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SWF Storm 8-22-07

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“Toxx,” Sly drawls, extending a hand outside the Revolution Zero dressing room. The dark-haired Englishman extends his and clasps it in a casual greeting.


“Yo,” Toxxic replies, with what is hopefully self-aware irony. “Tricks?”


“Pretty fair,” Sly shrugs. “You?”


“Shit. We lost 2-1 to the Germans,” his tag partner grunts.


“Sucks,” Sly nods, despite a complete lack of interest in international soccer. “So what’s the plan?”


“The plan?” Toxxic asks, pulling a CD out from under his coat. “I’m going to the production truck to make someone else’s day marginally less pleasant.”


“Works for me,” Sly says amiably, “catch you later.” He opens the door and disappears as Toxxic wanders off, whistling.

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The Smartmarks Wrestling Federation presents...
Live, Wednesday, August 22nd, from the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina!
(7pm PST, 10pm EST; check local listings)
(Send all promos/marked matches to chirs3)



THE MAIN EVENT - Singles Match
Jimmy the Doom vs. Michael Alexander

--> Damn, Michael Alexander continues to impress. He's beaten Spike Jenkins, beaten Maddix and Manson at the same time... kid's moving up in the world. Some... things... could be in store for him in the future. For now at least, he's earned a spot in the Main Event, as he takes on one half of the Winston Churchill Experience, Jimmy the Doom!
Rules: Singles.


Toxxic vs. Jay Hawke

--> Toxxic said some very hurtful things about the Dean last show. We have a professional group therapist on staff, whose job it is to help people deal with their issues and express their criticism in positive, constructive ways. Unfortunately, Manson beaned him in the face with a kaleidescope, so he's out of commission, and that means these two will settle their differences like MEN.

And some women.

But mostly men.
Rules: Singles.


Austin Sly vs. FULMINATUS~!

Rules: Singles.


Jesse James Sanders vs. Danny Dagda

Rules: Singles.


"Big Bully" Bruner vs. Ghost Machine

--> I can die happy. Ghost Machine has returned.
Rules: Singles.


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The Charlotte Bobcats Arena explodes as the opening pyro and the Smarktron kicks up with a montage of SWF highlights, the cheers echoing throughout the complex.


“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to another episode of SWF STORM! Live from the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina!” Mak Francis announces over the crowd’s roar.


“And once again, Francis, you show your mastery of the obvious!” The Suicide King smirks at his announce partner. “Like there’s a Charlotte Bobcats Arena anywhere else!”


“Whatever, King,” Mak replies. “I’m excited about this show tonight…we’ve got some Pay-Per-View level matches…Toxxic and Jay Hawke for one, Fulminatus and Austin Sly for another, and our main event tonight…Jimmy the Doom and Michael Alexander!”


King nods. “For once, I have to agree, Francis. This card is great, and it’s about time Michael Alexander was involved in the main event!”


“Dread Rock” by Paul Oakenfold begins to play, and the a video montage of Alexander’s previous in-ring exploits interspersed with Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” highlighting the areas that the various moves depicted injure on his opponents. The lights in the arena flicker in time with the Smarktron.


“Speak of the devil,” Mak murmurs.


“Well, I don’t think I could have come up with a better opening myself.” King smiles.


Alexander steps out onto the stage, and the flicker lighting stops dead. He gazes out over the crowd, smirks, and makes his way to the ring, trash-talking to the crowd. He has a microphone in his hand as he walks up the steps and steps through the ropes into the ring.


“Well, well, well,” Michael Alexander drawls. “It seems that you people are finally going to be treated to quality entertainment tonight…instead of the lackluster semiathletic competitions that are normally held in this arena!”




“Alexander is getting some cheap heat here from the folks in Charlotte,” Mak comments.


“He’s just telling the truth, Francis,” King says. “You can’t dispute that the team this arena was named after is lackluster at best. If anything, he’s being overly generous.”


Alexander continues over the jeers. “Tonight, you will all be treated to an exhibition of pure greatness in the main event, unlike what the world was forced to endure in the last STORM main event.”




“Yes, yes, feel free to chant if repetition helps you remember his name, we all know he is utterly forgettable otherwise.” The Evil Genius nods in agreement with himself. “You see, that entire farce of a main event last week did nothing but reveal pitiful desperation in its participants. Simply put, the last thing either man did that was worthy of note was LOSE to Alan Clarke.”




“He’s showing a lot of ego at least,” Mak remarks ruefully. “You sure can’t underestimate the confidence of Michael Alexander here.”


“Well, he’s got a lot to be confident about. He was victorious in his first PPV appearance at Ground Zero and he’s had quite a record since his debut. AND, we shouldn’t forget that he is working with MANSON now, and you can’t help but be great with that kind of mentor.” King bows his head reverently.


The Evil Genius taps his head as though recalling something. “Wait, I take that back…the last thing of note Spike Jenkins did was lose to ME. But all of you,” Alexander spreads his arms wide to encompass the crowd, “all of you already know that. You also know that tonight I will continue to be your Eidolon of Excellence as I dominate Jimmy the Doom just as MANSON and I dominated him and his idiot partner, Fulminatus, a few weeks ago. Tonight, you will all be privileged to bear witness to technical tour de force, as I outwit, outwrestle, and quite simply outclass the former hardcore champion, after my defeat of the current hardcore champion last week. And I would hope that the powers that be would take serious note of that when determining what sort of competitor should be the face of the SWF. Should it be a smiling, shilling Disney frontman? Or The Most Scientifically Scintillating Superstar to Ever Enter the Squared Circle?” With this, Michael Alexander tosses the mike to the crew at ringside, and rolls over the ropes to walk slowly back up the ramp, smirking to himself.




“Alexander is supremely confident going into his first STORM main event, King.”


“With good reason, Francis. I mean, even Clark noted Alexander in his commentary last week as a possible contender.”


“But he’s still unproven in the main event scene, King.”


“Not after tonight. I can’t wait to see him put down that gibbering wackjob foreigner.”


“Jimmy is no pushover; he’s a longtime hardcore champion, with the longest reign with that title ever, if memory serves.”


“Maybe so, Francis, but Michael Alexander took out the guy who ended Jimmy’s title run just last week. And the week before that, at Ground Zero, he took out Spike Jenkins. And last, but certainly not least, he and MANSON destroyed ‘Winston Churchill,’ so he’s technically got a leg up on Jimmy right now.”


“We’ll see, King. I personally think he’s counting his Jimmys before they are ‘Doomed.’” Mak smiles mischievously.


“Francis, if you ever do that again, I’ll clamp a parking boot on that chair of yours. But it's time for us to get ready for our opener!”


Mak mutters something very colorful at King while covering his microphone







“We’ve got a great night of action ahead on Storm,” says Mak Francis. “So let’s kick things off with two super-heavyweights! King, it was just about a week ago, that the individual whom is believed to be the original Ghost Machine, announced his return to the SWF and, in looking for a match, has been paired up against the Big Bully of the SWF, Mister Bruner!”


“The two biggest men in the SWF today about to go head-to-head,” remarks the Suicide King. “And Ghost Machine may, or may not, be a robot, but I personally don’t think that’s going to save him from getting his ass handed to him tonight by Bruner!”


“One thing is for sure,” adds Mak, “Ghost Machine hasn’t faced anybody of the talent level found here in the SWF recently… and in Bruner’s last televised match, he scored a big win over the always-dangerous MANSON!”


“Anytime you can get a win over somebody like MANSON, that’s a big feather in your cap,” agrees King. “Personally, I think that Bruner’s star may be on the rise; not only did he beat MANSON, but he also gave that twerp Maddix all he could handle, and was a disqualification away from pounding Johnny Dangerous into a grease spot! The way I see it, he’s only one or two more convincing wins away from being a major player in the title picture?”


“Yeah, but which title?” asks Mak. “Heavyweight? Hardcore? What title division do you put a four hundred sixty pound man in?”


“Whatever division he wants!” replies King emphatically. “If Bruner says he wants to go after the World Cruiserweight Title, I know that I’M not going to be the one to tell him he can’t!”


“Well, I’m sure that it’d make for a few compelling matches, but I can’t imagine the championship committee ever letting an idea like that fly… At any rate, we’re just about ready for the match,” says Mak, “so let’s send it up to Funyon!”






“Our opening contest is scheduled for one fall!” booms Funyon. With that, a generic robot-like techno theme begins playing, as Ghost Machine makes his way out from behind the curtain.


“Making his way to the ring at this time,” continues Funyon, “from Parts Unknown, and weighing in at three hundred twelve pounds… is the GHOOOOOST MACHINE!” GM strides mechanically down the ring as fans surrounding the ringside area pelt him with empty soda cups and wadded-up popcorn bags. GM replies by spitting on the fans surrounding the barricade.


“This promises to be an interesting dynamic,” says King.


“What makes you say that?”


“Well, look at the reaction that Ghost Machine is getting from the fans here in Charlotte,” notes King. “Neither of these guys is particularly popular with the fans, but Ghost Machine may be so unpopular that just kicking his ass may win Bruner some fans over!”


“Quite frankly, I didn’t even know Ghost Machine was capable of garnering that kind of heat,” Mak says snidely. “But I must admit, I’m inclined to agree with you: if Bruner dominates Ghost Machine here tonight, he’ll probably at least earn a ‘Get Out of Jail” free card!” Ghost Machine steps through the ropes to enter the ring and adjusts his mask, as his music fades out, to be quickly replaced by the hot beat of Busta Rhymes’ “Call the Ambulance.”


Now, motherfuckin’ case closed... (Huh!)

The shit blow your speaker; keep turnin' your base low... (Huh!)

Spaz out because I motherfuckin’ say so... (Huh!)

Before I blow this bitch like we down in Waco... (Huh!)


