Static covers the screen as a Play ► symbol appears in the bottom right-hand corner.
We are in a dark room and the only light is coming from a wall full of TV monitors playing loops of the same action sequences repeatedly. Alton Whitlock is at a podium in front of them and he speaks to X who is standing by the door.
“Bring them in.”
X carries all four of Imperium’s tag team opponents into the room. They are tied up and fully unconscious. Alton dumps a bucket of water on each of them to wake them up. They are all startled, and a cacophony of voices litter the room.
“What’s the meaning of this?”
“What are we doing here?”
“Where are we?”
“Just five more minutes? Please, Mommy.”
“Gag him X.”
X walks over to Junkrat and tapes his mouth shut; Alton begins to speak.
“I want all of you to watch the monitors before you. These all represent a moment in the illustrious history of those tag team titles. Whether it was revolutionary forces winning it…”
One of the monitors is showing The Revolution defeat the Gentlemen Club for the gold.
“or they were here from the beginning.”
Another monitor shows The Founding Fathers defeat Unholy Alliance for their turn at the strap.
“Whether they were high class…”
One monitor shows The Gentleman Club winning the titles. Another shows High Society earning their turn.
“or on the outskirts of society.”
A monitor shows The Outcasts defeating The Revolution.
“Whether they inspired positivity…”
One monitor shows the Power of Positivity defeating High Society. Another shows Beauty & The Geek winning at Block Party.
Multiple monitors get brighter as they show separate groups run through their competition. Groups like Knock Knock, The Awakening, and The Asylum are featured.
“Whether bound by blood…”
One monitor shows The Family defeating The Circus. Another shows Bellatorum defeating The Knights.
“Or by circumstance,”
One monitor shows The Watchmen defeating the Revenants. Another shows Wrestling Royalty winning Double Tap.
“All of these teams left their mark on the annals of history.”
Junkrat snickers at annals. Alton nods to X who kicks Junkrat in the stomach. Alton continues.
“They all have done something we have the chance to accomplish tonight and do you know what they all had in common? They had a central goal bigger than simply winning the gold. X and I have a shared goal, improving Imperium’s prominence. What do you have? Wanting to educate the masses? Friendship? These do not help in the ring nor life. Socrates died for knowledge, plenty of good people have died due to the wrong friends. Sorry, it will not be your night gentlemen, now watch that last monitor as you must watch us make history. Do not worry, I will at least make it comfortable. I already told X what to do.”
Alton leaves the room; X grabs a knife and cuts Banzan’s ropes. He points the knife at Banzan.
“Don’t try anything, free the others when I leave.”
X leaves the room and Banzan must untie the others by hand. It takes a while, but he finally gets them free and they try to open the door! They cannot push it open! They cannot tell but X has blockaded it with four nearby cow carcasses! There is no way they are getting out of there.
SPARKY MCCARTHY VS. HELSTROM VS. MEZ
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
Three heavy hitters square off in a true slugfest, as Coach Sparky McCarthy takes on two of his teammates in Mez and Helstrom to make a statement!
From the jump, Helstrom and Mez make an alliance of sorts as they go after the Coach, unloading on Sparky with pent-up rage after what he’s put them through. Mez in particular is unbridled in his offense, landing some heavy punches on McCarthy before dropping him with a spinning back elbow! SEDATIVE!
Sparky drops down with a thud as Mez turns his attention to Helstrom, not forgetting the Executioner’s part in his misery as he charges at Helstrom…but Helstrom rocks him with a Superman Punch! KARMIC DESCENSION!
Helstrom unleashing a devastating double knee to the back of Mez’s head, bringing the Madman down hard. Helstrom barely takes another step when Sparky sneaks up from behind! MOONSHOT!
Coach hits a nasty high angle German suplex that sends the Knight of Balance flying! Satisfied with this, Coach turns his attention to Mez, only to get slammed with a Lou Thesz Press by the Madman! ANARCHY!
Mez rains down on McCarthy with punches before resorting to headbutts!
YINGLONG’S FLAME! Mez was so focused on tearing into Sparky that he didn’t see Helstrom coming with that flash Busaiku Knee, the Madman dropping beside the Coach as Helstrom focuses its attention on the one that started this whole mess.
Sparky slowly gets to his feet, trying to reason with King Enma’s Will…but it’s all a ruse, as the Coach winds up before slamming Helstrom with an overhand punch! HIT BY PUNCH!
Helstrom is rocked, stepping back just enough for Coach to take advantage with a running shoulder tackle! ROUNDING THIRD!
Sparky can sense the bottom of the ninth coming, his chance to come out on top arriving as he continues the assault on Helstrom by stomping away at the Executioner…but is cut off by a running knee strike by Mez! SKULL CRACKER!
Sparky is thrown for a loop as Mez drives his head into Sparky’s abdomen! GUT CHECK!
Surely that’s gotta be it for the Coach, who looks completely unconscious by the blow. Mez does not look he’s finished however, focusing his attention once more to Helstrom who gets back to its feet. The two start trading heavy blows, each looking to topple the other, when suddenly Helstrom dodges a headbutt attempt by Mez, managing to nail the Madman with another Flash Busaiku Knee from out of nowhere! YINGLONG’S FLAME!
That looks to do the deed, as Helstrom goes for the cover!
The ref raises Helstrom’s arm in victory after a hard-fought victory over Mez and Sparky McCarthy!
Coach Sparky McCarthy, Mez, and Helstrom lie immobile in the ring as into it walks… Warden Johnson?
“What the fuck!?” he roars, pointing at McCarthy.
“This dumbass shows up at my institution, telling me he can turn my patients into something more useful?”
Meanwhile, Helstrom is getting up. McCarthy is still down.
“And this… this… walking fire hazard shows up, starts fucking with my best asset?”
Behind the warden, Helstrom has risen.
Simultaneously, McCarthy slithers across the mat until he’s right at Helstrom’s feet.
Mez slowly begins to stir as The Warden waves in a team of orderlies.
“We can take him,” whispers McCarthy to Helstrom from below. “You and me, Hot Steve! Let’s get ‘im!”
“You seek alliance after you have misled me, you squirming worm?” Helstrom says.
“Listen, you’ve got a helluva arm. With the right calls comin’ out of the dugout…”
“I’ve tried to show you kindness and respect, ” Helstrom interjects. “Perhaps you do not deserve it.”
