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AFTERBURN #3 – STRONG OF HEART

AFTERBURN #3 – STRONG OF HEART

THE TICKING CLOCK
Footsteps.

There’s nothing fancy about the way we enter the Boardwalk Hall this evening.

We’re in the corridors backstage and walking down them in front of us is Brent Kersh. Kersh displays the battle wounds of last week’s encounter with The Scarecrow, a set of stitches having sown up a gash on his forehead.

Then, just like that, the lights go off.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.

When the lights return, Brent Kersh has stopped and is understandably ready to fight. His lips are pursed and his fists clenched, but those balls of rage will have to wait another time because no-one’s there.

He shakes it off – just like you’d expect a man of his stature to do. With his eyes fixed on the door ahead of him, he feels like he’s searched every inch of the corridor for a hiding place and there is none.

There’s just walls and plenty of them.

He finally exits the corridor, shutting the door behind him and making his way into the locker room area. The camera remains fixed on the glass panel as the lights go off again.

And there he is – The Scarecrow, his figure behind the distorted glass, until the lights return.

Then he’s gone.

FLATLINE GLORY
We open to the commentary booth, the fans understandably shocked.

They aren’t the only ones.

Richard Roman’s mouth hangs open and it’s down to Rick Walker who quickly composes himself.

Rick Walker:
Folks, welcome to Afterburn, episode three. We’re live here tonight at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and I really have no words to describe the terrifying introduction to this week’s show.

Richard Roman: (shaking his head)
I do. Fucking.Creepy.

Rick Walker:
As elegant as ever, Double R. I’m here tonight with Richard Roman and we’ve got one hell of a night scheduled for you. The final four of the World Championship tournament take sides tonight when DTR teams with Fate to take on Marvellous Master Chef and Desmond Cross in Tag Team action.

♫ Remember me for centuries ♫
Rick Walker:
Speaking of which, it would appear that we’re being joined by Fate.
Richard Roman:
That’s just great. From downright creepy to downright arrogant. Our night just keeps getting better and better.

Calmly, Fate walks to the front of the stage, looking left and right at the crowd in front of him. BOOM! Fireworks across the stage awaken the arena. The lights are on full blast and frantically moving around and blinking in and out. During the madness, Fate simply opens his arms with a smile on his face. After a few seconds, Fate makes his way down the ramp with energy matching that of the song – escalating. As the song progresses and Fate gets closer to the ring, the more hype he gets. Screaming and interacting with the crowd, Fate slides in the ring..

♫ Remember me for centuries ♫
BOOM! Simultaneously, Fate jumps up and the ring posts ignite the arena once more. Smiling and interacting with the crowd, he receives a microphone from Paloma Ruiz.
Fate: (smiling)
You know, I was told something today that I thought I’d share with all of you.

Fate stops for a moment to soak in the crowd reaction and boy, you’d better believe there’s a lot of it.

Fate:
Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.

The crowd laugh and he continues.

Fate:
I think that was rather apt, don’t you? You see, Desmond Cross and whoever I face in the final are going to come to terms with that awfully quickly. I know, I know, that’s a little cocky, right? But let’s look at the facts. On one hand, you have Desmond Cross..

Fate holds up his opposite hand and shrugs.

Fate:
He’s the kind of guy who drops to his knees.

The fans give an almighty cheer.

Fate:
Not like that – okay, maybe a little like that. As I was saying, he’s the kind of guy who drops to his knees for an invisible man, greedily and readily able to suck at the imaginary cock of God.

Richard Roman: (furious)
That animal is going to regret that remark, just you wait and see.

Fate:
Who never for one minute expects a face full of white stuff for his troubles. Well guess what thumper, something’s going to go splat in your face at Flatline and it’s a whole lot of this.

Thankfully he raised his fist and didn’t drop his trousers. That would of made this a whole kind of different show.

♫ No ceilings muthafucker good morning, ♫
♫ Dick in your mouth while you yawning, ♫
In many circumstances, being cut off by your opponents music is enough to drive you crazy. In this instance, the lyrics left Fate with a smile on his face as Marvellous Master Chef stomped out onto the stage with the OSW World Heavyweight Championship slapped perfectly across his shoulder – with a few additional ingredients as well, of course.
Richard Roman:
Thank God someone else has had enough of this garbage as well. I’m just glad the World Heavyweight Champion is here to put a stop to it..

Rick Walker:
Self proclaimed World Heavyweight Champion, Richard. He didn’t win it, he stole it.

With a microphone in hand, MMC makes his way to the ring, talking as his music cuts.

Marvellous Master Chef:
You stupid white lazy American.

That’s one way to introduce yourself. I wonder if you can guess the crowd reaction to that?

Marvellous Master Chef:
What makes you think you’re going to win my Championship? I won this, patron. I don’t care if you beat mi amigo for tonight, pin him on a cross and crucify the son of a perra, you ain’t taking mi familia, comprende?

By now they’re in the ring together and the tension has risen. Fate stands in front of him, nose to nose – that is until Master Chef raises the title and we can see him grinning through his mask.

♫ He’s got the whole world in his hands. ♫
♫ He’s got the whole world in his hands. ♫
As if his timing couldn’t be any more perfect, here comes Desmond Cross himself. The Messiah’s Messenger makes his way to the ring and enters, standing between Chef and Fate – both of whom haven’t taken their eyes of the other.
Desmond Cross:
It has been three weeks since I attempted your peaceful conversion, Fate.

The fans boo. They dislike every ignorant word he speaks, even if he truly believes it.

Fate turns to look at him with a chuckle.

Rick Walker:
He has no right to try and ‘convert’ anyone.

