CSWA PRIMETIME in Chapel Hill
Posted December 2007 as part of CSWA: Lost Cause
CSWA: Lost Cause features the CSWA's "lost year" following ANNIVERSARY: Coming of Age. Picking up in October 2006...
With Stephen Thomas’s decision to start booking shows again, the apparent question of the CSWA’s future is no longer in doubt. While he hopes to set the ship’s engines to full and steer away, the real action is occurring behind the scenes as a pregnant Ivy McGinnis and the crew slowly restoke the fires and get things moving.
The spectacle of ANNIVERSARY’s GOLD RUSH is over, leaving some key survivors in its wake. Dan Ryan holds the UNIFIED World Title, but former champ Troy Windham has threatened to end his career if that is what it takes to regain his title. In the meantime, Eron has parlayed his GOLD RUSH showing into a match with Ryan, while fellow GOLD RUSH competitor, Nova faces CSWA legend Hornet.
However, underneath the pleasant exterior, the “return” is still tenuous at best. Financially, the company must find some consistency to continue to pay its newly-acquired debts from the CRUISE lawsuits and losses, let alone its payroll. Commissioner Thomas is still distracted, obsessed by the Red Midget’s connection to the Hacker. Ivy has a suspect in her sights, but the mysterious Hacker has communicated directly with her. The discussion was trite but consistent to the Hacker’s mantra that “change is necessary.” It’s clear that the Hacker simply wanted to reveal one of his secrets – that he/she can get inside and manipulate the CS Enterprises network with ease.
But why reveal that kind of power? Unless it’s already too late…
“This is all we’ve got?” whispered Bill Buckley, as he looked at his notes, “I thought there were a good seven or eight more. And where’s Troy?”
“Nobody’s seen Troy all day,” replied Ivy, “If he shows up tonight, he’s certainly not going to dignify this meeting with his presence.”
Amidst the rumors of the CSWA closing shop after the GOLD RUSH, Commissioner Thomas surprised the world (and himself) when he sent out Ivy’s press release about PRIMETIME in Chapel Hill.
Then he didn’t show up. For Ivy, this temporary stop-gap she signed on for is looking more and more like Hotel California.
“Cam, can you close the door please?”
As the Presidential Champion shut the door near the back of the meeting room, Ivy stepped on top of a folding table in order to see everyone in the room. She looked at Bill Buckley and gestured for him to join her on the table.
“Firstly I want to thank you guys for being here,” said Ivy, pacing, “We had a great showing at Anniversary, but the big question from there was, where do we go from here? Bill and I have been doing this far too long, and neither of us want to go home. Do you?”
Murmurs in the negative rose from the roster.
“We’ve got a lotta work to do to get back to where we were when we were at the top of our game, but we just need to be patient,” continued Ivy, “We need to do what we do best – wrestle hard, talk hard, and give the people something to remember. I’ve worked with almost all of you for years now, and I know what you can do.”
She locked eyes with Eron. “Even when we’ve had personal problems, you’ve known how to deliver.” Eron nodded silently.
“—make history again!”
At the back of the room, Commissioner Thomas strode confidently through the people.
“Not now, Stephen!” whispered Ivy, under the guise of leaning over to welcome him.
“Hogwash!” replied the Commissioner, as he stood on the table, “This is no mere wrestling promotion. This is the CSWA! Do—“
He stopped, and stared at Bill Buckley. After a few seconds, Buckley got the hint and hopped down to the floor.
“This is the CSWA,” continued Thomas, “do you know what that means?”
In the back, Cameron Cruise raised his hand.
“That means this is the greatest force in sports, entertainment, or sports entertainment!” answered Thomas, apparently asking a rhetorical question, “We can’t take a back step or a half step or a step sandwich, we have to take Gold Rush and make tonight even bigger! Can we do it?”
Nobody answered, but most of the roster looked towards Ivy and Buckley.
“Step Sandwich?” mouthed Unified Champion Dan Ryan, questioningly. Ivy shook her head and looked down.
“Well then,” said Thomas, unfazed, “Go get ‘em!”
It was clearly a dismissal. The roster quietly filed out of the room – starting with the old hats who knew how insane Thomas was, and ending with the newer additions, torn between wanting to smack him upside the head and wanting to get to the ring for their match.
“What the hell, Thomas?” asked Ivy, once the room was cleared, “That’s exactly not what we wanted to do here.”
“This is exactly not your company, Ivy,” replied Thomas, “This is the CSWA, and the CSWA equals greatness. We’re—“
“We need to get back to greatness,” interrupted Ivy, “And we need to do it with realistic goals and benchmarks. When I was in charge of the fWo—“
“Bla, bla, bla,” interrupted Thomas, “And where is that company now? You work for me, you work my way.”
