The sound of a loud Buzz is the first thing we hear as The Butcher is let through and towards his exit. He’s being released from prison and the guards don’t look too happy about it. As he steps out into the sunlight for the first time in nearly a month, he smiles.
That is until CXDY appears.
“You must be feeling pretty smug with yourself,” Williams says with a growl, taking off his glasses.
“How dare I, right?” Butch retorts. “It isn’t like you cunts framed me for a murder I didn’t commit.”
CXDY steps closer.
“What about the one you did commit?”
The Butcher rolls his eyes and begins walking away, being accompanied by CXDY who isn’t letting this drop.
“I’ve told you countless times why I did what I did,” Colin says whilst walking away. “I didn’t have a choice. Your best friend was an usurper in wait.”
Williams grabs him by the arm and forcibly turns him around.
“You will tell me who you paid to murder him. If I have to beat it out of you, you will tell me.”
The Butcher grins.
“I’ll make you deal – meet me in the Slaughterhouse at Fists of Rage and we’ll settle this once and for all. If you beat me, I’ll tell you who I commissioned for the hit. If I beat you, you’re fired.”
CXDY doesn’t even hesitate.
The Butcher nods, but steps in a bit closer.
“Oh and if you ever put your grubby little hands on me again outside of a sanctioned match, I’ll put you in the ground like your best friend.”
Can Order co-exist with vengeance, or will strange bedfellows listen to what the fork-tongued Simon says?
Reaper insists on starting out, bandaged shoulder and all; Judge—whose armour is scarred—doesn’t protest. Meeting Simon in the middle, The Harvester throws him into the ropes, steamrolling him with a clothesline. The Taskmaster recovers, only to eat a SWIFT REVENGE single-arm DDT! ONE… TW—KICKOUT! Reaper trash-talks Judge; Viper gets the blind tag and slithers behind him…
ARMBREAKER! Reaper screams in pain, as Roberts targets his shoulder. He rips the bandages off, removes his snakeskin belt, then TANS HIS HIDE—well, shoulder—WITH IT! Under threat of a DQ, he surrenders it to the referee, who throws it away. He slides into the cover – ONE… TWO… T—JUDGE BREAKS IT UP, SAVING REAPER! The Head Snake tags Simon.
Simon grabs Reaper’s boot, but the hothead kicks him off! SHOTGUN BLAST… TO JUDGE? WAS THAT A TAG!? The Superman punch dizzies Order, who staggers in, before falling to one knee. Simon vaults off of it—GAMBIT! The spinning backfist floors Judge. CHECKMATE! He has the FIGURE FOUR locked in! Judge is in trouble… SHOTGUN BLAST! Reaper came back for the save!
Judge and Simon slowly rise. VERDICT—JUDGE’S LEG GIVES OUT! Simon grabs it, looking for another CHECKMATE… Judge instead hoists him up into the RESTORATION – HIS LEG BUCKLES AGAIN! Judge instead sinks his teeth into his forehead, drawing blood… CUTTER!? NO! SIMON’S PAST DOESN’T BITE HIM! GAMBIT – the spinning backfist! ONE… TWO—SNAKE BITE WRAPAROUND NECKBREAKER TO REAPER—THREE!
Bad blood leads to a worse outcome, as Simon & Viper Roberts steal the victory!
With the match over, Reaper and the Judge have left the ring, but Simon and Viper Roberts remain squarely in the ring.
And the Viper has grabbed Simon around the throat.
“Don’t think of this as payback,” Viper says. “It’s just that, what sort of Viper would I be if I didn’t bite back?”
WHAM! A stiff right to Simon’s jaw! Another! And Another! He kicks Simon in the gut.
DDT! ODE TO THE SNAKE!!!
Viper is back up to his feet. Simon is laid out cold!
Roberts chuckles. “Well, here he is boys.”
Death Note and Darklord storm towards the ring from the back. They slide in the ring, and Death Note finally has his chance to kill Simon. He reaches down and pulls Simon up to his feet.
“This is it,” Death Note says. “I finally end you for good.”
But just then, Simon laughs.
“My oldest friend and enemy,” Simon replies. “There is no end. There is no good.”
WHAT THE FUCK!?!
DARKLORD HAS LAID DEATH NOTE OUT WITH A BOOT TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD!!!
HE PICKS DEATH NOTE UP BY THE THROAT!!! LIFTS HIM HIGH IN THE AIR!!!
CHOKESLAM!!! WARLORD’S HAND!!! DARKLORD TURNS AROUND!!!
But Viper Roberts, ever coy, has already slid out of the ring, backing up the entrance ramp, venomous eyes staring a hole through Darklord and Simon.
Simon pats Darklord on the back.
Alice finds herself in a familiar field. She’s looking for Banzan as she knows Pyre is still after her. She’s looking around, much more confident than months past but still nervous after what she saw Pyre did to that poor girl.
“Where is he? She’s still after me and the only reason I’m out in the open is to see him in the place he’s most at peace.”
“He really needs to find a better location.”
“You’re not the first person who has seen him in this spot and you’re certainly not the last. Bishop found him first and told him I was after you.”
“So he’s not where I need him because he’s looking for me. Where is his zen when I need it?”
“The way Bishop made it sound, he’s actually looking for me. Banzan’s zen is gone because of you. I can make sure he gets it back.”
Pyre opens her palm and a ball of flames is floating above it. Alice smirks.
“I’m not afraid of that anymore, that’s not even the way you like to kill people.”
Pyre snaps her fingers and about 30 card soldiers come out.
“Seize her and take her to the gallows!”
Alice smiles wider.
“So you’re taking me to the place he knows to look for me? Knowing him, he’s on his way to Wonderland now, you’ll be lucky to have a gallows.”
“You should know by now I’m smarter than that. My other guards are blocking the way you’ve shown him. The only thing that will be torn apart soon is you.”
Pyre laughs and nods at the guards.
They seize Alice! Pyre slaps her hard!
“Are you ready to go back to Wonderland? It’s about time you made your last visit. Now let me show you how the ones who belong there get in.”
The guards starting pushing Alice towards a massive hole in the ground!