Desmond Cross:
And you have rejected my every attempt with insults and humour. There is nothing funny in what I’m trying to do. God controls everything. He has put me in the Semi Finals to win the Championship and stop you. Don’t you see? You’ve made it this far with me because he has chosen for that to be. He has the whole world in his hands and tonight, he has deemed you find your way to understanding that.

Cross suddenly drops the microphone and Master Chef, along with his partner, quickly throws down the World Championship.

Richard Roman:
Fate – meet God’s wrath.

WHACK! And if that was a taste of it, Fate just got it socked straight out of his mouth. A right hand by Desmond Cross was followed up by a low kick from Master Chef and the two on one assault begins.

Rick Walker:
This isn’t right, this isn’t right at all.

♫ As I walk along these streets♫
♫ I see a man that walks alone♫
Rick Walker:
Ohhhhh boy! God, Cross, Chef – meet DAVE THE RATTLESNAKE!
Richard Roman:
GOD damnit!

DTR suddenly comes bounding out of the backstage area to a tremendous ovation and runs down the entrance ramp. He slides back into the ring just as Fate fights back, both men slugging it out with their opponents for tonight until Fate Clothesline’s Cross to the outside. Master Chef meanwhile is launched into the ropes but wisely hits a baseball slide, grabbing the World Championship and exiting the ring in one coordinated swoop.

The fans love every minute of this and as Cross backs up the ramp way with MMC slowly following, DTR and Fate turn around, bumping into each other.

Then the tension rises. Who will strike? Both men are ready for it, pumped, waiting – but nothing happens.

They just stare intensely.

Rick Walker:
DTR may of came to the aid of Fate here tonight but let’s be frank about it, when it comes to the World Championship, all bets are off!

Richard Roman:
That’s because we already have a Champion, Rick. Someone around here has to recognize our reigning and defending Champion and it may as well be me. Marvellous Master Chef is one step ahead of the rest and he has the title belt to prove it.

Rick Walker:
(sighing) Give me strength!

MOTHER VS. JOHN PATHLOW VS. ZEEK WILLIAMS
The bell rings and introductions, Zeek and John look in the corner of Mother whose actions are bewildering the other two. The two men head right in the direction of Mother looking at her as if they don’t know what to do or expect. Mother wastes little time though, coming right back at Zeek and John with stiff kicks to the midsection connecting hard on both occasions. They back off before coming back, sprinting toward her but she’s able to slide under their attack. She runs at the two men and delivers stiff jumping kicks to both sending them to the canvas.

Mother again is possessed waiting for one of the two to get up, Zeek is the first to his feet and she charges at him, while looking for a jumping attack Zeek is able to strike first, countering with a huge lariat that just about decapitates Mother. Zeek wastes little time going for the pin, 1……2……No, John drags Zeek off of Mother breaking up the pin before the match ended. Zeek and John face off in the center of the ring and John delivers a stiff elbow to the head.

BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA!!! John Pathlow connected with his finisher, Blunt Force Trauma and Zeek is out cold on the canvas, he’s seeing stars. John drags himself over to Zeek and he makes the cover. The referee gets in position. Mother from the top, Mother from the top!!! CORKSCREW MOONSAULT!!! She landed on top of both men breaking up the pin. Mother just absolutely crushed both men. She covers Zeek. 1……2…….3. Mother picks up the huge victory here on Afterburn and is now the number one contender to the Hardcore Championship.

BURNING DESIRE
The Burn Ward backstage.

That’s the place with the big Afterburn logo, monitor and sign. The same place that our wrestlers find themselves interviewed before up and coming matches, or big nights like tonight.

Standing there is Rick Mad, looking about as furious as anyone has ever seen him. There’s no Charlie Thompson or Fred Sanders because let’s face it, even they aren’t stupid enough to be standing by with this man tonight, not looking like four thousand lemons have been shoved inside his mouth.

Rick Mad:
Last week, Richard Merriweather made a fool out of me. I left the Main Event because he tricked me into believing my wife Danita was here. That was a lie. When I returned backstage last week, there was a look-a-like, a no-body, a distraction.

Rick Walker:
It worked a treat for Professor Bordeaux who had one less body to deal with.

Richard Roman:
I don’t think Merriweather did it on purpose, Rick. I think it was an accident and she just so happened to look like Danita.

He grimaces.

Rick Mad:
So listen up Merriweather. If you’ve taken exception to what I said a few weeks ago then good, because I’ve taken exception to you. Next week at Flatline, how about you make your official debut in the ring with me?

A loud dusty cough soon interrupts him – that’s Lord Merriweather and he’s not alone. In his hand is a large shiny silver briefcase and he’s flanked by the ever present Edward and Stephen.

Lord Richard Merriweather:
Richard, may I call you Richard?

Rick steps forward in haste and is quick to realize that he’s out numbered.

Lord Richard Merriweather:
I understand that we’ve had a little tiff over the past few weeks but let’s not be hasty, okay fellow? Let’s be reasonable chaps and deal with this like gentlemen. I don’t want to wrestle you at Flatline, I’ve other engagements that I’d consider a more apt use of my time.

Rick Mad:
I’m not dropping this, Merriweather.

Drastic times call for drastic measures and that means money. Merriweather opens the briefcase and hands it to Mad. There’s a toothy grin on his face that explains his intentions.

Lord Richard Merriweather:
Perhaps this will change your mind?

Rick takes the brief case and looks it over. There has to be ten thousand dollars sitting there.

Ten thousand bucks. That’s a lot of reasons not to be mad.

Mad puts the briefcase down on the floor and kneels with it, reaching into his pocket and pulling something out. Lord Merriweather clearly thinks he’s won this round, that is until Rick spins the briefcase around and reveals it to be ON FIRE.

