Within a clearing deep in the woods that surround Eugene we find the two members of Silk & Cyanide standing beside a bonfire, but rather than the usual use of fire to burn symbols of the opponents which they will soon be facing instead they’re merely standing close to a bonfire to keep themselves warm, with Sara Mason holding her hands clad in fingerless gloves as close to the flames as it is possible to get without burning yourself for several seconds before she makes a show of slowly withdrawing them
Sara Mason: What, are you expecting me to play nice with the locals?
Snapping off one of the gloves and shoving it into the pocket of her leather jacket, Mason gives a scornful look in the camera’s direction
Sara Mason: I don’t blame you for being dumb enough to expect that, as I’m sure anyone with access to Google Maps will have figured out that I hail from an hour or so’s drive north from here, so they’d expect me to be all smiles and waves for as close to home as we can get.
With a roll of the eyes, Mason makes it clear that ain’t happening – and when she spits into the flames, it becomes obvious that playing friendly isn’t on the cards
Sara Mason: My parents banged a few miles from here, so what? That doesn’t make me proud of where I’m from, it just means there’s a couple of letters on my driver’s license. Oh I was born near here, raised near here, grew up near here, and that means I have a lot of memories of growing up near here. And let me spell out what those memories were: spending every single day being told that being different made me the object of mockery, someone to be shunned and laughed at, and nobody gave a goddamn about it because there were a bunch of cute little euphemisms that allowed people to think I somehow deserved it as I didn’t fit – and they wielded those like a weapon when I pushed back.
Snapping off the other glove and allowing it to drop to the ground, Mason Kubrick stares towards the camera
Sara Mason: But, on the off chance that one of those people wants to pretend they’re my new best friend because people know who I am, I invite them to come pay the two of us a visit this evening so I can pass on every last crumb of experience to them. Every. Last. One.
The look in Mason’s eyes makes it obvious that she’s not talking about sharing road stories
Sara Mason: But let’s not dwell on what’s been done in the past, especially what I have done in the past at the expense of those same people, and let’s talk about what’s to be done in short order this evening.
Pausing for a moment, Mason looks to the treetops for inspiration…and then can’t be bothered to think of a single thing to say, so instead simply picks her glove off the ground and walks away, leaving Erin Mariani to say her piece
Erin Mariani: Manners. Manners maketh man, that is a phrase that is so simple yet one so easily forgotten, considering that this evening’s pleasure will be at the expense of a pairing who share the manners given to the common dog. The difference is that the common dog at least understands that, when it is told to be quiet and behave, that following such an instruction is in its best interest. This evening we will be decimating a pair who fail to grasp this, as they believe that mocking their superiors puts them on the same level as us, as opposed to giving us reason to assist them in digging the ditch that their careers wallow in a few feet deeper. Perhaps deep enough that nobody can hear them when they desperately plead for attention.
Sliding her vape pen out of the pocket of her long coat, Mariani is in no hurry as she takes a deep drag of Cerise Groseille-scented vapour, allowing it to fill her lungs before she exhales a cloud into the woods surrounding her, paying little attention to the concept that she has a match this evening
Erin Mariani: It would be so easy for me to list a string of punishments and humiliations that lie in store, but it occurs to me that there is little point in doing so as the time it will take to do so will likely be longer than the period of time it will take for us to dispose of what’s waiting for us in the ring, and there are far more important things to waste oxygen upon than stating the obvious, for example…
Mariani holds up her vaping pen between two blood red-painted fingers, her expression not changing as much as a millimetre as she does so
Erin Mariani: The one benefit for this evening is that, provided that our “match” takes place early enough, it is certainly feasible that I will be able to catch a late flight and be back in my own home before the day is done, and the only reason this would not be the case is if I feel it necessary to prolong their suffering in order to make an example. So that is the question: am I in a generous mood this evening, or am I in a generous mood? The answer? It will not take you long before you have it.
The second that Mariani has finished speaking is the very second where she snaps around on her heels and walks out of shot in the same direction that Mason did, leaving the bonfire unattended as she departs...
Our scene open up in the backstage corridor area, seemingly inconspicuously focused on a single door that leads to a side exit. Through a rectangular window in the steel door, we catch a brief glimpse of the FGA production truck, but that’s hardly our focus. The door swing open and a security guard, standing roughly six-foot-two and sporting a bushy hairstyle moves through the door. He glances around before he sighs and boredy shouts out the door.
Security Guard Uno: All clear.
Immediately, bursting into frame, clad in a denim jacket, oversized sunglasses and a black hat is Ashlyn De Luca, immediately greeted to boos from the live audience. De Luca pulls her shades down just a bit to shoot an annoyed look to the security guard.
Ashlyn De Luca: Jesus Christ-- way to leave us in suspense here.
A second security guard, slightly younger with a shaved head, follows De Luca into the room and pulls the door shut behind them. De Luca leads the way around the corner and down the corridor, speaking to both guards behind her as she walks.
Ashlyn De Luca: So the plan is to come in, do this interview, and get the hell out without having any of these goons touch me, or cough at me, or--
De Luca freezes in her tracks and immediately removes her sunglasses, frowning as she observes something blocking her path. The security guards behind her don’t look wildly impressed either.
Ashlyn De Luca: Ew. This is exactly what I mean. We need to avoid stuff like this.
Our camera swings around-- and reveals Nando Fresno: Alien Hunter and Jillian Clay to a roar from the Eugene, Oregon audience! Jillian gives Ashlyn a look of unfiltered disgust, though Fresno seems a bit more calm, raising a brow at De Luca as he wraps black tape around his wrist.
Nando Fresno: Mature as ever. Nice to see you too.
Nando slaps the tape securely against his wrist before nodding his head to the members of security with a look of curiosity.
Nando Fresno: Hired personal security to protect you against the champ? That’s… a unique move.
Ashlyn De Luca: Um, no, you absolute disease. These guys are just here to make sure none of these sickly, gangly fans try to get their feelers on me before the big match. Not like YOU GUYS would know anything about this but when you’re at the prime of your career, challenging for the International Heavyweight Championship, you have a responsibility to take extra precautions. Again-- the concept is basically foreign to you guys-- but we’re in a transitional period aaand you’re literally existing in the presence of the new face of FGA…
Ashlyn’s eyes light up and travel toward the heavens
Ashlyn De Luca: ...De Lucz… the choice of a new generation.
Nando and Jill exchange amused smirks. Ashlyn lowers her gaze toward the Saturnian Connection again. She scoffs as she looks between the two of them.
Ashlyn De Luca: Cute. Sure-- laugh and smirk now. Whatever. But it’s only funny until I’m right. Hmph.
She turns her nose up and continues forward, forcing the tag team to part as she treks down the corridor. The younger security guard follows promptly, though the older one mumbles under his breath, trailing behind with a dejected look. Nando chuckles to his breath and shakes his head, turning back to Jill.
Nando Fresno: God. What a rube.
Nando Fresno: Whatever. You ready to go wino hunting?
Jill nods a bit, but sighs, looking at Fresno with a troubled expression.
Jillian Clay: We should call them something more dignified than “winos.” We haven’t earned it. Silk & Cyanide are champions.
Nando Fresno: They barely--
Jillian Clay: --regardless of your opinion, they are champions. I don’t want to jinx this. If we go out there and win the match then maybe I’ll feel less nervous about you openly calling them… names.
Nando Fresno: Superstition, Jill? Disgusting.
Jillian Clay: Maybe we approach them with some measure of respect.
The alien hunter looks visibly annoyed by Clay’s words.
Nando Fresno: Who said I didn’t respect winos? My grandfather was a perfectly functioning alcoh--
Jillian jabs Nando in the arm.
Nando Fresno: Fine. Fine. We’ll go out there and we’ll get this done. Like professionals.
Jillian smiles in response, giving Nando a considerably lighter jab to the arm before leading the way down the corridor. Nando follows behind, though the camera captures one last exchange before the duo rounds the corner.
Nando Fresno: You know they call us way worse though.
The scene switches to the back where FGA intrepid interviewer Jessie Pederson is standing by outside the locker room of Ashley Marie Chase. She knocks on the door and AMC opens it and stares at Jessie.
Jessie Pederson: Ashley Chase, I was wondering if I could get a word with you about what happened last week?
AMC just stares at Jessie without saying a word and then slams the door shut.
Jessie Pederson: Well it looks like AMC is not in the mood to talk to us so…
Before Jessie can finish her sentence, AMC opens the door and stares at Jessie again before speaking.
Ashley Marie Chase: Last week I came to Ashley Sands’ defense. I talked her up and told the world that she was a fighting champion and that she would never just lay down for anybody.
AMC grits her teeth.
Ashley Marie Chase: I told the world that Ashley Sands was good but then she gets all pissy because god forbid I challenge her for her title.
AMC seemingly gets more agitated as the interview continues.
Jessie Pederson: I don’t think it was the challenge that got her all worked up. I think it was the way you….
Ashley Marie Chase: SHUT UP!!!
AMC yelling startles Jessie, who jumps back slightly.
Ashley Marie Chase: I challenged Ashley Sands to a title match and stated my reason for doing so. I PINNED her in that tag match, I didn’t pin that jackass Mark Bisley. I pinned Ashley Sands aka the champ! That is when Lesser Ashley got all pissy and started with the name calling and started getting all defensive.
AMC starts pacing around
Ashley Marie Chase: Apparently, Lesser Ashley doesn’t like to be challenged and I am left to wonder if that is because she is scared? Are you scared Lesser Ashley that I will take your title? After you cost me my match with Seth Iser, I am left to wonder if you are afraid I will eclipse you in FGA.
Jessie Pederson: At the risk of getting yelled at again it appeared to me that Ashley Sands came out to make sure that Mark Bisley didn’t interfere in your match.
AMC glares at Jessie
Ashley Marie Chase: Really? Really? Really? Because I seem to remember not being distracted at all until Ashley Sands showed up and started arguing with Bisley. That is when my attention got diverted for a split second because before she came out I had Iser beat down and was going to pin him and advance. However, that was last week and today is a new day.
AMC smiles for the first time.
Ashley Marie Chase: Today I go to that ring and do what I do best and that is show all why I am Ashley #1. Tonight I kick Ashley #2’s ass and take that title for myself and then I will deal with Markie Mark in the most violent way possible!
AMC walks back inside her locker room and slams the door in Jessie’s face.
“Satellite” by The Kills plays as both Nando Fresno: Alien Hunter and Jillian Clay bounce off the ropes.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the following tag team contest is scheduled for ONE fall! Introducing first, already in the ring! Weighing in at a total combine weight of 286 pounds, they are the team of Nando Fresno: Alien Hunter and Jillian Clay… THE SATURNIAN CONNECTION!
The arena lights dim as the sound of a woman's laugh heavy with contempt echoes through the arena, which soon segues into the bassline of "She's Gone Away" signals the arrival of Erin Mariani and Sara Mason as the duo slink onto the entrance ramp and pause for a moment, with Mariani looking towards the ring in disgust while Mason looks as if she's waiting for any excuse to start a fight
You dig in places till your fingers bleed Spread the infection, where you spill your seed
The pair turn their heads towards one another and share a conspiratorial look before they slowly turn their attention back towards the ring and without a moment's hesitation the pair begin to walk towards the ring, keeping in step with one another and maintaining focus on what they have planned for the sorry individuals that await them
I can't remember what she came here for I can't remember much of anything anymore
Once the duo reach ringside Mariani climbs the ring steps and climbs the ropes so she's perched with one foot upon the top turnbuckle as she literally looks down upon Her opponent while, at the same time, Mason dives under the bottom rope and slides into the ring and quickly rises to a knee and looks directly towards their entertainment for this evening
J.A. Aldridge: Their opponents, making their way to the ring at a total combined weight of 248 pounds! They are the reigning FGA United States Tag Team Champions! Erin Mariani and Sara Mason… SILK & CY-
The bell sounds when Silk & Cyanide jump The Saturnian Connection as soon as they enter the ring!
Kris Cruise: Silk & Cyanide aren’t wasting any time!
Stephy Auger: Why would they, especially after the way those two punks mouthed off at them last week!