“You see it? That’s how we get into Wonderland. It’s how I get these troops in and out. It’s how I get to all these places to take care of my business so quickly. Holes like this are all around your world and those of us who belong to Wonderland can use them however we like.”
The guards stop pushing and have her right on the edge of the gargantuan hole.
“Guards show her how it’s done.”
They each jump one by one gracefully down the hole. You can tell they have done this countless times.
“Now time to show you how someone who doesn’t belong there goes in.”
Pyre Sparta kicks Alice down the hole! She’s falling without a way to slow down!
Pyre walks to the edge of the hole and laughs at the helpless Alice!
“See you in Wonderland, bitch. It’s time for your last adventure.”
Money can open the door, but can Blood Money open two doors?
Shaw and Redwing slug it out, sending spit and blood flying! The Guv’nor drags the vigilante to Blood Money Inc.’s corner. They mug Crimson Justice, whose team implores the referee to turn around. He misses the flagrant cheating, as Albert officially swaps with CXDY. The Reflection of Perfection flattens Redwing with a fireman’s carry roll, then hits a double-jump moonsault – PERFECTLY EXECUTED!
ONE… TWO… KICKOUT! BEG tags in. He buries his Italian shoes in Redwing’s ribs, before trading with Shaw. He sinks into a crossface – KEEP QUIET! Redwing is close to tapping out… MISTER ANDY STOMPS ALBERT! The referee ushers him out, allowing BMI to lynch Red Knight once more. Shaw swaps with CXDY. He picks him up—GODWATCH ripcord knee! Redwing swaps with Andy!
Gore… Spine-on-the-pine – SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST! The Toy Maker crushes CXDY. ONE… TWO… BEG BREAKS IT UP! Monty Straight chases Green off. Andy sends CXDY into the ropes… Samoan drop! He hammers him with mounted right hands – THE JACK ATTACK! CXDY rolls outside, and BEG reluctantly steps in! Wait—Shaw distracts the referee—BEG GUT-CHECKS ANDY WITH HIS CANE!
ONE… TWO… TH—STRAIGHT SAVES IT! The Deal Maker takes over from Andy. He pulls BEG up. Russian leg sweep… Crossface – TERMS AND CONDITIONS! Will BEG, the submission-expert, tap out!? CXDY WITH THE CARPE OMNIA double foot stomp! He saves his boss! Wait – here comes Redwing! RETURN TO ARKHAM DDT TO CXDY! Andy and Shaw duke it out on the floor. MONTY DUCKS THE CANE… STRAIGHT SHOOTING – the sharpshooter! BEG BLACKS OUT!
Monty, Andy, and Redwing close the door on Blood Money Inc.!
There is little time for celebrations or commiserations as the Slaughterhouse is quickly plunged into darkness.
The telltale sound of ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ echoes out and Darby Sorrow appears, pushing his way through the smoke and making his way to the ring.
The Grave Digger carries a shovel over his shoulder and seems unfazed by the fact that three members of Blood Money Inc. are waiting for him in the ring. He stops just outside the ring, turning his attention not to BEG but to his two counterparts.
“I don’t know what your arrangement is, but I’d bet my bottom dollar you two aren’t hanging out with Mr Green for his charm and wit.”
Sorrow and his shovel enter the ring, the three opposite him biding their time.
“I’d wager that there’s money involved. Your services, his wallet. But what happens when that wallet suddenly becomes a bit lighter. Do your loyalties only go so far as the next paycheck?”
The Grave Digger rests on the shovel.
“Of course, you two would never be so stupid as to risk your necks for free.”
BEG has heard enough. He snaps his fingers and both Shaw and CXDY pounce as one.
THE SOUND OF SKULL MEETING SHOVEL!
ALBERT SHAW GOES DOWN!
CXDY CRUMPLES IN A HEAP!
Sorrow turns his attention back to BEG once more, who slowly backs away.
Sorrow closes in, a smirk forming on his face.
SORROW DROPS TO THE MAT, WRITHING IN PAIN AND FLAILING ABOUT!
It is BEG’s turn to smirk, holding out his makeshift taser and standing over the freshly electrified Grave Digger.
“Remind me to thank Zero. A great little side project. Normally, that many volts would be enough to kill a man, but well… You know”
BEG helps Shaw and CXDY to stand, then the trio make their leave, Sorrow still twitching away behind them.
After the show.
Banzan is walking down a forest.
He has been making this trek since Bishop told him Pyre was after Alice.
He’s looking for the hole she has previously shown him to Wonderland.
“Where is this entrance? It has to be somewhere near here. I thought it was near this tree.”
The seven of clubs comes from behind a tree with a group of other card guards right behind him.
“We figured it was easier to cover it up instead of guarding it countless hours. Now, you’ve shown us we were right. Thank you sir.”
“Where is she?”
Banzan is seething, anger drips out with every world in that small sentence.
The guards shrug acting like they don’t know. Banzan doesn’t fall for it and shakes his head. He knocks out one of the guards with one blow!
“Don’t make me ask again. Where is she?”
“She’s with the queen in the courtyard. The queen is going back to traditional methods to deal with her.”
“You’ve blocked my path to save her, the least you can do is show me how you got here.”
“I cant do that sir.”
Banzan drops another guard with a solid punch.
“Life is suffering and I’ll ensure they will feel all of it if you don’t show me.”
The seven of clubs raises his hands in a giving up manner.
“Fine, we’ll show you.”
He takes Banzan to the edge of the massive hole that got him here.
“This is how you’ll get to her. Fair warning, they went down there last week. Alice might not be alive when you get there.”
“At least, I don’t have to worry about those monsters when she’s down there. They won’t get her like they did Bishop.”
A howl is heard from the distance.
“Bishop? Is that you? What have they done to you? Have they made you one of their own? Is that how they’re growing?
“We’re screwed if that’s the case.”
“I know I’m just a card but save who you can.”
“RIght, why I’m here in the first place. If I can’t save Alice, I can’t save the world.”
“Better go in there quick because right now you’re not saving anyone.”
Banzan jumps down the hole!
Will the enchanted Wonderland be reduced to a mere swamp?
