In a dirty looking dungeon, Banzan and the man he met last week are sat around a large wooden table. In the middle of it, delicately placed, are two long metal chained handcuffs. They’re no ordinary handcuffs.
The chain is big and bulky. The cuffs themselves are inches thick and round, with an old-fashioned locking mechanism.
“You cannot fight him; you cannot hunt him or seek him. You would be best to run and avoid him, Banzan,” the man says openly. “I know this is not your way, but without my help, you will die.”
Banzan doesn’t look convinced. He’s the mountain; he channels the power of nature. In his mind, there’s nothing he can’t overcome.
“When he was our captive, we held him because we believed that he would one day destroy the world.”
“Then why has he come for me?” Banzan asks. He doesn’t know why Leif attacked him in the first place.
“You are of great strength,” the man admits quickly. “And we believe that in hurting you, he can grow stronger.”
That answers Banzan’s original question, but only provides more of them.
“How?” The Mountain says quickly. “How does that work?”
“When Leif was our captive, we fed him minimally – we gave him no exercise and no training. Yet despite our best efforts, he grew unfathomably. Whenever someone made the mistake of getting too close to him, he killed them and grew stronger for it. We tried to investigate how he came to be, but that mission became impossible. We lost many lives. When the project was abandoned, we locked him away.”
That surprises Banzan, who can’t believe what he’s hearing. Somewhere deep inside, he’s sympathetic towards Helvig.
“You threw away the key?” Banzan asks.
The man nods.
“It was an error,” he admits. “But one you can help me resolve.”
To be continued….
Will these two honourable men table a motion, or will chaos erupt!?
Like a bat outta hell, Reaper charges into a dump tackle towards a table propped in the corner! CXDY, however, slithers over his shoulders and rolls onto his feet—YOUR FORETOLD DESTINY! The ode to Tyler Brooks 540° roundhouse floors Reaper. CXDY erects a table, then hooks Reaper’s arm – Northern lights suplex! Here comes the brainbuster… INSTANT REPLAY through the table!?
DENIED! The Harvester sandbags it. Socking CXDY, he hoists him into the JUSTICE BROUGHT Samoan drop – but Second to None flips the table over on his way up! Double-Barreled looks over his shoulder. Spotting the intact furniture, he pounds the mat. Sliding the table to rest between the ringskirt and crowd barricade, he creates a platform.
He pulls CXDY onto the apron. Cradling his head for the DDT, he steps onto the table… SWIFT REVEN—BLOCKED! CXDY shoves Reaper back towards the ropes – BIG IN JAPAN! The lariat sends him inside, and The Reflection of Perfection follows. He lays a table on top of 12-Gauge, then heads up top… CARPE OMNIA – diving double footstomp! CRUNCH!
The referee rules that it doesn’t count, though! You have to put your opponent through a table – not the other way around! CXDY can’t believe it. He sets up another table and pulls Reaper up—SHOTGUN BLAST Superman punch! CXDY is reeling… JUSTICE BROUGHT—COUNTER—PERFECT ENDING! KA-RUNCH! CXDY vaporises Reaper—and the table—with the underhook brainbuster DDT!
CXDY doesn’t leave money on the table!
The sounds of a man being slammed into by terrifying fists is all we hear as we close in on Luke Storm, tied to a chair, bloodied, bruised and beaten.
Stood over him? Edward Newton.
The Riddler delivers shot after powerful shot to his brother, punching him as hard as he can in the face.
Luke grunts with every shot, but he has resolve, spitting the blood out.
“Tell him what he wants to know,” Newton hisses. “Tell him where Sandy Rogers is, or this torture will never stop.”
The Tempest laughs.
“Torture?” He says with a rapturous laugh, blood spilling out of his mouth. “You think this is torture? I watched you get murdered in front of me, little brother. I watched that prick snap your fucking neck; that was torture. This is a vacation in the Maldives. Do your fucking worst.”
Edward steps back and suddenly dissipates, vanishing into nothing.
The Sandman then appears.
He’s clearly not happy.
“How long do you think you can withstand this, Lucas?” He questions with a snarl. “Last time, you had control – this time, you have none. There’s no void of darkness to save you from me now.”
Storm spits more blood out, his teeth stained with it.
“You can’t kill me,” he chuckles. “You can’t decimate or destroy me, because the minute I lose my faculties, your precious Sandy Rogers dies. You know I have him pugged away somewhere quiet and right now, he’s alive, Sandman. He’s alive. But that can change just as quickly as I want it to.”
The Sandman folds his arms before clicking his fingers.
“Very well,” he snaps.
In the burnt down store that once belonged to Mister Andy, he’s checking through the wreckage for just about anything he can salvage.
But there’s nothing.
Everything is burnt to a crisp and he’s lost it all.
Just then, a voice interrupts his solitude.
“I knew you’d come back here,” Rune growls.
“You!” Andy tells back.
Both men run towards each other, clashing in the middle of the burnt down store. Andy tosses Rune over the counter and leaps over it, dropping into a mount and beating the holy shit out of him.
Only, unbelievably, he stops.
He stands up and stops.
“I won’t do it,” he yells down at Rune. “I survived Redwing and I’ll survive you too!”
Rune pushes himself up on the floor into a press, eventually getting to his knees.
“Prove it!” He demands. “Prove you’re not a fucking liar!”
Andy shakes his head.
“What do you want from me, Rune?” He asks earnestly. “I’ve convinced Redwing that I’m not SeeSaw; I’m not that man anymore. What will it take for you to believe me too?”
Andy’s face turns a ghostly shade of white. He gulps, stepping backwards. Rune follows, poking him violently in the chest.
“Fight me in the fucking Toybox, you lying piece of shit,” he roars angrily. “Fight me there and prove to me there’s no conspiracy.”
Mister Andy shakes his head emphatically.
Rune angrily scoffs.
“That’s what I thought,” he says with sheer confidence in knowing the answer. “Too scared of showing the world your true colours, huh? You’re a fucking pussy and I’m going to reveal your truth, whether you like it or not.”