The crowd erupts with boos while Sara Mason & Erin Mariani put the boots to Nando Fresno and Jillian Clay! Mason takes Fresno, runs across the ring and slams him face-first into the top turnbuckle. Mariani takes Clay, delivers a double leg pickup and rams her back-first into the opposite corner! She follows up with multiple shoulder thrusts to the midsection, doubling Clay over. Clay is then trapped in a front facelock before finding herself on the receiving end of multiple knee lifts! Mariani then takes Clay by the hair before throwing her against the turnbuckles! Mariani backs up out of the corner, only to rush forward and catch Clay with a running elbow tackle! After Clay slumps down in the corner, Mariani delivers a running knee strike to the face! Mariani backs up towards the center of the ring, rushes back in and hits Clay with another running knee strike! She then applies a foot choke in the corner while pulling down on the top rope. Across the ring, Mason overwhelms Fresno with a series of palm strikes to the chest, followed by an elbow to the face! After Fresno gets doubled over with a cross chop to the throat, he gets rocked with a headbutt! He starts to stagger out of the corner until Mason grabs him and pushes him back into the corner. Mason then connects with a Salem Slap (palm strike to the face)! Another Salem Slap finds its target! Mason and Mariani turn and face each other. They exchange a knowing nod before running across the ring into opposite corners. Mariani hops onto Fresno before throwing him out of the corner with a monkey flip! Meanwhile, Mason bashes Clay with Blood & Black Lace (high speed running back elbow to an opponent sat in the corner)!
Kris Cruise: Silk & Cyanide have dominated The Saturnian Connection since the opening bell!
Stephy Auger: They wanted to call out the tag team champions? They wanted to question their legitimacy as champions! I think Nando and his little space cadet buddy are finding out the hard way that Silk & Cyanide are, in fact, the real deal!
Mariani makes herself comfortable on the middle rope as she waits for Fresno to get into position. Once Fresno is back on his feet, Mariani leaps off for a diving clothesline! She misses! The crowd cheers when Fresno rolls out of the way, causing Mariani to catch knocking but air! Mariani returns to her feet, turns around and gets caught with a roundhouse kick! Mason rushes over to help Mariani, only to end up getting caught with a roundhouse kick for her troubles. Fresno then bounces off the ropes, comes back and knocks Mariani down with a spinning heel kick! Mason is then caught with a spinning heel kick! Fresno hits the far ropes, comes back and knocks Mariani back down with a running front dropkick! He returns to his feet with a kip up, rushes over and executes a running hurricanrana, sending Mason through the ropes and to the floor. Fresno takes Mariani and goes for an irish whip. But she reverses. When Fresno returns, Mariani goes for a kitchen sink. But Fresno is able to flip over the knee and counter into a schoolboy!
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mariani kicks out.
Kris Cruise: He nearly got her!
Stephy Auger: He did not!
Mariani returns to her feet and gets caught with Holyfield-esque jabs and hooks! Fresno goes to lift her up for a brainbuster, only for Mariani to knee him in the head on the way up. She then takes control of Fresno’s back before driving him down with a half nelson facebuster! Mariani then hits the ropes, rebounds off and lands across Fresno’s back with a handspring moonsault! She pulls Fresno over onto his back before making the cover.
Stephy Auger: Fresno won’t be doing anymore flying around now!
ONE! . . TWO! . . Fresno kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Mariani only got a two count. But you are correct, Stephy. It was wise of Mariani to attack the back of Fresno to not only slow him down, but ground him and keep him from flying across the ring. The Saturnian Connection have the edge in the agility department and Silk & Cyanide have to neutralize that.
Stephy Auger: Giving me credit already? This may not be such a bad show, afterall!
Fresno gets whipped into the corner. Mariani runs across the ring, jumps on top of him and goes to throw him out of the corner with a monkey flip. Somehow, Fresno lands on his feet before hitting the ropes. Instead of coming back, the crowd boos when Mason yanks him down to his feet! Mason drags him to the outside before bringing him down with a one-handed bulldog! Clay then gets in the ring and goes to the aid of Fresno. Mariani tries to cut her off with a running elbow tackle. But Clay ducks the elbow, springboards to the top rope, flips off and knocks Mason down with a moonsault to the outside!
Kris Cruise: OH MY!
Stephy Auger: That little...
As Clay climbs up to the apron, Mariani tries to attack. But Clay is able to cut her off with a shoulder thrust through the ropes. She then climbs up to the top turnbuckle, leaps off and knocks Mariani down with a flying forearm! Clay then positions herself on all fours as Fresno rolls back in. Fresno runs across the ring, uses Clay as a launching pad and tackles Mariani down with a leg lariat! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mariani kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Good bit of teamwork there by SatCon!
Stephy Auger: So good that it only netted them a two count.
Kris Cruise: Only a two count, yes. But it got them the momentum back.
Fresno heads over and tags Clay back in. The Saturnian Connection then take Mariani and bring her down with a double spinning arm wrench takedown. Clay follows up with a standing moonsault before making the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mariani kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Clay returned the favor with a moonsault of her own, but it only got a two count. Stephy, SatCon called into question Silk & Cyanide’s standing as US Tag Champions. If Fresno and Clay get the victory tonight, you would have to imagine that would put them in line for a future championship match.
Stephy Auger: You would think that. Too bad it won’t happen.
Fresno gets tagged back in. The Alien Hunter moves Mariani into the corner and delivers a series of shoulder thrusts before following up with three European Uppercuts. Mariani is then whipped into the far corner before Fresno runs across the ring and delivers a flying corner European Uppercut. After Mariani is lifted up onto the top turnbuckle, Clay gets tagged in. Fresno and Clay then climb up onto the middle ropes before bringing Mariani down with a double superplex! The cheers continue while Clay makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mason dives over and breaks up the pin!
Kris Cruise: Good save there by Mason.
While Mason heads back out to the apron, Clay takes Mariani and brings her back down with a rolling neckbreaker. She goes for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mariani gets her shoulder up.
Clay sets up for an irish whip when Mariani reverses. As Clay hits the ropes, the crowd boos when Mason cheap shots her with a knee to the back.
Kris Cruise: Oh come on!
Clay staggers away from the ropes until Mariani runs over and sends her flipping down to the canvas with a kitchen sink. Mason is then tagged in! Silk & Cyanide take Clay and lift her up before throwing her down with Descent (double suplex lift into a sitout gourdbuster from Mariani)! Mason pushes her over before making the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Clay gets a shoulder up.
Stephy Auger: This is what Silk & Cyanide needed! Mariani finally got her opening, she tagged out to the fresh woman and now they’ve got the advantage again.
Mariani is tagged back in. Silk & Cyanide return the favor with a double arm wrench before knocking Clay down with a double palm thrust to the chest! Mariani pulls Clay back up before whipping her into the corner. After Mariani charges in, Clay slumps down in the corner when Mariani connects with another running elbow tackle. Mariani steps back towards the center of the ring before rushing back in and delivering the Libertine (running double stomp to a seated opponent)! Once Mason is tagged back in, Silk & Cyanide deliver mudhole stomps before Mariani sets up shop near the center of the ring. After Mariani drops down to a knee, Mason pulls up Clay, runs out of the corner and brings her down with the Vow (one-handed bulldog by Mason over Mariani’s knee)! She makes the cover.
Kris Cruise: Oh! Clay just got driven down face-first right across the knee!
Stephy Auger: That should do it right here, Cruise!
ONE! . . TWO! . . Clay gets the shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: No! Clay got the shoulder up.
Stephy Auger: She should have just stayed down! She’s just going to endure more punishment and trust me, Silk & Cyanide will take pleasure in dishing it out.
Mason takes Clay, slams her face-first into the top turnbuckle before tagging Mariani back in. Mason tosses Clay through the ropes before climbing up to the top turnbuckle. After Mariani holds Clay in place, the crowd erupts with boos when Silk & Cyanide bring her down with The Infernal Council (combination rope-hung DDT from Mariani and diving splash to the opponent's back from Mason)! Mariani makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . T-NO!
Clay gets her foot on the bottom rope.
Kris Cruise: Good ring awareness there by Clay!
Stephy Auger: More like luck!
Kris Cruise: Call it what you what, Stephy, but this is match will continue!
Mariani takes Clay and sets up for a Backdrop Driver when Clay counters with elbows. She then lifts Mariani up across her shoulders before bringing her down with a double knee gutbuster!
Kris Cruise: Clay brings Mariani down hard! Those double knees to the gut might have given her the opening she needed to make the tag!
Stephy Auger: Ger up, Erin!
Clay rolls forward, dives over towards her corner and tags Fresno back in!
Stephy Auger: Gah!
The crowd cheers when the Alien Hunter makes his way to the top before knocking Mariani down with missile dropkick! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mariani gets her shoulder up.
Mariani reverses an irish whip, sending Fresno into the ropes. When he returns, he slips down from behind after a failed back body drop attempt before bringing Mariani down with a running back suplex! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO . . Mariani gets the shoulder up.
Fresno sends Mariani into the corner with an irish whip before connecting with a Stinger Splash! Mariani is then sent into the far corner before Fresno hits another Stinger Splash! Fresno sits Mariani up on the top turnbuckle before bringing her down with a super hurricanrana!
Kris Cruise: Super Rana from up top! He may have put this one away with that right there!
ONE! . . TWO! . . Mason dives over and breaks up the pin!
Stephy Auger: Thank You!
Mason goes for another one-handed bulldog when Fresno shoves her off towards Clay, who knocks her down with a running forearm! The Saturnian Connection rush over and deliver a running double dropkick, knocking Mason through the ropes and to the floor! They then turn their attention back to Mariani and send her into the corner with an irish whip. After Fresno connects with a third Stinger Splash, he drops down to all fours. Clay runs across the ring, uses Fresno as a launching pad and hurls herself at Mariani with a cannonball senton! Fresno then pulls Mariani out of the corner and takes control of her back as Clay hits the ropes. When Clay returns, the crowd roars with cheers when The Saturnian Connection bring her down with a running high arch big boot/reverse exploder suplex! Fresno goes for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . THREE!
The crowd cheers when “Satellite” hits the speakers.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the winners of this bout… THE SATURNIAN CONNECTION!
The cheers continue while the ref stands in between Fresno and Clay to raise their arms in victory.
Kris Cruise: The Saturnian Connection have done it! They have knocked off the United States Tag Team Champions in non-title action! If you think Mariani and Mason were ticked off about being passed over by the Hellcat Spangled Death Squad or losing to Pendragon at Autumn Annihilation, they are going to be livid when they finally come to!
Stephy Auger: Go ahead, Cruise. Rub it in. Pour more salt into the wounds. But let me tell you something. Agitating Silk & Cyanide? Disrespecting them like they did last Vertigo and then getting a fluke win here tonight?
Kris Cruise: Fluke!?
Stephy Auger: Saturnian Connection have only made things worse for themselves. They may think they’ve set themselves up for a future title shot. But in reality? They’ve set themselves up for the beating of a lifetime. Silk & Cyanide took those title from your precious Fujiko Mine and Izzy Anders. You think SatCon can beat them with the belts on the line? They’ll be lucky to make it out of the ring in one piece.
Kris Cruise: Well, they’re certainly leaving under their own power tonight with their hands held high. I don’t see why they don’t have a good chance of doing so again. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Vertigo! I am your host, Kris Cruise! Joining me as always is my colleague, Stephy Auger! We just saw some good tag team action between The Saturnian Connection and the US Tag Champs, Silk & Cyanide. But that’s just the start of what we’ve got coming your way tonight. We’ve got two more champions competing in non-title action here tonight. First up, Ace Voltage, the reigning Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion, will be going one on one with Patrick Jones!
Stephy Auger: This won’t just be any match. Nicholas King has put up 50K to have Jones beaten here tonight. Ace Voltage may just leave this match richer than he walked in.
Kris Cruise: He might just. Then, later on, the reigning Pride Champion, Nina Stokes, takes on one half of Baewatch, Jacob Holliday!
Stephy Auger: The little YMCA lifeguard is back in FGA after the Dynamic Duos tournament didn’t go his way. We’ll see how long he can last in there with The Kodiak.
Kris Cruise: That’s not all. Mark Bisley will be in action. We’ve seen him get into it with Ashley Sands and Ashley Marie Chase. Tonight, he gets in the ring with the other third of the AAA trio, Antoinette Sands!
Stephy Auger: Bisley will get to take out his frustrations on the runt of the litter here tonight. You and I both know he should be competing for the 15 Championship.
Kris Cruise: I don’t know about that. But speaking of the 15 Championship, it will be on the line later on tonight as Ashley Sands defends against Ashley Marie Chase!
Stephy Auger: Chase got her wish, Cruise. Much to the chagrin of the more deserving Bisley. You can agree or disagree whether Bisley should be in this match. But one thing we can both agree on is that all is not well between the two Ashleys.
Kris Cruise: Then, in our main event, it’s Six Man Tag Team action with Scramble Rules as Pendragon and Ethan Giles go three on three against The Hellcat Spangled Death Squad and their cohort, Skull Kid #1.