Alice initiates a test of strength, only to instead hit the ropes. Caught offguard, Leah eats a shoulder tackle! The Uncrowned Queen kneels beside her, grabs her head, and starts bashing it against the canvas! The official pulls her off, but she hops like a rabbit, then crushes Lincoln’s larynx with a split leg drop – TERRIBLY LATE!
ONE… TWO… KICKOUT! The Swamp Witch has clawed her way here through the muck and mire; she ain’t done yet! Alice pulls her up—double-leg takedown! Leah ties her legs into a pretzel – DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND Texas cloverleaf! Alice reaches for the ropes… She can’t reach! Will she tap out!? NO – SHE GRABS THE ROPE!
The referee forces a break. Alice tries to get up, but her legs fail her. Sizing up her downed foe, Lincoln rears back… DROWNING IN FIR—NO! Alice blocks the Yakuza kick and sweeps the other leg, bringing Leah down to her level! She flips her over… AND INVITES HER TO THE TEA PARTY – CAMEL CLUTCH! The N’Awlins outcast scratches the mat desperately… SHE GETS THE ROPE!
Both women drag themselves up. Their trademark submissions have left their marks, as they walk with a limp and a stoop, respectively. Alice goes for the X-FACTOR, but Lincoln ESCAPES the warren as she shoves her back! The Dreamer ducks a clothesline. Popping up behind Leah, Alice clubs her in the injured back. She spins her round… DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE – sit-out facebuster! ONE… TWO… THREE!
Sweet Alice banishes Lincoln back to the swamps!
The sound of a sharp inhale followed by a pained exhale introduce the scene. We’re treated to the sight of bloody bandages hitting the ground, a crimson red seeping so deeply through them that it’s a wonder they stayed on as well as they have.
The camera zooms out to reveal the owner of these bandages. The Reaper. He looks at himself in a mirror, examining his wound, newly opened flesh from his match earlier tonight showing the full extent of the damage Judge dolled out to him the previous week.
Reaper grabs a staple gun from beside himself, using it to sloppily staple his wound shut before tossing the tool to the side. Just as he’s about to leave he pauses, staring deep into the mirror.
And we see behind him, from the darkness, The Judge.
“Oh, you made this easy, huh?”
Reaper turns around, swinging with a wild haymaker! Judge blocks the strike with ease, jabbing two fingers into Reaper’s cut and shoving the Harvester back into the mirror! A pained groan escapes from Reaper’s lips as Judge digs his fingers into the wound.
“You’re not going to stop, are you?”
Judge twists his fingers again, shutting Reaper up.
“Of course not. You’re obsessed with me, you’re obsessed with Monty. And now, you’re throwing the entire universe out of balance trying to hunt me.”
The Reaper gives a scowl, struggling in Judge’s grasp but being unable to fight out with his limp arm.
“I can’t kill you, and you won’t kill me. I’m putting this to rest. Once I put you down in the ring, then the world shall be one step closer to being balanced.”
JUDGE THROWS REAPER ACROSS THE ROOM!
Reaper rolls across the ground, quickly to his feet, rising to his feet with a pistol in hand. But Judge is nowhere to be found, having disappeared as quickly as he arrived.
Reaper left to once again tend to his wounds.
Between the grappler and the conspiracy theorist, who’s the real straight-shooter?
Landell invites Rune to a tie-up, banking on his 70-pound weight advantage. Surprisingly, The Glitch accepts the offer – only to SLAP the veteran in the face! Shooter is pissed, and charges at him… DROP TOE-HOLD! Rune trips The Last Carny before laying the boots into him. ONE… TW—STRONG KICKOUT!
Rune peppers him with lefts and rights, but Shooter traps him with a waistlock and slams him on the mat. Spinning over him, he applies a front facelock. The Painted Man can’t break Landell’s vise-like grip, instead scoring a rope-break with his foot! Both men rise, and the old-timer pulls Rune into the STO—
EYE-POKE! The referee doesn’t see it—no pun intended—and Rune escapes the grappler. He weaves behind him… TEAR THE VEIL—NO! Shooter throws him off his back, blocking the Zig-Zag. Landell lobs him into the ropes – WOKE LARIAT! The pendulum lariat floors Shooter. ONE… TWO… TH—SHOULDER UP!
Cussing, Rune signals for the end. He awaits The Reality Check… Grabbing a headlock, he goes for the driver – VEILBREAKER!? NO! Landell shoves him forwards into the ropes… DOUBLE-A SPINEBUS—Rune counters with a facebuster! Shooter pops up, and Rune grabs the headlock once more… THE VEILBREAKER CONNECTS! ONE… TWO… THREE!
The Glitch gets one step closer to the truth!
After the show.
Shooter Landell, the Last Carny, finds himself sitting on a bench in one of the few safe places in New York. He’s a strong man, but he doesn’t dare stray too far out with whatever is going on through the city.
However, he isn’t alone.
“Hey there, friend. Looking to make some cash?”
Shooter looks towards the source of the voice, quick to his feet and both fists up as he comes face to face with Albert Shaw. Shaw puts up his hands, trying to foster a bit of peace.
“Hey! No need to get testy. I’m just trying to offer you a job.”
“Uh huh. You think you’re gonna pull the same shit on me twice, kid?”
Albert chuckles, shaking his head.
“Of course not! Why would I ever do that? Look, you looked real good last week, I figured maybe I had you wrong.”
Landell sneers, moving towards Albert.
“Listen here, son. You better be writing one hell of a check to even think about sharing the same room as me, let alone trying to get me to work for you and your friends.”
“What? Not a fan of money? You have to take a risk, right? Get some cash, pay off some debts? Worst that can happen is you get a fist to the jaw again, right? I’m just trying to give you another opportunity.”
Shooter shakes his head.
“You’re right, what’s the worst that could happen?”
SPINEBUSTER! SPINEBUSTER BY SHOOTER!
Shaw smacks the ground hard, blocking a plethora of blows as Shooter pummels the Guv’nor! Looks like not even cash can buy off this veteran’s wrath!
