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An odd way to start a PPV, we are live in the catering area of the Nippon Budokan where the entire SWF locker room has been assembled. Obviously, entire is a big word and some people haven't shown. Toxxic for one. Amy Stephens for another. But aside from them, anyone who's anyone (and Bloodshed) are in attendance, sat on rows and rows of chairs that have been laid out especially by our guest speaker for the night.


Landon Maddix.


No-one seems all that interested in being here, probably because the majority have matches to concentrate on. And nearly everyone hates Landon. Infact, probably everyone sitting around impatiently waiting for something to happen does. Undettered though, Landon stands in front of this group of people with Megan Skye by his side as ever, clearing his throat to gain everyone's attention.


"Okay, I'm sure you're all wondering why I asked you to come here tonight and I know your time is very precious, yadda yadda yadda. This needs to be made very clear to you all. So please sit down, keep an open mind, help yourself to the sandwiches provided..."


Standing up from their seats, Jimmy The Doom and The Doomstroyer storm out in disgust.


"...uhm...look, just everybody please sit down and listen because I need you all to hear this. Please. I realise a number of you have past issues with me and I fully understand that, but just hear me out. You see, every one of you is being fooled. I walk around backstage and I see everyone giving me accusing looks, glaring at me...spitting at my feet. You've been fooled into thinking that I'm the bad guy in this situation. You've been fooled into seeing me as the instigator against an innocent person. But I'm not the bad guy! Toxxic is the bad guy!"


"Is this going anywhere." yawns Sean Davis, while the Blanks happily gorge themselves on the sandwiches.


"Yes it's going somewhere! Because you all think that Toxxic's changed, but I've got news for you, because he hasn't!"


A loud murmur goes up from the group of SWF workers, with the sense that they've heard all this before. And noone seems to care as poor, poor Megan covers her weeping eyes and cuddles up to the World Champion.


"He was in my hotel room..."


"Were'ya naked?" asks Bruce, with a mouthful of bread and baloney.


"Well, yes..."




"...no, NO! That's not the point! He snuck into my hotel room and he threatened me! He threatened to break my neck! He told me that he wa...wait, where are you going!?!"


Halfway out the door already, Tom Flesher and Charlie Matthews see no need to turn around and answer themselves as they continue to walk on out of the room with their tag team match in mind. They could care less about ramblings from Landon Maddix. Especially because it's Landon Maddix. Soon to follow them is Stryke, as the roster all begin to think about walking out.


"No...no, wait..." Landon tries to plead, in vain. "You don't understand...he tied Megan up! He tied her up and he imprisoned her in a closet! A CLOSET, PEOPLE!!"


"Yeah yeah." is Sean Davis' less than impressed response.


"Nice try." consoles Stryke.


"I ain't wastin' no more o' me time on 'dis irrash'nal punk." announces Wildchild as he and Mellisa join the stream of people heading for the exits.




As the snickering Bloodshed brushes past him, Insane Luchador close behind, Maddix turns to Megan for some advice and for once, she comes up short.


"Tell that to Ced ya dickhead." smirks Bruce as he departs, Wayne behind him carrying a tray of the leftover sandwiches. "Oh, an' thanks for the free nosh. Much oh-bliged, 'ya majesty'."


"No, don't go, don't g...you can't take those without listening to what I...please, come ba..."


Looking out at the row of empty seats, Landon sits back on the table behind him and holds his head in his hands. Which is some consolation, as he doesn't see Wayne jog back and take the basket of condiments from beside the World Champion. Uncovering his face, Landon sadly looks to Megan who just shrugs her shoulders, flustered.


"...the one time I needed a cameraman. Damn Toxxic."


Reaching over to his right, Maddix grabs a breadstick that somehow the Blanks missed, pulling it in front of him and snapping it in two.


"It ends tonight."



"Doo do, dudda do do do"

"Doo do, dudda do do do do doooo..."







"Do you mind?"


"Sorry." sighs Matt Myers, skulking off.

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The Smartmarks Wrestling Federation presents...


Live, June 11th, from the hallowed halls of Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan!
Viewing Times: 6:00pm PST, 10:00pm EST; check local listings.


Official Theme Song(s): "The Final Countdown" by Europe, and "Time is Running Out" by Apollo 440.


Landon "La Cucaracha" Maddix © vs. Michael Stephens

--> As the man himself said... why is it ALWAYS Last Man Standing at 13th Hour? Regardless, since his return to the federation, Michael Stephens has been a well behaved man, while less can be said for Landon Maddix. With an inferiority complex the size of the moon, the Cockroach finally forced the former Straight Edge Sensation to face him in a match. To soothe his own ego and his dark side, mister Maddix hopes to take down mister Stephens once and for all to prove he's better, Stephens' health be damned. But Michael is no slouch at these matches himself... how far would he go to protect himself AND defeat his opponent?

Rules: Last Man Standing - First man unable to answer a 10 count wins (10 count does NOT have to be counted in the ring).


Aecas © vs. Insane Luchador vs. Stryke vs. Manson vs. Matt "Cosplay Master" Myers

--> International Title on an International Tour gets (almost) top billing! A poll was taken at SWF.com, to determine which superstars were favorited across the globe in every country EVER, and those challenging for Aecas' title tonight were the winners of that poll (except for Myers). Insane Luchador, Stryke, Mansonosity, and Matt Myers all have a great chance to pull off the upset of the year, but it also gives Aecas the chance to pick up major bragging rights!

Rules: Standard singles matches. Two men wrassle' 'til one gets pinned/submits/DQ'd - then the next comes out. Wrassle' til elimination, next guy comes out. And so on. The order of appearances is entirely random, and up to your discretion.


"The Divine Wind" Akira Kaibatsu - The Seoul Survivor
Zyon © - The Patron Wrestler of Athens

--> This is it! The epic showdown! The Patron Wrestler of Athens, Zyon, takes on the Seoul Survivor, Akira Kaibatsu, in a match that pits two World Icons against each other, in a battle to determine who is truly the King of the SWF World Tour! The winner will not only inherit a SUPER SECRET NEW TITLE, but he will be challenged a year from now by the 2007 World Tour Icon! Who will that be? Dunno! Not important right now!

Rules: Standard singles match.


Va'aiga vs. JJ Johnson

--> From what can be remembered, there was a time when JJ Johnson, once mute, ran his mouth. This tirade was answered by none other than Va'aiga, who laid it out nice and simple for the Technical Masterpiece - "I'm going to kick your ass at 13th Hour if you're game." Mister Johnson of course is not the type to back down from any sort of fight, and were he much more of a speaker he most likely would have told the Maori Badass to bring it. Actions speak louder than words, and thus we have this match.

Rules: Each man will have a representative in their corner - strictly for moral support, of course. The fact that outside counts go to 20 is a happy coincidence. And STREAMERS FOR ENTRANCES! Who will be cheerleading for our competitors? GUESS YOU'LL HAVE TO ORDER THIRTEENTH HOUR TO FIND OUT!


"Hollywood" Spike Jenkins © vs. Sean Davis

--> Spike has gone utterly, batshittily insane. His ego getting the best of him, the New Straight Edge Sensation accosted the former manager of Sean Davis, one Rashelle Moore. Accosted may be too light a term, but regardless, the Hardcore Champion had his way with her, and Sean Davis is an unhappy giant. So when Spike laid out the rules... a challenge at 13th Hour in a steel cage for the Hardcore championship, the big man didn't back down. They're set to clash in an environment where there is NO escape.

Rules: No escape, pinfall or submission to win.


The Dead Precedents vs. Tom Flesher and Charlie "Grappler" Matthews

--> The Dead Precedents couldn't quite seal the deal against The New Doomtopians, but I doubt this is the last we'll be seeing of them, especially if new tag blood is headed our way (I hear it is). For now, The Precedents attempt to reverse their misfortune against the formidable duo of Tom Flesher and Charlie Matthews!

Rules: Standard tag team match.
Send to: Longdogger Pete


Cruiserweight Match
Wildchild vs. Grendel

--> Fresh off a hard loss to Aecas, the new EX-International Champion Wildchild will be getting back into the Cruiser groove against one of the most impressive new Cruisers we've seen in a while, Grendel! Will Wildchild show this new blood who's boss, or will Grendel pull off another upset and solidify himself as the #1 Cruiserweight in the SWF?

Rules: Standard rules with Cruiserweight Addenda.


Austin Sly vs. Jimmy the Doom

--> Austin Sly wants to move up in the world, but in order to do so, he's going to have to take down a man on an impressive winning streak - Jimmy the Doom. On top of winning and defending the tag team titles, Doom also holds a recent victory over Sly from a Wacky House Rules match in Baghdad! Tonight, the rules won't be so wacky - will this favor the new and improved Sly? Or will Jimmy fool him twice (shame on him)?

Rules: Standard singles match.


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"Ben Hardy here with the imposing threesome of 'The Superior One' Tom Flesher, Charlie 'Grappler' Matthews and, of course, their manager, James Matheson," says Ben Hardy, as the camera focuses in on Matthews. "This is," he says, "the first real match that Matthews has had since Genesis V. James, is the Grappler going to hold up when he gets in the ring with a pair of competitors who are nearly impervious to pain in Bruce Blank and Bloodshed?"


"Give me that," snaps Matheson, pulling the microphone away from Hardy and speaking at his standard machinegun pace. "Good lord, what are you trying to do, give Grappler an aneurysm? Of course he's going to hold up. Why wouldn't he hold up?"


"Well, his neck..."


"His neck's only going to matter if Plessy and Ferguson get control of the match," Matheson shoots back. "Did you get that, Ben? Dead Precedents? Plessy v. Ferguson? Overturned-by-the-Supreme-Court? Of-course-you-didn't, you're-an-idiot," he says, seemingly without taking a breath. "Grappler's going to go in there, and it doesn't matter whether he's got the Apostle, the Trailer Park Messiah, Judas Iscariot or King Herod! He can handle himself, and Tom Flesher can handle himself!"


With that, Matheson hands off the microphone to the noticeably calmer Tom Flesher, as the absolutely enormous Matthews nods slowly in the background. Flesher smoothes out his warmup suit and smirks.


"Bruce Blank, you know what happened the last time I faced you. Even under a mask, I was in control of the match until your greasy little wombmate came down and jabbed me with a cattle prod. Well, Bruce, be prepared. Grappler and I are coming out with one goal in mind. We're not just going to beat you, we're going to take you apart piece by piece. With the big man on my side, there's just no way you're going to be able to repeat that. And by the way, Bruce... if your brother comes out there again, my associate Mr. Matheson is going to have a nice surprise for him."


Matheson grins as he holds up his shiny steel briefcase. Ben Hardy, however, is not so easily convinced.


"Tom, what about Bloodshed?"


Flesher blinks. "Well, I imagine there'll be plenty, Ben."


"By the way," Matheson says, indicating the briefcase, "I'm running a World Cup pool. $10 to enter. Brackets are due by Monday morning." He hands Hardy a bracket sheet. Hardy, of course, stands dumbfounded for a moment. Finally, the sneering Superior One says, "Come on, James. We've got a match to prep for."


As the athletes and their manager focus on their competition, and Hardy debates whether Ghana really will be a sleeper this year, the camera fades out.

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"Welcome to the Thirteenth Hour, live from the hallowed halls of the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan!" Mak Francis exclaims, kicking off the Pay-Per-View event.


"I typically try not to get too excited for this stuff, but tonight is going to be one hell of an evening of wrestling. If I knew how to accurately pronounce it, I would end each and every sentence with a tilde bang," the Suicide King states.


"What matches are you most looking forward to, King?" the Franchise inquires.


"First off, I can't wait to see Tom Flesher and Charlie 'Grappler' Matthews crack some Oat Toast skulls. Then, JJ Johnson kicking a hole in Va'aiga's face would be nice, and finally, the main event, where I hope the roof collapses on both Landon Maddix and Michael Stephens so we can wipe our hands of the both of them."


"And I hope that Sean Davis pounds Spike Jenkins into tiny bits and sells them as Emo Flakes to the children," Francis grumbles. "Of course, neither of us seem to be very thrilled for the opening match, which is probably why it's the opening match. Regardless, Jimmy the Doom, one half of the tag team champion The New Doomtopians, will take on Austin Sly, a man Doom beat in that Sweep and Clear match in Baghdad several weeks ago. Since then, Doom has gone on quite a roll, securing and then defending the tag titles, while Sly has been lost in the shuffle a bit."


"Are you still talking? The match already took place," King points out.


"What? It did?"


"No, but that should teach you to shut up a bit more."


"Dick," Francis mumbles.


Before another volley of insults can be exchanged by the commen(po)taters, the lights in the arena go pitch dark. A single light illuminates the very beginning of the entrance ramp.




An explosion of red and gold stars from both sides of the stage cues up "Street Fighting Man", the Rage Against the Machine cover, as well as the entrance of Austin Sly.


"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thirteenth Hour! This is tonight's first match, and it is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, he is a former Cruiserweight and United States champion, he stands six feet, three inches tall, weighs two hundred, twenty pounds, and is twenty-seven years old. From Saint Louis, Missouri, AUSTIN SLY!" Funyon yells.


Sly walks down the ramp, slapping hands with a select few in the sea of humanity surrounding him. Austin rolls inside the ring, shrugs off his trench coat, and hangs it on a far corner, eagerly awaiting his opponent.


"Austin looks very focused. I bet he's ready to try and extract some amount of revenge against the Doomtopian. Not to mention a win tonight, especially against a man on a winning streak like Jimmy the Doom, would really elevate Sly in the eyes of the higher-ups," Mak states.


"Yeah, right. He'll beat Jimmy the Dork and get a World title shot next week. I'd like to see that happen," laughs the Heartbreaker.


As Sly continues to limber up, "Street Fighting Man" stops abruptly and the lights go out. Slowly, the sound of marching feet can be heard throughout the Nippon Budokan, along with a single word, chanted continuously.






















The chanting and stomping stops and the lights snap back on to reveal a veritable phalanx of hooded druids around the ring and stretched up the aisle to the entrance ramp. The macabre mood and somber sentiments are instantly replaced with lightheartedness, and to be honest, a bit of confusion, as Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" blares over the speakers. Jimmy the Doom steps out, gigantic, bright yellow bowler perched on his cranium, and Lois the Unethical is right behind, holding Jimmy's tag belt.


"And his opponent, being accompanied by Lois the Unethical! He is one-half of the tag team champions The New Doomtopians, weighs two hundred, thirty pounds, stands six feet, five inches tall, and is thirty-two years old. From Doomopolis, Doomtopia, the Straight-Bread Sensation, JIMMY THE DOOM!" Funyon wails.


The Straight-Breader takes off his hat and hurls it to the audience, but for some reason, it has the properties of a boomerang and spins back towards Jimmy. However, a druid is standing in the path of the hat, gets cracked in the base of the skull, and drops.


"Did he get that hat from Odd Job?" Mak wonders.


"Yes, Mak. Jimmy the Doom managed to procure a deadly hat from a fictional character from a James Bond movie. Next, he's going to hang out with the Mario Brothers and they're going to get drunk and beat up some Klingons."


"Once again, dick," Francis shoots back.


Jimmy slides inside the ring while Lois sits down next to Funyon and pulls out a Reader's Digest. Referee Tokyo X looks at both men, wondering what to do when Funyon springs into action. He whispers some instructions in the ref's ear, who quickly backs away, shocked.


"You mean I have to check them for weapons and then signal for the bell?!" Tokyo X exclaims.


Funyon nods his head and the reluctant referee does just that. He doesn't find anything illegal on either man and calls for the match to start.




"Any reason we got this doofus to officiate?" Mak asks.


"He's local and we works for shiny bits of aluminum foil," King explains.


"Good enough for me."


Sly begins circling, trying to find a point of attack, but Doom lashes out with a shotei to the face. Austin takes a step back, and is nailed with a kick to the ribs. Sly runs away from the Doomtopian, who gives chase. Austin gets to the ropes, but instead of bailing to the floor, he leaps up and springs off the middle rope, knocking down a very surprised Straight-Bread Sensation with a cross body block. Austin begins to roll off, but stops just short and clamps a forearm across Doom's throat. Sly adds pressure by placing his other arm on top of his choking wrist. Tokyo X stands around until Funyon screams at him.


"You mean I have to actually enforce the rules and begin a disqualifying five-count?!" screams the bewildered referee.


"I'm going to fucking hit you!" roars the mighty announcer.


Before the ref can get to one (Assuming he knows it's the first number, that is), Jimmy simultaneously shoves Austin off and squirms out from under Sly's choke. Doom gets to his feet to find Austin rushing him. The Straight-Breader scoops him off the mat and begins to flip him upside down, but Sly wraps his legs around Jimmy's head and sends him to the canvas. Austin clambers up, as does the Doomtopian. Sly fires off a kick that catches Jimmy on the chin, but Doom closes in and cracks Austin with an elbow uppercut. The tag champ presses forward, smacking Sly with two elbows to the stomach, then an overhand right.




Sly hunches over from the barrage, but he manages to wrap his arms around Doom's waist. Jimmy slams down with a double axhandle, but Austin is still able to launch the Straight-Bread Sensation over with a Northern Lights suplex. Sly gets to his feet, as does Doom. Austin throws a wild punch that Jimmy avoids, and in doing so, applies a head vice.


"I know it doesn't look like much, but Austin Sly might be in trouble here. We saw last week when The Dead Precedents took on The New Doomtopians that, while not particularly vicious, a head vice, if prolonged, can be quite draining," Mak states.


"And Austin Sly doesn't have someone to bail him out," King points out.


"That's true, King. It's amazing that a head vice could very well become a feared submission hold," Francis notes.


"That'll happen the same time you win the Boston marathon."


Sly steps to the right, putting him and Doom relatively side by side, reaches down, grabs Jimmy's shorts and picks him up. Austin drops, jarring himself free of the Doomtopian's grip. The Missourian spins over, scissors Doom's right leg and pulls back. Tokyo X glances at the submission hold taking place, then at Funyon, who just so happens to be balling up a fist and shaking it at the ref.


"Hiza-juji-gatame! Austin Sly could snap Jimmy the Doom's knee with this hold if Doom doesn't find a way to reverse it, get to the ropes, or simply tap out," Mak explains.


"I want to try that on you," King says.


"I'll let you if you allow me to stab you in the chest, seeing as you have no heart."


Tokyo asks if Doom wants to submit, but Jimmy spins, reversing the hold into a figure four leglock. The referee scrambles over to ask Sly about giving up, only to get waved away. Austin sits up, grabs Doom's left foot and twists around, not only escaping the figure four, but cinching in an ankle lock. Sly stands up to put more pressure on the Doomtopian, but this only allows Jimmy to sweep Austin with his free leg. Both men scrabble on the mat like rats for a few seconds before Sly is stuck fast in an armbar. Austin manages to power up to a standing position while the Straight-Bread Sensation transitions the hold into a hammerlock. However, before Jimmy the Doom can clamp down, Sly spins out, slaps on a sleeper hold. Austin jumps and wraps his legs around the Doomtopian's torso.


"What a series of reversals! I honestly didn't know that Austin Sly or Jimmy the Doom were so skilled in mat wrestling and submission holds," Mak states.


"I didn't know any of those reversals were possible," King whispers.


Sly's legs begin to slip down, but Doom grabs them, presumably looking to slam Austin either into the turnbuckles or the canvas. Sly quickly lets go of the sleeper hold and flips down while maintaining the body scissors, his feet pressing back Jimmy's shoulders. Austin grabs Doom's feet and pulls the tag champion to the mat. Sly gets up and turns around, locking the Straight-Bread Sensation in a single leg crab. Tokyo X checks to see if Jimmy wants to submit, but the Doomtopian waves him away. Austin steps back, elevating Jimmy's leg even more, but this is a mistake, as Sly is now close enough for Doom to grab, which is exactly what he does. Sly does a face plant, releasing the Straight-Breader's leg in the process. Jimmy rolls over and traps Austin in a reverse figure four. It doesn't last long, though, as Sly drags himself to the ropes.


"Another amazing exchange from these two!" Francis beams.


"I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting this from Austin Sly and Jimmy the Doom. Fairly impressive from two wrestlers that, to be quite honest, are little better than trained apes. Now that's an idea! Trained apes in the SWF! Talk about a real spot monkey!" King exclaims.


Austin and Doom get to their feet to a thunderous applause from the crowd.








Except, of course, for the few exploded heads, unable to take any more illogical action.


Sly cautiously moves forward and his caution pays off as he manages to duck a shotei. Doom snakes out his other arm, though, and flips Austin to the mat with a hip toss. Sly rolls over in pain, allowing Jimmy to slap on a chickenwing, and throw on a crossface hold for good measure. The Straight-Bread Sensation pulls Sly off the mat, but Austin scissors Doom's left leg and yanks it out from under him. Sly rolls backwards and locks Jimmy in a Buffalo Sleeper.


"And they keep going! What a wrestling clinic Austin Sly and Jimmy the Doom are putting on tonight! And what more appropriate location than the Nippon Budokan?"


"The KingDome? That's a pretty kick ass place. It is in America, after all," King points out.


Tokyo X asks Doom if he wants to give up, but Jimmy is too busy working on an escape to answer him. So busy, in fact, that he manages to slip out of Austin's grip and trap him in an Indian Deathlock. Sly writhes in pain, but is able to keep his wits about him and spot an opening. Austin reaches out, grabs Jimmy and rolls him into a Gedo Clutch. Tokyo X looks at Funyon, then at Doom with both shoulders flush against the mat.


"Do I have to actually count the pin?"




Dazed from the smack, Tokyo X drops to count the pin while Funyon heads back to his chair.








"Barely a one count for Sly. He's going to have to work a lot harder to put Jimmy the Doom away," Francis says.


Both men get to their feet, but before they can soak in the admiration of the crowd, Austin springs forward, taking Jimmy to the mat with a small package.








Doom rolls over, pinning Sly's shoulders to the mat.








Sly reverses with a roll up of his own as Tokyo X scrambles around for a better position.








Jimmy counters the cradle with a grounded octopus hold. Tokyo X asks Sly if he wants to submit, and gets a garbled 'No'. Austin looks for an escape, but appears to be trapped like a rat.












Of course, with another insanely impossible sequence comes more fans so baffled their brains have no option but to explode.


"Austin Sly looks to be in real trouble here, King. That grounded octopus hold doesn't have too many counters to it. However, both Austin Sly and Jimmy the Doom have shown us tonight they if there's a counter or reversal to a hold, they have it down pat," Mak says.


"Damn, I was just going to point that out and show you how stupid you can be at times," King grumbles.


"Don't worry, I'm bound to slip up soon."


Sly looks around for some kind of escape, and his eyes suddenly light up with an idea. Austin reaches out with his free arm, grabs Doom's hand, and shifts his weight, effectively locking on the Stranglehold Alpha. Tokyo X squats down to check on Doom, but Jimmy manages to squirm out of Sly's hold before the referee can pose his question. Sly gets up, as does Doom, and Austin finds himself being whipped into the corner. Jimmy races in after and slaps on a side headlock. The Straight-Bread Sensation spins Sly out, but is unable to take him down. Austin picks Jimmy up and plants him with a backdrop driver. Sly makes a lateral press.





















"Kick out from Doom after that backdrop driver! I wonder if he and Sly have called off the submissions, or if they're just biding their time," Francis comments.


"We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?"


"We could always get drunk, pass out, and watch the replay," Mak offers.


"As tempting as that sounds, I might miss something interesting, like that interloper Va'aiga get his head caved the fuck in by JJ Johnson," King says.


Sly pulls Jimmy off the mat and forces him into the corner. Austin smashes the Doomtopian with two jabs to the face, then plants him on the top turnbuckle. Sly pops the Straight-Bread Sensation in the gut, then climbs up. Austin reaches for a facelock, but Jimmy wriggles loose and nails him with a headbutt. Jimmy stands on the second rope while Sly scampers to the top and hits him with a forearm to the jaw. The Doomtopian cocks an arm back and jabs Sly in the throat, stunning him. Jimmy wraps both hands around Austin's neck, lifts, and jumps, planting Sly with a sit-out powerbomb. Doom tosses his legs over Austin's legs for a cover.





































Tokyo X gets up and calls Funyon over. After a brief conversation, Tokyo gets smacked in the head and the signalls for the bell.




"Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this match, JIMMY THE DOOM!" Funyon shouts.


"That's it? After all that technical wizardry, the match ends with Jimmy the Doom countering the So-Cal into a top rope Jimmy Bomb? No super advanced leg lock? That sucks," Francis grumbles.


"It was short, it was fast paced, and it probably made Rob Scott, among others, weep like a baby, so, in my book, not entirely horrible," King says.


"And it moves us even closer to those dumb interlopers getting beaten about the head and neck with a bag of cats," Mak points out.


Jimmy helps a weary Austin Sly to his feet for a bit of sportsmanship as Muse's (And not Apollo 440's) "Time is Running Out" plays, cueing a video package for 'Hollywood' Spike Jenkins versus Sean Davis.

Edited by Ace309

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The cameras pan across the excited crowd in the Nippon Budoka taking in some of the very creative signage that people are holding up hoping to make it on the broadcast tonight – there is


“Michael, you can borrow my eyeliner”


“Spike’s a dead man (finally)”


“Va’aiga ICHIBAN!!”


“We paid money for THIS?”


. . .


Hold up, back the truck up!


The camera quickly pans back to the derogatory sign and focuses on two Caucasians in the front row surrounded by a sea of Asians, and since the Japanese population tends to be rather slight in stature these two stand out even though they are only round 5’10’’ and 6’1’’. When the camera focuses on them one of them quickly pulls something out from under his shirt and the two of them unfold a big banner




“WHAT THE F*CK!!” King says loudly as the fans in the arena begin to boo the two men at ringside.


“What’s Oat Toast?” Mak says trying to blow the whole thing off as some sort of frat boy prank


A couple of SWF security guards rush over and tears the banner out of their hands, leading to loud protests and expletives being bandied around with the highlight being


“I guess this two bit fed can’t take what they dish out eh Johnny?” and then the two men high five each other before pulling off their neutral black shirts to reveal a pair of “GPX” shirts with the OAOAST logo on the back.


“What’s a GPX?” Mak asks, genuinely clueless about most of what goes on in the OAOAST


“Something about Global Parcel. . . something” King mumbles “Or Party whatever, who cares?” King says dismissively, but it seems that the head of SWF Security cares, they’re a 7 foot monster of caring, with a side order of “Doing their job” thrown in for good measure as Janus makes his way to ringside. The big man gets in the faces of the team that’s apparently known as GPX, or the Global Party Express for those of you that actually watch the OAOAST.


“Sorry there lurch, we got tickets, we ain’t done anything wrong” Scotty Static informs Janus, logic that he doesn’t have any counter for at the moment, but he does demand that they hand over all their signs, something with they reluctantly do after exchanging a sideways glance. Janus flips through the signs, throwing most of them away until only two are left, two that seem to be acceptable to Janus


“SWF - #1” and “Dead Precedents are nothing but wimps”


These he quickly hand back to Scotty Static and Johnny Jax and then raises a finger to tell them that he’s watching them before retreating to the back.


“Yeah we don’t take no crap from some podunk little federation Mak!”


Once Janus is out of sight GPX quickly tear both signs apart and then combine the top half of one with the bottom half of the other so that it reads


“SWF - nothing but wimps”




Before Janus can make his way out someone ELSE enters the arena, someone who has a match in only a matter of minutes, someone who know GPX all too well and are none too pleased to see them: Bruce Blank and Bloodshed.


“Alright kids you’ve flown to Japan, you’ve seen how a real wrestling show is run, time to run on back to the backyard” Bruce says as the two men make it down the aisle heading straight for the intruders.


Bruce gets in GPX’s face while Bloodshed paces back and forth impatiently seemingly talking to himself, mumbling something that sounds like he’s trying to keep himself from attacking the two OAOAST invaders in the front row.


“Hey, hey it’s Redneck and nutjob! So this is the federation crappy enough to give you a long term contract?” Jax says with a grin. A grin and a comment that causes Bloodshed to run at him and almost leap over the guardrail at them but Bruce catches him before hand and whispers something to him about “paid tickets” and “law suits” and what not to Bloodshed before turning his attention back towards GPX


“I told you once that we’re done with you guys – it’s over, accept it we’re just out of your league.” Bruce says with a grin “Go find a trampoline or something and leave the squared circle to the real men”


“Real men? And I take it YOU are a real man Bruce?” Static says with a laugh “You walked into our federation and acted like it was such a huge deal, you? Some bottom of the rung, smashy-smashy guy? It’s not hard to crash a party Bruce” he adds with a grin and then points to himself.


“Any schmoe can buy ringside tickets” Bloodshed interjects


“Yes and quite easily too” Static counters “You know a couple of weeks ago someone said to us: Johnny, Scotty – feel free to go after those damn goons any place, any time” He adds referring to comments made by Zack Malibu a few weeks ago “Not just any time Bruce – ALL THE TIME!! We’ll be right in your rear view mirror until you give us what we want, you give us what we deserve!!”


Bruce is about to answer when Bloodshed stops him, takes the microphone and then answers for him “Then I hope your medical insurance is paid up kiddo – I hope the OAOAST has a good medical plan for you two, ask Jamie O’Hara how they take care of people who’ve been destroyed by us, ask James Blond how long it took for him to be able to stand back up. . . Ask Zack Malibu how it feels”


“If he’s conscious enough to answer you!” Bruce adds with a big grin obviously proud of the path of destruction Bruce, Bloodshed and Todd Cortez has cut through the OAOAST.


“We’re still standing Bruce – all your claims of being such bad asses and we are still here, and we’ll be here 2 steps behind you day in, day out until you give us what we want.”


“You know Bloodshed, these guys talk like parrots. . . yet when the bell rings they run like chickens” Bruce says with a smirk “I’m amazed they don’t have the bird flu”


“I’ll show you chicken!!” the hot head Johnny Jax yells and then lunges at Bruce throwing a fist at him. The moment the fist makes contact with Bruce’s arm Bloodshed casually signals to the back for someone to come take care of business while the Dead Precedents head to the back all smiles and grins. GPX on the other hand are about to be ejected from the arena for putting their hands on the wrestlers.


a major no-no in Janus books and now they’re well within their rights to kick GPX out of the arena.


“We’re right behind you Bruce!! Everywhere you go, Storm, Smarkdown, Aftershock!” Jax yells as they’re being dragged from the arena.


“Alright can we get back to IMPORTANT stuff now? Like what color streamers will Va’aiga have tonight or whether Zyon will be booed when he goes against Akira in his home country” Mak says hoping to quickly move on from this unscheduled intermezzo.

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“Let’s keep the action rolling here at 13th Hour,” says Mak Francis. “And coming up next, we’ve got a Cruiserweight Rules match between two former World Cruiserweight Champions, Wildchild and Grendel!”


“Well, the interesting thing about these two men is that their careers seem to have been aligned here in recent months,” says the Suicide King. “They both appeared to win championships around the same time, they both LOST championships around the same time, and they’ve both been in pretty frustrating slumps since then!”


“That’s a very interesting analysis, King,” says Mak. “There’s just one small problem with it.”


“Oh?” asks King. “And what’s that?”


“The fact that nearly everything you just said is wrong!” snaps the Franchise. “Wildchild won the International Title over a month before Grendel won the World Cruiserweight Title. And Wildchild lost his title almost two weeks before Grendel lost his! About the only thing that you got right was the slumping part!”


“You realize, of course,” replies King coolly, “that when I said ‘at the same time,’ I was using the royal ‘same.’”


“The royal what?” Mak asks incredulously. “King, you’re royally insane… Anyway, we know that Wildchild is hoping to get some revenge against JJ Johnson, and you can’t help but wonder if his focus here lately has been where it should be?”


“Well, I definitely think that you could make the argument that it wasn’t where it needed to be when he lost to Grendel a couple of weeks ago,” replies King. “I mean, it looked pretty clear that he was looking past Grendel towards his rematch with Johnson, almost as if he took for granted that he was going to regain the International Title that night. And, quite frankly, Wildchild’s not a good enough wrestler to have that kind of ego!”


“On the other hand, Grendel is going to be hungry for a win as well,” says Mak. “And while Wildchild has a wealth of experience in competing in cruiserweight matches, Grendel has definitely competed in more cruiserweight matches as of late, and King, you have to agree that the International Division and the Cruiserweight Division require a different sort of preparation!”


“Absolutely,” agrees King. “Cruiserweight matches require a different psychology. The wrestlers typically don’t hit as hard, so they don’t take as much of a beating as they do in the other divisions. In most of the other divisions, you have to have a high pain threshold, to some extent, in order to be successful, or else you really have to be proficient at wrestling and counter wrestling, in order to evade the more punishing moves and holds. In the Cruiserweight Division, the wrestlers aren’t as big and they usually aren’t as strong, so the moves don’t hit you with same level of impact. As a result, you see a lot less countering and technical wrestling, because very few cruiserweights are proficient at submission holds, and very few of the holds and maneuvers you see these guys use really hit with the force needed to put someone down for the three count.”


“You really believe that King?”


“Positively!” King answers emphatically. “If you notice, most wrestlers in the Cruiserweight Division use some kind of splash or pinning combination to win matches, because they lack the strength to really hurt their opponents, and the force of their bodies flying from the top rope is often the only way that they can do any kind of damage to their opponents. Even the ones that do use some kind of strike, it’s more with the intent of stunning the guy than it is actually knocking them out… That’s why guys like Spike Jenkins, JJ Johnson, and even Johnny Dangerous were able to dominate the Cruiserweight Division: They had a strength advantage over everyone they competed against, and their moves were able to inflict more damage. And Grendel is going to have a similar advantage here tonight against Wildchild; he’s stronger, and if he can keep Wildchild from going to the ropes, he’s going to be able to impose his will on this match!”


“That’s going to be easier said than done, King!” says Mak. “Many people have tried to keep Wildchild off the ropes, without success!”


“There’s a first time for everything,” replies King. “Grendel’s going to be motivated to win this match tonight, and I truly believe that he’s more focused on beating Wildchild than Wildchild is on beating him!”


“Well, Grendel made his pay-per-view debut back at Battleground with a win, and he’s going to be looking to continue that streak,” says Francis. “But Wildchild has a pretty impressive pay-per-view streak going in his own right, and with that, let’s send you up to the ring to Funyon for the introductions!”






The sound of the bell calls the attention of all the fans to the center of the ring, where Funyon stands resplendent in a crushed velvet tuxedo. Raising the microphone to his lips, he bellows, “The following contest is a Cruiserweight Rules match, scheduled for one fall, with a fifteen-minute time limit!” At that, “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence begins to play, heralding the arrival of the Spirit of Aggression. Grendel steps out onto the stage, posing at the head of the ramp with his pitchfork held high above his head.


“Introducing first,” booms Funyon, “from Manhattan, New York, and weighing in at two hundred twenty pounds: GRENDEL!” Grendel barely acknowledges the fans leaning over the barricade as he makes his way to ringside. He walks up the steel stairs and steps between the ropes to enter the ring, where he once again poses with his overhead in the center of the ring.


“Grendel appears to have some support here in the Budokan,” notes King. “Which is somewhat surprising, since looks like a twit!”




“Then again,” King continues idly, “if stupid gimmicks like Curry Man and Hard Gay can get over in Japan, why not this clown, right?” Grendel walks over towards the edge of the ring and leans over the top rope to surrender his pitchfork to the ring attendant. He heads over to his assigned corner and begins stretching as his “Bring Me to Life” fades out. Grendel’s music is quickly replaced, however, by the neo-jazz sound hook which means that, either we’ve all been magically transported to the French Quarter in New Orleans, or Mystikal’s “Bouncin’ Back” is about to bring Wildchild down to the ring!


“His opponent,” booms Funyon, “is being accompanied to the ring by Melissa Fasaki! From the Bahamas and weighing in at two hundred fourteen pounds… the WIIIIILDCHIIIIILD!” Wildchild and Melissa slap hands with the fans as they head enthusiastically down the ramp.


“What a reaction for the Wildchild!” exclaims Mak. “Grendel may have gotten some support by these fans here, but it’s nothing compared to the support being shown for this guy!”


“Well, you can’t be surprised by that,” replies King. “Wildchild has wrestled here in the Budokan before, so obviously they’re familiar with him… but I want to comment on how far Wildchild has fallen!”


“I don’t know if he’s fallen that far,” says Mak, as Wildchild and Melissa arrive at the ringside area. “I mean, he did lose the International Title a few weeks back, but he’s still got to be considered a top contender for that, and just about any other title in the SWF!”


“Maybe, but look at how his stock has fallen, in terms of being a top draw,” replies King. “A year ago, he was wrestling in the main event of 13th Hour, and tonight, he’s one match away from jerking the curtain! I can only hope that, this time next year, he’ll be out of here altogether!” Wildchild removes his shin guards and hands them to Melissa before somersaulting between the bottom and middle ropes to enter the ring. He rolls to his feet and walks over towards the edge of the ring, where he leaps onto the middle rope and raises his arms above his head to salute the fans.


“Wildchild looks happy to be here in the Budokan, King,” says Mak. “He doesn’t look like he’s taking those losses personally.”


“He doesn’t have to take them personally,” quips King. “Just as long as he loses, I’ll be happy!” WC hops down from the rope and turns his attention towards his opponent as referee Red Herrington signals to the timekeeper to ring the bell, signifying the start of the match:





“Bell’s gone,” shouts Mak, “and we’re underway!” Wildchild and Grendel briefly slap hands in a show of sportsmanship, and then circle the ring before meeting in the center for a test of strength. Grendel immediately begins to overpower Wildchild, and then furthers his advantage by taking WC down with a back heel trip. He holds Wildchild’s hands against the canvas and, WC relaxes his shoulders against the mat while he thinks of a way to escape, prompting the over-eager Herrington to count his shoulders down.