Stephy Auger: This will be the first time seeing one of the Skull Kids in an FGA ring. It’ll also be the first time we’ve seen Lisa Seldon and Anastasia Hayden competing here since winning Dynamic Duos this past fall. One of the most anticipated tag team matches in recent memory is coming up at Grapple Kingdom 3. Tonight, we get ourselves a preview of what will go down in that World Tag Team Championship match!
Kris Cruise: We’ve got a lot of action coming up tonight, fans. We’ll see you back here, right after this...
• COMMERCIAL BREAK •
Last Edit: Mar 8, 2020 22:22:27 GMT -5 by FGA Office
Vertigo returns from it’s commercial break as we are greeted with a sight that we have seen a couple of times, a lone man sitting on a stool with a green curtain backdrop behind him. In this instance, it’s though Seth Iser is occupying this seat. Since he isn’t wrestling on this evening, he’s dressed smartly, the three piece black and white suit looking quite professional. The hair is actually neatly tied up in a ponytail and his beard is trimmed slightly. The boos are loud for the former Pride Champion as he just has his arms crossed, not hearing what the audience were to think of him at all. Alas, this is pretaped.
Seth Iser: There are just four of us left…
He states this calmly, knowing that it is indeed factual. The elder statesman of professional wrestling has this perpetual frown etched on his face.
Seth Iser: Lowri Moss, Neal Durden, Izzy Anders, and myself. Three of the four competitors haven’t even reached their thirtieth birthday and I’m the outlier in that regard. It’s almost a trend to have younger wrestlers at the forefront anymore with how young the industry is becoming. But as much as I want to spend the next several minutes of your time educating the world further on that point...I’m afraid I can’t do that. There’s six figures cash and a World Title opportunity staring the four of us in the face. And only one of the four of us have been in this wildcard tournament before...that being the only one of the four of us who won the biggest piece of gold of them all in Izzy.
Seth’s eyes narrow as he ponders things further, leaning forward on that stool.
Seth Iser: I still feel that two falls of honor match, you know…and for those blissfully unaware, here's a small reminder of it. Roll the footage.
Seth’s voice trails out as we are then reminded of that infamous match that is Iser’s brainchild.
Anders and Iser begin to stir on the mat. They slowly turn over before pulling themselves back up using the edge of the apron. The Mindkiller is the first to strike, hitting Iser with a European Uppercut. Iser uses his left arm to answer back with a European Uppercut of his own. Anders nails Iser with another European Uppercut! Iser comes back with a European Uppercut of his own! He then cuts off Anders with another European Uppercut! Anders answers back with a European Uppercut of her own! She then cuts off Iser with another European Uppercut! Iser gets rocked with another stiff European Uppercut from Anders. The Mindkiller motions for another European Uppercut when Iser cuts her off with a jab. He then pops Anders with a second jab. Then a third! The crowd gasps when Iser then goes for a discus lariat. When Iser turns around, he gets rocked with a roundhouse kick! The cheers continue when Anders takes Iser and whips him hard down ringside, sending him crashing shoulder-first into the steel steps!
Kris Cruise: Iser goes crashing into another steel structure! This time, the steel steps!
Iser groans while he grabs his right arm. Anders heads over, pulls Iser’s arm away from him and slips it down in the place between the steel steps and the ring post. The Mindkiller takes three steps back, rushes forward and kicks the steps into Iser’s arms!!! The crowd explodes with cheers while Iser howls in pain.
Stephy Auger: This is just cruel, Cruise!
Anders turns and motions for the timekeeper to get up from his seat. After doing what he’s told, The Mindkiller snatches up the chair and folds it up. She then heads over and whacks the steel steps, causes Iser to howl in pain. The Mindkiller whacks the steel steps with the chair again…
… and again…
… and again…
… and again…
… and again…
… and again! She then repositions the chair in her hands before delivering a hard chest pass, sending the chair smacking off of Iser’s head!
Kris Cruise: Seth Iser’s getting beaten like a rented mule!
Anders kicks off the top half of the steel steps. After grabbing Iser by the hair, Anders pulls Iser up onto the bottom half of the steel steps. The cheers continue as Anders sets up Iser for a piledriver. Anders is about to lift Iser up when he counters with a back body drop, sending Anders to the floor.
Stephy Auger: She was going to try and break his neck with a piledriver on the steps! She’s a psychopath, Cruise!
Kris Cruise: Weren’t you signing her praises two years ago when she was running roughshod as the leader of Heroes Never Die?
Stephy Auger: … quiet, Cruise!!
Seth Iser: That...was hell.
There’s a moment of weakness that Seth lets seep through as he’s rubbing his right arm a little more so considering the hell that match was. He still remembers it beat by beat.
Seth Iser: We tore into each other for the Pride Title and literally the pride of another man’s leg being broken. And we took a piece of each other that neither of us might fully get back that evening. And this is the type of intensity and tenacity that she only brings out on special occasions. She almost has to be pushed to be that animal and someone like me brings that out of her. She’s probably still smarting and furious she doesn’t have that true victory over me yet...that’s even more motivation. Because despite some of the heinous things she did to me on that match, I won.
Seth’s eyes show a glint of rage remembering some of the things he went through while rotating the shoulder that was assaulted on by said Izzy nearly nine months ago.
Seth Iser: It might have been by the narrowest of margins but I was the better wrestler that night. Barely. And she’s a Grand Slam champion. She’s done damn near everything in this company. When she wants to, she’s one of the most devious wrestlers to ever play our game. And when you’re fingertips away as she was to being on top one more time...it makes you want it just that little bit more. She’ll want to do more than be knocked out in the semis as she was the first time. It isn’t going to be so easy for her though...
After speaking all of that he’s still got a level of calmness to him despite literally stretching his right arm across and shaking it, still remembering some of the pain of one of the more brutal Pride title matches in the history of the promotion.
Seth Iser: Because Neal Durden is her opponent, and he truly embodies the name of the tournament.
He states this matter-of-factly, the scowl ever present on his face and he just recrosses his arms and is even tapping his foot on his stool, a little ancy.
Seth Iser: Yes...Neal Durden, some might overlook what he could be. Not me. In some ways, he’s the most dangerous of the four because when it comes to singles action: he’s the closest thing to an unknown in what he could theoretically do in that ring. I’ve seen some of his action in a promotion where my brother helps run now. I also know he won the Hudson Cup. But when it comes to singles championships...he hasn’t broken through just yet. And as much as he’s happy for his girlfriend’s continued success as a singles, I know for a damn fact he wants on the board.
There’s a semblance of a smile etched on his face thinking about the potential competition among tag team champions. But it’s merely a flash before it fades back into his usual neutral expression.
Seth Iser: But what will he do in a situation like that. We might have an idea what he does for his go to moves...but he’s truly the most dangerous thing in this spot. A comparative unknown compared to three warriors who have earned some stripes. And that’s something that worries someone like me. You can scout for tendencies for what Izzy might do. Hell, for as much as she got in my head, I know I scrambled up her brain to gain that price for knowledge. I almost know her offense by heart. And Lowri? Well, she’s has had so many high profile singles matches that you can gauge many things she could bring; we don’t have that on Neal.
You can see his face show the slightest little bit of tension.
Seth Iser: I give it a coin flip despite having to wrestle a tag title defense, he could be who awaits Lowri or yours truly. The kid is starting to realize how dangerous he truly is judging by how he advanced in this tournament. There’s plenty of pages on reading what a number of us can do. The only one who might have that book fully is Lowri because...Neal IS the wildcard. And if any of us remotely disrespect him...this tournament becomes his coming out party and his crowning achievement as a singles wrestler to date.
And then the stern frown comes across his face.
Seth Iser: I won’t have an opportunity to address either an old wound or the unknown if I don’t deal with what’s in front of me. And it’s something we’ve both been looking forward to for a while, am I right young Lowri?
There’s a little more bite to the word ‘young’ than anything else he’s said as he contemplates his word choice a little further.
Seth Iser: The first person to hold double championships in this company multiple times. You’re a company of one in that regard. And hell, you’ve become quite greedy with championships considering you emancipated the Pride Title from Tyler and have been one half of the best tag team alongside the aforementioned Neal Durden in the company today. Not hesitating or stuttering: you two are the best tag team in the company.
And his face lightens up ever so slightly stating all of this.
Seth Iser: And I hear the whispers. The whispers are getting a little louder. Some people here think you’ll be the youngest to get to the Grand Slam. You’re one away from that achievement already and you have most of your career ahead of you. And judging by the various people that were congratulating you...I get the sense many people both who pay the tickets and those who lace up the boots here think you’re ready to be tested on that level. Right now, the wrestling world is smiling at you. The wrestling fans...smiling at you. And they want to see the birth of the next potential mega-star.
After that last sentence, the mood changes. His face hardens and there’s that stern frown.
Seth Iser: But this is not going to be your ultimate coronation, champ.
His eyes are hardening with some disgust as he thinks about it.
Seth Iser: This has nothing to do with you as a human being, Lowri or anyone else for that matter...but the amount of people wanting to anoint the next big thing while forgetting and disrespecting those who have been there for years...is something I’m tired of. While the wrestling world is smiling at you, they’re frowning down at me trying to forget what the hell I did for damn near a year with the Pride title YOU currently hold. Some of the people want to whitewash my name involving that title using you to be that eraser. And that won’t happen.
A firm, resolute shake of the head but some of that infamous temper and anger is starting to boil over ever so slightly. He’s suppressing his tone a little even as he takes a quick breath.
Seth Iser: Because I’m going to do what I’ve wanted to do to you for a while now: kick your ass all over the middle of that ring.
Simple statement as he stands up from the stool now, a little more animated but not finished talking.
Seth Iser: I’m unlike any professional wrestler you’ve ever faced in your life, champ. You can bring everything you have...and I know you won’t use your tag title defense as an excuse. You’re too much of a warrior for that crap and have to represent what you’re wearing. But even if you were fresh, it wouldn’t matter. Not against me and not on that night. Maybe another day when you’re even closer to fulfilling your vast potential than you are now. But while you have plenty of time to get to that ultimate goal...the sands of time are pouring down on me.
He shakes his head not wanting to admit that truth but he does let out a chuckle.
Seth Iser: Thirty-nine years old. I’m not a spring chicken; and I know I’m probably one bad knee injury away from retirement. Even if that doesn’t come to pass, I’ve got more matches behind me than ahead of me. But unlike most people in this entire world...I’m not afraid of that. I accept this. Like I accept the fact that I threw away the beginning half of my career...because I just had a habit for getting myself into trouble…
A frown as he’s still smarting about his younger self with a shake of the head.
Seth Iser: But I’m making up for lost time and using what time I have left to the greatest effect. Nobody will forget the wars I had involving the pride title you possess, Lowri. And while I can’t promise myself to be a Grand Slam winner here; I don’t play nice with others. Never have, never will. But 2020 will be THE year I break a long drought. You young Lowri, Neal, even Izzy for that matter...weren’t even wrestling in the sport the last time I held a World Championship. Didn't even break in yet, the trio of you. And I remember that feeling when my body gave out when it was ripped away from me more than the championship win itself…
Another regretful sigh as he shakes his head.
Seth Iser: But despite the advancing years, I’m a better wrestler now than I was then. Nobody knows more about the sport than I do. Not even Ricky has my vast collection of knowledge. And I got so much better without having to use any of my infamous tricks or my greatest source of offense in the right hand holding the title you have young Lowri. Just imagine what the hell I can do...with everything in my arsenal open now. You won’t have to imagine it for long because Grapple Kingdom 3 is when you experience it all.
He opens his hands slightly as some of the more familiar arrogance is starting to seep across in his tone.
Seth Iser: To point blank it kid, I’m going to tear you apart in Vancouver. And there won’t be a damn thing ANYBODY in this company can do about it. Then I’m going to win the second match...and usurp the throne as World Champion while being a little richer. I’m sick of being denied my Magnum Opus and I’m not letting anybody take the pen from me any longer. I WRITE my ending. I WRITE my *bleep* damned story. And I’m going to write at the end of that book that I’ll be THE man one more time...while the whole world can kiss my ass for not respecting me the way I should’ve been all along.
And with that declaration he poses in a crucifix and tilts his head back slightly and you get a better understanding of how long and tall he actually is even in that suit as we fade from this view.
The camera quickly cuts to the inside of the Matthew Knight Arena. Mild chaos ensues as various people are frantically roaming the halls. A gaggle of ring crew members rush by as they carry ropes and steel. Three referees are deep in discussion. Numerous wrestlers are coming and going. The camera lingers on the scene for a moment or two before it cuts to another sector of the arena.
The Frontier Grappling Arts United States Champion, Nina Stokes, is spotted as she walks down a relatively quiet hallway. There are no frills when it comes to her outfit. A black and sail Nike vintage hoodie. A pair of black Nike Speed leggings. A custom pair of pink Nike Presto shoes. Her gym bag was also in tow.
