Static covers the screen as a Play ► symbol appears in the bottom right-hand corner.
The Butcher’s office.
He sits behind his large oak desk with a cigar in one hand and a tumbler of whiskey in the other. Something is clearly on his mind, when there’s a knock at the door.
“Come in,” he gruffly declares.
When the door opens, the person behind it is none other than the OSW Champion; Voynich.
“That wasn’t good news, was it?” He says with disappointment.
Voynich walks in and takes a seat, reaching over to grab the whiskey from Colin’s hand. He takes a long sip, placing it back onto the desk when finished.
“They know,” Voynich replies. His face is anguished – whatever they know, he’s clearly distraught about it. “And that means we have a problem.”
“Or an opportunity,” Butcher says, grabbing the whiskey and taking a sip himself. He puffs on his cigar and stands up, walking across the room to look out over The Slaughterhouse.
Voynich doesn’t like that. He immediately stands up and follows, stepping beside The Butcher.
“You can’t be serious?” Voynich queries in surprise. “That’s no plan at all.”
The Butcher shrugs.
“I’m beholden to bigger and badder things, kid,” he says between puffs of his cigar. “You may not understand it, but if I don’t kill Sigil at Ring of Dreams, it’s my ass on the line. I made agreements; deals to keep the war between heaven and hell inside this place. It cost.”
The Best Kept Secret looks away, almost shamefully at the floor. His head the whips back, shaking.
“No,” he proclaims. “I’ll take care of it.”
Colin shoots him an odd expression.
“You?” He chuckles. “You’re not capable of doing what needs to be done. I have all the respect in the world for you kid, but you’re no killer.”
Voynich shrugs, walking towards the door.
“I’ll do what needs to be done,” he assures Colin. “Because if I don’t, I’ll have to live with the consequences.”
As The OSW Champion leaves, The Butcher looks on through the glass – unsure that The Best Kept Secret can do what he says; kill Sigil.
Led tucked up inside a bed, recuperating from yet another seizure, is none other than Mister Andy. He looks pale and unwell, as nurses ensure he has enough hydration by fiddling with his machine.
Soon, his Doctor comes by.
“What’s the prognosis?” Andy asks cautiously, a look of concern draped across his face.
The Doctor flicks through the chart, his eyebrows moving up and down as he looks across the pages before him.
“Honestly sir, your case has truly flummoxed us. We’ve ran your blood tests and scanned your entire body for abnormalities or issues known to cause seizures; we’ve found absolutely no sign of a cause.”
That surprises Andy, who can’t believe it.
“How many of these do you say you’ve had?”
Andy thinks about it for a moment.
“At least two,” he thinks. “But I’m not sure. I’ve been under a lot of stress recently; a lot of pressure. Do you think that could have something to do with it?”
The Doctor rubs his chin.
“Not usually, but as it currently stands, we don’t have any answers for you. A mental break could in theory trigger something that feels like a seizure, but that’s purely speculation. Our tests don’t conclude any such issue.”
Andy swings himself out of bed, so that he’s sat on the edge of it.
“So, I’m being discharged?” He asks.
The Doctor nods.
“Yes, I’ll get your paperwork sorted and be back to see you before you go. I’m sorry that we couldn’t give you any conclusive answers,” he says apologetically, before heading towards the door and leaving the room.
Within moments, the door opens again and Andy, whilst looking at the ground, isn’t focused.
“Forget something?” He asks.
“Nah mate,” a voice replies. “I don’t ever forget a fucking thing.”
Rune has a bedpan and CLOBBERS ANDY ACROSS THE FUCKING SKULL, BUSTING HIM WIDE OPEN!
The Glitch mounts Andy on the bed, slamming the bedpan repeatedly into his skull. Just then, Security storm the room, dragging him away.
“He’s a fraud! He’s a fake!” Rune yells. “Don’t trust him! He’ll kill you all!”
Doctors and nurses rush into the room to take care of Andy, who’s jelly legged and bleeding profusely after that assault.
Tonight it’s a six way war! It’s The Reaper, The Judge, Sigil, The Impaler, Jessie Williams, and Simon! It’s one fall to a finish! Who will get it? We find out next!
DING! DING! The match starts and The Reaper charges right at The Judge! He gets him into the corner! Right after right and he’s getting the better of his foe! He backs up and charges! SHOTGUN BLAST! No! VERDICT! The Judge has seen that move too much and counters with the Sparta kick!
BOOMSTICK OUT OF NOWHERE! The Judge countered the first superman punch but not that one! Jessie Williams hit all of that! He’s not done! He hits a massive dropkick to Sigil! Another one to Simon! They both roll out of the ring and Jessie runs the ropes! Suicide dive! He runs back into the ring for another one but he’s met with the ADAM SMASHER! The Impaler hits all of that running lariat!
Jessie got turned inside out and The Impaler is stomping away on him! The Impaler is ready to prove he’s more than strength and he climbs the top rope! Simon jumps to the apron and shoves him off! The Impaler crashes hard on the mat!
Simon jumps into the ring and locks in a figure four! CHECKMATE! He has it locked in tight and the Impaler might tap out at any second! COSMIC LEAP! Sigil has telephoned right above them! Frog splash on Simon for the cover! One! Two! Thr-no! Simon gets a shoulder up and Sigil is arguing with the ref! SHOTGUN BLAST! No! Sigil dodges the punch and Reaper stops on a dime before hitting the ref! The Reaper turns around! PLANESWALKER! Sigil hits the front dropkick and covers Reaper! One! Two! Three!
What a win as Sigil proves why he’s a former world champ!
Continued from Dead Pixels…
“You alone of your peers are worthy of joining the Black Hand.”
Redwing turns, his eyes red with grief. They widen as he sees who is now stood before him.
“You.” Redwing growls, taken with emotion.
He can’t even muster another word. Instead, he takes a step forward, his fists balled up.
