There’s nothing but Inanis; the empty.
Sat in the middle of this abyss of nothingness is none other than Sigil. He sits, his mask strewn about the floor along with his cape. We can’t see his face, it’s blacked out entirely, but if we could, we’d could imagine the desperation on it.
“Are you ready to talk?” A voice booms from above. Sigil immediately looks up.
“How long have I been here?” He mumbles.
“As I explained, time does not exist here, Sigil,” Flavo continues, now appearing in the void with him. “I have removed everything except you, Inanis and I from existence; this is the only reality now. But if I had to, if you really wanted a time scale, I’d say roughly three weeks.”
The Voidwalker bends down and picks up his mask, putting it back on.
“I must admit, you’ve done remarkably well for someone left in a void of nothing. Most would’ve gone crazy by now, but you’re different. Despite that, I assume you’re willing to talk?”
Sigil nods. “I am.”
“Good,” Flavo responds, his cloaked face still unseen by the camera. “Now, you’ve been tethered to the Time Crystal. It is a part of you. That causes complications. You see, time is a fickle beast. Should you use it, you could change everything. With that power comes a great responsibility.”
The Voidwalker says nothing.
“Therefore, until we’ve trained you in the usage of that Crystal, you cannot use it,” Flavo continues, shaking his head. “To do so would be catastrophic, not only for you, but for The Red Skull Order.”
“You’re recruiting me?” Sigil asks bluntly, cutting straight to the point. “That’s what this is, isn’t it?”
Flavo nods. “You’re a wise creature, Sigil.”
“What if I say no?” The Voidwalker asks.
“If you say no, we’ll leave you here. I’ll restore reality, restore Earth and Old School Wrestling but wipe you from existence. Instead, you’ll remain in the empty until you wither into but a husk of what you were,” Flavo says with such venom that Sigil steps backwards. “But if you join us, you’ll work with me to harness the power and join our order once your training is complete. You’ll have everything you wanted and more. A purpose beyond that of what you know.”
Sigil nods in agreement. “I understand. What about Darby Sorrow? He had conditions.”
“Break them,” Flavo barks. “And then we move on. We have to get you ready for a new challenge; one that will decide your place in our order.”
With that, Flavo clicks his fingers, transporting Sigil back into a reality that builds around him. He’s at Red Snow, stood with The Butcher and Darby Sorrow. Time has unfrozen and they’re demanding answers.
Darby Sorrow looks at Sigil, who takes a moment to readjust to finally being back inside a reality. He moves about cautiously, looking at the snow outside as The Butcher steps forward, interrupting.
“Well, does it work?” He enquires excitedly. “Do we have it?”
Sigil doesn’t respond.
“Our efforts have proved to be a waste of time,” he finally solemnly states. “It’s a trinket, nothing more, nothing less.”
Darby’s face contorts into that of rage.
And then he strikes.
He attacks Sigil from behind, running him head first through a glass window. It shatters around them, but Darby doesn’t stop. He pulls him away and into a right hand, dropping him on the floor.
The Butcher grabs him from behind in a Bear Hug but Sorrow Headbutts backwards repeatedly until dropped.
He spins around, looking at The Butcher’s busted nose.
“You’re fucking dead!” He screams, charging him backwards into an old book case that crumbles as they drive themselves through it.
Sigil though is back to his feet and pulls The Gravedigger from the wreckage, grabbing him by the throat.
“Your fight is futile,” Sigil growls. “We cannot help you.”
Darby chokes, trying to breathe.
“I won’t stop until I burn this whole fucking company to the ground for what you’ve done,” he hisses.
Sigil opens up a portal, tossing Darby Sorrow inside.
The Voidwalker closes the portal, walking towards The Butcher. He grabs him by the arm, helping him back to his feet.
“He’ll find his way back,” The Butcher says with a grimace. “He’s like a fucking cockroach.”
“Perhaps,” Sigil says with a shrug. “But he’s going to be your problem very soon, Colin.”
The Butcher frowns. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
GOULDERN, WHITLOCK & BEG VS. AESOP, BANZAN & MARVOLO II
Imperium is a force to be reckoned with! Can their unlikely trio of opponents hope to bring them down!
Whitlock is first in and opposite of him Marvolo II demands to go first! He circles the ring with Whitlock… back to his own corner where he tags in Banzan! The angry Mountain is caught off guard by the tag and enters the ring only to receive a leaping knee to the jaw!
Banzan is forced into the corner and gets whipped out to the opposite corner where a corner clothesline flattens him! Gouldern is tagged in and he wails on Banzan with a Teleboot powered Superkick! Another superkick! BEG tags himself in and looks to deal the final blow!
HEADBUTT TO BEG! Banzan is bear stanced and he lays into BEG with a flurry of strikes before flinging him to the far ropes! With a hand to the back of the head he smashes BEG face first into the turnbuckle! Aesop is tagged in! The Story Teller tosses BEG into the mat with a belly to belly suplex!