Helstrom reaches down and lifts McCarthy up by the neck.
Red light emits from Helstrom’s body; the rest of the arena seems to go dark.
McCarthy’s eyes turn a bright, blinding red. He begins to float in the air as Helstrom’s grip releases.
“The Gods of the Underworld shall be the judge of you,” Helstrom says. “Your soul will be carried to them, no matter how long it takes.”
A red-as-blood lightning bolt emerges from McCarthy’s forehead and enters Helstrom’s chest.
Coach Sparky McCarthy’s lifeless body falls to the mat.
Mez and Warden Johnson watch on. A team of orderlies hold Mez back.
“Mez,” Johnson growls. “Destroy him!”
The madman comes flying at Helstrom!
But Helstrom is ready… and moves shockingly fast to grab Mez by the throat!
“And you,” Helstrom whispers. “What lurks within you? Does your rage tilt the scales of karma? You too must go before the Kings…”
Helstrom holds Mez’s massive body up against the bright Slaughterhouse lights…
But this time, no red glow appears.
Mez’s eyes do not change.
“No… soul? A void within?” Helstrom asks, befuddled. He drops the nearly strangled Mez to the mat.
Warden Johnson wearily waves his army of orderlies forward at Helstrom at Mez.
Before they can close the gap, Helstrom places both hands together–and disappears in a flash of orange-red flame.
In the corner of the ring, Coach Sparky McCarthy’s body lies lifeless.
THE IMPERIUM NARRATIVE
In a beautiful mansion in the middle of the country side, Berkshire Ellison Green sits at the head of a large oak table, a cigar in his hand and a glass of rum in front of him.
In other seats, Alton Whitlock, Mark Gouldern and X sit – each drinking a tipple of their choice.
“Welcome to the State of Imperium address,” Green announces with a look of great seriousness. “It’s been four months since our inception and the landscape has vastly changed in that time.”
“You mean that you lost the OSW Championship?” Whitlock quips, folding his arms.
BEG’s eyebrow raises.
“We lost it,” he replies. “Because we’re all responsible for our failures, as we are our successes. When I created this faction, I did it for domination. I brought in the greatest mind, the most powerful warrior and a future leader of the free world.”
That piques their collective interests, which includes a shuffle in the seat for Alton Whitlock.
“But our successes far outweigh our failures, wouldn’t you agree?” Green says, scanning the room. He has the Rewind Championship on his shoulder and looks towards Whitlock, who himself holds the VHS title. “And in the pipeline, big things are brewing.”
“That’s right,” X interrupts, downing his drink shortly after. “And by the time this night is over, we ought to have control of every Championship bar one.”
“And if we don’t, we must take a hard look at ourselves and where we’re heading,” Mark says with a stern tone.
“That’s why I’ve brought us together,” Berkshire admits, placing his cigar down in an ash tray. “Because shortly, we’ll have what we need to take our next steps and it all begins with you, Alton.”
That surprises the VHS Champion. His brow furrows as he listens intently.
“The time has come for you to run in the Presidential Election. I will finance the campaign; Mark will invest his time in the technology required to ensure certain details of your past are truly hidden and X will fix problems as they arise.”
Alton looks completely shocked.
“I knew this would be a possibility, but so soon?” He asks with trepidation. “Why now?”
Gouldern stands up, moving alongside BEG at the head of the table. He tosses down a tablet, revealing some information. Whitlock picks it up, reviewing it with wide eyes.
“Jesus Christ,” he mutters.
“The future is now. We must control the narrative, the power, the money; everything,” Green says, standing himself. “And that starts with you, Alton Whitlock.”
FABLE VS. #1 GRENADES VS. IMPERIUM
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Alton Whitlock and X are standing in the ring. Alton is smiling he just won an election. X is just standing arms-crossed in quiet confidence. Alton asks for a mic.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my esteemed partner and I were so excited to bring you the inaugural tag team title match in this version of Old School Wrestling, but we’ve been informed that our opponents cannot be found. I surely did not want to win this way but just like politics, wrestling is a dirty business so now all that is left is a count out here. I’ve been told this is the only reason we’ll do this but for now, referee, please ring the bell.”
THE REFEREE STARTS THE COUNT!
THE ROOM WAS ABOVE THE RING! JUNKRAT HAS BLOWN A HOLE IN THE FLOOR AND HE IS READY TO DIVE!
RIPTIRE FROM 100 FEET UP!
450 CANNONBALL SPLASH ONTO ALTON WHITLOCK!
ALTON MUST BE OUT!
. . .
. . .
. . .
X PULLS JUNKRAT OFF ALTON WITH A DEADLIFT GERMAN SUPLEX!
X mounts on top of Junkrat and delivers some hard hammer fists! Junkrat is busted open! X grabs him by the throat and easily lifts him! He has Junkrat high in the air and throws him over the ropes! Chokeslam over the ropes! Junkrat hits the floor hard! X rolls out of the ring and grabs a table from underneath! He sets it up and he rips Junkrat off the ground! He sets up for a powerbomb! He lifts him! Marvolo II screams! “Junkie fight!”
JUNKRAT IS TRYING TO FIGHT X OFF BUT HE IS HOLDING HIM TIGHT!
MARVOLO II USED A WINE BOTTLE ALTON HAD FOR THEM AND MADE IT A MOLVANIAN COCKTAIL!
HE TOSSES IT AT X BUT IT JUST BARELY MISSES AND HITS THE TABLE!
THE TABLE IS ON FIRE AND X IS DISTRACTED ENOUGH FOR JUNKRAT TO DO A HURRICANRANA THROUGH THE FLAMING TABLE!
X IS DOWN AND JUNKRAT ROLLS HIM INTO THE RING!
. . .
. . .
. . .
DIVING ELBOW DROP BY AESOP TO BREAK THE PIN!
HE SAVES THE MATCH FOR HIS TEAM SHOWING HE IS WILLING TO DO ANYTHING FOR THE TITLES!
HE COVERS JUNKRAT!
. . .
. . .
. . .
MARVOLO II ONE UPS AESOP WITH A SWANTON BOMB!
HE COVERS AESOP!
. . .
. . .
. . .
X SHOVES HIM OFF! THE MATCH CONTINUES!