But he slowly comes to a halt, falling to the ground. Corvus steps forward to sit cross-legged next to the frozen Redwing.
“That odd tint in the air, the dust that flew up when you opened that cabinet, it all combines to a rather nasty paralytic. It doesn’t last long, but I need you to listen.”
Redwing’s eyes strain with rage as he fights to regain control of his body
“Your anger is understandable. You see me as a killer for hire, but I feel the need to expand your horizons, Bill. See, while the Black Hand certainly takes on its fair share of contracts, our real work is beyond that of a butcher.”
He places his hand on Redwing’s back, as if an old friend.
“Those files you found, how many of them did I personally execute? The subjects of those files may have encountered death, but none of them felt my blade drag across their neck.”
He pauses, his lips pursed.
“Not like Sarah, Bill. She fought so hard to protect little Jason, but it was over quickly. I promise you that.”
Even paralyzed, Redwing emits a guttural sound, something between a roar and a wail.
“For you, that moment turned you into something more. The Black Hand thrust you into the chaos and showed you what you were capable of. You shed the mask of Bill Kirby, and became who you were meant to be.”
Redwing’s leg begins to twitch.
“Don’t forget that moment, Bill, it defines you. It’s what has made you into the future of the Black Hand.”
Corvus stands up as Redwing’s legs and arm continue to twitch.
“Return to your tower, Kirby. Tell the whole world what you’ve learned if you wish. They won’t believe you. You’re all alone, and there will be no vindication in the shadows you’ve made. Join me, Redwing.”
He begins to walk away.
“Join me or die.”
A chessboard sits on an old table between two men. The pieces move back and forth as each man makes his move, unwilling to give his opponent the upper hand.
Finally, a pawn moves forward, revealing the queen of the white pieced player. The owner of the black pieces jumps on the seeming mistake, taking out the pawn in one swift move with his own queen.
And allowing his to be taken soon after.
The words slip out of the the man’s mouth as he strikes down the queen. The scene shifts up to reveal the triumphant player to us.
And across from him, pondering his next move?
Deathnote looks the same now as he ever has, but Simon? He’s dressed in a silken suit, sporting a tricorne hat upon his head.
“The end is coming, sir. You’re free to surrender whenever you wish.”
“The end is coming for you, ____.”
The name is garbled, unable to be heard. Seemingly lost from this reality.
The Shinigami moves a piece into place and takes out the queen with expert precision. However, the very next move Simon looks at his opponent with a smug, knowing grin.
Deathnote looks down at the board, in shock at just how quickly his defeat had come to him! He looks back at Simon in rage, grabbing for his tome!
But when he flips through the pages to look inside, a section is missing.
Deathnote looks back at the Taskmaster as he stands up, placing the pages in his coat.
“The deal is done, Mr. Note. You lost the game, you forfeit my name. I bid you ado.”
Simon turns around, walking away from the table as Deathnote rises. He tries to call after Simon, but the name he once used has no vanished from his tongue.
Lost to eternity, known only by Simon, and by the pages he now carries.
They all stand in what appears to be nothing at all.
An infinite expanse of nothing at all.
“Why are we here?” Nightstick asks, cutting straight to the chase.
Nocturne chuckles and looks at Crowley, who replies. “This? This is all that will remain of Paradise soon enough.”
“Cute,” Solveig responds. “But this is nothing more than your hellish dream of what Paradise will be.”
“You truly are a fool,” Crowley states. “I want to rule Paradise. What sense would it make for me to rule this? This utter lack of existence?”
Nightstick and Solveig both admit via silence that Crowley has a point.
“The fact is,” Crowley continues, “Whether it’s the warriors of Paradise or the demons of Hell themselves, we are outnumbered by them. They must be vanquished.”
“Purgatory,” Nightstick responds.
Finally, Nocturne speaks up. “At Ring of Dreams, we will decide once and for all who takes the Kingdom of Kingdoms. But don’t let the finality of that date trick you into complacency. Now that Scarecrow has Sandman on his side, they will stop at nothing to win it long before we step foot inside that burning cage.”
“We must stop them,” Crowley continues.
“This doesn’t feel right,” Nightstick replies. “This feels like…”
“A dream,” Solveig answers.
“The Sandman,” Crowley says. “Naturally.”
We have a huge trios match here tonight. Can the Captain work together with the world champion and #1 contender or will the Demon, the Toymaker and his tormentor reign supreme?
The bell sounds as Captain Jack starts off with Rune. Rune rushes forward, swinging wildly with his unpredictable brawling as he manages to get a stiff uppercut on Jack before trying for Truth Hurts. Jack delivers a stiff elbow to the back of the head before lifting him up for a Suplex of his own, holding him high up in the air before dropping him down to ringside with MAN OVERBOARD!
Jack can’t follow up though as The Sandman rushes into the ring, nearly shattering his jaw with a massive Big Boot. Jack staggers back right into a hot tag from Luke Storm who rushes into the ring, absolutely laying into the Dream Demon with heavy lefts and rights before a leaping knee stuns the monster as Storm rolls back, LIGHTNING….
SANDMAN TAGS OUT! Storm looks furious as Andy just shrugs his shoulders before nearly breaking Storm’s rib with a huge SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST! Andy stays down for the cover, ONE…TW…VOYNICH BREAKS IT UP, pulling Andy up into the air, MONOLITH!
Voynich tries for the cover, ONE…SANDMAN HAS HIM AROUND THE THROAT. He’s looking for that Chokeslam but Silver leaps into the ring…BLOW THE MAN DOWN! Sandman stumbles to the outside as Rune rushes Silver but he’s tripped up by Mister Andy! Rune is distracted as Silver delivers a hard low blow before rolling him up for the ONE…TWO…THREE!!!
The Captain, the Tempest and the World Champion pick up the victory tonight thanks to an accidental? distraction of Rune by the man he’s tormented for the past month.
