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SWF STORM, MARCH 14, 2007!

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“Right, right…”


Tom Flesher was in a bad mood. The fact that Alan Clark had been in his office for the past thirty minutes going over contractual details a monkey could figure out was not exactly cheering him up. He had read the paperwork in front of him almost a half dozen times from front to back. Alan Clark was trying to let him in on the finer points of the language, one would guess.


“Okay, so we are all in agreement then?” he had been working frantically since the meeting with Disney. Phone calls were made and things were shouted that may-haps should not have been, but everything had all been but finalized. One signature, of Thomas Flesher, was left to go. One might surmise Alan would have learned in his time in the company not to annoy a former World Champion...but a quick check into the video library would show otherwise. Flesher was keeping his cool, though, and trying to stay as professional as possible with a smiling doofus not six feet in front of him.


“Mmhmm…” Tom was muttering now. That’s a warning.


“He’s available for bookings starting immediately.”


“Right.” Tom paused and made a quick check of his calendar, “Is next week good?”


“What?” (It may be worth noting right here that Alan’s previous comment, specifically the words “bookings” and “immediately”, was sarcastic)(Tom, however, did not give a hoot, if you pardon my French)


“Okay then…that settles it. Now get out.” And with Alan’s jaw loosely hanging and his eyes a gape, Tom threw his signature on the dotted line. “One of my many secretaries will be in touch with his representative.”




“Right, right…” Flesher’s eyes closed and his hand rubbed at his forehead. “Whatever.”






“You won’t believe this…” was all Alan Clark could say as he met with Walter Reynolds outside the office. “You just won’t…” But as the door finished closing and Alan felt he was out of ear shot of Flesher, his voice could be heard almost at a whisper as the scene faded away to commercial…


“…They all bought it.”

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LIVE! From the Tokyo Dome!



Asia Underground vs. Zyon and Alan Clark

~ Zyon is none to happy about taking the fall in last week's Tag Team Mashup. Asia Underground is still running a spectacular winning percentage, but Zyon wants to avenge his loss! Who better to bolster him than YOUR International Champion, Alan Clark?




Michael Stephens vs. Johnny Dangerous

Special Guest Commentator: Landon Maddix

~ Dangerous and Stephens have a score to settle from the last Tag Team Championship defense, and what better way to do it than to have a street fight? Not that this is your sub-main event, since of course Stephens is being phased out.



Wildchild © vs. JJ Johnson

~ Johnson may well be the SWF's poster child for the Heimlich Maneuver. Can he avoid choking against Wildchild?



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“Fans, we’re back here from our commercial break for the House of Marvellous,” Mak Francis says, “and… well, it’s looking to be an odd one tonight, King.”


“You can say that again,” the Suicide King agrees, “I can’t remember something this bizarre since Sir Marvellous interviewed the LA Lakers underwater in a sub.”


“…that never happened.”


“Sure it did!” the Gambling Man snaps, “I’ve seen the pictures!”


“Well, anyway,” Francis continues, casting a dubious sideways look at his commentary partner, “the House of Marvellous will tonight apparently feature Domo-Kun, a media legend here in Japan despite not being real… I don’t know how Marvellous is going to pull this one off, but hey,” the Franchise sighs, “anything can happen in the SWF.”


“You stole that.”


The cameras switch to the ring where Sir Marvellous stands, cane in one hand and microphone in the other, while behind him Tracey Bruner looms imposingly. The host of the segment smiles dazzlingly and insincerely, then raises the mic to his mouth.


“Hello, hello, and welcome to the House of Marvellous!” he beams, “thank you for joining us on the top-rated chat show on TV-”


“-tell me he can get sued for saying that,” Mak Francis pleads.


“-and tonight we have a very special show indeed,” Marvellous continues, oblivious to the Franchise’s scorn, “because we have a cultural icon who has millions and millions of fans…”


“I’m pretty sure he can get sued for saying that,” King comments.


“…please welcome the Icon of the NHK channel…” Marvellous declares proudly, “DOMO-KUN!!”




“OK Mak, what music do you reckon Domo-Kun will use?” King asks idly.


The answer is a surprising one.





“What the-?” Mak Francis manages… but then the crashing opening chord of ‘Rookie’ by Boy Sets Fire rings out around the arena, and any further doubt is dispelled as the Smarktron, which had whited out, drops down to black with jagged white letters spelling out a familiar phrase:




Boos and cheers seem to war, although it sounds like the boos are winning; regardless, the man striding down the entrance ramp, trenchcoat flapping, doesn’t seem to mind.


“Mak, I hate to state the obvious, but that’s not Domo-Kun,” Suicide King remarks as Michael Stephens approaches the ring where Sir Marvellous is still smiling. The Tag Champion rolls into the ring under the ring under the bottom rope and comes upright face-to-face (well, face-to-chest) with Tracey Bruner. The security guard steps aside and lifts the rope to allow Stephens entry to the House of Marvellous set, where Sir Marvellous proffers a microphone.


“Well Michael Stephens, what a surprise,” the host grins, “I was of course expecting Domo-Kun, but seeing as how you’re here I suppose we can try and squeeze you in… until Domo-Kun arrives, of course,” he adds.


“Yeah,” Stephens nods, “see, Tom Flesher has said that I can’t have any scheduled in-ring interviews, but I figured that I’d try and impose upon your goodwill and grab a few seconds before Domo-Kun turned up.”


“Of course, since this is a non-scheduled interview that ruling doesn’t apply,” Sir Marvellous agrees, “but I’m sure Domo-Kun will be along shortly. Anyway, Mister Stephens, since you’re here…” The host pauses, as if a little uncertain how to phrase his next statement. However, Michael Stephens takes the responsibility from him.


“I think I know what you want to ask,” he tells the former Michael Anderson. “You see, some people have been asking me what's going on. Some people seem to think I'm acting different. They seem to think I have a different attitude, a different outlook. And you know what?” the Englishman asks rhetorically, “they're right. But they're missing the point, because the point is not what has changed, but why it has changed. Most people fail to understand that to truly comprehend something you have to appreciate the background.”


"Ah, well I've heard theories on this,” Sir Marvellous ventures. “Perhaps the fact that you lost the World Title? The fact that you got thrown out of the Clusterfuck? Or,” he continues, mindful of the look in his guest’s eyes, “the fact that Tom Flesher seems to be trying to phase you out?" However, instead of reacting angrily at the mention of those events Stephens just smiles slightly… but the smile has no humour in it.


“Oh, I won't deny those things have had an effect on me,” he agrees, “but the change was already underway. Do you remember when I came back from my travels? I returned to the SWF in May last year to find Landon Maddix as World Champion, having slept with and then beaten up my sister.”




The crowd show their disapproval for those events, whatever their respective opinions of Stephens and his tag partner now. Mike looks around for a second, then continues.


“Everyone, Landon included, expected me to go apeshit,” he explains. “They expected me to come steaming back in with revenge in mind, ready to rend and tear, ready to leap off things and shatter vertebrae. They expected me to head straight for Landon. That was what Landon had planned, that was what he wanted... and that was what all these people wanted too. They didn't just expect me to be furious, they wanted it.


“And I didn't give it to them.”


Stephens looks around at the crowd again, as if gauging the reaction his words are getting. Whatever his conclusion, he raises the mic and continues.


“I had no interest in that. I'd made decisions in my time away. I'd realised that this business had changed me, in some respects. I'd come here with a desire to test myself in my chosen field against the best in the world, and I did that, but I got too sucked into it. I got too emotionally invested. A loss wasn't just a setback and an indication that I needed to train harder or be more prepared, it became consuming and dictated my subsequent actions. Nathaniel Kibagami and Justin Bowers can tell you that... probably,” he adds, with a casual shrug. “I didn't want that anymore. All I wanted was to come back and to compete, without any of the potential emotional baggage, if you will. Landon didn't allow that, he threw it back in my face, and you know what? The crowd were on his side.”




“Oh, you don't like that?” Stephens demands, rounding on the fans in attendance, “It's true! I didn't want that match, Landon did, but you did as well! I got booed when I said I didn't want to face Landon! He blackmailed me into a match by threatening to break my sister's neck, and when all was said and done and I'd acceded to his demands, you cheered! I dunno about you, but that ain't exactly what I call positive reinforcement!”








"But all this happened some time ago..." Sir Marvellous ventures, trying to regain control of proceedings. Stephens swings back to face him, but the Englishman seems to have calmed down a little.


“Yes, it did,” he admits, “but that's not all. No, you see when I came back I wanted to wrestle, so I did. I didn't fly about as much, I didn't drop people on their heads, I concentrated more on the technical side of things... and the crowd didn't like that so much. Sure, they cheered when I won, but you know what really got the reactions? You know what really got the fans fired up?”


Stephens looks around again, and that humourless smirk crosses his face again.


“The big moves. The dangerous moves. The ones where odds were either me, or my opponent, or both of us, were going to come away hurting. I mean sure,” he adds, “a decent bit of counter-wrestling would get some applause from people who could actually follow what was going on, but you want to know what got people really into it? Well,” the Englishman says, waving a black-nailed hand at the Smarktron, “I got the guys in the production truck to put together a little video package, let’s take a look.”




The Satellite of Love


As Bruce Blank struggles to rise on the outside the World Champion charges all the way across the ring to the other side to bounce off the ropes and build up momentum, then sprints back towards his opponent. This time Wayne isn’t in the right position to warn Bruce of incoming danger and Stephens doesn’t hesitate - he leaps into the air and goes sailing over the top rope to crash into Bruce with a somersault senton!








The Peace Arch, Washington


The knee of Michael Stephens’ free leg slams into Spike’s temple one more time, and this time Jenkins can’t keep control of the weight above him. He staggers again and, just like against Flesher, Mike slips down behind. And, just like against Flesher, he grabs a rear naked choke on the way down.


However, unlike against Flesher, he doesn’t go for the bodyscissors. Instead he plants both feet on the mat and leans his head forward until his mouth is right next to Spike’s ear. A talented lipreader might be able to make out the words spoken.


‘…ready yet?’


Michael Stephens releases his grip with his right arm, instead threading it under Spike’s and clamping around his own wrist. Then he bridges backwards.




“SLEEPER SUPLEX!” Mak yells, “I’ve never seen Mike throw one of those before, but that’s gotta be it!”


Spike Jenkins landed on the very top of his head. Stephens rolls his enemy onto his back, then makes the cover. He hooks the leg, to be sure.


























Alberquerque Convention Center, Alberquerque, New Mexico


Michael Stephens is tired, and most of him hurts like hell. For the second time in two weeks he’s had someone interfere in one of his matches to try and make him lose a title.


Fuck this shit.


Stephens reaches down and grabs Jay Hawke, then hauls the Dean upright. Hawke staggers, barely able to stand after he drove his knees into the mat. Stephens delivers a headbutt for good measure, then hooks Hawke as if for a vertical suplex. However, most vertical suplexes also feature hooking your opponent’s left leg with your left arm.


“Wait, that’s the-” Mak begins.


Yes, it is. Mike’s right arm might kill, but that more of a stabiliser. His left has enough strength left to keep its grip as he muscles Jay Hawke’s 215lbs up into the air…


…holds him there for a second…


…twists, and drops.






“-CAFFEINE BOMB!” Francis finishes. The pinning cradle is inherent to the move.
























“Note the cheers,” Stephens says as the Smarktron stops showing clips and reverts to being a large version of the normal TV picture, “we had there a somersault senton to the outside, a sleeper suplex, and a little gem I like to call the Caffeine Bomb. Dangerous moves all, in one way or another, but they all got the fans cheering. So,” the Englishman continues, “little by little, I started incorporating a few more of those big moves, those dangerous moves, those high-risk moves. I gave the people a little more of what they wanted to see, and each time they cheered.”


“That’s because they’re morons,” the Suicide King interjects, “and you were stupid for playing to them.”


“But you know what really did it for me?” Stephens says, oblivious to the Gambling Man’s interruption, “I came back, I managed to get by the man who wanted to break my neck without doing any serious harm to him or myself, I won the World Title as a by-product and I set about defending it as the title deserved; against anyone and everyone who presented themselves. And then the SWF stabbed me in the back when they hired Gabriel Drake.”