She’s making her way towards the women’s locker room. And just as she gets a hand on the door knob, Spencer Burke appears with a microphone. He gives Ms. Stokes a quick nod before he begins speaking.
Spencer Burke: Sorry to bother you, Nina. But could I have a moment of your time?
She doesn’t give a verbal response. Instead, she lets her hand off the door knob and turns slightly in Spencer’s direction.
Spencer Burke: It’s been a little while since we’ve seen you in action here at FGA. And tonight, you take on Jacob Holliday. Do you have a game plan to combat him?
A second passes.
Nina Stokes: A game plan…
She peers at the interviewer for a moment or two, almost as she’s bewildered by the question. However, Nina does answer after about seven seconds or so.
Nina Stokes: Of course I do. It’s the same game plan that I’ve employed each time that I’ve stepped into a FGA ring. Enter. Dominate. Win. It doesn’t matter if it is Ashley Marie Chase, Salem, Jacob, or Sadie San Francisco. The method doesn’t change. The intensity does, though.
Spencer nods his head.
Spencer Burke: Speaking of Sadie, she had a lot of strong words to say about you when she and I sat down a few weeks ago. Is there anything that you’d like to say in response?
Those words elicit a nasty smirk. Her smirk soon transforms into a wild chuckle. Nina then opens the locker room door and enters. The door quickly shuts behind her. The camera fades out moments later.
Ace Voltage: I don’t do this often but I wanted to say thank you. While I could have done the job myself, it’s always nice to have a backup plan. It’s nice to have someone to trust around here. Being on top of the mountain, having this money and power, it’s lonely on top. I am glad someone around here has the same mindset as me. Don’t forget, there’s a reason I’m the champ.
Ace bends down to grab his title and kisses it in front of Cassius.
Ace Voltage: I truly hope you don’t feel bad for Chaz. Because you shouldn’t feel bad. He had this coming all along. He deserved THIS. And you and all these idiots cheering him should show no empathy towards that idiot.
The crowd boos louder. Ace seems like he’s ready to go, having picked up his title, but as he turns he feels resistance. Looking back, he notices Cassius’ fingers gripping the leather of the belt… but his eyes are locked firmly on Ace.
Cassius Reed: Cool your jets, sucka. Cassius ain’t come swung by to get himself a little pat on the back from some scraggly Jersey Shore lookin’ mammajamma. No no no, there ain’t no team here. There will be no “Cassius Reed Experience featuring Ace Voltage”..
Cassius suddenly releases his grip on the belt, causing Ace to stagger back slightly, the resistance gone.
Cassius Reed: You see, when you approached Cassius in that hotel lobby back in New Zealand, Cassius saw the value in the opportunity you presented. Not in forging an alliance, Cassius has had enough of carrying deadweight through their careers, but in rectifying a hideous wrong. It was grade A white people bullsh*t that Chaz Holiday could step into FGA after his five year vacation and straight into a title match. Meanwhile, Cassius is out there, working his sweet black behind off week in week out, conquering Kings and giving the people of FGA a show every goddamned event, for what? The Sparklebuddy that people were always a little disappointed in seeing because he was the one with a dong to waltz back in here like the world ain’t progressed since he’s been sat on his ass eating Twinkies?
Cassius shakes his head to suggest, quite emphatically, that this is not the case.
Cassius Reed: Cassius wife might have been one of Chaz’s friends back when. And he may have needed to purchase her a couple of select luxury items to help her see Cassius’ point of view regardin’ this heinous situation. BUT THE POINT OF THE MATTER IS THAT EVEN SHE AGREES WITH CASSIUS. Cassius has had to jump through hoops, climb mountains, and put up with multi-man buffoonery to even get his name into the title conversation. And now it’s in their mouth, let me tell you sucka, Cassius is making sure it stays there. Cassius didn’t help you out last time… Cassius helped himself out. Because there ain’t no other sucka here that seems to have a brother’s back.
Cassius smirk has developed into a full on sneer.
Cassius Reed: So you go out there, have your little playdate wit’ Patrick Jones. But don’t you get that belt scuffed up any… because if it is you’re the sucka who’ll have to pay to get it buffed out when Cassius takes it from you. Cassius might have been your Plan B to deal wit’ Chaz… but there’s only one plan that matters, and that’s Plan C.
Cassius stays a moment in silence, staring into the defiant eyes of Ace Voltage, before turning on the ball of his foot and storming out of the room, leaving Ace with his thoughts.
We cut to the backstage interview area at the Matthew Knight Arena where, at this moment in time, the camera crew are setting up to prepare for their scheduled interview segment later this evening…only for Mark Bisley to walk into frame and loudly slap his hands together in front of the camera
Mark Bisley: …and that’s me tagging into this interview.
Pausing for a moment, Bisley looks over his shoulder to note the complete lack of interviewee – or, for that matter, interviewer, a fact he responds to with a nonchalant shrug because he’s here now, so why let the details get in the way?
Mark Bisley: So this evening I get to share the ring with another member of the ever-growing Sands family, a family that frankly requires somebody to provide a full character sheet for everybody else to read up on before they begin as I am a member of the Frontier Grappling Arts roster and not somebody reading a Hillary Mantel novel, so I shouldn’t have to go into every fresh chapter having to skip back to the first few pages to remind myself the who’s, the what’s, the when’s, the where’s and the why’s…but then again, that’s still better than Ashley’s failure to understand that the rules of a tag team match require the participants to realise that deigning to tag their partner is ideal.
Pausing for a moment to let the point become that little bit laboured by design, Bisley continues
Mark Bisley: However a mere tag does not interest me, Ashley, instead that title which you are currently checking in as a piece of carry-on luggage does. You see, if you played nice – or played at all – I wouldn’t have reason to be looking for something to do in these coming days, weeks and months as you and I would be happily competing in the Wildcard Lottery, but because you decided that dipping the toes of one foot in the pool was all you were willing to do, that meant that I have time on my hands and I need to have something that will fill the gap in my schedule. And you know what they say about two birds and one stone, don’t you?
Bisley cannot help but look smug
Mark Bisley: But since you and your friend The Other Ashley and your title aren’t going to play this evening, instead I’ll just have to make do with your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate…oh wait, let me see if I have that right…
Bisley pulls out a handful of paper and skims through each page until, on the fourth one, he comes to a stop
Mark Bisley: Ah yes, here’s Antoinette, in just the right place to claim usage of the Sands name without running the risk of having one snarky online poster habitually refer to her by her given name, so she’s legit…
Slapping the pages together as if they were a book, although clearly lacking the finality of the sound of the pages snapping together, Bisley looks down his nose at the camera and, by extension, Antoinette
Mark Bisley: …but here’s the problem, Antoinette, I am legit and I don’t need to trade on a surname to do so, I merely need to trade on my talent and the pieces fall into place. And this is the problem you face this evening: if your second cousin once removed could have shown the slightest interest in taking the Wildcard Lottery seriously, you would not be facing me, so I do hope that this doesn’t lead to uncomfortable conversations around the table at Thanksgiving when you find yourself asking Ashley how she will go down in history as the tag team partner that dragged me down so badly that a solitary match was all she was good for. Now that's embarrassing...
“Killin It” by Krewella hits the P.A system and the fans immediately turn to cheers as it isn’t long at all before Antoinette Sands comes skipping out from backstage. She looks like a walking disco ball with how lit up she is, causing the fans to chant her name as her electric personality shines through. As her body jumps up and down three times, she looks down as her feet stomp against the ramp listening to the music as she skips down the ramp, slapping the hands of the fans.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE fall! Introducing first, hailing from Durham, North Carolina… ANTOINETTE SANDS!
As she approaches some desperately reaching their hands out, Antoinette playfully digs into her shorts pocket before blowing on her hand in the face of the fans, watching as pink and purple glitter mist smacks them in the face making them cheer out of excitement. Antoinette quickly makes her way to the ring, sliding under the ropes before jumping up standing tall in the middle of the ring, nodding her head as she watches for her opponent.
Kris Cruise: Antoinette Sands is ready to take on Mark Bisley here tonight. You’ve got to wonder how she feels about her sister-in-law and Ashley Marie Chase clashing over the 15 Championship.
Stephy Auger: I’m sure it has to be awkward for her being stuck in between those two, which is what makes this situation that much better!
The arena lights dim to almost pitch blackness, save for a couple of blue lights that pulse in sync with the intro to "Storms End" that is rising in pitch and intensity until the main hook burst forth and, at that very second, the ramp is bathed in blue light as Mark Bisley strides onto the ramp with his head bowed and an arm raised before he comes to a stop on the ramp and raises his head to survey the arena wearing one hell of a self-satisfied smirk upon his face
Keeping his arm raised as he makes his way down the ramp, Bisley walks at his own pace as he confidently walks to the ring at his own pace right up until he reaches the ringside area, and once he reaches the ringside area he lowers his arm and breaks into a short dash to give him the momentum to hop onto the ring apron where he crouches for a moment and taps the side of his head a couple of times to the song's beat before he rolls backwards into the ring and quickly gets back to his feet
J.A. Aldridge: Her opponent, hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota! Weighing in at 201 pounds… MARK BISLEY!
Once he's got to his feet Bisley makes his way to the nearest corner and climbs the nearest turnbuckles where he stands with one foot on the top rope and his arms held out wide as he slowly tilts his head back for a few seconds until he turns his head and peers back into the ring and climbs down, removing the towel from around his shoulders the second his feet touch the canvas and casually tossing it in the referee's direction as he takes a few steps forward so he's standing in the centre of the ring where he drops to a knee and runs his hand on the canvas to say one thing: this is my ring.
Stephy Auger: Mark Bisley should be challenging for that 15 Championship here tonight. You and I both know it.
Kris Cruise: Look, Mark Bisley deserves to be in the conversation. He had an underrated 2019, in my mind. But, Ashley Marie Chase pinned the champion. That has to count for something.
Stephy Auger: Yeah, she only won because Ashley Sands was too thickheaded to make the tag out to Mark Bisley and finish the match off for them. Had she done that, Bisley and Sands would have advanced and they would have had their title match on the last show. Instead, Sands thought she could do it herself and ended up losing the match, which prevented the both of them from advancing and cost Bisley a guaranteed championship match. He’s got a right to be pissed off!
Bisley starts off the match by muscling Sands into the corner during a collar-and-elbow. As the ref instructs them both to break it up by five, Bisley lets go before catching Sands with a punch to the gut. While Sands is doubled over, Bisley quickly snatches a hold of her and delivers the Iko Uwais (cravat with repeated knees to the head)! From there, Sands is whipped into the far corner before Bisley rushes across the ring and catches her with a step-up enzuigiri. A dazed Sands begins to stumble out of the corner along the ropes. Bisley remains right there on top of her and whips her into the far ropes. Upon the return, Bisley doubles her over with a rolling solebutt to the midsection. Sands finds herself on the receiving end of a second rolling solebutt to the gut. Then a third, which drops her down to a knee! Bisley reaches down, pulls Sands back to her feet, then lifts her up across his shoulders before bringing her down with the Blind Destiny (Canadian backbreaker rack dropped into double knee gutbuster)! Boos continue while he goes for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Bisley is starting out strong thus far.
Stephy Auger: He wants to send a message to both Ashleys.
Sands gets brought back down to the mat with a vertical suplex before Bisley rolls over into a cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands gets a shoulder up.
Bisley pulls Sands up by the hair before whipping her hard into the corner. Gasps and boos are heard when Sands’ back collides with the turnbuckles. She then staggers out of the corner until Bisley heaves her across the ring with an overhead belly to belly suplex! He heads back over for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Total domination thus far from Bisley!
Stephy Auger: You sound surprised? Ant can’t match Bisley, we both know this.
Sands is brought back into the corner before Bisley delivers the Minnesota Buzzsaw (repeated shoot kicks to a cornered opponent's chest)! Bisley then brings her out of the corner before whipping her into the far ropes. He goes to catch her off the rebound with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Sands is able to counter with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors!
Kris Cruise: Uh oh! Sands with a counter! This could be the start of something!
Stephy Auger: Or NOT!
The cheers continue when Bisley gets caught with a dropkick as he gets back up off the mat! Bisley gets returned to the canvas with a second dropkick! Sands goes for an irish whip, only to get reversed. When she returns, she knocks Bisley down with a crossbody block!
ONE! . . TWO! . . Bisley kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Sands only gets two, but she’s fighting back!
Stephy Auger: Well isn’t that just sweet.