“NO! NO! I am not selling shit. I don’t care if there are signs of a hostile takeover, I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE!”
BEG’s voice screams over the phone. Ever since Nigel Royal returned, Blood Money Inc. has been losing money. Just then the door to the locker room slams shut as Zero and CXDY walk in.
“We need to deal with Nigel, quick.”
“What do you mean ‘we’?”
CXDY looks at BEG with an eyebrow raised.
“What are you talking about?”
“You forget what happened at Dead Pixels already? Royal is out for you, specifically.”
“And all he’s got is that bitch Shaw with him and a few easily bought off security guys. Zero is worth all of that. Hack his accounts! Lock him out from his money!”
Zero turns around and walks out of the room.
“Nigel clearly has more than enough money to counter you, and it’s not worth it. I’m out”
CXDY walks out behind Zero. BEG slumps into a seat. Everything he built is crumbling around him. His phone rings again.
“You ready to give up yet?”
BEG sits upright in his chair. Rage written all over his face.
“You want a fucking war, Nigel? I’ll give you one!”
“You and what army? Your soldiers are disappearing as quickly as your own money is. Soon you’ll have nothing.”
“I’ve got more than enough for you, cunt. Blood Money Inc. is going nowhere. I bent the world to my whim once before to cost Whitlock the Presidency. I’ll bend the world again to fuck you in the ass.”
“Good luck.” click
It’s been one week since Dead Pixels, and Jessie Williams sits backstage, worn out from his match earlier in the night. He’s distant, deep in thought, as he places his belongings into his OSW-branded duffel bag.
“Penny for them?”
Out of the shadows steps Ash Williams, who perches himself on the edge of the cabinet near the door. Jessie remains silent and continues packing his things.
“I’ve been mad the whole week, Jessie. I’ve punched walls. I’ve driven miles out into the middle of nowhere and back, just to keep myself level headed. To keep me from saying or doing something I’d regret. But I’ve asked myself a thousand times, ‘Why would my son betray me?'” Ash begins.
“And it had me red in the face. But then I realised that this is just you being you. You think you have all the answers, Jessie, just like all sons do. But as usual the parent knows best. With all my years of experience, you didn’t think that trusting me was the right thing to do?”
Jessie stops packing, and looks up at his father with a sigh.
“It’s not that, it’s just-”
“I’ll tell you what it fuckin’ is. You found yourself here in OSW without me, and your little ego took a polishing. And now your naivety has put a dent in my plans to free us. Free us, Jessie, from the clutches of that monster.”
“But how is it really freedom, Dad, if all we’re doing is substituting one life for another? That’s just trading captivity for guilt, and I’m not willing to be trapped in either.”
“Son, I have seen and done things that nobody should see or do. I have weathered the harshest of storms. It was time for someone else to take on the elements. It was time for the Tempest to take his spot in our place. But you, in your youthful wisdom, have fucked it. You’re still young, Jessie, but that doesn’t mean you can escape the consequences.”
“No I’m not mad, not really, not any more. I’m just weary, Jessie. Weary of tidying up yet another mistake…”
In a tale of fire and blood, which competitor will seize the throne, while the other burns?
A returning Nigel Royal schools Two-Face with crisp takedowns and suplexes. The would-be President cancels Nigel’s comeback tour, however, with a mule kick that goes unseen by the referee. 50/50 cauterizes The Bloodline with an overdrive neckbreaker – FLIP THE COIN! ONE… TWO… KICKOUT! Royal isn’t ready to abdicate just yet.
Two-Face hauls him up. Taking his hand, he dances with his deadweight, before snatching him up into the Joker driver – LADY LUCK! ONE… TWO… TH—SHOULDER UP! The Master of Coin slaps the mat and gets in the official’s face. Nigel has been gone for three years, but he’s got plenty of fight left in him!
Nigel shakes off the cobwebs and grabs Two-Face. He plants him with a belly-to-back suplex. Keeping his hands clasped, he hoists him up again, again, and again – ROYAL FLUSH! ONE… TWO… KICKOUT! Two-Face survived a carbomb – did you think that would be enough!? Royal sways as he climbs the ropes, possibly concussed…
SPITFIRE FROG SPLASH! He pancakes Two-Face. ONE… TWO… TH—ROPE BREAK! The burned politician isn’t out of the race yet. Royal signals that it’s time to finish this! He peels his foe off the mat, drags him centre-ring, then pulls him into the crossface – DUNGEONS OF LON—HEADS OR TAILS! Two-Face counters with Sister Abigail! ONE… TWO… THREE!
Two-Face flips things around on the returning Nigel Royal!
Pyre Is walking down here castle halls with the Red Knight and The Knave of Hearts. She begins to speak.
“Imagine if this is our last month in my castle. Imagine if I lose everything in one match. Just imagine…”
She pauses for effect, neither man reacts but she continues.
“This is where you laugh.”
Forced laughter from the Knave and the Knight ensues. She doesn’t know it’s forced and continues.
“Exactly, it’s funny to think Alice could even come close to beating me in my own castle but let’s make sure she doesn’t. I want you two to lay traps throughout this place.”
Both men nod and walk opposite directions as they find different areas to lay traps or plan for more elaborate ones. Pyre smiles and as she sees the violent changes to her castle, her grin only grows wider.
One of the castle walls has collapsed. Pyre jumps back! She is startled and shouts.
“Who did that!?”
A card guards points outside.
It’s Sweet Alice with a sledgehammer!
She looks at the wall just as surprised herself. She begins to speak.
“I didn’t expect it to fall so easily, it fell like a house of cards.”
Sweet Alice shrugs.
“At least I’ll have some extra light when this castle is mine, it was much too dark anyway.”
Pyre walks up to her.
“You think you’re cute. It’s still my castle and while I’m queen, no one else touches it. Do it again and I’ll make sure you join your friend. Btw, what is is his name now? You can’t really call him Hatter without a head right?”