A few strong strikes as he stands makes BEG stagger- CHIP OFF THE OL’ BLOCK! KICK TO THE LEG FOLLOWED BY A MASSIVE BULLDOG! Aesop’s face collides with the turnbuckle and BEG lets him get up AND DOES IT AGAIN! As he drags Aesop away Marvolo II sneakily tags in! BEG flings Aesop into the middle of the mat and goes to pin- ROLL UP BY MARVOLO II! BEG DIDN’T SEE THE TAG! ONE! TWO! THREE!
Marvolo II quickly vacates the premises while celebrating like he’s just won the world title! All the while everyone, including his teammates, look on at him with disdain.
SANDS OF TIME I
A man sits, his body naked from the waist up, battered, bruised, bleeding. Over his head is a black bag. His arms and legs are bound by electrical tape, securing him firmly to his seat.
In front of the man is a television. From behind him a well-dressed man clicks the remote control he holds in his hand.
A row of Persian prisoners kneel in the sand, chained in a row like prisoners of Auschwitz. They look weak and tired. They too are beaten and bloodied.
The suited man walks around to the front of his prisoner.
He removes the bag from the man’s head.
“You’re going to want to see this, Mr Ebadi.” Whitlock cautions, stepping aside so that Javad can see the screen.
He gently weeps as he sees his fellow Persians on their knees.
“What is it you want from me?” He asks sternly before spitting blood onto the concrete floor.
“I want to know everything there is to know about the Time Crystal of Sigil. And you, for the good of Persia, are going to find it all out for me.”
“So it shall be.” Javad nods, his eyes fixed firmly on his Persian people. “And then my people shall be free?” He glances up at his captor.
“You have my word.” The politician says with a warm grin.
The tape cuts out and rewinds itself as Alton Whitlock leaves the room, turning out the light.
PICKPOCKET VS. MEZ
Tonight we have a man in Mez who’s lost his mind taking on a man in Pickpocket who might just steal everything he has left! Let’s get it on!
The bell rings and right out of the gate Mez charges Pickpocket headfirst! Pickpocket side steps with a TORO type motion, and quickly dropkicks Mez in the back of the knee! Mez falls to one knee! ENZIGUIRI to the back of the head! Mez falls down, but his mask absorbs most of the impact!
Right away, Mez climbs back to his feet! HURICANRANA FROM PICKPOCKET! NO! MEZ COUNTERS BRILLIANTLY WITH A SIT OUT POWERBOMB! ONE! TWO! THREE– NO!!! Pickpocket kicks out right in the nick of time! Mez quickly pulls Pickpocket to his feet, and whips him into the ropes!
THE SEDATIVE!!! NO!!! Pickpocket slides beneath the legs of Mez! Mez turns around! Pickpocket leaps in the air! CARRIED AWAY!!! THE X-FACTOR!!! But again, Mez’s mask absorbs most of the impact! Pickpocket follows up with a senton to the small of Mez’s back!!! He quickly reaches his feet and grabs Mez by his arm!
BAD IDEA!!! MEZ ROARS TO HIS FEET AND LEAPS IN THE AIR! LOU THESZ PRESS!!! ANARCHY!!! HE BEATS THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF PICKPOCKET WITH FIST AFTER FIST!!! Mez climbs off of Pickpocket and moves to the corner! He sizes him up! Pickpocket slowly reaches his feet! GUT CHECK!!! THE HEADFIRST SPEAR!!! MEZ MAKES THE COVER!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! THREEEEE!!!
Mez ruins Pickpocket’s debut and grabs a solid win for himself tonight, making Mr. Johnson and all of Mirror Lake proud as his arm is raised in victory!
THE TIES THAT BIND US
It’s not what you’d think.
Just one week after being bundled into the back of a van by Edward Newton and Redwing, Luke Storm sits a big comfortable chair, eyes locked with The Riddler. There’s a roaring fire in the background and no sign of the brooding Red Death.
It’s surprisingly amicable.
“I can’t believe you did this,” Storm says, shaking his head. “Do you know what you’ve put Scarlett through?”
“An unfortunate by-product of my plan, certainly, but absolutely necessary. She won’t come to any harm as long as you follow my instructions.”
Luke is about to stand, but Newton advises against it with a headshake.
“You better not harm a hair on her head,” he growls, adjusting himself in his seat. “She doesn’t know who you are and she’d be devastated to think anyone could do this to her.”
Edward giggles. “I’ve done worse. Just ask Bruce Van Chan.”
“Who?” Storm grunts.
“Oh, no-one. He’s no-one anymore.”
The Storm King looks absolutely fed up. He’s still beaten and battered from what The Red Death did to him pre-Red Snow, let alone their match.