The Glitch storms away, leaving Mister Andy to contemplate whether or not he wants to step back inside The Toy Box.
Royal and Judge stare each other up and down as the bell rings. Can Royal find a way to make this armored Goliath submit?
The bell rings and Judge has the advantage as he locks up with Royal! He uses his strength to force Royal to a knee AND CLOBBERS HIM WITH A KNEE TO THE JAW! Judge follows up by tossing Nigel across the ring, the former king landing in a heap!
The Order lumbers towards a dazed Royal and grabs him! PERFECT BALANCE! ELECTRIC CHAIR- NO! ROYAL DROPS BEHIND HIM! SLEEPERHOLD BY ROYAL! He can’t get a good grip with Judge’s armor! Judge goes to peel him off BUT ROYAL KICKS HIS FEET BACK! SLEEPER SLAM GROUNDS JUDGE!
Royal tries to make distance from his massive opponent but Judge is already rising and grabs Nigel from behind! GERMAN SUPLEX PLANTS HIM IN THE MAT! Judge lets Nigel rise to his feet AND GOES FOR THE VERDICT- NO! ROYAL DODGES THE SPARTAN KICK AND GRABS HIS LEG FOR THE ANKLE LOCK!
Nigel wrenches with all he’s got but Judge kicks him off with his immense power! Royal bounces off of the ropes AND INTO A BEAR HUG- THUMB TO THE EYE! NIGEL PULLS JUDGE INTO THE DUNGEON’S OF LONDON! CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! JUDGE CAN’T HOLD ON AS ROYAL WRENCHES WITH ALL HIS MIGHT! JUDGE TAPS! HE TAPS!
Royal holds onto the hold for a few seconds more to make sure Judge is down before escaping the ring, a win under his belt.
We see Simon, his face covered in dirt and grime as he rushes through the interior of a crumbling building. The lights above him swing frantically as bombs drop outside. He has a box tucked under his arm, keeping as close as humanely possible.
The loud, booming voice somehow pierces through the mayhem outside and Simon find himself knocked to the ground, a harsh blow from a shadowy figure bringing him to his knees.
The Author of Death snatches the box from Simon’s arms, the Taskmaster holding his head as Deathnote speaks.
“So you go by Simon now, hm? Where did you get the name?”
Simon chuckles despite the pain as he looks up at Deathnote.
“Well, at one time it belonged to a man in this building… but from what goes on outside I suppose your book says what became of him.”
Deathnote shakes his head, almost in disgust as he kicks Simon again.
“You will soon join him once these pages rejoin the book… Simon.”
The Taskmaster slowly rises from the ground, backing up, slumped against the hallway walls, smiling.
“Did you really think you’d get them so easily?”
“What’s in the box if not the papers? Why else would you come back to a warzone?”
“I always think ten steps ahead, Deathnote. I knew you found me… now you have to lose me.”
Before Deathnote can respond the box explodes in a cloud of smoke! The Author of Death clears it out of the way but as he does Simon disappears!
And the building begins to finally buckle under the stress of the assault.
When all is said and done we see Deathnote dig his way out of a pile of rubble, Simon nowhere to be seen.
Once against escaping Deathnote’s grasp.
One week ago. Backstage at Fury #236.
“You’re weary?” Jessie suddenly seems to come to life. “You’re weary!?”
“I’m the one who’s weary, Dad. I’m the one who has had to shoulder the burden of you for so long. You treat me like a kid, but I found you. I found you and I rescued you, and I’ve seen that place. You want to send Storm there? For what?”
Ash opens his mouth, but doesn’t get to speak.
“And he has a daughter, too. You know that, right? You want Luke Storm to leave his only daughter all alone in this world, because it’s easier for you? Because somehow his daughter is worth less than your son? No. The truth is you are incapable of moving with the times. You’re stuck in the past, when young Jessie needed protection from the evil of the world. Stuck in the past when OSW was completely different.”
He uncurls his fists, which have been clenched throughout.
“It’s tiring, Dad. I’ve tiptoed around you for so long, but I don’t know how much longer I can do it. You’re the father, but it feels like I’m the one putting in all the hard work.”
He slings the bag over his shoulder and walks towards the door.
“Jessie…” Ash growls.
“No. Things have got to change. I can see that now.”
The mysterious Impaler looks a menacing force but Jessie Williams is well acquainted in dealing with monsters. Who will finish this one on top – The Prince or The Dread Pirate?
Jessie is straight out of the traps and he’s looking for the BOOMSTICK!!! But Impaler evades the superman punch and ADAM SMASHER!!! The lariat drops The Prince. Jessie is back up…BIG BOOT TO THE FACE!!!
Legion peels Williams off the mat and hits a big chop to the chest. Impaler looking for a whip into the ropes but Jessie COUNTERS! Ripcord by The Prince and he lands an UPPERCUT, then the TORNADO DROPKICK!!! GROOVY ECLIPSE and the Dread Pirate is down. Jessie leaps onto the top rope, a signal to the crowd….CALL OF THE CHOSEN!!!! The Swanton Bomb connects!!!
The Prince is back on his feet, he’s got that boomstick supercharged and he’s stalking Legion. Up rises the Dread Pirate…BOOYAH-NO!!! COUNTER into a full nelson bomb!!!! Impaler lifts Jessie onto one of his shoulders….here comes the NIGHT CITY BLACKOUT!!! NO!!! Jessie escapes and lands behind The Impaler.
The Prince leaps into the air and hits that boost….BOOYAH!!!! The gauntlet assisted superman punch lands flush on the face of the Dread Pirate and that is all he wrote!!!!
It’s Jessie Williams that connects with his favourite finisher to take home the win!
Voynich sits in a little room backstage, trying to reach Darby Sorrow on his cell phone – to no avail. He dials at least three times, each time reaching voicemail before giving up and tossing his phone angrily across the room.
Just as he does that, Luke Storm enters, the phone barely missing him. Voynich immediately stands up, meeting The Tempest.
“Have I come at a bad time?” Storm questions, looking at the broken phone. The Best Kept Secret doesn’t answer, he just folds his arms. “Look, I wanted to apologize for last week.”