Alice lunges at Pyre!
She goes for a spear!
Jumping knee strike by Pyre into a charging Alice!
Alice falls hard and Pyre shouts.
“Guards! Get her out of my sight! I’ve got things to take care of.”
The card guards nod and drag Alice away.
They toss her out of the castle and start working on mending the wall.
Behind them, we see a familiar floating smile. Alice has gotten a spy in the castle.
It’s been over a week since the Forever Friends lost one of their own, and we see the duo of Chunky Moses and Magical Miles next to the grave of their fallen comrade Ultimo America. Joining them is Stoner, looking to pay his respects in silence with the other grieving Friends as Miles finishes his eulogy.
“And so, with heavy hearts we lay our pal Ultimo…Benji…and we promise we will do right by you.”
Chunky reaches into a satchel, revealing an Ultimo America mask that he places next to the grave marker when suddenly, an eerie growl can be heard from the distance. The growl gets louder in a matter of minutes, forcing the group to suspend their grief for this moment, as they turn their attention to the impending threat that lumbers toward them.
Sherman Dewey…or at least, what’s left of him, an angry snarl on his rotting face. The moment of silence already broken by this approaching monster, Stoner recognizes the need to ask a very important question.
“What’s the plan, fellas? Think we can take him?”
Chunky and Miles look at each other, slowly shaking their heads…much to the chagrin of the Disposable Hero.
“Gah…alright then, if we’re not gonna nut up we need to hightail it outta here.”
With that, the trio books it as they run toward their truck nearby…the growls of their former Friend only getting closer as he begins to pick up the pace. We see his foot slam right onto the mask of America as he gets angrier with every passing moment…but the trio makes it to the truck, starting it up in the nick of time.
They speed off, leaving Dewey behind as Chunky and Miles look at each other once more. Stoner speaks up from the driver’s seat, a clear tone of concern as they gain further distance from the creature hunting them down.
“Fellas, we need to figure out a plan…and quick. If we don’t put your buddy down for good, we’re all gonna be dead.”
They nod in agreement, but are clearly struggling to comprehend how to bring this nightmare to an end…but they know it must be done.
Tag Team Championships
Tag Champs they might be but Leif views his partnership with Banzan a failure as the Mountain is forced to go it alone against Chunky and his new friend Stoner. Can he do the impossible or will the Forever Friends gain their first championship tonight?
The bell sounds as Chunky rushes forward, laying into Banzan with punches that while powerful, barely seem to faze Banzan as Stoner rushes in as well, helping his buddy with a double helping of knuckle sandwiches that seem to rock the Mountain before they try for a Double Suplex.
The pair can barely lift up the Mountain before he lifts the both of them off their feet, throwing them away onto their stomachs. Chunky gets to his feet into a massive headbutt before he’s lifted up high, DUKKA! Right on the top of his head. Stoner gets up, rushing forward with a dropkick that staggers Banzan back a few feet.
Stoner rolls back, rushing forward once more, DROPKICK OF…BIG BOOT! Banzan just kicked Stoner right out of mid-leap as he quickly grabs him off the mat and delivers a second Dukka. Both competitors dazed on the mat, The Mountain looks for the end as he stalks a slowly rising Stoner.
MAGG…LEAPFROG! Stoner leaps right over Banzan who turns around confused right an onrushing Chunky, HA-HAHADOKEN! SPEAR INTO THE BUCKLES! Chunky stays head down, pressed into Banzan as Stoner leaps off his back with a Shining Wizard! Banzan falls to the mat as Chunky slowly climbs up to the top rope, FROGGER’S FLIGHT! The Moonsault connects as both Chunky and Stoner cover for the ONE…TWO…THREE!!!
We have new tag team champions here tonight as Chunky and Stoner were able to overwhelm the abandoned Mountain.
Two men who’s hearts burn with hatred for one another find themselves in the same hall. It’s clear they were looking for each other, on the hunt. Reaper’s shotgun is at the ready, and Judge’s axe is slung from his shoulder and held tightly in his hands.
“So, you mentioned a while back that someone has to go, right? Well if I can’t get my hands on Monty… then I’ll get them on you.”
Reaper levels his shotgun against Judge who prepares to rush him, knowing his armor can take the blast!
But the sound of applause causes them to stop dead in their tracks.
That damn, rapturous applause they’ve come to know and loathe.
The walls of the hallway fall away, lights shine on them, and the sound of a crowd in empty seats fills their ears.
“This show truly never ends, does it?”
Monty Straight, OSW’s resident show host, leans against his podium chuckling as he pulls his microphone out of his pocket. Judge and Reaper immediately turn towards Monty, weapons at the ready!
But their weapons? Gone. Vanished into thin air as soon as they appeared on stage.
“No no no, boys. We can’t simply having you kill one another. Or try and kill me. What’s a show without a host, after all?”
Reaper snarls while Judge merely sighs, walking towards Monty only to find himself unable to move on the stage!
“What is the meaning of this, Straight?”
Monty flashes his infamous smile.
“The meaning? Well, I can’t simply let my prize stars go to waste! You’re good ratings. No, great ratings. The audience loves you! And that means you two and I? We’re going to be on the season finale.”
He chuckles again.
“Ring of Dreams. Three ways with one winner. Think of it as a special edition of the show.”
“I ain’t playin’ games anymore! I’m gonna tear your fucking head off!”
Reaper tries to move only to find himself in the same predicament as Judge! Monty waggles his finger before adjusting his tie.
“You’ll have time for that at Ring of Dreams. But for now? It’s time to play…”
The invisible audience begins to cheer as Monty plays it up.
“The Show That Never Ends!”
And with that, Reaper and Judge find themselves back in that hallway. Weapons in hand, both confused and disoriented as we fade out.
Luke Storm finds himself in complete darkness.