“I don’t understand why you’re doing this,” Storm questions. “You’ve done something to Redwing and turned him into a monstrosity. You’ve tortured me and Scarlett.”
“You need to be punished,” Newton interrupts.
“I didn’t murder his family,” Luke quips back quickly.
Newton scoffs. “Oh I know, but he thinks you did. We both know you don’t need to be punished for that, don’t we? We both know exactly what it is you need punishing for, Luke Storm.”
The Storm King’s brows furrow.
“You need to come to terms with it; it’s consuming you.”
The Riddler angrily stands up, grabbing Luke by the throat, squeezing tight.
“I will never come to terms with it,” he gruffly bellows. “Now, The Red Death wants to hurt you and I’m desperate to light a fire under you that burns for decades to come. On Nitro, you’re going to let my associate beat the holy hell out of you in an Inferno Match. That’s phase one.”
Storm gulps, not fighting back.
“Then, there’s phase two.”
JAVAD EBADI VS. SEESAW
Javad Ebadi has dealt with quite a bit in his travels, but can any of that experience save him from SeeSaw?
The match is off and Javad is keeping his distance from the menacing SeeSaw! The playful Mr. Make Believe rushes forward and grabs for Javad! Ebadi ducks under and gets to the ropes! SPRINGBOARD DROPKICK! SeeSaw lands neck first into the ropes! CROSSBODY BY JAVAD!
SeeSaw coughs and sputters as he gets sandwiched between Javad and the ropes! He tries to get to his feet but Ebadi wants to push his advantage! The Historian hits the far ropes again and comes back with a leaping knee- PUNCH TO THE JAW! SeeSaw grounds Javad and follows up by lifting Ebadi off of the ground and powerbombing him straight back into the mat!
Javad is reeling but SeeSaw lifts him up into the air once more and lets loose with another powerbomb! He’s left in a heap and SeeSaw looks to the turnbuckle! The terrifyingly large man gets to the top rope and flaps his arms! THE ORNITHOPTER! FLYING BODY SPLASH- HURRICANRANA!
By God! Javad caught SeeSaw mid air and flung him into the mat! The perserver is looking to be in dire straights as he goes to the ropes and onto the apron! He waits for SeeSaw to stand up! SPRINGBOARD FOREARM! ARCHIVAL!- NO! SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST! MODIFIED SPINEBUSTER! SeeSaw covers! ONE! TWO! THREE!
Continuing his reign of terror, SeeSaw has defeated newcomer Javad Ebadi!
A portal suddenly and abruptly opens with Darby Sorrow flying through it.
He hits the deck and rolls across the floor, landing in the middle of nothingness.
Sorrow stands up and immediately looks around, realizing there’s absolutely nothing to see. His face drops. His heart races. What has Sigil done?
Suddenly, another portal appears and Sigil steps through it.
“We need to talk,” he grumbles. “So, I’ve brought you here, to Inanis. In this abyss of nothingness, we can finally talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you,” Sorrow screams. “You owe me, Sigil. After everything you did to me and my family, I don’t believe for a second that it didn’t work.”
Sigil shakes his head. “You’re right, I lied.”
Darby begins seething.
“But I had to. The Butcher has gone crazy. He’s lost his damn mind. He’s convinced that he can steal your immortality and use it for himself,” Sigil says, trying his best to be sincere. “That’s why he wanted the time piece.”
Sorrow doesn’t care, throwing his hands into the air.
“If he wants it, he can fuckin’ have it,” he bellows.
“No!” Sigil retorts immediately. “I’ve seen what happens should he acquire it.”
That halts Sorrow, who turns to look at him.
“You’ve seen the future?” He asks. “You used the watch?”
“I have,” The Voidwalker replies with a nod. “At Red Snow, I took us back to where you acquired your immortality and he tricked us; he jumped in your place and took it himself. You perished immediately. He became the most powerful, most despicable man on the planet. He couldn’t be stopped.”
That leaves Darby Sorrow speechless.
“I undid it,” Sigil continues. “I undid the mess I created but he won’t stop until he has what you have. I’m sorry that I lied to you, but I had no choice. I’ll send you back to Earth but be warned, The Butcher comes.”
HELLSTROM VS. SCRIMSHAW
Two men with former lives that seem eons ago face off tonight! Will Scrimshaw be able to hold one of our newest competitors in Hellstrom back or will Scrimshaw struggle against another man of balance? We find out next!
DING! DING! The old sea dog marches at Hellstrom and throws some gut punches but Hellstrom makes spikes stick out of his hand! Scrimshaw’s hand is cut wide open! Blood is spurting out as you can see the white of his knuckles through the skin! Scrimshaw is holding his fist tight and is blindsided by a massive lariat that turns him inside out!
Hellstrom grabs Scrimshaw’s legs and he’s going for the scorpion deathlock! He has his leg in between Scrimshaw’s! No! Scrimshaw pulls the ankle! Scrimshaw has seen this move before and he locks in a heel hook! He’s wrenching Hellstrom’s leg but the knight sticks the spikes out again! He pierces Scrimshaw’s leg and Scrimshaw has to let go!