Lord Richard Merriweather:
BLOODY HELL! STEPHEN, EDWARD! HOLY CRIPES! PUT IT OUT! PUT IT OUT!

Rick Walker:
Oh my God! Did he just set fire to ten thousand dollars?

Richard Roman:
How badly can you want to beat an old man’s ass that you set fire to cash money? Rick Mad is a fool on any given day of the week.

Panicked, Merriweather backs away as his goons use their jackets to try and save his money. Rick Mad on the other hand is finally smiling. How about that?

Rick Mad:
I can’t be bought, old man. I’ll see you at Flatline.

SCARECROW VS. MATT LENNOX
We’ve already witnessed the darkened entrance led by the sound of squawking crows leaving us with Scarecrow standing in the center of the ring with his arms spread and his head lowered. At the sound of Bitter Sweet Symphony, Matt Lennox makes his appearance at the top of the entrance ramp and after a moment of confident flexing and posing, he takes off on a dead sprint to ringside. Sliding under the bottom rope and jumping to his feet, Lennox delivers a massive clothesline that pushes Scarecrow to the ropes before toppling him to the outside, but to his feet!

The bell sounds as Scarecrow grabs both feet of Lennox, pulling him off his feet and to the outside. A chop to the throat and Scarecrow SENDS Lennox hard into the outside barricade. The official begins the ten count and HERE COMES LENNOX! NO!Scarecrow meets him with a big boot and Lennox goes down. Scarecrow doesn’t stop there. Lennox pulled to his feet and we’re headed back into the ring. The Hayman methodically climbs to the canvas and enters the ring, giving Lennox some time to clear the cobwebs. Scarecrow approaches and A POKE TO THE EYE! Lennox is pulling no punches against the resident Monster of the OSW!

That definitely got the attention of The Harvester as he spins to regroup and Lennox closes in. German Suplex? HE GOT IT! Lennox with a german suplex BUT SCARECROW IS IMMEDIATELY TO HIS FEET! He’s just standing there with his arms spread, his head lowered. Lennox almost cannot believe what he is seeing. The Incredible One is looking around the arena as if to seek help from the fans, but he won’t find any. Lennox to the ropes and off. Running ATTACK INTO A POWERSLAM by Scarecrow and he wastes no time in getting to his feet. Oh no! Here it is! Lennox hoisted into the crucifix position and THERE GO THE LIGHTS!! And they’re back on. Scarecrow with the cover. ONE … TWO … THREE! Another impressive victory here for The Hayman

MORE OF THE SAME
Backstage in the office of Errol Flint, we come in low, rising at the legs of Destiny.

Perversion aside, the fans cheering abruptly stops when they see Mike Lane and Errol Flint – the former yelling in frustration.

Mike Lane:
What were you thinking? You told me I had until Flatline to find a partner and then you go and put me in a two on one match? Do you realize what kind of men those two are? Just look at what they did to me last week. That might’ve been a fluke but it proves that flukes do happen.

Errol Flint:
Relax, will you?

Rick Walker:
I think Mike is scared. He doesn’t want to step into the ring with the American Capitalists.

Richard Roman:
It isn’t like that at all. It’s self preservation. Mike doesn’t want to go into a match that the odds are clearly stacked against him, I mean, would you?

Mike has already begun pacing as Destiny tries to calm her man down, a hand on his shoulder as he does.

Destiny:
Daddy, what I think Mike is trying to say is that you’ve put him in an awfully difficult predicament. Even with you at ringside as the special guest referee, it’s going to be a tough match to win.

With that, Mike snaps his head around with an arrogant sneer.

Mike Lane:
It’s underhanded, is what it is. It’s unfair.

Errol finally takes this seriously, as evident by a large frown stonewalled across his face.

Errol Flint:
You need to calm down kid. I told you that I had a plan and I meant it. I asked you to find a partner and you didn’t so I had to find myself another option. I need to know who put a contract on my head and I asked you to help with that, so where’s the help? When you win at Flatline and force their hand, we’ll know who’s behind this and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.

CRUNCH! The door is suddenly kicked nye on off its hinges and in storm The American Capitalists.

Except they aren’t here to talk. Both of them rush Mike Lane and begin beating on him with right and left hands. He tries to fight back but the odds are too overwhelming. Pathlow throws him over the desk into Errol Flint whilst Acid turns his attention to Destiny, staring at her with a twisted look in his eyes.

John Pathlow:
Is this what you want, huh?

John points in the direction of Flint, letting him know exactly who he’s addressing.

John Pathlow:
Because at Flatline, you’re not going to get answers. All you’re going to get is more of the same. Acid, let’s go.

Rick Walker:
You’ve gotta wonder if John Pathlow speaks the truth.

Richard Roman:
I have faith in the Phoenix, Rick. I know he’ll rise from the ashes and do what needs to be done.

They both back off towards the door, heading out into the corridor as Destiny rushes to check on a hurting Mike Lane. Errol steps out from behind the desk and grimaces, walking over to the door and slamming it shut.

BRENT KERSH VS. RICK MAD
The two veterans of the game in Rick Mad and Brent Kersh don’t bother with locking up, instead they begin to exchange strikes to really get the match off in high gear. Mad has the size advantage, and quickly gets the advantage, so the ever smart Enforcer quickly grabs an arm and locks in an arm bar. The two men exchange holds for a moment, going through a series of counters. Mad finally has had enough, and he just goes with a solid shot to the face. The two men begin exchanging strikes again. Kersh’s seemingly innate ability to work his way into an advantageous situation shows itself as he goes to a leg sweep, putting Mad in position for his Lone Star finisher. Mad uses his long reach to grab Kersh and pull him into a small package. One… Two… Kick Out!