There’s nothingness around him; as if he was lost in the empty. By the time he realizes gets a grip on his sudden surroundings, it dawns on him just exactly what’s happening.
“Where are you?” He yells into the darkness. “I know you’re here. Why don’t you come out and face me?”
Suddenly, The Sandman appears.
“You’re fighting me,” he replies angrily. “This darkness isn’t me, it’s you.”
“You’re damn right it is. I knew you’d come for my dreams, Sandman. But guess what? You won’t find Rogers in here.”
The Dream Demons steps forward, grabbing Luke by the throat. He lifts him off the ground, squeezing tightly.
“Tell me where he is, or I’ll send you to meet your brother,” he roars.
“No,” he mutters through gritted teeth whilst being choked. “Kill me and you’ll never find him in time.”
Reluctantly, The Sandman releases him. Luke clutches at his throat and grimaces, spitting on the ground.
“I told you that I’d be coming for you,” Luke reminds him. “I told you that I’d end you, Sandman. At Ring of Dreams, I’m gonna put you down once and for all. You can invade my dreams just like you invaded on me and Eddie at Red Snow, but you won’t be that successful inside them.”
The Dream Demon releases a slow growl.
“We’ll see about that. You may have a Ring of Hope, but I’m the one who turns Dreams into Nightmares.”
Weapons surround the ring both inside and out as these three men look to tear each other apart!
The match is on and Zero rushes CXDY, dropping him with a massive uppercut before turning to Redwing and hitting a leaping Neckbreaker! He immediately grabs a table, setting it up and turning around TO GRAB A RUSHING REDWING! ABSOLUTE ZERO! BIONIC CHOKESLAM THROUGH THE TABLE! Redwing is down!
Zero goes to pin BUT A CHAIR FROM CXDY SLAMS ACROSS HIS SKULL! The former BMI teammate wails on Zero with shot after shot but Zero won’t go down! KENDO STICK TO THE JAW FROM REDWING! Zero goes down and both contenders face each other! THE KENDO STICK CONNECTS WITH THE CHAIR AND SLAMS IT INTO CXDY’S FACE!
Redwing pulls redblades from his belt and throws them wildly, pelting CXDY with them! Redwing runs forwards and HITS THE KILLING JOKE! BULLDOG INTO THE TURNBUCKLE! CXDY is down and Redwing turns around RIGHT INTO THE BIONIC CLOTHESLINE BY ZERO!
Zero pulls Redwing into the middle of the ring AND GETS HIT WITH A LARIAT FROM CXDY! BIG IN JAPAN! CXDY wants this to end as he grabs a bag and pours tacks all over the ring! Redwing and Zero fight to rise to their feet in the middle of the ring! BIONIC CHOKESLAM TO CXDY ONTO THE TACKS! PUNK CITY KILLER TO A RISING REDWING! ZERO COVERS! ONE! TWO! THREE!
Zero continues his impressive title reign as he takes down two very game competitors here tonight!
Sat in his fractured lair, we find Two-Face staring down at his coin. He isn’t even flipping it. He doesn’t have to. The decision has already been made.
A knock comes at his door, and the fractured one makes his way to it.
“Come to die, Roberts?” He growls as he draws out a steel pipe.
BAM! THE DOOR EXPLODES!
Two-Face falls to the ground as several of Viper’s snakes charge into the room. They pile on Two-Face, holding him down as a man walks through the smoke.
Viper Roberts, himself.
“Everybody thinks they’re a snake handler,” Roberts says, his voice an unnerving whisper. “But then they find out the snake still bites.”
Viper walks over to Two-Face, who is dazed but struggling, his unblemished face facing up.
“Alton Whitlock.” Roberts intones. “Bet you wish you didn’t turn me down, don’t you?”
He kneels down to speak softly to his prey, almost like a friend.
“We could’a ruled the world, man.” Roberts croons. “You out there as one of my snakes, making the world a better place. All you had to do was follow me that night.”
Viper stands up to come down hard on Two-Face’s back. He reaches down to turn his head around, leaving the scarred side up.
“But you.” He begins. “You ain’t nothing to me, just a piece of flesh. You’re my dinner, my meal when I get hungry.”
Two-Face spits out a sliver of blood.
“We’re going to enjoy skinning you alive, snake.”
Viper stands up, chuckling softly.
“I’ll bet you are. You ain’t no snake handler, Whitlock. How bad are you laying in your own blood? If you plant grass, you grow grass. Plant rice, grow rice. But me? I plant fear, and I see that yellow streak running up your spine.”
He nods to his snakes, who begin to leave.
“I’ll see you around, Two-Face.
Banzan sits in a field, meditating. He’s been at war over the past few months, tormented by Leif Helvig. Something has to give.
As he sits with his eyes closed, he fails to see a shadow looming from behind.
That is, until his eyes burst open and he swivels almost immediately, straight into a fighting stance. He expects Helvig, but that’s not who’s there.
In fact, he doesn’t even know who this is. He looks at him quizzically, in complete confusion.
“I have the feeling that I am going to become your next best friend,” the man says calmly, confidently, even.
“Who’re you?” Banzan questions, fight stance still in effect.
“Who I am is only important as far as I can help you with your Leif Helvig problem,” the man retorts. By now we see him; a slender man, elderly, wearing a black suit and tie combination. “My people believe him to be the reincarnation of Fenrir.”
The Mountain steps out of his fighting stance, his hands landing on his hips.
“We had him captive for many years and despite our best efforts, he grew in strength and speed,” he continues. “You will not be able to stop him, Banzan.”
“How do you know that?” The Mountain questions. “How do you know anything?”
The man steps forward.
“The international incident alerted us to his presence in this country. We have been searching for him for quite some time.”
“Then what I do?” Banzan wants to know. “How do I defeat him?”
The man nods, knowingly – not saying another word.
As one door closes, will another one open? Or is the ink already dry on how this will end!?