Both beings are on shaky legs! They’re throwing lefts and rights at each other! Hellstrom gets the better of it and he throws a big boot! Scrimshaw catches it! DRAGGED TO THE DEPTHS! Scrimshaw hit all of that leg hook Saito suplex! Scrimshaw covers! One! Two! Thr-no! Hellstrom gets the shoulder up! Scrimshaw is waiting for Hellstrom to get up!
Hellstrom gets back to his feet! Scrimshaw has the brass knuckles! Jab! Jab! Right hook! Haymaker! Hellstrom is down! Scrimshaw turns Hellstrom onto his stomach he locks in the CAPTAIN’S HOOK! Scrimshaw is choking Hellstrom out! Hellstrom grabs the brass knuckles and wrenches Scrimshaw’s fingers with them! Scrimshaw lets go but Hellstrom holds on and pulls Scrimshaw up just enough to snap the fingers! Scrimshaw’s fingers are practically broken and before he can see it coming, Hellstrom hits him with the flash Busaiku knee! YINGLONG’S FLAME! Hellstrom covers! One…Two…Three!
Hellstrom has done it! What a performance by the newcomer! The knight of balance shows why he’s the executioner!
Somewhere deep within Mirror Lake Asylum rests the chamber, where Mez is strapped to a table.
He screams, and screams again.
The room is dark. He is alone.
A deep blue pinprick of light appears, a few feet from his face. There is no sound. The pinprick expands until an oval of darker-than-darkness floats a few inches from the floor.
Then, the loud crunch of a metallic boot.
The Judge’s armor shines in the light of two illuminated golden orbs that orbit, perfectly balanced, around him. They cast light around the room.
“The time has come for you to answer for what you have done,” The Judge says, brandishing his mighty axe.
“Have you nothing to say for yourself?”
The Judge takes his axe and places it on Mez’s exposed throat, just beneath his mask.
Finally, Mez speaks.
“Are you… a friend?” he asks.
“I am the arbiter of balance,” The Judge says. He looks puzzled.
“I dreamt of the breeze again,” Mez says, oblivious. “I saw a friend coming from over the hill with the tall grass. Was it you?”
A flash of something like pity moves across The Judge’s obsidian face.
“I have looked into your past, patient 10034. Veritas. And further back. Do you remember your life before all of this? Before the medication and the warden?”
“I remember the breeze.”
“And nothing else?”
“The grass. How it swayed.”
The Judge looks down at the masked madman. His light-orbs swirl around him.
“And,” Mez says, as if he just had an epiphany. “A friend. I had a friend. Once.”
“A conundrum,” The Judge says quietly, to himself. “Is a being who remembers not who he is, what he has done, the same being who perpetrated those acts? If his captivity has erased his past, has he been born anew? Without sin? He was so young.”
“Could we be friends?” Mez asks.
“And besides, is it all his fault? Was the death of Veritas his doing, or the end result of horrible captivity?”
The Judge closes his eyes in contemplation.
Mez struggles against his restraints like he’s trying to reach out.
“Your judgement shall come,” The Judge says. “But I will not make it in haste.”
Solemnly, The Judge turns and walks back through his portal. It disappears behind him.
Mez is alone once more. He screams.
MAN AND BEASTS
The farm where the butcher gets his meat
X has killed a full-grown cow with one punch! Multiple cows are on the ground rotting next to it. Mark Gouldern is following close behind him.
“I see you’re enjoying the upgrades X but, to be honest, this isn’t where I expected you to go when you could make your own path.”
“I can make my path but I can’t change the way I got here nor will my body allow it. Still in that programming is insatiable bloodlust and as much as I have tried to convince myself that it was programming from a more militant era, the coding has intertwined with my DNA and every day I must kill. I’d rather it be cows than human beings.”
“Understood but lesser creatures are all around us. Upgraded parts are no match for an overall greater experience my brother-in-arms. No progress is made in homeostasis, let’s proceed down your path.”
Above on a hill overlooking the pasture is a focused Banzan. He is one with nature at the moment and the words fly along the wind directly into his ear.
“He still has that bloodlust?! I’ve been watching this field of innocence that X has been plaguing for weeks now and I finally have the answer to why. It is worse than I thought. He has been killing them because he thinks they’re lesser. He still has so much to learn. We are the same in this shared existence. Man is no greater than beast and beast is no greater than man. If he can kill what he considers lesser with no thought, the twisted minds of Imperium could eventually get him to kill anything or anyone.”
A man in all white sits next to Banzan. We finally see who he has been talking to, Aesop.