"Yes, Gabriel Drake,” Sir Marvellous nods, “our World Champion and a man who was convicted for-"


“It doesn't matter now what he was convicted for,” Stephens cuts him off, “my issue is that SWF management knew that Drake was after me, and they hired him. This guy broke the leg of an old training partner of ours, Karl Winter - and Gabe,” the straight-edger says, turning to look into the camera, “I don't have proof that I can bring to the police, you want to sue me for slander you sue me, but I know you did it you bastard - and he was coming for me. And so I waited for about four months until they matched us up in the Elimination Chamber... and I got through it. But the Elimination Chamber brought problems of its own.”


Stephens sighs and runs a hand through his hair, as if exasperated by the memory. Then he raises the mic and continues.






“Heh,” he grunts at the fans’ response, “yeah, It came down to me, Spike and Zyon, and Zyon was stupid enough to trust me in a match where it was every man for himself. It looks like he's the sort of person who can't tell the difference between a temporary alliance and being in a tag team where you've always got your partner's back... and if last week was anything to go by he's a pretty appalling tag partner too, but that's by the by. No, I took advantage of the moment to take Zyon out of the running, and what happened? 'You Screwed Zyon'. No. No, I never screwed Zyon,” Mike says, biting out the words, “the moment he took his eye off the ball, Zyon screwed himself!”










“Now, we can move on,” Stephens says, talking over the warring chants, “we can talk about me losing the World Title, we can talk about Janus chokeslamming me out of the Clusterfuck, we can talk about Flesher and Peters trying to push me down the card and off the show, but you know what was really the last straw?” He stops, raises one black-nailed finger, and points it out at the crowd. “You people.”




“All that time, you cheered me,” Stephens declares, “all that time, you popped for the big moves, the high-risk moves. Hell, sometimes I even deluded myself that you appreciated me, the effort I put in, the risks I was prepared to take. But,” he continues, turning to face the Smarktron again, “I quickly learned my lesson a couple of weeks ago… when this happened.”




cautiously approach each other with their arms raised for a collar-and-elbow tie-up. They come together, but rather than trying to work what might be a slight strength advantage Stephens twists out and behind his opponent with a hammerlock, then slaps Wildchild in the back of the head to push him away!




“Hey!” Mak says as Wildchild looks around, disbelief on his face, “did he just do that?”


“Nice,” King says, “these morons cheered when he did it to Clark, but do you hear any cheers now Francis?”




In the ring Johnny fires off a Shotei that catches Landon more by luck than judgement, then turns around still wiping at his streaming eyes to see where his partner is. He sees Wildchild and Stephens perched on the top buckle...


...he sees Dominic rock backwards as the headbutt hits...


...he sees Michael Stephens grin and clasp his hand around Wildchild's throat...


...and he sees the Englishman simply toss Wildchild off to the arena floor, some ten or twelve feet below.






"What in the name of God!?" Mak Francis splutters. "Chokeslam to the outside! That's... that's how Stephens was eliminated from the Clusterfuck!"










“Yeah, that’s pretty much what they said in Canada,” Stephens shrugs, then raises his voice again. “Two weeks before, I was slapping Alan Clark around the ring, and the crowd cheered! The week before, I split his head open and caused him to bleed, and you cheered! But then, God help me, I dared to lay hands on Wildchild - and that's when it became clear to me. If I'd sent the Disney freak from the top rope to the floor, every single bloody one of you would have creamed your jeans! No, this wasn't about me at all, it was about who I was facing!”






The Englishman’s anger is growing now, and he climbs to the second rope to better address the crowd.


“All this time, you've been chanting for 'Toxxic'!” He shouts. “Every time I came out, all through the match, you chanted; no matter how many times I told people my name was Michael Stephens, you fixated on the past! And none of you, none of you remembered who and what Toxxic was!




“I think they just hoped he’d turned into something different…” Mak Francis murmurs, but Michael Stephens is in full flow.


“You never wanted Toxxic,” he tells the booing crowd, “what you wanted was someone to do your bidding, an extension of yourself to slap the bad guys around a bit, rough them up a bit, maybe drop them on their heads a bit! You wanted me to do that because none of you have got the balls or the ability to do it yourselves-“




“-but you never wanted Toxxic, you wanted a fucking servant that you could direct, that you could control, that would do your bidding and not think for himself!”


Stephens grins as the boos and the jeers rise around him. He used to live for moments like this, when it felt as if the whole world was against him. In an odd way, he’s missed it.






“I don't take orders from anyone!” Stephens shouts. “If I want to fuck Alan Clark up, or Gabriel Drake, or Zyon, or whoever, I'm going to do it because I want to! And if I want to chokeslam Wildchild off the top rope because it seems like a good idea at the time, or spit in Danny Williams’ face, or do what I'm going to do later tonight and beat the shit out of Johnny Dangerous because he thinks he can step up to me, I'm going to do that too! You can cheer me or you can boo me, but either way you can’t do a damn thing about it! And if you think different… if any of the boys in the back think they can got toe-to-toe with me… if anyone on the entire fucking planet thinks they’ve seen everything that I am capable of then every single bloody one of you…”


“Uh oh, I know where this is going,” Mak remarks as Stephens takes a deep breath.






The crowd explodes into a frenzy of jeering as Stephens lowers the microphone, grins, then chucks it to Sir Marvellous and exits the ring. The crowd boos, shouts and in some cases spits at Stephens as he makes his way up the ramp. He ignores them, one and all.


“Well, any hope we had that Michael Stephens might be repentant for what he did to Wildchild just died a death,” Mak Francis remarks, “we’ve just seen a man who’s getting so caught up in his own hype that he’s completely losing touch with reality!”


“Speak for yourself,” King replies, “Toxxic’s talking more sense than I’ve heard out of him in a long time!”


“We’ll be right back after this to see Wildchild in action against JJ Johnson,” Mak Francis reminds fans, “don’t go anywhere!”








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“We’ve got a great match ahead of us here, King,” says Mak Francis, “as Wildchild will square off against JJ Johnson in a non-title match… And I can’t help but think that he’s itching to get his hands on the Canadian Murder Machine!”


“Well, the last time these two were in the ring together,” says King, “JJ Johnson beat Wildchild for the International Championship, so you’ve got to believe that he’s feeling pretty confident heading into this match!”


“I’ll give you that,” concedes Mak. “If there’s anybody that can take Wildchild out of his element, it’s JJ Johnson, without at doubt. But, will he be able to step up here tonight? Let’s go to Funyon, and get this match started!”





“The following contest,” booms Funyon “is scheduled for one fall!” With that, the noise pollution disguised as music, better known as Behemoth’s “Slaves Shall Serve” comes surging out of the sound system, red and white lights flashing at a seizure-inducing pace as smoke begins to billow out from the entranceway.


“That guy sounds like he’s strangling on Drano!” quips Mak. “Can you make any of that out?”


“I tried a few weeks ago,” replies King, shaking his head. “And then I thought I heard something about a starry womb, and decided I was better off not understanding… I can’t believe that there’s a market for that noise.” Johnson makes his way out, his freshly-shaved head gleaming in the bright lights as he strides down the ramp.


“Introducing first,” says Funyon, “from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and weighing in at two hundred twenty-eight pounds… JAY-JAY JOHNSON!” Johnson walks up the metal stairs and steps between the ropes into the ring before walking to the nearest corner, climbing to the second rope, and throwing his arms wide in a crucifix pose.


“For God’s sake,” mutters Francis, “they could have at least turned this infernal racket off!”


“You’re telling me,” adds King. “I feel like I’m going to start bleeding out of my eardrums; this is worse than some of the stuff that Dace Night used to come down to the ring to!”


“I can only hope Johnson’s getting paid to endorse the band,” says Mak. “I’d hate to think that he listens to this stuff for the hell of it!”


“These kids today have no appreciation for the classics,” gripes King. “I mean, look at me: I came down to Ozzy… now THAT was quality music! Thank god that Hawke comes down to Floyd, or I’d think that there was no hope for this generation!”



Johnson paces back and forth in the center of the ring, cracking his neck as his music fades out. It is quickly replaced by the electric squelch that signals the start of Redman’s “Let’s Get Dirty!”


“And his opponent,” shouts Funyon, “is being accompanied to the ring by Melissa Fasaki! From the Bahamas, and weighing in at two hundred fourteen pounds, here is the SWF World Cruiserweight Champion… the WIIIIILDCHIIIIILD!” WC and Melissa slap hands with the fans clamoring around the barricade as they make their way down the ramp. Wildchild stops at the foot of the ramp to remove his shin guards, and then hands them to Melissa, giving her a quick squeeze before somersaulting between the bottom and middle ropes to enter the ring. WC runs to the edge of the ring and climbs onto the middle rope, removing the Cruiserweight Title from his waist and raising it above his head…




… But, unseen by Wildchild, the Canadian Murder Machine decides to take an aggressive stance in this match, running up behind the Champion and nailing him in the back with a Busaiku Knee Kick that sends him tumbling over the top rope and down hard to the arena floor!


“JJ Johnson’s not wasting any time!” exclaims Mak. “He not going to give Wildchild a chance to lock up with him; he wants to get things started right now!”


“Well, Herrington hasn’t officially started this match yet,” says King. “And I’m not sure why; both men were in the ring!” Johnson waits for WC to get back to his feet and 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! Johnson 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 Canadian Murder Machine’s neck as he arches backwards, ripping Johnson through the air with a sensational rana!








“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone counter a baseball slide quite like that!” exclaims Mak, as WC slides back into the ring. “WC managed to recover from Johnson’s earlier sneak attack, and has gotten this match back to equal footing!” Johnson looks up into the ring at the Cruiserweight Champion with a scowl on his face, before climbing back up onto the apron. He steps between the top and middle ropes to enter the ring, and Herrington motions for the timekeeper to ring the bell, signifying the official start of the match:





“There’s the bell!” shouts Francis. “And this match is officially underway!” Johnson closes in rapidly on Wildchild, lowering his center of gravity as he seeks an angle of attack, before finally getting the better of the Champion with a single-leg takedown! Johnson, still holding onto WC’s leg above the knee, rises to his feet and attempts to turn the Champion over into a single-leg Boston Crab, but Wildchild kicks him off! He pops to his feet as Johnson charges back towards him and snaps him over with a quick armdrag!


“Beautiful armdrag by the Champion,” compliments Mak, as WC shifts into an arm wringer. “Nobody does it better!” Johnson negotiates his way to his knees and reverses the arm wringer into an armbar. He forces WC down onto his belly, but before the Canadian Murder Machine can cinch in the Fujiwara, Wildchild rolls forward onto his shoulders to alleviate the pressure, and makes his way back to his feet. Wildchild backs Johnson against the ropes and whips him across the ring, but the Canadian Murder Machine reverses. Johnson lowers his head as WC rebounds, and the Champion flies over him with a running leapfrog, but as he turns back around, Johnson levels him with an elbow smash to the temple!


“Excellent ring awareness by Johnson!” praises King, as Johnson pulls WC to his feet and leads him by the back of the head to a neutral corner, slamming his face into the top turnbuckle! Wildchild leans heavily against the top turnbuckle as Johnson measures him from behind, and slams a series of brutal forearm smashes into his back! JJ turns Wildchild around and grabs him by the wrist, whipping him across the ring. He charges towards the corner to follow his attack…






… When Wildchild suddenly explodes towards the center of the ring, blasting Johnson in the throat with a running leg lariat! Stunned and gasping for air, Johnson scrambles to his feet and is met by the Cruiserweight Champion, who hooks his arm underneath Johnson’s and sends the Canadian Murder Machine back to the canvas with a hiptoss! Johnson stumbles back to his feet again, and WC keeps him off-balance with a slew of rapid-fire right hands. Wildchild whips Johnson across the ring, but the Canadian Murder Machine reverses easily. WC ducks a roundhouse kick as he bounces off the ropes and runs across to the other side. He leaps onto the top rope and curls into a ball as he springs back into the ring with his patented Pinball Attack…


… Which is avoided by Johnson, who ducks underneath and runs to the ropes, snapping his leg into the air as he thunders back towards the center of the ring…





… And blasting the surprised Wildchild with a Yakuza kick! Johnson collapses atop WC for a cover:













Wildchild kicks out at two! Johnson pulls him to his feet and traps him in a front facelock, reaches down to grab him by the leg and immediately lifts him overhead, slamming him back down with a snap suplex! Johnson floats over for another cover:













But only gets two! Johnson pulls WC back to his feet, but the Champion stuns him with a headbutt to the midsection! Wildchild suddenly straightens his back, slamming Johnson underneath the chin with the top of his head. The Bahama Bomber begins to hammer Johnson in the face with right jabs, faster than the Canadian Murder Machine can block. He runs across the ring, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes…






… But Johnson scoops WC into his arms and flings him overhead with a tremendous Railgun suplex!! WC rolls out of the ring and JJ checks his lower lip for signs of blood as the Champion writhes on the floor in pain!