Both men are back to their feet quickly and Mad seems to be going back to the well before faking around a strike and nailing a huge Snap Chokeslam. One… Two… Kick Out! Mad is up first this time, and he goes to pick up his opponent, who turns the tables with a small package of his own. One… Two… KICK OUT! The Enforcer moves quickly to establish the dominant position, grabbing Mad into a German Suplex position. Rick quickly elbows out, but Kersh fluidly transitions into a side headlock, which Mad also gets out of. The Enforcer stays on his opponent, twisting with Mad to lock in another basic hold. Mad forces his way to his feet and pushes Kersh into the ropes, launching at the rebounding Enforcer with a brutal clothesline from Hell!

Mad picks Kersh up once more, feeling the nearing end. Rick holds out his arms before quickly locking in a front facelock on the Enforcer. MAD DDT… NO!! Kersh held on to the nearest set of ropes so Mad fell to the ground by himself, no opponent in sight. Kersh grabs the fallen Mad’s legs, and the Lone Star seems to be looming. Instead, Kersh catapults Mad back into the turnbuckle. As the larger man staggers backwards, Kersh grabs him up. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT. ONE… TWO… THREE! Kersh didn’t want to repeat the same mistake twice of going for the Figure Four on the man with the long reach, so he improvised!

TIME’S UP
The fans are giving a standing ovation after that tremendous match and Brent Kersh, using the ropes, pulls himself back to his feet.

Then the lights go dark.

Rick Walker:
This is the second time that this has happened here tonight and that can only mean one thing..

Richard Roman:
The Scarecrow.

This time the lights don’t return, only a spotlight, focused on the entrance ramp with a tall grandfather clock in the center and on Brent Kersh, who has no idea what to do.

Tick, Tock.

Tick, Tock.

Flash – an image speeds past the clock at the speed of light, a complete blur – going right.

Then again, this time going left.

Brent Kersh stands in the middle of the ring, his head bounding from side to side, trying to watch every inch around him for the arrival of The Scarecrow – but he can’t see anything. It’s pitch black.

Then The Scarecrow appears in front of the clock, a sledgehammer within his grasp. The sound of the clock ticking is all we can hear amongst a crowd of dead silence, that is until Scarecrow pulls back on his Sledge and shattered the clock with a tremendous crash.

But Brent Kersh has had enough. He slides straight out of the ring and storms the entrance ramp!

Rick Walker:
IT’S GOING DOWN! BRENT KERSH HAS HAD ENOUGH OF THIS!

Richard Roman:
Is he brave or stupid!?

Kersh makes it to the entrance ramp ready for war but the lights return and he’s gone, he’s no-where to be seen. The Enforcer searches left and right for The Hayman but there’s nothing.

Just a broken clock that ticks no more.

And a message even Brent Kersh can’t ignore.

Times up.

Rick Walker:
I cannot wait for this match at Flatline. Brent Kersh might be braver than any man I know to step into that ring with a terrifying nightmare like Scarecrow. We don’t even know what it is, what he is.

Richard Roman:
But we do know that Scarecrow just sent Brent a poignant message. At Flatline, his time is up.

HAYDEN HARDKORE VS. MARCUS X
We’re ready to go here as the bell rings and both men hurry to the center of the ring. It’s a lock up and the size difference works in Marcus X’s advantage as he moves Hayden Hardkore to the corner. A knife edge chop from Marcus. AND another. The crowd reacting to the vicious shots. A shoulder block and Marcus X is in control in the early going of this match. He’ll send Hayden across the ring and charges right after him. Hayden Hardkore JUMPS to the top rope and BACK FLIPS behind a charging Marcus.SUPER KICK! Hayden Hardkore with a Super Kick that nearly takes Marcus’head off.

What’s this now? It’s the… POWER OF THE SOUTHPAW! Marcus X is in serious trouble. Hardkore goes to the ropes and on the return NAILS a swinging neckbreaker. He’ll go for the cover. ONE … TWO … NO! Marcus is able to kick out in just enough time. Undeterred, Hayden Hardkore brings Marcus to his feet and sends him into the ropes with an irish whip. On the return, MASSIVEclothesline from Marcus. Marcus X turns the tables quickly and now he’ll go for a cover. ONE … that’s all he’ll get.

Marcus brings Hayden Hardkore to his feet. LOOK OUT! Times of Change! Times of Change by Marcus X!!! Hayden Hardkore is in trouble and he knows it. He’s trying desperately to get to the ropes and he DOES, forcing a break. Marcus not happy with the official, shouting about racial discrimination. Hardkore has regrouped though. DROPKICK to the knee puts Marcus to the canvas.ENZIGURI from Hardkore and he’ll make another cover. ONE … TWO … NO! Marcus X kicks out. What a match this has been! Hayden doesn’t stop there. He’s going to the corner! To the outside! Hayden Hardkore to the top rope!! HERE IT COMES! FLYING KIWI! FLYING KIWI!!! Hardkore makes the covers. ONE … TWO … THREE! HE DID IT! Hayden Hardkore picks up an impressive victory here tonight on Afterburn!!

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE GRIM
The locker room area backstage.

We join an already heated discussion between The Hardcore Champion Matthew Cories and 911 about whether or not the Ranger wannabes can exist in the ring here tonight. Across from them, listening in with an eye roll is Colt .45 – who can hardly believe his bad luck.

Matthew Cories:
Haven’t we discussed this? Green beats white. Hardcore Champion beats..

He thinks about it.

Matthew Cories:
… you.