“His opponent,” continues Funyon, “being accompanied by Sir Marvelous… From the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, and weighing four hundred fifty-five pounds: BIIIG BULLY BRUUUUUN-ER!” Bruner makes his way to the ring to a surprising number of cheers.


“An uncharacteristically warm reception for Mister Bruner,” says Mak, as Bruner arrives at ringside and climbs up to the apron, stepping over the top rope to enter the ring. He removes his jacket and fedora and hands them to Marvelous as the chorus begins to play:


Call the ambulance, come and pick up your people,

Call the ambulance, come and pick up your people,

Call the ambulance, come and pick up your people,

Put they body on the stretcher, carry they ass out!



“And right there, you’re looking at the reason why I expect this to be a blowout in favor of Mister Bruner,” says King, pointing at Sir Marvelous. “JL Krunk may not have been much, but at least he would have evened things up from a number’s standpoint… and, since he would have actually had the physical advantage over Marvelous, he may have even been able to force Bruner into a mistake! But now, with it essentially two-on-one, and Sir Marvelous doing the thinking, I can’t see any way that Ghost Machine stands a chance!”


Marvelous exits to the arena floor as Bruner’s music fades out; referee Red Herrington motions to the timekeeper to ring the bell, signifying the start of the match:






“Bell’s gone,” says Mak, “and we’re underway!” Ghost Machine and Bruner circle the ring, sizing each other up.


“You don’t see that very often,” says King. “I mean, Ghost Machine is the second-biggest man in the SWF, and he’s giving up almost a hundred and fifty pounds to Mister Bruner!”


“A hundred and forty-three, to be exact,” adds Mak. “That’s practically a cruiserweight!” Ghost Machine and Bruner lock up in the center of ring; because of Bruner’s height advantage, he has to bend forward to reach his opponent, enabling GM to take control with a side-headlock. Bruner easily backs Ghost Machine against the edge of the ring, however, and uses his strength to launch Ghost Machine into the ropes; GM lumbers across the ring, ever so incrementally picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes, and slams into the massive Mister Bruner… only to be knocked backwards by the impact!


“How do you like that?” quips King. “Ghost Machine, all three hundred-plus pounds of him, ran into Mister Bruner at full speed… and Ghost Machine’s the one who went down!”


“He’s a freak of nature, there’s no doubt about it,” agrees Mak, as Bruner taunts GM with a double biceps pose. GM methodically gets to his feet; he heads over back towards Bruner, and surprises him with a kick to the midsection that doubles him over!






Ghost Machine hammers Bruner in the side of the head with a thunderous right hand!









Just when Ghost Machine thinks he’s starting to build some momentum, however, Bruner stands straight up and glares at him from behind his glasses; the Bully rolls his shoulders and charges towards the alleged robot to deliver a clothesline, but GM ducks with surprising alacrity! Ghost Machine plants his feet and quickly fumbles with something on his belt as Bruner bounces off the ropes and slams shoulder-first into GM… and, astonishingly fails to move him!




GM raises his arm in taunt to Bruner and removes the item clipped to his belt, pointing it at the camera…



“Gravimatrix 2000,” reads Mak. “It looks like the Ghost Machine had some sort of device that enhanced his center of gravity, and made it possible for him to resist Mister Bruner’s charge; maybe he really IS a robot, King!”


“You can’t possibly be serious!” snaps King. “That freak isn’t a real robot! It’s a parlor trick; the art of distraction! Ghost Machine is playing mind games with Mister Bruner; the only thing that he’s managed to prove so far is that he’s not quite as stupid as he looks!”


Annoyed by his failure to overpower Ghost Machine, Bruner raises his arm overhead in challenge to GM, inviting him to engage in a test of strength… GM appears willing to oblige him, but the Bully stuns him with a boot the midsection, and immediately follows it up with a clubbing double-axe handle blow! Bruner stands GM back up with a knee smash to the face, and immediately follows up with a backfist that knocks Ghost Machine down to the canvas! Bruner then measures GM before nearly flattening his head with a teeth-rattling elbow drop! He lays across Ghost Machine as Herrington gets into position to count:













Ghost Machine kicks out at two! Bruner pulls him to his feet and whips him hard into a neutral corner; the Bully charges into the corner to deliver a ferocious running avalanche, but the alleged robot pulls himself out of the corner, causing Bruner to crash chest-first into the turnbuckles!


“Nobody home!” shouts Mak. “Bruner went for the big avalanche, but Ghost Machine got out of the way!” GM again begins hammering Bruner with hard rights; he grabs Bruner by the wrist and attempts to whip him out of the corner, but he can’t budge the Big Bully! Bruner forcefully heaves Ghost Machine into the corner, and suddenly erupts into an explosive flurry of rights and lefts, to the delight of the Charlotte fans!






Bruner grabs Ghost Machine and whips him across the ring into the opposite turnbuckles; the alarmingly quick Bruner flashes across the ring and crushes GM against the corners with a tremendous running avalanche that causes Ghost Machine to fall into a slumping heap in the corner! The fans chant for more as Bruner strides of the corner…









“This crowd is incensed!” shouts Mak, as Sir Marvelous revels in putting the badmouth on GM from outside the ring. “Who would have ever thought that Ghost Machine would evoke such a reaction from these fans?”


“They hate him,” agrees King. “Hell, look at Sir Marvelous, giving Ghost Machine the business; most of the time, the crowds booing when he even opens his mouth, but because his man is going up against Ghost Machine, they’re giving him a pass!” Bruner suddenly starts charging towards the corner that GM is slumped in…






… And obliterates him with a running knee-smash to the face!





“Good grief!” exclaims Mak. “Somebody had better to a tooth count on Ghost Machine after that!”


“Tooth count,” repeats King, half-mockingly. “I thought you said he was a robot; make up your damned mind!” Bruner pulls GM out of the corner and almost effortlessly lifts him overhead with a military press!


“My God,” mutters Mak. “That’s over three hundred pounds!”


“Ghost Machine is a super-heavyweight,” adds King, “and Mister Bruner just lifted him overhead like he was the Fabulous Jakey!” Bruner dumps GM unceremoniously behind him to the canvas, and then heads over towards a nearby corner as Ghost Machine rolls over onto his back.


“Mister Bruner’s heading over to the corner,” says Mak, as the Bully eases himself up to the middle turnbuckle. “And that’s never good news for anybody!”


“Hell no!” agrees King emphatically. “Talk about being glad I’m retired… If I were still in the ring, and I saw a man Bruner’s size going up to the top, my life would flash before my eyes!” Bruner leaps off the second ropes to deliver a guillotine legdrop…






… But misses as Ghost Machine rolls out of the way! Bruner clutches his tailbone as GM crawls over towards the edge of the ring, using the ropes to pull himself to his feet.






“Once again, Bruner with a high-risk move, and paid for it,” says Mak. Ghost Machine beats Bruner to his feet, and stuns the bigger man with a throat chop; he then doubles Bruner over with a boot to the midsection and begins to hammer him in the back repeatedly with machine-like double-axe handle blows!


“Look at this,” says Mak. “Ghost Machine with a little offense of his own; the first he’s shown tonight!” Ghost Machine takes off behind Bruner and picks up speed as he bounces off the ropes to drive a running double-axe handle into the small of the Bully’s back!


“He’s got a little momentum going,” agrees King, as GM traps Bruner in a standing headscissors. “And look at this; he’s going for the piledriver! If he hits this, Bruner’s in trouble!”


“I think I might have to classify that as a mild upset,” says Mak. GM reaches down to wrap his arms around Bruner’s waist, but the Bully suddenly snaps his back straight up, launching GM overhead with a back-body drop!






“Too much size,” says King. Bruner runs towards the edge of the ring, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes, and leaping into the air to deliver a big splash, but GM rolls out of the way!


“Ghost Machine just narrowly avoided a crushing defeat,” says Mak. GM beats Bruner to his feet and runs towards the ropes…






… But the Bully snatches up Ghost Machine as he rebounds and spikes him down into the canvas with a ferocious spinebuster! The crowd roars their approval as Bruner shakes the cobwebs out of his eyes!


“Ghost Machine took a chance, and may have almost had Mister Bruner compromised enough to hit that piledriver, but Bruner’s turned the tables!” says Mak. “And look at the snarl on Bruner’s face; I tell you what King, I’m actually kind of glad I can’t see his eyes from behind those shades right now!”


“Positively,” agrees King, as GM crawls feebly towards the ropes. “I think that Ghost Machine has awakened something in Mister Bruner, and Ghost Machine’s going to wish he hadn’t, very shortly!” Bruner stalks over towards the edge of the ring and reaches over the top rope, pressing Ghost Machine’s throat into the middle rope to choke him out, all while Sir Marvelous continues to berate him from the outside. Herrington delivers a count to break it up:


















The Bully breaks just short of a five-count; Bruner runs across the ring, picking up speed as he bounces off the ropes…






… And raises his leg to bring it through the middle rope as he brings his crushing weight down on top of Ghost Machine!








“This crowd is out for blood!” shouts Mak. “They want to see Ghost Machine get obliterated!”


“You say that like it’s a phenomenon unique to this crowd,” jokes King, as Bruner steps out onto the apron. “Who the hell wouldn’t want to see Ghost Machine get obliterated?”


“Be that as it may,” continues Mak, as the Bully ascends to the top rope, “these fans may well get their way; if Mister Bruner hits this Ghost Machine and Ghost Machine’s head may be leaving Bobcats Arena in two separate vehicles!” Bruner eggs the crowd on as he waits for GM to get to his feet; he then dives off the top turnbuckle like an ICBM…






… And crashes explosively into Ghost Machine, nearly decapitating him with a flying lariat! Without wasting anytime, Bruner turns towards the camera, and signs the crucifix…






“This is it!” shouts King, as Bruner pulls Ghost Machine into a standing headscissors. “If he hits this, it’s all over!” The Bully bends down to wrap his arms around Ghost Machine before snatching him up off the canvas…






… And driving him back down with a devastating snap powerbomb!