“Good God!” shouts Francis. “What a suplex!”


“Phenomenal move by the Canadian Murder Machine!” praises King. Johnson waits until WC starts to get to his feet and then grabs onto the top rope, twisting in midair as he launches himself out to the arena floor, and levels the Champion with a corkscrew elbow smash!


“Elbow Suicida puts Wildchild back down!” says King. “And Johnson’s got this match completely under control right now!” Johnson rolls WC underneath the bottom rope to return him to the ring, and crawls in immediately after him. He applies a lateral press:

















Wildchild barely kicks out before three! WC foolishly attempts to sit up, and Johnson positions himself behind the Champion, deftly applying a Buffalo Sleeper!


“Buffalo Sleeper!” cheers King. “This is going to do it!” Herrington gets down to his knees and asks Wildchild if he wants to give up, but the Champion replies loudly in the negative.


“Wildchild is fighting the effects of this Buffalo Sleeper,” says Mak, “but I don’t know how much longer he can hold on!” Herrington notices WC’s eyes begin to gloss over and grabs the Champion’s free arm by the wrist, raising it up and releasing it… But Wildchild doesn’t allow his arm to drop even once!






With the crowd solidly behind him, WC attempts to fight back, as he negotiates his way to his feet. He turns into Johnson’s body as best he can, and begins to fire away at the Canadian Murder Machine’s midsection, but he can’t get enough force behind his punches to get Johnson to release the sleeper.


“A valiant effort by the Wildchild to try and get out of that sleeper,” notes Mak, “but he still can’t get loose!”


“Not enough mustard behind those punches,” taunts King, as the fight appears to be leaving WC once again. “Plus, he’s trying to punch across his own body; there’s no way that he could have thought he had the leverage for that tactic!” Wildchild remains on his feet, but his knees begin to buckle slightly. As he begins his gradual descent back down to the canvas, Johnson leans forward to compensate for WC’s weight. Realizing that this may be his last chance for escape, WC rears back and swings for Johnson’s head!





Johnson’s head snaps back from the force of WC’s right cross! Feeling JJ’s hands separate slightly, Wildchild fires off another right, smashing Johnson directly across the bridge of the nose, and freeing himself from the hold!













Wildchild continues on the offensive, peppering Johnson’s face with a battery of snapping right jabs. He runs to the ropes, but Johnson buries his knee into WC’s midsection as he rebounds! JJ collapses atop the Champion for a cover…
















Wildchild just gets the shoulder up! Johnson pulls WC to his feet and picks him up off the canvas before driving him back down with a Scoop Slam! Johnson positions himself behind WC, measuring the Champion as he slowly gets to his feet.


“You have to give credit to the Wildchild for his resilience,” says Mak. “But JJ Johnson remains in control of this matchup. And now, he looks like he might be sizing Wildchild up for a Dangerous German, or who knows what!” Johnson traps WC in a waistlock and pops his hips as he snaps him overhead for a Dangerous German, but he underestimates his own strength, and Wildchild is able to rotate through it, landing on his feet and grabbing Johnson in a waistlock of his own, before pulling him backwards into a rolling cradle!






… But Johnson rolls through the cradle, grabbing onto WC’s left leg and reversing into a Hiza Jugi-gatame!


“Cross knee-breaker!” screams King. “This could do it!” Johnson grapevines WC’s leg, but the Bahama Bomber counters before he can set his center of gravity, rolling both men onto their stomachs, and trapping Johnson’s legs in the grapevine as he pushes himself to a standing position with his right leg, bending Johnson into a rather sloppy Sharpshooter! Herrington bends down to check on Johnson, but the Canadian Murder Machine is easily able to fight his way to the edge of the ring, and grab onto the bottom rope.


“What an amazing sequence of wrestling!” exclaims Mak, as Herrington orders WC to break the hold. “The counters were flowing like Cristal!” Wildchild beats Johnson to his feet and dashes across the ring, exploding off the canvas as he bounces off the ropes and twisting in midair, blasting JJJ in the face with a flying back elbow! Both men scramble to their feet, and Johnson charges towards Wildchild, who ducks as the Canadian Murder Machine flies overhead. Johnson grabs WC by the waist and pulls him backwards into a Sunset Flip, but the Caribbean Cruiser rolls through the attempt…






… And blasts Johnson with a basement dropkick to the face! Both men lie motionless on the canvas as Red Herrington begins his count:








“I tell you what,” adds King, “nobody in the building was more surprised than I was when Wildchild countered into that Sharpshooter! If he knew anything at all about how to properly execute that hold, he may have very well won the match!”









“That dropkick to the face bought Wildchild some time,” says Mak, “but will he be able to follow it up, and claim the momentum in this matchup?” Johnson, the least exhausted of the two, gets to his feet first, and pulls WC up by his shoulder straps, but the Bahama Bomber knocks him back with a right jab to the face! Wildchild follows with a second jab, and a third, but Johnson cuts him off with a kneelift to the midsection, and then follows with a ferocious European Uppercut that knocks the Champion against the ropes!


“Wildchild has been a true competitor in this match, but JJ Johnson has been able to cut him off at every turn!” says Mak. Johnson grabs WC by the wrist and whips him across the ring, but the Human Hurricane dives head-first towards the edge of the ring, planting his hands against the canvas as his back bounces off the ropes, and slings back towards the center of the ring! Johnson anticipates the handspring elbow and runs underneath as WC flips over his head, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes…






… And running full-speed into a shuffling sidekick by the Cruiserweight Champion! WC crawls over to Johnson and collapses atop him for a cover:













Johnson kicks out at two! Wildchild pulls JJ to his feet and leads him over to a neutral corner, where he backs him against the turnbuckles before straddling the middle ropes and beginning to deliver a ten-count punch!
























WC hops down from the turnbuckles and grabs Johnson by the wrist, whipping him across the ring into the opposite corner. He races towards his opponent, leaping off the canvas as he closes in on the corner and twisting in midair as he delivers his patented Blue Crush splash…






… But Johnson surges out of the corner and picks Wildchild out of the air with a devastating Shotgun Lariat!







“What a move!” shrieks Mak, as Johnson shakes his head to try and clear out the cobwebs.


“That lariat would have knocked Wildchild out of his shoes, if he were wearing any!” taunts King. Johnson pulls WC to his feet and staggers him with a Rolling Elbow, before trapping him in a standing headscissors. The Canadian Murder Machine wraps both arms around WC’s waist and lifts him up for a powerbomb… but, you can’t powerbomb the Wildchild! He locks his ankles around the back of Johnson’s head, and arches backwards suddenly to pull him into a flash rana pin!
















Wildchild pulls Johnson to his feet and grabs him by the wrist to whip him across the ring, but Johnson reverses, holding onto WC’s arm as he slides between the Champion’s legs, and springs to his feet, holding Wildchild in a pumphandle motion before bringing his free arm across WC’s body as he suddenly pops his hips…






… Driving Wildchild into the canvas with a wrist-clutch exploder!



“Exploder ’98!” exclaims King. “That’s it!” Johnson rolls WC over and applies a cover:
















“No!” cries Francis. “Wildchild got his foot on the rope!”


“I can’t believe it!” grumbles King. “This guy’s got more lives than a cat!” Johnson pulls WC to his feet and winds his arm around in an arm wringer, before ducking underneath it as he lifts Wildchild into the air to deliver a Northern Lights Suplex…






… But the Caribbean Cruiser counters in midair, spiking Johnson’s head against the canvas with a swinging DDT!


“Wildchild with a tremendous counter, that’s why he’s the Cruiserweight Champion, King!” shouts Francis. “But does he have enough left to go for the cover?”


“No way!” replies King. As if to make him out to be a liar, WC rolls Johnson’s body over and applies a lateral press:

















NO! Johnson gets the shoulder up! Wildchild stares at Herrington in disbelief as the referee calmly holds two fingers in the air.


“I told you!” screams King. “Wildchild cannot beat JJ Johnson; he’s got this kid’s number!!” Wildchild pulls Johnson to his feet and whips him across the ring into a neutral corner. He follows in after him and leaps off the canvas as he approaches the corner, twisting in midair as he crashes into Johnson’s chest with the Blue Crush splash! WC takes a few steps back as Johnson staggers out of the corner and rushes back towards him, swinging his leg into the air and cracking the Canadian Murder Machine in the back of the head with a step-up Enzugiri! WC rolls Johnson over and hooks the leg for a cover:

















Johnson kicks out at two! WC gets to his feet and steps out onto the apron, winding his hands above his head as he ascends to the top turnbuckle.


“Wildchild’s going up to that high-rent district,” says Mak. “And, after that Enzugiri, it usually means that he’s going for the Sunset Flip!” Wildchild gets his feet set on the top turnbuckle, but as he stands up to prepare himself for launch, Johnson suddenly springs to his feet and rushes over to the corner, leaping up to the top turnbuckle as he grabs WC by the waist…






… And tosses him to the canvas with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex!







Johnson crawls over to WC’s body and applies a cover:
















“Oh man!” wheezes Mak. “I thought he had him!”


“YOU thought he had him?” asks King incredulously. “How do you think Johnson feels?” Johnson pulls WC to his feet and traps him in a double underhook before snatching him off the canvas and driving him back down with a butterfly suplex! Johnson pulls Wildchild to his feet and whips him across the ring, taking WC to the canvas as he rebounds with a Fujiwara armbar! Johnson slips WC’s arm between his legs, but the Champion scrambles like crazy to get to the ropes before Johnson can reach across his body.


“Man, was that close!” sighs Mak. “Johnson looks like he was getting ready to go for that Juji-gatame, but Wildchild was just able to get free!”


“If Johnson’s smart,” says King, “he’ll hit Wildchild with a suplex, and go for it again!” Johnson pulls Wildchild to his feet and traps him in a single underhook before lifting him overhead and slamming him back down to the canvas with a half-hatch suplex!


“A half-hatch suplex!” shouts Mak. “I haven’t seen one of those since Andre the Giant retired!” Johnson rolls atop WC for a cover:
















Johnson pulls Wildchild to his feet and leads him by the back of the head towards a neutral corner, and slams him face-first into the top turnbuckle! He hammers him repeatedly in the back of the head with clubbing forearm blows, and then spins him around, grabbing him by the wrist and whipping him across the ring. JJ follows right after Wildchild as he crashes back-first into the turnbuckles…






… But WC grabs onto the top rope with both hands and slings himself out onto the apron, causing Johnson to crash face-first into the turnbuckles! Johnson staggers back dizzily, clutching his head as Wildchild quickly climbs onto the top rope…



“Johnson,” cries King. “Look out!”



… And leaps back into the ring, grabbing the dazed Canadian Murder Machine by the waist and pulling him backwards into a flying Sunset Flip! Herrington dives into position as WC pins Johnson’s shoulders to the canvas!


















Johnson kicks out, but it’s a split-second too late!






“Let’s Get Dirty” begins to play again as Wildchild slithers out of the ring! Johnson rolls to his knees in disbelief as Herrington exits the ring to raise Wildchild’s hand in victory.


“You’ve got to be kidding me!” exclaims King. “Johnson had this match won!”


“What an amazing reversal of fortune,” says Mak, “as Wildchild was able to come up with an innovative escape, and finally caught JJ Johnson off-guard with a spectacular flying Sunset Flip! Let’s go to Funyon for the official word!”


“Here is your winner,” booms Funyon, “the SWF World Cruiserweight Champion… THE WIIIIILDCHIIIIILD!” Herrington retrieves the Cruiserweight Championship and returns it to Wildchild, who is nearly as surprised as Johnson as he tries to catch his breath outside the ring.


“Now I’ve got to beg to differ, Francis,” grumbles King. “JJ Johnson has beaten this kid before, and he came within an eyelash of beating him again; he was totally jobbed here tonight!”


“I had you beat!” Johnson shouts raspily, obviously irate. He holds his thumb and forefinger together. “I was THIS close!” Outside the ring, Wildchild half-shrugs as Melissa helps him back towards the locker rooms.


