the jaw!


"(LDP) Manson with a rolling elbow!"


Sly goes down to the mat, as Manson goes back down to a knee. Austin grabs his jaw as he rolls onto his stomach, then onto his knees then onto feet, at the same time as Manson. However, Manson is the first to react, as he brings up a leg in an attempt to kick Sly. Sly, though, catches the leg and wags his finger at Manson, which prompts Manson to jump and kick Sly in the back of the head with an enziguiri! Sly goes down to the mat, grabbing the back of his head, and gets himself to his feet again, as Manson runs for the ropes and bounces off. Sly turns, only to get clotheslined over the top rope by Manson! Sly bounces off the mats on the outside, as Manson lies in wait inside the ring.


"(LDP) Manson knocks Sly over the top!"


By the announcer's table, Sly pulls himself up with the assistance of a nearby folding chair. Manson raises the horns in the sky, getting a round of cheers from the crowd. He starts for the ropes, bouncing off and making his way toward the opposite side. Meanwhile, on the outside, Sly folds up the chair, his hand propped against the announcer's table. Manson bounces off the aisle side ropes and makes his way toward Sly. Straightening out, Manson dives at Sly between the ropes, and as he comes down toward Sly…








-and Sly bashes him in the head with the chair! Manson crashes and burns on the outside in a heap, as Sly just drops to his knees.


"(LDP) Oh, GOD! Manson… Sly just smacked him with a chair as Manson was going for a suicide dive!"


"(King) YES!"


Kivell stares wide eyed at the two on the outside, and can do nothing but call for the bell…


"(Funyon) Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner of this match as a result of a disqualification… MMMMAAAAAANNNNSOOOONNNNN!"


Sly gets to his feet, but seemingly couldn't care less about the DQ, as he just throws the chair down and heads around the ring, starting off towards the back holding the back of his head as Manson lays nearly still in front of the announcer's table.


"(LDP) Sly wanted to make a statement… but… that's not exactly the way I prefer it to go down. Still, Manson is the winner of this contest, for better or worse."


"(King) Manson may be the winner, but he doesn't look it!"


"(LDP) Well, we'll be back with more Lockdown, once we get Manson to the back..."

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“Ladies and gentlemen,” booms Funyon, “the following is a non-title cruiserweight rules match scheduled for ONE FALL!”


The Cruiserweight Champion strides confidently into view as Beethoven’s thunderous Ninth Symphony rings out over the arena.


“Introducing first… from Toronto, Ontario, weighing two hundred twenty-six pounds, he is the SWF Cruuuuuuiserweight Champion… ‘THE CRITIC’ SCOTT PRRREETTTZZZLLEERRR!”


He is greeted, as always, with a merciless round of boos, and he tries his hardest to suppress a grin as he absorbs the reaction. The glimmering championship belt sits on his shoulder. Lovingly, as if it were a child, he gazes down at it, then continues down the ramp. He walks up the steps and stands tall in the ring.


“There is no way, King, that Scott Pretzler is in his best spirits tonight. Not only did he just survive an absolutely brutal hardcore encounter with Wild and Dangerous, but he experienced his first-ever loss in the SWF during that match.” In the ring, Pretzler hands his belt to the referee, who takes it over to the timekeeper’s table. He then asks for a microphone, which is handed to him.


“Don’t worry, I’ll make this brief.” He clears his throat. “I just wanted to share with you all a little anecdote about a place called Long Beach. The home town of my opponent Alan Clark. You see, when I was a boy, my parents had friends who lived in California – in Long Beach – and every few years we would fly down to visit them. Now, they lived right by the shore, so when my family was staying with them we would often go down to the beach and play in the shallows. But this beach… it was very crowded. There were always a lot of people there. And where there are people, there is of course garbage.


“You should have seen the garbage that floated in the water. I’m sure you have seen it, if you’ve been there recently. There were Coke bottles, cigarettes, McDonalds ‘Chicken’” (he makes the finger-quotes) “McNuggets, razorblades, even syringes. It was absolutely putrid. One trip in particular stands out to me – one summer when I was eleven years old. The reason this excursion was memorable was because on this visit I was so repulsed by the flotsam that I actually vomited into the water. And, here’s the important part, the people around me were upset by the presence of my vomit. They shouted at my parents. Just think about that. Surrounded by a literal ocean of man-made filth and poison, they objected to the fact that I had released into the water a harmless bodily fluid. A completely natural substance.”


He pauses and prepares to hand over the microphone.


“That’s humanity for you.”


The lights in the arena dim, and the crowd begins to buzz with anticipation of what’s soon to come.


“And his opponent… from Long Beach, California, weighing two hundred thirty pounds… AAAAALAN CLAAAARRK!”


Pardon me while I burst…


The entryway explodes with pyro as Pardon Me by Incubus begins to play. Alan’s face appears on the Smarktron and he mouths along with the first few lines, and the rest of his entrance video follows. But Alan himself is nowhere to be seen.


“Where is Alan Clark,” asks Longdogger Pete.


“He appears to have fled the building. Perhaps he decided that losing by forfeit is a wiser choice than having one’s neck broken in half – can’t argue with that!”


The music continues to play, and still there is no sign anywhere of Alan’s white-clad figure. Pretzler looks around, frustrated at this apparent breach of sportsmanship. He was looking forward to the challenge.


“Well,” says King, “I think we can all – oh my God!”



From behind, Alan Clark runs up behind Pretzler and traps him in a schoolboy pin!


















“He came out of nowhere!” Pete shouts.


“Despicable!” retorts King.


As Pretzler turns around to face Alan, the Martial Law member punches him in the face, then unloads with a series of knife-edged chops. Pretzler is driven back into the corner.










Caught off guard, Pretzler is initially helpless against the barrage of chops. He gathers his strength and comes back, though, with a vicious elbow to the face.




He comes out of the corner with another elbow, only to be chopped again by Alan. Two elbows to the face, then a chop of his own, send Alan reeling. He goes for a particularly hard chop, but Alan DUCKS~! and chops Pretzler with equal force. Three more chops connect with Pretzler’s chest. Alan whips Pretzler into the corner and poses. He runs at Pretzler and leaps forward. The flashes of hundreds of cameras light up as Alan’s feet speed toward Pretzler’s chest in preparation for…


“The Kodak Moment!”


Pretzler is too quick, though, dropping to the mat just in time to escape Clark’s trajectory. Alan, however, is even quicker! He lands with both feet on the top rope and curls up, ready to spring off. Pretzler stands and elbows him in the back before he can align himself properly. He then reaches up and applies a crossface chickenwing to Alan while he is on the top rope. He yanks Alan off the turnbuckle and swings him around, hoping to bring him down in the middle of the ring – but Alan uses the momentum to flip Pretzler over in a lucha libre-style snapmare!


“What incredible agility!” Pete gushes. Pretzler rolls to his feet, his head spinning, and a crisp dropkick from Alan sends him back into the opposite corner. Alan backs up, then runs full speed at Pretzler, leaping at his chest, pushing off, and flipping gracefully backwards in a perfectly executed corner dropsault! He lands on his feet as always.


“And this time, the Kodak Moment connects! This match must be seen, King, as yet another stage in the escalating rivalry between the SWF’s premier stables, Martial Law and Revolution Zero. Speaking of which, don’t you find it curious that no Revolution Zero members escorted Pretzler to the ring during this match?” As Scott Pretzler tries to roll to the outside for a breather, Clark takes hold off his arm and pulls him back toward the ring.


“Unlike you and these fans, Sean Davis and Toxxic actually do have lives. Just several minutes ago we saw the conclusion of that hellacious match between Davis and the Wildchild. They’re watching closely on the monitors, I’m sure.” Rather than allow Clark to drag him back into the ring, Pretzler struggles and seizes Alan’s arm, then slides forcefully off the apron and takes Alan with him. Both men land hard on the floor. Pretzler is up first, having superior stamina, and immediately leans onto Alan’s back and applies a rear crossface headlock. The referee begins his twenty-count.




“Pretzler is more tenacious in his submission holds than anyone I’ve seen in the SWF in recent months,” King proclaims. “Even outside the ring, nothing can break his dedication.” This does appear to be an accurate description, as Pretzler grimaces with exertion while he tightens the vertebrae-stretching maneuver. Alan’s feet flail as he tries to escape. He finally gains some leverage by digging his feet into the padded floor and elevating his hips; he then pushes off and flips over Pretzler. Pretzler’s hold is broken and Alan escapes before it can be reapplied. He hops out of Pretzler’s reach and bounds up the steps into the ring.






“Look at this cowardice!” King is outraged. “Running away from his opponent! Has he no shame? No testicles?”


“At least he’s running into the ring, where pinfalls are legal. Pretzler couldn’t even be bothered to stay between the ropes.”


“Alan is a craven, Pete. Why do you deny it?”


“He’s just cravin’ victory.”


“Worst. Joke. Ever.”




Pretzler refuses to play Alan’s game. He remains outside, contemplating his situation. Alan thinks for a minute, then runs forward and pulls back on the ropes. Pretzler backs up to avoid the plancha, but none comes – Alan merely lets go of the top rope and stares down at Pretzler. The Canadian begins to pace.




“This is boring. Why doesn’t Clark do a dive or something?”


“On the contrary, why won’t Pretzler step into the ring and play by the rules? It really does seem as though he’s afraid.” As Pretzler cautiously proceeds to the apron, Alan runs in the other direction, bounces off the ropes, and comes hurtling back toward the champion! At the last minute, Pretzler rolls into the ring and Alan stops short. The challenger finally takes the offense, stomping Pretzler while he’s momentarily down. The champ is soon up, though, and he tackles Alan after shooting for the legs.


“Here we go, baby! This is what the champ does best.” As Alan hits the mat, Pretzler glides up to his chest and hooks an arm beneath his head, then forces upper body down into a grounded half nelson pin.