“Snap powerbomb!” shouts Mak, as Bruner backs into the corner and eases his way up the ropes. “And we know what that means!”


“We sure do,” replies King jovially. “It means that they’re going to have to pick Ghost Machine up with a spatula!” Mister Bruner gets all the way up to the top rope, and steadies himself before diving off the top rope…










“The Big Avalanche!” shouts King. “He ain’t gonna get up from it!”








“No way!” agrees Mak.










“Call the ambulance, indeed!”













“Call the Ambulance” begins to play again, as Bruner rolls out of the ring. Herrington rolls out to raise his hand in victory, but the Bully scares him off, allowing only Sir Marvelous to raise his hand.


“Mister Bruner with a big win over Ghost Machine,” says King.



“And he made it look easy!” agrees Mak! “Let’s go to Funyon for the official word!”


“Here is your winner,” booms Funyon, “BIIIG BULLY BRUUUUUNER!”


“A great start to Storm tonight,” says Mak. “And we’ve got more excitement to come; don’t go away, folks!” Bruner and Marvelous retreat up the ramp as paramedics (and a mechanic) tend to Ghost Machine…



As we:



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Backstage, Landon Maddix and Megan Skye are stood outside Tom Flesher's office. And a look of mischief is in the Hardcore Gamers Champion's eyes as he stops short of opening the door to turn to Megan.


"Okay, just follow my lead."


"Whatever." Megan sighs. "Just don't antagonise him. You've got enough problems dealing with him already. Remember, like him or not, he's your boss."


"Relax. I'm just going to go in there and show him he's making a mistake, I'll be the height of professionalism, promise."






"Hey Tom, what's the happy-haps!"


Looking up from his desk, Tom does a cartoony headshake. "I'm sorry... did I wake up and suddenly go colourblind? What the hell do you want, without knocking I might add."


"I just wondered how you were doing, s'all." Landon drawls with mock concern. "And from the sound of that very sarcastic and actually slightly racist remark you just made, one can only assume you're not doing too great. Which is to be expected, I suppose. Bad news that. You know, about the ratings."


Landon drops the sheet of paper in his hand onto the desk. The Commissioner takes an ever-so quick glance at the paper before glaring up at the Hardcore Champion.


"Doesn't make for good reading, I know."


"What's your point, Meltzer?"


"Meltzer! That's a good one." chuckles Landon, tapping his chin as he paces around a little. "Cause of the internet guy. No, see, I just wanted to seperate the speculation from the rumours from the cold hard facts. And when I did, I wanted to come talk to you. While you've still got a job and all... nah, I'm just joshing. About the job thing, I'm sure those rumours doing the roungs are just the typical water cooler exaggerations. These figures though, they don't lie. Things aren't going so well and in testing times such as these, it's always good to have an impartial ear to talk things over with. Or into. Or... something."


Landon sits on the edge of the Commish's desk, to his growing annoyance.


"Now, there could be plenty of factors to this little 'dip'. It could be the Disney sponsored World Heavyweight Champion we all have to look up to. It could be the slew of challengers who just haven't managed to capture the interest of your general audience. It could even be the bi-weekly "Toxxic Report", in which everybody's favourite Brit, Toxxic, runs the rule over half of the roster, summing up his general opinion of them and bringing up relevant moments from the past fourteen years of their career that no-one else remembers because ya know, the brain only has the capacity to hold a finite amount of information and the results of the past three meetings between The Insane Luchador and Christian Fury can be classed as nothing other than 'clutter' to any sane human being, all of this in the space of thirty-six minutes of precious air-time and supported by the input of The "Fabulous" Jakey and Austin "What The Hell Am I Doing Here?" Sly. Who knows. These are all just theories. But one thing is for sure, you need something."


"Shall I tell you what I need right now?"


Actions speak louder than words, as Tom pours himself a glass of bourbon.


"Okay, but before you get too inhebriated..."


"Ooh. Big word."


"...thank you. Anyway, you might realise looking at these charts I knocked up on my laptop last night... I think you'll agree the colour-coding is a nice touch... ever since you decided to 'phase me out', things have been going *slide whistle noise* as the yellow line clearly indicates."


"I don't know about 'clearly'. Yellow on white paper, not the best choice."


"Well, I debated using lavender, but the 'Alan Clark- Failure' line was already turquoise and it kinda clashe..."



*awkward pause*



"Is there a point to this?"


"Besides *slide whistle noise*? Because, that kinda speaks for itself I think."


"Look, I'm sure you could sit here and gloat all day about a minor and extremely insignificant Summer ratings drop, seeing as how I deliberately left you unbooked tonight after your humbling defeat last week. But, I'm very busy."


"I'm not trying to gloat. I'm trying to help! Your success is the SWF's success, is my success. And as a successful World Champion..."


"I told you not to bring the OAOAST up within these walls again."


"Yeah, but you said it in a different arena, so technically you weren't referring to these walls..."


"SWF walls!" snaps Flesher, before downing his glass and heading for a refill.


"Oh. Okay. Point is, I may just be the perfect person to help you out. After all, as I say, everything is rosey over at 'the company which shalt not be named', so that makes me the most qualified person in this room to comment in my opinion. So... I don't suppose you could find somebody to pretend to be your illegitimate child?"


Flesher stares up at Landon in disbelief.


"Just a suggestion."


"Well, I guess I could ask my actual illegitimate child..."




"What?" Tom says a little too loudly back, before going back to the glare. "Give me a break. You do realise that these minutes, right now, passing us by, are minutes I'll never get back, don't you."


"Well, you could always invite him to one of the shows. Bond with him."


Flesher slaps his forehead, before downing his glass and heading for a refill. Megan just looks at Landon and sighs, as suddenly a lightbulb goes off in his head.


"OOOHHH! You were kidding! Very good."


"I was kidding about the kid. Not the 'life disappearing before my eyes' part. Now go."


"Fine." shrugs Landon, finally taking himself off of Tom's table. "But, I've got plenty more ideas if you want them. You'd make a great gameshow host. Okay, so, we've kinda gone down that route already, but there's no harm on going back to what works. And let's face it, that worked. Big time. You've got Grappler's number in your Rolodex there, right?"


"Just leave. Now!"


With another shrug as if to suggest he's done nothing wrong, Landon guides Megan out of the room, signaling for Tom to "call me" before he shuts the door behind him. The moment it shuts, Landon takes a deep breath and smiles from ear to ear, despite the accusing look and folded arms from Megan next to him.


"You're gonna regret that." sighs Megan.


"Totally worth it."

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“King, are you ready for this next match?” Mak Francis asks.


“Uh, yeah, I guess so,” the Gambling Man answers, “why?”


“Well, we have two of your favourites out next,” Francis says with a note of resignation in his voice, “Toxxic and Jay Hawke. Doing BIG BATTEL~!”


“Mak, don’t try and pronounce tildebangs, they don’t sound good in a Philly accent,” King sniffs. “But you’re right, Tom Flesher has brought the booking goodness with this match-up, as this is the sort of match that should be headlining a Pay-Per-View!”


“Instead we get it on free TV for the second time,” Mak adds, “as Toxxic and Hawke last clashed for the World Title that was at that point in the grasp of the then-Michael Stephens towards the end of last year. Stephens came out the winner despite the appearance of Zyon and the interference of Gabriel Drake; what will go down tonight?”


The lights dim down and Funyon adjusts his bowtie, then raises his microphone.


“Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for one fall… introducing first, from the Hall of Fame city of Cleveland, Ohio…”


…and music strikes up. But not the synth-heavy meanderings of ‘Learning To Fly’ by Pink Floyd, no. Instead there’s a quick pick slide and tuneful guitars crash in, shocking many members of the audience.


“uh… at a weight of 215lbs, the Dean of Professional Wrestling… JAY HAWKE!(?)” Funyon finishes, confused himself. Because the music that’s pumping out of the speakers is definitely not the Dean of Professional Wrestling’s usual entrance. And as Jay Hawke himself appears in his signature spotlight at the top of the ramp, it’s clear that he’s both confused and extraordinarily pissed off.


‘Run and tell all of the angels

This could take all night

Think I need a devil to help me get things right…’


“King, this isn’t Pink Floyd,” Mak tells his commentary partner.


“No Mak, it’s not,” the Gambling Man agrees.


“In fact,” The Franchise continues, “I think it’s ‘Learn To Fly’ by the Foo Fighters.”


“Mak, I believe you are correct.”


“Toxxic’s handiwork, do you think?” Mak postulates.


“Hmm, let me see,” King muses, “replacing his opponent’s entrance music with a similarly-titled track for the purposes of annoying said opponent?” He snorts. “Yeah, I reckon.”


Jay Hawke’s usual majestic progress to the ring has been rather interrupted by the fact that his entrance has been unmistakeably tampered with, and the self-professed Dean of Professional Wrestling neglects to do his normal showboating. Instead he pulls off his robe with a bad grace and more throws it than hands it to the ring attendant. He doesn’t even climb up the turnbuckles to pose for (or at) the fans, instead simply pointing a finger at a few who are laughing at his obvious displeasure and yells at them to ‘shut the hell up!’


“Well King, I’ve never known Toxxic be able to get into his opponent’s head during their own entrance before,” Mak says, “I guess he’s branching out into new and unexplored ways of being a total dickwad.”


“It’s all part of a master plan,” King says, “don’t be fooled Mak, Toxxic knows he needs to take Jay Hawke out of his game as early as possible. This isn’t just an immature prank.”


“Yeah, right.”


Jay Hawke is now arguing with Funyon, who is protesting his innocence and complete ignorance of any foul play. The Dean is still fuming however, and his mood is unlikely to improve as a raucous, roaring chorus rolls around the arena and the Smarktron whites out.