With a flourish, Commissioner Thomas left the room. Ivy turned to Buckley, who had wisely remained silent through the diatribe, and sighed.
“Why do I work here again?”
“Because most of the company would quit if you weren’t the buffer zone between the boys and the office?”
(FADEIN: The U-62 Logo, with the word ‘Presents…’ underneath.)
(CUE UP: “Machinehead” by Bush. Slow–motion replay of Dan Ryan’s final walk to the ring at GOLD RUSH.)
(CUTTO: Kevin Watson dumping Eron and JA over the top rope)
(CUTTO: Cameron Cruise, after his center ring elimination, holding the Presidential Title above his head)
(CUTTO: Kin Hiroshi, nailing the moonsault on S.A.T.)
(CUTTO: Dan Ryan, tossing Eli Flair out of the Title Shot ring, QUICKFADE to Junior Hornet aiming the T-Shirt gun down the barrel of the camera.)
(CUTTO: Troy Windham accepting the UNIFIED Championship, and his change of reaction the moment Dan Ryan entered the arena.)
(CUTTO: Ringside, with a spotlight on Bill Buckley and Sammy Benson.)
BB: CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!
SB: I certainly can’t!
BB: It seems like just yesterday, we were standing in the CSWA Auditorium as Dan Ryan took the UNIFIED World Championship from Troy Windham, and the very future of this company was in doubt! But here we are again, Sammy, and it feels great!
SB (Confused): Oh… yeah.
BB: Excuse me?
SB: I thought you were referring to the fact that you still try to pass that off as your own hair.
BB (Clears his throat): …Moving on, we’ve got a loaded show tonight, with a title defense, a Top Contenders match, and the Unified Champion in action in a non – title match against the runner up of the GOLD RUSH, Eron the Relentless!
SB: And Hornet! Hornet! Hornet!
BB: We’ve certainly got a full house, so let’s get it underway! What—
(CUTTO: The CSWAvision main screen, where the CSWA logo appeared to be crowding with static.
FOUND CSWA version 19
DELETE Stephen Thomas
Change is here.
Change is here.
Change is necessary.
CSWA PRIMETIME: ONLY ON U-62
RHUBARB, TAKE IT AWAY!
(The CSWAvision screen faded to black, and immediately was replaced with the graphic for the evening’s first match. The fans cheered at the mention of long term ring announcer Rhubarb Jones, who entered the ring to the sound of the bell.)
(FADE IN: The back hallways of the DeanDome, under low lighting.) You can’t hear the crowd but if you could it might not matter because the CSWA’s target fanbase probably isn’t that familiar with NOVA. Clad in blue jeans and a sleeveless black NFW t-shirt, he stands in front of a glassed-in shrine to some of the C-S-Dub’s finest moments, captured in blown-up photographs and random pieces of memorabilia…a blood-stained cut-out from the ring mat of one of Eli Flair’s battles…a strip of wax still clinging defiantly to a strip of Joey Melton’s oppressed chest hair…all kinds of things.
Nova takes a drag of his cigarette and peers pensively at the display.)
NOVA: So many great moments, it’s overwhelming…(looking around at the ceiling and walls)…and yet, I can feel the sickness in this place. I can feel the age and the fatigue in these empty halls, the weight of what has come before and the cost shouldered by that legacy. I hear the wheeze in the lungs of this old man still trying to climb a flight of stairs…
(The Inter-Galactic Greensboro Greenhorn falls to his knees, placing one hand on the glass (creating an unsightly smudge) and the other on the tiled floor of the hallway. His cigarette falls thoughtlessly out of his mouth, and his breaths come heavy.)
NOVA: But the wheeze itself is a sign of life. He’s still breathing. And I can hear the pulse, beating, beating…maybe it’s the mushrooms, I don’t know. I don’t think it really matters. I can hear the beat of life in this place…
(He draws his head down to the floor, long mane of blonde hair falling over his face, until his ear is pressed to the ground. )
NOVA: (Laughing) …more beautiful than a Butch Trucks drum solo. BREATHE, you mastodon! You looming, lording, monolithic monument! BREATHE, you desolate desperate esoteric establishment!
Nova throws his head back, eyes wide (and dilated) as his hands rip his shirt down the middle from the neck.
Lawrence Stanley vs. Troy Douglas
Almost matching in size, the former US Champion and English native depended on his experience in his match against the Greensboro native more than a decade his junior. The former fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles took the early upper hand. Taking advantage of Stanley’s ring rust, Douglas got the upper hand in the collar-and-elbow, sending Stanley into the ropes and catching him with an early lariat, followed by a half-nelson suplex. Caught supine in an arm-triangle choke, Stanley finally grabbed the ropes to get the break, only to get caught in a neckbreaker as he pulled himself to his feet.