Alan bridges free before the two count, though the hold remains secure. He twists his own body outward to unravel it, then crawls back and behind Pretzler. Pretzler tries to turn around but Alan continues in the same direction, now rotating so his chest is above the front of Pretzler’s head. He wraps his arms around the champion’s head. The headlock that Pretzler favors so much is used against him. In control, Alan stands in a crouch and forces him over onto his back, moving himself at a right angle so the two men are perpendicular with the headlock still secure.


“It seems,” says Pete, “as though Alan Clark has just out-wrestled Scott Pretzler!”


The half-nelson pin that began the sequence for Pretzler is now locked in around his own neck. Shocked by this turn of events, he props himself up on his elbows in an attempt to keep his shoulders from touching the canvas. But Alan puts his full weight into the move, and the cover is completed.























Pretzler leans into Alan and escapes the pinfall far too late for his own liking. Embarrassed, he struggles to regain the advantage, but Alan has him trapped. Once again, his shoulders are pinned down to the mat.























THR- No!


“I think you can safely say that Pretzler underestimated his opponent’s wrestling prowess,” Pete says confidently.


“Shut up. Just shut up.”


Alan has surprised himself with his skill, but this seems to have made him just a bit overconfident. He tries to power his opponent into a third cover with the half-nelson, but his grip loosens as he does so. Without hesitation, the flustered Pretzler rolls away from Alan, jumps to his feet using the ropes, and nearly decapitates the challenger with a severe close-range lariat!


Clark’s body folds up as his shoulder blades make an imprint in the canvas. Pretzler covers by pushing down on Alan’s leg and compressing his form even more.
























“Hey, sometimes you’ve just got to beat the shit out of ‘im,” King says amicably. Alan kicks high into the air, the energy carrying him away from Pretzler and over onto his stomach. He lies there, breathing heavily, as the Critic slowly advances. He goes behind Alan and lifts him up by his tights – once the challenger is standing, Pretzler clamps on a rear waistlock. Impact is now the focus of his game.


“Scott Pretzler has one of the most devastating German suplexes in the business,” Pete admits warily. “If he hits one on Alan, this match could be over at any time.” Clark knows this too, and he leans forward in order to ground himself and make the suplex impossible. But Pretzler is able to heave him back up straight, and he soon realizes that he lacks the strength to prevent the move. Relying on speed instead, he turns to the closest corner and virtually runs up it, kicking off the top rope. His body comes crashing down on top of Pretzler.




“What a reversal!” Alan stands so his back is to Pretzler, then kicks him without looking to keep him from getting up. From a standing position, Alan moonsaults Pretzler, rolls to his feet, and poses! The crowd is once again delighted. Pretzler rises to his knees and is about to tackle Alan when the Martial Law member whirls around and delivers a stiff kick to the side of his head. He crumples comically and Alan pins him.























Pretzler’s arm moves a scant few inches and comes to rest on the bottom rope, severing the referee’s count. Angrily, Alan drags him away from the ropes and tries to cover again – but Pretzler hooks an arm over the challenger’s neck and imprisons him in a headlock. He climbs to his knees and flips Alan over his right hip, so Alan is the one on his back. With a leisurely expression, he increases the pressure. Alan’s face becomes red. He grabs Pretzler’s hands and tries to pry them apart, but this only allows Pretzler to slam his shoulders into the mat and pin him.





























Alan fights. He grits his teeth as Pretzler squeezes even harder, almost trying to choke him out. He kicks and pounds his elbows against the mat’s surface. Looks for an opening.


“Alan is so close to those ropes, King. If he can just reach them…”


“… Pretzler will find some other way of beating him. He always does.”


Of course, both men are still very close to the edge of the ring, and Alan is able to get one foot over the bottom rope. Pretzler tries to drag him away and into the ring’s center, but Alan manages to somersault backward and free himself from the hold. He stands and waits for Pretzler, who comes charging at him with a lariat.


“Heads up!” shouts Pete, and Alan does indeed see the move coming. He ducks and ends up behind Pretzler. The Critic elbows him in the face. Alan elbows back! Alan headlocks Pretzler, runs, and takes him down in a bulldog. The champion’s face bounces off the mat.


“Alan is much smarter than you give him credit for, King. He knows that as well-conditioned as the champion is, he can’t keep up speed-wise, so he always manages to stay just outside of Pretzler’s reach.” With the wind driven out of Pretzler, Alan lifts him up and drops him over the right knee in one of his trademark backbreakers. Pretzler howls and clutches his back, but suddenly stands up and chops Alan in the windpipe, following that up with a backbreaker of his own! The arrogant champion folds his arms over his chest and nods at the audience while Alan writhes at his feet.




A lightning-fast leg sweep by the grounded Clark throws Pretzler off balance. He land hard on his back. The speedy challenger hooks Pretzler’s right arm between his legs and reaches over his left, carrying him up in the air and down again with pump-handle backbreaker! Having won the exchange, Alan is now firmly in command. He drags Pretzler to his feet and fires off a snap suplex, but does not let go. He instead holds on and swivels sideways so that Pretzler is set up for another ‘plex.


“With all of this damage to Pretzler’s back,” Pete points out, “he must be quite vulnerable to both the Aftershock and that lethal Canadian backbreaker rack. And this Multiplex won’t help things at all.” Alan heaves Pretzler into the second stage of the move, a stalling vertical suplex. The pain in his own neck keeps him from holding it as long as he would like to, but he does so long enough to make the blood pool in Pretzler’s head. The pressure builds.




The ground rushes up to meet the ballooning head of Scott Pretzler as Alan completes the suplex. Yet he still holds on! He picks Pretzler up in yet another suplex and carries him over to the ropes. The referee, fearing that Alan is going to dump him on the floor, gets in the way.


“That’s illegal!” he shouts. “You can’t throw him over the top!”




Alan stumbles past the official and attempts the slingshot suplex, but Pretzler slides over the ropes and lands on his feet on the apron. He elbows Clark! Clark staggers back…


…Then darts at Pretzler, jumps into the air, and drives his right shin into the side of the champion’s jaw!


“Enziguri!” bellows Pete. “Alan is just so quick!” The collision causes Pretzler to somersault forward onto the floor, where he lies twitching on his back. He looks up and sees the figure of Alan Clark standing on the opposite end of the ring apron that faces the entryway. Before he can react, Alan runs the length of the apron and backflips off while homing in on his stomach.









Right before impact, Scott Pretzler curls his knees in a ball-like position. Clark is helpless to prevent what follows: He completes the motion and lands on Pretzler. Pretzler’s knees bury themselves in his ribs. He is flung into the air and comes down again like a rag doll. The crowd gasps in horror, and the section closest to the performers begins to chant.






“You got that right!” King exclaims with pride.







Pretzler clambers onto the ring apron. He lies there, catching his breath, and slumps into the ring. Clark remains motionless.








“If Clark is knocked unconscious,” King explains, “Pretzler needs only to remain in the ring and he will win the match by countout. Which looks to be his intention.”






Clark stirs.




He shakes his head. Sits up.




He pulls himself to one knee, then to his feet.




“Yes! Scott Pretzler has done it! Ring the bell, ref!”


“This match uses a twenty-count, King.”


“What? Oh. Fuck.”




Clark is up. He sags against the apron.


“With the lightning rapidity of an awakening tree sloth, Alan Clark stands!” King sits back and admires his own wit. Pretzler waits until Clark has entered the ring and is lying on his back, at which team he slides out and regards his opponent from the floor. Not willing to allow Alan the recovery time he needs, Pretzler applies a chinlock from under the bottom rope! He yanks Alan toward the corner post and moves so that the post is between him and the back of Alan’s neck. Then he wrenches back.




Alan screams as his neck is stretched over the post’s hard steel contours. Pretzler increases his leverage by pushing against the side of the ring with one foot before, satisfied with the damage done, he crawls back under the ropes and into the ring. He grasps Alan’s feet, drags him into the center, and pins him.


























“The little bastard’s still twitching,” King remarks dryly. One more power move from Pretzler should be able to finish him. But Alan, by remaining on the defensive, has conserved enough energy by now to make another flash pin possible. Pretzler shoots the referee a nasty glare, and when he turns back to Alan…


…The plucky challenger rolls him up in a small package!





























Both men are shocked – Alan, that the pin only got two; and Pretzler, that the pin occurred at all. As fast as he can, the Critic moves out of Alan’s reach and delivers a hard knife-edged chop before Clark can pull any more funny business.




Taking the risk, he whips Alan into the ropes – and the risk does not pay off, as Alan springs off the second rope in a modified Lionsault! Pretzler is bowled over by the momentum of the attack and ends up on his back, sandwiched beneath Alan’s weight. He stays down for the pin.



































“How long can this comeback last?”


By now, Clark knows that victory is just around the corner. In fact, one last move should do the job. He stands back and sizes Pretzler up while waiting for him to recover. When the Canadian is on his knees, Alan kicks him lightly and maneuvers him into a standing headscissors. The setup for both the Aftershock and the Execution.


“Maybe this will shut you up, King.” Pretzler drops to the mat to escape whatever move Clark is planning, but Alan tightens the waistlock and seals the deal. With a grunt, he heaves Pretzler up onto his shoulders. The final positioning is completed, and it seems that the Aftershock is inevitable. However, the always-opportunistic Pretzler spies an opening – the top rope. He extends his legs as far as they will go and hooks them around the top of the turnbuckle at the joints. Alan, unable to see behind him, is at first unsure what’s happening. Then it all makes sense.


“What was that you said, Bong-hogger? Shut me up? If anyone’s about to be shut up, it’s Alan and these idiot fans.” Alan does all that he can to disconnect Pretzler from the corner while maintaining the crucifix position, but it is no use – Pretzler has welded himself to the ropes. The second Alan lets go, Pretzler’s right arm drops down and encircles itself around his neck, trapping him in an elevated rope-assisted headlock.