“Agree and disagree, Banzan, Man is certainly no greater than beast but beast have proven again and again that they are greater than we can hope to be. They kill for survival. We kill for sport. They help this planet grow. We burn it to a crisp. No, we are not equal and saying we are only shows the blind optimism of man. However, I see your point, they must be stopped. The world already quivers in humanity’s wake. The rest of the world will burn if Imperium remains in power.
“Banzan, you surely know that in unity, there is strength. They are the mightiest pack in this jungle but if we forge our strength together, they will drink from your wellspring like the desperate wildebeest drinks from the watering hole.”
Banzan nods and quotes Aesop himself.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
Aesop nods smiling that he’s remembered. He shakes hands with Banzan. Banzan grips his hand with both of his own. Aesop looks directly in Banzan’s eyes and simply says,
“Now, let’s divide and conquer.”
DARBY SORROW VS. OBASI BOCAMO
Darby Sorrow is a walking corpse before a blood covered king! Will Obasi play with Darby’s blood or will Sorrow bury a king?
Bocamo is bloodthirsty right out the gate as he methodically closes in on Darby and lashes out with a few well trained strikes towards the Immortal, Darby forced to duck and dodge before seeing an opening and going for it! STRIKE TO THE KNEE! DDT TO FOLLOW UP! Sorrow’s quickness catches Obasi by surprise!
The move is quick and painful but Bocamo is barely down for a moment before forcing himself up to his feet and grabbing Darby by the throat! Headbutt! Headbutt! HEADBUTT! Sorrow is busted open and Bocamo lifts him up! DOUBLE HANDED CHOKESLAM TO THE TURNBUCKLE!
The Blood King shows his name isn’t just a title as he slaps Darby across the face and drags the bloodied hand across his opponent’s chest! He goes to do it again but Sorrow kicks him in the jaw and pushes him back with both feet! A SORROWFUL LIFE! ROLL INTO A LEAPING CLOTHESLINE!
Sorrow has just laid out Bocamo and he doesn’t show any signs of quitting his assault as he lifts the now reeling Bocamo off of the ground and onto his shoulders! CRADLE TO THE GRAVE! GTS TO THE SKULL! Bocamo is on his back and Sorrow covers! ONE! TWO! THREE!
Sorrow will not kneel to the blood king and he proves it here tonight by walking away with the win!
He walks backstage, a stoic presence, alone.
Or so he believes.
“Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch.”
Helstrom freezes in his tracks.
He is doing the sign of the Catholic cross.
But over his dick.
“In the name of Hiroshima, what is this beautiful specimen?” Junkrat approaches Helstrom, slinking towards him, like a cat.
Like a sexy cat.
“My, my, my. Your armor… It looks like the most beautiful explosion, seconds after detonation.”
Junkrat places his face up to Helstrom’s neck.
“You smell like sulfur,” Junkrat claims. “You know how to make a Mayor consider a sexual scandal, don’t you?”
Helstrom huffs, “Junkrat, is it?”
“Aye,” replies Junkrat. “And I can have your name, m’lady?”
Helstrom turns towards Junkrat and pushes him away. “You have insulted me twice, and I won’t allow for a third opportunity. Do you realize how easy it would be for me to rip your soul out of your chest? Do you realize how utterly simple it is for a man like me to turn your entire life into the explosion you so desire, and your eternity thereafter as well?”
Junkrat makes a heart-eyes emoji face. “Promise?”
Helstrom sighs. “I bid you farewell, sir.”
Helstrom begins to walk away.
But Junkrat practically floats behind him, following him every step of the way.
“Please, m’lady. Don’t bid me farewell. For you contain the beauty of–”
An uppercut across the jaw sends Junkrat high into the air before he lands on the backstage floor!
Helstrom looks down at Junkrat, shakes his head, and walks away.
Junkrat lays motionless on his back…
…with a huge stiffy protruding from his pants.
THE CRYPTKEEPER VS. THE JUDGE
In the Cryptkeeper’s debut bout, will The Judge dominate and maintain his order, or will he be added to the Storyteller’s tales of woe?
The bell rings, and the Judge and the Cryptkeeper circle one another. The Judge moves in for a lock up, but a surprisingly strong right hook to the Judge’s abdomen folds him over! THE CURSE OF THE CRYPTKEEPER! NO! The Judge narrowly avoids the uppercut and sends his knee into the Cryptkeeper’s gut!
DDT by the Judge! The towering monster of balance lifts the Cryptkeeper up by his clothing! Gorilla Press Slam! The Judge has seized the momentum here, but the Cryptkeeper is quick to recover! He climbs to his feet! THE VERDICT BY THE JUDGE! BUT THE CRYPTKEEPER SIDE STEPS!
A BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END!!! The eye rake, irish whip, big boot combo!!! The Judge is so massive that the boot only catches his chest, but it matters not! Elbow drop by the Cryptkeeper! He makes the cover! ONE! TWO! KICKOUT! The Judge ducks another big boot as he climbs to his feet!