Wildchild immediately bridges up on the one-count. Grendel, still holding WC’s hands against the canvas, swings his body into the air and position’s it over that of his opponent as he comes back down, bringing his full weight down on WC’s chest and midsection but, surprisingly, he can’t break the Caribbean’s bridge! Nonplussed, Grendel settles back down against the canvas before swinging his body back into the air to try again, but this time, the Bahama Bomber flattens his back against the canvas and brings his legs up as Grendel starts to come back down, planting his feet in the Assassin’s midsection and pushing him back to a standing position. Wildchild, his hands still locked with Grendel’s, lets his opponent’s momentum pull him back to his feet, and then surprises him by leaping into the air, locking his legs around Grendel’s neck, and arching backwards to pull him over into a Hurricanrana pin!













Grendel counters into a Sunset Flip pinning predicament!













Wildchild kicks out at two and dives forward to snag Grendel in a side headlock, but the Spirit of Aggression escapes and reverses into a hammerlock! Both men get back to their feet, with Grendel still in control, and WC reaches back to grab him by the back of the head before jumping up off the canvas, pulling Grendel over his shoulder as he begins to fall and taking him to the canvas with a snapmare! Wildchild beats Grendel to his feet and hooks him underneath the arm to take him over with a hiptoss, but the Assassin swing through the attempt and takes WC over with a hiptoss of his own! As Wildchild gets up, Grendel takes him back down with an armdrag takeover, but as he heads over to pull Wildchild to his feet, WC returns the favor by taking him over with a Japanese style armdrag! Both men nip up simultaneously and turn to face each other as the fans applaud their effort.


“Nice fast-paced sequence to start off this match,” says Mak, “as both men seem to be feeling each other out!” WC and Grendel engage in a collar-and-elbow tie-up, and the Assassin takes control forcing Wildchild back against the ropes. Herrington asks for a clean break, and Grendel steps back, only to catch WC off-guard with a reverse knife-edge chop! He grabs Wildchild by the wrist and whips him across the ring, hooking his arm underneath his opponents as he bounces off the ropes to take him over with a hiptoss, but the Human Hurricane flips through it and lands on his feet, scooping the surprised Grendel into his arms and slamming him to the canvas! Grendel gets back to his feet quickly, but WC lowers his shoulder and lifts the Assassin into the air with a back-body drop! Wildchild hops off the canvas as Grendel gets to his feet and blasts him in the face with a standing dropkick that sends him rolling out of the ring!


“I’d say that chain of events definitely worked out more in Wildchild’s favor!” shouts Francis, as WC walks around the ring. Wildchild steps back into his assigned corner and waits patiently while Herrington delivers his count:









“Why isn’t Wildchild going out after him?” puzzles King, as Grendel slaps the canvas in frustration. “That sequence was tailor-made for some kind of stupid dive to the outside, and I can’t believe that he didn’t go for one!”









“Well, King, that just goes to show that perhaps he’s a little more focused than you took him to be,” replies Mak. “Obviously he wants to make sure that he doesn’t make any rash mistakes here tonight!”









“That’s ridiculous!” snaps King. “Rash mistakes are Wildchild’s whole deal! That’s how he got the name Wildchild in the first place; the guy’s nothing BUT a walking rash mistake waiting to happen!”









Grendel slides back into the ring well ahead of the twenty count, and the two young men lock up. Grendel takes control first with an armbar, but WC is close enough to the edge of the ring to grab onto the top rope and flip forward to alleviate the pressure, before reversing into an armbar of his own. Grendel rolls forward onto his shoulders, and then cartwheels to get free of WC’s grasp. He quickly drops down and swings his leg wildly, trying to knock Wildchild off his feet with a sweep kick, but the Human Hurricane deftly avoids the sweep by flipping backwards over it!


“What tremendous agility by the Wildchild!” exclaims Mak. WC grabs Grendel by the wrist as he gets back to his feet and whips him into a nearby corner. He runs after him and leaps into the air, twisting as he draws near the corner to deliver his patented Blue Crush, but the Assassin somersaults out of the way. Grendel quickly charges back into the corner to knock WC off of the turnbuckles, but the Bahama Bomber flips backwards into the ring. Wildchild springs off the canvas as Grendel turns around and locks his hands behind the Assassin’s head as he falls backwards, taking him over in a monkey flip, only for Grendel to land on his feet!


“Boy,” says Mak, “These guys have practically gone move for move here in the early going!” Grendel grabs WC as he gets to his feet and whips him into the ropes. Wildchild dives through his legs and then immediately springs up off the canvas to deliver a dropkick, but the Assassin sees it coming a mile away, and swats his feet aside! Grendel swoops in to apply a side headlock, but WC immediately reverses into a hammerlock. Both men get to their feet, and Grendel reaches behind him to grab Wildchild by the back of the head, before taking him over with a snapmare. WC rolls to his feet and leapfrogs over Grendel as he charges towards him, and then leapfrogs a second time as the Assassin bounces off the ropes. Wildchild runs after Grendel and leaps into the air as he prepares to rebound a second time, whipping his leg through the air and knocking Grendel over the top rope with a leg lariat!


“Here we go, King!” shouts Mak, as WC runs to the ropes. “Here’s your vintage Wildchild offense!” Wildchild bounces off the ropes and runs back across the ring, leaping into the air as he approaches the edge of the ring and landing on the top rope. Grendel seems him perched above and assumes a defensive stance, seemingly confident that he can counter whatever Wildchild throws at him, but the Caribbean Cruiser merely flips backwards into the ring and backs into a corner to wait for Grendel to return to the ring.


“I don’t understand,” says King. “I mean, why isn’t Wildchild trying to hit his high-risk offense? We all know that that’s what he wants to do: you know it, I know it, everyone here in the Budokan knows it… Even Grendel knows it. Why isn’t he going for it?”


“Well, you may have just hit the nail on the head, King,” replies Mak. “Perhaps he just doesn’t want Grendel to be able to easily anticipate his offense? Maybe he’s just waiting to be able to catch Grendel with his guard down before he breaks out his high flying. That seems like a perfectly reasonable strategy to me!”


“Spoken like someone whose experience led him to the World Heavyweight Championship,” snipes King. “No wait, that’s right… you never got there!”




Grendel slides back into the ring and scrambles to his feet. He meets Wildchild in the center of the ring for a tie-up, and then dives feet-first towards WC’s ankles, taking him down with a standing drop toehold. Grendel quickly moves towards Wildchild’s upper body and slaps on a front facelock. He pulls Wildchild to his feet and whips him across the ring, arm raised to deliver a clothesline as he bounces off the ropes, but the Tropical Tumbler dives between his legs to avoid the clothesline, and then trips him with a drop toehold of his own as he turns around. WC beats Grendel to his feet and quickly hops off the canvas, flipping backwards and crashing onto Grendel’s back with a backflip splash! Wildchild rolls off of Grendel’s back and grabs his arm, before wrapping it behind his leg as he rolls the Assassin into a La Magistral cradle!













Grendel kicks out at two!


“That was a nice use of speed by the Wildchild!” exclaims Mak. “Grendel didn’t know whether he was coming or going!”


“Well, Grendel appears to have gone into this match with the battle plan of keeping Wildchild from going to the ropes,” says King, “but Wildchild has surprisingly made no attempts to go high-risk yet! Grendel’s had to wrestle him on the mat, and Wildchild’s actually gotten the better of it for the most part!” Wildchild walks over towards Grendel, but the Assassin suddenly swings behind him, trapping WC in a waistlock and popping his hips as he arches backwards, stunning Wildchild with a sudden release German suplex!


“Nice German!” says King, as Grendel rolls out onto the apron. “He knew which way he was going that time!” Grendel quickly climbs to the top turnbuckle and leaps into the ring as WC pulls himself back to his feet, only to knock him back down with a flying lariat! Grendel holds him down for a cover:













Wildchild kicks out at two! Grendel pulls Wildchild to his feet and begins hammering him in the back and kidneys with clubbing forearms that drop the Caribbean to his knees. Grendel then straddles Wildchild and hops off the canvas, bringing his full weight down onto Wildchild’s back with a jumping sit-down splash! The Spirit of Aggression quickly gets back to his feet and again springs off the canvas, driving the point of his elbow into WC’s back with a jumping elbow drop!


“Well, Grendel was able to take over with that flying lariat,” says Mak, “and now he’s beginning to show why he calls himself the Spirit of Aggression, as he aggressively takes it to the Wildchild!” Grendel pulls Wildchild to his feet and traps him in a front facelock, before popping his hips as he snatches him overhead and back down to the canvas with a snap suplex! Grendel floats over and applies a lateral press:



















“Grendel should have hooked the leg there,” says King. “If he’d have hooked the leg, he probably would have gotten the win!” Grendel pulls WC up to his feet and begins to deliver a series of chops to the chest as he backs him into the corner. The Assassin grabs Wildchild by the wrist and whips him across the ring, trapping him in a front waistlock as he bounces off the turnbuckles and tossing him overhead with a ferocious belly-to-belly suplex! Grendel hooks the leg as Herrington dives into position to count:








“Wow!” exclaims King. “We could be going to upset city!”















“Wildchild looks a little lethargic to me,” says Mak, as Grendel pulls WC to his feet, “wouldn’t you say, King?”


“Definitely,” agrees King. “We both thought at first that Wildchild may have been holding back, but something definitely appears to be off at this point… maybe he’s sick, or something!” Grendel stuns WC with a couple of headbutts before grabbing him by the wrist and whipping him across the ring, only for the Caribbean Cruiser to reverse, sending him into the turnbuckles instead. WC charges into the corner after him, but the Assassin lowers his shoulder to lift Wildchild up and over the top rope and out of the ring with a back-body drop! Wildchild grabs onto the top rope and steers himself down onto the apron, but the Spirit of Aggression suddenly spins around and knocks him off the apron with a dropkick to the knees, causing Wildchild to smack his chin against the edge of the apron!


“Holy cow!” shouts Mak. “When’s the last time you saw Wildchild get caught with a move like that?” Grendel runs across the ring, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes, and diving feet-first underneath the bottom rope to slam into Wildchild with a baseball slide…


… But the Human Hurricane leaps backwards, alighting on the ring barricade! Grendel comes to his feet on the arena floor, and looks up just in time to see WC hop off the barricade and land in a seated position across his shoulders! The Tropical Tumbler locks his legs around the challenger’s neck as he arches backwards, ripping Grendel through the air with a sensational rana!


“Beautiful counter to the baseball slide attempt by the Wildchild!” shouts Mak.


“I’m not even sure what you call that,” says King, as Wildchild slides back into the ring.


“Just a counter, I suppose.” Wildchild shakes his head in irritation as he gets back to his feet. He waits for Grendel to climb back onto the apron and then suddenly charges towards him! … The Human Hurricane comes running across the ring, leaping over the top rope and grabbing Grendel by the waist as he flies by, pulling him backwards and slamming him into the padded arena floor with a Sunset Flip powerbomb!


“Bahama Bomb!” exclaims Francis. “Holy cow! He hit Grendel with the Bahama Bomb!” Wildchild pulls Grendel to his feet and grabs him by the back of the head, slamming him face-first against the hard rubber barricade! WC leans Grendel chest-first against the barricade and then slides back into the ring. He scrambles to his feet and runs across the ring, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes, and leaps off the canvas as he approaches the edge of the ring, flipping forward as he sails over the top rope…






… And crashes into Grendel with a somersault senton, crushing his chest against the barricade! Wildchild tumbles over the Assassin’s back and into the crowd, his fall broken by a sea of humanity.








“Hey Francis,” chuckles King, as WC drags Grendel over the barricade and into the crowd, “he still look lethargic to you?”












“Absolutely not!” exclaims Mak. “Wildchild has definitely picked up the pace here in the last couple of minutes, and it doesn’t look like he’s done just yet!” Wildchild scoops Grendel into his arms and slams him roughly onto the concrete, before swinging back over the barricade to return to the ringside area.









Wildchild slides back into the ring and scrambles to his feet, trotting across the ring to the corner, where he climbs onto the top turnbuckle.


“Uh-oh!” cries Mak. “Wildchild could have something special planned here!” As soon as WC sees signs of Grendel getting up outside the ring, he takes off, racing across the top rope and leaping out of the ring as he approaches the other side! The Caribbean Cruiser somersaults through the air, over the ringside area and out into the crowd…






… Where he crashes into Grendel with a flying somersault splash!







“Andros Dive!” shrieks Francis, as Herrington is forced to restart his count. “Wildchild just went out into the crowd with an Andros Dive! I tell you what, King: he may have taken his time getting his high-risk offense going, but he’s definitely got it in gear now!” WC drags Grendel over to the barricade and dumps him back onto the padded arena floor. WC climbs onto the barricade and leaps off towards Grendel, slamming into his back with a diving double-knee press! He pulls Grendel back to his feet and rolls him underneath the bottom rope, before quickly hopping back onto the apron himself. Wildchild runs over to the corner and leaps over the top rope, landing in a seated position on the top turnbuckle, before flipping back into the ring, crashing into the Assassin’s chest with a split-legged moonsault!
















Grendel kicks out at two! WC beats him to his feet and exits to the apron yet again. He quickly climbs up to the top rope and waits for the Spirit of Aggression to get back to his feet before leaping from the top and driving a flying elbow smash into the top of his head that drops him to his knees!


“Ever since hitting that Bahama Bomb to the outside, Wildchild has been able to keep Grendel off-balance with that fast-paced offense of his,” notes Mak, as WC begins to hammer the Assassin with hard right hands. “And now, he’s starting to go to work with that notorious right hand!” Wildchild runs behind Grendel and leaps off the canvas as he bounces off the ropes, snaring the Spirit of Aggression around the head as he flies past and driving him into the mat face-first with a flipping neck snap! He rolls Grendel over and attempts a cover:


















“I thought Wildchild may have had him with that Whiplash,” says Mak, “but Grendel still has plenty of fight left in him!” WC scrambles to his feet and immediately springs off the canvas, dropping a lightning-quick legdrop across the throat of the Assassin! He gets back up and hits him with a second lightning leg! And a third, before finally rolling over and attempting a cover:




















No! Grendel gets the shoulder up! Wildchild pulls Grendel to his feet and whips him towards the corner, but the Assassin reverses, sending Wildchild crashing into the turnbuckles instead! Grendel runs to the ropes as Wildchild staggers out of the corner…






… And nearly turns him inside-out with a devastating lariat! Grendel collapses to the canvas in exhaustion as lies motionless beside him.


“Wow! What a clothesline!” shouts Mak. “Grendel nearly took Wildchild’s head off with that one!”


“Give credit to Grendel,” adds King. “He’s displayed tremendous resilience in coming back from that beating, and still managing to turn the tables on Wildchild like that!” Grendel crawls over to Wildchild and falls atop him in a lateral press as Red Herrington gets into position to count:



















Grendel takes a step back as Wildchild gets to his knees, and then suddenly thrusts his leg forward, blasting the Bahaman in the chest with a stiff kick! He kicks him again and then backs away, only to step back towards his opponent and drills him with a kick to the face that knocks him on his back! Grendel goes for another pinfall:
















“Another near fall for Grendel,” says Mak, “as it appears that he’s regained control of this match!” Grendel pulls Wildchild to his feet and delivers several crisp knife-edge chops to the chest, before running back towards the ropes and raising his arm as he rebounds to deliver a running lariat… but Wildchild ducks and begins hammering him with quick right hands!








Wildchild backs Grendel into a corner and then whips him across the ring towards the other corner, but Grendel reverses, sending Wildchild rocketing into the corner…






… Where he crashes chest-first into the turnbuckles at an unbelievably high velocity! Wildchild bounces off the turnbuckles like a jet ball and collapses onto his back! Grendel staggers over to his opponent and falls atop him with a pinfall attempt:















“Two count only,” says Mak, “but Grendel seems to be getting stronger with each passing move, and those kickouts are becoming less and less forceful on the part of the Wildchild!”


“That tends to happen when you get your man worn down,” explains King. “Now, we’ll need to see whether or not Grendel has the killer instinct to extend this advantage.” Grendel pulls Wildchild back to his feet and whips him towards a nearby corner, racing to the ropes as Wildchild staggers backwards towards the center of the ring, and leaps into the air as he rebounds, reaching for Wildchild’s neck to hit him with a running hangman’s neckbreaker, but the Caribbean Cruiser sidesteps him! Wildchild whips his leg through the air as Grendel turns around to deliver a roundhouse kick, but The Assassin catches his leg in mid-move…






… Only for the Human Hurricane to whip his other leg through the air and blast Grendel in the face with a Gamengiri! Wildchild stands with his back to Grendel and springs off the canvas, crashing down onto his chest with a backflip splash!
















“Boy, I thought that Wildchild had him after that Gamengiri!” says Mak. “These two continue to go back and forth, and you have to wonder who will be able to come away with the win!” Wildchild pulls Grendel back to his feet and whips him across the ring into a corner. He charges in after him, but Grendel lowers his shoulder and lifts him out of the ring, only for the Bahama Bomber to land on his feet on the apron. Remembering what happened last time, Wildchild takes the initiative on this occasion, turning Grendel around and grabbing him by the back of the head, slamming him face-first into the top turnbuckle! He then leaps onto the top rope as Grendel staggers away, before springing back into the ring, body extended to crash into Grendel with a cross-body block!






… But Grendel snatches him out of the air and plants him with a ferocious powerslam!


“Oh my word!” shouts Mak. “Grendel with a terrific counter! And he’s going for the pinfall!”
















“That was extremely close!” cries Mak. “Wildchild was about four inches away from getting beat there!” Grendel lifts Wildchild up off the canvas and plants him with a scoop slam. He then runs to the ropes, measuring Wildchild as he rebounds, before planting a kneedrop between his eyes.


“Grendel scoring with another big move here,” says Mak, “but he could be making a big mistake in not going for the cover here!” Grendel pulls Wildchild to his feet and traps him in a front-facelock before snatching him off the canvas and holding him overhead, only to drive him back down with a ferocious Brainbuster! He quickly scrambles to his feet and runs to the ropes, lifting his leg as he rebounds to nail Wildchild with a lariat, but the Caribbean Cruiser shows great resiliency of his own, as he ducks underneath…






… And knocks Grendel senseless with a shuffling sidekick!






“Superkick out of nowhere!” shouts Mak. “Wildchild still has some fight left in him!” Red Herrington begins to count both men down:











“This match looks like a pick-em at this stage, King,” notes LDP.







“Definitely,” agrees King. “The next person to score a big move will probably be the winner!”












Around the seven count, both men begin to stir. Wildchild crawls over to Grendel and applies a weak lateral press:












That only gets two! Wildchild and Grendel then each roll to their knees, and begin to exchange blows as they fight to their feet, with the Bahama Bomber trading hard right fists with Grendel’s chops:









Grendel eventually takes control, backing Wildchild up against the ropes and whipping him across the ring. The Human Hurricane ducks underneath a rolling elbow attempt as he bounces off the ropes, and then leaps into the air as he rebound a second time, crashing into Grendel with a cross-body block, only for The Assassin to roll through it and roll him into a cradle, hooking the tights as Herrington falls into position to count:



















“Man, was that close!” sighs Mak. “I thought for sure he’d get it after hooking the tights!” Grendel beats Wildchild to his feet and stuns him with a kneelift to the midsection. He whips Wildchild into the ropes once more and lowers his shoulder to deliver a back-body drop, only for Wildchild to catch him in an inside cradle as he comes off the ropes!
















“And that was another close near-fall,” mentions King. “Grendel thought that he had firmly established control, but Wildchild’s lightning-fast reflexes were almost able to get him the victory!” Wildchild sidesteps a charging Grendel and leaps into the air as he bounces off the ropes, blasting him in the face with a flying back elbow!


“Another nice counter by the Wildchild,” says Mak. “And it looks like he’s going up… that’s high-risk territory, King, but not for this guy!”


“And the thing about it is that you never know what he’s going to do up there!” adds King. Wildchild leaps from the top turnbuckle and dives into the ring to deliver a flying elbow smash…






… Only to get caught flush on the chin by a Grendel dropkick!


“I gotta give Grendel credit on that one,” concedes King. “I didn’t think that he was fast enough to catch Wildchild like that! Now, we’ll have to see if he can put him away for good this time!”


“Well,” says Mak, as Grendel steps out onto the apron, “he just gave the sign for Grendel’s Curse; if he can hit that, it should definitely do the job!” Grendel waits until WC gets back to his feet before leaping from the top turnbuckle; he reaches for WC’s head as he somersaults forward to come down into the stunner…






… But WC rolls backwards out of reach, and Grendel grabs nothing but air as his tailbone slams abruptly against the canvas!


“Nobody home!” shouts Mak. “Wildchild still had the presence of mind to get out of the way!” Grendel howls in pain as he clutches his back, and WC runs up behind him, hooking his arms underneath the Assassin’s as he lifts him to his feet. Before Grendel realizes what’s going on, the Human Hurricane somersaults over his back while still controlling the underhook, landing on his feet in front of Grendel in the set-up position for the Wild Ride!





“Look at this!” shouts Mak, as Wildchild spins around and gets his feet squarely underneath him as he lifts the Spirit of Aggression onto his shoulders. WC looks out into the crowd and releases a primitive growl before he falls backwards…












“Wild Ride!” croaks Mak, as Wildchild rolls Grendel over. Seventeen thousand in count along with Red Herrington’s hand as it slaps the mat:




















“Bouncin’ Back” begins to pump through the speakers as Wildchild flops over onto his back, panting like a dog as Red Herrington raises his hand in victory.


Funyon rises from his seat at ringside as he lifts the microphone to his lips. “Here is your winner,” he bellows, “the WIIIIILDCHIIIIILD!”


“What a tremendous match by two great competitors!” praises Francis. “Grendel delivered showed tremendous resilience but, in the end, Wildchild was able to maintain his pay-per-view winning streak with a big win here in the Budokan!”


Melissa supports Wildchild as he rolls out of the ring, and Red Herrington raises the Bahaman’s hand in victory. WC looks back into the ring at his fallen opponent and gives him a nod of respect before turning around and making his way back towards the dressing room.

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SWF Thirteenth Hour unceremoniously fades back in after a random product placement for the return of “The Superior” condoms, ribbed for her Flesher!


“Actually, it’s not quite random product placement,” the Suicide King corrects, “as these contraceptives have become widely used in the entertainment industry.”


“Right you are, King,” Mak Francis paraplegically agrees, “for you pornography connoisseurs out there, you may have noticed that a world famous pornstar has begun to use these condoms in his scenes. It’s really a great tie-in.”


“Of course, I’m against the use of contraceptives in porn, since it takes away the realism factor. If the housewife is promiscuous enough to fuck whoever stops by, why would the pizza boy need to stop and strap on a condom first, anyway?”


“And who cuts the holes in the pizza and pizza boxes so his penis can conveniently fit through when she opens the box?”


“Porn is indeed a farce. Luckily, we have someone here tonight who can explain it all! Not only does he endorse the use of Superior condoms, but his newest scene features Flesher’s squeeze and former SWF superstar Alison Onita! The film is called ‘Rear Naked Choke with Body Scissors’ and it should be out on DVD or the internet by the end of this month.”


Amidst all of this banter, the Japanese crowd in the Nippon Budokan has sat characteristically quiet and polite, until the funky ‘70s strains of The Commodores’ “Machine Gun” echo through the arena. Several fans recognize the music from the film “Boogie Nights,” but others curiously glance at the entryway to see who could possibly be coming. And come he certainly does.


“Ladies and gentlemen,” Funyon announces from inside the ring, “please welcome our special ringside guest for this contest. He is a true legend in the porn industry, penetrating deep into the annals of history and the anals of nearly every woman in the business. Standing tall at approximately thirteen inches, please welcome PETERRRRRRRR NOOOOOOORTH!!”


The Tokyo crowd roars in approval of the show business stud, clad in a “Ribbed (For Her Flesher)” t-shirt and track pants. He stops at the end of the ramp, and begins performing jumping jacks, allowing his crotch monster to obscenely bob forward and back, eliciting squeals from the women in attendance. After the showboating, North walks around the ring and takes a seat at the announce table, putting on a third headset to join King and Mak.


“What an honor!” King exclaims, “I mean, we’ve had Cyclone Comet on commentary, but to have not only a porn actor but a porn legend in our midst is truly spectacular!”


“It’s great to be here!” North ejaculates, “I’ve been an SWF fan for years now, actually. I really admire the athleticism and storylines portrayed.”


“Mr. North,” Francis begins, “It’s clear that you’re in support of Tom Flesher, then, tonight. How do you feel he’ll perform with his partner Charlie Matthews against the hot tandem of the Dead Precedents?”


“Well, as entertaining as the Ghost Machine gimmick was, I’m glad Flesher dropped it and went back to his roots as a wrestling machine. His submission and chain-wrestling work is stronger than ever, and combined with the power moves of Charlie Matthews, the team should be unstoppable.”


“…that’s a very astute observation,” Francis reacts, “I figured you’d just chime in with something random involving the Dead Precedents and whale cock.”


“Not everything in this world is about phalluses, much less cetacean phalluses,” North ejaculates.


“The following contest,” Funyon exclaims from the ring, allowing Mak to wallow in his misperceptions about the pornography industry, “is a tag team contest scheduled for one fall! Introducing first…”


Metallica’s “Welcome Home” rips through the speakers and across the arena, as both Blank brothers appear at the top of the ramp to a chorus of boos. Wayne guides Bruce halfway down the ramp, then stops, puts his hand on Bruce’s shoulder, and exclaims, “We met on the level and we’re parting on the square,” so we can suspect that the Blanks are Freemasons. With that, Wayne jogs to the back and Bruce continues, rolling into the ring and rising to his feet. As he does so, a blood red spotlight (and it’s literally blood red, as opposed to a plain red spotlight that other, lesser superstars get) shines in the ring, revealing Bloodshed.


“…at a combined weight of five-hundred and twenty five pounds, the team of Bruce Blank and Bloodshed, the DEAAAAAD PREEEEEECEDENTS!”


“This team has earned a modicum of success lately,” Mak points out, “before getting a shot in the arm, so to speak, when facing tag champions The New Doomtopians on Smarkdown. Perhaps that loss will motivate them further here tonight.”


“No, Mak, not a shot in the arm,” King sets up, “but a North-sized shot in the eye!” He raises his hand for a high-five from the pornstar, but gets RE-jected.


“I’m just here to call the match, fellas!” North ejaculates.


“Fair enough,” King sighs.


“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!” a loud, obnoxious voice cries, “It’s time to introduce the stars that you came here tonight to see! Tonight, the stars convene—quite literally, actually—from two very similar facets of the entertainment world. Tonight, Bruce Blank and Bloodshed will find themselves as flaccid as the corpse of Warren G. Harding when faced up against two of the most MAG-NIFICENT studs since Secretariat himself!”


With that, blue pyro explodes and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” rocks the speakers, eliciting, surprisingly enough, quite the face reaction.


“Oh, I get it,” King chimes in, “Warren Harding. Dead president. Dead precedent.”


“Thanks, King.”


The figures of Charlie Matthews and Tom Flesher appear at the top of the ramp, with James Matheson close behind, microphone still in one hand and trademark metal briefcase in the other.


“At a combined weight of five-hundred and thirty-seven pounds, please join me in welcoming to Japan the world-renowned team of Chaaaaaaarlie ‘Grappler’ Matthews and ‘The Superior One’ TOMMMMM FLESSSSSSSHER!”


The two nonchalantly walk to the ring, climbing onto the apron and simultaneously entering the ring. As the Dead Precedents talk strategy, Matthews and Flesher stretch and converse as to who should begin the match. Flesher wins the discussion, and Grappler nods and exits the ring. On the other side, Bloodshed remains in the ring while Bruce climbs to the apron. Eastern European Referee Gaston May ensures that both men are prepared to begin, and then signals for the bell, finally beginning the match!




Both combatants stand, unmoving, for several seconds, with Flesher looking cool and confident and Bloodshed breathing heavily, wearing a smile to try to convey his “I’M CRAZY AND IMPERVIOUS TO PAIN!” style. Finally, the two advance forward, locking arms in a collar-elbow tie-up. They jockey for position in the center of the ring, until Flesher turns on his heel, bringing Bloodshed around forcing him forward into the nearest turnbuckle. As Clark’s back hits the pad, the referee calls for Tom to break the tie-up, and the Superior One does so after a three count. Tom releases the hold and backs up, before rearing back and slapping the taste out of Bloodshed’s mouth-




-eliciting a huge reaction from the Tokyo crowd!


“I can’t believe the positive reaction Taamo and Chuck are receiving!” Mak cries, “especially considering their actions in the past few weeks!”


“Well, it’s quite simple,” King begins, “All four men are delightfully dastardly, so Japan is doing the smart thing and supporting the more talented and established duo. Kudos to them, I say.”


Flesher smirks as Bloodshed rocks back from the slap, but continues to act crrrrazy and actually begs for more. Tom obliges, and the two engage in another collar-elbow tie-up. This time, Bloodshed is able to force Flesher into the center of the ring, but Tom easily snakes behind the former Disney-endorsed superstar and applies a rear waistlock, which he milks to another big reaction. Finally, Bloodshed, exhibiting his high-flying skillz, hooks his left arm under Tom’s chin and pushes down to bring himself up, up and over, backflipping over his opponent’s head and landing behind him. The crowd applauds the athleticism, and as Taamo turns around, Bloodshed rears back for his own slap. Unfortunately, Flesher has superior reflexes and stops the arm, before nailing Blood’s sternum with a quick palm strike. As he doubles over, Tom quickly wraps his right arm around Bloodshed’s head and squeezes tightly, applying the front facelock.


“And it might be time for the Cement Series,” Mak points out, “a highly effective amateur wrestling technique that will surely school an unseasoned Bloodshed.”


Indeed, Taamo pushes forward, dropping Bloodshed onto his ass and then steps on either side of his legs, continuing to push forward into a Thesz press pin. Referee May drops to count the pin, but Flesher decides against it and instead rolls over onto his back, wrapping his legs around Bloodshed’s body with a body scissors to complement the guillotine choke. Unfortunately, Tom didn’t quite take into account his ring presence, as Clark is able to extend his left leg and drape it over the bottom rope, forcing Flesher to break the hold.


“Speaking of body scissors,” King begins, “Mr. North, what was it like nailing Alison Onita in that film?”


“We took it to the next level!” North ejaculates, “Apparently, her sister is a dyke, so we worked on some new techniques that drove Alison wild. And yes, I actually do apply a rear naked choke when I go for the obligatory anal scene. Working in the body scissors was a bit more difficult, but we made it happen.”


Flesher uses the ropes to get to his feet, not because he has to, but more because he can. Meanwhile, Bloodshed catches him off guard by doing the same thing, except lightly jumping onto the second rope and springboarding off, shooting his legs out and nailing Tom in the face with a dropkick! Not to be outdone, Tom races to his feet, only to walk right into Bloodshed’s waiting arm, as he flips him over and onto his back with an armdrag. Blood quickly leaps into the air and lands back-first onto Flesher’s sternum, completing a senton splash before walking over to his conveniently-located corner and tagging in White Trash himself, Bruce Blank.


“Blank, of course, shocked everyone when he defeated Ghost Machine Version 2.0 a few months ago,” Francis begins, “so this confrontation should be interesting.”


“I don’t follow your logic,” King replies obliviously, “what does Ghost Machine have to do with Tom Flesher?”


Again, Flesher quickly rises to his feet, ready to face the new oncoming opponent. Blank stalks forward, and Tom channels Ghost Machine Version 2.0, leaping off of his feet and shooting his legs forward, in typical sloppy GM fashion, hitting a dropkick-




-right in the nads. The crowd roars in approval, and as Tom gets up he can only smile at the reaction to such a crappy move before heading over to his corner and tagging in Charlie Matthews.


“This is Matthews’ first pay-per-view since returning to the SWF,” Mak notes, “and his first real match since Genesis Five.”


“You can bet he’s going to make an awesome first impression,” King agrees, “Coming right out of the gate with that powerhouse offense.”


And he does, in a way. With Blank slumped over and clutching his babymaker, Grappler sneaks behind him and laces his arms under Bruce’s, clasping his hands behind his head and pushing forward with a full nelson!


“I knew it!” King cheers, “a resthold as his very first move executed. Tremendous! Since I have a few moments, I should point out - the Dead Precedents have been working together well. In addition to Grappler's ring rust, there's always the chance that he and Taamo just haven't gelled yet. It should be an interesting clash where you see a lot more polish in the Precedents but a lot more skill from the two most magnificent guys in recent memory.”


This doesn’t last long, though, as the fresh Bruce Blank is able to rise to his feet and begin running backwards, pushing Matthews back-first hard into the corner. The full nelson is released, allowing Blank to turn around and wallop Grappler with a hard right hand, and another, and another! Bruce then switches up, firing a kick hard into Charlie’s belly. Blank pulls him out of the corner and, taking hold of one arm, Irish whips him towards the ropes. As Matthews rebounds, Blank swings his arm for a clothesline, but Grappler ducks, opting instead to run and hit the ropes again, catching Blank with a running forearm to the face! The force of the blow is strong, but doesn’t take Blank down, so Charlie backs up into the ropes and pushes off of them to gain momentum, only to have Blank fire off a clothesline that connects, taking the former World Champion off of his feet!


At this point, Peter North rises (from his seat, that is), about to take his headset off before King stops him.


“Mr. North, what are you doing?”


“I need a closer seat at ringside," North ejaculates. "I’d like to watch this classic tag team wrestling contest without your annoying banter.”


“One question,” Mak begins, preparing to go into PR shill mode, “What projects do you have lined up after ‘Rear Naked Choke With Body Scissors?’”


“Filming of ‘There Will Be Blood’ is starting soon,” North ejaculates.


“The new Paul Thomas Anderson film based on Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘Oil?’” King asks, slightly surprised.


“Oh, no. It’s a hardcore menstruation and S&M film.”


King blinks, confused. With that, North removes his headset and takes a steel chair, setting it up and sitting next to Matheson at ringside. The old school manager welcomes him as the two discuss the finer aspects of the pumphandle slam.


Bruce Blank lifts Matthews up to his feet and easily hoists him onto his shoulder, taking a few steps forward and dropping him unceremoniously, throat-first onto the top rope. As Grappler stumbles backwards, Blank simply grabs him by the head and pulls back, slamming him back down onto the mat. By this point, Bloodshed is begging for a tag, his masochistic tendencies showing through. Blank obliges, as Bloodshed climbs the turnbuckle nearest to Matthews’ fallen form. Bruce then takes a hold of Bloodshed and lifts him in a gorilla press before dropping his cruiserweight form onto Grappler with a splash, of sorts. Alan Clark stays on for a pin and Gaston May drops to count, but to show what a man he is, Charlie Matthews powers out (with AUTHORITY!) before even a one count can be registered.


“I know that Bloodshed is crazy and everything,” King is sure to emphasize the adjective, “but only a fool would try to cover Charlie Matthews this early into a match.”


“This is the same guy who slipped on his way to the ring in the 2004 Clusterfuck,” Mak replies, “but perhaps, by establishing how crazy he is, he can throw Matthews off of his own game.”


As both men get to their feet, Bloodshed fires a rigid knife-edge chop to Matthews’ sternum.
















Still, Grappler is able to shake this off and simply rear his head back, knocking it against Bloodshed’s and sending him down to the canvas! Blood rolls through this, though, and immediately comes to his feet, charging forward. Matthews tries to suppress this by lifting his leg up and shooting a big boot forward, but Shed ducks this and continues, rebounding off the ropes. As he returns, Charlie is able to lace his arm through Clark’s and send him over with a hiptoss…but the cruiserweight lands on his feet and sends a mule kick that catches Matthews in the belly, pushing him towards the corner. Bloodshed charges again, but this time Grappler grabs him under the arms and lifts him into the air, letting his momentum carry him face-first onto the top turnbuckle! As Clark stumbles backwards from this, Matthews is able to lift him again into the air and fall backwards, casually nailing a belly-to-back suplex. On the outside, Tom Flesher claps and shouts encouragement to Matthews, screaming "BEAUTIFUL RAILGUN!"




“Charlie Matthews did what any normal man would do when faced with a Mexican jumping bean like Bloodshed,” King remarks, “smash his face in. Seriously, slow the guy down by slowing his crazy brain down.”


And slow down Matthews does, albeit in a different fashion, and perhaps in response to the Japanese crowd's adoring reaction to Flesher's mere existence. Just like he’s done to bore hundreds of crowds before, the Grappler moves Bloodshed to a sitting position and, after driving one knee into his back, clasps his hands underneath the cruiserweight’s chin, pulling back tightly with a rear chinlock. The crowd immediately greets this with the chant they’ve been waiting to dish out since the beginning.






Or something like that. Anyway, Matthews takes this opportunity to flex his somewhat impressive physique. Flesher, meanwhile, works on his knot work with the tag rope, Matheson and North applaud the prowess of Grappler, and Bruce Blank gruffly shouts at his partner to “Git-r-done” or something.


“In all of my years of wrestling,” Mak begins, “I’ve found that this move is really, really effective at, well, making your jaw sore.”


“Of course,” King begins with a grin, “Alan Clark is used to other activities making his jaw sore, so it’s all good. Am I right Peter?!” King throws up another hokey high-five to the pornstar fifty feet away, but North can only shake - well, jiggle - his head in condescending disgust.


Charlie Matthews is quite satisfied with his work, and acknowledges the fact that maybe, just maybe, those “Boring” chants are out of respect and admiration. Still, at the behest of his partner Flesher, he decides to go onward and upward with the match, as Alan Clark shall be released.