Bisley reverses another irish whip attempt, sending Sands into the corner. He rushes in to attack when Sands knocks him back with a boot to the face. With Bisley stunned, Sands slingshots out to the apron, springboards to the top turnbuckle, dives off and knocks him down with a flying clothesline! She makes the cover
ONE! . . TWO! . . Bisley kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Another nearfall! You keep brushing her off, Stephy, but Antoinette Sands is fighting back!
Stephy Auger: She’s got a long ways to go to really get Bisley in trouble in there.
Sands finally succeeds with an irish whip attempt and sends Bisley into the corner. She then runs over, jumps on top of Bisley and throws him out of the corner with a monkey flip! Sands steps back out to the apron before scaling to the top turnbuckle. The moment Bisley gets back to his feet, Sands jumps off and sends him stumbling down to the canvas with a missile dropkick to the back of the head! She crawls over, pushes Bisley over to his back and makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Bisley kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Bisley just got his shoulder up in time! This match has turned around, Stephy! Antoinette’s got all the momentum!
Stephy Auger: Don’t let her do this, Bisley. Don’t let her back into this match.
Kris Cruise: It’s a bit too late for that! Antoinette is taking back control of this match! If Bisley doesn’t right the ship, he’s going to be exiting another arena with another loss on his record to a AAA member!
Sands pulls up Bisley before whipping him into another corner. After catching Bisley with a corner dropkick, Sands brings him down with a Tornado DDT before stepping back out to the apron. She starts to climb the turnbuckles when Bisley scrambles back to his feet, rushes into the corner, runs up to the middle turnbuckle, grabs Sands and throws her down with an overhead belly to belly superplex! Bisley steps out to the apron, marches across it and begins climbing another set of turnbuckles. He reaches the top, leaps off and crashes down across Sands with the Sapienza (frog splash to the opponent's legs)! The boos continue as Bisley hooks Sands’ legs before turning her over into the Minnesota Cloverleaf (Texas cloverleaf with a knee to the opponent's back)! As Bisley pulls back, Sands immediately taps out.
Stephy Auger: Well, so much for that! You were saying, Cruise?
Kris Cruise: ...
The crowd boos as “Storms End” hits the the speakers.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this bout… MARK BISLEY!
The referee goes to raise Bisley’s arm in victory. But he continues to keep the Minnesota Cloverleaf applied!
Kris Cruise: Hey, hey, HEY! What the heck is going on here!?
Stephy Auger: What do you think is going on, Cruise? I told you Bisley was sending a message here tonight.
* DING! DING! DING!!! DING!!! DING!!! *
The bell repeatedly sounds while Bisley keeps the submission applied. A close-up on Sands shows her crying out in pain while Bisley keeps pulling back on the hold.
Kris Cruise: The referee needs to get in there and pull Bisley off of her!
Stephy Auger: Easy for you to say from the comfort of your chair!
The referee admonishes Bisley for keeping the hold applied after the match is over. Bisley just ignores his pleas to the disdain of the crowd.
The crowd continues to heave Bisley have it with boos… until suddenly, cheers pump out of various pockets of the crowd.
Stephy Auger: What’s going on?
The crowd erupts with cheers as Ashley Marie Chase rushes down the aisle! A few paces behind her is the 15 Champion, Ashley Sands!
Kris Cruise: Ashley Sands and Ashley Marie Chase are here to make the save!
Stephy Auger: You sure about that? It looks like the champ is taking her sweet time and is in no hurry to help out Antoinette! Hmm, looks like AMC won’t be the only member of AAA to have beef with her!
Kris Cruise: Don’t you even start with that!
Bisley keeps wrenching back on the hold. He then does a double take when he sees Sands’ AAA stablemates rushing the ring. Bisley quickly releases the hold the moment both AMC and Sands slide into the ring. Chase rushes over and goes to attack Bisley. But he’s able to hop through the rope and escape to the floor untouched. AMC continues to walk next to the ropes while she watches Bisley like a hawk. Bisley mocks both Ashleys before making his way back up the ramp. Back in the ring, both Ashley Sands tends to Antoinette while AMC continues to stare Bisley down.
"I Won't Back Down" by Burn Halo fills the arena. At the first drum beats, a spotlight flickers on the entrance way with Jones coming out as the bass starts in a surge of energy. He spins a full circle with his arms stretched out to revel in the crowd's energy. The spin completes at the top of the ramp where Jones drops to a knee with a big, over-handed fist pump.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE fall! Introducing first, hailing from Louisville, Kentucky! Weighing in at 235 pounds… PATRICK JONES!
PJ takes a moment to enjoy the cheers around him and collect his thoughts before hopping to his feet. He jogs down the ramp, talking to and high-fiving fans, trying to get them as pumped up and ready to go as he is. Jones goes straight from the ramp and jumps onto the ring apron before ducking through the second and third rope, giving another, slower spin just to drink in the environment.
Kris Cruise: We can now confirm that Patrick Jones will be facing Nicholas King at Grapple Kingdom 3. The match that King has refused to take part in is now official! Interesting how King constantly called out a retired wrestler. But the moment an active wrestler wanted to fight him, he didn’t want to engage. Well, now he has no choice!
Stephy Auger: First off, you act like King called Owen Gonsalves from the privacy of his own home. He called that man out for months and even went to practically his backyard. What did Owen do? He hid under his kid’s bed like a coward. He let his fans down, his fellow countrymen down and even his family down. Number two, Patrick Jones isn’t even in the same league as Nicholas King, so he doesn’t deserve the honor and the opportunity of facing someone of King’s talent. Number three, Jones won’t even make it to Grapple Kingdom 3. Ace Voltage will make sure of that!
The arena goes dark and "Thunderstruck” by AC/DC starts blaring over the sound system. As the words "THUNDER" are shouted into the arena each time, the lights flash yellow.
I WAS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A RAILROAD TRACK
A white spotlight shines on the ramp and Ace Voltage appears from backstage, once the lyrics start going. He is wearing a black jacket with his name on the back and his light blue tights. He shines a smirk to the crowd, zips open the jacket to show off his torso and the rest of the lights come on, with yellow and blue lighting flashing around. He walks down the ramp, nodding his head to the music, laughing to himself when he hears the boos and insults from the crowd.
J.A. Aldridge: His opponent, hailing from London, England! Weighing in at 15.8 stone! He is the reigning FGA Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion… ACE VOLTAGE!
As he's going down the entrance ramp, he walks close to the guardrail ready to slap the hands of the one or two fans. Before he can slap their hands, he quickly rips his hands away, smirks to the booing fans and walks down to the ring. He jumps up onto the apron and steps into the ring. He walks to the corner, jumping on the second rope, looking out into the crowd. He raises an arm in the air, smirking and smiling to the fans. After a few seconds, he jumps down, takes his jacket off and waits for the match to start.
Kris Cruise: You say Ace Voltage will do Nicholas King’s dirty work for him. But Ace has his own issues, and I’m not even talking about with Chaz Holiday. I’m talking about with Cassius Reed, who did Ace’s dirty work for him a couple weeks back at the last Vertigo. You heard what Cassius told Ace tonight. The Funky Dragon is no friend of his. This isn’t a partnership or a business arrangement by any means. Cassius did what he did not for Ace’s benefit, but for his own! Cassius wants that championship! He wants to be in the title mix!
Stephy Auger: I do agree with Cassius that a man of his stature and ability should have been in the title mix. But let’s get back to Chaz Holiday for a second. Remember when I said that Jones didn’t deserve to be in the same ring as King? Well I can tell you wholeheartedly that Holiday definitely doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring as Voltage with his title on the line!
Kris Cruise: Well I’ve got some bad news for you, Stephy. I’ve got another match to announce, straight from the FGA Office! At Grapple Kingdom, Ace Voltage will once again find himself standing across the ring from Chaz Holiday. This time? The Mid-Atlantic Legacy Championship WILL be on the line!
Stephy Auger: GAH!
The match starts with Jones and Voltage locking up. Jones is able to win the battle of positioning and gains the advantage with a side headlock. Voltage goes to shove him off into the ropes, but Jones remains on him. He then hits Jones with a pair of forearm shots to the ribs before attempting to push him off. But once again, Jones keeps the hold locked on. Voltage then takes Jones and tries to counter with a back suplex. But Jones rolls over his shoulder, lands on his feet and spins Voltage towards him before sending him to the mat with a side headlock takeover. Voltage then kicks his legs in frustration before slowly reaching up. The crowd boos when he grabs Jones by the hair and pulls his head back before reversing into a grounded headscissors. Voltage tries to keep Jones on the mat. But Jones is able to ultimately escape with a kip up. The Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion scrambles back to his feet, only to find himself caught in another side headlock. This time, he grabs hold of Jones and moves him across the ring towards the ropes. Voltage then grabs the middle rope with both hands, forcing a rope break. While Jones releases the hold and lifts his arms up, Voltage takes advantage and hits him with a shoulder thrust to the ribs! The boos continue as Voltage delivers four more shoulder thrusts. With Jones doubled over, Voltage turns and takes off into the far ropes. When he returns, Jones takes Voltage and dumps him over the top rope, sending him crumbling to the floor!
Stephy Auger: Ace!
The champion tries to pick himself back up as Jones hits the far ropes. Jones returns, jumps through the ropes and tackles him down with a suicide dive! Voltage is then rolled back into the ring before Jones slides back in for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . Voltage kicks out.
Jones moves the action into the corner, where he lights up Voltage’s chest with repeated knife edge chops. Voltage is then whipped into the far corner. After countering Jones with a boot to the face, Voltage rushes out of the corner. He readies for a running lariat, only to get taken down with a deep arm drag. A second deep arm drag returns Voltage to the canvas. Voltage is taken back down with a third arm drag before Jones transitions into an armbar. The official gets down and asks Voltage if he wants to give up. The champion responds by shooing him away. After battling back to his feet, Voltage uses his free hand to push up on Jones’ chin and move him towards the side of the ring. The ref sees them once again in the ropes, so he gives them until a count of five to break it up. As the count reaches “three,” Jones releases the hold and lifts his arms up. Voltage tries to take advantage with another cheap shot. This time, a right hook to the face. But Jones ducks and slips behind him. When Voltage turns around, the crowd cheers as Jones fires off a flurry of right hands! He then hits the far ropes, returns and sends Voltage over the top rope and to the floor with a running clothesline!
Kris Cruise: Ace again finds himself on the outside!
Stephy Auger: It’s okay, Ace! There’s no need to panic...
Jones climbs the turnbuckles before crouching down on the top. He readies himself for a dive off the top until Voltage scurries away at the sight of him perched on the turnbuckle. Voltage continues to stall for time by circling the ring. Jones has had enough. He then hits the far ropes, comes back and catches Voltage circling on the outside with another suicide dive!
Kris Cruise: Jones caught him again!
Voltage gets rolled back in. Jones rolls back in to make the cover. But instead of pinning Voltage with a lateral press, he watches on as Voltage continues rolling across the mat before rolling to the outside.
Kris Cruise: Oh come on!
Voltage begins to head towards the aisle. The Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion continues to walk amidst the boos… when suddenly, he stops dead in his tracks. The crowd cheers at the sight of Chaz Holiday stepping through the curtain.
Stephy Auger: What the heck is he doing out here!?
Holiday crosses his arms and shakes his head at the sight of Voltage.
Kris Cruise: He’s making sure that Ace doesn’t slither out of here like the snake that he is!
Voltage starts to back up. As he turns to hop back up onto the apron, he gets caught with a shoulder thrust through the ropes. He’s then brought back in with a vertical suplex! Jones turns over into a lateral press.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Voltage kicks out.
Jones whips Voltage into the far ropes. He sets up for a back body drop until Voltage stops, grabs him by the hair and then throws him down face-first to the mat with an inverted mat slam. The boos continues as Voltage puts the boots to Jones. He then pulls Jones over onto his back before following up with a knee drop across the face. He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Jones gets his shoulder up.
Voltage takes Jones, places him in a headlock and proceeds to rake his face across the top rope. He then brings Jones into the corner, turns him around and pops him with repeated right hands. The boos continue as Jones slumps down in the corner. From there, Voltage applies a foot choke. The referee is quick to get in and give him until five to break it.
Ref: ONE… TWO… THREE… FOUR…
Voltage lets go of the choke and backs up… only to rush back in and apply another foot choke! The crowd boos Voltage as he pulls down on the rope rope while choking Jones.