Pretzler squeezes!


“Break it up!” the ref orders.


Pretzler is determined to milk this hold for all it’s worth!


The referee now attempts to physically separate the two men, and Pretzler finally releases the hold. He crashes to the canvas on his shoulder blades as Alan gasps for air. Pretzler is up! He runs up behind Alan and bats his arms away from his face. He then crosses them in front of Alan’s chest.


The first step of the Snowflake Clutch is achieved.


But Alan will not surrender. He saw what this move did to Kaine and the others; knows how deadly it can be, and how inescapable. His legs shoot out from under him and he drops to the mat on his tailbone, sending a jolt of pain through his body. Pretzler tries to adjust. Alan twists inward and successful inverts the crossface halo so he is now face-to-face with Pretzler.


“He reversed it, King! All is not lost!”






Pretzler’s boot collides with the now-exposed gut of Alan Clark. Alan instinctively frees himself from Pretzler’s grip and clutches his stomach… which is exactly what the champion was hoping for.


Pretzler moves in and applies a front facelock. He drapes the arm. Grabs Alan’s tights. Lifts him up in a vertical suplex.


But instead of falling back, he drops Alan straight down into a skull-crushing brainbuster!







“Jesus in a jumpsuit!” King bellows.


While not a direct vertical drop, the angle of the move is nonetheless sickening. Alan sits up spastically before crumpling in a heap on his side.


“Pin him, Scott!”


A pinfall attempt in this situation would almost certainly be successful. But Pretzler isn’t just after success. He wants to rub salt in the wound.


He wants Alan to submit.


With his last ounce of remaining strength, Pretzler saddles Alan’s back and coaxes his arms into the cross formation. He fastens his grip on the wrists and tugs.






Alan screams, shakes his head as much as the hold will allow him to. He kicks his legs, bucks from side to side.



But the hold is locked in too tightly. There is no way out.




The referee lowers himself beside Alan and utters the familiar words:



“Do you give up?”



“NOOOOOO! Shu – shut up!”




He flails. It’s no use.





“Do you give up?”












The result now official, Pretzler releases the hold and sinks to the mat. The referee hands him the title belt and raises his arm into the air. Pretzler gloats as though he’s just been nominated for Prime Minister.


“It was a hard-fought battle by both men, Pete, but in the end the superior skills of Pretzler came out on top. He’s just too damn good.”


“This was only one match, King. One match.”



As Pretzler slowly makes his way up the ramp, the camera cuts to a different part of the building. A dressing room.



A small television set shows the aftermath of this very match. A man is staring at it intently. His face is not visible, but the long dark dreadlocks cascading down the back of his head leave the viewers with little doubt as to his identity.



He nods and begins to rewind the video he has just recorded.

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Lockdown comes back from commercial break with the strains of ‘Rookie’ by Boy Sets Fire dying away and a familiar figure standing in the middle of the ring.


“Ladies and gentlemen; introducing the NEW~ SWF World… Heavyweight… Champion…” Funyon begins, “the ‘Straight-Edge Sensation’… TOXXXXXXX-”


“-alright, I’m sure they know who I am,” Toxxic cuts him off, snatching the microphone from the aggrieved ring announcer. “You’ll still get paid; go on, clear off.”






Toxxic pauses to look around at the crowd, thousands of people simultaneously venting their anger on the slim, wiry 22 year-old who currently holds the greatest prize in the entire professional wrestling industry. Slowly, the familiar lopsided grin spreads over the face of the Straight-Edge Sensation. The fans have hated him for nearly a year now - if truth be told, he’s not entirely sure what he’d do if they were cheering him on a regular basis.


“I’ve come out here to talk about Spike Jenkins.”




“Spike is of course going against ‘The Franchise’ Mak Francis later tonight,” Longdogger Pete chips in from the announce table, “and Toxxic is sitting in as guest commentator on that match.”


“I’m looking forward to it,” Suicide King replies. “Well, Toxxic joining us, anyway; I can’t imagine Spike vs Mak will be much good.”


Toxxic catches sight of several pro-Spike signs in the crowd. ‘TOXXIC FEARS JENKINS’ ones are scattered around, as well as ‘REV-0 WILL GET A HOLLYWOOD ENDING’. When he sees the one proclaiming ‘SPIKE IS THE REAL STRAIGHT-EDGE SENSATION’ Toxxic’s lip curls in a humourless grin.


“I’ve come to talk about Mak Francis as well, if you must know.”








“Mak, you came out here a couple of shows ago and proceeded to talk trash about me,” Toxxic says bluntly. “You seem to be claiming that I should be in the Junior Leagues, if they even still existed. You seem to think that you’re better than me, that you really can ‘slap me back across the pond’. Time for the wake-up call, sunshine; I’m the three-time World Champion, and you’re a smug, overconfident jackmonkey who thinks he’s cool for wearing sunglasses indoors.”








“I still haven’t worked out what a ‘jackmonkey’ is,” Pete mutters.


“Shush, the World Champion is talking!” King hisses.


Toxxic glares around at the fans again as the new chant starts up, but the British punk quickly brushes it off and raises the microphone again to continue addressing The Franchise.


“So Mak Francis, if you really think you’re that good then by all means hustle your little Oakley-wearing arse over to Creative Control and suck whatever dick you have to suck in order to get a singles match with me,” Toxxic continues. “You and Landon couldn’t get the job done against me and Sean, and I guarantee you that things will go just as badly for you one-on-one. I’ve told you before what happens to you technical freaks when you get in the ring with me - I own you and then beat you, and all the ‘Franchise Tag’ in the world ain’t gonna change that, sunshine!”






“Now, Spike,” Toxxic carries on, talking over the new chant from the crowd. “I want you to know, Spike, that I don’t hold a grudge.”


“WHAT!?” Pete almost explodes, causing King to spill his PepsiMax. “Toxxic doesn’t hold a grudge!? He stabbed Spike in the back and threw him out of Revolution Zero, can someone tell me what in the hell he has a reason to hold a grudge for?”


“Has anyone ever told you, you have a serious emotional management problem!” King snaps, dabbing at his suit.






“Save your breath,” Toxxic tells the fans, “Spike won’t be coming out. He’ll be getting ready for his match with Mak… but if I know Spike, he’ll be watching this on a monitor in the back. So Jennykins, listen up.” The Straight-Edge Sensation beckons to the nearest cameraman and proceeds to speak directly into the lens.


“Spike, you know me. In fact, you might know me better than just about anyone in the SWF except Jet,” the Brit starts, grinning at his girlfriend. “You know that I didn’t chuck you out of Revolution Zero because I wanted to, but because I knew you were about ready to turn on us. You weren’t happy with taking my lead anymore, and any sort of internal strife would have left us open to attack. So I’m afraid you had to go… but I made you a promise, practically the last thing I said to you before you left that dressing room to go lose the Cruiserweight Title to Scott Pretzler. And I never break a promise.”






“I promised you that you’d get your chance to ‘set the score straight’ against me,” Toxxic continues as the fans start chanting again. “A chance to get back that loss from so many months ago when I beat you and you decided that you needed to be hanging around with me to make any progress in the SWF. Well, we hooked up and since then you’ve become a two-time Tag Champion and two-time Cruiserweight Champion; now let’s see how far you’ve really come.”






“Here’s what I’m suggesting,” Toxxic says. “Creative Control would go nuts if I offered you a title shot, but I need a warm-up match for From The Fire; so if you can beat Mak Francis tonight then you get me… non-title of course… on Smarkdown.”








The crowd go absolutely wild at that announcement, and as he stands in the middle of the ring the familiar lopsided grin creeps over Toxxic’s face.


“Of course, if you can’t beat Mak then you’ll have to wait, so there’s a little incentive for you;” the Straight-Edge Sensation finishes, “don’t let anyone say that I don’t do my best to make these shows interesting!”


“A show without Toxxic is like PepsiMax without lemon,” King says happily.


“He certainly adds a sour edge to it,” Pete grumbles. “Don’t go away fans, Spike Jenkins vs. Mak Francis is coming up right after this break!”





The live feed comes back to the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and as the cameras pan around the crowd it’s clear that the SWF is performing in front of yet another sell-out house! Pro-Spike Jenkins signs are still visible, but several ones extolling the virtues of his opponent are also visible now and the people bearing them wave them furiously in the air as the lights come back up, aware that the man in question should be arriving any… second…


‘So do you wanna be a Franchise… and live large… a big house… five cars…’




“We’re here on SWF Lockdown, and ‘The Franchise’ Mak Francis is in the house!” Longdogger Pete shouts as the opening notes of the customised version of ‘Rock Superstar’ by Cypress Hill starts up and a large blue and white photonegative image of Mak Francis stares out at the crowd. “He’s going one-on-one with ‘Hollywood’ Spike Jenkins tonight, and joining us at ringside is the SWF World Heavyweight Champion, Toxxic!”


‘The rent charge… comin’ up in the world, don’t trust nobody… gotta look over your shoulder constantly!’


Mak Francis makes his way out onto the soundstage with the ice blue Oakleys tilted down his nose as always. The self-proclaimed Franchise looks around at the fans who rise in response…


‘I remember the days, when I was a young kid growin’ up… lookin’ in the mirror, dreamin’ about blowin’ up!’




Multiple short bursts of green pyro explode erupt on either side of the man from Philly, and this seems to coax Francis into further action as he begins to make his way down to the ring, slapping hands with the fans as he goes.


“Yeah, that’s right Mak, smirk and look over your shades at people,” Toxxic says, leaning back in his chair. “You know, I feel sorry for him if he thinks that acting like a slightly cooler Tom Flesher is suitable compensation for not being half the competitor I am.”


Mak reaches the ring and hops up to the apron, gives his feet a quick wipe as he waves to the crowd and then steps through the ropes, before ascending the nearest turnbuckle and raising his fists in the air.


“Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall,” Funyon booms. “Introducing first, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; he weighs in tonight at 240lbs… ‘The Franchise’, MAAAAAAAAAAK… FRAAAAAAAAAN-CIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSS!!”








Mak bounces back down off the turnbuckle and shrugs his trenchcoat off, then hands it and his shades over the ropes to the timekeeper before shaking hands with referee Nick Soapdish. The Franchise still seems to be feeling some effects from his hardcore match on Storm - most notably a plaster on his head, presumably from a particularly deep cut off Todd Cortez’s glass-covered boot - but otherwise appears to be in good condition as he starts some pre-match stretches.




The crashing guitars of Lamb of God’s ‘Black Label’ sends a jolt through the arena as the Smarktron does a flypast of the world-famous ‘Hollywood’ sign, then the drumming picks up and-




-the high-pitched scream of Randy Blythe cuts through the arena as bright white lights begin flashing around the entranceway. Moments later Spike Jenkins makes his way out and drops to one knee in the centre of the soundstage, before raising both his arms in an ‘X’.


“Look at that prick, throwing the X up,” Toxxic snorts.


“Are you criticising Spike for being straight-edge?” Pete asks in surprise as Jenkins gets back to his feet and starts to walk towards the ring, face mostly hidden by his hood.


“No,” Toxxic replies, “just the way he shows it off like it’s some sort of club or something. It’s a bloody lifestyle choice, not a secret society.”


Jenkins reaches the bottom of the ramp and proceeds to make his way around the ring, holding his right hand out to slap hands with the fans but still keeping his face hidden. When Hollywood reaches the announce table he pauses and turns towards his former leader, who simply grins lopsidedly at him.


“Hey sunshine, Mak’s that way,” Toxxic reminds his fellow straight-edger. “You have to go through him to get to me, remember?” Spike just stares for a moment more, then continues on his usual journey around the ring before rolling in to the centre of the squared circle and getting up to one knee.


“And his opponent,” Funyon booms over the PA system. “He hails from Hollywood, California and weighs in tonight at 225lbs… ‘HOLLYWOOD’… SPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE… JENKINS!!”








Jenkins pops back up to his feet and throws his hood back to reveal his dyed blonde hair… and a murderous glare directed at Toxxic. Then he crosses his arms in an ‘X’ again, an action that seems to infuriate the World Champion.


“I know you’re bloody straight-edge!” he shouts, standing up behind the announce desk, “You do that once more and I’ll come in there and slap you so hard you’ll wish you were back on weed!”


“Ignore him Toxxic,” Suicide King advises, “he’s just a poor imitation.”


Spike doesn’t reply to Toxxic’s tirade but merely strips his jacket off to reveal his ‘sXe’ tank top underneath, causing the Brit to mutter ‘Jesus…’ under his breath. Finally, Jenkins turns to Mak Francis, who seems rather irritated at not being the centre of his opponent’s attention. Soapdish checks that both men are ready, then calls for the bell.




Mak moves first, darting towards Spike and slipping behind him into a rear waistlock. Spike seems taken off-guard and Francis hoists him up, then dumps him facedown onto the mat before spinning himself around several times on Jenkins’ back, slapping him across the back of the head and then standing up again! The Franchise tells Spike to ‘get up!’ which Spike complies with, although the former Cruiserweight Champion does not look pleased at his opponent’s antics.


“Mak trying to intimidate Spike here,” Longdogger Pete suggests, “trying to make it clear just what a mat wrestling advantage he has.”


“He’s being over-confident if he thinks that,” Toxxic says firmly. “Spike’s a competent mat wrestler, and Mak should have used his advantage there instead of playing around like a bloody idiot; Spike’s not going to be taken unawares again.”


After the two wrestlers have circled each other for a few seconds - Mak grinning smugly all the while - the Franchise moves in again, this time shooting low for the legs. However, this time-




-he eats boot as Jenkins kicks him square in the jaw!


“-and Spike just kicked the taste out of the Franchise’s mouth!” Pete shouts as Spike backs off and angrily orders Mak to ‘get up!’. This time it is Francis who pushes himself back to his feet, and the man from Philly isn’t smirking anymore.


“You know, I think I might enjoy this match,” Suicide King says. “Either I see Spike get stretched or Francis get kicked; either way it sounds like nice, relaxing entertainment.”


Both wrestlers in the ring seem to have the same idea this time - a collar-and-elbow tie-up. They both push for all their worth but neither seems able to get an advantage through sheer power, and it is Francis who changes tactics first. The Franchise slips behind his opponent and ties Spike’s left arm up in a hammerlock, but Hollywood doesn’t let Mak adopt his normal strategy of working the arm early on as he fires back elbows into Francis’ head to break the grip, then hits the ropes and rebounds to knock the heavier man flat with a shoulderblock! Spike instantly changes direction and heads for the set of ropes beside him, perhaps to set up for a Dangerous Wizard, but instead of getting back up Mak Francis simply rolls along the mat in an effort to trip his opponent. Spike hurdles the oncoming Franchise and goes into the far cables as Mak pops back up to his feet and jumps up for a leapfrog, but Spike kills his momentum on the rebound and as the startled Franchise comes down again-




-he STOs him clean out of the air and down to the mat! Spike quickly hooks the leg and leans into the cover as Soapdish drops to count…
























…but despite the impact knocking the breath from his lungs, Mak Francis is able to roll the shoulder moments after the referee’s hand hits the mat for the second time. Spike grabs the upraised arm and hauls on it to continue Francis’ roll, then as the Franchise ends up on his front Spike straddles him in a back mount and begins raining elbow smashes down on the back of his opponent’s head!






‘ONE!’ referee Soapdish shouts.


















…but Spike stands up at the last minute to avoid the disqualification, although it doesn’t stop him from arguing with the referee.


“Spike of course has plenty of experience at bending or breaking the rules from his time with Revolution Zero,” Pete notes, but is cut off by Toxxic’s angry response.


“Excuse me?” the World Champion snaps, leaning forward for emphasis. “Revolution Zero is not about breaking rules!”


Jenkins has had enough of wasting breath on Soapdish, and lines Mak up as the Franchise pushes himself up to his knees. Spike draws back his right foot and-




-connects with a sharp kick to Francis’ chest!




-then another, before the man from California steps back, slaps the mat with both hands and winds up for the blow that will surely dislocate Mak’s jaw…




…but Mak ducks, and as Spike’s leg sails overhead he barges forward into the back of Jenkins’ left knee to take the cruiserweight down with a chop block! As the fans of Raleigh start to applaud the Franchise’s quick thinking Mak gets back to his feet - still looking a bit dazed - whilst retaining his hold on Spike’s left leg. Francis then raises his right arm in the air before dropping down to drive the elbow into Spike’s knee!


“That’s Spike’s old injury from the JL, and it’s always troubled him a bit since!” Pete points out as Francis grinds away with his elbow, trying to do the most damage possible. “We know that Mak Francis likes that Figure-Four leglock, and an injury like that is an obvious target!”


“You might be giving Mak too much credit,” King retorts, “as in, you’re assuming he can put two and two together to make a Figure-Four.”


“There speaks the man who got Michael Craven to compete for him at Genesis IV,” Toxxic puts in acidly, clearly unimpressed by the Gambling Man’s attempt at punning. “You’re a fine one to be talking about logic, King.”


Mak seems to decide that he’s got all he can out of that elbow, so he rises back to his feet… only to drop another one into exactly the same spot, causing Spike to shout out in pain and bang the mat again! Soapdish quickly checks to see if that signified Hollywood desiring to give up, but Spike shakes his head grimly.


“I’ve been meaning to congratulate you Toxxic, on taking on Chris Card,” King tells the World Champion. “An excellent employee, and it’s good to see you following on my footsteps.”


“Yeah, wonderful,” Toxxic snorts. “If you’d let Landon come at me when he first wanted to I’d have bitch-slapped him and sent him back down to the midcard where he belonged. Instead you hired Card to trick him into focusing on the ICTV Title, but that meant the Boy Wonder actually learned how to wrestle. Now I’ve had to hire Card to keep up; great strategy.”


As the two heels argue Spike decides he can’t take any more and reaches out towards his tormentor. Unfortunately Mak has position himself in such a way that Spike can barely reach him, and as Jenkins strains forwards Francis abruptly leans sideways and-






-chops him across the chest to a predictably riotous reception from the North Carolina crowd! Mak looks around at this much louder than usual response, and a grin crosses his face once more as Spike grits his teeth and tries again…






The crowd pop louder than usual again, and now the smirk on Mak Francis’ face is wide indeed. The Franchise has just had an IDEA~!


“Oh no,” King groans as Francis gets back to his feet, “he’s not going to-”


“FIGURE-FOUR IN NORTH CAROLINA!” Pete cuts him off as Mak grabs Spike’s right leg and twists around into a spinning toehold, then goes for the left leg to complete the move…


…but Spike boots him square in the backside with his left leg, bringing a wince of pain to Hollywood’s face but successfully stopping Mak Francis in his tracks!


“Thank goodness,” King breathes in relief, “I don’t think my eardrums could have withstood that!”


[“What’s the big deal about chops and the Figure-Four here, anyway?” Toxxic asks him quietly. “Did some famous wrestler come from these parts?”]


[“I don’t know,” King admits, “but they do it each time we come here.”]


Back in the ring, Mak Francis has rounded on his opponent and pounces on Spike’s left leg again as Jenkins tries to get up. Mak comes away with the target limb in his grasp to leave Spike hopping on one foot, but before the former Cruiserweight Champion can consider an enzuigiri Francis dragon screws him over to twist the knee that bit more. Spike is now clearly in pain and Mak goes for the Figure-Four again… but this time as he completes the twist Spike desperately cradles his head and rolls backwards into a pinning combination!