“You don’t see that release every day,” Mak notes, “and Clark should attempt to take advantage of it.”


“Speaking of release,” King starts, but the glare of North from fifty feet away is enough to stop him from completing his dirty thought.


Grappler picks Bloodshed up by the head and Irish whips him towards the closest ropes. As Clark rebounds, Matthews ducks in preparation for what could be a veritable cornucopia of telegraphed moves (“could be” because they never happen), but Bloodshed leapfrogs this and continues towards the other ropes. As he returns, though, Grappler recalls the glory days of Double Jeopardy and *thinks fast*, scooping up the charging Bloodshed and snapping her around, nailing a huge powerslam. The crowd roars as he follows through with a pin, with May counting.







Despite the wind being knocked out of him, Bloodshed is able to kick out.


“That’s the scary thing about Charlie Matthews,” Mak points out, “you think he’s all about the slow style heavyweight wrestling, and then he surprises you with a quick, powerful move out of nowhere.”


“Yeah, you and CIA jobbed to his burly ass in ‘03, didn’t you?” King goads.


“Come on,” Mak groans, “what the hell kind of match is a triangle tag match, anyway?”


Grappler rises to his feet and lays in a few stomps to the fallen Bloodshed, before backing into the ropes, preparing for a legdrop or an elbowdrop or something similar that would have more power with a run behind it.




Alas, that set of ropes is the one by which Bruce Blank resides, and the White Trash superstar clubs Matthews right in the back of his oft-injured neck! The force of the blow sends Grappler immediately down, face-first onto the mat. Gaston May chastises Blank for the move, but Blank just grins and shakes his hand, “no” is all he says. Matheson is irate and Peter North is purple-headed with anger. The Japanese fans respond in kind.






As Bloodshed gets to his feet he grabs Gaston May and asks him what he thinks the odds are that the Ivory Coast advances in the World Cup. As May formulates a response dealing with the pressure they have in honoring the fallen assistant coach as well as their difficult bracket, Blank drags Matthews closer to his corner and enters the ring, lifting him to his feet. He then exits back to the apron, but uses the tag rope like a guillotine, choking the life out of Matthews while adding additional strain to the neck.


“Now that’s what I like to see,” King remarks with a grin, “good old fashioned cheating with the tag rope. I would’ve considered Blank too dumb to know what it’s there for.”


“But it looks like Flesher has had enough!” Mak chimes in, and he’s right, as Flesher hurriedly enters the ring and floors Bloodshed with a palm strike to the back of the head. Gaston May, of course, accosts Flesher for this.


“You don’t understand!” Flesher growls, “Holland is going to be the surprise of the tournament this year with their stacked team. Don’t give me that Polish bullshit.”


Meanwhile, Blank enters the ring again after releasing the tag rope, and begins stomping a mudhole in the exhausted Charlie Matthews. As the referee begins to turn around, Bloodshed claps his hands together, signifying a tag (I guess), and May accepts it, seeing Blank work Matthews over with more punches and stomps. He drags Matthews out of the corner, only to shove his face into the top rope and drag his face across, eliciting various jeers from the crowd. From there, Blank walks him to the center of the ring and stands side to side with him, sweeping him back onto the mat and onto his neck, Russian style.


“WE WANT FRRRRRRRESHUHHHH!” The Japanese fans muster the best diction they can as they cheer for Matthews to make the tag.




Blank only sneers at the crowd, and meanwhile, on the apron, Bloodshed taunts the ringside nature of Peter North. This infuriates the porn star and he erupts, rising out of his chair and marching over to that corner. As referee May checks on the condition of Matthews, North is able to surprise Bloodshed by pulling him, by the leg, off the apron, forcing him to fall flat on his face! The crowd roars at this, but only intensifies their cheering when Bloodshed rises to his knees. North, used to having people in this position, puts his hands on his hips and (even though the camera is to his back because the censors wouldn’t like this) rotates his upper body to the left side, before snapping to the other side quickly!






“Did Peter North just do what I think he did?” Francis inquires.


“Yes!” King exuberates, “Bloodshed just got cockslapped by Peter North! Bloodshed just tasted the North Pole!”


Bloodshed may be crazy, but even he has never felt the force of a 25-pound phallus on his cheekbone. He nurses that one for awhile, as North soaks in the cheers, and Blank puts the cowboy-boot stomps to Matthews. He brings Grappler up to his feet and wraps his arms around him tightly in a manly hug, before lifting him up into the air and dropping him down crotch-first across his knee, executing a painful atomic drop. From there, Bruce backs into the ropes and then runs forward, bringing Grappler down to the mat with a running neckbreaker. The Tokyo crowd groans as Blank lateral presses Matthews, pressing his forearm into Charlie’s face for good measure as May counts.







Still, Matthews has that crazy [note lack of emphasis] old-school fighting spirit, powering out before a complete two can be registered. This doesn’t phase Bruce, as he brings Grappler up and, taking him by the arm, whips him hard into the nearest corner. He then advances to the opposite corner, while James Matheson conspicuously jumps onto the apron to call the attention of Gaston May. Blank pays no attention to this and charges at Matthews. He notices something out of the corner of his eye, but it’s too late, because-




Tom Flesher uses the distraction to climb in the ring and blindside Bruce Blank with an enormous Yakuza kick to the side of the head and face that floors the big man. The crowd goes nuts! Peter North goes nuts! Taamo leaves the ring satisfied and Matthews, exhausted, can only do one thing: flop forward out of the corner, landing head-first




into Bruce’s poor testicles. The crowd roars again, Peter North makes a note to use that spot in his next blowjob scene, and both of the big men begin crawling towards their respective corners.


“Taamo is just dying for the tag,” Mak points out, “and these polite Japanese fans can’t wait to see him tear into Bloodshed.”


“And we don’t know how well Tom can rely on his partner for the remainder of the match,” King adds, “with the sore neck and all, he may be a liability from now on.”


Bruce, clutching his assaulted manhood, makes his way to his corner first, tagging in the crazy one, Bloodshed. He rushes into the ring and attempts to intercept Matthews’ tag attempt, but it’s too late, as Flesher tags in to the tremendous roar of the entire Budokan! Bloodshed continues to charge anyway, because he’s crazy, but Tom simply sidesteps it, and the momentum carries him shoulder-first into the turnbuckle post! With a smirk on his face, Flesher yanks Bloodshed out of the corner, applies a rear waistlock, and snaps backwards, sending the cruiserweight halfway across the ring and onto his shoulders with a huge released German suplex! On a tear, the Superior One charges at Blank, who has just regained his composure on the apron, and leaps into the air, nailing a big palm strike to the side of his head that messes up his composure all over again, with the crowd roaring in approval.


“The main thing I’m getting from this match,” Mak begins, noting that it’s besides complete enjoyment, “is that while all four men are no strangers to tag team competition, they’re still new to their respective partners. Teamwork hasn’t been the strongest and things seem to be a little disjointed, but we’re still getting a hell of a match.”


“Right,” King agrees, “I mean, Tom and Grap are two of the best wrestlers in the company right now singularly; I can’t even imagine how unstoppable this team is going to be once they get the chinks worked out.”


Mak does a spit take. “Kinks. You meant kinks, right?”


“Edwin bet me sixty-five bucks and new lizard-skin boots that I wouldn’t be racist on pay-per-view. Pay up, you panda!”


Flesher basks in the rare face reaction he’s receiving as King contemplates whether to make Edwin pay double for the panda reference. Flesher drops into the “ready to pounce position” as Clark slowly returns to his feet. Once he does, Taamo does indeed charge forward, lifting his Asics boot up just enough to nail Bloodshed in the sternum, hard, with the sole. The force pushes Bloodshed into the corner, to which Tom follows and immediately unleashes with a flurry of palm strikes to the head, face, and chest areas of Bloodshed. With the crazy cruiserweight slumped over in the corner, Flesher rids him by slapping him hard in the back of the head, just to remind him who’s in charge. He fluidly follows this up by wrapping his arms tightly around Bloodshed’s midsection, popping his hips and shooting him backwards with a Railgun suplex…but Clark somehow rolls right through and comes up to a standing position!


“Quite the athleticism,” Mak remarks, quite surprised, “but Tom is still quite fresh so this could be quite the evenly-paced portion of the match.”


As Bloodshed comes running back to Tom, though, the Superior One punishes him for no-selling the Railgun by simply grabbing a hold of his head and piefacing him down, hard against the bottom rope in a corner. With haste, Flesher charges and lifts his leg up slightly, bringing it down and raking it hard against Bloodshed’s face, much to the awe of the crowd.


“Running bootscrape!” King cheers, “And that’s why you just don’t ignore what the Superior One puts you through. Now Bloodshed is really shedding blood. Sucks to be him!”


“While Bloodshed and Blank aren’t exactly rookies,” Mak adds, “they are much more inexperienced than either Flesher or Matthews. They’re subtle, but one can certainly see some minor slip-ups that are allowing Matheson’s team to regain control.”


"They're not former World Champions for nothing," King replies. "Clark and Blank are solid, but Flesher and Matthews are... well... magnificent!"


Indeed, a nice little Nung River of blood cascades from Bloodshed’s mouth and nose, the result of Flesher’s vicious Asics assault. The Superior One stoops to Clark’s eye-level in order to bring him to his feet for a more successful Railgun suplex, but-






-Bloodshed fires back with the –literal!- blood mist, blinding Flesher with a really gross spit take of sorts. Taamo hollers in pain, mostly because he probably just contracted AIDS (or at least Hep-C). That Bloodshed sure is crazy. So crazy, in fact, that he rises to his feet in a berzerker rage and traps Tom in a front facelock, before bringing his free arm around and twisting his body, dropping down with the Acid Trip neckbreaker! With Tom down face-first, Clark quickly gets to his feet and backs into the ropes, running and flipping forward, bringing himself down with this time a somersault senton splash. He rolls Flesher over and, at his feet, grabs the legs and flips over Tom’s body, executing a bridged pin as referee May counts!











Flesher does indeed power out, and once Bloodshed is off of him, he begins to vigorously wipe the blood from his face. Thankfully, Peter North is no stranger to having bodily fluids spit back at him, and has a water bottle and rag ready. As North gives Taamo a facial of sorts, Bloodshed decides to let havoc roam and tags in the enormous Bruce Blank.


“That was just really, really gross,” King groans, “and with all due respect to Peter North, I don’t think I’ll be checking out his next film if it involves anything like that.”


“Are you going to be okay for the other ultraviolent matches coming up tonight?” Mak mocks.


"Hey, yeah," says King quizzically. "Why are Flesher and Matthews so low on the card?"


"I'm not sure," Mak says, in all seriousness. "Probably something to do with Joe Peters' wife."


With Flesher just finishing up the cleansing, Blank is able to catch him off guard with a strong stomp to the shoulder blades. This forces Taamo to slump against the middle rope, and Bruce uses this to his advantage, pulling up on the middle rope and effectively choking the Superior One. Gaston May admonishes the White Trash superstar, making it to a four-count before Blank finally releases. Bruce then drags Tom to the center of the ring, stands shoulders-to-face with him, and, after shooting a glance at Matthews on the apron, drops to a knee, wrapping his arms around Flesher’s midsection and squeezing tightly with a bearhug!


“Blasphemy!” Francis screams, “that’s Charlie Matthews’ signature resthold! What a downright, no good thing to do!”


The Japanese crowd, as if triggered, begins a “BOOOOOWINGU!” chant, but quickly picks up on the fact that Blank is going for that to goad the Grappler. So, instead, the work something much more direct.


“YOU SUCK!” *stomp stomp*


“YOU SUCK!” *stomp stomp*


Blank is impervious to the jeers though, and he wrenches in the dreaded bearhug, sucking the wind and the life out of the Superior One. Flesher grimaces as Blank keeps the pressure on, trying to take deep breaths to expand Bruce's meaty limbs. Still, just as Matthews released Bloodshed earlier, Blank releases his grip and lets Flesher tumble impotently to the mat.


"It's almost like Blank is trying to get inside Matthews' head," says Francis. "He's trying to play a game of anything you can do, I can do better."


"Jumping jacks," says King.


"Go to hell."


Flesher starts to get back to his feet, only to have Blank slam a boot into his back! Taamo staggers into a neutral corner with Blank in white-hot pursuit. He reaches out, hammering Flesher with a a club-like forearm that sends him slumping forward. Blank continues walloping Flesher with a series of the forearm clubbings until Gaston May steps in and tries to pull him off. Blank sneers and shouts, "Screw you! Denmark didn't even qualify for the World Cup!" With that, he grabs Flesher and sends him to the ropes with an Irish whip. Flesher rebounds, only to be caught with a backdrop that sends him high into the air as Peter North looks on approvingly. As Flesher falls to the mat, Bruce throws a hard uppercut that splatters all over the Superior One's face. Flesher lands on the mat, grimacing and softly moaning, as Bruce lazily covers him up. May makes the count.









THR- NO! Flesher kicks out, getting his shoulders off the mat just in time to avoid taking the fall. He rolls over, reaching out toward Charlie Matthews, but can't bridge the ten-foot gap.


"This isn't the sort of thing you usually see from Flesh," says Francis. "He's usually more in control."


"Well, to be fair, Bruce Blank HAS been pounding him really hard," King replies.


"I guess you could say this sudden burst of offense is really the thrust of the Dead Precedents' strategy," Francis adds with a smirk.




As Francis sighs, Blank lifts Flesher back to his feet. He looks over at Matthews and, with a smirk, whips Tom to the ropes. Flesher rebounds, and Blank sneers at Matthews before nearly decapitating the former leader of the Magnificent Seven with a lariat. Flesher drops to the mat, and Grappler immediately steps into the ring, shouting fighting words at Blank.


("Trinidad & Tobago are FRUITS!"




Gaston May, good official that he is, immediately steps in and cuts off the old-school specialist's angle. He admonishes Matthews to return to his corner and reminds him that, questions of sexual orientation aside, Trinidad & Tobago did tie Sweden, and that's good enough for a point. Sullen, Matthews starts to step back out even as Blank tosses Flesher into the corner. The waiting Bloodshed quickly wraps the tag rope around Flesher's formidable 18-inch neck. Flesher cringes and grabs at the rope as Bruce Blank nails him once again with a closed fist.


"That's a closed fist, May!" screams King. "For god's sake, warn Blank!"


Francis looks quizzically at King. "You're concerned about the fist, but not the tag rope?"


"That's worth extra points. It takes some set-up work. But a closed fist? Meh, he's giving all good heels a bad name."


"Good heel?" murmurs Mak, even as Charlie Matthews protests, pointing energetically at the opposite corner. May, however, would be remiss in his duties if he allowed the giant to stay in the ring past a five-count and shouts for him to return to his corner. Once again, Matthews' massive chest heaves a sigh as he steps out of the ring to allow the match to continue. When May turns around, he sees that Bloodshed is assaulting Flesher with knife-edge chops.




Flesher once again grimaces in pain as King notes, "There must have been a tag there that we just didn't pick up." Francis rolls his eyes as Bruce grabs Flesher by the arm and holds him in the corner long enough for another chop.




May walks over, shaking a finger at Blank, who holds his hands up and professes total innocence. Meanwhile, Bloodshed grabs Flesher and pulls him to the center, applying a front facelock "Looks like he's going for a Wake-Up Call here," says King, as Blood smiles CRAZY~!ly. As he starts to lift Flesher, though, the Superior One tosses in a leg and hooks around Shed's ankle to block the lift. Once he hits the mat again, Flesher quickly passes the front facelock by and, in the same motion, throws the hooked leg backwards, sweeping the shocked Apostle to the mat! As Shed lands on his rear, Flesher frees the sweeping right leg and uses his kickpad to plant a stiff shin on his jaw! Bloodshed falls to his back, and Flesher nonchalantly steps over him toward Charlie Matthews. Before he can get there, though, Shed grabs him by the ankle and sandbags. He pulls Flesher back, even as the Superior One attempts to shake him loose. Before he can do so, Bruce Blank steps into the ring to give the assist by charging Flesher from behind and hammering him in the back of the head with a lariat.


"Ah, the good old Russian sickel," says King. "The communists may have lost the cold war, but they won our hearts."


Flesher tumbles down as Bloodshed springs to his feet. Gaston May admonishes Blank to leave the ring, but the Trailer Park Messiah shrugs him off and whips Flesher to the ropes while Bloodshed climbs to the top turnbuckle. Blank catches Taamo on the rebound and jacks him up as Blood dives off the top, finally contacting the back of Tom's head with a missile dropkick! The momentum assists Blank's flapjack, and Flesher falls to the mat limply. Peter North sighs, looking concerned as he hangs his head. Matheson, meanwhile, shrieks strategy at Matthews, telling him to be ready to break up a fall if necessary and banging his briefcase against the apron. Instead, though, Blank rolls out of the ring but makes sure to drag Flesher a shade closer to the Dead Precedents' corner after he hits the concrete.


"The Dead Precedents are cutting off the ring beautifully," King says circumscribely, "whether you agree with the tactics or not. They've come a long way from the lone-wolf tweener and the antisocial creep they were when they first tagged up."


"Yeah, really changed a lot," Francis snips.


Bloodshed grabs Flesher once again, this time certain he'll be able to execute a move. Sure enough, he dives in and grabs Flesher around the waist before bridging back with a picture-perfect Northern Lights suplex! Flesher hits the mat with a thud, loudly losing his air as Shed holds the bridge for a cover! May counts.











NO! Charlie Matthews enters the ring and dives in with an elbow into Bloodshed's exposed belly, breaking up the fall! Gaston May stands up, furious that Matthews once again interrupted the match and is rooting for the host team to boot. (Damn it, that's just poor form.) Blank enters the ring from behind, much to Peter North's chagrin, and lifts Flesher up over one shoulder. Always aware, Bloodshed claps his hands together as he rolls out of the ring, leading May to believe a legal tag had been made. Bruce, meanwhile, is already a few steps into his sprint, and by the time the official turns around, he's driven Flesher into the mat with a powerslam! May makes yet another count.















As May starts to call for the bell, he's distracted by James Matheson's shrill voice screaming "HIS FOOT'S ON! HIS FOOT'S ON!!!!!" Sure enough, as Matheson looks down, he realizes that Flesher's foot is draped across the bottom rope and waves off the fall. Blank stands up, pumping his fists energetically, not quite aware that his fall has been disallowed. Taamo, meanwhile, starts slowly crawling toward his corner.


"Come on, Flesh," says Francis. "Just a little bit longer."


Peter North shouts to Flesher, encouraging him to stretch out a little, just try to get a few more inches. Flesher continues his slow crawl as Bruce Blank finally comes to the realization that the match isn't over quite yet. Charlie Matthews holds the tag rope and leans over as far as he can, trying to make the tag. Flesher reaches out, a mere six inches away... only to have the back of his singlet grabbed by the the enormous White Trash Warrior. Blank drags Flesher back to the center of the ring and dumps him unceremoniously in the Precedents' corner, much to the consternation of the booing crowd.






"This crowd is really supportive of the Flesher/Grappler team," King notes. "You know, normally, you can always tell which guy the Japanese fans will like - you can see it in the wrestlers' eyes. Specifically, whether the eyes are round or slanted."


"They can certainly see it in North's eye," Mak quips.


"You don't want to look at that too long. It can get quite uncomfortable."


Blank looks over his shoulder, sneering at the fuming Grappler. He grabs Flesher and lifts him to the top rope despite the fact that as far as dead weight goes, Flesher's about on par with Jenna Jameson's rack. He seats Tom on the turnbuckle and climbs up to the second rope before reaching down and tagging Bloodshed in. Clark sprints to the nearest corner and climbs to the top rope, waiting patiently for Blank to complete his superplex so he can finish off the Perplexed! Blank lifts Flesher up, but can't get him over the top because Tom has his legs wrapped under the top rope. Frustrated, Blank tries to lift him again, but Flesher keeps his grip. Bruce releases the front facelock in disgust, only to eat a quick palm strike to the jaw that stuns him just long enough for Flesher to thrust a thumb into his eye. Inexplicably, the Japanese crowd explodes with delight!




"The fans are happy to see Blank get a taste of his own Viagra!" shouts King. "Am I right, Peter? Am I right?"


Once again, North remains flaccid in his seat, not even pointing his head to acknowledge King. Gaston May, oblivious to the thumb to the eye due to Blank's girth hiding the blow, simply watches Blank stagger off the top rope and back onto the canvas before ordering him to return to his corner. Flesher steps off the ropes and starts walking forward, unsteady but sure of his goal, and makes a beeline for his corner. Desperate to avoid the tag, Bloodshed leaps off the top rope but calls an audible - instead of the splash that follows up the superplex, he extends his arms and comes down on Flesher's neck and shoulders with a double axehandle.


... that's just enough to propel Flesher into Grappler's outstretched hand!




Flesher slumps into his corner, watching Matthews sprint at Bloodshed with his arm extended and nearly take his head off! Shed, the legal man, flips backwards and lands on his stomach with a smack as Grappler cleans house! Bruce Blank turns toward Matthews, only to be grabbed by the neck and shoved into a corner! As the fans scream their approval, the fire in Matthews' eyes shows through. He hauls back and whacks Blank with an open-handed slap, snapping his head to the side! He slaps Blank again, watching his head bob before swinging his hand back and forth to paintbrush the White Trash King! The fans cheer the slapfest, and as Blank grabs his face, Grappler turns away looking as satisfied as... well, you can figure it out.


"Grappler, finally getting some revenge on Blank for the way he treated his partner," says King. "Especially after Bruce mocked him with that bearhug earlier on."


As Flesher pulls himself to his feet outside the ring, Grappler continues hammering Blank with a series of punches, thrusting over and over and over again! Finally, with a scowl on his face, Matthews gives Blank what-for by pasting him flush in the face! Surprised by the rude awakening, Blank staggers backwards, trying to clear his vision, but Matthews charges at him and hits him with a big boot that takes him to the mat! The fans cheer the gaijin monster as he makes his larger-than-life presence known by pausing to flex for the crowd.


"Blank's not even the legal man!" says King. "If Charlie Matthews wants to win this one, he's going to have to go get Bloodshed!"


Sure enough, Matthews slaps on his trademark bear hug. With Blank still shaken from the surprise assault, Grappler is able to get a tight lock around his floating ribs and keep him about six inches off the mat. As he holds Blank in such a compromising position, Charlie swings around, ramming him straight into Bloodshed. Gaston May obligingly claps his hands together and orders Bloodshed out of the ring.


"Is that a tag these days?" chuckles King.


"I guess so," says Francis cheerfully. "You gotta love when the big guys get going."


Matthews keeps the bear hug tight, murmuring something to Blank about his lack of support for the Italian World Cup team. The crowd, as always, displays its fondness for the Grappler not unlike a British crowd cheering for Germany.






After holding on to Blank for a few moments, Matthews sprints back to his own corner, where Tom Flesher is regaining his composure. He drives Blank into the buckles with a concussive force that echoes through the Budokan, and takes a few steps back. The crowd cheers, and Matthews drives his shoulder into Blank's gut.


"That's for Germany!"




"That's for Portugal!"






Blank staggers out of the corner, but a quick kick to the gut and clubbing blow to the back take him back to the mat.


"Bruce Blank sure is paying for his soccer leanings," King volleys. "He seems to have enraged not only Matthews but the official, too."


As Matthews plays to the crowd, he reaches over, and Flesher tags himself in. With a smirk, he stands three feet behind Blank and takes a few extra seconds to measure him up. Then, he sprints forward and unleashes a sickeningly hard kick to Blank's spine!




The crowd goes absolutely nuts as Francis says, "Flesher's hitting some fantastic penalty kicks tonight!" Sure enough, Flesher backs away before charging again and nailing Blank in the lower lumbar region with his boot.




Finally, he backs away once more. This time, he tags Grappler back in before hammering home one more penalty kick that shakes the ultraviolent giant's resolve.




"And Flesh wins the shootout," Francis says, as Matthews steps back into the ring. "Blank's always posturing about cruiserweights, but that's the way to go after him - wait for Blank to go down and capitalize."


"And boy, is Blank going down!" King starts to look over to Peter North, but sighs sullenly and doesn't even put in the effort.


Grappler grabs Blank by his filthy jumpsuit and lifts him up, looking for another bear hug. As he locks his arms, Blank lets loose with a double ear box, and Grappler releases the hold to grab his ringing ears! Blank grins and taps his temple, showing how bright he is, before whipping Grappler back to the Precedents' corner. "And just like that, Charlie Matthews' fortunes change," King says. "A simple earringer takes Grappler down just a peg as he struggles to regain control of the match."


Blank sprints in, driving all 295 pounds into Grappler's frame with an avalanche! Matthews grimaces, even as Flesher shouts, "STAY STRONG, CHARLIE!"




As the crowd inexplicably continues popping any time Flesher opens his mouth, Blank reaches over and tags Bloodshed in. Blood climbs to the top rope, and Blank crouches down to grab Matthews by the hips. "Uh oh," says Francis, cringing. "We know were this is going - Grappler's got a brittle neck, and the BB Gun is the first attack the Dead Precedents are letting loose on him. And let me tell you from experience, if you neck goes out on you, it's not pretty." Sure enough, Blank stands up, hoisting the giant Matthews into the air, and Alan Clark dives off the top rope at Grappler's head! Like one of Peter North's more illustrious partners, Clark grabs Matthews by the head and pulls as hard as he can, adding impact as Blank drops Matthews throat-first across the top rope in their trademark stun gun variation. Immediately, the crowd is hushed, and Tom Flesher looks on with concern as Grappler crumbles to the mat holding his neck.


"COME ON, GRAPPLER!" Flesher screams at the top of his lungs. "FIGHT THROUGH IT!"


Dutifully, the crowd busts into a chant of "GRAPPURUH!!!!!! GRAPPURUH!!!!!!" Flesher stomps the mat in rhythm, encouraging the whole Budokan to chant along. Nevertheless, Bruce Blank grabs Matthews by the arms and drags him to the center of the ring. "He's not going to lose another fall to a foot on the ropes," notes King grimly, as Blank makes the cover.


"NO!" screams Flesher.


"NOHUH!" screams the Tokyo crowd.




As Flesher screams from the mat, Gaston May looks over and stares at Flesher, confused and trying to work out the scenario in his head. Meanwhile, James Matheson reaches into the ring and grabs Blank by the ankle. Flesher sees it and starts reconstructing the scenario for May, shouting, "He tagged Bloodshed! Right before the BB Gun! BLOODSHED'S LEGAL!"


With barely enough time to make the save, Matheson pulls Blank out of the ring! The crowd bursts into cheers as Flesher points to Grappler, now alone in the center of the ring. May turns around, oblivious to the fact that Bruce Blank now has Matheson by the tie, the giant lunatic ready to murder the diminutive manager! Matheson holds up his hands, begging for mercy. Luckily for Matheson, he doesn't have to sacrifice his safety for his charges - Tom Flesher grabs the ubiquitous steel briefcase from Matheson and leaps off the apron, clocking Blank with it! The Trailer Park Messiah crumbles to the concrete floor, releasing Matheson. Flesher smirks and hands his manager the dented briefcase.


"I believe this is yours."


Matheson beams, knowing he's gotten away with something. "I just hope my World Cup brackets didn't get damaged. It's the biggest pool I've ever run."


"Tom Flesher has saved this match!" says King.


"I dunno, King," Francis volleys back. "It looks like Matheson did his part, too."


"Well, it's not over yet," says King. Sure enough, Bloodshed is grinning at Grappler, the giant clearly in pain. Flesher glares at the Apostle, who merely grabs Grappler by the head and pulls him into a front facelock. He starts to turn around, pulling Matthews into a standing neckbreaker before sitting out. He pulls Matthews down with a Rude Awakening, then rolls over for the cover.


"This isn't good," Francis says quietly. "This isn't good at all."


Gaston May drops down to the mat to make the count. With Bruce Blank only barely beginning to stir on the outside, Flesher leans into the ring, ready to make the save, but May watches him closely as he counts.




















The crowd pops like a cherry on prom night as Charlie Matthews powers a shoulder off the mat! He sits up, rubbing his neck but fighting through the pain as Bloodshed sprints to the ropes. "Trying a different plan of attack," says King, as Shed charges at Matthews... who grabs him and turns him over, pasting him into the canvas with a powerslam! Flesher shouts his approval, screaming, "NICE WORK, GRAPPLER!"




Matthews grimaces and pauses to rub his neck, but realizes he needs to fight through the pain. "LOOK at that resilience," says Mak Francis. "Chuck's working through that neck injury, and Flesher knows he owes him!" Grappler grabs Bloodshed by the head and puts him into a standing headscissors, prompting a cheer from the crowd. Without a second thought, Matthews hoists Clark into the air and then slams him back to the mat with a released powerbomb! Clark squirms on the mat, and Charlie throws a boot onto his chest for the cover. Flesher, though, shouts, "Not yet."


The crowd goes silent for a moment, as Flesher stands in the corner. Then, with a smirk on his face, he makes the pulling motion that the SWF has become so accustomed to seeing.


The crowd, simply put, explodes!


"He's climbing to the top rope!" screams the Suicide King, as Flesher does so and Grappler puts on another standing head scissors. "We've seen them do this to Akira Kaibatsu! We've seen them do this to Amy Stephens, and she was never the same! There's just no way Bloodshed can survive this!"


Grappler holds Bloodshed upside down and takes a step toward the corner. Flesher grabs Blood's boots and, on cue, leaps off the turnbuckle, driving Rando down as Matthews sits down into a vicious spike piledriver! Alan Clark's head hits the mat, but Clark literally bounces off the canvas and crumbles back down! Flesher rolls out of the ring. He keeps an eye on Bruce Blank, still groggy but starting to come to. Blank pulls himself up to the apron, unable to do anything but look on as Grappler covers his impotent partner!






Flesher looks on!


James Matheson looks on!






Peter North rises to watch the festivities!













Matthews shakes off the pain, and Flesher steps into the ring. As James Matheson slides in to join him, briefcase in hand, Gaston May raises Matthews' arm and points to him.


"The winners of the match," says Funyon, "are the team of TOM FLESHER..."








The "GRAPPURUH!" chant continues as the opening riff of Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" rings out through the Budokan. Matthews is still in obvious pain and rubs his neck in a manner not unlike Peter North is known to. North, for his part, stands on the ramp and applauds, pointing at the Grappler. "Great match!" he ejaculates. "Good hustle!" Flesher, meanwhile, holds the dented briefcase aloft as Bruce Blank shakes his head in disgust... and a possible concussion.


"Charlie Matthews and Tom Flesher take the win," cheers King, "thanks in no small part to James Matheson!"


"And speaking of no small part, Peter North definitely made his presence felt early on," says Francis, "but the magnificent twosome definitely finished strong, perhaps in an homage to North himself."


Flesher looks down at Bloodshed, who still isn't conscious, but he simply scans past him. Instead, he looks to the shaken, pained Bruce Blank, only now returning to his feet after being clobbered on the head with James Matheson's briefcase.


His trademark smirk spreads across his face, and he simply nods at the White Trash Warrior as he says...


"One down."

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As “The Final Countdown” by Europe plays through the arena, SWF Thirteenth Hour pay-per-view extravaganza continues rolling on. The lights in the arena dim as the 1980’s old-school blue steel cage lowers down to the ring. The fans know what time it is and get off their feet to cheer the upcoming Hardcore Gamers Title match.


“Fans, it is time for the Steel Cage match!” King promotes.


“Time for Spike Jenkins to finally get what is coming to him by Sean Davis!”


“Mak, you still aren’t upset at Spike, right?” The Suicide King sarcastically asks, which Mak responds with a stare, “It was a couple of months ago! Get over it!”


“One day, I will walk again and smack both you AND Spike.”


“..And one day, pigs will fly and Creative Control will actually book a smart gimmick match.”


“No, seriously, I’ll walk again.”


“Of course you will, Tiny Tim.”


The camera cuts to Funyon standing inside the steel cage, microphone in hand.


“The following contest is a Steel Cage match that can only end with a pinfall or submission.. and is for the SWF HARDCORE GAMERS CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Introducing first, the challenger..”


The arena lights flash ominously as low rumbles of thunder can be heard, along with a warning siren. 'Battle Ready' by Otep hits the speakers as flashes of white pyro streak from the ceiling, hitting the stage and causing gold and red pyro blasts to erupt up, imitating a lightning strike, and a loud clap of thunder echoes through the arena. The crashing guitars of ‘Battle Ready’ come in as the Smarktron shows half-second clips of Sean Davis' matches as he steps out from behind the curtain and makes his way down the ramp.




“Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida.. he weighs in at two hundred and eighty-five pounds.. ‘THE PERFECT STOOORMMMMMM’.. SEANNNNNNNNNNNN DAAAAAAAAAAAVISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!”


simple souls overload as I explode data banks


cuz the earth & space gave birth to this paleface


supreme -- linguistic -- mental machine


The crowd goes crazy as The Perfect Storm makes his way up to the steel cage, cautiously eyeing it, yet eerily grinning at it. The referee opens the door, allowing Davis to climb up onto the ring apron and step over the ropes into the ring. He walks around the ring, grabbing a piece of the steel cage and shaking it to test out its durability.




Every light in the arena goes to full power as the Smarktron whites out. For a moment the only sound is that of a needle scratching over vinyl..



And then *BAM*


The heavy drumming of Norma Jean’s “Creating Something Out of Nothing, Only to Destroy It” blasts through the arena as the lyrics pierce the ears of everyone listening.


Like bringing a knife to a gun fight..


Like Bringing A Knife To A Gun Fight..





Bright white lights begin flashing at the entranceway. As the growls hit the crowd, Spike walks out wearing a black hoodie on, the hood covering most of his face. Spike drops down to one knee, leaving one arm to hang to the ground, while the other is firmly placed on his knee. After a few moments, Spike raises both arms into an “X”, symbolizing his Straight Edge life style. Spike rises to his feet and begins to make his way down the isle towards the ring. The HGC belt is strapped around his waist.


“Weighing in at two hundred and twenty pounds.. he hails from Hollywood, California and is the current reigning and defending SWF Hardcore Gamers Champion.. He is ‘HOLLLLLLLLYWOOOOOOOD’ SPIIIIIIIIIIIKE JEEEEEEEEEEEENKINNNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!”


Spike looks up at the steel cage in front of him, carefully walking around the ringside area. After smirking at the metal destined to confine him, Jenkins peers through the bars, focusing on his adversary, Sean Davis. The big man waits impatiently in the ring, beckoning Jenkins into the ring. Spike points a finger and says a few choice words.. that only serves to enrage Sean. His anger is clearly visible.




Jenkins glances at the referee, who is urging him to get into the ring. Spike holds up a finger and walks around to the announce table. He grabs a folding chair and carries it with him as he heads to the door.


“Spike taking an equalizer into the cage.. a very wise move, but somehow I doubt it’s going to be very effective,” comments King.


“The fact that he needs one.. why is he Hardcore Champion again?”


The champ unclenches the belt from his waist and hands it over to the referee and he slides into the cage. Only a few feet separate the cage from the ring, leaving both competitors with a cramped feeling. Spike rests the chair against the cage after reassuring himself that Sean wasn’t going to outright attack him. As Jenkins rolls into the ring, he finds his assumption was wrong as Davis attacks with a volley of stomps. The referee hurries to close the door on the cage before he calls for the bell.




Jenkins rolls back out of the cage, backing up against the steel bars and shouting up at Davis. Sean reaches over the ropes, grabbing at Spike’s head. He ducks and darts in, grabbing Sean’s ankle and pulling.. successfully upsetting the big man’s balance. Davis drops to his behind while Spike enters the ring. Both men get to their feet within milliseconds of each other.. then begin to circle. Sean doesn’t wait long before lunging at Spike, and grasping air. Jenkins anticipates the move and ducks, kicking Sean’s shin. The big man drops to a knee, but quickly recovers and swings a huge arm at Spike. Again, the smaller man dodges and lands a stinging blow to Sean’s leg. Davis goes down again, but stands and takes a few steps back, and both men square off in the middle of the ring.


“Spike doing the right thing by avoiding Sean Davis at all costs.”


Sean raises his arms to attack, and Spike lashes out quickly with a kick to the gut! Sean doubles over and Spikes wraps his arm around Sean’s neck, bringing his forehead to the mat!


“DDT from Spike.. kinda early for that.”


Mak comments, “Definitely. Sean will be able to shake that off easy.”


Sure enough, Davis rolls with the blow, only pausing a moment to still his brain as he stands. His effort is cut short, however, as Spike attacks with a quick shining wizard. Sean falls back to the mat, holding his head as he is battered with stomps and kicks. Spike breaks away from his opponent for just a moment, ascending the turnbuckle in a few steps. Jenkins turns and leaps at Davis, stomping him with both feet!


“Spike Jenkins knocks the wind from Sean Davis with that double stomp from the top rope!” announces Suicide King!


Jenkins drops to the mat and rolls under the bottom rope. He grabs the chair he left at ringside and slides it into the ring, following right after it. Sean still clutches his gut, but is on his knees.




The crowd boos as Jenkins attacks Sean with the chair, beating him viciously with the metal object. Once the chair has bent over Sean’s back, Jenkins tosses it aside and once again exits the ring. Spike fumbles with the latch to the door of the cage and opens it up.


“Sean Davis is up.. he was playing ‘possum! And Spike doesn’t even know it!”


Spike moves toward the announce table in search of another weapon he can use to further demolish his opponent. A whistle draws his attention and he turns to the ring. A surprised Spike Jenkins gets yanked to the cage as Sean grabs him from through the bars!


“You’re gonna pay,” growls Davis.


The big man hugs Spike against the bars, squeezing his torso tight. Jenkins holds the bars, squirming, attempting to free himself. Like a constrictor, Sean waits for Spike to exhale before tightening his grip. Davis pulls his arms closer together, compressing Jenkins’ lungs even further. Spike gasps for breath..