911 doesn’t like that and if his sigh of annoyance didn’t tell it, his poking Cories in the chest sure does.

Rick Walker:
How are these guys supposed to team tonight? 911 and Cories look like they want to rip each other’s throats out.

911:
Oh you want to get personal with me? Is that it? I may not be the Hardcore Champion but I also wasn’t pinned by a pirate, beaten up by a Scarecrow or think I’m a Power Ranger. I wear this mask in homage to the best Power Ranger, not because I think I am him.

Matthew Cories:
Are you calling me crazy?

Colt 45:
Enough!

That brings a halt to proceedings pretty damn quickly. Colt puts down his beer and runs a hand over his head.

Colt 45:
Can’t a man enjoy a beer before he goes out and whoops Isaiah Black’s ass? Now I don’t give a shit what you two stupid little bastards are bitchin’ and moanin’ about but lemme make one thing clear; if we lose tonight, I’m going to take his head..

He points to 911.

Colt 45:
…And shove it up your ass!

He points to Cories – who’s terrified by the prospect, as evidenced by a massive gulp.

Colt 45:
And lemme tell ya fellas, you don’t want me gunnin’ for ya.

Suddenly the door bursts open and Colt’s speech is interrupted

WHACK!

That bone crunching sound was Isaiah Black, steel chair in hand. He turns to 911 and Cories who don’t know whether to defend the man who just threatened them or stand back.

They stand back.

Isaiah Black:
Anyone else? No? Hey you, you awake?

He kicks at Colt, trying to nudge him.

Isaiah Black:
I guess not. But you better be at Flatline because I’m comin’ for ya throat. Choose Death, 45.

Isaiah throws the steel chair down and winks at Cories before exiting the room.

Richard Roman:
I think Isaiah Black just laid down a challenge for Flatline.

Rick Walker:
Oh really? I think the imprint of Colt’s head on that steel chair did that perfectly, don’t you?

Richard Roman:
I do and you know what? I think there’s a lot more to come.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST
We cut to the parking garage where great fanfare has gathered to watch a limousine slowly pull up.

The passenger door opens and out steps one hell of an athletic man – he’s muscular, but athletic looking with blonde short spiked hair and a perfectly pearly white smile to boot.

Richard Roman:
Oh great, oh that’s fucking great.

Rick Walker:
Is that who I think it is? Is that Tyler Brooks – the wrestling savior?

There to meet him with a firm handshake is our Chairman, who despite his wrinkled face, reveals a smile of his own.

After all, this is a major coup – just like the signing of DTR.

And Tyler Brooks knows all about DTR.

Errol Flint:
If I may borrow the words of Jake Jeckel for a moment; Tyler ‘fucking’ Brooks! By god son, it’s good to have you in an OSW arena.

The cheering fanfare continues, a larger crowd gathering by the moment as fans sweep out from the arena to the parking garage to catch a glimpse of the former IWF World Heavyweight Champion.

Tyler Brooks:
Heh, Jake Jeckel huh? I’ve not heard that name in a long time, man.

Errol Flint:
Well we’ve a whole host of different names for you to get used to, Tyler. Let’s head to my office shall we? I think we should discuss your contract over some fine whiskey and cigars.

Tyler Brooks:
I don’t drink – or smoke. I wouldn’t have a body like this if I did…

But he thinks about it.

Tyler Brooks:
But for you? I’ll make an exception.

Errol wraps an arm around Tyler and walks him into the arena, leaving the fans to disperse and head back inside – all but one ghastly ghostly looking woman.

Mother.

Richard Roman:
Mother fu-

Rick Walker: (cutting him off)
I think we get it.

She’s standing besides two of her children, arms folded, having been there the entire time.

Mother:
Children, please keep watch of your brother – we have come too far to let him slip away again.

The children nod enthusiastically, speaking back to her as if they were commanded to do so by her very speaking.

Child:
Mother knows best.

The children scurry off back into the arena, leaving Mother to smile.

And why wouldn’t she?

She’s found one of her children.

Rick Walker:
I don’t like this, Double R. It seems that delusional crazy person thinks that Tyler Brooks is her son.

Richard Roman:
You couldn’t see the resemblance? Shame on you.

THREE ON THREE
With the rest of the competitors in the ring – all except Lord Merriweather who stands on the outside, Big Gun by AC/DC blares and out comes a rather pissed off Colt 45. He storms the ring like a man possessed and as the bell rings, he takes straight into the action with Isaiah Black. Both men storm to the centre and meet with crushing right and left hands, Colt finally taking Black into the corner and nailing him with a high knee to the gut. He drags him out and into a Bulldog, rolling straight back over and into a mounted assault. There’s fury with 45 here tonight and he gets back to his feet, stomping a mud hole in Black that he won’t soon forget. The referee tries to pull him away but he’s grabbing at him, pushing him, shoving him and before you know it, the bell sounds and the referee demands that Colt leave the ring, Disqualifying him.

45 reluctantly leaves but then comes running back to a tremendous ovation and as Isaiah gets back up – FLYING PUNCH TO THE HEAD!! THE HEADSHOT!! WHAT A LEAPING RIGHT HAND!! Black falls flat on his back and now Colt leaves, entirely satisfied with what he just did. Now it’s down to Matthew Cories and 911 who begin arguing about who’s going to get into the ring, with each man declaring that it should be them. The distraction gives Black enough time to tag in the only person on the ring apron; Mike Lane. With Merriweather still standing at ringside in utter refusal of taking part, this match is very quickly a two on two. Lane storms the ring and literally smacks both their heads together, dragging Cories over the top rope into the ring as 911 falls to the floor.