Deathnote lunges towards Monty Straight, but the emcee baseball slides through his legs to the outside, where he grabs a ladder. The Author of Death arms himself with a ladder, too, and the two race back inside – CLATTER! Deathnote clocks Monty! The reigning Rewind Champion erects the ladder and scrambles up it…
Straight recovers and snatches his dropped hardware. CLACK! Monty introduces Deathnote’s spine to steel! Discarding the ladder, The Deal Maker climbs up beside him… RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP OFF THE LADDER! They land in a heap, but Straight manages to roll into a crossface – TERMS AND CONDITIONS!
Hoping to have incapacitated Deathnote, Monty ascends the ladder. He’s f-f-fingertips away from the gold… DEATHNOTE TOPPLES THE LADDER! From his back on the canvas, the God of the New World kicked it shut! Straight plummets into the ropes, a tangled mess. RATTLE! Deathnote slams the folded ladder onto Monty, then climbs the ropes…
KISS OF DEATH! The champion drives both feet into the ladder, pancaking Straight! He retrieves the second, felled ladder and resets it, then climbs… Deathnote to retain!? Wait – here comes Monty! They duke it out atop the ladder. Deathnote suddenly whips out his Notebook – THUD! He domes Straight, who plunges to the canvas! DEATHNOTE UNFASTENS THE REWIND TITLE!
Deathnote is still your Rewind Champion!
After Dead Pixels
A rather happy tune is whistled, echoing off the concrete walls in the alleys surrounding the Slaughterhouse. Albert Shaw walks with a spring in his step, whistling the tune of ‘Shot through the Heart’ as he remembers exactly what he pulled off this night.
“You think you’re so fucking clever, don’t you.”
Shaw is stopped in his tracks as a figure emerges from the shadow, flicking a lighter in his fingers to illuminate his face.
“That’s just who you are, isn’t it? Stabbing people in the back and always looking out for number one. I thought loyalty meant something to you, but I see how wrong I was to ever trust you.”
CXDY is seething, now face to face with the man he hates more than anybody in a darkened alley. Shaw smiles, fishing into his pocket and retrieving the finger of Berkshire Ellison Green.
“Don’t forget what I’m capable of, Sonny Jim.”
He tosses the finger into the air, looking to catch it again for effect but CXDY swats it out of the way. The finger bounces onto the pavement, landing in a puddle of dirty water. Alby cocks his head to the side.
“Now, that wasn’t altogether necessary, was it mate?”
Now it is CXDY’s turn to smile.
“Necessary?” He spits the word out of his mouth. “Well… Neither is this.”
He flicks the lighter to the ground and a flash of flame erupts. A line of gasoline runs along the length of the alleyway and the flames race along the trail, leading to where Alby’s car and driver await him. Products of his wheeling and dealing. Alby’s eyes draw wide, and he opens his mouth to speak but the flames run too quickly.
In an instant, the car is on fire. The screaming of Alby’s driver from within sees the smile on CXDY’s face grow wider.
“I’m going to make your life a living hell, Shaw. And just when you’ve had enough, when you can’t take any more… I’m going to slit that fucking throat of yours and watch you die, reeeeal slowly.”
Shaw bunches up his fist, but does not engage. CXDY bends down and picks up the finger, tossing it back at Shaw’s chest.
“It’s time for you to learn, Alby, exactly why people don’t fuck with me.”
The sound no one wants to hear.
And yet, Crowley, Nocturne, Nightstick, and Solveig all hear it. They look around the empty expanse, but all they see is nothingness.
But, quite suddenly, a picture begins to pour across the emptiness, as paint would pour down a canvas.
Fire, blood, death, decay.
Monsters shred demons and angels alike limb from limb.
They all move to join in the fight, but stand frozen in place just as they do so.
And before them, appears the Scarecrow.
“This is not a dream,” Scarecrow states matter of factly. “This is a prophecy. A nightmare. A most heavenly nightmare indeed.”
“What do you want with us?” Crowley demands.
“I want nothing with you. You aren’t even here.”
Suddenly, Crowley is erased from the picture.
“Neither are you,” the Hayman says to Nocturne, and he too is erased.
Scarecrow now stands face to face with Nightstick and Solveig.
“Care to guess, between the three of us, to whom this heavenly nightmare belongs? I’ll give you a hint. Monsters like me? We don’t dream.”
Solveig and Nightstick look at one another.
“The tricksters in Hell will attempt to manipulate your reality. But us monsters? We will simply torment your dreams. And when you wake up, this backdrop of death and blood and fire, you will be one day closer to its arrival. Now that we have Sandman on our side, you stand little chance in this war. Come Ring of Dreams, the two of you will have a choice to make.”
“What choice is that?” Nightstick asks.
Suddenly, the burning, the blood, all of it, is erased.
Only the three of them, and Nothing Itself, remain.
“This emptiness we stand in? Neither I nor Sandman created it. Hell did that to screw with your minds. What you see, what we stand in, it is the absence of creation. It is the nothingness beyond Paradise, a place where not even the Chief has touched.”
“Then why are we here?” Solveig demands angrily.
“This is a projection of your future. It’s what Crowley and Nocturne want you to envisage and suffer. In Hell, they plot — but it will not matter. In Heaven, you ready the bulwarks and defenses — but they will not stand.”
“The choice you have to make is simple. Surrender. Surrender and the two of you can enjoy what will remain of creation once Purgatory rules Paradise. Or? Fight. And find yourselves here, non-existent, uncreated; all at the hands of Hell. You will be nothing more than part of this nothingness. You will be nothing more at all.”
Troy Solveig and Nightstick stand in the void alone now. They look at one another.
Finally, Solveig says to Nightstick, “Wake up.”
As Solveig and Nightstick vanish, there’s another flutter.
Only this time, the visage melts away. It’s The Sandman – and he’s alone. There’s no Scarecrow in sight.