The oozing bassline of ‘The Gush’ by Raging Speedhorn arrives as the Smarktron starts to fade swiftly down to black, and as it does so a familiar slogan is flashed up in jagged white letters, one word at a time:




Three chords ring out; on the first we see Michael Stephens knocked off the top buckle to the floor by a Nathaniel Kibagami springboard enzuigiri; on the second we see him taken off the top rope with the Mark of the Beast by Gabriel Drake; on the third we see him chokeslammed out of the Clusterfuck by Janus onto the floor below. Then, as the bass solo hits the shot changes to show him taking Mike Van Siclen off a balcony and through a table, the shot starting to strobe and intercut with an image of Toxxic’s grinning face, the devastating landing timed to coincide with-




-the moment the song kicks in, and the stagewide eruption of red pyro that signals the arrival of the SWF’s most decorated Englishman! And through the flame and smoke…




…with an SWF Tag Team Title around his waist…




…red-and-black trenchcoat flapping behind him as he strides down to the ring…




…the right side of his face creased up into a mocking grin as he stares at his fuming opponent…




…comes the man known as Toxxic.


“And his opponent,” Funyon booms, “from Nottingham, England; he weighs in tonight at 218lbs, is the leader of Revolution Zero and is one-half of the SWF Tag Team Champions; this is ‘The Straight-Edge Sensation’… TOXXXXXXXXXX-IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!”




‘Dysfunction is my game

These thoughts drive me insane

Tell me the price

Of which I have to pay…


Toxxic stops at the bottom of the ramp, then crosses his arms in the straight-edge ‘X’ for a moment before throwing them wide, palms flat to ignite another blast of red pyro from each ring post as the chorus comes in!




The Straight-Edge Sensation rolls into the ring… and Jay Hawke leaps to the attack!




“It looks like Toxxic’s tactics backfired on him!” Mak shouts as The Dean lays into his opponent with boots as referee Brian Warner tries to hold him back, “he infuriated Jay Hawke so much he wasn’t willing to wait for the start of the match!”


“Mak, you could be right,” King agrees, “if Hawke had been hotheaded straight after the bell Toxxic could have dealt with him, but right now he’s in trouble!”


Hawke isn’t letting up in his assault, trying to stomp his straight-edge opponent straight into the mat. Finally Warner hauls him back and gives Toxxic a momentary respite, but as the Englishman struggles to rise Hawke dashes back in and hauls him to his feet, then fires off a kick to the gut…




…which just hits the Tag Title that Toxxic hasn’t taken off yet! Hawke curses and hops on one foot for a second, but recovers and grabs Toxxic to whip him towards the ropes. However the Englishman reverses the momentum and instantly slips out of his trenchcoat as Hawke heads for the cables, then as Jay rebounds Stephens grabs his coat in both hands and swings it for Hawke’s head. Hawke instinctively ducks…


‘TORO!’ Toxxic bellows to a ripple of laughter, striking a bullfighting pose. Hawke stops and turns, eager to exact revenge…


…and Toxxic throws his coat over Hawke’s head, then dropkicks his momentarily-blinded opponent!




Hawke crumples to the ground while the ever-helpful Brian Warner tries to remove Toxxic’s trenchcoat; meanwhile the Englishman has stripped his Tag Title off and has climbed the ropes with it dangling from one hand, firing up the crowd (who seem remarkably receptive to someone humiliating one of the most annoying wrestlers around) and jabbing a black-nailed thumb at his own chest while mouthing something along the lines of ‘who’s the fucking man?’


“OK, quick bet,” Mak says, “which is going to get the crowd behind them? The pure wrestling skills of Jay Hawke, or the charisma of the Straight-Edge Sensation?”


“That’s no bet,” King sniffs, “but do I need to tell you that crowd support is not a good indication of talent? Toxxic’s good, make no mistake, but Jay Hawke is one of the most painfully underrated wrestlers in this company.”


Hawke has removed Toxxic’s coat from his head, and the Englishman hops back from the turnbuckles and hands his title belt off to Brian Warner, then regards his opponent with a slightly rueful grin (those stomps hurt, after all). Hawke jabs a finger towards Toxxic and clearly makes some sort of accusation; Toxxic spreads his arms wide and tries to look as guilty as possible… which leaves him open to Jay Hawke rushing forwards and shooting low with a double-leg takedown!




Hawke instantly jacknifes over into a pin, hoping to sneak a victory as quickly as he did against Spike Jenkins…










…but Toxxic kicks out! As Hawke rolls back up to his feet the straight-edger grabs him in a front facelock and hauls backwards, trapping Jay in a small package that causes Warner to dive down to count again…










…but Hawke kicks out! Both men come up to their feet but Hawke slips back down and sweeps one of Toxxic’s legs out from under him, then dives on top and grabs both of Toxxic’s hands with his own, seeking to pin the Englishman’s shoulders to the mat. Toxxic bridges up before a pin can be counted, but Hawke jumps up and brings his knees down onto his opponent’s legs to collapse the bridge!











-but Toxxic gets his feet under him and bridges up again! Hawke maintains his hold, slips his legs off, then leaps up again and once more brings his knees down on Toxxic’s thighs to knock his opponent back to the mat!











-but Toxxic bridges up once more! Hawke grits his teeth and slips his legs off again, then leaps up again…


…but Toxxic drops to the mat, raises his feet and places them into Hawke’s gut as the Dean comes down, then flips Hawke over his head!




Toxxic keeps hold of Hawke’s hands and rolls sideways to come back up towards his feet, dragging Jay with him, then releases Jay’s left hand and twists behind the Ohio native into an hammerlock with the right one. Jay reaches behind him one way to try and find his opponent, fails, tries the other way, fails again… so suddenly fires a back elbow into Toxxic’s jaw! The Englishman’s head snaps sideways and his grip slackens; Hawke whirls around and drops to the mat to snare his opponent in a drop toehold, then rolls over Toxxic to come out in front of him and clamp an arm around his opponent’s head with a front facelock. Toxxic grabs Jay’s arm and starts to force it away from his neck before Hawke can properly secure it, then rolls out to the side and comes up with an armwringer that forces his opponent down. Toxxic holds it for a moment, then suddenly spins and corkscrews through the air, dropping to the mat as he does so to not only twist his opponent’s arm in its socket but also slam Jay face-first into the mat. From there Toxxic shoots his right arm underneath Hawke’s for a single chickenwing and starts to roll the American over onto his back for a pinning predicament…


















…but Hawke kicks out! The Dean is clearly furious at nearly being caught out in mat wrestling and jabs a thumb into Toxxic’s eye!




With his opponent blinded Hawke brings Toxxic up to his feet, then casually places one leg behind his opponent’s and piefaces the Englishman, sending him sprawling backwards to the mat!






Hawke glowers around at the crowd, then turns back to his opponent. Big mistake.






He never should have looked away.


“Kip-up enzuigiri!” Mak shouts as Toxxic explodes up off the mat to deliver some cranial trauma in his own distinctive way, “you’ve gotta keep your wits about you, Jay!”


Jay Hawke collapses to one knee, which allows Toxxic to get back to his feet and apply a side headlock, then heave Hawke over and bring him down hard onto the mat. Toxxic leans back in the hope of grabbing a pinfall from this unexpected source and presses Hawke’s shoulders to the canvas…










…but Hawke is a consummate professional and quickly gets his shoulder up, then wraps his arms around Toxxic’s waist and hauls the Englishman over to stack his shoulders onto the mat in turn!


















…Toxxic kicks his legs and manages to right himself, but in ensuring that Hawke can’t catch him the same way again he has to position himself in just the right place for Jay to snake his legs up and latch them around the straight-edger’s head; from there it’s a simple matter to drag Toxxic off, breaking the headlock in the process, and pull him down into a headscissors that Hawke puts as much power into as he can.


“I think Jay Hawke wants to keep Toxxic in one place for a little while,” Mak speculates, “if he can control the pace of this match then his experience might well win out. However, if Toxxic can stay free and crank up the tempo you’ve got to think that the four-time World Champion will have the advantage.”


“Not a bad observation Francis,” King remarks, “if a little simplistic. However, I think it’s fair to say that if Toxxic gets the chance to run and take to the air Hawke will have a hard time keeping up.”


That certainly seems to be the gameplan of the Dean of Professional Wrestling as he leans back, trying to squeeze Toxxic’s head as tightly as he can. However Toxxic has his own plan, and despite the constriction of his skull the Straight-Edge Sensation starts to push himself up, then begins to perform a headstand…


…but Jay Hawke sits back up and slaps two palms into Toxxic’s back, knocking the straight-edger back down!


“Hawke’s done his homework, make no mistake,” Mak points out, “he knows that Toxxic’s favoured counter for this hold is to ‘pop’ out and then hit a basement dropkick, but if Toxxic can’t get upright-”




“Who are you, Beavis?”


Toxxic isn’t going to just let Jay Hawke squeeze his head until the cows come home, so he pushes himself up again in the hope of getting into a position where he can snap back out of the hold, but once more Hawke slaps him back down and denies Toxxic his escape!






Some wrestlers revel in the chants of the fans, whether or not they’re positive; Jay Hawke however shows disgust that the North Carolina natives in attendance aren’t appreciating his class and talent and scowls around that them before slapping his chest to remind them just who’s in charge here… unfortunately at that moment Toxxic wraps his arms around Hawke’s legs and twists to one side, rolling the Dean over onto his front! Hawke tries to stop the motion but he was caught off-guard by this new approach and before he can orientate himself he’s lying on his front with his legs under Toxxic’s control! Brian Warner dives down, ready to make a count now Toxxic’s shoulders are on the mat, but the Englishman has now managed to extract his head from between Jay’s legs and comes up to lock Hawke’s right ankle in the crook of his left knee, then holds them in place with his own legs and reaches forwards towards Hawke’s head…


“Toxxic’s going for the Regal Stretch!” Mak shouts, “if he gets this locked in then Hawke could be in a world of trouble!”