That surprises Voynich. The World Champion isn’t sure what to think.
“We both have a lot going on and by the time we get to the Main Event, we’re already going to be fucked,” Luke admits with a chuckle. “The last thing we need is to go through hell against Sandman, Sigil and Zero, then go again against each other.”
Voynich nods in agreement.
“I respect you, Luke,” he says honestly. “I wasn’t trying to offend you. I want our match at Ring of Dreams to be a show stealer. We’re good men in a den of inequity; we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
The Tempest offers him a handshake.
Voynich doesn’t even hesitate to accept it.
“You have my respect,” Luke replies. “And when I win the OSW World Heavyweight Championship at Ring of Dreams, there’s no-one I’d rather win it from.”
Both men laugh, but as Luke goes to walk away, Voynich pulls him back.
That action surprises Storm.
“That’s good to know, but when I successfully defend it against you, there’s no-one I’d rather beat to establish my reign; after all, I’ve already beaten Sandman to take it.”
There’s an air of tension as both men release the handshake. Luke backs away, as does Voynich, sharing a stoic and respectful nod as they go their separate ways.
Four troubled minds meet inside The Slaughterhouse ring and it will prove fatal for three of them in this one fall to the finish contest.
Two-Face is straight into the action with a running knee to the gut of Rune. The Split with a snap suplex on The Painted Man. Stoner is admiring the action but Monty Straight chop blocks the back of his knee. The Host lifts The Toker….DEAL BREAKER!!! But Two-Face rushes Monty from behind….FLIP THE COIN!!! Cover for ONE….TWO….Rune breaks the count.
Two-Face is furious but as he leaps to his feet…DTH….The Glitch takes down The Split. But out of nowhere…DROPKICK OF DOOM!!! Stoner is in on the action. Now he’s going to the top rope looking for a moonsault….but Monty Straight pulls down the ropes. Taking advantage, Monty with the big avalanche German suplex….DEAL BREAKER!!!
Off to the side Rune and Two-Face are brawling. The Glitch ducks a clothesline….TEAR THE VEIL!!!! ONE….TWO….THRE-NO! Monty drags the referee away and the count ends. Rune gets up…TERMS AND CONDITIONS!!!! Straight has it locked in, The Painted Man surely has to tap out to The Host?
FLYING HEADBUTT!!!! Stoner breaks the submission. Two-Face tries to take advantage and hits a dazed Stoner with HEADS OR TAILS!!!! Only Two-Face’s luck isn’t in today. Rune with a school boy roll up and a handful of tights….ONE….TWO…..THREE!!!!
Rune red pills three more minds with an impressive victory!
They sit in a dark corner of the Slaughterhouse, a strange place for two angels to lurk indeed. Silently, they appear to be pondering of something evil and strange, their facial expressions twisted with discomfort.
But then, that old familiar sound.
And suddenly, before them, stands the Hayman.
“The two of you appear lost,” he replies. “I can only assume the message I delivered to you was not delivered in vain.”
“No,” Nightstick admits. “It was not.”
Solveig continues, “I can’t stop thinking about it. A reality that is not reality. Just… pure non-existence.”
Scarecrow nods. “Nothing. It’s a thought so horrifying, it can barely be comprehended by the mind. But nevertheless, it is a possible reality, however anti-real it may be.”
“So then, we team up against them. We must.” Nightstick says.
Scarecrow laughs, “I’m afraid not. But you see, my partner is tied up in other matters that pertain to Purgatory’s greatness. You two, however, are free. And it is on you to stop them before they arrive at Ring of Dreams.”
And just like that, the Hayman is nowhere.
After a brief moment, Solveig looks at Nightstick.
“We need our weapons,” Solveig states.
Darby Sorrow’s apartment.
In a rundown apartment complex in New York City, Voynich bangs on the door of his Dead or Alive team mate. There’s no answer, so he keeps on banging.
Finally, Sorrow answers the door.
“Where’s the fire?” He asks.
Voynich barges past him into the squaller of which Darby lives. He looks around in disgust, unable to sit for trash and dirt.
“Why don’t you come in?” The Gravedigger asks sarcastically, closing the door behind him.
“We need to talk!” Voynich declares. “I’ve been thinking about Dead or Alive and our goal to stop Sigil.”
Darby folds his arms, intently listening.
“I appreciate you having my back at Dead Pixels, but the more I think about what he’s done, the more I realize that I need to do this alone.”
That shocks Sorrow, who shakes his head immediately.
“Not a chance,” he says sternly. “They’ll fucking kill you, Voynich.”
“I’m not asking,” The Champion says fiercely.
The Gravedigger has never seen this determined side of Voynich before. He doesn’t quite know how to react. He’s completely flummoxed.
“Sigil used me as an accomplice to kill Malice. He killed Wynona. You may have your issues with him, but at Ring of Dreams, this is about me. I have to do this alone. I have to fix the mistakes I’ve made and I can’t have you by my side.”
He walks confidently towards the door.
“I’m sorry, Darby,” he says with a lowered head, turning the door handle. “But I have to do this alone.”
The Best Kept Secret leaves the apartment, leaving Darby Sorrow in a state of shock.
It’s tornado tag rules as flames surround the ring in this unique tag team match. Will the rivalries explode before the big showdowns at Ring of Dreams?
Deathnote and Simon square off, Pyre and Sweet Alice are already trading chops to the chest. Deathnote lifts Simon onto his shoulders….DYING WISH!!! Pyre aims a roundhouse kick at Alice but she ducks under it….DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!!!! As Alice hops around the ring, Deathnote tries to lift Simon into the inferno. Alice goes for the leg drop…TERRIBLY LA-NO!!! Pyre rolls away!!!
The Queen of Flames saves Simon from a scolding with a hurricanrana from behind on Deathnote. Pyre moves towards Deathnote and lands several chops to his chest. Simon lifts Alice and drills her with the SIMONPLEX!!!