Spike’s cry of pain comes out loud and clear as his attempts to free himself become more crazed and frenzied. He sticks an arm through the bars, punching at Sean’s head. Jenkins screams curses with the last of his breath.. and he blacks out..


An angered Sean Davis holds Jenkins still, pinned against the bars, ribs on the verge of snapping. The referee scurries to the outside, where he grabs Spike’s arm and lifts it once.. it drops. Lifts it again.. it drops.. and anti-climatically.. the ref lifts Spike’s arm a third time, only to let it drop. He calls for the bell.




“And Sean Davis tricks Jenkins right out of the Hardcore Gamers Title!” yells Mak!


King remarks, “I don’t think Sean was after the title.. his prize is still limp in his arms! Someone get him to drop Jenkins!”


The referee tries to coax Sean into releasing Jenkins as ‘Battle Ready’ by Otep kicks up on the speakers.




“That makes him a three time champion?”


“Hardcore champion.. winning the belt from the man he once held the tag team belts with.. “


Finally, the referee convinces Sean to let go of Spike, who then crumples to the floor. The referee hands over Sean’s belt.. but he barely acknowledges it. Davis stares at Spike on the floor, the big man clearly still pissed as Hell at the man unconscious outside the ring.

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Mike Cross comes into view now, making his on-screen return for the first time in over 2 months, since taking leave with the federation. The camera pans to the left to see a bloodied and battered Akira Kaibatsu, in full gear, crawling at the feet of ‘Iron’ Mike Cross as Mr. Kobe turns his attention to the locker-room doorway, catching a glimpse of the battered fighter.


“What…what happened?!” Kobe, jumping to Akira’s immediate attention lifts him and sets him into a sitting position, blood drizzling from a cut, thick and boldly torn open, atop the Japanese man’s head. “Look…look at these bruises,” the heavily accented Japanese flows from Kobe’s lips as officials and doctors rush to the scene, followed by ‘Iron’ Mike, who left momentarily to get the group of men filing into the room to attend to the fallen Akira, who seems stunned. Akira’s mask lays folded on the floor, damp with fresh blood, having been tossed aside almost instantly by the worried manager.


The crowd clears as the voice of SWF Management head, Joseph Peters, immediately demanding that he be given some answers and some space. “What the hell happened here, what is this?” A slight silence proceeds.


“…I don’t know.” The first words uttered from the mouth of the Divine Wind, face now covered by a towel as doctors immediately begin cleaning the cut and stitching it, one pierce of the needle at a time as the dark thread weaves its way and folds the seemingly tight skin atop the man’s head together with ease as, for the first time, we now see Kaibatsu unmasked. “One minute I’m there, warming up for my match tonight, the next thing I know I’m sitting here, bewildered and confused.” Suddenly, doctors tear the towel away from the face of young Akira, revealing his true identity, flashing a beam of light into his pupils and telling him to follow their fingers as they move them across his field of vision like a ship across the ocean line.


“Any word on his injuries?” Peters waits on the sidelines, anxious to be assured that his match will still go on as planned later in the evening. “Anything…at all?” Hands on his hips, Peters stands over the kneeling doctor, who pauses what he’s doing and turns his head rigidly, looking Peters in the eye.


“I’m going to be honest with you,” the sounds in the arena are of a sigh, as they know what’s coming next, “It’s my medical opinion that any injuries possibly sustained tonight in that match could only worsen the condition he’s in. He’s not reacting properly, and I think this man has a concussion.” Peters shakes his head and lets out a disappointing sigh, slapping his hand against his thigh and then immediately running his hand through his hair. “But if you want to send out a worker in this condition, it’s on your head if he suffers anything career ending.”


“No…no,” Peters comforting but discouraging voice cuts in as he turns away to walk through the door way with very clear disappointment in his step.




Peters turns around to see Akira brushing the doctors away, getting a brief smile out of the stressed businessman, only to be let down again, as he falls to his knees. “Mike…” Akira looks up, apparently in a moment of need. “Fill in for me tonight.” With those brief words, medical attention with a stretcher arrives, as the doctors drag a blood-stained Akira Kaibatsu to his feet, seating him on the stretcher, the room clearing as he leaves, photographers and media relations rushing to the scene.


Peters turns around to face Kobe and Cross, both of how look stunned at what’s just happened.


“I know you weren’t looking to get in the ring tonight, Mike,” Peters turns, and then pauses, “But I need you to gear up. Can you handle it?” Cross nods, and Peters nods back, opening the door ajar sending a frenzy of flashing cameras and sounds of questions inward until he exits, the door closing with a metallic thud. The screen fades with Mike and Kobe at odds, wondering what’s next.

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Mak Francis; OK Here we go folks, coming up next we have an inter-promotional match, as former SWF World, Tag and Hardcore champion, The Maori Badass Va’aiga’s goes up against former International, Cruiserweight and current Tag champion JJ Johnson!


Suicide King: When Va’aiga walked back into this federation and threw out an open challenge, I wondered “Who’d be stupid enough to challenge an entire federation.” Then I realized it was Va’aiga and quit questioning myself. That guy could go for a quiet walk in a graveyard and come out fighting off zombies, I tell ya.


Mak: Well JJ Johnson answered the challenge, and after some words were exchanged here we all. King’s Road rules, in the Budokan. Let’s throw you over to Funyon for the introductions…


Funyon: Ladies and gentlemen… JAY! JAY! JOOOOOHNSOOOOOOOON!


“I do that rather well, don’t you think…”


The red and white strobes, the pounding bass and drums, the screaming voice of Lord Worm – it’s Cryptopsy’s “Crown of Thorns” playing and that means only one thing. The entrance of JJ Johnson. His MMA style shorts billowing in the air rushing through the entrance gate, Johnson walks out, his head bowed. But Johnson is not alone – hands on his shoulders, head also bowed is the former World Champion Michael Stephens! Accompanying the pair of them are a posse of local dojo graduates, and the party heads slowly to the ring forming a Gracie Train.


Mak: A traditional Mixed Martial Arts style entrance for JJ Johnson here.


King: JJ Johnson is particularly proud of his Martial Arts background. I think he’s going to need all of it to cope with the Maori, however.


The train breaks up at ringside, as the dojo boys position themselves around the ring, offering water bottles to Stephens and Johnson. The four crown superstar rolls into the ring as his party waits on the outside and tests the ropes, throwing a few kicks into the air before yielding to referee Mark Soapdish’s usual pre match checks. Johnson unzips his ring jacket and returns to his corner as Stephens hops up onto the apron to offer a few last second words of encouragement.




The arena drops into near darkness, all eyes focused on the entrance ramp awaiting the entrance of The Maori Badass. The subtle tones of Teamura Morrison, the Maori acting icon and the face of Jango Fett fill the arena…


Morrison: For hundreds of years, island nations have fought wars, built societies and forged civilizations which have stood the test of time. Tonight, on the island of Hokkaido, accompanied by a wrestling superstar from the island of New Providence, a man from the North Island of Aotearoa, known amongst the Pakeha who live there as New Zealand will strive to reach his destiny…


The rising chords of “Raise Up” by King Kapisi can barely drown out the excited buzz of the fans as the entrance area fills with smoke. Two silhouetted figures stand amongst the smoke, one a lean, agile cruiserweight, the other the hulking figure of the former World Champ. The bass hits, along with the Pyro...







And with fourth and biggest pyro hit, Va’aiga throws back the hood of his entrance robe and he and Wildchild begin their walk down to the ring. Va’aiga raises his fists to the crowd as he steps into the ring, lapping up the chants of is name while the Wildchild waits on the ring apron, nodding an exchange with Stephens taking the same position in Johnson’s corner. Funyon waits for the noise to die down before the official introductions can begin.


Funyon: The following match is to be contested under House Rules for the Nippon Budokan, and is signed for by Joesph Peters and Chris Raynor of the SWF, and by Kurtis Osterlund and Jed Schaffer of the PAW. Your referee for this contest is Mark Soapdish.


Soapdish bows as the crowd politely applauds in that oh so Japanese way.


Funyon: Introducing first, from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, weighing in tonight at two hundred and thirty-three pounds, he is the former SWF International, Tag, Hardcore and Cruiserweight Champion. This is JAY! JAY! JOOOOOOOHNSOOOOON!


A blaze of red and white streamers cover Johnson’s half of the ring, but Johnson does little more than crack his neck, rub his hands together and crack his knuckles as the crowd roars with approval. The dojo boys rush around clearing away the streamers.


Funyon: And his opponent, fighting out of Sunnyvale, California but hailing from Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand, weighing in tonight at three hundred and twenty eight pounds, he is known worldwide as “The Maori Badass”, amongst his many titles he is a former SWF World, Tag and Hardcore champion, he is the reigning PAW HEEEEEEEEAVYWEIGHT CHAAAAMPION OF THE WOOOORLD… VAAAAAAAAAA’AAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIGAAAAAAAAA


This time the streamers come thick and fast in black, silver and red. As his name is called, the Maori throws his ring robe aside and poses, one arm holding his PAW title aloft, the other throwing the pacific horns for the crowd. As the streamers again are cleared, Va’aiga looks across at Johnson and as the seconds hop off the ring apron, the Maori Badass and the Canadian Technician lock glares.


Mak: Impressive entrances for both of these men.


King: Well I think you can see a lot in their different attitudes. I mean Jj Johnson the more laid back, more restrained entrance. He’s all business Mak, whereas the Maori always has to make a show of everything.


The arena is abuzz with the background chatter of the fans, as Va’aiga and Johnson stare at each other across the ring. Neither man is willing to budge an inch, the pair’s gazes locked tight, focused animosity filling the ring. Then suddenly, breaking the tension across the arena, the Maori’s voice fills the arena as he screams a modern take on an ancient tradition…













Va’aiga sticks his tongue out and kneels down, mining throwing something at Johnson’s feet as he finishes his Haka, all the while staring a hole right through his opponent standing in the ring. JJ Johnson, with a slight smirk, kneels down himself and picks up a piece of streamer from the canvas. Johnson stands back up again and throws it into Va’aiga’s chest, ritually accepting the Maori’s challenge. Referee Mark Soapdish finally calls for the opening bell and…


Mak: Va’aiga and J3! People, IT’S ON!


King: I hate to be a cheerleader Mak, but this is going to be good.


Circling each other slowly, both Johnson and Va’aiga look or an early opening but given the years of experience, patience seems to be a virtue at this early stage of the match as neither wants to leave his opponent with ANY chance of an advantage. Va’aiga raises his arms and offers a knuckle lock to J3, but Johnson takes a half step backwards and throws the Maori a mildly quizzical look.


Mak: Johnson obviously doesn’t want a lock up at this stage.


King: Well he’s a smart wrestler Mak, why would he want to go into a power contest with a guy who has such a huge weight advantage over him?


Johnson raises his hands slightly, swapping his wrestling stance for a more strike heavy shootfighting pose, and the Maori Badass does the same, his boxing training helping him guard against a more strike heavy opponent. Va’aiga’s defenses are put immediately under question as Johnson fires off a stiff loocking right roundhouse kick, but other than knocking sweat off Va’aiga’s tattooed forearm, the kick has little effect. Johnson grunts and cracks his neck, obviously disappointed that his kick didn’t find its target.


Mak: Who does this match favour if it turns into a contest of striking King?


King: Well I’m not sure, you have Va’aiga on one hand who can suck up punishment faster than you can triple thick shakes, and you have one of, if not THE top shooter in the SWF facing him. This is a pick ‘em, it really is.


Shaping his body differently this time, Johnson fires off a lower kick, this time to the right thigh of his Maori opponent. Va’aiga grunts a little and drops his guard, perhaps looking to shoot in with a trademark rugby tackle but seeing this as a rare opening, JJ Johnson starts the elbow count for this match at one with a solid strike into Va’aiga’s jaw.


King: Va’aiga isn’t going to like THAT…


And King shows again why he’s the highest paid colour commentator in the business as Va’aiga’s responds to the elbow smash, not with a move of his own but a deep primeval roar! Even the implacable Johnson shudders a fraction of an inch, as the whole front three rows of the crowd gasps. Johnson backs off a half step to reconsider tactics as Va’aiga stands there, right in the centre of the ring like a piece of Maori shaped granite.


Mak: Well King, what would you do in this situation?


King: I’d cheat.


Mak: You know I’m not entirely sure why I asked that question.


Considering his options for a second, JJ Johnson decides that sustained attack is the only way of moving the Maori Monster and he unleashes another roundhouse kick, this time into the ribs of the PAW champion. Hopping back onto his balance leg, Johnson clears room for an extravagant swing at the Maori, almost connecting with a crescent kick which whooshes past Va’aiga’s face. Buying that his opponent has just botched a move, the Maori takes a pace forward, but Johnson’s plan comes to light as he uses the momentum of the missed kick to swing his body round and hit an early…




Time freezes for a second as the impact of the blow registers with the crowd. Johnson recoils as his signature strike crashes into the jaw of the Maori. The move that has won Mitsahuru Misawa so many victories in this very building. The move that Danny Williams used to smash Va’aiga’s cheekbone. The move that… VA’AIGA STANDS THERE AND TAKES IT LIKE A MAN!


King: TOO EARLY! TOO EARLY! NEVER go for your big moves this early into a match.


The look on JJ Johnson’s face as Va’aiga stands there glaring could melt the polar icecaps faster than any US economic policy and the Canadian Machine breaks out into a flurry of vicious knife edge chops. Blow after blow lashes into the barrel like chest of the Maori Badass, each accompanied by a mixture of amazed gasps and reflexive whoos from the attentive capacity crowd. The Maori’s facial expression doesn’t change, but maybe his eyes give away a hint of pain for the first time in the match as these whip like blows strike away into his upper body. After hitting an eighth or ninth chop, Johnson lifts his arm to the sky, winds it back a little further and fires one final chop to finish the sequence, the sort that would rip the skin clean off a lesser man, but again the Maori stands there and takes it.


As large red welts begin to slowly form across his chest, the Maori Badass finally decides that NOW is the time to take action. Va’aiga decides to respond to Johnson’s flurry with one of his own and begins firing off powerful forearm strikes into the chest of his opponent, powering the taped part of his arm right towards the heart of his Canadian opponent. Blow after blow smashes into the Canadian, and for an encore Va’aiga rears his mighty skull back and NAILS Johnson on the forehead with a vicious downwards headbutt! Va’aiga prepares another roar, expecting his opponent to be rocked with the force of his blows but Johnson just stands there, cold and implacable as ever!!!


Mak: The resilience of JJ Johnson amazes me sometimes. I’ve seen many a bigger man fall under the crushing headbutts of the Maori.


King: Well it’s 50% physical and 50% mental with JJ Johnson. The man has a deep resolve.


Sensing that he’s caught the Maori off guard, Johnson grabs Va’aiga and muscles the off balance Maori backwards. Intending to keep Va’aiga away from a solid base Johnson again begins with the chops, firing another series of sharp blows into Va’aiga’s already reddened chest. The Maori has to take steps backwards to prevent himself from overbalancing, and Johnson’s flowing strikes leave Va’aiga trapped in a neutral corner. The Maori holds his arms up, and Mark Soapdish asks for a clean break, which Johnson obliges in giving his opponent.


Mak: It’s nice to see that in such an intense contest, some of the rules of wrestling are still being followed.




After resetting in the centre of the ring, Va’aiga decides that this time it’s time for the Maori to strike first and he balls up his ham hock like fists and begins firing in punches to the face of his opponent. First a left, then a right, then another left sends Johnson backwards and this time it’s the Canadian who finds himself backed into a corner. Johnson raises HIS arms and again Mark Soapdish asks for a break. Va’aiga obliges and the two men return to the centre of the ring again.


Mak: Va’aiga showing a level of sportsmanship here. He’s become more of a professional since last time we saw him in an SWF ring.


King: It’s a different side to the Maori, I’ll admit.


Johnson uses his speed advantage against the Maori to strike first this time, flowing together a combination of his trademark martial arts kicks to back the Maori up again, a left roundhouse, a right roundhouse, left again, right again, and as the Maori reaches the corner and Soapdish asks for the break, THIS time Johnson isn’t feeling so charitable and fires off a front kick into Va’aiga’s chest! Taking umbrage at this flagrant use of a move against him, Va’aiga does the old quick corner switch and drives his shoulder into Johnson’s chest three times rapidly in succession. Unmoved by this Johnson grabs Va’aiga by the shoulders and does his OWN corner switch, returning to his old favourite – the knife edge chop. Placing his body close to the Maori’s, Jonson fires off a series of rapid short range chops, designed to punish the ribs of the Maori. Shot after shot rains down, with Johnson taking a pause after each set of five or six quick strikes, only to begin hammering the blows down again. After what must seem like an age for the victim Johnson comes to a halt, only to rear back and fire a MASSIVE elbow strike into Va’aiga’s chest area! Johnson walks out of the corner showing as little emotion as ever.


King: Ouch. Just ouch.


Mak: Those repeated blows to the chest of Va’aiga have to STING, King.


King: It’s a test of Va’aiga’s manliness, what the locals call fighting spirit and what Va’aiga probably calls something else Maori and difficult to translate.


Johnson beckons Va’aiga back into the centre of the ring and the Maori obliges. Johnson this time offers a lock up to the Maori. Va’aiga accepts, but in his slightly weakened state J3 has the opportunity to power Va’aiga down to his knees. Johnson releases the knuckle locks, backs off a half step and SMASHES a roundhouse kick into the side of Va’aiga’s thick Pacific skull. Va’aiga SCREAMS back at him, an unintelligible Maori curse but Johnson is unmoved and powers in a second kick! Va’aiga begins to slowly stand, and Johnson kicks AGAIN, this time hitting Va’aiga’s ribs. Grabbing for Va’aiga’s waist, Johnson floats round behind the Maori, grabbing a SOLID back waistlock and Va’aiga shuffles forwards and grabs the ropes to prevent himself from being suplexed.


Mak: Well Johnson obviously feels capable of suplexing his much bigger opponent.


King: And Va’aiga doesn’t want that to happen to him. When that huge frame crashes into the mat, it’s always just going to be pain, pain and more pain.


Stalking Johnson as the pair face off again, Va’aiga lunges in and grabs a collar and elbow tie up. Pushing off hard against the canvas, Va’aiga has the power to move Johnson backwards and cause him to slightly lose his footing. Va’aiga grabs a headlock and moves rond behind the Canadian, cinching in the hold tight. Johnson struggles against the hold, but as he wriggles slightly free Va’aiga grabs his OWN back waistlock, forcing J3 to rush for the ropes and grab hold.


King: I’ve been doing my research and Va’aiga can chain a lot of very nasty moves off of German Suplexes.


Mak: He’s been threatening to bust out some of his new moves on Johnson tonight!


Va’aiga quickly attempts to follow up on his last headlock with a second one, and he grabs a solid hold of Johnson’s head for the second time in succession. Va’aiga attempts to change his position again but Johnson counters, using his extra leverage to fire the Maori off into the ring ropes. Va’aiga comes rebounding back at insane speeds, but as Johnson throws a high kick, Va’aiga ducks under the blow and rushes towards the other side of the ring. On rebounding, Va’aiga ducks down and locks to wrap his arms around the waist of Johnson in one of his trademark rugby tackles, but Johnson’s Mixed Martial Arts experience comes into play and he sprawls, forcing the Maori’s head downwards and eventually trapping him in a modified front chancery!


King: Well that’s one way to stop a charging Maori.


Mak: Almost Liddell like sprawl there from JJ Johnson. It’s the most efficient way to avoid a takedown, King.


Trapping Va’aiga’s head solidly under his arm, Johnson uses his slightly elevated position to fire off a pair of stiff knees into Va’aiga’s skull before dropping own to mat level. Drawing on a different style of shoot fighting, Johnson floats round on Va’aiga like an amateur wrestler taking the back, and then sits back on the Maori , wrenching back on his neck with a one armed chinlock. Taking his time, J3 drapes first one, then the other of the Maori’s muscular arms over his knees, then applies the chinlock with both hands. With his neck being wrenched back more firmly this time, Va’aiga grimaces in pain.


Mak: Camel Clutch! And Va’aiga is trapped.


King: this might be a more sound strategy for Johnson. If he can’t match the Maori for strikes, he can certainly outwrestle him on the mat.


Emotionless apart from the underlying sense of intensity, Johnson’s facial expression belies the sheer effort he’s putting into wrecking the upper spinal column of his much larger opponent. Va’aiga tries to move a leg up and give himself a more powerful position to try to escape from, but Johnson notices and releases one arm to swipe Va’aiga back down flat on the mat. Swinging his body to the side, Johnson uses the position of Va’aiga’s right arm against him, scooting round and trapping it in a grapevine. J3 stretches backwards, twisting Va’aiga’s arm around with his legs.


Mak: JJ Johnson is such a great technical wrestler; he has a counter for every counter!


Va’aiga wriggles around, trying desperately to escape the hold, but as he leans forward, attempting to reach across with his other arm, Johnson POUNCES and locks his head in a crossface submission hold! Johnson tries to slide down his arms around Va’aiga’s neck, but as his grip on the hold oloosens for a second, Va’aiga somehow slips his way out and rolls away.


Mak: Johnson nearly captured Va’aiga in the Frostbite III there! That could have been curtains for the Maori.


King: I wonder if his curtains have tribal symbols on them Mak. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.


Taking careful steps, Johnson approaches the Maori who is busy taking a quick breath at canvas level. Johnson mimes like he’s going for Va’aiga’s head again, and as Va’aiga covers up, Johnson shoots down and grabs one of his opponent’s legs. Turning Va’aiga over, Johnson stretches the Maori backwards with a vicious half Boston crab, and to add insult to injury, hell probably to add some extra injury too, Johnson steps his closer leg onto the back of Va’aiga’s head, forcing extra pressure through the whole of the Maori’s spine.


King: That hold is insulting AND painful. Mainly painful though.


The Maori writhes around in the hold and manages to free his head from Johnson’s leg, and as the Canadian tries to reapply the torture part of his hold, Va’aiga flicks his body loose and scuttles ropewards to prevent any more damage from the crab. Lunging forwards, Johnson tries to pull Va’aiga back into the centre of the ring, but Va’aiga decides to take a powder and rolls to the outside.


Mak: Va’aiga going to the outside to catch a breath.


King: Stamina has been an issue with the Maori. I mean he takes a lot of big hits, but wearing him down has traditionally been the way to beat him.


Johnson hops through the ring ropes and positions himself on the apron, looking down at the Maori, who is busy catching a breath. Va’aiga turns to look up at his opponent who sails off the ring apron, elbow first, looking to catch Va’aiga off guard… but Va’aiga backs off a step or two and Johnson whiffs the blow! Va’aiga sees an opportunity and grabs Johnson’s back arm, whipping him HARD into the guardrail! The crash of back on steel echoes round the arena but as the crowd are busy gasping, Va’aiga has evil intent in mind and begins pulling away the mats from the ring area.


Mak: Uh oh! This can’t be good for JJ Johnosn.


King: There’s nothing but cold hard concrete beneath those protective mats, Mak.


Dragging Johnson over to the hole in the protective layer he’s created, Va’aiga gives the crowd an intense look, complete with fully stuck out Maori tongue and positions himself behind Johnson. Lifting the Canadian up as if to give him a back suplex, Va’aiga switches the motion of the move halfway through and with a SICKENING crack, the Maori powers his helpless victim down stomach first into the concrete.




Va’aiga takes the chance to roll Johnson back into the ring, and the Maori goes for a quick cover…

















THR… and Johnson kicks out.


Mak: What fortitude shown by J3 there! I was sure that move could have pinned him.




With his scream, Va’aiga throws the pacific horns with both hands, then turns both into a thumbs down motion, as the still stunned Johnson wanders a few paces around the ring. The Maori clutches Johnson around the waist and hoists him up, so Johnson’s chest is across Va’aiga’s, perpendicular to the massive Maori. Va’aiga sticks his tongue out again and LEAPS into the air, crashing down chest first across his victim. Va’aiga hooks a leg…




















THR… NO! And Johnson kicks out again!


Mak: Johnson kicks out! That’s the move that’s won Va’aiga titles worldwide, the infamous Maori Drop!


Clearly pissed off by this turn of events, Va’aiga looks down at Johnson and drags him back to his feet again. With that slightly glassy look in his eyes that Va’aiga only gets when he’s getting frustrated, Va’aiga backs off and rushes the far ropes, charging back in and FLATTENING J3 with a Rugby Tackle! In the mount position V’aaiga throws three quick headbutts to Johnson and then hooks a leg…
















T… and Johnson kicks out.


Mak: That looked like a shorter kickout time for Johnson there. I think his reserves are building up again.


King: When you’re in the ring, Mak, and that adrenaline gets flowing, there’s nothing you can do but ride the wave and kick some ass.


His body beginning to shake as he stands, Va’aiga waits for Johnson to regain his footing before grabbing a SOLID back waistlock. Johnson attempts to back elbow out, but Va’aiga quickly levers his opponent backwards and drops Johnson ON HIS HEAD!




Quick cover…











King: What is JJ Johnson made of Mak? I’m shocked he managed to kick out of that.


Mak: I believe it’s what the Japanese call “Fighting Spirit”, King.


Grabbing his opponent with lightning speed, Va’aiga locks in the back waistlock again. Johnson tries again to fight the hold off, but again the Maori has the power to lever him over. This time the angle is lower and Johnson lands on his back, but Va’aiga has more tricks up his sleeve, and he drags Johnson back to his feet! The crowd calls out “ONE!” guessing that Va’aiga is hitting these German suplexes rolling style.


Mak: Johnson is in deep trouble now…


And as predicted by commentators and fans, Johnson IS in trouble as the Maori drops backwards again and dumps him squarely on his back (“TWO!”). Grasping Johnson in the waistlock tightly, Va’aiga lifts him back to his feet again and switches position, grabbing an arm of Johnson’s and wrapping it across his own throat. The crowd OOOOHS loudly, expecting a possible Stinger attempt, but instead Va’aiga just falls backwards, suplexing Johnson RIGHT ON HIS FUCKING HEAD …. AND JOHNSON JUST STANDS UP AND CRACKS HIS NECK!!!!!!!! THE CROWD EXPLODES INTO A JJ JOHNSON CHANT!


Mak: MY GOD…


Johnson lunges for the Maori and wraps him quickly up in a Pumphandle… Grasping for the maori’s wrist with his free arm, Johnson falls backwards and DROPS THE MAORI ON HIS HEAD!




BUT VA’AIGA POPS RIGHT BACK UP! Va’aiga grabs Johnson and spins him around, setting him up again for a big suplex, but Johnson reverses! Va’aiga RE-Reverses however and just flings Johnsno against the ring ropes with a MASSIVE release back suplex.. AND JOHNSON POPS BACK UP! Elbow from Johnson! Punch from Va’aiga! Elbow from Johnson! Punch from Va’aiga! Elbow! Punch! Elbow! Punch! Elbow! Punch! Elbow! Elbow! Elbow! Johnson winds up and…




Va’aiga staggers back against the ropes, but as Johnson closes in for the kill, va’aiga charges and The Canadian gets smashed with the YOU KNEW IT WAS COMING, YOU BETTER START RUNNING, IT’S LETHAL, IT’S EVIL, IT’S THE ONE TRUE STRIKE OF KINGS…






BOTH men drop to the canvas, exhausted, and Mark Soapdish puts on the count…















King: How are these two men going to follow up on that?


















EI… and Va’aiga rolls over and drapes an arm over Johnson…
















King: We’ve seen many a top class wrestler fall to the lariat, but today it’s not going to be JJ Johnson!


As you’d expect, neither man is exactly quick to get to their feet. Johnson however gets up first and tries to soften Va’aiga up with another elbow strike. Va’aiga is slowed down, but still gets to a vertical base, groggy and unsteady on his feet. Johnson fires off another elbow smash and backs off, setting up for something. Rushing in towards the Maor, Johnson extends his arm and fires off his own…




And Va’aiga is taken aback. Not through the force f the move, but through the sheer NERVE of somebody attempting to plant him with his own move. Fighting through the pain, the exhaustion, the sheer physical trauma of the match, Va’aiga’s whole body is shaking, his face turning slowly as red as the bruising on his chest. Johnson approaches again and tries another elbow strike, but the Maori just reaches out and grabs hold of Johnson’s striking arm. Va’aiga drags the arm slowly across Johnson’s throat and the crowd gasps again…


Mak: Could be another Swiss Suplex attempt from the Maori…


But Mak is wrong, so VERY wrong as Va’aiga slides in behind the Canadian and racks him up across his shoulders. Johnson’s eyes bulge as he keeps on being choked out by his own arm, meanwhile the Maori eyes are bulging with his primeval tribal rage. The crowd gives Johnson a sympathetic “PLEASE DON’T DIE!” chant as Va’aiga turns slowly, allowing all four sides of the arena to see the predicament that his opponent is in. At the top of his massive booming voice, Va’aiga calls out to the capacity crowd…




…and sticks his tongue out again. Johnson struggles and fights to try to break free, but the Maori will not be denied, and just as he did to Danny Williams to capture his only SWF World Championship he




















































Mak: Oh…. My….. GOD!


King: Is that what I think it is?


Mak: That is the Va’aiga Stinger, the most LETHAL move in professional wrestling today.


As the crowd lets rip an ear-splitting “HOLY SHIT!” chant, Va’aiga drapes an arm over the limp and lifeless JJ Johnson, and Mark Soapdish drops to count…





















Mak: COUNTO THREE! COUNTO THREEE! Va’aiga has won! Va’aiga has won this match!


King: And in some effective style. It took a lot to drop JJ Johnson, but for only the fourth time, the SWF has witnessed somebody taking the Va’aiga Stinger.


Mak: Can we get some medics out here? Those guys out there look hurt.


Both men in the ring just lay there. Dojo boys rush into the ring and both Stephens and Wildchild check on the guys they were seconding. With a look of some concern on his face, the former toxic calls to the ref crew and a stretcher is fetched for Johnson. Meanwhile Va’aiga accepts a lift up from the Bahama Bomber, and with the little guy from the Carribean struggling under the near 330lbs of dead weight he’s helping to the back, medics load up Johnson onto the stretcher and begin to carry him out.

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Fading back from the last segment, the camera’s pan across the Thirteenth Hour stage and zoom over the crowd, catching glimpses of excited fans as it makes its way around, cutting to a camera facing the commentary team of The Suicide King and Mak Francis who promptly welcome back the viewers to what has appeared to be a stunning event thus far. “And what a show we’ve had tonight,” Mak recaps, reminding the audience of the great action we’ve already seen, “Not only has the night been one of the most prominent in SWF history, but we’ve still got several solid bouts left, including the upcoming fight to determine the World Tour Icon between current and reigning Cruiserweight champion, Zyon, and ‘Iron’ Mike Cross, Akira Kaibatsu’s former partner and fill-in tonight!”


The crowd is loud in anticipation for the upcoming title fight, nearly overpowering King as he stutters to get a word in. “Well, Mak, Cross has returned here tonight after a more than impressive series of matches. For those unbeknownst to who he is, ‘Iron’ Mike Cross was one of the recent rookies who took the company by storm, forming one of the more recent sensational tag teams of The Asia Underground with his former partner, Cruiserweight contender Akira Kaibatsu, and former manager and mentor, Mr. Kobe. The team went undefeated in the Lethal Lottery where they swept the competition and won their first gold together at From the Fire, where they beat not only current reigning Heavyweight Champion Landon Maddix, but his partner Maxx King, as well as the team of Spike Jenkins and Zyon. Three of those four currently hold gold, and tonight, we get to see a semi-rematch from that bout with Zyon and Mike. A complicated series of events have lead SWF Officials to grant this match here tonight.”


“That’s right, King,” tags in Mak Francis, “tonight, Akira Kaibatsu, the current number one contender for Zyon’s Cruiserweight Title and Seoul Survivor, was scheduled to take advantage of that contendership in what most would consider to be a highly anticipated rematch dubbed the Battle of the World Tour Icons, considering the rivalry these two had, having competed in several matches against one another.” Mak pauses as the crowd begins to simmer.


“Well, to say the least, Akira pussy’d out.” King interrupts abruptly, and then quiets, looking over to Mak, waiting to here the rest of his statement as if what he’d said wasn’t at all abnormal, ignorant, or incorrect.


“To say the least?” The question stings, Mak’s tone clearly annoyed. “I’d like to see you sustain that kind of an injury! Someone, role the footage!”






Mike Cross comes into view now, making his on-screen return for the first time in over 2 months, since taking leave with the federation. The camera pans to the left to see a bloodied and battered Akira Kaibatsu, in full gear, crawling at the feet of ‘Iron’ Mike Cross as Mr. Kobe turns his attention to the locker-room doorway, catching a glimpse of the battered fighter.


“What…what happened?!” Kobe, jumping to Akira’s immediate attention lifts him and sets him into a sitting position, blood drizzling from a cut, thick and boldly torn open, atop the Japanese man’s head. “Look…look at these bruises,” the heavily accented Japanese flows from Kobe’s lips as officials and doctors rush to the scene, followed by ‘Iron’ Mike, who left momentarily to get the group of men filing into the room to attend to the fallen Akira, who seems stunned. Akira’s mask lays folded on the floor, damp with fresh blood, having been tossed aside almost instantly by the worried manager.


The crowd clears as the voice of SWF Management head, Joseph Peters, immediately demanding that he be given some answers and some space. “What the hell happened here, what is this?” A slight silence proceeds.


“…I don’t know.” The first words uttered from the mouth of the Divine Wind, face now covered by a towel as doctors immediately begin cleaning the cut and stitching it, one pierce of the needle at a time as the dark thread weaves its way and folds the seemingly tight skin atop the man’s head together with ease as, for the first time, we now see Kaibatsu unmasked. “One minute I’m there, warming up for my match tonight, the next thing I know I’m sitting here, bewildered and confused.” Suddenly, doctors tear the towel away from the face of young Akira, revealing his true identity, flashing a beam of light into his pupils and telling him to follow their fingers as they move them across his field of vision like a ship across the ocean line.


“Any word on his injuries?” Peters waits on the sidelines, anxious to be assured that his match will still go on as planned later in the evening. “Anything…at all?” Hands on his hips, Peters stands over the kneeling doctor, who pauses what he’s doing and turns his head rigidly, looking Peters in the eye.


“I’m going to be honest with you,” the sounds in the arena are of a sigh, as they know what’s coming next, “It’s my medical opinion that any injuries possibly sustained tonight in that match could only worsen the condition he’s in. He’s not reacting properly, and I think this man has a concussion.” Peters shakes his head and lets out a disappointing sigh, slapping his hand against his thigh and then immediately running his hand through his hair. “But if you want to send out a worker in this condition, it’s on your head if he suffers anything career ending.”


“No…no,” Peters comforting but discouraging voice cuts in as he turns away to walk through the door way with very clear disappointment in his step.




Peters turns around to see Akira brushing the doctors away, getting a brief smile out of the stressed businessman, only to be let down again, as he falls to his knees. “Mike…” Akira looks up, apparently in a moment of need. “Fill in for me tonight.” With those brief words, medical attention with a stretcher arrives, as the doctors drag a blood-stained Akira Kaibatsu to his feet, seating him on the stretcher, the room clearing as he leaves, photographers and media relations rushing to the scene.


Peters turns around to face Kobe and Cross, both of how look stunned at what’s just happened.


“I know you weren’t looking to get in the ring tonight, Mike,” Peters turns, and then pauses, “But I need you to gear up. Can you handle it?” Cross nods, and Peters nods back, opening the door ajar sending a frenzy of flashing cameras and sounds of questions inward until he exits, the door closing with a metallic thud. The screen fades with Mike and Kobe at odds, wondering what’s next.




“Like I said,” King cuts in, bringing the audience back from the clip captured earlier in the night, “Akira pussy’d out! He could’ve gotten up; he could’ve had the balls to risk his career to do what he loved…” Just as King attempts to end his little rant, Born of a Broken Man by Rage Against the Machine hits the PA as a rebuttal, signaling the official in-ring return of Michael Cross to the SWF.


“He’s back, King; ‘Iron’ Mike is back!”






The lights explode in an array of dark red flashes that blind the cameras and awake the man standing atop the stage, who stands from one knee and stalks down the ramp, looking as dark as ever, but seemingly still happy about a big-match return, fans throwing hands at him as he ignores them and focuses his attention on the stage. He enters ringside and looks up at the ring, signals to the timekeeper for a microphone, and then slides under the lowest rope, rolling and then standing to his feet, leaning on the ropes nearest the ramp.


“Cut the music, cut the lights.” In the background eclipsing ‘Iron’ Mike’s word’s the sounds of a faded Japanese interpreter can be heard, relaying the message. “I have one thing to say, and you might not like it, but I don’t deserve to be named the SWF World Tour Icon, or whatever it is I’m competing for on, as I’m sure all of you know and love, Akira Kaibatsu’s behalf.” The crowd erupts in applause and cheers momentarily at the sound of their country-man, Akira Kaibatsu’s name. “Unfortunately…” Cross pauses, “He left me with something I had no right to take advantage of, and that’s being named the SWF World Tour Icon, something I neither asked for nor rightfully competed for. So, Zyon, I propose tonight we don’t sell these people short of what they paid for, however, I believe it’d be better to compete tonight for your belt.”


The crowd pauses in silence, awaiting some sort of response from their Cruiserweight Champion, Zyon. And then in the form of utter silence and darkness, it comes in three short phrases. The Smarktron lights up…


“I’m Born…”


“I’m Alive…”


“I Breath…”


And then the Japanese crowd erupts, as the darkness and silence is met with the beat of the drums and bass guitar from Incubus’ Vitamin. The song explodes into a wave that flows through the crowd as ‘The Unique Youth’, Zyon, appears at the top of the ramp, his illustrious Cruiserweight belt clinging to his waste. The crowd marvels below him as the song continues to thump.