However, Jay Hawke has no intention of being caught in the hold that has won Toxxic the World Title before now. Instead the wily veteran gauges which side his opponent is approaching from and keeps his arms close to his head, preventing the Englishman from gaining the ¾ nelson facelock that he favours but also denying him the ability to cinch in any other effective form of hold. Toxxic tries his best but Hawke keeps his defence strong, so the straight-edger shifts his weight to try from the other side… and Hawke catches him in the face with a well-timed back elbow!


“See, Toxxic should have broken away,” King nods sagely as Hawke manages to dislodge the momentarily-dazed Toxxic from off his back, “getting clear and stepping the pace up would have served him far better than trying to match holds with Hawke.”


Toxxic shakes his head to try and clear it, then starts to regain his feet. Unfortunately for the straight-edger Jay Hawke is waiting for him, and the Dean of Professional Wrestling lashes out with a stinging roundhouse kick that catches Toxxic on the temple and sends him tumbling to the mat! Hawke follows this up by diving on his opponent and wrapping both hands around Toxxic’s windpipe, causing Brian Warner to start his count!












-and Hawke breaks the hold at the last moment before the disqualification! Warner admonishes him, but Jay waits for just a couple of seconds before returning to his illegal choke-












-and again, releases it just before Warner calls for the bell!




“I’m not sure if the fans are booing Hawke for choking Toxxic or Warner for stopping him,” Mak concedes, “but Jay Hawke has abandoned all pretences of technical wrestling now, King.”


“Hawke isn’t just a technical wrestler, he’s also a master strategist,” the Gambling Man replies.


“You mean he cheats.”




With Toxxic gasping for breath Jay Hawke finds the former World Champion a slightly easier target as he brings him up to his feet, then applies a front facelock and swings to one side to take the Englishman back down with a swinging neckbreaker. Stephens lands hard and Hawke covers, hooking the leg…


















…but Toxxic kicks out with some time to spare. Jay Hawke doesn’t seem too disappointed with that - it’s all a little bit more energy out of the Englishman’s tank, after all - and he quickly moves to the next stage of his plan which is to secure another front facelock and slowly bring Toxxic up towards a standing position again. The Straight-Edge Sensation doesn’t have enough air in him to launch a successful fightback this time, so Jay has all the time he needs to carefully bring Toxxic to his feet, stall for effect for a moment, then falls backwards to drive Stephens’ head into the canvas with a DDT.




“This is how Hawke beat Spike Jenkins!” Mak shouts as Jay makes his cover…



















-but Toxxic kicks out again! Hawke glares at Brian Warner and slaps his hands together quickly to indicate that he was pretty certain that was a three-count, but the referee remains adamant that the Englishman got his shoulder up in time. Jay is still unimpressed and starts to bring Toxxic up to his feet again, the Tag Champion quite definitely dazed at this point and therefore easy for Hawke to scoop up over his shoulder. The relatively short Dean of Professional Wrestling takes a moment to position Toxxic effectively, then brings his opponent down onto one knee in a shoulderbreaker!




Toxxic yells out in pain and crumples to the mat off Hawke’s shoulder, but the Dean doesn’t bother with another pin attempt; instead he turns and heads for the corner, stepping through the ropes and then starting to climb to the top rope. Toxxic is still down and Hawke wastes no time in leaping off the top and delivering a diving headbutt, once more to Toxxic’s shoulder!




Toxxic rolls away from the impact but Hawke scrambles after him. The Dean positions himself behind his opponent and underhooks Toxxic’s right arm, then goes for a crossface with the left while trying to snake his legs around to lock the Englishman’s left arm in place… but Toxxic kicks and bucks his body, trying to throw Jay off! Hawke hangs on but Toxxic has succeeded in his secondary aim, which was to get far enough across the mat to drape one boot over the bottom rope! Needless to say, Hawke isn’t willing to let go quickly…












“Jay Hawke was looking for the Wingspan there, but Toxxic had enough ring savvy to escape it… for now,” Mak Francis says. “It’s worth noting though that Hawke only went after the move with Toxxic on the mat - I remember in their last encounter Jay got the chickenwing from a standing position, only for Toxxic to run to the corner and turn it into the Sunny In England!”


Hawke has been thwarted for now, but the Dean of Professional Wrestling still has a plan and he hauls Toxxic up to his feet again, then Irish whips the Englishman into the corner. Toxxic hits hard and Hawke follows him in to deliver an avalanche that first crushes the Tag Champion against the turnbuckles, then sees him stagger breathlessly out. Hawke wastes no time in climbing to the second rope whereupon he awaits his moment…


…Toxxic turns around, wheezing and breathless and not entirely sure where Hawke is…


…and Jay Hawke leaps off the second buckle, somersaulting as he goes while reaching out to snare Michael Stephens’ head and bring him down with a Blockbuster.




So it’s a real shame that Toxxic ducked, and Hawke caught nothing but air.




There’s nothing the fans like seeing quite as much as a clean whiff from a man they don’t like, and Jay Hawke is no exception. Hawke lands hard, then tries to sit up. He succeeds, but this perhaps wasn’t such a good idea. He should have learned last December that it really doesn’t pay to piss Toxxic off, no matter what name he’s going by.




“YOW!” Mak shouts, “that was some kick!”


Sure enough, Toxxic made like David Beckham and delivered a running kick that, if Hawke’s spine had been a football, would have lifted it over any wall and underneath any crossbar you’d care to name. Sadly Hawke’s spine isn’t a football, which just means he gets hurt but remains in position for Toxxic to take a few more swings.










The fans cheer as Jay Hawke starts desperately rolling, trying to escape from his attacker as Toxxic delivers kick after kick! Finally the Dean of Professional Wrestling slithers out under the ropes to the floor where he staggers away holding his back… but as we all know, being outside the ring is no guarantee of being safe from Toxxic. Jay is suddenly aware of a flicker of movement in the corner of his eye and looks around…


…to see 218lbs coming at him over the top rope in a running somersault senton!










“You’ve got to admire Toxxic, he can turn defence into attack very quickly,” the Suicide King says.


“King, I think he’s on one now,” Mak notes as the Straight-Edge Sensation gets back to his feet and lets out a wordless warcry that the crowd, viewing that they’re about to see an unpopular wrestler take a pasting, echoes back at him. Toxxic is nursing his right arm which appears to have been hurt a little more by his landing, but he’s able to drag Jay Hawke up to his feet and then Irish whip him into the ring steps-








“Haven’t heard that one in a while,” Mak notes as the crowd take up the old chant. Toxxic gives chase to his opponent and picks up the battered Jay Hawke, then grabs his opponent’s head and points to the next ring post (which the crowd responds to with a cheer)-




-but Hawke takes hold of Toxxic’s right arm and slams it down into the apron! The pain that sears up the limb completely cuts Toxxic off, and Hawke takes advantage by going to the eyes!






With the Englishman discombobulated Hawke grabs Toxxic and rolls him into the ring, then follows him in to make a cover…



















-but Warner suddenly realises that Jay Hawke has his feet on the ropes and stops the count! Hawke ignores the referee’s admonishments and drags Toxxic up to his feet, then Irish whips his opponent towards the ropes; however, Toxxic reverses the momentum and sends Jay Hawke in instead, then ducks his head for a back bodydrop. Hawke has enough time to react though and launches himself overhead, snaring Toxxic on the way over and bringing the Englishman down with a sunset flip; a sunset flip that Toxxic rolls through and comes to his feet, then delivers a basement dropkick into Hawke’s face!




Toxxic dives on top of his opponent and hooks the leg as well as he can…


















…which isn’t well enough, as Hawke kicks out! Toxxic pulls his opponent up and this time initiates the Irish whip himself, sending Hawke slamming into the turnbuckles and then following him in at high speed. However, whereas Jay went for an avalanche Toxxic leaps up and delivers a leg lariat, then manages to control his ricochet off to land on his feet on the apron! Hawke staggers out of the corner and Toxxic hastily climbs up to the top rope, then reaches out to grab Hawke in an inverted facelock with his left arm. Jaw reaches up to try and counter, but Toxxic is already swinging his bodyweight out and around to drive the back of Hawke’s skull into the canvas with an tornado inverted DDT!




“Final Shine from Toxxic, and that could be it!” Francis yells as the Englishman covers again…



















-but no it’s not, as Hawke shows his resilience and kicks out once more! Toxxic slaps the mat angrily, winces as the pain travels up his right arm, and hauls Jay Hawke up to his feet. Then the Englishman grabs a ¾ facelock and starts a run for the corner…


…but Hawke pushes him off and sends Toxxic careering chestfirst into the turnbuckles!




Toxxic staggers backwards, breathless, and Hawke snakes his right arm underneath his opponent’s for a chickenwing…


“WINGSPAN!” King shouts.


…but Toxxic fires a back elbow into Hawke’s face with his left arm! The Dean’s grip wavers and Toxxic spins around, then starts firing off punches!














Toxxic flips his opponent a two-fingered salute with black-nailed digits, then whirls around on the spot…






…but Hawke gets both his arms up to block it, and Toxxic’s hurt right arm slams into them! The Englishman yells in pain and instinctively turns away, cradling the limb close to his body; this allows Hawke to step up and grab a rear waistlock, then bridge backwards-




“GERMAN!” Mak shouts, but Hawke’s held the bridge…



















-but Toxxic kicks out!