Douglas showed frustration after several near-falls didn’t pay off. Speaking out loud to himself, he set Stanley up perfectly for the “Sharp Relief” spinebuster. But as he went for the payoff, his Scorpion Deathlock finisher, Stanley was able to kick him in the backside as he spun, sending Douglas through the ropes and head-first into the ring post.
Avoiding referee Ben Worthington’s ten-count, both men were able to get to their feet. Douglas charged, getting caught in a powerslam by Stanley, who then followed with an elbow to the head, further dazing Douglas. Stanley sent Douglas into the ropes for a spinebuster setup of his own, but he slightly missed it, catching Douglas full-force and taking him to the mat… but slamming his own head into the mat at the same time with the spear.
With both men down, Worthington began his count as the crowd let both men have it. Douglas tried to roll over and use the ropes to pull himself up, but neither man was able to reach a vertical base before the ten-count.
WINNER: Double Countout
Ivy McGinnis paced the production truck from end to end as PRIMETIME began. She didn’t know why she was so nervous, she’d been backstage for hundreds of shows in her dozen years’ career. Maybe it was because they were coming off an event like GOLD RUSH and Thomas was haphazardly putting pressure on the company to top that event when it would be almost impossible at this venture.
Maybe it was because she was struggling with the lack of caffeine in her system.
Maybe she knew the CSWA’s glory days were already passed – they were well past the point where they could prolong the 1996-2001 explosion, and the only option Ivy, Buckley, and the rest of the roster were willing to accept was a quiet rebuilding, and a second explosion.
Sink or swim might have been okay for 1998, but they were all ten years older and more jaded… and it made more sense (to her, at least), to just… build a boat.
How long was Billy Parsons trying to get her attention? She flinched, broken from her daze, and looked at the young tech. “What’s up?”
“I think we’ve got a problem.”
She walked towards the rows of monitors and scrutinized. The show had just started, Camera One was focused on Buckley and Sammy, Camera Two was a wide angle shot showing the entire arena, Camera Three was the main camera, currently focused on the CSWAVision screen, and cameras four through six were at ringside, waiting for the matches to start to give the appropriate cover.
“What’s going o—n?”
With an instinctive flick of the wrist, Billy switched the live feed from camera three to camera one, and he was almost positive none of the fans at home saw the word Initializing... on the screen.
“Tell the operator on three to stay where he is,” she ordered, as she nudged the tech next to Billy out of his chair, “and punch up the Vision feed on my one, and the code on my two.”
FOUND CSWA version 19
DELETE Stephen Thomas
There was no time to lose. Her fingers hit the keys almost instinctively, and every other tech in the room either crowded her or leaned over to see what she was doing.
Ivy exhaled as she leaned back. “Hex encryption,” she said to one of the younger kids that she didn’t recognize, “I think we’re good.
“Not necessarily,” said Billy, as he pointed back to the screen.
Change is here.
“You need to get in the text directory, Miss Ivy.”
Change is here.
When were these kids going to stop calling her Miss Ivy? It had been a good six years now.
Change is necessary.
“I’m in,” replied Ivy, “Damn it, we’re both in!”
But she was a faster typist.
CSWA PRIMETIME: ONLY ON U-62
A text window popped up on the side of her screen, complete with signature red text.
As if on queue, the letters began to appear, one at a time, on CSWAvision.
“Not this time, motherf…”
“He’s bounced!” said Billy, as the techs shook hands and high fived, “Ivy, the screen’s blank.”
RHUBARB, TAKE IT AWAY!
“And we’re in to the first match,” said Ivy, “I think we’ve got the screen secured for tonight.”
“What about the rest of the systems?”
“He’s good,” replied Ivy, “He’ll be able to get through this coding eventually… next show I’ll hook my laptop to the truck and run security through it – I’ve got some impenetrable barriers on there.”
She looked down at the monitors, watching the match unfold. But her gaze returned to the text box.
Can we really trust you?
A dream match on at least four out of five fanboys’ lists. The high impact Nova against the powerful Hornet. Former UNIFIED and ULTRATITLE Champion against PRIME standout, PTC magnate and eventual reigning ULTRATITLE Champion. This one didn’t live up to its potential five-star billing, mostly because Hornet looked a step slow. Trying to use his power early only led to Nova slipping in and out of a full nelson, slipping out of an abdominal stretch and quickly grabbing the ropes during a boston crab attempt by the former three-time UNIFIED Champion.
Nova dodged a neckbreaker attempt, spinning out and giving a standing switch, then catching Hornet with a T-Bone suplex. A quick crossface almost had Hornet tapping until he was able to get the ropes and the break. Hornet seemed to recover, nailing Nova with a belly-to-back before following with the bench press slam, a traditional crowd favorite. Back on his feet, Nova was able to avoid a big clothesline, hit the ropes and hit Hornet with a jumping calf kick before hitting a devastating “No Vacancy” double underhook DDT.