Pyre ignites a flame in each hand and starts swinging at Deathnote but The Shinigami ducks each punch, lifts Pyre onto his shoulders….GATHER THY SOUL…COUNTERED!!! Pyre slides off and springboards off the ropes….DANCING FLAMES!!!! Connects!!! Simon whips Sweet Alice into the ropes and looks for GAMBIT but The Dreamer ducks and drops The Taskmaster with a book shot….WELCOME TO WONDERLAND!!!
Pyre has climbed to the top rope. Deathnote gets to his feet and stands next to The Dreamer. The Fire Witch draws flames from the inferno around the ring, forming them into a giant shark-shaped inferno. This monstrous shark of flames is above the ring. With a click of her fingers the shark opens its jaws and swallows Alice and Deathnote, engulfing them in flames. The ref signals for the end of the contest.
The Queen of Flames and The Taskmaster grab the momentum ahead of their respective season finale blowouts.
“With every week we come closer to the series finale!”
Monty Straight’s voice booms over the rooftops of New York. He flashes his signature smile as he motions to his left and right where two people hang over the edge of the building, bound and gagged.
And of course, standing across from the scene are Reaper and The Judge, seemingly pulled here out of nowhere. After all, the world is Monty’s stage.
“Today we up the stakes! To either side is a choice, much like a door. On the left is a man with a wife and kids! However, his death will have no major impact on the balance!”
He readjusts his tie, winking.
“But to my right is a man with no family, no friends! However, his death would butterfly terribly as the course of the future is changed forever! Pick one to cut free! The other will fall to their doom, but one shall be allowed to live!”
Reaper and Judge look to one another, Judge pointing to the right.
“We’ll save him. It is best for the balance-”
“SHUT UP ABOUT THE BALANCE!”
Reaper shoves Judge, taking a pistol from his hip.
“You always talk about that like it matters, like it means anything! The balance always changes, and if we had to choose, we’re going with the man with a family!”
He bares his teeth, gun leveled at Judge who doesn’t even flinch.
“But we ain’t choosin’ SHIT on this show. The only choice I made today was hollow point or armor piercing.”
“And I chose hollow points.”
REAPER TURNS AND OPENS FIRE ON MONTY! THE BULLETS STOP JUST SHORT OF STRAIGHT AS THEY PELT NEARLY INVISIBLE BULLET PROOF GLASS!
“Oh, you should have made the choice, Adam. Now I’m sorry to say that you get no choice and no prize!”
Both men drop to the street below, plummeting as Monty disappears into a door that materializes behind him! Reaper and Judge rush to try and stop him only to be seconds too late.
Left at the building edge to stare at the two bloodstains below.
Sat alone in his tower, Redwing cuts a lonely figure overlooking the city.
Well, Bill Kirby does anyway. He doesn’t look quite to imposing with the cowl in his lap, the rest of the suit overflowing into the leather seat.
His eyes are fixed on it.
“You need some rest, Master William.” The voice of Arnold calls as he enters the room, a piping hot cup of tea carried on a tray.
“How can I rest?” Kirby counters. “Corvus is out there. He killed them.”
He looks up at Arnold as the butler sets the tray down.
“I’m going to kill him.” He pauses. “For Sarah. For Jason. For everyone else whose life he ruined.”
Arnold tries to interject, but Bill seems taken in his own world, looking down at the cowl with rage in his eyes.
“Why does he think I’d even consider joining him?” Kirby mutters to himself.
Arnold takes a deep breath.
“Sir, I don’t think you understand.” He begins. “Corvus has boxed you in, made it to where you lose sight of all else but him. You’re not alone in this world, no matter how isolated you may think yourself to be. If you rush off to face him, you risk losing the man behind that mask forever.”
Kirby cradles the cowl, shaking his head.
“He died a long time ago, Arnold. I’ve no choice but to avenge my family.”
This time Arnold shakes his head, emotion creeping into his voice.
“If he died, you killed him, and Corvus and his Black Hand have already won. Whether you kill Corvus or not, if they stamped out the man you used to be, then they’ve gotten what they wanted and Redwing is as much his creation as it is yours.”
Arnold walks away, leaving Kirby to consider the cowl staring back up at him, but not before leaving him with some parting words.
“There’s always a choice.”
It’s anything goes as Mister Andy and Sigil lace up for a proper tear up inside The Slaughterhouse ring.
As the match starts DING! DING! Sigil runs at Mister Andy and slams his masked head into The Toymaker, the hard metal busting open the inventor’s nose. COSMIC LEAP!!! Sigil grabs a steel chair. COSMIC LEAP!!! A portal opens above Andy….CHAIR SHOT!!!! The Collector covers for ONE….TWO….TH-NO! KICKOUT!!!
The Realmwalker peels The Toymaker off the mat and here comes the flurry of blows…FOR THE COLLECTI-NO!!! FUCKING GORE!!! Mister Andy exploded into that outta nowhere. And the big impact spinebuster to follow….SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST!!! Andy places the steel chair over Sigil, goes to the top ropes….FLIGHT OF THE ORNITHOPTERN!!!! Andy lands but takes a big ‘ol hit of the chair!
Andy is outside the ring. He’s armed himself with the FREEMAN BLASTER!!! Out of nowhere Sigil comes over the top rope….Mister Andy pulls the trigger…COSMIC LEAP!!! Sigil evades the blaster attack and in his hands trash can lids….CLUNK!!! The Toymaker’s brain is rattled by a double blow.
Sigil reaches into his satchel and pulls out a prosthetic limb. He shrugs and starts beating Andy with it. The Toymaker escapes into the ring. COSMIC LEAP!!! Sigil is behind Andy….MERCIFUL!!!! Andy drops to his knees, Sigil grabs the steel chair…PLANESWALKER!!!! CHAIR ASSISTED!!!! That’s ONE……TWO…..THREEE!!!!
It’s a giant leap for Sigil as he continues his fine form with another win!
Nigel is sitting comfortably in front of a fire place. His recent successes against BEG have given him great pride. Money runs deep, and the fact he has outmaneuvered his opponent so thoroughly puts a smile on his face as he sips on high priced, top shelf, whiskey.