“This is disgusting!” spits King. “Wildchild may have snuck out of here with a win tonight, but he’s on borrowed time! JJ Johnson has his number, and you can believe that, the next time these two meet for the title, Wildchild’s not going to be so lucky!”


Johnson continues to be uncharacteristically vociferous, pointing accusingly outside the ring at the Champion and shouting, “You’re mine next time, punk!”



As we:


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For a moment, the exterior shot of The Galacticos' dressing room door seems an odd thing to be focusing on as we return to Storm. Until, that is, it swings open almost as if on cue (hey, that's wrestling for ya) at the hands of Landon Maddix. Megan Skye follows halfway out the door but no more, as Landon leans on the doorframe.


"It's just better this way." Landon insists, obviously in mid-conversation from the room. "It's a Street Fight and the fact you'd be sitting on a weapon, at another weapon... I guess you'd count a table as a weapon... anyway, it'll be safer back here. Trust me."


"Okay. And remember, if you can't think of what to say... 'no comment'."


"I'm not an idiot Megs." scoffs Landon. "Now, we're in Tokyo, right?"


"I'll see you later." Megan groans and with that, she closes the locker room door behind her. Whether Landon was joking or not who knows, but he seems pretty chirpy...




...which lasts less than a couple of paces down the hall, at which point a shadow looms over him.


A World Heavyweight Championship holding shadow.


"Landon." Gabriel nods, looking friendly enough.


Landon decides not to run for his life. After all, he survived last week okay, so there's no real reason to believe tonight should be any different. Right?




"You're playing a dangerous game."


Clearly missing something, Landon looks a little confused and thinks twice about how safe this little rendevous may be.


"Excuse me?"


"I looked at the runsheet and apparantly, you're on commentary for Stephens' match tonight." Gabe answers, although it's not a direct answer to the question. "You'd best watch what you say. Far from your second nature as it may be, think before you speak. Because we wouldn't want you missing out on From The Fire."


"Is this like... a riddle, or something?"


"Associating yourself with Mike is a dangerous game. Always has been. The rewards can be pretty good, because despite everything else he's very... successful. Your Tag Team Title reign says as much. But, it's still a risky business, associating yourself with him. Especially now. He seems to be making a fair few enemies for himself recently. More so than usual, as I'm sure you've noticed. Zyon. Clark. Wildchild and Dangerous. Mister Flesher. Janus. And now Danny Williams."


Having listed the names off on his fingers, the fact that Gabe needed more than one hand to do so seems to strike home with La Cucaracha.


"He's always one to make enemies. That's his way. He takes things very personally, which has it's advantages and it's disadvantages."


"Much as I appreciate the walking Wikipedia routine," Landon says flippantly, "I think I know my own tag team partner. So, is there a point you're getting to, or..."


"You know the saying, 'my enemy's enemy is my friend', I'm sure. But have you heard the one about 'my enemy's friend is also my enemy'. Think about it. Stephens is always very... forthright." smiles Gabe, clearly choosing his words very carefully. "But he's also a real slippery customer when he wants to be. Sometimes it's easier to send a message indirectly. Through those closest to him. You know this firsthand, of course."


"Not everybody's like you Gabe."


"That's very true." Gabriel smiles again. "But there's plenty around these parts who'll look at me and the World Heavyweight Championship around my waist, remember who I beat and decide to perhaps follow my example. All I'm saying is, watch your back and watch your mouth. Be careful how close you allign yourself with Mike. Because if you live by the sword that he hands you, you may very well die by it, if you catch my drift. And riddle me this... how fast will you climb that ladder with a sword through your spine?"


Landon tries to stay stoic as possible, giving as little away as possible about what he's thinking.


"See you at From The Fire...






With the faintest hint of a smile, Gabriel saunters past Landon. The number one contender stays exactly where he is and seems to be thinking everything over in his head, before taking a deep breath and walking on down the hallway.

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“Welcome back to Storm from the Tokyo Dome,” Mak Francis says excitedly. “We’re just about set for one of the matches I’ve looked forward to all evening – Michael Stephens will answer the challenge of Johnny Dangerous in a Street Fight! First things first, though, and before we can get to the match-”




“Oh God…Why me?” Suicide King sulks as the lights dim, alternating between complete blackout and really frikkin' bright as "Personal Jesus" by Marilyn Manson hits. The always quick to adapt SWF fanbase already know what this means, not needing functioning lights to tell it's Landon Maddix emerging through the curtains! The lights return back to normal to reveal Landon thrusting his hands to the side as he soaks up the cheers of the crowd!


"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the number one contender to the SWF World Heavyweight Championship and the ONLY two-time Clusterfuck Champion in SWF history... LANDON "LA CUCARACHA" MMMAAAAAAAADDIIIIIIIXXXXXXXX!!!"


Landon proudly strolls down the ramp with the biggest, widest smile imaginable and makes his way around the ring, towards the commentators table. There isn’t anything that could possibly sour his mood tonight. He doesn’t have to compete, just talk-


“You sit your ass on the far side of the table!” Suicide King snarls, pointing at the empty seat next to Mak Francis. “Right over there!”


-until realizing that he’s going to have to put up with the one man who’s always held a grudge against him…always.




“Landon Maddix, welcome to the sacred table of commentary,” the Franchise greets as Maddix puts the headphones on and sits down.


“Thanks, Mak! I’ve looked forward to this all evening! After all, it’s not so often you see management so willing to give me a night out of the ring,” Landon says. He places a refreshing, ice-cold can of Pepsi Max™ on the table, coincidentally with the label perfectly facing the camera-




-and smoothly opens the can of soda. “And instead,” Landon continues, “I get to enjoy my tag partners match as I offer my expert analysis. All this while enjoying this can of Pepsi Max™!”


He takes a sip, holds the can up to eye level…and smiles.


“You God damn product placement whore!” snaps King, standing up with his hand son his hips. “There’ll be *none* of that at my table!”


“Don’t worry! There’s enough for everyone,” Landon replies, producing two more cans of soda. He slides one to Francis and a second to King. Unfortunately, the Gambling Man is not in the mood tonight and he quickly snatches the can of soda off the table and flings it into the crowd, and they swarm to the can like a pack of piranhas.


“At least someone will get to enjoy it,” says Landon cheerfully. “So,” he continues, turning towards the Franchise. “When are we going to get this match – I’m pumped for this one.”


“I’m sure you just want to stick your nose into it!”


“King, please!” Mak pleads. “We’ve got to take a short commercial break and then we’ll be back with the Street Fight between Johnny Dangerous and Michael Stephens.”



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“Do you know that you remind me of my ex-girlfriend?”


Megan Skye, slightly perturbed by the aforementioned query, raises one eyebrow cautiously and places her right hand on her hip. She continues to look, caught off her guard; her mind sputtering for an answer. Skye was just minding her business, pouring herself a cup of coffee at the Kraft service table and watching the monitor for the next match, which she isn’t allowed to go to when out of nowhere the SWF World Champion, who her boyfriend/client/person-thing is about to face at From the Fire, decides to start up a conversation.


“Completely different style, mind you, but it’s there… in the eyes. Those sleepy eyes would tell you what she was thinking before she even could.” Gabriel continues seemingly reminiscing before getting to his real point. “So, why are you back here drinking coffee instead of at ringside?”


Megan, having been completely thrown by Drake’s seemingly candid statements decides that being honest is probably her best bet. “Landon thinks the street fight will be too dangerous for me to be out there with him.”


“Now that’s fuckin’ ironic…” Gabe mumbles barely loud enough for Skye to hear. “Anyway, what do you think about that?” Skye just stares at Drake and then resolutely turns back to the TV and takes a sip of her coffee. After an awkward beat, the World Champ picks up the exchange again…


“I know you heard me, so what’s the point of not answering?”


“Of course I heard what you said—I’m just wondering why you’d even be talking to me, let alone taking a pass at me. First and foremost, I’m with Landon …kinda!” Megan adds as an afterthought, cause she really has been wondering just where their relationship’s going lately. I mean is it too much to get a little confirmation (beyond the always popular lets’ have sex…), but that’s neither here nor there. Blushing at yet another awkward pause, Skye works herself up to continue her rant. “Second, you know I’m his manager and I know your trying to use me, so it won’t work. I may be blonde, but I’m not dumb! For all of your talk about Michael Stephens stabbing people in the back, I trust him a lot more than you!”


“That’s probably a wise move considering your situation.”


“What does that mean?” Megan asks quickly, hearing something in his voice she didn’t like. “What are you planning to do to Landon?”


“Why won’t anyone believe I’m not going to do anything to him?” Drake sighs, and then mutters as an aside. “Actually, I was just pointing out that you’re a clever girl, Megan. They say behind every great man there’s an even greater woman, so how great do you have to be to lift Maddix past his inherent mediocrity?” Gabe chuckles to himself. “I’ll bet you even helped him come up with that ridiculous run first ask questions later strategy for our Cage match at Genesis, too?”


“Well he won didn’t he? That plan was certainly good enough to beat… err, you…”


Megan trails off realizing after the fact that she really shouldn’t antagonize the six foot four, two hundred and sixty pound man looming over her. A quick glance around the area shows that the few techs that were there have disappeared after having their fill.


“You know, I just had a little talk with Maddix. It was about the friend of my enemy, also being my enemy.” Gabe’s hair hangs in an eerie curtain over his eyes as he says this. “You were right not to trust me, Megan. Mike won’t get to stab your boy toy in the back because he isn’t gonna’ have enough time. I plan on stabbing him directly in the front and right where it fuckin’ hurts!”


“I, I-I’m leaving…” Megan sputters suddenly, trying to take her leave. “I-I don’t like the direction of this conversation.”


But Drake reaches out and holds Skye firmly by the upper-arm, yanking her back towards him causing some of the coffee in her cup to overflow. “I’m afraid you can’t leave just yet, because I’ve got a warning for Maddix. He’s always very… forthright with his cute little jokes and opinions, but sometimes you need a deft touch—possibly relayed through a woman to get a point across. Even though I hate the bitch, Livvy was right… like most girls tend to think they are.” Megan keeps tugging on her arm, trying to free herself from the Beast’s grip. “I did need to work on my subtlety. I never was any good at it, but sometimes it is easier to send a message…”


“…Indirectly.” Skye says finishing Drake’s sentence. She above all knows how the mind of a female works and the words come forth on autopilot. “You want to warn Landon, but you’re not going to hurt him, so you’re going to hurt…”


Me. It comes to Megan like a bolt of lightening from the sky and as she slowly looks up into the cold hazel eyes of Gabriel Drake, her own baby blues widen in shock.


“Ah, those are the eyes I was talking about! Now I don’t want you to think this is your fault, Megan.” Gabe begins deliberately, almost as if he’s breaking up with her and has rehearsed the speech in his head multiple times. “It’s nothing personal—actually, that’s a lie, but I still don’t plan on letting you making it to From the Fire!” Tightening his grip on her arm, Gabe revels in the whimper he hears come from Skye’s lips. “Good, now that that’s been cleared up, we can do this the easy way or the hard way! Trust me; let’s not even discuss the hard way, because the easy way is-”






Apparently Megan doesn’t plan on finding out about either one! Tossing her half-full (not half-empty) ‘Cup-a-Joe’ at Gabriel Drake’s face, Megan Skye is able to break free as his free arm go up to protect his eyes. Having been lucky, Drake’s arm saved his face from most of the brown liquid, but it still hurt and he’s definitely pissed!




Skye tumbles backwards just trying to get out of dodge, but Gabe’s left hand snags her around wrist and he flings her into the Kraft service station! Hitting the table hip first, Skye’s hands immediately go to the wounded area as she wonders if the coffee was hotter could she have escaped. Megan’s tough, but that sharp edge stuns her just enough for Drake to wheel around and haul off with a backhand to the face, which causes her to crumple to the floor!


“Wrong move,” Gabe mutters, rubbing at his stinging skin, “Really wrong moves…”


Still wincing from the pain of hot (well warmed over) coffee on his arm and face, Drake lets out a low growl while he picks the petite, to him anyway, girl back up by her neck! Shoving Skye back into the wall by her throat, the Beast causes her to crack her head against the concrete! Megan’s hands flail about and then wrap around Gabe’s wrist trying to relieve the pressure, as she feels a thick sticky liquid on the back of her head and a welt forming under her right eye.


“Now that… wasn’t the easy way.”