-this kickout is quicker as Mak doesn’t have to gasp air into his lungs first, but it’s given Spike a second of separation. Hollywood shuffles backwards across the mat as Francis picks himself up and then launches an elbow drop at Spike’s left knee, but Spike pulls his leg out of harm’s way, then spins himself around and fires a lunging palmstrike into Mak’s face! The blow knocks Francis silly for a moment and Spike takes the chance to get his feet under him once more, although the left knee is clearly troubling him. Mak pushes himself up to his feet as well but he does it too close to his opponent, and Spike is waiting for him! Jenkins begins to pepper Mak with elbow strikes, driving the Franchise back towards the ropes. Mak rallies and hits a chop-






-and then another-






-but Spike nails him with another palmstrike, then backs off a pace and makes a full rotation-




“Roaring Elbow!” Pete shouts as Mak hits the canvas. “Mak Francis tried to outstrike Spike Jenkins there, but it didn’t go his way!”


Spike staggered slightly on the follow-through from the Roaring Elbow, his left leg not up to supporting his full weight. Instead of standing up therefore, the former Cruiserweight Champion squats down on Mak’s chest and rears back to begin elbow-smashing again… but this time Mak is able to reach up and counter, bringing his legs up and grabbing Spike’s left arm to try and apply a Triangle Choke!


“Too near the ropes,” Toxxic states lazily… and the Straight-Edge Sensation is proved to be correct, as Spike is able to lunge sideways and reach out with his free arm to grab the ropes and enforce a break.




At least, that’s the theory.








Mak can’t get much of an advantage by holding on for the five-count, but he’ll take what he can get.




-and he breaks just before Soapdish was going to call for the bell, leaving the SWF referee wondering exactly when he’s ever going to get to DQ someone for that. Spike pauses to catch his breath for a moment but Mak wants a chance to get out from underneath his opponent, so he reaches out and pokes two fingers into the straight-edger’s eyes!




“Well, I’ll say this for Mak,” King admits grudgingly as the Franchise rolls backwards and comes to his feet, ignoring the remonstrations of Nick Soapdish, “he knows when to cheat.”


“The crowd seem to like it too,” Pete observes, looking around at the cheering fans.


“Yeah, they like cheaters in North Carolina,” King says, his facing showing pleased but honest puzzlement. “No idea why.”


Mak Francis sets his sights on the briefly-blinded Spike, and despite the referee’s protests he moves in on his apparently defenceless opponent. The Franchise grabs Spike by the head and pulls him up and away from the ropes, but Spike doesn’t need to see his opponent if he’s being held by him and lunges forward to wrap his arm around Mak’s chest as if for a Urinagi, then drops down into the Minor Threat jawbreaker! Francis topples backwards holding his jaw and cursing, and Spike pushes himself back up and swipes at his streaming eyes to clear them. With some sort of vision returning Jenkins then runs for the ropes behind him, and although his progress is slower than usual as Mak comes back up to his knees Spike is able to vault off the Franchise’s left leg…


…or not, as his own left knee gives out on him and he topples to the mat beside the bewildered by relieved Francis, unable to hit the Dangerous Wizard! There’s no time like the present, and Mak ignores his stinging jaw to get to his feet and twist in the spinning toehold, then lock the legs and apply the Figure-Four!








“Shut up!” King yells futilely as North Carolina starts yelling its head off. “Can you people only make one syllable?”


The linguistic abilities of the population of Raleigh notwithstanding, Spike Jenkins is evidently in severe trouble. The straight-edger from California yells in pain as Mak cinches the hold in and he feels the joint of his left knee stretched almost beyond its limits; he reaches up to try and get hold of Francis, but the Franchise is leaning back as far as he can and is well out of reach. Mak looks down the length of his own body at his opponent, smirks, and is clearly telling Jenkins to just give up now - Spike isn’t done yet though and the man from Hollywood gives Francis the bird, then starts to rock his body from side to side as hard as he can! Mak realises the danger he’s in and tries to block the momentum but in order to keep the hold applied tightly he has to maintain his grip on Spike’s left leg, leaving himself unable to prevent Spike from slowly…




…the Figure-Four Leglock…








“Figure-Four Leglock reversed in North Carolina!” Pete shouts as Mak yells in pain, the pressure now applied to his legs instead. “Mak Francis has had his own knee problems in the past as that brace will testify, and now it is the Franchise who is in trouble!”


Mak has the advantage of being able to release the hold however, and he does so quickly to prevent any more damage being done to his own legs. Regardless of the change in fortunes, the Franchise seems certain that he’s slowed Spike down enough to neutralise the cruiserweight’s speed advantage as well as providing himself with a decent opening to win the match. With this in mind Mak hauls Spike up and wraps the straight-edger’s own arm around his neck - then bridges backwards into the Million-Dollar Plex!




“Mak Francis changing tactics here,” Pete says in some confusion. “He’s worked Spike’s knee, but now he seems to be targeting the head and neck with that move.”


“Mak has seen that Spike can counter the Figure-Four, which is his favoured leg submission,” King observes, “so I think he’ll be content with having taken that leg away from Jenkins. If your opponent can’t move and can’t stand up then you’ve got the match half-won.”


“Mak can’t afford to be too cocky - Spike doesn’t need two legs to hit most of his strikes,” Toxxic warns as the Franchise gets back up and pumps his arms to get the crowd into the contest.


“You know Toxxic, for someone who just kicked Spike out of his stable you seem to be talking him up a lot,” Pete says, but the Straight-Edge Sensation just snorts.


“I didn’t kick Spike out because he wasn’t good enough,” Toxxic explains, “I kicked him out because his goals were no longer our goals. If Spike had kept with the plan you’d have seen him and Pretzler on board, and Martial Law wouldn’t know what hit them.”


Mak Francis picks Spike up, the former Cruiserweight Champion clearly feeling the effects of being dumped on his head. Francis doesn’t seem inclined to let up however as he Irish whips Spike into the corner, then follows in with a clothesline that squashes the smaller man against the pads. Spike slumps down to a sitting position and Mak proceeds to choke him with his boot-












-then scrapes his metal knee brace down Spike’s face! The Raleigh crowd seem generally in favour of this disregard for the rules, so Mak does it again! Then the Franchise backs up, turns and struts for the far ropes before returning at a something much closer to full speed…




…and SCRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPES Spike with the sole of his boot! Jenkins rolls out of the corner clutching his face while Francis argues with the referee again, but Spike now seems unable to take advantage of his opponent’s distraction. Deciding that it’s worth a try, Mak drops down to make his first cover of the match…


















…but Spike kicks out, although not with a great deal of authority. Sighing in mock-frustration, Mak pulls Jenkins off the mat and lets rip on his opponent’s chest again-






-and again-






-then turns and runs for the ropes, leaving the staggered Jenkins wobbling in the middle of the ring. Francis rebounds off the cables at an increased speed and lashes out with his right leg, looking for the Yakuza kick…


…but Spike ducks, then reaches up to hook the unbalanced Franchise in a rear headlock and plants him with the Clean Living!




“Clean Living!” Pete shouts as the crowd gives its first real non-Flair related pop of the night. “Spike just hit the Clean Living, and he could have won this out of nowhere!”


But as Spike dizzily goes to cover his opponent the truth becomes clear - Mak continued rolling, intentionally or otherwise, after the rotation of the Clean Living ended, and he has actually rolled clean under the bottom rope and out to the ring floor! Jenkins looks up at Soapdish as the referee begins his count.




“Spike needs to get Mak back in the ring and pin him as soon as possible!” Pete asserts as the SWF cameras show the Franchise lying motionless on the padded floor. “You’d have to consider this an upset and it would give him what he wants most at the moment; a match with the man sitting next to me!”




“No, stay in the ring,” King advises Spike, “let Mak get counted out and take the win that way!”


“I reckon he should try and get him back in there,” Toxxic puts in, “Mak’s a tough bastard and if Spike waits for him to get counted out he could have enough time to recover. Stay on ‘im.”




Spike seems to be inadvertently following the advice of Longdogger Pete and his former leader as the straight-edger from Hollywood crawls to the ropes and slips out to the floor to locate Mak Francis. Whatever energy Mak had left to escape the ring seems to be spent now and it only takes a moment for Spike to grab his head and start to hoist the Franchise up, but Francis is still 240lbs and Jenkins only has one knee he can put any pressure on.


‘ONE!’ Soapdish shouts, starting his count again.












Spike has to spend several more crucial seconds hauling Mak up, then agonisingly slowly he manages to roll him into the ring. Quickly Jenkins follows his opponent in and drapes the arm across his chest for the cover…



















-but Mak kicks out!




“Mak kicked out! He kicked out of the Clean Living!” Pete shouts as the Raleigh crowd erupts. “What ring awareness by Mak Francis to leave the ring, giving himself just enough time to recover!”


Spike stares at Nick Soapdish in absolute disbelief, but he knows he can’t waste any more time. This time Hollywood hooks the far leg and rolls into the cover as far as he can…



















-but Mak kicks out again!






Spike simply cannot believe that Mak Francis kicked out a second time, but he is desperate to get this match won. Rolling off his opponent Spike hooks one of Mak’s legs over each shoulder, then pushes forward to stack all of the Franchise’s weight onto his own shoulders…



















-but Spike’s left knee can’t keep the pressure on, and Hollywood is forced to end the pin attempt even before Mak rolls the shoulder!




“I think Spike may have blown his chance at winning there,” Pete says, “if he’d hit another move straight away then Mak might have gone down but the Franchise is slowly coming round now, and with one dodgy leg Spike might not be able to fight him off…”


Gritting his teeth, Jenkins grabs the slowly-stirring Francis and tries to haul him upright, his left leg still giving him balance problems. The Californian hits a left elbow, then a right elbow, but the force of the blows does little more than stagger Mak now. Backing off a step, Spike winds up one more time and goes for the Roaring Elbow…


…but Mak ducks, and as the unbalanced Jenkins swings round again he nails him first with a side-shoulder jawbreaker, then picks him up and dumps him over the top rope in a Hotshot!