The only one left in the room is Banzan! Why isn’t the former world champion fighting? He is just sitting down cross-legged!? Does he want to lose this? Back to the action and Marvolo is trying to shove a finger in X’s organic eye! X grabs his wrist and shakes his head fervently at him! X slaps Marvolo in the face with his free hand! Marvolo is stunned and X shoves him into Alton Whitlock! Alton seizes the opportunity!
BETTER WORLD BY ALTON WHITLOCK!
ALTON HITS THE VERTEBREAKER!
HE MAKES THE COVER!
. . .
. . .
. . .
AESOP BREAKS UP THE COVER!
Aesop might be on his own, but he is making sure it is not over yet! As for his tag partner, Banzan is still sitting down but there’s a purple aura around him now?! Aesop is trying to do his best for the team while Banzan is up there! Aesop pulls Alton up; he hits him with a spinebuster! Junkrat bum rushes him but he drops him with a DDT! He drags Junkrat on top of Alton! Marvolo is going for the Tongan death grip but Aesop catches the arm and judo throws him onto the pile! X charges at Aesop but Aesop hits a back body drop and X lands on the pile! Aesop yells as Banzan! “Now’s the time!”
HE’S BEEN CHARGING THIS UP SINCE THEY GOT OUT OF THE ROPES!
HE STANDS SLOWLY!
HE’S DIRECTING ALL OF HIS LIFEFORCE INTO AN ORB ABOVE HIS HEAD!
HE THROWS IT DOWN AT THE PILE!
ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE MOUNTAIN!
EVERYONE IN THE PILE IS OUT COLD!
IT’S OVER, FABLE ARE THE NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!
What a match as Fable makes history tonight! The tag team gold is back, and it is all theirs tonight!
THE THIRD LETTER
A pair of hands open a crisp white envelope, revealing a letter within that’s read in the narration of an old female voice.
My Dearest Son,
Today I thought a lot about how your daddy treated me and your sister. I think that’s the reason I pushed you away. I don’t want to shirk any responsibility but your sister needed me. She needed a mother. You always had him.
He didn’t want a daughter. He viewed women as weak and useless.
I had to make up for that. I had to show her that she too was important, that she too ought be loved and cared for.
You became jealous of her.
With good reason.
I made sure your sister had my undivided attention and ignored you. I let you fend for yourself, just like your daddy wanted. When he wasn’t there, I’d shut you away in the cupboard for hours; just so I didn’t have to see him in your face.
You cried as you heard us laughing and playing. It didn’t break my heart but it should’ve.
Like I said, I was a terrible mother.
I know that your sister used to torment you too. Seeing how I treated you, she thought it was okay to do the same. It wasn’t. I’m sure that deep down, eventually, she understood that.
I hope so, at least.
I’ll write you again soon, my dear.
Lots of love,
Backstage, Berkshire Ellison Green confidently walks down a concrete hallway, the Rewind Championship slung over his shoulder. He has a grin on his face as he suspiciously looks over his shoulder. We saw him with Imperium earlier, why is he alone now?
The lights flash in the empty hallway, as BEG turns in a small circle, backing himself up to a wall.
“Bring it on, Kirby!” He yells.
Green grunts as darkness falls once again. When the lights come back on, a red and black shape is pressed up against him, the gleam of a blade up against his throat.
“You’re playing a dangerous game, Green.” Red Death says, his voice raw, barely restrained. “I should kill you right now.”
BEG grins wider.
“Do it, then.” He taunts.
Death pushes the knife into Green’s throat, causing a brief moment of the mask slipping from BEG. But he holds it there, capable of drawing blood if BEG so much as swallows.
“You’re not invincible.” Red comments. “Killing you won’t take that title away, and killing you doesn’t teach you a god damned thing. The only thing that hurts you is stripping you of your assets.”
Death nods at the Rewind strap.
“There’s nothing more important than those titles right now. So that’s what I’ll be taking from you.”
He releases BEG from his grip, dropping the knife.
“Then, if you’re lucky, I won’t kill you.”
Darkness falls once again.
When the lights turn back on, Green is left alone in the hallway. He reaches down to pick up his knife, wipes it off, and places it back in his coat.
Then he grins.
SIGIL VS. THE JUDGE
Unhindered by most of the universe, Sigil may well have collected from the wrong foe this time as he finds the Judge’s blade pressed against his throat. Can he avoid judgement or will his greed be his undoing?
The bell sounds as the Judge surprises Sigil with a stiff headbutt, sending the Collector staggering back before a massive Lariat nearly takes his head off. Sigil staggers up into a flurry of lefts and rights before another stiff Lariat spins Sigil inside out. The Collector rises to his feet, trying for a quick roundhouse that The Judge easily dodges, grabbing Sigil by the throat
BEFORE THROWING HIM OVER THE TOP ROPE WITH A MASSIVE CHOKESLAM!
Sigil lands hard on the outside as the Judge slowly climbs out of the ring. Sigil staggers up, holding his back as he tries to fight back with a flurry of strikes but a single right hand stops the flurry before a looping boot to the side of the jaw sends Sigil stumbling into the ring post. The Collector leans on the steel for support as the Judge rushes forward.
SPEAR…INTO THE RING POST!
Sigil suckered in the Judge as Order bounces his dome off the steel before getting a massive chop to the base of the skull. To his credit, The Judge is still on his feet but barely as Sigil tosses him into the ring before rolling in as The Judge sits up out of it on his knees.
LEG LARIAT TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!
The Judge may be out cold from that move, flopping down onto the mat face first before Sigil rolls him over for the cover
THR…THE JUDGE JUST GETS THE SHOULDER UP!
The Judge barely gets up onto his knees before Sigil is on him, drilling him with stiff kicks to the midsection and jaw before trying for a roundhouse kick to the dome that The Judge just barely manages to duck under. The Judge is back on his feet as he tries for a headbutt that’s blocked before a pump knee to the jaw rocks Order who staggers back into the ropes
BEFORE NEARLY TAKING SIGIL’S HEAD OFF WITH A BIG BOOT!
Sigil staggers up to his feet right into another headbutt that stuns the Collector
AS THE JUDGE DELIVERS THE VERDICT!
The Spartan Kick sends Sigil flying into the corner but he barely hits the buckles before he’s squashed against them with a mammoth Avalanche Splash. Sigil staggers out as he’s lifted up high in the air in a Powerbomb Position.
Sigil manages to slip out of the Buckle Bomb, The Judge trying to sense his presence.