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“Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall and is a STREET FIGHT!” Funyon booms, “there are no disqualifications or count-outs but the winning fall must take place in the ring! Introducing first…”


The Smarktron suddenly flashes up an image of a fuse fizzling down towards a stick of dynamite, and the Mission Impossible theme (as performed by the James Taylor Quartet) starts ringing out around the Tokyo Dome. The Japanese fans may not get quite the same nostalgia kick, but they know when Johnny Dangerous is on his way out and they start cheering!


“…from Las Vegas, Nevada,” Funyon continues, “he weighs in at 225lbs, this is JOHN-NYYYYYYYYYYYY… DAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN-GEROUSSSSSSSSSSSS!!”




The Barracuda appears out into the lights of the Tokyo Dome, the strobes from his entrance reflecting eerily off his shades and giving him an oddly robotic look. Johnny doesn’t even acknowledge the fans, instead making his way down towards the ring with his face tight and controlled, surely at odds with the turmoil raging within.


“I don’t know about ‘Mission Impossible’, but I think Dangerous will have his work cut out for him tonight,” Mak Francis speculates. “Michael Stephens is after all a former Hardcore Champion - on the other hand, there’s no doubt Johnny is fired up following the events of two weeks ago. Landon?”




“I was looking for you to make some comment,” Francis says, a trifle tartly as Johnny enters the ring and removes his shades, “you talk enough the rest of the time.”


“Amen,” Suicide King sighs.


“Well, Johnny’s a douche,” Maddix replies sagely. “And, uh… yeah, Mike’s on his game. I was talking to him earlier, he’s not worried, Johnny had better watch out.”


“And that chokeslam on Wildchild?” Mak asks.


“I just want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that,” Maddix says hastily, “Mike did what he thought he needed to help us win… might have been a little over the top.”


“And your pulling Johnny’s tights for the pin?” Mak inquires. Landon shrugs.


“I do what I do, Francis. But,” he adds, brightening, “I do it whilst enjoying the taste of PEPSI MAX~!”


“Kill me now,” King groans as Maddix does a double thumbs up for the cameras. However, the commentators are suddenly drowned out by a raucous, rolling chant that blasts out over the PA system…





The crashing opening chord of ‘Rookie’ by Boy Sets Fire follows hard on its heels as the Smarktron first whites out, then fades down to black. As it does so jagged white letters flash up, spelling out a familiar phrase one word at a time:




The Smarktron starts showing clips of Stephens in action, and after the All-Show Brawl with Insane Luchador, the infamous Glass Jawbreaker on Aecas and the Sunny In England on Tom Flesher at Genesis VII it changes one more time to show Mike Van Siclen being taken off a balcony and through a table with the Stephens Shock Syndrome, the devastating landing timed to coincide with the-




-stagewide blast of red pyro that announces the arrival of the SWF’s most decorated Englishman! And through the flame and the smoke…




…blue-black hair hanging down in front of his eyes but not hiding the faint smile…




…SWF Tag Title wrapped around his waist and partially obscured by the black-and-red canvas trench coat and his England soccer shirt…




…comes the man formerly known as Toxxic.


“And his opponent,” Funyon declares, “from Nottingham, England; he weighs in tonight at 218lbs and is one half of the SWF Tag Team Champions… MIIIIIIIIIIIII-CHAEL… STEEEEEEEEEEEE-”




-but the ring announcer’s voice is drowned out by the roar of the crowd as Johnny Dangerous scrambles out of the ring and charges up the entrance ramp towards his opponent! Stephens sees him coming and shrugs off his trenchcoat, unclips the title belt and slings it to one side, then rushes to meet the Barracuda; however, Johnny ducks the Englishman’s wild swing and as Stephens turns around to try and find him Dangerous begins peppering him with right hands!








Stephens staggers and Johnny presses forwards, delivering first a palm strike that slaps the taste out of Stephens’ mouth, then continuing his own momentum to lash out with a left-handed Uraken that sends the Tag Champion stumbling jelly-legged into the guardrail that separates them from the fans!




“Johnny Dangerous unloading here, and Michael Stephens is on the back foot!” Mak shouts.


Dangerous lets out a yell and charges at his opponent with an arm outstretched to presumably catch Stephens with a clothesline and topple him over into the crowd; however, Stephens ducks at the last moment and Johnny simply hits the guardrail. With his opponent’s momentum momentarily halted the Englishman wastes no time in sliding behind the Barracuda and reaching up to grab Johnny’s head in both hands, then delivers a sickening enzui-headbutt!




Johnny staggers; Stephens shakes his head, then spins his opponent around and repeats his action, only this time to Johnny’s face!




Dangerous wobbles again, and Stephens grabs his opponent’s arm and twists it around into an armwringer. He then wrenches on the trapped limb and pulls Johnny in towards him, slamming his shoulder into Johnny’s torqued one, before pulling away again and Irish whipping his opponent into the steel guardrail!




“Here we go,” Suicide King says, “the natural pecking order has reasserted itself, Francis.”


Johnny hits hard and slumps down into a sitting position as he tries to get his breath back; however, he’s not aided in this endeavour by Michael Stephens, who runs towards him before launching himself into the air and coming down with a basement dropkick that mashes Dangerous’s face into the guardrail!








Grinning to himself, Michael Stephens gets back up to his feet, then licks his fingers and wipes them on Johnny’s forehead before turning around and pointing across the ring towards where his tag team partner is sat.


“Is he pointing at you?” Mak asks.


“Uh, yeah,” Landon confirms. “In fact, I think he just stole the Get Licked off me!”


“You’ve stolen so many moves from Toxxic it’s unbelievable,” Suicide King snaps, “get over it.”


The fans are booing the Englishman as they see one of the SWF’s more popular stars being taken apart in front of them, but Stephens shows no sign of irritation at their reaction. Instead he reaches down and grabs Johnny, then pulls the Barracuda up to a standing position before hammerlocking him and marching the Secret Agent towards the ring! Referee Eddy Long stands back as Stephens rolls Johnny underneath the bottom rope, then as the Englishman follows him he calls for the bell!




“What, this only just started?” Mak asks in surprise, “I suppose if the match has to end in the ring it has to technically start there…”


“Never mind just starting, it might be just about to finish!” King points out as Stephens makes a cover on his opponent, prompting Long to get down and do his job…


















…but Johnny kicks out!






Johnny Dangerous is looking far from ready to ‘go’ anywhere at the moment. Instead he gets hauled up to his feet by Michael Stephens, who then Irish whips Dangerous across the ring into the turnbuckles. Johnny hits hard, but matters aren’t helped when Stephens comes rushing in after him and jumps up to deliver a high knee to the breastbone that blasts the breath from the Barracuda’s lungs! Stephens steps back as Johnny staggers out, slips behind his opponent so they’re back-to-back and reaches up to grab Johnny’s head as if for a Hangman’s neck breaker; however, instead of dropping straight down Stephens twists around and sits out to drive Johnny’s head into the mat with the Pressure Drop!


“You know, I’ve been more impressed with Toxxic every time I’ve seen him over the last couple of weeks,” King mentions, applauding, “he really seems to be getting his old fire back.”


“We thought it was Johnny who was going to be fired up for this match,” Mak muses, “but Michael Stephens quickly found a way to turn things to his advantage.”


“That’s what happens,” Landon says, a trifle gloomily. “You go up against Mike when you’re angry instead of having a plan, and he’ll take you apart. Trust me on this. And if you’re lucky, he won’t get offended that you’re angry with him.”


Stephens leans down, grabs Johnny’s head by the hair and pulls it off the canvas, then simply drives the Barracuda’s face back into the mat with a shove designed to be as insulting as it is painful.




“If you’re lucky,” Landon repeats, as Stephens takes hold of a leg and drags Johnny out of the corner, then rolls him over onto his back for another pin attempt…


















…but Johnny kicks out again, as Eddy Long only finds two!


“So Landon, are we going to see you getting involved?” Mak Francis asks, “given that it is no-DQ and all, and you are for some reason sitting out here…”


“What, you really think I need to?” Landon asks, gesturing towards the ring. “Anyway, I’ve got a World Title match with Gabriel Drake to prepare for. Not that I really need to prepare for it,” he adds, “after all, how hard can it be to climb a ladder faster than that ape? But y’know, the last thing I need is to tear my quad or something. No,” he concludes, sitting back and taking a sip of PepsiMax, “I’m going to be sitting this out and letting Mike handle it.”


“Damn,” King mutters, “if it got you off commentary, anything would be worthwhile.”


In the ring Michael Stephens has grabbed hold of Johnny Dangerous again and brings him, then places the American in a front facelock with his left arm. He extends his right arm out, then brings it swinging over for the Unfinished Business…


…but Johnny worms his way out of the facelock at the last moment and Stephens hits nothing, instead finding himself in a rear waistlock courtesy of the Barracuda! Johnny tries to heave backwards and take Stephens over with a German suplex but Stephens manages to grapevine his leg around Johnny’s and prevent that from happening; Johnny relaxes, ready to try again in a moment, but that moment’s pause is sufficient for Stephens to lash out with a back elbow and crack Johnny on the cheek, then turn around in the now-loosened waistlock and fasten a facelock on again. He raises one arm to bring it down on Johnny’s back to knock the breath out of the Barracuda and get him to release the waistlock once and for all-




-but Johnny bridges back to hit a Northern Lights Suplex!


















…and it’s Michael Stephens’ turn to kick out!






“Desperation move,” King dismisses Johnny’s effort.


“I don’t know,” Mak replies, “Johnny is a very adaptable wrestler, but he does need to capitalise now!”


Both men are getting up, Stephens with the breath knocked out of him and Johnny trying to recover from the beating that he’s already taken. The Barracuda reacts first and pivots around on his backside to slam a kick into Stephens’ temple; with Stephens momentarily incapacitated Johnny staggers up to his feet and scrambles over to his opponent, then makes a grab for the Englishman's head. Dangerous manages to bring Stephens up in a reverse facelock, then falls backwards to nail him with an inverted DDT!






Johnny lies on his back looking up at the lights for a moment after completing the move. Then, as if re-energised, the Barracuda rolls to one side and drops out of the ring under the bottom rope before throwing up the apron and starting to hunt under the ring!


"It looks like Johnny's looking to put the 'street' into this fight," Mak Francis comments as Johnny hauls out a trashcan to general approval from the crowd, "you can bet that he wants to get revenge for what Stephens did to Wildchild!"


"What's with the weapons?" Maddix asks plaintively as Johnny hurls the trashcan over the top rope into the ring, then goes back for more, "do you need them? I mean, Mike's not that tough, you can probably win if you just keep hitting him..."


His partner’s clinical dissection of his weaknesses is far from the gratest problem Michael Stephens has at this moment in time, because Johnny's pulled out a 'Stop' sign from under the ring and slides that in to follow the trashcan. Then he dives back under once more and emerges with...


...a kendo stick.




“That’s a kendo stick,” Mak Francis points out somewhat redundantly, “and that was Wildchild’s weapon of choice when he was Hardcore champion!”


“It’s also the weapon of choice for anyone who even vaguely pretends to have some sort of martial arts background, anyone who is or pretends to have some connection to Japan or the Far East in general, or anyone who just happens to fancy it,” Suicide King retorts, “surely not all of them have a beef with Toxxic as well?”


“You know, I wouldn’t rule it out,” Mak replies as Johnny slides back into the ring where Stephens is starting to get back to his feet. However, before the Englishman can begin to wonder where all the new ring furniture came from Johnny raises the kendo stick and brings it down onto his opponent’s back!






Stephens staggers forward and drops to all fours, but Johnny isn’t done yet and raises the kendo stick again!






“Dangerous is beating Stephens like-”


“Francis, if the words ‘government’ and ‘mule’ come near your lips there will be trouble,” King warns.


However, Johnny Dangerous doesn’t seem happy with the punishment being meted out, and he drops the kendo stick for a moment to lean down and grab hold of Stephens’ England soccer shirt, then rips it off his opponent! In mockery of his opponent’s pre-match routine, the Barracuda then screws the shirt up and throws it out to the crowd, where two Japanese girls in heavy eyeliner start to fight over it.


“Hey, that’s just wrong!” Landon protests.


“What, and him hitting your tag partner with a kendo stick isn’t?” Mak asks, trying to get a handle on La Cucaracha’s priorities.


“Well, yeah, but…”


Johnny seems satisfied with the state of things now, and he picks up the kendo stick again before bringing it down hard over Stephens’ newly-unprotected back!