“M-m-mr. Royal? We have a problem?”
A small, nerdy, wirey little man walks into the room. Glasses falling down his nose as he shakes.
“What are you talking about?”
“I was doing some diligence on your finances when I saw that both your Cayman accounts and your Swiss accounts have been frozen. It seems someone has found them.”
“That son of a bitch. I thought you said they were untraceable! That not even the best in the United States government could track that money! I scooped you out from under their noses because you were one of the best!”
“I-I-I know! I don’t know what happened!”
“You better start figuring it out before I lose any more money! You won’t like to see what happens to your pathetic ass if it’s not fixed!”
The man ducks as he has even more bad news to share.
“That’s not all of it, sir.”
Nigel grabs the man by the throat and slams him into the wall.
“If what you just shared was the bad news. What you’re about to say better be the good news.”
“I-it’s not. Because we were using those shell companies to buy out Blood Money Inc., all sales have stopped and BEG is purchasing back the stocks.”
Royal throws the stooge across the room and flips a table. Another man walks in with a brown envelope. On it is BEG’s insignia. Nigel grabs it and rips it open.
You may have chased Zero and CXDY off but I’ve still got my ways and people. I’ve found your accounts. You fuck with my money, I fuck with yours. Next week, I call a parlay.
“If he wants to talk, we’ll talk.”
We find ourselves inside the home of Chunky Moses, sat next to Magical Miles on the sofa as the Forever Friends are seen chatting nervously amongst themselves.
“What are we gonna do, Chunky? We have no idea what we’re in for, or how to stop Sherm the way he is now.”
Chunky just shrugs, looking distraught when we hear Stoner call out from another room in the midst of some heavy rustling.
“You know, we’ve got a few options.”
The rustling continues from the other room, as the Friends look at each other in confusion. Stoner enters the room, tossing a handful of DVDs at the duo featuring a bevy of renowned horror films. He pops a disc into the nearby DVD player, showing his new pals some footage from one of the films, as we see lumbering zombies going after a helpless victim.
“Come on, fellas. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the classics. Romero, Savini, Raimi…they knew what they were talking about. We either take him out by the head, or we figure out what voodoo curse we need to break to stop him.”
This gives Chunky a flash of brilliance, his eyes lighting up as he comes to a realization.
This realization is quickly shared by Miles, who reacts accordingly.
“Right, Leah Lincoln! She did something to bring Sherman back, maybe we need to do something like that to take him down for good!”
This brings a smirk to Stoner’s face.
“Now we’re cookin’ with gas, fellas. Let’s figure out what we need to do, and do it quick.”
Stoner walks over to the TV set, shutting the DVD off before turning back to the Friends.
“We also need to track the guy down, wherever he–”
He is stopped by the sound of screaming, coming from the TV. He thinks the sound is the horror flick still running, but the horrified look on the faces of Miles and Chunky makes him turn his attention to the screen, which shows the local news covering footage of a horrible attack at the nearby mall. The screaming comes from scared mallgoers running away from the very man, or what’s left of him, that the Friends need to stop.
Who will be calling 911 and taking a trip to the ER!?
The former Blood Money Inc. stablemates circle each other. Shaw throws a punch at Zero, but the hacker grabs it with his bionic arm, and crushes Albert’s hand! The VHS Champion yeets Shaw into the ropes… A BIONIC HANDSTAND HEADSCISSOR TAKEDOWN sends The Guv’nor over the ropes! Zero pursues him, approaching the ambulance parked at ringside.
Grabbing a goozle, Zero attempts the ABSOLUTE ZERO chokeslam! Albert, however, swings a rear-door into his head – THUD! Cell-block brawls taught the Double Feature Champion to be resourceful. Forcing Zero onto the step, he splits his skull with ten elbows – SNITCHES GET STITCHES! Shaw goes to close the doors… THE BIONIC ARM STOPS HIM!
Zero boots Albert in the face and staggers out. He grabs Shaw’s head… CRACK! He whips him face-first into the wing mirror! The busted-open Guv’nor is busted open as he stumbles round the front of the vehicle. He clambers onto the hood, trying to catch his breath – GOOZLE! Zero has him by the throat… ABSOLUTE ZERO chokeslam on the roof!
Shaw lies in a crater of twisted steel, but he doesn’t go through! Zero cusses, before dragging Albert’s limp carcass down. He goes to toss him in the back—FIVE FINGER DISCOUNT! The rapid-fire eye-poke disables the hacker, as Shaw drags himself up… GB—PUNK CITY KILLER! Zero heads off the claymore with the stunner. He closes the doors!
Zero sends Shaw to the hospital!
Pyre is sitting on her throne flanked by the Red Knight and the Knave of Hearts. She begins to speak.
“So have you laid every trap we agreed upon?”
The Red Knight nods.
The Knave responds.
“All but one madam.”
Pyre looks puzzled and you can tell she’s unamused. She replies with menace in her voice.
He gulps and answers.
“The throne itself.”
Pyre laughs an actual genuine laugh.
“Of course, I’m actually sitting on it, I wouldn’t dare with our idea. Let me get up and you can work your magic. Assist him, knight.”
The Red Knight nods as Pyre gets up. He and The Knave start to make the throne look more like a torture device than something to sit upon.
While they’re working, one eye has been watching the entire thing from above them all.
It soon goes away once the two men are done constructing this monstrosity.
On the opposite side of Wonderland, it and the rest of the Cheshire Cat’s body appear at the White Queen’s castle.
Cheshire begins to speak to Alice and The White Queen.
“Neither of you are going to like this.”
He begins detailing every trap he saw especially what the throne has become. The White Queen replies.
“Is this how it ends? Is this how I lose everything?”
Sweet Alice becomes determined and answers.
“No, it’s time everything ends for her. We know the traps now, all that’s left is to make sure we use them on her.”
The White Queen nods but doesn’t leave it there.
“How will you use that throne?”
“I’ll sit on it of course.”
The White Queen shakes her head and annoyed she replies.
“You know what I mean.”
Alice nods her head and responds.
“I’ll make Pyre regret everything she has ever done to me.”