Hawke rounds on Brian Warner, furious that didn’t get him the three-count, but before the referee can put up much more than a token protest the Cleveland native delivers a stomp to his opponent’s chest and heads for the turnbuckles, climbing up towards the top without wasting any further time. Hawke reaches the top rope, does a quick check back over his shoulder to make sure that Toxxic is still there, then leaps back off…


…Toxxic rolls aside, timing his evasion of the Hawke Swoop perfectly, just as he did in their previous encounter…


…but Hawke had that scouted too, and lands on his feet! Toxxic struggles up to his feet to find a vertical opponent instead of one prostrate on the mat as he had planned, and Hawke reacts quicker by snaring him and rolling backwards with a small package!





















“Good God, that was close!” The Franchise yells as Toxxic just, just squeezes out of the surprise pinfall, “Jay Hawke nearly had him!”


Both men scramble up, but it is Hawke who reacts quicker; he latches onto Toxxic’s right arm and starts forcing his opponent down, looking to lock in a Fujiwara armbar. Toxxic plants his left arm firmly on the mat to prevent him from being taken right down, then tucks his head in and rolls to alleviate the pressure; Hawke suddenly finds himself off-balance as the resistance disappears, and Toxxic now has enough room to manoeuvre to reach back with his legs and wrap them around Hawke’s head, then wrenches the Dean of Professional Wrestling forward with a headscissors. Jay tumbles over on the mat, struggles back up to his feet…


…and Toxxic kips up, then leaps into the air and snaps off a hurricanrana!




“Amazing agility by Toxxic at this stage of the match, but what has it cost him?” Mak Francis asks as the Englishman struggles to roll over onto his front and head towards his grounded opponent, “if he can’t follow up that athleticism could have been in vain!”


The two men are slower to their feet this time, each one trying to catch their breath. Toxxic gathers his feet underneath him, steadies himself and then charges at Hawke, casting subtlety to the wind in an effort to put his opponent away. However, Hawke is still a wily opponent and he sidesteps the Englishman’s blind rush, wrapping his arm around the straight-edger’s head as he does so and grabbing a reverse facelock that he quickly brings down into an inverted DDT onto the knee!




Toxxic falls to the mat but Hawke can’t immediately follow up; instead the Dean sprawls sideways against the ropes where he sits for a couple of seconds, trying to regain his composure.


“This match has taken such a lot out of both men,” Mak comments, “one big move now could be all the difference between winning and losing.”


“Maybe, but in trying to hit that big move you might make the one mistake that loses you the match,” King retorts.


“Swings and roundabouts King, as always.”


Hawke manages to get back to his feet, but Toxxic is starting to stir as well. Jay appears to run through his options, then instead of moving in to follow up he steps out through the ropes again.


“It looks like Hawke’s taking a risk,” Mak says.


“It’ll be a carefully calculated one, if that’s the case,” the Suicide King replies.


The Dean waits, watching his opponent as Toxxic comes up to his feet. The Englishman turns on the spot, trying to work out where Hawke is…


…and Jay leaps to the top rope and springboards in, arm outstretched for a leaping lariat!




-but Toxxic dropkicks him out of the air!




“King, earlier on you said that Toxxic shouldn’t have tried to match moves with Jay Hawke,” Mak exclaims excitedly, “I’d venture to suggest that Hawke shouldn’t have gone high-risk against Toxxic, possibly the most successful proponent of that style in the company!”


Hawke is on the mat, gasping for breath; Toxxic grabs him and hauls him up, then-




-delivers a headbutt, before placing his skull beneath Hawke’s chin and sitting out with a jawbreaker! Hawke staggers away holding his head and Toxxic struggles up to his feet, then runs past his stricken opponent…


…grabs him in a ¾ facelock on the way (largely using his left arm)…


…and runs straight up the turnbuckles before kicking back off the top!
























“Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner,” Funyon booms, “the ‘Straight-Edge Sensation’, TOXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX-IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!”


“The Sunny In England wins it for Toxxic tonight, and at least some of Toxxic’s comments from last week appear to be vindicated,” Mak calls as Brian Warner raises the battered Englishman’s hand, “we’ve got to take a commercial break now, but we’ll be right back with our main event when Michael Alexander takes on Jimmy The Doom!”









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The crowd in the Charlotte Bobcats Arena roars as the cameras pan around the arena in anticipation of tonight’s main event. Mak Francis and the Suicide King are already getting into gear as the cameras focus on the ring containing the official for tonight’s main event, Sexton Hardcastle, awaits the start of the match.


“Tonight’s main event will be the first singles contest between the longest reigning hardcore champion in the history of the SWF, Jimmy the Doom, and Michael Alexander, the arrogant technical savant trying to make a name for himself,” Mak explains.


“You say that like it’s a bad thing, Francis…Michael Alexander has done nothing but impress since his first match. He’s taken down a former world champion and a current hardcore champion. And I can’t wait for him to continue his winning ways tonight, and put Jimmy out once and for all. I am sick of not being able to have sandwiches on the snack tables backstage, dammit!”


Funyon enters the ring, microphone in hand, to earn his meager, yet somehow still overblown, paycheck. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to tonight’s MMMMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAIN EEEEEVVENT!” The crowd roars in response, and Funyon milks this tiny bit of acclaim for all he’s worth. “First, now entering the ring, from Doomopolis, Doomtopia…”


The lights in the arena drop except for minor accent lights along the ramp, and druids march out to line the stage and upper ramp. A chant drones out from them…







They all raise their hands in seeming adoration and the chanting cuts off, to be replaced by Boots Randolph’s rendition of “Yakety Sax,” and the crowd explodes as Jimmy the Doom and Lois the Unethical march down to the ring.




King snorts. “I still can’t believe this guy gets cheers! I know the fans are mostly idiots, but for MANSON’s sake, this guy can barely speak even the gibberish English he spouts and his claim to fame so far has been holding onto the hardcore title for about a year, then he lost it to Landon Maddix! What exactly is there to cheer about? Laughter I could understand…”


“King, Jimmy is one-half of the most oddball yet entertaining tag team in the SWF right now, he always goes out there and gives 110%, and none of his matches are ever, ever boring. That’s what the fans are cheering for,” Mak declares. “The recent immigrant taking his part in the American Dream is a classic part of the wrestling business, from Ivan Putski to Antonino ‘Argentina’ Rocca…”


King cuts him off. “Francis, what the heck does any of that have to do with Dusty Rhodes?”


“King, I…” Mak gives up. “Absolutely nothing. Never mind. The point is the fans like what they like.”


Jimmy climbs into the ring and Lois the Unethical takes a chair near the announce table, pulling out a half-knitted sweater and a set of knitting needles. The sax fades as Jimmy nods to referee and raises his hands to the crowd.


“Dread Rock” by Paul Oakenfold begins to play, and the a video montage of Michael Alexander’s previous in-ring exploits interspersed with Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” highlighting the areas that the various moves depicted injure on his opponents. The lights in the arena flicker in time with the Smarktron.


Funyon pipes up with his introduction of Jimmy’s opponent. “And the opponent, from Greenville, South Carolina…weighing in at 221 pounds…the Mad Scientist of the Mat…MMMMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICHAELLLLLLLL AAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEXXXXXXXXXAAAAAANDER!”


Alexander steps out onto the stage, and the flicker lighting stops dead. He gazes out over the crowd, smirks, and makes his way to the ring, trash-talking to the crowd. The crowd responds in kind.




The Evil Genius rolls into the ring, taking up a position in his corner and stretching, now pointedly ignoring both the crowd and Jimmy. He smirks to himself as the music dies down.


“They cheer for Jimmy the Doom and boo the best technical wrestler to come along in years…I don’t understand these people at all.” King throws up his hands in frustration.


“Well, King, you can’t expect them to react any better to him than he does to them. Honestly, I think he enjoys jerking everyone’s chains a little,” Mak muses. “He goes out of his way to show contempt for just about everyone he encounters.”


“Well, most of the people are cheering for Jimmy, so they’re obviously contemptible,” King replies smugly. Sexton Hardcastle calls for the bell!




Jimmy and Alexander collide in a collar and elbow tieup in the center of the ring. The Mad Scientist grabs Jimmy’s right wrist, shoots underneath and twists Jimmy into a hammerlock. Growling in frustration, Jimmy tries to reverse the hammerlock, but Alexander clips him with a drop toehold, and floats over into a grounded headlock. Jimmy pushes himself up to his knees, then to his feet, in an attempt to escape the hold. Michael Alexander then surprisingly releases the hold completely, leaving Jimmy more than a little perplexed.


“Michael Alexander is showcasing his technical prowess right off the bat,” Mak observes. “I’m a little puzzled that he broke off the exchange like that…”


The Evil Genius then shoots in low, taking Jimmy over his shoulders and down to the mat again in a fireman’s carry.


“Well, it doesn’t take much to showcase actual wrestling against Jimmy,” King snarks. “It’s like Picasso showing off to a kindergarten, really.”


Jimmy starts to sit up, but Alexander catches his arms in a double chicken wing, rolling him over into a backslide-style pinning position!


“Alexander’s going for the pin with an unorthodox, but effective, rollup!” Mak masters the obvious with his usual flair.


Hardcastle goes for the count!










Jimmy rolls and squirms his way out of the pin. Alexander lets him go, standing and smirking at the Straight-Breader. He is fuming now, and he hops to his feet.


“Jimmy was able to escape the pin pretty easily, but he doesn’t look all that happy about it,” Mak remarks.


“Nobody’s ever happy with having their shoulders on the mat within the first five minutes of the match, Francis. Even when you escape, it doesn’t look good. Of course, that’s enough to get these losers to whoop, but these are the same people that chant for Spike Jenkins, after all.”


The two look like they’re about to join up another collar-and-elbow, but this time Jimmy takes quick advantage with a quick kick to the gut! Jimmy roars something indecipherable, grabs his opponent’s head, and delivers a brutal headbutt. Alexander drops like a stone, lying face down on the mat.




“Alexander was taken aback by Jimmy’s quick change of tactics there,” Mak points out. “He was looking to put on another wrestling clinic, but Jimmy opted to take a more direct route.”