Albert shoves Shooter off of himself, getting to his feet and getting ready to rush at Shooter-
DUST TO ALBERT’S EYES! DUST TO SHOOTER!
Both men stumble as two handfuls of powder assault their senses. In just a few moments they collapse to the ground, unable to move.
And standing over them, a frown on her face, is Leah Lincoln. The Witch grabs either man, beginning to drag them away, pulling them out of sight.
In the home of Luke Storm, The Tempest sits in an armchair, armed with a shotgun whilst looking ominously at his front door. He’s seemingly awaiting the arrival of someone in particular, but when the door opens – it isn’t who he expects.
It’s Ash and Jessie Williams.
“We need to talk,” Ash says, disregarding the gun. “Tell him what you told me, son.”
Jessie doesn’t quite know what to say.
“The Sandman is weakening,” he announces. “He invaded my dreams but was unable to keep a hold over me.”
Luke stands up.
“Do you expect me to believe a word you’ve said?” He asks angrily. “After what you did? You blew up our only lead on him, kid.”
“HE KILLED MY FRIEND!” Jessie rages in reply.
“HE KILLED MY FUCKING BROTHER,” he retorts.
As both men stand nose to nose, Ash stands off to the side.
Luke and Jessie slowly turn their heads to face him.
Only he’s pointing at the door way.
“We’ve got company.”
Standing there ominously is The Sandman in all his glory.
Ash rushes across the room and LEAPS into action.
Luke meanwhile drops Jessie Williams with a Headbutt.
And it looks like this one is going to kick off right here.
To be continued…
Can the archaeologist dig to the core of his afflicted opponent?
Two-Face licks his lips hungrily; he’s eager to beat the newly-crowned OSW Champion in this non-title bout! He takes the fight to Voynich, pushing him into the corner with violent strikes. He slaps on a headlock and rakes his eye along the rope – earning a scolding from the referee!
The coin-tosser slams Voynich’s head into the turnbuckle over and over—THE CHAMPION BLOCKS IT! He elbows Two-Face in the gut, wrapping around him for a Russian leg sweep. Hitting the ropes, he drives his knee into the corrupted politician’s skull! ONE… TW—KICKOUT! Best Kept Secret backs up, winding his arm and popping the crowd!
50/50 gets to his feet groggily and turns round… ISHTAR GA—NO! He ducks the running lariat, hitting a throat thrust on the Austrian. He pulls him down, then slings his leg over his neck—FLIP THE COIN! The overdrive spikes Voynich. ONE… TWO… TH—KICKOUT! Two-Face came this close to scoring a pinfall on the OSW Champion!
He pulls Voynich up. LADY LUCK!? NO! The adventurer escapes the Joker driver. He kicks Two-Face in the gut, then heaves him up into the MONOLITH brainbuster! ONE… TWO… THR—SHOULDER UP! The fans groan; so close! Voynich gets him in a cutter and points to the corner… THE EIGHTH WONDER! The Sliced Bread #2 drops Two-Face – ONE… TWO… THREE!
The newly-minted OSW Champion continues his hot streak!
Sometime last week…
A dark dreary room. Illuminated only by a single swaying lamp.
A shirtless Corvus is chained to a wall, his hands bound above his head, as water pours down his body. In front of him, a twisted and mutilated man stands, holding a long pole.
Electricity pulses along the end of the pole, a long cord stretched behind it into an outlet on the wall.
“We won’t ask again, and Endo will end this.” A gruff voice growls from the darkness.
“I don’t fear death.” Corvus retorts. “Nor do I fear you, Whitlock.”
SHOCK! ENDO STABS HIM WITH THE BLUNT POLE. ELECTRICITY RACES THROUGH CORVUS’S BODY!
“Don’t call us that!” Two-Face roars, grabbing the pole from Endo.
We can only see his scarred side as Two-Face takes out his rage on Corvus. When he finally stops, Corvus, his breath ragged, nearly smiles.
“You won’t do it, will you? Even when I push your worst button, you still won’t kill me.” Corvus wheezes out.
An enraged Two-Face throws the pole down, getting up in Corvus’s face.
“TELL US WHY YOU DID IT!” He roars.
Corvus makes eye contact, staring into the dual persona in front of him.
“That’s all you’ve ever cared about, isn’t it? You wanted answers as to who scarred your face all those years ago. You want answers about what happened at Red Snow. You keep playing these deadly games because you just want to know who to let your inner rage out on.”
Two-Face, if possible, somehow becomes more angry, but Corvus isn’t done.
“I was at Red Snow on business. When I saw what you’d become, I knew I needed to see if you had become partners with death, or if its specter continued to haunt you.”
Two-Face grabs him around the neck, squeezing with all his might. But no snap comes. Corvus holds his eye contact until the former politician releases him.
“I believe I’ve learned all I need to from you.” Corvus says after he regains his breath. “Fight me at Fists of Rage, allow me to test you once more. Then, only then, will I reveal what I know of Red Snow. If you hold me here, I’ll be forced to kill poor Endo and any other men you’ve pulled into this underground nightmare.”
Two-Face ponders it for a moment, reaching inside his coat to produce his coin.
“Heads, you walk. Tails, Endo finishes this.”
Can The Crow fly to the summit of the Indestructible Mountain!?
Banzan adopts a Shaolin Kung Fu stance. Corvus counters it with a stance of unknown origin – undoubtedly a practice lost to time, and taught in secrecy. The two don’t clash so much as they dance in the centre of the ring. Fluid strikes; graceful evasive maneuvers; the duel of ancient martial arts ebbs and flows like water. Reaching a stalemate, they back off, nodding respectfully.
They change stances, then resume the fight. Wait—throat thrust, palm strike, jumping elbow—MURDER OF BLOWS! The Shadow Walker catches Banzan offguard with the hat-trick, but the giant doesn’t go down. Corvus follows it with a CORVUS KICK! Banzan is reeling. The master of stealth weaves behind him… MARKED FOR DEATH!? Banzan sandbags the Zig-Zag!