His toothy smile grins.
“Over to you, Hayman.”
Double Feature Championship
Can the convict, who survived a lion’s den, escape the snakepit unharmed?
Viper unfastens his Double Feature Championship. He passes it to the referee, who takes it. Roberts, however, holds onto it. He burns a hole through Albert Shaw. This is mine, he says – without speaking a word. He finally relinquishes it. The official holds it up for all to see, before giving it to ringside personnel, then calling for the bell.
DING, DING, DING!
The Head Snake slithers forwards.
The Guv’nor puts up his dukes.
Shaw jabs the air in a bid to psych-out Viper. The Champion, however, wrote the book on psychology; Roberts smirks at Albert’s sparring. The former inmate throws pretense out the window and swings for him!
Viper, though, ducks it. Shaw goes to take his head off, but he side-steps him. Again and again, he evades without retaliating. An errant haymaker backs Roberts into the corner – or does it? Licking his lips, Albert lowers his guard as he advances—
DROP TOE-HOLD INTO THE TURNBUCKLE!
The Head Snake lures him, then drops him!
Roberts snaps his snakeskin boots into Shaw’s ribs until the referee pries him off. The hard-man slowly recovers, using the ropes to pull himself up—
VIPER RAKES HIS EYE ALONG THE ROPE!
Albert manages to shove him off, but he falls to one knee. The official threatens the Champion with a disqualification, but Shaw himself protests – the title can’t change hands on a DQ!
The ex-con gets to his feet, fists at the ready. He’s suffered worse beatings!
Roberts kicks him in the midsection—
HE SPIKES HIM WITH AN ODE TO THE SNAKE DDT!
VIPER TO RETAIN!?
Albert served 12 years – even 3 more seconds is too much!
The leader of The Snakepit hauls Shaw up and dumps him through the ropes, then follows suit.
With no count-outs, he’s free to play with his food…
Viper grabs a fistful of Albert’s hair and pulls him to his feet.
HE SENDS HIM PACKING INTO THE STEEL STAIRS!
VIPER CAREENS INTO THE STEPS!
Tattooed by the pattern stamped into the metal, Roberts climbs to his feet. There’s no ducking and diving Albert now!
VIPER LUNGES AT HIM—
BACK BODY DROP ONTO THE COLD, HARD FLOOR!
The snake-charmer arches his back, groaning in pain.
No rest for the wicked, though, as The Guv’nor yanks him up.
SHAW LOBS HIM INTO THE CROWD BARRICADE!
Roberts throws his head back, gritting his teeth in agony. Several pairs of hands clamour to touch the cult-leader, only to be retracted when Albert approaches.
The jack-of-all-trades criminal sizes up Viper, whose arms keep him propped up on the barrier.
SHAW UNLOADS ON ROBERTS WITH MEAN HOOKS AND JABS TO THE ABDOMEN!
HE’S WORKING HIM OVER LIKE A SIDE OF COW IN A MEAT LOCKER!
BLOOD SEEPS THROUGH THE TAPE ON ALBERT’S FISTS – HE’S PUNCHING HIS KNUCKLES RAW!
VIPER… VIPER MOTIONS FOR A TIMEOUT!?
HE’S CALLING FOR THE OFFICIAL!
Zebra-stripes interjects himself to check on Roberts. The doubled-over Champion clutches his midriff, shaking his head and pointing at the ring.
Has Shaw broken Viper’s ribs? Can he continue? What will happen to the title in a no-contest!?
The official orders Albert to stay back as he assists an ailing Viper back inside. Roberts, however, makes a miraculous recovery, shrugging the referee off and motioning for Shaw to join him. That rotten bastard feigned injury to get the advantage!
The Guv’nor, however, merely shrugs, before diving headfirst under the ropes!
Viper sets on him with vicious stomps, gripping the top rope for leverage. He drags him up by his braces—
DOUBLE-LEG TAKEDOWN BY SHAW!
THE REFEREE GETS KNOCKED DOWN, TOO!
Both competitors scramble to their feet…
ROBERTS REMOVES HIS SNAKESKIN BELT!
Cracking it in his hands, he once again calls for Albert to come get some. As before, Shaw is only too happy to oblige!
Albert screams as Viper whips him.
The former prisoner howls as blood oozes through his white vest.
THE HEAD SNAKE IS TANNIN’ THE HIDE!
WAIT – SHAW GRABS THE BELT…
HE PULLS ROBERTS DOWN—
CROSSFACE, CROSSFACE, CROSSFACE!
SHAW HAS VIPER’S OWN SNAKESKIN BELT WRAPPED AROUND HIS MOUTH!
KEEP QUIET, BITCH!
TWELVE YEARS OF SILENCING RATS, AND NOW HE GETS TO SILENCE A SNAKE!
VIPER – VIPER TAPS!
VIPER ROBERTS IS TAPPING OUT!
WE HAVE A NEW DOUBLE FEATURE CHAMPION!
Why isn’t the bell ringing!?
DAMMIT – THE OFFICIAL IS STILL KO’d!
ALBERT CAN’T BELIEVE IT!
He breaks his grip and tries to rouse the referee. By rights, he should now be raising the Double Feature title belt above his head, its new owner. The official is slowly coming to…
Shaw turns around—
ROBERTS CROWNS HIM WITH THE CHAMPIONSHIP!
ALBERT GOES DOWN!
Viper tosses the title under the bottom rope and collapses into a cover – just in time for the referee to recover!
SHAW’S GOING TO GET SCREWED!
ROBERTS STILL THE CHAMPION!?
SHAW BARELY LIFTS HIS SHOULDER!
Viper runs his hands through his greasy hair. This fuckin’ guy…
Running out of options, he heaves Albert’s limp carcass up, then tears into the ropes—
WRAPAROUND NECKBREAKER, AKA SNAKE BI—DENIED!