“It just goes to show you that Jimmy knew that he was outclassed,” King growls. “He knew he was out of his league, wrestling-wise, so he decided to try to turn the match into a brawl instead.”


“No surprise there, King. Jimmy’s element is the all-out slugfest, not catch-as-catch-can.”


“And of course the only way Jimmy knows how to use that ugly rock on top of his neck is with a headbutt,” King snipes.


Jimmy bounces of the ropes and leaps up, dropping onto Alexander with a splash right to Alexander’s back. He grunts in pain, gasping for the air that just rushed from his lungs. The Straight-Breader rolls him over and goes for a quick pin!


“Jimmy’s going for the pin! Alexander’s had the wind knocked out of him! This could be it!” Mak yells into his microphone.


“No!” King shrieks.


The referee goes for the count!








The Evil Genius kicks out, and Jimmy hauls him back to his feet roughly.


“HA! There was no way he could pin Michael Alexander this early! Jimmy was just wasting his time.” King’s voice gradually returns to his normal, less shrieky octave.


Mak smiles. “Need some water, King?” King growls in reply.


The Straight-Bread Sensation fires off alternating kicks to the ribs of his opponent, drawing gasps and snarls of pain from Alexander. He then whips Alexander into the corner. Jimmy then charges in and catches Alexander in a headlock, snapping him to the ground with a headlock takedown!




“The 73.5267.1094Q80.16!” Mak shouts. “That’s the…”


King cuts him off sharply. “Who cares what he calls it?! It’s the dumbest move ever! How do you name that? It’s like naming a drop toehold!”


“Well, call it what you want, it has Alexander down on the mat with Jimmy in control. Dumb? Maybe. Effective, yes.” Mak smugly folds his arms.


Jimmy grinds away on the headlock. The application of a legitimate wrestling maneuver seems to jar Alexander out of the daze Jimmy’s headbutt left him in. Alexander rolls himself over and begins to push himself up to his knees. Jimmy, however, takes maximum advantage of his size, well, his height mostly. Sprawling himself out, he makes it impossible for the Mad Scientist to gain enough leverage to get back to his feet. Noting this, the Evil Genius drops back down, rolling Jimmy over into a pin, bridging his body to hold Jimmy down for the pin!


“Alexander’s got it bridged! Even with that, I don’t think he can hold him down…” Mak says.


Sexton Hardcastle is slightly out of position, but drops to count nonetheless!






Jimmy escapes, but is forced to release the headlock to do so.


King snarls at the ring. “Get into position, Ref! Alexander could have had him!”


“He wasn’t that far out of position, King,” Mak begins.


“Even a second counts in a pin, Francis! If that referee would have been where he was supposed to be, Jimmy would have been pinned!”


“King, all Jimmy had to do to get out was let go of the headlock and push off to escape. There was no way that was going to get him…it was only a one count…”


“Because Hardcastle wasn’t in position!” King gripes.


“Even if he would have been in perfect position, it would have only been a two count,” Mak snaps. “King, we can replay the footage with a timer.” King grumbles, but demurs.


Both men scramble up to their feet. Alexander snarls something at the referee. Jimmy wastes no time, however, and rushes in to fire off two straight palm strikes, and follows it up with a double palm thrust, pummeling Alexander back into the corner. Jimmy hits with a crisp chop across the chest of the Mad Scientist, then grabs his wrist and whips him across the ring into the opposite turnbuckle. Jimmy steps back, yells to the crowd in more foreign gibberish, and charges at Alexander, going for a driving shoulder block…but Alexander dives out of the corner just in time, leaving him to drive his right shoulder into the ringpost with a sickening crunch!




“Jimmy took too much time playing to the crowd, and it let Alexander anticipate his attack,” Mak laments.


“That’s what he gets from playing to these idiots. They really deserve each other, you know, Jimmy and these chumps.” King gloats. “I wonder what ‘I give up!’ is in Doomtopian?”


“Don’t count him out yet,” Mak warns. “Jimmy is incredibly tough…we’ve seen him take much worse hits than that and still go on to win the match.”


The Mad Scientist rises slowly, smirking as he looks at Jimmy slumped across the middle turnbuckle. Alexander measures briefly before delivering a vicious kick to Jimmy’s injured shoulder. The Straight-Breader grunts in pain and collapses out of the corner, holding his right shoulder as he lies face down on the mat. Alexander continues his assault with repeated stomps to the shoulder and upper body of his opponent. He then grabs Jimmy’s right wrist and pull the arm to full extension, twists it into a chickenwing around his leg, and drops down, into a modified inverted short-arm scissors, which wrenches the injured shoulder as well as extending the arm.


“Alexander making use of some sort of inverted short-arm scissors, working on Jimmy’s shoulder,” Mak observes. “This is exactly the sort of situation where Michael Alexander is most dangerous…he smells the blood in the water.”


“Yes, and we’ve got the best seats in the house for it, Francis!” King beams. “We can see and hear every grimace and groan of pain.”


“You enjoy others’ pain way too much, King.”


“This is Art. Art sometimes requires suffering, Francis, and Michael Alexander’s art specifically requires Jimmy’s suffering. I don’t know about you, but I support the arts.”


“King, an artist is supposed to suffer for his own art, not make other people suffer!”


“I beg to differ, Francis. Last time I attended a modern art exhibition, it wasn’t the artists that suffered…it was me.”


Mak’s face contorts in utter bewilderment. “King…I…don’t know what to say. You actually made sort of a good point.”


King growls. “You say that like it’s something unusual, Francis.”


“Yes, I did. Hunh.” Mak smiles.


Jimmy howls with pain as the Mad Scientist applies pressure to the hold. The referee gets into position on the side opposite Alexander to ask if Jimmy can continue. The Evil Genius takes advantage of the fortuitous relative position of the referee and the ropes, pulling himself up to put extra force on the hold. As he does this, Jimmy screams, and crowd jeers in concert with him!




“Now this is totally illegal! Come on!” Mak complains.


“Not until the referee catches you,” King remarks matter-of-factly, smiling.


Unfortunately for Alexander’s machinations, the referee looks up just in time to see Alexander’s hand on the ropes, and tells him to break it. Alexander grins wickedly and grabs the ropes again, holding them as Hardcastle counts and Jimmy yells in anguish!







Hardcastle draws in breath to give voice to the disqualifying count…but Alexander releases the hold just in time.


“Finally…it takes the threat of disqualification, but Alexander breaks the illegal hold,” Mak shakes his head sadly.


“You have until the five-count to break it…Alexander is using the rules to his advantage, as any good competitor will, Francis.”


“What Alexander is doing is called ‘abusing,’ King, not ‘using.’”


The referee dresses the Mad Scientist down for the illegal maneuver, but Alexander shrugs it off nonchalantly. Jimmy rolls away, cradling his right arm. The Evil Genius points at the injured Doom, laughing evilly. He then mockingly roars out quasienglish gibberish, punctuating it by screaming “DOOM!” at the end.




“And once again, Alexander can’t help but waste time mocking his opponent,” Mak says disgustedly. “This never fails to get him into trouble; I really don’t understand why he keeps letting himself fall into this trap.”


“Francis, you know that half of what goes on in that ring is psychological. Michael Alexander is showing Jimmy that he doesn’t consider him a threat, and that can’t help but shake the confidence of even a nut like Jimmy.”


“But Jimmy is a threat, King. And by wasting time like this, Alexander is allowing Jimmy to recover, which is not something you want to allow him to do.”


Meanwhile, Jimmy is pushing himself back up to his feet, his Doomtopian constitution asserting itself. Seeing this, Alexander rushes over to fire a tetrology of forearm shots, putting an exclamation point on the series with a spinning back elbow that staggers Jimmy into the ropes. The Evil Genius grins wickedly as he grabs Jimmy’s right arm, twisting it into a standing wristlock. Then, his grin expanding into a rictus smile, he leaps over the nearby top rope to the floor, taking Jimmy’s right arm with him, and the Straight-Breader’s shoulder snaps across the top rope. Jimmy howls and collapses back to the mat.




“Yes, he’s a huge threat, Francis. Lying on the mat, groaning like that.” King leans back in his seat smugly.


“We’ll see, King. Meanwhile, it looks like Alexander is wasting time with the ringside crowd, while Jimmy is left in the ring to recover.”


The Mad Scientist laughs at the jeers of the crowd. He notices Lois sitting at ringside with her knitting, seemingly oblivious. Raising an eyebrow in puzzlement, Alexander shrugs and climbs up onto the ring apron, Cheshire grin prominent. He is poised for a springboard as Jimmy is slowly getting back up. The Doomtopian staggers around for a moment, his weight balanced strangely on one foot, finally turning toward Alexander, who leaps up to go for some sort of springboard maneuver. However, Alexander has failed to note the strange balance is exactly what is required for Jimmy to deliver a crisp Yak Kick, bicycling his legs to bring his right foot up to intersect with the face of the Mad Scientist! Alexander lies stunned on the mat after the kick, but Jimmy’s ability to capitalize is hampered by the forward momentum of Alexander, the force of which sending Jimmy backwards into the ropes, where he hangs for a moment, panting, his right arm still dangling a little too loosely.




“Wha…?” King gapes in astonishment.


“Jimmy hits with the Yak Kick!” Mak yells. “It looks like he was waiting for Alexander, and Alexander literally threw himself right into that kick!”




Jimmy looks at the crowd quizzically, shrugs, and goes after the stunned Alexander with a series of kicks to the back and ribs, rolling him into the corner. Jimmy stomps after his opponent, but Alexander manages to roll out of the ring underneath the bottom turnbuckle.


“Alexander scrambles away from a resurgent Jimmy the Doom,” Mak observes smartly. “He left Jimmy an opening, and Jimmy took advantage of it!”