“That’s Franchisable!” King laughs as Jenkins clutches his throat on the mat and Mak struggles to get back to his feet, still feeling the effects of the Clean Living.






The crowd support is split but Mak seems to be the favourite, and it appears that the former ICTV Champion is able to feed off the crowd’s energy. Francis pushes himself back up, then grabs Spike and raises the cruiserweight to his feet. Jenkins is still having difficulty breathing so Mak adds to his sensory deprivation by raking his fingers through his opponent’s eyes! Soapdish remonstrates with him once more but Mak can smell victory now as he hits the ropes behind him and rebounds, looking for a clothesline…


…but Spike, perhaps working on instinct more than vision, ducks the blow and it passes harmlessly overhead! Mak can’t stop his momentum easily and continues on to the far ropes, perhaps thinking to catch Spike on the rebound…


…but as he turns Spike rips the elbow pad off his right arm…








“LARIATOOOOOOOO~!” Pete cries. “Shades of Va’aiga there, and Mak ran straight into it! Spike didn’t have to move!”


A visibly exhausted Jenkins scrambles on top of the writhing Francis and hooks the leg for all he’s worth…


















“Spike’s got the tights!” King shouts.














The crowd pops again, clearly not caring that Spike used the tights for the win. Mak Francis of course does care, but as he realises what has happened his breathless and possibly slightly concussed arguing with Nick Soapdish is shrugged off by the referee who has watched him eye gouge and choke several times in the match.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” Funyon booms, “here is your winner; ’HOLLYWOOD’… SPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE… JEN-KINS!!”


Jenkins doesn’t even look at the fans, Mak Francis or the referee. From the moment he realised he won the match, his gaze is fixed on Toxxic. The Straight-Edge Sensation stares right back at him, but there is the hint - just a hint - of a lopsided grin on his face.


“Well, I have to admit I’m vaguely impressed,” King says grudgingly. “I guess it was Spike who knew when to cheat, not Mak.”


“Spike had to hold the tights to do it, but he’s kept Mak Francis down for the three-count and now he’s on course to face Toxxic on Smarkdown!” Pete pimps for all he’s worth. “Fans, we could be seeing the conclusion of Spike and Toxxic just two weeks after it all kicked off; but coming right up next we have Martial Law members Landon Maddix and Todd Cortez squaring off for the ICTV belt! It’s all on the line, next on Lockdown!”


The blasting music of ‘Black Label’ is drowning out the words that Spike Jenkins and Toxxic are exchanging, but the meaning is still clear for all to see. Toxxic doesn’t look worried at the prospect of facing his former lackey on Monday - in fact the Straight-Edge Sensation seems vaguely pleased even as he raises the World Title to remind Spike exactly who it is he’ll be going up against. Jenkins doesn’t seem intimidated in the slightest however, and only one word can describe how he looks at the twenty pounds of gold being held in the air by Toxxic’s black-nailed hand.








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"So now, we come to the main event...and with all that's on the line and all that surrounds this match, this one should be most interesting." hypes Pete.


"Depending on what you class 'interesting'."


"Well, it's Martial Law versus Martial Law. It's for the ICTV Championship. And it's also the first time the two combatants have met in straight up, singles competition. I'd class that as interesting..."


"Yeah, well, anything involving Maddix is automatically a snoozefest for me. Let's hope they both missed their planes like last week."


"I thought their cars broke down."


"Yeah, whatever...Funyon."



We swoop up to the ring and the SWF's premiere ring announcer Funyon, standing proud in the centre of the ring and dressed to the nines in a new suit...his old one being worn by someone from Panarchy presumably.


"Ladies and gentlemen...this is your MAIN EVENT of the evening!"




"Scheduled for one fall, it is for the SWF Intercontinental Television CHAMPIONSHIP!"


Another pop goes up, as Funyon shuffles at his notes.


"Introducing first, the challenger...from Hollywood Boulevard. Weighing two hundred, twenty six pounds. Respresenting Martial Law, he is the reigning SWF Hardcore Gamers Champion..."THE URBAN LEGEND!" TOOOOOODD... COOOOORRRRTTEEEEEEEZZZZZZZ!!!!!"


The crowd save their cheers for the moment as the lights dim, and Fabolous' "Breathe" pumps through the speakers, green lights and strobes spanning the arena. The song runs on, until finally...





...PYRO~! erupts from the stage floor! Cortez storms out as the pyro dies down, charging to one side of the stage and then the other, firing up the fans who are now well and truly on their feet. Satisfied with the crowd, Cortez smiles and begins to powerwalk down to the ring, tagging a few outstretched hands on the way.


"Todd Cortez has been a successful USJL Champion, successful Hardcore Gamers Champion, uber-successful Tag Champion...tonight is his chance at the next step, the ICTV Championship." Pete enthuses.


Sliding into the ring, Cortez removes his Hardcore Title and tosses the belt over to referee Mark Hebner, before leaping to the middle rope and again firing up the fans. As he leaps down though, Cortez immediately becomes all business, his game-face on as he stretches out his upper body.


"The challenger looks ready here. And he'd better be, because he's up against the most prolific ICTV Champion in this company's history tonight!"











The Raleigh fans erupt as the post-riff part of Incubus' "Megalomaniac" hits and Landon Maddix bursts through the curtains, hands stretched to the side as he spins around and soaks up the cheers. Megan Skye emerges from behind him moments later, as Maddix stops on stage and stares at his Martial Law team-mate and opponent for a moment. Eventually, he forces a smile though as he leads the way to the ring.


"And his opponent...accompanied to the ring by Megan Skye!! From Huron, South Dakota and weighing two hundred twenty pounds. He ALSO represents Martial Law and is the reigning, and defending, SWF INTERCONTINENTAL TELEVISION CHAMPION...LAAAAANNDDOOOOONN! "LA CUCARACHA!" MAAAAAADDIIIIIIXXXXXXXXX!!!!"


Maddix leaps to the apron and glances into the roaring crowd, while Megan scales the steps. Ever the gentlemen, Maddix holds open the ropes for Megan before unstrapping his ICTV belt. But, before he can pose with the gold, Maddix is distracted by his manager shaking hands warmly with his opponent. Far from usual. Again though, Maddix smiles it off and climbs up the buckles to raise his belt aloft.


"One hundred and eight days as champion. One hundred and NINETY days combined. It cannot be argued that Landon Maddix is a successful ICTV Champion." points out Pete. "But, I don't think Landon has ever faced a challenge quite like this."


"No doubt. Wrestling friends and stable-mates is tough for anyone." agrees King. "Plus, From The Fire obviously has Landon and his priorities shaking."


As Landon leaps into the ring, Megan and Cortez are still chatting away. Looking distinctly unimpressed, Maddix doesn't see fit to join in as he instead goes through some last warm-ups. Megan finally breaks conversation and saunters over to Maddix with a smile...one which isn't returned, while referee Hebner lifts the ICTV Title above his head displaying it for combatants and crowd alike. Cortez eyes the prize while Maddix doesn't bother viewing HIS gold, instead staring at his opponent. Hebner passes off the belt to Funyon as all the while, Maddix doesn't break his glance.




There goes the bell and quickly Cortez hops out of his corner beginning to circle the ring, as Maddix does the same. As the two go round and around, Maddix decides to add some humour with some 'comedy running', before the two meet in the centre of the ring. Cortez teases a knuckle lock, but recieves a playful kick to the ass for his trouble.


"Oh, come on."


The crowd laugh, Maddix laughs as he jogs off...even Cortez laughs, as the two circle again. This time, Maddix gives Hebner a little ass-kickery as he jogs by him, before he and Cortez again meet in the centre. Again Cortez teases Maddix with a stretched hand with Maddix this time biting, applying a knuckle lock...for little more than a second, before backing off and complaining to Mark Hebner about a pull of the hair!!


"Okay, this is ridiculous." groans King, as Maddix is adament his hair was pulled...despite the fact Cortez didn't come within ten inches of his hair. The challenger seems amused at his opponent's antics and lets him get on with it.


"Ah, lighten up partner. Maddix is just having some fun, entertaining the crowd."


"In my day, we'd entertain the crowd by WRESTLING, not parodying ourselves."


Finally Maddix gives up on the DQ win hopes and again circles the ring. This time, Cortez simply stands in the centre, watching as Maddix jogs a circle around him...and gets blown up after three circuits, so leaves the ring to get some water.




'Breathing heavily', the 'exhausted' Maddix takes some water from Megan and 'wearily' chugs it down before re-entering the ring. Cortez smirks away and holds his hand for another knuckle lock. Maddix smirks as he wags a finger and instead lifts a hand for a test of strength. Looking a little bemused, Cortez asks if Maddix is serious...which apparantly he is, judging from Maddix's MUSCLE FLEXING~!.




"My faith in wrestling fans is now restored!" Pete gleams.


As the chant builds, Cortez shrugs and goes for the TEST~, but sure enough, Maddix is one step ahead as he switches hands before Cortez can lock up. Cortez smiles wryly again as Maddix innocently tells Todd to try again. Instead, Todd ducks behind Maddix, applying a waistlock. Now the wry smile is on Maddix's face as he reaches up, then down and through, trying to find an escape. With none found, Maddix sets himself for a back elbow...but decides against smashing his ally's nose in and instead tries for an escape again. But as he does, Cortez lifts him in the waistlock, flipping Maddix onto his front and to the mat, riding him over for a front facelock. Maddix fights to his knees, sliding out and behind Cortez with his own waistlock. Only for Cortez to easily twist straight back behind him by the wrist, into a hammerlock. That doesn't please the champ and neither does Cortez tripping Maddix's leg out from him, causing him to land on his face! Maddix now scrambles away, as Cortez backs off and smiles at Maddix, who isn't having much fun anymore. But as Cortez walks over extending a hand, Maddix shakes his hand all the same.