To the delight of the crowd, Nova went to the top. As nearby fans in the first row chanted for a shooting star press, Nova simply smiled and shook his head, then went on to hit the CTRL-ALT-1337 moonsault/back elbow combination for the one-two-three and a huge singles debut win over the CSWA’s “franchise” player.
“I think I found something,” said a diminutive voice.
“Let him in,” said Ivy, as the techs parted ways for Adrian Evans, “What’s up?”
Adrian pulled a small notebook out of his pants pocket, but before he could start telling what he had found, the door opened again. Three security guards entered, roughly clearing a path from the door to the station where Ivy sat.
“There’s no damage, Stephen,” replied Ivy, as the CSWA Commissioner nudged Billy Parsons out of his seat and took it, “The Hacker got into our systems again and started up his CSWA Vision crap, but I was able to lock him out. We kept the cameras on Bill and Sammy the whole time, I doubt anyone at home saw what was happen—oh, shit!”
“What? What?” asked Thomas, as Ivy spun back towards the keyboard and monitors, and typed in some frantic letters and numbers, “I command you to tell me what’s happening!”
“And I command you to step back and don’t touch anything unless you wanna get sued!”
Thomas backed up like he was just struck. Ivy used the four letter ‘S’ word.
“No, I wouldn’t,” replied Ivy, “but the hacker got into the incendiary systems, and Nova would’ve.”
She pointed. “Nova was on the top rope. The hacker was about to light off Ryan’s pyro. I don’t think Nova would’ve let you off the hook with a ‘Sorry, I screwed that one up!’ and a hug and a sandwich, do you?”
He thought about it. Probably not.
“Ivy, you need to give me three – no, four more security guards,” said Adrian, “and we need to lock the building down.”
Thomas turned and seemed to notice Adrian for the first time. He looked at him with disdain. “I will not lock my adoring public in like… well, like a midget, while you do your weird experiments on them. Not with some… person trying to attack the integrity of the CSWA with these attacks from God knows where!”
“Not necessarily,” said Adrian.
“Don’t speak,” replied Thomas.
“What did you find,” asked Ivy, “and by the way, you’ve got your security.”
She clamped a hand over Thomas’ mouth, ignoring his protests.
“The hacker is in the system right now.”
“Yeah, we know that.”
“But he’s connected from the same network as the production truck.”
The dots all connected.
“He’s here,” said Ivy.
“He’s here,” repeated Adrian.
“Tallman,” repeated Thomas, removing Ivy’s hand from his mouth, “I hired him back as a vendor – slash – sideshow attraction so I could keep an eye on him. He’s here, he’s the one. Go get him.”
“It’s not him,” insisted Ivy, “He couldn’t tell us anything after the PCL crashed, he won’t have anything now.”
“Says you,” countered Thomas, as he turned to the security team, “Go find him and bring him to my office.”
Ivy shrugged and turned back towards her monitors. She knew Red had nothing to do with the actual machinations of the hacker, but she also knew that once Thomas made up his mind, he was unstoppable. Mainly because he was stubborn and trusted his wild ideas instead of hard facts and hard data.
As she typed in some more code to her hex encryption, she noticed the hacker had updated his internal text. Seven words.
You know he needs to be discredited.
But they still made her shiver.
Kevin Watson prowls in solitude down the coliseum's corridors, fluorescent beams of light twitching across his path, the mosaic of excited cheers trumpeting far off into some unknown distance as some foghorn letting Watson know just where he doesn't want to be. Draped across his left shoulder is a run-of-the-mill duffel bag with no distinguishing endorsement other than a few scratches and smudges acquired from years of unkempt care, the outer pocket threading its lips in some incestual fashion, a small tear down the front reflects a little bit of gold; draped across his right shoulder is the wall.
Booming echoes of pre-game hyping resonate throughout the hollow hallways but Watson doesn't seem to pay them any notice, and, in fact, the expression on his face might have been one that most of us would wear to the funeral of a friend of a co-worker's; a succinct awareness of the sacredness of one's situation, but absent of any true emotional emphasis on any significance. Kevin's legs lackadaisically drag after each other, but somehow this procession has the feeling of importance; as though if the hallway was full of people they would split like the red sea to allow his journey to go uninterrupted.