ALBERT DISABLES HIM WITH AN EYE POKE – FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER… FIVE FINGER DISCOUNT!
Roberts punches the air blindly—
SHAW GORES HIM INTO THE CORNER!
Viper is unable to defend himself, as Albert climbs the middle rope.
THE COCKNEY GANGSTER IS TEEING OFF ON ROBERTS WITH ELBOW STRIKES!
ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE…
Albert prepares an extra-special, tenth elbow – with mustard!
SNITCHES GET—SNAKE OIL!
FORGET STITCHES – ROBERTS JUST SPIT THAT MYSTERIOUS SUBSTANCE INTO SHAW’S EYES!
YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY: AN EYE FOR AN EYE!
Albert jumps down haphazardly.
In what is quite a sight, both men stumble around the ring, their vision impaired at the hand of the other.
This is it – it’s anyone’s game now!
Though blinded, which man will strike true first!?
VIPER CHARGES WITH THE WRAPAROUND NECKBREAKER!
SHAW, HOWEVER, ESCAPES THE SNAKE BITE UNSCATHED!
HE HITS THE ROPES…
COMMITTING GRIEVOUS BODILY FUCKING HARM!
HE DEFANGS THE SNAKE WITH THE GBH CLAYMORE KICK!
SAY GOODNIGHT, VIPER!
NEW CHAMPION, NEW CHAMPION!
ALBERT SHAW IS YOUR NEW DOUBLE FEATURE CHAMPION!
We’re now clear of that Main Event.
The lights begin to flash like a paparazzi’s camera as Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” hits the Slaughterhouse. Smoke fills the entrance tube as the lyrics kick in.
Comin’ out of nowhere
Drivin’ like rain
There he is. Luke Storm walks through the clouds like a lightning bolt to stand at the head of the ramp. He removes his sunglasses as he takes in the crowd, his eyes full of rage.
With a nod and smile, the Real Deal marches down to the ring, ready for war. He slides in, going to the opposite turnbuckle to raise his fists in the air in defiance.
Ride the rainbow
Crack the sky
Time to die
He reaches for a microphone and retrieves one from his back pocket.
“In just under a month’s time, I’m going to Ring of Dreams with three goals in mind,” he announces proudly. “The first two are connected; I’m going to kill Sandy Rogers and end The Sandman. The third, well, that’s the difficult one.”
Destroying Rogers? Check.
Destroying Sandman? Check.
Defeating Voynich and breaking the curse? Not so much.
“The Pandemonium Curse has existed for six years. No-one has ever won Lambs to the Slaughter and gone on to defeat The Champion at Ring of Dreams; until now. I’m going to the show with a purpose, boys and girls. I mean business.”
Suddenly, the lights go off in the Slaughterhouse as Voynich’s theme song starts. The entrance tunnel is filled with smoke and, after a few seconds, Voynich emerges from the entrance tunnel with a flashlight in his hand. Voynich walks down the ramp slowly, moving his flashlight from left to right, pointing it at the crowd, as if he was searching something.
When Voynich reaches the ring, lights go on and Voynich gives his flashlight to a fan in the first row. He then jumps over the top rope to meet Luke Storm face to face. He too has a microphone.
“You know, I’m a big believer in curses. In my line of work, you can never be too sure,” he admits with a smile. “And I don’t mean to ruin your high, but if this curse does exist and by all accounts, it looks like it does, then this Championship will stay around my waist – it’s unlikely there’s anything you or I could do or say to change that otherwise.”
He pats the title belt with a nod.
“You’re a smart kid,” Storm admits. “But if you really think those mind games are gonna work on me, you’re not as smart as I thought.”
Voynich smiles, shrugging his shoulders.
“I’m not playing mind games,” he assures Storm. “But the odds are clearly in my favour, are they not? I respect you, Luke. I respect your mission to avenge your brother, even if he wasn’t the nicest guy in the world,” he says to a raised eyebrow from The Tempest. “And I respect that you want my title and won Lambs to the Slaughter; but I’m not handing it over.”
Luke steps forward slightly, almost getting closer to The Best Kept Secret that is comfortable for the OSW Champion.
“What did you say about my brother?” Luke growls.
“I’m not trying to insult you,” Voynich clarifies. “We’re going to be partners for Double Tap. We’re on the same page. It’s just… you’re going to run into The Sandman head first to avenge a man that tried to kill you. It doesn’t make sense.”
Luke doesn’t like that. He steps away and lowers his head. You can sense the tension building between them.
There’s a lot of mutual respect here, but this is for the OSW Championship.
This is for all the marbles.
“What about you?” Storm questions. “I’m running head first into The Sandman, but you’re rushing like a bull towards Sigil’s red flag. Why? Because he killed someone you didn’t care about or know in front of you? Because he killed someone else’s daughter? Because in your mind, you’re a fucking accomplice?”
Now it’s Voynich’ turn to be pissed off.
The Best Kept Secret reels from those barbs, likewise stepping backwards.
“How many men, women and children did Edward murder?” Voynich angrily retorts. “You’re avenging the death of a psychopath!”
Luke Storm runs at him, charging him backwards into the ropes. Voynich pushes him away and ducks a Clothesline, grabbing him by the head.
THE EIGTH WONDER!
SLICED BREAD #2!
HE NAILED IT!
Luke Storm slams into the canvas and rolls away, leaving Voynich to get back to his feet. He looks utterly disappointed with himself and bends over to help Luke back to his feet.
“Look,” he says. “I’m sorry.”
KICK TO THE GUT!
GALE FORCE BY LUKE STORM!
The Best Kept Secret bounces away and across the ring! Luke gets back to his feet angrily and steps outside, no interest in playing the gentlemen.
He begins making his way to the back, watching as Voynich slowly recovers in the ring.
Ring of Dreams VII.
Luke Storm versus Voynich.
The Pandemonium Curse.
Who’ll be the OSW Champion?