Zyon departs down the ramp.




Zyon pauses.




Zyon stomps forward to the ring, looking up at his opponent for Thirteenth Hour, the showdown starting before contact is ever made, the crowd pulsing in anticipation, the joint rocking, the lens capturing every epic moment as the song explodes again.




Zyon steps back as the drums and scratching of the song begin, and then charges forward, leaping up onto the apron just inches from ‘Iron’ Mike, and then in one swift movement, flipping the ropes and turning into the ring right over the head of his challenger. He fluidly turns on his heel and charges the turnbuckle, hopping up and playing to the crowd, unstrapping his belt and holding it in one hand as he holds his arms out. The crowd fires back at him eagerly cheering the champ, flashes from cameras lighting the arena.




Zyon hops down onto both feet, throwing the belt over his shoulder and turning to look at ‘Iron’ Mike, looking more like a stalker as he watches Zyon’s every move with eager eyes, his composure cold like a statue, his body rigid, but his eyes peering at his opponent, beady and sadistic. They meet in the center of the ring, the lights catching glimpses of the two as they begin exchanging a series of words, but nothing more than promises are made. The camera steps up and onto the apron, catching the two, face to face with one another until Zyon brushes by ‘Iron’ Mike, climbing the opposite turnbuckle and holds his built up to the Japanese-prominent audience, much to their approval. He hops down and turns right into the chest of Cross, holding his belt up as they face off and exchange words yet again. After several moments, the music cuts and the lights return to normal, the crowd hot as ‘Iron’ Mike Cross and ‘The Unique Youth’ Zyon stare each other down, before breaking.


“Folks,” Mak cuts in, “I’m not sure we’ve received a definitive answer from Zyon, but I assume that his handing the belt to the official and assuming his corner across from ‘Iron’ Mike means we’re going to get what we all came to see!”


“Well, not necessarily,” King bitterly interrupts, “Considering Akira petered out of his match with Zyon. But, ‘Iron’ Mike Cross has stepped up on short notice, Mak, the kid’s got style and guts; a lethal combination. I may not like these two, but I’m more than willing to see them knock the snot out of each other!”


Just as King concludes his sentence, the Funyon enters the ring, standing side by side with the official and checking his microphone before proceeding. “Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, the Smartmarks Wrestling Federation in conjunction with Tokyo’s own Nippon Budokan arena are proud to present to you this bout for the evening.” Funyon pauses, as if to build the suspense. “The following match is scheduled for ONE FALL, and it IS FOR THE SWF CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD!” The crowd explodes into applause after the mirroring Japanese interpreter concludes the translation, many before as the words “SWF CRUISERWEIGHT BELT” are familiar to them. Funyon stands and turns around, the cameras moving from corner to corner, both men hopping around in their gear, preparing for the bout as the crowd doesn’t let up.


“First, the challenger to my left,” Funyon turns, motioning to ‘Iron’ Mike, “He is a one-time SWF Tag Team Champion, he is a former Lethal Lottery winner, member of The Asia Underground,” before Funyon can conclude, Japan’s Nippon Budokan arena explodes for the name of the faction, “Weighing in at TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS, standing at an even SIX FEET…HE IS…’IRON’ MIKE CROSS!” The crowd explodes in support of the challenger who bounces up and down, stretching his wrists.


“And, finally, standing to my right,” the crowd anticipates the name, murmuring as if ready to explode in a chorus of cheers, “He is the current, reigning, and defending SWF Cruiserweight Champion OF THE WORLD.” Funyon turns and gives a brief smile to the anxious champion, “He is a TWO TIME SWF Cruiserweight Champion, he is a former SWF Hardcore Champion, and he is ‘The Unique Youth’, The Patron Wrestler of Athens…weighing in at an even 200 pounds and standing at FIVE FEET and ELEVEN INCHES…THIS…IS…ZYOOOOOOOOOOON!” The crowd explodes, Zyon exiting his corner as ‘Iron’ Mike does the same, meeting him in the center of the ring as the crowd responds electrically. Funyon ducks under the top rope and jumps from the apron to the floor as the referee welcomes both men to the center of the ring, briefly covering some ground rules, and then signaling for the bell as the crowd simmers, still incredibly hot for the match.




Just like that, ‘Iron’ Mike kicks the match off throwing a looping hook that allows Zyon to duck promptly, effectively using his speed to avoid the contact of the hard strike. Zyon turns and catches Cross off guard, behind him and waiting as ‘Iron’ Mike turns and is slashed in the chest with a hard chop that takes his breath away, though he refuses to embrace the stinging and sharp pain despite its red welt on his pale chest. Zyon swiftly moves under another attempted strike from a much slower ‘Iron’ Mike, who turns and yet again met with a shockingly loud chop that sends the crowd into “Woos”. Cross backs up, defensively playing the strikes, only to be met with a hard forearm by the smaller Zyon who chases down the escaping ‘Iron’ Mike. Cross backs himself into the ropes where Zyon lays on another couple of forearms at lighting fast speed, sending Cross leaning on the ropes, looking for some breathing room yet unable to find it.


“’Iron’ Mike looks to be caught on the ropes,” assures Mak, calling the action, “He can’t escape the speedy blows. I’m not sure he realizes his size advantage and significant power advantage, one or two of his own strikes might be able to divert the quick strikes of Zyon, giving him some breathing room early on in this match up.”


Immediately Zyon ducks another blow looping strike attempt from Mike, ducking under the blow and gunning under the top rope and onto the apron, clubbing ‘Iron’ Mike in the back of the head sending him reeling forward in pain, having been struck near a sensitive nerve. Cross turns around just in time to see Zyon catapult himself up to the top rope, flinging his legs forward and onto Cross’ shoulders just feet away. Zyon leans back, attempting to pull ‘Iron’ Mike forward, but to no avail. Cross clings to Zyon’s legs, falling slightly to his knees and oddly smacking his face on Zyon’s abdomen, placing ‘The Unique Youth’ in a precarious position. Cross struggles for a moment, but then stands, dragging Zyon up painfully with him.


“Crush that ant!”


“Look out; Zyon could be going for a ride, folks!”


Zyon sits up and fights back, throwing stinging forearms, but Cross doesn’t relent as he backs and turns to the center of the ring…
















Cross drove down to his knees, causing Zyon to unfold and WHIPLASH his head onto the mat, Cross delivering one absolutely devastating powerbomb. ‘Iron’ Mike doesn’t appear done, though, as he stands back to his feet dragging a limp and dangling Zyon with him. He holds him up in an attempt to control him enough, but stumbles in the process, falling backwards into the ropes as Zyon dangles and begins to tumble over Cross to the outside.




“This could be the match!”


Cross turns in time to catch Athens’ Patron Wrestler, dangling on the ropes nearing a tumble over the top, ending the crowd’s dismay as the referee rushes to the seen to make ample judgment. He waves it off, declaring that the match will continue, the crowd cheering in approval as Cross immediately goes back to work, dragging Zyon off the ropes.






“DAMN,” Mak blurts out, unexpectedly, “What a takedown!”


“Mike used the strength advantage, dragging Zyon down and landing him straight on his upper back, neck, and head, leaving the little-guy in shambles!”

Cross stands and then looks down at Zyon, a fire burning in his pupils as his opponent clutches at his head in agony after being driven down to the mat in not one, but two cases back to back. To avoid further punishment, Zyon rolls from the ring, but immediately Mike sizes him up, contemplating the jump. As Cross jumps up and down, signaling for it, Zyon steps up from his knees to his feet, just in time to see it coming.


“Look out,” Mak informs, “Here comes Air ‘Iron’!”


Cross runs and launches under the third rope.








“UNBELIEVABLE,” Mak explodes on cue, “Cross dove through the ropes only for Zyon to redeem himself with what one would consider a knockout blow!” The crowd looks on in awe as Cross lays folded against the apron, slipping and then falling backward and partially under the apron, stunned by Zyon’s devastating Snap Dropkick, despite his suicide dive attempt. Immediately the referee comes to the ropes, counting as Zyon takes one knee, catching his breath and letting the ache on his head subside.



















Zyon begins moving, looking over at the fallen ‘Iron’ Mike, who turns and rolls out from under the apron. Zyon turns to him, bends down, and grabs a fist full of hair, leading Cross up to his feet in a daze from the Snap Dropkick that rocked him. He drags him forward and then steps up onto the apron, dragging Cross up with him.


“If Zyon wants continue to be effective, he needs to step up the offense!”


Mak turns, “I’m not so sure that that’s the best advice, King, as Cross is well known for his ability to take and dish out the punishment. In short, there isn’t much weak about his offensive or defensive abilities, it’s his hot-headedness that makes him vulnerable. He could be one of the best wrestlers today if he could keep it together, but he seemingly explodes at all the wrong times.”


The referee backs off the count, but Zyon doesn’t appear to be done, despite Cross’ fighting attempts to regain control of the match, control he lost in a high risk defensive move that put down Cross momentarily. They exchange thunderous strikes with each other, Zyon’s weaker, though quicker and more dazzling on camera. Both man swagger over, looking as if they could take a dive, the crowd’s cameras electrifying the stunning scene as both men struggle on the apron.


“This is…” Mak pauses, mesmerized, “This is what we could’ve hoped for, a stunning bout, both men are leaving it out there. We’re not even 10 minutes in, and the crowd is on their feet just at how hard hitting and precise these two are despite their obvious lack of power and size!” To match Mak’s comments, Zyon catches Cross with a devilish uppercut that sends him stumbling backwards and into the ring post, leaning on it for support. The crowd pops loud as Zyon turns his back to Cross springing up onto the third rope, taking a step back and then slapping his legs up and onto the shoulders of ‘Iron’ Mike, still facing away from him, and then leans forward, hands on the ropes. There’s a moment of pause as the crowd explodes, and then Zyon curls into a ball, sending ‘Iron’ Mike forward, off his feet and…



















“My god,” Mak breaks the silence among him and King, barely heard over the deafening crowd response to the pandemonium, “Zyon risked his body, sending Michael Cross over and off the apron with what can be described as an inverse rana!” Zyon steps up onto his feet, pointing to the audience as their cameras flash capturing the stunning stance of the champion. On the ground, Cross clutches his back, agonizing in the stinging and blunt pain that shocks his back, much to the crowd’s delight.


“I must say, Mak, that was incredible!”


‘Iron’ Mike steps up to his feet, turning as Zyon springs for the second time up to the third rope, cameras flashing again, the crowd in awe of his speed and flying ability. “Here we go again!” Mak’s voice graces the sound waves as Zyon flips backwards, turning and then landing ON THE SHOULDERS of ‘Iron’ Mike Cross who falls back onto the mad with a THUD as Zyon springs back to his feet, having been placed right I front of the railing, only to leap up to it. He stands with incredible balance, the crowd and both commentators, as well as the ref, who is blatantly ignoring the count, as he raises his arms. “NO, NOT AGAIN!” Mak barely gets it out before the crowd erupts as Zyon completely falls over after an enormous but graceful leap.






The crowd stands, looking over at Zyon, laying over the top of Mike Cross, who appears to now be clutching his ribs.


“ZYON,” Mak yells out, “WITH A HUGE 450 DEGREE SPLASH!”


The referee yells out to Zyon as he begins his count, demanding the two get back into the ring.






















By the time the count reaches ten, Zyon stands, waving to the crowd for supports as he drags Mike Cross to his feet, wobbly and dazed from the onslaught of attacks all achieved in quick succession, the crowd now swinging in full support of ‘The Unique Youth’. Zyon drags Cross over to the apron, slamming his head into it roughly, and then rolling him up onto it and under the first rope. ‘Iron’ Mike rolls into the ring, still on his back, now up to his knees, on all fours in order to try and gain back his balance.


“This is exactly what Zyon needed to do, King,” Mak exerts excitedly, “He let Mike make his own mistakes that lead to HUGE openings in the match, and once he put down the offensive giant, he’s kept him off balance with some serious high-impact offense.”


“The only problem I see is the opening he leaves ‘Iron’ Mike, Mak.”


“Maybe so, but if he wants to win this match, I guarantee this is what he has to do, he can’t stand toe to toe with ‘Iron’ Mike Cross!”


Zyon, still on the apron, taunts the crowd for a moment, and then yet again he leaps up to the third rope, jumps high across the ring, rolls, and…











“JESUS,” Mak shouts, “Pardon me there, but what a COUNTER to a second 450 degrees splash! King, did you see that!” Mak excitedly turns to his broadcast partner.


“I have to say, how the hell is Zyon supposed to compete now, his ribs have to be broken! We him execute that incredible 450 from the railing just moments ago, but the second one, a springboard up, and just too long between them, and ‘Iron’ Mike is able to roll to his back and get his knees up!”


In the ring, Zyon and ‘Iron’ Mike lay side by side, ‘The Unique Youth’ clutching his ribs in pain as Mike Cross steps up to his knee, takes a breather, and then shakes off the damage laid on him by the champion. He stands, looks around, and then turns to Zyon, grabbing a handful of hair, dragging ‘Unique Youth’ to his feet violently. Immediately he begins driving stiff knees up into the gut of the champion, relentlessly slamming blunt strikes into his gut, denying him the chance to fall or breath.






















“Damn,” King blurts out, “Several thunderous blunt knee strikes from the challenger, I don’t think Zyon’s ribs can last longer. I told you, Mak, the kid hasn’t got a prayer’s chance in Hell against ‘Iron’ Mike’s ‘Iron’ Offense!”


“Well,” Mak interrupts, “That’s one way to put it, but Zyon can still get back into this. There are a lot of gaps there that haven’t been filled in for Mike Cross’ offense and defense. He’s hot headed, we’ve seen it before, he’s prone to mistakes, and he loses his temper fast. His high-risk offense isn’t perfected and yet he insists on using it. There are a lot of openings, but if ‘Iron’ Mike keeps working Zyon’s ribs, slowly with hard strikes and offensive moves, then the door will close quickly for our champion. Cross has the right idea, if he slows the pace down, he forces Zyon to take more risks, and he allows himself some maneuverability.”


Cross holds Zyon up by his hair, the referee yelling at him, counting in his face. Cross turns and looks at the ref, dismisses the count, but immediately lets go. Zyon, now with nothing holding him up, falls to his knees, panting for air, his ribs noticeably red and sore. The crowd sympathizes as ‘Iron’ Mike continues the slow, painful, and relentless offense as he approaches Zyon from behind, standing over him. He bends down and slaps a forearm shot across the face, smashing his nose. THWACK, yet another, and then again, THWACK, THWACK, THWACK. Zyon attempts to escape but merely is held in place by ‘Iron’ Mike’s knees, both entrapping him. Zyon looks around for an escape route, a trickle of blood escaping his right nostril and dripping down onto the mat. He swipes the blood away, and then makes his move, turning to his back and lifting a leg, booting Mike’s BUTT and sending him forward, bouncing into the ropes and then back into Zyon who rolls him up for a cover, the crowd thundering in anticipation.






























“Holy HELL!”


“Damn,” Mak pauses, “That was incredibly close. Those are the kinds of risks we’re talking about, HOW CLOSE WAS THAT?!”


The referee, kneeling, holds up two fingers much to Zyon’s dismay, the crowd shocked and thrilled at the same time. Cross rolls away and then gets back to his feet quickly, followed by Zyon, facing directly across from him. Hotheaded and clearly distraught over the near fall, Cross charges across the ring at an unsuspecting ‘Unique Youth’, throwing wild strikes, lefts, rights, and kicks at his opponent, charging him into the corner and losing his temper and sloppy and ineffective strikes that, regardless, catch Zyon off guard. Zyon survives the flurry of strikes and ducks down, sticking out his palm and driving his fist directly into the side of Mike Cross. Flinching under the pain, Cross falls to his knees, giving Zyon some room to breath.


“It looks like ‘Iron’ Mike Cross finally lost his cool; we knew it’d only be a matter of time.”


Mike, now on one knee, is driven in the face with a hard knee, sending him to his BUTT as Zyon scales the corner, seating himself atop the turnbuckle, waiting for his challenger. ‘Iron’ Mike finally gets to his feet, his nose now bloody from the devastating knee strike, quick and unexpected. He leans forward and Zyon catches him in a front headlock, pulling it in tight and constricting his arm around the neck of the challenger, ‘Iron’ Mike Cross, whose head is now buried deep in the arm pit of his opponent. Standing a good foot and a half taller than Mike Cross, Zyon signals for what possibly could be a tornado DDT and a turning point once again in the match. The crowd flashes their cameras and Zyon signals for a second, and then out of nowhere, instead of turning, he FLIPS over ‘Iron’ Mike, fully pulling his opponent with him, driving him down into the mat, crushing his forehead, and sending him flipping out of the corner.


“MY GOD,” Mak shouts, “MY GOD! WHAT WAS THAT?!”


“HELL,” King replies, “I…I think that was, yes, that was a flipping DDT!”


“Damn straight!”


Zyon can barely stand, exhausting an intense amount of energy on that incredible move that sent ‘Iron’ Mike flipping across the ring and into a position prone to a possible pin attempt. Slowly, Zyon gets his head back in the game, and crawls to the center of the ring after several moments of fan anticipation and excitement.


“Pin attempt!” Mak shouts.


The referee slides into position to make the count as Zyon just gets his back onto Cross’ chest, the cameras flashing rapid fire, noisy as hell now as the referee lifts his hand to begin the count that could condemn Michael Cross to failure.

























The crowd gets loud, counting now out loud in Japanese.
























‘Iron’ Mike’s shoulder is lifted in the air, frozen as the referee turns to the time keeper and crowd, holding up two fingers, the crowd mesmerized and excited despite the fact that there was no pin, shocked by the development in the ring. The referee stands as Zyon looks up in total disarray, unable to comprehend how his opponent was able to kick out.


“Well, King, you can’t blame him for expecting a three count,” Mak says, sounding still excited, “I don’t think a soul in this building thought ‘Iron’ Mike would be able to kick out of that, it just shows his stamina and tolerance for pain. Zyon isn’t doing anything to help his cause.”


“Yeah, Mak,” King reacts, “Arguing about the call isn’t going to save his sorry ass from the punishment that waits, he needs to get on his opponent, because if he doesn’t, he’s going to be squashed like the pissant he is.”


Mike rolls out of the way and onto the apron where he shakes the cobwebs, feeling incredibly dazed by the blow, his head pounding from the impact of the DDT. The crowd is still hot as Zyon turns his attention to Mike, getting to his feet near the same time as his opponent does. Running at the ropes, ‘The Unique Youth’ springs up onto the second rope, pushing off, and turning his body in mid air up and over the top rope, and lands his legs across the shoulders of ‘Iron’ Mike, the crowd in awe.




Athens’ Patron Wrestler twists his body around, pulling ‘Iron’ Mike Cross over and flying off the apron.











“Mak, I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen it all!”


Zyon lands on his backside, as Cross is driven down nearly onto his head, the crowd in awe as ‘Iron’ Mike both feels and appears to be out of it. The drop put him over the edge, the pain searing through his body as he arches his back in agony, his pain converting to the crowd’s blood thirst pleasure, their cameras catching every moment. Zyon rubs his lower back but immediately gets to his knees and then springs up to his feet as the referee begins the count.




















Zyon turns to ‘Iron’ Mike, for the second time lifting him by his hair. Only, this time, Cross catches a sudden second wind, which he uses to power Zyon out of his way, thrusting a blow into his face which sends him back first onto the mat.











Zyon gets back to his feet just as ‘Iron’ Mike crawls up and onto the apron. ‘Unique Youth’ approaches from behind and grabs hold of his leg.













Zyon pulls himself up onto the apron using ‘Iron’ Mike’s leverage. The two men begin battle on the apron as the ref breaks the count, backing away from the action. Zyon combats him with quick blows, sending him up into retreat onto the top rope.


“These two men are just not interested in giving up!”


“Maybe not, but I guarantee one of them is going to take a REALLY big fall~!”


Zyon climbs up after him, both still exchanging blows as the crowd gets hot again, anticipating another huge bump. After several blows are exchanged, Zyon catches ‘Iron’ Mike with an INCREDIBLE elbow that knocks him off guard and leaning backward. Zyon pushes him forward and then guides his hand under his leg, grabbing hold of it and then going under his free arm, locking in an abdominal stretch, the crowd electric.


“NO,” Mak yells, “A 911 AERO DRIVER OFF THE TOP ROPE!!!”


Zyon lifts him up and puts him in position to be dropped on his head, but the 28 pound differential is too much, and Cross breaks the hold, slipping over Zyon’s shoulder, now crotched on the turnbuckle directly behind him, having fallen. As ‘Iron’ Mike agonizes in pain, Zyon turns around, turning around Mike in the process as well. He stands atop, the turnbuckle, as if ready to hit an incredible rana. But before he can do so, Cross gut checks him with a masterfully placed elbow to the gut, sending him down a rope. Turning Zyon, Mike locks in a dragon sleeper and lifts, the crowd now extremely hot.


“NO,” Mak shouts, for the second time, “AN SRS OFF THE TOP ROPE!!!”


But Zyon is too fast, slipping over the top and crotches himself on the turnbuckle, similar to the way ‘Iron’ Mike did just moments before. Zyon ignores the pain and begins striking at Mike’s head. He stands and then crotches himself on the shoulders of ‘Iron’ Mike.






Zyon turns and then leans back, looking to drag Cross over with him, but Cross is too strong, catching him and holding him. Zyon sits up and begins working on ‘Iron’ Mike’s face, but to no avail. The second attempt comes with more gusto, but unfortunately for Zyon, he’s caught for the second time, the crowd getting even hotter. Mike leans back and then Zyon sits up, Cross too big and too strong at this point for ‘The Unique Youth’ to hit the rana, despite the first and second ranas hit earlier in the match. Mike Cross stands to his feet, balancing on the turnbuckle with Zyon on his shoulders, the crowd louder now, the anticipation building to all new heights as Cross teases for a HUGE powerbomb. He waits a moment, the cameras flashing, and then steps off the turnbuckle, leaning back.









“Hell!” Mak shouts out, “That was an Alley Oop into the turnbuckle off the top rope!”


‘The Unique Youth’ crumbles to the mat, as ‘Iron’ Mike rolls him to the center of the ring, quickly looking for a pin. The referee slides down as the crowd cheers loudly in response.









































































“So close,” Mak shouts, sounding almost exhausted from calling the action, “I can’t believe Zyon kicked out.”


“Damn,” King agrees, “I can’t believe the things I’ve seen, sure, Zyon’s a nut case, but damn, this is insane!”


Mike turns to the referee and begins arguing the call, turning his attention away from Zyon, who begins to move just behind him, the crowd sound utterly exhausted. ‘Iron’ Mike begins lecturing the ref about it being three, rather than two, visually showing. But just as he turns to point to Zyon being out, he’s rolled up, and the referee jumps to his knees, the crowd igniting out of nowhere.



































































“AGAIN,” Mak blurts out, “Again, SO close!”



‘Iron’ Mike kicks out just in time, and is immediately back to his feet. He looks flustered and angry, his face red against the background of his pale white skin. He stands and begins to attack Zyon, slamming his head into the mat with his boot, despite the referee’s warning for him to calm down. Too late, the damage is done, and despite the warning the referee does nothing about the nasty and uncalled for shot to the head. Zyon lays back, looking dazed and confused, and then with a sudden jerk if the hair, he’s back to his feet. Mike whips him into the ropes and on the rebound clutches his arms and throws him over his head with a quick belly to belly that lands him in front of the ropes. Zyon looks still flustered, the crowd slightly hot as the end appears to be in sight.


“’Iron’ Mike has exploded, folks,” Mak insists, “He’s lost it, that last roll up was too close for comfort and he wants to end this, and end this now.”


Mike stands and then slips under the ropes and then quickly springs up to the top. He pauses atop the ropes, and then jumps up. The cameras flash as he catches air, jumping outward only a foot or two before he begins to fall, just above his future victim, ‘The Unique Youth’. Falling down, he drives his back into Zyon’s ribs, the impact shaking the ring. He slides forward and is quickly back to his feet, Zyon agonizing in pain as his ribs have been thoroughly beaten up.


“It’s those ribs, King,” Mak contemplates out loud, “That’s got to be the reason he’s back in such a bad position, he couldn’t complete the rana, King, because his ribs where tattered!”


“Mak,” King consoles, “I couldn’t agree more, though both men respectively suck, it’s brilliant planning on ‘Iron’ Mike’s part, brilliant.”


Mike lifts his arms before turning his attention back to his opponent, dragging him back to his feet by the hair, roughly.


“That’s uncalled for!”


And then suddenly, Cross hooks in the dragon sleeper, lifts his opponent, turns him, and then…





“WHAT A MOVE,” King shouts!




Cross sits up next to the champion, smiles, and then leans back on the limp body for the cover as the referee slides into position.






































































































































The crowd ignites as Zyon just BARELY gets the shoulder off the mat, inciting rage in the eyes of his opponent.




“DAMN,” questions Mak, “DAMN? THIS IS INCREDIBLE!”


‘Iron’ Mike slaps Zyon in the head before turning to the referee questioning his call, but is denied any argument. Turning in frustration, he looks down, and then steps forward, over top the fallen champion, Zyon. He drops down and crushes Zyon’s ribs with his bit, causing him to sigh out loud in anguish of the onslaught of attacks on his ribs. Zyon arches his back in pain, and then Cross takes the given advantage, slapping his arms under and then up, hooking him in a full nelson, seated on his lower back. He waits a moment before pulling up, exposing Zyon’s ribs as he stretches the shoulders, lower back, and already battered ribs, causing pain unlike any Zyon’s felt.




Reaching, but so far away is Zyon.


“There’s no chance, Mak!”





























“He did it, King, ‘Iron’ Mike Cross is our NEW SWF Cruiserweight Champion,” remarks Mak, the crowd screaming aloud behind him as a semi-exhausted ‘Iron’ stands to his feet, his physique glimmering as Ced Ordonez turns and hands him his newly won gold. “What a match, King, what a match!” Mak’s voice is now overcome by the crowd’s loud response as Cross stands and smiles, signaling for a microphone as Born of a Broken Man by Rage Against the Machine plays loudly, Zyon now rolling from the ring.


“Looks like your champion has something to say, Mak,” King’s voice piercingly resents the aspiring events in the ring, Cross smiling as he grabs the microphone in hand, the crowd responding delightfully, his music now fading.














“…Thank you, thank you, that’s very kind and all but now I have some business to attend to,” Cross pauses, the fans quieting as his face fades from a smile and he turns to the apron where a small black bag lay. “You know, getting into this, I told myself I wouldn’t come here to make enemies or sell out, that it wasn’t about the money. I thought that just wrestling for a living, doing what I love, was enough.” The crowd now gives off a mixed response, a murmur now replacing the enthusiasm and support. “But then I found myself with an empty feeling, I felt like a shell, and that’s when I left this place a good couple of months ago, nearly three to be exact.”


“What’s he talking about King,” Mak now breaks the silence among them, “What is this about?”


“And tonight I broke what I thought was my ethic, my moral law, a code of honor I told myself I thought to be true.” Mike pauses and rubs his chin, turning and pacing around the ring, clearly mulling over what he’s about to say. He stops, reflects momentarily, and then begins to speak but stops yet again. He reaches into the small black bag and pulls out a stack of one hundred dollar bills, smirking at the sight of it and then grasps them like a deck of cards, looking back to the audience, glancing for a moment up to the stage as he begins to look more and more evil.


“What is this about?”


“Quiet Mak, the kid’s got something important to say!”


“This cash represents my bond with Akira Kaibatsu, the man I jumped for a shot at this belt, the man I used as a stepping stone to get back what I had lost just three months ago.” Cross’ smirk turns into a slick grin as his eyes pierce the camera lens capturing his words and movement. “Just like you stripped me of my belt when you tapped,” Cross gets to his knees delusional and slaps his hand on the mat not once, not twice, but three times, looking into the camera with a soulless frown, “I stole your shot tonight and I took it for myself.” The crowd’s murmur turns into a subtle boo, Cross’ full intentions having not become completely true.


“I don’t like this King, I’m beginning to get a sneaking suspicion that Akira didn’t just have an accident, I think he had an accident at the hands of this son of a bitch!” Mak’s voice rings as King waves off his opinion, his attention in the hands of the Iron Swan.


“That’s right, I’m the one responsible for Akira’s injury tonight, and I didn’t just do it for this belt, no, I didn’t just do it because Akira blew my shot at gold, no. I did it because of the money.” Cross takes a long hard look at the cold, hard cash in his hand and a glimmer, a sort of tear forms in his eye. “When Mr. Kobe came to me tonight with an offer to make a little money and get a shot at Zyon, oh, I took advantage of it. I traded in my friendship for a spot in the sun…”




The crowd boos mercilessly as Cross smiles and welcomes it, going so far as to tuck his newly found cash in between the belt and his stomach, walking and fully welcoming the onslaught of boos.


“Please, keep booing, because certainly you know what it’s like.” Cross spits towards the audience, his expression of utter distaste. “You don’t know what it’s like to have to go home, no money to feed your family, no house, instead, a cold dark apartment. You’ve never had to trade in your best friend, nor have you felt the sting of betrayal in just three tapping motions of a wrist. Because certainly, CERTAINLY, you know how it feels to be spit out when you thought it was your time. But that’s alright, because I’ll be your swan, I’ll work my soul bare to the bone so you can live vicariously through me, and at the end of the day, I’ll still put the asses in the seats and make my money,” Cross points to the cash at his waist line, “And you’ll still be a bum, too morally correct to work for number one, your own damn selves. And that’s what makes me better than you.”


Cross drops the microphone with a thud as his music escorts him to the back, the crowd in shock, booing in response to the information now revealed to them.


“Damn him, King, damn him!” Mak sounds genuinely upset as Cross stalks up the stage with his hands raised in the air like some sort of prodigy. “Damn that son of a bitch, AND DAMN THAT MOTHER…THE MOTHER…MOTHER FUCKER MR. KOBE! I don’t care if he was starving, you just don’t do what he did to another man, you don’t stab people in the back!”


“Don’t you see? You’ve never been forced to do the things he’s done, you’ve never felt the things he has,” King responds, clearly aligning with the newly turned heel ‘Iron’ Mike, “And you never will. You’ll never be rich and famous if you keep looking to your left and your right. Akira just happened to be the guy to his right!”


“King, there are times I totally disagree with you, but I can’t believe you would stand for something this despicable!” With those truthful words, the camera fades to the next segment

Edited by chirs3

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SWF 13th Hour comes blasting back from commercial, the cameras panning over the masses of SWF fans that jam packed themselves into the sold out Nippon Budokan, the cameras take in the sea of faces as the all Japanese crowd waits patiently for the next match to begin, Apollo 440’s “Time is Running Out”" playing over the speakers. The camera view changes, panning over the mass of humanity once again, coming to a halt and gazing at the huge clock that covers the entranceway, the Pendulum swinging ponderously from side to side as the time ticks ever onwards towards the 13th Hour and the main event. Eventually the camera view changes once more revealing “The Franchise” Mak Francis and always cynical Suicide King seated at their announce table, and ready as ever to continue calling the action.


“Hello everyone and welcome back to SWF 13th HOUR! We’ve had one hell of a show put on for us tonight and the fans here in Tokyo just can’t get enough of it! And both they and all you viewers watching at home are in luck, because we’re not done yet!” Mak blurts out enthusiastically.


“That’s right Mak, we’ve got two more matches to go before we’re done for tonight.” The Suicide King replies, relatively pleasantly for a change.


“That’s right fans, six down and two to go! Including our Main Event, the much anticipated Last Man Standing match between Landon Maddix and the returning Michael Stephens!”


“I can’t wait to see that Mak. Toxxic lost his way a long time ago, and my opinions on that little scumbag Maddix are well documented.”


“He’d really rather prefer to be called Michael Stephens King.” Mak says chidingly.


“He’s Toxxic Mak. Whether he wants to admit it or not, that’s who he is. And that’s who he’s always been.” King says firmly, folding his arms somewhat petulantly to prove the point.


“Well that remains to be seen King.” Mak says diplomatically before turning another smile to the cameras. But before that surefire spectacular we’ve got the culmination of our International Title tour for your viewing pleasure! Five men are going to step into that ring, but only one of them is going to leave with the title around his waist!”


“And if there is a God out there it won’t be Aecas.” The Suicide King mutters, rolling his eyes.


“Quite.” Mak says dismissively. “MANSON, The Insane Luchador, Stryke, and Matt Myers are all challenging the International Champion tonight for the chance to leave with the belt. Reminiscent of our well loved Tag Team Turmoil bouts two men will start in the ring, and with each elimination a randomly chosen fresh man will enter until we have a winner!”


“And just like the Clusterfuck you want to pick a late number in this match. Coming in fresh against a beaten up opponent is truly the way to win a title.” King grins.


“Well they’ll have to get through the champion at some point to do it King.”


“He’s not invincible Mak. I’m just praying that he comes out first so I can watch him take progressive beatings and finally lose a title he had no right winning in the first place!”


“He pinned JJ Johnson for a 3 count. You saw it as clearly as I did.”


“Mak! I’m not going to let you drag me into this argument again!” King snaps, blatantly ignoring his own participation.


“Fine.” The Franchise says shortly, breathing a silent sigh of relief as Funyon makes his way up the ring steps and into the squared circle, the fans beginning to stir once more as the music fades and the dapper announcer raises his microphone to his lips.


“Ladies and Gentleman. It is now time to begin the Turmoil for the SWF INTERNATIONAL TITLE! Two men shall start in the ring, then as each man is eliminated by Pinfall, Submission or Disqualification another wrestler shall enter the ring until there is one man left standing!” Funyon bellows as Eddy long steps into the ring himself, the International Title held in his hands before being raised for all eyes to see as the referee parades it around the arena.


“Aecas handed over the International Title at the request SWF officials earlier today in preparation for this match. And it’ll remain on the Timekeepers table until a clear winner has been decided.”


“It must be killing him to have to come out here without his title.” King gloats, unconsciously rubbing his hands together.


“It may be.” Mak allows. “But he’s got his work cut out for him and only he knows what number he received.”


Eddy Long finally come to a halt in the middle of the ring, standing with Funyon as “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains hits the arena speakers and hits them loud. The fans stir once more as the opening guitars grind into the hearts and minds of every fan in attendance before black and red pyros explode around the entranceway to the surprise and delight of the fans as the Insane Luchador makes himself known.


IL pauses at the top of the entranceway as the fans begin to slowly come alive once more, isolated shouts of his name mixing with a loud murmuring of approval as he throws his arms into the air and then makes his way down the aisle, happily slapping palms and getting slaps on the back from the fans lucky enough to line the road to glory.


“Introducing first! He hails from Easton, Pennsylvania! And weighs in at 221lbs! He is Your Psychotic Hero! THE INSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE LUCHAAAAAAAAAAAAADOOOOOOOOREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”


The mere mention of IL’s name gets another pop of respect from the fans as he breaks into a quick sprint down the last stretch of the aisle, leaping onto the apron and quickly scaling the nearest turnbuckle, placing one foot on the top buckle. He raises a hand above his eyes, shielding the glare from the arena lights and gazing out at the mass of humanity crammed into the arena before hopping down from his perch and into the ring proper.


“And the Insane Luchador picked number one! I thought he was luckier than that King!” Mak exclaims as IL runs the ropes, picking up speed with each bounce of the cables and zipping past both Funyon and Eddy Long as his music slowly fades away.


“And introducing the individual who drew number two!” Funyon booms over the mic as Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill A Man” starts to play and yet more pyros assault the fans. A wall of blue and white pyros erupt from the entranceway drawing another excited “UWAAAAH!” from the Japanese crowd as Stryke appears through the smoke.


“From Sydney, Australia. Weighing 223lbs! STRYKE!” Barks Funyon before he vacates the ring, reaching up to take the title from Eddy Long and return it to the Timekeepers table as Stryke makes his way down the aisle, slapping hands in much the same way as his opponent did as the Insane Luchador finally slows to a halt in the ring, rolling his shoulders and running through a quick series of stretches as he watches Stryke approach the ring.

“Stryke and IL to kick things off, both men badly want that belt but only one of them will be able to advance and meet the next man out.” Mak states as Stryke turns to raise his arms to the fans as he reaches the end of the aisle, getting another round of applause before he turns around to find the Insane Luchador not waiting for the bell and sailing over the top rope at him!


“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Go the fans as IL crashes chest first into his opponent, both men hitting the mat with the Insane Luchador rolling away and popping back up to his feet in one smooth movement before going straight after the first man on his hit list.


“And IL isn’t one to hang around!” Mak cries out as the Luchador drags Stryke off the floor and rolls hi into the ring, sliding in after his opponent as Long quickly signals to the Timekeeper to get the match officially underway.






“Smart play Mak! Hit ‘em fast and hit ‘em first!” King pipes in as IL quickly grabs Stryke by the hair and pulls him upright. The Australian however will have none of it, he may have been caught off guard but he’s not going to let the Luchador take the advantage if he can help it, slugging the Insane Luchador square in the jaw before locking on a side waistlock and trying to take his opponent off of his feet.


“Stryke trying to hit the Backdrop Driver early!” Cries Mak as that is indeed what the Australian is trying to do, but the Luchador isn’t being co-operative and quickly thuds a pair of elbows into Stryke’s face, loosening the grip of his opponent just enough to slip free and step in behind him, dropping the Aussie flat on his back with a swift Backdrop of his own.