If Watson heard the faint piano gently carrying Chopin's "funeral march" through the air his face never acknowledged it, and he doesn't seem particularly concerned with any origin at all as he presses open the somewhat ajar door to his dressing room. Sitting in an invitingly comfortable leather chair that looks ridiculously out of place amongst the generic issued furniture occupying the rest of the room is Nemesis with a glass of red wine in his right hand. He wears a rather expensive looking leather trench coat, as well as an intricately bordered white button-up shirt; his shoes look Italian. Nemesis' eyes are closed and he seems to be caressing the music with his free hand, giving the impression that he would look better suited at some Italian opera with the exception of some very noticeable scar tissue across his face. Kevin doesn't seem to notice him as he tosses his duffel bag over his shoulder and onto one of the more modest pieces of furniture, a standard wooden bench, and only seems to acknowledge any alien presence by walking over to the radio and sharply turning it off.
Kevin: Well if it isn't…
Nemesis: Nemesis: a righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified, in this case, as a horrible c***.
Kevin: Yeah … I saw Snatch too.
Nemesis has a bit too hearty of a laugh as he swirls the glass of wine in his hand before bringing it to his lips. Kevin merely eyes him briefly as he opens his duffel bag, removing several rolls of tape from in and around the crevasses between the bag's edges, a few folds of clothes, and the centerpiece of the Greensboro Championship title belt.
Nemesis: True enough, but I just get amusement out of life imitating art; or is it the other way around?
Watson, completely uninterested in the entire scenario, merely grunts a reply and begins wrapping his knuckles in the medical tape while still standing. Nemesis observes curiously with an eyebrow slightly raised questioningly.
Nemesis: Do you want to know why I'm here?
Kevin: …don't care.
Watson tersely retorts without looking up from his task.
Nemesis: Right you are, and I imagine you're interested anyway; you can pretend not to care all you like. Would you like a glass of Chianti?
Watson looks up briefly to see a bottle of Chianti, uncorked and sitting on a dilapidated table next to the classily upholstered chair. The table looks as though at least one of the legs was ready to break off if the air conditioning turned on. Given the surroundings the wine, Nemesis, and the chair were in the scene almost seemed as though someone had placed a diamond necklace on some corpse ravaged by war and weather. Watson finishes one last lap around his left wrist, tosses the roll of tape on top of his bag, and grabs the bottle off of the table, ignoring the empty glass, and takes a few swigs straight from the bottle.
Kevin: So where'd you pick up such classy tastes? The crackhouse or the madhouse?
Nemesis(chuckling): I ran into some people in the last few years who felt that life was a work of art, and that each moment should be used to create a masterpiece.
Kevin (wiping some wine from his grizzled face): So, people who don't know what starving means, huh?
Nemesis: They had very different ideas, from you and I, about what suffering is.
Kevin: You mean no idea.
Nemesis: More or less.
Nemesis motions to Watson for the bottle and he tosses it with about as much care as you'd expect from tossing a can of the cheapest beer.
Nemesis snatches the Chianti from the air, cradling the momentum with his arm movement and fluidly tilting the neck to fill his glass.
Nemesis brings the glass to his lips, breathing deep the aromas, and drinking in the wine. Handing the bottle back to Watson, Nemesis shifts his weight in his chair, leaning slightly to his left.
Nemesis: You've given a lot of blood to your life; most of your days are filled with it. I've personally seen your blood spilled on the ground of almost every hemisphere this Earth has to offer: barbs burying into your muscles in Japan, glass gripping to your scalp in Mexico, fire encasing your muscles in Canada, and many scars earned throughout these United States. Through the miracle of satellite TV, your blood has stained the retinas of millions of psyches world-wide.
Kevin: What's your point?
Watson takes an enormous gulp from the bottle and sets it down on the table. He grabs the roll of tape from his bag and apathetically plops next to his bag and begins wrapping his right hand.
Nemesis: You have heart. But you pass it off as a lack of concern for your body. These friends of mine that introduced me to such ostentatious opinions didn't have heart; they had imagination. That's one of the reason they enjoyed me. They had always had the means to create artwork out of life, but before I came around their sculptures were hollow, and the dust gathered around their canvases too quickly; always a new piece.
Kevin: So, what? You're coming out? You're leaving to go work at an art museum? What? You could have ****ed off without coming to tell me about it.
Nemesis laughs to himself, and draws more wine from his glass, thinking about how to make his point.
Nemesis: Years ago, before I disappeared, we often grouped together in our fighting; forming an alliance and giving birth to chaos at every opportunity. Gold, riches, championships, and other's envy were constantly our prize; infamy quickly becoming not just our identity, but a part of our personality; a state of being. Cameras weren't requested, but they had to be there because we were the ones creating what was newsworthy, and the whirlwind of passionate living were our days. Now I find you purposely ignoring almost everything around you, even hiding your championship belt with your gym socks.
Kevin: This path suits me just fine. You were always the one bedazzling the world with your wit, remember? I'm more than satisfied with fighting for blood, and I don't need you to tell me what to do with my ****ing belt.