Corvus darts towards him – right into the FIVE-POINT PALM STRIKE! Banzan strikes with the TIGER CLAW! Corvus stumbles back. The Tiger’s Nest monk shows the assassin that SUFFERING EXISTS, as he hits the DUKKHA Saito suplex! ONE… TWO… SHOULDER UP! Banzan walks the enlightened path as Corvus sits up… MAGGA KINSHASAAA—
NO – CORVUS DUCKS! He springs onto the middle rope, behind Banzan… MARKED FOR DEATH! He uses the extra leverage to hit the Zig-Zag on the superheavyweight! ONE… TWO… THR—KICKOUT! Banzan throws his lighter opponent off. As he sits up, however, Corvus traps him with the GARROTTE! Banzan reclines in the rear naked choke, fading… Fading… He’s unconscious!
The Crow perches atop the mountain!
The Forever Friends are at a small funeral parlor honoring Sherman Dewey. Due to circumstances beyond their control, it is only them and Dewey’s parents at the funeral. After they all walk by the closed casket and say goodbye to Dewey, the pastor begins to speak.
“We have gathered here today to honor the life of someone very close to all who gather here today. A dear friend to the young men I see before me. A special son taken way before his time. I did not get to know this young man, as well as all of you, did but I can feel the love in this room. If you feel like you’d like to talk about him and any memories you have, please stand up at this time.”
Dewey’s parents are the first to speak. They talk about how happy they are that Dewey found the Forever Friends. They share some memories of Dewey before he met the boys. Every word to the Forever Friends is grateful and every word about their son is filled with the love and sadness you can expect from a grieving parent. They’re trying not to break but they can’t hold back and his mother screams as his father just holds her.
Miles pats them on the back and says he can take it from here. He shares the story of how he first met Dewey. He talked about how he was a shy kid and Dewey was the first kid who ever really noticed him. Miles would read about Harry Houdini in class and sometimes get in trouble for reading instead of paying attention but other than that, he didn’t get much attention from anyone. One day, he had a birthday party in class. All the kids wished him a happy birthday and enjoyed the cupcakes his parents made but only one kid got him something. Dewey got him his first-ever set of magical items. It was that day he knew Dewey was the best kind of person and everything is a little worse now without him.
Chunk gets up next. He begins talking about how shortly after that Dewey introduced him to Miles. He discusses how it was always Dewey who brought everyone together even today. He shares how they had a shared love of treats from other countries and would be hyped whenever Dewey’s dad brought them something from his business trips. He shares stories about their favorite treat they found and the most disgusting treat. It’s lighthearted and filled with love and a nice breather from all the sadness. He ends it by saying how he loves Dewey and looks forward to the treats heaven must have that they can share.
Last is Ultimo who is struggling to make out the words. He says it’s hard for him to even admit he’s gone. Dewey was the best friend anyone could ask for, he was the America of friends. He says he knows Dewey would roll his eyes at that but that’s made Dewy so great. He was amazing to everyone and he didn’t know it. He took care of us without wanting anything back. He and his amazing parents gave us all a place away from the hardest years. He states they gave us everything and if he could give his friends and family half of what Dewey gave him, he’d be a much better man. He begins to sob and everyone comes up to be there for him.
Chunky Moses tells him he can start by giving all of them a hug.
A big group hug commences.
As they’re hugging and crying into each other’s shoulders, the pastor comes up to them.
He hits Dewey’s mom in the back with a steel chair!
She falls taking everyone down with her!
The pastor laughs and begins taking off the aging makeup he wore today.
He swings the chair at everyone until they’re all down.
He begins to speak.
“Yeah Dewey sounds like a great person but all that matters is he’s dead now. He’s dead like Houdini. He’s dead like Chunk’s chances at getting healthy. He’s even more dead than the American Dream.”
Rune walks up to the casket and he’s about to tip it over!
Ultimo hits him in the back of the head with the chair!
“Ok, you can talk about America being bad, you can even talk about the American Dream being dead but attacking us at our best friend’s funeral, at their child’s funeral, and almost tipping him over? This is too far even for you. I’m done with this Rune, I’m not going to wrestle, I’m going to fight you at Fists of Fury. I don’t care if I lose, I just want to take you down with me. This is for Dewey!
He starts hitting chair shot after chair shot to a downed Rune!
Ultimo has lost it and Miles and Chunk have to pull him away!
“Save that energy B and kick his ass like we all want to.”
Telephone wires, cables that all intersect in one point. Coinciding into a single cable box. From that cable box, a series of nearly lain wires run to a server, in which Zero has his head buried.
The god-awful sound of dial-up modem blares. Zero lifts his head, moving over to the screen of his computer across the room.
An agonizingly long wait, but soon, Zero cracks a smile.
“Got it! It’s slow as all hell, and weak but there’s a signal.”
He flicks a few keys, fingers flying with precision over his keyboard. When he stops, he does so with a clap.
“It’s fixed. Kind of. Who knows how long the patch will hold, but the boys will want to know.”
“Want to know what… That your services are now running twenty years in the past? How long is it going to take that frankenstein of a network even transfer a simple data file?”
Voynich enters, making himself known to Zero as he does so. Zero isn’t concerned, by the World Champion’s presence or his banter.
“You don’t quite get it, do you Voynich? That’s why guys like you, like the Butcher, will always be playing catch-up. Because you think you’ve figured out the game, but are really no more than a rat in a maze chasing a block of cheese.”
Voynich smiles at the insult, glaring at Zero who returns the grin with a cocky smile of his own.
“Well squeak squeak motherfucker… With the parts I’ve commandeered, I’ve created my own internet, a backdoor that doesn’t rely on telcos, signal towers or cable companies. I’m off the grid, on the grid because now… I am the grid.”
Voynich glances at the screen, a flash of concern in his eyes but this soon fades.
“Yes, well your ‘grid’ has just spent the last five minutes trying to transfer a 10 megabyte file, it’s nearly up to 50 percent now. Let’s hold the bubbly, shall we?”
Voynich fades out of the scene as abruptly as he had entered, his questions as to Zero’s actions answered and himself left feeling amused and underwhelmed. Zero stays, burying his head back into the huge server again.