FINIT…THE JUDGE CATCHES THE KICK!
Sigil is stuck in mid-air, a wide look on his face before The Judge lifts him up with one hand and drives him into the buckles once more with a one handed buckle bomb!
Sigil gets driven into the steel once more with the Avalanche before the Judge looks to finish him off. Order pulls Sigil up to the top rope, stunning him with a massive uppercut before climbing to the outside and the top himself as he hoists Sigil up onto his shoulders.
The Judge is lost for a moment before he feels something rushing at him from behind, not able to turn around in time for
THE PLANESWALKER TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!
The Judge crashes to the mat, completely unconcious as Sigil collapses for the cover
The Collector does it here tonight, using his incredible teleportation skills to escape a sure defeat and a guilty verdict here tonight
The grueling duel has come to an end.
The Collector and The Judge, both battered and bruised, rise to their feet in the ring.
They lock eyes.
“We’re not so different,” The Judge says roughly. The Slaughterhouse is silent. “Others look at the universe and tremble before it…”
“… but at least you and I are brave enough to do what we believe best serves it,” Sigil says, finishing the balanced one’s sentence.
“Both concerned with creating order from chaos, in their own way…” Sigil says. “A pity that our destinies have collided in this way.”
“It’s not too late,” The Judge says. “Give me the altar.”
“It is your order’s no longer.”
“You’ve failed to learn the lesson of the Altar of Perspective, Collector.”
“As you’ve failed to take it from me?”
The Judge ignores him.
“The ancient texts say that the earliest leaders of my order used the Altar to show newly ordained Judges the greatest truth of all,” says The Judge. “That the universe is one thing. A single organism, when viewed from afar. And that entity must be balanced from within. You’re concerned with a thousand treasures, a million trinkets… but you’ve forsaken the only single item that matters. Our home.”
The crowd is silent.
“You reside over a derelict, abandoned court, yet mock my purposes?” Sigil responds. His voice is scathing with anger.
The Collector spits.
“Proclaiming your verdicts to no one? No true law; no rules. Just ancient relics and the scattered teachings of a roving band of lunatics from the beginning of time. I know of your order. And I question the justice of its endeavors.”
“My order is ancient and proud,” replies The Judge. “Beyond the understanding of a creature such as you.”
Sigil takes a menacing step forward.
“The next time our paths cross,” he snarls, “I will not judge your actions so kindly. You would do well to hope that day never comes.”
“Speak not of judgment,” replies The Judge. “Or you may just invite your own.”
Calmly, The Judge opens a portal. Sigil does the same.
They both disappear. The ring stands empty.
THE DROP OFF
“Dun dun dun dunnah!”
“What the fuck are you doin’, boy?”
“Theme music. Because of the whole secret spy thing.”
“We weren’t doin’ spy work, we were plunderin’!”
“In a mahogany barrel, boy. Nothin’ sneaky about it.”
Who else could be having this conversation than Scrimshaw and Pickpocket. The two enter into the parking garage we saw them in but two weeks ago, the contract, as it seems, complete. And once again, standing in the dark of the garage, is the Informant.
“Quiet down, you two. Did you get what I asked for?”
“Aye. And our payment?”
The informant pulls a briefcase from the darkness, showing it to Scrimshaw who nods.
“Make the switch at the same time. Got it?”
The Informant nods.
“One. Two. Three!”
On three the two men make the trade, the Informant sliding the case as Scrimshaw tosses the flash drive. The captain nods his head and reaches down, opening the case. However, what’s inside makes him back away in confusion. Sitting in the case, glinting in the low lights, is a knife.
“What the fuck is this? Where’s the payment?”
The Informant merely chuckles.
“You do recall, Mr. Scrimshaw, the message was addressed to you. Well, you know how loose ends are. Before payment reaches any hands, I’ll need one of you to be… cut loose.”
Scrimshaw shakes his head, spitting on the ground.
“I ain’t killin’ the kid. And he ain’t killin’ me.”
The Informant, face still obscured, points at Scrimshaw as he backs into the shadows.
“One of you is going to end up dead, or the price on your heads will be insurmountable. We have the means to call in specialists. Just like we called in you, we’ll call in more.”
Scrimshaw goes to yell at the Informant, but the man disappears into the shadows. Pickpocket places a hand on Scrimshaw’s shoulder, a somber look on his face.
“Captain… I don’t think we have a choice.”
“What do you mean?”
Pickpocket points at cameras pointed all around the parking deck, each one trained on the duo.
“It’s okay. Let’s just… get it over with, right?”
Scrimshaw looks almost… frightened at the idea. But he lowers his head before shoving Pickpocket away past the knife, placing the case in the middle of them.
“Give me all you got, Pocket. Ain’t either of us gonna take this lyin’ down!”
And with that, their ‘match’ begins.
PICKPOCKET VS. SCRIMSHAW
Scrimshaw and Pickpocket look down at the serrated blade which comes between them.
Does either one of them have what it takes to do what’s being demanded of them? After everything they’ve been through together!?
“We don’t have to do this!” Pickpocket reasons with Scrimshaw. “BJ will get us out of this – right, BJ!?”
He turns to see the tail of Buford Jr. disappear round the corner.
—The Old Sea Dog BLINDSIDES Pickpocket with a right hook to the jaw! The master-thief falls on all fours on the asphalt, almost knocked unconscious. Scrimshaw BASHES the young-un’s head into the side of a parked car, denting its door. He yanks him up by the arm and whips him HEAD-FIRST INTO THE WING MIRROR!
Pickpocket is out like a light as the mirror goes flying. Scrimshaw picks up the knife and turns it over in his knotted hands, wetting his lips. This old sailor has gutted many a fish in his time – maybe worse.
AND GETS A FISTFUL OF GRIT THROWN IN HIS EYES!
The knife clatters to the ground. Pickpocket scrambles to his feet, having blinded—and disarmed—the Cap’n. Despite his splitting headache, he can’t help his good nature taking over when he sees his mentor furiously rubbing his eyes and groaning.
“Oh man, are you okay!?”
He puts a hand on Scrimshaw’s shoulder – only for the old pirate to grab his wrist! He pulls him in close, snarling “Gotcha, lad!” –
DASHED ON THE ROCKS!?
PICKPOCKET SQUIRMS FREE FROM THE SPINEBUSTER!