Nemesis: I've known a few spies in my day, and do you know what they say?
Kevin, though not missing a beat in his tape wrapping, craned his neck slightly to look at Nemesis sitting in an inquisitive fashion.
Nemesis: They say you have to put a tremendous amount of effort into being nobody. It's almost harder work than the actual espionage, to study and become so unremarkable that no one could think of a distinguishing characteristic to separate you from the pack. Blending in, surprisingly, is next to impossible if you want to acquire something out of this life. You're not a spy are you?
Kevin: **** off.
Nemesis (slightly chuckling): Then why go through so much work to appear as if you aren't there? I'm not a fan of the me-better-then-you diarrhea of the mouth that infects most people in our profession, but, come on, your lawyer has the brains of a public defender; and the horrible taste in suits and cologne of one too.
Watson actually chuckles a little to himself as he holds his right hand up to his face and squeezes his fist a few times to test the tape.
Kevin: So, what? Are you here to offer me a personality or something? You're pretty boring for a crazy man, you know that?
Nemesis: We're brothers, and I forget that sometimes. Throughout my various concussions and psychotic episodes I have to be told, sometimes, that I held the US Championship in this league…
Kevin: Twice, moron.
Nemesis blinks a few times in a more previously common found expression of confusion, but then shakes it off and tries to continue his train of thought.
Nemesis: The point is I once was lost…
Kevin: And now are found? Don't ****in' sing me Amazing Grace you schizophrenic bitch. I've got **** to do … if you haven't heard.
Watson spits with about as little emotion can be possibly executed while spitting a phrase, as he takes the Greensboro Championship belt out of his bag and tosses it over his shoulder. He doesn't even glance in Nemesis' direction as he heads out of the door and onto his title match.
Nemesis: Your anger fuels you well, but unless you know where the keyhole is, you're just rattling your cage.
Kevin: …go **** yourself.
Champion's Challenge Tag Match
Kin Hiroshi and Cameron Cruise
JJ DeVille and Bobby Karma
In a follow-up from GOLD RUSH, Commissioner Thomas offered JJ DeVille and Bobby Karma a chance to prove themselves deserving of a title shot by putting them in the ring with the current United States and Presidential Champions. The mission was an easy one for both teams: for the champs, simply win the match and mark these two off your list; for the contenders, win the match and get another shot at gold.
Two-time Presidential Champion Cameron Cruise started off, set to prove that his second run with the title that Thomas built wouldn’t be a short one. “What Goes Around Comes Around” Bobby Karma, aka the Man With The Longest Nickname Ever, started off for his team, determined to prove that his independent experience makes him more than just a fluke. Cruise used a huge reach advantage over the 5’9” Karma to maintain control early, getting several early near-falls after running a clinic on the younger man, forcing Karma to escape a drop-toe hold and tag in former Greensboro Champion JJ DeVille.
As the two tied up, it looked like Cruise would continue his dominance, catching JJ with an early clothesline followed by a springboard suplex. But as Cameron went for a neckbreaker, JJ was able to leverage Cruise over his shoulders and all the way outside the ring, causing the Presidential Champ to hit his back hard on the apron. Referee Ben Worthington started a count, but couldn’t stop US Champion Kin Hiroshi from rushing into the ring and catching JJ from behind with a side Russian leg sweep.
Apparently concerned with Cruise’s well-being, the referee either missed or ignored the following DDT before Kin slipped back into his corner, then rolled outside to help Cruise back in. Conveniently re-entering the ring near his corner, Cruise simply tagged Hiroshi, who jumped up to the top rope, nailing the prone DeVille with an Asai moonsault. Rolling him over for the pin, it appeared over, except for the quick intervention of Karma, who caught Hiroshi with a boot to the head.
That brought Cruise in the ring, charging across and diving into Karma with a crossbody that took both of them through the ropes to the floor. Hiroshi pulled DeVille to his feet, setting him up for a Fisherman buster, only to have DeVille once again leverage over the top, catching the US Champion’s head and dropping him on it with an inverted reverse DDT and the one-two-three.
WINNERS: JJ DeVille and Bobby Karma earn their title shots
With Adrian and his security team following Thomas’ wild hunt for the Red Midget (more like the Red Herring, Ivy and Billy thought), the techs were back to their usual locations and duties. Since Ivy was able to get the hacker locked out of most of the essential systems, the show had settled down.
In fact, while JJ DeVille was making history, Ivy and Billy Parsons finished up the security lockout and ran an additional systems check – the hacker was still in the system and had been sending Ivy messages as she worked, but he didn’t have any more active access.
WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DISRUPT THE SHOW?
IT HAS TO BE DONE
She exhaled. This was as productive as trying to explain business to Thomas. A few more keystrokes, and she was ready to lock the system completely.