“Michael Stephens hasn’t even got his England shirt to protect him now!” Mak Francis shouts as Johnny raises the kendo stick above his head and shouts in triumph, “and Johnny Dangerous isn’t letting up!”


Indeed, the Barracuda tosses the kendo stick to one side and instead grabs hold of the trash can, which he positions to his satisfaction in the centre of the ring. Then he grabs Michael Stephens and hauls the Tag Champion upright before snaring him in first a single, then a double chickenwing. Johnny then starts to walk his opponent towards the trash can…


“Oh man, this doesn’t look good,” Landon comments.


“Indeed,” Mak confirms, “I think we’re about to see Johnny take out the trash-”




“-WITH THE DANGEROUS DRIVER!” the Franchise finishes as Johnny hoists Stephens up, then drops down to plant him chest-first across the trash can! Johnny rolls Stephens off as the Englishman spasms in pain, then makes a cover as Eddy Long drops to count.



















-but Stephens kicks out! Johnny doesn’t seem best pleased at this turn of events but Eddy Long is adamant that that’s the way it is, sugar, so Dangerous looks to go back onto the offensive.






The Secret Agent picks up the metal Stop sign and walks over to one of the ringposts, then sets about wedging the sign between top and middle buckles. It takes him a few seconds of jiggling and squeezing, but soon enough the road sign has been affixed to his satisfaction and he heads back towards Stephens. The straight-edger is still having some trouble breathing as Johnny grabs him by the head and hauls him up, so Dangerous feels confident in taking a second to point at the sign and wait expectantly for the audience to fill in the gap…




“Say, where’d they find a stop sign in Japan?” Maddix asks, always seeing to the core of the issue.


“Tom brought it over when he decided to book a streetfight, obviously,” the Suicide King retorts.


In the meantime, Johnny grabs Stephens’ wrist and winds up, then hauls his opponent towards the corner with an Irish whip. The Englishman careers in towards a steely welcome…


…then leaps upwards and balances for a second on the top buckle…



…before leaping back with the flying clothesline known as the Role Reversal!






“-and it’s Johnny Dangerous who gets stopped in his tracks!” Mak Francis calls as Johnny gets caught flat-footed and is taken down, “I thought he had Stephens there, but the Sensation is as wily as they come!”


“Not worried for a second,” Landon says, releasing his grip on the announce desk.


Toxxic used to follow the Role Reversal with a cocky kip-up, but Michael Stephens’ ribs said hello to a trash can not that long ago and he’s in no mood to aggravate them further; instead the Englishman rolls onto his front, then pushes himself up to his feet with a wince. Johnny is trying to rise as well despite the winding blow he just took, but Stephens pounces on his opponent and grabs a double underhook!


“I think Stephens might be going for the RTF II!” Mak shouts as the Englishman tries to haul Johnny up far enough to clamp on the bodyscissors and fall backwards, but the Barracuda still has his ring savvy and manages to free first one, then the other of his arms before Stephens can lock his hands together properly, then hooks his hands behind Stephens’ knee and barges forward with his shoulders. Mike topples backwards to the mat and Johnny finds himself in control of his opponent’s legs… the perfect opportunity to start turning Stephens over into the Barracuda Crab!




“One of the most unimaginatively-named moves in the company,” Suicide King sighs, “fancy naming a move after your own nickname!”


“Unimaginatively-named perhaps,” Mak counters, “but still painful!”


“Hey, the name’s not that bad,” Landon shrugs, “what about the Intoxxication, the Detoxx, the Toxxic Shock Syndrome…”


“Aren’t you meant to be on his side?” Mak points out.


“Uhh… whoo! Go Mike!”


Johnny has managed to turn Stephens over and is starting to sit down into the Barracuda itself, wrenching Stephens’ leg as he does so. Michael Stephens grunts in pain and tries to scrabble across the mat, with little success. Ropebreaks are in any case not in effect in this match… but then something catches Stephens’ eye.


The kendo stick that Johnny dropped earlier.


“You don’t want to let him reach-”




“…well, I tried to warn him,” Mak shrugs as Stephens swings desperately backwards with two hands and catches Johnny in the face! Dangerous instinctively releases his hold as his arms fly up to protect his face; that suits Stephens just fine, because the Englishman can now roll over onto his back and deliver a stinging blow to Johnny’s ribs!






Johnny wheels away, but Stephens is getting up with the weapon still in hand, and the Englishman isn’t smiling anymore. Johnny’s spurt of offence seems to have infuriated the Sensation, and he swings again, catching Dangerous on the back-






-then again, on the back of the legs-






-and then one more time, in the back of the head!






Johnny staggers and drops to one knee; Stephens tosses the kendo stick away over the top rope and drags Johnny back up to his feet, then grabs a ¾ facelock and starts running for the turnbuckles. He steps up one, two, three and kicks back off the top…


…but Johnny holds onto the top rope, and Stephens lands on his front with nothing to show for it! Dangerous grabs at his neck, which did suffer a nasty wrench as Stephens fell, but he’s better off than he would have been if he’d taken the Sunny In England. The Barracuda sets himself and motions for Stephens to ‘get up’ - it’s doubtful whether Mike sees Johnny’s invitation, but he knows that facedown on the mat is not where he wants to be and he starts pushing himself up as quickly as possible. As he reaches a vertical base Johnny steps out of the corner towards him and lashes his boot towards Stephens’ chin with the Johnny Kick-




“Stephens caught the Johnny Kick!” Mak shouts.


“Did I mention how lame it is to name a move after yourself?” King asks.


Dangerous is caught in no-man’s land, off-balance and unable to recover. Stephens gets a good grip on Johnny’s boot, then suddenly throws it away to one side. Johnny wobbles around in a circle, but Stephens has continued his own momentum to complete a 360 degree turn of his own, and as the two men come back to face each other-




-Stephens blasts his opponent with a discus clothesline!






Michael Stephens stands back up, still wincing at the pain in his ribs which didn’t get improved by the failed Sunny In England, then focuses on the fallen Barracuda. What to do, what to do…




You don’t get to be a four-time World Champion without an instinct for when something is subtly wrong, and there’s nothing subtle about the entire Tokyo Dome suddenly breaking into cheers. Either the vast majority of the fans in attendance have had a wild shift in outlook and are suddenly very pleased that he’s winning… or someone is sneaking up behind him. With a horrible suspicion crystalising in his mind Stephens turns around, one hand groping in the side pocket of his cargo pants.


There, standing in the ring and shaking with suppressed rage, is Wildchild.






“Wildchild just jumped the guardrail and is in the ring!” Mak Francis shouts, “and what’s more, this is completely legal! There’s no disqualifications!”


Landon Maddix sits tensely, watching events.






Wildchild stalks forward, one arm outstretched, vengeful finger pointing at the man who launched him from the top buckle to the floor with a callous chokeslam.






Suddenly, Stephens grins.


He brings his arm forward. The finger isn’t pointed, but is instead cocked over a small, black cylinder.


Fast though Wildchild is, he doesn’t have time to duck.








“AEROSOL EQUALISER!” Mak Francis bellows as Wildchild suddenly contorts in agony, hands clawing at his face as the pepper spray bites into his eyes, “that’s Chris Card’s old aerosol equaliser! Stephens used that to beat Scott Pretzler at Ground Zero 2005!”


Beside him, Landon Maddix relaxes again.






Wilchild, all thoughts of vengeance forgotten, desperately wipes at his eyes but to no avail. The pepper spray has completely discombobulated him, and leaves him open to the grinning Stephens-




-but Johnny Dangerous flattens Stephens from behind, knocking him to the floor and the mace from his grasp with something that’s half-clothesline, half-elbow smash and powered entirely by anger!




Wildchild has reached the ropes and rolls blindly out of the ring. His long experience allows him to make an educated guess at where the announce table is, and where there’s an announce table there’s water. He gropes his way along the guardrail until he reaches the desk, co-incidentally on the same side as the Suicide King. King immediately snatches his bottle of water away.






Johnny Dangerous looks down at Michael Stephens, a red mist clouding his vision, ready to lay into his long-time enemy and exact revenge… but then a movement catches his eye and he looks around. Wildchild, fumbling at the announce table in a search for something to clear his vision. King has hidden his water, Mak Francis can’t reach far enough from his wheelchair to get his to the Bahaman Bomber, and Landon Maddix is on the far side entirely - not to mention the fact that he might not want to help anyway, and PepsiMax isn’t the best liquid to wash your eyes out with.


Johnny failed to prevent his partner, his friend, from being taken out by Stephens two weeks ago. He thought Nic was planning on getting involved tonight, he should have been prepared, he should have known Stephens would have had a trick up his sleeve. He’s failed Wildchild again.


Johnny turns his back on Stephens and climbs down out of the ring, heading towards the announce table to help his friend.


“King, will you stop being such an ass!” Mak snaps. “Dub-Cee, this way!”


“You’re interfering with nature, Francis!” King shoots back.


“Damn it, this is a man’s sight, not the National Geographic Channel!” Francis fumes.


“Actually, the National Geographic has some interesting programmes about human sight-” Landon begins, rather incongruously given his normal persona, but he’s interrupted by the arrival of Johnny Dangerous. The Barracuda takes the bottle of water from Mak Francis with a terse nod of thanks, and a glare at Landon, then approaches Wildchild and starts tipping the water into his friend’s face. The Caribbean Cruiserweight tilts his head gratefully…


…and at this moment Michael Stephens, clutching the back of his head and with a thoroughly pissed-off expression, slides out of the ring behind Johnny Dangerous and simply kicks him square between the legs.




Johnny spasms and collapses forward. Wildchild, vision only half-cleared, staggers as his partner’s weight unexpectedly knocks into him.






Stephens makes a beckoning motion to Landon; La Cucaracha sighs, then gets up off his chair and hands it to his partner. However, instead of folding it up Stephens walks past the dripping Wildchild and plants the seating item down in its open position.


“Landon, I thought you weren’t getting involved?” Mak demands.


“Hey, I’m not,” Maddix replies, “I just lent him my chair.”


Wildchild knows or suspects that Stephens is somewhere near him. He turns… and catches a boot to the stomach.




Michael Stephens places Wildchild in a front facelock above the chair, then extends his right arm out to the side. Everyone in the arena knows what’s going to happen next.


And none of them can stop it.






“UNFINISHED BUSINESS ONTO THE CHAIR!” Mak shouts as Stephens nails the elbow-drive bulldog and smashes Wildchild’s face into the steel, “Wildchild couldn’t even see anymore!”


“He got involved!” Maddix shouts back, “Mike is just making sure he won’t do it again… and when Mike makes sure of something, he makes real sure!”


Johnny Dangerous, brought to his knees on the outside, can only watch in agonised guilt as Wildchild slumps lifelessly to the mats, head bouncing off the chair. He sees Michael Stephens pick up the chair, tut over the dent Wildchild’s head has made in the seat, close the chair with a bit of effort, and advance towards him.






It doesn’t matter how tough you are, if you’re male and you’ve been kicked in the testicles you lose most of the control you have over your body. Many wrestlers have taken advantage of this over the years; Michael Stephens just waits until it’s legal to do so.






As Stephens approaches Johnny can’t do much more than vaguely raise his arms in a vain attempt to protect his head. Perhaps, in some subconscious way, he doesn’t think he deserves to.






Michael Stephens was never that interested in cricket, the sport of Englishmen, when he was young.




But from the way he nearly takes Johnny Dangerous’s head off with the chair, you’d never know it.




Stephens pauses and cracks his neck from side to side, then passes the chair back to Landon with a nod of thanks. He bends down and grabs Johnny under the arms, then slowly lifts the Barracuda up and starts dragging him towards the ring. When he reaches the apron he raises his gaze to Landon and nods towards his semi-conscious opponent.


‘Oi, get the legs will you?’


Landon sighs again, removes his headset and walks over to where his partner has Johnny’s limp form, then bends down to grab Dangerous’s feet.


‘On three. One, two-’


The Galacticos hoist upwards, and Johnny Dangerous is dumped onto the apron. Stephens pushes his opponent and rolls him into the ring, then slaps Landon on the back encouragingly before following Johnny in and making a cover.


He still hooks the leg. No point getting lazy.

























“Ladies and gentlemen,” Funyon booms, “here is your winner… MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-CHAEL… STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-PHENS!!”


“Well guys, it’s been swell,” Landon says, replacing his headset briefly, “but I’ve gotta go hook up with Megan. Oh, and if Wildchild and Johnny are feeling down after this match, can I recommend the best pick-me-up around?”