Alice widely grins as the others in the White Queen’s castle are slightly terrified and just nod slowly.
The White Queen speaks.
“Do what you must before she can hurt anyone else.”
Alice nods, grins, and replies.
Alice walks off ready to prepare for war.
A Great Hall.
Within these marble walls, Sigil hosts a magical and wonderous collection of artefacts. No-one quite knows where they come from, except him.
He walks through rows and rows of shelving units with Zero alongside him.
“This is quite the fuckin’ collection,” The Hacker muses.
“And like I said; if you help me do what needs to be done at Ring of Dreams, you can take any single item from this collection to do with as you please.”
“Anything?” Zero asks.
“Anything!” Sigil confirms. “But first, we need to come up with a plan.”
“Now Voynich knows that we know, he’s gonna be runnin’ around like a headless fuckin’ chicken,” The Hacker proudly announces. “He won’t have back-up.”
Sigil nods in agreement.
“Precisely,” he states. “We need to make sure that Voynich follows our trajectory, even whilst believing that he’s following his own. He’s not going to want to walk into Ring of Dreams with back-up.”
“I know exactly how to make that work,” Zero says with a wry smile. “Hang on.”
His eyes flitter back and forth as he clearly accesses the internet from within his mind. He’s searching for something that he doesn’t long find.
“2453, Harbour Boulevard,” he announces. “That’s where we’ve gotta go.”
The Collector laughs.
“I think this will be a long and fruitful friendship,” he admits.
Zero, however, shakes his head.
“I don’t think so,” he disagrees. “I’ve seen how your friends end up. Fuck that. This is a transaction, alright? We get Ring of Dreams done, you pay me what you owe me and we go our separate ways.”
Sigil stoically nods.
Can a steel cage contain the Storm, or will he BEG for mercy!?
No sooner does the padlock get clicked shut, than BEG tucks his tail and scales the cage! Luke is hot on his tail, however, pulling him down by his ankle. The billionaire ducks a clothesline and rams Storm into the cage! Grabbing a fistful of hair, he flings him face-first into the mesh!
Green orders the referee to open the door, stepping over Luke… DROP TOE-HOLD! Berkshire eats steel. Storm steps through the open door – but stops. What’s he waiting for!? Turning back, The Tempest instead climbs the wall. Atop the cage, he yells “I got one of these with your name on it, Sandman!”. A bloodied BEG rises—
THUNDEEERRR! Flashbulbs illuminate Luke Storm as he sails 15 feet through the air with a moonsault! He obliterates Green – at considerable cost to himself! Both men are down and out. Eventually coming round, they slowly crawl towards the door, scratching and clawing at each other—FINANCIAL CRISIS! Berkshire traps Luke in the crossface.
He can’t win by submission, but he can put him to sleep! God Save the Queen rings out across The Slaughterhouse, leading BEG to break the hold and look around for Nigel Royal! Storm gets to his feet as Royal’s music stops… GALE FORCE! Luke drops him with the stunner, then climbs the cage wall… STORM ESCAPES!
The Tempest tears through the cage like a whirlwind!
For the past week, Albert Shaw has been more on edge. The killing of his driver, leaving a logistical gap in his life that only added to the small seed of fear growing within him. Fear of how easy it was for CXDY to light that fuse.
But externally, the Guv’nor is cool as a cucumber. As he walks from the Slaughterhouse, through the darkened alleys and service lanes, he stops as a figure blocks his path ahead. Shrouded in shadow, he knows who it is. He doesn’t need to see any more.
The flicker of a lighter, a symbol of mockery. Shaw calls out into the night.
“You think you can scare me, lad?”
No answer. Just the flicker of flame in the distance, fading to black.
“You took your shot and laid your cards on the table. So did I. I took my shot, I made the most of my chance and you got butthurt in the process. But this… You son of a bitch…”
Shaw charges at the figure, cold-cocking them and knocking them to the ground. When he stands up to assess the damage dealt, he sees his error. For the figure is not CXDY after all… Just some random guy standing at the back door of some random bar, a cigarette hanging from his unconscious mouth.
Alby runs his hands through his hair, not out of empathy for the poor soul struck down, but because of what is transpiring in his own mind. That CXDY is getting to him.
“Where are you, you fucking prick?”
Shaw looks in every which direction, up and down the alleyway, but sees nothing. Shaking his head, he continues walking.
An iron pipe catches him in the back of the skull, swung from the shadows out of nowhere. Shaw’s entire world fades to black as he collapses in a heap.
“I’m right here, asshole. We need to have a little chat.”
CXDY steps into the streetlight, right over the body of the poor guy Shaw had inadvertently knocked unconscious. He grabs Shaw by the bootstraps.
And begins to drag him away.
Standing on a rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen, Redwing surveys the streets below. With no match, he’s begun his nightly patrol early.
His eyes narrow behind the cowl, and he violently lunges his fist backwards.
Narrowly missing Corvus, who seems amused.
“Come to tell me to join the Black Hand?” Redwing says, advancing on Corvus.
The pair exchange blows, feeling one another out.
“You’re already part of the Black Hand, Bill.” Corvus taunts. “Just a puppet dancing on its strings dealing out red justice. All that blood spilled.”
The Crow ducks a shot from Redwing, nailing him in the back of the head with a sharp elbow.
“The Shark died because of you.”
Redwing absorbs a shot to the ribs with his armor, but Corvus headbutts him back.
“How many other lives did you disrupt in your quest for justice?”
Redwing is slowly overwhelmed by the superior hand to hand fighter in Corvus.
“I took two lives, and you’ve taken so many more. Your fate is already decided, Kirby, it’s just time for you to accept it.”
Corvus slaps Redwing across the face, and that turns his eyes red with fury.
“No.” Redwing growls.
He jams his shoulder into the Crow’s midsection, lifting him up and driving him into the concrete below. The Red Knight roars as he slams his fists down, but Corvus holds up a smoke bomb, exploding it into Redwing’s face.
Lost in the smoke, the Red Knight stands poised to fight, but Corvus has only words.