The fans don’t like that but it gets worse as Lane nails Matthew with a few solid uppercuts and then drops him with a Single Arm DDT. He heads into the cover.. One… Two… Kick Out! Cories kicks out and Lane is straight back to work but The Hardcore Champion blocks his attempted right hand, connecting with a Swinging Neckbreaker. Cories now heads into the cover.. One… Two.. Kick Out! 911 is by now back on the apron and demanding a tag, to which Matt refuses, telling him that he’s got this. The distraction is enough for Lane to make a tag and here comes a revitalized Grim. The Grim levels Cories with a thunderous LARIATthat almost takes his head off. He heads to the cover.. One…. Two… Three! Matthew Cories has been eliminated and it’s down to 911.

The White Ranger enters the ring just as The Hardcore Champion gets back to his feet, asking him Where the hell were you? 911 tries to explain that he wanted the tag and Matthew refused but Cories is having none of it.. CHUMBAWAMBA!! CHUMBAWAMBA TO HIS OWN TEAM MATE!! THE HARDCORE CHAMPION JUST DROPPED 911 WITH AN INVERTED STO!! Isaiah Black is by now standing in his own corner, wondering what the hell just happened when LORD MERRIWEATHER SNEAKS A TAG!! Merriweather slides into the ring like a snake, covering 911 whilst Black looks at Lane in confusion… ONE…. TWO… THREE!! It’s over! The bell sounds and Merriweather slides out of the ring with his arms raised as if he’s just won the World Championship. 911 is unconscious on the canvas, Black and Lane look at each other dumbfounded and Matthew Cories is already on the entrance ramp, grinning. This was one hell of a clusterfuck, but there’s no shortage of problems to resolve at Flatline.

I HAVE A DREAM
We’re at ringside with a large podium set up atop the entrance ramp.

♫I’m on my way
To freedom land. ♫
Rick Walker:
What the hell is that? Is that a chorus of people?
“I’m On My Way To Freedom Land” hits as a chorus of people come out, clapping and singing along with Marcus X’s song, happily singing away as Marcus X himself comes out.

Richard Roman:
That’s Marcus X, stupid. This man is an idiot.

Rick Walker:
You know what? Let’s hear him out. There’s no need to judge him before he speaks and after last week, when Matt Lennox had him banned from the Main Event, I don’t doubt he has something to speak about.

Marcus has by now made his way to the podium and stands up there, the fans murmuring, curious about what’s next.

He pulls out a piece of paper from inside his jacket pocket and straightens his glasses.

Marcus X:
Last week, my biggest fears came to fruition. Last week, I realized that even here, amongst people I thought were my brothers and sisters, the black man has been once again trodden down. Matthew Lennox somehow convinced Errol Flint to have me removed from the Main Event of Afterburn and all I can think about, is how racially motivated that must have been.

Richard Roman:
Is he accusing Lennox of being a racist?

Rick Walker:
That’s what it sounds like. Marcus can’t honestly believe that, can he? I don’t know how Lennox had him banned but I doubt it was due to the colour of his skin.

Marcus X:
But I can tell you, my brothers and sisters, I can tell you that no longer will the black man suffer in silence. Nobody can give you freedom, nobody can give you equality or justice. If you are a man, you will take it and at Flatline, I will take back my freedom from Mathew Lennox. That entitled, rich, arrogant white man thinks he can tread on my shoulders to get ahead but I’m telling you now, that will not happen.

An instrumental of Bittersweet Symphony suddenly erupts, cutting Marcus X off in his tracks.

That doesn’t go down well with The Freedom Fighter and as Matt comes out, Marcus is already facing the entrance ramp.

Rick Walker:
I think Matt has something to say about his motivation.

The Incredible One has a cheesy grin, accompanied by a microphone and the apparent desire to set Marcus straight.

Or so it seemed.

Matt Lennox:
Do you know what annoys me about people like you, Marcus? You’re too lazy to get ahead. You’re too lazy to do anything about your circumstances and it just seems easier to blame the white man. A black man can succeed but you, you can’t. Do you know why? It’s because black people like you are piss poor human beings that deserve everything they get.

The Freedom Fighter didn’t like that and has a face like thunder. He steps down from the podium with his microphone in hand.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

That’s a mixed reaction from the crowd. You’ve black men in support of Marcus X and white men, unusually in support of Lennox.

Richard Roman:
This isn’t good at all. The fans are starting to split and we could have a racially motivated situation on our hands.

Rick Walker:
I have to agree with you Double R. When the fans are cheering Matt Lennox, you know you have a problem.

Marcus X:
You see now, don’t you? This white man has admitted exactly what the white man thinks about us. He had me banned from the Main Event because of the colour of my skin and just admitted it here, in front of all of you.

That isn’t exactly true but Marcus appears to be hearing what he wants.

Matt steps closer to The Freedom Fighter and WHACK! MICROPHONE TO THE SKULL!

The Black Knight nailed him.

Marcus viciously stomps away at him as the fans partially cheer and boo, split down the middle. He rips open his shirt and takes his jacket off, whipping Lennox across the back with it as he tries to get back to his feet. Finally, he’s up and walks straight into Marcus X.

Rick Walker:
THE BLACKOUT ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR! JESUS CHRIST THAT WAS ONE HELL OF A REVERSE ROCK BOTTOM! MATT MAY HAVE A BROKEN NOSE!

Richard Roman:
What’s he got there, Rick? Is that a spray can?

And he’s right, it is.

One of the chorus women had thrown him a spray can and he’s now at his feet, giving it a shake. He bends down and sprays a massive X across the back of Matt Lennox before stepping back to admire his handiwork.