“No,” King says, without any hope that Landon will listen.


“PEPSI MAX~!” Maddix shills, grinning and giving a double thumbs-up before removing his headset again and heading off towards the back.


“Fans, nothing Michael Stephens did here tonight was against the rules,” Mak Francis says, looking sideways at Wildchild and then back into the ring at Johnny Dangerous. “This was a match with no rules, with no disqualifications. Wildchild interfered - also legally, and of his own free will - and Stephens took all the steps he thought necessary to ensure that he emerged victorious. No, nothing he did tonight was against the rules,” the Franchise continues, “…but that doesn’t mean that what he did was right.”


“Mak, you’re a whining old woman,” Suicide King grins, “Toxxic’s back! Kick back and enjoy it!”


In the ring, Michael Stephens finishes his search and puts the aerosol equaliser he borrowed from Chris Card two years ago back into his pocket, then rolls underneath the bottom rope (not without a wince) and starts back up the entrance ramp, collecting his tag title and trenchcoat on the way. This week, he leaves not one but two members of Wild & Dangerous in a bad way.






Things are looking up.








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Forgive and forget, they say. But how many people can honestly say they subscribe to the humble mantra? The Tokyo Dome's locker room contains many men that walk by each other each night and look into each others eyes, regardless of the wins, losses, championships, or double-crosses in their history.


Akira Kaibatsu has been waiting by the backstage curtain. He has been waiting for his partner Michael Cross; the man that took his mask, at least for a while. They say they are friends now, and their recent surge of good fortune would have you believe it. With Mak Francis and the Suicide King bringing Storm back from it's final commercial break of the evening, Akira peaks through the curtain and awaits his cue, his partner finally having caught up to him.


"It's time for the Main Event, and once again it's a tag match featuring people the Suicide King just can not stand!!" the Franchise has always enjoyed raining on his partner's parade, even with the Gambling Man next to him trying to down a boilermaker before it makes him sick. He is no doubt wondering what Tom Flesher is trying to do to him by booking these matches.


Backstage, and less than a hundred feet away from the Underground , two other men have also caught up to each other. Zyon, the Unique Youth.....and Alan Clark, the Happiest Guy On Earth, or so he would like everyone around him to believe. They had faced each other before the New Year, and it was one of their opponents tonight that gave one man the victory over the other. But that is not important, now.



"You ready?" Clark asks, smiling his brightest and walking off towards the gorilla position, leaving Zyon to answer the question only to himself.



"As I'll ever be..."



"Ladies and Gentlemen…the following tag team contest is scheduled for ONE FALL and it is our MAIN EVENT!" Funyon's voice brings forth a large pop from the Tokyo crowd, with the cheerful explosion nearly drowning out the sounds of the Offspring pumping through the PA system. They know their hometown boy is on his way out.


"Here we go…" Michael pats his partner on the shoulder and bursts out through the curtain and into the adulation of the crowd, letting the cheers sink in as Kaibatsu follows behind him, his presence causing an even louder chorus of chants to erupt.




"Do you hear that?" The comment comes, unknowingly to either, from both Mak Francis and Alan Clark, the latter having just reached the curtain as their opponents make their way down the ramp.


"I never thought I'd see the day" responds the Suicide King as well as Zyon, the other half of the former Wasted Youth staring into a nearby monitor as Funyon continues his announcement…


"Introducing first…making their way to the ring…tipping the scales at a combined One Hundred Seventy Nine kilograms…representing Sendai, Japan…they are "Iron" Michael Cross and "The Divine Wind" Akira Kaibatsu….ASIA UNDERGROOOOOUND!!!"


"When you get in front of a hometown crowd it can really affect your game plan, Michael Cross is going to need to make sure it partner pays as much attention to their opponents as he does to his fan club in the front row." A ringside camera turns to put the Divine Wind Club on the SmarkTron, a trio of ladies wearing replica masks of their favorite SWF superstar. Cross can only shake his head as he slides under the bottom rope and watches Akira pander to the girls, giving them each a kiss on the cheek before joining his partner in the ring.


"And a game plan is one thing they are definitely going to need given the skill of their opponents…"


I'm Born!


I'm Alive!


I Breathe!!



The crowd is drenched in electric blue hues from the pyrotechnics as Zyon appears through the curtain, leaving his tag partner behind as the sounds of Incubus blare throughout the arena. Zyon's eyes pan the scene in front of him. He may be looking for Insane Luchador lying in wait, if he is, or he may just be wondering what exactly he has done to be booed.


"BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The crowd can be heard giving Zyon all they have, more on the basis of his opponent than any of his recent actions, although if he ever visits central Pennsylvania he might need earplugs. The Unique Youth balks at taunting the crowd from the top of the ramp, and instead simply cracks his neck back and forth and wrings out his hands before taking his first steps down toward the ring.


"Please Stand Clear of the Ring. Por favor Soporte Claro del Anillo...


...For the Safety and Comfort of Others...No Smoking Please. Para la Seguridad Y la Comodidad de Otras... El Ningún Fumar Por favor...



...The Walt Disney Company and the Smartmarks Wrestling Federation are proud to present...your International Champion…"


"Let's go, Walter…" Alan speaks over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off the dumbfounded Zyon who is at a standstill on the ramp, looking back toward the curtain in disbelief as his entrance is thwarted at the hands of the monotone warnings and the sounds of "Make A Man Out Of You" from Mulan.


"Mulan? That took place in China! We're in Japan!" Mak Francis once again shows his knowledge of Disney's animated catalog, cuing the Suicide King to laugh in approval as pixie dust begins to fall from the ceiling. Zyon is still watching over his shoulder as Alan and Walter step into their own spotlight, with the champion taking his time to do a few spins to relish the crowd's reaction, a chorus of boos that put Zyon's jeers to shame. "And the fans must be thinking the same thing I was, King."


"And introducing their opponents…accompanied to the ring by Walter Reynolds...representing Tokyo Disneyland by way of Elkhart, Indiana and weighing in at a combined four hundred twenty five pounds…they are "The Unique Youth" ZYOOON and the S-W-F International Champion ALAN CLAAAAAARK!"


"Come on, Z…" Alan remarks quietly to his partner as he passes the still frozen Zyon on his way to the ring. The Unique Youth finally starts to move as Reynolds passes, shaking his head in apology.


"You get used to it."


"I don't think I want to" responds Zyon to the larger bodyguard from across the ramp as he reaches the ringside area, joining Alan Clark as he looks into the ring at their opponents.


"Back them up! Back them up!" Alan yells, calling for referee Nick Soapdish to get between the two teams and allow Clark and Zyon safe passage under the bottom ropes and into the ring. Once standing, the Happiest Guy On Earth makes a point to show Akira and Michael Cross the championship he won against them, smiling widely and polishing it with his knuckles before handing it off to Walter on the outside.


"You ready?" Alan asks his partner again, who this time simply points over his shoulder toward the apron. Clark shrugs and crawls through the ropes, wrapping his hand in the tag rope as a similar conversation goes on across the ring.


"I'll take him" says Cross as Zyon peers towards them, but Akira simply points to his own corner as his opponent had just done, silently telling Michael that, for now, it is his fight. "Fine. He was your partner, not mine." Kaibatsu cocks his head in confusion as Cross exits the ring, only for his head to quickly snap back to center as Soapdish calls for the bell.


Ding Ding Ding!!


"There's the bell…Wasted Youth explodes!!" But what Mak Francis, the Tokyo crowd, and the viewers watching at home gets is anything but a violent and earth-shattering ka-boom. What they do get is two superstars waltzing in circles around each other, keeping enough distance between them to avoid contact yet each slowly working inwards toward the other until they are within arm's reach of each other--


"Gruuuu—" The sound of Zyon's right palm thrusting into Akira's throat is visceral, and the Divine Wind Club recoils just as much as their hero as the strike connects, a gagging reflex if nothing else.


"ZY-ON SUCKS! ZY-ON SUCKS!" the trio cat-calls, trying to get the rest of the crowd involved, but the aim of their chants simply brushes it off as he follows up with three more hard strikes to the neck and the chest, the shots almost hitting their mark in time with the jeers. A second barrage follows, and as the "SUCKS!" shot connects Akira is nearly lifted off his feet and out to the floor, only to have his body pulled back inside before the flip can be completed. Sure, it saves him from an eight foot fall, but it does not save him from Zyon.


"He's got him trapped against the ropes! Akira has nowhere to go!"


"Like he could go anywhere, otherwise" retorts the King as Zyon changes his tactic, but only slightly, throwing his right bicep up and into the Divine Chin of Kaibatsu just as Soapdish tries to wedge himself between the two.


"He's in the ropes, back it up!" Nick yells, and Zyon can do nothing but follow orders. He steps back and cautiously looks over his shoulder at Michael Cross, his left arm needlessly stretched out for his partner who is almost twenty feet away.


Alan Clark is also calling for a tag, although it seems just to be friendly, but Zyon ignores it in favor of pushing right back past Soapdish and gripping his hands around Akira's neck. Much to the crowd's, and surely Akira's, chagrin Zyon lets his right knee whisper sweet nothings into Akira's jaw-line as he drags him toward the center of the ring. The Divine Wind, no doubt wishing he had some aspirin, flails his arms to try and release himself from the strangle hold. The moving targets cause a light bulb to pop over Zyon's head, and with lightning speed his hands weave around the arms of the doubled-over Kaibatsu even as he begins to fall toward the mat, driving him down face-first with a picture perfect DDT!


"Beautiful Double-Arm DDT there, and now Zyon has a cover!" calls Francis, but before Soapdish's hand can even come down for the two, Akira not only kicks out by Michael Cross is already in the ring, driving an elbow into the back of Zyon's neck just in case. Nick is up to his feet and chiding the non-legal half of Asia Underground back to his place on the apron as Zyon gets to feet. With one hand on his neck and his eyes glaring, he turns and brushes past the referee, sending his knee into Cross' ribcage just as he climbs back through the ropes. Michael falls all the way to the floor, and even with Soapdish's ire turned now back toward the Unique Youth, Zyon does not seem too worried.


"Self defense!" Zyon yells towards the referee who happens to, accidentally or not, be distracting the superstar long enough for Akira to get to his hands and feet and kick his legs around, trapping the right ankle of Zyon and tripping him down to the mat with what could be called a ref-assisted drop toe hold. Only in Japan. Zyon's face bounces violently, but the fall is only enough to stun. For the Divine Wind, 'stun' is all the time he needs to spring to his feet and get a boost from the ropes across the ring, using his speed (and his aim) to his advantage as he glides (and almost slides) through the air with a picture perfect dropkick. While he is airborne, the Fan Club, and about eight to ten thousand others, snap off pictures with the flashes bursting just as the soles of Akira's boots connect right between Zyon's glowing green eyes, putting down men down on the mat but the hometown hero in control.


"Time for a showcase" the thought, though not actually in English, runs through the mind of Akira Kaibatsu as he jumps back up to his feet. His head swivels, checking all around the ring for where to take his attack as well as to keep an eye on Alan Clark, who actually seems like he would rather be reading a book than competing, the visual of his right hand keeping his head propped up on the top turnbuckle garnering a reaction from the announcing duo.


"You would think Alan Clark, with the way he has been acting lately, would not just be standing there half asleep."


"Maybe he has jet lag, Mak, and this is not even Clark's fight. This is all about Zyon and the Asia Underground because of last week. Alan Clark could actually beat Michael Stephens, unlike any of those three in any combination."


"I hope Zyon did not hear you say that, King, he might take offense" Mak Francis tries to play fair, even though he saw the pinfall last week just as much as anyone did. Zyon has issues with both members of last week's opposition, yet is currently stuck in the clutches of his former tag team partner's grasp as the Divine Wind moves him toward one of the neutral corners and tosses him in. After making sure to look the Unique Youth in the eyes, Akira winds up and begins to repay Zyon for the shots from the start of the match, launching his own attack of uppercuts as the sold-out crowd watches on.


"A-KI-RA! A-KI-RA! A-KI-RA!" they chant louder and louder, fueling the fire of Kaibatsu as he switches arms back and forth, almost daring Zyon to try and defend himself.