“Yes, give into that rage, Bill. The Red Death was just the beginning. Let out your anger, take your red justice from me. Then, and only then, will you see how pointless it all is. Your family was a necessary sacrifice to make you into the Black Hand’s weapon.”
Redwing’s face shows no response, but Corvus isn’t done.
“Whatever is left of you must die. Come to the place where the stroke fell, and we’ll finish you off once and for all.”
The smoke slowly fades, and Redwing is left alone.
And he’s not happy.
Two of OSW’s most terrifying men face off surrounded by leagues of venomous snakes! Can the ruler of the snake pit survive this nightmare?
The match begins and Roberts already has his belt off! TANNIN’ THE HIDE! HE STRIKES SANDMAN’S FACE! The Head Snake wails on Sandman with range BUT SANDMAN CATCHES THE BELT! HE YANKS ROBERTS IN FOR THE DEEP SLEEP! END OF DAYS PLANTS HIM! Sandman rises with Viper in tow!
A knee strike sends Viper back and Sandman picks him up! POWERBOMB! HE LIFTS AGAIN! POWERBOMB! ANOTHER LIFT- SNAKE OIL! VENOM TO THE EYES! ODE TO THE SNAKE ON THE WAY DOWN! DDT! Roberts took Sandman down but The Dream Demon sits up immediately to Robert’s surprise!
A harsh headbutt rocks Viper and he eats a haymaker that sends him reeling to the floor! Viper rises AND TAKES A CLOTHESLINE THAT PUTS HIM ON THE APRON! Snakes strike out at Roberts from ringside AND SANDMAN GRABS HIS THROAT! TO SAND- NO! ROBERTS WRAPPED HIS BELT AROUND SANDMAN’S ARM AND IS HOLDING ON!
Viper yanks Sandman by the arm! SANDMAN GETS PULLED ONTO THE APRON WITH VIPER! Roberts whips with his belt but Sandman trades back with massive rights and lefts! THE BELT IS AROUND SANDMAN’S NECK! VIPER PULLS HIM INTO A SNAKE BITE! WRAP AROUND NECKBREAKER ON THE APRON! SANDMAN FALLS OFF TO THE OUTSIDE! VIPER JUST PUT SANDMAN IN THE PIT!
Roberts holds onto the ropes shakily, the lights going out as Sandman disappears from the snake pit!
The ringside area is abuzz as this match comes to a close between a pair of behemoths.
The buzz only grows when someone runs out of the crowd, leaping into the ring.
He grabs Viper Roberts and throws him to the ground, laying in with punches…
…before pulling away?
As he composes himself, snakes flood the ring.
Each of them wearing an Alton Whitlock election pin.
“Cute.” Two-Face intones.
“Come to pay the piper?” Roberts asks, getting his breath. “Or do I need to call the sniper?”
“A sniper won’t be necessary.” Two-Face says as he shakes his head, drawing out an envelope from his breast pocket in the process. “I come bearing gifts.”
Roberts nods, and one of the snakes comes forward to take it.
“Your gifts are poison.” Roberts replies.
“And yours aren’t?” Two-Face responds.
“Not if you have the antidote.”
With a nod, Two-Face accepts that and looks at the force surrounding him.
“We thought about what you said.” Two-Face begins, pacing back and forth. “Part of us is afraid of you, the same part that wishes every time for the coin to land right side up.”
He glances at his watch, and continues pacing,
“But we’re of one mind about one thing, snake.”
The fractured one looks down again and grins, drawing his scarred face up painfully.
“We won’t stop until you’re dead and gone.”
Viper shakes his head, nodding towards Two-Face as his snakes advance.
The envelope explodes in the hands of the snake Two-Face handed it to.
IT FUCKING INCINERATED HIM!
Roberts’ eyes bug out of his head as his snakes get him the hell out of the ring. Two-Face walks over to the spot where a man stood not moments ago and picks up the only thing left.
An Alton Whitlock election pin.
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to.” He jokes, walking past the throngs of OSW personnel flooding the ring to get it ready for the main event.
…after a man fucking died in the middle of the ring.
Two-Face is on the warpath, and not even Viper Roberts’ snakes are safe.
What the hell will he do to Roberts when he gets his hands on him?
[Iron Man Match]
Two of the very best in OSW go head to head once again tonight. Can the Crow do what he couldn’t at Pandemonium or will Voynich continue his momentum two weeks before his biggest test yet?
The bell sounds as Voynich rushes in, trying for Ishtar’s Gate right off the bell but Corvus slides underneath, leaping up before clipping the back of Voynich’s head with a rising enziguri. Voynich staggers back as Corvus rushes forward himself
CORVUS…VOYNICH DUCKS UNDER, CRUCIFIX!
Voynich has Corvus trapped as the referee drops down into position
Voynich: 1 Corvus: 0
The Crow pops up shocked, already down one fall in this contest but he doesn’t notice Voynich behind him bouncing off the ropes, turning around
INTO ISHTAR’S GATE! The Lariat levels Corvus but he barely hits the canvas before he’s pulled up to his feet and lifted high up into the air
MONOLITH! The Brainbuster spikes Corvus into the canvas as Voynich floats over for the cover
Corvus has gotten rocked here but he just managed to kick out of that lethal combination. He slowly gets up groggy as Voynich looks for another Lariat to put down Corvus for the second fall
ISHTAR’S…DROP TOE HOLD!
Voynich gets countered right in the nick of time, giving Corvus just the hint of a breather here as the world champion gets to his feet
CORVUS KICK! The flash kick sends Voynich stumbling into the ropes, bouncing off
CORVUS LEAPFROGS OVER
MARKED FOR DEATH!
Corvus drives Voynich down hard into the mat as he hooks both legs for the cover
VOYNICH KICKS OUT
The Crow is beside himself as Voynich kicked out of his finish there, peeling the hurting champ up to his feet as he unleashes a throat thrust, followed up by a palm strike before capping off The Murder of Blows with the leaping elbow.