He pops up behind Scrimshaw, who spins round with a mean hook. ‘Pocket hops backwards – onto the tail-end of a sedan! Scrimshaw growls and climbs up after him.
“It’s over, Scrimshaw – I have the high ground!” Pickpocket cries as he steps back onto the roof.
Scrimshaw ignores him and lunges forwards—
But he gets CARRIED AWAY!
FACEBUSTER ON TOP OF THE CAR!
THE WINDOWS BLOW OUT AND SHATTERED GLASS COATS THE ASPHALT!
Having felled the scrappy old miser, the Prince of Paupers hops down and picks up the knife.
Scrimshaw is helpess. Pickpocket’s eyes widen as he catches his own reflection in the blade.
Will he do what so many storms, sea monsters, and mutinous crews have failed to do!?
“He did threaten to cook my best friend,” He reasons. “Multiple times…”
“Give that here, boy!”
SCRIMSHAW GRABS THE KNIFE!
Pickpocket yelps as he wrestles with Scrimshaw, who is still atop the car.
“This knife—ain’t fer—spreadin’ butter!” Scrimshaw spits out as the knife is pulled back and forth between them.
The fight in him fades, however, as his stamina lets up. The younger, fitter Pickpocket regains control of the knife –
BUT A POKE IN THE EYES TURNS THE TIDES!
The knife hits the floor once again.
Scrimshaw rolls off the side of the car and gets to his feet haphazardly – only to crumple to the ground!
Once again, despite everything, Pickpocket is immediately concerned.
“Are you okay!?”
What he doesn’t see, however, is the dreaded brass knuckles which have won Scrimshaw many a dockside fight back in his day…
“Come—come help me up… son.”
Pickpocket’s heart melts and he steps forwards.
Scrimshaw springs up with a loaded right hand, but just as he does –
“BJ, there you are!”
Pickpocket smiles at his monkey friend – who is sitting inside the totaled car!
With a screech, BJ SWINGS the car door open—
SCRIMSHAW IS KNOCKED ONTO THE PARKING GARAGE FLOOR, OUT COLD!
“BJ, look what you did!”
Pickpocket throws his arms in the air – then sees the knife beside Scrimshaw.
He takes receipt of the blade once more…
He looks down at his old friend as his grip tightens…
For all his cussing, the clips round the ear-’ole, and his generally being a salty old bastard…
He is a friend.
Pickpocket shakes his head and tosses the knife aside in defiance.
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN
The match is over, but as the killing blow was poised to be dealt, the knife clatters onto the ground, and the winner, through it all, helps the other to their feet.
Both men look each other in the eyes, Scrimshaw breaking the silence.
“I can’t kill ya, boy. I… I ain’t strong enough.”
Pickpocket, eyes wet, shakes his head.
“Think we can survive with a price on our heads?”
Scrimshaw can’t answer, however, as a voice from the darkness speaks up.
“No, no you can’t. But I do suppose it’ll be easy to tie up two loose ends.”
Both men look to the source, seeing someone come from the darkness. Suit on his back and a smug smile on his face is Alton Whitlock. Accompanying him is X, the soldier shedding off the Informant‘s attire. He’s stone faced as he walks past Whitlock.
“You two really are hard to read. But that’s nothing to worry about once X gets a hold of you.”
Scrimshaw pushes pushes Pickpocket behind himself and walks up towards X, fearlessly staring the soldier in the eyes.
“Then take me on. The kid goes free, I fight your first mate here.”
Whitlock merely chuckles, walking forward and joining X. He looks to the soldier and nods. X finally speaks as he directs his attention to Scrimshaw.
“You really should have gone for the kill.”
Scrimshaw is caught off guard by a X’s hand shooting out, gripping tightly on Scrimshaw’s throat! He squeezes down, Scrimshaw’s eyes bulging from his head as X bares down on him.
“You’re a fool for trying to oppose Imperium. All this for your little cabin boy to live?”
“A-ain’t no cabin boy-”
X tightens his grip ever so slightly, Scrimshaw going silent, not fighting it as his vision begins to go black.
A handful of sand goes into both Whitlock and X’s eyes! BUFORD JUNIOR LEAPS IN WITH THE KNIFE AND EMBEDS IT IN X’S SHOULDER!
X is forced to let go of Scrimshaw who Pickpocket yanks away from him! Whitlock tries to follow but a wild boot to the groin drops him to his knees! Pickpocket drags the gasping captain out of the parking deck, the two disappearing down a series of alleyways, making as much distance as they can in short time. As they come to a stop, Scrimshaw leans against a wall and glares at Pickpocket, voice still hoarse.
“What was that!? I was lettin’ you live, Pocket.”
Pickpocket looks more anxious than anything as replies.
“I couldn’t let them kill you, captain! We’re stronger than that!”
Scrimshaw chokes a bit, hacking and coughing.
“Well, they’ll be after us. This means we gotta prepare. Thankfully all they want to do is clean up loose ends.”
“Well what boy?”
Pickpocket reaches into his pocket, pulling up the flash drive, a sheepish grin on his face.
“I swiped this after I kicked Alton in the-”
“Shut up, boy. Shut up and help me to me ship. We have… preparations to make.”
And with that, the scene fades out, a feeling of uncertainty hanging in the air.
DON’T WE ALL DESERVE A FRIEND?
Mark Gouldern makes his way to the ring, dressed for action, TeleGauntlet primed and ready for whatever comes his way. Yet, there is uncertainty in his eyes. For the last time SeeSaw spoke with him, his promise of “more convincing” left a chill in the air that has lasted all week.
Since then, radio silence. Not a word.
The tension is broken with an all too familiar laugh. Then a shape that slowly hovers down from the rafters of the Slaughterhouse. An Action Man, parachuting down into the ring.
Gouldern watches as the lone soldier approaches, shouting in the direction of the rafters whence he came.
“SeeSaw! Enough of these games.”
Following the first Action Man, a flurry of figures follows. Some parachute, some speed down toward the ring on Ziplines. All come to rest around the apron of the ring. The laughter continues as an army of robotic toys – teddy bears, barbies and action figures, appear and line ramp of the entranceway. Gouldern’s face reddens in frustration.
“Bring as many of your little projects as you like, Andy. It won’t help convince me to give you what you want. Nothing personal you see, it’s only business. Working with the likes of you, it’s just not good for business. I will not help you and there’s nothing you or your little friends here can do about that.”