Ref: ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! F-
Voltage lets go. He reaches down and pulls Jones up in the corner before catching him with a forearm strike. Jones is then whipped into the far ropes before Voltage catches him off the rebound with a Samoan Drop. Instead of going for the cover, Voltage proceeds to circle Jones while delivering stomps to the limbs. Voltage comes to a stop near the lower body before delivering multiple stomps across Jones’ right knee. He then lifts up Jones’ legs and tries for a Sharpshooter, but Jones uses the strength in his legs to push Voltage off of him. After Voltage stumbles back into the corner, Jones turns over on all fours. He picks himself back up and rushes in for an attack, only to get countered with a boot to the face. As Jones stumbles back, Voltage rushes out of the corner and pulls him down with a running neckbreaker. He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Jones gets a shoulder up.
Voltage pulls Jones back to his feet. After an elbow to the gut doubles Jones over, Voltage goes to down with multiple clubbing strikes across the back of the neck. He then hooks Jones in an inverted front facelock before pointing out at Holiday and pulling him down with a Reverse DDT! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Jones gets a shoulder up.
Jones gets whipped into the far ropes. He ducks a back attempt from Voltage before continuing to run the ropes. When he returns, Voltage knocks him off his feet with a running lariat! Instead of making the cover, Voltage circles the ring with his arms in the air. He then saunters across the ring before standing over Jones. The boos grow louder as Voltage proclaims himself the true Main Event!
Kris Cruise: Your Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion, everyone!
Stephy Auger: I know, isn’t he great!?
Kris Cruise: ...
Voltage continues to antagonize the crowd until Jones reaches up, grabs him by the legs and pulls him down into a pin!
ONE! . . TWO! . . T-NO!
Voltage kicks out.
Kris Cruise: His arrogance nearly cost him!
Voltage scrambles back to his feet and rushes over for another running lariat. This time, Jones ducks and catches him when he turns around with a step-up enzuigiri, sending Voltage flipping down to the mat! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Voltage gets his shoulder up.
Voltage gets whipped into the ropes before getting knocked off his feet with a dropkick. Jones rushes over and knocks him back down with a second dropkick. After Voltage gets doubled over with a hard knee to the midsection, Jones hits the ropes, comes back and knocks him upright with a knee lift. He then runs into another set of ropes, leaps across the ring and knocks Voltage down with a flying forearm. With Voltage down, Jones steps out to the apron before hyping up the crowd by waving his arm up and down.
Kris Cruise: Jones can sense that the end is near for Ace Voltage!
Jones starts to climb the turnbuckles. Just as he reaches the top, Voltage leaps over and yanks down the top rope. The crowd boos when Jones slips, falls and ends up crotched on the top turnbuckle.
Stephy Auger: Aaaaaaawwwww HA HA HAAAA!
Jones continues to groan while Voltage climbs up to the middle ropes. He then grabs a hold of Jones before throwing him down with a superplex! Instead of making the cover, Voltage gets back to his feet before setting up shop in the corner. He crouches down as he impatiently waves Jones back up. Jones starts to stir on the canvas. When he turns over to a knee, Voltage comes out of the corner before flattening him with the Ace of Spades (Shining Wizard)! The boos continue as Voltage takes Jones, delivers an irish whip and follows him into the corner before blasting him with Thunderstruck (Helluva Kick)! Jones slowly crumbles out of the corner. Voltage looks out and laughs at Holiday on the ramp before making his way over and covering Jones.
ONE! . . TWO! . . THREE!
The crowd boos as “Thunderstruck” hits the speakers.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, here is your winner, ACE VOLTAGE!
The ref goes to raise Voltage’s arm in victory when he pulls it away from him. He then yaks his Mid-Atlantic Legacy Championship belt away from the ref before pushing him out of the way.
Kris Cruise: Oh come on!
The crowd buzzes with anticipation while Voltage clutches the championship belt. His eyes narrow as he sees Jones starting to pick himself up off the mat.
Kris Cruise: Voltage is about to knock Jones’ head off with that belt!
Once Jones is back to his feet, Voltage rushes out of the corner. He’s about to bash Jones across the back of the head with the belt when Holiday slides into the ring. Voltage slams on the brakes before quickly turning around and hopping through the ropes. Holiday continues to stalk Voltage from inside the ring while the champion makes his escape around ringside and back up the aisle...
Evan Envi: I need you to show up at Grapple Kingdom.
The audience roars and Valero’s face resembles someone that just inhaled their least-favorite dish. He clears his throat and shakes his head, responding calmly.
Ricky Valero: Even if you were medically cleared to compete I wouldn’t give you a match because I’m done with you, Evan. You held me down. I’m not going to entertain it. Go beg one of the locals in Vancouver for a match if you’re so hungry for ring time.
Envi narrows his eyes slightly.
Evan Envi: I’m not asking you for a match.
The crowd that had been hushed by Valero’s words spring to life with another pop. Valero shakes his head, looking down for a moment before giving Evan a look that lingers between amusement and disbelief.
Ricky Valero: There’s no way you actually want that.
Evan Envi: Trust me.
Valero laughs again, rubbing at his eyes once more before he sighs.
Ricky Valero: I’ll be in Vancouver for Grapple Kingdom, Evan, but not because you asked me to. If by some odd reason you do seek me out…
Valero trails off, eyes skyward as he laughs to himself.
Ricky Valero: ...I didn’t want to ACTUALLY end your career, Evan. So please, just don’t be stupid. Don’t be unreasonable.
Envi is quiet, contemplative. The rage behind his eyes hasn’t subsided, but his actions are calmer-- more controller than they were weeks prior. Without another word toward Valero, the feed is cut.
Fading into the present, we open with a shot of the commentary desk, displaying the faces of Kris Cruise and Stephy Auger.
Kris Cruise: Ladies and gentlemen, at Grapple Kingdom 3 in Vancouver, Ricky Valero and Evan Envi are going to be in the same ring at the same time for the first time since Ricky Valero brutally attacked Evan Envi in October 2018.
Stephy Auger: And it’s gonna be the last time as well, Cruise. Listen-- Evan Envi suffered head trauma. I don’t completely condone what Ricky did but Evan isn’t cleared to compete. He’s an idiot for trying to go through with this. What’s he expect to happen?
Kris Cruise: In any event, Ricky Valero has confirmed that he will be at Grapple Kingdom to confront the Chief. We’re told that this isn’t going to be a wrestling match… but there are rumors that now-- maybe now that Valero knows how unwilling doctors are to let his former best friend to compete-- Valero may be pushing for an unsanctioned match against Envi.
Stephy Auger: Oh, stop. Evan wants a match. He wants to humiliate Ricky Valero even though the doctors and his inferior body won’t let him! If Ricky DOES grant him that match, it’s to give his best friend one final wish. Leave it to sickos like you to twist and contort it.
Kris Cruise: ...Evan, if you’re listening to this-- at least consider what you’re about to get yourself into at Grapple Kingdom. Consider your future. Please, really weigh the risks. The same goes for you, Ricky. Remember what’s really at stake here.
We fade away from the announce desk, cutting to a commercial.
The familiar sounds of "I'm Always Here" play as the lights circle the arena, almost as if trying to find a specific point. As the drums kick in, the lights shine onto the stage, where Cadet Holliday brings up the rear, wearing a life ring around his neck and holding a lifeguard rescue can in hand.
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is scheduled for ONE fall! Introducing first, representing Baewatch… JACOB HOLLIDAY!
Holliday slides into the ring, taking position in the middle and posing for the crowd. Holliday removes his Baewatch tanktop and tosses it outside.
The lights in the arena dim to a fairly darkened level. A couple of seconds pass before MUCC’s “Sei to Shi to Kimi” begins to play. The base of the entrance becomes fills up with heavy smoke. Nina Stokes makes her way out from the back a few seconds later. She emerges from the smoke after a moment or two. She gives a sly sneer to camera before she makes her way towards to the ring.
J.A. Aldridge: His opponent, hailing from Miami, Florida! She is the reigning FGA United States Champion! “The Kodiak” NINA STOKES!
Stephy Auger: I ask myself-- why is it that you don’t stand up when Nina come out here, Cruise? This is why she doesn’t want to come spend time at the desk with us. On your feet!
Kris Cruise: I think I’ll remain down here and call some unbiased action. Would you sit down?
Her pace down to the ring deliberate and leisurely. She tosses a couple of glances towards the crowd, but for the most part, she keeps her eyes fixated on the square circle. Nina flexes her arms a bit as she reaches the end entryway. She cracks her neck and completely circles the ring one time. Afterwards, Nina cracks her knuckles and slides into the ring.
Stephy Auger: If you’re Sadie San Francisco, you have to be intimidated just looking at the poise and the attitude of Nina Stokes.
Kris Cruise: Perhaps. The number one contender has a tendency to keep her cool and for Holliday’s sake, I hope he can do the same against the striker here.
Nina paces around for a moment. Then she removes her jacket and tosses it into the corner. Nina pulls on the ropes and stretches before she lounges in the corner and waits for the start of the match.
Kris Cruise: And the ref’s calling for the bell. This one’s underway.
The match begins with a collar-and-elbow between Stokes and Holliday. After jockeying for position, Holliday gains the advantage with a side headlock. He then quickly performs a standing switch, transitioning into a hammerlock from behind. Stokes fakes an elbow strike to the face before spinning out and reversing into a hammerlock of her own. After spinning Holliday towards her and catching him in a side headlock, Holliday shoves her off into the ropes. When she returns, the crowd cheers when Holliday knocks Stokes down with a standing shoulder block. Stokes then pops back to her feet with a kip up, which garners some gasps and “oooo”s from the crowd. Holliday then turns and heads into another set of ropes. When he returns, he knocks Stokes back down with another standing shoulder block. After a few seconds, Stokes returns to her feet with another kip up and gets right in Holliday’s face. After some words are exchanged, Holliday goes to head into another set of ropes. But unbeknownst to him, Stokes is right behind him! As soon as Holliday hits the rope,s the crowd boos when Stokes smashes him with the Divine Night (elbow smash)! Stokes takes Holliday, delivers an irish whip, follows him across the ring and catches him with another Divine Night! While Holiday lays dazed against the ropes, Stokes turns and takes off into the far ropes. When Stokes comes back, Holliday runs off the ropes and knocks her off her feet with a dropkick! The cheers continue as Holliday connects with a second dropkick. He goes for a third, but Stokes strafes out of the way and swats him down. Holliday tries to get back to his feet, but Stokes lunges down and catches him right in the ribs with a knee strike. The crowd starts to boo Stokes as she swarms Holliday with grounded knee strikes to the ribs.
Kris Cruise: Relentless!
Stephy Auger: I hope Selfish San Francisco has her eye on this!
Stokes then pushes him over for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Holliday gets a shoulder up.
Stokes moves Holliday into the corner before catching him with boxing forearm strikes. When Holiday starts to lift his hands up to protect himself, Stokes switches targets and doubles him over with a rolling solebutt to the midsection. Stokes takes Holliday by the chin and slowly lifts his head back up before firing off four shoot kicks to the chest. After wrenching Holliday’s arm, Stokes leads him out of the corner before knocking him off his feet with a hook kick. Instead of going for the cover, Stokes reaches down, snatches his wrist and delivers multiple wristlock face kicks. Stokes finally lets go before backing away towards the other side of the ring. She watches Holliday like a hawk while he tries to shake out the cobwebs. Holliday starts to pick himself back up when Stokes charges across the ring and snaps his head back with a rising knee to the chin, dropping him to the mat. Stokes once again opts out of going for a cover and instead, attacks Holliday. The crowd boos when she crashes down across Holliday with a jumping senton. Another jumping senton hits the mark before Stokes turns over and makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Holliday gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: The champion is keeping the pressure on Jacob Holliday here. He’s getting very, very little opportunity to catch his breath and gather his bearings.
Stephy Auger: And Nina hasn’t even broken a sweat.
After a front push kick knocks Holliday into the corner, Stokes goes to work on the body with a palm strike flurry. Stokes then delivers an irish whip, follows Holliday across the ring and crushes him with running double knees in the corner. She then grabs Holliday by his mustache, pulls him out of the corner and hooks both arms before blasting him with trapping headbutts.
Kris Cruise: Well, that’s… unorthodox. The ref is being a little lenient here.
Stokes then hits the far ropes, returns and throws Holliday down with an STO! With Holliday down, Stokes opts to head out to the apron. She climbs the turnbuckles, jumps off the top and comes down with a diving double foot stomp! But she misses!
Stephy Auger: Ahh no! Nobody home!
Holliday rolls out of the way at the last second! After Stokes lands on her feet, her momentum sends her rolling forward. The Kodiak turns and sees Holliday trying to pick himself back up, so she rushes over for an attack. The crowd gasps, then cheers when Holliday counters with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! He makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Stokes kicks out.
Kris Cruise: Quick thinking there by Jacob Holliday, and maybe he can get his feet back under himself here in this non-title singles match!