"Finally, some wrestling. Who'd'a thunk it." King sneers.


Maddix gets up clutching his jaw, all sense of fun gone as he initiates a lock-up with Cortez. The more powerful Cortez backs La Cucaracha up into the corner and is quick to give a clean breaker, a little naively as Maddix re-applies the collar-and-elbow again. But again, Todd is stronger and muscles Maddix back once he reaches the ring's centre, this time BARGING him a little more strongly to the corner this time. Again it's a clean break from Cortez, which this time Maddix takes. Only to again come out of the corner before Cortez is ready, with an arm wringer.


"I don't understand this." announces King. "The kid can't wrestle technically, so he...tries to wrestle technically?"


"Hey, they like and respect each other. What do you expect, blood and guts?"


Twisting again, Maddix bars the arm. The more technically proficient challenger is easily able to counter though, dropping to his knees and shuffling through Maddix's legs, taking one of the bemused Maddix's arms with him into a pumphandle position. Some applause greets Todd and his wrasslin', as he grabs Maddix's other arm in a hammerlock while releasing the pumphandle. Frustrated, Maddix slams his foot on the mat as Cortez wrenches the hammerlock. But Maddix has now thought up an escape, leaping up tumbling forward...




...only for Cortez to hold onto the hammerlock and roll through. Now Maddix is flat on his face on the mat and trapped, which seems to REALLY grate him. Rather than try to escape, the champion simply places a foot on the ropes to force a break, rolling out of the ring as soon as it comes.


"Maddix to the outside and I don't think Cortez's idea of fun matches Maddix's idea of fun." points out Pete...





...as Maddix BOOTS the steel steps apart.


"You think?"


Megan quickly jogs over to check what's the matter with her man, as the SWF's supreme camera crew get right in the thick of things.


"What the HELL is that?"


"Calm down Landon, he just wants to wrestle?"


"Just wants to wrestle huh?"




"Yeah, well...he can go wrestle my mom!"





Maddix rolls back into the ring as Cortez watches on, as the champion offers a handshake. A little wary, Cortez thinks about it for a moment, as the hand stays extended. Before eventually he shakes the hand. As he does, Maddix smiles...but his smile disappears, just as his boot flies up...




...but Maddix blocks the ball-busting kick with a raised knee...





...and twists behind Maddix, into another hammerlock!


"The champion seems to have lost his focus here." Pete points out. "And when your opponent isn't focused, it's SO much easier to out-wrestle them with this style."


Growling, Maddix is well and truly pissed off now as Cortez happily sinches up the hammerlock. Maddix looks downstairs for the escape again, but again Cortez wrenches the arm, so Maddix settles for swinging back an elbow. But Cortez ducks it, Maddix's arm catching behind Cortez's head, allowing Cortez to pop his hips, flipping Maddix over with a hammerlock hiptoss! As all his bodyweight crashes down on his right arm, Maddix howls, quickly rolling outside clutching his shoulder.


"I've never seen that before...a hiptoss, with a hammerlock applied, all with ONE arm."


"That was all about leverage there."




The fans have changed their alligiance now as Cortez lounges in the corner, watching as Megan tries to tend to the irritable champion's arm. Maddix shrugs her off though, walking off and trying to regain his focus.


"I doubt it's intentional, but this is a smart move." says King. "Maddix, by going to the floor, is breaking all of Cortez's momentum. And Cortez, by letting him, is missing a good chance."


Taking his time, Maddix rolls back into the ring and comes to his feet, again offering his hand to Cortez. The challenger lets him know he won't fall for that though, so Maddix shrugs and begins to circle...before suddenly charging. Cortez catches him with an armdrag though. Maddix pops back up, charging into a second, deep armdrag...before rolling to his feet and taking a third! The armdrag series leaves Maddix dis-orientated, as Cortez hooks the arm for a single-arm DDT. However, knees to the gut from Maddix cut that off, allowing the champion to rush the ropes. Missing his first swing, Maddix runs on and looks for another left clothesline. But Cortez switches behind Maddix in mid-run, into a waistlock and a CRISP~ German, with a bridge...


















Maddix comes back to his feet and again, The Urban Legend is courteous enough to allow him a little recovery time before moving in...






...and getting an uppercut to the sack!!


"OH!" groans Pete. "SCHENANIGANS! from Maddix."


"So much for friendship and respect, huh?"


The breathless Cortez drops to his knees as Maddix pulls himself up behind Cortez, with Hebner on his case. Maddix shrugs the ref off and runs the ropes, smashing his boot into the side of Cortez's head. Down goes the challenger, as Maddix quickly makes a cover...












Quick kickout.


Landon is quickly back up though, pulling Cortez to his feet and smashing him with a forearm. And a second. With his back to the ropes, Cortez covers up his face, leaving his midsection open for a couple of quick kicks. Maddix then grabs Cortez, whipping him to the ropes and catching him coming back with a Dropsault, squarely in the chest. Cortez is knocked clear off his feet, while Maddix shakes off his shoulder again before making another cover...
















"It seems the champion wants this match over and done with, as quickly as possible." points out Longdogger. "Especially considering From The Fire is on the horizon."


"And, Toxxic bagged himself the night off."


"Yeah, if you can call it that."


Beating the challenger to his feet, Maddix nails Cortez with a couple more kicks as he gets to his feet. Shrugging those off, The Urban Legend slams a headbutt to the gut of Maddix, trying to keep him at bay. But he gets clubbed across the back for his troubles, before Maddix pulls him up and whips again. This time, Cortez crashes into the turnbuckles, stumbling out...







...into a chop. Maddix doesn't risk his shoulder with a second though, instead stepping behind the challenger and drilling his kidneys with a knee. Which allows Maddix to hook Cortez's head, dropping him down across a knee with the Bottom Drops Out! The groaning Cortez clutches his back and writhes on the canvas, but he soon finds himself being picked back up. Before again, Maddix hooks the head from behind and drops the Bottom Out for a second time!


"And now, to the back goes Maddix, working towards the Land Of Nod...the question is, how ruthless can Maddix be against his Martial Law team-mate."


"He punched him in the balls Pete."


"I guess, but that's what he doe..."


"He punched him in the balls."


Leaving the ring, Maddix slowly scales the turnbuckles, heading up top. As he does, Cortez pulls himself back up and seems a little lost as he searches for Maddix...not getting around in time, as Maddix springs off the ropes and drives a single axehandle strike into the spine. Another groan fills the air as Cortez drops to one knee, with Maddix methodically measuring the challenger...





...for a kick to the spine.






...and a second kick. Cortez seems to be withstanding the pain though, so Maddix hits the ropes to get a run-up...











"Man oh man, Cortez's head just SNAPPED forward on that dropkick!"


As Megan winces on from the outside, worried about her client's opponent, Maddix hovers over Cortez...almost hesitant to be too offensive. But all the same, he drops a knee into the base of Cortez's spine. Leaving the knee there, Maddix now reaches out and hooks his hands under Cortez's head, pulling back into a modified camel clutch. Cortez shouts out a 'NO' before Hebner can so much as ask him for a submission. Maddix meanwhile grinds and grates with his knee against Cortez's flesh with intensity in his eyes, all the while pulling back on Todd's neck.




Hearing the crowd, Maddix almost looks stunned, his head darting from side to side of the arena and out into the fans who are against him. That seems to spur him on even more though as he wrenches up some more on the hold. But they spur on Cortez too. Determinedly, Cortez pushes up on his hands and tries to do the same with his knees. And despite Maddix's grinding, he does. So Maddix releases the hold, trying to catch Cortez unawares with an Oklahoma roll...



...only for Cortez to catch HIM in a cradle...

















Maddix counters with a pinning combination of his own...




















Cortez kicks out! Quickly, both men roll to their feet, both trying to get the jump on their opponent...and ending up hitting each other at the same time, Maddix catching Cortez in the back with a swiping left, as Cortez smacks Maddix's right shoulder with a punch. Both men stop in their tracks for a moment before Landon recovers and catches Todd with a boot to the gut. As Cortez doubles over, Maddix makes sure with a second kick, before hitting the ropes. Up he leaps for a Mushroom Stomp, but just in time Cortez begins to come up, catching La Cucaracha in mid-air. Before he can act though, Cortez's upper back gets peppered with rights and lefts from the desperate ICTV Champ until he finally drops Maddix. Maddix continues the pummelling a little longer, before hooking up Cortez and hitting a simple, but effective, vertical suplex.


"I'm impressed with how controlled the champion has been thus far." observes Pete. "Temptation for someone like Maddix is usually to take risks, that is successful will have maximum effect. But he's been very calm, very assured."


"Once he got his hissy-fit out of the way you mean."


"Well, yeah."


Taking a walk, Maddix leans through the ropes to discuss something with Megan while unbeknownest to him, Cortez is pulling himself up on the ropes. Maddix takes a toweling before he finally turns back around, finally spotting Cortez and charging. Cortez ducks a shoulder though, backdropping Maddix up and over the top...




...to the apron, as he lands acrobatically on his feet. Quickly Maddix grabs Cortez's head and SNAPS him to the canvas, before running off and scaling the turnbuckles. Maddix reaches the top pretty quickly. But he has to wait, a good five or six seconds, before Cortez finally begins to get back up. As he does, Maddix springs into life, only to get a fist rapped across his midsection on the way down!


"Well, there's the 'controlled champion' for you." sneers King.


Maddix skids to his knees but pulls himself up, still doubled over as Cortez spins him around into a standing headscissors...but as SOON as he does, Maddix smells Riot Act Plus and snaps upwards, backdropping The Urban Legend off! A sigh of relief escapes Megan, while Landon reacts to the warning shoots into life, hitting the ropes and double stomping Cortez in the stomach like a makeshift trampoline!!




The crowd groan with the challenger, as Maddix drops into a lateral press...

