“That’s right little mouse. Run away. Once the fibre optic link is established, you’re not going to be smiling. Not when BMI are the only ones in all of this mess that have an uninterrupted connection. Mice are so easy to lead through the maze right to where you want them. Then…”
Zero’s hands clap together in a gesture mimicking a mouse trap slamming shut. His smirk returns to his face as he returns to his repairs.
Will fire melt steel when Dancing Flames envelop the Boomstick!?
Jessie eyes his opponent warily; Pyre isn’t the first fire-entity he’s tangled with… The Queen of Flames suddenly darts forwards, taking Williams down with a headscissors! He scrambles to his feet, but she sends him into the corner with a front dropkick. The redhead charges into him, launching herself into a big splash!
The Prince stumbles forwards. Pyre goes for a kick, but Jessie grabs her boot… ENZUIGIRI – DUCKED! The Fire Witch scrambles to her feet, only to eat an uppercut! She drops to her knees, and Jessie tears into the ropes… Torpedo dropkick – GROOVY ECLIPSE combo! He locks in the bodyscissors dragon clutch – MILLENIUM SOUL!
Pyre fights against the hold. Jessie suddenly yelps, like a child touching a hot stove. What the… Smoke rises from Pyre! She appears to be fine outwardly, but her internal temperature must be boiling! Williams breaks his hold, and Pyre flips backwards over him – AWAKENING! The dragon clutch has turned into a dragon sleeper!
Not being blessed with pyro-freakin’-kinesis, Jessie instead must use his 120-pound weight advantage to drag himself—and Pyre—into the ropes. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR – Pyre finally breaks the hold. Both their movements are laboured following the dueling submissions. BOOMSTICK – PYRE DUCKS IT! She springboards onto the turnbuckle… ECLIPSE – TOP-ROPE CORKSCREW STUNNER! ONE… TWO… THREE!
All That Remains is for Pyre to have her hand raised in victory. The referee quickly withdraws, lest he get burned, too!
The Toymaker has been driven to his wit’s end and it shows on his face as he tries to work on his latest creation only to angrily throw it into the garbage! He sighs, head in his hands.
“Why? Why can’t he just leave me alone? I’ve tried telling him to let me be. I’ve fought him, but nothing works!”
Andy takes his glasses off, cleaning them when the sound of an opening door gets his attention. He turns around, met with the familiar sight of one Monty Straight. The show host straightens his tie as Andy leaps to his feet, grabbing a hammer from his table and pointing it at Monty.
“You! You keep bringing him to me. And now you’re in my toy shop? Get out. GET OUT!”
Monty chuckles, undeterred by the weapon.
“Calm down, friend. I’m here because you’re in need! I had to help Redwing, he was my tag partner at the time of course. But now that he isn’t? Well, consider me open to helping anyone who’s been on my show! For instance, you. You want Redwing to go away, yeah? Flap his bat wings and fly off into the night?”
Andy lowers his mallet for a moment, nodding his head.
“Good! Then consider a deal on my end. I can help make sure he stays away from you, you know. You just need to scratch my back first. I’ll guarantee you a choice you can’t refuse, but first… I need to take some pre-emptive measures to make sure my former partner doesn’t get in the way. Think you can handle… putting him down? And after he’s beaten, I can make sure he stays that way.”
Mister Andy thinks for a moment, putting down the hammer and approaching Monty.
“I… think I can help. But I’m not becoming that… thing I saw in the doorway. Do you understand? I’ll do anything to get rid of him, but I won’t do that!”
Monty nods, offering Andy a hand.
“Then it’s a deal? Help me deal with Redwing, then I’ll make sure he stays away.”
Andy nods, shaking Monty’s hand.
Outside of the toy shop, on a roof overlooking it.
With a pair of binoculars to his eyes, he watches as the deal goes down. However, he is unable to hear exactly what has been said.
“SeeSaw and Monty. He saw what was behind the door, he made his choice.”
Redwing shoots a grappling hook towards a nearby building, hauling himself away into the night.
“Then I’ll have to prepare.”
Whose storm will rage the fiercest – that of The Tempest, or The God King!?
The 7’4”, 500-pound Carthian looms over Luke. The action-star, however, squares right up to that big, bad, motherfucker! Darklord swings, but Storm ducks it – LIGHTNING STRIKE! Already with the superkicks!? LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE! I didn’t think that could happen!? LIGHTNING STRIKES THRICE! The hat-trick lightning barely moves Darklord!
DOWNPOU—The God King swats away the codebreaker attempt. KNEEL, BITCH! Darklord decimates Luke with the Sparta kick, pinning him to the mat with his foot. ONE… TWO… T—KICK OUT! Storm displays that resilient Newton-gene. Darklord snatches him off the canvas by the throat… WARLORD’S HAND – CHOKESLAM! ONE… TWO… THR—SHOULDER UP!
Luke refuses to die. The Carthian doesn’t relent, though. He plucks him up onto his shoulders in a powerbomb position. BLACK HOLE—DENIED! HURRICANRANA OVER THE ROPES! Storm sends the extraterrestrial gladiator packing! Darklord instantly rises—THUNDER MOONSAULT TO THE OUT-FUCKING-SIDE! Stormbringer is laying it all on the line tonight!
Both combatants roll back in. Darklord recovers first, pulling Storm up – DOWNPOUR codebreaker! ONE… TWO… T—DARKLORD PRESSES HIM OFF! What will it take to beat this sonuvabitch!? Carthic Incarnum picks him up—GALE FORCE STUNNER!? Darklord sandbags it – KING’S GRASP rear naked choke! Storm thrashes in the hold, but Darklord hoists him up into the backbreaker… Piledriver – EVENT HORIZON! ONE… TWO… THREE!
Carthus’ storms prove mightier than Earth’s tonight!
Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the distance, we hear the sound of some past-their-prime band playing their greatest hits. But that band is of no concern to D’Von Chambers, who is stood in a long tunnel. The rumble of the aging crowd assembled shakes the tunnel somewhat, but Chambers is on a mission.
His voice, as always, comes back to narrate.
“This place once played host to wars, to passionate exclamations of brutality. They called it the Wrestle-Plex. The Schoolyard. It doesn’t even resemble the same place, but these tunnels underground are abandoned.”