The laughter breaks, silence follows as the toys that now surround the ring are motionless. After a pregnant pause, SeeSaw’s voice sounds.
“Ah Marky. We tried to play nice. And as you can see, I’ve been playing with robotics. You can learn a lot online these days. But no matter how funtastic my creations can be, they will never be as good as the real deal. What you can create for me, with me… True intelligence. Every little girl and boy deserves a friend. Do you hate the children Marky? Why would you deprive them of the friends they cry themselves to sleep over?”
Finally, the tell-tale Red hair appears in the entranceway. SeeSaw has arrived. He stares down at Mark Gouldern, and the Herald of the Future stares back unwavering.
“You do not understand. There are so many factors that must be considered. Unpredictable factors. What you’re asking, it cannot feasibly be done and I won’t help you create something that could so easily go so wrong.”
SeeSaw brings out a device. Smiling a smile full of teeth he pushes a large red button on the device. All the toys at once come to life. They each turn, facing Mark Gouldern. And as one, as an army, they advance.
This is going to get physical.
MARK GOULDERN VS. SEESAW ©
DOUBLE FEATURE CHAMPIONSHIP
In what has become one of the strangest Lumberjack Matches that you’re ever likely to see, Gouldern takes on SeeSaw in a ring surrounded by the contents of SeeSaw’s toybox. Each toy robotically modified with a single program… To Maim Mark Gouldern!
The horde of toys close in on Gouldern. Action Man, who had first parachuted into the ring is joined by several identical others that surround Gouldern. Mark kicks out, catching a few of the toys and sending them flying to ringside. He works valiantly to clear the ring, but is caught in the eye by a projectile from a nerf-gun wielding teddy bear. Blinded, he staggers momentarily and is swamped by a horde of SeeSaw’s toys. Looking something akin to Gulliver in his travels, the toys take him down, clawing and scratching all over his body.
SEESAW’S TOYS HAVE TAKEN THE FIGHT TO GOULDERN
AND HERE COMES SEESAW HIMSELF!
SeeSaw enters the ring and the toys clear off. He picks Gouldern up… GORILLA PRESS SLAM! Gouldern bounces, but his Combat Suit 2.0 allows him to roll through the impact. Soon, he finds himself on his feet again.
RUTHLESS INSPIRATION DROPKICK CATCHES SEESAW BY SURPRISE!
HE’S SENT FLYING ONTO A PRIECLESS COLLECTION OF CLASSIC ARMY MEN!
THE TELEBOOT REALLY EVENED THE PLAYING FIELD!
The Herald proceeds to cleaning house of a number of toys. With the aid of the TeleGauntlet, several stuffed bears lose their stuffing, Barbie gets decapitated. But again, the sheer numbers catch up and the platoon of Action Men make a human chain around Gouldern’s neck and begin choking him. With Gouldern fighting for breath, SeeSaw comes back into the fray…
SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST!
THE GORE SOFTENS GOULDERN UP AND THE SPINEBUSTER KNOCKS HIM DOWN!
BUT GOULDERN DOESN’T STAY DOWN!
HE KEEPS ROLLING UNTIL HE IS OUT OF THE RING!
Telaris continues to bleep warning messages at him, sensing danger from every possible angle and working itself into a frenzy. No sooner had he hit the outside is he swamped by a horde of ‘Lumberjacks’, more of SeeSaw’s toys and life sized robots that attack with kung-fu grip and wild robotic swings. He is caught by the swinging arm of a classic 80s robot, that sends him reeling into the crowd barricade. Gouldern does his best to fight off the horde, decommissioning a number of robots before the numbers overwhelm him again. They send him reeling back into the ting, where Seesaw is waiting with a manic grin.
“Do you like my toys Marky? They love to play with you.”
GOULDERN BLOCKS THE BACKBREAKER!
HE REVERSES THE MOVE INTO A SITOUT FACEBUSTER OF HIS OWN!
THIS IS THE BREAK THAT GOULDERN NEEDS!
SEESAW ROLLS ONTO HIS BACK… WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE. HE’S… GIGGLING!
Gouldern backs off slightly at the sight, and proceeds to press a couple of buttons on his TeleGauntlet. Before long, there is a buzzing sound, like a swarm of wasps around the Slaughterhouse. Then…
AN ARMADA OF FUCKING DRONES SWARMS THE RING!
THEY’RE TAKING OUT THE TOYS!
KAMIKAZE DRONES THAT EVEN THE SCORE! NOW IT’S JUST SEESAW AND GOULDERN IN THE CENTRE OF THE RING!
THE DISRUPTION! SEESAW NEVER SAW IT COMING!
HE’S BUSTED WIDE OPEN AND STAGGERING!
GOULDERN GOES FOR ANOTHER STRIKE!
SEESAW RAISES UP HIS ONLY REMAINING TOY… THE CRASHTEST DUMMY, JACK!
JACK BEARS THE IMPACT OF THE SHOT!
SeeSaw jumps into action, shaking off the effects of the gauntlet to his face as best as possible. He floors Gouldern with a Snap-Action DDT, scoops up Jack and charges at the ropes!
JACK’S COLLISION COURSE!
GOULDERN CRUMPLES TO A HEAP AFTER BEING FLOORED BY THE CRASHTEST DUMMY!
SEESAW SLITHERS IN FOR THE COVER!
NO KICKOUT FROM GOULDERN! THIS ONE IS OVER!
SEESAW HAS HIS HAND RAISED AND HE RAISES THE HAND OF JACK THE CRASHTEST DUMMY!
SeeSaw has thrown everything at Mark Gouldern to retain his title. It took a special friend for SeeSaw to seal the deal, but he shows Gouldern the value of his army.
COLLECTION EVENT II
On the underground fighting circuit, one man rules the roost. He’s the toughest brawler they’ve ever seen and his star is on the rise.
It’s moments after another knock-down drag out brawl when we meet up with him, stood in an old locker room, removing the tape from his knuckles.
“I know you’re here, dickhead,” he scoffs. “Stop hiding, you pussy.”
Sigil steps out from behind the shadows.
“I wasn’t hiding, just biding my time,” he retorts.
“Look, if you want me to fight, I’m down, but it’ll cost you,” he continues. “Six grand is the going rate and for that, I’ll kick some prick’s teeth down his throat and send your people home happy. It’s a bargain.”