AND HE GRABS THE CRYPTKEEPER BY HIS NECK! He lifts him high into the air! The Keeper kicks wildly attempting to free himself! THUMB TO THE JUDGE’S EYE! The Keeper runs and bounces off the rope! THE VERDICT!!! NO!!! THE CRYPTKEEPER DUCKS IT AND KEEPS RUNNING! He leaps onto the second rope! He springboards off and spins!!! THE CURSE OF THE CRYPTKEEPER!!! HE NAILS IT!!! HE MAKES THE COVER!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! THREEEEEEE!!!
A big debut victory for the Cryptkeeper tonight on Nitro, and his boney arm is raised victoriously!
After the show.
We find ourselves in the middle of The Wolf’s Mouth cave where Scrimshaw and his crew call home, a horde of pirates running down the twisting hallways as one Mr. Pickpocket runs ahead of them, a box of doubloons held tightly to his chest, slowing him down.
“Hey, can’t we talk this out? I mean how about I take half?”
Pickpocket’s plea for a deal is met with more yelling as he turns a corner, his monkey companion Bruford Jr, or BJ to his friends, runs alongside him! The monkey runs up Pickpocket’s leg and up to his shoulder where he perches, looking around for a way out, something his human friend would be doing if he wasn’t concentrating just so hard on not getting shot by the barrage of flintlock pistols firing at him every time he turns a corner!
Finally BJ points towards a statue at the end of a hall, a Wolf’s head that seems to have two levers in its mouth in the form of protruding fangs. Pickpocket smirks and runs as fast as he can towards the statue.
“Brilliant idea, BJ! Run ahead and grab one of the levers, I bet there’s a secret hall there! Or, ya know, maybe a way out. Like in the movies?”
However, BJ is already far ahead of him running to the statue and, without much thought, grabbing hold of a random lever, yanking it down!
And opening a trap door beneath the statue.
And, as though the world was traveling in slow motion, as Pickpocket, BJ, and his ill-gotten gold began to plummet downwards, he had to think to himself. That may just be the wrong lever to pick.
The pirate crew stops short of the hole, looking down into it dumbfounded.
“So, you think he’s dead?”
“What about the gold?”
As two of the crew converse, Scrimshaw finally shows his face. The grizzled pirate captain shakes his head and looks at the trap door.
“I’m getting tired of idiots meddling in me affairs.”
One of his crew looks to him.
“I would guess. Where does this trap door go?”
“It’s an escape hatch built into the temple. He’ll have landed in a boat and he’ll likely be rowing away soon enough.”
“Do we go after him?”
Scrimshaw shakes his head, lighting his pipe and taking a puff.
“No need, we know where he’ll be. We just gotta have a little… parley in the Slaughterhouse. Grab the chef, tell him Monkey’ll be on the menu next week.”
The crew member nods his head and heads back with the other men towards the ship, the scene fading out as Scrimshaw rubs his temples and seemingly nurses a headache.
OUT OF THE WAY
Trumpets sound. Heralds ringing out the arrival of the greatest man to have ever lived, or so he says. Marvolo struts into view with all the puffery of a man ten feet tall and bulletproof, his glorious chest of hair shining proudly like a peacock’s plumage. He stops, mid corridor and flicks his cape out behind him dramatically before continuing.
“Excuse me, sir?”
A small voice sounds from his left flank. A woman and her young son, looking lost and confused approach him.
“Do you know where to find…”
“Sure, Marvolo is Number One!”
Without even listening to the woman, he picks up the map that the small boy is holding and proceeds to scribble his signature all over it before placing it back in his perplexed hands. He exhales dramatically and continues on his merry way, leaving the confused family behind.
That is, until he stops dead in his tracks. Something is in his way… Or more importantly, someone. With a frame that towers over his short stature.
“Ahem.” Marvolo clears his throat dramatically. “You there, you block the path of the great Marvolo. If you would, get out of the way.”
He is met with no response. Just the large body of Obasi Bocamo, arms folded, looking none too impressed with the puffery and bravado that stands before him.
“Perhaps you don’t speak English. I shall slow it down. I said… Get… Out…”
Obasi cuts him off, a single sentence that says more than all of Marvolo’s words put together.
“The Blood King moves for no man.”
“Now that is a thick accent! Surely you know that no mere man stands before you. Marvolo is a legend among men. You will move for me.”
Obasi stands staunchly.
“The Blood King moves for no man, little hairy man.”
Marvolo puffs his chest out further.
“I’ll have you know that I once slew ten men with a single blow. Step aside or I shall make short work of you.”
Bocamo pulls a rather large shimmering knife out and holds it up to Marvolo II’s throat.
“A man who boasts about those who he has killed usually has not killed any. If your blade was as sharp as your tongue you would have killed a hundred men. Watch your sharp tongue or it will get you into a world of trouble little hairy man.”