Back on their feet, Stokes reverses an irish whip, sending Holliday into the ropes. She tries to catch him off the rebound with a running roundhouse, but Holliday slides underneath it. When Stokes turns around, Holliday knocks her down with a running lariat. A second running lariat knocks Stokes back down. Stokes is then whipped into the ropes before being caught off the rebound with a powerslam! He hooks the leg.
Holliday moves Stokes into the corner before climbing up to the middle ropes. Holliday raises his hand to shake his eyes while he looks out at the crowd. He turns his attention back to Stokes before raining down punches to the head! The fans cheer and count with each punch.
Stokes grabs Holliday, rushes out of the corner and doubles him over with an inverted atomic drop.
Stephy Auger: And Stokes says “enough of that!” Aha!
After a rising knee to the chin knocks Holliday upright, Stokes doubles him over with A Slice of Grace (throat punch) before blasting him across the side of the head with a bicycle knee. The strike causes Holliday to stagger across the ring before dropping down to a knee.
Kris Cruise: And now Jacob Holliday is absolutely stunned! The man looks like he’s out on his feet!
While pockets of the crowd grow louder at something out-of-frame, the Kodiak marches over, grabs Holliday by the tights and pulls him back to his head.
Stephy Auger: I don’t know what the commotion in the crowd is, but some of these losers are about to miss a thing of beauty! Keep your eyes on Stokes, Cruise!
Kris Cruise: I’m watching. Jacob Holliday is in serious trouble.
Stokes continues to pull Holliday back towards the center of the ring before blasting him across the back of the head with a rolling Divine Night! While Holliday drops down to a knee, Stokes hits the far ropes, comes back and flattens him with Amidst the Shadow of Sorrows III (Boma Ye Knee Strike) to the face!
Stephy Auger: It’s over.
The United States Champion makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . THREE!
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of this bout… NINA STOKES!
“Sei to Shi to Kimi” hits the PA system and Nina allows the ref to raise her arm in victory… but as she demands her title from the official, the audience grows loud-- near-deafening to a roar.
Kris Cruise: Ha-- I see what they were so distracted by in the closing moments of this match!
Stephy Auger: What the hell is this?!
Kris Cruise: Sadie San Francisco is here!
A wide view captures Sadie San Francisco standing in front of the timekeeper, back tuned to Nina Stokes. The number one contender reaches down and pulls the United States Championship into her grasp to a roar from the Oregon crowd. Stokes’ eyes are wide as she stands in the ring… before a bitter smirk crosses her lips. She shakes her head, incensed, glare fixed on Sadie… who finally turns, looking toward Stokes with that familiar smirk.
Stephy Auger: THE DISRESPECT! THE DISRESPECT! BUST HER TO THE WHITE MEAT, NINA!
As if prompted by Auger, Nina Stokes ducks out of the ring between the rope and makes a beeline for Sadie San Francisco. Sadie laughs and audibly shouts “I just wanted to come hand it to you!” before Stokes rips the belt out of her hands. Sadie shrugs and goes to say something-- but despite the cries of the referee, Stokes shoves Sadie back! Sadie falls onto her back on the floor, looking up at Stokes with a calm-but-annoyed expression. The audience erupts into a mixed reaction!
Kris Cruise: Here we go!
Sadie goes to climb to her feet-- but Stokes shoves her to the ground again! Now lying on her side, Sadie looks away from Stokes, gruting bitterly under her breath… before scrambling upright and launching herself at Stokes! The two women lock up, arms tangled within one another’s to the delight of the crowd-- but the cheers turn to deafening boos as referees and security alike quickly swarm the pair, forcing champion and challenger away from one another!
Stephy Auger: I’m with them for once! Let these two fight!
Sadie and Nina continue to shout toward one another over the steadily-growing crowd of officials and arena personnel.
“LET THEM FIGHT!”
“LET THEM FIGHT!”
“LET THEM FIGHT!”
“LET THEM FIGHT!”
The chants die to frustrated boos once again as a part of the ringside barrier is removed to allow security to escort Nina Stokes through the crowd. Stokes raises her palms, insisting she doesn’t need assistance as she’s led away. Sadie, meanwhile, is escorted up the ramp, shaking her head to herself as she looks over her shoulder toward Stokes. Stokes catches Sadie’s gaze, raising her United States Title high above her head, shouting words back toward Sadie that the constantly-switching cameras can’t entirely pick up. Sadie gazes across the arena toward Stokes and toward the U.S. Title, nodding to herself. We fade to black on the image of the victorious Nina Stokes before finally fading away.
• COMMERCIAL BREAK •
Last Edit: Mar 8, 2020 22:36:30 GMT -5 by FGA Office
FGA 15 CHAMPIONSHIP (c) Ashley Sands vs. Ashley Marie Chase
"I Bring the Darkness (End of Days)" by Jim Johnston featuring Tommy Vext begins to play as the aisle way fills up with smoke. AMC rises up from the smoke in full face paint and is trying not to cough from all the smoke.
”Who do you think you are? You’ve now gone much to far!”
AMC steps through the smoke and looks around at the crowd she then slowly walks toward the ring basically strutting with a smirk as she fist bumps some of the fans
”I bring the darkness! I am the thunder! I come from HELL And I’ll pull you under!”
J.A. Aldridge: Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest, scheduled for ONE fall, is for the FGA 15 CHAMPIONSHIP! Introducing first, the challenger! Hailing from Hollywood, California! Weighing in at 120 pounds… ASHLEY! MARIE! CHASE!
AMC walk up the steps, taking a moment to wipe her feet on the apron before getting into the ring. AMC then drops to her knees in the middle of the ring and stretches out her arms and looks out toward the crowd.
Kris Cruise: Ashley Marie Chase staked her claim to this match on the last Vertigo after pinning Ashley Sands in a Wildcard Lottery tournament match! Mark Bisley argued his case, but it was Chase who FGA Officials chose as Sands’ next challenger.
Stephy Auger: You and others have tried to act like Mark Bisley purposely pitted the two Ashleys against each other. If the harsh feelings only happened last week when all three of them were in the same room, then I’d agree. But you heard what Ashley Marie Chase said earlier tonight. You heard her words. You heard her tone. We all saw her actions, Cruise. This isn’t simply AMC putting on her gameface to challenge a good friend of hers. There is some tension there between the two Ashleys and it’s been there for awhile.
The opening guitar riff of "Warrior" by Skarlett Riot begins to play over the sound system seconds before the (Title Name) Ashley Sullivan walks out onto the stage. Patting gentle at the title belt held around her waist before pointing out to the fans all over the arena, Sullivan walks down to the ring. Once she gets down to ringside, and gets on the apron before climbing the turnbuckle from the outside. She nimbly climbs the turnbuckle from the outside to perch atop the top rope as she sits on her knees.
J.A. Aldridge: Her opponent, hailing from Bradley Beach, New Jersey! Weighing in at 122 pounds! She is the reigning… defending… FGA 15 Champion, ASHLEY SANDS!
With her name being announced, Ashley reaches back behind her back to undo the title belt and holds it up high for everyone to see. Flashing from cameras going off all around her, Sullivan rolls forwards to flip down into the ring and land on her feet.
Kris Cruise: I don’t want to read too much into things, Stephy. But maybe you’re right. Maybe AMC does feel slighted. Maybe she felt disrespected after taking what Ashley Sands had to say the wrong way. Whatever happens in that ring tonight, I just hope that these two can retain their friendship. A championship isn’t worth losing a friendship over. As far as Mark Bisley goes, he can go mind his own business and stop trying to fan the flames between the Ashleys.
Stephy Auger: Oh, I don’t think Bisley is fanning any flames at all. If anything, he’s bringing this whole situation between Sands and AMC to light.
The bell sounds as Sands and Chase meet up in the center of the ring. Champion and challenger exchange words before turning their attention to the cheering crowd.
"LET’S GO, SAAAANDS!" "A-M-C!
"LET’S GO, SAAAANDS!" "A-M-C!"
"LET’S GO, SAAAAAANDS!" "A-M-C!"
Kris Cruise: This crowd sounds like they’re pretty much split right down the middle.
Stephy Auger: Those Ashley Sands chants are CLEARLY louder! I bet hearing that just makes AMC even madder.
Kris Cruise: Don’t even start that!
Sands and Chase continue to exchange words until Sands puts her hand out. Chase looks down at the hand before looking back up at Sands’ face. Chase turns to look around at the cheering crowd.
Stephy Auger: Go ahead, AMC. Smack right across the face!
Chase nods… before shaking Sands’ hand! The handshake garners cheers and applause from the crowd. Sands goes to head into one of the corners, but she’s stopped when Chase refuses to let go of her hand.
Sands slowly turns back to Chase and looks down at her hand. When Sands looks back up, Chase lets her know that she’s taking the 15 Championship tonight. Chase turns to head into a corner, only to be stopped when Sands doesn’t let go of her hand!
Stephy Auger: Oooooh, this is so spicy! I love it!
Kris Cruise: You would!
Chase turns back and sees Sands shaking her head ‘no.’ Chase then rips her hand away from Sands. The two continue to stare each other down until the referee gets his arm between them both. Champion and challenger take a few steps back before circling the ring. They then rush forward and collide inside a collar-and-elbow. After jockeying for position, Chase shoves Sands back! Sands stumbles back a few steps before gathering her footing. She then pushes forward before locking up in another collar-and-elbow. This time, Chase is able to shove Sands down to the mat! Sands picks herself back up when Chase doubles her over with a boot to the midsection. She then lifts Chase up before hitting her with multiple knife edge chops. Chase then takes control of Sands’ wrist before whipping her into the ropes. When she comes back, Chase leapfrogs over her before she continues to run the ropes. Sands comes back and gets leapfrogged by Chase as she runs back into the far ropes. When Sands returns, Chase throws her down with an arm drag. A japanese arm drag sends Sands down to the mat. When Sands gets back up, Chase rushes forward before executing an overflow arm drag, sending Sands rolling to the outside. Sands picks herself up, turns to the right and gets dropped with a baseball slide!
Stephy Auger: Bam, right in the FACE, Cruise! The FACE!
Kris Cruise: It did seem like AMC put a little extra on that baseball slide...
AMC rolls to the outside before picking Sands up off the floor. She moves Sands against the guardrail before lighting up her chest with more knife edge chops. Sands has had enough! She then grabs Chase, tosses her against the guardrail and goes to town with knife edge cops of her own.
Kris Cruise: Sands is firing away on her friend!
Stephy Auger:Former friend, get it right.
Sands continues to fire off chops until Chase fights through it by cutting her off with a knee strike to the midsection. Chase then goes for an irish whip. But Sands reverses, sending Chase down ringside before crashing against the guardrail! Sands notices that the ref’s count has reached five. So she rolls back into the ring, then rolls back out to restart the count.
Stephy Auger: Sands doesn’t want to win this match by countout! She wants to beat AMC down on the outside!
Kris Cruise: No, I don’t think that’s it. If she wants to retain her championship, she would rather pin her opponent instead of taking a countout victory.
Stephy Auger: So like I said, she wants to beat AMC down on the ground. Got it.
Kris Cruise: ...
While Chase remains up against the guardrail, Sands lines her up. The fans in the front row start to stand up in anticipation as Sands runs down ringside. The champion continues to charge forward and looks for the Wind Kick (running big boot). But Chase ducks and dumps Sands over the guardrail and to the floor! Chase reaches over, pulls Sands back to her feet and brings her back over the guardrail with a vertical suplex to the ringside area! AMC takes the champion and rolls her back inside before rolling herself back in for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands kicks out.
Chase moves Sands into the corner before delivering repeated shoot kicks to the chest. After Sands is sent into the far corner, Chase runs across the ring before giving Sands a taste of her own medicine with the Wind Kick!
Kris Cruise: Huh, how about that?
Stephy Auger: Dare I say AMC does a better Wind Kick than Sands?
Kris Cruise: Stephy, enough of this.
Stephy Auger: Hey, I’m not the one out here stealing my friends’ moves and using it against them!
AMC takes Sands and whips her back over into the previous corner. She points across the ring before taking charge. Chase gears up for another Wind Kick when Sands counters with a back elbow to the face. Sands takes a few steps out of the corner, grabs Chase and delivers a snap suplex into the turnbuckles! She makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Chase gets her foot on the bottom rope.
Kris Cruise: Good ring awareness there by the vet.
Sands pulls Chase away from the corner before sending her into the far ropes. When Chase returns, she falls face-first to the mat after a spinning legsweep to the shins. Chase remains in the prone position as Sands delivers the Wind Whisper (rolling senton) across the back! Sands hits Chase with another Wind Whisper before pulling her over and making the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Chase gets her shoulder up.
J.A. Aldridge: 10 Minutes remaining!