YOU KNOW HE HAS TO PAY
This was new. Ish.
YOU KEEP SAYING THAT, WHO HAS TO PAY?
NO I DON’T
THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY TOO.
Now, Ivy had to think. She had made precious few enemies in the wrestling business – most of the people who hated her only hated her for her reputation – and none of them had any problem telling her to her face.
JUST HIT THE BUTTON MCGINNIS AND LOCK ME OUT. ITS YOUR DUTY BUT IT’LL BE YOUR UNDOING
Her finger hesitated above the ‘enter’ key.
JUST LIKE JUDAS
Almost immediately, her phone began to ring. The sound of “Riders on the Storm” meant it was Adrian.
“Speak on it,” said Ivy.
“Hey, it’s me,” replied Adrian through the speaker, “We got ‘em.”
There was a moment of struggle on the other end, and another, equally familiar voice filled the room.
“The most dangerous man in wrestling is now in our custody,” said Commissioner Thomas, with an air of accomplishment behind his words, “and the CSWA is now safe.”
Ivy rolled her eyes.
“We’ve recaptured the Red Midget.”
Kevin Watson vs. Simon Alex Theodore
SAT entered the ring first and paced, microphone in hand, and asked the Chapel Hill crowd if they could spell ‘Victorious.’
“Victorious, of course,” he said, “tonight is spelled S – A – T.”
Olivia applauded, but most of the fans booed. Fortunately for them, the Greensboro Champion was quick to enter, belt over his shoulder, like a conquering hero. There was a small, but vocal chant of “WELCOME BACK!” shouted at the man formerly known as K-9.
When the bell rang, Watson started off hot, using his weight advantage to keep SAT on the ropes. He doubled his young opponent over with a knee to the gut, and flipped him to the mat with a snapmare! Reverse chinlock applied, and quickly reversed by the challenger, as he snuck behind his back and took him down with a reverse hammerlock.
Watson hooked SAT's head from behind and leveraged his way back to his knees, and just like that, drove his head backwards into SAT's face, breaking the hold and flipping the match again. The Champion rolled through and turned, just in time to drive his shoulder into SAT's stomach as the challenger rose to his feet, and rolled him up for a quick ONE... TWO... Kickout!
Another bounce off the ropes, but this time SAT was ready for him, and hip locked Watson over the top rope! The Champ held onto the top as he skinned the cat, but SAT was off the opposite side, and a baseball slide took out Watson’s ankles, and the Greensboro Champion fell to the floor!
Now, it was a matter of time. Patrick Young started the count as Watson got to his feet and paced for a few moments. He grabbed the top rope, but backed off and dropped down to the floor as SAT rushed him. Young gestured the challenger back, and Watson slid inside behind his back! He clipped SAT’s leg, dropping the challenger to his knees, and fired a pair of forearms to the back of his head! Watson off the far ropes again… SAT with a reversal! He lunged forward and caught the Champion around the chest, and a uranage put Watson down on the mat!
Before he could go for the cover, the champion rolled to the ropes.
SAT grabbed him around the waist and, using the ropes as a catalyst, rolled Watson up in a small package. ONE… TWO… Kickout sent SAT into the ropes, himself! Watson ducked down as the challenger rebounded back towards him, and a backdrop attempt was foiled by SAT with a kick to the face! Kick to the gut! DDT! Cover, ONE… TWO… Kickout!
Theodore with a handful of hair pulled Watson back to his feet, and a European uppercut staggered the champion a few steps! A short arm clothesline put him back to the mat! SAT wasted no time, he bounded off the ropes and dropped a leg across Watson’s neck! Another cover, ONE… TWO… TH—KICKOUT!
Another scoop, and the challenger drew his hand across his neck, signifying that the match was over. He sent Watson back into the ropes, all set for the NERDS RULE DDT---WATSON WITH A REVERSAL! SUPERKICK! Watson fell onto SAT, ONE… TWO… THREE! KICKOUT! NO! Young calls for the bell!
Watson rolled out of the ring and grabbed the Greensboro Championship belt as the replay started on the CSWAvision screen, and it looks like SAT kicked out just a fraction of a second after the three. SAT pounded the mat in frustration – he had come up short tonight, but it was obvious that he and the Greensboro Champion would have another meeting – and another night, it was anyone’s guess who would come out on top.
WINNER via Pinfall: Kevin Watson (Retains title)
“YOU WILL TALK!”
Thomas held the lamp like a spear, nearly poking Lyle Tallman in the face with it. He had tied the former Red Midget to a chair, and in between Ivy trying to grill him on technical questions designed to see whether or not he was smart enough to be the Hacker, or one of the people behind the ‘Hacker’, Thomas threw so much ‘bad cop’ rhetoric at him that she was surprised Red hadn’t burst out laughing.