"Come on, Akira!! Let me in!" Michael Cross' voice is heard off camera as Akira stays on the offensive, the other half of Asia Underground now chomping at the bit to be let into the match and give a little payback for the fall he took moments before. Akira takes his eyes of his opponent, but only for a moment, to shake his head at his partner. Michael can only watch on and seethe as the Divine Wind starts to live up to his nickname, locking in a facelock and using the ropes as makeshift steps, whirling up to the top before leaping off and throw the air, giving Zyon his own taste of DDT, done tornado style for extra flavor and panache.


"Akira answers with a DDT of his own and now he has a cover!" but once again, the referee can barely get to a two count before Zyon gets his shoulder up, but unlike the first pinfall attempt of the match there is no help from the Unique Youth's corner, as Alan Clark is still simply standing with the tag rope in hand and doing nothing more than cheering his partner on.


"Woo! Go Zyon! Get him!" he says, his sarcastic tone no doubt heard and understood by Zyon as he tries to pull himself back up. The cohesiveness of Asia Underground starts to show itself however, as Akira grabs Zyon by the ankle and drags him across the ring, putting some space between him and his cheerleading partner before finally tagging Michael Cross into the match.


"Finally!" Cross yells as Nick Soapdish acknowledges the tag, the team using the full extent of the five second rule to allow Mike time to enter the ring and drop an elbow to the back of Zyon's neck as he fights to escape and make a tag of his own. But Alan Clark is all the way on the other side of the ring, and Asia Underground is right on top of him. Even in pro wrestling, having the high ground is a good thing. And with Zyon fighting to regain his footing, it is hard to contend with forearms beating the back of his skull in.


"Dare I say veteran teamwork on the Asia Underground side, and if this keeps up simple math will be the victor, as two men always trump one." But Zyon is trying his best to keep the fight fair, even with Alan Clark showing little desire to step into the ring any time soon, the blinding white flashes across Zyon's eyes from the forearm strikes making it hard, but not impossible, to see Clark simply resting on the ropes and talking to Walter Reynolds on the floor. He's hoping they are discussing strategy.


"So I have to catch a flight when…?" No, Alan Clark is more interested in his flight plans back to the OAOAST show the next night than the beating that is going on a few feet in front of him. It is a very good thing he was not behind the Reginald Denny camera, or the world might have gotten five minutes of stoplights blinking in the distance.


"Let him up! Let him up!" Soapdish tries to be unbiased as he watches Zyon continue his slow, but seemingly useless, crawl across the ring, his "Iron" opponent almost toying with him as he walks atop him, finally deciding to drive his knee down into the back of the Unique Youth's neck and plant him into the canvas., drawing some 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' from the crowd, but nary a concerned whimper from Clark, who once again nonchalantly drapes his right arm into the ring, not even bothering to look at where either Zyon or Mike Cross happens to be.


The two men happen to be in the middle of the ring, not that it matters to Zyon, as a foot away from a tag is just as bad as being stuck in Asia Underground's corner if he can not escape. Less than a second later his predicament worsens, as Cross drops to one knee and latches in a headlock and begins wrenching it back and forth as he stands back to his feet, pulling the Unique Youth up to his feet and holding them there, almost reverting to a sleeper choke to stay behind his opponent and in control. Soapdish immediately notices the choke thanks to his years of experience and calls for the hold to be broken, which Cross does, but instead of simply letting his arms slip from around Zyon's neck, he wraps his right leg around the front of Zyon's left and pushes forward, once again putting both of them down on the canvas, but with the Youth taking the brunt of the fall straight on the bridge of his nose.


"He's not even going for a pin! Zyon is going to need to get back to his feet and get them moving if he wants to have any chance at making a tag. He's one of the quickest superstars in the SWF today…"


"Well maybe not today…" the interruption from the Suicide King is one of the more honest things he's ever said in his career, as the only thing Zyon is speeding toward at the moment is defeat, with his partner still going over travel plans on the apron and doing less than nothing to provide any sort of help when he needs it.


"Six in the morning? Are you kidding me?" Yes, still going over travel plans. But Cross' lack of a pinfall attempt is the chance Zyon needs, as Mike stands and tries to pull Zyon off his back, the speedy superstar rolls up onto his shoulders and pushes his legs straight up, almost upper-cutting Cross with the bottoms of his boots!


"Zyon with a counter! This is his chance!" the Franchise's voice hollers out as Zyon rolls to his knees and gets to his feet, almost relying on adrenaline to push him toward his partner in the corner. Behind him, however, the kick to the face simply stunned, and angered, "Iron" Mike as he bounces off the ropes with a head of steam, blindsiding the Unique Youth with a powerful clothesline straight to the back of his head!! "No! What a viscous sho---TAG!" Francis' surprise is nothing compared to the surprise of Alan Clark, who suddenly (and finally) turns his attention back to the ring as he feels the palm of his partner strike against his own. A look of shock is stricken to his face and his jaw is dropped as Zyon falls to the mat and rolls under the bottom rope to the floor, the impact from the clothesline not only knocking him down and out, but putting him in the perfect position to escape any further punishment by tagging in his reluctant partner.


"NO!" Clark yells, but Soapdish slaps his hands together to make sure that the Happiest Guy On Earth realizes that the tag did indeed happen. Across the ring, Michael Cross lets a smile slip through and he raises his hand to show that he wants the International Champion to take his best shot.


"This isn't a joke, Clark!" Nick warns, "get in the ring!" but Alan has none of it, and drops from the apron and backs toward the ramp, only to find a road block in his way. One might say, a very insane road block.


"It's the Insane Luchador!"


"Where did he come from?" asks the Suicide King, as does Clark (albeit mentally) and a quick replay shows the Psychotic Hero leaping from the crowd with a steel chair, that Alan has just now happened to notice.


"Woah!" Clark, upon the realization that the Luchador is indeed carrying an equalizer, decides to take his chances in the ring, but making one point very, very, very clear as he edges up to the apron. "I'm not the one you want! He's over there!" Clark gives away Zyon's position, the Unique Youth still not up to his feet after his exit from the ring and no doubt oblivious to the fact that his nemesis du jour happens to be less than fifteen feet from him (and wielding weaponry).


"Alan is stuck between a rock and a crazy place, if I may coin a phrase, and he needs to keep his eye on Cross – WITH A BASEBALL SLIDE!" Clark, if he would have had eyes in the back of his head, would have seen Michael Cross taking advantage of the distraction to slide under the bottom rope and boot the International Champion down, only a few feet in front of where the Insane Luchador has now set up his chair and has taken a seat! Playing the part of the silent observer, he makes sure to keep his hands in the air for the referee as Cross slides out of the ring and retrieves his prey, barely giving the Luchador a second glance before quickly depositing Alan into the ring for, officially, the first time in the match-up.


"I hate to say this, but I think Alan Clark might have been in the right to try and just walk away, as much as that might ruin one of Flesher's main events. He's my homeboy and all…" Upon hearing the word 'homeboy' from the Gambling Man, Francis giggles, "…but Alan Clark is not the kind of guy you should be building main events around. This isn't his fight."


"Are you suggesting Zyon should have fought both members of Asia Underground alone?"


"That's what he wanted wasn't it?!" snaps the Suicide King as Michael Cross and Alan Clark begin to duel with punches, drawing the ire of Nick Soapdish for the closed fists as each man tries to gain some sort of advantage over the other. "Duck and roll you moron! What's the worst that can happen? Akira couldn't hurt a fly!" the image on screen does not exactly go with the King's remarks, as the Divine Wind seems to be chomping at the ring ropes to get into the ring with the man that took his International Championship. As both Alan Clark and Michael Cross go into a tie-up, the hard camera catches both of their partners in almost opposite degrees of comfort, with Zyon barely standing up, using the ropes and pull his body up onto the apron as he watches his partner try a hammerlock on Cross, only for Michael to roll it around and into a wristlock of his own, trying to use his power to slow Alan down, but the Happiest Guy on Earth, if he has anything going for him at this very second, is that he never has just a Plan A.


"Alan Clark is trying now to get away from that wristlock, but Michael Cross's strength might be too much for even the reasonably fresh Clark to handle right noooooooowait! Clark to his knees! Fireman's carry! Cross is down!" The crowd erupts in boos as Alan finds a way to escape, dropping to his knees and taking the brunt of the pain for long enough to pull Cross down onto his shoulders with his free hand. A split second later and Michael Cross finds himself upside down and then back-first on the canvas, taking a look at the lights above and his opponent shaking the pain away from his right hand as he stands and then quickly drops back down, driving his elbow into the chest of the stunned Cross!


On the apron, Akira is slapping his hand to the turnbuckle and calling for his downed partner to make a tag, but a hard knee from Clark through the ropes sends the Divine Wind down to the floor and another loud chorus of boos from the sold-out crowd. Clark takes a peek over the ropes as Soapdish once again calls out his warnings, but Kaibatsu is up to his feet faster than Alan was hoping for, causing him to jump backwards as Akira pops back up to the apron and begins to ascend the turnbuckles, setting his sights on the Happiest Guy On Earth!


"Down!" is all Soapdish can yell towards the Japanese superstar as Akira climbs one more rung, his right foot perched on the top turnbuckle as Alan grabs at Cross and holds him in a choke, creating a human shield between himself and the Divine Wind!


"Alan Clark has Cross in a modified dragon sleeper, keeping one half of the Underground between himself and the other half---WHO JUST LEAPED OFF THE TOP!!" The Franchise lets out a yell as Akira leaps and aims for a dropkick, but Clark simply falls backwards, dropping his entrapped opponent with a reverse DDT and leaving Kaibatsu to do nothing but crash and burn into the canvas, his body rolling over toward Zyon in the corner.


"Zyon's got him! Zyon's got him!" Alan Clark goes for a pin, accidentally drawing the referee's attention as the Unique Youth drops to the floor and pulls Akira out of the ring by his ankle, making sure to keep the corner of the ring between himself and the Insane Luchador, who has now stood to his feet to get a better look at the action on the outside of the ring.


Inside the ring, Michael Cross kicks out at the two, and now the referee's attention is split between the brawling on the outside and the match on the inside as well as the Insane Luchador caught between the two, knowing that attacking might give Zyon the victory, a victory the Unique Youth could use to skyrocket himself to the main event in the absence of Michael Stephens.


"Zyon with the Big Shot on the outside! No!! Akira pushes away! Michael Cross slips away from an irish whip attempt…" Mak Francis tries to call the action as both members of Asia Underground spin out of their opponent's attacks and aim for superkicks! "Stereo Kicks!! DUCKED ON BOTH COUNTS!" Zyon slips out of the way, but Akira looked to be counting on it as he puts the brakes on and balances on one foot, the motion allowing himself to simply leap up and catch the Unique Youth with a second kick that sends Zyon spinning backwards and over the stairs…and right to the feet of the Insane Luchador!


Nick Soapdish sees nothing, however, as Alan's escape sent the slightly more cumbersome Michael Cross into a spin, and a hard kick to the stomach later "Iron" Mike finds himself doubled-over and in the grasp of the Happiest Guy On Earth, as Alan locks Cross' arms behind his back and lifts him into the air, draping him over his shoulder and quickly spinning back around and snapping forward, giving him no time to try and escape before driving him down face-first into the canvas!!


"THE VACATION'S OVER!!!!" screams the Franchise as Akira's kick connects at the same moment his partner's face connects with the mat…






"Akira didn't see Cross go down! He has to stop the pin!!"






"He's in the ring now, he's not going to make it!!"






"NO! Akira misses by inches!!"


Ding Ding Ding!!


The bell sounds, the action in the ring freezing with Akira's arm outstretched in a last ditch dive to save his partner, as the Insane Luchador pulls Zyon up to his feet – and then right back down with a Big Shot of his own!!


"Here are your winners by pinfall…the team of ALAN CLARK and ZYON!!" Funyon's announcement makes the match official, the makeshift team sneaking away with a victory, as Alan and Walter deciding they would rather jump into the frenzied Japanese crowd and be surrounded by security with the International Title in tow rather than risk going near the Insane Luchador, who stands over the downed Zyon with a smile on his face. This is one man - one psychotic hero - that on this night definitely does not forgive and will never ever forget. Consider it a warning.


"Alan Clark secures victory inside the ring, but on the outside the Insane Luchador hands Zyon a big-time Big Shot! The Unique Youth is down and we're out of time! For the Suicide King, I am "The Franchise" Mak Francis, see you next Storm!!"






SWF Storm, March 14, 2007

© Superior Stretch Productions. All rights reserved.

The Smartmarks Wrestling Federation: "Making the rookies work Chicago-style for coming up on 8 years now."

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