Voynich is out on his feet as Corvus rushes to the ropes but he barely bounces off them before he nearly gets a broken jaw from a huge dropkick that sends him flying over the top rope to the outside. Corvus is slow to get to his feet as Voynich reaches through the ropes, trying to pull him back in
STEEL CHAIR TO THE FACE!
Corvus nearly shatters Voynich’s teeth with that chair shot out of nowhere, the referee admonishing the Crow but he doesn’t disqualify him until he rolls back in the ring and sizes the kneeling Voynich before taking his fucking head off with a huge shot to the dome.
Voynich: 2 Corvus: 0
Voynich may have just gone up another fall but he’s out damn cold as Corvus easily rolls down for the cover
Voynich: 2 Corvus: 1
That steel equalizer put Voynich down for the count, blood dripping down his forehead as Corvus lifts him up onto shaky legs before leaping up
MARKED FOR DEATH!
Voynich crashes down to the mat as Corvus hooks the leg for the cover
Voynich: 2 Corvus: 2
Corvus just tied it up but he’s not ready to let up on the hurting Voynich as he flips the still downed world champion onto his front and in one fluid motion, traps him in a headlock. Voynich knows what’s about to happen but he’s too weak to stop it as Corvus gets himself wrapped around Voynich
AND THE GARROTE IS LOCKED ON!
Voynich tries to fight out of it but he’s still too damn woozy as he’s forced to tap out!
Voynich: 2 Corvus: 3
Corvus lets go of the hold, dropping the limp Voynich to the mat as a huge smile grows on the Crow. He knows he has Voynich’s number here as he backs up, waiting for the champ to slowly get to his feet before rushing forward
ISHTAR’S GATE?? Corvus just nailed Voynich with his own damn move as he looks to gain a fourth fall just to add insult to injury.
Voynich: 2 Corvus: 4
Corvus is absolutely dominating here with only ten minutes remaining, the world champion has a hell of a task ahead of him. Corvus pulling Voynich up to his feet and absolutely punishing him with lefts and rights before a massive roundhouse leaves him out on his feet
Corvus just spikes Voynich into the mat but he doesn’t cover instead heading up to the top rope as he looks to spell Nevermore for the world champions chances of coming back into this match. But Corvus sets himself up a little too long, allowing Voynich to kip up to his feet, running up the ropes
MODIFIED EIGHTH WONDER! INVERTED SLICED BREAD #2. Voynich hooks both legs as the referee counts
Voynich: 3 Corvus: 4
And just like that Voynich is getting back into this contest with the modified Eighth Wonder but as he tries to get back to his feet, a hard rolling elbow sends his eyes rolling back into their skulls as Corvus uncharacteristically lifts him up, looking to put Voynich down with another of his own moves
MONO…VOYNICH SLIPS OUT, GARROTE! Voynich locks Corvus in his own damn hold as Corvus is trapped in the middle of the ring and try as he might, the good thirty pound weight advantage means it’s tap or go to sleep as Corvus is forced to tap out to his own submission
Voynich: 4 Corvus: 4
Voynich’s arms collapse just after Corvus taps out, clearly spent with the adrenaline fleeing him. The World Champion pulls himself up in the corner as Corvus does the same, both men staring one another down with one minute remaining on the clock.
Voynich wipes blood from his eyes before rushing forward
CORVUS THROWS A DAGGER RIGHT AT VOYNICH
VOYNICH KICKS THAT BITCH RIGHT BACK AT HIM!
Corvus is caught off guard as his own weapon is driven into his right knee, stopping him in his tracks as Voynich leaps over
TUTANKHAMAN’S WRATH! KILL IT WITH FUCKING FIRE!
Voynich covers the fallen Corvus with ten seconds remaining
Voynich: 5 Corvus: 4
The bell sounds as Voynich just gets the final fall a second before time expired. The world champion have been brought to the very limit here tonight but he proves why exactly he holds that ten pounds of gold with his hand raised.
The Boiler Room.
Perhaps, the hottest room in the entire Slaughterhouse.
The perfect place for Lee Crowley and Lucifer’s Horseman to dwell.
“It’s been a quiet two weeks,” Nocturne says to Crowley, suggesting perhaps something is coming.
“It has,” Crowley agrees. “But you can best bet, the quiet stirs the pot just as surely as the deafening.”
“Yet nothing stirs the pot quite like the Nothing.”
He has his billy club in his hand.
Beside him? None other than Valhalla’s own, Troy Solveig.
And in his clutches?
Lee Crowley (or is it Lucifer) laughs. “Have you honestly, angels of Heaven, allowed your holy minds to be twisted by those monsters such that you believe we desire to bring about Nothingness? You’re gravely mistaken.”
Crowley steps towards them. Nocturne does as well.
“We want to bring about the opposite of Nothingness. We just want you to be nothing.”
WHAM!!! VOLSUNG’R RIGHT OVER THE HEAD OF CROWLEY!!!
SMACK!!! NIGHTSTICK’S CLUB TAKES OUT NOCTURNE!!!
Nightstick and Solveig lay fucking waste to Crowley and Nocturne in the Boiler Room!!! Hit after hit after hit from their weapons lays into the bodies of the Hellions, and the surprising nature of the attack has left no room for rebuttal or counter!!!
Nightstick drops the club, lifts Nocturne HIGH above his head with a GORILLA PRESS!!!
HE DROPS NOCTURNE!!!
A FUCKING UPPERCUT TO THE FALLEN NOCTURNE WITH THE HAMMER OF SOLVEIG!!!
Nightstick and Solveig look at each other.
Solveig kneels down next to a bloodied and battered Crowley.
“The only things in this world that will be reduced to Nothingness, will be you two.”
Solveig LEAPS INTO THE AIR!!!
HE BRINGS THE HAMMER DOWN!!!
CROWLEY’S FACE MIGHT JUST BE CAVED IN!!!
The two Angels leave the Boiler Room, weapons in hand.
They know the damage they’ve done.
They know they made the First Strike.
We are left with the battered bodies of Crowley and Nocturne.
We zoom in slowly on them.
Though they have been beaten and battered here tonight, each and everyone of us know…
There will be Hell to pay.