...NO! Cortez shoulder shoots off the canvas. But he's clearly feeling the effects as he clutches his gut and ribs. Rolling towards the corner, Cortez looks to use the turnbuckles to get back up. But as he gets up, Maddix charges in with a clothesline! Both men hurt from that, as Maddix jolts his shoulder a little. He ignores the pain long enough to whip Cortez across the ring though, causing him to career into the opposite buckles! That sends another bolt through Cortez's spine and he collapses into the buckles and leaves himself open for another clothesline, this time from the left side!


"C'mon Todd, you gotta WANT it!"


After his taunts, Maddix drives a knee into the Urban Legend's gut before whipping Cortez in again. Smacking the turnbuckles, this time Cortez bounces out and stumbles towards the centre of the ring. Maddix meets him with another knee before hitting the ropes, shooting back and stomping off him like a virtual plumber squashing a mushroom!


"Where's Wario when you need him?"




Cortez smacks face first off the canvas, providing him with double the pain. Meanwhile, Maddix is busy collecting imaginary coins as he leaps off into one corner of the ring...





...and begins to tune up the band.


"Uh oh, Maddix is setting up to end this, right now!"






"Yeah, because this'll REALLY hurt Cortez's back."






"Oh, hush..."




"...this isn't Puro you know."




"Got that right."













Maddix catches Cortez FLUSH in the jaw with some Sweet Cuca Music, catching The Urban legend as he collapses to the mat and cradling him onto his shoulders...



























THR...NOOO!!! Two only!!


"Hot damn, he kicked out!"


Looking a little taken aback, Maddix re-finds his feet and stops for a moment, as if searching for what to do next. Eventually, he hooks under Cortez's head and arm, heaving him to his feet...







...before offloading a chop. Cortez loses more breath from his body as Maddix then drives in a knee to the gut once more, before hooking up a vertical suplex attempt. But Todd floats over back though, escaping and pushing Maddix into the ropes. Maddix rushes back, Cortez looking to lift him on the way back, only for Maddix to float over and lock his hands. The So-Dak Moment is blocked though, by Cortez bundling backwards and squashing Maddix in the corner! But by doing so, Cortez again hurts his own ribs.


"Cortez hurting himself there, but he knows this is gut-check time." points out Pete. "Whatever he does, in the condition he's in, those ribs will hurt. Cortez just has to gut it out if he wants to be ICTV Champ."


"Easy on the drama there Pete, please."


And gut it out he does, gritting his teeth through the pain as he cracks Maddix with a back elbow...make it two, keeping Maddix pinned in the corner...as he nails a third. Cortez stumbles from the corner now, clenching his fists and letting out a battle cry as he turns back around, just as Maddix comes at him...and gets shoulder barged back into the buckles! The wind rushes from La Cucaracha as Cortez takes his right leg, hanging it over the middle rope, opening up a target...the midsection of Maddix, which he just PEPPERS with rapid palm strikes!! Maddix can't cover up as the flurry suddenly moves up, palm strikes hitting him across the chin and jaw, still at a rapid rate, before Cortez finally halts...





...and catches Landon in the back of the head with an enziguri!!




Some of the crowd cheer the high-octane flurry as Maddix collapses to the side, rolling off the ropes and into a cover by Cortez...






























Cortez clutches his head in his hands as Maddix's shoulder hangs above the canvas.


"Cortez put his very all into that offensive, but it wasn't enough!"


"He didn't have much on that cover Pete, with the injured ribs and all."


With adrenaline helping him to get to his feet once more, Cortez encourages Maddix up with the hand that isn't pressed to his ribs. Maddix is up a few seconds later, but gets clotheslined right back down! Up he comes again...and down he goes again! Maddix wobbles up for a third time, dazed enough for Cortez to rotate a discus clothesli...





...DUCKED! Cortez sprawls forward and lands throat first across the middle rope as he trips over his own feet, to a pop from the crowd. Maddix isn't satisfied though, running into Cortez before he hits the opposite ropes, running back...







Cortez ducks as Maddix whips around, landing on his feet but becoming lost for second. Around he lumbers, spotting Cortez and charging...straight into an STO and an accompanying cover...

































"Another nearfall!"


"We've seen this kid show much more guts than brains time and time before in these ICTV Title matches." sneers King. "Looks like we're gonna have one more for the list."


Cortez drags Maddix up quickly, forearming him in the face once, twice, three times as best possible, before whipping him across to the corner. Maddix puts a foot up and stops himself though, catching Cortez coming in with an elbow...






...and a chop...



...before stepping up to the middle rope!


"Crash La...NO!"


Cortez wastes no time in palm striking Maddix upon the middle rope, blocking any Crash Landon prospects, before reaching up and snapmaring him off the ropes! Hitting hard, Maddix tries to roll out of the ring. But a hold of the leg by Cortez stops him. Pulling Maddix into the centre of the ring, Cortez quickly kneels down on Maddix's shoulders and the crowd rise to their feet, sensing The Hook Up from Cortez! Maddix senses it too and waves for Megan, but gets no responce, as Cortez starts to reach back for the leg. Still, Maddix waves for help, still getting none...





...so escapes himself, with a scorpion-esque kick that catches Cortez square between the shoulder blades and causes him to crumple in a heap to the side. Cortez clutches away at his ribs while Maddix scrambles up, not to get an advantage, but rather, to chastise Megan!


"Trouble in paradise!" cheers King.


Innocently Megan tries to apologise, before suddenly trying to warn Maddix as Cortez is getting up. Maddix doesn't react though, still complaining, right up until the moment Cortez wraps him in a waistlock...




...but Maddix switches...




...Cortez switches back...




...Maddix switches back, before leapfrogging over Cortez from behind and hitting the ropes in front. Cortez is waiting though, looking for a BIG palmstrike. The duck from Maddix puts pay to that though, as he tumbles behind into a sunset flip...





















...Cortez kicks out, rolling through and scrambling at the seated Maddix, pulling him down into a side headlock. Maddix tries to fight off, but Cortez's position is better than his as he suddenly releases the headlock, instead grabbing Landon's arm and applies an Anaconda Vice!!


"Submission hold! Submission hold, locked in..."


"And it's on the right arm too." adds King to Pete's cries, as Maddix reaches back with his free arm, trying to grab te ropes before the hold can be properly applied...and doing so, to a sigh from Cortez.


The Urban Legend releases Landon and both men get back to their feet quickly, all sense of friendship gone as Cortez smacks Landon with a palmstrike, getting a forearm back! Palmstrike! Forearm! Palmstrike! Forearm!






"It's broken down King! We thought it might!"


Cortez connects with another palmstrike as Maddix is suddenly on rubbery legs, but is still able to throw a forearm back at The Urban Legend. Both men now pause, wearily, as Cortez breathes deeply, finding the energy for a palmstrik...NO, Maddix ducks, hooking Cortez's arm and head before DROPPING straight backwards with a Complete Shot!!




The crowd gasp, as Cortez's head bounces off the mat...and Maddix rolls into Cortez and onto his back, hooking the head and APPLYING THE LAND OF NOD!!!


"LAND OF NOD!" gasps Pete.


The move gets somewhat of a mized reaction from the crowd, split by the even battle, as Cortez's ribs and neck are being tested again! Megan meanwhile doesn't know what to do, who to encourage, as Maddix pulls back.





Some of the crowd are now chanting, but some are cheering Cortez on.


"This hold has put away some of the best in recent months." enthuses Pete. "Can Cortez possibly hold on, after all he's taken in this match?"


Cortez tries as he pushes onto his hands and starts to inch forwards, having to carry Maddix's bodyweight as he reaches for the ropes...









Maddix sees this and wrenches once more, as Todd is a finger's length away, time running out as his vision and thoughts become blurred...










Releasing the hold against his pleasure, Maddix stares down at Cortez in disbelief, wondering how his dreaded submission hold of DOOM~ didn't get it done. And even more in disbelief as Cortez fights up on the ropes.


"My god, he wants this!" shouts Pete. "Cortez WANTS this, man!"


Cortez reaches his feet and seeths, trying to summon his remaining energy as Maddix rushes over. Swinging wildly, Maddix nails Cortez overhand, underhand, all across his body in a desperate attempt to keep Cortez down. But Todd is able to push Maddix off, watching him all the way on his latest run and ducking a leaping forearm attempt, going behind...





...but Maddix plants a foot on the middle rope as Cortez lifts for a Backdrop Suplex, flipping him up, over and behind the challenger...





...into a roll-up...



















































The bell rings, to...near silence. Cortez, Megan, the fans, King and Pete...none of them know what to think. Maddix does though, smiling from ear to ear as he leaps up with arms raised in victory!!






Some cheers go up. Some boos. But again, most don't know what to do.


"I...can't believe he..."


"Cheated? That's what he DOES!" snaps King. "And, I don't know why, but I...almost like it!"


As Maddix takes the ICTV Title belt and raises it high in the air, Megan slowly enters the ring in her bemused state. Looking at the victorious Maddix and the hurting, but equally stunned Cortez, Megan stops in the centre of the ring. Maddix meanwhile leaps from the ropes he had been celebrating on, habitually going for a high-five with Megan...





...that isn't there.






Stopping, Maddix backtracks and looks curiously at Megan, who looks curiously back. All Maddix can summon is a big 'I WON!' as Megan just stares at Maddix, Cortez pulling himself up in the background. Maddix still waits for congratulations from his manager, as suddenly, Cortez moves Megan aside and steps in front of Maddix as it all looks set to kick off!





Until Cortez pats Maddix on the back!?!


"You got me."


"What in the hell is going on here?"


Megan would like to know the same thing apparantly, as Cortez seems almost too cool with what went down, taking Maddix's hand and raising it in the air...with one eye on Megan...




...and one, PIERCING through Maddix.


"Well, Maddix...retains. This is certainly an odd situation though folks."


"I tell you Pete...we haven't heard the last of this."



And with King's ominous words, we are left with the uneasy scene in the ring as we...





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