IL grabs the hair of his opponent once more, pulling him up and sending him reeling into the corner with a solid elbow to the jaw, the Luchador is quick to follow up on his opponent, another solid elbow rattling Stryke’s teeth before the Insane One grabs an arm and Irish Whips him across the ring into the opposite corner. IL charges in at Stryke but the Aussie sees him coming and makes the orthodontists happy by planting a boot squarely in the Luchador’s mouth.


The Insane Luchador spins around from the impact, clutching at his mouth and giving Stryke Ample time to boost himself onto the second rope and leap off, one arm wrapping around the head of the Luchador from behind as he drives his opponent face first into the mat.


“Bulldog! Stryke starting to make a quick comeback in the early going!” Mak says as this time its Stryke popping back up to his feet, but IL isn’t far behind, the Luchador regaining his vertical base and lunging at the Aussie for a Clothesline. Stryke ducks under the wild swing of the Luchador’s arm and IL quickly turns around and gets flipped over as the Australian superstar hits a letter perfect Hurricanrana and sends the Insane One tumbling into a corner.


Both men are quick to get back to their feet yet again, Stryke charging across the ring and diving at the Luchador’s midsection, intent on Spearing him into the buckles. But it’s not to be as IL twists quickly out of the way and Stryke goes head and left arm first into the steel ring post, hitting the steel hard before tumbling out of the ring and down to the floor accompanied by a wave of sympathetic noise from the fans.


“And that’s a good example of what not to do Mak.” King says snidely as Stryke slowly gets back to his feet, alternately clutching at his shoulder and the left side of his head. Stryke turns back towards the ring, just in time to see IL slingshot himself over the top rope and land on the Aussie’s shoulders, pulling off a perfect Hurricanrana of his own to the floor and sending his opponent skidding across the ring mats!


“UWAAAH!” Cry the fans once more and this time a smattering of applause follows as Stryke slowly rolls to a stop on the outside. The Insane Luchador is quick to take additional advantage, hauling Stryke into a sitting position and slamming him left shoulder first into the guard rail. The Ill One takes further liberty by mashing the joint into the steel a second time before jamming a knee into the back of the Aussie and thundering several hard elbows right into the trapezius muscle before simply smashing the shoulder against the steel a third time.


“And look at IL go! I don’t think I’ve ever seen him shark in on a body part like that before!” Mak exclaims as the Luchador pulls his opponent up again and rolls him back into the ring, leaping up to the apron and using the ropes to slingshot himself once more, this time to drop the leg right across the throat of the Aussie. Stryke convulses from the sudden impact and IL wastes no time in going for a cover, quickly hooking a leg as Eddy Long drops down for the first fall of the match.











“Stryke’s too fresh to go down yet, but that’s still good presence of mind by IL, taking a pinfall where he can get it.” Mak observes as Stryke’s right shoulder shoots off the canvas, unperturbed IL gets back up to his feet and quickly drives both boots into Stryke’s chest.


“Double Stomp Haha! That’ll knock the wind out of him!” The Suicide King crows gleefully.


“It certainly will King.” Mak concurs as the Luchador simply turns about and stomps on the chest of the Aussie a second time. Stryke sits up with a somewhat breathless wheeze which turns out to be a mistake as the Luchador quickly sharks in on his left shoulder, taking advantage of the opening to slap on a quick Standing Armbar that has Stryke squirming for the ropes in no time. Fortunately for the Aussie he’s not far from the ropes and makes his escape with relative ease, the Insane Luchador relinquishing the hold as soon as Eddy Long orders him to, drawing another smattering of applause from the audience.


“Sportsmanly conduct from the Insane Luchador, but if Stryke isn’t careful it’ll be a matter of moments before that arm is targeted again.”


Mak’s words are prophetic indeed as the Insane Luchador drags Stryke out of the ropes and back up to his feet. IL takes hold of the left arm and goes for another Irish Whip, only to turn it straight into a Fujiwara Armbar that takes Stryke down in the centre of the ring!


“And that’s exactly what I’m talking about King!” Mak cries out as Stryke starts to struggle against the hold, twisting his body around as his legs flail and kick, desperately searching for the ropes as he rejects Eddy Long’s continued queries to give up. The crowd starts to stir once again as the Insane Luchador simply increases the angle and pressure of the Armbar as Stryke tries to make the ropes, the Ill One pausing in the application of the hold to mash several hard elbows directly into the shoulder before slapping on the Armbar once more, trying to wrench the arm clean out of the socket. Stryke slowly struggles through the pain wrenching at his shoulder, refusing to give up and finally managing to press the tip of his left boot up against the rope, the Japanese fans applauding once again as IL releases the hold at Long’s insistence.


Stryke quickly starts to scramble back to his feet, already starting to cradle his left arm against his body in an effort to protect it from the Insane Luchador who comes wading right back in with a solid European Uppercut. Stryke stumbles back to the ropes and uses the slight boost from the cabling to thud a solid elbow into the Luchador’s jaw, while his left arm may be in trouble his right works just fine and it lights up the Luchador’s chest with a vicious knife edge chop to prove it before using the bicep with punishing force in a European Uppercut of its own.


IL staggers back a pace from the sharp uppercut and Stryke quickly uses this to his advantage, grabbing a wrist and whipping the Luchador into the ropes, the Australian superstar following him in and sending him toppling over the top rope to the floor with a vicious Running Elbow. Stryke isn’t done there and bolts towards the ropes on the other side of the ring, hurtling back across the squared circle as IL doggedly gets back to his feet in time to face a 223lbs missile fly between the ropes and thud another Elbow into his head that sends him flying back into the crowd barriers.


“ELBOW SUICIDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Mak cries out with abandon, much to the annoyance of the Suicide King. The fans however agree with the Franchise letting out another rippling cheer of approval as Stryke rolls onto his side, holding his left arm and trying to work some life back into it while the Luchador remains plastered up against the guardrail.


“Stryke needs to get to work quickly if he wants to keep up this advantage Mak.” The Suicide King grumbles, as the Insane Luchador places a hand to his temple and blinks a few times, already starting to shrug of the sudden impact of the elbow.


“That’s true King, we’ve seen the Insane Luchador shrug off hellacious amounts of punishment before now. And Stryke’s left arm has already been through the mangle in the beginnings of this match.”


Stryke seems to know that as well as Mak and King, the Aussie pushing himself back up and grabbing the Luchador’s spiky hair with his free hand, half dragging his opponent to the ring and rolling him in before sliding beneath the bottom rope himself. True to form IL is already getting back to his feet as Stryke re-enters the ring, but a boot to the gut and a DDT that’d make even Jake Roberts proud give Stryke a few more moments grace.


The Australian superstar rolls IL over with a boot before quickly scaling the nearest corner, clambering up the turnbuckles and pausing on the top for a moment before he takes to the air with a beautiful Frog Splash, slamming down on top of the Insane Luchador but jarring his shoulder in the process.


“All Time High!” Mak booms. “But it looks like Stryke inadvertently aggravated his shoulder on the landing!”


“They don’t call them high risk for nothing Mak.” The Suicide King mutters as Stryke eventually manages to roll back towards the Luchador and drape an arm over the prone form of the Ill One for a pin.
















But it’s not to be, as The Luchador’s left shoulder comes off the mat before Long can count the three. Stryke is quick to get back to his feet, keeping the Luchador temporarily grounded with a nasty stomp to the face before he goes for the turnbuckles again, clambering slowly upwards in to the high rent district once more.


“This isn’t wise Mak.”


“No its not. Stryke already hurt himself with that Frog Splash but one big move could still end this if he can hit it.”


“If he can hit it yes.” King says snidely as Stryke reaches the top, turning about and without a moments hesitation launches himself into a beautiful Senton Bomb, crash landing back first on the Luchador with authority, jarring his shoulder once again but grimly seizing a leg and hooking it tight as he grits his teeth against the pain.


















Yet again the Luchador gets a shoulder up before the fatal three, dislodging Stryke from on top of him before rolling out to the apron to try and get his wits about him again, grabbing hold of the ropes and slowly dragging himself back up to his feet on the apron. Stryke is also getting back up in the ring, and as soon as he sees the Insane One on the apron he rushes over, trying his luck with another Running Elbow. Rattled though he is, the Luchador shows both his toughness and awareness as he dodges back from the blow, instead bringing up his left leg and kicking Stryke squarely in the gut through the ropes.


The Australian superstar sags against the ropes as the wind gets blasted out of him again, ample time then for the Luchador to grab hold of that injured left arm and simply jump off the apron, wrenching it down against the top rope and drawing a cry of pain from Stryke as he staggers away from the ropes.


“Stryke’s trying his best in there but IL seems to be one step ahead of him.”


“And that’s the road that’ll lead you straight to the belt Mak. Stryke had better do something soon or this’ll be over quick, but with one arm there isn’t a whole lot he can do.” The Suicide King observes as IL slides himself back into the ring, leaping back up to his feet and charging in at Stryke once more only to be denied with a fluid Armdrag.


“Well there is that.” King says grudgingly as IL rolls back up to his feet and charges in again, this time though Stryke sidesteps, lashing out with his right arm and catching the Luchador in a solid sleeper hold, grimacing as he’s forced to use his left arm to lock it in properly as the Ill One, now acutely aware of the predicament he’s in starts to struggle to escape it.


“Alright Stryke, don’t show me up here.” The Suicide King mutters venomously as Stryke holds the Sleeper for as long as he can bear before throwing his legs out from under him and dropping to his belly, spiking the back of the Luchador’s head into the mat and quickly throwing his arm over to cover the Insane One once more.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!










IL just barely gets his shoulder off the canvas to abort the count, provoking another “UWAAAH!” from the fans as they were sure that was it. Stryke slowly rolls off of his opponent and climbs back up to his feet, his arm still clearly bothering him as he gives it an experimental shake and winces sharply at the pain from his shoulder. Seeing the Luchador starting to rise once more the Aussie takes two running steps and then leaps up, forcing the Insane One back to the canvas with a nasty Double Stomp of his own before he takes to the ropes again, relying on the Luchador to start getting back up yet again.


IL is obliging in this regard, and is indeed trying to get back up again, this time though he takes both of Stryke’s boots to the face and slams back down to the canvas, but yet again rolls over and stubbornly starts to get back up again.


“Stryke’s in big trouble King. We talked about just how well IL can absorb punishment. Stryke’s no slouch himself in that regard, but that post hit he took at the start of the match really must have done some damage and IL’s less than tender attentions haven’t helped!”


Stryke watches the rising Luchador intently, waiting until his opponent is up to his hands and knees before diving in once more with an Oklahoma Roll, grunting in pain as he struggles to hold the pin, IL’s legs kicking wildly next to his head as long makes the count.























Stryke just can’t keep his grip long enough and the Luchador wriggles free, clambering back to his feet as quickly as he can and moving to punish Stryke with another elbow but running straight into a Small Package as the Aussie once again tries for a quick pin victory.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!


















The fans let out an audible gasp as IL escapes the second pinning predicament by a gnat’s jockstrap, applause erupts around the arena once more, accompanied this time by the thundering of thousands of feet against the stands as both men all but spring back to their feet and go toe to toe in a last ditch effort to get the better of their opponent.


“What an effort we’re seeing by both men King!” Mak shouts to make himself heard over the rumbling, as the Insane Luchador slams Elbow after Elbow into Stryke’s jaw only to be met with a succession of thunderous European Uppercuts that drive him back into the ropes once again.


“Stryke’s got IL in the ropes! This could be his chance!”


The Aussie grabs hold of the Luchador’s right arm and tries to Irish Whip him across the ring, but IL doesn’t budge having his left arm tightly clamped around the middle rope. Stryke gives IL another European Uppercut for his impertinence but takes a tooth rattling Elbow in exchange as the Luchador lets go of the rope and strikes back. The Aussie superstar staggers back and the Luchador comes right out after him like a shark smelling blood, seizing hold of the damaged left arm and moving to Irish Whip Stryke across the ring.


At the last moment the Luchador puts the brakes on the momentum and reverses the Whip, jarring the left shoulder badly before seizing hold of the arm and taking the Aussie superstar down to the mat once more with a Fujiwara Armbar.


“FUJIWARA!” Mak shrieks as Stryke cries out in agony as his shoulder is torn into once more. The Japanese fans coming alive again as they sense the end is near. Stryke desperately tries to drag himself to the ropes as lances of pure agony shoot through his left shoulder, shaking his head desperately at Long as he is asked if he wants to give up, trying to hold on a few moments longer and make it to the ropes.. IL steadily increases the pressure, the Insane One keeping a tight hold on the shoulder wrenching Armbar and finally pushing his body into a hard bridge, increasing the pressure as much as he dares.


Something has to give.


And finally even Stryke can’t take the pain anymore. Agonizingly far from the ropes and with his shoulder threatening to loosen itself from the socket he does the only thing he can, he swallows his pride and….







Taps out.






“Stryke! Has been eliminated!” Funyon states from ringside as the Japanese fans burst into another round of loud applause, cheers for both men rising now as IL releases the hold as soon as he hears the bell, rolling off of Stryke as the Aussie Superstar clutches at his shoulder, pain etched into his face.


“And the Insane Luchador advances to meet wrestler number three!” Mak states happily as Stryke slowly sits up and starts to carefully make his way out of the ring, cradling his arm closely to his body with Eddy Long assisting as best he can. “Stryke may be out but he’s got no reason to be ashamed, he had nowhere left to go and if IL had kept stretching him like that he may very well have torn his shoulder out.”


“But how much does IL have left Mak? He took some nasty hits in that first match, and tough or not it all adds up.”


“Well we’ll see King. We don’t know who’s next.”


And right on cue, as Stryke makes his way to the back the arena lights suddenly go dark, plunging the arena into blackness and the satisfied murmuring of the fans get all the louder as a familiar graveyard bell begins to toll throughout the arena. The sound of heavy footsteps mixes with the tolling of the bell, getting louder and louder until finally the creaking squeal of an old gate silences both the footsteps and the bell. All is silent for a moment, as the fans hold their breath, waiting for the lines they know are coming. And they are not disappointed as finally a deep voice speaks the fateful words.


“Are you scared?”


There’s a brief pause before the voices of several children, all merged into one speak forth.


“He’s here……”


Amon Amarth’s “Death in Fire” roars through the arena speakers, the Budokan suddenly illuminated once more as red lights begin to strobe all around the arena, smoke boiling out of the entranceway as Stryke quickly slips to the back, mere moments before a blood red spotlight illuminates the entranceway and the shape standing in the midst of the smoke.








The chanting of the fans keeps getting louder as the Black Angel makes his return to the Budokan, its obvious just how much he’s endeared himself to the Japanese fans during his years away and he slowly raises his right arm, Scythe in hand as always. The blade snaps out from the haft and the fans pop once more as the International Champion starts to slowly stride down the aisle and Funyon says his piece.


“Ladies and gentlemen. The man who drew number three! From Shrewsbury, England, weighing in at 315lbs! The International Champion! AYEEEEEEECAAAAAAAAAAS!”


“Well there’s your answer Mak.” The Suicide King mutters.


“Like I said earlier, I thought IL was luckier than this…” Mak says as the giant advances down the aisle, clad for this special night in a black silk kimono, the full body dragon tattoo that he sports superimposed on the material in brilliant white, currently turned blood red from the lights as he advances to the ring. For his part IL is sat in a corner, getting his breath back and taking advantage of every moment he has to rest up before facing the champion himself in his bid to take the title.


Aecas slowly climbs the ring steps as the arena lights come back up to full, normal illumination the giant not stopping when he reaches the apron as he ascends the immediate turnbuckle. Standing on the second rope and looking out at the fans still chanting his name, the Black Angel raises his Scythe slowly with both hands in salute before climbing to the top rope and jumping into the ring, the canvas shaking under the impact.


The Scythe blade snaps back into the haft of the staff with the slightest brush of a hidden trigger, and Aecas hands it off to Funyon before loosening his kimono, removing the garment carefully and folding it in half before handing that off to the dapper announcer as well. Beneath he wears the same style of leather trousers and heavy boots that he always has, the Black Angel slowly running through a short series of stretches to limber himself up, his blank gaze fixed steadily on the Insane Luchador who returns it without flinching.


“Well folks, these two are certainly no strangers to one another.” Mak says as IL reaches up to grab the top rope, pulling himself to his feet and slowly walking across the ring to stare up into the face of the champion.


“They beat the crap out of one another more than once in the JL, and several times in the SWF proper Mak.”


“And tonight they’re going to do so once again.” Mak says cheerfully, as the two men stare each other down, IL showing not a hint of intimidation and slowly smiling, an expression that’s mirrored on the face of the champion before Eddy Long puts himself between them and makes them back off a few paces. “And they don’t look too unhappy about that fact either! IL showed us that he can destroy an arm a few moments ago when he fought Stryke, but he’d better opt for a quicker game if he wants to get the better of the champion.” Mak says as Long signals to the Timekeeper to start the second fall.






“And here we go again!”


Aecas and IL size one other up for a moment, the fans really starting to warm up to the match now, their murmurings of approval getting louder by the moment as both men rush towards one another, Aecas goes for a collar and elbow tie up but finds thin air as the Insane Luchador is already behind him. A hard elbow to the kidneys makes Aecas flinch, a second strike lands as he tries to turn around, hitting him squarely in the side, as he misses with a swinging elbow of his own, and comes face to face with the Ill One once more. IL ducks a huge forearm attempt from Aecas and hits him hard in the belly causing the giant to grimace and double over slightly. The Luchador quickly capitalises with a sharp uppercut, catching Aecas right on the chin and sending him into the ropes.


“Maybe I was wrong! A good start form IL with those strikes!”


“You’re not wrong Mak. Those hits may hurt but that’s not Janus in there.”


The Luchador presses Aecas back into the ropes and tries optimistically to Irish Whip his large opponent only to have it quickly reversed as Aecas almost throws him at the far side of the ring. IL rebounds off of the ropes at the other side of the ring, straight into a huge Big Boot from the champion, sending the Insane One down to the canvas. But no sooner has his back touched the floor than IL is back up on his feet drawing a respectful amount of approval from the fans.


“Huge boot to the face from Aecas but IL shrugged it off as if it was nothing!”


“He’s tough Mak, you know it, I know it, the fans know it. But he still needs to speed up the pace and do it quickly if he’s going to get anywhere in this match.”


Aecas stares at the Luchador impassively for a moment, before moving lunging forwards for another grappling attempt, this time managing to catch IL in a collar and elbow tie up. The contest of strength is inevitably one sided and ends with Aecas smashing a knee into t he Luchador’s gut and slinging one of his opponents arms around his neck. Aecas mimics the gesture wrapping one of his own arms around IL’s neck before grabbing hold of his cargo pants and hoisting him up into the air, as the Ill One reaches the apex of the Suplex he wriggles free of Aecas’ grip landing on his feet like a cat behind the big man.


Before Aecas can turn around IL strikes again, pushing off the mat with both feet and sending his boots thudding into Aecas’ back with a beautiful dropkick. The Black Angel staggers into the ropes and the Luchador takes full advantage, sliding behind Aecas and reaching up between his legs to grab the big mans belt trying to pull him over backwards. Aecas tries to step back to keep his balance but IL is lying right across his legs and the big man is pulled up and over into a Schoolboy pin by his challenger.










Aecas kicks out of the rollup hard, quickly getting back to his feet as IL charges in at him again, Aecas stops the Luchador dead with a huge boot to the gut, as his opponent doubles over Aecas quickly puts the Insane One into a standing head scissors, bending down and locking his arms around the challenger’s waist, lifting his opponent up as if he weighs nothing. The Black Angel holds the Insane One up as IL sits on his shoulders, the Luchador hammering several hard punches into Aecas’ face but it doesn’t faze the

champion, as he charges across the ring, and drills the challenger into the mat with a Sitout Powerbomb.


“What an impact! Huge Running Powerbomb by Aecas!” Mak cries out as instead of going for a pin, the champion roughly shoves the Luchador’s legs away from him and climbs back to his feet.


“IL isn’t a problem to lift up Mak; it’s getting that little bastard to stay down that’s the problem!”


“It most certainly is! He’s already getting back up!”


Indeed the Luchador is once more getting grimly back to his feet, his face showing some hint of the pain he’s feeling from being slammed down on his back, adding to the damage he suffered against Stryke. Aecas is on top of the challenger before he can fully regain his feet, once again putting IL in a standing head scissors and hauling him up into the air to sit on his shoulders.


Aecas slowly turns around before drilling IL into the canvas a second time, this time though Aecas holds on, tightening his grip on the Luchador’s legs as he pulls him up once again to about shoulder level before sitting out as he Powerbomb's the Insane One for a second time, landing legs akimbo as the Ill One crashes down onto his back and head. This time Aecas grabs IL’s legs tightly, holding them fast as Eddy Long skids over for the count.














IL still manages a strong kickout from the pinning predicament and both men rush to get back to their feet. Despite having taken three nasty Powerbomb’s in quick succession IL is still up first, if a little unsteadily. His right foot lashes out to crack against Aecas’ left knee, making the champion stumble. IL presses the advantage kicking at Aecas’ knee and his thigh, forcing the big man to try and cover up as the challenger picks at his left leg. After a hard kick to the kneecap that has Aecas clutching at his knee IL follows up with a lightning fast Dropkick to the same area.


Aecas’ knee gives way underneath him dropping him down to a more manageable level; IL takes a moment to kick the champion squarely in the face before hitting the ropes and putting the exclamation mark on his quick assault with a basement Dropkick right into Aecas’ face. The fans popping for the Luchador as he manages to knock his opponent down.


“There we go, IL showing intelligence and using his speed to get the advantage.” King quips, watching the action intently, silently urging the Luchador to pile on the damage.


“Indeed he is, but you know those Powerbombs had to have taken something out of him, especially after his bout with Stryke just minutes ago.” Mak says as IL rushes towards the ropes, grabbing the top rope and leaping onto the second, springing off of the cable and spinning around in mid air to land a hard leg drop right on Aecas’ neck! The Luchador quickly crawls over the champion and grabs one of the huge legs lifting it up with all his might as he tries to pin the giant.













But it’s not to be as Aecas roughly throws the Ill One off of him before Eddy Long counts three. The champion quickly starts to get back up, looking for his opponent and unaware that IL has quickly scaled the turnbuckle behind him. Waiting for Aecas to turn around the Insane One launches himself from the top planting both his boots on Aecas’ chest with a Missile Dropkick and staggering the champion but not putting him down. IL is back to his feet in a flash, rushing at Aecas and leaping up to crunch a Flying Forearm into the face of the champion.


Aecas stumbles back into a corner, sent reeling from the quickness of the attack as IL rushes in and scales that corner quickly as he can. Keeping Aecas of guard with another solid elbow to the temple, IL wraps an arm around the champion’s head and jumps forwards off of the corner using the extra height to plant The Black Angel’s face into the canvas with a huge Bulldog, much the same as Stryke did to him earlier.


Both men lay still on the canvas for a moment before they start to move once more. Aecas gets up to his knees only to be met with another salvo of elbows from the Luchador, now that Aecas is more his size it gives IL the opportunity to rock the champion, and he doesn’t disappoint, the fans starting to slowly rally behind the Ill One as he hits Aecas with a furious barrage of elbows.


“Look at IL! He’s showing no fear of such a large opponent and he’s taking the fight right to the champion!” Mak cries out, as despite the punishment Aecas doggedly gets back to his feet, backing into a corner, away from the stinging jabs of the Luchador to shake his head slightly as if trying and clear his mind as the Luchador lets him go and retreats to the far side of the ring.


IL pauses for a brief moment before running at Aecas as he sits in the corner. The champion sees the Luchador coming however and the cameras catch his face twisting from an impassive facade into an angry snarl and he roars out of the corner to meet the Luchador in the middle of the ring, smashing into his smaller opponent with a devastating Decapitator, turning IL upside down and inside out.


“Good GOD what a Lariat!” Mak howls as the Luchador flops bonelessly to the canvas, marveling at how pretty the arena lights look from this angle before a massive hand grabs his spiked hair and rudely drags him back up to his feet.


The Luchador has just enough time to register the fleeting look of displeasure on the champion’s face before he finds himself in a Full Nelson and shortly after gets his brains scrambled yet again as Aecas plants him squarely on the back of his head with a Dragon Suplex, and bridges out for the pin.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!










“What is Aecas going to have to do to put the Insane Luchador away!?” Mak asks as IL shoots a shoulder from the canvas and staves off defeat yet again.


“Break his neck?” The Suicide King says snidely, earning himself a glare from the Franchise as the fans start to pound their feet against the stands at the display of determination from the Luchador. Seemingly unperturbed by his failure to put away the Ill One, the champion moves back to his feet once more, taking IL with him and hoisting him up into the air for a Brainbuster, only to have the Luchador pull the same trick twice, wriggling free and dropping to his feet behind the Black Angel.


IL staggers as he lands, those knocks to the head finally starting to take effect, but he’s got enough brain cells left to kick Aecas squarely in the gut as he turns around, slapping on a Front Facelock and kneeing the champion twice in the face before flooring him with a face crushing DDT. The fans voice their approval as IL keeps the Facelock applied, doggedly getting back up to his feet a second time, using all his strength to pull Aecas as far as he can, getting the big man almost to his feet before he falls back and spikes the champion a second time.


“A brace of DDT’s has got the champion rocked! IL’s hooked the leg!”


















“And that’s thre-NO! Not enough!” Mak cries out as Aecas quickly gets the shoulder up, shoving the Luchador off of him and rolling to his front to pick himself up, shaking his head again to clear it. IL is quick to follow suit, and makes a concise argument by slamming a hard elbow into the champion’s jaw only to almost get his head taken off by a forearm’s swift rebuttal that sends him rocking back on his heels.


Aecas tries to take the lead once more with a Decapitator, but misses the mark as the Luchador ducks beneath his arm and takes off for the far side of the ring. Both men hit the ropes, the cabling shuddering from the impact as they hurtle back towards one another, the Luchador leaping into the air and flooring with the champion with a flying elbow smash that sends the fans to their feet and Aecas rolling onto his front to clutch at his mouth. IL crashes to the canvas but rolls up to his feet quickly enough, staggering a moment before he moves to the nearest corner, clambering up the turnbuckles like a monkey before leaping off the top AND DOUBLE STOMPING AECAS ON THE BACK OF THE HEAD!


“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Cry the fans as IL hits the canvas hard, unable to keep his balance after the impact.


“Double Stomp! He might have fractured Aecas’ skull! IL’s gonna do it! He’s gonna beat the champion!” Mak shrieks as the Luchador drags himself across the ring and slowly pushes the champion over onto his back, and slumps across the chest of the Black Angel, the fans counting loudly along with Eddy Long.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!


















The Budokan shakes with the rumbling of hammering feet as Aecas manages to get the shoulder up once more, IL rolling off of the champion and both men laying on the canvas, the champion clutching the back of his head, teeth bared against the pain, the challenger staring at the ceiling glassy eyed as he struggles to sit up, as the referee starts his count.















The Insane Luchador slowly starts to sit up, reaching out blindly and grabbing the second rope, using it to help haul himself up to his knees.








Aecas gets his hands underneath him and slowly pushes himself up to his knees, one hand automatically going to the back of his head as he grimaces anew.








Both men raise themselves back to their feet, the Insane Luchador still managing to be that little bit faster than his opponent, backing into the ropes for a quick burst of momentum and hurling himself at the champion elbow first in a last ditch attempt to knock him down. But things don’t go the way of the Luchador as Aecas’ huge right arm wraps itself around the upper body of the Ill One before the champion drives his smaller opponent hard into the canvas with a modified STO, cratering him head and upper back first into the mat and quickly going for the pin.


“MOMENTUM STOPPER!” Mak howls as Aecas hooks the leg. “This has got to be it!”















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!


















The rumbling of feet that follows threatens to shake the arena as IL’s shoulder finds its way off the canvas one more time, the fans applauding until their hands start to sting as Aecas slowly moves up to his knees and looks down at his prone opponent, his hands going to his hips for a moment as he studies the Luchador.


“IL still won’t give up! I don’t think Aecas can believe it either!”


“Well then he’d better do something quickly then hadn’t he?” The Suicide King sneers. “Sitting there and staring at him isn’t going to win the match.”


The champion gets back up to his feet once more, grabbing IL by his now drooping hair spikes and hauling him up as well, he holds the Luchador by the hair with his left hand. The champion’s right arm comes up slowly and winds back letting, the fans drumming their feet all the harder as Aecas lets Il see what’s coming before the arm whips forwards and removes the Luchador’ head from his shoulders.




“DECAPITATOR!” Mak screams as IL thuds heavily into the canvas, his eyes glazed and his body limp as Aecas drops to his knees and covers the Ill One once more, hooking both legs and applying as much pressure as possible to keep the Luchador down. “And will THIS be enough?! Good God what’s it going to take if its not!?” The Franchise blurts out as Long hurdles the two bodies and drops into place to count the fall, the fans chanting along once more.





















The arena erupts as the Insane Luchador finally falls, cheers for both men resounding in the air, mixing with a fresh round of clapping and rumbling of feet as the champion rolls off of the challenger and starts to get his breath back.


“And finally the Insane Luchador falls! I don’t know what kept him going that long King against that kind of beating.”


“Stupidity?” The Suicide King says acidly. “All he needs to do now is haul his carcass out of the ring and to the back and let the winners through.”


“The winner could already be in the ring King. But that being said you have to wonder who’ll be in next.” Mak says levelly as Eddy Long tries to get IL out of the ring, the Luchador rolling slowly under the bottom rope and dropping down to the floor, cradling his head in his hands as Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” starts to play through the arena speakers.


“Who in the heck is this?” Mak asks, as non-plussed as the suddenly confused crowd as a figure appears in the entranceway. The arena lights illuminate a teal jumpsuit studded with rhinestones that glitter so brightly they half blind the nearest fans on the aisle. The legs of the jumpsuit end in flares so large homeless people could use them for a rain shelter and the huge butterfly collar is so vast you could hang-glide with it. Throw in gaudy fake gold rings for each finger and an even gaudier FUNK medallion and you have the next challenger for the title.


“Oh good God…” Mak says as Matt Myers s-l-o-w-l-y starts to make his way to the ring. “Is he impersonating who I think he is?”




“Hahaha! Finally some quality old school in the ring Mak!” King says gleefully as Myers struts his way down the aisle, pausing at frequent intervals to mock the shocked, silent fans with limp wristed waves and the threat of a plastic gold ring bitch slap.


“Old school?!” Mak exclaims in disgust. “Myers wouldn’t know old school if it came up and shoved a Dunce cap on his head!”


Blissfully unaware of the argument going out live, Myers continues his strut to the ring, spying the Insane Luchador finally getting up to his hands and knees and using the Ill One as a mounting step to climb up onto the apron drawing a thunderous round of boos from the fans at such treatment.


“Oh would you look at that! No respect! Who the hell does Myers think he is?!”


“He thinks he’s the new International Champion Mak. And I gotta tell you I believe him.” The Suicide King says gleefully as IL reaches up to grab the apron, pulling himself up and then getting his hands stamped on by Myers to another harsh round of boos.


As IL drops to the mats again the camera cuts to Aecas, who has had time enough to pull himself together and get back up, the champion leaning back in one of the corners, the expression on his normally passive face one of incredulity.


“I don’t think Aecas knows what to make of this either.” Mak says as “Sledgehammer” fades away only to be replaced a second later by a remix of Elvis Presley’s “Little Less Conversation.” “Now what the hell is going on?” The Franchise asks, voicing the silent question of the fans in the arena and overseas.


“Double the old school Mak!” The Suicide King cackles gleefully as a pair of referees emerge from the entranceway, each one of them holding a pathetically small sparkler as the Memphis Eel himself emerges from the back……


To no reaction whatsoever.


The Eel struts his way down to the ring much as Myers did before him, though he does it with all the style and the gait of a mixamatosed rabbit. The Memphis Eel has wedged himself inadvisably into a referees shirt at least a size too small that frames his rotund beer gut all too closely for the fans liking, and true to form he still has a jumpsuit on underneath it The styles clash is eye smiting in its intensity and the word FUNK is clearly visible against the ref shirt when the cameras catch an ill advised close up of the Eel and the paper in his hand.


“King if this is a joke I am sure as hell not laughing.” The Franchise growls as the Eel wisely bypasses the Insane Luchador is now on his knees and glaring into the ring at Matt Myers before slowly turning away and making his way back down the aisle, getting a solid reaction from the fans for all his hard work as he departs. The Eel clambers up the ring steps, stepping into the ring with the grace of a newborn deer thanks to the six inch clod hopping white boots he wears and motioning for a mic.


“Oh God no…” Mak says, burying his face in his hands as Funyon unwillingly steps forwards to proffer the mic which the Eel wastes no time in snatching.


“Now hol’ on thar one second!” The Eel says before looking out at the bewildered and silent crowd.” Hey! You people shut tha’ hell up when ah talk!”


“Do we need subtitles for him?” Mak asks snidely as he finally takes his head from his hands as the Eel faces Eddy Long and waves the paper at him to fast for either Long or the cameras to get an idea of what’s written on it.


“Now what ah have here, is a contract that says Ah’m to call the shots for this fall with my boy Myers.” The Eel says with a satisfied grin on his face. When Long protests the Eel flails the paper in his face once more. “Son! Are you on the reefer?!”


“Haha! Classic Eel!” The Suicide King gloats as Long makes another protest before looking at Aecas and giving a slight shrug before exiting the ring and moving over to take a spare chair next to Funyon, immediately launching into a discussion with the dapper announcer about just what the hell is going on.


The Eel smirks and tucks the paper away into his ref shirt before he points at Aecas. “Alright now boy. Ah’m in charge now. So you just watch yer step.” Having said his piece the Eel carelessly tossing the mic out of the ring where it lands with a booming thud on the mats, signaling the Timekeeper to start the match as Funyon breaks off his chat to retrieve his property.






Aecas quickly advances out of his corner, eager to get his hands on the “Myers Eel,” but before he can achieve that goal the Memphis Eel steps between the two of them and orders Aecas back into the corner.


“What the heck is the Eel doing?” Mak asks as Aecas stares down at the Eel, evidently mentally ticking over whether he should just plough through the Memphis native and into Myers before he grudgingly backs up a pace, folding his arms when the Eel demands he backs off further.


Myers meanwhile is slowly divesting himself of all the fake jewelry he proudly brought to the ring, garish rings clattering off the mat along with a number of poorly attached rhinestones from the jumpsuit.


“Maybe he should have come out as Matt “Budget” Myers.” Mak says dryly as the paraphernalia is booted out of the ring and Myers signals that he’s ready to continue. The Eel steps out of the way and Aecas has moved no more than an inch before the “referee” is in his face again, holding up his hands as Myers forgot to take off the FUNK medallion.


Matt does so, cradling the medallion in his hands and staring at it wistfully as he half turns way, making no attempt to get rid of it.


“Oh this is ridiculous…” Mak says as Aecas’ impatience finally gets the better of him and he shoves the Eel aside, charging in at Myers and taking the gold plated copper of the medallion full in the face!




Aecas hits the mat hard as the fans react, Myers drops the medallion and dives on top of Aecas as the Eel makes the count.




Aecas just barely gets a shoulder off of the canvas in time, clutching at his face as Myers quickly makes a second pinfall.




Aecas gets the shoulder up second time, Myers rolling off of him and the Eel himself diving on top of with surprising speed, hooking a leg of his own as Myer’s counts the fall!




Again the Black Angel’s shoulder comes off the canvas a split second away from defeat, this time the Black Angel literally throws the Eel off of him and sits up, turning to glare at the Memphis “superstar” before stubbornly getting back to his feet, one hand still nursing his forehead from the medallion shot before his less than happy gaze focuses on Myers once more.


“That has got to be the quickest set of pinfall counts I have EVER seen King. What the hell does the Eel think he’s doing!? He’s supposed to be reffing this match not joining it!”


“Anything to get that glorious 1 in the W column Mak!” The Suicide King sniggers.


Matt Myer’s bravely stands in the face of the enraged Black Angel for all of a second before he turns tail and tries to flee, his daring escape is foiled however as Aecas snags that ridiculous collar and yanks him backwards, wrapping two huge arms around the waist of the Myers Eel and sending him straight to 60’s hell with a skull-cracking Release German Suplex!




Aecas rolls the limp body of the Myers Eel over and pins him with a lateral press, glaring up at the Memphis Eel as the referee slowly gets down to his front and checks both of Myers’ shoulders.










The Eel checks both shoulders again.












The Eel checks the shoulders for a third time.









Myers’ gets a shoulder off the canvas before the Eel can count three, mainly because Aecas stops pinning him and gets in the face of the Memphis Eel, looming over the referee who franticly starts to jab at the stripes on his shirt as a last ditch defense mechanism.


“Oh come ON!” Mak groans as the fans start to make their displeasure acutely known while the Memphis Eel continues to beg for mercy. Mercy however is in short supply as the Black Angel raises a fist…




….And gets low blowed from behind by a semi-coherent Matt Myers!


“Hah! Classic Memphis style wrestling here Mak!” The Suicide King belts out gleefully as Aecas’ hands go down to clutch at his abused groin. Myers staggers back up to his feet and taking advantage of the giant’s doubled over stance rakes the eyes of the champion. Aecas staggers back awkwardly, now clutching at his eyes as Myers steps in close and hits a punch!


“Look at that punch Mak! Eel must be proud!”


Myers winds up…and hits another punch!


“Are those punches or love taps?” Mak says scornfully as the Memphis Eel urges the Myers Eel on.


Myers steps in and doubles Aecas over with a big knee lift! He then moves on to threaten the champion with a punch….ONLY TO HIT HIM WITH A REALLY BIG PUNCH!


The Black Angel staggers back again, finally ending up in the corner and taking another Punch for his troubles before Myers slaps a hand around the throat of the champion and makes the universal signal for a Chokeslam with the other.