Walking down the large tunnel, D’Von finds himself quite suddenly in an open space.
“Sigil knew he would have to find a place to hide, one that the many men looking for him would never think to go. I believe he came to Earth for OSW, so where else would he hide? The Tap Room is closed off to all. He cannot remain in New York.”
The open space seems to have been used recently. Several backpacks are seen on the floor. Four to be precise. A small prayer area has even been set up.
“There’s evidence of the Legacy quartet in these halls. Where else would they be but with Sigil?”
Walking past that area, Chambers enters a smaller room adjacent to the large one. Inside, he pauses, looking very confused.
“My stars and garters, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Where one might expect to see a large computer, with many screens, instead there is only a simple chair with portals in front of it. Many portals, large and small. All set up in such a way that the person sitting in that chair can monitor many places. But these monitors are all set to what is happening in Hell’s Kitchen.
“This was no accident, I know now. The devilry happening was Sigil’s goal. He must be stopped. I must speak with him.”
“You? Again?” A voice speaks out of the void.
A portal opens behind Chambers, and the former Reverend merely turns to meet it.
D’Von’s search is over.
He steps through the portal.
Tales of the tape collide, as the VHS Champion, Zero, goes one-on-one with the Rewind Champion, Deathnote!
The sound of “Absolute Zero” pours into the arena as pink, blue and yellow lights flash erratically across the entire building.
Zero steps out onto the entrance ramp, looking confident.
“Ooh hoo, I’m not afraid!
I’m giving into grievances again
You’re looking at an absolute zero
I’m not the Devil, but I won’t be your hero!”
He storms down the ramp towards the ring and rolls under the bottom rope, popping back to his feet.
The arena plunges into darkness, only a single strobe light remaining to light up the entrance way in between vigorous pulses. The build to “Unsainted” by Slipknot begins to play as a thick smoke crawls across the stage.
As the guitars begin, Death Note slides out from behind the curtain and stands atop the entrance ramp, with his head lowered and his hair hung over his face. The lyrics begin, as Death Note snaps his head backwards, peering up from side to side at the crowd through the flickering light before beginning his slow descent down the ramp way. He slithers under the bottom rope and crawls across the ring mat to his corner where he pushes himself into a Raven-esque sitting position against the turnbuckle, glaring across the ring.
DING, DING, DING!
Zero and Deathnote slowly circle each other. Each competitor eyes the other warily. Neither wants to be perceived as a lesser champion. The titles are not on the line in this anything-goes bout, but their pride and egos are…
THEY LOCK HORNS!
Looking at these athletes’ vital statistics, one would be inclined to give the edge to Deathnote; the Author of Death has 3 inches and 40-plus pounds on Zero.
The hacker, however, takes control.
Relying on his implants, modifications, and, of course, his bionic arm, he overpowers Deathnote, pushing him against the ropes. The referee steps in with a five-count… ONE, TWO, THREE, F—Zero relinquishes the collar-and-elbow tie-up, staving off a disqualification. He backs off with his hands up, smirking…
BEFORE CHARGING INTO DEATHNOTE!
THE SHINIGAMI, THOUGH, GRABS HIM BY THE HEAD—
USING HIS OWN MOMENTUM AGAINST HIM, HE TOSSES HIM OVER THE ROPES!
Throwing fools out of his ring is how he captured the Rewind Championship just last week!
Zero gets to his feet, nursing his lower back. He should look into a metal rod…
DEATHNOTE TAKES ZERO DOWN!
Both champions are down and out on the floor, but there are no count-outs in The Slaughterhouse. Besides, this is a street fight!
The Rewind Champion recovers. He peels Blood Money Inc.’s Cybersecurity off the floor. Zero fights back, but a forearm across the back subdues him. Deathnote slings his arm around his neck…
VERTICAL SUPLEX ONTO THE RAMP!
Zero arches his back as he writhes in pain. Deathnote fares better, having landed on the wafer-thin floor mats. He gets to his feet and pulls his foe up by his wrist…
HE WHIPS HIM INTO THE STEEL STAIRS!
WAIT – ZERO STOPS JUST SHORT!
USING HIS BIONIC ARM, HE SNATCHES THEM UP AND FLINGS THE STEPS AT DEATHNOTE!
The God of the New World narrowly side-steps the improvised, metallic missile.
Zero socks his foe in the gut, doubling him over. Deathnote sucks air through his mask.
THE CYBERPUNK SHOTPUTS THE PENMAN INTO THE STEEL BARRICADE!
Groaning, Deathnote flexes his fingertips, checking that his extremities still work—
ZERO KNOCKS HIS FUCKING BLOCK OFF!
Deathnote is bowled backwards over the railing, landing in a heap on the concrete.
Members of the audience hold out their smartphones, their lenses flashing as they photograph the action up-close. The human malware glares at them, then their devices. He closes his eyes for one second—
Without warning, the phones spark and burst into flames as their batteries swell. Their panicked owners toss them away, then shower Zero with abuse – who is only too happy to return it.
He reaches over the barrier, where he grabs a fistful of Deathnote’s raven-hair…
DEATHNOTE SHATTERS A WOODEN CHAIR OVER ZERO’S SKULL!
SPLINTERS RAIN DOWN AND LITTER THE FLOOR!
Zero falls to his knees, sawdust coating his purple dreads.
Deathnote clambers over the rail and tears the ringskirt back. Rifling under it, he retrieves…
AN ALUMINIUM TRASHCAN – AND IT’S FILLED WITH GOODIES!
Holding the bin between the ropes, emptying its torturous contents into the ring, Deathnote then wields it above his head—
HE DENTS THE RECEPTACLE OVER ZERO’S HEAD!
THE CAN IS WARPED BEYOND RECOGNITION – TO SAY NOTHING OF ZERO’S FACE!
DEATHNOTE TOTALS THE BIN!
Discarding the can, he shoves Zero back into the ring, where he hooks the leg—
Zero isn’t ready to shutdown just yet.
The Author of Death yanks his opponent to his feet, then scoops him onto his shoulders. He’s going for it!