Then again, after four years on an island with no company but each other, Red had apparently learned how to tune him out.
“Seriously Lyle,” said Ivy, sitting backwards in a chair with her hands rested on her arms rested on the back of the chair, “you were working with him on the PCL, you must know something.”
“I already gave my statement,” said Lyle, without emotion.
“You don’t know what pain is!” shouted Thomas.
“This isn’t the cops,” replied Ivy, “this is just us, this is just the CSWA. I don’t care about the legal shi—stuff… but this guy is seriously messing with the show. We just want to know what you know, and either take him out completely or come to some kind of agreement—“
“No!” said Thomas, this time directed at Ivy, “We’re going to take this Hacker down and everyone on his team is going to lose!”
Lose? “Diplomacy, Stephen,” said Ivy.
“I already told you everything,” reiterated Lyle, “You had me in a cage with a water bottle like a hamster’s, threatening me with withholding food – which you did anyways – unless I spilled my guts. And it didn’t even work, because you didn’t feed me until Melton came back with the two women!”
“I’ve had enough.”
Thomas spun the lamp stand around and held it against Lyle’s throat.
“I’m sick of this,” said Thomas, “You’ve been holding out on us since day one, and now you’re going to talk. Ivy, get your pen and paper ready. Lyle? Tell us everything.”
He pushed it against Lyle’s throat a bit harder. “Everything!”
“Okay, okay,” said Lyle, as he looked down in shame, I’ll talk!”
Lyle took a deep breath. “In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I played Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs, and I blamed it on the dog! I never made my wife reach o…”
Thomas stared at him with intensity, making note of every inflection in his voice and every story he told. Ivy, on the other hand, buried her face in her hands and shook her head in exasperation.
UNIFIED World Championship
"The Ego Buster" Dan Ryan
vs. Eron the Relentless
It’s rare to see a man step into the CSWA in his first match and get a UNIFIED Title shot, but hey, these are strange times, right? Awarded the title shot by virtue of his “final three” finish in the GOLD RUSH match, the former jOlt World Champion stepped into the ring apparently reinvigorated. But so did his opponent, the newly-crowned Dan Ryan – having outplayed “The Epitome” Troy Windham and finally taken back the top title.
Each man stepped in with a clear game plan: Ryan went to his power game early, using the size advantage he’s so used to -- in this case, an extra seventy pounds and three inches. An early belly-to-belly suplex shook the ring, with some fans apparently surprised that Eron hadn’t gone through the ring. A subsequent release german suplex literally sent the former fWo International Champion bouncing across and out of the ring for a quick breather.
But Eron’s strategy was clear as well – go for the legs – simple yet elegant. As Ryan went to pull him back into the ring, Eron thrust upward, jaw-jacking Ryan and sending him flailing. Eron rolled in, dodging the swinging Ryan and getting behind him to catch him with a chop block, then dropping an elbow right down on the left knee.
Brought down from his “vertical base,” Ryan retaliated, catching Eron with a sideswipe boot to the face, sending him reeling and into the corner. Ryan followed with a shoulder block, but missed as the Relentless One rolled out of the way. Eron dropped to the mat, then rolled to the floor, grabbing Ryan’s left leg and wrapping it around the outside ringpost, once, twice, then three times before referee Patrick Young physically rolled out of the ring and began to pull him away.
Barely dodging a disqualification after ‘bumping’ the referee during the separation, Eron rolled back inside to find a one-legged UNIFIED Champion. Charging Ryan with his shoulder, Eron forced him into the corner and repeatedly rammed his shoulder into the midsection of the champion before grabbing both his legs. Ryan grabbed the ropes for leverage, only to find his 6’7” frame yanked out of the corner and to land on the back of his head. Eron got a quick two-count on the dazed champion, then quickly cinched in a Texas Cloverleaf, sending Ryan into writhing agony as his already-hurting left leg was twisted and torqued.
Ryan finally got a finger hooked around the rope, but Eron refused to release the hold, leading to another near-shoving match between he and referee Patrick Young. The altercation with the referee allowed Ryan to use his massive upper body strength to pull up on the ropes – as Eron turned his attention back to the UNFIIED Champ, Ryan used his good right leg to catch Eron under the jaw with a superkick.
Unable to capitalize on the big kick, Ryan used the corner to take some of the weight off his hyperextended left knee. With Eron still down in the middle of the ring, Ryan finally went to drop an elbow, only to find Mr. Relentless playing possum, and able to catch Ryan with a dragon screw and a subsequent two-count. While going for another leglock, this time a Figure Four, Ryan was able to use his reach to catch Eron with an inside cradle and a three-count, barely leaving with the title, and leaving Eron arguing with the referee over the speed of the count.
WINNER: Dan Ryan