“That’s not why I’m here,” Sigil admits. “I’ve come to offer you an opportunity; one unlike anything you’ve ever had. There’s no monetary gain, but you will help shape the world.”
The guy looks at him, entirely perplexed. He shakes his head.
“I don’t think so. I’m making way too much bank to stop now. Do you know who I am? My name got me here but my fighting did the rest.”
“I know exactly who you are, believe me, and that’s why you’re so important. Listen, I know what comes next. Let me show you.”
Sigil puts a hand on his shoulder and they vanish for a moment. When they come back, Jay sits down, head in his hands.
“Fuck!” He exclaims. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”
“Come with me, fight alongside me and avoid that fate,” Sigil pleads, sitting down next to him. “It doesn’t have to end that way.”
RED DEATH VS. BEG ©
Months of scheming, double crosses and hatred have come to fruition here tonight. Will BEG prove that he is Red Death’s superior or did Berkshire make one fatal check he can never cash?
The bell sounds as Death rushes forward, absolutely obliterating BEG with a huge running dropkick that sends him flying into the corner. Death is upon him in an instant, beating the living shit out of him down into the corner before backing up for a moment and delivering a stiff running facewash. A second follows before Death backs up once more, running full force before drilling both knees into the face of BEG as the steel gets driven into the back of his head.
BEG gets lifted up out of the corner dazed, trying for a wild right that’s easily dodged before a vicious knees takes all the wind out of him.
RETURN TO ARKHAM!
The Double Underhook DDT spikes BEG into the mat and this could allready be over as Death covers.
TW…DEATH PULLS HIM UP!
Death is far from done with BEG as he begins to light up Green with sadistic lefts and rights, trapping him in a double underhook before beginning to rain down knee after knee in a Muay Thai like clutch before an explosive kick to the side of the head sends Green stumbling out of the ring to the floor below. Death quickly follows, Green trying to pull himself up with the steps as Death rushes forward right into
DROP TOE HOLD ON THE STEEL!
Green bounces to his feet, wide grin on his face as he suckered Death in, bouncing Death’s head off the steel before rolling him into the corner but grabbing a steel chair from under the ring before heading back inside.
Death is up on his knees as Green brings the chair crashing down on his back. Death winces in pain as BEG brings the chair down again and again before tossing the crumpled mess aside and hooking the leg for the cover,
THR…DEATH GETS THE SHOULDER UP!
Green looks annoyed for a moment but shakes his head in focus as he tries to lock in the FINANCIAL CRISIS! He gets the crossface locked in around the jaw but can’t get the arm hooked before Death scrambles for the ropes, forcing the break. Green holds on as long as he can, making Death suffer as much as possible before letting go. Green pulls the hurting Death up, laying down a few elbows to the back of the injured neck before dropping him down to the mat with an Inverted DDT. Green doesn’t cover, instead pulling Death up once more before tossing him across the ring into the corner.
Green rushes forward, trying for a clothesline but Death manages to duck out of the way, drilling Green with a swinging kick to the face before grabbing BEG’s head as he staggers out.
Green gets drilled with the Bulldog into the turnbuckle but Death is slow to capitalise, holding his neck in pain. He takes his time pulling BEG up, as Berkshire pulls something out of his pockets. Death pulls BEG in, trying for another Return to Arkham but suddenly staggers back, a slow trickle of blood coming down his side
BEG JUST GODDAMN STABBED RED DEATH!
Death is furious as he rushes forward, BEG dodging his inital rush but an attempt to throw him into the buckles is averted as Death bounces off, nearly taking BEG’s head off with a running boot to the face before using the ropes to slingshot off and drive both knees into the back of BEG’s skull! BEG is out of it as he slowly rises to one knee,
BEG drills Death low out of pure desperation before quickly rolling him up into a schoolboy
ONE…BERKSHIRE HAS THE TIGHTS!
TWO…HE HAS THE OTHER HAND ON THE BLOODY ROPES!
BEG quickly rolls out of the ring to avoid the furious Red Death, as he manages to retain his Rewind Championship here tonight.
Luke Storm warms up in his locker room, briskly jumping rope.
“Fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two…”
The locker room door, kicked in.
There, in the doorway…
“Tonight, the tale will be told…”
“And the score will be settled.”
Luke chuckles, tossing the jump rope to the ground.
“Yeah? Well check the scoreboard. You showed up in my house, I took out the trash. I got the hardware, and all you have is a dusty, old book of lies. The score will be settled, Crypt. But the scoreboard will tell the same tale.”
“I’m afraid I’ve given you too much reason to believe in the tales you tell yourself. Allow me to rectify that.”
Cryptkeeper storms into the locker room!
Crypt sidesteps it!
CURSE OF THE CRYPTKEEPER!
Luke Storm flies into the air and drops to the ground!
But Cryptkeeper isn’t finished. He drags Storm to an open locker and places his head between the door and the locker!
CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! God damn, Luke is bleeding from the locker door colliding into his face!
Cryptkeeper lifts a nearby bench over his head!
Right over Luke Storm’s back!
THE WOODEN BENCH BREAKS OVER STORM’S SPINE!
Keeper grabs Luke Storm up and lifts his body over his shoulder.
“Time for the final chapter,” Keeper says.
“Time to settle the score.”
He carries Luke out of the locker room and marches towards gorilla…
CRYPTKEEPER VS. LUKE STORM ©
Cryptkeeper walks down the aisle, the seemingly lifeless body of Luke Storm draped over his shoulder.
He tosses Storm in the ring, and rolls in behind him!
DING! DING! This simply isn’t fair! Cryptkeeper drops down to a knee and grabs Luke by his hair! He SLAMS his face into the mat! Again! Again! Again! Again! Again!
God damn it! Crypt stands up and pulls Storm up to his wobbly feet! He scoops him up! SCOOP SLAM! NO! He carries Luke Storm to the edge of the ring! Gorilla press!
HE THROWS LUKE INTO THE GUARD RAIL FROM INSIDE THE RING! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!
Luke arches his back and cries out in pain! But Crypt is already stepping outside of the ring, putting work in on that spine of Storm’s with heavy boot after heavy boot!
Keeper walks over to the steel ring steps. He rips them away from the ring post and lifts them over his head! He walks over to Storm!