“You have GOT to be kidding me.” Mak says as Myers nods to the Eel and then kicks Aecas squarely between the legs.




The champion cries out and slumps down onto his knees, clutching at himself a second time as Myers channels the power of Memphis and starts to rain punches down on the head of the Black Angel.


“This is a travesty King! Who the hell booked the Eel into this match?! Blatant cheating and he’s not doing a damn thing about it!”


“Travesty? This is old school wrestling at its finest Mak!”


“I call it incitement to riot King, these fans are getting ugly.”


“They were ugly to start with Mak, deal with it.”


As the Franchise struggles to find the words to excuse his offensive partner Myers finally slackens off with the punches only to hit another REALLY BIG PUNCH!!! that sends Aecas down to the mat and rolling out of the ring under the bottom rope to try and get a moments respite, but it’s a fleeting rest at best as the Eel starts the count,




And the champion rolls back into the ring pretty damn sharpish to break up the accelerated count, taking another punch from Myers before finally striking back to a small cheer of the fans as he puts the Myers Eel down on his arse with a single forearm.


The champion gets back up to his feet slowly, giving Myers a withering look that makes the challenger cringe before a boot to the face knocks him right down, Aecas isn’t done there though. Incensed at the tomfoolery of the Myers Eel the Black Angel grabs the top rope and begins in no uncertain terms to stomp the ever loving shit out of him to the delight of the fans.


“Referee!” The Suicide King howls. “Get him off of there!”


“Hah! I always wanted to say this King!” Mak cries out gleefully as the boot related assault continues. “STOMPINGU! STOMPINGU! STOMPINGU!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


As the Suicide King gazes at his companion like he’s grown two heads Aecas finally stops mashing Myer’s into paste against the mat and drags the Eel’s illegitimate child back up to his feet, firing him across the ring and meeting him half way with a tooth loosening Yakuza Kick.

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Not bothering to chance another 100 year count from the Eel Aecas picks his challenger back up and wraps his huge right hand around Matt’s throat. The Eel is quick to step in, ordering Aecas to break such a blatant choke or he’ll be disqualified. The Black Angel rolls his eyes at the tirade and at the very moment the word “reefer” emerges from the Eel’s mouth the champion grabs the referee by the throat with his left hand and without further ado Chokeslams both men to the delight of the fans.


“Double Chokeslam! Aecas has finally had enough of the Eel!” Mak cries out as the Eel thrashes about on the canvas like he’s just been shot through the lungs.


“Foul!” The Suicide King cries out. “That’s grounds for disqualification right there! Putting your hands on the official!”


Aecas leans over the thrashing Eel, plucking the “contract” from the referee shirt and opening it up to look at it closely, the cameras are close enough to catch another dumbfounded look cross his face before he screws the paper into a ball and bounces it off of the Memphis Eel’s head. Turning his attention back to Myers, the champion pulls his challenger back up to his feet once more, kicking him solidly in the gut and applying a standing head scissors, hauling the Myers Eel up and Powerbombing him solidly onto the Memphis Eel. The crowd roars with approval as Aecas slumps down and covers both men, Eddy Long rushing from the ringside area and sliding into the ring, counting the fall with both hands.

















“And Matt Myers is out of here!” Mak exults, rejoicing along with the fans as Aecas picks Myers up by the lapels and hurls him through the ropes and to the outside before turning his attention to the Eel. The Memphis Eel manages to get up to his knees, shaking his head and pleading for a time out that’s just not going to come. Aecas yanks the Eel to his feet, grinning as he calmly boots the Memphis “star” in his rotund gut and quickly applies a standing head scissors once more, looking out at the fans before his grin turns sadistic and he draws a thumb across his neck in a throat cutting motion.


“We know what’s coming now King! We haven’t seen it in over a year!” Mak says, unable to keep the smile off his face as


“And we don’t want to see it now! Somebody stop him!”


Aecas hoists the Memphis Eel into the air for a Powerbomb, letting the Eel flop backwards until he’s hanging helplessly, his legs locked tightly in the Black Angels grip as the champion lets him gauge the drop for a moment before leaping into the air and dropping to his knees, spiking the Eel headfirst into the mat with the Ganso Bomb.




“EXECUTIONAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!” Mak howls out along with the fans as Aecas grabs the Eel by his ill fitting jump suit and sends him the way of the Myers Eel, clearing the ring and then slapping his hands together to emphasize the point.


“He’s taken out the trash King!”


“Mak that is NO WAY to speak of a legend like the Memphis Eel!” King scolds his partner as Aecas returns to his corner, leaning back into the buckles as he gets what rest he can before his old foe hits the ring, knowing he’ll need all the strength he can muster.


The champion has mere moments to rest however as Mastadon’s “Crusher Destroyer” hits the speakers, the lights strobing in time with the music as MANSONOSITY roars out of the entranceway. The last man to enter the match sprints down the aisle and NUKES a rising Mat Myers with the Raging Lariat, not even breaking his stride before he slides into the ring, Eddy Long desperately calling for the bell as the two men head on a collision course.






“And here’s the Cult of MANSONOSITY!” Mak cries out as MANSON finds his feet and meets an advancing Aecas right in the middle of the ring, slamming elbow after elbow into the side of the champion’s head. Aecas reels from the hard shots pounding into his temple, doubling over as MANSON kicks him solidly in the guts and hits the ropes, hurtling back at the champion and knocking him into the ropes with a trademark Flying Knee Strike.


“Now this is smart work Mak!” The Suicide King exults gleefully as Aecas lunges forwards off the ropes with a Decapitator attempt that MANSON is quick to duck under, the cult of MANSONOSITY spins about and stops the Black Angel dead with a solid thrust kick to the abdomen doubling him over a second time. MANSON hits the ropes once again and smashes his right foot into the side of Aecas’ head with a thunderous Yakuza Kick, finally taking the big man off of his feet and down to the mat.


“Come in fast and don’t give them a second to rest up.” The Suicide King continues smugly as MANSON grabs Aecas by the hair and pulls him into a sitting position, grabbing the top of the champion’s head and laying a pair of brutal Soccer Kick’s into his spine before kicking him squarely in the face to knock him back down. The Raging Bull hits the ropes for a third time, scoring a big Knee Drop and going for a quick cover straight afterwards.











Aecas kicks out strongly of the pin attempt but MANSON isn’t disturbed in the slightest, grabbing the champion by the head and hair and quickly muscling him back up to his feet, Aecas however isn’t going to go quietly and slams a forearm into MANSON’s head, sending the Raging Bull reeling back against the ropes. The Black Angel grabs a trailing arm and shoots MANSON across the ring, roaring out to meet him in the middle of the ring but the Raging Bull again ducks the Lariat.


“Swing and a miss with the Decapitator!”


“MANSON’s too quick for him Mak. He’ll have to do better than that”


Both men rebound from the ropes a second time, Aecas swings a leg out, trying for a Yakuza Kick of his own but MANSON slides under it, springing back to his feet and firing off a Gamengiri that smacks solidly into the champion’s forearms as he blocks the strike. MANSON hits the mat hard and scrambles to get back to his feet but Aecas is quick to pounce on his challenger, cinching on a tight waistlock and dumping the Raging Bull on his head with a solid German Suplex, bridging out for a pin of his own.


















MANSONOSITY isn’t nearly ready to go home yet however and powers out of the count with authority both men scrambling to their feet but MANSON is by far the quicker of the two, especially after the beating Aecas has already taken and takes the reins right back with a solid Rolling Elbow that knocks Aecas down.


“Beautiful German Suplex there by Aecas, seems he learned a thing or two from their last meeting.”


“Maybe so but he didn’t see that elbow coming did he?” The Suicide King snorts as MANSON quickly moves in behind the champion, waiting for Aecas to reach his feet before applying a waistlock of his own and German Suplexing the champion with a roar of effort and arching up into a textbook bridge as he returns the favor.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!










Aecas manages to escape the pinfall, but the toll of the previous matches is starting to tell on the champion as he pushes himself up wearily, reaching his knees as MANSON reaches his feet., The Raging Bull rubs the back of his head for a moment before stepping in and cracking a solid knife edge chop into the chest of the Black Angel. A second chop lights up the chest of the champion as he finally makes his way back to his feet and fires back with a Kesa-Giri chop of his own, giving MANSON pause for thought as his windpipe gets attacked.


MANSON switches from chops to elbows, rocking the champion yet again before quickly hitting the ropes and launching himself into a Roundhouse kick, only to have his foot smack solidly into the hands of the Black Angel. MANSON is quick to react however, his other leg leaving the mat and coming across to clout Aecas squarely in the back of the head knocking the big man down to his knees once more. The Raging Bull quickly gets back to his feet but is just as quick to leave them again as he slams a vicious Gamengiri into the champion’s face, and diving on top for another pinfall.


“Haha! Twice as nice Mak!”















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!


















Aecas just barely gets the shoulder off the mat before Long counts three, MANSON rolls off to the side and all the way back up to his feet, stalking the champion again and waiting for him to sit up. Eventually the champion obliges his challenger, sitting up slowly shaking his head once more before the Raging Bull charges in and knocks him flat once more with a solid Running Knee.


“Big Knee to the face! Aecas never saw it coming!”


“MANSON is like a surgeon here Mak. A cosmetic surgeon! And with a face like that by God Aecas needs once!” The Suicide King sneers as MANSON moves quickly to the nearest corner, boosting himself to the second ropes and launching himself off of it to Double Stomp Aecas squarely in the stomach.




“What is this? M. Bison appreciation night?!” Mak queries as MANSON regains his footing and head across the ring to the opposite corner, clambering up slowly to the top and staring down at the champion for a moment, measuring the distance.


“Looks like the Cult of MANSONOSITY has an air division Mak!” King says as MANSON launches himself off the top, arcing through the air and driving his right elbow deep into the heart of the champion as he crashes to the mat.


“SAVAGE ELBOW! MANSON is pulling out all the stops and this has gotta be it!” Roars the Franchise as MANSON dives on top of Aecas once more, hooking a huge leg and pinning him with all his might as Long hits the mat to count the fall once more.















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!























“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” Roar the fans, applause and the thundering of stamping feet echoing through the arena once again as the champion just barely staves off defeat.


“No! No Aecas kicked out! And MANSON can’t believe it!” The Franchise cries as the Raging Bull surges to his feet and grabs Eddy long by the lapels with one hand while shoving three fingers in his face with the other, insisting that Long counted three.


“NO!” Screams the Suicide King. “Forget Long! He’ll be investigated for slow counts later! Keep focusing on the champion!” The acid tongued announcer shrieks as Aecas rolls across the ring to the ropes, grabbing hold and using them to slowly pull himself back into a sitting position as MANSON continues to rail at Long. Aecas stubbornly drags himself up to his feet, the movement finally catching the Raging Bull’s eye as the champion sags against the ropes.


The cult of MANSONOSITY roars across the ring, left arm snapping up to take the champion’s head off, but Aecas has enough presence of mind to duck, driving his shoulder into MANSON abdomen and sending him toppling over the top rope with a huge Back Body Drop before collapsing down back down to his knees.


“Why does nobody ever listen to me Mak?!” The Suicide King despairs as MANSON bounces off the ring apron and hits the floor with an audible *THUD*


“Because a few minutes ago you were nothing but cheep sycophant for the Memphis Eel?” Mak says smugly as Eddy Long quickly starts his Ring Out count.
















MANSON clutches the guardrail, snarling at the nearest fans as he hauls himself back up, leaning heavily against the steel as he glares back into the ring at Aecas.








Aecas grips hold of the ropes once more, pulling himself up a second time and draping himself over the top rope, his eyes locking with MANSON’s before he manages a grin and makes a “come hither” motion with his hands.





“And Aecas wants MANSON to bring it on!” Mak exclaims as the Raging Bull charges back into the ring, sliding under the bottom rope and taking a stomp to the spine for his troubles but it doesn’t faze him, as he launches himself back to his feet and slams a hard elbow into Aecas’ jaw. The champion rocks back, using the ropes to keep himself upright before responding in kind, rattling the already damaged braincase of the Raging Bull with a big forearm shot. A solid kick to the guts stuns the challenger long enough for the champion to heave him up for a Suplex and then drop him straight south with a Brainbuster!


“BRAINBUSTAH!” Mak screams, getting into the spirit of things once again. “And Aecas is holding on!”


The champion is indeed gripping the challenger tight, slowly rolling back up top his feet and taking MANSON with him, the Black Angel tries for a second Brainbuster but the Raging Bull hooks a leg inside Aecas’ instep and then manages to roll the champion up for a Small Package!















TWO AND A HALF!!!!!!!!


















“Did MANSON not feel that Brainbuster?!” Mak cries out as Aecas foils the Raging Bull’s victory plans once more. MANSON is back on his feet in a flash, his face a twisted mask of anger, hate and pain that would give Satan himself a run for his money as he screams at the champion, demanding that he get back to his feet.


“He’s snapped Mak! I think Aecas pushed him too far this time! I’ve never seen MANSON like this!” The Suicide King says as the Raging Bull continues his tirade of verbal abuse, waiting as the Black Angel slowly gets up to his knees and then finally makes his feet before darting in and applying a three quarter Facelock.


“Consequences Mak! This is it!” The Suicide King howls with glee as MANSON prepares to mash the face of the champion, only to have the Black Angels arms lock around his midsection and hold him fast. The Raging Bull tries to drop his weight backwards but the Black Angel’s grip is just too strong to break. MANSON breaks the Facelock and desperately hammers elbows into the head of the champion, but the mistake has been made and the Black Angel makes him pay dearly for it with a cringe inducing Backdrop Driver that would make Steve Williams proud.




“Backdrop Driver! MANSON landed right on the top of his head! Did you see that King?! RIGHT ON THE TOP OF HIS HEAD!” Mak screeches as the Raging Bull’s fire has all but sputtered out, the challenger laying limp on the canvas as Aecas sits up slowly once more, grabbing MANSON by the hair and slowly struggling to get back up to his feet with the challenger in tow as the fans literally shake the arena.










The champion finally reaches his feet, the thunder of feet and the cheers from thousands of throats surrounding him as he has to hold MANSON on his feet, reaching in to slowly apply another waistlock to the challenger.


“No! Not Again!” The Suicide King cries out. “Get in there Long and stop him! Goddammit somebodies gotta stop this!”


But nobody does. Nobody can. And the Black Angel hauls the Raging Bull from his feet once more, driving his head into the canvas with a second Backdrop Driver, using all the strength he can muster to bridge out, holding MANSON bent almost fully in half as Long dives to the mat.

















“The winner of the match!” Bellows Funyon, turning the mic up to max to make himself heard over the fans. “AND STILL[/b} SWF INTERNATIONAL CHAMPION! THE BLACK ANGEL! AYYYYEEEEEECAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!”


“He did it King! Four other men were after his title but he managed to come out on top!” Mak exults once more as Aecas slumps to the mat, releasing the bridge and letting MANSON finally collapse to the canvas next to him. Eddy Long slides out of the ring to retrieve the belt as “Death in Fire” hits the arena speakers once again, the arena set a rumbling again by the crowd, the applause for both men almost deafening as Long re-enters the ring. The referee offers the title to Aecas, the champion slowly sitting up and taking the strap, the belt falling heavily to the mat as the Black Angel tries to get to his feet.


“What a match King, each of these men gave it their all tonight! And Aecas still managed to come out on top, and what better way to retain your title than on a PPV?”


“It should have been MANSON Mak. Clear as day and right in front of you. MANSON should have won that match.” The King says sullenly as Aecas slowly pushes himself up to his feet, staggering across the ring and into the ropes, clutching them for support as he raises the title high into the air to the appreciative cheers of the fans.


“They’ll be another day and another chance for all these men King, of that I have no doubt. Well maybe Myers…” The Franchise muses before smiling at the camera. “We need to take a break now folks but don’t you dare go away! Our Main Event is next, Michael Stephens against Landon Maddix in a Last Man Standing match for the SWF World Championship! And I know none of you want to miss that, stay tuned and we’ll be right back!”


The camera fades off into commercial, the last shot of the segment is of Aecas leaning against the ropes, title held high as he clutches at the back of his head, battered but ultimately unbowed as the fans chant his name.

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(i.e 1)














Leon Rodez


Zack Malibu




Mister Warrior














“OK, what the hell was that?” the Suicide King demands, “since when did those morons at the Oat Toast get to buy advertising time on a SWF show?”


“I’m guessing this is another of Joseph Peters’ wonderful ideas,” Mak Francis grumbles, “but that doesn’t matter now because coming up we’ve got something far more interesting than anything the OAOAST has to offer-”


“Mak, Matt Myers vs. David Blazenwing would be more interesting than anything the Oat Toasters can do,” King cuts in, then remembers Ramadomination. “Hey, you know what? It actually was!


It is at this moment that the Smarktron, which up until now has been flashing up the 13th Hour logo while ‘The Final Countdown’ plays in the background, suddenly bursts into life. Two figures appear, brought side-by-side by the magic of digital technology. On the left is a young man with pale skin, a faint network of thin scars across his face catching the light as he turns to face the front. He cracks his neck from one side to the other, chin-length black hair swaying as he does so, then simply looks into the camera. No cocky, lopsided grin, no smirk, no title belt.






On the right side of the screen is another young man, slightly shorter and ever-so-slightly stockier, with blonde hair starting to reach down the sides of his face again. There’s the faint hint of stubble on his cheeks and chin, and over one shoulder rests the golden shape of the SWF World Heavyweight Title. But more noticeable than that is the look in the eyes and the faint quirk of a smile on the lips.







The screen changes again, more lettering flashing up at the bottom and a graphic of the title over Landon’s shoulder appearing behind it.





“These two men have faced off on Pay-Per-View twice before,” Mak says, “trading wins. On both occasions, Stephens was the champion and Maddix was the challenger, but tonight the roles are reversed. Who’s going to walk away with the belt? Given the nature of the feud between the two men and the actions we’ve seen Landon take in the recent past, will anyone walk away at all?”


“Don’t count Toxxic out,” Suicide King says, “he’s perfectly capable of crippling Landon.”


“King, why do you keep calling him Toxxic?” Mak asks, “Michael Stephens has made it perfectly clear that he does not wish to be referred to by that name anymore!”


“Because it’s perfectly clear to me that it’s Toxxic who’s been coming out to the ring every week,” the Gambling Man responds, “and if you’ve actually been taken in by his goody-two-shoes, repenting-for-my-sins act then shame on you, Francis!”


Mak Francis doesn’t have a chance to respond to that, because suddenly the Nippon Budokan Hall is filled with the sound of a couple of thousand voices chanting in unison. Not the voices of the fans inside, however; blasting out of the PA system comes the roar of the soccer terraces on the other side of the world…





And with that, the crashing opening chord of ‘Rookie’ by Boy Sets Fire kicks in, rolling through the Budokan until the distinctive bassline starts to make itself heard. The Smarktron, which had abruptly gone pure white, is now fading quickly down to black, and as it does so jagged white letters flash up a familiar phrase, one word at a time, almost seeming like a rebuke of the Suicide King:






The bass drum has started up now, and as the song starts to rise towards a crescendo the Smarktron begins flashing up clips of one man’s illustrious career - snippets of matches against the best the SWF has to offer, matches that more often than not have been won. The Super Caffeine Bomb that beat Tom Flesher; the Super Intoxxication that won the first World Title; the infamous Glass Jawbreaker on Aecas; making Johnny Dangerous pass out at Genesis V. New footage, only a couple of weeks old, of the RTF II being applied to David Cross. And then, as always, it changes again to footage of taking Mike Van Siclen off a balcony and through a table with a Stephens Shock Syndrome, the devastating landing time to coincide with the-




-blast of red pyro that announces the arrival of the SWF’s most decorated Englishman as the main riff kicks in! The Nippon Budokan Hall roars its approval, and through the flame and smoke…




…with his head bowed so that the black curtains of hair hide his face…




…wearing his customised England soccer shirt in honour of his country’s opening World Cup match against Paraguay yesterday…




…comes the man once known as Toxxic.




The man who is tonight challenging for a record-equalling fourth World Title reign.




A man who, if what he says is to be believed, would really rather not be here at all.


“It’s all come down to this,” Mak Francis says as Michael Stephens raises his head and begins making his way down the ramp, through the crowd on either side of him towards the ring, “Michael Stephens has been manoeuvred into this corner by Landon Maddix, forced to compete in a Last Man Standing match as Maddix seeks revenge for what he views as a premeditated attempt to break his neck at From The Fire last year. No-one has ever successfully retained a title against Stephens, but is Landon’s vicious streak going to be enough to change that?”


Michael Stephens reaches the ring and rolls under the bottom rope, then pops to his feet and takes up position in the middle. As 'Rookie' progresses towards the first verse Stephens takes a deep breath, then crosses his arms in the traditional straight-edge 'X'... but only for a moment, before he throws them wide, palms flat, as more red pyro explodes from the top of each turnbuckle!




'I never thought this could be me

I guess you never do until it's happening to you.

Like all the fun turned into shame

And all the "could-have-beens", rearrange...'


As the fans cheer some more Stephens pulls his shirt off, wads it up and throws it into the crowd where an entire posse of heavily made-up Japanese girls fight for it, not caring who gets trampled as they do so. However, the man himself doesn't seem anywhere near as jubilant and merely nods to referee Matthew Kivell before retreating to a corner, where he leans against the turnbuckles.


"King, I look in that ring and I see a man who doesn't want to be in this match," Mak Francis tells his commentary partner, "a man who only asked for this to be a World Title match so that he has a chance to take something from the man who has insulted him, done terrible things in his name, and attacked his family."


"Suit yourself," the Gambling Man shrugs, "I look in that ring and see a very good actor who's playing you all for the mugs you are."


'Tell me exactly, what am I supposed to do

Now that I have allowed you, to beat me!

Do you think that we could play another game

Maybe I could win this ti-ime.'




"Can someone tell Landon that nu-metal was uncool by about 2001?" King asks.


"Yeah, like you know anything about modern music," Francis mutters as the Japanese fans express their displeasure at 'The Game' by Disturbed, the theme of the World Champion.


"I know I hate this."




'I kinda like the misery you put me through

Darling you can trust me, completely!

If you even try to look the other way

I think that I could kill this ti-ime!'


...and from the backstage area two figures appear. Megan Skye seems to be whispering last words of advice into Landon's ear, but although the World Champion has his head cocked to listen he only seems to be paying attention with half his brain. Everything else seems concentrated on the man waiting for him in the ring.


"OK, Megan's banned from ringside," Francis says, looking around, "would someone like to take care of this?"


But there's no need. Skye shoots a glance at Michael Stephens in the ring, shudders, and hastily retreats back into the depths of the Budokan Hall. Meanwhile, Maddix strides forward with his trenchcoat billowing behind him, heading directly for the ring and looking like he won't be stopping for anything short of a volcanic eruption. Stephens pushes himself off the ringpost he's been leaning against; not into a fighting position as such, but he definitely doesn't want to be caught napping when Landon hits the ring.


"This could get ugly early," Mak predicts, "given the level of hatred between these two..."


Landon has hopped up to the ring apron now, but suddenly realises that Megan isn't here to hold the ropes open for him. Instead the World Champion beckons imperiously to Matthew Kivell and demands that the referee perform the job instead.


"This kid's ego really gets on my nerves," King hisses.


"I completely agree, but all the same; pot, kettle."


Matthew Kivell rolls his eyes and complies with Landon, who ducks through the cables and then spins himself into the centre of the ring as usual. However, he comes to a sudden stop as he rotates to face his opponent for the evening, and raises one hand to point menacingly at the Englishman. For his part Stephens just looks at him, not making any motion, either aggressive or pacifying. Kivell gets up off the second rope and ushers Landon back to his corner, then takes the World Title from him.


"Ladies and gentlemen," Funyon booms, raising his microphone, "the Smartmarks Wrestling Federation proudly presents to you the MAIN EVENT~ of SWF 13th Hour! The following contest is scheduled for one fall and will be contested under Last Man Standing rules for the SWF WORLD... HEAVYWEIGHT... CHAMPIONSHIP!"




"Introducing first, in the corner to my right," the veteran ring announcer continues, "the challenger. Hailing from Nottingham, England, he stands at six feet tall and weighed in earlier this evening at 218lbs. He is a three-time former World Champion and was voted the SWF Wrestler Of The Year for 2005... MIIIIIIIIIIIII-CHAAAAAEEEEEEEEELLLLLLL... STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-PHENS!"


Suddenly, hundreds of black streamers soar through the air from around the side of the ring occupied by Michael Stephens, draping themselves all over him, the ring ropes and the turnbuckles. Stephens himself simply cracks his neck from side-to-side.






"And his opponent, in the corner to my left," Funyon continues, "from Huron, South Dakota; he stands five feet and ten inches tall and weighed in earlier this evening at 224lbs. He is a two-time and your reigning and defending WORLD Heavyweight Champion... LANDON... 'LA CUCARRRRRRRA-CHA'... MAAAAAAAAAAAD-DIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!"


Red streamers come from Landon's side of the ring as the World Champion performs a lazy circle, arms spread wide as he incites the jeers of the Japanese fans. They don't disappoint.




However, Landon quickly stops his turning and taunting and, as the streamers are cleared, locks eyes with his opponent. Funyon exits the ring and Matthew Kivell calls for the bell...




Landon Maddix leaps forward as soon as the bell sounds, arms raised for a lock-up. Michael Stephens backs off and circles, clearly wary about closing with his enemy so soon but Landon is insistent, beckoning Stephens in with a cocky grin on his face. After a few seconds of non-compliance from the straight-edger Landon changes tactics and spreads his feet, then raises one hand high in an unmistakeable gesture for a test of strength!


Michael Stephens' eyebrows raise at that one.


"Maddix certainly seems confident early on," Mak Francis notes.


"Maddix certainly seems like an asshole early on," King retorts, "and he will halfway through the match, and at the end as well. Call it a prediction."


Stephens still regards Landon cautiously but when Maddix holds his position he shrugs and steps in. The Englishman cautiously raises one black-nailed hand up to mesh his fingers with Landon's... but the moment their fingers make contact Maddix twists sideways and behind the straight-edger, bringing Mike's arm up into a hammerlock before using his other hand to grab Stephens' hair and pull backwards sharply, dumping his opponent onto his back and causing him to crack the back of his head on the canvas!




Referee Matthew Kivell is there for no other reason than to count one or both men out and he certainly isn't going to reprimand Landon for a bit of hair-pulling in a match effectively without rules except the ones needed to win it. The crowd aren't as forgiving though, and are letting Landon know exactly what they think of him. Maddix simply preens, smugly flicking his hair away from his face as Michael Stephens gets back up to his feet with a stony expression, one hand holding the back of his head. Once more Maddix raises his arms, offering his glowering opponent a lock-up, and this time Stephens only hesitates a moment before accepting. The two test each other for a moment, but just when it looks like Mike might be about to start forcing Landon backwards Maddix adjusts his grip and snares Stephens in a headlock.


"It looks like Landon wants to prove he can outwrestle Stephens," Mak notes.


Mike wraps his arms around Landon's waist, perhaps in preparation for a backdrop suplex, and it is at this point that Landon uses one hand to rake viciously at his opponent's eyes.


"No, just getting in a good position for some shortcuts," King says. "I'd clap if it wasn't Landon. Thank goodness I can have double standards."


Landon doesn't waste time posing for the crowd this time; instead the World Champion releases the headlock and turns on Mike when he's blinded, then starts firing off blistering knife-edge chops to the chest!














Stephens staggers back and Landon adds an insulting (but stinging) open-handed slap to the face for emphasis as he backs the challenger onto the ropes, then before Mike can react he grabs his opponent's arm and begins an Irish whip. Stephens has enough presence of mind to reverse the momentum but he lowers his head for a back bodydrop too early; Landon stops himself, grabs the back of Mike's head and fires off a series of quick kicks to the Englishman's unprotected face!












As the last one strikes home Landon releases Stephens and the challenger collapses back to the mat clutching his face, at which point Landon simply swivels on the spot, extending his arms to either side and grinning up at the fans on all sides...




"...I don't believe it," Francis groans, "Landon Maddix, Landon Maddix did those kicks in the freaking Budokan Hall? Oh, we're gonna catch shit for this one..."


Mike Stephens starts to sit up, but before he gets any further Landon stops his posing and takes a quick run up from behind his opponent before somersaulting over Stephens' head and grabbing his neck on the way past. The challenger receives a vicious neck snap that momentarily puts him in a position suitable for self-fellatio, then whiplashes backwards as Landon rolls smoothly to his feet with yet another cocky grin. The World Champion takes a moment or two to make sure that everyone can take a picture of him (and a few people even do, there's no accounting for taste) before he turns back to his opponent, now starting to rise from the canvas again. Again Maddix approaches from behind, but this time he waits until Stephens is on his feet before leaping up, grabbing the challenger's head and bringing his knees into the centre of Mike's back, then falling back to the canvas to drive said knees into Stephens' spine with the Lungblower!






"Well fans, I must say I'm surprised," Mak Francis comments, "I was expecting a much more even contest but so far this has been... well..."


"A shitkicking," Suicide King puts in.


"You could call it that," the Franchise concedes, "...and this could turn out to be one of the shortest World Title matches of all time," he continues, "because Landon's planning something nasty!"


Indeed, the World Champion has let out a triumphant cry of 'That's it!' and made a hoisting motion with both arms. Michael Stephens is still gamely getting up and Landon grabs him by the hair and pulls him into a standing headscissors, then reaches down to apply a double underhook for the Demonstar Driver... but Stephens powers up, back bodydropping Landon over his head to the canvas!










"It's still too soon for Landon to even be thinking about that," Francis states with some relief, "and I hope he abandons the plan! However, could this be the opening that Michael Stephens needs to get back in the match?"


Landon doesn’t stay on the mat for long and the World Champion is quickly up again. However, he turns around to find Michael Stephens ready for him and the challenger hits him with a quick armdrag that takes Maddix over again. Landon rolls through and back to his feet, but as he turns to get a bead on his opponent Stephens snags him with another armdrag!


“Boring pseudo-lucha garbage…” King is heard to mutter.


Landon is back on his feet but clearly slightly disorientated now, and Michael Stephens sees his chance to get greater control; the challenger grabs Landon’s right arm again but this time twists it over his head into an arm wringer, eliciting a grunt of discomfort from the World Champion.


“We’ve seen Stephens work the right arm very effectively before now,” Francis notes, “this might allow him slow the match down after his poor start and damage Landon’s chances of landing further offence.”


However Landon has other ideas, and La Cucaracha rolls forwards to alleviate the pain in his arm before coming back to his feet and turning the tables on his enemy but twisting Mike’s arm the other way, preventing the forward roll as a form of escape. Stephens thinks quickly and dashes for the ropes, springing off the second before landing in a seated position on the top cable and using its elasticity to perform a backflip, eliminating the twists that way. He lands on his feet-




-and Landon boots him in the gut, then applies a cravate.


Now, Japanese fans are no stranger to a cunning exchange of hold and counter-hold and displays of technical and submission-based wrestling in the right circumstances. These, however, are not the right circumstances. Mainly because Landon Maddix is in the ring, and what you get with Landon Maddix is the cravate.














“This is the sort of display that makes me ashamed to be an American,” Mak Francis groans as Maddix, the cravate now well over half a minute long, leers around at the crowd.


“This is the sort of display that makes me wish I’d brought a travel pillow,” King returns.


However, say what you will about Landon and his cravates, he knows how to apply them and get the most from them. Every time Michael Stephens shifts himself to try and adjust his position, whether to alleviate the pressure somewhat or maybe to try and counter out, Landon increases his grip. Not for long, but long enough to dissuade Stephens from doing whatever it was he was about to try and allow Landon to go back to a more sustainable squeeze rather than the Deathgrip of Doom. With his opponent seemingly under control Landon decides to try and coax the crowd into a bit of chanting…


‘Toxx-ic sucks!’


‘Toxx-ic sucks!’


‘Toxx-ic sucks!’




…but the Japanese fans know an asshole when they see (or hear) one and are vehement (and successful) in their attempts to drown Maddix out. Landon doesn’t seem all that bothered and carries on squeezing away, but it’s possible that the strain of trying to talk and do something else at the same time was too much for his intellect, never renowned for being gargantuan. Whatever the reason, he’s slightly too slow to respond this time when Michael Stephens shifts his weight and gets enough leeway to be able to drive an elbow into Maddix’s midsection!




The crowd start to come alive as Landon desperately tries to shut Stephens down, but his attempts are thwarted as the Englishman keeps peppering his ribs with blows until after the fifth or sixth one Maddix is finally forced to release his hold!






Stephens rears up, eyes aflame, and with Landon Maddix slightly winded the challenger starts firing off punches, the crowd cheering every blow as Mike lays in with a

























Stephens takes a step back, flips two black-nailed fingers at Landon in the unmistakeable gesture for ‘fuck you’, then rotates like a particularly aggressive track and field participant and lashes out with a Discus Clothesline-




-that Landon ducks, and then as Stephens stumbles back around from the momentum of his own move-




-Landon hits him with the Complete Shot, driving his opponent face-first into the canvas!


“Michael Stephens just cannot build any sort of momentum here!” Mak Francis exclaims in a mixture of surprise and annoyance, “Landon Maddix seems to have him completely scouted!”


“Hold on there Mak,” King replies, “that would imply forward planning and some degree of thought on the part of Landon, which we all know is impossible. I’d prefer to think of it as pure fluke combining with Stephens’ natural incompetence.”


Whatever it is, it seems to be working. Maddix is back on his feet and now arrogantly points at his opponent and demands that Kivell starts counting. The senior official obediently begins…








Michael Stephens places two hands on the mat and starts to push himself up, shaking his head as he does so to try and dispel some of the cobwebs left by its latest encounter with a hard object.









…and Matty Kivell’s count is broken off as Maddix casually walks up to his opponent, jumps nimbly into the air and comes down with a Mushroom Stomp on the back of his head! Kivell gets in Maddix’s face, informing him that he’s just broken the count but Landon doesn’t really care, blows Kivell off and takes hold of his opponent's hair before starting to pick him up by it. Maddix brings the challenger up to his knees... then applies another cravate.


"Oh Dear God, NO!" Mak pleads, but the Franchise's appeals fall on deaf ears as Maddix clamps the hold on. However, Michael Stephens has learned from last time and knows that he can't afford to let Maddix get settled; as a result the Englishman immediately starts firing off elbows again, fighting through the pain of the increasing pressure until Landon is forced to release his hold. Mike frees his head, turns to run for the ropes...




...and just like at the start of the match, Landon grabs his opponent's hair and uses it to haul him off his feet!




Maddix can't help but smirk again, and once more rotates on the spot with his arms spread wide to soak in the boos that rain down from the Japanese crowd as Megan Skye applauds from the outside.


This is why he misses seeing Michael Stephens coil his legs up, knees nearly touching his chest, and then kip up explosively.




Michael Stephens, however, doesn't miss as Landon turns back to face him.




"Kip-up enzuigiri!" Mak Francis shouts in a mixture of surprise and relief, "that came out of nowhere, and Landon never knew what hit him!"


Maddix has barely hit the mat before Stephens grabs him by his hair and drags him up again, then Irish whips the World Champion towards the far corner of the ring. Landon puts the brakes on and reverses the momentum, sending Stephens into the turnbuckles instead... but at the last moment the Englishman vaults up to the top rope before diving back off, twisting in mid-air to hit his opponent with the flying clothesline that a man called Toxxic once made famous as the Role Reversal!




And, just to provide an exclamation point, Michael Stephens kips up again.


"Fans, things have suddenly undergone a drastic turnaround here," Mak Francis says, "it looks like Stephens is digging into his old playbook to catch Landon off-guard!"


"He's a spot-monkey," King argues, maybe not all that inaccurately, "put him under pressure and he'll go back to what he knows!"


Landon, clearly confused and wrong-footed by the change of tempo, is starting to struggle back to his feet. However his progress is halted as a grim-faced Michael Stephens clamps two forearms around his opponent's head and squeezes.


"And now it's Stephens' turn to apply a cravate," Mak says in amusement, "I guess he wants to beat Landon at his own game!"


Oh no Mak. Far from it.


In fact, after a couple of seconds Michael Stephens spreads his feet, braces himself and hauls with all his might. Landon Maddix's head and neck is wrenched upwards and forwards, and his body follows in a painful arc that sees the World Champion land flat on his back.






"That... that was the Downshifter Suplex," Francis stutters in disbelief, "one of the specialities of Nathaniel Kibagami! What the hell is Michael Stephens doing bringing that one out?"


Landon Maddix has rolled out of the ring, clutching his neck. From his knees on the floor of the Budokan Hall the shell-shocked World Champion looks back and up, eyes finally focusing on the figure of his opponent standing in the middle of the ring. Michael Stephens waits until Landon's eyes, full of fury, have settled on him before ostentatiously cracking his neck from side to side.


And then slowly, deliberately, a familiar lopsided grin starts to spread across one side of his face.






Still grinning, Stephens extends one black-nailed hand and twitches the fingers, beckoning Landon back into the ring. Maddix's response is to swear audibly in rage and frustration, and kick a guard rail.


"See?" King says in triumph, "see, Francis? I told you Toxxic was trying to lull him into a false sense of security to get this match. You can't trust that man, he's as dishonest as..." the Gambling Man pauses and searches for a suitable simile, then settles for "...me."


"I seem to recall you talking about Stephens' 'natural incompetence' not that long ago," Mak Francis retorts, but he sounds a little less sure of himself than he did.


"OK, so he's a good actor and had me fooled. For a minute."