He picks up the dropped microphone and spreads his arms, flexing his muscles, mocking the usual entrance of Lennox.

By the time he brings the microphone back to his lips, the booing and cheering has reached an intense peak.

Marcus X:
At Flatline, you will respect me. You will respect my cause, my fight for freedom and I will take it from you. X MARKS THE SPOT!

ED FAMOUS VS. PROFESSOR BORDEAUX
The bell sounds as Professor Bordeaux rakes the eyes of Ed Famous which is followed by a European Uppercut that sends Ed Famous stumbling to the corner ring turnbuckle. This leads to a series of lefts and rights from the Professor as he then takes his eyes off his opponent, playing up to the crowd, who show their displeasure with him. This gives The One Man Rebellion time to come flying out of the corner with a Running Clothesline that sends Bordeaux flipping backwards on his ass.

The fans love it as Famous goes for the first pinfall of the match. One! Two! Kickout! Ed doesn’t waste anytime, grabbing the Professor up on his feet and hits a Vertical Suplex as Bordeaux feels that one, arching his back from the pain! Famous looks to be sizing up Professor Bordeaux, who is starting to get back up to his feet. BIG BOOT! No! Bordeaux ducks and dropkicks the leg of Ed Famous. The Professor then looks at the crowd, pointing at his head with a sly smirk across his face.

Then he grabs the leg of Famous, dropping a series of elbows across the injured leg as the fans boo loudly. Professor Bordeaux locks in the Figure Four Leglock! Ed Famous is screaming out in pain! The One Man Rebellion looks to be fading in and out of consciousness as the fans try rallying behind Ed Famous, cheering for him to get back up. After moments of looking like he’s about to black out, Famous counters and applies a Figure Four leglock of his own but Bordeaux reaches the ropes to break it. As Ed Famous gets up, he’s about to go after Bordeaux … LOW KICK TO THE GROIN! THE EARLY DISMISSAL! Bordeaux falls on top of Famous. One! Two! THREE! Impressive win by the Professor as he walks out of this match barely able to survive this encounter.

SCHOOL OF VIOLENCE
With another impressive victory under his belt, Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux stands tall in the middle of the ring with the United States Championship raised above his head.

The fans don’t like it but he doesn’t care about that. He waves on to the outside and two men slide into the ring with a white board, setting it up for him.

He has plenty to say amongst the chorus of extremely loud boos.

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
Silence!

That didn’t work.

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
You stupid Americans don’t understand, do you? How am I supposed to represent you? Look at you, you’re disgusting. Then look at me..

He grins, rubbing the his moustache.

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
..I’m magnifique. Not only do I hold superior intelligence over you ignorant baboons still suckling on the teat of your overweight, rabies infested mothers but I have this, the United States Championship; which in turn brings me to Hayden Hardkore.

The fans pop at the mention of his name but that just seems to piss The Professor off even more.

Rick Walker:
What about Hayden?

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
Silence!

Nope. That didn’t work either.

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
I find it humorous that the United States cannot find a soldier of their own consanguin making capable enough of representing them. So imagine my lack of surprise when I get told that at Flatline, I will be defending my United States Championship against Hayden Hardkore. Well listen Hayden, the class is in session. When I look at you, I see a man that purposely desecrates his body like a criminal, a thug, a crétin, a rejected element of Australia that even those condamnés refuse to take responsibility for.

Rick Walker:
Oh my, what a match!

Richard Roman:
That’s unfair. How does Hayden even deserve a shot at the title?

♫ With my perceptions in a mix ♫
♫ Down twenty miles through the sticks ♫
♫ To the cloudy town of Hellview: Population 96 ♫
Smoke flows over the entrance stage and strobe lighting fills the arena as the guitar riff to ’96 Quite Bitter Beings’ plays. When the music reaches the verse, Hayden Hardkore finally steps out onto the entrance ramp, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd that sends Bordeaux into a fit of rage inside the ring.
The apparent number one Contender has a microphone.

Hayden Hardkore:
I’m going to give you one chance mate, just one, to apologize. If I have to come down to that ring and get an apology from ya, you’re buggered.

Bordeaux’s nose quickly hits the air.

Professor Nickedemus Bordeaux:
Which part offended you? Was it the part about you being a crétin or the part about even Australia refusing to accept your citizenship.

Hayden Hardkore:
You know that for a Professor, you’re an doongie. Now I warned you, you fuck knuckle, don’t tell me I didn’t.

With that said, Hayden drops the microphone and begins a focused walk to the ring whilst Bordeaux tries to play it off, his hands raised in almost apology.

But when Hayden slides into the ring, the United States Champion and resident coward is first to strike with stomps to the back of his head and shoulders.

Rick Walker:
That coward wouldn’t even face him like a man and fight!

Richard Roman:
What do you mean? That’s exactly what he’s doing.

Hayden though powers through the assault and gets straight to his feet, grabbing Bordeaux by the head and ramming him head first into the white board, knocking both of them to the canvas. He grabs the board and places it over the US Champion, heading to the top rope and-

THE FLYING KIWI!!

STRAIGHT ONTO THE WHITE BOARD, STRAIGHT ONTO THE PROFESSOR!

The Maori Warrior gets straight back to his feet in celebration, holding his ribs with one arm as the fans chant his name.

He steps to one side, looking down at the unconscious Professor with wide eyes and tongue poking out.

Rick Walker:
That’s a Pukana!

Richard Roman:
I’m sorry, what?

Rick Walker:
That’s a Maori custom, Richard. It means that Hayden Hardkore is laying down a challenge for Professor Bordeaux and it’s now down to him to respond.