CLANK! THE STEEL STEPS RIGHT ONTO STORM’S BACK!!!
Cryptkeeper isn’t here to just win a title, he’s punishing Storm.
Crypt sets the steel steps on the ground. He drapes Luke Storm’s body over the steps, lifts up the ring apron, and drags a steel chair out from underneath!
He raises the steel chair!!!
CRACK!!! RIGHT ONTO LUKE’S BACK!!!
Luke Storm finally falls off of the steel steps, his back looks like a battered woman!
Meanwhile the Cryptkeeper looks around, examining his surroundings, looking for more ways to settle the score he has with Storm.
He walks over to the ringside announce table and rips the monitors away! He stalks back towards Luke and grabs him by the hair, proceeding to drag him over to the table!
Keeper stands up on the table, bringing Luke with him. He places the champion’s head between his legs!
HE LIFTS HIM UP!!!
POWERBOMB!!! POWERBOMB THROUGH THE FUCKING TABLE!!!
Keeper and Storm are both laid out by the move, but Crypt rises up–mostly unscathed. He grabs Luke Storm up and tosses him back in the ring. Crypt follows him in and makes the cover.
It’s fucking over.
NOOOOOOOO!!!! LUKE’S OTHER LEG FOUND THE BOTTOM ROPE!!!
How the fuck did he do that?
Keeper looks at the referee. Neither one of them can believe it.
Keeper sneers and shoves his elbow in Luke’s face, grinding across his nose with it! Storm kicks his feet in agony! Crypt drags Storm up to his feet. Keeper whips him into the rope, Storm bounces off!
THE BEDTIME STORY!!! BEAR HUG!!!
Jesus God, The Keeper just keeps laying on punishment!
He squeezes on that damaged spine, tossing Storm around like a rag doll in the process! He wants Storm to quit! He wants him to tap out!
But Storm sends a stiff shot to Keeper’s jaw!
Another stiff shot!
Cryptkeeper lets him go!
Luke Storm backs up and bounces off the ropes!
BIG BOOT BY KEEPER!
STORM DUCKS IT!
HE BOUNCES OFF THE OTHER SIDE!
CRUCIFIX PIN BY LUKE STORM!!!
NO!!! CRYPTKEEPER KICKS OUT!
Luke is starting to feel a storm cloud brewing! He roars as Keeper returns to his feet! He whips Keeper into the ropes!
KEEPER DUCKS, TURNS AROUND!!!
A VICIOUS LARIAT TURNS LUKE STORM INSIDE OUT!!!
Both competitors lay on their backs, catching their respective breath. But Keeper has taken far less punishment, and it shows in how much sooner he is able to rise to his feet.
By the time Luke storm is to his knees, he catches a running knee to the JAW from Crypt!
Crypt seizes the opportunity! He lifts Luke up!
BUMPED HIS HEAD! THE SLOW SPIKE PILEDRIVER!!!
HE COVERS LUKE FOR THE PIN!
HOW!?! HOW IS HE ABLE TO STAY ALIVE AT ALL, MUCH LESS IN THIS MATCH!?!
Crypt sits up with an anger in his eyes. He slides out of the ring and grabs that steel chair he used earlier.
He tosses the chair over the top rope and into the ring, rolling beneath the bottom one to follow it.
Crypt lifts up the chair!
BUT LUKE STORM KIPS UP!!!
HE LIGHTNING STRIKES THE CHAIR INTO CRYPTKEEPER’S FACE!!!
BOTH MEN FALL OUT!!!
GOD DAMNIT, STORM USED HIS LAST OUNCE OF ENERGY TO PULL THAT OFF!!! HE CAN’T MAKE THE COVER!!!
BOTH MEN ARE ONCE AGAIN OUT ON THE MAT!!!
And yet, the Cryptkeeper begins to stir! Storm does as well, as though he is willing himself just to keep up with his opponent!
Keeper reaches his feet first, but Storm is right behind him.
They look each other in the eye!
Storm strikes first, big left cross that catches Keeper’s jaw!
Keeper swings back with a haymaker of his own, causing Luke to stagger backwards.
Another stiff shot from Crypt!
Luke storm ducks the final shot!
BUT RUNS RIGHT INTO THE CURSE OF THE CRYPTKEEPER!!!
NO!!! STORM DUCKS BENEATH IT AND SWINGS AROUND CRYPT’S BACK!!!
DOWNPOUR!!! DOWNPOUR!!! THE CODEBREAKER!!!
LUKE STORM MAKES THE COVER!!!
Luke Storm defeating The Cryptkeeper is abruptly cut off by absolute darkness.
A pit of complete and utter nothingness.
Stood in the middle of this void is The Butcher, looking completely dumbfounded as to how or why he’s there. The last thing he remembers, he was sat in his office, watching the end of a thrilling encounter between his World Champion and Contender.
That’s when Flavo appears.
The Master of Reality, his yellow skull hidden beneath a black robe, has his eyes focused only on The Butcher.
“I’ve suspended reality,” he announces, his eyes searching the void with a turn of his head. “There’s nothing here but you and I. Everything else has ceased to be in this moment.”
“What do you want, Flavo?” The Butcher asks bluntly.
“To save lives,” he responds quickly. “We have twelve hours to stop the destruction of The Slaughterhouse and everyone inside it.”
Colin steps forward, rather aggressively.
“What the fuck did you just say?” He growls.
“We’ve made a grave mistake. We knew what we had to do was risky but we’re doing it anyway. We did it to defeat Viridi,” Flavo pleads, beginning to pace. “But there are consequences. Unforeseen changes.”
The Butcher angrily grabs him by the robe.
“Tell me everything!” He barks, squeezing tight.
“I will,” he pleads. “But first, I have to bring The Slaughterhouse and everyone inside it here, to Inanis.”
That confuses Colin.
“I have talent from all over the world coming to us; I have former heroes and new fighters appearing. Are you suggesting that they all come here?”
“I’m not making a suggestion,” Flavo says, pulling his robe away from The Butcher. “If the Slaughterhouse falls, I’ve seen what happens – if you thought the world was bad after the God’s died, you don’t want to see what happens if The Slaughterhouse falls.”
Colin rubs his head.
“We’re going to lock it down, Butcher. We’re going to bring it here and try to stop it. We have twelve hours of hell to endure, but if we don’t, it’s over.”