Chapter View

What Has Gone Before: Thomas

What Has Gone Before: Hacker

Eighteen Years Ago: Men at Work

Eighteen Years Ago: Raindrops Keep Falling

Home, Team

What Has Gone Before: Eli Flair

Coming of Age

What Has Gone Before: Unified

The Lineup

Greensboro Ring

Center Ring: Old Friends

Presidential Ring

Center Ring: Upstaged

Title Shot Ring

United States Ring

Presidential Approval Ratings

Center Ring

Don't Stop Now

Center Ring Interlude: Upstaged

As he continues to brandish the microphone, UNIFIED Champion Troy Windham has moved away from his own version of play-by-play and instead is concentrating on the men standing in the ring across from him. With the arrival of Kevin “K-9” Watson, and the departure of Junior Hornet and his trusty T-shirt gun, the challenge in the center ring is unofficially underway.

However, the rules of GOLD RUSH state that no one can be eliminated from the center ring until the four outer rings have been completed and the bell rings. Watson has quickly realized that there is no sense in starting the conflict until the ring general can be taken out. Years earlier, he would’ve rushed in blindly, attacking Troy and going for the moment of glory rather than thinking about the long-term goal.

Troy’s demeanor has changed slightly. He’s still loud, still cracking wise, but the lines around his eyes give away the fact that the match has really begun, even if the first punch hasn’t been thrown yet. He’s regaling the crowd with a story about a prank he pulled on K-9 years before when they were both relative rookies to wrestling. It has something to do with a hotel room, a hooker and a branding iron.

The latest to join the fun are still a little groggy, shaking off the effects literally falling head-over-heels over the ring post and through one of the announcing tables. JA may be disappointed over losing the Greensboro Title, but he’s always realized that the green-and-gold belt is a stepping stone, a training ground, for moving onto the big gold one hanging high above the ring. Eron seems to view the whole scene with disdain, but his reason is unclear – it could be his disdain for the champ, his disgust with how the Greensboro ring ended, or simply the fact that he isn’t in the ring with Troy Windham one-on-one.

As Troy’s dirty story elicits a few gasps from some women in the audience, the crowd erupts in bigger gasps and then applause as the Presidential ring comes to a close. John Doe is on the ground, dazed from his spill over the top. Cameron Cruise is laying on his back in the center of the ring, gasping for air, but with the Presidential Title gripped closely to his chest. They’ll be joining the party soon.

Troy’s brow furrows for the first time tonight. To him, they’ve committed the ultimate sin… they upstaged him. And for that, the man formerly known as the “King of the Slackers,” as “Mr. CSWA”, as the “King of All Media,” and now known as “The Epitome”, decides that he’ll make them pay.