The knife to Marvolo’s throat is pressed tightly enough to draw blood. Marvolo gulps. Bocamo removes it and continues on his way, leaving Marvolo to rue his words and heed his warning… Or not.
EDWARD NEWTON VS. JUNKRAT
Two very unstable minds meet here in the ring tonight! Can Junkrat beat the returning Newton? Or will Newton diffuse the bomb that is Junkrat?
The match is underway and Newton circles the ring, Junkrat not even moving from his spot for a moment before simply rushing Newton! The Riddler ducks a flying clothesline and throws sand hidden in his sleeve into the referee’s face! HE TURNS AROUND AND LOWBLOWS JUNKRAT! The Anarchist drops to his knees!
Newton maniacally dances around Junkrat and kicks Junkie right in the teeth! The rat ends up on his back and Newton sends another kick to the side of his head! The referee is just finishing getting the sand from his eyes as Newton peels Junkrat off of the mat and whips him across the ring!
THE CONCUSSION MINE! TILT-A-WHIRL DDT! The referee went to reprimand Newton and Junkrat took advantage of the situation! Newton holds his face in pain for a moment as Junkrat rolls to his feet and comes back with a soccer kick to the gut that sends The Riddler sprawling!
With some distance between them Junkrat reaches into a bag at his waist and digs around! Newton gets to his feet and reaches into his coat! A SMOKE BOMB FROM JUNKRAT! SMOKEBOMB JIGSAW PIECES FROM NEWTON! The ring is absolutely filled with smoke! Yelling is heard and when the smoke clears Newton is pinning Junkrat! ONE! TWO! THREE!
No one knows what went on the smoke, but one thing is certain, Newton stole this win as underhandedly as he could!
NOT A TOY
“Kids, what did we learn about SeeSaw’s Toybox?”
The childlike intonations of SeeSaw are being broadcast across the world wide web. SeeSaw is sat, criss-cross apple sauce, next to his latest toy.
The Freeman Blaster.
“The best toys are free, man!”
SeeSaw cackles as he messes with what remains of Kenny Freeman.
“I had such a fun play date with Kenny, that I can’t wait to have someone else over to my Toybox. But good golly, all that fun sure made me tired.”
Mr. Make Believe pulls out a set of papers, scribbled on with crayon.
“When I can’t sleep, I read myself a bedtime story! Who doesn’t like a good story?!?”
He clears his throat, but before he can continue, he looks to the side, surprise etched on his face.
“A visitor!?” SeeSaw grins, somehow standing in one fluid motion. “What a surprise, kids!”
SeeSaw runs over, and moves his camera to show his visitor.
The Cursed ignores the excited SeeSaw, instead locking his eyes on the Freeman Blaster.
“The tale of Kenny Freeman must be added to the book.” He whispers.
SeeSaw looks confused, but then smiles wide again.
“Will you tell us a bedtime story?” He steps forward to reach for the book, the Crypt. “I bet you got lots of good ones.”
As SeeSaw’s fingers near the book, it vanishes into nothingness. The Cryptkeeper looks at him, as if seeing Mr. Make Believe for the first time.
“You, young Andrew Fish, will one day be an impressive character in The Crypt. But its end has not yet come.”
Just like The Crypt, the Cryptkeeper vanishes from SeeSaw’s sight. Mr. Make Believe looks absolutely devastated as he looks back to his audience.
“I want to hear the tale of Kenny Freeman!”
His eyes narrow, and his lips tug into a sinister smile.
“If the ugly man doesn’t want to play, then I’ll have to make him.”
LUKE STORM VS. THE RED DEATH
Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring. The Red Death seeks to avenge his wife and son, whereas Luke Storm fights for his daughter!
Sporting fresh scars from their snowy rooftop rumble, both men stand in the warm glow of the dancing flames. Edward Newton stands at ringside, smiling in approval of his crimson associate. The bell rings, and Red swoops down on Storm. He unleashes a torrent of lefts and rights, each punch carrying more venom and hatred than ever before! Luke doubles over, his guard coming up reflexively, but he doesn’t fight back.
Death whips him across the ring. Catching alight and being burned by the fire is, of course, how this match will end – but merely hitting the ropes is safe. Nevertheless, flames shoot up behind Luke as he bounces back right into a Busaiku knee kick! Red mounts him and rakes his face with his forearm, but Storm does little to defend himself. A tee-hee can be heard even over the crackle of the flames.
Red gets to his feet. Before Luke can do the same, however, he punts him in the ribs so hard he flips him over! The Dark Reaper grabs his leg and drags him over to the flames. For the first time in this bout, Storm’s self-preservation kicks in as he breaks Death’s grip and… crawls away. That’s it!? Red pursues him and traps him in a waistlock. He deadlifts him off the canvas and drives him into the mat with a German suplex – to a crescendo of fire!