GO TO SLEEP – GATHER THY SOUL!
Deathnote rings Zero’s bell with a knee to the skull. The hacker hits the mat. Deathnote kneels beside him and cradles his head. He leans in and kisses his forehead – you know what that means…
Before he heads to the top rope, however, he plucks a STOP sign off the mat, nestling it into Zero’s chest.
Deathnote climbs the turnbuckle and makes a throat-slitting motion!
ENHANCED TORSO OR NOT, DEATHNOTE IS GOING TO CAVE HIS DAMN CHEST IN!
HE LEAPS INTO THE AIR, LEGS DRAWN TO HIS CHEST—
HE MUST BE TWELVE FEET HIGH…
KISS OF DEATH!
ZERO WAFFLES HIM WITH THE FUCKING SIGN!
Deathnote stumbles forwards, swinging at the air, punchdrunk. Zero leaps forwards, catching his body-weight with one hand—
The Rewind Champion is sent cartwheeling through the air.
Zero springs into a cover—
Deathnote hasn’t reached the end of his chapter.
He scrambles onto his hands and knees—
ZERO BLASTS HIM WITH A KENDO STICK!
HE LEATHERS HIM WITH ANOTHER SHOT!
THE FUCKING CANE IS BROKEN IN TWAIN!
Deathnote lies limply on the mat, the shards of the stick scattered around him. Zero toes him with his boots, rolling him onto his back—
Zero shakes his head. The VHS Champion snatches a black, burlap sack off the canvas. Unfastening its tie, he tips it upside-down…
HUNDREDS—NO, THOUSANDS—OF RAZOR-SHARP THUMB TACKS CASCADE ONTO THE MAT!
LORD, HAVE MERCY!
Stalking a recovering Deathnote, Zero’s robotic fingers gesticulate in the air…
GOOZLE – HE GRABS HIM BY THE THROAT!
DEATHNOTE FIGHTS ZERO’S GRIP, BUT THE ARM IS TOO STRONG—
BIONIC CHOKESLAM – ABSOLUTE ZERO!
NOTEBOOK TO THE HEAD!
DEATHNOTE BRAINS ZERO WITH HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF NAMES!
The pocket-sized book packs an unlikely punch, as Zero releases Deathnote from his clutches. The matrix reels over the field of glistening silver spikes…
DEATHNOTE NEARLY DECAPITATES HIM – BUT ZERO DOESN’T FALL DOWN…
THE GOD OF THE NEW WORLD SHRUGS, PICKING UP A BASEBALL BAT; HE’S READY TO HIT A HOMER ON ZERO!
HOLY SHIT – ZERO VENTS A FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN DEATHNOTE’S FACE!
WHITE POWDER COATS THE RING, THE REFEREE, AND THE REWIND CHAMPION!
A BLINDED DEATHNOTE FINDS HIMSELF UP ON ZERO’S SHOULDERS…
DEATHNOTE ESCAPES THE BURNING HAMMER!
ZERO SPINS ROUND—
DEATHNOTE SCOOPS HIM UP…
AND HITS HIS OWN BURNING HAMMER!
DYING WISH INTO THE FIELD OF THUMB TACKS!
ZERO IS A HUMAN FREAKIN’ PIN-CUSHION!
Eyes wide, screaming in torment, The VHS Champion turns in circles on the mat, every inch of him penetrated by tacks.
Deathnote kicks him onto his back—
Zero’s going to need a reboot to come back from this.
Deathnote holds his head in his hands. So close…
Miming holding his notebook, he flips a page. He’s looking to end this, once and for all!
The Author of Death heaves his pin-ridden opponent up, clutching his head.
PULLING ZERO INTO THE SISTER ABIGAIL, DEATHNOTE TURNS THE PAGE!
ZERO, HOWEVER, SPINS OUT OF IT!
DEATHNOTE WHEELS ROUND—
STUNNER – PUNK CITY KILLER!
ZERO CLATTERS DEATHNOTE’S JAW OFF OF HIS SHOULDER!
HE COVERS HIM—
Zero rolls off of Deathnote.
Exhausted, sweating, and bleeding from a thousand puncture wounds, Zero is presented with his VHS Championship.
After a gruelling match with a game opponent, he gets to say that he is the greater Champion!
In the pitch black of an alley somewhere in New York City, The Butcher stands in a hooded jumper, ensuring that he’s safely tucked away from whatever monsters may be lurking in the City tonight.
Suddenly, he’s teleported away.
The Hall of Skulls.
“Thank you for agreeing to meet with me,” he says earnestly. “We’ve a problem.”
“I’m aware,” says a voice from within the shadows – a face we don’t get to see at first. He finally steps out, wearing a large black cloak and a black skull mask.
“You created this order to protect humanity; to maintain balance and order in the world, but the holders of your crystals are falling. My daughter, fell. You must know how close we are to complete disaster and now the world is likely to fall to whatever this war is.”
The Black Skull nods knowingly.
“You’re correct. There are two crystals remaining; one is in my possession and one has been hidden in an extremely safe place; it won’t be found. But this appears to be secondary to our main concern. There’s an immense power now on Earth and that battle will wreak havoc across it. If not contained, it’ll destroy humanity.”
“I can embolden The Slaughterhouse with enough power to contain the battle and protect humanity in the process,” he announces. “Much like The Tap Room housed the battle of good versus evil, I can lock the war now on Earth to within its walls – but doing so would be extremely volatile and dangerous. It would certainly risk and potentially cost lives. Those who fight within your walls may not survive it – yourself included. You will be required to take sides and those sides could not only decide the war, but the fate of those within Old School Wrestling.”
The Butcher thinks about it for a moment.
“What choice do I have?” He asks. “What’s the catch?”
The Black Skull chuckles.
“You know me so well,” he admits. “If you want me to embolden the Slaughterhouse to protect humanity and contain the war to within it, you must find and destroy Sigil. He cannot find the remaining two crystals.”
The Butcher nods.
“Very well. By Fists of Rage, the landscape of this war changes and those involved will reveal themselves. Be prepared, Colin – this is game changing.”