“Opening? He’s just luring him in, Francis…any great ring strategist like Alexander knows how to make use of a strategic withdrawal, and that’s what he’s doing.”


Jimmy fumes at his escape, and the crowd voices its disapproval as well. Referee Sexton Hardcastle barks out the count.








Alexander stalks around outside the ring, regaining his equilibrium and berating the ringside fans. It seems that the Evil Genius has reckoned without the lack of patience that is a common failing among Doomtopians, as he is completely surprised when leaps out through the ropes with a flying corkscrew elbow suicida! The sheer power of the impact bounces Alexander off the guardrail and leaves him lying facedown on the floor. Jimmy hits the floor as well, but he gets back up quickly roaring to the crowd, which responds in kind!






“Yep, King,” Francis quips, “Michael Alexander lured Jimmy into cracking him in the head with flying corkscrew elbow. Brilliant strategy.”


“Come on, Ref!” King screams hoarsely. “You’re supposed to keep the action in the ring! Get that crazy foreigner off of Alexander!”






Jimmy hauls Alexander up and shoves him back into the ring roughly, just beating the count himself. The Straight-Breader wastes no time, lifting his opponent into a standing front facelock, and planting him with a quick DDT. Jimmy grunts as the move jars his injured right shoulder, but his Doomtopian hardiness allows him to shrug off the pain.


“Well, it looks like Jimmy listened to you, King. He brought Alexander back into the ring in spite of himself.” Mak smiles.


“The only reason Jimmy’s able to do this is that completely illegal assault outside the ring! It would figure you’d support that kind of thing, Francis! And you’re supposed to be impartial!”


He gets back to his feet, hauls Alexander to his feet, knees him twice in the head, and shoves him into the corner. Jimmy follows up with two echoing palm strikes to the chest of Alexander, and he crumples into the corner. The Straight-Bread Sensation grabs the Mad Scientist by the head, pulls him up and turns him to smash him face first into the turnbuckle.


“Jimmy is relentlessly pummeling Alexander in the corner,” Mak remarks. “Alexander can’t stay in this match if Jimmy is able to control him like this; Jimmy’s at his most dangerous when he’s got free reign to pound on his opponent.”


“And you love it, don’t you, Francis? You complain about the artistic masterpiece of wrestling Alexander has put on, but you are perfectly happy to talk up Jimmy’s boring brawlfest?” King bemoans.


Jimmy hoists Alexander up to seat him on the turnbuckle facing outside, and climbs up after him. Jimmy grabs for Alexander’s arm, beginning to pull and twist him around into a Majistral cradle position.


“Jimmy’s going for the Majestic Cradle! There’s a wrestling move for you, King!”


“No! Look out, Michael!” King squeals in horror.


The Evil Genius has other ideas, as he escapes Jimmy’s attempt to hook one of his arms with the leg scissors, and instead uses Jimmy’s momentum turn Jimmy’s attempt into an improvised armbreaker, basically dropping to the mat with his full weight on Jimmy’s right shoulder!




“Alexander with an incredible reversal! He turned that attempted Majestic Cradle into a brutal armbreaker! Even if Jimmy’s shoulder hadn’t already been injured, that could put him out of the match!” Mak bemoans.


“Yes! And that’s what he gets for trying a wrestling move against Michael Alexander! It’s like an rat trying to outfly an eagle!” King says, recovering his breath in hoarse gasps.


Alexander rolls up to his knees, using the ropes to regain his feet as Jimmy grimaces in pain from his right shoulder, the drop and roll from the top rope leaving him almost dead center of the ring. The Evil Genius, a snarl of determination etched across his face, grabs Jimmy’s right arm, using it to force Jimmy up into a seated position. Alexander then twists Jimmy’s arm into a chickenwing around his leg, pinioning the arm by scissoring his legs around it. He then reaches over, grabbing Jimmy’s other arm in a classic armbar position, then drops to the left, forcing Jimmy down onto his right shoulder and levering him into a position where the armbar on the left arm is used to put even more pressure on Jimmy’s right shoulder, which is being twisted between the legscissors and the mat.


“This is not good for Jimmy…Michael Alexander has locked in another unorthodox submission hold…it’s like a modified Rings of Saturn hold,” Mak says.


“I don’t know what it is, but it looks like it’s hurting Jimmy, so I like it,” King smiles.


The Straight-Breader howls in pain, and strains with his long legs to reach the ropes to break the hold…but even his long-shanked frame can’t stretch far enough, leaving his feet kicking the mat in frustration and futility.


“Change that,” King pipes up. “I love this hold!”


“He can’t get to the ropes; he’s got to figure out an actual counter to this hold to get out of it!” Mak exclaims.


“Jimmy? Counter? Ha!” King snorts derisively.


Jimmy tries to roll over, snarling at the pain it causing him, but knowing that it is his only hope to relieve the pressure.




“This is a very unorthodox counter, but it looks like it could be effective,” Mak points out. “If he can push himself all the way back up, it will force Alexander’s shoulders to the mat unless he lets go of the hold…he’d have to release it or be pinned.”


“IF Jimmy can do that,” King guffaws, “Then I can convince Amy Stephens to go out with Fulminatus!”


The crow chants in time with Jimmy’s attempt to roll Alexander over into what would be a pinning position. Jimmy reaches the point where perhaps one more step would put Alexander’s shoulder’s on the mat…but this is also, by design by Alexander most likely, the point where the most pressure from both Jimmy’s weight and the hold itself is placed on his right shoulder.


His legs quiver…


Jimmy pushes up…












“He’s almost there…!” Mak crescendos. “Just a little more…!”


“No…” King whispers, aghast.


Then Alexander wrenches sharply, both on the arm bar and on the chickenwing scissors, and not even Jimmy’s incredible toughness is able to keep his legs from buckling, dropping him solidly back into the Mad Scientist’s latest experiment in Submission Theory! Sexton Hardcastle drops to ask the damning question, and Jimmy gives the barest of nods, pain wracking his body, and Hardcastle call for the bell.






“YES! Alexander wins!” King leaps from his seat.


“Alexander’s focus and wrestling acumen allowed him to get past Jimmy this time,” Mak says. “But he nearly gave the match away because of his ego. If he wants to be part of the main event, he’s going to have to get past that.”


“Come on, Francis, don’t be a sore loser! Your weird foreigner lost to the superior wrestler, just accept it and move on.”


“King, Jimmy’s not ‘mine.’ I’m not against Alexander, I just think how much greater he could be if he could avoid wasting so much time mocking his opponent and the fans. It distracts him, and gives everyone openings that wouldn’t be there if Alexander could stay focused on wrestling the match.”


Alexander releases the hold, his own exhaustion showing as he slumps seated in the ring, Jimmy the Doom lying nearby, cradling his right arm with a grimace of pain. Lois the Unethical is staring at the ring in utter disbelief, her knitting stopped mid-pearl. Funyon’s voice booms out across the arena as Alexander stumbles back to his feet as Hardcastle raises his hand.


“Here is your winner,” the big man blares, “the ‘Mad Scientist of the Mat’ MMMMMMMMMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICHAELLLL AAAAAAAAAALLLLLEXAAAAAAAAANNNNNNDER!”




“Blah, blah, blah, Francis,” King smirks. “We see Alexander’s hand raised one more time, and you’re still here at the announce table. I’ll go with the winning team’s game plan, thank you.”


Alexander grimly regards Jimmy the Doom, who is amazingly able to move his right arm gingerly. He rolls over the top rope and out of the ring, staggering up the ramp, an evil grin slowly spreading across his face as he returns to the back.


Mak just shakes his head. “Whatever, King. Ladies and Gentlemen, from Charlotte, North Carolina, this is Mak Francis and the Suicide King signing off for this week’s SWF Storm!” King cackles happily as Jimmy and Lois prepare to leave the ring.


The Evil Genius turns back towards the ring and the crowd, gazing out over them. He once again raises his hands over his head in victory, basking in the jeers of the crowd as we…




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It's quiet...


... too quiet.


Storm is off the air - has been for a little while - but usually the commish's work continues long after. Having gotten so used to working in six second bursts between one wrestler leaving his office and another one enterting, Tom Flesher finds himself at a loss at this thirty six minute stretch of silence.


This calls for a drink.


*knock knock knock*


God damn it.


"Come in."


The door swings open to reveal Chris Raynor, looking somewhat less than pleased, holding a crumpled up piece of paper in his hands. A decent toss lands it in Tom's lap.




"Pretty pisspoor attempt at paper football, Chris."


"What the hell did I do to deserve a handicap match next show?"


"Oh, that?" Tom asks innocently as he unfolds the paper, to see the tentative card for the next show that had been posted. "That's easy," he says as he heads for the bar, deciding to have that drink after all. "You lied to me."


"Excuse me?"


"When I brought you back in, it was on the condition that you would make something happen in the tag team division. Have you?"


"Come on, I-"


"So you lied to me."


"Who the hell do you expect me to tag with around here, Tom? Everyone who's not taken is either Doomtopian or crazy."






"And their being Doomtopian and or crazy isn't sufficient reason for you to break your obligation to me."


A cold silence follows... granted, Tom's is only cold because of the nearby icebucket, but still...


"Fine," Chris says, throwing his hands up. "Whatever." He turns to leave, but just as he reaches the door he turns back.


"By the way, there's a typo on the card."




"You added a Champion's © next to my name."


"Oh, that's not a typo."


"Sure thi-" Raynor starts to leave before it sinks in. "Wait, what?"


"It's not a typo. You'll be defending your title in that Handicap match."


"Uh... Tom? If you're starting to hallucinate, you may want to lay off the booze..."


Tom leans down, digging around in one of his desk's drawers for a moment, before removing an old, tarnished, but still very recognizable belt from his desk, and tossing it to Raynor, whose eyes go wide.


"... you've gotta be fucking kidding me."











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