Sands takes Chade and goes for another snap suplex when Chase blocks and counters into a small package.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands kicks out.
Once both are back to their feet, Chase catches Sands with the Kick of Doom (superkick). While Sands is dazed, Chase turns and hits the ropes. When she returns, she knocks Sands down with a diving forearm smash! Sands is pulled back up before being whipped into the corner. Chase rushes across the ring, connects with a running corner knee and follows up with a bulldog out of the corner. No! Sands shoves her off into the ropes. Sands goes to catch Chase off the rebound with a clothesline, but AMC ducks and counters with a floatover DDT! She makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . Sands gets her shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Good counter there by Chase, but it only gets a two count. This one has gone back and forth.
Chase takes Sands and lifts her up for a vertical suplex, only for Sands to slip down from behind, take control of AMC’s back and drives her down with a forward russian leg sweep! Sands then makes her way into the corner before climbing the turnbuckles. Once she makes it to the top, she flips off and lands across Chase’s back with a moonsault! She then pulls Chase over and makes the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . AMC gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Another nearfall for Sands!
Stephy Auger: I see Sands has taken exception to AMC using her move against her, so she’s tried to injure her back repeatedly! How spiteful!
Kris Cruise: She has not!
Sands takes Chase and slams her face-first into the top turnbuckle. After climbing to the middle ropes, Sands goes for a Tornado DDT when Chase pushes her off in mid air. When Sands lands on her feet, Chase comes out of the corner and catches her with a Kick of Doom! A second Kick of Doom connects! Chase then takes a few steps to the side, rapidly taps her foot on the mat, shuffles forward and knocks Sands off her feet with a third Kick of Doom! She goes for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . T-NO!
Sands gets her shoulder up.
Stephy Auger: How!?
Kris Cruise: Sands still has some fight left in her.
Chase steps out to the apron before climbing to the top turnbuckle. Once Sands gets back to her feet, AMC leaps off for It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Chase (high crossbody)... only to get countered with a dropkick in mid air! Both Chase and Sands slowly make their way back to their feet. Sands hits Chase with a right hand. A second right hand connects. Sands throws out a third when Chase ducks and wallops Sands with The Chase-Tizer (hard smack)! Sands gets doubled over before Chase pulls her into a standing headscissors. She hooks both arms before driving Sands down with the Name Dropper (Pedigree)! She pushes her over for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . THR-NO!
The crowd cheers and applauds when Sands gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Sands isn’t ready to relinquish that 15 Championship!
Stephy Auger: No one is ready to just relinquish their title, cruise! C’mon.
Chase yanks up Sands before lifting her onto her shoulders and delivering a Samoan Drop! AMC then heads into the corner, scales to the top turnbuckle, flips back, and misses a moonsault when Sands rolls out of the way! Sands then heads into the corner, hoists herself up to the middle ropes, fiips off and pulls Chase down with a Blockbuster! She goes for the cover.
ONE! . . TWO! . . T-NO!
The crowd sighs, then cheers when AMC gets a shoulder up.
Kris Cruise: Chase just narrowly avoided the three count there!
Stephy Auger: All that matter sis that she did! She’s still in this one.
Sands takes Chase and whips her into the ropes. She catches her off the rebound with a dropkick before knocking her back down with a spinning heel kick!The cheers continue as Chase is whipped into the corner. Sands runs across the ring and blasts her with a Wind Kick! She then delivers an irish whip, follows Chase across the ring before blasting her with another Wind Kick! Chase is then pulled out of the corner before being brought down with Into Dust (Codebreaker)! While Chase is splayed out on the mat, Sands steps out to the apron before climbing the turnbuckles. She sets up on the top turnbuckle for the Sunset (Swanton Bomb)! Sands flips off… and gets countered by Chase!
Kris Cruise: Chase got her knees up!
The crowd gasps when Sands bounces off of Chase’s knees! While Sands is still down, Chase starts to pick herself up off the mat.
J.A. Aldridge; 5 Minutes remaining!
Chase gets back to her feet and proceeds to stagger over towards the ropes. She steps out to the apron and begins climbing the turnbuckles.
Kris Cruise: This could be it right here, Stephy!
Stephy Auger: We’re about to have a new 15 Champion!
AMC sets up for a frog splash off the top when suddenly, the crowd gasps as Mark Bisley hops the guardrail! Bisley quickly leaps up onto the apron and shove Chase off, sending her flying off the top turnbuckle and landing down hard on her side!
Kris Cruise: DAMMIT MARK!
* DING! DING!! DING!!! *
Bisley looks over and sees Sands still down. So he starts to climb the turnbuckles. When he reaches the top, he leaps off and crashes down across Sands with Sapienza (frog splash to the opponent's legs)! Bisley then crosses Sands’ legs before turning her over into the Minnesota Cloverleaf (Texas cloverleaf with a knee to the opponent's back)!
Kris Cruise: Mark Bisley has just ruined this contest because he was too damn selfish!
Stephy Auger: No, he ruined this match because it should have been him in there challenging for it, not AMC!
Bisley keeps the hold applied while the bell repeatedly sounds in the background. The referee admonishes him and demands him to break the hold. But Bisley refuses. So the referee takes matters into his own hands and tries to pull Bisley off of her. Bisley keeps hanging on until he finally relents. While the referee kneels down and attends to Sands, Bisley quickly slides to the outside, rushes over towards Chase and boots the boots to her before turning her over into the L'Étoile du Nord (Canadian Maple Leaf)!
Kris Cruise: Somebody get him out of her!
Stephy Auger: Aw, poor Chase! You gotta feel for the poor girl! First, she got screwed last Vertigo because her “good friend” Ashley Sands distracted her. Now, she gets the screws put to her again thanks to Mark Bisley. Aw, too bad! So sad!
Kris Cruise: Now is not the time for your nonsense, Stephy!
Stephy Auger: ...
AMC cries out in pain while Bisley pulls back on the hold. The referee looks behind him and does a double take as he sees Bisley attacking AMC with his submission hold. He then rolls to the floor and tries to pull Bisley off of Chase. Bisley continues to apply the submission before finally letting go. Two more referees make their way down to the ring. As one checks on Sands, the other joins the match official in admonishing Bisley. The two repeatedly point to the entrance and gesture for Bisley to leave. Bisley surveys the damage before putting his hands up defensively and stepping away from them.
Winner by Disqualification: Ashley Marie Chase Still FGA 15 Champion: Ashley Sands
Our scene opens up on a shot of an oil painting on canvas… still glistening, fresh with shades of red, beige, brown, it’s hardly clear what we’re looking at initially… until the camera slowly pans out, ultimately revealing the grinning, painted face of Ashlyn De Luca.
??: Look at it. It’s a Mike Orwick original. Do you like it?
While the voice belongs to Ashlyn De Luca, a second angle captures the face of Amanda Johnson. The pair are seated in a business suite within Eugene, Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena on opposite sides of a long, leather couch. The painting hangs on the walk between them. De Luca gazes up at it, impressed, while Johnson rolls her eyes slightly.
Amanda Johnson: What was the occasion?
De Luca scoffs, looking at the interviewer as if she just asked one of the world’s most ridiculous questions.
Ashlyn De Luca: You ask it like I’m not literally weeks from being crowned the new FGA International Heavyweight Champion. “What was the occasion?” Amanda— you’re better than that.
Amanda nods, clearing her throat as the number one contender continues to admire her own likeness.
Amanda Johnson: Right. About that. There’s something that I can’t help but keep questioning…
Ashlyn rolls her eyes. A heavy sigh escapes her lungs and she focuses a tired, knowing gaze on Johnson.
Ashlyn De Luca: And I bet you’re about to tell me what that is.
The interviewer readjusts herself on the couch, allowing herself to look directly at De Luca.
Amanda Johnson: How are you supposed to capture the International Heavyweight Title from Cordelia Stevenson at Grapple Kingdom when it seems like your prime strategy thus far has been… to avoid her by any means necessary?
Loudly, Ashlyn cackles. The sudden sound has Johnson taken aback for a moment, but she composes herself and shrugs, pressing on.
Amanda Johnson: I don’t understand. At Grapple Kingdom, you can't become the champion on the outside of the ring. And if you think harassing the champion is a good alternative— you’re well aware you can’t win any gold if she gets disqualified out of frustration. None of this is news to you, yet you persist.
Ashlyn De Luca: I’m not avoiding anyone. If Cordy wants her hands on me before Vancouver, all she has to do is catch me. But…
Hard shrug by the number one contender.
Ashlyn De Luca: Look. Cordy fears cardio, okay? She fears that extra effort and I’ve exposed that. If somebody did to me and my fans what I did to Cordy and hers, I would maul them, okay? Like— I wouldn’t freaking rest until I got my hands on that person. Because I’m dedicated, Amanda. Because I’m a passionate person.
Johnson nods slowly, crossing one leg over the other while she ponders her next few words.
Amanda Johnson: And you feel that Cordy isn’t willing to go the extra distance to get her hands on you?
De Luca mimics Amanda’s posture. Silent mockery.
Ashlyn De Luca: It’s not a feeling. It’s true. Because she knows if she did catch up to me, I’d embarrass her. I’d put her flat on her ass in front of those same fairweather fans she pretends she’s here to protect. The same ones, I guess, that moved the hell on when Cordy decided she didn’t need them anymore.
De Luca grins to herself, propping her elbow against the sofa, leaning back on it.
Ashlyn De Luca: Cordy doesn’t want to catch up with De Lucz. Because she’s afraid to.
The comment draws groans and boos from the Eugene audience. Amanda rubs at her eyes for a moment, processing the statement. With a sigh, she gestures toward the door, slightly out of frame.
Amanda Johnson: Then what are they here for?
...the camera swings over to reveal two security guards— one standing on either side of the locked door. While some of the crowd boos, it draws muffled chuckles from some.
Ashlyn De Luca: They’re here to make sure nothing happens to you. I told them about how Cordy put her hands on you in that Afterburn a little while back.
Hard eye roll from the interviewer.
Ashlyn De Luca: Look. We can go in circles about this for as long as you want to but I know fear when I smell it and Cordy reeks. Meanwhile I am at the physical peak of my career, dude. Faster than ever, stronger than ever, and obviously more intelligent than I’ve ever been— and I can’t think of anyone on the roster that compares to it right now.
The crowd is near deafening in response to the latest statement, coming alive to drown the number one contender in a sea of jeers. They prove to be so loud that ADL can clearly hear them from the suite, shaking her head in disapproval. Chants of “buuuulllshit” fill the arena. Johnson does her best to suppress an amused smirk.
Ashlyn De Luca: They don’t have to believe it now, but lemme tell you— I didn’t spike my partner, my mentor on the crown of his goddamn skull— take him out of FGA because I wanted to do it. I needed to do it to move onto the next chapter of my career… of the greatest story ever told. It was absolutely necessary.
She spares another look up at the oil painting before moving just inches closer to Johnson, lowering her tone.
Ashlyn De Luca: And now? Now the next chapter is all about the International Heavyweight Title. It’s not the greatest story ever told without it, right?
Johnson doesn’t respond. She nods slightly, but it doesn’t prove to be enough for De Luca, who repeats herself, louder.
Ashlyn De Luca: Right?!
Amanda Johnson: If that’s the way we’re looking at it, then yes. You’re right. But you don’t know Cordy the way you knew the man you held the Tag Team Championships with a year. You don’t have the advantage of trust or surprise. You have to go about this differently, so I have to ask—
Ashlyn De Luca: And I realize that. When we faced before, in the tag match, I didn’t have it together. I knew I needed to change something. Quickly.
Ashlyn leans back, legs crossed, eyes skyward for a moment. Exhale.
Ashlyn De Luca: So she doesn’t get to see the way I move before this match. Not against her. Not until it happens— and I’m closing in on my title. She can catch the back of my head until then.
Amanda smiles faintly, but her narrowed gaze implies that Ashlyn’s words don’t resonate with her.
Amanda Johnson: Good to see you’re so confident, Ashlyn. Just one more question.
Ashlyn doesn’t respond, but raises her brow, eyes straight ahead.
Amanda Johnson: What if she figures you out? What if despite all your… “planning”... this devolves into a plain and simple fight. After all this, are you prepared?
De Luca reacts with an expression identical to the one that began the interview… as if the woman inquiring is out of her mind.
Ashlyn De Luca: I’m always prepared. And beyond that—
De Luca is silent, thoughtful for a moment before she smiles softly to herself.
Ashlyn De Luca: There’s no such thing as a simple fight.
The words hang in the air as De Luca and Johnson remain focused on one another and our scene pans up to the Michael Orwick original oil painting of De Luca and slowly fades to black.