Landon Maddix's face is a picture of conflict; the World Champion clearly wants to get back in the ring and get revenge, but he's also too smart to try it when Michael Stephens is waiting for him. Maddix hesitates uncertainly... and finds himself on the receiving end of some abuse from the nearest Japanese fans. Whether they're particularly vitriolic in their hatred of Landon or they just want him to get back in there and get on with the match remains unclear, but either way Maddix turns around to jaw back at them (in a different language, admittedly). And as he's doing that Stephens turns around and runs for the far ropes, rebounds off them and then SAILS over the top to come crashing into Landon with an inch-perfect tope con hilo!




"Michael Stephens didn't want to wait for Landon to bring the fight back to the ring, so he's taken it out to the floor!" Mak Francis says as Stephens gets back to his feet, wincing slightly before raising one hand in acknowledgement of the cheers of the crowd. "King, I get the feeling that the momentum has definitely shifted here."


"Mak, I've always admired your perceptiveness," King replies, "but I think a blind man could have told that."


"Yes, I can!" 'Blind' Ryan Kade puts in, before wandering back off into the realms of Sunday Night Frost.


As the announce team bicker Stephens has got hold of the crushed La Cucaracha and hoisted him to his feet, then pointed at the nearest ring post. With the crowd making approving noises Mike grabs Landon's head and starts running, then hurls his enemy into the steel post!




Landon's head connects with a sickening sound and the World Champion staggers away in a drunken circle before dropping to one knee. But his problems aren't over yet as Stephens catches up with him, grabs him by the hair and raises him to his feet again... then points at the next ringpost!




"It looks like Landon Maddix is about the get the Grand Tour of Tokyo!" Francis says with a certain amount of satisfaction as Stephens drags his opponent around the ring and-




-bounces his head off the second ringpost! This time Landon drops to both knees and groggily grabs at the ring apron to try and hold himself up, but Stephens picks him up again and sets him back on a (wobbly) vertical base, before grabbing Landon's right wrist and Irish whipping him into a third ringpost!




Landon hits hard and this time simply keels over backwards to land on the protective mats surrounding the ring. A close up shot shows that the World Champion's head has been split open and a thin trickle of blood is starting to seep down his face; the sight of that on the Smarktron only fires the Japanese crowd up more!






However, Michael Stephens doesn't take any time to acknowledge the chants, instead remaining focused on his opponent. The challenger picks Landon up and rolls him into the ring under the bottom rope, but doesn't immediately follow him. Instead, after a quick check to make sure La Cucaracha is correctly positioned, Stephens hops up to the apron and then starts climbing towards the top turnbuckle.


"It looks like Michael Stephens has decided that high-risk is the way to go in this match," Mak Francis observes.


"Well let's face it, the 'get the crap kicked out of you' approach has limited effectiveness," King points out.


Once on the top rope Stephens does another quick check to make sure that Landon doesn't look like moving... then somersaults off through the air to land the Hangover right across his opponent's windpipe!






Michael Stephens is quick to get back to his feet after that move and motions for referee Matthew Kivell to begin counting...















-but Landon Maddix started stirring not long after he stopped spasming, and the World Champion makes it back up to his feet before he's even halfway to losing the match. Maddix puts a hand up to his oddly-warm-and-wet forehead and takes his fingers away with a smear of blood on them; then focuses back on Michael Stephens. The Englishman motions for him to 'bring it', Landon's eyes narrow, and he attacks with a right hand! However, Stephens gets his arm up to block and fires back with a European uppercut that rocks Maddix back onto his heels, then grabs Landon's head and delivers a headbutt-




-that knocks the World Champion off his feet and back down to the mat! Stephens doesn't wait for his opponent to rise this time, instead dropping down to apply a front facelock and keep Maddix grounded.


"And now it looks like Stephens has started to form a strategy," Francis says, "one that doesn't rely on high-risk moves; Landon is bleeding, so if Stephens can keep Maddix down and keep pressure on his head there's a chance he'll get too groggy to put up much of a fight after a while."


"Unfortunately I don't think Landon's bleeding enough for that to come into it much," King says with regret, "I reckon it's more that Toxxic's run out of ideas and is playing for time."


However accurate either commentator is, Landon has no intention of sticking around to find out. Instead the World Champion reaches up and claws at Stephens' face with his fingers, causing the challenger to cry out in pain and relax his grip. From there Landon manages to twist out of the facelock, taking Stephens' right arm with him as he does so and ends up, breathing slightly heavily, with a back-mounted hammerlock.


"Cheap," Mak mutters.


"Earth to Franchise," King puts in, "no rules."


"I was talking about Megan Skye," Mak covers.


"Then I'm in total agreement."


Michael Stephens tries to twist out from underneath his opponent but with no luck; Landon has him pinned down and the World Champion proceeds to try and get his left arm around Mike's throat, searching for the Land of Nod! With his right arm twisted up behind his back Stephens is in predicament and he desperately swats at Landon's hand with his own left arm, finally just placing it around his own throat to prevent Maddix from cinching the hold in. Maddix sees what might be a chance and releases Mike's hammerlocked right arm in order to use his right hand to grab at Stephens' left wrist, trying to get a half goku-raku, but with his right arm free Stephens is able to push upwards and partially dislodge Maddix. Landon isn't done yet though, and he twists around to place both knees in the centre of his opponent's back before grabbing at Mike's throat with his left hand and a leg with his right, then rolling backwards to apply a bow-and-arrow lock!


"Maddix displaying his affinity for lucha wrestling and moves here," the Franchise notes, "but I'm not sure how long he'll be able to-"


Francis is pre-empted, as Stephens grabs at Landon's hand on his throat and pries it loose, then rolls off of his opponent. However the challenger has clearly been stretched uncomfortably and Maddix seeks to capitalise, getting back to his feet and jumping up to deliver a double stomp to Stephens' back, then immediately falling into a back senton that crushes the Englishman! A few boos are starting to rise inside the Budokan Hall but Maddix doesn't waste time playing to the crowd anymore; since seeing his own blood Landon seems to have realised that his opponent really does mean business, and he's got no time for crowd-baiting now. This time there's no messing around; Landon grabs Stephens by the hair and hauls him up, then pulls him into a standing headscissors and goes to underhook both arms...


...but Michael Stephens manages to evade Landon's attempts to set him up for the Demonstar Driver, and instead hooks both arms behind Landon's knees before pushing and toppling the World Champion onto his back!




From there Stephens keeps hold of Landon's legs and uses them to twist La Cucaracha onto his front, then crosses the right leg into the crook of the left knee and locks them in place with his own legs before leaning forward to apply a ¾ nelson facelock and complete the Regal Stretch!


"Landon Maddix again suffered for going for the match-ending hit too early," Mak Francis declares, "and now Michael Stephens has him tied up with nowhere to go!"


Sure enough, Maddix is yelling in pain as Stephens cranks back on the hold, but referee Matthew Kivell is in no position to do anything about it; the SWF’s senior official just watches, well aware that Maddix can’t give up.






The chants are rising in the Budokan Hall now, just to add a bit of insult to injury for Maddix as the World Champion tries to prise Stephens’ arms loose with his one free hand. He isn’t having much luck though, and the Englishman doggedly hangs on.






However, strain is starting to show on the face of Michael Stephens. The position of applying the Regal Stretch is not a comfortable one, and with his back having been stretched, stomped on and senton’d only a minute earlier Stephens is clearly in some discomfort himself. Finally it becomes too much; Landon is still struggling but Mike can’t maintain his position anymore and instead he releases Landon’s legs and slides his own forward to straddle Landon, perhaps looking to apply an easier-to-manage rear-mounted ¾ nelson facelock. However, the moment his weight leaves Maddix’s back the World Champion twists around like quicksilver and fires a kick up into his opponent’s crotch!






Stephens’ eyes cross and the man from Nottingham topples sideways, clutching his happy-happy-joy-joy area; meanwhile Landon, after a moment’s bliss with the cessation of immediate pain, suddenly works out exactly how much his body hurts and rolls away, clutching various parts of it in turn.


“Now why didn’t you think of that when Toxxic transitioned to that rear-mounted ¾ nelson facelock in the World Title match you lost?” King asks Mak Francis innocently.


“That wasn’t no-DQ,” Francis returns with a touch of bitterness.


“You still lost though,” King points out, “might as well go out by kicking the other guy low. Leaves an impression, at least.”


The crowd in the Budokan Hall have started clapping, trying to urge Michael Stephens back to his feet and back onto the offensive against Maddix. However the Englishman is preoccupied with his own personal world of hurt, and with neither man able to rise immediately Matthew Kivell is forced to start administering the ten-count…

















“They’re both getting up,” Mak informs the viewers, “but which man will reach his feet first?”





The answer; both at the same time. Maddix straightens up with a wince and looks across the ring to find himself staring into two vaguely-nauseous grey eyes as Stephens reaches a vertical base. The two competitors just glare for a moment… then spring into action and charge forward, meeting each other shoulder-to-shoulder! Both stagger back a step, but neither goes down!




As if acting on some unspoken agreement they both turn and run for the ropes behind them, then come springing back at an even greater velocity. Stephens swings one arm for a clothesline but Maddix ducks, and they rocket on to rebound off the opposite set of cables from where they started. This time Maddix lashes out with a forearm smash but Stephens ducks, and both men hit the ropes again. The third time Stephens leaves his feet and scythes along the mat with a soccer tackle to take Landon’s shins out from under him, only to see the World Champion go sailing over his head with a Cucaracha Kick that likewise misses its target!




Both men scramble back to their feet and lunge for each other again, but this time Mike grabs Landon’s wrist and drops, taking the champion over with an armdrag that sees Maddix roll through and come back to his feet. La Cucaracha takes a swing at his opponent but Stephens ducks, then reaches up to snare Landon as if for a Hangman’s neckbreaker. However, instead of dropping straight down he twists as he does so, ending up sitting out and driving Landon facefirst into the mat with the Pressure Drop!






“They’ve upped the tempo again,” Mak Francis exclaims, “and what a rip-roaring match we have now!”


“Just you wait,” King says, “one of them will have to slow down at some point to try and get the win; the question is, how much is going to be enough to put your opponent down? If you try it too early you just give him ten looooooooong seconds to regroup!”


Michael Stephens doesn’t seem to be willing to slow down just yet though; instead he grabs Landon and hauls him back up to his feet, then places his enemy in a front facelock and extends his right arm out to the side…


“Unfinished Business coming up!” Mak calls…


…but as Stephens starts to turn and bring his arm down Landon shoves him away, then reaches up to apply a reverse headlock! He holds his right arm out to the side…


“That prick’s reversed it into the Landon Eye!” King exclaims…


…but Stephens manages to writhe around in Landon’s grasp until he’s in a front facelock, then in one fluid motion he grabs Landon's arm and unwraps the hold, transitioning into an armwringer. From there he pulls Landon into him before grabbing his own front facelock again and this time brings his arm down to complete the Unfinished Business, driving Landon’s face into the mat once more!








“What a reversal sequence,” Francis says, “with both men fighting over delivering two moves that are very similar to each other!”


“These guys have used a lot of the same moves over the last two-and-a-half years,” King says, “by and large Toxxic’s versions have sucked less, but that’s not necessarily saying a lot.”


Now Michael Stephens seems to have decided it’s time to test his opponent’s resources, and signals for Kivell to make the count. The referee raises his arms and duly begins…

















And Landon Maddix starts to stir on the mat.






Stephens is watching closely, but Landon keeps moving; the World Champion pushes himself up onto hands and knees.






Maddix has his legs under him now and starts to shakily rise…






Landon’s up, but Stephens immediately runs in from behind him, grabbing a ¾ headlock on the way past and running for the turnbuckles! Maddix realises what’s coming and places both hands on his opponent’s back before shoving as hard as he can, and the added momentum sends Stephens crashing chest-first into the turnbuckles!




“Michael Stephens went for the Sunny In England, which could well have finished this contest off,” Francis says, “but Landon was wise to it!”


“Yeah, he started copying that move last year,” King grunts, “even Landon should know the counters for his own moves.”


Michael Stephens staggers back… and Landon grabs a ¾ headlock of his own and runs for the turnbuckles, taking Stephens with him and running straight up the pads…


…flipping back off the top…


…and crashing down into a sitting position on the mat, only to find that Michael Stephens hung desperately on to the ropes! The Englishman’s neck took a wrench as Landon went over but La Cucaracha couldn’t hold his grip and Stephens is still standing, while Maddix rolls away nursing a sore tailbone with nothing much to show for it.


“…and Laberinto’s Revenge is countered in its turn!” the Franchise says, “I guess that comment about knowing the counters to your own moves is just as true for Michael Stephens, King.”


Stephens' neck is clearly hurting him, but the challenger advances on Landon from behind as La Cucaracha gingerly climbs back to his feet, then spins Maddix around and pastes him with a European uppercut!






And another!






And another!






Landon has staggered back onto the ropes now and Stephens grabs his wrist, the Irish whips him across the ring. The Englishman ducks his head, looking for a back bodydrop as Landon rebounds, but the crafty World Champion grabs a front facelock as he runs and goes swinging around to spike his opponent headfirst into the mat with a Tornado DDT!



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"It looks like Landon took a page out of Megan Skye's playbook there," Francis says in some surprise, "she's used that Tornado DDT before!"


"As long as Maddix doesn't pose in lingerie for SWF Magazine it's all good," King replies.


La Cucaracha pushes himself up, head still swimming from the blows he took only seconds before. However, even as he gets one foot under him he sees that Michael Stephens is starting to stir and Maddix's eyes narrow in a mixture of fury and frustration. The World Champion gets back to a vertical base and crouches low, ready for Stephens to rise... and as Mike reaches one knee Landon suddenly springs forward, racing towards his opponent and vaulting off the outstretched leg to smash his knee into Stephens' face with the Shining Wizard-




...but Stephens gets his forearms up to block at the last moment, and Landon stumbles away clutching his knee while the challenger shakes his arms out, trying to dispel the stinging! However, despite his quick thinking Michael Stephens isn't fast enough to regain his feet fully, and as he's wobbling up Landon returns, grabs his head and twists him around into a reverse headlock. Stephens tries to wriggle out of it again, clutching at Maddix's arms, but it seems that the Shining Wizard has numbed them slightly and he can't manage to free himself before Landon's right arm comes scything down to deliver the Landon Eye!




Maddix puffs out his cheeks as Michael Stephens lies flat on his back on the canvas, but it appears that the World Champion isn't done yet; leaving his opponent prone he heaves himself back upright and heads for the nearest turnbuckles, leaving Matthew Kivell unsure whether he's meant to be counting or not. The referee raises one arm to begin, then sees Landon climbing towards the top rope and figures it'd probably be a pointless exercise. He steps well out of the way...


...and Landon leaps off the top rope, pumping his arms and legs on the way down before landing a Frog Splash right on top of Michael Stephens!


'ONE!' bellows Kivell, deciding to start when he can.






"Brace yourself King, but it looks like Landon is in control again," Mak Francis says. "Michael Stephens has got some good offence in and I wouldn't count him out by any means, but whether Maddix's early domination wore his opponent down too much or it's just that the Cockroach had more in the tank to begin with, the World Champion is once more dictating the pace."






"Goddamn fragile straight-edgers," King mutters as Landon stops holding his ribs and pulls himself up on the ropes.









...and Michael Stephens begins to move. The challenger braces both hands beneath him and starts to push, forcing his bodyweight off the canvas.






Stephens is up to one knee.






He's up - but Maddix immediately steps in and delivers an elbow to the back of the head that drops the Englishman to his knees again, then picks him up, scoops him off his feet and delivers a bodyslam to put him back on the mat. However, once more Maddix isn't content with this and heads for the turnbuckles. He steps through the ropes to the apron, begins to climb...


...and as he reaches the top rope Stephens lurches to his feet and lunges sideways into the ropes, jolting Maddix's footing and causing the World Champion to lose his balance and land astride the top turnbuckle!




Stephens is only just up and he clings to the ropes he just stumbled into, only narrowly managing to avoid falling back down again. However, the sight of his opponent perched precariously and uncomfortably on the top rope seems to galvanise the Englishman and after a few seconds he pulls himself along the cables to the corner where Maddix is trying not to make any sudden movements, then delivers a right hand to the gut that causes the World Champion to double over. Stephens reaches up, then drags Landon's head down into a front facelock before hooking his opponent's left leg from the inside.


"Caffeine Bomb!" Mak Francis gasps, "this one could put Landon away!"


But Landon has worked out that this is not a good position to be in, and a few right hands to the ribs that he frogsplashed only moments ago manages to get Stephens to loosen his grip. A quick thumb to the eyes sends the challengers staggering away, instinctively presenting his back to his tormentor... and Landon leaps off, bringing his knees up as he does so and grabbing something approaching a rear chinlock as he collides with his opponent, then swinging sideways and down to deliver a Super Lungblower to Michael Stephens!




"SWEET ZOMBIE CHRIST!" Francis bellows, "that could have snapped Michael Stephens' spine!"


"God I hope not," King mutters, "we'll never hear the end of it if Landon actually does manage to cripple Toxxic..."





Landon Maddix sits up painfully, grabs the ropes beside him and starts hauling himself back to a vertical base.






The crowd in the Budokan Hall are making a lot of noise, but no clear words are audible; some may be chanting for Stephens, some may be expressing simple approval of the match, some may even be giving Maddix their support after that last innovative move.






Maddix doesn't care.






He pushes himself away from the ropes, making sure that Kivell sees him standing unsupported, and turns to watch Michael Stephens fail to rise.






To watch the World Title trickle back into his hands, and his hands alone...






...and one blacknailed hand reaches out and braces itself against the mat. Another follows it.






And slowly but surely, the crumpled heap known as Michael Stephens begins to get up.






Maddix's jaw drops. The World Champion was sure that he'd just put his enemy down for the count.






"Landon, no!" Francis shouts in frustration as the World Champion rushes in and begins hammering forearm blows onto the back of his opponent's neck, breaking the count, "he wasn't up! You might have won!"


"Why the hell do you want Landon to win?" Suicide King asks in bewilderment, looking at his commentary partner.


"King, you have held the SWF World Title," Mak Francis says tightly. "I never have, and I'm unlikely to ever have the chance to again. That title is the most respected belt in all of professional wrestling. I wrestled Michael Stephens for it, and I lost; I know what it's like to face that man in a big match, and I know you need a plan. I also faced Sacred for it at the Clusterfuck last year, and I let my hatred of him get me disqualified.


"Much as I hate to see a cockroach like Maddix with the title around his waist, I cannot stand the thought of him losing the most prestigious title in the world because of his obsession with crippling the man he's in the ring with. He might have won just now, but because it would only have been a narrow margin he wasn't content; he wants to see Michael Stephens broken on the canvas, and-Landon, NO!"


Landon Maddix has stopped raining blows down on Stephens and takes a brief moment to look around at the crowd. His eyes are wide, his grin manic. And then the SWF World Champion reaches down to underhook both of his opponent's arms.


"Landon, he's used the move!" Francis yells, "he's feuded with Kibagami for Christ's sake, he knows how to counter it!"


Maddix can't hear him; if he could, it's unlikely he'd be listening. The World Champion heaves, lifting Michael Stephens off the canvas and this time, this time, Stephens comes up...


...too easily. As the Englishman approaches the vertical apex of what Landon Maddix hopes will be his last journey he tucks his legs and swings both feet up, sending the soles of his boots smashing into Landon's face.




Landon staggers back, releasing his hold as blood spurts from his nose. Michael Stephens falls to the mat but lands on his front, not his head.






'Shut up!' Landon bawls at the crowd, wiping a smear of blood from his face and advancing on Stephens, but the Englishman suddenly fires up and charges forward from his position on the ground, tackling Landon around the waist and bearing him backwards into the turnbuckles with a yell!




Landon sags against the buckles, breath blasted from his lungs, but Stephens is no longer in any condition to follow up immediately and he almost leans against his opponent as he gathers himself. The he straightens up, pops Landon with a right hand and grabs his enemy's arm, Irish whipping Landon towards the opposite corner of the ring... but Landon reverses and sends Stephens in instead! With what might be a last gasp of athleticism Michael Stephens manages to vault to the top rope...


...Landon hits the deck in anticipation of the Role Reversal...


...and Michael Stephens stays where he is, balanced on the top buckle and facing out towards the crowd.






Maddix looks up, suddenly aware that his opponent has not sailed overhead, and sees Mike on the top rope. He gets up and hurries towards him, perhaps hoping to crotch Stephens on the turnbuckles in revenge...


...and as Landon approaches Stephens suddenly kicks his legs out, dropping down into a sitting position for a split second before performing a split-legged moonsault backwards and snaring Landon on the way past to drive the back of his head into the mat!




"SUNNY IN ENGLAND!" Mak Francis roars as the Budokan Hall explodes, "Michael Stephens knew Landon could counter it, so he suckered him in to get him another way!"


"OK, I'll admit, that was impressive," King concedes, "although Landon was a fool to walk into it."





Michael Stephens doesn't have any kip-ups left anymore. The challenger rolls onto his back, looks up at the lights and waits for the world to stop spinning.






But the job is still only half-done. With a wheeze of annoyingly-short breath, Stephens forces himself up to a sitting position.






From there he gets his legs under him and, weakly at first, starts to rise.






"King, we could be about to see Michael Stephens join El Luchadore Magnifico and Danny Williams as a four-time World Champion," Francis says; not without a tinge of regret, it must be noted.






"Guess again, Wheels," King replies gloomily, "look who's coming back to party."






Sure enough, Landon Maddix is moving. The World Champion rolls onto his front and makes a grab for the ropes, then begins to painfully haul himself upright.






Michael Stephens takes a step forward before realising that any interference, whether to hit Landon again or to pull him away from the supporting cables, will only break the count. Accordingly he waits, hoping that Landon will lose his grip; will fall; perhaps will not be able to stand unaided, forcing Kivell to call for the bell.






Not this time.


"Damn!" King spits, "don't you know when to quit, boy?"


Landon has released the ropes and is standing, however unsteadily, on his own two feet. Then he turns around in search of his opponent...


...who is suddenly beside him, snaking his left arm up under Landon's for a half nelson, then grabbing the back of Maddix's tights and hauling him off his feet before sitting out and delivering another facebuster to the groggy World Champion.




Stephens glowers down at his opponent as if to say 'and stay there' before slowly starting to get up again. He's in no great rush. As long as he makes it before ten, he should be OK.






Wincing, Michael Stephens stands upright. Most of his body hurts for one reason or another, and he's exhausted like he wouldn't have believed possible. The matches against Sean Davis, David Cross and the Insane Luchadore were no preparation for this.






It's not just a physical exhaustion though, it's a mental one. He hasn't had a match that's lasted this long, that's involved this degree of concentration and determination since the Canadian Deathmatch against Scott Pretzler.






That was the match where Michael Stephens broke his own rules, and the rules of the match, and cheated to pick up the win. And that was what drove him away. By the end of the match, he was out of ideas, because Pretzler just would not stay down.






Much like Landon Maddix is now starting to push himself up onto all fours...






"King, will you look at this?" Mak says, "dislike Maddix as we both do, and as most of the English- (and probably Spanish-) speaking world does, you've got to admire his determination!"






Maddix has got one foot under him now, and starts to stand. He wobbles, but slowly rises.






And Landon Maddix stands, unsupported, in the middle of the ring in the middle of the Budokan Hall as Michael Stephens watches in grim disbelief.


And then Maddix drops to his knees.


"KEEP COUNTING!" King bellows at Kivell, but the referee stops, signalling that Maddix was upright for long enough to break the count! He prepares to begin another count if necessary, but Michael Stephens isn't going to give Maddix another ten to recover and strides forward-




-and Maddix low blows him.




"Legal!" Francis says through gritted teeth, "despicable perhaps, unsportsmanlike certainly, but unfortunately legal."


Michael Stephens collapses to one knee directly in front of his opponent, face screwed up in pain. Landon, his face merely a foot from his opponent's, grins in tired triumph, then spits in Stephens' eyes.


Then he gets to his feet, much easier than before.


"He was playing possum!" Francis realises, "he went back down to his knees because it was a perfect position for a low blow!"


Michael Stephens isn't going anywhere; he just remains on one knee, trying to gather the strength to rise. Landon turns around and stumbles for the ropes, his pace picking up and getting more fluid as he does so, until when he rebounds he's travelling at something approaching his usual speed and he vaults off Stephens' outstretched leg-




-to nail the Shining Wizard!


And Michael Stephens topples backwards to the canvas.






"Could that be the final nail in Michael Stephens' coffin?" Mak Francis asks, "he's taken a hell of a beating here but Landon's taken more if anything, and it's the World Champion who's currently on his feet! Fans, I'm praying for Stephens to get up as I'm sure you are, and I'm sure the Suicide King is-"


"Eh? Fuck that," King snorts, pulling a cellphone out, "I'm calling a hitman I know!"


"-but I'm not sure how likely it is," Francis finishes.






Landon Maddix, with a slight limp in his right leg, gets back to his feet and grins. He knows that's it.






The fans in the Budokan seem to know it too. Their voices are hushed, only a murmur of background noise remaining.






In fact, there's only one person in the entire arena who seems not to know it.






And that's the man who's just rolled over onto his front.






The grin falls off Landon's face. Michael Stephens braces both black-nailed hands against the canvas and pushes. His arms tremble for a moment... then go limp, and Maddix breathes again.






...and then the arms tense once more. Slowly, very slowly, Michael Stephens starts to lever himself up. He makes it to all fours.






The challenger gets one leg under him. The Budokan Hall is hushed, the fans not wanting to make a sound, perhaps in case the force of the air sends Stephens toppling over again. With desperate concentration on the simple act of standing, Michael Stephens strains to rise...






...and he stands on two legs. He wobbles for a moment and Kivell pauses, waiting to see if the Englishman goes over again, but Stephens remains standing and the referee signals that the match can continue!


And now the Japanese fans cheer.








"What an effort of will by Michael Stephens," Mak Francis exclaims, "he's up and ready to continue!"


"He's out on his feet!" King snaps, "look at him!"


Sure enough, Michael Stephens' eyes are unfocused and he seems unable to take a step; just standing upright is taking all his resources. Landon's mouth sets into a snarl and he steps up to his opponent before delivering an elbow strike... and Stephens just topples backwards to the mat like a sack of potatoes!





"An elbow?" King asks in dismay, "Toxxic, if you let Landon beat you with an elbow he's going to gloat about it for years, and I'll have to kill you."






"You never know, this could be enough," Mak Francis says, "remember that Kibagami beat Alex Zenon in a Last Man Standing match with a punch. It was the straw that broke the camel's back."






"First, do not name Alex Zenon to me," the Gambling Man snaps, "secondly, remember that he was a little bitch anyway, and by the time he faced Silent in that match he was an out-of-shape little bitch. Thirdly, likening Zenon to a camel is acceptable, and indeed should be encouraged."






Michael Stephens is stirring. The challenger sits up, breathing hard, then tries to get his legs under him again.






The Englishman awkwardly rocks his weight forward onto his legs, then grits his teeth and tries to stand. Maddix, his jaw set, watches his enemy slowly start to rise...






For one awful moment it looks as though Michael Stephens is going to lose his balance, but then he manages to readjust and straightens...






...and stands unsupported, causing Kivell to end his count! Maddix rolls his eyes, walks up to Stephens and simply places his hand on his opponent's face and pushes, sending the challenger back down to the mat yet again.




"Umm... modified STO from Landon Maddix..." Mak hazards.


"It was a shove!" Suicide King barks, "he just piefaced Toxxic!"





Maddix stands back and folds his arms, waiting to see if his opponent rises again.






Michael Stephens just lies in a foetal position on the mat, both hands holding the back of his head. Whether he hit it on the way down or it's just an accumulation of damage is hard to tell.






'THAT ALL YOU GOT!?' Landon screams at his prone enemy, suddenly bursting into action, 'C'MON, WHERE'S YOUR DARK SIDE NOW?'






"There's no need for this," Mak Francis mutters.








"Landon," the Franchise says, "just finish him. Just end this. You're not proving anything anymore."


However, as the words leave Mak Francis' mouth, Michael Stephens rolls over onto his front. As the crowd holds its breath, he painfully tries to rise.






'YEAH, COME ON, GET UP!' Landon yells as his opponent finally shows signs of life.






Michael Stephens is on one knee.


'GET UP!' Landon bawls, but doesn't allow his opponent to do so as he just steps in and delivers something that's half-kick, half-bootscrape across the side of Stephens' face, and the Englishman goes down again.






"Please God, let that be it," Mak mutters.


"You're still wanting Maddix to win?" King asks.






"What would you prefer?" Francis snaps, "Landon ends it now and retains, or he kicks Michael Stephens around for half an hour, then retains?"


"Another half an hour of Landon," King shudders, "OK, I get your point."






"Landon, you've done enough," Francis says as Maddix squats down onto his haunches, watching his opponent, "you've won the match, you're the better man. Congratulations. Now put him away and let it go."






And if this was a regular match where only a pinfall was needed, it would be just that simple. But it isn't. Landon has never quite got to the point where he's done enough damage to keep Michael Stephens down for the ten-count. As long as he can hear the count, and know that the match is still going on, Stephens will always try to rise. Landon's not doing any more damage now, he's just making his opponent get up again and again, perhaps hoping to make the former Straight-Edge Sensation admit defeat for once in his life and give up. Maybe at some point Michael Stephens will stay down; admit that he's beaten and stop trying to rise.


But not this time.






"King, I can't work out if this is true fighting spirit or sheer stupidity," the Franchise admits as Michael Stephens, body shaking with the effort, starts pushing himself up onto all fours. The last kick from Landon seems to have scraped along his eyebrow and busted him open, but he hardly has the strength left to wipe the trickle of blood away. Everything is focused on getting back to his feet and beating Matthew Kivell's count.






One knee. Landon has risen to his feet from his squatting position - not without a grimace of effort - and slaps his right leg a few times...


"Shining Wizard," King gloomily predicts, "at least this'll end it."






Landon starts to run forward...


...and pulls up short of his opponent, then motions for him to continue to rise! The World Champion looks around at the crowd and, with a wild-eyed grin on his face, signals for something that seems to involve two arms, and lifting...








"NO!" Francis yells, "for God's sake Landon, don't do it! Just hit him now and end it! HE'LL COUNTER IT!"


Oblivious to his opponent's signals, Michael Stephens braces both hands on his right leg and pushes up, finally staggering to his feet.






And, with his opponent standing unsupported, Maddix delivers the kick to the midsection that will surely set up the Demonstar Driver.


Trouble is, Michael Stephens catches the kick, and holds on.




The roof nearly comes off the Budokan Hall. For a split-second the two enemies stare into each other's eyes, Landon's dark brown meeting Michael's steel grey. In that one moment a dispassionate observer might notice how similar the two look. Similar height, similar weight, similar build, similar age, even similar wounds causing blood to trickle down their faces. Two young men who started out on the courses of their careers with similar aims and ambitions and who, when life threw them curveballs, responded with similar unpopular choices. Someone who didn't know the two might almost think, compared to Landon's blonde hair, tanned skin and regular wrestling shorts, that Michael Stephens' pale skin, dyed black hair and unorthodox baggy pants would make him look like the evil twin; two opposites of the same coin, locked in combat. But here in the ring, concepts like good and evil get blurred.


Michael Stephens drops to his knees, Landon's leg still in his grasp, and slams a low-blow into Landon's groin.








"YES! YES!" King ejaculates, "give me an action replay! I want to see that again!"


Michael Stephens seems to be operating on automatic now. As Landon's eyes bulge and the World Champion begins to crumble the Englishman rises back to his feet, moving through long-practiced motions to snare both his opponent's arms in a double-underhook.


"Oh no..." Francis whispers.




Something communicates itself to Landon's pain-saturated brain, and La Cucaracha drops to his own knees, desperately sandbagging.




Michael Stephens grits his teeth, but he can't get Landon off the ground. Despite the challenger's best efforts Maddix is doing everything he can to prevent himself being lifted. One final heave only allows Stephens to get his opponent a little further up... and time seems to stop for a second.


Maddix and Stephens, neither one able to truly win, neither willing to truly lose. Similar as they are, each one moulded by the actions of a callous enemy, you might expect this one struggle to continue until one or both can struggle no more. One of them will need to break the cycle before it repeats itself again and again and again.




A faint grin passes over Michael Stephens' face. And he falls back and, while maintaining the double-underhook, wraps his legs around Landon Maddix in a bodyscissors before the sandbagging World Champion can respond.




"RTF II!" Francis yells in sudden shock, "Landon was so busy blocking the Demonstar he left himself completely open to Michael Stephens' newest submission! It's locked in, and the World Champion has nowhere to go!"


Maddix suddenly realises he's made a miscalculation and struggles, but to no avail; his deliberate lowering of his centre of gravity to counter the lifting of the Demonstar meant he dropped like a stone when the RTF II was applied, and to add insult to injury his head was driven into the canvas with what was effectively a double-arm DDT. Now he thrashes his legs but can't get any traction on the canvas; he desperately struggles to free his arms but Michael Stephens has his hands clasped tight and knows that all he has to do is hold on.




Slowly, inexorably, the pressure begins to tell on the back of Maddix's neck. The World Champion's head is being crushed against his chest; his breathing isn't entirely cut off but his oxygen supply is being severely restricted, and the pain in his neck from Stephens' earlier offence is flaring up again.




"Granted, that was quite cool and made Maddix look stupid," Suicide King says, "but Toxxic isn't going to win this on a submission Mak."


"No, but if Landon passes out he might not be able to answer the ten-count," the Franchise replies tensely.




Maddix's struggles are weakening. Pain, lack of exygen, maybe even bloodloss are all combining to weaken the World Champion. Michael Stephens just hangs on.




Finally, Maddix stops moving. Matty Kivell checks on the World Champion and shakes Stephens' shoulder, trying to persuade him to let go, but the Englishman just shakes his head. Not yet.




There is a final burst of energy from Maddix; perhaps an attempt to take Stephens off-guard, maybe just an instinctive last gasp. Then stillness. And Michael Stephens still hangs on.




And now he lets go. He rolls away and grabs the ropes, then starts pulling himself up, grey eyes exhausted. Kivell does a quick check to make sure Maddix is still breathing, then begins his count.






And Landon Maddix shows no signs of life.






Still nothing.






"King, it looks like the man who always has a plan may have been outwitted," Mak Francis says. "Landon Maddix definitely had a plan going into this match, but it may have been the wrong one."






"You mean the plan of continuously trying to break his opponent's neck?" King asks. "Yeah, would have been effective if he'd pulled it off, but thankfully for us all he didn't."






"I think for once, Maddix's almost psychotic focus worked in Michael Stephens' favour," Mak replies, "because I don't think it even occurred to Landon that Stephens would go for anything but a Demonstar Driver from that position! He couldn't grasp the fact that maybe Stephens just wanted to win, not to injure him!"






"You go ahead and believe what you want to believe," King smirks, "I know Toxxic would have snapped Landon's neck given half a-"


"King, look!"


Landon Maddix is stirring.






The World Champion weakly rolls, hands clawing at the mat. He braces his arms and tries to push.


Nothing happens.






He tries again. Once more, his arms shake and give out.


"King, I think the RTF II has weakened Maddix's arms so much he can't even lift his body off the canvas!" Mak exclaims.


"Either that or Toxxic managed to slip a neck-breaking twist in there without us realising," King muses.






With a primal scream of frustration, Landon desperately struggles to pick himself up, but his body just won't obey him. As his latest effort sputters out the World Champion raises his head and, once more, meets the eyes of his opponent as Stephens looks down at him.


Michael Stephens, his face expressionless, blinks once. Then he turns away.









"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN," Funyon booms as 'Rookie' rolls out across the Budokan Hall, "here is your winner, and NEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW SWF World Heavyweight Champion... MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICHAEL... STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-PHENS!!"


Matthew Kivell raises Michael Stephens' right arm in victory, then hands him the World Title. Stephens, his expression still hard to read, takes the belt and just looks at it in his hands for a few seconds. Then he turns out to face the crowd, and raises the belt to each side of the arena in turn. Four crescendos of noise greet him in response and hundreds of flashbulbs go off... but then the new World Champion simply ducks through the ropes and starts to makes his way towards the back. He slaps hands with a few fans as he does so, but there's no indication that he wants to stay and milk the applause. His actions suggest that he just wants to get the hell out of there.


"Fans, I want to say the best man won, but I'm not sure I can," Mak Francis admits. "Landon Maddix could have won this match; he had his opponent beaten, he was the stronger at the end. Much as I don't like him, I hate to see him lose the World Title simply because of a stupid obsession-"


"-you might, but I don't!" the Suicide King interrupts, "Landon's been running his mouth for months about what he's going to do to Toxxic, and when he finally gets the chance Toxxic puts him down and takes his belt! Landon's got nothing to hide behind now, no excuses! It was his own stupidity that lost him this match!"


In the ring, Landon Maddix has now - too late - made it to his feet. Matthew Kivell has already left, well aware of Landon's record with SWF officials lately. Maddix's expression is also difficult to read, but unlike the blankness displayed by his opponent, in his case it's more because of the tumult of emotions that are warring for prominence on his features.


"Fans, we're out of time here," Mak Francis says, "but thanks for joining us at 13th Hour! Don't forget to tune in on Friday for AftershoxxxXXXxxx when we'll have all the fallout from this momentous night!"


"You're getting good at the shilling, aren't you..."


The last image of 13th Hour is not the triumphant World Champion, as on most Pay-Per-Views. Instead it shows the defeated former champion leaning on the ropes. It's unclear whether Landon has come to terms with his loss; whether it has truly registered yet; whether, perhaps, the man who always has a plan has already started scheming again.


He's got five days.









© 2006, the Smartmarks Wrestling Federation

'Raising Workrate By Typing Faster'

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