Richard Roman:
This idiot has no idea what he’s getting himself in for. The United States Champion isn’t going to take this lying down, even if that’s where he is right now

DTR & FATE VS. MMC AND DESMOND CROSS
The crowd are more than ready for this Main Event tonight and as Watch My Shoes finishes up, Master Chef decides to start this thing off with a furious DTR. The Rattlesnake storms at him but Chef is quick to escape to the outside, demanding that the referee stop him from being so aggressive. Dave tries to follow him to the outside but the referee stops him, allowing for Fate who rushes around the ring and catches Master Chef with a thunderous Clothesline. Fate rolls him back into the ring and DTR stomps away at him. Dave throws MMC into the corner and storms him, receiving a big boot to the face for his troubles. Master Chef then jumps onto the middle turnbuckle, leaping as DTR turns around with a TORNADO DDT!

Chef scrambles into the cover.. One.. Kick Out. He kicks DTR over to his corner and tags in Cross who enters with a precise kick to the mid-section of The Rattlesnake. He pulls him out and into a Spinebuster, once again going for the cover.. One… Two… Fate breaks up the count with a forearm! Mr. Inevitable backs away talking trash as Cross gets back to his feet with a grimace, grabbing DTR and running him into the ropes – except The Rattlesnake ducks his Clothesline and NECKBREAKER! DTR gets back to his feet and rushes the corner, delivering a massive right hand to Master Chef that knocks him off the ring apron before climbing the turnbuckle. LIGHTS OUT! LEAPING LEG DROP! HE GETS IT! Dave covers… One…. Two… MASTER CHEF PULLS HIM FROM THE RING!

And that causes carnage because here comes Fate, barrelling around the ring to meet The Marvellous One, who decks DTR with a right hand and spots Fate coming, ducking that Clothesline and bouncing off the barricade with a running leaping Clothesline of his own! Cross is by now outside as well, grabbing DTR and rolling him back inside. He stops to look down at Fate, MMC though pushing his partner away and telling him to get on with that match. That doesn’t go down well with Cross who turns, pushing Chef into the ring steps and telling him to watch himself.

That distraction allows for The Rattlesnake to recover and before you know it, HE’S DIVING THROUGH THE MIDDLE ROPE ONTO THE ARGUING PARTNERS!! The fans roar as Dave gets back to his feet, rolling Cross into the ring and going for the cover… One… Two…KICK OUT! He gets back to his feet and drags Desmond over to his corner, tagging in Fate who has made his way back there. Mr. Inevitable enters with stomps, choosing his spots carefully with every single one. He finally gets him back to his feet, hitting him with an Uppercut before a Belly to Belly Suplex. With that, Cross begins crawling to his corner, looking for the tag. Fate quickly rushes over to stop him, flipping him over onto his back and receiving a boot to the face for his troubles, then another, then another and Fate hits the canvas.

The Messiah’s messenger manages to make the tag and here comes Master Chef, connecting with a Clothesline to Fate as he gets back up and then knocking DTR off the apron with a Dropkick. He turns straight back around and MOONSAULT DROPKICK TO FATE! He covers… One… Two… KICK OUT! DTR meanwhile is furious and slides straight into the ring which brings Desmond back in and the referee is losing control of this thing. Desmond tackles DTR with a thunderous Spear, both men rolling to the outside and brawling it out. Fate and MMC meanwhile are back up, Fate looking for a Clothesline that MMC ducks – ROLL UP… HANDFULL OF TIGHTS… ONE…. TWO…. THREE!! HE STOLE IT! That came literally out of no-where!

FOUR IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The bell sounds frantically, trying to get this match to stop – but to no avail. DTR and Desmond Cross are fighting on the outside, Desmond walloping The Rattlesnake with a kick to the mid-section. Meanwhile back in the ring, Face has rolled Master Chef and sits on top of him, pummelling away like a furious mad man that he was just rolled up and pinned here tonight.

Rick Walker:
This is complete and utter chaos! How are any of these men going to wait until Flatline?

Richard Roman:
They aren’t, they’re fighting for it right now.

Desmond slams DTR into the barricade, kicking him as hard as he can in the mid-section before levelling him with a right hand. The Rattlesnake though isn’t so receptive to being beaten on and blocks a right hand, thrusting forward with his head and planting a Headbutt directly on the nose of Cross. Back in the ring and the Master Chef has rolled Fate and is delivering right hands of his own.

Then the Titantron flickers and Errol Flint appears.

Errol Flint:
ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

His screaming barely interrupts the fighting.

Errol Flint:
It’s clear that you four can’t keep your hands off each other, so do you know what? I’m changing the landscape. Congratulations gentlemen, you’ve all just graduated from the Semi Finals of the World Championship tournament to the FINAL!

Rick Walker:
Oh my God! Flint has just made a Fatal Four Way Match for the title at Flatline!

Richard Roman:
That doesn’t improve their odds but it damn sure improves the Main Event!

All four of them stand now, no longer at each other’s throat as Errol’s announcement sinks in.

Then Marvellous Master Chef strikes.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SHOT TO THE SKULL OF FATE!! OUT OF NO-WHERE!

He quickly escapes the ring with the belt as DTR rams Desmond Cross STRAIGHT INTO THE STEEL STEPS!

AND THE CHASE BEGINS!!

Afterburn goes off the air with DTR running after Marvellous Master Chef whilst Fate holds his head in the ring and Desmond Cross barely tries to stand. Flatline is going to be intense and only ONE of these four men can be the World Champion.

Rick Walker:
Folks, thanks for joining us here tonight. Afterburn has been one hell of a show but you can bet your bottom dollar that Flatline is going to be even better. We’ll see you then when the OSW returns to action at the BB&T Centre in Florida!