After checking their eyebrows, the crowd begin to murmur. Luke is allowing himself to be mauled by The Red Death!
Gotham’s fallen knight drives a knee into Storm’s temple, then begins to throttle him! Luke coughs and splutters, the heat inside the ring already stealing his breath – nevermind the hands now squeezing the air out of his windpipe! Death bashes the back of Storm’s skull off the mat. Luke refuses to save his own skin. Talking of skin, however, Storm is sweating so profusely that Red can’t keep his grip around his throat. His hands slide off and Luke is left gasping.
The Storm King—a poisoned chalice if ever there was one—wheezes on all fours, his hair plastered to his forehead. Yellow flames are all that’s reflected in his shades, the audience beyond them obscured by shadow. But he can still hear them. Those disembodied voices, questioning him… doubting him.
RETURN TO ARKHAM!
THE RED DEATH DROPS HIM WITH THE DOUBLE UNDERHOOK DDT!
PILLARS OF FIRE RISE UP!
The Crimson Scourge sits up. He looks down at Storm, then over to Newton. That distinctive green bowler dances behind the flames like an emerald. It nods. The Red Death rises.
Luke slowly comes to. He wasn’t dreaming about Hell. He’s living it. Those same ghostly voices ring in his ears again. Did he dream about the one voice in particular? The angel among the demons?
LUKE BLOCKS THE CURB STOMP!
The crowd POP as Storm FINALLY FIGHTS BACK against his tormentor, to the protest of The Enigma! Death tries to overpower Luke, who clings onto his boot. Storm, however, leaps to his feet and shoves Red backwards!
Stormborn walks through hellfire and brimstone, renewed purpose behind every step. Death fires a volley of Redblades through the air, but Luke comes out the other side unscathed – besting his Red Snow evasion—
Storm hits the CODEBREAKER on Red!
The flames shoot into the air as the fans reach a fever pitch for their hero. Talk about a baptism by fire.
Luke grabs the arm of Death and pulls him across the ring, but Red Justice won’t come quietly. He slashes him across the face with a spiked gauntlet, breaking his grip. Red races to his feet—
STORM HITS THE SUPERKICK!
DEATH STAGGERS BACK…
HE’S TEETERING BY THE FLAMES!
THEY LAP AT HIS CAPE, WHICH SMOULDERS…
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE!
NO IT DOESN’T!
RED BLOCKS IT!
HE DRAPES LUKE’S LEG OVER THE ROPE – IN THE FIRE!
STORM’S SHINGUARD CATCHES ALIGHT!
Luke hobbles away to stop, drop, and roll – as The Red Death stands victorious!
Both men played with matches tonight, but in the end, it was Luke Storm who got burned!
After that exhausting battle, the fire on Luke Storm’s leg guard is immediately put out by some furious patting.
Red Death is the victor, but there wasn’t going to be any other outcome.
As Edward Newton calls for the fire to be shut off, The Red Death wants more.
But The Riddler somehow exhorts a modicum of control over his associate, stopping him.
“All by the plan, dear fellow,” he beckons, calling him away from Storm and to the outside of the ring. “All by the plan.”
Reluctantly, The Red Death and Edward Newton leave the ringside area, heading backstage as Luke Storm pulls himself to his feet.
He beckons for a microphone.
“At Stormborn, I will challenge for the OSW Championship,” he says to cheers from the crowd. “But-“
Before he can say another word, Berkshire Ellison Green swaggers out from behind the curtain with a microphone of his own, coughing.
“But what?” BEG questions, waltzing cockily to the ring with the title over his shoulder. “Who are you to say ‘what’ happens with my title?”
He hops up the ring steps and enters through the ropes, alone.
“I have a contract, didn’t you know? After winning Ring King, my contract states that I choose when to receive my Championship opportunity,” he continues. “And with whom I receive it.”
BEG doesn’t understand.
“I didn’t understand it either at first,” Storm admits. “But apparently the wording is loosely organised and allows for some wiggle room. You’d think the ‘with whom’ I receive it means the Champion; but it isn’t specified. Therefore at Stormborn, you’re going to defend your OSW World Championship against me… and The Red Death.”
“You can’t do that,” The Champion groans. “I’ll have to get my attorneys to take a look at the document. There’s no way you can do that.”
Luke shakes his head. “Believe me, it’s the last thing I want too.”
The Storm King tosses his microphone down as the fans grumble, leaving Green to simmer in the middle of the ring.
“You just wait a minute,” Green demands from inside as Storm attempts to walk away. “I promise you Luke Storm, if The Red Death enters our match at Stormborn, I will make you suffer.”
They stare at each other.
“I will use every resource within my power to see you dismantled from movie icon to z-list celebrity.”
Storm shakes his head. “There’s nothing you can do to me worse than what he’ll do to her,” he yells back. “Besides, you already tried to ruin my career with Whitlock. I haven’t forgotten about that, Champ.”